Rabbitohs Rip, Tear and ……..
What a great night out at ANZ Stadium to kick start the footy!
Certainly I enjoyed myself and those big bunny fans around me were ecstatic with the season’s opener just like last year’s “shock” victory over their arch rivals.
But there were some things about this victory that I thought were even more encouraging than last season’s big win. Did you see it too?
It was this that really stood out for me about the Red and Green’s performance:
- they clearly won the physical battle from full back to front row
- the contact and “stick” in their tackles was very effective and rattled plenty of Roosters
- the hitting was not just done by the big dudes – halves Reynolds and Walker were amongst it as was hooker Luke, as usual – what a machine he is!
- Luke terrorised Roosters D from dummy half all night long – he won that battle with subtle footy skills as well as strong and direct tough stuff
- Sutton didn’t play the role I hoped he might in attack as he did in the Charity Shield. The D was different so he rolled his sleeves up and carried it at the opposition very effectively – smart footy for the night.
- Loved the involvement of the halves. Reynolds looked comfortable, almost dangerous, carrying the ball and being tackled. Walker could grow into a quality NRL #6 with his speed a real team asset. Reynolds efficient and precise kicking (apart from Roosters only try) in all departments was a building block for this win.
- What about the breaks made via McQueen! Momentum changers, the result of good combinations of team play from inside their own half. Both were controlled shifts at Roosters identified weakness (right edge D). This is a great sign for the season – brawn is best when served with brains! Footy brains.
- The final try was another simple but hugely encouraging sign. In the helter skelter of attack near the tryline Luke recognised Inglis has isolated Maloney, delivered the type of pass the monster try scorer needed to execute the play before Rooster team mates could assist a try saver. Cool under pressure!
The Roosters lost this game last season too underprepared so Rabbits will be smart in filing this one as “encouraging” and reward for all the work preseason. Nothing more – maybe just a pointer for the effect of adding smarts to rip and tear.
Manly next week for Rabbits.
More physical challenges and perhaps without second rowers Te’o (shoulder charge) and McQueen (ankle?).