A vibrant and enterprising Bunnies outfit today got home against the usually hard defending Sharks. It was 3 tries a piece, but an out of sorts Luke Covell missed his 3 goal attempts – 2 shots being from close range.
As NRL News reported and predicted earlier this week, it was a desperate Souths side that did everything they could to ensure they won this match. Jeremy Smith was at his scheming best, and Dean Widders kept most of his kicks in his kit bag for once and just did the hard running. Scoring a try himself and looking solid. Roy Asotasi was machine like at prop – the big man playing 80 minutes and breaking the Sharks line several times, something other teams have struggled to do. Asotasi needs to continue shouldering the load, with fellow hard man David Kidwel leaving such a hole.
The Cronulla Sharks looked to have improved slightly with their attack formations, especially Dykes when he got out of dummy half directly a few times. The Sharks were also aided by Lance Thompson – who as always, was just tireless in attack and defence. Thompson getting through the line early to setup his teams first try. Lance Thompson would not be out of place in a NSW Origin jersey, the guy is choc full of experience, rarely injured and hard as nails.
Ricky Stuart and his team will rue the missed opportunities today, and Covell will spend the next 2 weeks practising goal kicks as the Sharks have the bye. Stuart was unusually softly spoken in the press conference after the loss, the usually firey coach refusing to blame to loss on Covell and was upbeat about the improvement in the Sharks attack.
Souths desperately bag the 2 points, taking them to 14 and giving them some confidence as they face the Knights in Newcastle and then take on the might of Melbourne.
Birthday win for Storm over Dragons
Melbourne Storm 28 def Dragons 6
Thankfully for Nathan Brown and the Dragons, the Melbourne Storm didn’t click into gear until the 2nd half and also missed 5 conversion attempts to flatter the St George Illawarra side today.
In reality it was a 6 try romp for the Birthday boys. The Storm celebrating 10 years in the NRL and having a crowd of just under 14,000 to cheer them on at Olympic.
The Dragons started confidently and led early, with an enterprising try to Beau Scott – who brushed through some average Storm defence. The confidence grew with the Dragons, the young side looking impressive for a period. The loss of Jason Ryles really took the wind out of the Dragons, with the rangy prop going down with knee problems in what seems like a weekly occurrence for the former rep star. Why St George Illawarra re-signed Ryles I will never know, simply no value due to constant injuries.
The Storm also lost Dallas Johnson and will monitor his problems over the week ahead. The Storm do miss Cooper Cronk and his organisation skills mid field, but when they got going it was a sight to see.
Clearly several classes above every other NRL team, the Storm totally dominate in attack. Their deep and sweeping attack plays move from one side of the park to the other – very similar to the Canberra Raiders green machine in the early 1990’s for those that can remember.
Greg Inglis looks to be able to break the line at will and the timeless Matt Geyer again proved his versatility scoring a tough try in the corner.
The baby Dragons got another lesson in how to play, but at least they have another supporter next week – with Jason Ryles set to join the thousands of red and white players in the stands, cheering on the young squad.
St George Illawarra face the Manly Sea Eagles next week in a home game for the Dragons and the Storm enjoy the week off to consolidate their place on top with a bye.