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Bellamy's Storm beat Bennett's Broncos, but it was no grudge match. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

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When animals become ill or injured, they are often humanely put out of their misery. Sometimes rugby league matches should meet the same fate.

In an error-ridden contest at ANZ Stadium in front of a poor crowd, the Roosters held onto an early lead for 75 minutes and kept the hapless Bulldogs scoreless.

There have historically been excellent low-scoring affairs where the defence has dominated, with both teams completing well and putting immense pressure on each other with their respective kicking games.

This, sadly, was not one of those matches. Latrell Mitchell scored in the fifth minute after a penalty for an incorrect play-the-ball against Aaron Woods.

I wrote a few weeks back that Woods’ sloppiness would hurt the Bulldogs at some point, yet I also recognised that the failure to award another penalty for the same offence throughout the remainder of the match is a continuation of inconsistent refereeing of the highest (or lowest) order.

The try was converted and the Roosters took the early lead, a lead they would never give up and one the Bulldogs rarely looked like diminishing.

With a massive advantage in possession and field position, particularly in the second half, the Dogs reverted to the Des Hasler playbook and ran forward after forward, one out, and the Roosters’ organised defence rose to the challenge.

Aaron Woods

(Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Moreover, the last tackle-kicking options were utterly appalling, with a bomb from 40 metres out proving the kick of choice. Grubbers were ineffective and attacking players were rarely present to even make a contest of the situation.

The impotent backline attack was underwhelming and offered no promise, with most of the possession shifted wide resulting in a couple of twins running sideways or dropped ball.

The Roosters were more than guilty in that area themselves, with 28 handling errors made between both sides throughout the course of the game. A very disappointed crowd shuffled through the gates at night’s end.

All credit to the chooks, however: they were far more dangerous in attack and defended gamely on their line.

I’m still waiting for the second set to begin; the first set was a dud.

The same cannot be said of the second match played this weekend, as the two form teams in the competition faced off at Mount Smart Stadium.

With the Dragons under a cloud of illness and the Warriors without talisman Shaun Johnson, it was a tough contest to line up, and the 80 minutes of action lived up to the hype of two teams who have hardly missed a beat in 2018.

The Warriors took the early initiative and went to the break with a 10-0 lead. Expectedly, the Dragons came home strongly and won the second half by two, yet the Warriors held on for a 20-12 victory that will add further belief to their squad and continue the momentum they have built early in the season.

The frightful thing for much of the competition was the outstanding performance of Issac Luke, who dominated through the middle and capped off a brilliant game with a try in the second half.

It was the best performance Luke has produced for some time, and with the depth and power across the Warriors squad when all fit and healthy, the impressive spine they possess must surely see them as a potential premiership winner.

The contest reeked of a finals clash, with both teams looking like top-four combatants, and every time the Dragons threw something at the Warriors, the home side responded.

Stephen Kearney might have something special on his hands with this team, and the Dragons also look like they will take some beating. It might be a fair prediction to suggest that they may ruffle each other’s feathers much later in the year when the stakes are far higher.

Dragons

(Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The media-hyped grudge match/job interview between the master coach and the supposed ‘apprentice’ seeking to assume his throne at the Broncos played out in an expected manner.

Craig Bellamy has an astonishing record against Wayne Bennett, and despite a gallant Broncos team, the visitors had the northerner’s measure for much of the contest.

Despite scoring early, the remainder of the first half was ugly for Brisbane, and Melbourne were clinical in establishing a 14-point lead by half-time with tries to Slater (2) and Addo-Carr silencing the crowd.

The Broncos were better in the second period, yet the brilliance of Anthony Milford is still moderated by errors, as his crucial misread of a Storm grubber kick allowed Suliasi Vunivalu to score the matchwinning try with 12 minutes remaining on the clock.

The match was entertaining and befitting of two professional and polished teams, and it was only tarnished by some silly media throughout the week attempting to personalise the clash as a ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ moment between two of the game’s greatest coaches.

In the end it was a quality encounter where the football outshone any backroom coaching deals that may be unfolding in the boardrooms of NRL clubs.

Stuart Thomas
Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas is a sports writer and educator who made the jump from Roar Guru to Expert in 2017. An ex-trainee professional golfer, his sporting passions are broad with particular interests in football, AFL and rugby league. His love of sport is only matched by his passion for gardening and self-sustainability. Follow him on Twitter @stuartthomas72.

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The Crowd Says (126)

  • April 21st 2018 @ 7:14am
    Forty Twenty said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:14am | ! Report

    The Roosters defence had a touch of SOO about it and was almost faultless. When Latrell Mitchell gets the defence a little bit disjointed he has an ability to walk thru them in a style I can’t recall seeing before and Victor Radley is out of the box also with his ability to wack much bigger players.

    It’s not going so well for the critics of coaches this year. The candidates for the ”most likely to be sacked first ‘
    award are not responding to the label on their forehead saying ‘çan’t coach’ and instead are vying for the coach of the year award.

