Almanac Rugby League – Five Metre Gap: NRL Round 5, 2016


Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the fifth round of the NRL. The Roosters remain winless and the top two spots on the ladder are occupied by the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm.

Manly back Tom Trbojevic was doing his best to help his side break the staunch South Sydney defence but the Rabbitohs held on 16-12 in their Thursday night encounter to notch their third win of the season in a game which displayed how Manly’s combinations are still developing. Trbojevic, who ran for 196 metres in 17 runs, was supporting Matt Parcell with about eight minutes to go when an inside pass from the Manly hooker would have almost put Trbojevic over but Parcell went to ground and Souths held them out. This wasn’t by any means the only example, and is not meant as a shot at Parcell, but it’s now April with the new teammates still yet to click. Combinations under rookie first grade coach Trent Barrett coupled with multiple short turnarounds early in the season won’t help Manly in this regard. Fourteen tries in five games isn’t terrible but they will need to do better.

Sunday afternoon’s first thriller, won by the Warriors 32-28 in Gosford, had another curious penalty swing. Having not infringed in the second half until the final few minutes of regulation time, a period in which they received six penalties, the Roosters copped two penalties which proved pivotal in sending the game into golden point and eventually saw the Warriors overhaul the ‘home’ side. Couple that with a loss of possession after an incorrect play of the ball by Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, which is an area that seems to be getting more attention from referees this season, and it proved a major factor in depriving the Bondi outfit of the ball late in the game. Is ‘How’s Trent’ really back in season 2016 or was Trent Robinson’s 0-5 side also fatigued? Once is an occurrence. Twice is a confidence. Three times is a pattern. How’s Trent? -watch continues…

Amongst a pack which includes four internationals, North Queensland’s Ethan Lowe was the dominant forward in a 36-0 win over St George Illawarra on Saturday evening making 169 metres which was only bettered in the game by the Dragons’ back Josh Dugan (177 metres.) Roving on the edge Lowe, 25, also made 35 tackles and had three tackle busts. The Goondiwindi native was an influential player as the North Queensland side thrashed the Dragons, plus he can kick goals when needed.

Having ended the round as the only side kept scoreless, the Dragons (2-3) have totalled 34 less points than the next lowest side all season with a blunt attack seeing them score only 40 points and looking to be a huge problem. At the same point last season they had a 3-2 record with 55 points to their name. At nearly a try a game worse in terms of points scored, it’s a tricky next few weeks for Paul McGregor’s side who scraped into the top eight last season.

In the interests of balance after our look at offloads last week it’s worth noting Penrith were able to make some crucial offloads late in their dramatic win over the Eels to pick up their second victory of the campaign. After only one offload from the whole team in the first stanza there were multiple shows of urgency by players like James Fisher-Harris, Sam McKendry, and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (with two offloads each in the second half) as the Panthers rallied back to win 20-18 in dramatic circumstances at Pirtek Stadium.

This 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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