Wests Tigers fans are filthy with Ivan Cleary for getting off the bus a couple of seasons back – now they have another reason to dislike their former coach.
In his new role as Penrith coach, it was Cleary’s decision to loan promising prop Jack Hetherington to the Warriors a few weeks back.
It was a generous gesture from Cleary – and it bit the Tigers big time on Friday night.
Hetherington was outstanding in the Warriors’ shock win over the Tigers, running for 146 metres, making three tackle busts and one line break in a dynamic 80-minute display.
The loss could prove crucial in Wests Tigers’ battle to make the finals, as it was two points Michael Maguire and his players thought they had in the bank.
ROOSTERS FIRST TO TOP 40,000-POINT MARK
The Roosters are setting milestones as they chase the first grand final three-peat in almost 40 years.
The Bondi boys scored their 40,000th premiership point in their win over the Titans on Saturday, becoming the first team in NRL history to pass that mark.
Souths are in second spot on the point-scoring ladder, way back on 37,720 points.
Appropriately, it was Mitch Aubusson – the Roosters’ greatest clubman in recent years – who took the Chooks over the 40,000 mark with his try midway through the first half against Gold Coast.
BRONCOS CAN’T BUCK TREND OF FADE-OUTS
The Broncos have problems all over the park this season – but the one that needs rectifying more than anything is their inability to go the distance.
Against Cronulla the other night, they were in a winning position at 26-18 with 20 minutes to go and momentum in their favour.
But the depleted Sharks scored 18 unanswered points in the final quarter of the game to finish 36-26 winners.
Time and again, the Broncos have folded alarmingly in the crucial last 20 minutes of games.
It may be fitness, it may be mental – but Anthony Seibold needs to address it quickly if he is to salvage anything out of this season of discontent.
NRL Highlights: Broncos v Sharks: Round 12
REFS LOOKS FAVOURABLY ON SMITH TRY
One of the Chappell brothers – I can’t honestly remember which, but it wasn’t Trevor – told me many years ago that a captain got the benefit of the doubt of three or four plumb LBW calls over a season.
He reasoned that umpires want to stay in the powerful players’ good books – and it seems the same can be said for rugby league.
When Kenny Bromwich made a break for the Storm against the Knights yesterday, he threw a pass to his captain Cameron Smith that was at least a metre-and-a-half forward.
All three officials were in line with the pass – but none were prepared to deny Smith his first try of the season.
I’m not singling out Smith here – superstar players and team leaders often get the line-ball calls.
I’m convinced that had Bromwich passed the same ball to a little-known rookie, the whistle would have blown for a forward pass.