All posts by RickyRicardo

Sharks forward duo sign new deals

Wade Graham

Two hugely influential players in their own right at the Cronulla Sharks, both Wade Graham and Matt Prior have signed new deals to remain with the club.

Graham, touted by many as the next Sharks captain, has extended his stay with the club until the end of 2019, having joined the Sharks in 2011.

The representative back-rower is pleased to have his future sorted and secure and wants to focus on the footy ahead.

“Another 2 years at the club, so I’m excited to get it done,” Graham said.

“Bit of security on my future and now we can look forward to focusing on this season.”

As for Prior, he surprised many upon joining the Sharks with his 2016 efforts earning him the club’s Player of the Year award.

Still only 29, Prior has much to offer the game and the Sharks club and with 180 total games to his belt – 60 of which have come at the Sharks – he is also excited at what is ahead.

“It’s a massive relief,” Prior said.

“Took a couple of weeks to get it done but glad that we can now focus on the footy.”

Matt Prior

 

Roosters unbeaten run to start season continue with win over Bunnies

Michael Gordon

Despite a sloppy performance, the Sydney Roosters ended up winning 20-6 in a comfortable fashion to go 4-0 to start the season. 

In control from the outset for much of the game, errors and sloppiness crept into the Roosters game that could have seen more points scored.

Souths were not at their best in attack and it showed, as they were repelled often and could not gain any ascendancy on the other side of the ball in defence either.

The signs from Cody Walker continue to be encouraging, though, as yet again, he was the club’s best player despite the loss.

Indecision and poor judgment was the Bunnies downfall, with back-line players often caught on the last tackle running the ball.

The Bunnies started the stronger of the two teams before the Roosters wrestled back the momentum and completed an impressive 19 of 21 sets in the first half.

Two quick tries then followed for the Tricolours with in-form halves Luke Keary and Mitchell Pearce both involved before Michael Gordon slotted a penalty goal to give the Roosters a 14-0 lead at the break.

The loss of Sam Burgess due to a concussion ended up being one of the telling factors as Souths lost crucial go-forward in light of other forwards performing poorly.

Souths did start the second half strongly as debutant Sitiveni Moceidreke scored a try but the Roosters scored again later in the half through Daniel Tupou.

Despite execution not at its best, the 4-0 start is the Roosters best to a season in 21 years.

Not one to beat around the bush, Roosters coach Trent Robinson was tough on his side for a lack of execution.

“We were exceptional in ‘D’ and average in attack,” Robinson said post-game.

“We worked hard to defend what they were going to throw at us.

“They had lots of options and I thought we defended it well [but] we were in a rush in the second half to get our attack on when we needed to be a bit more patient, build it for five minutes. We wanted to defend on our line like that then try and score at the end of that set.”

With a lot of discussion recently about concussion and teams being fined for breaching the rules in place, the Bunnies followed the protocols and thus Sam Burgess did not return to the field.

“Sammy was obviously concussed there,” his coach Michael Maguire said after the game.

“The assessment was made. He came off after they assessed him and had an understanding of what went on [from] the sideline. We checked him again at half-time and the doctor basically came and said he won’t go back out so that was the call.”

Player of the Game:

3. Michael Gordon

2. Latrell Mitchell

  1. Luke Keary

Sydney Roosters 20 (Mitchell, Gordon, Tupou tries; Gordon 4 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 6 (Moceidreke try; Reynolds goal) at ANZ Stadium. Half time: Roosters 14-0.

Taumalolo to stay a Cowboy for life signing a whopping 10-year deal

Jason Taumalolo

Whether you believe a long-term deal is a good thing or a bad thing, there is no denying that the re-signing of Jason Taumalolo by the North Queensland Cowboys is a tremendous boost for the club not only this season but moving forward.

The whopping 10-year deal will make Taumalolo a Cowboy for life, running until the end of the 2027 season.

Since joining the club’s pathways at 14 years old, Taumalolo has fought hard to achieve elite status and is on his way there after winning last year’s Dally M and continuing his impressive form this year so far.

The man himself knows the Cowboys are the right team for him and a place where he feels at home.

“I’m very proud and honoured to be able to say that I’m staying a Cowboy for life,” Taumalolo said.

“This club – including my teammates, the coaching staff, and the people that are its heart and soul –mean the world to me, as do our amazing members and fans.”

The opportunity to finish up as a Cowboy was too good for the hulking forward to refuse in the end.

“One of the greatest pleasures of being a professional rugby league player with the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys is running out on to our home ground at the start of the game and hearing that roar,” Taumalolo continued.

“I started this amazing journey as a young kid in the academy program in a Cowboys jersey and I’ll finish up in one.”

Retaining him was crucial given the heavy interest in Taumalolo from other clubs was rampant. Though the club know that his signature is one that will boost their side moving forward.

“On current form, Jase is one of the best players in the competition and given his age we felt the longer that we could secure him for, the better for everybody,” said Cowboys General Manager of Football, Peter Parr.

“It (the deal) gives Jase good security and the club knows that it’s secured the best young forward in the game for a considerable period of time.

“We wanted a win-win in this deal – as we do with every player negotiation – and that’s what we’ve got.”

He took a while to find his mojo but under coach Paul Green, he has found a new lease on life and a reason to impress every week.

Green, who has watched him develop in recent years, knows just how special a player he is and is excited to have retained him at the club.

“I’ve been privileged to have watched Jase mature into an extremely talented footballer and it’s been a pleasure to see him improve year in, year out,” Green said.

“He’s extremely coachable, always wants to improve and has been integral to our recent success. This new deal is fantastic news for Jase, for our club, for our partners, for our members and fans, and for his current and future teammates.”

Taumalolo also thanked everyone involved in his career to date from his family, friends, the fans, the club, its staff and his management team.

“All these people have been instrumental in my career, and I have shared successes with all of them,” Taumalolo said.

“Holding aloft that NRL Premiership trophy with JT, Thumper, Greeny and Parrie and the rest of the boys is a memory I’ll have forever,” Taumalolo said.

“I’m also very grateful to Pacific Sports Management, especially Chris Orr, who I linked with as a young teenager. They’ve been with me the whole way and are a crucial part of my team.”

Boost for Storm as workhorse lock re-signs

Dale Finucane

Their back-row stocks are slowly depleting with the departure of Kevin Proctor to the Gold Coast Titans for the current season and Tohu Harris to the Warriors next year but the Storm have retained a crucial piece, re-signing Dale Finucane until the end of 2021.

Cementing the lock spot as his own, Finucane’s workhorse like nature has impressed fans alike as he powers through his work like there is no tomorrow.

Joining the club at the start of last year, Finucane has played in 53 games for the Storm and 119 games overall in his NRL career.

His good, consistent form, saw him named as a part of the leadership group at the club in 2017 and the man himself is excited to continue in Melbourne.

“I’ve loved every minute of my two seasons at Storm, so while it was a big decision for me to make, it was ultimately an easy one to sign on,” Finucane said.

“Four more years in the purple jersey is something I am really excited about and I can’t wait to help this team continue to chase ultimate success.

“Hopefully, the purple army will be out in force to support us this season and we can try to make 2017 a memorable one.”

His toughness, determination and grit are just a few traits that fans, team-mates and the club love about him as Storm’s Director of Football Frank Ponissi mentions.

“Dale typifies what a Melbourne Storm player is, he is one of the toughest players we’ve had at the Club and sets a high standard for his teammates to follow.

“He has been elevated to our senior leadership group this season and brings so much to the table for the way he conducts himself both on and off the field.

“We’re excited to have Dale and his partner Maddie remain in Melbourne for the next four years.”

NRL Teams Rd 4

Another week, another round of games. Each team has surprisingly won at least one game this season and there have been numerous upsets. Can the upsets continue in Rd 4 or will the favourites come out on top?

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters (#NRLsousyd); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Thursday March 23. Kick-off: 8:05pm.

Rabbitohs: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Siosifa Talakai 4. Robert Jennings 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Robbie Farah 10. Jason Clark 11. Angus Crichton 12. Kyle Turner 13. Sam Burgess (C).

