NRL

Meaningless NRL Review: Round 4, 2020

All GIFs: Channel 9 & Fox Sports Australia

AFTER WHAT HAPPENED ON THURSDAY NIGHT, DO YOU SERIOUSLY WANT A SECOND BRISBANE TEAM TO WEAKEN THE BRONCOS EVEN FURTHER?

Well, when you put it that way….

After 10 games of complete and utter blowouts – The combined effect of poor fitness, a lack of effort and not adapting to the rules, I think we saw a genuine change on Saturday night.

Parramatta and Manly went down to the wire after looking like it was going to be a Blue & Gold belting of the Silvertails, then came the Gold Coast-Wests, giving us 2 close games this round, up from 1 last week.

By process of natural improvement, we’ll get 8 games of close results by Round 10.

Speaking of natural improvement, crowds of 50 per corportate box will be allowed into games from Round 5, after Pistol Pete used a Jedi mind trick on the health authorities, which coincides with the Queensland Police announcing they’ll be issuing Broncos tickets instead of fines to offenders.

What a great way to drive down crime in the post-COVID era.


Sydney Roosters 59/0 defeated Brisbane at The Gabba

A piece of ‘Scorigami’ – The first 59-0 result in First Grade history.

The Broncos had a rare victory pre-game when James Tedesco reported a high temperature and missed the game, but even with Teddy gone, it was 990 games of experience versus 2115.

It was the sporting equivalent of sending fresh-faced boys over the top into a volley of machine gun fire.

With Teddy putting his feet up, Brett Morris went to fullback, and Ryan Hall was called up to play on the wing, which, as pointed out by Andrew Voss, meant the Roosters had Hall, and the Broncos had Oates.

It’s a funny reference to that 1980s duo, Wang Chung.

The early signs of another Broncos wipeout were there when the Roosters went 13/13 through the opening 20 minutes and raced out to a 16-0 lead, and by my own estimation, they started more sets inside Broncos territory than the Broncos had sets.

Eventually the Broncos got a really good chance to score on the back of a penalty, but a great kick by Croft was put down by Darius Boyd, who was about 2 feet short of a mark & scoring.

It’s not a Seibold Broncos game unless Darius doesn’t quite score and make the faithful wish it was 5 years ago.

Encapsulating the unrelenting Tricolour performance, on the subsequent restart + 7 tackle set, the Chooks absolutely ripped straight up the middle, and Jake Friend made a fast dummy half run and hit Player of the Match Victor Radley in the hole at speed, and Kyle Flanagan in support scored under the posts to make it 28-0.

Incredible.

And then on the restart, Matty Lodge creamed Lindsay Collins high and gave away a penalty, and the only thing that saved it being 32-0 at the half was Boyd Cordner getting called for a weird obstruction call (Even though he pulled up and didn’t initiate contact) which denied Josh Morris a double.

Keary kicked the crucial field goal on the half, and it was 29-0, and 20 completed sets to 7.

29 points was the greatest half-time deficit the Broncos have ever faced at Lang Park, and I’m surprised Ben Te’o didn’t try and burn that Broncos contract he signed that day.

The longest period the Chooks didn’t score a try was the halftime break, and after the Broncos didn’t try and force a repeat set deep in Roosters territory to begin the 2nd Half, Isaac Liu got a linebreak, reeled in Jamayne Isaako, and Luke Keary ran 40m untouched.

Just when it wasn’t painful enough, after a bunch of repeat penalties for interfering in the ruck, Jesse Arthars was sin binned in the 56th minute.

A short time later, Keary improvised and created a gaping hole in the Broncos defence that could have been seen from Uranus, feeding through former Broncos junior Collins to score under the posts.

You loveable little ruffian (By /u/Ttetron)

As the Chooks ran up a score that looked closer to a game at The Gabba than Lang Park, the only worry was the nasty looking elbow injury to Victor the Inflictor, who got chicken winged in his own tackle on Anthony Milford in the dying minutes.

The Roosters responded by running straight down the field and scoring the 10th and final try.

Still, through a night of HISTORIC horror, the Brisbane crowd should be commended for how remarkably loyal they were through the 80 minutes.

The few fans who did show up never left their seats.

They never once booed their beloved horses, despite a performance that was softer than freshly-washed bed sheets.

And they were going absolutely wild when they sniffed a consolation try in the final minute, as if it was only 4 points the difference.

A second Brisbane team could only dream of getting that kind of loyalty.

To me, that’s something that Fox Sports should add to the crowd noise – When a home team gets belted into the 25th century, just play an 80 minute reel of intense booing to really give us something close to the real thing.

