Preview: Cronulla Sharks vs Sydney Roosters
“I don’t think you ever got your mind off footy if you’re a head coach,” Interim Cronulla head coach Peter Sharp told the Sydney Morning Herald prior to the season. “You think about it in the middle of the night or when you’re walking down the street. The assistant coach specialises in one area and can be a good bloke whereas the head coach has to belt some bloke over the head occasionally.
“Shane [Flanagan] has an appeal and hopefully he’ll be back and I can go back to being an assistant coach and everyone is happy.”
The poor Sharks. They have a head coach that doesn’t want to be there, a right-side defence that defends like it isn’t, and an (at present) absence of the ASADA crutch to explain away their early season woes.
Sure, you could put their struggles partly down to the injuries to Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis, two huge pieces of the puzzle.
But they are also missing Beau Ryan, which could be considered addition by subtraction. His “comedy”, if you can call it that, is the only thing that keeps him in first grade when fit, even though he’s the Adam Sandler of NRL “jesters”: he’s been living on his Happy Gilmore days despite the fact he’s now just shitting out Grown Ups.
Meanwhile, the Roosters, the defending premiers, are just one win ahead on the table, and already some fans are threatening to tear up their memberships despite their club taking home the crown a little over six months ago . Yes, that’s actually been said on Twitter by a select few fans — after three losses by a combined 11 points.
For one, you can’t tear up your membership. It’s plastic. You can bend it, snap it and cut it, but tearing it up would be a bitch. Second, if you want to jump off the wagon, fine.
But you may struggle to get your seat back when the wagon rights itself.
Team for Round 6: Anthony Minichiello, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Sonny Bill Williams, Aidan Guerra. Interchange: (From) Frank-Paul Nu’uasala, Mitchell Aubusson, Kane Evans, Isaac Liu, Dylan Napa, Daniel Mortimer.
The Roosters have named the same extended squad that lost to the Eels last week, but with Aidan Guerra named to start at lock (as he has for the past two weeks anyway thanks to last minute changes by coach Trent Robinson) and with Frank Paul Nu’uasala on the bench. Daniel Mortimer and Dylan Napa have been named outside the 17.
Meanwhile, Remi Casty and Tautau Moga have been named for the Newtown Jets for the first time this year.
The Roosters have lost three straight, and last time they visited Remondis they were touched up in a first half ambush when the Sharks jumped out to a huge 26-0 lead.
The Roosters also haven’t won a game with Sonny Bill Williams in the line-up, averaging a paltry 9.3 points a match in three losses — but that stat is more coincidence than anything, and he was essentially over the line twice in a game the Roosters should probably have won.
Eels 14, Roosters 12. Doubt has set in, but we aren’t far off a win. Right?
PARRAMATTA EELS 14 (Sio 2, Radradra tries; Sandow goal) def
SYDNEY ROOSTERS 12 (Moa, Tupou tries, Maloney 2 goals).
Crowd: 15,312 at Pirtek Stadium.
This game was on the cards. Everyone could see it, but no-one wanted to truly believe it. After all, we just flogged the Eels 56-4 a month ago, surely there couldn’t be a 54-point turnaround?
That’s exactly what it was, and the Eels took their two wooden spoons and shoved them up the arse of that thinking. They scored two easy tries where all Ken Sio had to do was literally fall over the line, and found mini-cracks in the defence all game.
Conversely, the Roosters found cracks but couldn’t put the proverbial pearl necklace on a few plays, leaving themselves with a massive case of blue balls as they slumped to their third loss in a row.
You could tell from the first minute of the game on Saturday night against the Eels when Boyd Cordner broke through that the Roosters have begun to doubt themselves, and are feeling the pressure to score.
You could see it in the way he ran, thinking to himself “I can’t bomb this”. All he had to do was draw Jarryd Hayne and pass to Maloney outside him, yet he allowed Hayne to stay in a perfect lane to block any pass. He then bombed it, and knocked it on.
It looked like the floodgates were going to open, but when he bombed that try you got the sense that there just isn’t any water in the dam. They depended on a 90-metre effort and a superb individual burrow from a prop to trouble the scorers, although they had plenty of opportunities to cross throughout the game.
James Maloney and Mini both contributed to a missed opportunity in the second half when Maloney threw a no-look loft pass to Mini who was too far infield to receive it. Jake Friend almost scored the un-scoreable, channelling his inner Jenko to nearly touch-down on a long kick that would have put them in front, but he probably didn’t expect to ever get that close. Sonny Bill Williams was stripped for a try and held up for another, and Tupou made two errors on the left edge with the line pubic-hairingly close.
Mounties rack up ½ Century against Knights.
Mounties have retained their place on top of the VB NSW Cup ladder following a comprehensive 50-30 victory over the Newcastle Knights at GIO Stadium.
They scored the first points of the game in the 8th minute, as some great passing split the Knights defence open and Jeremy Hawkins was able to score unmarked in the corner.
Mitchell Cornish was able to make the difficult kick to take the Mounties to a 6-0 lead after nine minutes.
Michael Dobson put Mounties under pressure following a good set from the Knights, his kick allowed the Knights to trap Joey Bond in goal for repeat sets at the Mounties line.
They scored on the next set of six as Nathan Ross was able to score out wide after beating a few Mounties defenders. Josh Mantellato added the extras and the game was back all square at 6 a piece after 14 minutes.
Newcastle scored again after Dobson put in a deft kick which split the Mounties defence. Chanel Mata’utia was able to gather the ball and score close to the posts, the conversion was successful and the Knights took a 12-6 lead after 17 minutes.
Mounties regained the momentum through two quick tries. Interchange player Clay Priest was able to jump on a loose ball in the in goal area to score, he then backed up a barnstorming Sami Sauiluma to score his 2nd.
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