Golden Points – NRL Round 11

Filed in NRL by on May 22, 2014

Round 11 Preview

Fri: Canterbury Bulldogs v Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium: The State of Origin selection wheel has turned dramatically, giving the Roosters the edge in this grudge match. Deposed Blues halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney have a point to prove, while the battle of the NRL’s two most formidable forward packs makes this one worth tuning in to despite the rep absentees. TIP: Roosters by 2.

Sat: Gold Coast Titans v New Zealand Warriors at Cbus Super Stadium: Decimated by injuries, suspension and Origin, the Titans will find the going tough in front of what is a routinely pro-Warriors crowd on the Gold Coast. The Warriors ran the Bulldogs to the wire last week despite playing only 40 decent minutes altogether, and should have far too much firepower for the Titans – but the injury cloud hanging over Shaun Johnson could tip the scales back the other way. TIP: Warriors by 18.

Sat: Wests Tigers v Brisbane Broncos at Campbelltown Stadium: Both sides are encumbered by the Origin drain, although the absence of Farah and Woods arguably outweighs the loss of Brisbane’s Queensland trio. The Broncos’ record against the joint venture is formidable, but the Tigers have made a habit of winning these types of games in 2014. The Hunt v Brooks battle will prove crucial. TIP: Broncos by 1.

Sun: Canberra Raiders v North Queensland Cowboys at GIO Stadium: The Raiders have been presented with an ideal opportunity to break their losing streak, hosting an Origin-weakened Cowboys side. But the northerners’ depth is impressive, and the Raiders’ recent efforts still won’t be enough to get the two points – major improvement is required. TIP: Raiders by 4.

Mon: Cronulla Sharks v South Sydney Rabbitohs at Remondis Stadium: The recurring theme of Round 11 carries through to Monday night, with the Sharks-Rabbitohs encounter also significantly impacted by Origin. Todd Carney’s injury woes have dented last-placed Cronulla’s chances of claiming the scalp of a weakened heavyweight – Sutton and Reynolds should guide Souths home despite the loss of Inglis, McQueen and Te’o. TIP: Rabbitohs by 8.


Round 11 Most at Stake

As if being dumped by NSW wasn’t enough, Pearce and Maloney face the ignominy of lining up against makeshift Canterbury halves Moses Mbye and Reni Maitua – who are there in lieu of new Blues pairing Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds. A positive reaction and dominant display from the Roosters linchpins is vital not only for their future rep ambitions, but also for the remainder of the defending premiers’ campaign. The Tricolours can’t go back-to-back if their No.6 and 7 are kicking stones and struggling for confidence. 


The Selection Table

Along with rookie Mbye and troubled veteran Maitua, out-of-favour Krisnan Inu has been elevated to the Bulldogs’ line-up to cover Origin absences, while Frenchman Remi Casty finally looks set for an NRL debut off the Roosters’ bench.

Kevin Locke moves into a reshuffled Warriors starting line-up for the first time in 2014 – Ngani Laumape will line up in the centres, Ben Henry returns to the backrow and Ben Matulino is back at prop, while recent Test debutant Siliva Havili returns to the bench for the injured Sione Lousi. Luke Bailey comes into the Titans’ starting line-up for Nate Myles, Beau Henry has a chance to cement the No.6 after the long-term injury suffered by Aidan Sezer, and William Zillman will skipper the side.

Joel Luani and Martin Taupau replace NSW pair Farah and Woods for the Tigers, while Corey Oates and Todd Lowrie are Origin-related pack inclusions for the Broncos, who have brought in Lachlan Maranta again to cover Justin Hodges’ absence.

Paul Green has not yet named a captain for his reshuffled side, which sees Robert Lui accompanying Ray Thompson in the halves, and Scott Bolton and Ashton Sims start in front-row for Scott and Tamou. Halves prospect Mitch Cornish has been named on Canberra’s bench.

Daniel Holdsworth plugs the gap left by Todd Carney at Cronulla, while Nathan Merritt makes his first NRL appearance in a month at fullback in Greg Inglis’ stead and Bryson Goodwin has been dropped to Souths’ bench in favour of Joel Reddy.


Hoodoo Gurus

-The Warriors have won their last six straight against the Titans.

-Manu Vatuvei has scored eight tries in his last eight games against the Titans.

-The Warriors are 0-3 without Shaun Johnson – who is in doubt for Saturday’s game – since his debut in 2011.

-The Broncos have won eight of their last nine and 17 of 22 overall against Wests Tigers, while they have never lost to the joint venture in six visits to Campbelltown.

-The Cowboys have won six of their last seven against the Raiders.

-The Bulldogs have won 10 of their 13 clashes against the Roosters at ANZ Stadium.

-The Sharks have won their last three hosting the Rabbitohs at Remondis Stadium.


Round 11 Best Individual Match-ups

-James Graham and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will rock the foundations at ANZ Stadium in a World Cup semi-final front-row rematch.

-Next in line for the Origin hooking roles, Michael Ennis and Jake Friend will wage a mighty battle on Friday.

-Young halfbacks Luke Brooks and Ben Hunt are both in brilliant attacking form.

-There will be more footwork on show than Riverdance when Albert Kelly squares off against Shaun Johnson or potential debutant Tuimoala Lolohea.

