Similar to the build up prior to the Souths v Roosters game last week, the Wests Tigers v Cowboys game in Round 2 is set to reach even greater heights. While the biff didn’t eventuate in Souths/Roosters game, the physical collisions and of course that prowler tackle by Riley Brown on Craig Wing demonstrated that these sides still held bad blood between them.
The clash this week between the Wests Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys is set to get hotter, as for the first time since being injured – hard-man Luke O’Donnell comes face to face with his attackers from last season; Liam Fulton and Bronson Harrison. The Wests Tigers pair ‘wishboning’ O’Donnell last season and ending his season instantly. The damage so bad, doctors feared for Luke O’Donnell’s immediate future in terms of mobility – the hamstring actually torn from the bone in the sickening clash.
The possibility of retribution is so real, that Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens made a unique plea yesterday to the media to stop beating up the incident “As it does play on the players minds” said Sheens and the coverage could potentially cause the situation to be even more explosive.
The players involved have said little to the media, especially Fulton – usually chatty and jovial, he has certainly gone into his shell – not wanting to antagonize the beast anymore. You see the reason this could get ugly is because the man in question; Luke O’Donnell is quite possibly the only real hardman left in Rugby League.
Yes, we have our fair share of hard hitters or tough guys; but few are like O’Donnell. Seemingly a throw back to the forgotten era of Rugby League, O’Donnell will have no hesitation in physically lashing out should the situation arise. Unlike many of the players in the NRL today, O’Donnell doesn’t do the ‘push and shove’ thing – he hits first and asks questions later.
Only 12 months ago after a heated clash with Danny Nutley at the Roosters, O’Donnell went after Danny Nutley so hard that the new Rooster didn’t know what hit him and Nutley is no bunny – such is the fierce, ticking time bomb nature of Luke O’Donnell.
Adding spice to the incident is the fact that O’Donnell and Liam Fulton went to the same high school together and previously played together at the Wests Tigers before Luke packed his bags for the North Queensland Cowboys. Throw in a few other ex-Wests Tigers players up north such as Ray Cashmere and you have the ingredients for one hell of a clash.
It should be a blockbuster no matter who you support, sit back and enjoy the game from your living room and thank the lord that you are not Liam Fulton. A man about to enter hells kitchen and try his darnest to get out alive.