Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, looking at the points you may have missed from round 16 of the NRL plus a bonus representative game in Townsville.
Often is this column we look at raw figures or statistics but we thought we would take the time to highlight a great effort from Penrith forward Bryce Cartwright on the weekend. After costing his team a try when Dallin Watene-Zallazniak had a four-pointer scratched off when Cartwright interfered with a Wests Tigers defender the Panther made a crucial tackle, holding up a Tigers player and the ball up over the line in the ensuing set which saw his side maintain a 12-point lead. Penrith subsequently scored a field goal and three further tries to seal the game but Cartwright’s play at a pivotal moment in the encounter at Leichhardt Oval when he was able to respond from an attacking error shows the burgeoning maturity of the 20 year-old.
Two weeks ago we honed in on the impact, or lack thereof, of the South Sydney pack when they were humbled by the Wests Tigers 34-6 two weeks ago but back at ANZ Stadium on Friday night it was happier news for the Rabbitohs. Running out 20-8 winners over Manly John Sutton and Chris McQueen were rampaging on the edge with five and four tackle breaks respectively. This time it wasn’t left to bench players like Chris Grevsmuhl to attempt to lay the platform as the 2014 Premiers registered their ninth win of the season.
As Brisbane saw off Newcastle 44-22 on Friday night to retain top spot on the ladder the only negative for the Broncos was a major achilles injury for Josh McGuire. The Queensland forward hadn’t made an error or missed a tackle since round 12 when they beat Canberra and in those for games, including Friday night’s, he didn’t concede a penalty. Amongst that time the forward has been key for Wayne Bennett’s side. McGuire, 25, made 16 tackles and ran for 115 metres during 14 runs in his 38 minutes on the park at Suncorp Stadium. How significant will his asence now be for Brisbane?
As Cronulla upset the Johnathan Thurston-less North Queensland on Saturday night Sam Tagataese produced a superb effort off the bench. The Kiwi forward in his 31 minutes on the field made 11 tackles, but more significantly, also made 11 runs and broke seven tackles at 1300Smiles Stadium. Tagataese, 28, scored in the 49th minutes to help drag Cronulla back to within six points of the Cowboys who they eventually run down 24-18.
Finally in Origin news, well Interstate Challenge news, Queensland and New South Wales drew 4-4 in the #womensorigin game on Saturday. The NSW side have chopped a change focus in selecting their team in recent years but now seem to be almost on-par with Queensland as evidenced by the game in Townsville. Having lost recent ties including the 2012 game 34-10 in Penrith NSW have improved with coach Mathew Head and promise some interesting clashes in years to come. On the weekend Bega’s Kezie Apps provided plenty of dynamism for the visitors busting a match high seven tackles but Queensland’s solid defensive display which lasted until Isabelle Kelly’s 65th minute try was led by Heather Ballinger (37 tackles, 17 runs) and Tarah Westera (40 tackles, 14 runs.) However the workhorse effort from the game was Canley Heights Dragon Simaima Taufa-Kautai who made 242 metres for NSW from 31 runs to go with 31 tackles. The result meant the Queenslanders have now held the title for 17 years.