Souths flyer on pace for legend’s ‘unbeatable’ feat

Could South Sydney’s prolific try scorer Alex Johnston reach rugby league’s Holy Grail?

Johnston – who became the Rabbitohs’ highest ever try scorer with his hat-trick against the Tigers on Saturday night – is giving himself a real chance of becoming the greatest scorer the Aussie league has known.

Ken Irvine’s amazing mark of 212 career tries has been rated as unbeatable by experts for years – but Johnston is slowly but surely chipping away at it.

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The Redfern Express currently sits on 147 tries – with plenty of ground still to cover to catch Irvine. But the speedy winger is only 27 and could easily play for another six or seven seasons.

Johnston breaks Merritt’s try scoring record for Souths

Irvine retired at 33 and modern day players are playing longer due to improved training and recovery methods.

Johnston has had few serious injuries in his career and shows no sign of slowing down his remarkable tryscoring rate.

Big crowd flocks to Belmore

Suburban football was the winner as the Dragons outclassed the Bulldogs 34-24 before a full house at Belmore on Sunday.

Over 19,000 fans crammed into the Bulldogs’ spiritual home of Belmore to see an entertaining affair – and they loved it.

Had the game been at Homebush, you have to wonder if it would have had the same buzz and atmosphere.

It also pumped the Dogs up and they made the Dragons work for a vital win that keeps them in the finals race.

Roosters aren’t to be messed with

The back three have become a vital part of the modern game – and it’s one big reason why the Roosters look a title threat once again.

Against the Sharks on Saturday night, fullback James Tedesco and his wingers Daniel Tupou and Joseph Suaalii ran for a combined 499 metres, constantly getting the Sharks on the back foot.

Tupou finds terrific Teddy

Tedesco and Tupou have been among the best outside backs in the game for years, while Suaalii is getting better with every game and shows incredible toughness and maturity for a teenager.

I thought the Roosters’ performance was as good as anything they have produced in the past two years – and showed they are still good enough to do some damage in the finals.

As for the Sharks, they seem either very, very good or very, very bad.

They had it all to play for the other night – Andrew Fifita’s 200th game, a capacity home crowd and coach Craig Fitzgibbon up against his old team for the first time.

But they were off the pace from the opening minutes and their lack of consistency is becoming a real dilemma for Fitzgibbon in his first season of coaching.

Milford could ignite Knights’ final push

The Knights took a leap of faith by signing Anthony Milford recently but the enigmatic utility back proved his value in the 24-16 win over the Warriors.

Milford provided the direction in attack the Knights had been missing in their run of outs, laying on a try and running for over 100 meters.

He also took the pressure off Jake Clifford, allowing him to play one of his better games.

When Milford runs the ball, he is world-class, and if he keeps playing the way he did against the Warriors, the Knights are a chance of making a late run for the finals.

Broncos’ depth on full display

You need depth in key positions to be a finals contender – and the Broncos showed they are getting shadow players in the right spots in Friday night’s bizarre win over the Titans.

Down and out at halftime, the Broncos scored 31 unanswered points to snatch a memorable win.

And a key figure in the fightback was young half Ezra Mam, replacing the Broncos’ main man Adam Reynolds.

Mann scored one vital try, set up another and while he is no Reynolds, he is a promising half who can do a job as a fill-in.

Without him, I doubt the Broncos would have won the game and the youngster will have gained plenty of confidence from his display.

Rule a line through the Titans’ final hopes

What can you say about the Titans?

They are going through the season from hell and set a record on Friday night, becoming the only team to blow two 20 point leads in the same season.

After dominating the first half, they conceded five tries in 22 minutes to go down 35-24.

NRL Highlights: Broncos v Titans – Round 12

Some of the Titans’ big names just aren’t playing the full 80 minutes and that is having a flow-on effect to their talented young up-and-comers.

On paper the Titans are a good side and when they are ‘on’ they play fine attacking football – but they won’t make the finals and don’t deserve to on their recent form.

Penrith notch more than just a win over a premiership hopeful

Penrith’s emphatic 22-0 win over the Cowboys on Friday night was as well as the Panthers have defended for some time.

The Cowboys threw plenty at the Panthers in the first half before frustration and scoreboard pressure saw their game crumble as the game went on.

Remarkably for a team that has enjoyed so much success, the win was the first time in over a year that the Panthers held a team to nil.

The previous time was on May 7 last year when they thrashed the Sharks 48-0.

To do so against a superb attacking machine like the Cowboys has only ensured that the bookies will shorten their odds to take the title even more.

Storm not missing winger Josh Addo-Carr

Xavier Coates hasn’t wasted any time proving to Storm fans he is the ideal replacement for former favorite son Josh Addo-Carr.

Ex-Bronco Coates has played 11 games for his new club for 11 tries – including a superb solo job in the 28-8 win over Manly last Thursday night.

Big, fast, athletic and strong, Coates is the prototype modern-day winger and will score many, many more tries for Melbourne in years to come.

Coates flies high for Melbourne try

And the 21-year-old is also destined for a long career for Queensland in State of Origin.

It was no surprise he was among the first players picked by Billy Slater on Monday.

Manly’s record string of heavy defeats will haunt them

Manly set a club record in Thursday night’s clash at Suncorp – but it’s one that could cost them a finals berth.

The Sea Eagles conceded over 20 points for a record sixth straight game as they went down 28-8 to the Broncos.

Defense is clearly a problem for Des Hasler’s men and they need to get the house in order ASAP.

They have now lost six of their last seven games and are sliding down the table fast.

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