Sport Rugby League Set of Six: What we learned from NRL Round 5

Set of Six: What we learned from NRL Round 5

Manly's Brad Parker keeps his eye peeled for options against Newcastle on Saturday night. Photo: Getty
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Magic Mike

Take a bow Michael Chee Kam. The 27-year-old Kiwi is one of the NRL’s toilers, a journeyman who is little known and has played less than 60 games in the top flight.

But we certainly know who he is now, as on Thursday he was on fire.

First he popped up a brilliant offload for a vital Tigers try.

Then he won the game for his team when he scored a sensational solo four-pointer, throwing dummy after dummy and beating half of the Broncos’ line-up with a try for the ages right on the buzzer.

It was the kind of highlight reel moment that will live long in the memory.

Wests coach Michael Maguire certainly enjoyed it, considering his animated dance in the coaching box.

So congrats Chee Kam on your special slice of magic. It also means more pain for Brisbane, with another loss on home soil.

Titans breakthrough

Jarrod Wallace of the Titans enjoys scoring against Penrith at Cbus Super Stadium on Friday night. Photo: Getty

While the Broncs are struggling, there was finally some relief down the coast at Robina.

Gold Coast Titans bagged their first victory of 2019 with a 30-24 win over Penrith.

It was exactly what beleaguered coach Garth Brennan needed.

And considering it was against his old club, with Gold Coast also featuring a number of ex-Panthers, it came against the perfect opponent.

A penalty try in the final 14 minutes to Bryce Cartwright proved the difference for the Titans to come out on top.

A grub act

North Queensland’s Josh McGuire was lucky to escape suspension after his altercation with Cameron Munster. Photo: Getty

Amazingly Josh McGuire has escaped suspension after a brazen eye gouge on Cameron Munster in Storm’s 18-12 victory over the Cowboys.

McGuire was seen raking his figures into the eyes of Munster in the first half of the match in Townsville.

It was a grubby action and should have been seized on by the match review committee.

But Munster declined to make an official complaint and McGuire was only fined $3350 for a contrary conduct charge for his low act.

This is a poor response to what is a disgraceful thing to do.

McGuire can count himself very lucky he is not on a long holiday.

Storm, Roosters and Souths sizzle

Souths teammates mob Cody Walker after one of his four tries. Photo: Getty

It might only be Round 5 but three clubs are already striding away from the rest of the pack – Melbourne, Souths and the Roosters.

Storm is the only undefeated team in the competition and leads the NRL after its perfect start.

Craig Bellamy’s side continues to show few signs of weakness, with skipper Cameron Smith making history as the NRL’s highest points scorer as he reached 2420 in his career. What a feat.

Under Wayne Bennett the Bunnies are looking the goods, with Cody Walker grabbing four tries as they edged past the Warriors.

Walker is putting himself in the frame for NSW selection with another brilliant display as the Rabbitohs came from behind to beat the Kiwi outfit on the Sunshine Coast.

And the Chooks registered their fourth win of the season after breezing past Cronulla. Luke Keary was again crucial and, like Walker, is enjoying a standout season. Keary and Walker in the halves together for the Blues come Origin time?

No thanks Izzy

Israel Folau farewelled Broncos fans in September 2010 and it’s unlikely he’s return to the NRL. Photo: Getty

Israel Folau has made himself a global pariah with his homophobic social media postings leading him to be sacked by Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby Union.

Folau made his name in the NRL with Melbourne and Brisbane, going on to represent Queensland and the Kangaroos, before his spells in AFL and rugby union.

His dramatic exit from the 15-man code could have seen him potentially return to rugby league, but that has been immediately nipped in the bud.

ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie has closed the door, stating the fullback “doesn’t pass our inclusiveness culture”.

Considering the NRL’s off-season of shame and struggles with player bad behaviour, it is the right call.

We don’t want your homophobia and intolerance here Izzy.

Dessie delight

Manly’s Addin Fonua-Blake enjoys his try with teammates. Photo: Getty

Manly made it three unlikely wins in a row with an impressive 26-18 showing against Newcastle on Saturday.

The Sea Eagles and Knights are old enemies, and were playing for the Mal Reilly Challenge Trophy.

Their rivalry has faded in recent times but new life was breathed into it, thanks to Addin Fonua-Blake taking off Mitchell Pearce’s head, and his subsequent hamming it up to the Newcastle crowd as he walked off the field to complete his 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

But it was Manly that got the cash, moving it up to seventh.

Des Hasler is certainly having an impact at his old haunt.

But for the Knights there is some concern now with just one win after five rounds.

The pressure is on Nathan Brown to deliver Newcastle a finals spot this year or take a walk.

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