The Tigers tackling all game, low on troops after losing several squad members before kickoff. If Wests can tackle and defend like that consistently, then they are every chance of a Top 4 finish. However, losing too many players would be a concern for Sheens, with Moltzen and a host of others back on the sidelines.
But what made all the headlines was the brain snap of Bryce Gibbs. Sure, sledging is part of the game and happens all the time – but this outburst from Gibbs isn’t anything new.
The Campbelltown product has been a loose cannon most of his career and while many have called for his scalp, Sheens remains a fan. Gibbs is good for at least 2 penalties a game and hasn’t been in any decent form for some time. Many insiders at the Tigers wanted Gibbs booted instead of Bronson Harrison and that may have been exactly right – given Gibbs latest stuff up.
Keep the sledging on the field Bryce, doing it after the bell is just stupid – especially when you’re on the losing side of the scoreboard.
The Saints kept on their merry way, despite themselves being low on troops, especially in the forwards – Wayne Bennett keeps the next generation coming through nicely with Hunt, Merrin and Green all doing extremely well.
The Titans won’t panic, but they know they need Price back pronto. Bird is taking his time to settle into this unit and their structure isn’t quite as neat without the style of Prince on show.
Newcastle got back to their winning ways, the noose is starting to tighten around respected coach Neil Henry. The ability of Henry wasn’t questioned prior to his latest stint at the Cowboys. He did well with Canberra, although with respect to the Green Machine – it seems several coaches (a la Matt Elliot) get respect after a small successful stint with Canberra only to amount to nothing at another club.
When nothing is expected of a team, a few wins can make someone look sensational. Henry did seem to do wonders in Origin, everyone knows he was the man with control and Meninga was merely the face.
But times are tough, and Henry has singled out the likes of Webb and Manuokafoa who are now under the pump. Its expected Mason will start next week against the Eels.
For the Knights, getting Gidley through safe was priority number one. They achieved that, got a win and will take some confidence away from it. Rick Stone is settling in now and with some bounces of the ball the Knights could get someÂ consistency.
The Sydney Roosters bounced back to form, they are proving a little inconsistent – but remain perched high on the NRL Ladder. Todd Carney continues to be the X-Factor and would have been stoked to have put his old team to the sword.
Carney remains in the frame for Origin – it will be tough to leave out either Carney or Hayne so positions remain up for discussion.
The Raiders inexperienced showed again this week, although Furner is doing well with the crop of players he has. They will need to continue to make the ACT a fortress and things will build from there.
The Panthers turned a big corner over in NZ. They have started to achieve consistency with 3 wins in a row – but more importantly, they seemed to play a different style over in Auckland.
Elliott’s Panthers successfully slowed the play down and showed signs of playing smart footy as opposed to rolling the dice all the time. A very good sign for the Penrith outfit.
The Warriors simply weren’t ‘on’. Cleary won’t be too concerned, while it is a frustrating home loss – they have been OK so far and will look to bounce back quickly next week – but its a tough ask for them away to the Melbourne Storm.
The young Broncos sounded a warning that they aren’t done just yet, big name Israel Folau returning well, as did suspended back Winterstein. With Corey Parker working the engine room bigtime, it was the Brisbane side of old and Henjack would be breathing a sigh of relief.
They Broncos looked up for this game and smelled blood with the hapless Sharks in front of them. Cronulla again looked lost and continue to look futureless.
The knives are coming out for Ricky Stuart. He’s had a decent enough shot at getting this team to perform, but it aint happening. He’s had a big say in the players being recruited and he’s been fortunate enough to have media support at crucial times.
Tough times remain ahead for the Cronulla franchise.
Back in Sydney on Sunday, the Eels finally notched up their second win. They’ve been under tonnes of pressure and while they won ugly, it was still a win over the Bunnies.
Both Parramatta and South Sydney were abysmal in this game, the Eels getting a little bit vibrant in the back end when confidence was riding high – but this was a game where the officials took centre stage.
Ben Cummins has been and remains the poorest performing referee in the NRL first grade ranks. For over 12 months Cummins has been at the centre of stifled games and bungled calls.
The binning of Cayless for the Eels and Champion for Souths were possibly the worst in recent memory and ruined a game where some excitement was building.
For Souths, expect to see Rhys Wesser wear some heat for this loss – the former Penrith flyer was at his worst in this one.
And what about Manly? Minus Brett Stewart, they continue on their merry way. Even with young halves, they are improving each week and toppled the Storm this week to sneak up the ladder and have themselves perched nicely.
The Storm will be crying about the loss of Greg Inglis, but their forward pack seems to be the concern here. They aren’t doing much wrong, but they just don’t look to have the venom and ability they had 12-18 months ago. The likes of Tandy and Norrie were discards from other clubs, as was Todd Lowrie. Could be a tough stretch ahead.