    Meanwhile a few who ‘çan coach’ are potentially joining Disco Des at the CES office in the near future.

    Maybe Kearney will at some stage in the future be credited with his world cup title as a coach instead of his assistant.

    Bringing in Dean Pay to revive the Dogs of war was certainly what the fans wanted but the idea that the only good coach is one who played for the club he is now coaching is just comedy. The dogs of 18 look a lot like the Dogs of 17 but better and pretty close to the Dragons of 17 when they faded. The attack is too predictable and lacking creativity. An example is Josh Jackson in the second half throwing a long pass to the winger when nothing was on yet back inside was a great chance to ignite something. Not blaming Jackson because the inside players could have called for the ball and created a chance.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 21st 2018 @ 9:03am
      Joe said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      Dogs attack has been inconsistent at best this year but I thought they have showed more good attacking games than last year. They were pretty good last week against the Cows but whoever came up with the game plan this week was way off. Both the Warriors and Rabbits showed how to play the Roosters, quick dummy half run right up the middle.and they have Lichaa who can do just that. In fact I thought he was saying mid-week that was what he was going to do. Instead what we saw was the old go wide early with out the back plays which the Roosters shut down with ease. That Jackson pass you mentioned being one of those times…all of them well covered and he still passed to the winger to get bundled into touch. Also Lichaa takes too much time to pass and gives no room for his halves.

  • Roar Rookie

    April 21st 2018 @ 7:23am
    Ray Stewart said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:23am | ! Report

    Bellamy still has a human fly in that Brisbane dressing room.

    It almost seemed like Smith and co. knew before kick-off that Broncos were going to come up compressed in defence.
    Bellamy and Smith will leave smirking, anything to get a win.

    Slater was all class in the aftermath of the ‘knock-in’ – the officials have got rocks in their heads!

    • Roar Guru

      April 21st 2018 @ 7:32am
      The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      The Slater call was appalling.

      Searching for black and white rulings the refs are now calling a dropped kick a drop kick. That has been a clear no try for 110 years, I have seen literally dozens of those disallowed over the years.

      The explanation from Klein, is an absolute joke. “He’s entitled to drop kick it, he doesn’t necessarily have to go for the posts” is howling mad. This is the most un rugby league decision I have ever seen. If referees seriously need a black and white ruling like that to be able to determine if someone is going for a field goal or not then they shouldn’t be refereeing under 7s let alone NRL.

      Slaters copped some heat lately for his unsportsmanlike diving but full credit to him before and after the refs decision saying no try.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 7:38am
        Fraser said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report

        Not only was it a dropped kick, it bounced twice before he kicked it! Shocking decision.

        Definitely cost the Broncos the game #refsfault #jokes

        • Roar Guru

          April 21st 2018 @ 8:12am
          Emcie said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:12am | ! Report

          Didn’t cost the Broncs the game. It didn’t help but the Broncos were their own worst enemy at times during the first half. If your defence is reliant on the opposition dropping the ball over the try line then its hard to justify saying we were robbed

          • April 21st 2018 @ 8:26am
            Fraser said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:26am | ! Report

            Please refer to #jokes above. I agree that the Broncos were their own worst enemy. They fought so hard to get back into the game and then went to sleep.

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 8:40am
              Emcie said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

              Ah, sorry, missed that, just too used to #refsfault being far too litteral…..

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 8:54am
              The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

              You need a sarcasm font Fraser…🤣

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 8:57am
              Emcie said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:57am | ! Report

              Should be prefaced with “/s”

            • April 21st 2018 @ 9:01am
              Fraser said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

              Sorry for not making my tongue in cheek statement clearer!

              It did bounce twice though and if my GIF making skills were any good I’d prove it (I had too much time on my hands at work today).

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 9:03am
              Nat said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:03am | ! Report

              THERE’S GOT TO BE AN INVESTIGATION!!!

              #70minstogo

        • April 21st 2018 @ 8:29am
          Paul said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

          The try was scored in the 10th minute so you’re telling us in the remaining 70 minutes, the Broncos couldn’t get a win because of this one decision? Brilliant comment. NOT

          • Roar Guru

            April 21st 2018 @ 8:44am
            Emcie said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

            I think we both missread that comment mate

            • April 21st 2018 @ 9:09am
              Paul said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

              Yep, sorry but it didn’t read tongue in cheek.

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 9:13am
              Emcie said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:13am | ! Report

              His satire is too strong for us lowly mortals

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 8:00am
        eagleJack said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        The explanation from the NRL that it was the correct decision is what is scary.

        You can now knock the ball on, but kick it after it has bounced, and it will be deemed a drop-kick. Sutton reminding us that you don’t have to be going for a field goal to perform a drop-kick.

        I can’t see this causing any issues…..

        • April 21st 2018 @ 8:14am
          Peter Phelps said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:14am | ! Report

          No, that is not what they said. The ref took the view (and the video seemed to suggest) that Billy had intended to kick the ball in goal and chase it. In those circumstances, the ball hitting the grass first is not deemed a knock on.

