Home Australia NRL roundup: Golden points galore and the rise of Shawn Blore

NRL roundup: Golden points galore and the rise of Shawn Blore

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Between two golden points games, drama in South Sydney and a new rule that landed firmly in the spotlight, round six in the NRL was another dramatic one.

Here’s this week’s ABC Sport recap.

1. Roosters find the plan for success

Every time the Roosters play, the center of the field should look like a mud pit when the game ends.

As inconsistent as Trent Robinson’s team has been this year, his best moments and most impressive victories have come in the same way: by directing all of his talent, skill and athleticism directly into the middle third of the field.

He dragged them back into the game in their losses to Penrith and Canterbury and helped them overcome the Knights after a difficult start on Thursday night.

Once Joseph Manu, Victor Radley and Brandon Smith moved through the middle, the game was totally different and it was a glimpse into a future where the Roosters will throw the best of their star-studded squad at opponents in the most direct way possible.

They were a little lucky to win against the Knights (Junior Pauga probably should have been penalized after his cover tackle on Kalyn Ponga and Newcastle had chances to win late but couldn’t take them), but the Roosters are going to make some noise. This competition, the way to do it is clear. Put away the knives and get out the hammers because the answer is blunt force.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Joey Manu (Roosters)

2 – Brandon Smith (Roosters)

1 – Kai Pearce-Paul (Knights)

2. Blore becomes what he was always supposed to be

Shawn Blore, Melbourne’s unlikely hero against the Bulldogs, may be a new face to many fans around the league, but making big plays in first grade is something he’s supposed to have been doing for a long time.

A former captain of the Junior Kangaroos during his youth with the Panthers, injuries have long prevented Blore from reaching his full potential.

But after four seasons at the Tigers, where he showed flashes of his best football amid a series of knee injuries, Blore landed in Melbourne, a club that excels at helping players make the most of their own abilities.

Shawn Blore finally showed what he can do.(fake images)

The 23-year-old has skill in abundance: it can be seen in the lines he runs and the power of his carries, two qualities that helped him score the winning goal against Canterbury.

He is also a talented offloader and a busy defender. There have been many success stories during Craig Bellamy’s time in Melbourne and at Blore, they may have another.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Connor Tracey (Bulldogs)

2 – Jahrome Hughes (Storm)

1 – Bronson Xerri (Bulldogs)

3. Dolphin depth tested to its limit, again

The Dolphins’ strong start to 2023 ultimately collapsed under the weight of a difficult toll of injuries, a fate the club planned to avoid in its second season with smart recruiting.

But a few brutal weeks have put them behind the eight ball again. Tom Flegler and Herbie Farnworth were already sidelined and a heavy defeat in Brisbane’s third battle cost injuries to fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and five-eighth Kodi Nikorima, and suspension to substitute Anthony Milford.

It means the youngest club in the competition will test its depth once again. Sean O’Sullivan is emerging as a capable replacement in the halves, but fullback remains a big question mark and as such, Wayne Bennett will have to call on all his skills to guide his charges through such a difficult period. .

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Selwyn Cobbo (Broncos)

2 – Pat Carrigan (Broncos)

1-Xavier Willison (Broncos)

4. The NRL’s disruptive new rule

Constant rule changes have been a hallmark of the Peter V’landys era for the NRL. The rules have been chopped and changed in an effort to speed up the game, slow it down, and everything in between.

One of the latest is to ban “disruptors,” that is, players who jump after a kick without actually trying to compete for the ball.

It’s the change literally no one was asking for, but that has never stopped the NRL before. Police intent will always be difficult, but that is the basis of this latest change.

The Warriors were pinged for one of those challenges early on and Manly got the same late in the match. It’s hard to see the benefit of such a change other than making it easier for defending players to make field goals, which is a good goal if you’re the defensive team and disconcerting for almost everyone else.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Warriors)

2 – Shaun Johnson (Warriors)

1 – Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles)

5. The infuriating brilliance of the Cowboys

North Queensland is by far the most unusual team in the NRL. Not only are they capable of committing impossible brilliance and basic errors of concentration in the same game, in the same half or in the same set, but also several times in the same play.

