Sport Rugby League Set of Six: What we learned from the NRL’s Round 4

Set of Six: What we learned from the NRL’s Round 4

Misunderstanding in Bali: Broncos David Fifita (C). Photo: Getty
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The real deal

Sydney Roosters schooled the Broncos on Thursday night, running out 36-4 winners at the SCG.

It was barely a contest, with the Chooks so dominant, and Brisbane so far off the pace.

You can see why Trent Robinson’s side have been tipped by so many to go back to back this year and to be the first club to win consecutive titles since 1993.

Luke Keary is in the form of his life, James Tedesco might just be the best fullback in the world, and the pack is fearsome and loaded with depth.

Injuries might be biting, but the impact of forwards like Lindsay Collins, Nat Butcher and Poasa Faamausili has been eye-catching.

They aren’t at their best yet but are cruising and it’s only April. A scary thought.

Bumbling Broncos

One win from four games has left the Broncos in an unfamiliar position. Photo: Getty

Meanwhile something is not right at Red Hill.

The Broncos have only won one of their first four games, an impressive smashing of the dismal Cowboys, and the pressure is building.

Young coach Anthony Seibold had a great first year at Souths, but the Brisbane hot seat is much more fiery than at Redfern.

The Broncos’ young squad, particularly their forwards, has been highly praised and celebrated but it isn’t able yet to do the business consistently and has been found wanting.

Anthony Milford continues to struggle in the halves, and surely a move back to fullback, where he can play his natural game, would suit. Darius Boyd looks a shell of his former self.

Then there’s the off-field stuff with images of centre James Roberts being carried out of a nightclub, shall we say, ‘worse for wear’. Seibold has his work cut out for him.

Game over, Garth

Titans coach Garth Brennan could be on his way if results don’t improve. Photo: Getty

Garth Brennan is firming as the first coach to be sacked in the NRL this season.

Under him Gold Coast has not won a game yet this year and is rock bottom of the table.

With matches against Penrith and Newcastle to come in the next fortnight, it’s hard to see when a victory will come.

The Titans have a solid roster but it just is not producing.

They not only have the worst attack in the competition, averaging just nine points a game, but they also have the second-worst defence, conceding 23.7 points a match.

Last year, Brennan’s first at the club, Gold Coast finished third from bottom with only eight wins from 24 fixtures.

If it doesn’t start winning soon, the 47-year-old will be on the hunt for a new job.

 Give us our Daly thread

Is Daly Cherry-Evans the best drop-goaler in the NRL right now? Quite possibly.

Cooper Cronk is pretty handy, as he has shown in Origin and at Melbourne, while retired great Johnathan Thurston was some clutch player. Maybe it’s a Queensland thing.

Anyway it was Cherry-Evans who was the hero at Brookvale on Saturday as he kicked the Sea Eagles to a dramatic golden-point victory over Souths.

The man nicknamed ‘DCE’ landed the vital one-pointer in extra time to give Manly its second win of 2019.

The halfback has kicked 19 field goals in his nine-year first-grade career – that’s some feat.

It was an entertaining end to an entertaining match on the northern beaches that saw the Rabbitohs handed their first loss of the season.

It came at a cost though, with the Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trboevic limping off with a recurrence of a hamstring problem.

Considering Manly hasn’t won a game in the past month without him, that is a huge concern.

Cleary happen

Penrith’s Nathan Cleary celebrates with his teammate Dallin Watene-Zelezniak after nailing the winning point. Photo: Getty

Speaking of cool customers – come on down, Nathan Cleary.

All week Nathan and his father Ivan, the Penrith coach, had been under fire in the media.

The Panthers had struggled in the first three rounds, with just a solitary win, and the halfback had yet to set the world alight.

With his huge salary, and the fact that the coach is his dad, pressure had been mounting on the pair.

Adding to that had been reporting about potential divisions between Ivan and club boss Phil Gould, the man who axed Ivan as coach back in 2015.

This was all leading into a game against Wests Tigers, the club Ivan controversially dumped at the end of last year to return to the foot of the mountains.

Talk about juicy.

But it was the two Clearys who were left smiling on Friday as Penrith fought back bravely to beat the Tigers in golden point.

It was Nathan who nailed the clutch conversion from the sideline to send the game into golden point, then it was his 40-metre field goal that won the game for the Chocolate Soldiers. Talk about ice in your veins.

Bulldogs go close

Melbourne Storm was expected to easily maintain its unbeaten start at AAMI Park on Sunday, but Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs had other ideas.

Bulldogs lock Rhyse Martin could have levelled scores in the final minute with a sideline conversion, but the kick sailed wide, leaving Storm ahead 18-16.

“I think we were pretty lucky to get the win,” coach Craig Bellamy said.

“The Bulldogs were extremely energetic to start the game and to their credit they continued for most of the game.

“They’re a really skilful side and keep your defence on your toes.”

Canterbury coach Dean Pay was proud of his young team’s effort.

“We’re starting to build ourselves a game of footy and we want to make sure we turn up and do that again next week,” Pay said.

“There’s not many teams who come down here and do that and that’s what I was really proud of.

“We faced some adversity and almost got on top of that.”