Still, it’s easy to crap on the Broncos after taking just 4 games to better their club record defeat, but when you’ve got that many starting players out and a starting pack that’s younger than a Ugandan army, what can you do.

Plus, I think the Broncos can look on the bright side.

Jokes about losing 58-0 are going to drop significantly.


Penrith 26 defeated Once Were Warriors 0 at Campbelltown Stadium

This game did put into perspective how shithouse the Dragons were in Gosford, but then they played this afternoon, and you realised it wasn’t some one off.

In a fairly boring 80 minutes, the Panthers, led by Matt Burton and James ‘Two Dads’ Fisher-Harris, smothered the Warriors by bombing Patrick Hebert repeatedly on the last tackle, and the only worry after last week’s draw was getting out to a 14-0

They resolved that by leading 16-0 at the half, and after Josh Mansour finished off Viliame Kikau’s one-handed offload by scoring in the corner just after the break, I almost felt like having a nap.

Rebounding very nicely off the disappointment of missing 5 field goals, Burton scored a double in the opening 20 minutes, the first tries of his NRL career, and all things considered, he gave Ivan The Not So Terrible Cleary some food for thought as to who plays in the halves alongside Nathan Cleary when he returns next week.

Ivan will stick with the script and play Jarome Luai with Nathan against Parramatta, and it’ll be as boring as a caravan trip through Tasmania.

The closest the Warriors got to scoring was Herbert’s near-try of the week when the sting had gone out of the contest in the 72nd minute, flying down the right edge chasing a Roger Tuivasa-Sheck grubber, beating a spectating Caleb Atkins and maintaining pressure on the ball in the right corner, only to see it disappear into history when he put his foot on the line moments before the putdown.

Come on, why couldn’t the video ref just ignore the rules and pay it for the theatre.

After the glory of Gosford, the Warriors have become the 10th team in the NRL era to be held scoreless after holding a team scoreless.

The last was Parramatta in last year’s Finals.


Melbourne 22 defeated Souths 8 at AAMI Park

The latest Master vs Apprentice battle between WAYNE and Bellyache, and with the Storm playing under the threat of another mass roasting, the former Apprentice got a response.

The Storm were 15-0 against the Rabbits in Melbourne…. They’re now 16-0.

But, despite the 14 point margin, it wasn’t exactly a traditional Storm beating, where they suck the soul out of their opposition and grind them down defensively.

Souths appeared more than willing to help the hosts win, in a game that featured 32 errors – 17 to Souths and 15 to the Storm.

After completing their first 10 sets of the night, the Bunnies went at 16/31 for the rest of the night, kneecapping any chance they had of building on an early 6-4 lead, and by the half, Cam Munster’s line break lead to Jahrome Hughes kicking for Suliasi Vunivalu in the corner to make it 8-6 Storm at the break.

The shame of it all was Latrell Mitchell looked more like a fullback than at any point since he hopped over to Redfern.

That cut out pass to Alex Johnston to get Souths on the board, plus his 136 run metres, 10 tackle breaks – He was just about Souths best player on the night.

Besides the errors, another moment that summed up the night was the apparently incorrect obstruction call on the Storm to deny them a try for 12-6 in the 46th minute, when Tino Faasuamaleaui was pinged for stopping in front of Damien Cook, impacting Cook’s ability to slide over and potentially stop Hughes from scoring.

Gus Gould let viewers know in no uncertain terms what he thought of another apparent refereeing blunder.

Year after year, Gus reaches his final form:

Despite their fetish for errors, Souths were either level or within 1 score for 65 minutes, and the one moment I think of, other than the obstruction call that killed off any chance of a comeback at 16-8, was when the visitors got a repeat set in the 54th minute (When it was still 8-8), and Dane Gagai, who did have the chance to dart at the corner, cut back inside Justin Olam and was eventually stopped just short of the line by 3 covering defenders.

Instead of taking the last tackle, he tried putting the ball down (Or he just lost it cold), but was short by about a metre.

Knock on, the Storm went into Souths territory, and Smith took the 2 points after Souths gave away a penalty for taking out The Pap, putting the Storm ahead for good with 20 minutes remaining.

The end result of these errors that the highlight of the night wasn’t any scoring play, it was the defensive work of Ryan Papenhuyzen to keep Souths from starting a set on the Storm 20 just after the resumption – Which probably would’ve ended in a knock-on.

Everything about that is outstanding.

The distance on the jump without hitting the sideline.

