Issues abound for Canines after Sharks loss, Roosters-Souths ‘reserve grade’ highlights format farce

The farcical nature of the Pre-Season Problem was on show at Belmore Sports activities Floor on Friday when the Roosters and Rabbitohs clashed whereas fielding NSW Cup commonplace line-ups.

Later within the evening, the Bulldogs and Sharks rolled out close to full-strength sides in a a lot better high quality contest however for Canterbury coach Cameron Ciraldo, he has a number of obtrusive complications earlier than the beginning of the common season as his membership tries to qualify for the finals for the primary time since 2016.

Bulldogs 6, Sharks 12

Halfback, fullback a headache for Ciraldo

If Cameron Ciraldo thinks Drew Hutchison is the reply to their halfback drawback, he’s asking the improper questions. 

The previous Roosters playmaker struggled within the first half with a poor defensive learn to concede the opening attempt, bombing a Bulldogs four-pointer with a poor cross and giving a few his runners hospital passes as they have been crunched by the grateful Sharks defence. 

For all of the hundreds of thousands spent on new recruits previously few years, the Canines nonetheless haven’t solved their highest precedence – discovering a halfback who can harness their proficient stars. 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Josh Curran of the Bulldogs runs the ball during the NRL Pre-season challenge match between Cronulla Sharks and Canterbury Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground on February 23, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Josh Curran runs the ball for the Canines in opposition to Cronulla at Belmore. (Picture by Jason McCawley/Getty Photos)

Whether or not Ciraldo goes into Spherical 1 with Hutchison or ex-Titans playmaker Toby Sexton alongside Matt Burton, likelihood is the half will turn out to be the most recent in a protracted line of playmakers who’ve been handed the function however have been chewed up and spat out of the kennel’s revolving doggy door. 

Sexton solely received 16 minutes of recreation time on the finish when Burton was given a breather so he’s extremely unlikely to be given the keys to the group for his or her journey to Parramatta to kick off the season.

Fullback is Ciraldo’s different drawback spot with former Rabbitohs utility Blake Taaffe making a string of basic errors on the again. 

Stephen Crichton got here to Canterbury from Penrith hoping to determine himself in his most popular place of fullback however after being chosen for his membership debut at centre, he was benched after 20 minutes. 

He ought to have been working at fullback each coaching session within the pre-season and getting an opportunity to determine some on-field mixtures from the again on this recreation however Ciraldo seemingly has different plans for his or her marquee signing. 

As issues presently stand, the Canines are heading in the right direction for an additional season of disappointment with not even a sniff of the playoffs of their nostrils. 

For the Sharks, they performed as you’ll anticipate their skilled outfit to function. 

Even with Nicho Hynes in cotton wool for Spherical 1 after blowing off his summer season cobwebs within the All-Stars recreation final week, they appeared strong as all the time. 

Second-rower Teig Wilton appeared sturdy, touching down for the opening attempt, in his comeback from a knee damage which reduce brief his 2023 marketing campaign. 

They are going to be sturdy once more this season however whether or not they can knock excessive canine, not groups just like the Bulldogs, would be the lingering query hovering over them till they show in any other case. 

“That was method too simple … paper skinny,” mentioned Fox Sports activities analyst Cooper Conk when Wilton sliced previous Hutchison to attract first blood on the scoreboard. 

Briton Nikora prevented Canterbury equalising on the half-hour mark with a diving cowl sort out on ex-Sharks centre Bronson Xerri however was banished to the bin for holding on method too lengthy afterwards. 

The hosts ultimately capitalised on their numerical benefit with Jacob Preston crashing over simply earlier than the break. 

With each coaches emptying their bench to present prolonged squad members a style of NRL motion, the assault particularly was ragged for every group regardless that each side muscled up in defence.

The profitable attempt from a Bulldogs passing error with winger Chris Vea’ila sprinting away for an early birthday current the evening earlier than he turns 21.

Burton could have a judiciary drama to take care of after he was positioned on report for a excessive shot within the second half – it goes with out saying (or typing on this occasion) that if he’s suspended for Spherical 1, the downward Canines might be at even longer odds to upset Parra.

Sharks ahead Jesse Colquhoun is also lacking once they open their account away to the Warriors after limping off with a foot damage.

Rabbitohs 10, Roosters 46

Younger Chooks prepared for step up

As a result of the 2 golf equipment are concerned in subsequent weekend’s Las Vegas opening spherical double-header, they have been lacking their prime gamers and just about unrecognisable groups duked it out.

An identical situation will unfold at Brookvale on Saturday night when Manly and Brisbane trot out reserve-grade squads.

The NRL is attempting past all logic to style some kind of pre-season event as a option to drive up the printed rights when the subsequent deal is up for negotiation however it’s not possible to provide you with a format for 17 groups over two rounds that’s workable or fascinating.

Bless these Fox Sports activities commentators for following orders from above by spruiking the permutations of what every outcome means within the grand scheme of the Pre-Season Problem standings that are decided not simply by wins however the quantity of tries scored and an array of stats that are then divided by the variety of spanners in a Sidchrome toolkit.

With the 4 Vegas groups working useless in Spherical 2 and the Panthers in Wigan as they attempt to add the World Membership Problem to their bulging trophy cupboard, there are a dozen sides in competition for the $100,000 carrot which has been dangled in entrance of the golf equipment to deal with this competitors significantly.

From the proof of final 12 months and this pre-season, coaches haven’t modified their pre-season routines one bit with even the groups unaffected by the vagaries of Vegas giving their stars only one hit-out earlier than rotating by way of their fringe first-graders and younger prospects coming by way of the ranks.

For the match itself, veteran prop Dylan Napa was the one Rooster with NRL expertise however it was the uncapped gamers of their pack who caught the attention.

Highly effective lock Salesi Foketi is one to look at – he scored a attempt, made 224 working metres and topped the sort out depend for his aspect with 34.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 23: Alex Young of the Roosters runs the ball during the NRL Pre-season challenge match between South Sydney Rabbitohs and Sydney Roosters at Belmore Sports Ground on February 23, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Alex Younger runs the ball for the Roosters in opposition to South Sydney at Belmore. (Picture by Jason McCawley/Getty Photos)

Dominic Younger’s youthful brother Alex turned out on the wing however was comparatively quiet as his fellow outdoors backs cashed in on the Roosters’ dominant efficiency.

Fullback Callum Gromek crossed for 2 tries because the Roosters raced to a 20-6 lead at half-time earlier than registering a complete 46-10 triumph.

Within the grand scheme of issues, this outcome won’t matter for both membership however for Roosters followers, they are often assured that the membership has one more crop of younger prospects able to step as much as the highest grade with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Joseph Manu, Joseph Suaalii and probably Angus Crichton leaving Bondi Junction at season’s finish.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *