Footy returns with the great and the ugly

Tim Gore Columnist

By Tim Gore, Tim Gore is a Roar Expert

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    Nathan Cleary was on fire in Round 1. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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    How good was it to have the footy back? While I only picked four from eight winners, I watched every game and loved gorging once more on the sweet rugby league action.

    During those 650 minutes of viewing joy, I saw some things that showcased all that is good about rugby league. Unfortunately, I also saw some things that showed just how ugly and inconsistent the game can be.

    Let’s talk about a few things that were great first.

    Euan Aitken
    There was so much to like about the Dragons’ opening win over the Broncos. Ben Hunt’s great effort at half. James Graham’s Dragons debut. Paul Vaughan’s continuation of his 2017 form. Leeson Ah Mau’s blockbusting form off the bench and – from the Broncos’ perspective – the strong debut of Jamayne Isaako. These were all great features.

    However, the stand out was Dragons number three Euan Aitken. Now in his fourth season, Aitken has had clear potential but injuries failed to let him shine. Last Thursday, he made it his personal mission to make Jordan Kahu’s life a misery. He smashed the Bronco number four in defence and targeted him in attack. His ten runs for 131 metres, four tackle breaks and a try was a superb return. Hopefully this is just the start of his great form.

    Cleary’s no names’ gutsy triumph
    When I saw David Noafaluma and Chris McQueen weren’t in Ivan Cleary’s matchday 17, I didn’t know what was going on. When Josh Reynolds dropped out pre-match, the only question was just how much the Roosters would win by. I took the Roosters 19+ with the bookie. Easy money I thought…

    I’m not sure there is a single player from the Wests Tigers weekend side I’d pick in my 17. However, their gutsy, dedicated and inspirational performance to beat the star-studded Sydney Roosters showed that Ivan Cleary is an even better coach than I already thought.

    He works with what he has got. He gets them on the bus and – judging by the weekend’s result – that bus is really going somewhere.

    Ivan Cleary NRL Rugby League Wests Tigers 2017

    (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    The Panthers: from the outhouse to the penthouse
    Down 14-0 after 27 minutes against the fancied Eels, it seemed that the loud noises of wide player discontent at the foot of the mountains were true and that the chocolate soldiers of old had returned. Anthony Griffin would soon be sacked and that even Gus Gould’s position would be in question.

    Enter Viliame Kikau. The six foot five Fijian, by way of Townsville, went berserk. His ball running and defence were incredible and turned the tide of the match completely.

    His efforts lifted the entire Panthers forward pack, allowing the likes of Dylan Edwards, Waqa Blake and Nathan Cleary the chance to shine. And shine they did.

    When the Panthers went into the sheds at 14-6 down, I thought they were still a chance.

    When Kikau scored in the 43rd minute, it opened the floodgates. They put their boots on the necks of the Eels players and never took them off. While Blake and Edwards looked magnificent, it was young Nathan Cleary who was outstanding. If he isn’t the NSW number seven this year then Freddie wants to continue losing.

    And one thing is for sure, we are about to see possibly the biggest bidding war for a young halfback that has ever been. Expect the Brisbane Broncos to be leading the charge too.

    Nathan Cleary

    (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

    The new-look Knights give back to their long-suffering fans
    I’m a huge fan of Daly Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic Brothers. They are superb blokes and even better players. So my joy in watching the Knights triumph in the second period of extra time was not provoked by any anti-Sea Eagles agenda.

    The Knights 17 featured nine new faces from the side that collected their third straight wooden spoon in 2017. The crowd of incredibly loyal supporters that has averaged 15,000 through some very tough times swelled to 23,516 and when Mitchell Pearce slotted that field goal in the 88th minute, they rightly went wild with joy.

    For me, that’s what the footy is all about. Those moments of joy where players and fans bond in celebration – especially after having been through such a rough trot. And while I’m sure coach Nathan Brown would have preferred an easier win, the crowd’s elation at the manner of the victory may actually deliver this new era at the Knights even greater momentum and belief than an easy one would have.

    The Titans comeback that I wish I could have enjoyed
    When Konrad Hurrell scored in the last minute of the Titans-Raiders game, the beleaguered team and their fans went into a frenzy. Down 18-0 after just 12 minutes, and then 24-6 after 26 minutes, the Titans could have been forgiven for giving up the ghost. As a Raiders man to the core, I wish they had.

