This week was Indigenous Round in the NRL.
Each game this round began with the players forming a Boomerang shape on the field while a local Indigenous person made a speech about the culture and significance of the land where the game was being played.
The Indigenous jerseys for this round were fantastic. If you click on the following link, you can see the jersey’s and read some information about their designers and meanings. https://www.nrl.com/news/2020/07/27/2020-indigenous-round-jerseys/
Indigenous Round kicked off at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Thursday night with the Rabbitohs taking on the Dragons.
Matt Dufty was on fire early for the Dragons and helped them to a 16-point lead early in the game. The Bunnies lost one of their halves pairing, Adam Reynolds very early in the game and Cody Walker stepped up to direct his team around the park. The run went against the South Sydney team in the first half but seemed to even out in the second 40. In the end, the Rabbitohs fought back from a deficit to beat the Dragons 32-24.
The Sydney Cricket Ground was the scene for an upset by the Warriors over Wests Tigers early on Friday night.
While the Tigers were up at half time and dominating early, the visiting Warriors fought back to take the lead after half time. Momentum kept swinging back and forth all game, which kept things interesting. It was 26-20 in the dying minutes before a ball from Chris Lawrence went untouched by David Nofoaluma on the wing and a grandstand finish was snuffed out.
Suncorp Stadium was the setting for the Broncos and Sharks encounter in Friday Night football.
The Broncos played the best they had all year, with coach Seibold moving Darius Boyd to fullback, Anthony Milford to five-eighth and Tom Dearden to halfback, which saw Croft dropped from the side.
Their early lead did nothing to stop the surge of the Sharks late in the game. The Broncos had the lead 26-18 late in the game, but a quick succession of tries from the Cronulla boys iced the victory, 36-26.
We were back at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday afternoon as the Titans put in a gritty show against the Roosters. The Roosters went into the sheds with a narrow lead of only four points. The Titans showed some grit in defence but in the end, the Roosters were too experienced and won 18-12.
The second game in the Saturday ticket was at Country Bank Stadium, where the Cowboys hosted the Raiders.
A big inclusion for the visitors, John Bateman was back for the Raiders as well as Curtis Scott in the centres. The Cowboys had Jordan McLean back in the side, which provided some much needed experience.
The Canberra side has been starting the last few games a bit flat, which enabled the Cowboys to get to an early lead. The Raiders chased them down though before the Cowboys once again took the lead in the 51st minute. The Raiders did have some errors but questionable early kicks couldn’t make anything out of the opportunities for the Cowboys. While they fought hard, the Raiders class showed and in the end, they were beaten in a close game, 14-12.
The game headed back to Sydney for the clash between the Panthers and the Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Saturday night.
The Panthers were in fine form, completing 42 of 44 sets all night. The Sea Eagles were also hampered by losing their five-eight, Dylan Walker in the early stages of the game. It was his first game back after being out with injury. Rookie Charlie Stains had another good run, scoring a double. Manly were down 24-6 at half time and needed to score the first try after half time but the Panthers came out firing and went over for two quick tries. The game got away from the Sea Eagles, with the Panthers piling on a 42-12 win.
Sunday afternoon footy began at ANZ Stadium with the Bulldogs taking on the Eels.
The Eels got out to an early lead but the Dogs put three unanswered tries on the board to reign in the gap. The goal kicking became the deciding factor, with Moses converting each of the Eels tries. The Bulldogs kept holding on but it was Aiden Tolman’s decision to forgo a penalty kick late in the second half that was their downfall. The final score was 18-16.
A beautiful, sunny winter’s day on the Sunshine Coast was a great backdrop for the new ‘home’ for the Storm to host the Knights.
As a Storm fan, I was at this game and they Storm certainly put on a show. Suliasi Vunivalu went over in the corner early, after a great ball from Felise Kaufusi. Bradman Best countered not long after for the Knights with a barnstorming run to cross the stripe. Storm captain, Cameron Smith, went over for this first try of the year and his 46th career try in the 24th minute. He converted his own try but went off and didn’t play again. He had suffered a low grade AC joint (shoulder) injury which will keep him out up to 4 weeks. Brandon ‘The Cheese’ Smith replaced him at hooker and played well the rest of the game. Papenhuyzen was lethal at the back again, scoring a try and setting one up for Fa’asuamaleaui to storm over. Errors by the Knights let them down and made it easy for the Storm to win 26-16.
Footage of the crowds at the Storm v Knights game at Sunshine Coast Stadium concerned people, with the NRL requesting a report be provided by the stadium and the host team regarding the social distancing used at the game.
The angle of the hill at the stadium creates an optical illusion that people are spaced closer together than they really are. I was there and there was plenty of distance between attendees. The total number was also under the 50% of capacity number required by the QLD government. Melbourne has decided to reduce the allocated capacity from 6000 to 5000 for the remainder of the season.
Harry Grant continues to lead the Dally M board with 13 points, with Cameron Smith and Clint Gutherson following closely with 12 points each.