The three most troubled coaches in the NRL – Anthony Griffin, Justin Holbrooke and Adam O’Brien – will sleep a little easier this week.
Because the two clubs that split with their coaches last week – the Warriors and the Tigers – have rarely been able to quickly resolve what they desperately wanted.
There is a myth in sports that the dismissal of a coach will change the fate of a club very quickly … as these clubs have shown.
Just days after pushing Michael Maguire, the Tigers lost two of their best players, Tommy Turbo and Daley Cherry-Evans, to a Manly team 30-4.
The Warriors struggled a bit after finishing things with Nathan Brown but eventually lost 38-16 to Cronulla.
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The Dragons, Titans and Knights have been massively frustrated this season and fans at all three clubs are crying for blood.
But recent weeks’ experience has shown them that a team is as good as its list – and changing coaches doesn’t always change fortunes.
Dragon cleanout required
You have to feel for the poor dragon fans after another sad performance from their team in Townsville.
Ben Hunt – backed up from Origin Duty 48 hours ago – was the only dragon that could have any effect against a well-drilled cowboy defense.
Twelve cowboys ran more than 100 meters in the game – in contrast a dragon forward did not reach three figures.
Bouched Lomax flick pass backfire
Jack Lomax – considered one of their best players in recent seasons, made five distinct errors – and lots of other dragons looked embarrassingly out of motion.
The young cowboys took an aged dragon to school – and reinforced the message that dragons need a huge cleanup.
Sadly, this is a message that coaches and officials do not understand.
Dogs are the biggest upset of the spring season
What an amazing effort by the Bulldogs yesterday – not only hitting the eagles on the most amazing scoreline of 2022 so far but also kicking them in the back.
The Bulldogs have shown that if you believe, if you have the right attitude and if you give it your best shot, everything is possible.
Winger Josh Addo-Carr showed his class and experience with three great attempts while hooker Jeremy Marshall-King and fullback Jake Averillo were also outstanding.
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The Eagles have gone through some weak times over the last few decades but I can’t think of a worse performance than this.
They were hoping to win, were quickly overwhelmed by the offensive bulldogs defense and never recovered.
Frustration for Freddie
On Sunday afternoon, Brad Fitler thought he had hit gold.
Olakauatu was just great at the Manly Jugarnot Houmoul against the Tigers in Campbelltown on Saturday afternoon and would have to play himself as a blues jumper for Origin II.
Olakautu is one of the few young blues-worthy forwards with the strength and enthusiasm to deal with the Maroons’ new sensation Ruben Cutter and Patrick Carrigan – as he single-handedly destroyed the Tigers.
The 23-year-old back-rower tried a powerhouse, ran 163 meters and came up with some bone-chilling tackles.
The Blues’ forward lacked Mongrel last Wednesday and Olakauatu could add a lot of spark to fix Origin Eye’s mess.
But when asked about his chances of playing for the Blues, Olakauatu announced that he would like to play against the Kiwis in a few weeks for his traditional country, Tonga.
It’s a shame for the Blues – but Tonga’s old rival, the Kiwis, have a huge boost in hopes of upsetting them.
Sad tiger … again
Manley prefers to play against a team that will not cope – and the West Tigers gave Campbelltown one of the easiest wins of their season on Sunday.
A few days after the dismissal of Michael Maguire, the Tigers pulled their pants down 30-4 in another embarrassing performance.
At halftime, the Tigers held Manly 6-4 and had a blush on their backs.
Naden said goodbye to the spear
But their second-half performance was a bitter disappointment for caretaker coach Brett Kimorley – especially Manly, without their two best players, Daley Cherry-Evans and Tommy Turbo.
Luke Brooks missed eight tackles, Brent Naden missed six and dismissed himself and fullback Dane Laurie missed five.
The Tigers have just played dumb football and will continue to kill the coaches until they are completely clear.
The rooster faces the final
The rosters performed well against Storm in the SCG on Saturday night and could have easily won the game if a few balls were stuck.
However, the concern for the rosters is that while they are doing well in the finals, their record against the ‘Big Two’ is terrible.
The Trent Robinson men have lost their last 10 games against Penrith or Melbourne and this is something the team has to resolve before the final.
The roosters can do some damage towards the end of the season – but only if they finish their hood against Panther and Storm because both are sure to be there in September.
Broncos step by step
The Cowboys may be the surprise packet of 2022, but the Broncos are not far behind.
Kevin Walters is the coach of his seventh consecutive win against the Raiders, another improvement of the season on Saturday night.
And the Broncos have shown plenty of character to come up with their 24-18 win, overcoming the blows of their biggest three stars.
General Adam Reynolds, Meter-Eater Paine Haas and center Harbi Farnworth all suffered serious injuries during the game but the Broncos were on a mission and won a crucial victory against a fellow opponent in the final.
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Johnston fires again
You can’t help but surprise the class of rabbithos winger Alex Johnston, who became the 15th person to score 150 trials against the Titans last Saturday afternoon.
Modern games have less good finishers than the Banis Flyers, who were out one day against the helpless Titans.
The Wing star won three attempts, giving him a back-to-back hat-trick for the first time in his career after a triad against the Tigers in his previous outing.
Titan is not far away
The Titans have now lost nine out of ten games after crashing and burning against the South – but you think the win is not far off.
Only Johnston’s remarkable finishing and some costly errors proved to be a 30-16 rate difference and there were some bright spots for the Titans.
Utility back Greg Marzeau was great, scoring 272 meters in a single attempt like a tank.
Tino Fa’asumaleui continued from where he originally traveled at night, crushed to 177 meters, and Mo Fotuaika was not far behind at 137 meters.
The Cowboys have missed the out-of-form class of Jaden Campbell and AJ Brimson and have a long list of injuries that only add to their anxiety.
Robson is leading the Cowboys Express
You can identify cowboy hooker Reese Robson as one of the biggest developers of the 2022 season.
Like many of his teammates, Robson was nothing special last season because the Cowboys finished well up the stairs.
But this year, he has become a key figure in the Cowboys Express, relentlessly advancing to the top four in the finals.
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Despite the absence of State of Origin forwards Jeremiah Nanai and Ruben Cutter and the early defeat of boom forward Helium Lukey – this is their half-pack missing – the Cowboys effortlessly dismissed a disappointing Dragon team at QCB Stadium on Friday night 31-12.
Robson, a quiet gainer most of the night, had a standout in the big win.
He ran more than 100 meters against his former club, made one attempt and had his hands on several more.
Todd Petten is bringing in the best of many Townsville players this season – and Robson is right there in terms of improvement.
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