          It surprised Billy, it surprised commentators and it surprised me but it has since been confirmed by the NRL as being the correct decision. They are not saying a dropped ball kicked forward as a recovery action is not a knock on.

          It is a very fine distinction that has caught everyone out but lets not make it out to be something it isn’t.

          Time to move on.

          • April 21st 2018 @ 8:16am
            jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:16am | ! Report

            No time to blow up over Refs not taking into account PRECEDENT. It has never to my knowledge been ruled that way before. I stand to be corrected.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 8:58am
              Jeffrey Dun said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

              I can recall at least one precedent jimmmy.

              Wests v Saints around 2010/11, Benji dropped the ball, but reacted very quickly and executed a perfect little drop kick behind Saints line, regathered and scored. The try was awarded.

              There was no doubt that it was a simple dropped ball. He didn’t kick it on the second bounce, however.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 9:02am
              Fraser said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

              Completely different. Benji makes contact before it hits the ground. It’s a terribly messed up kick, but it’s still a kick.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 10:33am
              Jacko said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

              And terribly messed up drop kicks are still kicks are they not?

            • April 21st 2018 @ 11:23am
              Jeffrey Dun said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:23am | ! Report

              Fraser says: “Completely different. Benji makes contact before it hits the ground.”

              Your wrong Fraser. It was a drop kick. See youtube:

              I’m not sure what he was trying to do. You can make up your own mind. The commentators thought it should have been called a knock on.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 12:22pm
              Fraser said | April 21st 2018 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              0-0 in the 3rd minute and he’s going for a drop kick? I’m most definitely not wrong.

              If we are adjudicating now based on what the commentators say instead of using our own eyes, let’s use Rabs’ quote as it happens, “it was almost an air swing”.

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 11:43am
              The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

              I think that one is different Jeffrey.

              The question there is whether Marshall gets his foot to the ball or not. I reckon it glanced off his boot before or as it hit the ground and was a fair try.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 2:40pm
              Craig said | April 21st 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

              Broncos beat Souths last year when Milford (?) Dropped the ball and kicked it through for a field goal. Slightly different to last night as he was actually wanting to kick a field goal but in this case he never actually caught the ball, just stone cold dropped it and was lucky enough to drop it in front of his foot

            • April 21st 2018 @ 4:12pm
              Fraser said | April 21st 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

              Thanks Craig. That has nothing to do with this.

              #penaltybroncos

          • April 21st 2018 @ 8:24am
            jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

            In retrospect it’s worse than that. It introduces just what RL needs . One more grey area. You can now drop kick anywhere but not drop and kick anywhere. Well that’s helpful.

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 8:37am
              The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

              The frustrating thing is this has never been an issue. I’ve seen dozens of these over the years ruled as knock ons and no one has ever complained or come up with the “how do you know he wasn’t going for field goal” defence.

              Now we’ve got this dopey ruling…

          • Roar Guru

            April 21st 2018 @ 8:40am
            eagleJack said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

            Move on? There are countless examples of players going for a kick, it hitting the ground first, and therefore being called a knock on.

            I can’t help but think we can add this to TBSE – The Billy Slater Effect. Incidents that involve officials ignoring rules and precedent when Slater is involved. Not his fault. Even he said it wasn’t a try. But the officials get caught in some sort of trance when Slater is in the play.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 9:29am
              Albo said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

              Nailed it, EJ !

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 9:39am
              PNG Broncos fan88 said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

              TBSE on the way to another premiership, give them the trophy already.

              So damn frustrating for the other 15 clubs and their supporters

        • April 21st 2018 @ 8:14am
          jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:14am | ! Report

          EJ it was mind blowing. I was at the game and You had Billy shaking his head saying ‘nah sorry boys ‘ at the same time some Wally is awarding the try.
          It reminds me of the Brett Hodgson try in Origin where he tried to catch the ball, it bounced off his chest and was ruled OK. The fact that the decision threw a hundred years of precedent out the window was ignored.
          In law there would be a successful High Court appeal.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 8:29am
        jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        TB this is most accurate of comments. That decision lessens our game and that makes me sad. Hopefully like the Hodgson decision in Origin ,sanity will prevail and this egregious interpretation will ultimately be reversed.

        • April 21st 2018 @ 8:40am
          Peter Phelps said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          Fully agree with that. Its a bad interpretation.

        • April 21st 2018 @ 2:37pm
          Footy Fan said | April 21st 2018 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

          For many years in the past, we’ve allowed a certain *small* amount of luck of the bounce and ability to recover from minor mis-execution. I don’t like the current trend of over-calling most mis-execution and I wouldn’t want scope for refs applying their own unique interpretations and / or mind-reading what the player was trying to do.

