Raiders veteran Jarrod Croker declared that he’s “ready to go whenever” Ricky Stuart needs him — and that may be this week.
Meanwhile, Croker’s teammate Harry Rushton is proving to be a star in the making.
Dragons half Jayden Sullivan returned from a hamstring injury over the weekend, while Bulldogs fullback Corey Allan is also back in action — and may have done enough to earn an NRL call-up.
Addison Demetriou turned back the clock with a hat-trick for the Jets, while Adam Keighran produced some stunning numbers for the Bears — and there’s a rival NRL club keeping a close eye on the Roosters utility.
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ALL EYES WERE ON…
Jarrod Croker could be in line for an NRL call-up after Raiders center Matthew Timoko suffered a back injury last week.
The veteran center set up a try and ran for 107 meters in Canberra’s 30-16 Cup victory over Mounties. He also made 13 tackles, but did miss three.
Croker had stem-cell surgery on his knee during the off-season in a bid to save his career. The 291-gamer has started the season in reserve grade but told Fox League that he’s ready to go if coach Ricky Stuart needs him.
“I’m ready to go whenever. I feel good, the body feels good,” he said.
“I try to talk to the coaches regularly each week to see what I need to work on. Like I said, the body is happy and that’s the main thing for me.
“While I’m just trying to play, I’m (also) just trying to push to get into that NRL team.”
After carving up at fullback in the first four weeks of the season, Locky Miller featured in the halves for the Jets on the weekend.
Miller’s switch to the halves could be an indication that an NRL debut, off the bench, is on it’s way with Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon wanting to see him cover multiple positions before bringing him into the 17. The Rugby 7s convert was just as busy in the playmaking role, running for 115 meters and busting nine tackles.
Miller’s move also allowed young gun Kade Dikes to wear the No.1 jersey. With a try, a linebreak, five tackle busts and 169 yards, the 19-year-old local Sharks junior may have done enough to cement his spot in the Cup side.
Rabbitohs duo Siliva Havili and Jaxson Paulo would have been looking to make a statement after being dropped back to reserve grade.
Havili slotted in at lock and ran for 131 yards, with two offloads and 29 tackles — three missed.
Paulo had 78 running meters and 12 tackles — two missed. The action seemed to be happening down the other side of the field with fellow winger Josiah Karapani scoring a try and notching up 186 running meters, a linebreak and a linebreak assist.
Jayden Sullivan made his return from a hamstring injury at halfback. The 20-year-old had two linebreak assists, two tackle busts and was pretty solid in defense with 18 tackles — one miss and two ineffective.
Tyrell Sloan spent another week in reserve grade after Dragons coach Anthony Griffin made the shock call to ax him from the 17.
His running game was blunted by the Rabbitohs and he had three handling errors, but he did set up a try.
Corey Allan is back in action after a hamstring injury sidelined him for the opening four rounds. Allan was dominant at fullback for the Bulldogs, scoring a try, setting up another, running for 108 meters and busting three tackles.
After Matt Dufty’s performance at NRL level — and coach Trent Barrett’s habit of making changes — it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see Allan named in the extended first grade squad on Tuesday.
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Everyone loves a prop with skills and that’s exactly what Harry Rushton — one of the Ricky Stuart’s English imports — is.
Rushton played 80 minutes against Mounties, scoring a try, setting up another, getting a linebreak assist and a tackle bust while also running for 144 yards. He also made 42 tackles, but missed one and had five that were ineffective.
But the try was one for the ages. The towering forward put in a grubber for himself, then kicked it again off the ground and picked up to plant it down just before it went over the dead ball line.
Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach said in commentary that the “sensational” try should be “featured on the Matty Johns Show,” while Rushton put the skill down to his days of playing soccer in the backyard.
“We played a bit of soccer back home, so I think that’s what that was, from when I was a kid kicking the ball around,” he told Fox League after the game.
Rushton has now scored five tries in 14 games—three of those in the last fortnight. Roach, a former front-rower, said “he’ll be kicked out of the union” for that.
Second Rower Clay Webb was equally impressive. He scored a double, ran for 111 meters and had two linebreaks.
Remember Addison Demetriou? He was once tipped for big things and was picked in the centers ahead of Latrell Mitchell in the 2015 NYC Team of the Year.
He was in action for the Jets on the weekend and showed some of that blistering form.
The 26-year-old scored a hat-trick, had three linebreaks, three tackle busts and ran for 159 yards. He did however miss six tackles.
Newtown coach Greg Matterson believes if Demetriou can stay fit he could be a real star of NSW Cup this year.
Fellow Jets player Braydon Trindall had his fingerprints on just about everything, scoring a try and setting up three more in their 40-10 win over the Magpies.
For the Magpies, Junior Pauga was the standout. The 26-year-old — who signed a three-year NRL deal in November — scored a try, set up another, ran for 154 meters, had five tacklebusts and made 14 tackles with no misses.
South Sydney’s Shaq Mitchell again notched up huge numbers with 225 running meters, while his teammate peter mamouzelos made 55 tackles with zero misses at hooker.
Speaking of impressive numbers, the Panthers have an absolute gun at fullback coming through in Sunia Turuva. The 19-year-old ran for 261 meters and had nine tackle busts in Penrith’s 30-16 win over the Bulldogs and the Storm have a metre-eater of their own in rugby union convert Will Warbrick who notched up 218 running meters, seven tackle busts and two linebreaks while playing for feeder side, Sunshine Coast Falcons.
The North Sydney Bears continued their undefeated run with a 30-16 win over the Eels with some seriously stunning performances across the park.
Adam Keighran and Tom Carr carved up on the left edge.
Keighran scored a double, set up three more tries, had two tackle busts, two linebreaks, three offloads and ran for 199 metres.
Although he can play in the halves, it’s safe to say center is now his best position, but his versatility has caught the eye of Ricky Stuart, who has shown interest in him.
Carr also had a field day, scoring a double, setting up another, running for 216 meters and getting four linebreaks.
Joseph Suaalii is also doing well after returning from an injury a couple of weeks ago. The teen prodigy ran for 133 meters and had one linebreak and one tackle bust.
Terrell May — brother of Tyrone and Taylan — is continuing to prove he is a force to be reckoned with. The prop notched up 225 meters and two offloads for the Bears while also making 20 tackles with no misses.
Blacktown got their first win of the season with a 24-14 victory over the Knights.
Starting props Tof Sipley and Kurt DeLuis were once again outstanding.
Sipley scored a try, set up another, had a linebreak, two offloads and ran for 125 meters. Defensively he was rock solid with 32 tackles and zero misses.
De Luis notched up 146 yards and 37 tackles with zero misses — but four ineffective.
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Train Manly forward Sione Fainu is officially a Tiger. The 20-year-old was spotted touring Tigers headquarters recently and has since signed. Fainu played off the bench in the Tigers’ Jersey Flegg side on the weekend.