The NRL Rookie: Episode 5 Review
I bet nobody was expecting two NRL Rookies to be cut - especially when Karo had scored five tries in the match! It just goes to show how important the mental aspects of rugby league are.
David Andjelic struck out with his third appearance in the bottom three, while a controversial swap by captain Elias saw Matt Johnstone subbed in for Luke Frixou. Fortunately for Matt, this decision did not cost him his NRL Rookie dream but it did however make for some awkward tension between himself and Elias with Elias claiming he was keen to talk it through!
Jordan also dodged a bullet after the shoulder injury he sustained in last week's match ruled him out of all challenges for the week.
It was the Kiwis however who starred this week and understandably so as the boys travelled to Auckland to take on the Warriors Under 20s Academy side, as well as the Australian mixed touch football team.
Reece was the pick of the bunch with a strong effort in the Captain's Challenge and his man of the match performance in front of his family.
With his family as his main motivator, New Zealand Rugby League legend and hometown hero, Ruben Wiki, provided some words of wisdom which took the young half's game to the next level.
"I think if I was over here, I may have crumbled, but to be on home soil I thought I've just got to push it a little bit more," Reece said.
Individually he was superb, but even more importantly he gained the trust of his teammates and really impressed them when he stood up to the plate after Elias went off injured.
"His [Reece's] challenge was unreal and coming on to the field and seeing how much he took control was awesome to see," Chris said.
Gary-John was another who impressed in the match, while Elias's determination in the Captain's Challenge saw him appointed skipper for the week. Remarkably, this was the first time somebody other than Lou had won the challenge!
Taking nothing away from Elias, but Lou found himself in a bit of an awkward predicament that involved an uncomfortable harness position, which forced him to quit the challenge. Although I believe Lou described it more elegantly than that.
Lou was not the only one who found the challenge difficult. In fact only four crossed the finish line and Karo's consistent lack of mental toughness proved to outshine his impressive on-field performances.
It was revealed in the 'Shed' that Peter also had to overcome the voice in his head - admitting he had self-confidence issues and subconscious pressure to succeed for his parents, who had sacrificed so much for their son over the years.
Luke was another one in the firing line with a few of the boys questioning his commitment on the field, however, it was the personality of the house – David, who couldn't escape his fate after others believed he took short cuts with his extras.
"I honestly gave it my all. I gave it everything and more," David said.
In the end, Freddy believed his fitness to be his biggest downfall and not up to NRL standard.
With 10 contestants still remaining and only five weeks left until the live finale, what other surprises do Freddy, MG and Lammy have for the NRL Rookies?
One thing is for certain, there will be only one standing at the end of it – one that will win the ultimate prize and start their dream as a professional rugby league player. One who will be known as The NRL Rookie.
Head to NRLROOKIE.COM to watch full catch up episodes of the NRL Rookie as well as online exclusive extras.
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AUSTRALIAN BROADCAST DETAILS:
Each episode will air five times during the week on free to air television across the Nine Network:
• PREMIERE – Tuesday – GO! 7.30PM (SYD/MEL/BRIS)
• ENCORE 1 - Wednesday - CH9 10.30PM (SYD/BRIS)
• ENCORE 2 - Saturday - CH9 1PM (BRIS)
• ENCORE 3 - Sunday - CH9 2.30PM (SYD)
• ENCORE 4 - Monday - GO! 11.30PM (SYD/MEL/BRIS/ADE/PER)
Please note: these time may vary from week to week so be sure to check your local guides.