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A right pain in the neck

Monday, March 14, 2016 - 5:54 PM
Source: SportsFan
Author: Bradley Dawson, Glenn Valencich and Ben Hocking

New Eels captain Kieran Foran has labelled Corey Norman (pic) as good as anyone he's played with.

Rd 2: Eels v Cowboys (Highlights)

Highlights of the match between the Eels and Cowboys from Pirtek Stadium

HEROES
Moses Mbye (Bulldogs)
While we were tempted to celebrate debutant Kerrod Holland's match-winning goal against the Panthers, the fact is he only had the opportunity to do so because Mbye crossed at the end of a long play that went from one side to the other and back again. The halfback scored his second try of the contest to level things up at 16-all, but he had an outstanding game that certainly didn't begin with that four-pointer. Mbye made a number of damaging runs, picking up 127 metres from just nine carries, as he busted 10 tackles and broke the line three times. The 22-year-old also followed teammate James Graham's lead from last week in donating his man-of-the-match cheque to White Ribbon, the organisation working to end male domestic violence against women.

Corey Norman (Eels)
Many suspected Corey Norman would miss at least a week after suffering a neck injury in the round one loss to the Broncos. Instead the Eels five-eighth was the most influential man on the field, starring with the boot as his team upset the reigning premiers 20-16, just as Sportsfan's NRL tipping guru Brad Fittler predicted. Norman racked up an incredible 534 metres gained from his 15 kicks in a best-on-ground effort, as he completely outplayed opposite number Michael Morgan. With the ill-disciplined Cowboys giving away a mountain of penalties, Norman several times produced telling kicks to subsequently find touch, none more important than his massive second-half effort to help set up the Eels' final try after Semi Radradra had  received a penalty from an ugly high shot by James Tamou.

Aaron Gray (Rabbitohs)
The Bunnies winger had a first half to remember in Souths' hammering of Newcastle, scoring a brilliant hat-trick as his team continued their early season try-fests to win 48-6, making that a total of 90 points notched up from just two matches. Gray's triple came on the back of some centimetre-perfect and lightning-quick passing by teammates to set up overlaps out wide in three classic winger's tries. Gray now has four tries in the best possible start to the season for both individual and club.

GOATS
Kurt Mann (Dragons)
Our own word count prevents us from listing every single error Mann made in a stunningly bad performance against Cronulla. He had gone full reverse-Midas where simply everything he touched turned to excrement. We would be tempted to compare him to a park footballer, but that would seriously be insulting to blokes that are at least able to play the ball without fumbling. St George Illawarra fans, who must have spent the first round-and-a-half wondering how this bloke was named as fullback ahead of Josh Dugan, then had to deal with the reality that this may be the permanent short-term solution when Dugan went down with what looked to be a serious hamstring injury. A few headknocks means that our memory isn't what it used to be, but if you can remember a worse individual performance, we'd be interested to hear from you in the comments this week.
 
Jeff Robson (Warriors)
New Zealand's poor 10-minute period midway through the second half of their 25-10 loss to Brisbane sent the Broncos on their way to victory, albeit after the Warriors were down a few players. Jeff Robson didn't do his side any favours as the Broncos extended their lead to eight points when he failed to get close to try-scorer Darius Boyd 15 metres from the line. The No.7 bizarrely pointed at a decoy runner instead of making an effort to push out wide to make it a genuine three-on-three battle. Brisbane then gained territory from the kick-off, and as New Zealand looked to move it upfield they were only 35 metres out from their own goal line on the fourth tackle. Robson then threw a sloppy pass in front of Ryan Hoffman, who knocked on and immediately gave his halfback a look of disgust. The Broncos crossed at the end of the resulting set, although Boyd's final pass to Jordan Kahu was ruled forward.

Dale Copley (Roosters)
Roosters centre Dale Copley should hang his head in shame when he looks at the replay of the Roosters' 21-20 loss to the Raiders at GIO Stadium. Copley, who had a very poor game overall, was the beneficiary of the kindest bounce in the first half after a high ball was mishandled and bobbled up handily for him – all he had to do was run onto it metres out from the line to score the simplest of tries and put his side up 10-0 with all the early momentum. Under very little pressure the centre managed to drop the ball in the act of grounding it and cost his side dearly. Yes, they blew a couple of chances late to claim victory with field goals, but you can't help thinking they should never have been in that position in the first place. 

Who were your heroes and goats from round two? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of SportsFan.


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