Sharks playmaker Braydon Trindall was a class above in New South Wales Cup and kicked the Newtown Jets to an important win that saw them jump from fourth to second.
Meanwhile, a Bulldogs duo made their long-awaited return from injury, while Brisbane’s Tesi Niu was eased back in after surgery.
It was the week of the big men with three props running for over 200 metres, while Tyran Wishart may just be the game’s most versatile player. Find out which unexpected position he played and more in the latest Reserve Grade Wrap.
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ALL EYES WERE ON
Sharks playmaker Braydon Trindall had the ball on a string while starring for feeder side, Newtown Jets in their 28-16 win over the Bulldogs. Trindall had spent the last five rounds in first grade, playing off the bench in all of his games except for one, before dropping back to NSW Cup over the weekend.
The 22-year-old scored a try, set up another, got a linebreak, a linebreak assist and a tackle bust but his kicking game was the real standout — a 40/20, two forced dropouts and 482 kick metres.
“I’m working really hard on my kicking game and also being able to play when I see things. A few kicks went astray today but most of them were pretty decent so it was good,” Trindall told Fox League after the game.
Bulldogs duo Matt Doorey and Braidon Burns made their long-awaited returns from injury. Doorey played off the bench in what was his first game since rupturing his ACL in Round 24 last season, while Burns played his first game since suffering a hamstring injury in Round 6.
Burns set up a try, got a linebreak assist and three tackle busts to go with his 117 running metres. Doorey got 32 minutes off the bench and finished with 46 running metres, a tackle bust, 14 tackles and some stitches after a head knock.
Sharks winger Matt Ikuvalu also made his return after a neck injury kept him sidelined for eight weeks. Ikuvalu notched up 167 running metres and three tackle busts for the Jets.
Still on returns, Tesi Niu is back in action after undergoing surgery on a hamstring injury he suffered in Round 6. Niu got 48 running metres and made 11 tackles with zero misses at centre in the first half but he did not play the second half.
The Broncos confirmed to foxsports.com.au that there’s no fresh injury concerns — gradually easing Niu back in is just a part of his return to play schedule.
Tigers centre Oliver Gildart played fullback for the Magpies on the weekend and finished with a linebreak assist, three tackle busts and 138 running metres.
Jake Clifford was dominant once again for the Knights’ NSW Cup side, setting up two tries, while also getting two linebreaks a linebreak assist, two tackle busts and running for 93 metres.
Blake Taaffe played his first NSW Cup game of the season. The 23-year-old, who filled in for Latrell Mitchell at fullback for six weeks before being dropped to the bench for Kodi Nikorima, played five-eighth. He finished with a try assist, 50 running metres and 20 tackles with two misses.
And Eels veteran Nathan Brown is doing everything possible to get back into Brad Arthur’s 17. The 29-year-old came up with another dominant performance in NSW Cup, finishing with 168 running metres and 40 tackles with just one miss in the Eels’ 16-14 win over the Rabbitohs.
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The Panthers survived a late comeback from the Bears to seal a 24-20 win. Eels-bound lock J’maine Hopgood got through a mountain of work, finishing with 175 running metres, four tackle busts and 50 tackles with just one miss.
His teammate, centre Thomas Jenkins, also had a day out with a thrilling try, a try assist — although Sean O’Sullivan’s boot deserves half the credit — 145 running metres and 23 tackles with zero misses.
There was plenty to like for Roosters fans too. Sandon Smith is proving to be a star of the future with two try assist, three linebreak assists, three tackle busts and 95 running metres.
Meanwhile, NSW Cup’s biggest metre-eating forward Terrell May was back to his best with 230 running metres — 94 post-contract — a linebreak, four tackle busts and 23 tackles with zero misses.
But May didn’t top the metres for props last weekend. Manly’s Kurt De Luis notched up 296 metres — 115 post-contact — as well as a tackle bust and 46 tackles with four misses in Blacktown Workers’ 20-10 loss to Mounties.
Just behind De Luis was Northern Pride’s 110kg prop Nick Lui-Toso who finished his side’s 26-22 win over Burleigh with 244 running metres — 117 post-contact — a linebreak assist and four tackle busts.
Hayze Perham played a big part in the Eels’ two-point win with a try, a try assist, a linebreak, a linebreak assist, two tackle busts and 131 running metres, while Ipswich centre Denzel Burns also had a day out with two tries, a try assist, two linebreaks, a linebreak assist and nine tackle busts.
The Storm’s rugby convert Will Warbrick was back in action for feeder side Sunshine Coast Falcons and proved to be hard to handle with 243 running metres, a linebreak and six tackle busts.
And Cowboys outside back Kane Bradley scored a try, set up another, got a linebreak, six tackle busts and ran for 166 metres in Mackay’s 30-24 win over Souths Logan.
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Bulldogs halfback Bailey Biondi-Odo wore the No.2 jersey in honour of his close friend, Farron Purcell, who sadly passed away after being involved in a car accident.
Purcell also played rugby league and was a winger. Biondi-Odo scored in the corner and pointed to the sky in a touching moment during the Bulldogs’ clash with Newtown and told Fox League after the game “I had a mate that passed away back at home so it was pleasing to get one for him.”
Our thoughts are with the Purcell family.
Is there a position Tyran Wishart can’t play? Two months ago Wishart played fullback for the Storm and on the weekend he played prop for feeder side, Sunshine Coast Falcons. Neither are his preferred position though — the 22-year-old was signed by the Storm as a back-up hooker but has also played a lot of reserve grade footy in the halves. He didn’t look out of place though up front and finished the game with a try assist, a linebreak, 138 running metres and 33 tackles with zero misses.
Broncos young gun Blake Mozer made his Queensland Cup debut for Souths Logan on Sunday. The 18-year-old hooker played off the bench and finished with a try assist, a linebreak assist, 88 running metres and 21 tackles with three misses.
It tops off a big month for Mozer who signed a new two-year deal with the Broncos and also represented Queensland in the under 19s Origin.
Meanwhile, last Sunday’s Dragons-Raiders clash was postponed due to wet weather.