    However, the likes of the largely unknown and certainly unheralded Max King, along with castaway Mitch Rein, the underrated Ryan James and Jai Arrow dug deep and fought their way back into the match. Their domination of the first 20 minutes of the second half was outstanding, as they only allowed the Raiders 22 per cent possession. Ash Taylor then stepped up with four try assists, more than justifying the hype around his potential.

    While I can certainly appreciate why so many enjoyed the comeback and resultant victory, forgive me if it didn’t fill my heart with joy.

    Jarrod Croker Canberra Raiders NRL Rugby League 2017

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Unfortunately, amongst the really enjoyable things, there was some utter rubbish as well.

    In the offseason, we were told by NRL HQ that the sin bin would be used more frequently for acts of foul play. While we did see a few players spend ten on the pine in Round 1, as usual they were for professional fouls that were adjudged to be stopping scoring opportunities.

    There were three clear incidents that were brought to the attention of the officials and able to be reviewed that warranted further action both on the field and subsequently to the match.

    However, once more the NRL’s actions made a mockery of their words.

    Jaydn Su’A takes out Paul Vaughan
    Paul Vaughan was a decoy runner. The ball went behind him. Jaydn Su’A lined up Vaughn and copped the player – who wasn’t ever in possession and certainly had zero reason to expect it – with a blatant shoulder charge to the sternum.

    It took Vaughan out of the game and made him vomit. It was – pure and simple – a dog act. While the referees picked it up and awarded the Dragons a penalty, the replays clearly showed the vile nature of the thuggery. It should have been a send-off, or at the very least ten in the bin. That would have been clearly in keeping with NRL HQ’s pre season posturing.

    However, even though the game was gone as a contest, the officials still couldn’t bring themselves to punish Su’A’s shocking act with a binning. His subsequent paltry one-match ban would have had Arthur Coman rolling in his grave.

    Pathetic stuff from the officials.

    MRC rules Michael Jennings’ hit on Josh Mansour not a shoulder charge
    Although it was penalised for being a shoulder charge during the game, Michael Jennings’ late shoulder to Josh Mansour was judged to be not worthy of suspension by the Match Review Committee.

    To try and establish why that was the case I wrote to the NRL’s Media Manager, Glenn Jackson, and asked him the following:

    1. Who are the NRL using this year for the match review committee?
    2. Who were the MRC members who reviewed the Parramatta Penrith game?
    3. Why was Michael Jennings not charged for his late shoulder charge on Josh Mansour?

    However, Jackson failed to respond to these simple questions within 24 hours, a concerning trend for my requests.

    The MRC’s decision – whoever they may be – to not charge Jennings is disappointing, especially as we’ve seen many similar actions regularly receive suspensions in recent years.

    However, the Parramatta centre did get a harshly written ‘concerning act’ letter from the NRL – something that has all the force of being hit with a wet piece of lettuce. Sending him to bed without dinner would have more effect. This hopefully isn’t the start of another year of dismal inconsistency from the MRC.

    Only a warning for blatantly grabbing genitalia
    In the second half of the Titans-Raiders game, Canberra Winger Jordana Rapana got up angrily from a tackle and told the referee that a Titans player had deliberately and painfully grabbed his genitals. The video evidence certainly showed that Kevin Proctor had reached between Rapana’s legs and firmly rooted around.

    The Raiders players’ angry reaction – especially towards a supposedly close friend and former schoolmate – showed there was something in the incident. However, neither David Munro nor Henry Perenara chose to have the allegation reviewed by the bunker or to even put it on report.

    The crew on the Matty Johns Show thought it was worthy of a good old laugh. You see, while sticking your fingers in someone’s date is apparently just an appalling act and one that should be punished with banishment from the game, giving an opposition player’s meat and two veg a smashing in a tackle is just plain funny.

    The NRL – while not charging Proctor or even fining him – has sent another one of their dreaded ‘concerning act’ letters, though. Sam Burgess – who was charged and suspended for his actions, missing two weeks – must be wishing he’d got one of those letters instead. Surely trying to tear off Will Chambers’ penis and testicles was just as hilarious.

    I don’t know about you, but there is nothing that makes me laugh quite as hard as what Proctor did. It could only have been funnier if they dacked him for the cameras.