Interchange: 14. Damien Cook 15. Anthony Cherrington 16. Robbie Rochow 17. Zane Musgrove 18. David Tyrrell 19. Tyrell Fuimaono 20. Cameron Murray 21. Sitiveni Moceidreke.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Roosters: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitch Aubusson 13. Aidan Guerra.

Interchange: 14. Isaac Liu 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Ryan Matterson 17. Connor Watson 18. Chris Smith 19. Paul Carter 20. Blake Ferguson 22. Mitchell Cornish.

Coach: Trent Robinson.


Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights (#NRLpennew); Pepper Stadium, Penrith; Friday March 24. Kick-off: 6pm.

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Dean Whare 3. Waqa Blake 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Te Maire Martin 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Peter Wallace 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Trent Merrin.

14. Peta Hiku 15. Leilani Latu 16. Viliame Kikau 17. Sitaleki Akauola 18. Moses Leota 19. Tim Browne 20. Dylan Edwards 21. Corey Harawira-Naera.

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Knights: 1. Brendan Elliott 2. Ken Sio 3. Dane Gagai 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Nathan Ross 6. Brock Lamb 7. Trent Hodkinson (C) 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Danny Levi 10. Josh Starling 11. Sione Mata’utia 12. Jamie Buhrer 13. Mitch Barnett.

Interchange: 14. Luke Yates 15. Jack Stockwell 16. Sam Stone 10. Jacob Saifiti 18. Jacob Gagan 19. Joe Wardle 20. Josh King 21. Anthony Tupou.

Coach: Nathan Brown.


Brisbane Broncos v Canberra Raiders (#NRLbrican); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Friday March 24. Kick-off: 8:05pm.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Korbin Sims 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14. Alex Glenn 15. Tevita Pangai Jr. 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Jai Arrow 18. Benji Marshall 19. George Gai 20. David Mead 21. Jonas Pearson.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nic Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Luke Bateman.

Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Iosia Soliola 16. Clay Priest 17. Dave Taylor 18. Jordan Turner 19. Scott Sorenson 20. Dunamis Lui 22. Joseph Tapine.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.


Manly Sea Eagles v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLmancby); Lottoland, Brookvale; Saturday March 25. Kick-off: 4:30pm.

Manly: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Nate Myles 16. Jackson Hastings 17. Addin Fonua-Blake 18. Shaun Lane 19. Jarrad Kennedy 20. Matthew Wright 21. Billy Bainbridge.

Coach: Trent Barrett.

Bulldogs: 1. Brad Abbey 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham (C) 11. Josh Jackson 12. Greg Eastwood 13. David Klemmer.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Adam Elliott 17. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 18. Craig Garvey 19. Matt Frawley 20. Francis Tualau 21. Reimis Smith.

Coach: Des Hasler.


Parramatta Eels v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLparcro); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Saturday March 25. Kick-off: 7pm. 

Eels: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Clint Gutherson 7. Corey Norman 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Beau Scott (C).

Interchange: 14. Nathan Brown 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. David Gower 17. Siosaia Vave 18. Rory O’Brien 19. Cameron King 20. Kirisome Auva’a 21. Jeff Robson.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Sharks: 1. Jack Bird 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Kurt Capewell 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Valentine Holmes 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. Joseph Paulo 18. Tony Williams 19. Gerard Beale 20. James Segeyaro 21. Edrick Lee.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.


Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLgldnql); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Saturday March 25. Kick-off: 9pm (AEDT).

Titans: 1. Tyler Cornish 2. Tyronne Roberts-Davis 3. Dale Copley 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Daniel Vidot 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Tyrone Roberts 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Kevin Proctor (C) 12. Chris McQueen 13. Agnatius Paasi.

Interchange: 14. Ryan Simpkins 15. Nathaniel Peteru 16. Leivaha Pulu 17. Joe Greenwood 18. Max King 19. Karl Lawton 20. Paterkia Vaivai 21. Max King.

Coach: Neil Henry.

