Meaningless NRL Review: Round 3, 2020

There is a 1 in 100 chance of a serial killer being in that bunch

The big news in the rebooted land of leeg – Gladys Berejiklian announced the ANZ Stadium redevelopment was being scrapped, freeing up $810,000,000 to rebuild the crumbling St George-Illawarra.

It still won’t be enough.

Just a question about those $22 cardboard cut-outs.

If one of them is a Souths fan and it inevitably appears at another team’s game, does that technically count as a Random Souths Guy sighting?

Still, what a brilliant idea it was – Boris Johnson’s notorious right hand man Dominic Cummings (With his beanie for disguise) once again broke lockdown to watch the Chooks beat Souths:

And a certain mass murdering Dr Death made his way to Campbelltown, despite his beloved Raiders playing the day before.

From /r/nrl

Apparently none of Shipman’s victims bled green like he did.

With the NRL doing absolutely nothing about checking the photos, I wonder who could appear next week – Saddam Hussein, Jimmy Saville, Gary Glitter, John Hopoate, Chopper Read, Robert Hughes, Alan Bond…

Lance Armstrong will probably appear at a Sharks game in support of Bronson Xerri.

The debut of the fake crowd noise also seemed to work without much of a problem (Big thumbs up on that front to both networks), although I was particularly interested in why there was always so much cheering as the teams brought up tackle 3.

I don’t seem to remember fans being that excited for their teams getting halfway through an attacking set.

Parramatta 34 defeated Brisbane 6 @ Suncorp Stadium

Well, the Broncos did improve in at least one area on last year’s Elimination Final.

They actually scored.

Good on you boys, it’s all about the little wins.

Brodie Croft failed two biosecurity temperature checks pre-game, and it was fortunate for the Broncos that the third check was faulty, because he ended up cleaving a hole in the Eels defence big enough to fly for the corner and score the hosts’ only try.

All footage: Channel 9 & Fox Sports Australia

Gee, the Storm could’ve used that on Saturday night.

It took about 5 minutes to get a good idea of how the game would end – The Broncos became the early victims of the new rules, being called for 2 ruck infringements on back to back sets, which led to Marata Nikuore scoring after 3 minutes.

With the raging blue & gold wall bearing down on them, the Broncos buckled down and tied the scores with that Croft try, but they went behind for good when Maika Sivo did a Maika Sivo in the left corner.

If you ask me, the fact that Sivo had to pull a Michael Jordan Space Jam play just to score does show how tough the Broncs were playing in defence.

It will mostly bee forgotten now, but the Broncs almost went in to the half level, but nobody remembers it because Darius Boyd couldn’t quite silence the critics.

The Eels continued to put a flame thrower to the hosts, but that equine wall kept the deficit to 16-6 by the hour (Clint Gutherson scored just after the break), thanks to a combination of well-timed interchanges and Eels handling errors.

Broncos handling errors helped fuel said flame thrower.

But, it really went south for Brisvegas after Kotoni Staggs tried atoning for his handling error by decapitating Dylan Brown, and it might not shock you, but Kotoni will be spending this Thursday night in a box.

A coaches box, that is.

I could be wrong, but Herbie Farnworth managed to send poor old Gutho into the 22nd century before the game ended.

Briefly returning to the subject of crowd noise, I liked how Nine & Fox remembered to add the customary audible “Oooooh!” during the slow-mo replay.

That penalty led directly to Michael Jennings scoring to make it 22-6, sealing the Eels win, and the Blue & Golds ran an extra pair of converted tries on a dog tired Broncos defence to really pump some air into their points differential, cementing a dominant win.

The Eels had 69% of possession in the second half, they won the territory battle 74-26, while the Broncos, from their minimal ball time, went 6/12 with 7 errors and 5 penalties.

I think that tells the story – The Eels are 3-0 for the first time in a generation, and they certainly are slightly above average.