The timing on the one-handed volleyball spike that somehow didn’t go forward

The way it sat up for Addo-Carr to eventually pick up and get some metres, leading to a penalty.

At the end of the day, the Bunnies dropped the ball on this one…. repeatedly.


Parramatta 19 defeated Manly 16 at Bankwest Stadium

Fox League ran a throwback advertising campaign to pump up the game, referencing the fabled ‘How Do You Feel’ Toohey’s ads of the 1980s featuring the Eels and Sea Eagles at the height of the rivalry.

If you asked Silvertails fans ‘How Do You Feel’ at 7:30 on Saturday evening, they probably wouldn’t respond with “I feel like a Toohey’s or two” they’d reply with “Pretty pissed off!”

As someone who brazenly stuck his neck out and tipped the Silvertails and celebrated for 5 seconds, to quote George Carlin…

HOSPITAL TESTED, CLINICALLY PROVEN BULLSHIT.

Pass goes backwards and then drifts forward at speed.

What a way to ruin the ending of a superb contest.

To add to the disappointment, Des Hasler didn’t even suggest the touch judge go to OPSM and get an eye test in his press conference.

The TMO can review forward passes in Union during scoring plays, but in rugba leeg, the Bunker can do everything except look at a forward pass, apparently because players react to the whistle.

But, look on the bright side Manly fans – You did get a worthless apology from Graham Annersley.

Still, there were so many other questionable decisions that were all forgotten by that final call – Dylan Walker was given a try during Manly’s comeback that looked a borderline knock-on, and Oregon Kaufusi was denied a try for the Eels in similar circumstances.

It was also appropriate that the Eels wore those RAAF 80th Anniversary jerseys (Which they were going to wear on ANZAC Day), because they were deadset airborne through the opening 40 minutes, particular in the minutes either side of the half, which really did prove to be the difference on the scoreboard, as 18-2 proved a bridge too far.

What also proved to the difference was a bit of luck off the boot of Mitch Moses – He hit the post twice – On a conversion attempt, and on his second half field goal attempt to try and ice the game.

They both went in.

Maika Sivo, who wrecked the Silvertails with a hat-trick last year, produced two cracking assists – The first was a perfect offload to Michael Jennings, denying Tommy Turbo what could’ve been a try saver, and the other went to Dylan Brown right before the half.

The Eels had to beat a big name, and they did, while Manly do have the positive of getting a training session against Brisbane on Thursday.

At the end of the day, I can’t help but feel the better team on the day won.


Cronulla 26 defeated North Queensland 16 at North Queensland Stadium

In the most extreme example of temperature check chaos, 6 Sharks players failed their initial temperature check upon arrival, sparking the crazy thought of the visitors being short on players.

After what’s happened to Cronulla’s playing stocks this year, something wild like mass high temperatures occurring is met with a reply of “Yeah, and?”

The six players would all pass the second test, leaving the Sharks free to desecrate the Yankee-loving traitor Val Holmes and his Cowboys, who looked like a rudderless ship without Jason Taumalolo and his free 200m per game.

Jesse Ramien was the star of the show down the right, with 141m, 2 tries (The highlight being a 70m solo effort), a try assist for Ronaldo Mulitalo, and landing a shot on Justin O’Neill so solid that it triggered a 2.2 magnitude earthquake in Townsville.

I think that was what John Morris was referring to when he said “attacking with defence”.

Bob Katter got it wrong when he tried raising awareness about people being torn to pieces by crocodiles every three months in north Queensland…

Every year in Townsville, 17 North Queenslanders are torn to pieces by Sharks.


Newcastle 32 defeated Canberra 18 at Campbelltown

We now have absolute definitive proof that Sticky’s Raiders have a kryptonite.

The Roosters, and teams containing ex-Roosters.

Adam O’Brien brought the blueprint from Bondi, and with Mitch Pearce lasting a full 80 minutes and Kalyn Ponga back and devastating in the No.1, the Novocastrians pushed the off button on the Green Machine just as they burned Melbourne to the ground.

It was also Andrew McCullough’s first game for the Knights after leaving the Broncos, and based on the contrast in performances between the teams, Andrew has made the greatest career move since every time Glenn Lazarus changed clubs.

The Knights were so good, they even made the pre-game Viking Clap sound out of sync.

It matched the Raiders on the field.

Out of sync.

In the 74 minutes he played before finishing the game receiving a HIA, Ponga ran for 278 metres, scored a try and set up 2 others, and supporting his lights out performance was 18-year-old big unit Bradman ‘The Don’ Best, who scored yet another double at either end of the game, giving Curtis Scott the type of mauling he hasn’t copped since just past midnight in Moore Park on January 27.