Cowboys: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Javid Bowen 4. Kane Linnett 5. Gideon Gela-Mosby 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Patrick Kaufusi 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Ethan Lowe.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton 15. John Asiata 16. Shaun Fensom 17. Sam Hoare 18. Corey Jensen 19. Ben Spina 20. Enari Tuala 21. Braden Uele.

Coach: Paul Green.


Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm (#NRLwstmel); Leichhardt Oval; Sunday March 26. Kick-off: 4pm.

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Kevin Naiqama 4. Michael Chee-Kam 5. Moses Suli 6. Mitch Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods (C) 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Sauaso Sue 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Joel Edwards 17. Matt Ballin 18. Justin Hunt 19. Kyle Lovett 20. Jamal Idris 21. Junior Tatola.

Coach: Andrew Webster.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Young Tonumaipea 3. Will Chambers 4. Cheyse Blair 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cam Smith (C) 10. Jordan McLean 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Christian Welch 15. Tim Glasby 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Vincent Leuluai 18. Mark Nicholls 19. Joe Stimson 20. Justin Olam 21. Brodie Croft.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.


St George Illawarra Dragons v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLsgiwar); UOW Jubilee Oval, Wollongong; Sunday March 26. Kick-off: 6:05pm.

Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop (C) 7. Josh McCrone 8. Russell Packer 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Jacob Host 17. Kurt Mann 18. Jai Field 19. Taane Milne 20. Luciano Leilua 21. Hame Sele.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. Tuimoala Lolohea 3. David Fusitu’a 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Ata Hingano 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Albert Vete 9. Issac Luke 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman (C) 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Erin Clark 15. Charlie Gubb 16. Sam Lisone 17. Bunty Afoa 18. James Gavet 19. Ligi Sao 20. Blake Ayshford 21. Kieran Foran.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.


 

Ricky’s Team of the Week Rd 3

Jordan Rapana

A round of surprises and upsets, there were equally surprising performances as some players bounced back whilst others failed to perform. Focusing on those that excelled, the Team of the Week will throw up some interesting names! Also, just note, players may appear slightly out of position based on the points system that we utilise. For example, if there is no centre to have accumulated points but three wingers have done so, we will move a winger into the centre position.

So without further adieu, here you go. Ricky’s Team of the Week for Rd 3:

  1. Tom Trbojevic – Taking over the fullback role from the retiring Brett Stewart, Trbojevic had a slow start to the season but is kicking on and making inroads into opposition defences. A remarkably talented player, he shapes as a genuine elite fullback in years to come.

2. Michael Gordon – An early surprise packet form wise, Gordon has been a breath of fresh air for the Roosters. Calm, composed and experienced at the back, he has made his presence felt as he guides the Roosters towards wins and potential success.

3. Josh Morris – With several young guns in the Bulldogs backline, Morris and his brother Brett are needed to step up and guide them and the veteran centre did that with an impressive display in Rd 3.

4. Jordan Rapana – A phenomenal game from Rapana against the Tigers as he made breaks for fun and was quite literally unstoppable against a poor Tigers defence. His statistics from this game were remarkable.

5. Alex Johnston – Under tough scrutiny from many Souths fans, Johnston has so far made a good transition to fullback in 2017 and performed well for the club since Inglis’ injury. Consistency is the key, however.

6. Shaun Johnson – Enjoying perhaps one of his best starts to the season individually, the Warriors overall performances might make it seem as if they are struggling but that is through no fault of Johnson who is making the most of what is presented to him.

7. Mitch Pearce – Some want him back in Origin, others do not. However, his form continues and his partnership with Keary develops further, Origin selection may be a mere formality.

8. Jordan McLean – Talk about consistency and McLean is one of the first names on the list this season. Tremendously talented, he is a huge reason as to why the Storm is able to control a game and make efficient meterage in the opposition defensive line.

9. Tyrone Roberts – Switched around somewhat throughout his career and in the Rd 3 clash, Roberts move to fullback was perhaps the winning formula even though he started the game at hooker. He was in everything and proved his worth and value to the Titans side.

