FIVE METRE GAP: Round 14

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 fourteen

The clash of the cousins in Cairns between Greg Inglis and Albert Kelly made headlines as the Rabbitohs won the high-scoring encounter 30-24 against the Titans. The late play which saw Queensland Origin star Inglis tackle Kelly, 22, to secure the result for Souths was much talked-about it was the defensive effort of Kelly and his Gold Coast halves partner Aidan Sezer which helped contribute to the loss for John Cartwright’s men. Kelly missed six tackles in the match (he made seventeen). Coupled with the fact Sezer missed four of his 12 tackle attempts, it is a concern for the Titans who will be short of tough-tackling duo Nate Myles and Greg Bird this weekend.

Parramatta’s Chris Sandow is slipping back to some of the habits that saw him dumped in NSW Cup last season. The Kingaroy native made only four runs in the Eels’ 32-14 loss to Cronulla. For a side which – despite losing to the Roosters the previous weekend – had put in an improved effort, it was surprising to see Sandow cede the initiative when on attack. Over the weekend in the halfback ranks, Robert Lui also ran only four times for the Cowboys but the difference was he had Johnathan Thurston who took on the line on, on 10 occasions. Sandow (in having Joseph Paulo) can’t afford the luxury of a catch and pass because the Paulo (five runs-36 metres) is unlikely to run too.

Following on from a position topic last week, it was another wanna-be fullback displaying great wing play to conclude round 14 action. Brisbane winger Josh Hoffman, in the same way Warriors fullback Glen Fishaii prefers the custodian role, produced a terrific performance playing left wing as the Broncos dispatched Wests Tigers. The 25-year-old had 10 tackle breaks as he ran in two tries, logged 129 metres from 13 runs and also assisted in a try.

Former London Bronco Craig Gower may be stuck playing hooker if Danny Buderus remains out for the Knights. Despite Gower’s stated desire to play halfback he was used primarily in the number nine role against the Storm in the Knights’ 16-14 defeat at the hands on Melbourne. Significantly, he was asked to play dummy half when the Novocastrians were chasing the game, even though Indigenous All Star Travis Waddell – who has been with the side since the start of the season – was available. The potential World Cup representative for Italy will be hoping 35-year-old Buderus is available in round 16.

Canberra’s Reece Robinson logged an interesting statistic on the weekend by making no tackles as the Raiders saw off Penrith 24-12. The Raiders fullback did make 18 runs for 149 metres with 10 tackle breaks to go with his 15th minute try as the Raiders joined three other teams on 16 points. Interestingly, in the near-84-minute struggle between the Bulldogs and the Sea Eagles, Manly’s fullback Peter Hiku only made one tackle so sometimes this rare duck is not down the teams attacking dominance.

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