Hits and Misses: Moses risked after further head knock

This week we take a look at the unnecessary risk taken with Mitchell Moses, the brilliance and maddening quirkiness of Latrell Mitchell and the toothless Sharks finals' defence.

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


Moses risked after further head knock

Twelve minutes into the second half against the Raiders, Eels star Mitchell Moses was tackled and hit his head firmly on the CommBank Stadium turf. He looked dazed as he gathered himself and was taken from the field shortly after for a HIA. The Eels were leading 28-4 at the time and looked to have the game completely under control. After the required 15 minutes, the score remained 28-4, and Moses was cleared, and sent straight back out into the fray.

Considering he failed a HIA the week before and was in doubt to take his place in this game, it seemed to be an unnecessary risk at the time. The Eels did have a halfback on the bench, something that coach Brad Arthur has copped a lot of criticism over. On returning, Moses certainly helped add salt to the lime green wounds, but another knock and he could have been out of next week's preliminary final.

Concussion and the long-term damage done to a player's brain is back in the headlines this week following an interview with former Rabbitohs forward Mario Fenech. Fenech, who suffered multiple concussions back in the days when players were expected to shake off unconsciousness with a nostril full of smelling salts, has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, one of the consequences of CTE. It is why we have the strict HIA rules and take the utmost care with anyone showing signs of concussion.

Late in the game Moses was hit by a big Jack Wighton shoulder tackle and stayed down, as a scuffle broke out, but was able to continue after that. Thankfully for the Eels he made it through the game and will be key again to their chances next week against the Cowboys.

Magic Mitchell still has his mad moments

Love him or hate him, and there are plenty of fans in both camps, Latrell Mitchell certainly delivers on the field. Sure he is cocky, sure he shoots his mouth off occasionally; but when it comes to walking the walk, he stands above most, if not all others in the game.

He played a part in several of the Rabbitohs' tries against the Sharks, and responded to the crowd's taunting by slotting goals from all angles. Cronulla fans started out booing him, but it didn't last long as they had bigger things to worry about, as the Rabbitohs moved to end the Sharks' season.

Still, Mitchell has his inexplicable moments, and I can't work out what he was doing after Ronaldo Mulitalo scored a length of the field try after intercepting a Mitchell pass. Mitchell chased the Sharks winger all the way to the in-goal area, helped him to his feet, and started talking in his ear. He then wrapped his arm around him and looked to be nuzzling his ear as Ronaldo squirmed from his grasp. To call it bizarre, would be an understatement.

Nonsense aside, Mitchell faces his biggest challenge next week as the Bunnies take on the imperious Panthers for a place in the Grand Final


Savage average in Raiders big loss

There was much early trepidation over whether Canberra Raiders phenom Xavier Savage was ready for the big step up to first grade. Coach Ricky Stuart was criticised in many circles for keeping him out of the team after early flashes of brilliance, but has recently made him a permanent fixture at fullback. On Friday night against the Eels, he showed some worrying signs.

The Eels' second try of the game came from a Dylan Brown grubber kick that went between Savage's legs. He made several handling errors and his last line of defence was fragile at best.

Still, with everyone in lime green feeling down and out, with the Eels leading 22-0, he pulled a piece of individual brilliance out of his hat, sweet stepping his way through the line inside his own half before swerving around Clint Gutherson in a show of sheer speed to race away for a try. It ended up being the only points scored by the Raiders on what was a miserable night for Canberra.

Sharks defence melted away in finals

Things looked dire for the Sharks with the Rabbitohs scoring the opening try after just two minutes their elimination final on Saturday night. Souths made easy metres up the middle of the field before hooker Damien Cook worked his magic from dummy-half. Cook picked the ball up five metres out and did enough to commit a couple of defenders before sending prop Mark Nicholls over the top of Toby Rudolf.

The Rabbitohs' third try, just before halftime, was just as embarrassing, with Cameron Murray taking a looping desperation pass from Cody Walker, before straightening and fending off Dale Finucane, his opposite number and much bigger opponent.

It continued a bad run for the Sharks who went into the finals with the league's third best defensive record and left in straight sets having conceded a whopping 70 points.