-In a season brimming with in-form fullbacks, Sunday’s No.1 opponents Anthony Milford and Michael Morgan are making a name for themselves.

-Sosaia Feki and Alex Johnston are among the best emerging wing talents in the game.



-Journeyman hooker John Morris will become the 19th player in premiership history to break the 300 first grade appearances barrier on Monday night. He is the only non-international to reach the hallowed mark, while Ruben Wiki is the only other 300-gamer to not play State of Origin football.

-Simon Mannering makes his 100th appearance as Warriors skipper, the first player to do so for the club. The ultra-consistent backrower will become just the second player to play 200 games for the Warriors next weekend.

-Anthony Minichiello (127 tries) and Manu Vatuvei (125 tries) are just one and three touchdowns away respectively from breaking into the top 20 try-scorers in premiership history list.


Lillyman, Graham stiff to miss out: Queensland chose to stay loyal to the squad who did the job in 2013, overlooking the career-best form of Warriors prop and six-game Origin rep Jacob Lillyman. Rugged, disciplined and mistake-free, Lillyman provides outstanding go-forward which the Maroons may miss when Matt Scott and Nate Myles – their only specialist props – are off the paddock. Meninga and co have instead gone with the incumbents on the bench – out-of-form backrow trio Josh Papalii, Chris McQueen and Ben Te’o. Meanwhile, NSW missed a trick by again overlooking inspirational Cronulla backrower Wade Graham. Tough, creative, durable and versatile, Graham was a custom-made replacement for the suspended Greg Bird, and would have offered more for the Blues than enforcer Beau Scott or the tireless Ryan Hoffman.

Allwood all good for Warriors: The Warriors have scored a major coup by snaring rookie Canberra centre Matt Allwood on a three-year deal from 2015. Allwood is an aggressive tackler and can punch holes in the defensive line – a rare bright spot in a troubled campaign to date for the Raiders, who will be lamenting the impending departure of yet another quality young talent. The Warriors, on the other hand, will boast extraordinary three-quarter line depth, while the signing further clouds the future of former Origin centre and current NSW Cup mainstay Dane Nielsen at the club. Expect the Raiders, who currently have the pulling power of a used handkerchief, to make a play for Nielsen.

McKinnon an inspiration: For all the negative headlines and undesirable aspects of our game, Alex McKinnon’s fortitude continues to be a shining ray of light. Taking on his long, arduous and uncertain journey towards recovery with astounding positivity and maturity, each update and interview we hear from the injured Knights forward has been incredibly uplifting and life-affirming. In a season that is struggling for an identity in many ways, 2014 is destined to be remembered for young Alex’s courage.


Try of the Year contender: Round 10 was light on truly mind-blowing four-pointers, but Parramatta hooker Nathan Peats’ cut-out ball to send Ken Sio for the opening try against St George Illawarra was something special.

Blunder city, population … Benji Marshall’s return for the Saints was a tough one to put it mildly, cruelly having a superb flat pass that put Mike Cooper over called back, before producing a bad fumble which allowed Corey Norman to streak 80 metres for a crucial try only minutes later.


Honours elude first grade stalwarts


299 – John Morris

281 – Luke Patten

276 – Owen Cunningham

276 – Jason Taylor

274 – Mario Fenech

271 – Phil Blake

270 – Brett Finch

268 – Craig Coleman

268 – Matt Geyer

267 – Preston Campbell



299 – John Morris

281 – Luke Patten

268 – Craig Coleman

267 – Preston Campbell

265 – John Cross

264 – Luke Burt

261 – Colin Best

261 – Simon Woolford

259 – Todd Payten

249 – John Skandalis



330 – Nathan Hindmarsh

328 – Andrew Ettingshausen

320 – Geoff Gerard

299 – John Morris

285 – Greg Florimo

283 – Robbie Kearns

276 – Jason Taylor

275 – Matt Sing

274 – Mario Fenech

271 – Phil Blake



299 – John Morris

285 – Greg Florimo

283 – Robbie Kearns

274 – Mario Fenech

268 – Craig Coleman

265 – John Cross

261 – Colin Best

261 – Simon Woolford

250 – Gary Larson

245 – Mark Minichiello


This week in history

1989 – Queensland racked up a record 36-6 defeat of the Jack Gibson-coached NSW side in the Lang Park series opener.

1992 – An Allan Langer field goal in the dying stages gave the Maroons a pulsating 5-4 victory over the Blues at Lang Park.

1994 – Mark Coyne’s miracle last-minute try snatched one of the great Origin victories, 16-12 in game one at the SFS.

1997 – Noel Goldthorpe kicked a 104th-minute golden point field goal to propel NSW to a 23-22 triumph over Queensland in an epic Super League Tri-series final.

2006 – 11th-hour halfback inclusion Brett Finch – wearing the sky-blue No.20 jumper – booted a 35-metre field goal in the 78th minute to clinch a 17-16 series-opening victory for NSW at ANZ Stadium.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Will Evans says:

    If every Raiders player was to be solely judged on their performance against Manly, none of them would play first grade ever again.

  2. Cam says:

    Allwood’s defence was not in evidence against matai the other week.