10. Tim Mannah – An unsung hero of the Eels forward pack despite their recruits coming in. A hard worker, a tireless player and a genuine leader, Mannah sets the bar for his fellow Eels props with commitment, determination and will power.

11. Josh Papalii – At present, he is the form back-rower of the competition. Just when you think he cannot do anymore, he has another spectacular game. His partnership on the edges with his inside and outside men is a big reason behind his success.

12. Josh Jackson – Another elite back-rower in the game, Jackson is highly rated by Dogs fans and is a consistent performer in their forward pack. A hard worker in his own right, his form on the edge is a key for the Bulldogs.

13. Jamie Buhrer – One of Knights key recruits ahead of 2017, Buhrer has so far lived up to the expectation and helped guide the younger forward pack around. Playing big minutes himself and leading from the front, his leadership and his resolve playing a part in a rejuvenated Knights outfit.

14. Brenton Lawrence – Having overcome his back injury, Lawrence is turning heads and impressing Manly fans once more with strong carries and hard running, producing the goods with big metres and opportunistic tries as a result.

15. Junior Paulo – A bullocking man mountain, Junior hits the line as hard as you will see from any prop and his presence his felt in attack. An enforcer of the Raiders forward pack, his metres set the tone for the rest of the forwards.

16. Chris McQueen – Another versatile player, McQueen had a shift to the centres in Rd 3 and was a strong performer as he scored two tries and made several breaks. Whilst not a noted try-scorer, when he has the chance to score, he makes the most of it.

17. John Asiata – A surprising selection perhaps but with much of the focus on other forwards in the Cowboys side, the work-rate and commitment of Asiata can often go unnoticed. His efforts off the bench give a boost to the Cowboys at any point in the game.

Player of the Week: Jordan Rapana.

Titans add forward depth with Grevsmuhl signing

Chris Grevsmuhl

After taking a self-imposed hiatus from the game to clear his head and get his life to where he wanted it to be, Chris Grevsmuhl will return to the game after signing with the Gold Coast Titans until the end of 2018.

The former South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers forward was released by the Panthers at the end of last year due to personal issues.

Knowing that he needs a guiding hand, the Titans have built the appropriate networks and have created the proper channels to give Grevsmuhl the comfort and support during his time with the club.

Since making his debut, the Townsville Brothers junior has played in 43 NRL games as the Titans look forward to both having him on board and helping him to overcome his issues.

“Chris has obviously had some personal issues that he has had to deal with over the last few months and as a club we’ve taken our time to work with him to get the best results for everyone,” Henry said.

“Whilst we know the talents Chris has on the field, we will continue to assist him in all areas of his life, both on and off the field.”

These sentiments were also echoed by club CEO, Graham Annesley.

“Chris will be given the opportunity to prove his capacity to fit in with the Titans culture and become a valuable contributor as we continue to rebuild,” Annesley said.

“If he shows the necessary character and commitment required he certainly has the ability to be very successful,” Annesley concluded.

Wests Tigers terminate contract of Jason Taylor effective immediately

Jason Taylor

It might be as no surprise to some whilst others are in disbelief that it has happened after just three rounds but the Wests Tigers have acted swiftly and terminated the contract of head coach Jason Taylor effective immediately.

After a promising start to the season, two losses on the trot – including a comprehensive loss to the Canberra Raiders in Rd 3 – the club made a decision but admitted that it was not an easy one to make.

“On behalf of everyone at Wests Tigers I’d like to thank Jason for his commitment and contribution to the Club during his time as Head Coach,” said Go.

“Jason has overseen significant change within the Club over the past two seasons and we thank him for his efforts.

“Our position has always been to make sure that the Head Coach’s contract is tied to performance and that hasn’t changed,” she added.

In the end, much like their fans desire success, the board and the staff do as well.

“We are committed to building a side that will be in a position to win NRL Premierships and believe that this decision is the correct one for the future of the Club,” she continued.

“This is a challenging time for the Club and Jason and we ask that we are given time to work through this process with Jason,” said Go.

As the club searches for a new head coach, Andrew Webster will take up the role in the short-term as interim coach.