It was a sloppy, lopsided clash between the Cowboys and Parramatta, the best moment of which came when Scott Drinkwater, the epitome of that peaks and valleys style, completed a brilliant team try that seemingly put North Queensland back in the game. They were down by six with just a few minutes remaining.

But for many minutes before and in the subsequent passages of play, it was ugly: the forwards ran along the wrong lines, the halves passed them anyway and when it really counted, the team’s vaunted attack failed to get a shot off.

What will happen to the Cowboys next week against Cronulla? Will we achieve brilliance or madness? Who knows? North Queensland itself probably won’t.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Dylan Brown (Eels)

2 – Clint Gutherson (Eels)

1 – Junior Paulo (Eels)

6. Southern countries are going deeper, but will it be enough?

All the talk all week was that Jason Demetriou was training for his life at South Sydney on Saturday against the Sharks.

A win was probably always too much to ask for, especially considering the troops the Rabbitohs lost along the way.

But the Bunnies were better. At least they were tougher, with experienced striker Tom Burgess and new creators Dean Hawkins and Jye Gray leading the way.

They fought until the end and, for the first time in a few weeks, it really felt like they had left it all out there.

The question now is simple: is that enough to save Demetriou? The playing group responded at their most desperate, which is a plus.

But it was still a loss and many of the problems that have plagued South Sydney for six weeks – namely a lack of defensive resolve and a lack of attention to detail – persisted.

If Demetriou stays, the season will become a matter of salvation, that seems certain. A new coach parachuting in could take the little sparks the Souths showed and help fan them, or he could cause them to hit rock bottom and start planning for 2025 too soon.

Hold on to what you have and hope it gets better or risk it all for a little more. It’s a classic rugby league bet and those in the South are about to decide whether they will accept the odds or not.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Blayke Brailey (Sharks)

2 – Dean Hawkins (Rabbits)

1 – Cam McInnes (Sharks)

7. High on Zac Lomax

Zac Lomax wants out of the Dragons, but if you were expecting him to drop his bundle and sulk and get to a new club, you don’t know Zac.

Lomax’s effort against the Tigers was one of the only reasons the Dragons kept their noses in front, finishing with a try, an assist and three conversions, but it was his work under the high ball that really changed the game.

Captain and halfback Ben Hunt, no stranger to playing brilliantly without wanting to be at Wollongong, admitted Lomax made him and the team look good by repeatedly giving them extra opportunities with notable aerial efforts.

“The only ones he doesn’t catch are the ones I put in,” Hunt told ABC Sport.

“He’s a real competitor. He doesn’t want to let his teammates down when he’s on the field.

“He’s always there when you need him.”

No wonder Luke Lewis gave him three votes. And speaking of…

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Zac Lomax (Dragons)

2 – Kyle Flanagan (Dragons)

1 – Mikaele Ravalawa (Dragons)

8. A titanic effort

There’s not much to smile about when you’re on a 100 percent losing streak after the first six weeks of the season, and that’s probably tripled when you just lost a heartthrob at the golden point.

But if there was ever a reason to change that frown under such circumstances, the Titans’ Sunday effort was it.

Before the game, Des Hasler made the bold decision to remove halfback Tanah Boyd, backing the experience of Kieran Foran and the spontaneity of AJ Brimson to provide some spark.

To be honest, for most of the night, it didn’t really work.

Brian Kelly performs a conversion in front of the fans.

Brian Kelly’s conversion on the bench leveled the score after the full-time siren sounded.(AAP: Lukás Coch)

Hovering at or below 40 percent possession throughout the match, unable to sniff out the opponent’s 20-meter zone and holding out set after set inside his own.

All the statistics were against them, including the score, until Alofiana Khan-Pereira’s brace in the final five minutes of the game was punctuated by Brian Kelly’s conversion from the wing to tie the game at 20 after the siren.

They somehow had more energy in the 10 minutes of extra time, despite completing almost 160 more tackles than their opponents, and almost stole the win when Brimson broke through the middle late in the second half, but Foran couldn’t make your field goal. .

Then Ethan Strange put the Raiders on the other end and Jamal Fogarty finally took charge, but the Titans had plenty to be proud of, even if their coach was a little distracted by the officiating.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Joe Tapine (Raiders)

2 – David Fifita (Titans)

1 – Morgan Smithies (Raiders)

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