Look at all the good teams in the NRL and they have one thing in common – a hooker who can make quick yards with a dummy half.
Melbourne have two of the best – and that’s why they might just win the competition.
And then we have the Dragons. Veteran Andrew McCullough had just one point in 80 minutes against Souths on Saturday night – for a three-yard gain.
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No wonder the Dragons were beaten 24-12 and rarely threatened the Souths line.
The Rabbitohs were well below their best – but with the Dragons offering so little on offense, they were never really in danger.
The Dragons’ record at the end of last season and the start of this year is dismal and they are already pretty much dead and buried when it comes to Finals football.
Samoan international prop Josh Aloiai is emerging as one of the big improvers at the start of the 2022 season.
For two straight weeks, the “no frills” prop led the manly forwards in yardage and hits.
The 26-year-old centre-forward covered 152 meters in difficult conditions against Newcastle last Thursday night, a week after covering 195 meters against Canberra.
Aloiai is leading the way for Manly and it’s no coincidence that they won both games after their poor start to the season in the first two rounds.
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Last week, I ran this column about enigmatic Broncos center Kotoni Staggs — and said someone had to kick his ass after a lethargic display against the Cowboys.
I’m not suggesting for a minute that Staggs read my column — but someone at the Broncos clearly spoke to him.
Staggs looked sharp and focused in the narrow loss to the Roosters – and what a performance he put on.
In the first 20 minutes he had more touches than in the entire game against the Cowboys the previous week.
He finished with 13 tackle saves – the most of his career – and nearly 200 running yards.
It could well prove to be a career-defining game for the powerful center — and that can only be a good thing for the battling Broncos.
After his heartbreaking end to last season, it’s great to see Joey Manu back in action and doing what he does best.
The classy center turned in a man-of-the-match performance for the Roosters in the thriller against the Broncos, scoring two solo tries and pulling off a huge interception.
If he hadn’t played, the Broncos would have won – and probably won well – and that shows what a world-class player he is.
Many believe Manu is the best center in the world of rugby league – and he watched every inch of it against the Broncos.
Manu evens the scores with a strong solo effort
Every team has a quiet performer – a guy who does the one percent that often goes unnoticed, but not by the coach.
And that man from the Storm is lock Josh King.
“He’s Craig’s (Bellamy) favorite – he does all the little things,” admitted superstar hooker Harry Grant after the win over the Raiders.
The 27-year-old played six seasons with the Knights but looks like a reborn player at the Storm – as is often the case with guys who fall for Bellamy’s spell.
You won’t see his name in the headlines of the star-studded side of Storm – but he’s proving a great buy for the club.
Clint Gutherson has pretty much done it all on the rugby league pitch – but again just missed a milestone in Saturday night’s win over the Titans.
Gutherson has scored 10 try doubles in his career – but has never scored a hat-trick.
He again had two tries as the Eels beat the Titans, but will have to wait a bit longer for that elusive hat-trick.
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