    I for one think it is just great that Munro and Perenara didn’t pander to the snowflakes and overreact by having the incident reviewed to send Proctor from the field. Further, I think it is excellent that the MRC and NRL didn’t send the wrong message to all the parents and kids out there by unnecessarily suspending Proctor.

    After all, we need all those aspiring young rugby league players out there to know that’s part of what makes the NRL such a great game. What’s more, it is downright hilarious.

    Tim Gore
    Tim Gore

    Tim has been an NRL statistician for ABC Radio Grandstand since 1999, primarily as part of their Canberra coverage. Tim has loved rugby league since Sterlo was a kid with lots of hair but was cursed with having no personal sporting ability whatsoever. He couldn't take a hit in footy, was a third division soccer player making up numbers, plays off 41 in golf and is possibly the world's worst cricketer ever. He has always been good at arguing the point though and he has a great memory of what happened. Follow Tim on Twitter.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (80)

    • Roar Guru

      March 15th 2018 @ 10:00am
      spruce moose said | March 15th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

      Tim,

      Nice summation on the matches. With regard to your 3 unpunished observations

      1. Yes, Jaydn Su’A should have been sent off. I’d love to know why he wasn’t either. Usually the refs refrain from enforcing rules because they have been told that ‘balance’ is more important than enforcement of rules – which is the most pathetic excuse in the book. But in this case, the game was as a good as done. St George had it wrapped up, there were but minutes remaining. It was the perfect opportunity for the officiators to make a statement and send him off with the message that dog acts won’t be tolerated at any time. Quite simply, there was no excuse for him to still be on the park. He should have been given a month. Two for the shoulder, and two for it being off the ball.
      2. Agree. You should have asked the 4th question: If the MRP (apparently) have deemed it not to be a shoulder charge, will there be any mark left against the referees for making the (apparently) wrong call? That was a shoulder charge 24/7/365.
      3. There was a time when the Christmas tackle was an automatic send off, and rightly considered to be worse than tripping in things you just don’t ever do on a pitch. I remember Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns on the Sunday footy show a few years ago absolutely lay into footage of Josh Reynolds attempting to trip someone and railing against such grubbery. Considering the NRL as of 2017 now consider tripping to be worthy of only a fine instead of a match ban, are we really so surprised that the junk is now considered fair game?

      As is often the case Tim, I couldn’t agree with you more. Punitive measures have long left the game, and we see it’s consequences now.

      • March 16th 2018 @ 10:43am
        ken gargett said | March 16th 2018 @ 10:43am | ! Report

        tim, i must say my first reaction to your thoughts on Sua was, hang on, isn’t this the bloke who defended soliala so vehmently? not arguing with you re sua’s act but i must say that my impression was that we might be looking at two standards here.
        just on the nice guy defence which you rolled out for soliala, sua was from the same school in brizzy as croft, ponga and plenty of rugby players. mates still teach there and i have never heard anything but the most positive thoughts and reports about the kid. i was surprised when i saw it as, although he plays very hard, it is not something in his nature, if all reports are to be believed. which was a good part of your defence of soliala. in both cases though, it should be the act on field that is to be judged. both were not good (i’d argue soliala was considerably worse but then others might legitimately suggest the colour of the jersey influenced me).

        one small correction, not jamayne isaako’s debut. he played a game or two last year – origin period, i think. have a feeling he stepped in at fullback, if memory serves. he is a talent.

        as for the broncs, what a dismal effort. i know only round one but they need to lift their game a mile. i’ve seen worse performances by them and bigger losses but i don’t ever remember so many bone-headed, dumb errors and stupid plays.
        they lacked a kicking game, organisation and go-forward. otherwise, they were just bog-average.

    • Roar Guru

      March 15th 2018 @ 10:28am
      Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

      Not sure why you’re singling out Su’a, there were a lot of shoulder charges and players getting taken out off the ball over the round that drew no criticism. Hell, Hayne was even praised putting a hit on a player that was a dead set shoulder charge

      • Columnist

        March 15th 2018 @ 11:10am
        Tim Gore said | March 15th 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

        Emcie, the ball went obviously well behind Vaughn, it was well past him when Su’A deliberately lined him up – with a shoulder – and hit a totally prone player who had no reason to think he’d be hit right in the solar plexus. Vaughn never had the ball and even if he had it still would have been very late.
        It was totally premeditated and extremely dangerous. It was the act of a total thug. Should have been sent off. None of the other shoulder charges were nearly as bad.
        That’s why I singled it out.

