Next Gen: 300 of the best
Fox Sports commentator Matt Russell looks at all the Round 19 action of the Toyota Cup.
As a rugby league commentator, some names seem to roll off the tongue better than others.
Jason Taumalolo is one of them.
It also seems to match the exploits of a man who repeatedly rumbles through opposition defenders.
On Saturday against Wests Tigers, Taumalolo had 28 ‘rumbles’ for 304 metres.
To put it in perspective, running 150 metres is a very good game for a forward. Running 200 metres is outstanding. Running 300... well, pick a superlative!
The Cowboys have now won four games in a row. In that time, Taumalolo has run for 236m, 173m, 181m and 304m.
It’s hard to believe the Auckland-born, 2009 Australian Schoolboy, 2010 Junior Kiwi is still at school.
Taumalolo made his NRL debut as a 17-year-old last year and is set to return in time.
Until then, his Toyota Cup opponents will continue to be ‘Taumaloloed’ by a 191cm, 110kg menace.
You can see Jason Taumalolo as part of Super Saturday when Brett Kimmorley and I call all the action from 3pm EST on Fox Sports 2.
Super stuff that
A Round 19 Toyota Cup game set the trend for one of the more memorable Super Saturday telecasts on Fox Sports.
The Rabbitohs and Roosters Under 20s were locked at 16-all until Ryley Jacks landed a 79th minute field goal to win it for the tri-colours. That dramatic finish was just the beginning.
Later, Chris Sandow and then Luke Walsh nailed one-pointers to get South Sydney and Penrith home at NRL level.
For the statistically minded, it was only the eighth time a single NRL round has featured two Golden Point games. Penrith has been to Golden Point more than any other team – 11 games, six wins, two draws, three losses.
Because of the Viewers’ Choice capacity on Fox Sports, some fans would have watched three games in a row decided by late field goals.
Ryley Jacks’ field goal gave the Roosters four-straight Toyota Cup wins for the first time ever.
Three times previously they’d failed to get past three. Only points differential has Jason Taylor’s men outside the Top 8.
They face a key fortnight ahead – against fifth placed Wests Tigers on Saturday and sixth placed Canterbury a week later.
They are games that can make or break the Roosters season.
Already, though, the winning streak hasn’t gone un-noticed. NRL coach Brian Smith last week used Toyota Cup prop Kane Evans as his 18th man.
Price is right?
What price the NRL and Toyota Cup having back to back premiers this season?
Well, I can tell you.
TAB Sportsbet has the Dragons at $3.00 in the top grade and the Warriors at $2.75 in the NYC – both favourites – with the multi giving you $8.25.
The Dragons were back to some of their best against Cronulla on Monday.
The Warriors have been good all season. They have the Toyota Cup leading try scorer in Omar Slaimankhel (19) and leading point scorer in Dylan Collier (184) as part of a well-rounded team under a respected coach.
Last Friday, the Warriors gave Canterbury a 14-point start and won 22-14.
This week they travel to play South Sydney at Homebush.
If you like the price above, don’t delay, it’s set to shorten.
You can see the Warriors as part of NRL Sunday from 11.30am when I’m joined by Simon Woolford.
Time to reflect
It’s uncanny how often the NRL table is reflected at Toyota Cup level.
It is the case again right now.
Like first grade, the Under 20s competition has a group of runaway leaders; seven teams fighting mid-table and a small group of also rans at the bottom.
Not only is the ladder structure similar, plenty of clubs are similarly placed in both competitions.
Melbourne, North Queensland and the Warriors are the standout performers across both grades and are set to fight out the Club Championship.
South Sydney and Gold Coast are the battlers in both grades.
Cronulla and Newcastle are set for a ding-dong battle at Toyota Stadium on Saturday.
The Sharks have just won four in a row. The Knights are off a win and clinging to a Top 8 dream.
Both of them scored five tries to nil in the second half of their most recent games – Cronulla to beat St George Illawarra 38-4 and Newcastle against Manly 44-12.
They are not alone.
Melbourne scored five tries in the second half on Sunday to belt Canberra 32-10 and celebrate their first win in the capital.
The Storm’s win sets up a great game with Brisbane on Friday night.