Losing their heads
Newcastle’s match against Souths on Friday got crazy when a huge stink erupted between Tom Burgess and Daniel Saifiti.
The two props went toe to toe after Burgess head-butted Saifiti, then all the two teams players piled in to join the punch-up.
Sam Burgess threw one to protect his brother, then head-butted Knights forward Lachlan Fitzgibbon as the two grappled.
All four were sin-binned but both Burgess brothers were lucky not to be sent off. It was an ugly spectacle that is a real rarity in the NRL these days.
Taylor takes break from NRL
Under-fire Gold Coast halfback Ash Taylor has taken an indefinite break from the sport to deal with personal issues.
Taylor has been criticised for poor on-field performances, and now the Titans star man, who is on $1 million per season deal on the glitter strip, has called for a time out.
It’s a blow for Gold Coast, who are struggling, and has been followed by news that utility Tyrone Peachey is unhappy at the club and wants to leave.
According to reports, Peachey could rejoin Penrith in the manner of weeks. Despite these developments, the Titans did managed to edge the under-strength Broncos 26-18 for a precious win.
McGuire needs to check himself
North Queensland forward Josh McGuire is expected to cop a $4500 fine for his facial attack on Manly centre Dylan Walker.
The Sea Eagles player was down on the ground being tackled and McGuire came in and raked his hand across Walker’s face.
McGuire has form after eye-gouging Melbourne’s Cameron Munster earlier this season.
There’s no doubt that the Cowboys man is a good player, both for state and country, a tough operator who always gives his all. But McGuire needs to get this bush-league stuff out his game – it’s not a good look.
Cruisy cane toads
State of Origin Game II will be held on Sunday 23rd June in Perth, with Game I whetting the appetite for more after Queensland’s outstanding come-from-behind victory.
Down 8-0 at half-time, the Maroons rallied to beat NSW 18-14, and really the margin could have been a lot more. They bombed a lot of tries in the first 40, and only some frantic defence kept them at bay.
Queensland’s playmakers Cameron Munster and Kalyn Ponga were excellent, hooker Ben Hunt was effective and their young forwards dominated their Blues counterparts in the second half.
It was not so positive for NSW with several players struggling in the intense Suncorp spotlight.
Halfback Nathan Cleary failed to make an impact while debutant Cody Walker was so poor he got hauled off in the second half. He was replaced by fellow rookie Jack Wighton, who came on and threw an intercept that Dane Gagai picked off for a try.
It gets worse as the Blues’ chief enforcer, the shaven-headed David Klemmer, broke his wrist and will be out for at least a month. Now the series heads to Perth for Game II.
Latrell MItchell has work to do
One of NSW’s stars Latrell Mitchell was below par in Game I and it showed. On his day Mitchell is one of the best players on the planet, an unplayable force of nature, but on Wednesday he was well-shackled by the Maroons.
The centre was so off his game that coach Brad Fittler urged him to “find his motivation” before Game II.
“I know they’re not that happy at the Roosters and there’s a lot going on in his life at the moment with managers,” Fittler admitted after the defeat.
There always seems to be something other than footy. He obviously needs to work on his motivation.
“He’ll go through these times while he’s young. The nature of State of Origin, you need to be at your best. He wasn’t at his best (in Origin I).
“That’s fair to say. He can do such brilliant things, sometimes that might mask other parts of his game. He’s a superstar, he’s coming off a huge year, he’s a young bloke so I can cut him some slack.”