NRL Round 14 – Titans v South Sydney: A win on the Coast

 

 

 

 

 

Rabbit in the Vineyard: 2023 NRL Round 14

 

Gold Coast v South Sydney DRLFC,
Robina,
Saturday 3 May, 5:30pm

 

A WIN ON THE COAST!

 

What a week!

Origin at the ‘Oval’ … that’s in Adelaide, not the London cricket venue.

What a final ten minutes from Queensland in that epic encounter.

After a couple of ports at the Saturday afternoon Nuriootpa-South Gawler local game, the 2022 Barossa and Light Grand Final replay, all was in readiness for this vital NRL clash.

Souths had captain Cam Murray, and Jai Arrow backing up from Wednesday night.

After conceding eleven tries in two straight losses, the initial signs were again, concerning: the Titans scored two early tries, both through the middle of the field, to lead 12-0, after only ten minutes.

The dynamic Keon Kolomatungi scored Souths’ first try, however, more déjà vu was to follow, with the Titans scoring a very soft try down Souths’ right wing.

Souths also fell into an old habit of conceding a try on the stroke of half time, this time to the former Southport School sprinter, Jo-Jo Fifita.

The Titans went into the sheds at half time leading, deservedly, 22-16.

A half time text message from another concerned Souths member revealed this stat: Souths had now conceded 91 points in the last two and a half games of NRL.

A second half revival saw Souths dominate, and the Titans once again fade out in the second forty minutes.

Campbell Graham, in the NSW Origin camp for several hours as eighteenth man, before leaving due to a sternum injury, scored his thirteenth try of the season just after half time.

Souths scored four more second half tries, with Cody running riot, setting up tries, and scoring one himself, after great lead up from hooker Damien Cook.

Souths managed to hold the Titans scoreless in the second half, until the seventy-eighth minute, when big Tino Fa’asuamaleaui strolled over for the Titans’ fifth try.

Both Souths Origin players, Cam Murray, and Jai Arrow, left the field injured.

 

The George Piggins-Mario Fenech inspirational play of the match: Alex Johnston scored a hat-trick in this game, to move past Brett Morris on the all-time try scoring list, into outright fourth place.

I am an unabashed fan of the 2021 grand final fullback, Blake Taaffe. Some say he’s too small to play fullback, some say he’s too small, full stop.

When the NRL moved to the “covid bubble’ in Southeast Queensland in 2021, thanks to one of the Bunnies Brotherhood, Andrew Coorey, and Robert Oatley Wines, I watched many Souths games with Andrew’s father, the one and only Mick Coorey.

We saw Latrell smash Manu at Suncorp Stadium, then cop a long suspension.

We then saw Taaffe play fullback for Souths, as the Bunnies charged all the way to the big dance.

For the record, the Canterbury Bulldogs thought Jonathan Thurston, at 179cm and 87kg, was too small. Young Blake is 179cm, and 85kg. ‘JT’ went on to play out a more than adequate career for North Queensland, Queensland, and the Kangaroos.

On Saturday night, early in the second half, Taaffe grubber-kicked magnificently for Campbell Graham’s try. Taaffe then nudged the conversion between the posts, from wide out on the right, to level the scores at twenty-two all.

 

The Michael Andrews work rate award: Prop Junior Tatola again worked hard in both attack and defence, in another typical workmanlike effort. With Tom Burgess still injured, Junior is doubly important as a big man in the middle of the field.

 

The Phil Blake ‘chip n chase’ best attacking moment: Cody’s beautiful pass for Alex Johnston’s third try was, again, poetry in motion. A sweeping right to left movement, with pinpoint timing and accuracy.

 

The fulltime score resembled something from Super Rugby, or the UK super league, eight tries to five.

 

Full time: South Sydney DRLFC 46 d Gold Coast 28 

 

Onwards and upwards to the Saturday 3pm clash with the Dragons, then the bye.

 

Round 14 R.I.T.V. player of the year points:

3- Keon Kolomatangi

2-  Cody Walker

1 – Blake Taaffe

 

PROGRESSIVE R.I.T.V. PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS – LEADER BOARD:

10: Campbell Graham, Cody Walker, and Keon Kolomatangi

8: Latrell Mitchell

6: Lachlan Ilias, and Junior Tetola

5: Hame Sele, Thomas Burgess

4:  Jai Arrow, Davvy Moale

3: Cameron Murray, Alex Johnston and Isaiah Tass

2: Damien Cook, Taane Milne

1: Shaqai Mitchell, and Blake Taaffe

 

 

The Rabbit in the Vineyard, Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, South Australia

 

Russel Hansen

Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country.

He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships.

He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters.  

 

 

The Rabbit in the Vineyard, Nuriootpa, Barossa Valley, South Australia

 

 

 

Read more from Rabbit in the Vineyard HERE.

 

Russel Hansen

Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country.

He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships.

He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters.  

 

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About Russel Hansen

Russel Hansen Has worked in schools for over thirty years – as a teacher, coach, coach educator, sports coordinator and in pastoral care roles. Whilst at Brisbane Boys’ College as Director of Athletics, he led teams to six GPS premierships in track and field, and cross country. He has coached at all levels from school to international, most recently coaching a lad (100m personal best 10.34secs) to the Australian U/20 4x100m relay squad for the 2022 world U/20 championships. He is married to Heidi, a Primary school principal, and is father to two adult daughters. Twitter: @Russel_Hansen

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