The Mole: Ben Hunt could pay dearly for shocker against Wests Tigers
His Dragons beat the Tigers at the death, but could yesterday’s game have cost Ben Hunt the Dally M Medal?
Hunt has had a superb season at the under-performing Dragons and was leading the count when voting went behind closed doors.
But in a match that the Dragons were hot favourites to win, Hunt would have expected to pick up points to clinch the award.
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The star halfback had a shocker by his high standards in a bludger of a game, failing to create anything in attack and missing seven tackles as the Dragons limped over the line 24-22.
There have been some questionable points awarded in recent seasons by the judges – but if Hunt picks up points against the Tigers there should be a Royal Commission!
More records for Souths flyer
Alex Johnston is on the verge of yet another record after continuing his stunning tryscoring run in Souths’ 20-10 win over the Cowboys on Saturday night.
The flying winger is poised to become the first player in the game’s history to score 30 tries in two consecutive seasons.
AJ bagged exactly 30 last year and his four-pointer against the Cowboys took him to 28 this season – with more guaranteed to come.
It’s a remarkable feat for a player who was almost let go by the Bunnies a couple of years ago and a mark that may never be beaten.
Johnston scores to match Manly royalty
Sharks prevail at fortress yet again
Little wonder that the Sharks were so desperate to play a home final at Pointsbet Stadium.
The 16-0 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday night gave Cronulla a 9-1 record for the season at Shark Park and they have turned their field into a real fortress in 2023.
That was one of coach Craig Fitzgibbon’s goals when he took over the reins and the Sharks are at the stage where every rival team now fears the trip to the shire.
With a well-balanced squad and strike power all over the field, the Sharks could do plenty of damage in the finals.
Mulitalo zips over to score
Raiders centre stars again
Tall centre Sebastian Kris has come of age in the Raiders’ late charge to the finals.
Kris has scored seven tries in his last seven games and was dynamic in the Raiders’ record 48-6 demolition of Manly on Saturday afternoon.
As well as scoring a powerhouse try, Kris came up with two line breaks and two try assists as the Raiders boosted their for-and-against in a one-sided affair.
Kris has now scored 13 tries in 17 games this season and gives the Raiders plenty of strike power out wide.
Raiders score chaotic try
More questions for Des
Haumole Olakau’atu is a player with the world at his feet at Manly.
He started the season like a tornado but sadly, in recent weeks, like many of his team-mates, he has fizzled.
The tall back-rower was barely sighted in the horrible loss to the Raiders, making just six runs for 56 metres and missing eight tackles.
For a player with so much talent, they are awful numbers and Des Hasler needs to light a fire under the towering edge forward before next weekend’s final round of a highly disappointing season for Manly.
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Roosters extend winning streak
Like him or loathe him, there can be no doubt that Matt Lodge has turned around the Roosters’ season.
The tricolours were in danger of missing the finals until the controversial prop came on board after parting company with the Warriors.
Lodge has played seven games for the Roosters – and they have won the lot.
He was outstanding in the trenches in the brutal win over the Storm on Friday night, running for 144 metres in just 44 minutes of game time.
Lodge’s arrival has also brought out the best in Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who seems to be thriving working in tandem with the new kid on the block.