Hits and Misses: Sin bin chickens ousted by bad boy Bunnies

This week we take a look at the ridiculous sin bin saga between the Roosters and Rabbitohs, some Storm-breaking Raiders brilliance, Valentine Holmes magic and the costly errors of the Eels wingers.

Read on as we take a look back at some of the biggest hits and misses of the weekend.


Sin bin chickens ousted by bad Bunnies

Sunday's elimination final between the most bitter of rivals promised to be a battle to the death, unfortunately it was marred by enough high shots and niggle to see a record seven players sent to the sin bin.

It all started with a scuffle in a tackle, which on microscopic analysis by the bunker, was found to include a Victor Radley punch. It was apparent that Radley moved his arm towards the head of prone Rabbitohs player Taane Milne, but it was impossible to see if he had a fist on the end of that arm, or whether he made contact. Regardless, it was enough for him to be the first of seven given ten minutes in the sin bin.

"The tone was set then (when Radley was sin-binned) and then the incidents that were going to be sin bins was set," Roosters coach Trent Robinson said after the game.

"That's an incident that could've been played on from and that was the start of it (the chaos)."

Being a player down saw the Roosters concede a try almost immediately, but they then scored two of their own as their high-tempo play caught the Rabbitohs on the hop.

Then, in an incredible passage of play midway through the first half, the Rabbitohs were penalised three successive times for high shots and were left with just 11 players after Tom Burgess and Taane Milne were sent to the sin bin.

Burgess was the first to go after he hit James Tedesco and Matthew Lodge high in back-to-back sets of six. Lodge shook his hit off, but Tedesco left the field and didn't return. In the ensuing set, Milne collected Joseph Suaalii across the chin and was told to join Burgess.

With just eleven players and against all logic, Latrell Mitchell crossed for the Rabbitohs second try of the afternoon, to give Souths a 12-8 lead, which they took into the halftime break.

Ten minutes into the second half and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was off to the sin bin after slamming Burgess's head into the new Allianz Stadium turf. It was a play which caught the attention of Rabbitohs coach Jason Demetriou.

"We are talking about concussions in the game, but if a player wants to hold somebody who is defenceless and slam his head into the ground - where's the responsibility on the player?" Demetriou said.

"It's an ordinary act and I think the game has to come down hard on it."

The Roosters were desperately short-staffed after also losing Angus Crichton to HIA and Daniel Tupou to a groin injury. The Rabbitohs crossed again shortly after Waerea-Hargreaves left the field, building a very comfortable 24-8 lead.

With 19 minutes remaining and the Roosters on the attack, we saw some more sin bin action after Rabbitohs reserve forward Tevita Tatola shoved the head of Connor Watson on the ground. Victor Radley didn't like what he saw and charged in to sort him out. Referee Klein sent them both to the sin bin.

But six wasn't enough sin bins for the day, Milne became the seventh when he went high again, this time on Watson.

It was a crazy afternoon, with five of the eight tries scored by the team with a numerical disadvantage. The Rabbitohs were reduced to eleven men for a total of twenty minutes, during which time they kept the Roosters scoreless.

"The reality is that when you go down two men the concentration goes up," Demetriou said. "We came up with some pretty big try-saving tackles."

Raiders dominate Storm again after brilliant opening try

The Raiders started the scoring on Saturday evening with a brilliant try, splitting the Storm defence right up the middle, before finishing in the corner.

Raiders prop Joseph Tapine charged into the line, turning in the tackle to slip the ball to Jack Wighton in support. Wighton stepped off his left foot before passing to support, at which point the play nearly came unstuck as it appeared to pop up of a Storm player's hand.

The ball eventually found centre Matthew Timoko, who still had plenty to do, starting with beating the cover defence of Storm star Cameron Munster. Munster tried to tackle him high and copped a powerful fend to the throat, before trying to take his legs and spinning off over the sideline.

Timoko crashed through several other Storm defenders on the line, but managed to ground the ball.

It was the start of a great night for Tapine, who caused the Storm defence trouble with every touch, putting Elliott Whitehead over for a try before halftime. Tapine and front-row partner Josh Papalii were the main difference between the two teams.

Holmes ensures a home preliminary

It was an incredible game at Shark Park as the Cowboys won in golden point, after ten minutes of extra time couldn't separate the two teams.

Cowboys five eighth Tom Dearden scored an incredible individual try from halfway after 28 minutes of the first half. He picked the ball up from dummy-half, threw a massive dummy, stepped off his left and took off downfield.

With Sharks defenders back-pedalling, fullback William Kennedy was the last line of defence, but Dearden swerved around him to race away to score untouched, under the posts. The conversion levelled the scores at 12.

Despite Dearden's effort, it was Valentine Holmes that really stood out for the Cowboys, and not just because of his match winning 45 metre drop-goal. He set up a try, missed only one shot at goal, and made some telling hits in defence. Along with Chad Townsend, Scott Drinkwater, Dearden and Peter Hiku, the Cowboys have the backline weapons to go all the way to the Grand Final.


Eels wingers prove costly in loss to Panthers

You don't particularly need your wingers to be brilliant to win the big games, anything north of solid will usually do, but you can't win much at all if your wingers make as many errors as the Eels pair made on Friday night.

Nathan Cleary sent his first few kicks of the night towards the wing of Maika Sivo, who was relatively solid under the high ball. Cleary changed tact to aim his floating bombs towards Waqa Blake with almost immediate rewards. Blake dropped a couple in the first half, one which led directly to Penrith's first try and another 11 minutes after the break which saw the Eels desperately defending their try line, until Brian To'o dived over in the corner for their second.

Sivo fumbled the ball at a crucial time in the first half, with the Eels trying to work their way out of trouble. With so much of the hard work being done by the forwards, every slip up from the wingers is a slap in their faces. It not only saps their energy reserves, but puts a large dent in the team morale as well.

Fans set to suffer as May banned for high shot

Panthers winger Taylan May, who many believe should have been serving a two-match suspension, had a sorry time of it Friday night. He was placed on report and sent to the sin bin early, after making forceful contact with the face of Eels centre Will Penisini.

Late in the second half he scrambled in a desperate attempt to score in the corner and stayed down grasping at his hamstring. He hobbled off to the sheds and a meeting with a bag of ice.

May was hit with a grade 2 careless high tackle charge, which means a minimum one-game suspension. He should be able to take his place in the team if they make it through to the Grand Final. Of course, we are all waiting to see if his sentence is postponed for the sake of the fans.