Melbourne Storm finals run rocked by ‘dismal failure’

The Storm easily disposed of the under-performing Titans 32-14 on Friday night, but as a dress rehearsal for Thursday night’s big clash with premiers Penrith, it was a dismal failure.

Had Cameron Munster not chimed in with three tries and 250 running metres in his return to fullback, the Storm may well have struggled.

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They were again poor with the ball, making basic errors, allowed the Titans in for a couple of ‘soft’ tries and generally looked out of sorts.

And just to complete a bad night at the office for coach Craig Bellamy, star halfback Jahrome Hughes popped his shoulder and the brilliant Brandon Smith was placed on report for a dangerous tackle in his comeback from suspension.

What does Payten do with Cotter?

Reuben ‘Hurricane’ Cotter could be the most dynamic ‘super sub’ in the finals series.

In his comeback from injury, Cotter was instrumental in turning a 10-0 deficit into a 28-14 win for the Cowboys against the Bulldogs yesterday afternoon.

The talented forward ran for nearly 200 metres despite playing only 54 minutes in Bundaberg.

The Cowboys were off their game early, with the Bulldogs winning the early exchanges with their energy and enthusiasm.

But the entrance of Cotter changed the complexion of the game and the dilemma for Todd Payten now will be whether to keep his ace forward on the bench or return him to the starting side.

Cowboys burned by bizarre Bunker call History for Souths

Souths equalled a record that has stood for over 100 years in Saturday afternoon’s 48—10 win over the hapless Warriors.

The game was the fifth straight time against the Warriors that the Bunnies scored 30 points or more.

The last time they did that against any team was way back in 1917 to 1919, when they put five big scores in succession on the North Sydney Bears.

To say 1917 is a long time ago is an under-statement – it was the year of the Russian Revolution, the time USA entered World War I and Billy Hughes retained the job of Prime Minister in a national election!

Trell blitzes Warriors with superb solo try Alarming numbers for Sharks

Craig Fitzgibbon is to be commended for letting the Sharks play what they see this season, resulting in some sparkling attacking football at the Sharks.

But as we get into the tense run in to the finals, does he need to rein his troops in a bit?

Last Saturday week against Souths, the Sharks produced an alarming 18 errors but managed to get over the line with an extra time field goal.

Then this Saturday night against the Dragons, they were well off their game, coming up with 19 errors, many through sloppy and over-ambitious attacking play.

Fortunately for the Sharks, who were there to be beaten, the Dragons just weren’t good enough – and the Sharks finished unconvincing 24-18 winners.

I’m sure the Sharks will look at these two off-par performances this week – and maybe play a little more conservatively in coming games.

Trindall puts Sharks back in front No Cleary, no worries

Penrith players could be excused for jokingly saying ‘Nathan who?’ in the wake of last Saturday’s 26-6 demolition of Canberra.

The game was the 11th in the last three seasons the Panthers have had without their talisman Nathan Cleary at number seven – and remarkably they have won 10 of them!

With halves partner Jarome Luai also out, the Panthers were expecting a tough afternoon in Canberra but their march towards the minor premiership continued in fine style.

It says a lot about the depth of talent and the culture at the Panthers that they can still win without their two Origin playmakers – with Sean O’Sullivan and the much talked-about Jaeman Salmon playing some fine footy to end the Raiders’ finals hopes.

Stuart brands Panther a ‘weak-gutted dog’ Arthur silences critics

Parra fans ought to think twice before they boo Jake Arthur again after the youngster’s coming-of-age game against Manly on Friday night.

With the pressure of the world on his shoulders stepping into Mitchell Moses’ shoes at the cauldron of Brookvale, Arthur shone in the Eels’ 36-20 win over Manly.

Booed simply because he is the coach’s son by unforgiving fans in recent weeks, Arthur laid on two tries as well as a line break assist in a top performance.

Special mention to his halves partner too – the classy Dylan Brown, who not only scored a superb solo try but also topped the Eels’ tackle count with 40… a remarkable feat for a number six!

Sivo scores ‘impossible’ try Garrick exposed by Eels

I’ve got a high opinion of Reuben Garrick – as a player and a bloke.

But Garrick will be the first to admit he has a shocker in the last line of defence for Manly against the Eels.

Garrick not only missed three tackles that led to tries – but didn’t lay a hand on any of the Eels tryscorers.

On each occasion, he forgot the old saying ‘the most dangerous man on the field is the bloke with the ball’ – going for the support players rather than the guy running at him.

I’m sure Des Hasler will have a quiet word with him and correct that this week.

Blake’s insane finish stuns greats Butcher stands up for Roosters

With a host of injuries in their ranks, the Roosters are going to need some of their less fashionable players to stand up to be a chance in the finals.

And Nat Butcher has certainly answered the call to arms from coach Trent Robinson.

In the Roosters’ 34-16 win over the Brisbane on Thursday night, Butcher bagged two tries and topped the tackle count for both teams.

On a pittance compared to glamour players like James Tedesco and Joey Manu, Butcher is proving himself a fine clubman – and the type of player who can make an impact in coming weeks.

JWH sprays Walker after try

Have the Broncos lost their way at the business end of a long season – especially in defence?

Kevvie Walters has done an outstanding job in steering the Broncos into finals contention but in the last two weeks they have conceded 32 points to the lowly Tigers and 34 to the injury-ravaged Roosters.

It’s not a simple case of missing tackles – players are making bad reads and hesitating and it is costing the Broncos big time.

The Broncos need to make some adjustments – fortunately they play the Knights next weekend – to avoid an early end to their season.

Walker ‘brilliance’ leaves Broncos clutching

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