North Queensland 36 defeated Gold Coast 6 at North Queensland Stadium

An emphatic way for the Cowboys to bring up their first win at North Queensland Stadium after 2 frustrating months, and the Titans may have been whipped sideways on the scoreboard, but they got a genuine highlight in the period where they were right in the contest.

Brian Kelly faking the Cowboys right edge into oblivion.

Something something “Hurr durr Queenslanders are that gullible”

That was as good as it got for the visitors, because not even 10 minutes later, Kyle Feldt raced 60m off his own line after a repeat Titans set, and Scott Drinkwater fed Justin O’Neill to restore the Cowboy lead.

Summing up the difference in execution, the Titans went a man up in the 1st Half when Mitch Dunn got sent to the bin just before the half for a professional foul, but the numerical advantage thanks to a crap pass to Ash Taylor.

Ultimately, the Cowboys were the only team to score in that time – Val Holmes took an easy 2 points in front of goal to make it 14-6.

With Michael Morgan on the sidelines, Drinkwater and Jake Clifford did the job in the halves, and further proving how ugly things got in the 2nd Half, Jason Taumalolo, who was held to 76m in the 1st Half and spent 20 minutes on the bench on Paul Green’s orders, returned to the field in the 52nd minute.

He ran for 214m in the final 28 minutes.

The Cowboys scored 4 tries in that time.

As they say in an unnamed John Hughes film, DON’T MESS WITH THE BULL, OR YOU’LL GET THE HORNS.

So, the Boys won as expected, and that’s now 14 defeats in a row for the Titans, and another double-digit thumping in Townsville.

Even the last days of Ansett felt happier to look at than this current Titans team.

Eastern Suburbs 28 defeated South Sydney 12 @ Bankwest Stadium

Boyd Cordner was fit and firing, Josh Morris finally linked up with his brother, Kyle Flanagan and Luke Keary understood each other for long enough, and what do you know, the 2x champs are on the board.

Further proof that Trent Robinson is a genius – Instead of giving away ruck infringements and 6 again rulings, the Chooks just kept pushing the 10m offside rule (Forcing Souths to switch direction in attack) and wrestling upright (Instead of on the ground) to slow the play the ball.

Barely a week into the restart, and Robbo is back playing 5D checkers.

It also helped that Ash Klein took a fairly relaxed approach to the 6 again rule, calling only 2 (1 apiece) for the night, meaning the game was noticeably slower than the other 7 games, which were played at 0.5 past lightspeed.

The major showpiece of the night was the supposed clash of the fullbacks between James Tedesco and Benedict Arnold himself Latrell Mitchell, but all I saw was a bloke who had played in the No.1 most of his life, versus a centre who’s worn No.1 for three games.

Comparing their performances is bordering on apples & oranges, but I’ll do it anywa.

In whatever the opposite of a surprise is, Teddy was best afield, with a combined total of 314 run metres, 14 tackle breaks, and he bagged a meat pie with a trademark explosion off one foot straight through Cam Murray and Troy Dargan to race 30m and score, which set the tone for the 2nd Half.

In between trying to lay the wood on a few of his ex-teammates, Latrell did have that try saver on Luke Keary in the 1st Half, so it wasn’t all boredom and disappointment, but still certainly nothing to write home about.

Just to show how serious Channel 9/Fox Sports were about the fake crowd noise, I’m dead sure there was mild booing in the background every time Latrell touched the ball.

Some of those boos were louder than what he’d have copped if they let actual life forms into the stands.

Now that’s commitment.

A series that summed up the Roosters performance in defence, other than pushing the rulebook, was when Nathan Burns read a lazy Keary pass 30 minutes in and hared down field to score, only for Old Man Brett Morris to leg it, somehow catching Burns and forcing him to pass to Alex Johnston, who Morris then tackled, followed by making another tackle during the same set, and then finishing off his own work, Morris dealt with a grubber kick for a drop out.

Actually, was it Brett or Josh…. they look so similar.

Sure, Souths scored a few minutes later off a repeat set, but it was that effort from Morris that would give lovers of defensive play a raging horn.

