FIVE METRE GAP: Round Four

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 four.

Forget the obstruction rule, the biggest farce has to be players kicking the ball out on the full from re-starts. What is going on folks? By my reckoning there has been on average two each round to date with some teams, such as the Raiders, coughing up the 50 metres at least twice. It’s like spinners bowling front-foot no-balls in cricket, shouldn’t happen!

Both the Cowboys and Tigers lost this weekend and have been poor to start the 2013 season. Their form brings up the prospect of both the starting number sixes for Australia and New Zealand having a month off matches before the World Cup. It will be interesting to see how a well rested Johnathan Thurston and Benji Marshall go, if indeed they have time on their hands between competitive fixtures at the end of the year. An intriguing possibility for the nominal favourites for the November 30 final at Old Trafford.

Whilst we are now at the end of the opening stretch of Thursday night fixtures, which I don’t like, a good point was made to me during the week that the Thursday night fixtures could have been extended to include the next fortnight. The point of trying them, tv ratings aside was surely to gain some sort of momentum. With Thursday games commencing on the ANZAC Day weekend running the Thursday night games if they were correctly placed over the next two weeks would likely draw good crowds and rate well.

Raiders work-horse Shaun Fensom was a monster the other night against the Knights, not only did he have his normal swathe of tackles, over 50 with 15 minutes still left in the game and 57 by the end, he finished with 18 runs and three offloads. Surely he isn’t one of those so-called players who are getting paid ‘overs.’

Elsewhere in the Knights win against the Raiders it was interesting to note the early ‘no try’ call which went against Raiders flyer Blake Ferguson would have been given by Video Referee Matthew Rodwell if he had been working that game as a video review official. Working in his capacity for ABC Radio 41 year-old Rodwell said he thought the try, which saw an obstruction in the lead-up to Ferguson crossing the line, would be given after review. It wasn’t. Significantly the former Knight is one of four officials who after amendments were made during the week will now be charged with determining the significance of any contact by block runners when ruling on a try-scoring situation. Other video referees, and ex-players, to take on this role include Justin Morgan and Luke Patten.

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