In a new weekly feature for LeagueUnlimited, our Armchair Expert will run his lazy eye over the weekend that was. Each round he'll look at the happenings of the previous weekend, and keep you up to date with the big issues like refereeing, social media and the current controversies.
This week he looks at the continued performance of the underdog, as well the reason we don't put forwards on the wing.. That, plus a wrap up of all the injuries and suspensions from the Round. Let's get into it....
Performance of the Round
After an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Roosters in Round 2, the Parramatta Eels were out for revenge. Although they were armed with a plethora of excuses about the earlier loss, including the absence of both Chris Sandow and Nathan Peats, the Eels weren't pleased with their performance. But they turned it around this week. In the most difficult of conditions, the Eels managed to grind out a tough win against the much favoured Roosters. Sandow was again impressive - the gulf in creativity between the two sets of halves was crucial in the win.
The Paul Carige Award for the Worst Performance of the Round
We've given this week's Paul Carige Award to Boyd Cordner, for his amusing performance in single handedly murdering a number of tries against the Eels on Saturday afternoon. Cordner made a break and found himself in open space with only the fullback to beat, then got within 10 metres of the tryline with 3 support players on his left, but inexplicably decided to run right instead, where he was easily picked off by Parramatta defenders. It was a comical display for the Eels' fans in the stands. His own teammates, however, were less amused - though they tried to hide their disappointment anyway.
Not so much a surprise packet player this week, as it is a surprise packet play. The Melbourne Storm snatched a win from the hands of the Dragons last night, after trailing by more than two converted tries late in the match. With only two minutes remaining, the Storm had scored a couple of tries and brought themselves back to within two, but the Dragons still looked to be somewhat in control. With less than a minute remaining, the Dragons kicked the ball out over the sideline in an attempt to run down the clock - giving Melbourne only one play to win the game. That was all they needed. The Storm put on a piece of enterprising play (also known as schoolyard bullshit), which ended with Tonumaipea crossing in the corner after the siren had gone. The ball went through almost every set of hands on the field, before Hoffman through a neat little pass to put his winger away. Poor Dragons - so close.
As far back as I can remember, tripping has been a professional foul, or at the very least an offense worthy of a sin-binning. Unless I've missed something over the off-season, where tripping is ok, then the referees have really dropped the ball on that one. The Rabbitohs game on Friday night contained two blatant and obvious trips which, if I was referee, would have result in a bit of bench warming from both players involved. Both George Burgess and Ben Te'o were placed on report in that game, as well as Luke Bailey for the Titans. When I was a kid, tripping a bloke in a game of footy resulted in a sly kick in the face while he was down. No, I'm not advocating a return to those days, but there really is no place for the trip on a Rugby League Field.
Bumps and Bruises
Tigers - Robbie Farah (Elbow) Expected return Round 12
Dragons - Dylan Farrell (Pectoral) Expected return Round 11
Bulldogs - Frank Pritchard (Pectoral) Expected return Late season
Raiders - Sam Mataora (Ribs) Expected return Round 10
Titans - Luke Bailey (Ankle) Expected return Round 9
Titans - Anthony Don (Disclocated Finger) Expected return Round 8
The Naughty Chair
Storm - Will Chambers (Grade 2 Shoulder Charge)
Warriors - Ben Matulino (Grade 2 Shoulder Charge)
Rabbitohs - George Burgess (Grade 1 Tripping)
Rabbitohs - Ben Te'o (Grade 1 Tripping)
Bulldogs - Frank Pritchard (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle)
Panthers - Jamie Soward (Grade 2 Careless High Tackle)
Rabbitohs - Adam Reynolds (Grade 1 Dangerous Contact - Unnecessary arm/shoulder pressure)
Broncos - Sam Thaiday (Grade 1 Dangerous Contact - Unnecessary head/neck pressure)
Titans - Paul Carter (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle)
Titans - Luke Bailey (Grade 1 Tripping)
Dragons - Joel Thompson (Grade 1 Dangerous Throw)
Dragons - Mitch Rein (Grade 1 Dangerous Contact - Unnecessary head/neck pressure)
Around the Social Media Traps
The Storm's late try to snatch the game against the Dragons was met with massive controversy on Social Media. LeagueUnlimited copped a pasting as well, just for posting up a capture of the moment the siren went,and encouraging people to have their own opinion.
It takes all types…
We love you too, @partypete25
For the record, the NRL has admitted error on this incident - see the full details here.
Check back next week for more expert analysis from the seat of my pants.
- The Armchair Expert