Almanac Rugby League: Five Metre Gap – May Representative Weekend May 2016


Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the weekend’s representative rugby league fixtures which saw wins for the Kangaroos, Kiwi Ferns, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, NSW Residents and City Origin.

Australia’s 16-0 triumph in Newcastle on Friday night was at time and uninspiring contest with 22 errors in the game. By way of comparison in round nine only the Warriors triumph over the Dragons (25) and Penrith’s win over Canberra in Bathurst (26) had more errors. Those sides are currently running seventh, eighth, tenth and eleventh. The figures are probably not surprising given the test teams would have had little time together but for six games to have less errors last weekend it’s a pretty damning statistic.

One of the strong efforts at Broadmeadow was from Australian bench forward James Tamou who, for his 30 minutes on the park, made 100 metres and also 13 tackles to help Mal Meninga to a debut win as Kangaroos coach. Kevin Proctor of the Storm was the busiest Kiwi defender making 45 tackles in his 69-minute contribution as Stephen Kearney’s team fell to defeat.

In the second game at Hunter Stadium on Friday night the Kiwi Ferns claimed a 26-16 win in the women’s test. With the Jillaroos chasing down the victory late in the contest it seemed winger Karina Brown should have been involved more. The flyer, who scored two of Australia’s tries, would perhaps have been better served playing at full-back or a first receiver role late in the game given the creativity she showed for her first four-pointer. Brown beat four defenders then kicked for herself to score to bring the margin within single digits and the Queenslander finished her second try well. Perhaps Jillaroos coach Steve Folkes could have changed things up in the final quarter of the game.

Raiders pivot Aidan Sezer’s lean run laying on tries continued despite City Origin’s 44-30 win in Tamworth on Sunday. Sezer picked up one try assist against the Country side which doubles his season tally. The former Titan has one try assist in six games for Canberra this campaign and given that it’s hard to see how he was been listed as a chance for New South Wales selection this year. In Sezer’s defence Bryce Cartwright and half-back Chad Townsend were among the standouts for the winners so it was hard for Sezer to play a prominent attacking role. The 5/8 did play a key role in a few second half tries with the second last pass twice and, naturally, he isn’t a dominant play-maker but two try assists in seven games seems a minor amount for a player in the halves. Sezer has a strong long kicking game and nailed six of eight attempts at goal for Brad Fittler’s side but it would be hard to see him playing a major role in attack for New South Wales in the Origin series given Queensland scored 13 tries in last year’s series win for the Maroons and NSW might need to score at least four tries per game to guarantee a series win. This would make things more difficult for whoever played halfback if all the attack fell to them should Sezer play six.

Elsewhere in the Scully Park contest Jack DeBelin performed the best of the forwards in terms of metres gained with the Country prop running for 117 metres from his 12 runs. Craig Fitzgibbon’s Country side were somewhat of a hope to when DeBelin crossed with 20 minutes to go and the margin was cut to 16 points with the conversion. Panthers forward Leilani Latu, who debuted in round 21 last season, was the best forward from the winning sides in the metres statistics running 11 times for a gain of 101 metres and providing the ball for Kyle Lovett’s 40th minute try.

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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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