I can’t help but think that the Titans are using enigmatic forward David Fifita in the wrong manner.
On his day, Fifita is one of the NRL’s most damaging ball runners – thus his million dollar price tag.
But Fifita seemed to put all his effort into defense in the 36-24 loss to the Raiders.
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He topped the tackle count for both sides with 35 – a positive considering the heavy criticism of his play as being lazy.
But in attack, Fifita made just 10 runs for 73 meters, one of the poorest hauls for either forward pack.
If I was Titans coach Justin Holbrook – fighting to save his career – I’d tell Fifita to let other blokes do the defense and concentrate on his attacking game.
Axed Newcastle flyer gets last laugh
Knights fans keep copping more and more heartache in 2022 – and yesterday’s loss to the Bulldogs was particularly painful.
Star for the Bulldogs – who scored a convincing 24-10 win at Newcastle – was a player dumped by the Knights this season.
In-form winger Jacob Kiraz, who scored a hat trick and ran a game-high 259 meters, was in the Knights system last season before being shown the door.
The powerful flanker punished the Knights for their decision in classic style, scoring twice in the opening 10 minutes to put the Bulldogs on the way to their well-deserved win.
An unknown at the start of the year, 20-year-old Kiraz is having a fine season and must be in the running for the rookie of the year award.
Kiraz gets a double
Sheens’ big call
The wily old fox Tim Sheens has pretty much left Brett Kimmorley to his own devices since he took over the reins at the Tigers.
But one move Sheens did suggest was shifting halfback Jackson Hastings to lock – and what a success it has been.
The Tigers have averaged 24 points per game since Hastings became a middle forward and the versatile former Rooster and Sea Eagle was superb in the upset win over Brisbane.
Sadly, nothing is easy when you’re a Tigers fan – and Hastings was the victim of a shocking tackle that resulted in a broken leg late in the win and he is out for the rest of the year.
The big positive for the Tigers was the form of halfback Jock Madden, a late replacement for the enigmatic Luke Brooks.
Don’t be surprised if Brooks is granted a release over the summer and Madden is given his chance on a permanent basis in 2023.
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Talakai re-captures career-defining form
Siosifa Talakai’s performance against Manly in round seven remains one of the talking points of season 2022.
Rampaging Shark Talakai destroyed the Sea Eagles, running for 262 meters and scoring and setting up tries like they were going out of style.
A back-rower moved to the centers, Talakai has had his ups and downs since then, reflecting how hard a positional change can be.
But against the Rabbitohs in Saturday night’s golden point thriller, Talakai was back to his devastating best.
He made 225 meters – his most since that career-defining game against Manly, and was the difference between two very closely matched teams.
His ground gaining was nearly 50 meters higher than any other player on the park – and those precious meters made it possible for Nicho Hynes to boot the deciding field goal.
Hynes wins it for Cronulla in Golden Point
Questions remain over Eels despite win
Who would have thought that Parramatta would thump Penrith 34-10 – but then cop criticism after the game?
But that was the case in the local western derby at CommBank Stadium on Friday night after a somewhat bizarre game.
The Eels were dynamic in the first half, charging to a 30-4 lead with some scintillating football.
Even before Nathan Cleary was sent off in the 18th minute, the Eels were well on top at 12-4.
But the second half was a real downer for Eels fans – their team didn’t go on with the job and remarkably, the 12 man Panthers side actually won the half.
The Eels scored just one try in the entire half – in the dying moments – whereas Penrith scored one and had two disallowed.
When Parra are on song, they are very good – but need to go for 80 minutes, especially against a team down and out as the Panthers were.
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Manly to pay price for week of turmoil
Rarely does a team make 18 errors and still win the football match.
But as we all know, Thursday night’s Manly v Roosters clash was no ordinary game.
Missing seven key players who took exception to Manly wearing the rainbow jersey, the Sea Eagles were realistically never going to win.
But they gave it a red hot go, holding a strong Roosters side to 20-10.
You could almost guarantee that had the seven played, Manly would have beaten the Roosters, who were off their game for much of the night.
Sadly for Manly, I can’t help but think that those two points will come back to haunt them in the battle for finals spots.
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Melbourne’s troubles not over
The Storm’s four-match losing streak is finally done with – but the headaches for Craig Bellamy aren’t over yet.
The Storm downed the Warriors 24-12 – but the win wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline suggests.
Melbourne only scored four tries to the Warriors’ three, with the Kiwi team unable to kick a goal all night.
And the three Warriors tries – all to winger Edward Kosi – exposed real problems on the Storm’s right side defense that are certain to be tested by rival coaches in coming weeks.
Throw in a couple of blokes on report, a couple more injured and it was far from the usual clinical Melbourne win we have been so accustomed to watching in recent years.
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