short and sweets July 14

14/07/2013

short and sweets July 14

At a time when some of the footy we have been watching has been pretty disappointing I was very pleased to see some great stuff in round 18. It started on Friday night when Todd Carney provided the entertainment for everyone except Broncos fans.

The Sharks five-eighth lit it up with a flash back to his best days of quality attack. Whether the team and coaches figured out the defensive positioning of the wingers or Carney spotted it and reacted I guess we will never know. In any case those short cross field kicks accurately placed into the space wider than the tightly positioned centre and in front of the deeply situated winger paid real dividends.

Those kicks and Carney’s running and passing decisions were the winning play for a Sharks team that I thought were shaded in most other departments of the hard fought match.

Likewise Luke Walsh’s pearler of a kick to David Simmons for a walk in try and his general high quality of kicking and passing was the difference for Penrith also getting the 2 points. That play was as good as it gets in terms of awareness and precision and something not enough teams have a crack at in my opinion. As a minimum it adds variety to the basic work for a repeat set. It also plays with the minds of defending wingers about where to position themselves.

That was never more evident than in the Dogs massive win over a very ordinary Storm performance. After last season’s grand final where the Storm’s D smashed and swamped the Dogs’ previously super attacking structure this was a total reversal. By the end Sisi Waqa on the right wing was a shot duck and the rest of the right edge were too! Hodkinson too executed a scintillating try kick for Mitch Brown off a set piece on an early play. Magic stuff to watch.

Congrats to the Dogs who adjusted their structure just a little, performed it with much more enthusiasm and precision than they have all season in what restored my belief that they are likely to be the big improvers in the last third of the season.

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Did you catch Andrew Johns on Sunday mornings Footy Show tip the Warriors as the only team not currently in the eight that he thought could force their way in? He is never afraid to shot stuff out there Joey, in much the same way that he played trusting his flamboyant instincts.

Me? I reckon that the Dogs are way more likely to be there in the playoffs than the Warriors and a couple of teams in there now most notably the Titans, who were in there at that time when he made that statement.

But how can you not rate the Raiders and even the Cowboys of at least a chance of making up a few wins more than the congested group at the bottom playoff positions? I reckon there will be lots of nervous clubs in the final weeks of this season.

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Whilst I have generally been supportive of the refereeing this season there was a howler in the Dogs V Storm match. The chase back and enthusiasm of Josh Reynolds to save a try should definitely have rewarded by his coach and teammates as a try saver but he should also have been “rewarded” with a sin binning for his foul on the Storm player.

It was quite incredible that none of the match officials saw it that way – or maybe they did but didn’t get the message to the ref who made the call. It will be interesting to see if any of them are demoted for that poor decision.

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The stats on Melbourne as a club in this period year on year are dreadful. It makes you wonder how they haven’t found a way to win a least a few of those tough games when missing their stars don’t you reckon? I know most of the guys in other footy clubs are hell bent on showing the footy world that they don’t need their stars to be a good team.

The Storm minus stars have not even looked like it this season.

And while we are on that isn’t it strange that they have not produced a hooker or half that can really hold the team together for many seasons now that Smith and Cronk have been permanent fixtures in Origin?