Almanac Rugby League – Five Metre Gap: NRL Round 10 plus City-Country Shield



Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from round ten of the NRL plus a new representative fixture. The Gold Coast produced a stunning comeback to beat the Storm during the Saturday night double-header in Brisbane which also saw the Broncos defeat Manly. The Sharks and Roosters both won on the weekend and share second with Brisbane behind Melbourne.


Friday night saw a Souths player make a case for Origin representation, and I’m not talking about Robbie Farah. Edge forward Angus Crichton, who made his NRL debut in round 19 last year, ran for 160 metres in 12 runs as the Rabbitohs beat the Tigers 28-8. Crichton, once an Australian schoolboys rugby union representative, had a first half (83 metres/five runs and one try) which was vastly superior to Origin incumbent Josh Jackson – who also plays on the right edge. In 80 minutes the night before, as the Bulldogs were beaten 30-14 by the Cowboys, Jackson made a miserly 54 metres from eight runs plus gave away three penalties. Whilst it was only the Tigers who have won just three times this season, if the result/effort is enough for Farah’s claims to be pushed for Laurie Daley’s side Crichton has at least done his hopes no harm – perhaps not for 2017 but at least in the near future.


Former Bronco Jarrod Wallace was the benchmark forward as the Titans upset the Storm 38-36 for their fourth win of the season at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday evening. Wallace, who joined the Gold Coast in the off-season after five years and 73 first grade games with Brisbane, ran for 212 metres from his 18 runs to go with his 20 tackles. Wallace, who has featured in every game for Neil Henry’s side this season, pulled off these statistics playing 53 minutes in the contest.


Having made his NRL debut in round nine Warriors winger Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad scored his first NRL four-pointer on the weekend in a bright spot for the New Zealand side as they capitulated from leading 28-6 to fall to defeat 36-28 at the hands of the Penrith Panthers. Cooks Island international Nicoll-Klokstad dotted down twice on Saturday in the first half the week after featuring for the Kukis when they were beaten 32-22 by Papua New Guinea. His try-scoring double means Nicoll-Klokstad becomes the fourth player from Melbourne club side Altona Roosters to score in the NRL – the other three are Drury Low, Gareth Widdop and Jeremy Smith. The latter two both played for the Storm during their career. Low and Nicoll-Klokstad both featured in the 2015 World Cup qualifier for the Cook Islands in which Tonga were 28-8 victors and got the Asia-Pacific qualifying slot at this year’s World Cup.


From the backs to the forwards another player who featured in the Pacific Tests in Sydney recently had a season-best’s effort in round ten – Fijian forward Daniel Saifiti. In the Knights’ 34-20 triumph over Canberra on Sunday the Newcastle middle forward ran for 201 metres from 20 runs and also made 21 tackles. Saifiti, who scored a try in Fiji’s defeat to Tonga in Campbelltown, hadn’t run for any more than 140 metres to date this season so his 60-minute performance was a key effort in the second win for Nathan Brown’s side in 2017. (However if you count the pre-season game in Queanbeyan the Knights have beaten Canberra twice and it’s only May – sorry to make it worse Raiders fans).


In an ironic twist from the New South Wales Rugby League Sunday featured the birth of a concept with the inaugural women’s City-Country Shield fixture played at North Sydney Oval. After City won the final men’s contest in Mudgee last weekend the first female match of this rivalry has been established to further enhance the pathway to the NSW women’s side who, for the first time in nearly two decades, will be defending their women’s origin title after wresting the crown from Queensland last year after a 8-4 victory on the Gold Coast. The 2017 contest will be played in July and NSW will head into the contest with City having won the shield 20-8 with the final try for the winners going to Cronulla-Caringbah Sharks winger (and former Australian rugby union sevens squad member) Kate Mullaly as they got out to a 20-0 margin before two late consolation tries to the visitors.


This rugby league review first appeared on From the sideline of sport

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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