Meaningless NRL Review: Round 12, 2020

Things have gotten so bad at Belmore, even the players think Kieran Foran has already departed.

South Sydney 32 defeated St George-Illawarra 24 at Kogarah

Two more freaky near-coincidences:

Souths came back from a 16 point deficit against the Dragons, a day shy of 9 years since they recovered from a 20 point deficit against the Dragons at Woolongong.

And, in this the Indigenous Round, all 32 of Souths points were scored by Indigenous players.

Alex Johnston with a hat-trick (Two tries coming off intercepts), Cody Walker with a double, and Latrell Mitchell scoring a try and taking the kicking duties after Adam Reynolds got smashed by Tariq Sims 16 minutes in and sprained his shoulder.

Funnily enough, for a bloke who is the 2-time leading NRL pointscorer, that was the first time Mitchell had taken a kick at goal since the Grand Final.

What a wild old game – Matt Dufty started things off by continually running at 88mph down the wing and putting the Red V 16-0 up in as many minutes, and yet, by half-time, you couldn’t even remember the Red V’s advantage, as Walker sprang to life, Johnston scored his first intercept try of the night, and Mitchell starting off and finishing a 70m run from Johnston to tie the scores.

It was nice to see that in a weekend for honouring the Indigenous players of the game, Latrell honoured his Blues teammate Josh Addo-Carr by performing a faceplant try celebration.

Ah, classic.

Once Were Warriors 26 defeated Wests Tigers 20 at the SCG

No matter how hard Madge tries to change the culture at Concord, one thing doesn’t change year after year for the Wests Tigers.

One step forward is followed by 9 steps back.

No wonder Madge assaulted that chair when he was dishing out that half-time spray.

It’s like a horse kicking out.

On every single level, this was a must-win game for Wests, and yet, when the game was on the line in the 2nd Half, a Warriors team with players who can’t even go home to New Zealand after the season is done ran their hopeless arses over.

What a great night for the Kiwis – The only time they’d previously sniffed a win away from Gosford was that mind-numbing Titans game that they narrowly lost, and in the same week they lost their leading try-scorer to boot.

With the way he’s stepped up in the face of a never-ending tsunami of adversity, Todd Payten could have awarded himself the Warriors job on a full-time basis if he wanted, but, in a major shock for anyone across the ditch, Payten ruled himself out of the running.

The main reason for not relocating to Auckland long term is that his father-in-law is undergoing chemotherapy in Australia, which gives him the perfect chance to angle for the Cowboys gig to lessen the travel burden.

If losing to a team coached by a beloved former player in Payten was barely tolerable for the Tigers, I’d think those thoughts turned to anger when they realised Ivan Cleary had once again screwed them over, considering he loaned the Warriors Jack Hetherington, who gave Wests an 80 minute caning.

With the stretch they’ve got coming up from Round 15 until the end of the regular season, Wests will do well to finish 9th, let alone contend for a Top 8 finish.

Cronulla 36 defeated Brisbane 26 at Suncorp Stadium

Last week Brisbane appeared for 40 minutes, and this week they appeared for 70.

By logical progression, in Round 13 they will play for 100 minutes and go close to winning.

That’s if they can actually regain the memory of how to win, because that was what did them in again, despite some very nice performances from Payne Haas, Kotoni Staggs and Darius Boyd (Who had 4 try assists to paper over the many cracks), and after looking very good at 26-18, the dear old Broncos eroded faster than Sydney’s beaches in those last 10 minutes.

In what may be a bit worrying for the Broncs, that Sharks team had just 3 players who had played over 50 games – Captain Wade Graham, Shaun Johnson and Aaron Woods (In game 200), and something Peter Sterling (And Fatty Vautin) pointed out was that skipper Graham, like every good skipper can, saved the arse of his team TWICE at crucial moments on the night.

The first was his strip on Rhys Kennedy barely a minute after the Broncos had gone ahead 14-12 before half-time, and turning defence into attack, the Sharks reclaimed the lead on the bell with Jackson Ferris on debut.

The other was on the well-publicised short line dropout with 10 minutes remaining, where the Broncos had the chance to put the Sharks away at 26-18, only for Tom ‘Oh Dear’ Dearden to miss the ball, all because of the pressure from… WADE GRAHAM, who reclaimed the pill to cap off a great effort.