          Most knocks of the ball are being called knock-ons, even when they weren’t in the past, such as facing your own line and/or the ball bounces behind. If the player has a minor miscue and either intentionally recovers, or somehow flukes it so that the end result is close to the case of an intentional correct play, then good for them, that’s the luck of the bounce, and play-on. Encourage players to attack the ball or take an attacking play with a little more flair. Rather than keeping things entirely, safe 5 barges plus kick, keeping back from the riskier jump & catch or the riskier run/pass/kick. And less stoppages for borderline cases is good. Clearcut cases, fine, have a stoppage.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 8:38am
        Paul said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        good morning TB,

        I remember in the 4 tackle era guys going for a number of drop kicks that were not field goals. These were often used to go for touch but were also used in general play. Billy Smith from the Dragons did this quite often, for example. The grubber kick eventually took over, but it was used in the 60’s at least.

        My first viewing of this incident was “try” and I see no reason to change that. Part of the reason for Kleins explanation was because the Broncos guys were obviously saying you can’t drop kick a ball unless you’re going for a field goal, which is quite incorrect.

        Yes, it does introduce a whole area of grey but this is not new, only rare. The only way to take it out of the game is by removing the drop kick as a method of getting rid of the ball, unless it’s a shot at field goal. As it stands, it was a try, the rules still in place and Melbourne deserved to win.

        • Roar Guru

          April 21st 2018 @ 8:50am
          The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

          Thanks Paul…the four tackle era pre dats my time watching the game.

          I have seen plenty since though exactly like this though where the attacking player has mistimed his kick and they’ve all been pulled up as knock ons. I’ve never seen this interpretation and no one has ever complained.

          From a logical point of view the ruling makes sense but from a football perspective it’s just daft.

          Slater didn’t mean for the ball to bounce before he kicked it, he clearly wasn’t going for field goal. Knock on.

        • April 21st 2018 @ 8:54am
          Lovey said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          Agreed, he was probably going for a punt but it hit the deck first. Unfortunately it does come down to intent though, so would this be a knock-on? And did he propel the ball to opponents tryline with his hands?

      • April 21st 2018 @ 9:11am
        soapit said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        i can live with it. for me slater originally wanted to kick it one way then realises it was blocked and then purposefully dropped it somewhere else at the last second without really being sure if he could get his foot to it on the full. the drop was intentional and controlled, just not fully thought through.

        i could also live with it just being called a knock on and it would make it a helluva lot simpler. im just glad it happened in a club game, this is the type of genious one in a million call qld somehow find a way to get in origin.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 12:17pm
        Footy Fan said | April 21st 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

        The thing about kicks is that they don’t have to be executed well or to-plan. They’re still kicks. Plenty of times players steaming through the ruck or in-goal will accidentally make contact with a knee or foot to send the ball flying and that’s fine, play on. Think of the can of worms if that wasn’t the case. How can you adjudicate intent or control during kicking? Would need to be psychic. Would also need to put up with an increase in knock-ons / stoppages.

        I had no idea until I checked, but a drop kick is just another type of kick that can be used in any circumstance during general play. I’m guessing most fans wouldn’t know ’cause it just doesn’t arise, but it’s been part of the game’s DNA for 110 years. So the same rule applies – a kick’s a kick no matter how it came about. Seems the simplest version of a rule and the easiest to adjudicate with least impact on flow and least mind-reading required. Trying to insist a drop kick is intentional or deliberately aimed at goal would also be a can of worms (just rarer in occurrence).

        • Roar Guru

          April 21st 2018 @ 12:56pm
          The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

          That all makes complete sense FF, except that for the entire time I’ve watched footy when someone has tried to kick the ball but it hits the ground first it’s been called a knock on. It doesn’t happen often but it’s not that rare.

          It’s not difficult to tell if someone is going to have a shot at field goal or not or whether they’ve deliberately tried to kick a drop goal versus just missed the ball with their foot.

          I think it’s a far better outcome for the game to have refs making adjudication on whether someone has deliberately drop kicked a ball than having tries scored from what are effectively knock ons.

          This ruling avoids the grey area of whether someone is attempting a field goal or not – which is pretty straightforward to adjudicate and doesn’t happen often to create a massive, complicated grey area where whenever a player drops the ball, it hits the ground and then he kicks it, can now say it was a drop kick and the ref has to make a ruling in the players intent. It’s daft.

          • April 21st 2018 @ 1:44pm
            Footy Fan said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

            Yeah, but a knock on is propelling the ball towards an opponent’s goal line. So guiding the ball towards the foot for a kick – even if it does touch the turf before the toe – is a bit different than that. Drop kicks are part of general play, even if players & coaches have been ignoring this for 50 years. Could try to reengineer the rules to take it out, but how exactly? What would be the dividing line between an allowable drop kick, somewhere towards goal v a non-allowable one that’s too far from goal? How could you police intent?

            • Roar Guru

              April 22nd 2018 @ 6:22am
              The Barry said | April 22nd 2018 @ 6:22am | ! Report

              I do see what you’re saying mate but but taking a conventional FG attempt out for a second I don’t see the difference between accidentally dropping the ball forward for a typical knock on or dropping the ball for a kick and accidentally letting it bounce before kicking it. In both cases the ball is propelled forward and the play is a mistake.