Ponga assisted the opening try, and Bradman’s second to cap off the day had to be a highlight, kicking ahead for himself off a knock-on and leaving Joe Tapine eating dust.

The other facet to that moment is several Raiders players cracking the shits with David Klemmer for ironing out George Williams in the build-up and trying to start a Donnybrook in frustration, particularly Tapine, who deadset slapped Klemmer, and was probably 2 seconds away from ending up like Apollo Creed in response, before their teammates robbed us of a classic display of THE BIFF.

Using my amateur lip reading abilities, I reckon Big Dave wound up Tapine by telling him there’s a vaccination against stupidity, which explains why an anti-vaxxer like Joe had a swing at a first choice Origin forward.

However, there was no vaccination against the Knights, who were superb, and stayed undefeated.


Gold Coast 28 defeated Wests Tigers 23 at Suncorp Stadium

The Gold Coast Titans – The Pride Of Queensland

364 days without a win and not even getting within double figures of their opposition.

12-0 down after 13 minutes with things looking ominous.

22-12 down 12 minutes into the 2nd Half.

And staring down the barrel of defeat after Benji Marshall hit the go-ahead field goal.

And yet, the Titans gave 110%, dug deep, backed themselves, and pulled off a rugbaleeg miracle.

By proving a home team can actually win at Lang Park.

Build a statue of Justin Holbrook, and spare no expense!

That winning try came about from a luck of the draw bounce on the kickoff following the Benji Marshall field goal, combined with a lack of awareness from the Tigers defence, who were operating on the belief that the kickoff wouldn’t go the required 10m and give them a game-killing penalty.

The suppository of all wisdom Joey Leilua, who stood there and watched, made his thoughts vaguely clear this morning.

Now I could be blind, but that ball is smack bang on the 40m line.

The Australian public would tell Joey that, but he turned off the comments.

Allowing things like that to happen when they were in a great position encapsulated once again why Wests never go anywhere other than 9th every year, despite having a good enough roster to play Finals.

Based on Madge’s comments post-game, the club board may as well face reality and drop any reference to Balmain and call themselves Western Suburbs Yo-Yos.

“I’m sick and tired of the ups and downs of the performances. We need to change that.”

“That’s what this club has been, I didn’t want to say that, but it’s the truth. and the truth is we need to fix how we do things when we are performing.”

Still, at the start of the 2nd Half, Wests did turn a play that looked like this:

Into a genuine try of the year contender, with Joey Leilua finishing off David Nofoaluma’s quick no look rushed kick as he was being tackled out of play.

That boy is a genuine talent.

Speaking of 9th place…

Welcome home, Wests.


Canterbury 22 defeated St George-Illawarra 2 at Bankwest Stadium

Twenty-chew to chew.

With the Tits getting themselves on the board on Sunday, this game turned in to…

SPOON BOWL.

The clash of the lightweights lived up to it’s extraordinarily low expectations within the opening 15 minutes, as both teams showed plenty of positive intent, before their execution reminded us all why they were last and second-last.

Rather than take advantage of repeat sets in Berries territory, the Dragons took the easy 2 points to at least improve on last week’s performance, while the Doggies committed at least 4 errors in attack, before Adam Elliott put the Berries ahead for good with a driving run next to the uprights in the 19th minute.

After that, with Kieran Foran providing much-needed stability in the halves in his 200th game, the Doggies gave a fairly convincing answer as to which team hated their under the pump coach less, as the Dragons anchored themselves to the foot of the table with simple errors for the remaining hour of play, like running offside from a dropout and giving away an easy shot at goal.

Summing up how rotten things have turned in Kogarah, the Red V have now failed to score a try against the Warriors and Bulldogs, two teams who could be best described as ‘Not the Roosters’.

And out of all the changes to the 17 this week, the only bloke who made an impact on the field was Matt Dufty.

As the waterboy.

I can actually say I felt sorry watching those shots of Mary contemplating life in the coaching box as his players kept falling on their own faces, then having to field questions from Ben Ikin and James Hooper as to why his team is so shithouse.

It reminded me of that scene in The Green Mile where Percy executes Del without wetting the sponge.

Only time will tell if Mary gets the same treatment.


Tipping Performance

4/8 this week…. I obviously took a failed punt on Manly, I think I got spooked by the Sharks having 6 failed temp checks and changed my tip (I will never learn that lesson), but on the bright side, I was spot on about the Doggies.

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