Moving forward in time, with the score at 22-12 and the Bunnies looking to have the momentum inside the final 10 minutes on the back of a Tom Burgess try, the Chooks dealt their eternal rivals a hammer blow when Jake Friend elected to take the strategic Captain’s Challenge, after Jared Waerea-Hargreaves apparently knocked on with 7 minutes remaining, mostly as a means of giving the defence time to suck in air…

Only for The Bunker to rule that Bailey Sironen had interfered with what looked to be his knee, giving the Roosters a penalty on half-way.

A left-field decision, but, fair enough.

It led to the premiers being able to kill 5 minutes, and capping off the evening, Friend ran straight through a knackered Cam Murray, and chased down his own kick untouched to seal the win.

Clearly Jake was suffering from the effects of his head-knock…. he thought he was a half-back.

That play also exposed Latrell as an Easts plant sent to destroy Souths from the inside, when he was too busy getting it on with Kyle Flanagan in back play to cover Friend’s kick.

If my research is correct, this is the first game since Round 26, 2015, in which Jake Friend & Boyd Cordner have scored in the same game.

Funny coincidence, that was also against Souths.

Tamworth Road Warriors 18 defeated St George-Illawarra 0 @ Central Coast Stadium

Coronavirus may have killed a lot of people and shut down the global economy, but it also stopped us having to watch the Dragons play for two whole months, so it’s impossible to say if it’s bad or not.


Call me crazy, but I think the Tamworth Road Warriors could knock off the Vodafone Warriors.

All they needed to succeed was to shed the burden of their loved ones.

It has been written/stated by thousands of people not named JT, but that was an absolutely remarkable performance – The Warriors’ first shut out since 2014, and their first shut out outside of New Zealand since they knocked off Souths 66-0 in 2006.

Of course, the cornerstone to Saturday’s success was that HISTORIC completion percentage.


What the hell did the people of Tamworth give them when none of us were looking.

It came to a thudding end when loan player Jack Murchie lost the ball in a tackle 75 minutes in, which means the club can quite literally pin it on the new guy for ruining everything, although Adam Blair also knocked on with 90 seconds to go, when everyone was too busy laughing at the Dragons for getting shut out.

While we all applaud the Kiwis for racking up their best win since the 2011 Prelim….

The Dragons, with a Queensland Origin half and a bunch of NSW forwards, got beaten up and shut out by a bunch of mutton munching vagrants.

If the Dragons were an actual dragon, they’d be this:

I’ll assume in this case that both the normal heads are Cam McInnes…. What was it, 75 tackles without a miss?

What an absolute waste of a talent.

The fun started with Matt Dufty fumbling a bouncing kick right in front of Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, who dived over the fullback the opening try, and it evolved into a scene resembling the First Day On The Somme from there.

I said if the Dragons lost that Mary could try and claim sanctuary in a nearby Cathedral, but I’m not confident the priests would let him in if they saw that performance.

Among their many great tactical innovations I saw from the Saints:

Have a front rower kick on the last and enjoy the result, because Ben Hunt obviously wasn’t in the area.

Don’t bother putting in a kick or passing off to a teammate on the last tackle inside Warriors territory, just shut your eyes and charge at the line, and inevtably get wrapped up by 3 defenders, and just concede the changeover.

I haven’t seen tactics like that since Homer Simpson coached Bart’s peewee football team.

We’d best leave it to Piggy Riddell to articulate his thoughts on his former team.

Good on the Warriors, after everything that’s happened, they earned a result like that.

Wests 26 defeated Cronulla 16 @ Bankwest Stadium

That was for Mr Summons.

After Harry Grant scored in his Wests debut inside 5 minutes, Benji Marshall made a Captain’s Challenge for a supposedly frivolous claim that the Sharks had played at a kick that the Tigers recovered, apparently entitling them to a fresh set.

It was ultimately successful, because the referees had buggered up the tackle count (They called changeover on tackle 5), and on the actual last tackle, Will Kennedy was destroyed by a bomb thanks to pressure from Luke Brooks, and Robert Jennings scored the Tigs’ second try.

