Trent Barrett has been walking a dead man for some time – but it is the damage figures for the Knights on Friday night that could prove his last.
While the Knights did enough to win a scrappy game, the Bulldogs were really terrible.
In the 80th minute against the league’s worst defense, they failed to break a line and broke just 13 tackles.
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Their only effort came from a kick and only one forward ran more than 100 meters, Paul Vaughan.
Lack of consciousness or enthusiasm is scratching the heads of officials and fans.
It was another awesome performance that will put more pressure on Barrett fighting with the dog board due to be seen the next day.
Wolford is on fire in his debut
Undoubtedly the prize for the bravest performance in the Magic Round goes to the Canberra Riders.
Rank outs against Cronulla, Raiders sinned three players, bringing down 11 men at one point.
Despite the odds, the Raiders put the defense shark in second place and they ended up believing a 30-10 winner.
With Sean Bean having three players, you have to go back to 2018 to find out which team won the last game – Manley beat arch-rivals Melbourne.
One of the highlights of the win – easily the Raiders’ best of the year – was the debut of rookie hooker Jack Wolford.
Jack, the son of former rider Hooker Simon, made two attempts in a subtle debut.
The riders must have wood on the sharks – which was their ninth win in a clash between the teams.
Losing Hughes is a big push for Storm
The battle of the giants shows that Jahrom Hughes is just as important for the storm as Nathan Cleary is for Panther or Tommy Turbo Manley.
When Hughes was dragged out on the day of the match due to a calf injury, the smart money went all the way to Penrith – and this proves the spot as the storm fought for direction in the absence of their number seven star.
Munster’s terrible call after the Panthers rate
Hughes’ pin-point kicking game, one of Storm’s greatest assets, was also missed as the Panthers dominated each of the games 32-6.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy will be counting down the days to his number seven star – as well as electric fullback Ryan Papenhuen.
Penrith’s defense flared up
The Panthers had their biggest win of all time against the Storm on Saturday night – but it was the Panthers’ defense that really caught the eye.
It was a great effort to limit the powerful Storm Machine to just six points and send me to the record book.
The last time Storm scored less than six points was in Round 15, 2020 when they went 14-0 down to Paramount … without their original player … and an injured Hughes.
Missing the Hughes, Jarome Luai returned to his best playmaking form for the Panthers.
Louie has been quiet in recent weeks but the big occasion has brought classes out of her and she has shown the conditions through her clever running and passing play, creating two try-assists, one linebreak assist and one try.
Embrace the stars for Newcastle
Somewhere in the Knights’ long seven-match losing streak, Big Boppa lost to David Klemer’s form.
In terms of a beating, Klemer – whose 2021 was a disappointing one and was supposedly bought off by a rival club – continues to turn around.
So it was only fitting that when the Knights broke their long drought, Klemer took the lead – and against his former club at the time.
The bearded prop ran up to 190 meters – the farthest and farthest from the field by the forwards – and pulled some big blows in defense.
No player deserved to win more, and if the Knights could run late in the final, Klemer would take over.
The wingers led Brisbane’s resurgence
Old-fashioned forwards like to joke about the role of wings – but in modern games wings play a very different role from the fast, little boys who have made a name for themselves in the past.
Most current wingers are over 100kg and they act as extra forwards, running on defense teeth to achieve important meters.
And that was a big part of the mystery of the Broncos success story in 2022.
Reborn veteran Corey Oates and young Selwyn Kobo gave Brisbane a killer one-two punch as they brought the ball back to the opponent.
The pair ran more than 400 meters between them in the big wins against Manley in the Magic Round – Oates 232 and Cobbo 183.
Added to that, they scored five of the Broncos’ six attempts, the other being the magic man Adam Reynolds.
The pair are getting the Broncos on the front foot, and with Reynolds’ great service leading the team to an unlikely final berth.
Des considers the radical switch
Don’t be surprised if Manly coach Des Hasler presses the panic button and brings in traveling traveler James Seguero when he announces his team name tomorrow.
The Seagulls were frustrated with both a 36-0 loss to the Broncos in both attack and defense, and this clearly needs to change.
Mixed news for the Trobozevic brothers
At the key hooking spot, Lachlan Crocker scored just one run for 13 meters and missed ten tackles.
Of course, Crocker had 53 tackles to lead Manly Count but Segiaro offers much more to the attack, even if Crocker starts and the veteran comes off the game in the middle of the bench when gaps start to appear.
Walker returns to top form
Less than 24 hours after all the talk about how much the South misses Adam Reynolds on Friday night, Cody Walker, his former partner in crime, seems to be bringing out the best.
Reynolds was one of the stars of the Magic Round – but Walker was not far behind.
Given the captaincy in the absence of the inspiring Cam Marr, Walker has finally found his 2021 form after a slow start to the season.
Walker was dynamic in the Rabbitos’ 32-30 win, making several attempts with his tactical service.
The difference for the Campbell Titans
The night the Jaden Campbell returned to the team, the Titans lost five games and ended the run.
Campbell dropped out of the third round due to a rib injury and the Titans apparently fought in his absence.
The son of former Daly M medalist Preston Campbell was the difference between the two desperate, struggling teams on Saturday night as the Titans lost to the Dragons 20-16 in extra time.
Campbell made for the lost time on the most eye-catching display of the weekend.
In a brutal situation, the little-made fullback ran 261 meters, broke 15 tackles and set a winning attempt for Jamain Isaaco in the 89th minute.
A memorable run saw him defeat half a dozen Dragon Tacklers and there is no doubt that the Titans have very special young players in their hands.
The Dragons lost a huge final push
The Dragons were the best side for a thrilling Golden Point clash with the Titans, but a surprising decision is worth a lot to them.
Even with a score in the 65th minute, the Dragons got a penalty deep in the Titans area and on the touchline.
They chose to go for the goal – and Jack Lomax had a fine pressure kick slot from wide out to keep them ahead.
But the decision to go for the goal sent a message to the Titans – that the Dragons thought they could make an effort – and although the Dragons scored in the next attempt through Moses Sully, it seemed to give the Titans a lift.
They went on to score in the last two attempts of the game – and kept their hopes of a slim final alive and gave the Dragons a big push in September football.
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