Fox Sports Toyota Cup commentator Matt Russell has his weekly look at the National Youth Competition, which this week earnt special praise from Tigers NRL coach Tim Sheens.<br><b><br>Adding some Sheen to the Tigers..</b><br><br>When Wests Tigers beat Canterbury last Friday night, they also put the Toyota Cup up in lights.<br><br>Repeated big fends from Andrew Fifita helped give the Tigers momentum; Rob Lui landed a field goal to put the visitors in front for the first time; and Simon Dwyer crossed for the match sealer.<br><br>All three were part of the Tigers’ Toyota Cup Grand Final team last year.<br><br>The club has embraced the National Youth Competition since it started and that positive attitude has seen the Tigers benefit.<br><br>Again they’re equal first in the Under 20’s and again the lineup includes several players who look like NRL players of the future.<br><br>As Tim Sheens told me last Friday night; “I don’t know why people keep knocking the Toyota Cup!”<br><br><b>Exploring the SFS..</b><br><br>Nathan Gardner covered more territory than Christopher Columbus to score a brilliant try on Saturday night.<br><br>After gathering a kick in the north eastern corner, he explored the flank, changed tack, set sail for the south western corner and landed with ease.<br><br>It was spectacular stuff from the Sydney born, Cabramatta junior.<br><br>He impressed in Parramatta’s Toyota Cup ranks last year and did likewise for the Sharks Under 20’s earlier this season. <br><br>In fact he scored four tries in a comeback win against South Sydney in Round 3.<br><br>He’s an aggressive competitor who can back that up with speed and skill.<br><br>A man who played the first half of the season in Toyota Cup is set to finish with the NRL Try of the Year!<br><br><b>Now for the second half..</b><br><br>As we enter the second half of the home-and-away season, the Toyota Cup minor premiership is still anyone’s guess.<br><br>Four teams share top spot on 18 points… in fact the top seven teams are separated by only one win.<br><br>Manly - top with North Queensland, Wests Tigers and Souths – might have the inside running to repeat last year’s No1 finish with a game in hand against Brisbane, but it’s no certainty.<br><br>Adding to the intrigue is the emergence of teams like Canterbury, Gold Coast and Penrith, who remain outside the eight but have hinted in recent weeks they’re coming good.<br><br>This is a good competition. Stay tuned.<br><br><b>Dogs unrestrained..</b><br><br>Canterbury made it five in a row on Saturday when Peter Tuiafiso scored an 80th minute try to break a 30-all deadlock with Wests Tigers.<br><br>The Dogs had seven different scorers in another complete team display.<br><br>They are fighting back from a horror start to the season, where they opened with seven winless weeks.<br><br>It’s testament to the patience and hard work from coach Andy Patmore and his men.<br><br>They deserve a rest with this week’s bye.<br><br><b>No rest for the wicked..</b><br><br>Be assured, Newcastle’s Under 20’s have had a difficult week after losing a bizarre game against Penrith on Saturday.<br><br>The Knights were riding high when they scored 26 unanswered points to lead the home team 26-6 after 31 minutes.<br><br>They then gave up 32 unanswered points in 16 minutes.<br><br>If you’re struggling to keep up, that’s a 58 point swing.<br><br>Penrith won 64-32.<br><br>As Knights coach Garth Brennan leant on a fence after fulltime, it was lucky he had no dangerous instruments in his hands. To say he looked angry is an understatement.<br><br>It’s the second time this year Newcastle has given up a big lead, having headed South Sydney 22-0 only to be beaten 48-34<br><br>It’s also the second time the Knights have let an opponent pass 60 points, having led Melbourne 10-0 before being beaten 62-10.<br><b><br>For the record books..</b><br><br>The 96 points in the Newcastle-Penrith game was the most ever scored in a Toyota Cup game.<br><br>It beat the previous mark of 90, which had been reached twice.<br><br><b>All Seijka-ed Up..</b><br><br>Remember this name – Harry Seijka.<br><br>He was signed by Penrith on a big three-year contract and has perhaps cruelly been lumbered with the “next Brandy” tag, in reference to Panthers’ halfback great Greg Alexander.<br><br>The Bathurst boy has been playing fullback in Toyota Cup but exploded when shifted to his customary halfback role on Saturday.<br><br>He kicked well, ran and dummied, organized the troops and generally looked pretty dangerous.<br><br>Oh, I almost forgot, he scored three tries!<br><br>What are we going to get this week..<br><br>Who knows what’s going to happen in Newcastle on Sunday.<br><br>The Fox Sports television game has Newcastle hosting the Warriors.<br><br>The Knights gave up 64 points last week.<br><br>The Warriors gave up 0… yes none, zero, duck egg, nothing, diddly squat, zilch!<br><br>Want to find out what happens next? Watch NRL Sunday from 11.30am EST on Fox Sports 2 when Simon Woolford joins me for all the action.<br><br><b>Stop streaking..</b><br><br>Spare a thought for Parramatta’s Toyota Cup team.<br><br>They’ve lost 11 in a row – five of them by single figure points.<br><br>The most recent result 29-22 against Melbourne at least stopped the rot for the Storm.<br><br>It had gone eight games without victory.<br><b><br>Hard times..</b><br><br>North Queensland has led the Toyota Cup since the start of the season but has fallen on hard times lately.<br><br>Consecutive losses for the first time this season, combined with three suspensions from the Manly brawl, threaten to see them bucked from top spot by Canberra on Saturday.<br><br>The Raiders, though, have their own problems to deal with – namely a 52-24 loss to the battling Gold Coast last week.<br><br>I look forward to seeing the two fullbacks in action.<br><br>Raider Haydon Hodge is a former Australian Schoolboy, who scored Canberra’s first two tries against the Titans last week.<br><br>Cowboy Wayne Ulugia is an excitement machine who you’ll spot by looking for the brightest boots… normally purple.<br><br>Jason Costigan and Scott Sattler will bring you all the action at Townsville as part of Super Saturday on Fox Sports 2.
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