              What happens now when someone drops the ball it hits the ground but then he gets his boot to it? Are we going to rule that it’s an attempted field goal? The refs still need to rule intent and to me that seems more of a grey area / fine line to work out whether a player dropped it intentionally or accidentally than working out if someone is having a legitimate shot at FG.

              What would you think of someone who with an absolute straight face tried to tell you that Slater was going for a FG? There’s no chance he was and anyone that says so has no idea. It’s an easy adjudication to make and it’s been how it’s ruled ever since I started watching footy.

              This is not the first time this has happened but it’s the first time I’ve seen it ruled this way.

        • April 21st 2018 @ 2:54pm
          bbt said | April 21st 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

          Back in the 60s, a drop kick in general play was not that unusual, especially when 4 tackles came in and the fullbacks would have kicking duels in general play.

          • Roar Guru

            April 22nd 2018 @ 6:24am
            The Barry said | April 22nd 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

            Gday mate – someone else said that too. It’s before my time, but what was the advantage or the thinking behind doing a drop kick in general play as opposed to a drop punt or torpedo…?

            I would have thought you’d get more ground in a kicking duel with a torpedo than a drop kick?

            • April 22nd 2018 @ 3:32pm
              bbt said | April 22nd 2018 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

              The dropkicks then used to go much further. Now we see them occasionally cross the 50-metre line, but then I remember the fullbacks doing 20 metre line to 20 metre line while the rest of the team just watched the ball fly overhead.

              Someone told me a while ago that the boots were made of heavy leather and better for kicking long distances.

              Or maybe my memory has just blown it up with age!!!

    • Roar Rookie

      April 23rd 2018 @ 1:42pm
      Ray Paks said | April 23rd 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

      Billy f***ing slater.
      In recent weeks, he has managed to fool the on field refs with his ‘diving’ theatrics and then now has fooled the video ref with this. It was a cold-blooded knock on 365 days of the year, any rugby league fan in the world with basic knowledge on the game would have agreed he LOST control (timing, execution) and dropped the ball. I knew it, you knew it, even HE knew it, but the video refs somehow find the most lamest excuse to give the try and in the process reward the guy for his CLUMSINESS!!! This was not luck, it was just plain stupidity on the match officials’ part. What a blunder!

      This leaves me to believe NSW have no chance in this year’s SOO series. With Billy there, he is capable of anything, so when Qld needs it, he’ll pull a penalty try out of his backside and win them the game..

  • Roar Guru

    April 21st 2018 @ 7:23am
    The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:23am | ! Report

    I went out to ANZ for that game on Thursday and it was an absolute bludger of a game.

    After some encouraging signs last week, the Bulldogs attack was back to dire. There’s absolutely no urgency in what they do. Everything is done at 1/2 pace. The plays are run so far away from the defensive line that the Roosters had no problems realigning. Parked in the opposition 20 and they still just do the same old tired five forward hit ups, spin it sideways with a half hearted second man play and then kick it to the opposition.

    Having said that the Dogs forwards were great. You’ve singled out Woods again Stu but he was superb on Thursday. Ran for 240 metres or so but ran hard and with intent. My mate I went to the game with hates Woods even more than you but even he acknowledged Woods played well!

    Klemmer, RFM and Jacko were all very good as well. They hit hard, ran hard and won the contest in the middle pretty convincingly.

    JMK looks close to being a good player and I think he’ll have a game some where he carves up but he’s clearly not a game manager which is what the dogs desperately need. The combo with Foran isn’t there. The problem is the Dogs next options in the halves of Cleeland and Lewis are both running halves as well. But I think they need to look at giving Cleeland a shot. You can’t dominte possession and territory and not score points (not look like scoring points) and not have changes.

    The bench rotation all looks pretty stock standard and uninspiring as well, the one dimensional Adam Elliott comes off and the one dimensional Fualalo comes on. Both go okay and get the job done but no more and they’re hardly striking fear into the opposition. Stings a bit when you look at guys like Graham, Finucane and Taupau running around in other colours.

    Good luck to the Roosters in getting the two points but they’ve got plenty of problems as well.

    • April 21st 2018 @ 7:40am
      jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      Went to the Broncs game as a neutral last night . The Slater try was a shocker . I reckon 100 percent of those have been called knock ons in the past . I do not remember any similar call ever but am ready to be enlightened.

      The Storm are the best coached side in the NRL by a street. In the warm up, virtually all they practiced was short sharp passing. The Broncs practised tactical kicks. The emphasis showed. Also Smith is far and away the best nine EVER.
      His service from DH last night was exemplary.

      The Storm don’t care about the Ref. They are remarkable in completely ignoring the 10m and the Refs calls of held.. And now surprise, surprise the Refs have given up just as Bellamy knew they would. He is a tactical genius.