Storm enforcer to head North to Townsville at season’s end

Jordan McLean

One of their best players to start the season, the Melbourne Storm have been dealt a blow with prop Jordan McLean informing the club that he will depart at season’s end.

Stepping up alongside fellow prop Jesse Bromwich, McLean is a product of the club’s development system and was a member of their premiership winning Holden Cup season in 2009.

Since making his debut in 2013, McLean has played in 69 NRL games to date. The club are disappointed to lose someone of McLean’s calibre.

“We are disappointed Jordan has decided to depart the Club at the end of the season, however we know he will continue to do his best and perform well for the Club and his teammates,” said the Storm’s Director of Football, Jordan McLean.

Wanting to replace James Tamou who left for Penrith in the 2017 pre-season, the North Queensland Cowboys were waiting for the right man and in McLean, they know they have found a special player.

“Jordan’s a wonderful young player who’s come through a very good developmental pathways system at Melbourne, so we know that we’ll be getting both a quality player and a quality person,” said Cowboys General Manager of Football, Peter Parr.

“We have always said we would look to add to our roster in that front row position and we’re thrilled Jordan has agreed to terms from 2018 onwards.”

Whilst he might be leaving at the end of the season, McLean praised the Storm and coach Craig Bellamy for everything they have done in his career to date.

“The Storm has been tremendous for me in terms of my development as a player and as a person,” McLean said.

“They’ve stood by me, and Craig Bellamy (Storm head coach) and his staff have helped me improve my game. Craig handed me my NRL debut and that’s something I’ll treasure always.”

Late Storm try sees them win three straight to start the season

Jordan McLean

Some would say that the Broncos should have won the game or that the game was one of the grittiest, most determined contests they have seen but regardless of all that, it was the Melbourne Storm who came away with the goods.

The Storm’s late win sees them go to the top of the ladder with three straight wins to start the season. Although the Broncos put in a spirited effort, a try with five minutes to go for Storm wingerJosh Addo-Carr brought about the heartbreak for the Broncos.

Although they now move to 1-2, it was their gutsiness and their resilience that will have Broncos fans hopeful that they can eventually turn performances like that into wins.

It was Melbourne who started the stronger of the two sides as they looked to link up and open the scoring but in the opening exchanges, they looked rather rusty.

The Broncos capitalised as a result off a Cronk pass that went awry and opened the scoring against the run of play through James Roberts. More entertaining than the try, though, was the foot-race between Roberts and Addo-Carr – what a spectacle that was!

The Storm then regained further ascendancy and eventually scored a try of their own after some nifty work by Cam Smith at dummy half, leading to a try for Canadian international, Ryley Jacks.

Trailing just 8-6 at the break, the Broncos would have been pleased with that scoreline given the monumental amount of possession the Storm had in their territory. They used that as their fuel.

The Broncos retook the lead after a great solo try by Ben Hunt as he sliced and weaved his way through the defenders to score. Kahu converted successfully and the Broncos went up 12-8.

The rest is history as despite their best efforts, the Broncos could not hold the Storm out and it was the Melbourne side left cheering.

The downside to the Melbourne win was a broken jaw for five-eighth Cameron Munster after a heavy collision.

“He’s a young guy and tough kid so they will do what they’ve got to do tomorrow and go get a plate put in it and hopefully he will be back as soon as possible,” said Storm coach Craig Bellamy post-game.

Despite falling to 1-2, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett had nothing but praise for his side’s toughness and courage.

“It’s a lot easier to keep your spirits up that way than to get well beaten,” Bennett said.

“We played both grand finalists from last year and played the Cowboys who finished fourth. [We] know we’re in the competition right now.

“These guys know if they get their execution right, they can be a real chance of doing something before the season’s out.”

Player of the Game:

3. Jordan McLean

2. Andrew McCullough

  1. Ryley Jacks

Melbourne Storm 14 (Ryley Jacks, Josh Addo-Carr tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) defeated Brisbane Broncos 12 (James Roberts, Ben Hunt tries; Jordan Kahu 2 goals) at AAMI Park. Half-time: Storm 8-6.