Sione Katoa scored on the ensuing set, Connor Tracey scored the go-ahead try from Ronaldo Mulitalo’s perfect banana 5 minutes from time, and Braden Hamlin-Uele sealed the turnaround by barging over just short of time.

I previously mentioned Souths had great performances by Indigenous players in the Indigenous round, and we can easily include Graham as well.

Anthony Seibold says he won’t quit as Broncos coach before the season ends.

Please don’t Anthony, all of us are rooting for you.

Sydney Roosters 18 defeated Gold Coast Titans 12 at the SCG

In the latest epic battle between the Cocks and the Tits, it was the Cocks who stayed firm long enough to claim the 2 points.

You know the Roosters are in a slump when they have to settle for taking the 2 against the Titans at every opportunity, even when the Titans twice had players sent to the bin.

I can understand why Robbo would do that.

The Titans are the second-best team….

In Queensland.

Anyway, just as they did last week against the Warriors, the short-handed Easts once again got the job done on sheer class, and I once again thoroughly enjoyed the performance of Joey Manu, who, as we’ve known for years, is a god dang physical specimen.

The first thing I saw was him coming from absolutely nowhere and managing to roll Phillip Sami over to stop what looked a certain try.

He was barely in the frame 20m out.

And the other great moment was Manu casually reeling in the game-sealing try with one hand off Luke Keary’s kick.

Every time I seem to notice Joey do something, he’s completing it with one hand.

Because we all know what he’s doing with the other hand.

The Titans, by hook or by crook, are going to get talked up for being gutsy and keeping the score close against the ‘star-studded’ Roosters, but we should be reminded that in terms of personnel, that Chooks team wasn’t exactly filled with all the players who mercilessly ripped through everyone in May/June.

Canberra 14 defeated North Queensland 12 at North Queensland Stadium


Ben Cummins and the Raiders are magnets for hilarity.

Saturday was the first time he’s refereed a Raiders game since that well-known 2019 Grand Final. and in the dying minutes, Cowboys were awarded a penalty because Dunamis Lui apparently dived on the ball from an offside position on a ricocheted kick.

Jarrod Croker challenged the call straight away, and the replay showed Lui was within his rights to dive on the ball, giving the Raiders a fresh set of 6…


The Cowboys had this game there to win, but Michael Morgan isn’t there, so it’s just suffering instead.

Penrith 42 defeated Manly 12 at Brookvale Oval

Thinking I’d tipped Manly wasn’t even in the Top 10 mistakes I committed this past week.

Once again, I submit my tips on a Thursday evening, then don’t bother checking until Sunday evening.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Speaking of things that worked, the Panthers sure as shit did at Brooky, because my word, they never looked like losing, producing a performance befitting of a top-ranked team.

60% of the ball, 42/44 set completions – The Silvertails didn’t even stand a chance, especially after Brad Parker suffered another foot injury.

In what was a battle of the Origin halves, Nathan Cleary probably got the points over Daly Cherry-Evans, with the Tik Tok maestro leading the Chocolate Soldiers to a thumping win by scoring a try + two try assists and kicking a kicking a 40-20 to go with his 7/8 performance in front of goal.

In fairness to DCE, he was pretty much the only Silvertails player that could hold his head high, producing a 40/20 of his own, setting up both of Manly’s tries, and he pulled a Tommy Turbo-esque try saver to stop Viliame Kikau from scoring.

No wonder he was so pissed at his team’s effort… There was pretty much nobody else in maroon that was on his level.

On another note, I like how Charlie Staynes is becoming the No.1 exponent of the ‘2 Weeks Off, 1 Week On’ principle, as if he were a FIFO worker.

He scores 4 tries on debut, then misses the next 2 games for COVID protocol breaches, returns and scores 2 tries in the opening 25 minutes, and then strains his hamstring.

If he’d debuted earlier this year, I’d have given Charlie a shot at winning the Ken Irvine Medal for leading tryscorer, given he’s currently averaging a lazy 3 tries a game.

Parramatta 18 defeated Canterbury 16 at ANZ Stadium

Ah, a result where the winners feel flat, and the losers aren’t totally disappointed.

