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The loss of players in key positions has the Roosters struggling.

Fans of many other clubs are rejoicing in the pain being suffered by the once high-flying Roosters, as they languish at the bottom of the ladder without a win in 2016.

The Roosters are a sad and sorry bunch, but name another team that would do any better having lost their starting numbers 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 and 11. More than just numbers, those six were all State of Origin or international level players who are now missing through injury, suspension or through having left the club. It is going to be a long road back as the Chooks struggle to rebuild over the next couple of years.

Early turning point sours Sea Eagles
Rugby league really is a game of inches and seconds. At the end of the Sea Eagles’ very first set of six against the Rabbitohs on Thursday night, the ball was passed to five-eighth Dylan Walker. Playing his first game against his former club, Walker put in an ordinary kick from eight metres inside the opposition half, before being flattened by Rabbitohs forward Chris Grevsmuhl. It was extremely close to being a late tackle, it caught the commentators’ eyes and a penalty wouldn't have surprised anyone – but the referees let it go.

Manly's Tom Trbojevic leapt for the wayward kick and apparently managed the slightest of finger-tip touches on the ball before Souths winger Aaron Gray knocked it on cold. The referees must have seen the Manly touch clearly and ruled a hand-over to Souths without further review. It could so easily have been the Sea Eagles’ ball in the Rabbitohs’ half. Instead, the Rabbitohs went on to score 16 points in the next 14 minutes with the Sea Eagles barely getting their hands on the ball. Considering they fought back to lose 16-12, those early disputable seconds and inches could so easily have seen a completely different result.

The master complains
It must come close to the definition of irony to hear Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith crying out for the ruck to be cleaned up. Smith may well have a valid point, after being harried at dummy half several times as the Storm struggled to defeat the wooden spoon favourite Knights. It’s just hard to feel any sympathy for the man whose club has pioneered every dirty, play-delaying, advantage-gaining, ugly ruck trick the game has seen in the last ten years.

If you want to build your success on the back of pushing the boundaries in the tackle and play-the-ball area, don’t come crying when another club turns the tables on you Mr Smith.

Old head saves young ones
Nine minutes into the Sharks’ game against the Tigers at Campbelltown, the young Tigers’ halves proved the adage that you can’t put an old head on young shoulders. Trying to peg back a 6-0 deficit, Tigers halfback Luke Brooks threw a long looping cut-out pass to his winger, ten metres out from the try-line. Sharks flyer Valentine Holmes gleefully accepted the ball and streaked away.

Brooks’ young halves partner Mitchell Moses came tearing across the field in cover defence waving his arms at a pursuing Robbie Farah, instructing him to cover the inside support. He was no doubt screaming that he had Holmes covered. As Moses reached Holmes, he stepped inside, stumbling only slightly due to the minimal contact from the flailing arm of Moses. Fortunately, Farah had ignored the advice of his five-eighth and continued his pursuit of the ball, crashing into Holmes and ending the dangerous run near halfway.



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