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 7:57am
        The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        Jimmmy – the Roosters were the same on Thursday night. I don’t know if it came across on the telecast but the Roosters were yards offside pretty much 80% of the time. It’s really obvious when you’re at the game.

        The refs gave a few penalties and the Roosters would be good boys for a set or so but then back to standing offside and leaving the line early. It’s like a game of chicken between refs and clubs and I fear the refs are losing.

        I don’t want this to sound like sour grapes because the Dogs had enough ball and territory to win a dozen games of footy regardless.

        • April 21st 2018 @ 8:09am
          jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:09am | ! Report

          It’s a deliberate tactic. TB. And as it’s successful it will be used by all . I don’t shake my finger at the teams doing it. One thing I have always loved about our game is the coaches and players have always pushed the boundaries. A gentleman’s game it has never been.
          The Refs were always going to crack first.

          You guys looked good against the Cows TB. The form lines are worrying me.

          • Roar Guru

            April 21st 2018 @ 8:47am
            Nat said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

            I was out there too Jimmmy and it was ridiculous. Those Storm boys must all be as quick as JAC getting off the line to meet the ball carrier within a couple of meters of receiving it without being offside. Still Broncos gave themselves the chance to win then gave it away again and again.

            Your’s was a tough one to watch TB but all credit to the Roosters’ D in that final 20mins. The Dogs didn’t deserve to equalize but they didn’t allow the Roosters to skip away either. Marshall King is getting better with every showing (a little bit of Benji in there) but Foran is not taking control in attack. As you say, 5 forward hitups at the line won’t cut it against a well drilled defence.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 8:59am
              jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:59am | ! Report

              The Broncs certainly didn’t dog it Nat. They tackled with intent and kept themselves in the game really well. They were close enough of good enough several times.
              They just lacked that clinical finish. The Oates drop, the Nikorima pass. Willy Carne doesn’t drop that , Kevvy lands that pass on the wingers chest. .
              Still the Broncs season ahead looks promising .
              Macca will be hard to replace though.

            • April 21st 2018 @ 1:57pm
              Chrisn said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

              I believe thats the whole reason the Storm were struggling at the start of the season, because the refs were penslising melbourne consistently. The last two weeks the refs put there whistle away when melbourne are defending and they magically find form.

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 9:19am
        PNG Broncos fan88 said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        Your comment just makes me hate the Storm even more.
        If they are so good, why do they have to resort to underhanded tactics to win?

        That knock-on try was a momentum killer and swung the match Storms way.
        They also knew they were never going to be binned for those repeated infringements late in the 1st half.

        Highlight for me, was the Pangai-Slater palm off.

        Storm are back to dictating the comp now…refs crackdown over 🙁

        • April 21st 2018 @ 11:11am
          Peter Phelps said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Pangia should have been binned for that.

          As for the Slater try, there was nothing underhand or planned tactics about it. It wasn’t a knock on, the ref, video ref and NRL have confirmed that. It may have been surprising but according to the rules, it was not a knock on.

          If that incident turned the match well nothing wrong with that – it was a legitimate try.

          Everything else in your comment is pure sour grapes drivel.

          • April 21st 2018 @ 9:26pm
            Bee bee said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

            If the ref bins a Storm player for 4 penalties inside a few minutes like they should have then Slater doesn’t get swatted.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 21st 2018 @ 9:24am
      Joe said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

      The Dogs forwards were outstanding and overran their counterparts, especially the starting pack. The backs just not taking advantage. Lichaa should have run more with that amount of front foot ball. The Warriors and Rabbitohs dummy half runs cut the Roosters to ribbons but the Dogs kept on with the one out forward runs and then 2nd man plays which were easily covered. Also when they were behind on the scoreboard and needed that one try in the second half the thing that really irked me is they didn’t try anything on tackle 4 or even earlier. One out forward runs all the way to tackle 5 then try something usually a high kick. when the opposition are ready for your play. The top teams put together a play on tackle 4 at least and some on tackle 3.

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 10:33am
        The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        Exactly right Joe…if it’s frustrating as a neutral, imagine being a fan!

    • April 21st 2018 @ 10:11am
      Albo said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Baz , regarding the Dogs v Chooks game, it was one that highlighted the one dimensional attacking styles of both teams. I actually thought the Dogs played nearly as well as they did the week before in Townsville, but their attacking limitations this time were exposed by the Roosters good defence, particularly in closing down the Dogs best attacking left side of RFM and the twins ( something the Cows struggled with). I thought that Cronk, Matterson & Aubusson were outstanding here defensively. Ryan Matterson is fast becoming one of the best edge forwards in the game. The Dogs had enough ball to win a couple of games and really just need some more variation options in their attack , which will come with Foran settling into the team further and Benji’s brother getting more experience. He is a talent in training. And Mbye needs to be getting more involved here. I too thought that Woods was very good and he and Klemmer owned the middle third and this dominance just needs to be capitalised upon. As for the Chooks , they have plenty of problems too. Their pack is struggling to have any impact and their attack seems limited to the Keary sweep around the back looking for an extra man play. At the moment they are surviving only on some individual impacts provided by Mitchell & Teddy and Cronk’s solid all round kicking game.

