Round 12 began with the Raiders and the Sharks knocking each other senseless last Friday night. But despite scoring 3 tries to 2, the Sharks totally blew it and handed the match to Raiders. The win ended a 10 year hoodoo for Canberra at Toyota Park and have now grabbed back the number one spot on the ladder.
Meanwhile, things have gone from bad to shocking for Canterbury. After going down to the Tigers, questions are being asked about the Bulldogs' committment. All is not well in the Doggies' camp... this is not the same team that won the hearts and pockets of their players in 2002. Word is that the Shark's are circling around Nigel Vagana and all indications are that Canterbury cupboard will be stripped bare as soon the June 30 deadline passes.
The mighty Panthers have done it again and set a new club record of 7 wins on the trot. Over 20,000 screaming fans were on hand to see the Panthers thrash the Warriors. Coach Johnny Lang is without a doubt the best coach in the NRL and and an absolute genius.
The Parra v Souths match was being billed as the battle for the wooden spoon and in a lot of ways, lived up to expectations. But full marks to winger Matty Petersen who gave the Eels a shot in the arm with no less than 4 tries. It was top-notch effort for Fuzz who was well served by young Michael Witt who looks to have cemented himself a first grade spot at halfback. The question remains though... will it be enough to save the coach? Monday Expert's mail is that Smithy is looking with relief at his rather lenghthy, lucrative and signed contract.
The Sunday fixtures began with a woeful performance from the Dragons. With over 13,000 St George plus 50 Cowboys supporters on hand, Saints gave the home crowd nothing and simply didn't show up to play. The North Queenslanders on the other hand played like men possessed and this expert may have to reassess his early season prediction that the Cowboys were going to be a no show this year. What odds on a Panthers-Cowboys grand final?
The return to Lang Park saw a packed house show up and ready to party with the Broncos. But the Knights had other ideas, downing the locals in front of 46,000 Queenslanders. Joey Johns showed us all that a week is a long time in footy and has sent out a State of Origin warning shot.
Talking of Origin, both NSW and Queensland named their sides today. A few notable omissions including Clinton Schifcofske missing out for the Cane Toads. It was a real kick in the guts for Schifcofske as Queensland go into Origin I without a recognised goal kicker and predictably top heavy with Broncos players. But the Queensland side is still a strong one a should start firm favourites.
Meanwhile, Cockroach supporters have breathed a sigh of relief with the news that Braith Anasta has been well and truly overlooked. The side made up mainly of Easts and Knights players have settled on Shaun Timmins at five eighth. This is no where near Timmo's regular spot but given the spirit of Origin footy, it just may be the tonic that NSW need.
Next week (round 13, 6-8 June): Roosters v Bulldogs at Aussie Warriors v Sharks at Ericsson Cowboys v Panthers in Townsville Raiders v Eels in Canberra* Tigers v Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Souths v Storm at Aussie Dragons, Knights, Broncos - Bye *Mondays Expert match of the round
Round 12 results at a glance home team listed first
SHARKS 14 Tries: Bird, Sullivan, Hilder Goals: Kimmorley 1/4 defeated by RAIDERS 20 Tries: Martin, Robertson Goals: Schifcofske 6/6 Friday 30 May 2003 Toyota Park Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 15,602 League Unlimited's Player of the Year Points: 3 - R Wiki (Raiders) 2 - B Kimmorley (Sharks) 1 - C Beattie (Sharks)
BULLDOGS 14 Tries: Vagana 2 Goals: El Masri 3/3 defeated by TIGERS 20 Tries: O'Neill, Hill, O'Halloran Goals: Covell 4/5 Saturday 31 May 2003 Sydney Showground Referee: S Clark Crowd: 7,602 League Unlimited's Player of the Year Points: 3 - T Hill (Tigers) 2 - L Withers (Tigers) 1 - C Pearson (Tigers)
