Dogs VS Panthers
Panthers put up their best, but their best was not good enough. The Panthers forward pack really impressed earning good meters up the middle. Without Segeyaro that halves played too sideways through the game and failed to convert possession into points. The dogs showed they were the real deal and found a way to win.
Broncos VS Warriors
I had concerns for Brisbane early, failing to move off the defense line. The Warriors were making big meters in the first half and had plenty of opportunity to attack Brisbane’s line. Brisbane’s resilient defense held the visitors at bay and allowed them to dominate the 2nd half. The Warriors never came out of the dressing room after half time and failed to go on with the match.
Jeff Robson tried hard, did Shaun Johnson play?
Raiders VS Roosters
It was a sloppy first half with only a set or two completed by either team in the first 10 minutes. The game contained a lot of errors and penalties throughout.The Raiders finished strongly through a great 40/20 kick in the dying stages of the match to give the Raiders field possession and Williams the opportunity to kick the field goal. Guerra was impressive but their forward pack seems to be missing a spark, Waerea-Hargreaves?
Souths VS Knight
I thought the impact of losing Reynolds and Sutton would be more prevalent in South Sydney’s performance but it went virtually unnoticed. Burgess, Inglis, and Keary were outstanding in a big win in Sydney. Souths are going to be a real threat if they can field a full strength side in 2016. The knights were just plain poor, playing error filled football with nothing gelling in the halves. They were bunched up with no shape whatsoever to their attack. Hodkinson and Mullen have yet to establish a partnership and until that happens the Knights look to continue their losing streak. Its early days but they look like top contenders for the wooden spoon.
Cowboys VS Eels
Eels delivered to expectations with both their first string halves playing together for the first time in 2016. Whilst neither Foran nor Norman delivered an outstanding performance they provided direction and patience, something the Eels have been lacking for quite some time. The Cowboys performance was dismal in the first half completing only 9 of 16 sets. They returned from half time a completely different team but were beaten by the clock. The game was the first of 2016 I though was over reefed with officials blowing numerous penalties throughout the game and several players being placed on report.
Tigers VS Manly
I didn’t hold much hope for either of these teams this season and for one team this proved true, Manly are dismal. The club has been unable to replace the quality players that have left in the past 3 years and losing Keiran Foran has torn them apart. The performance in the halves can be summed up by Cherry-Evans handing off a ball to a forward on the fifth tackle for a hit up in the dying stages of the match. Manly had just scored and on the back of the kick off worked their way up field into attacking position. Still with enough time on the clock to snatch a win the Million Dollar half back had no idea it was the last tackle and cemented the victory for the Tigers. On the other hand the Tigers young halves played some quality football against the Sea Eagles. The Tigers look sharp in attack and Moses and Brooks frequently took on the line. It might not be this year but the Tigers look to have a premiership in them in the next 2-3 years.