FIVE METRE GAP: Round Five

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 five.

FMG managed to stay dry this weekend attending the inaugural Johnny Mannah Cup after the previous week’s deluge which we encountered at Bluetongue Stadium. It was a great day with a dramatic end to an open Holden Cup match which finished in a 30 all draw and an absorbing contest in first grade eventually won by the Blue and Golds. Chris Sandow was lively with seven runs and Luke Kelly looked calm in attack. Given an injury-free run the Katherine-native could be the best performed ‘no-name’ half this season.

Sunday was the day for close contests in the NRL with seven points the combined margin in three games and with Melbourne matching up against South Sydney on Saturday evening another two point margin like two of last weekend’s games could be on the cards.

Of the reigning premiers, last weekend it proved to be another near miss for the Storm’s opponents as after the Broncos blew it in round four the Tigers let their chance slip against the Victorians. Thus far coach Craig Bellamy has resisted the chance to rest any star players prior to the representative period to help manage their workload. This is despite captain Cameron Smith indicating some weeks ago he expected that to take place. Perhaps if the Storm get over the Rabbitohs, Bellamy may look to the home matches against the Warriors or Canberra to rest some stars. To add fuel to my conspiracy theory Brett Finch has been named on an extended bench this weekend.

Further to last week’s World Cup-related note about Benji Marshall and Johnathan Thurston,, It was with great interest FMG read one rumour file piece this week which had news of Newcastle’s Kade Snowden snubbing Italy. It’s refreshing to see some World Cup chatter out there even in April’s nitty gritty of club football. Let’s have more of it.

Shifting attention away from the NRL, Queensland continued to assert their origin dominance as they extended their win streak to 15 years in the Women’s Inter-state Challenge. Some interesting points were that the Australian squad (the Jillaroos) for the World Cup was named as part of the weekend. Despite copping a 30-12 hammering New South Wales had 11 players make the squad of 23. Aside from NRL connections with players like Jess Palmer and Ruan Sims (both NSW) making the team, one major selection to note includes Bianca Ambrum who has scored five tries in the last two interstate games. A record Billy Slater would be proud of.

 

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