And i’m running out of characters, so after the Sharks banged on the next 3 tries and led 16-10 at the half, here’s a summary of how the 2nd Half went for them.

In short, the tank hit empty, and Chad Townsend’s hammy went ping.

The end.

Canberra 22 defeated Melbourne 6 at AAMI Park

An earth-shattering result in Melbourne, as the Green Machine, embracing the FIFO way of life, proved they’d barely had to change anything about the way they play in this 6 Again era, while the team who’ve spent the last 17 years adapting to changes with the game, were made to look like St George.

The end result – A new premiership favourite.

The Raiders beat the Storm so thoroughly that we got at least 10 shots of Craig Bellamy cracking the shits in the box.

We didn’t even get that many in those Grand Final defeats.

I was disappointed that one of those recorded blow-ups wasn’t after Nelson Asofa-Solomona kicked on the 3rd tackle when absolutely nobody was ready, as the Storm tried in vain to crack the green wall in the 2nd Half.

Big Nelson got a week from the judiciary… I assume it was for that kick.

As the Storm continued to pepper the Raiders defence with plays not by Big Nelson, the moment that just about sealed the result was when Smokin’ Joe Tapine came from nowhere to hold up Justin Olam as he looked certain for all money to cut the gap to 18-10.

Capping it off in the dying seconds, Tapine won a thrilling edition of the 70m relay, featuring kicks from Curtis Scott and Nick Cotric, ensuring we didn’t get a scoreless 2nd Half.

On an individual level, overshadowing Josh Papalii’s 200th game and his conversion attempt to rival Matt Orford in 2009, the newest star soap dodgers in Canberra is halfback George Williams, who delivered a bang not seen from a Pom in the Australian game since Ellery Hanley rocked up at Balmain in the winter of 1988.

Josh Hodgson, John Bateman, Gareth Ellis, Sammy Burgess, Adrian Morley?

Eat your heat out.

2 try assists in the 1st Half – The first was the cut-out pass to Nick Cotric in the right corner, the second was a line break that set up Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad under the posts, he also kicked off the relay that led to that final try, and on the defensive side, he delivered a tombstone piledriver on Ryan Papenhauzen.

The Raiders were good last year, and they’re currently better this year.

Penrith 14 drew with Newcastle 14 at Campbelltown (Golden Point)

It’s probably not saying much, but this was the game of the round.

Mainly because it was the only game within 12 points.

Thank the lord that Adam O’Brien had that experience at the Storm & Roosters, so he actually knew how to structure a defence, because by gee by jingo by crikey, this could easily have ended up a lopsided 42-6 with some of those Knights teams of the past.

Just when the Novocastrians looked in trouble without Kalyn Ponga, they lost Lachie Fitzgibbon in the Captain’s Run, and if that wasn’t enough, it didn’t even take 5 minutes for them to lose their brain in Mitchell Pearce, when he copped a hip to the head trying to wrap up Stephen Crichton.

The carnage continued 2 minutes later, when Connor Watson got his right foot caught underneath his body and stuck in the turf after getting palmed off by Viliame Kikau.

Putting the team before his slightly crippled body, Watson didn’t go off until the Knights had stopped another Panthers attack.

O’Brien had to replace them with debutants Chris Randall and Brodie Jones, and Randall would set the record for the most tackles (60) on debut, helped in part by playing 75 minutes plus Golden Point.

Another first gamer in Tex Hoy (Son of surfer Matt Hoy) took 11 minutes to end up on the highlight reel, stopping a certain try for Dean Whare after Edrick Lee got a cock of a bounce.

Deadset, the last time anyone saw this many debutants in the same space, Billy Hughes was the Prime Minister.

Electric Edrick gave away an 8 point try thanks to his attempt to prove he was the best kicker on the Knights team without Ponga, with an air swing at Kurt Capewell’s head as he scored 25 minutes in.

It would help if I slightly slowed it down

Considering the end result, what a moment that was – It was also Penrith’s last score of the day.

