Almanac Rugby League – 2022 NRL Round 15 Review: It ain’t over ’til it’s over!

 

 

 

Round 15 of the NRL season had it all – a whirlwind finish, a gutsy (if unsuccessful) effort, crook Chooks, a huge turnaround and Dogs on the loose. After a couple of months that looked like the most uninteresting season in yonks, we now have the prospect of a second half of the year offering interesting  and important clashes every weekend with several finals places up for grabs.

 

The Dragons provided a significant turnaround from last week, romping to an impressive win over the teetering Rabbitohs just a week after being blown off the park by the Cowboys. A key factor? Zac Lomax played the footy he’s capable of  to provide the sort of support the indefatigable Ben Hunt has been yearning for since whenever. Now the Dragons just have to string a few wins together to get their shocking points differential under control. By contrast, the Bunnies are at risk with a few tough gigs coming up in the next four rounds in the form of the Eels, the Storm and the re-energised Bulldogs. Step up, Cody Walker – lead with your unquestioned skills rather than your temper tantrums!

 

Des Hasler has been there, done that as both a player and coach for decades but I doubt he’s ever lost one like that before – 14 points up with seven minutes on the clock! It ain’t over until it’s over. Will that loss come back to haunt the Sea Eagles when those last couple of places in the finals are resolved late in August? As for the Cowboys, what does that finish say about their self-belief? Only very good sides achieve a result from that position. They’re top four for sure!

 

The Broncos were gallant but lost to the Storm yet again. Clock it up to Hughes, Munster and The Cheese. But Brisbane lost no friends with a very competitive effort when down on personnel. They might complain about the pass from Olam to Irma when the game was still up for grabs but them’s the breaks! It looks like they’ll be competing for fourth spot with the Eels and the Sharks. That should be an interesting story in itself as the season grinds on. If Reynolds can play consistently, you’d have to fancy the boys from Brisbane giving it a good shot.

 

The only feature of note from the Sharks v Titans game was the form of Matt Moylan who seems to have rediscovered some of his love for the game under Craig Fitzgibbon. Otherwise it was a poor game where the Cronulla side will be happy to bank the two points to keep in touch with a top four spot but face the prospect of the Storm and the Cowboys in the next three rounds.

 

Yes, the Panthers racked up another 40 points but the Warriors were more willing than in recent times and now have the relief of returning home over the ditch for the rest of the season. The League owes them so much for their willingness to continue to play under extenuating circumstances for the past couple of years. Hopefully the Warriors can put on a good showing for their home fans in the weeks ahead.

 

The Chooks look crook! Sure, they’ve had their share of injuries but that hasn’t stopped them over the past two seasons. Like everyone else, I keep waiting for them to hit their straps and achieve their pre-season favouritism as one of THE contenders for this year’s flag. Now they’re three games out of the top four with the Panthers up next. You’d think that their Round 18 clash with the Dragons will be a 4-point game for both sides. But, then, what do you make of the Eels? A shocking loss to the cellar dwellers one week followed by a rousing performance against quality opposition the next. Perhaps that’s what acute embarrassment does to you. With several very winnable games in the next month, perhaps Parra has the inside running on that fourth spot.

 

The Raiders kept their hopes alive – just – thanks to a chip and chase on the third tackle by a forward with the clock ticking down relentlessly! Who’d be Ricky Stuart? A crook Ponga, who had given everything for 77 minutes, must have been shattered. But how good is Joe Tapine, probably the most consistent Raider this season? Watch him go for the Kiwis this weekend.

 

As good as the rebirth of the Bulldogs under Mick Potter has been, just how awful are the Wests Tigers? I can’t work out how they scored 12 points with such a directionless, clueless attack. Awful! Think of the pressure on the returning Adam Doueihi to try to resurrect something from their season. Can they avoid the spoon? The Bulldogs played with enthusiasm and purpose. I feel happy for their faithful servant Josh Jackson, a top shelf veteran who has had to endure so much before tasting some success again.

 

This week’s Representative Round gives most players a week off to lick their wounds and come back fresh for Round 16. More on that next week.

 

To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

 

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.

One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE.

Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE.

 

 

About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au

Leave a Comment

*