Almanac League – Five Metre Gap: NRL Round 13, 2016


Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the thirteenth round of the NRL. All clubs were in action as the Titans moved into the top eight and the Sharks left it late to beat the Bulldogs.


Unlike the Blues in game one of the State of Origin series Cronulla’s use of a bench utility most well known as a centre came off with Ricky Leutele’s 79th minute try allowing Cronulla to register a 20-18 triumph over Canterbury. Replacing Gerard Beale with 25 minutes to go it wasn’t just the late heroics which proved Leutele’s value the Brisbane-born back made 95 metres in his stint on the park. By way of comparison fellow back Valentine Holmes ran for 96 metres. Coach Shane Flanagan will be very happy with the influence given his limited time on the park.


After playing through the wet conditions on Sunday afternoon it’s only right that we acknowledge the forwards who performed above expectation as the Roosters beat the Tigers 32-18 at Allianz Stadium. Kiwi international Jared Warea-Hargeaves notched 231 metres, 47 more metres than any other player in the game. Fellow Roosters forwards Dylan Napa (190 metres), Aidan Guerra (154 metres) and Sam Moa (152 metres) all ran for over 100 metres. Their figures were significant when you compare it with Tigers’ prop Aaron Woods and his 127 metre effort – a team best but well short of his opponents.


It’s hard to know one week to the next which Warriors player is ‘on the outer’ given coach Andrew McFadden changed three bench forwards/utility players before they beat the Broncos 36-18 on Saturday but club stalwart Ben Matulino did his best to ensure he wouldn’t be on the chopping block in coming weeks. Matulino, 27, played a key role in the Warriors first game back in Auckland since round nine (a 26-10 win over the Dragons) making 148 metres which was the most of any forward in the match and only one metre less than teammate and centre Solomone Kata. The New Zealand outfit beat Brisbane 36-18 for their fifth victory of the campaign.


Adam Reynolds taking on a play which not many of his teammates were aware of proved costly for the Rabbitohs in Perth as they fell 29-28 in golden point to the Titans. A chip which caught his teammates unaware meant the Titans started possession for the next set 30 metres out from their own line. They ended the set with Josh Hoffman scoring a try. Only a late piece of individual brilliance from Cameron McInnes to dot down and Reynolds’ conversion for the Rabbitohs got them to golden point before Ash Taylor’s field goal won it for the ‘visitors’. Souths coach Michael Maguire would have been looking for a kick to the touchline with five minutes to go in that crucial play from Reynolds to help slow the play not a mid-field chip which gave his side no time to reset in defence. Similar to some of the decision-making in game one of the State of Origin Reynolds could have done better.


He wasn’t the most impactful player in terms of overall figures (131 metres from 14 runs and 24 tackles) but it’s worth noting the playing effort for NSW Origin forward and Titans player Greg Bird as the Gold Coast won in Western Australia. The former Shark has flown from Lismore to Sydney and Perth in the last week or so to play for the Blues and then the Gold Coast. Next up the Titans play the Eels (coming off the bye) in Darwin before their round 15 clash back on the Sunshine Strip against Manly. Bird will be in camp for NSW ahead of Origin game two in Brisbane so won’t play the Sea Eagles. I realise it is the National Rugby League and rightly so not a Sydney-centric competition but this draw for the Titans is baffling. A club which doesn’t get home-away-home in a particular cycle of games shouldn’t be shunted around Australia like this – I can’t believe coach Neil Henry would have requested this draw.


The 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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