FIVE METRE GAP: Round Three

Hamish NealBy HAMISH NEAL
Like the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from round three.
Let’s start off on Monday night with praise for the Newcastle defence. Looking at some specifics of the Knight’s 34-6 victory two players stood out earlier with Neville Costigan and Robbie Rochow each making tackles in as many minutes to start the game. Both players are not noted for high tackle counts, with Rochow not even noted as a regular first grader finished with 31 and 30 tackles respectively in the victorious Knights.
With Sky Sport TV and the NRL coming up with a last-minute deal to ensure games were broadcast into New Zealand during 2013 it seems some aspects of the deal are still annoying fans. The deal doesn’t, initially, include the suite of new shows such as Fox Sport’s Sterol and NRL 360. The extra shows/analysis during weekdays was a point trumpeted at the announcements of the (Australian-based) deal. Several talkback callers to Radio Sport in New Zealand don’t like the Footy Show so some variety would be a positive. I am sure a deal to show those programs in New Zealand would be well received, so someone get it sorted.
Another week another draw moan, yes I can pick them. I’m not sure if the 8pm kick-off on Thursday evening for Manly versus Wests in Gosford is such a great call. Holiday-makers heading north for the holiday weekend plus commuters heading back from Sydney plus game traffic spells trouble. I hope I am wrong. Fans need to be given great game day experiences and that includes getting to games. On a holiday weekend that game should have been a Sunday afternoon.
Not to become beholden to statistics but it’s worth pointing out Nathan Fien (five times) ran the ball more than Jamie Soward (three) on Sunday evening in the Dragons 30-17 loss to Canberra. Whilst these stats when compared to say Chris Sandow (six runs in lose to Tigers) need to be taken in context it can’t be viable for Soward to continue with such low output.
 Anyone else suffering Thursday night burnout yet? Between fantasy teams, tipping, and other ways to interact with the game I can’t seem to remember what night of the week it is. I almost thought I was watching a live game on Tuesday night when I realised it was a replay of a Superleague game, big win for Wigan over Widnes, from the weekend.

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