On report: Josh Jackson’s Origin hopes are in jeopardy.As it happened: Canterbury Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers’No intent’: Josh Jackson hopes ugly tackle doesn’t cost him State of Origin spot
Trent Hodkinson was “rested”. Josh Reynolds was, where else, in the sin bin. And they reckon Des Hasler has too many halves.
State of Origin, some including Hasler say, is killing club football at this time of year. Indeed, two of Hasler’s five interstate representatives, Hodkinson and Brett Morris, couldn’t back up from their exertions in Melbourne. And while concerns about the drop in standard when teams get Origin-ised are legitimate, they didn’t apply to this game. An absolute belter.
Hodkinson wasn’t the only Canterbury playmaker who spent time watching helplessly from the sidelines. Reynolds, in his quest to shut down a Panthers attacking raid, ankle-tapped Jamie Soward. Only problem was that Soward didn’t have the ball at the time. The whistleblowers ruled a professional foul. “How could you tell he touched him,” protested stand-in skipper Aiden Tolman. “He could have fallen over.”
Yet for every rock Reynolds produced, there was many a diamond. Like the legitimate ankle tap he put on Soward just as the Penrith speedster appeared headed for the sticks. Or when he kicked ahead for himself, not once but twice, in a movement he began and finished.
There were spectacular four-pointers. We are now used to seeing Curtis Rona, the game’s leading tryscorer, twist and contort his body like something out of Cirque du Soleil to avoid the sideline. But his effort to plant one into the in-goal in the north-west corner of ANZ Stadium was the best of his 16 finishes this season.
What we did not expect was something equally freakish at the other end of the paddock. Bryce Cartwright not only put boot to ball but also had the audacity to regather it in the glory zone.
Other dramatic moments. A tackle involving Josh Jackson will be all the talk of the radio and television league discussions on Sunday.
Jackson and fellow Canterbury forward Greg Eastwood upended Penrith playmaker Jamie Soward and planted him into the ANZ Stadium turf. Whether the shoulder he landed on was the one that Parramatta wrecking ball Pauli Pauli hammered was unclear. Also unclear is the immediate playing future of Jackson, who could pay a high price for a moment of madness between the western Sydney rivals.
The ugly tackle, which occurred in the 22nd minute of a fiery clash, was placed on report and is sure to be heavily scrutinised by the match review committee. Given the crackdown on lifting, coupled with concerns about foul play on playmakers, there is every chance Jackson could be missing when the Blues run onto Suncorp Stadium for the biggest State of Origin game since the last one.
Nothing is going right for Penrith. On match day, reports surfaced of Robert Jennings picking a fight with a boom gate. And apparently he was the sober Jennings in the Parramatta car park incident.
Trent Barrett continues to tend to his garden while awaiting for his future employers to spear club legend Geoff Toovey.
Dean Whare was placed on report for a crusher tackle on Josh Morris. If rubbed out, there is every chance he will be kept company on the sidelines by James Segeyaro, who was carried off with a suspected medial ligament strain.
The Mountain Men already have Matt Moylan, Brent Kite, Jamal Idris, Josh Mansour and the brothers Jennings in the casualty ward. Last year they were able to overcome such adversity in a storied run into the finals. It will take something even more special to do it again.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.