Home Australia NRL summary: Bunny brain fades, bunker fails and Brisbane brings out Big Ben

NRL summary: Bunny brain fades, bunker fails and Brisbane brings out Big Ben

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A Sydney Roosters player with a torn shirt stands on the field as the referee shows him to the dugouts after a sending off.

It arguably began with the game of the season on Thursday night and the drama simply continued into round five of the 2024 NRL season.

Here is our summary:

1. The new NRL giant is real and spectacular.

There has been a lot of excitement as we wait for Ben Te Kura’s NRL debut; After all, any player who weighs 122kg and is 205cm tall won’t exactly arrive quietly.


Thursday night’s loss to Melbourne was bitter for the Broncos given they lost Adam Reynolds to a hamstring injury, but Te Kura’s debut is the kind of ray of hope that will pay off in the future . In just 24 minutes, Te Kura ran 115 meters and crashed on a late attempt that gave his team the chance for a miraculous victory.

Some players, paradoxical as it may seem, may be too big for rugby league. Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jordan Mailata is one of those players, Wallabies captain Will Skelton was another. Size is not enough, you have to be able to move it, both towards the defensive line with power and backwards ten meters with speed and agility.

Te Kura showed that he is much more than just a unit, he can be the type of trade weapon that can transform the Broncos into an even more dangerous attacking team when they get all their stars back. He will be a threat near the line, both on downs and pass rushes, because he not only has the volume, but he also knows how to use it.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Jahrome Hughes (Storm)

2 – Eliesa Katoa (Storm)

1-Ezra Mam (Broncos)

2. Watching the rugby league madness

Dom Young was sent off and faces a penalty for his high shot on Blake Taaffe.(Getty Images: Cameron Spencer)

So much happened in the Bulldogs’ win over the Roosters that between the 10 tries, five HIAs, two players returning to the NRL after serving four-year suspensions for taking performance-enhancing drugs and one expulsion, it’s hard to know where . to start.

The strange nature of the game – the Bulldogs raced to a 26-0 lead before barely hanging on against a fast-finishing, 11-man Roosters team – it’s hard to know how much to take away from the game. But what is certain is that the ripple effects will last for a few weeks.

Dom Young will face a two-week suspension for his high kick on Blake Taaffe. The failure of Sam Walker and James Tedesco to pass their HIAs means they will be out for Thursday’s clash against the Knights; It’s the 10th concussion of Tedesco’s career, which means everyone from here on out is cause for greater concern.

The Roosters paid the price for their lack of application on the night. Now they will pay it again a couple more times.

The Bulldogs will not be exempt from their own match psychosis – rarely has such an unexpected victory felt even a bit like a defeat and their own injury list is just as extensive. One of the strangest games of the NRL era will stay with us all for a while yet.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Matt Burton (Bulldogs)

2 – Viliame Kikau (Bulldogs)

1 – Victor Radley (Roosters)

3. Great men pave the way for the revival of the Knights

A Newcastle NRL player slides through a huge splash of water after scoring a try, with two Dragons defenders behind him.

The conditions between the Knights and Dragons were the stuff of youth football dreams.(Getty Images: Scott Gardiner)

Kalyn Ponga received plenty of praise for her strong performance at full-back for the Knights against the Dragons, but in the underwater conditions at Newcastle it was the club’s greats who got the job done.

Newcastle’s forwards have not been at their best so far this season but have returned to the form of late last year with the Saifiti twins helping to lead the way alongside New Zealander Leo Thompson.

In such wet conditions, forward dominance is paramount because each defensive line is full of danger. The Knights forwards rolled up their sleeves and accepted the hard, brave and completely unglamorous work that had to be done if the Novocastrians were to secure their second win of the season.

Getting Ponga, Bradman Best and everyone else up and running is important, but if there is no platform, nothing else can happen. For this Knights team to get wins, it needs more of the same from the big guys up front.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Leo Thompson (Knights)

2 – Jacob Saifiti (Knights)

1 – Enari Tuala (Gentlemen)

4. New lows for the Rabbitohs

Latrell Mitchell hits Shaun Johnson with an elbow during an NRL game between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Warriors.

Latrell Mitchell will be sidelined for three weeks for this contact with Shaun Johnson.(Twitter: NRL)

The South Sydney Rabbitohs were one attempt away from winning the 2021 premiership, but less than three years later they look like a shell of that team.

Starting the season with three straight losses, including an embarrassing 48-6 loss to century rivals the Roosters, Souths got one on the board against the Bulldogs last week.

But in the fifth round the Warriors saw them fall to the ground with a blow of 34-4. And the score wasn’t even the worst.

The bad news began before kick-off when Lachlan Ilias, who is trying to return to the Cardinal and Myrtle number seven jersey, seriously broke his leg in the final play of the Rabbitohs’ NSW Cup opener.

Less than half of NRL football later, fullback Latrell Mitchell was in the referees’ book twice for a pair of plays that even his coach called “stupid”.

