Australia, New Zealand And Country
AUSTRALIA 22 – NEW ZEALAND 16
COUNTRY 18 – CITY 12
First up, I would like to rant about the scheduling of matches by Channel Nine.
Start rant – Why on earth was the Australia vs. New Zealand Test broadcast before the City vs. Country match? In what could have been a great prelude to the big game we were forced to have the City vs. Country match as an afterthought – end rant.
With most teams sitting out this weekend due to byes, our senses were only tantalised by four regular competition matches and it started off well with an absolute cracker between the Broncos and Storm and ended with a fizzle from the Raiders.
From The Burrow
In news from ‘the burrow’, Rabbits halfback Chris Sandow agreed to terms with the Parramatta Eels next season and could possibly be earning a billion dollars over four seasons if the conflicting reports are anything to go by. Was it a good offer by the Blue & Golds or did the Bunnies leave it too long to make him the offer he wanted? Either way, he has confirmed he will be out west next year… or will he?
Next Round – RABBITOHS vs. TIGERS (14/05 at 7:30pm at ANZ Stadium)
The Chook Shed
Meanwhile, ‘the chook shed’ was quiet this week – thankfully – apart from an impressive debut to rep footy from Tom Symonds and a try to ‘The Count’ in the same game.
Next Round – SHARKS vs. ROOSTERS (15/05 at 3:00pm at Toyota Stadium)
BRONCOS 22 – STORM 29
Could this game have been better without the missing rep players? Would it have been as exciting if players weren’t backing up? Regardless, this was the game of the season so far and had an almost grand final feel to it throughout. Cooper Cronk was a standout and excelled at marshalling the troops at his disposal around the pitch. The initial 15 minute stalemate was broken once the toll of defence started to weigh and Melbourne were first to capitalise when Dane Neilsen scooted across in the corner to get the Storm out to a six-point lead. Soon after, Adam Woolnough managed a sly offload around the corner to Ryan Hinchcliffe and Melbourne were in again with Cameron Smith adding the extra two points to give the Storm a 12-point lead. The next try came through an uncharacteristic mistake by Billy ‘Steeden Magnet’ Slater in goal and Gerard Beale was there to pounce on the ball for the Broncs’ first four-pointer of the game. The second half started in similar fashion for Brisbane with Beale again performing some sleight of hand trickery that baffled the Storm defence, forcing his way over the line to lock the scores up at 12-12. The Storm struck back through some Cooper Cronk brilliance to snatch two quick tries and push the score out to 22-12 but the Broncos weren’t done yet. Jack Reed sliced through the line to bamboozle Kevin Proctor, Billy Slater and several other players. In the 70th minute the scores were locked at 22-22 after Dane Gagai performed a freakish feat of dexterity to get the ball down in the corner. With 10 minutes remaining Cronk slotted over a field goal and Anthony Quinn bagged the match-sealing try, ending the Broncos’ seven game winning streak.
TITANS 14 – WARRIORS 34
It took the Warriors one minute and thirty-nine seconds to get on the board and once they did they never let up, running in a total of six tries to three. After the first try from Lewis Brown the Titans found the line twice through David Mead, taking the lead with 17 minutes gone. Manu ‘The Beast’ Vatuvei rectified the scoreboard with his first try back from injury and this was followed by a flurry of Warriors points from Simon Mannering and Elijah Taylor, giving them a 22-8 lead going into the break. The Titans fight-back in the second stanza started and ended when David Mead crossed yet again to notch up a personal hat-trick. The Warriors then took total control of the match with a double to James Maloney and with only fifteen minutes on the clock the game was all but over with a twenty-point lead to the lads from across the Tasman.
DRAGONS 22 – COWBOYS 8
Jonathan Thurston does a lot but to ask him to back-up against last year’s premiers after an intense and draining test match on Friday night is probably asking too much. The surprise packets of this year’s competition led after eleven minutes through a ‘JT’ penalty goal by but Dean Young got the home team back on top when he burrowed deep through the line to post the first try of the game. From this point onwards the clinical and structured play of the Dragons frustrated a floundering Cowboys outfit. Posting another two tries before half time, the only one keeping pace was referee Matt Chechin, who did well stay on the heels of a flying Brett Morris who latched on to a deft pass and ran 90 metres to extend the lead. Kyle Stanley made his mark from the fullback position, working off Mark Gasnier to grab the third try for the Red Vs, taking them to the break leading 18-2. The second half, although a non-event, saw a try a piece to each team, the first coming from the Dragons when Ben Hornby collected a chip from Brett Morris and slid in to put the result beyond doubt. Surprisingly, Jonathan Thurston was the only Cowboys player to cross the line but with only seconds on the clock it was already done and dusted.
SEA EAGLES 20 – RAIDERS 0
The donut this week went to the Raiders who were unable to post a single point in this match against the Sea Eagles at Brookvale. A sizzling return from injury to Brett Stewart in sopping conditions was enough to get Manly the two competition points. Michael Robertson was unlucky on a couple of occasions and could have bagged his own triple but in the end had to settle for just the one when he regathered a deft kick from Keiran Foran that resulted in the first try of the game. The Raiders offered little resistance and succumbed to a solid team effort from Manly as Brett Stewart ran in a hat-trick of tries, the first coming just before half time. The second half saw more of the same and again Stewart scored to bring up a milestone 100 tries in his career so far. He bagged his third try playing from the wing and the Sea Eagles secured the points with an emphatic win at home.