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 1:00pm
        The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        I think Mbye has looked a little gun shy since his big head knock against Souths. He hasn’t been in the same form.

    • April 21st 2018 @ 10:42am
      no one in particular said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      Foran is the issue. He is not a half, he is a backrower that has fooled many people, including himself, that he is a half.

      It’s because he wore 6 at Manly. But that meant nothing. Glenn Stewart was the ball playing backrower on the right, Foran the same role on the left

    • April 21st 2018 @ 10:59am
      G said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

      Canterbury’s attack looks very similar to St.George 2015-16. They make good yardage and have solid defence but once in the redzone look toothless. If they play straight and hard they’ll be a lot more effective

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 11:29am
        The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:29am | ! Report

        Absolutely. I bang on about this a lot but the Dogs (like the Dragons in 15/16) play too deep and too far from the defensive line.

        For a decoy runner to be effective the defence needs to think he’s a chance of getting the ball. Putting on a play close to the defensive line is how that happens. When you run the play 10 metres from the defensive line the defence knows the first man is not getting the ball and is now in front of the ball so can’t get it. They don’t need to worry about him. They realign and hit the bloke who is getting the ball.

        It’s really a 101 of rugby league.

        There was one passage on Thursday where Foran picked up a loose ball, ran hard at a gap, drew a man, passed and the dogs made a half break and looked sharp. It was all over in a second.

        But they’re obsessed with these second man, out the back plays and everyone having to be in the right place at the right time instead of just taking the ball to the line with bodies in motion and building the play based on how the defence reads and positions itself.

        Foran is one of the best players I’ve seen at going to the line and ball playing yet the Dogs have got him standing 15 metres behind the ruck putting on out the back plays.

        The players threw that stuff in the bin for the last couple of games last year and looked good for it so I don’t understand why they’ve gone back to this inept style.

  • April 21st 2018 @ 7:27am
    Magic Lyrebird said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

    Totally disagree about the Roosters Dogs game. To cut and paste from another thread:

    I thought the first half was lousy – too many arbitrary penalties made it stop start, frustrating, no flow.

    But in the second half, either the players all improved or the ref just decided to put his whistle away, and the game became compelling. As a Dogs fan I stood there, in the middle of washing up, suds on my arms, and couldn’t tear myself away. Fatigue started to have an impact and there were half-gaps everywhere. The score was so tight than one play could have sent the game to golden point.

    I know the Dogs didn’t show much in attack, but they kept trying and again and again it was only magnificent Roosters defence that kept them out. Not much fodder for the highlights reel, but a fantastic game of trench warfare footy!

    • Roar Guru

      April 21st 2018 @ 7:38am
      The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      It’s an interesting take, but for a game like that there has to be quality attack to be able to credit the defence. The Roosters didn’t concede points but the Dogs asked no questions.

      I went to a Roosters v Manly semi final in about 2013 at the SFS. The score ended up 4-0. It was one of the best games I’ve seen. It was end to end attack and absolute desperate defence all done at pace and with intensity.

      Thursday’s game had none of that.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 11:00am
        Magic Lyrebird said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        I wonder if being at the ground might have actually made it less enjoyable. 11,000 at Belmore or a small ground would have been a fantastic atmosphere, but 11,000 at ANZ feels like a funeral.

        It certainly wasn’t end to end stuff from the Dogs, but in the second half almost every one-out charger was hell bent on getting over the line – they weren’t just jogging like so often last year. And I thought Woods had a good game, which was nice to see.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 11:15am
        Peter Phelps said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        Given the amount of possession the dogs had in that game one has to appreciate the Roosters defence. It held firm despite the onslaught but if they give that much ball to the Storm with their attack firing like it did last night then it will be carnage.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 12:48pm
        Mike Gordon said | April 21st 2018 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

        I’m with you Lyrebird, I was riveted to my seat waiting for the dags to score but alas the determined roosters denied them. I think you’re being too harsh on them TB, I’m guessing a result of unfulfilled expectations. Dogs thought they’d win in through the middle, as shown by their unrelenting forwards battering the line, reasonable in light of the roosters limp forwards effort last week-how well they turned that around in a week! It’s funny you often hear winners saying they stuck to the plan but never losers. A Plan B wasn’t apparent. If Foran got more involved they would have scored.

        • Roar Guru

          April 21st 2018 @ 1:04pm
          The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

          Maybe you’re right…theres certainly some neutral fans like yourself that thought the game was more gripping than I did.

          There’s definitely no plan B. I’m not sure how much of a plan A there is at the moment…

          • April 21st 2018 @ 1:12pm
            Mike Gordon said | April 21st 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

            Lots of talk last week about how soft, old plodders the roosters pack is, it was an unbelievable effort that the dogs couldn’t accept til the very end but you know the definition of insanity…

            • Roar Guru

              April 22nd 2018 @ 6:29am
              The Barry said | April 22nd 2018 @ 6:29am | ! Report

              Ha – yeah…I do know the definition of insanity. I can now add that a cause of insanity is watching your team define insanity with four one out forward hit ups, a slow out the back play and a nothing kick!

