A deft Johnathan Thurston pass, an acrobatic Jamie Lyon kick, some Benji Marshall magic, James Tedesco speed and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves strength. It's all in Home Timber and Hardware's Hard Plays of the Month for August.
"How did he do that?" – Johnathan Thurston, Round 21
Round 21 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership was Super Hero Round and Johnathan Thurston was ready to show his powers. The Raiders raced out to an 18-0 lead before the Cowboys stormed home, thanks to a piece of Thurston brilliance. Supporting a Scott Bolton break, Thurston threaded the needle with an unbelievable pass between on-rushing Raiders fullback Jack Wighton and centre Jarrod Croker who was coming across in cover defence. Jake Granville was the lucky recipient who scored adjacent to the posts. The Cowboys won the match 32-24.
"This is just a magical piece of play." – Jamie Lyon, Round 21
Not to be outdone, Manly captain Jamie Lyon showed some super skill of his own in Round 21 against the Broncos. The Sea Eagles were already leading 14-0 when Lyon produced a stunning, ad-lib piece of play. A Daly Cherry-Evans cross-field kick was batted back by winger Tom Trbojevic, with Lyon on hand to catch and kick back inside in one motion. Jesse Sene-Lafao was there to collect the ball and dive over for Manly's fourth try of the half.
"This is from the circus all of this." – Benji Marshall, Round 21
In a see-sawing match at Jubilee Oval, the Dragons scored a try that won't appear in any rugby league play book. Benji Marshall put a bomb up that was batted down by Gareth Widdop, with the ball travelling backwards 25 metres. Marshall regathered before scooting down the left touchline and passing back inside to Widdop, who in turn found Mitch Rein in support. With the Dragons hooker headed over the sideline, he flung the ball back over his head where Marshall was on hand to catch and ground the ball for a memorable try.
"What a play it was by the Wests Tigers." – James Tedesco, Round 22
Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco displayed speed and strength in his Hard Play of the Month, in an 80 metre effort against the Raiders in Round 22. Winger David Nofoaluma diffused a bomb in-goal and raced out to the 20m line for a quick tap restart. He passed to Tigers five-eighth Mitchell Moses who found a flying Tedesco on his outside. Tedesco still had plenty of work to do, fending off Jarrod Croker and Jordan Rapana before outsprinting Sisa Waqa and Jack Wighton on his way to the try line.
"Here goes Jared, the new dad!" – Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Round 23
To complete the Home Timber and Hardware Hard Plays for the month of August, we have one of the hardest players in the NRL Telstra Premiership. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has led from the front for the Roosters this season and he showed his power again against the Eels in Round 23. The big Kiwi prop received the ball for a hit-up 22 metres out and bulldozed his way straight to the tryline. On his way he bumped off Isaac De Gois and Nathan Peates before dragging Reece Robinson, Junior Paulo and a returning De Gois over the line to score.