Fox Sports Commentator Matt Russell looks at all the action from Round 17 of the Toyota Cup.
It was great to see Harry Seijka back in the Toyota Cup and back to his best against Canterbury on Saturday.
The Panthers pulled off one of the season’s big upsets 22-20 over the Bulldogs.
Penrith entered the round in 13th after three straight losses. Canterbury had climbed to 2nd thanks to a recent seven-game winning streak.
Seijka’s kicking in general play was varied and effective.
Shooting for goal, he was five from five – which proved the difference, after Canterbury scored four tries to three.
Seijka steered his side well, was dangerous when he ran the ball and passed astutely for two tries.
Signed from Bathurst amid much hype, Seijka is now uncontracted for next year.
He won’t be for long if he continues performing like he did last week.
We get to see Seijka and his Panthers on Fox Sports again this Sunday when they travel to play the Roosters.
The Bondi Boys warmed up in sensational fashion when they piled on 56 points against Canberra on Monday.
Even more incredible, the first of their 10 tries didn’t come until the 31st minute, meaning they scored 56 points in 49 minutes!
Centre Tautau Moga crossed three times while winger Chris Taripo finished with 22 points from two tries and seven goals.
If the Roosters keep it going against Penrith, they will make it three straight wins for the first time this season and continue a charge towards the top eight.
Tigers NRL captain Robbie Farah joins me for all the action on Fox Sports 2 from 11.30am EST.
Plenty of people are having a tough time Canberra at the moment and Raiders Toyota Cup coach David Hamilton is one of them.
His team has taken victory just once in its last six games.
His team is leaking plenty of points. His team is set to slide out of the eight if beaten this weekend.
A fine coach, Hamilton is using no excuses but has plenty – like a tough run of injuries and the promotion to NRL of Nathan Massey, Sam Williams and Josh Papalii.
Higher in the Shire
The Sharks have never made the Toyota Cup finals but head into Round 18 in fourth.
They can go even higher if they beat Canberra for the second time this season on Saturday.
In Round 1 it was 34-30 to the Sharks, where Tyrone Peachey scored a double.
It sparked his standout season.
Last Sunday against Souths, Peachey came off the bench and had three line-breaks in the blink of an eye.
He was the key factor in a remarkable try where the Sharks went from their own dead ball line to score in one movement.
The last pass went from Peachey to Luke Pickerd. Very generous considering Pickerd went to 11 tries as Cronulla’s leader this season. Still camped on 10 is T. Peachey.
Their duel will continue when Simon Woolford joins me for all the action as part of Super Saturday on Fox Sports 2.We’ll also talk with exciting Sharks forward Tyson Frizell.
Before Ben Barba struggled against Penrith on Saturday night, Marmin Barba gave the family a flying start to the weekend with three tries against Brisbane.
Marmin used Round 17 to take his 2011 try tally to 17, one clear of the next best in the Toyota Cup, Omar Slaimankhel.
It means the Barbas lead the NYC and NRL try scoring.
Ben won’t be looking at that statistic this week. Surely his emphasis will be stopping tries.
Round 18 should start with a bang when Parramatta hosts Wests Tigers.
The western Sydney rivals sit 6th and 7th after similar seasons.
The Eels won only one of their first five. Since then they’ve taken seven from 10.
The Tigers won only one of their first six. Since then it’s seven from nine.
They are form teams with a stack of emerging talent.
If you’re off to Parramatta Stadium, go early!
Round 17 featured the sixth draw of the Toyota Cup season when St George Illawarra and Newcastle finished 28-all.
It was a classic draw as both sides scored five tries, kicked four goals and matched each other in a pile of statistics.
Still, it took an 80th minute try from Newcastle’s Chanel Mata’utia to balance the ledger.
Like the Sharks, the Knights have never made the Toyota Cup finals but are still a chance.
They face a big test at home against North Queensland on Monday.
I’m hoping the NSW Residents play well in the curtain raiser to State of Origin III against their Queensland counterparts.
My Toyota Cup commentating colleague Brett Kimmorley makes his head coaching debut as the Blues’ mentor in a game loaded with Toyota Cup graduates.