Given they’d almost blown an 18-0 lead to the current worst team in the business, the mood was so flat in the Eels rooms post-game that Brad Arthur said it felt “Like a morgue.”

That’s usually what happens when you set such high expectations after years of crap.

For all intents and purposes, the game looked dead when the Eels rather effortlessly went 18-0 up inside 27 minutes, especially when Dallin Watene-Zelezniak did a Martin Bella without even being concussed.

Considering Clint Gutherson scored on the free set the Eels received, that would have to go down as the dumbest act committed by a Bulldogs player on Sunday.

The next-dumbest act had to be Aiden Tolman taking the tap 12m out dead in front when the Dogs could’ve tied the scores with a chip shot penalty goal in the 2nd Half.

A veteran player getting a massive rush of blood to his head.

With the way the Dogs make stupid errors, I have every bit of confidence they’ll have Trent Barrett looking like Paul McGregor by Round 4 of next season.

Not just in terms of scrutiny, but in appearance after he pulls all of his hair out.

Still, the Dogs kept on fighting, like plenty of people probably expected them to, and they scored the only points of the 2nd Half, four of which came from Jake Averilo’s submission for Try of The Season, and by gee by jingo by crikey, it was an ABSOLUTE FIRECRACKER.

Despite Maika Sivo’s apparent deliberate forward pass on the siren being ticked off by Graham Annesley, he did confirm the Dogs got jibbed by one particular decision in the 1st Half at 6-0 down, when Kieran Foran set up a try for Marcelo Montoya, only for Raymond Faitala-Mariner to get called for obstruction on Mitch Moses.

Still, despite begging referee Chris Sutton to go to the Bunker (When he probably should have), Foran never asked Josh Jackson to issue a captain’s challenge…..

The next day, Annesley confirmed the Bunker would’ve certainly overturned the call, and given Montoya scored, the Dogs would’ve been within 6-4, instead of going down 12-0 minutes later.

Alicia Newton on said it best.

Doggone it.

Sunny Coast Storm 26 defeated Newcastle 16 at Sunshine Coast Stadium

I don’t know what people are talking about when it came to a lack of social distancing at Kawana Waters on Sunday afternoon.

Oh, you meant 2 METRES…. Not 0.2 METRES.

In this game, we saw what the not too distant future could be like for the Storm, given Cam Smith was gone as quickly as he’d equalled Craig Bellamy on 46 career tries, and will miss the next 2-3 games with a fatal AC Joint injury in his shoulder, which Fox League apparently thought was a career-ending ACL, and they were probably preparing Smithy’s tribute video in the truck.

I reckon they heard someone mentioning the words ‘AC’ and instantly thought knee, despite failing to realise AC joints aren’t located in your knee.

Still, based on what we saw, the Storm could still be the same old Storm with Old Man Cam gone, especially when they’ve got Ryan Papenhuyzen impersonating Sonic the Hedgehog every week.

How about that bloody 90m try, in which he casually picked up Kalyn Ponga’s grubber kick from his ankles and exploded away in stride, leaving Ponga stranded on the deck as he flew past.

Cam Munster took control, while Smith was effectively replaced by Brandon Smith as the playmaker, Kenny Bromwich was the best Bromwich brother, Marion Seve was breaking lines, and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui gave Titans fans a taste of what’s coming to help them next year when he swatted Ponga away to barge 25m away to seal the win.

The Knights did give a good account of themselves after last week’s shitshow, but for every bit of good they did, there was always something utterly stupid.

Tatau Moga knocking the ball into his own knee as he went to pass, on the kickoff after Aidan Guerra’s try, Phoenix Crossland and some other Johnny No-Name allowing the ball split through them and go out for a dropout (Which Vunivalu almost scored from), and the real lowlight was Pasami Saulo, who was rubbed out for 2 games for a really ordinary late, low hit on Jahrome Hughes after a kick, which left Hughes needing a HIA, and thank crap he was in mid-air, because Saulo could’ve done serious damage to that plant leg.

Good to see the judiciary actually did something about it.

The Knights gave a good account of themselves, but the Storm just don’t lose in Queensland.

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