        • Roar Guru

          March 15th 2018 @ 12:04pm
          Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          So Su’a’s a total thug now but Soliola’s a saint?

          I’m not defending Su’a but I do think people are going overboard with the dog shot calls. I personally think theres a big difference between a single stupid decision to put a hit on a forward running into the defensive line as a decoy and deliberately running through the line to put a late shot on Thurston every time he touches the ball which we saw constantly in the Cowboys Sharks game, but I guess thats ok because its tactics

          • Columnist

            March 15th 2018 @ 12:28pm
            Tim Gore said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

            Emcie, Slater had just had the ball. I said at the time it was a send off. He got 5 weeks. Su’A got one solitary week. Vaughn had never had the ball and it was nowhere near him when he was hit. It was late. It was intentional. It was a shoulder charge. Justify the thuggery anyway you want. It was a plain and simple dog shot. I’d have sent him off. I’d have suspended him for four.

            • Roar Guru

              March 15th 2018 @ 1:27pm
              Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

              At what point have I defended the hit? I’m highlighting the lack of attention the other numerous examples of shoulder charges and players getting taken out off the ball have been getting this round.

              You wrote a whole peice on how Soliola’s hit wasn’t refective of his character and people should calm down because he’s a nice guy, yet you’re very quick to lable Su’a as a thug. Soliola’s hit on Slater was miles worse then Su’as. The player Slater passed the ball too was already being tackled before Soliola even made contact with Slater, Su’a on the other hand lined Vaughn up the instant the ball was passed in his direction and hit him before the intended player even caught the ball. Soliola was targeting a playmaker, Su’a was defending his line. It was illegal and it was worth a report but in no way is it in the same stratosphere as Soliola’s hit. Don’t tell me your opinions aren’t coloured by what jersey the player is wearing.

              • Columnist

                March 15th 2018 @ 2:02pm
                Tim Gore said | March 15th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

                They aren’t coloured by the jersey, Emcie. It was piss poor.
                It was very much in the same stratosphere. Slater slipped and got a forearm in the head that was meant for his ribs. It was late – no question. It was a send off.
                But Slater had at least had the ball. Vaughn never had and any decent player could have seen that.
                PLUS it was a total shoulder charge. Sia’s arm into the ribs would have been legal. Su’A’s was illegal in any event.
                What other hit from the weekend do you think was worthy of the same attention? I pointed out the three incidents I saw that I thought very poor.
                What have I missed that should be put up in lights like the Su’A low rent thuggery?

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 4:15pm
                Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                You’re opinions on players character are most certainly coloured by what jersey they wear. Soliola hits a player with a swinging arm extremely late and its not a dog shot and he’s a great guy so forgive him, Su’a hits a decoy runner without the ball and he’s a complete thug and its a total dog shot. Here’s a direct quote- “replays clearly showed the vile nature of the thuggery”, sounds very much like double standards to me. Pryde (a dragons supporter) was calling the game and mentioned it was probably worth one or two weeks but you’re saying that he deserves four and that its comparible to Soliolas hit (which you’re still trying to justify) so yes, I do think you’re going a bit overboard. It definately deserved to be put on report but lets keep the outrage within reason.

                My original comment was never about the severity of the hit, it was how he’s getting singled out despite numerous other shoulder charges and late hits this round and Su’a being the only guy actually charged for a shoulder charge. It seems we’ve gone back to the shoulder charge only being illegal if someone gets hurt. Haynes shoulder charge in particular really confused me as they kept showing replays of it and calling it a great hit.

              • Columnist

                March 15th 2018 @ 4:22pm
                Tim Gore said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                I said Soliola should have been sent off and had no issue with the 5 weeks.
                Soliola didn’t mean to hit Slater in the head.
                Su’A totally meant to do what he did.

