Home' Greymouth Star : March 18th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Saturday, March 18, 2017
PICTURE: Getty Images
Bulldogs’ Marcelo Montoya scores
a try in last night’s clash with the
Warriors at Forsyth Barr Stadium in
They still had no luck with
injuries but a depleted Gold Coast
somehow reversed their fortunes,
upsetting NRL ladder leaders
In a stunning boilover, the Titans
last night overcame the early loss
of winger William Zillman (calf ),
while nursing a string of walking
wounded, to finally notch their first
win of the season in the round-
three clash in front of 11,612 fans.
Even with Parramatta missing
(hamstring), the stage was set for
a David versus Goliath battle at
Cbus Super Stadium.
Gold Coast had lined up against
the undefeated Eels with 12 of
their 30 contracted players injured or
They were also reeling from the NRL
knocking back a request for recruit, ex-
Sydney Roosters centre Dale Copley, to
be injected into their depleted backline.
Then, everything really went pear-shaped.
Dan Sarginson (knee) was ruled out
before kickoff, forcing a reshuffle that
gifted 19-year-old rookie for ward Max
King a NRL debut off the bench.
No doubt, Titans coach Neil Henry
was looking around for black cats when
Zillman lasted just 19 minutes.
Henry had plenty of other anxious
moments as centre Konrad Hurrell and
Ryan Simpkins came off with head
knocks but later passed concussion
The Titans dug deep to notch their
first win, ending a five-match losing run
stretching back to 2016.
It marked their first home victory since
round 20 last year.
To put their injury list in perspective,
debutant Tyler Cornish — on just a
$3000 part-time contract — filled in for
Jarryd Hayne at fullback, before Zillman’s
injury forced another reshuffle, moving
the 22-year-old to the wing.
It looked ominous for the hosts when
Parramatta jumped to a 12-0 lead by the
15th minute after tries to halves Clint
Gutherson and Jeff Robson, who replaced
Somehow, Gold Coast levelled at 12-12
by halftime after makeshift centre Chris
McQ ueen (27th minute) burrowed over
from dummy-half and Cornish (39th)
crashed down the left sideline after
brilliant lead-up work by halfback Ash
regained the lead for the visitors but, from
there, it was all Titans.
Tries to pivot Kane Elgey (51st) and
utility Tyrone Roberts (73rd) off Taylor
kicks sealed the gutsy win.
Adding injury to insult, Eels hooker
Kaysa Pritchard limped off in the 62nd
“ We could have shut up shop at 12-0
down and with Zilly going down,” Henry
“It’s a testament to how they hung in
there. The guys went out there and said
‘this is our 17, let ’s get the job done’.
“This can be a stepping stone to what is
expected from our team.”
It is a shot in the arm before the Titans
host North Queensland next week.
Eels captain Tim Mannah hinted that
the visitors had been complacent.
“Our simple errors showed our head
wasn’t where it was supposed to be,” he
said. “It hurts. Credit to Gold Coast but
I see tonight as a real lost opportunity.”
Mannah said they could not make the
same fundamental mistakes next week
“ We are not going to panic too much,
it is round three,” he said. “But we have
to turn up with the right attitude against
Eels coach Brad Arthur said Pritchard
(ankle) looked unlikely for next week.
RL clubs exploiting the concussion
rule to gain a free interchange are set to
increasingly come under the microscope,
with Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan
questioning whether coaches are taking
advantage of a loophole.
It is understood the NRL sent a ‘please
explain’ to Parramatta after skipper Tim
Mannah had been taken from the field
under the head-knock rules in dubious
circumstances in round one.
The governing body last week sent a
memo to all 16 clubs, reminding them
not to abuse the head injury assessment
Under NRL rules, a player coming
off to receive a concussion test does not
count as an interchange and the Eels are
under scrutiny over whether they have
been using it to their advantage.
Parramatta were forced to deny
feigning head knocks in an effort to
receive an extra interchange after it was
revealed they had used 46 concussion
interchanges last year — more than any
Concussion is a hot topic among
clubs with former NSW winger James
McManus yesterday beginning action
in the Supreme Court against Newcastle
over their handling of a series of head
knocks during his career.
