Tigers finally on the hunt, Panthers depth stretched, Wighton shows real class



We’re starting to see Penrith’s depth stretch with a few missing players, but the Wests Tigers deserve full credit for their wet efforts in Bathurst on Saturday night.

Penrith was without James Fisher-Harris and Spencer Leniu up front and Izack Tago wide and clearly Nathan Cleary is carrying an injury and oddly enough it was their former hooker Api Koroisau as a marquee Tigers rookie , coming back to bite them.

It’s not just big names like Koroisau, Matt Burton and Viliame Kikau that they miss, a player like Sean O’Sullivan was their replacement last year but he left for the Dolphins and they don’t have the caliber of player in their depth as much as they have had in previous seasons.

The Tigers have completed 90% of the sets, I put that in the exceptional category for any team. Everyone says it’s the surprise of the year, but I think their execution in the wet was fantastic.

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Tigers don’t hibernate, bears do, but they like to rest before they go hunting, so maybe that’s what’s going on with them this year.

Wests Tigers players celebrate their victory at Carrington Park. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Luke Brooks has been sensational with some 40/20 years, the challenge for him now is that he has to keep doing it to keep the fans and the media away from him.

galaxy of stars shelved

A few teams suffered heavy defeats this weekend, but I don’t think any of them should hit the panic button just for this round.

The lack of quality players is going to kick in at some point and that’s what we saw with the Cowboys in their loss to Cronulla without Jason Taumalolo, Manly at home to the Gold Coast missing Tom Trbojevic and Brisbane having Payne Haas suspended for their game against Sydney South.

And then there’s Viliame Kikau and Josh Addo-Carr, it looks like they’re going to be out longer than expected for Canterbury.

These players are all in the million-dollar-a-year or so category and you can try to get by when they’re out with backups, but it’s hard to keep performing when you have a significant chunk of your injured salary cap. .

It might sound like a manager’s apology in the post-match pressers, but these are real reasons why teams can’t give your best and sometimes you just have to deal with the cards which are given to you.

If you look at teams that have anything like their full roster of key players, like Souths in their big win over the Broncos who had Lachlan Ilias, Cody Walker, Damien Cook and Latrell Mitchell coaching, a game plan , from an execution point of view, that’s a huge difference.

The Rabbitohs seem to have a bit more time and space by the time they get going.

The quality of their attack and execution is top notch. Brisbane was probably in that category until this week.

The Souths have more threats on either side of the pitch, which makes them very difficult to deal with defensively.

Cronulla is in the same category right now with his key positions but I really like his attacking power with Braden Hamlin-Uele, Royce Hunt, Britain’s Nikora and Teig Wilton.

They seem to have a bit more speed in their legs and drive in their going forward, and then Nicho Hynes, Matt Moylan and Will Kennedy play behind that. As a ball player your job is so much easier when the balls are faster.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

North Queensland were missing some of their best strikers on Thursday night, so they just didn’t look like they had the physicality to go with them, to be honest.

Newcastle, after a tough two-point loss to the Cowboys the week before, also seemed to be running out of energy on Friday against Parramatta and I think the tight deadlines that are thrown in from time to time for each team in the draw have a big effect .

I think Magic Round next week will be a good opportunity for a few teams to take a moment to reset – as there is no game on Thursday everyone has a decent chance to prepare, they can leave for a few days together and build a certain cohesion.

Wighton proves he’s a true professional

It was nice to see Jack Wighton play so well for Canberra in their narrow win over the Dolphins at Wagga Wagga on Saturday after what an emotional week it has been for him after deciding to sign with Souths next year.

Like most players of his quality, he can put that aside and continue playing for the Raiders for the rest of the season. We have seen this many times in recent years with players like Kikau and Koroisau at Penrith last year signing early and still playing at an elite level.

The system is far from ideal and I understand why fans are upset about it.

It’s a bit of a sore spot for Ricky Stuart and the Raiders and the game, but ultimately they got an opportunity for him to stay, didn’t they? And he made the decision to go elsewhere.

(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

I don’t mind the idea of ​​a transfer window in the middle of the season – if there is a player who is not used by his club and he has the possibility of moving elsewhere, which suits the two parts, then it should happen.

If you said there was a four week window for that to happen, that would be the perfect setup.

The players and their association will say that you don’t give them enough time to consider their future, take care of their families, move house, etc.

But it gives the club and player enough time to see what other interests exist and it gives the incumbent club time to make the best possible offer for the player to stay.

The rules of engagement in contract negotiations have always been murky, regardless of the system in place, and always will be.

It is difficult for the NRL to say definitively that a club or player has negotiated (due to the heavy influence of player managers) in secret while under contract.

There have been discussions around all the offers made public and everyone knows what the player salaries are, but I don’t see that happening.

I don’t think there is an absolute transfer model that works for everyone.

Titans show courage in Manly

They were very ordinary in their second-half slump the week before against the Dolphins, but I liked what I saw of the Titans at Brookvale in their win over Manly on Saturday night.

Their goal-line defense was so much better after being virtually non-existent at times the previous week and some of their try-scoring skills were brilliant from David Fifita, AJ Brimson and Kieran Foran.

Brimson looks like he’s had a hammer blow again, so hopefully he won’t be out for too long.

With Foran, Fifita and young Alofiana Khan-Pereira operating on the left edge, there were good signs for the Titans.

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Anzac Day hangover

I thought it was a tough day for the Warriors after their killer Anzac Day effort against the Storm (who got the bye this weekend) and they were a bit flat in their effort against the Roosters.

Their senior players, including James Tedesco, Luke Keary and Angus Crichton, kept their team on track for most of the game in difficult conditions and their defensive effort was outstanding.

The Warriors tried hard enough but couldn’t find enough quality field position and it was the first time they were held scoreless this season.

The Bulldogs whose coach Cameron Ciraldo moved Matt Burton to halfback and pushed Josh Reynolds to five-eights did just enough to win against the Dragons.

The Dragons looked uncomfortable defensively after their gripping one-point loss to the Roosters and their youngsters failed to save their game at WIN Stadium.


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