With only a game remaining in Round 2 tonight, the resurgence of the Sydney Roosters continues as does the precision of St George Illawarra;
Dragons 26 d Bulldogs 6
The Dragons were again very precise in their execution, they left nothing for the Dogs as they went about dismantling their arch enemy from 2009. Backed by a strong WIN Stadium crowd, it was again a reborn Ben Hornby combining with Jamie Soward to put Canterbury to the sword. Last year it was mostly Soward doing the damage, but Hornby has certainly stepped up and the dual pronged attack is working wonders. Aided by a lifting Saints forward pack, the red and white backs did their thing and the form of Nightingale continues to impress after he has grabbed his shot with both hands.
The Dogs were flustered and simply gave up too much ball, they weren’t helped by Noddy having a seriously off night and talk of Ben Hannant wanting out of his contract isn’t doing the harmony factor at the club any favours. Were left licking their wounds on Steve Turners edge, as the former Melbourne flanker struggled with a big workload in defence in an area other teams will surely target.
Titans 19 d Souths 18
Heartbreak again for the Bunnies, however they should really have been further ahead in this game. Souths were slightly the better team for most of the match, but didn’t capitalise by enough points when they had the chance. The Titans played ugly yet again, but were in the mix in the final minutes and their golden point win is a handy one away from home.
The Rabbits were given good service by their forwards, Sam Burgess is a little reckless with his offloads but most of them came off – so his coach won’t complain too much just yet, but the risk was there. It seems the Bunnies are being let down by very little control in their halves. Sutton and Sandow need to really steer this ship around but its not happening all the time.
For the Coast, their discipline was average in this clash – back to back penalties really hurt them. The referees did have a poor game and the sin binnings left many people scratching their heads. The Titans do have a good side this year, they’ve won both games even though they haven’t played great – when they gel, look out!
NZ Warriors 30 d Sharks 16
It was always going to be a tough roadtrip for the hapless Cronulla side, but they showed a glimpse of what they can do in the middle of this match after letting the Warriors jump out to a 16 point lead early. Good aggression from the Warriors allowed them to overpower the Sharks in this one, yet another aspect Ricky Stuart will need to work on with his struggling side. The loss is the 12th in a row for Cronulla and their confidence could be shot to bits before the season even gets rolling.
NZ lost Brett Seymour to injury which is a body blow for them despite the win, Seymour has been ruled out with a broken thumb and will miss their Broncos clash next week. Cronulla will be looking for some luck, as the side thats gone back to basics needs something more creative to a win a football game it seems. Stuart needs to really rethink how this side conducts themselves on the field, they used to rely on defence as they don’t score many points – but now their defence is flimsy, it could be open season.
Storm 20 d Knights 14
Heartache at Newcastle. The Knights were the better side for most of this match and deserved a win. The Storm again got out of jail, aided and abetted by Brett Finch who guided the Melbourne side well in attack and setup the final try with his linebreak and nice assist to Nielsen for the match winner.
There has been a lot to like about the Knights forwards this year, they again had bucketloads of enthusiasm and allowed their speedy, well built edge men to perform their magic. Uate and Vuna are lethal weapons and proved so for the Knights against the Storm.
But even with their spareparts team and no Cronk in sight, the Melbourne side just hung in. They weren’t brilliant and Slater or Inglis rarely got into top gear, but they did enough to stay with the Knights and be close enough to pounce.
Cowboy 28 d Penrith 20
Wille Mason calls North Queensland home. Coming off the bench, Big Willie inspired a huge comeback for the home side after they were sent packing in the first half by some enterprising Penrith play. Down 14-0 at the break, the Cowboys look in trouble with wet conditions making scoring tough in the tropics.
Jonathan Thurston was again strong for his side, but Ty Williams was struggling at times at the back. The Cowboys would dearly love Matt Bowen on deck and are simply a different team with him available. Neil Henry was not only happy with Mason, but also with the way the other forwards lifted around him when he was sent into the action.
Penrith won’t be too down after the loss, the roadtrip up north is always a tough one and they were hit hard by injury, with Waterhouse again pulling out prior to kick off along with Nathan Smith. Luke Lewis also joins the injury riddled after suffering a leg injury late in the piece.
Parramatta 24 d Manly 20
Few sides that have played so bad have been able to win, the Eels must consider themselves very lucky here. They were horribly flat in this game and an understrength Manly notched up 20 unanswered points early.
Feleti Mateo was rarely involved for the Eels and minor injury to Luke Burt and Eric Grothe saw them busy, but not having their usual impact for the club.
But in what was a mind boggling display of refereeing, the whistle blowers went on a mission and blew Manly out of the game. They heaped penalties on the visiting side and allowed the Eels to get possession and mount a comeback. The Eels going on to score 24 unanswered points themselves, with some of their tries featuring forward passes that went uncalled.
A get out of jail card was used by the Eels and the Manly side will surely be on suicide watch now after botching two big leads.
Roosters 44 d Tigers 32
The revival continues, with Roosters while hiccuping early – rallying in severe heat to turn on a 44 point display at the SFS. Again looking to have a good mix with Pearce and Anasta in the halves and a roaming Todd Carney at the back – they were extremely dangerous from any range.
The Tigers apart from the first quarter, were having an off day. Missing the likes of Payten, Fulton, Gibbs and Ryan – they didn’t have their usual understanding with the footy. Dropped ball and poor passing cost them badly.
The Roosters however are enjoying their rise to the top once more, Brian Smith has found some impressive talent in the forwards with former Storm product Aidan Guerra having a strong match and running off Anasta at every occasion to good effect.
The slimmed down Nate Myles is the everywhere man and for Roosters faithful there is a lot to like about this new side. Their confidence will be extremely good now and they might just be a darkhorse for the Top 8 if this can continue.