In case you missed anything, here are all the big talking points from the opening stanza.
Possession & Completions
We've completed at around 75% during the first forty which led to us having less than 43% of the ball - compared to the Knights who completed close to 90% and enjoyed 53% of the ball. As a result, Newcastle have been able to build their dominance through the subsequent possession, earning a number of set restarts through ruck infringements to compound the issue for our men in the Red & Green. Completing at less than 80% is unlikely to be good enough to compete with most top 8 sides, so turning this stat around will be key to getting back into the game.
Middle Depth Scare
Junior Tatola has been one of the Rabbitohs best throughout the strange 2020 campaign, but went down clutching at a pec mid way through the first forty. With Tom Amone & Liam Knight already missing from the side through injury, the sight of ‘Junior’ walking up the tunnel would have had the Rabbitohs coaching staff considering what options remained to fill the middle forward position. Tatola returned from the sheds with about 20 remaining in the first half & appeared prepared to return to the field, which is an encouraging sign for the match & the season ahead.
Stop Klemmer... and his offloads
David Klemmer leads the NRL alongside Junior Paulo for offloads at 28. His second phase play has obviously been targeted by the boys especially by Tommy and Tatola early on who combined superbly early on to pile him into the turf. At the end of the opening stanza, Klemmer’s offloads have been non existent…. A tick for the team on the tip sheet.
Gagai Looking Deadly
Up against his old club and in the left centre position Gagai looked to have spiders on him while Newcastle looked like they might have a case of arachnophobia. This was on show early on when he took a quick tap restart, breaking the up the field with ease and shortly afterwards was swatting would be defenders like flies… A spiders favourite meal. Our Origin star has run for 86 metres, broken 3 tackles and has 33 post contract metres to his name. Look for our Origin star to lift another gear in the second half.
Battle of the 40/20s
Prior to kick-off there had been only eight 40/20s all year in the NRL. Well that number now sits at ten after Mitchell Pearce showed his prowess with the boot in the opening quarter to give Newcastle prime position, while Reyno followed it up in the 26th minute with his very own to give ourselves a shot on their line. If our lack of field position and errors continue in the second half you can count on Reyno to have a crack at this tactic time and time again.