The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Report - Rd 7
Brett Stewart: Worked hard to create something on a very tough night including a couple of sizzling runs, but ultimately outpointed by the best fullback in the game. Thank god he survived the Inglis runaway train wreckage that so shockingly split us open minutes into the 2nd half, (was anyone else thinking oh no not Lotte again at that terrifying moment?) The waywood elbow? Silly yes, but a suspension? No, it hardly touched the bloke.
Jorge Taufau: Fantastic first half, quieter second. Seems to be a little starved of decent ball from Matai at times.
Steve Matai: Tough as always. That tackle? Nothing in it whatsoever simply a football accident bouncing up off the ball. I'm sick to death of the insinuation of guilt simply because it's Matai. Judge the incident, not the players name.
Jamie Lyon: Tried everything to get past his opposite numbers, but the normally ruthlessly efficient line breaks were simply met by ruthlessly brick wall defence.
David Williams: Tried hard but suffered from Lyon being so well marked.
Keiran Foran: Took on everything and everyone. Again so close to a solo line breaking try.
Daly Cherry-Evans: Never stopped for 80 mins and a great try. Like Fozzy there's better days ahead in terms of reward for effort.
Glenn Stewart: We all love Glenn, but really a pretty average game. Way too much sideways crabbing, and never threatened all night. Surely a 45 min spell might have been way wiser after 7 months out. Toovs?
Justin Horo: Given he's been one of our best for 6 rds, an oddly quiet game. Only 8 runs, 64 metres and 15 tackles. Did I miss something?
Anthony Watmough: Our best player by a mile. Took on the monster Souths pack and never stopped running missiles at them. 19 runs, 179 metres, 45 tackles (even topping Matty Ballin). Extraordinary.
Brenton Lawrence: Superb again for every minute of his 42 on the field, just wonder whether Toovs couldn't get another vital 10 mins out of him? In fairness perhaps against anyone but Souths.
Matt Ballin: 42 tackles in another 80 min non stop display. Tried a few good dummy half runs too, but like everyone else blunted in defence.
Brent Kite: The Landcruiser looked to be running out of gas with 10 to go, and fatigue spells mental errors, none bigger than a complete and utter brain snap to put in a grubber precisely when it wasn't needed. Why Brent why? Surely it's clear who's job that is.
Tom Symonds: Should be in the starting team, and certainly should be playing way more than 37 minutes. Wasted talent tonight, and worse still completely ripped off with the game deciding disallowed try.
Richie Fa'-aoso: We all love his toughness, and every player (hey just look at Inu) can have an unlucky moment, but 3 strikes and sadly there's trouble. A real pity.
Jamie Buhrer: Against the biggest pack in the land Toovs answer was to hide him until the last 8 minutes. Could there have been anything more pointless? Surely even an overweight George would have been more useful even for just 15-20 minutes of throwing the pie shop at the Burgess bricks?
Jason King: Injured after just a 14 minute spell and very badly missed on a night when we needed every inch of muscle out there.
Overall: We threw the peninsula at them for 40 gruelling, bruising minutes and for mine were the better team at the break despite the deadlocked 0-2 score, (in fact didn't their penalty shot decision say everything). The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half were always going to be telling, and as Gould accurately summarised Souths came out on fire whereas our heads seemed to still be in the dressing room.
That said there's not a single player in the country who would have stopped Inglis, he's just simply that frighteningly good, and despite that poor start 14-0 was absolutely catchable, but the 51st minute Symonds disallowed try turned the match on its head. I can't for the life of me see why its wasn't a try. Again as Gould accurately lamented Ballin didn't touch anyone nor could he disappear. 14-6 would have made for the most exciting final 30 minutes of the season, but cruelly that prospect was stolen and Souths poured salt into the wound minutes later for a shell shock 20-0 scoreboard.
Even with our heads understandably beginning to drop in the wake of the 20 point monsters continuing to ram us, we STILL looked defeat in the eye and refused to buckle. With Watmough determination and a slice of Cherry pie we clawed ourselves back into the game at 12-20, but who could believe it yet again an extraordinarily odd video ref decision buried us down the rabbit hole for good. A Wolfman try with 4 mins 52 secs on the clock, converted or not, would have set the stage for a Brett Stewart like miracle finish. Instead Kite's hair brain grubber was the last straw of the day, and as much as it hurts to say, the better team ended up with the lollies.
Defence: Just 16 missed tackles to their 30 a remarkable stat given the scoreline, (and was it just me or was Merritt barely noticed?).
Attack: We looked good enough to score 20 plus agains most teams, but Souths remarkable defence proved yet again they are genuine top 4 or better contenders.
I could cite some ill discipline at times, some dropped balls, some disjointed attack, but really you're only as good as your opposition allows, well that and the insanity of the video ref.
Yet another fantastic game of football, and my god this was one of the best in some time, totally marred by the perplexing decisions upstairs. We can only dream of what could have been with a 14-6 score and 30 minutes to play.
Bad luck and idiotic video ref decisions aside, it must be said, Souths are very good football team with a couple of world class players in Inglis and Sam Burgess. This was no poor loss, and we'll be back to beat them next time. There's clearly 4 excellent teams at the top of this comp and this loss did nothing to dispel that we are absolutely one of them. I'm just mighty glad we've got 10 days to soak out the bruises before boarding the bus to Kogarah.
Who's the Bozo on the MWSE website posting articles with the heading The Good, the Bad, the Ugly? Surely you can think of your own original column.