Top five players in Dragons’ Anzac win

Jay Ross Roar Guru

By Jay Ross, Jay Ross is a Roar Guru

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    Wow, this Dragons team seems to be the real deal. They keep turning up in defence and have clever halves who are able to utilise their electric backs to good effect.

    Even though they were beaten by an under-strength New Zealand Warriors team last week, they look to be the team to beat in 2018.

    Surely the Melbourne Storm will have something to say about that, but for the moment, lets focus on the Dragons smashing of the Roosters today – a fierce match that was played in the trenches for most of the proceedings.

    Not surprisingly, if you were to pick the top five players of the day, the Dragons would dominate. Here are mine.

    1. Tariq Sims
    Sims’ clear job was to hustle and bustle Cooper Cronk out of the game. He was relentless and contributed to Cronk having a game he’d probably rather forget. Every time Cronk had the ball in hand, his timing was limited by the dominant performance of Sims. He looked under pressure for the entire game, whether kicking or passing. And to add salt into the wound, he crashed over the top of Cronk to score a try from close range.

    2. Ben Hunt
    What a buy for the St. George Illawarra Dragons! He has zip and has combined brilliantly with Gareth Widdop to create an attack that we’re not used to seeing from the Dragon sides of previous years.

    Even when they won the grand final, ironically against the Roosters in 2010, their game was based around tackling rather than spreading the ball. This conservative approach has given way to razzle dazzle from Ben Hunt, helped by endless offloads from the forwards.

    Ben Hunt Dragons

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    3. Gareth Widdop
    Despite the fact that he missed two relatively easy penalty kicks, Widdop showed the Rooster halves how to control a team. He organised and schemed his way through the game, giving Hunt the time to play his natural running game.

    4. Nene McDonald
    The Dragons winger is 111kg, so he’s literally like having another forward in the backs. He often requires three defenders to halt his progress in the middle. Plus he is a great finisher, even though one of his tries today was awarded after a very dubious decision from the video referee.

    McDonald definitely dropped the ball after being hit by Cooper Cronk, but the adjudicator believed he had a finger on the ball as it released from his grasp. Nene is a former Rooster, so he was surely primed for a big game.

    5. James Tedesco
    In a beaten side, Teddy stood up and didn’t stop trying all day. He was extremely safe under the numerous high balls and was constantly looking to win the game on his own with individual brilliance.

    He made a few half breaks, but was not supported by his teammates. He’s looking good to retain his spot in the Blues Origin team. Meanwhile, it looks like he going to have to wait patiently for the Rooster combinations to click.

    Do you agree with my picks?

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (45)

    • April 26th 2018 @ 7:35am
      danwain said | April 26th 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      I agree with them, but somehow Frizell got the official MOM award, shocked me yesterday

      • April 26th 2018 @ 9:48am
        DP. Schaefer said | April 26th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        It was the claret that gave him the edge..

      • April 26th 2018 @ 10:29am
        uglykiwi said | April 26th 2018 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        I gave it to the video ref!!!!!! What a shocker.
        Roosters wouldnt have won; played very poorly, especially in attack.
        But that decision killed the game off as a spectacular.
        Roosters should have had the ball at the 22; score 18-8… they were still in it; but no……… the video ref (on what drugs?) decides that it is a try….. how?????? he should be sacked immediately (Just watching it again now……. HOW IS THAT A TRY????????)

        • April 26th 2018 @ 11:11am
          Jay Ross said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Thanks for your valid comments.

          It was a ridiculous decision – imagine a team losing a Grand Final with that call. They’d be a riot.

          Where is the consistency?

          On a more positive note, the on-field refs treated the day with respect by blowing very few penalties in general play.

          • April 26th 2018 @ 11:53am
            Nick Ferris said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            I recall a “drop ball” try being awarded to Mitchell Pearce in 2017. It was argued that he had controll of the ball too.
            what comes around goes around. St George Illawarra have had a few difficult video ref decions this year, and us fans have had to live with them, and while bad decisions should be pointed out it’s a shame that some media and fans can’t see past them to enjoy what a good game it was with the Dragons being the better team on the day.

          • Roar Guru

            April 26th 2018 @ 11:59am
            spruce moose said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:59am | ! Report

            There were few to blow to be fair.

            Both the Dragons and Roosters were exceptionally disciplined yesterday. Kept 10 metres, clean in the ruck, etc.

            It was a good football game.

            A shed load of missed forward passes though.

            • April 26th 2018 @ 12:20pm
              Jim said | April 26th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Glad it wasn’t only me spruce that couldn’t believe from both sides how many forward passes there were, especially from dummy half/first reciever.

              The Video Ref call was a shocker, but I’m not convinced it was consequential as some would suggest. While it would of still been 18-8, the roosters were hardly blowing the door down hard by that stage. Who knows though – it was a shocking call, but its the NRL we are talking about there. Just nice to see it go my team’s way for once haha!

              • April 26th 2018 @ 1:24pm
                spruce moose said | April 26th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                Oh yeah, Dragons had that in the bag.

                Roosters didn’t have the killer instinct in attack.

                Definitely not a try. Dropped it cold.

            • April 26th 2018 @ 2:10pm
              Jay Ross said | April 26th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

              Good assessment spruce moose.

              Free flowing game – it was refereed like a State Of origin.

        • April 26th 2018 @ 2:25pm
          RandyM said | April 26th 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

          the bunker should never even get something like that so wrong. It begs the question if the video ref has money on the game or something, the call was that blatantly incorrect.

    • Roar Guru

      April 26th 2018 @ 7:50am
      The Barry said | April 26th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      Sims was outstanding yesterday and has been all season.

      I had massive wraps on him as a young bloke at the Cowboys but injuries and loss of form have lead to several years in the wilderness but he’s playing better than ever at the moment.

      • Roar Guru

        April 26th 2018 @ 8:02am
        Con Scortis said | April 26th 2018 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        He is now the second best Sims after the amazing Ruan.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 26th 2018 @ 11:43am
        steveng said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        Yeah, Sims didn’t do a ‘dog act’ like he usually does and did to Townsend and Reynolds, because it was Cronk and he would have got put on report! As Mary said, Sims roll is, to smother the kickers and in this game he did it fair and square and didn’t revert to his usual late tackles and elbow to the thought like usual. That was the difference in this game. As far as Cameron McInnes being in the Blues jersey, the bloke has been a great dummy half for ages with Souths, good tackler, dynamic runner and scorer of tries close to the line from dummy half, I don’t know if he can take the SOO pressure but, he’s worth a try with Cook on the bench, which would be a great combination for the Blues.

        • April 26th 2018 @ 1:07pm
          Fight fair said | April 26th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          Are you sure you are not mis tacking Simms for a Burgess?

        • Roar Rookie

          April 26th 2018 @ 1:24pm
          Ray Paks said | April 26th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

          I think you’re referring to Sam Burgess (when you said Sims) who plays for the rabbits and is presently suspended for performing dog act after dog act), this match was between the Dragons and the Roosters..

    • April 26th 2018 @ 8:22am
      Radradra said | April 26th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Still a long way to go for Dragons. Don’t get too cocky!!

    • April 26th 2018 @ 9:34am
      souvalis said | April 26th 2018 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      I don’t know if the Blues can afford to keep relative softies,Cordner and Graham,in their pack and leave the 2 current most ruthless defenders,Sims and Debellin at home…you don’t want to be hit by either of them..

      • April 26th 2018 @ 11:14am
        Jay Ross said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

        You’re right Souvalis – Cordner is not having the impact of previous years. He’s trying hard, but I assume he is being marked heavily by opposition teams. Coach Robinson needs to look at where he can create an impact from in the attack.

        Graham is not firing at the Sharks.

        Your suggestions of Sims and Jack De Belin are on the mark – they’re larger bodies and playing with purpose.

    • April 26th 2018 @ 10:07am
      Paul said | April 26th 2018 @ 10:07am | ! Report

      Why the hell does Widdop keep kicking the ball when its as plain as day he should pass???? He does it almost once a game. To kick rather than pass for that first try was a monumental blunder only saved by Fergos even greater blunder.

      Replace JDB with Widdop and your list is good though Vaughan could feel hard done by.

      • April 26th 2018 @ 10:38am
        Albo said | April 26th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        I would have to disagree, Paul. I have been following Widdop pretty closely as I have him in my Supercoach team. His form has been down for a few weeks, but I thought he was outstanding yesterday, particularly in defence covering up any breach of the Dragons line. Sure he takes a couple of wrong options around kick or pass, but you can accuse most halves of that. He still had a strong hand in a couple of tries and his defence was outstanding. I had him just behind Cameron McInnes as the best on field yesterday. Then Nene was his usual, with 19 hit ups & 2 tries finished off. Hunt had moments but I thought his kicking game was ordinary, kicking down Teddy’s throat on every occasion. Sims was strong in his task to shut down Cronk and Jack DeBelin was strong in the middle . I would have rated Frizell in the top 10 only, and well behind the others I mentioned here.

        • April 26th 2018 @ 11:01am
          kk said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

          Agree Albo. Cameron McInnes was BOF.

          Noticed in a recent interview between Fittler and McInnes that if body language
          counts for anything Cameron only has to stay healthy to wear the Blues #9.

      • April 26th 2018 @ 11:17am
        Jay Ross said | April 26th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        Tough call Paul.

        Widdop was outstanding yesterday.

        More measured and posed more of a threat than Cronk or Keary, although maybe that’s not saying much at this point of the year.

    • Roar Guru

      April 26th 2018 @ 12:00pm
      spruce moose said | April 26th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

      Dragons have the best spine in the game at the moment.

      Dufty is in surreal form. Hunt and Widdop have gelled, and McInnes is a gun hooker.

      • April 26th 2018 @ 1:27pm
        jimmmy said | April 26th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

        Mmm Slater, Smith, Munster and whoever might just be slightly better.

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