Almanac Rugby League – Five Metre Gap: NRL Round 22, 2016


Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the 22nd round of the NRL. The Melbourne Storm moved into top spot with four rounds remaining and Canberra are poised for a home final after their win over the Sharks saw them finish the weekend in third place.

English hooker Josh Hodgson starred for the Raiders on Saturday evening in Cronulla defeating the hitherto unbeaten Cronulla side who had gone 16 games without defeat. Up 20-8 at the break Hodgson was already running amok having made 110 metres from six runs before his side eventually ran out 30-14 winners. The former Humberside player’s kicking game led to a four-pointer for Jordan Rapana. Despite the controversial nature of some incidents in the game Ricky Stuart’s side were superior although both sides were not at their best. Hodgson ended up running for 121 metres and made 41 tackles.

Canberra, along with Canterbury, Parramatta, the Warriors and Penrith, were the sides this weekend to log wins without cracking 30 completed sets. With the aid of their golden point extra-time win Melbourne got to 30 sets on Saturday evening on a weekend were they were one of the three sides to meet the 30 set-standard figure (TSS.)

It was a big weekend for a couple of representative forwards with Bulldogs’ forward David Klemmer running for over 200 metres and Broncos veteran San Thaiday going close. Queensland forward Thaiday ran for 197 metres from 20 runs, as well as making 31 tackles, as Brisbane edged home 12-8 over the Dragons. New South Wales hard-man Klemmer made more runs (23) than tackles (22) in his workhorse effort which saw him log 208 metres in Canterbury’s 28-14 triumph over the Knights.

Manly’s Darcy Lussick again had a big weekend running for 101 metres in the first half of the Sea Eagles one-point loss at the hands of the Eels. Lussick finished the game with 144 metres. It’s also worth pointing out the strong first half effort of Panther Trent Merrin as his side vanquished the Roosters on Monday evening 38-18. Former Dragon Merrin finished the game with 174 metres from 19 runs having run for 94 metres on the first half alone.

Former San Francisco 49er Jarryd Hayne’s on-field performance has been analysed immediately in the after-math of the Titans’ defeat but this column is about looking elsewhere, and his fast return to the NRL concerns me. The NRL’s published regulations relating to drug testing indicate Hayne should only have been eligible to return had he been in the NRL’s ‘testing pool’ for six months prior to a competitive return – the current standard for ‘retired’ or returning players. Clause five allows for an ‘exceptional exemption’ (my phrasing) which gives carte blanche for a returning player to be exempt from this ‘testing pool’. There would not be many, if any, players this clause relates to but I’m worried the NRL has not made an official announcement that Hayne has returned to the competition under ‘clause five’, we just assume he has. Given he has played within a non-WADA compliant sport until early this year it’s not a great look. Hayne may have entered the testing pool back in February but we are none the wiser. The NRL should provide clarity around this issue.

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.


  1. kath presdee says

    On the Hayne issue, given that he was aiming to qualify for Olympic selection in the Fiji 7s Rugby team, is it possible that he has made a declaration or submitted to WADA testing as part of that process?

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