SNAPSHOT FROM ROUND NINE OF THE NRL:
THEY SAID IT: “When you’re younger you can take it the wrong way sometimes.
It’s a big period leading up to Origin. It’s always the same sort of talk as a player every year.” – Roosters half Mitchell Pearce on the pressure being placed on him as he bids to reclaim his NSW halfback jumper.
STAT THAT MATTERS: Canberra confirmed their status as the Gold Coast’s bogey team when the Raiders ran out 56-16 winners at GIO Stadium on Saturday. It was the Titan’s fifth worst losing margin of all time. The Gold Coast’s biggest loss (56-10 in round 18, 2007) and equal third biggest loss (46-4 in round 20, 2008) also came against the men from the nation’s capital.
MAN OF THE ROUND: Shaun Johnson set up one try and scored one himself as the Warriors twice came from behind in the last 10 minutes to beat the Sharks 20-16. After a see-sawing final stanza, the Kiwi halfback sliced through the Sharks line to score a great solo try and seal a memorable win for his team.
MAGIC MOMENT: Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt went from zero to hero in the space of a few minutes after setting up Corey Oates’ match-winning try against Penrith. Earlier Hunt had missed a field goal which could have tied the scores at 5-5. Deep in the Panthers’ half again, he could have taken another attempt at one point but instead took on the Panthers defence to send Oates over for an 8-5 win.
TALKING POINT: Are the Raiders the real deal? Ricky Stuart’s side has now won three games on the trot to sit in fifth spot. Five-eighth Blake Austin is firming as the buy of the year and has been talked about as a smokey for the NSW State of Origin side.
JUDICIARY WATCH: Tyrone Peachey (dangerous throw), Konrad Hurrell (lifting knee).
KEY INJURIES: Sharks – Anthony Tupou (broken jaw), Tinirau Arona (hamstring); Raiders – Sam Williams (collapsed lung); Warriors – Manu Vatuvei (sternum).
UNDER PRESSURE: Canterbury five-eighth Josh Reynolds is under pressure to retain his NSW jumper after some indifferent form and a suspension for tripping during City-Country. The Roosters’ James Maloney meanwhile has surged into form and the two will meet head-to-head on Friday night.