Spoon contenders take advantage of backfiring teams, while the Chooks and Bunnies play out a finals preview

46 Have your say

    Round 22 of the NRL began on Thursday night with a spirited 34-30 win for the Cowboys over Brisbane. It continued a recent run of victories for the bottom four clubs on the ladder.

    At the time of writing, Parramatta, Manly, Canterbury and North Queensland had seven victories between them over the three most recent rounds.

    With another win certain when the Eagles and Dogs do battle tonight, and the Eels a real shot against the Dragons at ANZ immediately following, it is looking like a meritorious conclusion to the season for all four.

    Of course, things could yet slip away for one or more of those involved in the race to avoid the spoon, yet all appear to be playing far superior football to that which they produced earlier in the year.

    In all four cases, the less said about their starts to season 2018 the better.

    Those wins have also taken on extra significance, with wins to the Bulldogs, Cowboys and Eagles threatening to jeopardise the top four aspirations of the Broncos and Cronulla.

    With the eight looking well set, unless the Tigers can manage to claw past a couple of teams with back firing engines, the bottom four have the chance to play spoiler.

    The Cowboys inflicted a telling loss to a team with top four hopes, edging the Broncos at 1300 Smiles Stadium. In an attacking and open game that saw eight tries in total, the home side skipped clear and looked more prepared for battle on the night.

    The Cowboys built a 14-2 lead on the back of tries to Gideon Gela-Mosby and Jason Taumalolo.

    Jason Taumalolo North Queensland Cowboys NRL Rugby League Grand Final 2017

    Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    Brisbane responded with four pointers to James Roberts and Matt Lodge before a sequence of penalty goals saw the Cowboys take an 18-16 lead to the break.

    The second half was a complete reversal of the first, with the Broncos dominating the scoreboard early. Two tries and a penalty goal established a twelve-point lead at the 60th minute.

    Then, the Broncos blew a gasket as Kyle Feldt, Gavin Cooper and Coen Hess all crossed the line to set up a spirited win for Australia’s northern-most team.

    In context, it was only their sixth win of the season, whereas the Broncos were seeking a 13th to get their top four ambitions back on track after a poor loss against the Bulldogs last week.

    Two losses to the bottom four in a fortnight will have Wayne Bennett frustrated with inconsistency. As his coaching future circles above the club and his own head, his team are playing in a staccato, unfocussed and distracted manner that might just be a reflection of his own state of mind.

    There are at least three or four other coaches experiencing the same uncertainty as we speak and the potential impact it has on their teams could be telling.

    There was no such issue for the Warriors, as Stephen Kearney has his troops well on their way to the finals and starting to look ever more dangerous.

    Their 20-4 victory over the Knights at Mt Smart Stadium was far from a demolition, yet did feature a more clinical and disciplined edge that has long been the Achilles heel of the men from the shaky isles.

    Warriors fans should be far more impressed with the current hard-nosed determination of the team than any high-scoring, off-loading wins of years past.

    As professional and Melbourne-like as it may sound, the Warriors are maturing, winning a little ugly at times and becoming a serious threat.

    Shaun Johnson runs the football.

    Shaun Johnson of the Warriors (AAP Image/SNPA, Martin Hunter)

    Late Friday, the Bunnies and the Chooks went head to head for eighty minutes and belted the tripe out of each other for the duration.

    An early hamstring injury to Alex Johnston threatened to derail the night for South Sydney, yet they re-adjusted and made a serious contest of a game in which the Roosters looked likely to prevail for much of the night.

    Penalty goals either way and tries to James Tedesco and Adam Reynolds saw a sharing of honours in the first half, with the Roosters shading Souths 10-8 at the break.

    Tries to Joseph Manu and Hymel Hunt kept things tight until late in the game, as the Roosters held a narrow four point lead into the final ten minutes.

    The Rabbitohs threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the tri-colours in the final stages yet the new competition leaders held their nerve and line and survived 18-14.

    There was enough evidence to suggest that it might not be the last time the two inner-city Sydney teams meet this season.

    If these teams are to meet in a final, it might be a decent idea to organise a ticket. Aside from the Melbourne Storm, they look to be the cream of the crop in 2018.

    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 (46)

    • August 11th 2018 @ 6:24am
      Major Bumsore said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

      Cue the avalanche of excuse making, sulking Soufs fans.
      Take it away boys and girls .

