The Training Ground. Don't let the ease of Souths' first victory of the year fool punters or supporters: this was an easy win primarily because Cronulla were atrocious. Whilst the inclement weather might have been a mitigating factor, there was no excuse for the lacklustre way the team surrendered this match in front of their home fans.
Souths has a good team, and whilst this column was surprised to see them win so comfortably, the original prognosis remains unchanged. They need to find a more reliable support for John Sutton, with Chris Sandow's tendency to kick the ball at the most inappropriate times his most damaging trait. When Sutton has it this easy, his kicks seem to find the mark and his play is controlled. Put this pair against the brick wall that is the Dragons defence, and neither will have much effect.
Apparently Isaac Luke was reading this column last week, as it erroneously noted that Monday's game was to be played at Homebush. One wonders how many Sharks players thought the game was there too.
Straight. The Tigers have definitely emerged as the most entertaining team of the year, with Lote Tuqiri a perfect addition to the team that plays more side-to-side rugby league than any other. Benji Marshall's work across the park and in all facets of his game was exceptional, with particular reference to his pin point kick for the first try and his wonderful dummy on the way to his match-sealing try.
If their Round 2 capitulation to the Roosters is forgiven on account of the heat, then the Tigers can claim with some justification that this strategy of prioritising attack ahead of defence is a workable method. The Tigers themselves won the comp playing this way in 2005, and the Penrith also did it in 2003. But other recent and not so obvious examples are not readily available, implying that a few games honing their straight-running, hard-tackling play might be useful. Consecutive away games at Canberra and North Queensland are just the setting for such a trial.
St George Illawarra...
A closed Etihad Stadium. Wayne Bennett was quoted in the Daily Telegraph last week accepting the significant advantage the Dragons have in playing their first six games on Fridays. He said because the team was avoiding the daylight hours in the warmer early months of the year, and because they always had a set week to recover, the team wasn't being affected by exhaustion or fatigue. The misnomer of this statistic, however, is that this week's Round 4 clash with Melbourne is being played at the traditional Good Friday time of 2:10pm. Only a brave man would confidently predict what Melbourne meteorology will throw up for this fixture, but a bright sunny day would be a good test for the heretofore untested Dragons.
New Zealand Warriors...
Truth be told, this column was unable to watch this match as it was returning from a sojourn in Canberra, but a look at the scoring analysis is enlightening: James Maloney scored three tries and kicked eight goals from nine attempts. That's a fine effort from a new hot property, and it shows how much of a difference goal kicking makes. Had he been as wayward as either Jamie Soward or Bryson Goodwin (in other convincing wins), the Warriors would have only won 32-16: hardly the same sort of embarrassment.
Church. To thank God that Bryson Goodwin can't kick, and hence saving them the humiliation of conceding 70 points in a game.
A bonding session. Rumours that Johnathan Thurston wants out of the Townsville outfit have been circulating for months, and it's hard not to empathise with the Cowboys captain. During their clash with the Dragons, Thurston was so isolated as North Queensland's only playmaker that he developed a severe case of the Benji's. This syndrome is typified by one talented player trying to do everything, and trying too hard to do everything, with the end result being frustration, errors and disappointment. And just as the player for whom this is named, Thurston looked desperate for a friend whilst battling manfully against the red and white tide.
The statistic that they've scored only six points in first halves this year is getting all the attention, but more focus should be on Thurston's record so far, with the playmaker scoring 28 of the Cowboys 60 points; and of the eight tries he didn't score, he was directly responsible for six.
If you were carrying your work colleagues to that extent, wouldn't you want out too?
The Bulldogs forwards...
To the sand dunes. They need a work out: the entire team was only forced to make 157 tackles in their match against the Roosters. Compare that to Cronulla who slogged it out for 343, or Parramatta with 321. Even the Dragons, in their 25-point destruction of North Queensland, made 304.
With the Roosters giving the Bulldogs defenders such an easy day at the office, one can only imagine how fit, healthy and happy they'll be when they rock up to play Souths this weekend.
A open air dressing room. Good win, off the bottom, Des is a very amusing man.
Where do you want to go today?
- by Patrick Avenell
- March 31 2010 9:20AM
- European Super League
- Forum Sevens
- National Rugby League
- New Zealand Rugby League
- NRL Supporter Sites
- NSW and Qld Rugby League
- Other Sites
- Rugby League History
- Rugby League Supporters
|2||South Sydney Rabbitohs||24||18||0||6||40|
|4||Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles||24||15||1||8||35|
|8||North Queensland Cowboys||24||12||0||12||28|
|9||Gold Coast Titans||24||11||0||13||26|
|11||New Zealand Warriors||24||11||0||13||26|
|14||St. George Illawarra Dragons||24||7||0||17||18|
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