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NRL News: Dragon says he was 's--thouse' and should've been dropped, Panther in social media strife

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15th April, 2024
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A brutally honest Blake Lawrie has conceded he could rightfully have been axed by Shane Flanagan, labelling his own early-season form at St George Illawarra as “s***house”.

The Dragons’ player of the year last season, Lawrie is the first to admit he has endured a below-par start to 2024 for the inconsistent Red V.

That had prompted reports last week that the 27-year-old could be axed for Sunday’s game against the Tigers.

Lawrie was ultimately spared and instead relegated from the starting side to the bench, but the prop admitted Shane Flanagan was within his rights to drop him.

“I was playing terribly so I wouldn’t have blamed Flanno at all,” Lawrie said after Sunday’s 24-12 win over the Tigers.

“I know I wasn’t playing well, and whatever happened would have happened.

“He just said, ‘fix your game’. And I know I wasn’t playing up to my standard, the team’s standard or his standard that he expects.

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“I just have to go out there and ensure that Flanno trusts me to do a job. And it’s going to be week by week until I regain that trust.”

After entering this season the fittest and strongest he has ever been, Lawrie is scathing about his own start to the year.

With reduced minutes, the Wollongong junior’s run numbers are down.

But it is the six errors he has made in the opening six matches that stand out, given he made the same amount across 67 games in 2021, 2022 and 2023 combined.

Asked how he thought his past weeks had been, Lawrie was blunt.

“Honestly, it’s been s***house,” he said.

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“I haven’t been happy with it.

“It’s about bouncing back. I know I am going to have bad games, but just happened to have a month of bad footy.

“I’ll keep reviewing myself. I am honest with myself. I’ll stand myself in the mirror and be able to get better.”

Regardless, Lawrie said he was not concerned about his ability to turn his form around, after being among the NRL’s best front-rowers this year.

The Dragons need him to stand up on Friday night against the Warriors in Wollongong, with Addin Fonua-Blake leading one of the form packs in the NRL.

“I’ve been through poor form and I’ve come out the other side and hopefully I come out the other side of this one too,” Lawrie said.

“If you get in that negative mindset, it can spiral down pretty quickly. If you’re always thinking why am I not playing well, you’ll continue not playing well.

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“I’ve played 100-plus NRL games now. I know what I need to do to get my body right.

“I’ll continue to work hard and be consistent on the training paddock and on days off to keep stacking the odds in my favour, and the tables will turn for me.”

Taylan May runs the ball

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Panther in strife for speeding video

Penrith centre Taylan May could face sanctions from his club and the NRL after posting a video of a car speeding in a residential area.

May posted the clip of someone driving an Audi at more than 90km/h in a residential area and although he is not the driver in question or accused of breaking the law himself, the fact that he has posted it on his social media account is not a good look.

After hitting the brakes abruptly when the car approaches a pedestrian crossing, a passenger is heard saying “holy moly, bra”.

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NewsCorp has reported the NRL Integrity Unit is looking into the video, which was posted by May a week ago, on Instagram.

Penrith had the bye on the weekend but May is set to line up for Saturday’s stoush with the Wests Tigers at Bathurst.

Dolphins cannabis deal sets off alarm

The Dolphins could have a sponsorship deal with Alternaleaf torn up as the deal with the medicine clinic may be in breach of the Therapeutic Goods Act.

A two-year deal with the sponsor was announced last month and Alternaleaf’s logo has appeared on the team’s jerseys and in signage at home games but according to a Sydney Morning Herald report, the partnership could flame out.

Medicinal cannabis is legal but the Therapeutic Good Administration bans advertising of prescription medicine or constultations so the NRL may be forced to veto the deal.

“Partnerships between sport teams and entities involved in the supply of medicinal cannabis are not prohibited by the Act, however the advertising of medicinal cannabis, as prescription medicines, to the public is prohibited,” the TGA said in a statement to the SMH.

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With the logo being visible in broadcasts and on the jersey, this could be seen as a breach of the rules.

Panthers face fight to keep Turuva

St George Illawarra and Newcastle are splashing the cash to pry Sunia Turuva away from Penrith with the premiers virtually conceding they will not be able to match the lucrative offers for the NRL Rookie of the Year.

The 2023 premiership-winning winger, who has already declared Penrith ‘home’, is off contract at the end of the current season.

But he has been linked with a move to the Dragons, who have space in their backline and the money to offer a pay rise having announced Zac Lomax will leave the club in 2025.

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Turuva, 21, is not the first faced with a decision between a beefier pay packet and the chance for more success at the Panthers with several stars leaving the club in recent seasons.

The Dragons have put a three-year deal which is significantly higher than Penrith’s best offer and could also dangle the possibility of playing fullback to Turuva, a position which is locked up at the Panthers by club stalwart Dylan Edwards.

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