Bondi boys bashed
Three games, three losses for the Roosters. it doesn’t look for the boys from Bondi, who are in unfamiliar territory. They were completely dominanted by the Cowboys 40-0 and they also lost Dane Copley and Ian Henderson to serious injuries. Trent Robinson has some hard decisions to make – does he drop some his established stars, who are well below their best at the moment? The Roosters were riddled by mistakes on Thursday night and couldn’t have been much worse in they tried. The Cowboys? They were simply sensational.
Semi Radradra is one of the cult heroes of the NRL and Parramatta’s key stripe weapon. On Friday the Fijian was devastating, scoring two tries to get Parra home 20-6 over the Bulldogs. The Eels pack has laid a great platform for their backs and this was the case again. Ken Edwards has been a real find and Tepai Moeroa has a bright future. Here’s hoping Parra can keep Semi – there’s talk of a move to French rugby – as he’s great to watch.
Drama in the Hunter
Newcastle finally got a point and an under-strength Canberra remain undefeated. You don’t get many draws in the NRL these days, thanks to golden point, but this was a thrilling match between the Knights and Raiders. With no recognised halves Canberra slotted Elliot Whitehead into five-eighth, the first time he had played there since he was about 13. The Englishmen played well and the Raiders dominated the first 30 minutes. Then Newcastle fired back and took the lead, debutant Cory Denniss bagging two tries. At 24-24 all both teams tried field goal after field goal in extra time but to no avail. The spolls were shared in a dramatic afternoon at Hunter Stadium.
Te Maire Martin – remember the name. We blogged about him before the start of the season and with good reason. This kid is a star of the future and his NRL debut was one to savour, kicking the winning field goal for the Panthers to beat Brisbane. Martin not only kicked the winning goal but made 96 metres, scored a try and made two line breaks. This game was the Martin and Anthony Milford show, and the young Kiwi came out on top against the Broncos playmaker.
The Wests Tigers‘ good run ended at CBus Super Stadium as the Titans fought back from an early 10-0 deficit. Gold Coast scored 30 points in just 25 minutes to secure a 30-18 victory. It was a great team win for the Titans, one that showed real guts and determination. The Tigers would have gone top of the table with a victory, instead they are left to rue what’s wrong and hope that Kevin Naiqama, who went off with a shoulder injury, hasn’t done any serious damage.
Melbourne remain undefeated after a see-sawing affair at Mt Smart Stadium. The Storm led for virtually the whole game but the Warriors turned it on in the final quarter to tie the game up 14-14. Melbourne needed a Marika Korobete try and a Cooper Cronk field goal in the final two minutes to finally see off the Kiwis. The Warriors have now failed to win in eight months – Andrew McFadden is surely a dead man walking.
St George Illawarra got their first victory of 2016 but the story of this game was the sight of Sam Burgess being stretchered from the field. It looked terrible but luckily it appears that the Souths forward will be OK, as he has been cleared of any serious injury. We wish him well. This match was played in terrible conditions, driving rain and wind which made it a hard slog. Hence the 8-6 scoreline, with the boot of Gareth Widdop proving vital. Dunce of the week has to go to Greg Inglis, who opted to go for a field goal in the dying stages of the game with the Rabbitohs’ two points behind. Simple maths eh?
The return of Brett Stewart helped spark Manly to their first win of the 2016 NRL campaign. Cronulla’s woeful record at Brookvale remains, as the Sea Eagles just did enough to put a Sharks side away. The Sea Eagles really needed this victory while the Sharks were just below their best. Luckiest man of the round was Marty Taupau, who was placed on report after hitting Jack Bird across the chops. Taupau wasn’t sent off or sin-binned, but he will be out for quite a few weeks after he visits the judiciary.