5 Key Points: Sharks v Raiders
Sharks forwards lay the platform over a big Raiders pack
Taking on a Raiders’ outfit boasting big bodies in the form of Shannon Boyd and Paul Vaughan, the Sharks middle men stepped up to front the challenge head on – and came out on top.
Lead by inspirational Captain Paul Gallen, with Andrew Fifita, Jayson Bukuya and Chris Heighington playing handy supporting roles, the Sharks forwards did the tough yards in the middle of the park to lay the space for their outside backs to reap the rewards – which they did.
Maloney looking more settled in the Sharks ‘6’
It’s often said in Rugby League circles that halves are the beneficiaries of the work done by their forwards, and that was certainly the case for James Maloney yesterday afternoon.
Having now played seven matches alongside his fellow halves partner Chad Townsend, Sunday’s match in Canberra was arguably Maloney’s most complete performance.
Maloney scored a late try and kicked six goals from seven attempts, and finished the 80 minutes with a smile on his face.
Barba keeps on keeping on, Maroons now not out of the question
Barba crossed for a double on Sunday afternoon, and looked dangerous throughout the 80 minutes in trailing his forwards through the middle third.
The fullback crossed for the matches’ first try before rounding out his personal tally early in the second period, in once more showing he’s edging ever closer to a return to his brilliant best.
With Billy Slaters’ injury keeping the door ajar for a possible Origin berth, Barba’s form has been that worthy of earning representative honours on the game’s biggest stage.
‘Bored’ Bird shows the makings of a genuine centre
Jack Bird last week caused a stir in saying he was ‘bored’ in playing with the ‘3’ on his back, but he looked every bit interested on Sunday afternoon – crossing for a try and playing a role in Valentine Holmes’ four pointer, also.
While insistent on doing his best for the team, Bird’s place in Shane Flanagan’s starting 13 sees him slotted on the side’s right edge.
And while Bird says he wants to see more of the ball, the 21-year-old sensation looked right at home against one of the game’s premier centres in Canberra’s Jarrod Croker.
Ennis takes 3 Dally M points to lead the race to NSW number 9
Just as is the Queensland fullback role up for grabs, so too is the hooking role for the Blues, with incumbent Michael Ennis doing his bit to retain his place in Laurie Daley’s side come Game I of the series.
In seemingly a race of two between himself and the Tigers’ Robbie Farah, Ennis did his hopes of earning a Blues call up no harm in earning Man of the Match honours against the Raiders.
Ennis’ three Dally M points in Canberra followed the three he accrued last Sunday at home against the Titans, now sitting just one point adrift of Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson in the medal standings.
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