Who said disco was dead? – NRL, Round 23 Wrap Up

21 08 2007

Who said disco was dead?First of all, apologies for not previewing this round or doing a wrap up of round 22 but sick kids don’t believe in letting Daddy have any time for writing internet articles. For those though that are unaware last weekends round was fantastic with three of the eight games going to extra time.

This weekends round didn’t produce any extra time matches but apart from one flogging (Penrith 46 – Newcastle 12) the biggest margin was just 10 points.

Canterbury Bulldogs 25 def Brisbane Broncos 24

NRLEven without their star players Brisbane are putting in some amazing performances at the back end of the season. Young David Taylor, who at 19 years old, 6 foot 5(?) and 115kg is an absolute monster, really showed that he is going to be the best prop in the game in a few years time. All the talk lately has been about Canterbury’s Sonny Bill Williams but this kid is right up there in the next bunch of superstars.

Canterbury though showed that they are going to be hard to beat when the finals roll around in a couple of weeks with Luke Patten a deserved man of the match with a great effort at fullback. There would be some concern though about his defence completing just 1 tackle from 6 attempts.

Brisbane will need to do something about their defence too if they are to finish in the top 8, having missed 68 tackles in the match.

Melbourne Storm 14 def Parramatta Eels 10

I am no doubt going to be accused of being totally anti-Storm here but here goes: When is their luck going to run out? Although statistically dominating the Broncos last round they never appeared dominant on the field, and only the Bronco’s lack of a top line play maker got Melbourne home. They then trot out a full strength side against Parra and finish the first half up 12 – 4 with possession in their favour at 70% to 30%. Although the Eels are a good defensive side (Nathan Hindmarsh 69 tackles for the match) it is really the Storm’s total lack of attacking ability in the last few weeks that didn’t see them put 30 points on the board in the first half. One try was from a poor read which is fairly common in the game. The second was gifted when Krisnan Inu threw the ball back in field in an attempt to stop it going out.

I will stop short of saying Melbourne shouldn’t have won, they finished with 4% more possession and made 60 less tackles for the match. I will say that they should have beaten the Eels by a thousand given the first half stats and that if they continue like this in the finals they will be gone in week 2.

Wests Tigers 29 def Cronulla Sharks 28

Let’s just stop the Dally M voting and award it to Robbie Farah now. If anybody else gets it I reckon 75% of Rugby League fans will want a recount. This guy is the difference between the Tigers winning and losing matches, having a great game or a bad game.

40 tackles, 7 runs for 96 metres, 3 offloads, 9 kicks, 2 try assists and a line break and then he slots the winning field goal with a minute left on the clock. It was the worst looking drop goal ever but it did the job.

For the Sharks, Broncos discard Brett Seymour is playing some of the best football of anyone in the competition even after being told early this year that, having just been signed by the Sharks, they didn’t want him. Now having been called back into first grade in the absence of Brett Kimmorley he is showing his true capabilities. His three try assists and two line breaks were only darkened by his four missed tackles.

North Queensland Cowboys 24 def St George Illawarra Dragons 14

Finally the Cowboys remembered how to tackle missing just 24 for the match. Even better for their fans is that it wasn’t just the Thurston/Bowen show that was becoming all too familiar. The forwards really laid a good platform, both the starting pack and those coming off the bench, with four of them making 100m+ for the game.

Only concern though is that perhaps the Dragons approached the game wrongly with 3 of the Cowboys outside backs missing six of twenty-one tackles. If other sides decide to test the defensive resolve of these players I can see the Cowboys coming unstuck.

Camberra Raiders 26 def New Zealand Warriors 24

Another win for Canberra at home this season. If there is one team that probably wished it didn’t have to leave its home ground it would be the Raiders. They are a completely different side when playing in the national capital than what they are anywhere else.

Lat week against the Dogs in Sydney they missed forty-eight tackles and only made 998m with the ball in hand. This week they missed only 29 tackles and made 1440m. They made eight line breaks for the match and although, much like Melbourne, were fairly dominant the score is probably reflective of where both sides are at the moment.

The Raiders have been true battlers all year and have had some great results. The Warriors are/were one of the form teams in the comp and any side with match stats against you like the Warriors had would have lost. Difference is though a side like Newcastle or the Dragons would have lost by way more than 2 points. I don’t think the NZ fans should be in any way disheartened with this result.

Gold Coast Titans 22 def Sydney Roosters 18

The Roosters bubble was always going to get burst eventually but as the old saying goes, “Beaten but never defeated,” and that is the whole attitude of the Roosters at the moment. The only difference really was the accuracy of the goal kickers or lack there of. Probably a real missed chance for the Roosters given their dominance of possession and the fact the Titans had to make an extra ten sets of six in defence.

There is some talk that the Titans slowed down the play the ball unfairly but it is something all sides do, just some do it better. The Titans main concern coming out of this match will be their ball handling completing just 70% of their sets. That really was what kept the Roosters in the match with the Titans making more territory each completed set (48.6m/set to 41.5m/set).

Penrith Panthers 46 def Newcastle Knights 12

Hopefully this is as low as the once proud Knights can go. Finally the off-field dramas have caught up to them and even coach Smith has said, “It may have had some effect.” SOME effect? Half thesquad have been told they are unwanted by the club next season and the coach thinks it has had some effect on their performance.

They missed 51 tackles, their line was broken 14 times and they made 2/3 of the metres of the Panthers. That certainly is some effect right there. The Panthers however, to their credit, never took their foot off the throat and just kept on going. Michael Jennings and Frank Pritchard finished with a hat trick of tries each and Michael Gordon had a perfect afternoon with the boot converting 9 from 9.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 24 def Manly Sea Eagles 18

Another case of lack of attacking options and capabilities made this closer than it should have been. The Bunnies finished the match with nearly 20% more time with the ball (59% – 41%) and only managed one more try than Manly.

Huge possession + better completion + better metres (should) = Big win.

Although Souths have come along tremendously this season they really have not had the ability to post big totals and this game is perfect evidence. Some people might just say Manly defended well, and I suppose only missing 9 more tackle than your opponant when you had to make 100 more than them is a good effort, but I think it is just lucky – lucky they weren’t playing the Dogs, Tigers or Eels who would have won convincingly with such weight of possession and obvious momentum.

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3 responses

22 08 2007
Big Al

Good one,,Bloodnut…I can catch up on the games here,,complete with a crapload of boring statistics…Oh well,,not that bad,,coming from a Queenslander…
The Tigers still in with a shot at it do you think ???

22 08 2007
Aaron Becker

Tigers are most likely in, but they won’t be much of a threat, even if they win a 1st round playoff.

I’m just glad the Mutts won, making up for my Manly $$$ that I lost over the weekend ;(

28 08 2007

Good stuff Brad, you were exactly right, Souths should of hammered Manly with the amount of possession they had.

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