FIVE METRE GAP: Round 21

Hamish NealLike the way of the five metre gap in defence, reviewing the points from the NRL you may have missed from round 21.

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly went wrong for Canberra as they were humbled 68-4 by the reigning title-holders the Melbourne Storm on Sunday. Trebles to wingers Sisa Waqa and Mahe Fonua suggest a flimsy defence out wide but the Raiders were also exposed in the middle of the ruck and in the air. One would wonder what benefit a video session would even have for the Green Machine given they face a rampant Roosters outfit next. Sometimes teams just need to (cliché alert) put it behind them without reflecting as they normally would and change their weekly preparation.

Friday night’s draw in Newcastle saw some monumental efforts including four players who topped 50 in the tackle count. Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough made 67 tackles in his 52 minutes on Hunter Stadium. Opposition forward Chris Houston made 62 tackles but he had 20 more minutes on the park. Brisbane’s Josh McGuire (51) and Corey Parker (55) were the other two players to crack the half-century.

As the Cowboys ran away with a 30-12 win in Townsville and the Rabbitohs had injury problems with John Sutton’s ankle concern they also had some defensive issues with centre Bryson Goodwin a target of North Queensland in attack. Goodwin, 27, was forced into making 22 tackles as the Cowboys attacked Souths’ line with eight more sets of possession than their opponents.

In another of the weekend’s big wins Penrith fullback Matt Moylan suffered a horror night as a steady stream of Roosters try-scorers breezed in for the seven tries that made up their 42-6 win. 22 year-old Moylan, who has been the subject of much attention due to the ongoing debate about the second-tier salary cap, missed five tackles in the Panther’s eleventh loss of the season.

Facing a fifth loss in succession, Gold Coast were able to dispatch the abject Wests Tigers on Sunday afternoon at Skilled Stadium. A make-shift halves combination saw the Titans add some extra force in attack and defence as representative back-rower Ashley Harrison was named to play next to Aidan Sezer. Using the extra bigger players on the edges and with players like Luke Douglas and Dave Taylor making 16 hit-ups each (despite starting off the bench), John Cartwright’s men were able to ride roughshod over a short-handed Tigers who started the game without Aaron Woods up front and then saw Robbie Farah suffer a dislocated knuckle .

 

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