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Opinion

Matt and Charlie win the weekend

12 Jul 20, 9:16PM 0 Comments

Written by Stuart McLennan

Photo by Fox Sports

Each round of the NRL seems to produce a common thread that runs across multiple games. In the reconvened season we have seen blowouts and games played at a frenetic pace thanks to a couple of tweaks to the rule. Refereeing decisions will always dominate the headlines.

Video review official bungles threatens to be the only news to come out of Round 9 after a bunker decision left fans puzzled to say the least. It’s not the first weekend in 2020 fans have suggested the video ref book an appointment at the optometrist.

The incorrect decision to penalise and sin bin Raiders winger Bailey Simonsson was debatably a turning point in a match Canberra lost to Melbourne by six points.

A predictably fired up Ricky Stuart didn’t mince words in the after match press conference.

“There was no way Bailey Simonsson should have been sent from the field when he was going for the ball, Stuart said.

“I don’t want to make a big issue of it but I just don’t understand how we use all this technology and money and still get it wrong.

“They got it wrong. Simple as that like they did in the Manly game.”

Incorrect decisions are an important issue that need to be addressed. We could talk all day about curious decisions, but there is a battler and a debutant who captured the attention of fans on the weekend and it’s positive news.

Matt Ikuvalu got a last minute call up to replace Brett Morris on the wing at the Roosters and finished the night with five tries in a win over the Cowboys. A hat trick of tries is a good day at the office. Five is special and something to tell the grandkids.

Ikavalu who has played 16 NRL games for the Roosters since 2018, is studying to finish a teaching degree and has worked at a metal fabrication company and a shoe store to supplement his contract. The 26 year old Erina Eagles junior is a battler at a Sydney glamour club and is not guaranteed a spot in the starting 17 next round despite the spectacular performance.

There have been whispers for a while about the enormous potential of 19 year old outside back Charlie Staines from those in the know at Penrith, including former head of football Phil Gould.

The Forbes Magpies junior proved his potential in spectacular style by crossing the stripe four times in the Panthers big victory over the Sharks.

Staines is one of a growing list of talented juniors brought into Penrith from outside the strong local nursery and carefully nurtured by the club.

The two outstanding efforts provide inspiration for all players to never give up and make the most of chances when they arise.

The game’s future is in good shape when players can come from the training paddock into high performing teams and have an impact on match results. That’s my top take from the weekend!

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