Behind The Curtains: Round 22
All the gossip and rumours from every NRL club.
The pressure will mount on Broncos coach Wayne Bennett if his side can’t get a much-needed win over the struggling Dragons. He’ll welcome back Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire and Sam Thaiday in a must-win clash against the Red V.
Shaun Fensom and Paul Vaughan continue to be on the outer at the Raiders with the pair playing for Mounties in the NSW Cup on the weekend. The mid-season signing of Junior Paulo and the impressive form of Luke Bateman continue to keep the duo out of first grade.
Centre Kerrod Holland scored four tries in the Bulldogs 34-16 win over the Knights in the NSW Cup and gave coach Des Hasler a timely reminder of his ability. The man under the most pressure to hold his spot is Sam Perrett after another ordinary effort against the Dragons on Friday night.
The outstanding form of the Sharks halves pairing James Maloney and Chad Townsend has forced NYC halfback and former Australian schoolboy Connor Tracey out of the club and on his way to Redfern in 2017.
Gold Coast Titans
The Titans are suffering a hooker crisis at the moment with injuries to their first choice options in Nathan Peats and Nathan Friend. Reports suggest that Burleigh Bears halfback Cameron Cullen has been training in the No.9 jersey and could feature against the Sharks tonight.
Manly Sea Eagles
Brett Stewart will not play another game for Manly. Stewart has gone for season-ending knee surgery and Tom Trbojevic has been scintillating since moving into the No.1 jersey.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy is pleased with the depth at the club coming from the Intrust Super Cup system through their affiliation with Easts Tigers and Sunshine Coast Falcons. The likes of Richie Kennar, Curtis Scott and Ryan Morgan have been outstanding in recent weeks and will have a part to play when injuries strike.
It’s been the season from hell for coach Nathan Brown, with the RLW Mole reporting that former Huddersfield boss Paul Anderson could be on his way to Newcastle in an assistant coach role, replacing Mick Potter.
New Zealand Warriors
Former Warrior Kevin Locke is hoping to secure an NRL contract in 2017 and a place could become available if Tuimoala Lolohea decides to depart the club for Parramatta.
North Queensland Cowboys
The Cowboys were gallant in their 16-8 loss to the Storm and will welcome back Johnathan Thurston for the clash with the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
Makeshift five-eighth Clint Gutherson has been one of the few shining lights for the Eels in a torrid season. Reports suggest that Corey Norman is close to re-signing with the Eels and the club is keen to extend Gutherson’s stay at the club and let him develop in the halves alongside Norman.
According to the NRL Lurker, there’s a split developing between Panthers coach Anthony Griffin and the playing group. Similar to the situation with Jason Taylor at the Tigers earlier in the season, Griffin wants to put shackles on the likes of Bryce Cartwright, Nathan Cleary and Matt Moylan to grind out their victories.
St George Illawarra Dragons
A loss to the Broncos on Thursday night could be the final nail in coach Paul McGregor’s coffin. Ivan Cleary has been earmarked as a potential replacement.
South Sydney Rabbitohs
It’s only a matter of when rather than if, but the clean out at Souths will gather momentum over the coming weeks after their embarrassing 54-4 loss to the Raiders. Aaron Gray, Jason Clark, Dave Tyrell, Kyle Turner and Tom Burgess are just some of the names on the chopping block.
Former Broncos player Dale Copley had the last laugh over James Roberts in a man of the match effort in the Roosters 32-16 win over the Broncos. Copley is starting to find his feet at Bondi after his infamous start to his Roosters career that saw him dropped to the Newtown Jets.
All eyes will be on Jason Taylor’s team selection this week and if Robbie Farah features, with halfback Luke Brooks ruled out for 3-5 weeks.with a knee injury. NSW Cup halfback Jack Littlejohn could be an option, with a halves combination of Chris Lawrence and Mitchell Moses looking the most likely.