Hits and Misses: Once were Warriors, are again

This week we take a look at the brilliantly resurgent Warriors, a thrilling finish for the Bulldogs, a single-handed match turning effort from a Panthers centre. and some awful fullback work.

Read on as we take a look back at some of the biggest hits and misses of the weekend.


Once were Warriors, are again

The Warriors received the opening kick off at Shark Park on Sunday afternoon and dropped the ball on the fourth tackle. The Sharks then, through the scoring of two tries, a charged down kick and a couple of six again calls, held the ball for the next 43 tackles before the Warriors had another turn.

By that stage the Sharks led 12-0 and the visitors had spent considerably more energy. By the 16th minute they were down 18-0. With a fairer share of possession they were able to score two tries, but still went to the break down 26-12 and thoroughly in need of the oranges, a breather and the mother of all motivational speeches from coach Andrew Webster.

To add to their labours, they lost Marata Niukore to the sin bin a minute before halftime for a highly dubious hip drop call. Still the new-look 2023 Warriors refused to pack up and go home. They played with purpose and determination, scoring two tries after the break to bring the scores to 26-24.

The Sharks scored another try to take it to 30-24, but still the Warriors weren't done. They crashed over with 12 minutes remaining, levelling the scores, at the end of a 30-10 run, after being 20-0 down.

With minutes remaining in the post daylight savings dark, with the rain bucketing down, Shaun Johnson lined up a long range penalty goal. The ball sailed over the black dot, to put the Warriors up 32-30. The Sharks were then awarded a penalty from the kick-off . Nicho Hynes had a chance to level the scores after the siren, but his difficult attempt fell short.

It was an incredible victory to the Warriors, one which will have every other team nervous when they meet. This is a Warriors team with more steel and determination than many previous versions, and you can never count them out of the contest.


Bulldogs pull off stunning golden point victory

As if the Sharks vs. Warriors game wasn't enough for the Sunday evening nervous system, the Bulldogs and Cowboys put on a golden point thriller at Accor Stadium to close out the round.

In the shadow of full time, a mostly dour game, in awful conditions, saw the Cowboys hold a 14-10 lead. The Bulldogs then enjoyed a lengthy stay inside the Cowboys 20 metres, but struggled, as always, to crack the defence. With time just about up, a slick movement to the left involving a hot potato flick-on from Paul Alamoti saw Josh Addo-Carr dive over in the corner.

Matt Burton lined up the conversion from the left touchline and could only manage to graze the outside of the left post, leaving the scores locked at 14.

Into golden point extra time, after a couple of tit-for-tat sets of exhausted hit-ups, Burton chipped ahead from inside his half for a pursuing Addo-Carr. The veteran speedster showed great patience as the ball tumbled along before bouncing up into his hands. As he approached Cowboys fullback Tom Chester, he chipped over the top, but this time the bounce soared back over his head, where Chester managed to get a boot on it before it was dived on by Bulldogs back-rower Jacob Preston near the sideline 20 metres out.

From the play-the-ball the pass went directly to Burton who launched the 35 metre drop-kick from ten metres in from touch. It sailed over to the delight of Bulldogs players and fans alike.


Lack of effort typifies Tigers torture

I'm not sure whether fullback is the best position for the Tigers' Adam Doueihi, whether he would rather be somewhere else or the whether the whole mess at the Tigers has gotten to him. But; in the 33rd minute of the game against the Broncos on Saturday night he put in a disappointing effort as Jordan Riki crossed for his second try.

The Broncos by that stage were well on top and leading 22-0. A break on the left-hand side of the field saw Doueihi involved in some defensive work, but not trapped at marker. He simply had to sprint across field with the passage of the ball to be involved in the next play. Instead, he jogged across behind his line, Reece Walsh saw there was no one home and put a deft grubber kick through for Riki to pounce on.

Doueihi might not have made it in time to stop the try, but a show of urgency might have stopped Walsh from putting the kick through at all. They call moments like that a one percenter, and the Tigers have plenty of players at the moment who are shirking the little extra effort plays that are necessary for a team to be competitive in the NRL.

Sitting at home Doueihi's predecessor in the number one jersey Daine Lauire added salt to the wound, liking a video of Selwyn Cobbo's try on Instagram. Not a flash day for custodians from Concord.


You're not playing rugby now Miller!

If Doueihi's effort for the Tigers was poor, a similar incident involving Knights fullback Lachlan Miller was simply bizarre. The Sea Eagles and Knights couldn't be separated after 80 minutes and two periods of golden point extra time, with the game finishing locked at 32-32. Still it was the first of Manly's six tries, that almost defied belief.

From 45 metres out, rampaging Sea Eagles second-row forward Haumole Olakau'atu broke through several tackles and into the clear. With Daly Cherry-Evans in support, Miller backed off hoping his defence could scramble to help him, before he had to commit to a tackle. Problem was he backed into his in-goal area and watched Olakau'atu dive over in front of him untouched for the first points of the game.

He would later suggest that he lost his place on the unfamiliar Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee. He actually thought Olakau'atu had made the mistake of diving at the 10 metre line. Still, three minutes into a game, the last thing you need is to make a one-on-one tackle on one of the game's biggest, hardest-running players.


Tago's personal turning point

With four minutes remaining in the first half the Raiders looked like they were going to draw level against a 12-man Panthers. With Stephen Crichton in the sin bin for repeated ruck infringements, the Panthers scrambled in defence as Raiders half Jamahl Fogerty found himself charging at the try line. With a defender hanging onto his legs, he prepared to plant the ball next to the posts, only to be twisted by a flying Izack Tago. The Panthers' centre prevented the grounding by millimetres, turning Forgarty on his back and dislodging the ball.

The Panthers led 12-6 at the time and streaked away after the break to score seven more tries, the first two of which were scored by Tago. The youngster was personally responsible for a 16-point turnaround in the game.


Coates redemption after clanger

I don't know Xavier Coates, certainly not as well as Craig Bellamy, who might well have had a good old chat to the young Queensland representative winger on Friday night.

With two minutes remaining in the first half, Souths lined up for a short goal-line drop out. Latrell Mitchell sent the ball high and wide, but obviously a metre short of the 10 metre minimum required distance. There standing under it was Coates, who took the ball cleanly on his chest. Either he was unaware of where he stood, which is unforgivable or he was unaware of the rule which would see him penalised, which is also unforgivable.

He made up for the blunder early in the second half when he ran onto a pass on halfway to streak away before centring a perfect grubber kick for Cameron Munster to run onto for a try that helped the Storm to an 18-6 lead.