After getting slapped repeatedly for 39 minutes and going down 14-0, the Knights gave themselves a punch to the chest and kickstarted their own heart when Jacob Saifiti scored under the post on the half time bell.

Saifiti, Randall, Timmy Glasby, Dave Klemmer – The Knights forward pack got them back into the game.

After Lee had another silly moment of giving away a last tackle penalty that was about to end in a knock-on 53 minutes in, he redeemed himself by setting up a 7 tackle set, which led directly to Bradman Best making it 14-10 with 20 minutes remaining, as Hoy narrowly hooked his kick.

It’s just like they say…

Steve Smith good, Sachin great, Bradman Best.

That completely changed the momentum, and 8 minutes later, Electric Edrick soared above the Penrith right edge, got the ball on the second attempt, and offloaded to The Don for his double, which tied the scores.

Proving time is a flat circle, Hoy narrowly hooked his kick.

As normal time ended, the Riffs had the better of the chances to kick the match winner – Matt Burton narrowly missed two kicks either side of the posts, Brian To’o had a linebreak in the final minute but didn’t spot Kikau ready to barge over with seconds remaining (Which led to the second missed kick), while Kurt Mann missed the Knights’ only attempt, and it went to golden point.

As the Panthers were about to end things on the first set of extra, Burton absolutely nailed a third attempt… which cannoned in to the right upright, but the rebound was caught by Korisau, only for him to get called for being in front of the kicker.

The Knights set from half way ended with Hoy’s kick being touched out for a drop out, and on their repeat set, Hoy was forced to run the ball, and he created a simple 2 on 1 on the left to win the game, but the pass from Best to Lee went behind the winger, just as he was about to score untouched.

Of all the chances to win the game, that was THE chance of the game.

In what turned out to be the only attempt of the second 5 minute period, Burton narrowly missed a fifth attempt to the right from 40m out, and after that, neither team got within range for a final crack, and the points were split.

I do feel for Burton – He hit 4 of those kicks pretty darn well, and yet, fate gave him the middle finger and none of them worked out.

Of course, the only player at ground level who could actually hit the field goal was nursing a sore head on the bench.

But, both teams are still unbeaten, and for the first time in 2020….


Manly 32 defeated Canterbury 6 @ Central Coast Stadium

Piece of piss for the Silvertails, with the only problem coming from the fact that Reuben Garrick clearly struggled with having to practice his goalkicking in his bedroom for the last 2 months.

2/7 off the boot, and you could tell from his opening kick (Which narrowly missed to the right from a kickable angle) that he was set for a bad case of the yips.

Compare that with Tommy Turbo, who played like he’d spent the last 2 months in the backyard with Jake, racking up a double and 3 try assists.

Further proof that athletes who grew up in backyards make better players.

To be honest, Matt Cecchin should have called the game off the moment the Sea Eagles broke clear down the right and Tommy Turbo scored the opening try 5 minutes in, because the Dogs attack proved they still can’t figure their way out of a wet paper bag.

Repeated errors inside the Manly 20, a halves pairing who looked like a rudderless ship… To paraphrase something Mick ‘The Menace’ Ennis said on Fox League, you can’t expect Dean Pay to make a chocolate cake when you give him the ingredients for a shit sandwich.

Finishing off this week, there were a round-high 11 set restarts during the game (7-4 Bulldogs), which could go to show how the interpretation progressed throughout the round.

And a humorous moment occurred when Silvertails hooker Danny Levi got 10 in the bin for a professional foul in the ruck in the last minute.

Given how much time was left, I hope Cecchin told him “You’re gone for 10… seconds.”

Anyway, the Dogs may be 0-3, but they do have a new motto.

Canterbury – At least we’re not St George.

Tipping performance…

Here’s a couple of tipping errors I made – Tipped the Eels when I mentioned I thought Brisbane would win, I tipped Cronulla when I felt Wests would get it done, and I tipped the Storm, although I only vaguely mentioned that ‘I felt’ the Raiders would win.

Big brain stuff from me.

Categories: NRL

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