    • April 21st 2018 @ 8:22am
      Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      I’m on board with you ML. I thought Thursday night’s contest was a beauty. I think Stu and TB’s perceptions are coloured by their frustration as Dogs supporters given their inability to break the Roosters defence. But you have to give the Chooks credit for holding them out and there is no way that you could question the effort and endeavour of the Dogs for the full 80 minutes. Sure the Dogs couldn’t come up with the plays to break the defence but the intensity of that last 15 minutes was incredible. I don’t think I’ve seen two teams look so exhausted after a match. And full credit to the refs for letting the game flow in the second half.

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 8:44am
        The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

        Hi Geoff…fair point about the frustration but I just really felt like the dogs attack was way below par and didn’t really test the defence. Happy to hear that there was intensity and effort from the Dogs…it didn’t feel that way at the ground.

        You’re right about the exhaustion. The Roosters looked buggered with 15 to go (all the more frustrating that the dogs couldn’t put them away) and about six of them dropped like they’d been shot the second the ref blew the final whistle.

        • Roar Guru

          April 21st 2018 @ 8:56am
          Emcie said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

          Bulldogs really should’ve started taking the 2 (like the Broncos did vs the Tigers), camping in the opposition 20 with 50+ tackles and nothing to show for it does more damage to your own team then the opposition

        • April 21st 2018 @ 10:31am
          Geoff from Bruce Stadium said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          I wouldn’t get too down in the dumps about the Dogs. The partnership between Foran and the new 5/8 Marshall-King is still developing. The young bloke has some real go in him. Unfortunately he tried a few things on Thursday that didn’t come off and Foran is still quality so it’ll start to happen sooner or later. At least they are having a crack.

          • April 21st 2018 @ 11:08am
            Magic Lyrebird said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            Yeah Marshall King made plenty of half breaks the other night – they need Mbye or someone speedy running off him.

            • Roar Guru

              April 21st 2018 @ 11:37am
              The Barry said | April 21st 2018 @ 11:37am | ! Report

              This could be more hope than anything but I have a feeling JMK will have a game where things click and the half linebreaks turn into actual linebreaks and a try or two but hopefully it happens sooner rather than later.

    • Roar Rookie

      April 21st 2018 @ 9:14am
      Joe said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Agree ML. That’s how I saw that game as well. In that second half with players out on their feet you were just hoping someone would squeeze through and there were a couple of half breaks especially by the Dogs but just no follow up because I guess they were all out on their feet. Great arm wrestle in the second.

    • April 21st 2018 @ 2:46pm
      JN said | April 21st 2018 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

      agreed

  • April 21st 2018 @ 7:57am
    3 recalcitrant monkeys said | April 21st 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

    When is a knock on a knock on .Well it’s when you drop it forward on the ground or into another player or lose it in the process of being tackled. Are these reffs coached to be this rubbish ? This knock on call with may I add was made with the help of multiple camera angles and slow motion. Then the establishment comes out and backs this blatant stupidity. Yeh that’s what the nrl needs another grey area another reffs call and FLICK the rules, we’ve come up with a brand new interpretation after 100 or so years

  • April 21st 2018 @ 8:11am
    Forty Twenty said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

    On a more minor note perhaps Addo -Carr defused a bomb with one foot in the in goal area and I only saw one replay but I thought that his foot in the in goal area left the ground at the same or similar time to which he caught the ball ( I could be wrong) . The Storm had one or two similar instances go their way last year at Brookie in which the replay did show the ruling was incorrect. Captains challenge needs to come in or the bunker needs to have a look at thing like this as a matter of course.

    • April 21st 2018 @ 8:18am
      jimmmy said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      I can live with those 40-20 but not the Slater try,

    • April 21st 2018 @ 8:18am
      Peter Phelps said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Fully agree with the captains challenge.

      • April 21st 2018 @ 8:41am
        Paul said | April 21st 2018 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        the captains challenge wouldn’t have changed the Slater try because it was the correct decision – and I’m not a Melbourne supporter

      • Roar Guru

        April 21st 2018 @ 9:30am
        Nat said | April 21st 2018 @ 9:30am | ! Report

        The Captains Challenge can only be effective if the ref makes a call without gong to the bunker. The bunker isn’t going to change their mind upon a challenge to their original call.

    • April 21st 2018 @ 10:23am
      soapit said | April 21st 2018 @ 10:23am | ! Report

      captains challenge would have done nothing as all the refs were agreeing already. they had the facts, they just made a different interpretation. challenging wont change the interpretation without new facts.
      agree about the catches in goal. dont go with the mebourne conspiracy on this one but there have been others (for other teams) where the catch gets taken before the foot goes down.

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