Wow, or as Phil Gould would say ‘Whooaaow’ – what an interesting run of results in NRL Round 13, with our tipsters tearing their hair out.
After the Dogs again dropped their bundle and the Eels managed to find form and defeat the highly-fancied Storm – what about Saturdays mix of results?
How do the Sharks wake from a slumber and beat the in-form Roosters 42-18?
Yes, you read that correctly. At the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night – the Roosters now with Mitchell Pearce back on deck were expected to apply the blow torch to Ricky Stuarts shambles of Cronulla.
Well, it certainly wasn’t to be. It was the most points the Cronulla side have scored in nearly 12 months. Their haul went against everything they’ve done so far this year, they were actually set to be the worst NRL attacking team in history had they not generated points in this game.
For key men Trent Barrett and Paul Gallen, the timing couldn’t have been better. They both had good games and have obviously put their hands up for Origin given the injuries, form and suspensions that are set to put the likes of Watmough, Lewis, Lyon, White and Hayne.
Barrett would sit nicely with Kimmorley, lets hope poor Noddy doesn’t cop the blame for this NSW loss. The veteran halfback deserves to remain in the halves for the series.
The volatile Gallen is always a liability in a club game, his grubby nature can cost his team dearly with penalties – but in Origin everyone is afforded more leniency – hence Gallen is ideally suited to the arena.
Amazingly the Sharks now sit above both the Cowboys and Bulldogs on the NRL ladder (Cowboys have Monday Night game in hand)
Now over to the Roosters. What is it with this lot in 2010? They’ve been unable to win back to back games for a few months and just when they look to have found the cohesion – it all comes undone?
Can only put it down to players attitudes. They are well coached, well drilled and have an array of talent. But some days they just don’t turn up, maybe they are expecting to win? Certainly they would have been counting their chickens against the Sharks.
The other area the Chooks will want to address is their kicking game. Usually fine tuned, their kicks especially a handful from Mitchell Pearce made their life difficult and simply didn’t make the Sharks do enough to defuse or return fire.
Penrith are quickly making CUA Stadium a graveyard for opponents in 2010, with the Panthers demolishing the Knights 28-10 on Saturday Night.
It must be a nice change for the previously maligned Matt Elliott. The former Panthers coach has had a torrid few years and came within an inch of his coaching life – but has managed to keep afloat and with his side recruiting well and in good form, things are peachy.
With the Knights finally getting some big name talent back in the likes of Mullen, De Gois, McDougall and McManus – they were expected to put up a decent fight.
But in a frustrating outcome for the visitors, they old boys club of Brad Tighe and Luke Walsh turned on a show – helping the Panthers notch up a decent score and blow Newcastle away.
Newcastle seem to have some talented players, but are not playing as a unit. In a similar circumstance to the Bulldogs, the Knights can fire on the back of one or two plays but cannot sustain pressure on opponents as a team.
Penrith had some critics regarding their high amount of tries from kicks, but it seems the Panthers are making their own luck. Their defence is much improved in 2010 – they get off their line quick and force the issue in defence.
In attack, if a bomb is hoisted or a kick chipped through – they chase in good numbers, this is bringing great results and breeding more confidence with every kick success.
While pivot Travis Burns copped hamstring injury and could miss 4 games, depth isn’t a problem with the respected youngster Wade Graham easily able to step into the fray.
Today over in New Zealand, the Warriors proved they are up there with the Top teams in the NRL. The young squad narrowly pipped by a Dragons outfit 22-20.
Credit to the Dragons, they have successfully made the tough roadtrip across to Auckland – St George Illawarra the only side having not had a single bye in 2010 and providing a tonne of players to Origin duty would be a big burden.
With the bye this week, coach Wayne Bennett made mention of how his team were tired physically and mentally. He confirmed what a great job his outfit have done under pressure and touched on the effort of Matt Cooper who turned in a strong performance to get his side the win.
Even losing coach Ivan Cleary gave praise to his players who he said could hold their heads high given the narrow defeat against the benchmark side in the NRL. Had a few bounces gone their way, they may have even snuck away with a win.
What about at Brookvale, who could have ever predicted the Broncos would thrash Manly 22-6 in mudbath conditions?
Brisbane have somehow lifted from the NRL coffins to now boast 4 wins in succession.
It seems Darren Lockyer has come to life around Origin time, the veteran again playing well and guiding his side around the park superbly.
Manly simply did not turn up. They were lucky to have notched up any points let alone be winning at half time.
The Sea Eagles were blessed this was a wet track, because had it been a dry field – the Broncos would have notched up a half century.
Talk after this game was about Anthony Watmough and a leg injury which could keep him out of Origin and the high leaping Israel Folau who continues to be a human headline it seems.
Little was said before or after the game about the debut of Hoppa Junior. Willy Hopoate the 18 year old son of badboy John Hopoate got his shot on the wing for the Sea Eagles.
The rookie didn’t get much of a chance to shine, but given a dry track and some ball – expect some sparkle from this kid.
Raiders 28 hold out Titans 24, but amazingly – the Green Machine were leading by 20 points in this one and simply clocked off early.
Canberra would be happy by the strong showing by Campese and youngsters Vidot and Dugan remain hot prospects – as they again showed their wares and speed in various broken field plays.
Concerns will remain for Dugan after injuring his leg in this match, but despite the late collapse – coach Furner said he was happy his side remained mentally tough and he’ll take the 2 points anyway he can.
For the Titans, their third consecutive loss will be a worry for John Cartwright. With Carty adding “Every side goes through a bump during the season” “the better sides kick out of it”.
With the half way mark now passed, the Titans will want to get their mojo back and quickly.