Flanagan said while most clubs were
diligent in treating and protecting
players who had suffered blows to the
head, he hinted that some were using it
to their benefit.
“There could be a few times when a
player might not be concussed and they
use it in that area,” F lanagan said.
“ But definitely not in a situation where
he has a concussion and they put him
back on. ”
All head injury assessments are
scrutinised by a panel which includes
NRL chief medical officer Paul
No clubs have been sanctioned or fined
over the first two rounds for abuses of
the concussion rules but the NRL has
put them on notice.
Questions were raised after Mannah
came from the field during their
opening-round win over Manly for a
test after suffering what appeared to be
a poke in the eye — a charge denied by
“O ur stance is that we look after our
players,” Eels coach Brad Arthur said.
“ If we get told a player needs to come
off because of a head assessment, well
that ’s exactly what will happen. If they ’re
allowed to return to the field, that ’s great.
If not, we’ll deal with it.”
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson
said the NRL was attempting to balance
two competing interests - looking after
players and ensuring clubs didn’t abuse
the rules for a leg up.
“ It ’s a fine line between are we abusing
it or are we doing the right things,”
Robinson said. “ It ’s hard to judge. I don’t
think there’s been one sanction from
the NRL on concussion. I think it ’s up
to the NRL and, if there’s something
wrong, they ’re the governing body. ”
Bulldogs pound listless Warriors
NRL to scrutinise
A resilient defensive effort combined
with attacking potency has helped
Canterbury secure a 24-12 NRL win
over the Warriors.
The 12-point victory was the Bulldogs’
sixth in seven games against the
Warriors, and their first for the 2017
season, ultimately coming in a Dunedin
‘home’ game for Canterbury.
The Warriors had most of the
possession in the first 20 minutes and
dominated at times but could not create
the attacking cut-through to claim the
Canterbury looked solid through Brett
Morris and debutant Marcelo Montoya,
and produced the goods defensively
with two 40-tackle performances from
Michael Lichaa and Josh Jackson.
Bodene Thompson scored for the
Warriors in a dominant opening
quarter, but the Dogs were eventually
rewarded through Moses Mbye after
the halfback darted through three
The Warriors’ left-edge was exposed
for a second time in 10 minutes by a
slick backline move which ended with
winger Morris securing his second try
of the season.
Bulldogs coach Des Hasler — who
was under pressure heading into the
match — said his side did well to
overcome an early 5-0 penalty count.
“The players had to show a ton of
courage and a ton of commitment,”
Hasler told reporters.
“I thought our tryline defence was
particularly good against some pretty
potent players that can cause havoc
around there. ”
Down 10-6 at the break, the Warriors
came out and controlled the opening 20
minutes of the second half but, as had
been the case for the 2017 season so far,
could not turn possession into points.
The ‘visitors’ dropped an early chance
to regain the lead when Solomone Kata
knocked on over the line, before Shaun
Johnson collected an inside pass to hand
his side a two-point lead.
A win looked beyond reach for the
Bulldogs, but Montoya ultimately
benefited from scratchy edge defence
to score before Morris put the icing on
“Each time we got down there, we
managed to get over the line — but we
weren’t there often enough,” Hasler said.
For the Warriors, Simon Mannering’s
game-high 48 tackles was a bright spot
in a lacklustre all-round performance.
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney
admitted his side, as they had last week
against Melbourne, fell away in the
“O bviously, we’re all pretty
disappointed in the second-half
performance,” Kearney said.
“It’s about making sure we pick
ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get
ready for next week. ”
The result was further soured by the
aggravation of Manu Vatuvei’s knee
injury, forcing him off the field in the
Kearney said he was not sure how long
the hulking winger would be sidelined.
“It just didn’t feel right coming out
after half-time, so it was advisable that
we pulled him off,” Kearney said.
The Warriors will head to Sydney
to take on St George Illawarra next
week, potentially boosted by the return
of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Kieran
Foran’s debut, while the Bulldogs will
play Hasler’s old club Manly.
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Titans stun Eels
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