Crash, Bang, Wallop
Crash bang wallop! For 40 minutes with a ten minute break before crash bang wallop again for another 40! the most physically intense match of the season on first impressions. Cant wait to watch the replay.
The Roosters had more crash, more bang and more wallop which saw off their old red and green enemy.
They also gained a lot more than the JJ Giltinan Shield for the minor premiership glory and a $100k cheque.
There seemed to be a touch of relief in the Roosters camp and so there should be after a recent bout of ordinary performances including back to back losses leading into this match.
The Rabbits got the reverse. Theirs was a reminder, like the Storm did last weekend when the Eagles beat them everywhere; sorting out a late season slump might not be the end of what they need to sort out to win the comp.
This match was so physical!
And it didn’t go away! With so many blockbusting powerhouses in possession and just as many hitters in defence in both teams it just kept on rolling from one bone jarring collision to another.
Let there be no doubt that Sonny Bill Williams was not the only guy to do some serious damage in this never to be forgotten match. But his were the most effective and most game changing carries that eventually created what was needed to ensure the red white and blue sang their victory song and “Glory Glory to South Sydney” was kept on ice for a later date.
The Roosters halves also won that battle too. Not in the way most halves do but in the same way every other player had to win his contests throughout this most physical of contests. Pearce and Maloney tackled better (but not faultlessly) than Reynolds and Sutton (and probably Keery too, although I am amazed at this rookie’s ability to meet such high physical standards at this stage of his career).
They also came up with the biggest plays in attack again base on the physical components – Maloney’s dynamic carry for his try and Pearce with incredible speed to ice SBW’s magnificent break into a long range try. It was Sutton left in his wake as he really excelled in support play at the precise moment the winning and losing of this match presented itself. It did so for him and not someone else, because in this match his competitiveness returned. Once the number one in the NRL at this aspect of the game, Pearce didn’t miss this opportunity. He was perfectly positioned on a number of other occasions without the luck or opportunity coming but he kept it and there it was.
I thought Souths missed way too many first contacts in the tackle.
Admittedly they met some absolute handfuls to deal with – Friend, Jennings, Tupou, Moa, Guerra, Kennedy and Liu all contributed to Souths difficulties, all presenting a procession of tough and awkward ball carriers. Nuuasala, Waerea-Hargreaves and Williams tortured the entire defence on every single touch of the footy – relentless, dynamic athletes even when made to carry a footy as some sort of ridiculous attempt to restrict their effectiveness in breaking the line of hungry beasts in red and green.
This no doubt sucked plenty of energy in the make-up tackles that other teammates needed to make.
Perhaps that effected the poise and execution of Souths own dynamic threesome – Luke, Reynolds and Sutton. Surely this was their worst collection of last play options and kicks for the season. Pressure and fatigue caused by the Roosters?
Make no mistake the Roosters needed this more than the Rabbits. Another loss may well have created doubts to grow into issues too big to rectify for the more pressured moments in big matches due to start next weekend for all. The Roosters all knew theirs started in Round 26.
The concerns over suspension to JWH for an unnecessary and skill-less forearm to the throat of his opponent are real. Without him they will lose a massive part of the physical leadership and dominance.
There will remain a concern that the Roosters can think and direct themselves to win a play-off match when an opponent meets the physical challenge to match them; now that’s if they can, and that is a very big IF based on last night’s performance.
For the Rabbits it may just have been a bit of a down night, a one-off?
I can’t be sure. Some of the responses to physical pressure last night were very weak at times and got a bit nasty too. It appeared like a bit of a loss of self-control and striking out as an individual rather than a calm and united response to the pressure exerted on them.
We will find out next weekend about both of these clubs when they face much more experienced opponents in Manly and Melbourne. What are their responses as victors and vanquished?
Can they find the answers to questions that have been raised in club rounds? Those questions may not be raised in these play-offs but then again they may be SHOUTED!