Mandatory win number 5 on the trot loomed at Parra Stadium on a mild Saturday afternoon, and it only ever threw up two questions. Would we rack up another 50 points, and would we keep an even more important clean injury sheet?
Brett Stewart: The Ferrari once again cruised in 2nd gear, only really called upon for one important moment stopping a runaway winger, which he did with consummate ease leading him closer to the touch line before chopping off his legs. So good to know the engine is just waiting to roar when we need it down the track.
Jorge Taufau: The quiet one did all the usual things we've come to expect, collecting another two tries in the process to rack up 16 for the season.
Steve Matai: Great when we needed him without ever really having to extend himself. The Allgood thing? A non event as predicted.
Jamie Lyon: Cruised nicely in attack without needing to do a lot (forgive me I think that's going to be a common theme in this report). The first perfectly curled conversion seemed to suggest there's been some fine Joey tuition during the week, and all the other perfect conversions seemed to back that theory up.
David Williams: Scored a neat try crunching between a few desperate defenders, and spent the rest of the night with the rest of the back line basically having a fun training session.
Kieran Foran: Don't you just love the fact his incredible try assists are just so dependable, the short ball to slot Brett through the hole letter perfect. Even better is the obvious fact he's playing smarter this season just as he set out to do, preserving the body in the process. Smart lad our Kieran.
Daly Cherry-Evans: Enjoyed the picnic and scooted over for a lovely solo try.
Glenn Stewart: Another sold 80 minutes continuing the climb back to his former self, without really having to do much in particular, which hopefully times very nicely come September.
Justin Horo: Showed the Parra faithful what they are missing, and made the salt sting even deeper when he somehow twisted 4 defenders inside out to plant the ball upside down for yet another try.
Anthony Watmough: Toov's continued the same smart post origin plan. A tough one hour work out, 17 runs for 144 metres and 24 tackles before being rewarded with the first hot shower. Smart plan.
Brenton Lawrence: Made up for a couple of unusual penalties conceded with some strong runs in a 40 min spell.
Matt Ballin: 62 minutes and 25 tackles is a tough game for most forwards, but a relative night lying on the banana lounge for our Matty machine.
Brent Kite: The Landcruiser was all but given the night off with just a 33 min spell. Good idea Toov's.
Richie Fa-aoso: Another controlled 40 min spell racking up a handy 105 metres. Great to see the smarter Richie on show as we're sure going to need him play a couple of big ones in the next fortnight.
Jamie Buhrer: The super-sub was busy again tonight collecting a very tidy 165 metres. And is it just me or does he look to have been out to lunch with George? A few extra kilos doing him no harm tho.
George Rose: The usual good stuff from Georgie. Enjoyed the picnic and importantly seemed to be running fine on that ankle.
David Gower: Solid tho I'm yet to see anything to raise an eyebrow. 21 minutes makes it tough to do much I guess. Is Chee Kam still too raw for a run? Had expected big things from his this year but his time will presumably come when he's ready.
In a comp where every single week is a physical and mental test, what a gift it was to enjoy an absolute picnic training run, stepping up a gear or two when we needed too, before dropping back down to 2nd as we cruised home in the last half an hour.
We might not have quite hit the 50 mark, but so bad were Parra that in all honesty we could have trotted our NSW cup line up out in the 2nd half, which it seems is exactly what Ricky did. Honestly what other coach would let a 500k halfback spend his afto at the casino spending his kings ransom instead of getting out there and working for it?
On another note, Stevie's refusal to take any interest whatsoever in the so called Allgood match up was very pleasing. We're a very smart football team and we don't need to pay any media attention to some nobody kiddie prop who's obviously spent too much time on the team bus with Lussick (see below).
Someone, actually yes you Ricky, needs to sit Darcy Lussick down and explain to him that if he keeps up the childish self appointed role of the school yard thug he will go absolutely nowhere in this game. Football toughness is not about trying to get away with cheap shots. One day very soon, Lussick needs to wake up and realise its a short career to carry on like a grinning mug, and learn a big lesson from the not too long ago equally childish Warea-Hargreaves who needed the send off against us, (that was SO coming), to finally knock some sense into him.
You know it's pretty good picnic outing when the biggest concern for our forward pack was needing an urgent team meeting to figure out why George was handed a ladies mid riff jersey. Fair dinkum how's the big fella supposed to keep that skin tight size 8 thing from sliding up the one pack all night?
Toov's is showing every bit of the smart coaching brain we always knew he'd bring to the table. Matty Ballin probably ran back to Brookie to make up for his 62 min early mark, but that aside, the very smart rotation of the forwards (Glenn being the only 80 minuter), will be vitally important in the weeks ahead. Our props were almost given a week off tonight, and will be fresh as daises for the monster Warriors and Souths Gosford double trouble. We're sure going to need them to put in big ones against the big Kiwi and Burgess bopper packs.
After the nightmare run the script was an absolutely mandatory 5/5 wins. Mission accomplished, and unlike the busted Bunnies, the most important part is getting there with a relatively ZERO injury toll. Is there another team that can boast the almost unchanged stability week after week? Don't want to jinx it but with the impressive Tommy Symonds hopefully not far away our stocks are looking very, very strong at the right time of year. Love it.
Looking forward to Gosford next week and hope to see as many Brookie faithful up there as possible. The perfect Sun 2pm slot means there's no excuse for not taking the drive up the F3 for what will be a great afto against the dangerous Warriors. Can't wait.