Almanac Rugby League – Five Metre Gap: NRL Round 14, 2016


Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the fourteenth round of the NRL. The Melbourne Storm registered their third shut-out for the season beating the Roosters 46-0 and the Warriors hung 50 on the Knights.

New South Wales skipper Paul Gallen tuned up for the must-win Origin game in Brisbane next week with a big game as in form Cronulla won 13-10 on Monday night over North Queensland. Gallen, who had run for 108 metres before he came on for his final stint, finished with 175 metres from 20 runs plus 41 tackles. Blues and Sharks teammate Andrew Fifita also had a big night with 196 metres from 18 runs. Gallen and Fifita each made three offloads. Their efforts bode well for a Blues sides that will need points in Brisbane given Queensland have averaged 25 points per game in the last 13 Origin matches in Brisbane.

Canberra’s defeat in Brisbane on Thursday evening to open the round, their sixth loss this campaign, came after a fast Broncos start which had the home side four tries to the good four minutes into the second stanza. Down 24-0 after Darius Boyd’s fourth try Canberra’s early enthusiasm on kick return at times left a lot to be desired. On one occasion skipper and centre Jarrod Croker had made two runs early in a set and some of his teammates were still in front of the ruck and hadn’t returned into the Canberra attacking line. Whilst Canberra does have the ability to break the line to score long-range tries and Josh Hodgson can find a 40/20 it’s simply not good enough to be so lackadaisical when trying to get out of your own half.

Parramatta’s ten-point triumph in Darwin under humid conditions might come to nothing due to salary cap dramas but all the players involved should be commended for the performance they put on Saturday night. Representatives forwards Manu Ma’u (Eels) and Greg Bird (Titans) were excellent for their teams running for 127 metres and 119 metres respectively to gain the most metres in each forward pack. Kiwi forward Ma’u was threatening in the tackle contest providing two offloads as Brad Arthur’s team ran out winners.

After playing out a 20-all draw in a trial fixture in Alice Springs earlier in the season it will be interesting to see how both sides respond in round 15 after their second game in Northern Territory for the season. Surprisingly both sides are playing next week despite eight teams having the bye. The draw should be huge advantage for the Rabbitohs who play the Eels on Friday to open round 15 and the Sea Eagles who travel to the Gold Coast to play on the Titans on Monday.

In the game prior on Saturday gaining metres was an easier proposition for the visiting Warriors who beat the Knights 50-14 at Hunter Stadium. Such was the dominance of Andrew McFadden’s side on attack hooker Isaac Luke nearly ran the most of any Warriors forward. Queensland forward Jacob Lilyman’s 141 was only four more than Luke’s 137 metres from ten runs compared to Lilyman’s 17 runs. Now with six wins for the season and sitting ninth on the ladder Luke’s dynamism is crucial to the Warriors success.

This review first appeared on From the sideline of sport.


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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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