      • August 11th 2018 @ 8:33am
        Duncan Smith said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Didn’t they win the comp already last Friday when they beat Melbourne? Hail the August premiers.

        • August 11th 2018 @ 10:34am
          Steve Fass said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          The Storm would have put 30 on the rorters last night. They would have had a back line.

        • Roar Rookie

          August 11th 2018 @ 11:41am
          steveng said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          HaHaaa ‘Duncan Smith’ what’s your excuse with the Chooks poor effort??? Ohhh its the ‘Keary’s Out’ or what else??? They didn’t beat our top side, get real and stop dreaming!!! How can the Chooks make any excuse to their dismal effort last night??? We had GI, Jennings Johnston, Graham and Doueihi out? Now lets reverse that and take out, Tedesco, Tupou, Mitchell, Manu and Ferguson out for the Chooks and what have you got left at the Chooks? The Bunnies would have smashed them if that would have happened!!! Forget about Keary and that flimsey excuse!!! Also, the reason Sammy had such a shocker is because he was trying to do too much, he was playing allover the park e.g. he was at 5/8 there for a while there when Gags was filling in at centre, The Bunnies will take allot out of this game and lets hope that GI, Jennings, Graham and Johnston are back soon as the boys put in a top effort and the Chooks (under the circumstances) didn’t prove much. Go the Bunnies!!!!

          • August 11th 2018 @ 12:10pm
            Duncan Smith said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

            What’s my excuse? Who needs an excuse when you win?

            I support the Storm anyway. Just pointing out that a week is a long time in rugby league.

            • Roar Rookie

              August 11th 2018 @ 12:24pm
              steveng said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

              That makes it even worse!!! The Bunnies had a 2nd rate side in and they nearly won this game!!! What would you have said if they would have won with the side last night??? Ohhh I know, you would have said that they were lucky or refs calls!!! We had 5 out against the Chooks and even against the Storm we had GI out. I wonder what would have happened if both the Storm and the Roosters had 5 top players out against us with a full side??? it would have been a 50+ win to the Bunnies!!! This has no bearing on how we will go, the only bearing is if we have any more injuries as that is the only thing that will stop us from winning the GF. Go the Bunnies!!!!

              • August 11th 2018 @ 1:21pm
                Duncan Smith said | August 11th 2018 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

                Who cares? All that matters is what happens on grand final day. If you can beat both the Roosters and the Storm in the last 2 weeks of the comp, then good luck to you. You sound a bit over-confident at this stage.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 11th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                steveng said | August 11th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Duncan, I’m not confident at all! The Bunnies have some serious injury issues and in the next 3 rounds we need to win all of the games to be in the 4! It was a big blow to lose Doueihi for the season as he was a great interchange player for us and he was doing a marvelous job. Our injury list is as follows: Zane Musgrove/Foot/Round 23, Campbell Graham/Wrist/Round 24, Greg Inglis/Thumb/Round 24, Robert Jennings/Hamstring/Round 25, Mark Nicholls/Leg/4-5 weeks. Now, add Johnston to that with a hamstring (could be a few weeks?) it all makes it very hard for us to get a full side on the pitch. This is not an ideal thing to have especially when the boys have been going so well all season and we will not have the potential to field our strongest sides, especially in the backline where we were so dominant and devastating all season. Lets hope that the ‘Intrust’ boys can come up to the plate and for fill the gaps that are there, just like they did last night!

      • August 11th 2018 @ 10:32am
        Steve Fass said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:32am | ! Report

        Not sulking Mr Sombrero, very proud actually given 5 starting backs out against supposedly the best back line in the NRL? Rorters should be feeling embarrassed and concerned under all the hype this a win.

        2 tries a piece in case you forgot and no doubt a full strength Storm would have put 30 on the rorters last night on that effort.

        Its getting close to that time of the year where if the past 4 years are any indication its choke time for the best team on paper money can buy. Why? As a rorter supporter tell us all what goes wrong.

        At near full strength Rabbitohs and Storm will fight out the GF.

        • August 11th 2018 @ 11:18am
          Major Bumsore said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          Sadder than kid at a puppies funeral.

