This ANZAC Day we're honoured to share this 2015 piece by Andrew Ferguson.
Honouring Stan Carpenter...
13 hours ago
The Guru was faced with his toughest assignment so far this season, as he sat down to dissect the form of teams in a couple of blow-out scorelines, compared with some close fought contests. A few selections and positions are certainly out there for debate in the Round 6 League Unlimited Team of the Week. But you can?t deny one thing - this is an exciting footy team.
Fullback: Greg Inglis (Storm) ? A natural athlete and a pleasure to watch. Scored three tries and had a hand in two others. If he was more selfish he might have ended up with 5 for the night. Just edges out Bowen in a tight call.
Wing: Nathan Merritt (Rabbitohs) ? Gives his all every week. Bagged a try and kicked three goals and with a bit more luck may have sealed victory for the Bunnies if it weren?t for a dropped ball early in the second half.
Centre: Matt Gidley (Knights) ? I must admit that Gidley snr has impressed me of late and he stepped up when the big plays were needed against North Queensland. Scored a try and gave the last pass (an absolute corker) for Carmont?s try.
Centre: Paul Whatuira (Tigers) ? I?m not sure how Whatuira does it week in week out. He seems to be on the end of the backline right when he?s needed and that?s the sign of a quality back. He?ll be New Zealand?s first pick for the Test side.
Wing: Matt Cooper (Dragons) ? We?ve shunted Coops onto the wing for this match after he scored two solid tries and was steady in defence all night. A great back up player and a player you love having on your outside.
Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) ? Tough decision to switch Thurston here but he played a fair bit of second receiver at the weekend and scored a good try in that position. Also kicked 3 important goals.
Halfback: Mat Head (Dragons) ? A bit controversial, but Head proved to be the difference in a tight game at Brooky. Setup a coupe of tries and kicked five important goals to make a startling return to first grade.
Lock: Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles) ? As tough as they come. Kennedy never stopped on Saturday night and was unlucky in a desperate Manly team. Scored a powerful try and if Orford kicks a simple goal it could have been extra time.
Second-row: Willie Mason (Bulldogs) ? At his rampaging best against the Bunnies. He menaced the Souths defensive line all day and was hard to put down. I?m sure he?s got a Green and Gold jersey in mind.
Second-row: Alan Tongue (Raiders) ? A hero down in the Nation?s Capital and probably still taking advantage of complimentary free beers for his two-try effort. Doesn?t always get the wraps he deserves, but this week he made sure people stood up and paid attention.
Prop: Petero Civoniceva (Broncos) ? Arguably the form prop of the comp after his game on Friday night. Barged over the stripe for the Broncos opening four-pointer and looks set to partner O?Meley up front in the Anzac Test Match.
Hooker: Danny Buderus (Knights) ? Did everything in his power to win the game for Newcastle but fell agonisingly short. Scored a great individual try and provided good service from dummy half to an injured Johns.
Prop: Mitchell Seargent (Cowboys) ? Worked hard all day and scored a good try. Although he had one brain snap, Seagent was the pick of the forwards on Sunday in a glimpse of what?s to come from a dominant Cowboys pack. Just edges out O?Meley who gets an honourable mention.
Interchange: Corey Parker (Broncos), Michael Crocker (Storm), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Matthew Bowen (Cowboys).
A great bench here. Parker (6/6) and Crocker are two good ball-playing forwards with a kicking option a handy addition. Cusack is a reliable forward who can get the hard yards done from the bench. And what can you say about Matty Bowen? Hard to leave him out of the run-on side, but he?ll add another dimension to the attack when he takes the field.
Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: Steve Clark and Russell Smith have taken out this week?s Merkin with a rare display of pee-popping that would bring a tear to the eyes of old stagers like Hollywood and the Grasshopper. Fair dinkum, when are these guys going to let the game flow?