It’s a well-known fact that the Warriors have done it tougher than any other team in the era of COVID-19 – but the Kiwi team seems to have settled for mediocrity this season.
Playing away from home for the past two seasons, they put in some brave showings and often pushed rival clubs.
But this season, they have been a bitter disappointment.
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They have lost nine of their 13 games, boast the worst defense in the league and have totally lost their way.
With Manly missing their two best players in Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic, the Warriors should have been some hope on Saturday night.
But they didn’t turn up ready to play and were thumped 44-12, with several of Manly’s tries scored with embarrassing ease.
I’m hearing under pressure coach Nathan Brown will last the season – but is likely to be sacked at year’s end if there isn’t a dramatic turnaround in team performance in coming months.
Olakau’atu powers over
Future bright at Manly
Manly fans got a glimpse of the future at Brookvale on Saturday night – and Sea Eagles fans walked out of Brookvale with broad smiles.
The big take out of the game was Josh Schuster’s move to five-eighth – an experiment that has been in Des Hasler’s plans for some time.
In only his third career start in the number six jumper, Schuster was outstanding, scoring a try and playing a role in several others.
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At 106 kilos, Schuster isn’t your typical five-eighth but he has great hands, a good turn of speed for a big man and the courage to try things.
With Kieran Foran off to the Titans next season, Schuster will be the Manly pivot for years to come – and the future looks rosy as a result.
Centers turn Raiders season around
The Raiders are right back in the finals hunt with five wins in their last six games – and two of the main reasons for the turnaround are their young centers Sebastian Kris and Matthew Timoko.
The pair have given the Raiders real strike power out wide and their second-half tries proved the difference as Canberra outlasted the Roosters 22-16 yesterday.
Kris, 23, has scored five tries in his last four games, while Timoko, 22, has crossed in two of the last three matches.
They’ve been like a breath of fresh air for the Raiders in recent weeks – and the Viking clappers are loving it!
Raiders young gun stuns with smooth hands
May up with the greats
Taylan May is still a baby in terms of first great experience but the wing flyer has already equaled a record held by the greatest tryscoring Panther of all time.
Rhys Wesser scored 113 tries for the Panthers in the 1990s and 2000s – including tries in six consecutive home games at Penrith Park.
And when May crossed against the Bulldogs on Friday night, he became the first man to score in six straight games at BlueBet Stadium since the legendary fullback.
May has been a superb find for the Panthers, replacing the injured Brian To’o at the start of the season and holding his place when the Blues Origin winger returned.
The 20-year-old has scored 12 tries in 11 NRL games – and may just challenge Wesser’s 113-try mark over the next decade.
North’s Queensland’s remarkable record
Any team hoping to beat the Cowboys this season needs to pile on the points in the first half – because second half points against the boys from Townsville are slim pickings.
Todd Payten’s men have conceded just 42 points after the break in 13 games this season – a stunning average of less than four points per match.
It’s one of the main reasons the Cowboys are firmly entrenched in the top four and are the surprise packet of 2022.
Even without Queensland State of Origin stars Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai, Valentine Holmes and Tom Dearden, the Cowboys decimated the under-performing Titans 32-6.
And that was after the Titans scored the opening try… and then failed to score a point against the Cowboys wall in the second half.
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