PANTHERS 34 Tries: Campbell 3, Whatuira, Howland, Waterhouse Goals: Campbell 5/7 defeated WARRIORS 12 Tries: Betham, Tony Goals: Jones 2/2 Saturday 31 May 2003 Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 20,280 League Unlimited's Player of the Year Points: 3 - P Campbell (Panthers) 2 - C Gower (Panthers) 1 - L Priddis (Panthers)
DRAGONS 16 Tries: Firman, Roberts, Thompson Goals: Byrne 2/3 defeated by COWBOYS 36 Tries: Sing 2, Bowman, Sheppard, Williams, Morrison Goals: Hannay 6/7 Oki Jubilee Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Crowd: 13,517 League Unlimited's player of the Year points: 3 - G Morrison (Cowboys) 2 - M Sing (Cowboys) 1 - C Sheppard (Cowboys)
BRONCOS 22 Tries: Berrigan, Civoniceva, Carlaw, Kelly Goals: De vere 3/4 defeated by KNIGHTS 32 Tries: Quinn 2, Tahu 2, Gidley Goals: Johns 6/7 Sunday 1 June 2003 Suncorp Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 46,337 League Unlimited's player of the Year points: 3 - A Johns (Knights) 2 - D Buderus (Knights) 1 - B Kennedy (Knights)
STORM 20 Tries: Bell 2, Orford Goals: Orford 4/4 defeated by ROOSTERS 27 Tries: Flannery, Fitzgibbon 2, Wing Goals: Fitzgibbon 5/5, Fittler FG. Sunday 1 June 2003 Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 10,820 League Unlimited's player of the Year points: 3 - C Fitzgibbon (Roosters) 2 - C Wing (Roosters) 1 - M Orford (Roosters)
League Unlimited's Player of the Year Awards Round 12
Tally update: 16 points: D Lockyer (Broncos), C Schicofske (Raiders) 15 points: L Bailey (Dragons) 13 points: P Campbell (Panthers), C Fitzgibbon (Roosters) 12 points: A Johns (Knights), A Minichiello (Roosters), S Price (Bulldogs) 11 points: M Orford (Storm) 10 points: PJ Marsh (Warriors), M Sing (Cowboys) 9 points: B Kimmorley (Sharks), J Smith (Rabbitohs), R Wesser (Panthers) 8 points: J Ferris (Sea Eagles), G Morrison (Cowboys), R Wiki (Raiders), C Wing (Roosters) 7 points: S Berrigan (Broncos), D Buderus (Knights), C Gower (Panthers), L Hohaia (Warriors), S Kearney (Storm), B Slater (Storm) 6 points: T Carroll (Broncos), B Drew (Raiders), T Hill (Tigers), B Kennedy (Knights), D Nutley (Sharks), C Pearson (Wests Tigers), B Sherwin (Bulldogs), B Walker (Sea Eagles), A Watmough (Sea Eagles) 5 points: B Fittler (Roosters), J Morris (Eels), P Stringer (Rabbitohs), G Tallis (Broncos), L Withers (Wests Tigers), S Woolford (Raiders) 4 points: D Abraham (Knights), M Bowen (Cowboys), K Campion (Cowboys), B Finch (Roosters), B Hodgson (Eels), J Lyon (Eels), D Peachey (Sharks), L Priddis (Panthers), T Puletua (Panthers), M Riddell (Dragons), B Tate (Broncos), S Timmins (Dragons), P Whatuira (Panthers) 3 points: S Bell (Storm), T Byrne (Roosters), H El Masri (Bulldogs), B Firman (Dragons), A Guttenbeil (Warriors), J Hannay (Cowboys), J Lowe (Cowboys), W Mason (Bulldogs), M McClinden (Raiders), F Meli (Warriors), D Myles (Cowboys), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), J Perry (Knights), J Seu Seu (Warriors), S Webcke (Broncos) 2 points: D Byrne (Dragons), D Carlaw (Broncos), J Caine (Wests Tigers), B Fletcher (Rabbitohs), M Gasnier (Dragons), M Gidley (Knights), A Graham (Eels), B Harris (Bulldogs), S Hill (Storm), S Jones (Warriors), R Kearns (Storm), J Lolesi (Raiders), M McLinden (Raiders), N Merritt (Rabbitohs), L McWilliams (Cowboys), P Rauhihi (Cowboys), S Rudder (Knights), S Sattler (Panthers), J Skandalis (Tigers), D Senter (Wests Tigers), J Seu Seu (Warriors), L Swann (Warriors), S Tadulala (Storm), L Thompson (Dragons), N Vagana (Bulldogs) 1 point: P Bailey (Sharks), T Barrett (Dragons), C Beattie (Sharks), S Donald (Sea Eagles), S Dunley (Eels), H Fa'afili (Warriors), B Galea (Wests Tigers), P Gallen (Sharks), R Girdler (Panthers), P Graham (Raiders), J Hodges (Roosters), S Kelly (Broncos), D Kidwell (Storm), F Meli (Warriors), S Menzies (Sea Eagles), R O'Davis (Knights), A Quinn (Knights), L Ricketson (Roosters), C Sheppard (Cowboys), R Swain (Broncos), J Thurston (Bulldogs), B Webb (Warriors), D Widders (Eels), M Witt (Eels), A Woolnough (Knights)