On For Young And Old
An intriguing battle for a VB Blues selection is developing between Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco and usual Bulldogs custodian Brett Morris. While many had touted Tedesco for an Origin debut throughout the season, he was ruled out of Game I with a shoulder injury - but has picked up where he left off since his return in Round 13. Morris, on the other hand, has been there and done it for NSW before, representing the state on 12 occasions - and returned from his knee injury in the best possible fashion on Saturday night, scoring a hat-trick in the game against the Broncos. The 29-year-old has since lauded the form of his rival, with the Origin III team due to be seleted on Monday, 4 July.
Close But No Cigar
We almost saw two monster comebacks on Sunday afternoon, with the Wentworthville Magpies in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW and the Wests Tigers in the NRL both falling just short in the dying stages. After finding themselves on the wrong end of a 26-0 scoreline against the Storm, the Tigers did well to fight back to a 26-20 deficit with 15 minutes remaining at AAMI Park - but a 75th minute field goal and 79th minute penalty goal to professionals Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith were enough to seal the deal. The Magpies faced an even tougher ask midway through their clash with the Bulldogs - they trailed 36 points to nil - but incredibly fought back to a 36-24 scoreline with 12 minutes left. The Bulldogs ultimately clicked into gear, however, finishing 46-24 winners.
Mixed Results In Return To Lidcombe
The Western Suburbs Magpies enjoyed a return to a spiritual home ground on Saturday, with the club hosting a "Return To Lidcombe" event that featured past legends including Roy Masters, John Dorahy, Terry Lamb and Noel Kelly. The Magpies were outclassed 28-20 to the Belrose Eagles in the Sydney Shield, before getting the better of the Concord Burwood Wolves 28 points to 10.
Ladies Level In High-scoring Affair
Division 2 of the Sydney Metropolitan Womens Rugby League saw an incredible battle between the Glenmore Park Brumbies and Berala Bears, with neither side able to be separated at the conclusion of the game. What makes the draw all the more unusual, however, is the 92 points scored in it; the ladies drew 24-all in a game that featured two doubles, two hat-tricks and a four-try haul.
But First... Let Me Take a Selfie
Michael Ennis' post-try celebration in the Sharks' Golden Point win over the Warriors will be one that many Rugby League fans remember for a long time. With the visitors leading 10-0 at Southern Cross Group stadium, the cheeky dummy-half darted over to score the first for the Cronulla side before running towards the crowd, gesturing them in and holding up the football for a 'selfie' moment after the try. The eight-time NSW representative provided one of the lighter moments of Rugby League and was even happier after his side defeated the Warriors 19-18 at home.
Their last three games had seen big wins over Wyong, Wentworthville and New Zealand respectively, most recently demoralising the top two Warriors 36-6 - but the Newtown Jets' form was the furthest thing from their minds on Saturday. The Bluebaggers were comprehensively beaten by the Penrith Panthers 60-6 at Pepper Stadium, in a result that featured a Zach Dockar-Clay double and a Corey Hawawira-Naera hat-trick. The Panthers now sit just one competition point behind the Jets on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder and lead them by 40 on points differential - after trailing by 14 prior to Round 16.
Blues Back Up
Round 16 of the NRL asked the majority of Origin II stars to back up from Wednesday's gruelling clash, with New South Welshmen getting the better of their Queensland counterparts for the majority. Victories to the Panthers, Dragons, Sharks and Bulldogs had seven NSW VB Blues players coming away with wins compared to the Maroons' zero - and while the Raiders and Storm helped get three Queensland reps into the winners circle, New South Welshmen Jarrod Croker, Jack Wighton, James Tedesco and Dale Finucane still flew the flag for the state.