Sport Rugby League Set of six: What we learned from NRL Round 3
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Set of six: What we learned from NRL Round 3

Corey Norman is mobbed by his Dragons teammates after kicking the winning field goal against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. Photo: Getty
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Bucking ex-Broncs

St George Illawarra stole a sensational first win of the season with a thrilling final-minute 25-24 win over Brisbane. The last laugh was had by three former Broncos players – Corey Norman, Ben Hunt and Korbin Sims – as they led the Dragons to a fantastic victory. Sims scored a barnstorming try to give them a late lead, Hunt’s kicking game was impressive, while it was Norman’s late field goal that clinched the result. All three were let go by Brisbane, so this crazy win was made all the sweeter against their old club. Spare a thought for poor Gareth Widdop, who dislocated a shoulder again. With a move to the Super League sorted in 2020, Widdop may sadly have played his last game in the NRL.

Pommy power

Englishman John Bateman has lifted Canberra Raiders wiht his impressive workload and skills. Photo: Getty

Canberra has made two great finds in English pair John Bateman and Ryan Sutton. Bateman is an England international and has been one of the best players in Super League for a while now, and he has taken to the NRL like a duck to water. His hit on Kurt Mann in the first half was a beauty. But Sutton was more of an unknown quantity, largely a bench player at his old club Wigan and not expected to make such a dramatic impact. But the prop has shed a lot of weight and already bagged a starting spot in Round 3. Against the Knights in his 49-minute spell he made 11 runs, 93 all-run metres, 33 post-contact metres, three tackle breaks and 34 tackles. Ricky Stuart’s all-English forward pack is making its mark.

Super Sivo

A few years ago it was Semi Radradra tearing up the flank for Parramatta, becoming a cult figure and a hero in the west. Now it’s another Fijian by the name of Maiko Sivo catching the eye. The 25-year-old breaks tackles for fun and crossed twice in the loss to the Roosters. At 105 kilograms and 186 centimetres, the flyer from Nandi is a big unit with pace to burn. His story is a remarkable one, as he started playing rugby league in country Gundagai after moving from Fiji. From there he worked his way up, making it to St Mary’s, then the Mounties before linking with Penrith in the NSW Cup. It has been a long journey to the top flight, but at the Eels he is taking his chance and the blue and gold have a new favourite Fijian.

Terrific Turbo

Manly headed across the ditch in desperate need of a win over the Warriors. They got it, in style, mainly to the return from injury of Tom Trbojevic. ‘Tommy Turbo’ is one of the best fullbacks in the world, a NSW Origin and Australian rep at the age of 22, and he turned it on in Christchurch. The blond-haired speedster scored two tries, set up two others and made three line breaks in a powerful performance. The Warriors had no answers as they were blew across the park. His combination with Daly Cherry-Evans was electric and goes to show how much the Sea Eagles depend on their fullback. Without him they’re in deep doo-doo.

Mad Madge

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire let his team know how exactly he felt after their shock 22-8 loss to the Bulldogs. Dressing room cameras showed Maguire go on an expletive-laden rant to his players after the game. The shaven-headed coach read the riot act, complete with finger-pointing and wild gesticulating, as the Tigers suffered their first defeat of the season. A renowned hard taskmaster from his days at Souths, Maguire has high standards and a shrinking violet he is not.

Poor Panthers

Storm’s Marion Seve breaks the Panthers’ defensive line to score in Bathurst. Photo: Getty

Penrith has a side filled with rep players and youthful talent, but was dominated by Melbourne in Bathurst for its second loss of 2019. The Panthers were dire in Round 1, just scraped past Newcastle in Round 2 and then bashed by Storm this weekend. They haven’t scored a single try in 115 minutes, a shocking stat that coach Ivan Cleary needs to fix and fast. Questions are being asked already as many tipped the Panthers to be genuine premiership hopes. Pressure is on their hooker and fullback to provide more in attack, and the man in charge of running the club, Phil Gould. It was Gould who sacked coach Anthony Griffin last year and brought back Cleary – the coach he removed years ago. Gould’s time with the Chocolate Soldiers pulling the strings could be nearing its use-by date.

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