Unlikely 'blueprint' revealed to stop Maroons star

Unlikely ‘blueprint’ revealed to stop Maroons star

Titans coach Des Hasler has given New South Wales a blueprint of how to rattle Queensland dynamo Reece Walsh in Sunday’s stunning upset at Suncorp Stadium.

Walsh had some magical touches for the Broncos in the 36-34 loss – but also had a few moments he would prefer to forget.

The brilliant fullback made three errors and missed three tackles as he was placed under constant pressure by the fast-moving Titans defensive line.

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The Titans rushed Walsh and he was good enough to beat the game plan on several occasions – but was also frustrated into making mistakes as the Gold Coast caused one of the boilovers of the year.

Wide World of Sports revealed earlier this month that the Broncos coaching staff are trying to get Walsh to slow down his thought process – not to go at 100 kilometres per hour because that inevitably can go wrong.

If the Blues use the same full field press on Walsh, they will be in with a chance of an upset win in Sydney on Wednesday week.

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Big Keaon Koloamatangi has been one of many Bunnies down on his form this season – but he came back with a bang as the Rabbitohs ended their long losing run against the Eels on Saturday night.

In one of the best performances of his career, Koloamatangi topped the Rabbitohs’ tackle count and run metres – and scored two tries for good measure.

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The giant middle forward is a key man for Souths and if he can keep that type of form and effort up, the Rabbitohs may add considerable more to their win tally of just two games so far in 2024.

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Penrith set some sort of record in their 42-0 shellacking of premiership leaders Cronulla with 10 of their 17 players running for over 100 metres during the game.

And two of those – fullback Dylan Edwards and winger Sunia Turuva – posted tallies well in excess of 200 metres.

The stats showed what a powerhouse the Panthers are right across the park and how dynamic their go-forward is.

The Panthers made a mockery of the Sharks’ position on top of the ladder and left no doubt even having lost so many players to rival clubs, they are still the team to beat.

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New Blues coach Michael Maguire obviously decided his Origin team before the weekend’s games – that’s the only conclusion to be reached after James Tedesco’s axing.

Tedesco missed out on the key fullback spot to Penrith’s Dylan Edwards, even though he had a blinder for the Roosters against Canberra on Saturday.

Teddy enjoyed arguably his best game of the season, playing a role in five of his team’s eight tries and scoring two.

Edwards has been in great form for many weeks and few will argue he does deserve his chance.

The dropping of the incumbent captain is a sign the new coach intends to start with a clean slate – and that may be what is needed after Queensland’s recent dominance.

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The latest member of one of rugby league’s most prolific families rolled off the production line in fine style for Manly on Friday night.

Lehi Hopoate has been in the Manly system since he was 12 and, at 19, got a start at the pressure position of fullback following injuries to Tom Trbojevic and Tolu Koula.

The son of Manly premiership winner John Hopoate, young Lehi won a comp himself with the Sea Eagles in the Harold Matthews Cup in 2021 and captained the team the following year.

Manly knew he is a special talent – they signed him to a three-year deal late last year and even took him to Las Vegas in March to give him a taste of big time football.

He handed in a fine debut in the upset win over the Storm and his dilemma now is how to get a regular first grade spot when Manly are at full strength again.

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At 33, Chad Townsend has yet to secure a contract for next season and the Cowboys are playing a waiting game to see if he deserves a one or two season extension.

But after his starring performance in the Cowboys’ patchy win over the Tigers on Friday night, the Cowboys should start drawing up the paperwork now.

The veteran halfback was at his scheming best with four try assists and three line break assists and had he not been there, the Cowboys may well have lost to the enthusiastic young Tigers.

Townsend is a fine general and while his legs aren’t that fast anymore, he is “quick between the ears” as the great Jack Gibson used to say.

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He gets few headlines, but there are few more consistent wingers in the league than Bulldogs flyer Jacob Kiraz.

The speedster had his career best game against the Dragons on Thursday night with two tries, three line breaks and over 220 run metres.

Kiraz will probably never get a Blues Origin jersey – but he is playing as well as any winger running around and imagine th damage he’d do playing on the end of a Storm or Roosters backline.

It was a great night to be a Bulldog at Homebush – the team racked up the most points scored by a Canterbury team since 2016 and their second half was simply sublime.

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The scoreline of 38-0 is one that will forever haunt long-time Dragons fans.

That was the infamous result of the 1975 grand final, in which Artie Beetson, Ron Coote and co put the Dragons to the sword by a then record margin in the biggest game of the year.

It was the day the late Graeme Langlands wore white boots – something unheard of at the time – and had a ‘shocker’ after a painkilling injection went wrong.

And ironically, the Bulldogs won the second half 38-0 on Thursday night against a bitterly disappointing Dragons side.

The Dragons probably weren’t as bad as the score indicated – they had injuries, close calls went against them and it was just one of those nights.

But the second half capitulation is definitely a worry for coach Shane Flanagan as a finals berth slowly but surely slips away.

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