FIVE METRE GAP: Round 16

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 16.

After his game two Origin snub, Canberra prop Dave Shillington was a major contributor in a beaten side as the Raiders were thrashed 32-2 by Souths. In his 41 minutes on the field the 30-year-old made 21 tackles as well as producing 20 runs which tallied 186 metres. Should injury hit Queensland at all in the lead-up to game three it will be interesting to see if that effort will be enough for a recall.

Still shorn of a host of regular first-graders (including Braith Anasta, Keith Galloway and Lote Tuqiri) the Wests Tigers turned in a sensational effort to defeat the Melbourne Storm on Saturday evening at Leichhardt. With around seven regular first-graders and a host of fringe players missing the 22-4 win was an impressive effort. Despite the storyline about who the Storm was missing (Cameron Smith and Gareth Widdop), the players missing and the positional changes Mick Potter’s made meant the performance of the lesser-experience Tigers had to be one of the wins of the weekend, if not the season.

Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell produced a match-winning length of the field effort as the Auckland-based side stretched their win streak to five matches in defeating the Broncos 18-16. The barnstorming youngster ran 16 times for 247 metres, including his 71st minute try, and busted three tackles but significantly for the developing outside back he didn’t miss any tackles. Hurrell was a lot clearer in the execution of his defensive responsibilities with the 21-year-old having spent time in the NSW Cup to improve that aspect of his game this season.

One shining light in the Dragons’ loss to the Panthers was the form of debut centre Charly Runciman. Whilst light on in his statistics output mainly due to his side’s lack of go-forward 19-year-old Runciman produced an over-the-shoulder pass to set up Chase Stanley’s 65th minute try in a terrific piece of brilliance. This gave the visitors a chance at victory until they were eventually beaten 25-10. The NSW Under 20s representative’s performance against Penrith should see him with some further first grade opportunities.

During Monday Night Football, plenty of attention was on Manly’s Justin Horo when he was placed on report for what appeared to be an unlucky tackle on the Roosters Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Nothing came of that decision after the match, however. What wasn’t widely acknowledged post-match was his 80 minute effort. Horo, 26, is not normally a full match player and racked up 33 tackles plus 13 hit-ups in a significant increase in his game time in a match which saw the Sea Eagles back row each play the entire encounter.

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