NRL Game of the week: Warriors v Rabbitohs

Krisnan Inu of the Warriors celebrates after scoring a try during the round 26 NRL match. Photo / Getty Images
Krisnan Inu of the Warriors celebrates after scoring a try during the round 26 NRL match. Photo / Getty Images

1. Game of the week
These two teams have been heading in opposite directions of late, with the Rabbitohs climbing the table thanks to wins over the Tigers and Bulldogs and the Warriors nose-diving after defeats by the Roosters and Raiders.

Unless you're the Melbourne Storm, form tends to be an erratic beast in the NRL.

The Roosters and Raiders, for example, were both thrashed the week before recording thumping bounceback wins against the, er, Warriors.

A similar turnaround is required tomorrow if Brian McClennan's men are to restore the rapidly eroding faith in their campaign.

With first choice fullback Kevin Locke failing a fitness test on his bruised leg, the little-used Krisnan Inu gets a chance at the back.

Young centre Konrad Hurrell could also add some much-needed punch.

The Rabbitohs' recent victories have come at a cost, with senior forwards Sam Burgess (knee) and Roy Asotasi suffering serious injuries.

Dave Tyrell has been drafted in at prop, while former Warriors junior Neccrom Areaiiti also joins the squad.

2. On the job training with Braith Anasta
There's nothing new about sports stars making a swift transition from paddock to punditry, however Roosters captain Braith Anasta is surely pushing the boundaries by pitching up at matches as a sideline TV reporter.

Quite what James Maloney made of being quizzed by a player from a team that had thumped the Warriors just eight days earlier about how the latest flogging in Canberra felt is anyone's guess.

Mainly, it has to be said, because Anasta didn't even ask him, instead scooting around the minor inconvenience of the Warriors' 32-12 humiliation to get to the issue that really mattered. "It's a tough time to ask but Ricky Stuart I know was watching this game with a lot of intent - you must have aspirations to play five-eighth for the Origin?"

Er, did you watch that game at all, Braith or were you simply repeating the words the producer was saying in your headset?

Here's hoping it was the latter.

3. Save the shoulder charge
Broncos Kiwi star Ben Te'o's two-match ban for knocking Tigers prop Matt Groat into round 13 has reignited the debate about the place of such big hits in the game.

Those campaigning to save the dubious tackle technique include Manly coach Geoff Toovey ("It's a tough contact sport. I've got no problem with the shoulder charge, but you've got to stay away from the head"); Manly co-captain Jason King ("You don't like seeing players get injured, but at the same time I think the shoulder charge can be a part of our game, and it has been for 100 years); and Rabbitohs prop Scott Geddes ("I've copped a couple in my time. I think it's exciting and the fans seem to like it, so I think it should stick around. It's a man's game*, after all. Everyone knows what they are getting into when they get out there)."

* umm, maybe not. See 6

4. Ban the shoulder charge
Leading the charge, so to speak, to have the technique banned (somewhat surprisingly) is Kiwis hard nut Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

No stranger to dishing out the pain with his own shoulders, Waerea-Hargreaves was also the victim of one of the great hits of the modern era when he was knocked senseless by Wests Tigers' Simon Dwyer in the 2010 finals.

"I don't mind pulling them out once or twice, but for safety reasons, a player could get really hurt ... for players' safety, 'out of the game' would be the smartest option."

In other JWH news, the Rotorua native has snubbed an overture from the Waratahs, instead signing an extension that will keep him at the Roosters until the end of 2015.

5. Greater spotted kiwis
More good news on the Kiwis front. As revealed last Saturday by the Weekend Herald, young Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo has pledged his future to the black jersey.

Now it seems we can add the name Sam Kasiano to that list, with the hulking Auckland-born Bulldogs prop turning down Queensland and instead confirming his loyalty to the NZRL this week.

When their time comes (and it probably won't be next Friday) the pair may well bump heads with Palmerston North-born prop James Tamou, who is considered an outside chance of playing for the Kangaroos in the Anzac test after switching his loyalty to Australia and New South Wales a year after declaring he was as Kiwi as L&P and Buzzy Bees.

"We are talking about him. He's playing pretty well at the moment," Roos selector Bob Mccarthy told an Australian newspaper.

"We've got to establish where Petero [Civoniceva] stands, and there are obviously some other very good props available, but we have discussed Tamou as a possibility."

6. Say what?
"I changed my mind from a traditional tackle and decided to hit him. As he got closer, I shortened up my steps, planted my feet, and as I was doing that he tucked the ball under his arm, so there was no way he was going to pass the ball."
- Ben Te'o reveals the real reason Matt Groat ended up having seven bells knocked out of him - poor ball-carrying technique.

"The whole time I was square on. I had a full view of the tackle area, which was just above the ball. I wanted to hit him hard above the ball, right across the chest and shoulder area. It was a good hit, a clean hit, I felt his body on mine."
- Teo again. Mate, that part of his body you felt on yours is called a chin.

"A lot of them will apologise if they swear around me now and say, 'Sorry miss."'
- Kasey Badger, who this weekend becomes the first female referee to control a Toyota Cup game, reveals the civilising effect a female presence can have on players.

- NZ Herald

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