        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2018 @ 11:33am
          Renegade said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:33am | ! Report

          5 starting backs out is the best excuse I’ve seen? So who would those 5 backs be replacing… didn’t realize Gagai was a reserve grade just filling in.

          I notice no Souths fan cared that Keary (the 5/8) was missing from the roosters.

          AJ’s injury at the start would’ve had a much greater bearing on this outcome than the supposed missing ‘stars’… I thought the roosters were far from their best last night, they only had 43% possession and only completed 70% of the sets within that – they seemed to cruise to victory in the second half.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 11th 2018 @ 3:07pm
            steveng said | August 11th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

            Renegade, your suppose to be the ‘Guru’??? Come on. don’t come with this nonsense ‘didn’t realize Gagai was a reserve grade just filling in’! Ok it shouldn’t have been phrased as ‘centres’ but backline. Firstly, Gagai had to go to fullback, he hasn’t played fullback for us all season, he’s a centre, so he wasn’t there, he also interchanged between centre and fullback. Graham wasn’t there, Doueihi wasn’t there, GI wasn’t there, Jennings wasn’t there, which makes it 5 gagai, GI, Graham, Jennings and Doueihi, to me that makes it 5. This all while Sam B was also interchanging from lock to 5/8. These positional changes were the main reason why the Bunnies didn’t perform and their offence was so one dimensional, yes Cook was contained but, if we didn’t have the problems in the backline then we would have performed the way that the Bunnies have done all season and Cook would have had more space to do his thing. Don’t forget we had a few guys that haven’t played in the top side all season e.g. Burns, Tatola and Fuimaono. As far as the ‘Keary’ thing and excuse is concerned, the Roosters have a superstar lineup, if they can’t perform without ‘Keary’ and put in such a poor effort with us missing so many in our lineup then, the Roosters have no chance!

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2018 @ 4:41pm
              Renegade said | August 11th 2018 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

              Read my comment again and come back to me… I’ll direct you to the part where i talk about the impact of the AJ injury in 3rd paragraph…. now – where is Douehi playing in the starting 13 if all are on deck?

              • Roar Rookie

                August 12th 2018 @ 2:41pm
                steveng said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

                Come on ‘Renegade’ you should be able to answer your own question, Doueihi was an interchange player (all season) and he was a dam good one at that, he also would have filled in for the injuries that we have/had as he can play fullback, centre, 5/8 and that is the sort of player that we were missing against the Roosters! He has filled in all season whenever we needed him and he did an outstanding job for us while. Just remember, GI has only played 14 games out of the 22 this season. Add GI, Graham and we lost Johnston after 2min and the injury list was quite substantial against the Roosters!

    • Roar Guru

      August 11th 2018 @ 7:37am
      The Barry said | August 11th 2018 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      I watched the Souths v Roosters game at a pub…not always the best way to watch for the finer details of the game but it seemed to have a pretty good level of intensity. Dare I say it – semi final footy.

      A few weeks ago it seemed like it was going to be a race to the spoon, but all the teams at the bottom end have hit a bit of a purple patch and with the top 8 pretty much settled the wooden spoon battle is pretty interesting.


      • August 11th 2018 @ 8:25am
        Major Bumsore said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:25am | ! Report

        I’d be interested to go back ( if I had fox ) and look at the Reynolds try , to see how Sam B goes about positioning himself in the Roosters defensive line .
        To me he shouldn’t be there , and it looked deliberate.
        Interesting to see if this tactic is something Soufs roll out on another occasion in an important game.

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2018 @ 8:49am
        Nat said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        There’s only a few who care about the race to the spoon 😉

        • August 11th 2018 @ 9:55am
          Chris.P.Bacon said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          Now that’s cruel Nat.


        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2018 @ 10:06am
          The Barry said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          #straightsets 😁

          • Roar Guru

            August 11th 2018 @ 10:47am
            Emcie said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

            #straightsets > #nosets😜

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2018 @ 11:00am
              The Barry said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              Yeah…you gotta be in it to win it.

              Serious question…how do broncos fans feel about the penalty broncos stuff? I’ve been mucking around with it lately but I’m starting to find it funny how seriously some people take it.

              Heaps of comments lately about the decision against the Tigers in round 3 being season defining, cost the Tigers a spot in the 8, etc despite the Broncs being six points clear of them.

              So is it something you guys laugh off or does it get seriously annoying…?

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2018 @ 11:18am
                Nat said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

                It’s been around for years, water off a duck’s back now for me anyway. I took the position a while ago that it becomes more prominent for the Broncos due to their high FTA coverage, so more people watch Broncos v … then most other individual clubs. History says the Broncos receive (to a lesser extent concede) the least amount of penalties in the league. Admittedly I get bored some days and throw a few stats back at those who continuously cite this (Steveng, how are ya mate 😉 but what’s an opinion site without a stoush every now and then.

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2018 @ 2:16pm
                Emcie said | August 11th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Like Nat said, it comes with the territory. You have to expect it and I don’t think there are too many successful clubs that been assigned some sort of dequalifier (for lack of a better word). What can get annoying is how it can derail any attempt to have a serious discussion about the club or be used to dismiss things that go against them. At least we get a bit of variety with the TPA/penaltybroncos/one team town/FTA merry-go-round

          • Roar Guru

            August 11th 2018 @ 11:20am
            Nat said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report


    • August 11th 2018 @ 8:24am
      Paul said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      The Souths Easts game certainly seemed to have finals like intensity, but I was wondering where the spark was going to come from to make clean breaks? The usual suspects on both sides were well held, which makes me think Souths might be in a better position than Easts. Johston played a minute and Inglis will be back and these guys could be enough to get the Bunnies past the Roosters if the meet in September.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 9:14am
        jimmmy said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        Thats a really good point. Souths just lacked that punch which GI and Johnson provide. At full strength my money is on Souths next time.

        • August 11th 2018 @ 10:43am
          Steve Fass said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          As a Souths supporter I felt the loss coming after AJ left but to my surprise we nearly pulled it off against massive odds.
          Odds went to 1.30 rorters to 3.50 Souths after that to put things in perspective.

    • August 11th 2018 @ 9:00am
      kk said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      The Cowboys were at last able to field a fit team. The JT’s were great as were Cooper and Hess
      but it was Killer Kyle’s 55M penalty goal and his determination to score in the corner that made
      the difference and kept them in the game. Kyle remains my favourite Cowboy.

      The Broncos showed they will be a major force in coming seasons. All they need is a coach and
      a Jimmy Maloney.

      Given Souths and Easts with their best on the paddock, Souths would probably win. Last night
      the absence of Inglis, Graham, Doueihi and Jennings proved detrimental whilst acknowledging
      how important Keary is to Easts.

      I fear the playing days of the great Sam Burgess are numbered. He needs a week off if Souths
      are to make it all the way. After viewing last night the Storm are looking to be the good thing.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 9:17am
        jimmmy said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

        You have another Kyle Feldt fan here kk. He is a beauty. Those kick offs and his finishing skillls, just wonderful to watch.

        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2018 @ 9:55am
          Con Scortis said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          Hi kk and jimmmy, Feldt is definitely one of the best and most under-rated finishers in the game, and that goal kick was a beauty!

          One thing about the goal kickers from the old days, though.

          I was watching some old clips on YouTube from the sixties, and guys like Simms, Longbottom, Barnes etc were kicking goals from 45-50+ metres out and weren’t even using kicking tees.

          In some of the old footage they weren’t even using buckets of sand! – they were making a divot in the turf with the heel of their boot and placing the ball on that, yet despite this they still managed to kick long distance goals.

          • Roar Guru

            August 11th 2018 @ 10:27am
            Nat said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:27am | ! Report

            That kick was a cracker. The distance didn’t really surprise me but the accuracy over that distance did. Amazing skill to have all those variations in his kicking repertoire. Made me wonder why Lowe was 1st choice kicker last year.

          • August 11th 2018 @ 10:33am
            kk said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            Hi Con,

            The old balls were made of leather seemed to weigh heavier.? <1kg?

            The new balls are made of a synthetic rubber-like compound of German origin
            with improved construction and design to benefit shape and flight patterns.

            Like golf equipment the improvements were welcomed by players.

            Would be interesting to get a detailed history of the Steeden and kickers old and new.

            The kicking tee was the simple application of common sense.

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2018 @ 11:12am
              Con Scortis said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

              Good point about the balls kk.

