Broncos gun’s alarming slide after Origin call-up

Kotoni Staggs is one of the Broncos’ marquee players – a devastating ball runner who can turn a game with his powerhouse bursts.

But in the big loss to the Cowboys on Saturday, the strong center went missing.

With his team desperate for go-forward against the relentless Cowboys defence, Staggs was barely sighted.

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He made just six runs for 33 meters in a disappointing showing in the Queensland derby.

Staggs was content to wait out wide for the ball to come his way – coach Kevvie Walters needs to get him to go looking for action and making the hard yards up the middle in coming weeks.

To add to his forgetful night in Townsville, Staggs also came up with three errors.

SOUTH COACH PROVEN RIGHT

Souths coach Jason Demetriou copped heaps from the critics when he hooked young half Lachlan Ilias in the club’s last game against the Dragons two weeks ago.

Ilias had a shocking start to the game and was hauled off in the first half – but the move by Demetriou proved justified against the Eels on Saturday night.

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The coach stuck solid with his halfback, the youngster got the game out of his system and did a reset – and was one of the best on the field in the Rabbitohs’ upset win over the Eels.

Ilias even got the better of highly-rated Mitchell Moses in the battle of the sevens – and that was a major factor in the Rabbitohs’ impressive win.

SPECIAL FACTOR IN WARRIORS’ HOMECOMING

It was always going to be a very special day for the Warriors as they returned home after more than 1000 days against the hapless Wests Tigers.

The Warriors ended a seven match losing streak and provided club legend Stacey Jones with his first win as coach before a full house of delirious fans.

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Jones set his players one main goal – to keep the Tigers tryless… a tall order given no Warriors team has kept the opposition from scoring at Mount Smart Stadium in over eight years.

But as I said, it was a special day for the Warriors and they kept their tryline intact to complete a wonderful afternoon for rugby league in Kiwiland.

SHARKS GUN GOES TO NEXT LEVEL

It’s amazing what an elevation to the State of Origin arena has done for the confidence of Shark tank Siosifa Talakai.

Talakai has been hot and cold since THAT amazing first half against Manly earlier in the season when he destroyed the Sea Eagles’ defence.

But after getting the nod from Brad Fitter last week, Talakai was outstanding for the Sharks in the 18-6 win over the Bulldogs in shocking conditions.

Despite the heavy going, Talakai led the running meters for both teams, grinding out 192 meters and giving the Bulldogs plenty of problems out wide.

The big man is enjoying his best ever season – by a long way – and is shaping as a real weapon in the run-in to the finals.

SEA EAGLES BREAK HOODOO

Manly ended one of the worst hoodoos in their history in the bizarre 36-30 win over the Storm on Thursday night.

The win halted a run of eight straight losses against the Storm at Brookvale – Manly’s poorest run against any team in the league.

And the Sea Eagles almost blew it – leading comfortably before conceding an astonishing four tries in the final five minutes.

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Des Hasler’s men were the best team for the majority of the game – but that was also the case in their last home game when the Cowboys came from behind with three late tries to score an unlikely win.

There’s no doubt Hasler will reinforce to his men the need to play for 80 minutes – not just 75 – if they hope to go anywhere in this year’s finals race.

ROOSTERS’ FINALS HOPES IN JEOPARDY

The Roosters are in trouble in the finals race, losing their fourth straight game for the first time since 2016 at Penrith.

Trent Robinson’s men had a dig, but some questionable calls and Penrith’s class saw the Panthers end up 26-18 winners.

Unless the Roosters can end their losing streak soon, they are going to have to rely on other results to go their way to make the finals – never a good sign.

KNIGHTS FLYERS’ ASTONISHING FEAT

League historians went searching for the record books after Knights wingers Edrick Lee (five) and Dom Young (three) scored all eight tries between them against the terrible Titans on Friday night.

But surprisingly, they didn’t have far to look – only last year Storm duo Josh Addo-Carr (six) and George Jennings (two) emulated their feat.

Bunker awards dubious Lee try

But prior to that, it would have been many a year that two flankers bagged eight tries between them.

For long-suffering Knights fans, it was a day to celebrate as they thumped the Gold Coast 38-12.

Adam O’Brien’s troops scored more tries in the first half than in their last five home games in a welcome return to form.

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