NRL: Set of Six: Fien Time

By Michael Brown

The 34-year-old announced yesterday he will be retiring from the NRL at the end of the season. Photo / Getty Images
The 34-year-old announced yesterday he will be retiring from the NRL at the end of the season. Photo / Getty Images

1. Fien time

There's some nice symmetry to the way Nathan Fien will end his NRL career. The 34-year-old announced yesterday he will be retiring from the NRL at the end of the season after 14 years and more than 270 games. His final game will be at home against the Warriors, who he played for between 2005 and 2009.

2. Hoppa to it

John Hopoate is many things but at least he can have a laugh at himself. His strange YouTube video posting this week - entitled "Hopoate has his finger on the pulse" in reference to the fact he was infamous for sticking his finger in dark holes - saw him express his concern over the fact the NRL was going soft. Later it showed him with a bucket list, headed by apologising to the Manly Sea Eagles (he went to the home of former Manly player and administrator Peter Peters) and then being kind to a traffic warden. The world waits breathlessly for the rest of the list.

3. Big bet

There are plenty of reasons why many fans want the Warriors to make the playoffs but one has 30,000. One punter put A$30,000 on the Warriors at the start of the season to make the top eight at A$2.30 to collect A$69,000. They probably need to win all four of their remaining games to sneak in.

4. Chilling injury

You have to feel for Jharal Yow Yeh. The former Queensland and Australian winger had eight operations in 10 months after an horrific ankle break playing against the Rabbitohs last year and was working his way back into the Brisbane side only to break his hand moving a fridge for his mum. The 23-year-old has vowed he's not quitting.

5. Game of the week

There are plenty of crucial encounters this weekend as teams jostle for a place in the top eight - Raiders and Bulldogs, Cowboys and Titans, Knights against the Storm and Warriors and Penrith - but tonight sees another blockbuster. Manly are one of the form teams of the competition with six-straight wins and tackle a Rabbitohs outfit on the slide. A top-two finish brings extra reward under a revamped finals system and the Bunnies need to arrest a slump that has seen them lose three of their last four. At least they welcome back Greg Inglis and John Sutton. A win for Manly will see them close to within one point of the Rabbitohs.

6. Back in contention

The Kiwis selectors had assumed Sam McKendry wouldn't be available for the World Cup but they might need to change their thinking. The 24-year-old Penrith front rower, who has played eight tests for the Kiwis, fractured a vertebrae against the Eels in April - he played on for 10 minutes despite the pain and even went back on later believing it was a "stinger" - and some wondered if he might have to retire. He returned against the Cowboys last week and is due to take on the Warriors on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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