              It’s also interesting seeing the difference in goal-kicking styles over time. In the old days I think a lot were “front-on” goal-kickers (Barnes and Simms were probably the best). I’d say Cronin was probably the last of the front-on kickers, but I was too young to remember him much. I love the history of our game.

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2018 @ 11:15am
                Con Scortis said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                I also like how Ross Conlon used to occasionally place kick for touch

              • August 11th 2018 @ 1:24pm
                elvis said | August 11th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

                Cronin? Big Mal was toe poking into the 90s! Sheesh!

          • Roar Rookie

            August 11th 2018 @ 11:55am
            steveng said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

            That’s for sure Con, I saw Kevin Longbottom kick them from half way in the 60’s and I also saw Erick Simms kick some outstanding goals, as did Barnes also. These guys were outstanding kickers of the leather ball!!! The balls were completely different in those days and the leather balls were much heavier and as soon as they got any moisture in them they were a different proposition to todays ball. Those were the days and I made a comment about Feldt in the game blog also, that it reminded me of Kevin Longbottom, those were the days and it brought back some great memories!!!

          • August 11th 2018 @ 3:24pm
            Paul said | August 11th 2018 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

            Con, the match of the round in years gone by was held at the SCG and the Board of Trustees decreed sand couldn’t be used, for fear of damaging the cricket pitch, so they used buckets of black soil which basically turned to mud when it rained.

            Take into account the wonderful leather balls they used to use and it’s a wonder they kicked anything from 20 yards out, let alone half way.

            Keith Barnes form the Tigers was another worth a look. He could kick ’em from way inside his own half, especially if there was any sort of breeze. Graham Eadie in the 70’s was a throwback to that era.

          • August 11th 2018 @ 11:08pm
            Nate said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

            My dad used to tell me about standing behind the grandstand when Longbottom was kicking in the hope of nabbing a free ball!

        • August 11th 2018 @ 11:40am
          Albo said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          Make that 3 of us kk & Jimmy ! Feldt has added a new attacking dimension to the game with his kicking and is the Cowboys best player this year by a mile !

          • August 11th 2018 @ 1:45pm
            jimmmy said | August 11th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

            Oh Albo , that’s actually true and a little bit sad . Our best attacking structure has been our kick off. !!

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2018 @ 2:09pm
              Nat said | August 11th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

              Bahahaha. sry Jimmmy

    • Roar Guru

      August 11th 2018 @ 9:10am
      Nat said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      Not surprised Souths were a bit flat last night after their effort last week but losing Johnston didn’t help either. Cudos to the Roosters, their defence was spot on, interesting point that the Souths big men all ran for over 100m but Cook was restrained (by his standards) to 80m. Seems Roosters mastered what the Storm couldn’t and slow down the ruck enough to set a strong defensive line.

      Did Sam get cited for his late shot/s on the ball players?

      • August 11th 2018 @ 10:45am
        Steve Fass said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

        No but Hargeaves has been charged for his grub shot on Sutton and looking at 2 weeks if not contested, 3 if he does.

        • Roar Rookie

          August 11th 2018 @ 2:00pm
          souvalis said | August 11th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          Havent seen Anthony Milford speak angrily with his team mates before…last night.

          • Roar Guru

            August 11th 2018 @ 2:26pm
            Emcie said | August 11th 2018 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

            He can get pretty firey when he want’s to. There were a few articles at the start of the year suggesting that both halves had a falling out because Milf got annoyed at Nikorima in one game

    • August 11th 2018 @ 9:06pm
      Rob said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

      The Rooster are terribly inconsistent and they struggle if they aren’t getting their share of possession. The Rabbits at full-strength are a formidable force. The Warriors can beat anyone if they have a good day.
      The Broncos need to move the ball more. They have a quick, strong and talented squad but they lack direction and don’t seem to play with any cohesion with the ball. Boyd is a good experienced player that would work best be in the centres on an edge. Isaako is worth keeping at fullback.
      I’m very excited about next season as a Cowboys supporter. Scott, McClean, JT13, Cooper leading the way for Hess, Jensen and Dunn in the pack. A fit Morgan, Martin and Clifford a year older calling the shots. Tuala, GGM and if the Cowboys can pick up local boys Holmes and Nene Mcdonald with Thurston, Coote, Winterstien and Linnett’s money we should be a 16 point better side, winning plenty more games than we did this season.

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