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 4:43pm
                Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

                Both players made deliberate heavy contact against unprepared opponants. Slater getting knocked out was an unintended consequence, Vaughn leaving the field was an unintended consequence. Your opinion regarding intent heavily favours the innocence of a guy that plays for your team and the absolute guite of a player that doesn’t. And that shot was nowhere near as bad as Soliolas, don’t even try mate

            • March 15th 2018 @ 10:27pm
              Concussed said | March 15th 2018 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

              I would interested to see how you would view pongas hit. No arms all shoulder, prevented a certain try and he is being hailed for putting his body on the line.

          • Roar Guru

            March 15th 2018 @ 1:20pm
            The Barry said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

            Sorry Emcie…it was an ordinary shot.

            The ball was nowhere near Vaughan and he’d even slowed on his run. Su’a has plenty of time to pull out of the tackle – I doubt he ever seriously thought Vaughan was getting the ball.

            There are lots of times I have empathy for the defender because the play is flat, close to the line, the decoy is running a line close to the receiver and genuinely looks like he could get the ball. The defender either makes the tackle in case the ball player hits the decoy at first receiver who walks through a hole,

            This one had none of those benchmarks though.

            • Roar Guru

              March 15th 2018 @ 1:35pm
              Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

              It was ordinary, I’m not saying otherwise. But given the ammount of attention this is getting compared to players deliberately trying to take out take out Thurston off the ball and many other example over the round I find it hard to justify singling out Su’a just because his hit got numerous replays in slow motion

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 2:01pm
                The Barry said | March 15th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                I think the fact Vaughan was left vomiting after the tackle didn’t help. But there was still a high level of brutality against a player completely unprepared. I didn’t see anything else that compared to it over the weekend.

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 4:17pm
                Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                …there was a squirrel grip…

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 4:52pm
                The Barry said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

                Completely different…the squirrel grip is grubby but it doesn’t have the same brutality as the Su’a hit.

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 5:42pm
                Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                I dunno…

        • Roar Guru

          March 15th 2018 @ 4:53pm
          Matt H said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

          “It was the act of a total thug.”
          “the vile nature of the thuggery.”

          So is Jaydn Su’A a total thug, performing acts of a vile nature?

          Has he got history?

          I’ve heard you defend other players in exactly the same circumstances, saying reactions are over the top because the player is a nice guy with no history.

          Maybe you’ve given in to a bit of hyperbole temptation?

    • March 15th 2018 @ 10:59am
      Hughster said | March 15th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      Great work as usual Tim. The reluctance to use the bin has been an issue for years. If Rapana had lashed out (and I suspect that was the intent of the “tickle” he would have got 10. The NRL don’t seem to be concerned with cause and effect matters and they have a great resource in the sin bin to immediately focus teams on what is the preferred way to play the game.

      I also agree with Emcie that the Su’a matter was not unique. While consistency is the holy grail for league fans it should never be an excuse for inaction. Su’a should have been marched. Do we need to wait until a Thurston gets taken out of the game altogether before the administrators realise that grubby off the ball incidents are a continuing blight on the game.

      2nd most infuriating issue after the reluctance to penalise teams during golden point. Maybe we should have an extra tackle / advantage provision to deal with situations where teams are regularly offside in attempting charge downs.

      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2018 @ 11:29am
        spruce moose said | March 15th 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        2nd most infuriating issue after the reluctance to penalise teams during golden point. Maybe we should have an extra tackle / advantage provision to deal with situations where teams are regularly offside in attempting charge downs.

        Partly why we should do away with golden point and just have draws. They are such an embarrassment. Just one team taking pot shots and the other team basically permanently camped inside the 10, with markers that are never close to square, and the refs FedExing their whistles to Siberia.

        • Columnist

          March 15th 2018 @ 12:19pm
          AJ Mithen said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          Was thinking about this just the other day… I like the NFL method of overtime (if a field goal is kicked the opposition gets the ball for one more crack – but a touchdown ends the game).

          Reckon that can work well in the NRL – a try ends the game but a field goal/penalty goal doesn’t. Maybe then refs wouldn’t put the whistles away, who knows.

          • Roar Guru

            March 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm
            Nat said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

            Why not like the finals last year? Have extra time, 5each way then golden point.

            • March 15th 2018 @ 12:56pm
              Hughster said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

              Draws still exist if no team scores in extra time. I like the idea of the introducing the NFL system or alternatively just have 5/10 mins each way and eliminate golden point. No problem with pursuing an outcome on the day but I suspect most fans would be satisfied with that outcome being a fair one.

