Home > The Final Word > The Monday Wrap – 5/3/12

The Monday Wrap – 5/3/12

Yes that’s right, the Monday Wrap is back…for this week at least. The greatest game of all is back for 2012 as well, while the cricket and football have also thrown up some interesting points this week. Check out my assessment of the weekend’s action across four codes.

NRL Round 1

How good is it to have the NRL back for 2012? This weekend has produced some spectacular games, and one stinker, but I’ll go through and give a quick analysis of each game for this Monday wrap.

Dragons 15 Knights 14

A spectacular way to kick off the 2012 season, the Dragons looked no different to the last couple of years under Bennett, with a little bit more lateral movement in attack thrown in. The Knights weren’t as bad as some people are saying, and I was particularly impressed with Jarrod Mullen’s game. His running game has previously been heavily under-utilised, and I think his try in the first half shows exactly how good it can be. Both sides can take plenty from the game, and the Dragons can still kick a field goal when it matters.

Broncos 18 Eels 6

This one was a very interesting game, and I think proved a lot to me about both the Broncos and the Eels. The Broncos should be there come September if they play like this consistently. They did take some time to click, but late in the game the class in their side shone through, and in particular Peter Wallace and Corey Norman started to take control. The Eels on the other hand, looked great in the opening stages, but couldn’t put on the points when they had the chance. I though Chris Sandow went too quiet in the second half when the Broncos took control, and this is when they need him most.

Storm 24 Raiders 19

Considering the conditions, this was an excellent game of footy. The Raiders lived up to my expectations, and really took the game to the Storm. Josh Dugan and Terry Campese were solid, but it was Josh McCrone who was their best in my opinion. They certainly showed enough to say they’ll challenge this year. The Storm were, well…the Storm. They looked very good, slick and composed under pressure. Again when the clutch play was needed, Cronk and Slater delivered, and they showed last year’s disappointment will spur them on to greater heights this year.

Bulldogs 22 Panthers 14

This was an odd one, the Panthers really dominated the opening, but didn’t take advantage of their possession and field position. They let the Bulldogs back into the game, and they took that chance. The injury to Mick Gordon is devastating, not just for him but for the Panthers as well. I think this really hurt them, not just for him missing, but the resulting reshuffle saw Luke Lewis out in the centres where they simply didn’t give him enough ball. He is their best player, and along with Jennings their biggest attacking weapons, so they need to give them the chance to shine by getting them early ball. The Bulldogs were quite good, but can and will improve. James Graham was immense in his debut, and should be in for a starting role soon enough.

Titans 18 Cowboys 0

This was simply a terrible game of football. The Cowboys were absolutely woeful, which is really disappointing as I saw them as a big threat this year with Lui and Thurston in the halves. The only think they should take from this is that Ray Thompson fits best on the bench as the replacement dummy half, while Lui should be at halfback. The Titans showed signs they would be better than last year, but they have a long way to come. Idris went well, but they need to move away from just kicking to get points. Scott Prince has a fantastic running game, but he doesn’t do it enough and that’s too the Titans’ detriment.

Sea Eagles 26 Warriors 20

This is the only game this weekend I haven’t seen in full, but from what I have seen and heard it was a tremendous game. The Sea Eagles were very good, and seem to have lost nothing from departed coach Des Hasler. Cherry-Evans and Glenn Stewart stood out, and brought home the bacon for the defending premiers. At the same time, the Warriors were good. A lot of people were predicting a fall from them due to the loss of Ivan Cleary, but Brian McClennan has these boys going well. Shaun Johnson was spectacular and like Cherry-Evans showed no signs of second year syndrome. Manu’s hands let him down again, but that will happen, and he will come back.

Tigers 17 Sharks 16

Probably the most drama filled game of the weekend, this one lived up to the true hype. Benji Marshall came up with the clutch plays for the Tigers, producing a try, scoring one himself, and then kicking the winning field goal under immense pressure. Apart from him, Beau Ryan and Aaron Woods were also very good. They looked rusty, but the Tigers will be there later in the year, and this victory shows how they’ve learnt to simply win games when they’re not playing well. It was a disappointing result for the Sharks, but there were some good signs. Jayson Bukya was very good off the bench, and Bryce Gibbs and Ben Ross really went forward with gusto but the biggest debut was obviously Todd Carney. Yesterday showed Carney will be the Sharks this year, when he’s up they will be, and vice versa. Unfortunately I don’t think this is great for the Sharks, as he can be up and down, and unless they find someone good outside him they will struggle for consistency.

Warner goes wild

It was about time the Aussie batting clicked in a big ODI game, and the first final showed how good Australia can be when the top order performs. They seem to have found a home for Shane Watson at first drop, something I have tipped for him for a while, and if Warner and Wade get going the platform is set for the Husseys, Clarke and Christian to explode. The bowling on the other hand was very so-so. Brett Lee started well, but struggled to find the right spot late on, while David Hussey did a great job against the middle order. Watson again proved he is our best death bowler, being able to mix up the pace while still hitting the spot. Pattinson and Hilfenhaus were very patchy, but I think both have come along way this summer, and will feature again soon. If they can produce with the bat again in the second final, I think they’ll be too good for the Sri Lankans, who should be the second ODI team in the world after this series.

Goodbye Villas-Boas

Chelsea fans cheer in delight as the AVB experiment is finally over. A 1-0 loss to West Brom was the final straw, as Chelsea sacked Villas-Boas before the end of his first season. Unfortunately he simply couldn’t live up to the hype and failed to keep them Blues in contention. They will probably learn plenty from this, in particular how different the Portugese League is from the EPL. I think big club’s should be encouraged to go with young managers, as it helps grow the game and introduce new styles and ways of playing the game, but in this case it probably wasn’t the right guy. They’ll probably go with some new manager who’s name nobody in the western world can properly pronounce, but good luck to them. Well at least good luck in the EPL, because unfortunately caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo’s first problem will be how to deal with an FA Cup Quarter Final loss to the mighty Foxes at home.

Izzy nabs one, but Giants not so mighty

Israel Folau managed to get off the mark for 2012 with a goal in the Giants’ second round NAB Cup clash with Hawthorn. Despite Izzy grabbing his first goal, the Giants were thoroughly outplayed by one of the best sides in this year’s comp, and that was probably a more correct indication of what they’re up against this year as against the first round half games. However, I’m sure they’ll grab more than the three wins predicted by Adelaide Crows recruitment guy Matt Rendell, and considering the position they’re in each one will be oh so sweet.

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