The fourth round of the NRL season has just concluded. Here are my thoughts.
Sea Eagles versus Panthers
On Thursday night the winless Manly Sea Eagles took on the Penrith Panthers in a contest that was practically over before halftime. The Panthers led 22 points to nil after just 25 minutes of play.
It was another dominant performance by superstar Nathan Cleary, along with arguably the better half on the night, Jerome Luai who had three try assists.
The man that stole the show however was Brian To’o who produced two fantastic tries along with 205 running metres and 80 post-contact metres. The Manly Sea Eagles continue to look horrible as they fall to the bottom of the ladder.
My Player of the match: Brian To’o
South Sydney Rabbitohs versus Canterbury Bulldogs
I do not think I need to dive too far into this game as it was pretty much exactly what people expected, which was a whitewash.
This annual ‘Good Friday’ match is usually a close and gritty match, however that was not what people came to expect this year or in recent years as the Bulldogs lately have rarely brought any competition to their opposition.
The game played out how we though it would as the Rabbits took home a 38-0 win which keeps the Bulldogs scoreless for three weeks straight.
Canterbury did show some fight in the first half as they kept South Sydney contained, however they had opportunities to score but just did not capitalise.
My player of the Match: Cody Walker
Melbourne Storm versus Brisbane Broncos
On Friday night it was another destruction as the Melbourne Storm defeated my Broncos by 34 points. From the perspective of a Broncos fan, I actually had high hopes that we could somehow give Craig Bellamy and the Storm some worries as we were leading by a try after 30 minutes of play.
Wow was my mind changed after the next ten minutes of the game.
Brisbane were holding the defence and actually putting up a great attempt against the Storm until we let Ryan Papenhuyzen score four quick tries within a blink. We just shut down as that is exactly what we did in that period of each game all of last year. There was no coming back from those four outstanding tries as the Storm ran away with the game by scoring 38 un-answered points.
My Player of the match: Ryan Papenhuyzen
Cronulla Sharks versus North Queensland Cowboys
The theme of beat downs by teams continued on Saturday as the North Queensland Cowboys had 40+ points put on them for the second straight week.
With everyone talking about how woeful the Cowboys are playing, let me tell you how good the Sharks looked on the weekend. They played outstanding with unbelievable ball movement and just some awesome attack in general.
Their defence was on point as well because they kept the cowboys to as low as 1500 running metres. The Cowboys on the other hand have shown us so far nothing, except wooden spoon contender.
My Player of the match: Chad Townsend
Gold Coast Titans versus Canberra Raiders
Finally, a match this week that was not too much of a blowout. This contest between the Titans and the Raiders was a tight one throughout, however the Raiders were just too much for this young Gold Coast team in the end, as Ryan Sutton scored in the 77th minute to seal the deal for a Canberra win.
Josh Papalii did his job unbelievably once again as he toped the Raiders running metres as he ran for 194 metres, to go along with a try. Tino Faasuamaleaui was able to run even further with a superb 201 running metres.
This was a great bounce back game for Canberra after they were defeated by the Warriors the week before in a valiant effort, given they were left to as low as one player remaining on the bench.
My Player of the match: Josh Papalii
Newcastle Knights versus Illawarra Dragons
The Newcastle Knights and the Illawarra Dragons show the definition of Sunday afternoon footy as they put on a show for the fans in Newcastle on Sunday.
It was a Tariq Sims’ charge down try that was the game changer as it put the Dragons ahead in the second half and put them in a position to win their third straight match of the season.
There were major injury concerns for the Knights as former NSW half, Mitchell Pearce tore his pectoral muscle when making a clumsy tackle and this could be as bad as a season-ending injury according to the former Origin player.
Tex Hoy also suffered what looks to be an ACL tear. To be honest the Dragons have really surprised me so far this year as I had them to finish as wooden spooners, but they have come out of the gates firing and were able to add an exclamation point when they beat Newcastle without Ben Hunt.
My Player of the Match: Tariq Sims
Sydney Roosters versus New Zealand Warriors
This game was a weird one as it was a slight Roosters blow out in the end, however a lot of people had the Warriors to upset the Chooks, but that did not prevail. Sam Walker looked great in his much-anticipated debut as he picked up a try assist and looked calm out in the middle.
My Player of the Match: Brett Morris
Parramatta Eels versus Wests Tigers
The Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers provided us with some entertaining ‘Easter Monday’ footy as it was a fast start from the Eels before the Tigers hit back with two consecutive tries.
The game was within two points with five minutes remaining, before Clint Gutherson put the dagger into the hearts of the Tigers with at try with three minutes left to put them in front by a commanding eight points.
The Tigers have much improved over the last two weeks though with a near second straight win.