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 1:28pm
                Nat said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

                Personally I’m happy with a draw but when the games major sponsors are bookies, I suspect they want an outcome. At least with that extra time the refs can officiate correctly and both teams have a crack at scoring and/or defending their lead. It is early enough in the season to blow the whistle/set the standard for offside in GP now if that’s the way they want it played. Markers square and back the 10, if you take off early, you lose via penalty shot. Surely 2 refs can manage that.

              • Roar Guru

                March 15th 2018 @ 3:11pm
                spruce moose said | March 15th 2018 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                Bookies prefer a draw in the market.

                They get MUCH more money if there is a draw.

              • March 15th 2018 @ 4:20pm
                Big Daddy said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

                Hughster,
                The nfl system is definitely the way to go.
                Extra time is a disadvantage to the team that doesn’t receive the ball first.
                If they have a field gold kicked against them they don’t get an opportunity to reply.
                Play the extra time right out as they do in a finals match.
                Either that or scrap it all together.
                As a football code we have a lot to learn from other codes.
                Most football codes around the world except nfl play no extra time in their home and away .
                Physically it’s hard enough to play 80 without going into extra time.
                I wonder if NRL officials have ever asked player’s what their thoughts are.

              • March 16th 2018 @ 12:02am
                Kris’ said | March 16th 2018 @ 12:02am | ! Report

                Rugby league players are not fit enough for 80 minutes. So many stoppages .

    • March 15th 2018 @ 11:08am
      Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | March 15th 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      Great article Tim. So many games to enjoy on the weekend and the unexpected results just add to the enjoyment. I have a feeling that there are going to be number of upsets this season which make it a tipster’s nightmare – but this just makes it more fun to watch if you haven’t invested too much in the result of each match. Winning matches just got that much harder with teams like the Knights, Tigers, Titans and the Dogs improving significantly compared to last year. It took me quite a while to get over yet another close loss for the Raiders. I honestly thought they were going to ice that game despite being starved of possession in the second half which would have been quite a feat considering. But an unecessary batting down of a pass by BJ near the end of a set gave the Titans 6 more tackles when the Raiders were completely gassed. And the bounce of the ball from a speculative kick by Elgey that fell into Hurrell’s lap for the winning try in the 79th minute just added salt into the wounds. I just hope Ricky gave BJ an almighty spray for that. Totally unnecessary and so damaging from a team perspective. Some of the Raiders players need to sharpen up their thinking. And hard to disagree with your assessment of the actions of the 3 players that went unpunished. I wondered what on earth Rapana was blowing up about but the footage against Proctor at the end of the match was pretty damning. Rapana had every right to deck him. And those dog shots on players off the ball when they are least expecting it need to be punished

      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2018 @ 4:56pm
        Matt H said | March 15th 2018 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

        Some Raiders appear to struggle with decision making under severe fatigue. I assume they try to simulate this in the off season?

        And if you are not going to march people for the Proctor action, then you have to let punching back in, because players will take matters into their own hands.

    • Roar Guru

      March 15th 2018 @ 12:02pm
      Scott Pryde said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

      Euan Aitken could play Origin this year. Maybe next if not. He just needs to stay healthy.

      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2018 @ 12:21pm
        Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

        He was lining up against two wingers and Milford though, I’d like to see how he goes against some solid opposition before praising him too much

        • Roar Guru

          March 15th 2018 @ 1:32pm
          The Barry said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

          Agree with that but he looked in pretty good nick…he was a little ball of muscle in tight white shorts…🤨

          To be honest the whole Dragons team looked pretty fit (in the appropriate sense of the word)

          • Roar Guru

            March 15th 2018 @ 1:37pm
            Emcie said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            If the football gods cared about looking in good nick ET would have a dozen premierships to his name…

      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2018 @ 1:58pm
        Kaks said | March 15th 2018 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

        He also needs to learn how to pass before he becomes Dugan 2.0

    • March 15th 2018 @ 12:20pm
      Ian Sutherland said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

      Can someone please explain to me why 25 head high and/or late shots were not penalised in the TV games I watched but about 25 people were penalised for not playing the ball correctly. Focus on stopping head highs & some parents might consider letting their children play this game.

      • Roar Guru

        March 15th 2018 @ 12:40pm
        Rellum said | March 15th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

        Why not do both?

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