The Cumberland Throw

Around The NRL – Round 3

QUICK HITS AND TALKING POINTS FROM ROUND 3 OF THE NRL

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The Dragons finally got on the board but it came at a heavy cost with star play-maker Gareth Widdop injuring his shoulder in the closing exchanges of the match. Widdop’s injury dialed up the pressure on Ben Hunt and Corey Norman with the latter stepping up to ice the game with a field goal.

If truth be told the Broncos were only still in the game largely due to opportunistic tries to James Roberts and Alex Glenn. Brisbane struggled for consistency on Thursday night, with their young forwards failing to back up from an outstanding effort against the Cowboys a a week before. 2018 Rookie Of The Year, Jamayne Isaako is in the midst of a second-year slump and capped off his night by bombing a certain game-winning try.

 

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10

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad double was enough to get the Raiders home but almost all the talk out of this game was and will be centered around the Kalyn Ponga experiment at five-eighth. Ponga’s impact over the opening three rounds has been blunted significantly to that of 2018 but perhaps damning for the positional switch is the fact that he is handling the ball less than when he played fullback.

54 missed tackles and 14 errors didn’t aid Newcastle’s cause as the preseason buzz around their roster and status as potential competitors quickly evaporates. Canberra gave the Novacastrians multiple looks in early on with the errant kicking game of Jack Wighton resulting in some chunk exchanges of field position in favour of the Knights.

Jesse Ramien scored a strong indiviudal try for Newcastle while BJ Leilua got in the headlines for the wrong reasons after he deliberately elbowed Tim Glasby – consigning him to a HIA. Shockingly, in a complete show of solidarity to precedent and consistency to the game, he wasn’t sin-binned like Michael Jennings was in Round 1. Go figure.

 

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32

The Eels were gallant. The Eels were competitive. The Eels weren’t good enough. Yet.

Parramatta’s wins over the first two rounds weren’t some kind of false dawn as they traded blows and tries with the reigning champions. A sluggish close to the game enabled the Roosters to run away with the victory but the teaching points from Friday night could potentially be massive for a young team.

 

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12

Dear oh dear. The Warriors decline from Round 1 heavyweights to also-rans has happened in the blink of an eye. Manly certainly benefited from the return of Tom Trbrojevic, who scored two tries and helped set-up more, but the defensive effort of the Warriors was deplorable.

Young Manly hooker Manase Fainu had a strong game and is beginning to push Api Koroisau for a larger share of game-time. Meanwhile Adam Keighran has crashed back to Earth following his sensational NRL debut but perhaps that is symptomatic of wider issues in the New Zealand franchise.

 

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Wooshka. Six tries in the second stanza completely routed the Cowboys as they started life without Jason Taumalolo in the worst possible fashion. Cronulla’s left-edge feasted in that run with Josh Morris posting a double. Rookie backrower Briton Nikora continues his positive start to the season as he scored an improbable try deep in the in-goals from a kick.

The win sets up the Sharks for a block-bluster game against the Eels in prime-time on Saturday night but they will potentially be without Paul Gallen (Ribs) and Matt Moylan (Hamstring).

North Queensland will need to clean house rather quickly but they should be not be written off by any means.

 

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32

Bathurst turned out to be Bathworst (I apologise for nothing) for the Panthers as they were diabolical in all facets of the game in their brutal loss to the Storm. Dylan Edwards got the fumblersooski and gifted two tries to Melbourne early in the piece before the competition heavy-weights properly applied the screws to Penrith.

With only a narrow win over Newcastle banked thus far, the pressure must be beginning to rise out West. Ivan Cleary secured a monster deal in his return to Penrith but Phil Gould has been plenty cutthroat when it comes to his coaches in recent years. While it might be too early for any bloodletting, the fact that the Panthers are playing without any coordination or conviction does not bode well.

 

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22

If the Eels reinforced their credentials with a highly competitive loss to the Roosters, the Tigers were sent back to back to go without collecting $200 as the Bulldogs poured on the pain at Campbelltown on Sunday.

Dean Pay was rewarded with a breakthrough win after enforcing sweeping changes to the team with Jayden Okunbor and Nick Meaney featuring in the victory. Perhaps most importantly, Kieran Foran turned back in the clock in what was arguably his best performance since dismantling the Raiders for Parramatta in 2016.

Footage after the game showed Michael Maguire blowing up in the change rooms…and can you really blame him? Canterbury have been miles off the pace in the first two rounds but suddenly looked like title contenders on the weekend. Wests’ vaunted defence was torn apart and they had zero answers after the first blow rattled their jaws.

 

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The Titans made this one a lot closer than anyone gave credit for before kickoff but their late run fell just short to keep South Sydney undefeated over the first three rounds. Outside backs for both teams doubled up with Campbell Graham and Brian Kelly leading the scorer’s list for the Rabbitohs and Titans respectively.

South Sydney were without skipper Greg Inglis as he succumbed to a shoulder injury before kickoff and then quickly lost Braidon Burns to a hamstring injury in the first quarter of play. Credit to their team and Wayne Bennett for juggling those two blows to the backline.

With the loss to the Bunnies, the Gold Coast are now the only team without a win in the NRL. There were definitely positive signs on Sunday night though so perhaps they can register a breakthrough ‘W’ in the coming weeks.

 

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Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

The scorelines show one thing for this season so far, Consistency and inconsistency are likely pigeon pair twins.

Big Derek
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Big Derek

The most obvious thing is that the clubs wth the TPAs have an advantage over the rest of the teams. Broncos, Storm, Souffs and Uncle Nicks Chooks are at the top of the tree in that respect. If anyone believes that the Roostrs have only only 200k , then go find a mirror to look into, declared and registered is one thing- reality is another. That’s the conclusion, the extra dollars courtesy of News, 1 team town, Rustys connections etc all add up to being in a position to advance their cause beyond what others can achieve. Not forgetting how… Read more »

John Eel
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John Eel

The Sharks situation is laughable. Supposedly they are meant to be playing $350,000 under the cap due to cheating. To date I believe that they have not shed anyone and still have spot 30 to fill given they did not sign Segyaro.

They are obviously getting special treatment as they are still playing for points

The rev aka Snedden
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The rev aka Snedden

Anyone got any news on kaysa Pritchard ?
Is he coming back are the eels going to release him or what 🤔