Already looking aimless and disjointed in attack, the loss of their biggest star is unlikely to help, but Maroons coach Billy Slater suggested Mitchell’s suspension could help him and the team “restart their season.” .

They already tried it once by taking down Ilias after the second round and that preceded a 42-point rout, so what reins they will pull now and whether that has any effect will be a story in the coming months.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Shaun Johnson (Warriors)

2 – Wayde Egan (Warriors)

1 – Tohu Harris (Warriors)

5. The blind bunker in the face of flagrant clumsiness

You have to blow the whistle, but you can forgive the Penrith Panthers for not chasing them when Tolutau Koula broke free and raced 90 meters to score for Manly on Saturday afternoon.

It looked for all the world like Tommy Talau had touched down in the lead-up while trying to intercept Dylan Edwards’ pass.

Referee Todd Smith could be heard asking the touch judge “down?” before allowing Koula to continue playing.

Now, there is a possibility that the ball did not move towards the opponent’s try line in Talau’s hands. A small chance, but a chance.

And anyway, you’d be hard-pressed to find many cases where a ball was knocked down and landed in front of a player’s feet without being considered a knock-on, even if it was technically dragged toward them a bit.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Taniela Paseka (Sea Eagles)

2 – Nathan Brown (Sea Eagles)

1 – Daly Cherry-Evans (Sea Eagles)

6. Dolphins decimated before the Battle of Brisbane

Friday’s game between the Broncos and Dolphins at Lang Park will be one of the biggest of the first two months of the season, but it won’t feature the expected star power.

Adam Reynolds and Deine Mariner had already joined Payne Haas, Reece Walsh, Brendan Piakura and Xavier Willison on Brisbane’s long injury list, and a host of Dolphins joined them in the win over the Tigers on Saturday.

Former Broncos Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler left the game early with shoulder injuries, and Felise Kaufusi and Euan Aitken suffered hamstring strains later.

The game will still have one of the biggest crowds so far this year, but it has certainly lost some of the shine we would expect from this budding rivalry.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Isaiya Katoa (Dolphins)

2 – Stefano Utoikamanu (Tigers)

1 – Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Dolphins)

7. That felt good

Matt Bowen is a North Queensland Cowboys legend no matter how you look at it, but the iconic fullback is no longer the club’s leading try scorer.

After Sunday’s 35-22 win over Gold Coast, veteran winger Kyle Feldt is now alone on 131, including the most famous attempt in Cowboys history.

And, true to form, his record was another clutch effort, throwing an interception to sink the Titans just as they threatened to pull off a miraculous comeback.

It was simply a reward for a loyal servant who was in and out of the team last season, but continued to work at his craft.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Reece Robson (Jeans)

2 – Scott Drinkwater (Jeans)

1 – Reuben Cotter (Jeans)

8. Jordan Rapana makes a statement

Jordan Rapana receives help from trainers after leaving a Canberra Raiders NRL game with a knee injury.

Jordan Rapana appeared to dislocate his knee after a harmless tackle in the opening minutes against the Eels.(AAP: Lukás Coch)

Jordan Rapana looked as finished as a rugby league player can be in the third minute of Sunday night’s clash between Canberra and Parramatta when a trainer failed to get his right knee into place on the field.

The Raiders fullback came out with a horrible looking joint and we all resigned ourselves to watching a reconditioned backline trying to get by for the rest of the night. Then, midway through the half, Rapana emerged on the sidelines; still wearing his shirt, with one knee heavily bandaged.

He couldn’t, right?

Sure enough, after the break, the fan favorite took the field with his teammates and lined up behind. But his first half action looked like another late night finish, when he hit the ground hard after taking a bomb and broke his knee.

But once again, he jumped around a bit, waited for the medical staff to fix his knee, and continued with the game.

He finished with more than 100 linear meters (more than half of them after contact), a line break and two tackle breaks in just over 40 minutes in the 41-8 victory.

“After the shit we dished out last week, we owed it to our fans and ourselves to put some pride back into our shirts and show that it was a one-off shit game,” he told ABC Sport.

You certainly did, Jordan.

ABC Player of the Year Votes:

3 – Morgan Smithies (Raiders)

2 – Matt Timoko (Raiders)

1 – Joseph Tapine (Raiders)

ABC Player of the Year top 10

1. Dylan Edwards (Panthers) – 7

=2. Jahrome Hughes (Storm) – 6

=2. Ben Hunt (Dragons) – 6

=2. James Tedesco (Roosters) – 6

=2. Matt Timoko (Raiders) – 6

=6. Haumole Olakau’atu (Sea Eagles) – 5

=6. Api Koroisau (Tigers) – 5

=6. Pat Carrigan (Broncos) – 5

=6. Scott Drinkwater (Jeans) – 5

=6. Reece Robson (Jeans) – 5

(Votes are compiled by the ABC Grandstand commentary team after each match)

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