There were five rounds of the NRL Telstra Premiership in April, and we've picked out five Mazda BT-50 Tough Plays of the Month.
Nick Cotric – Raiders v Eels – Round 5
The Raiders led the Eels 22-6 at half-time in their Round 5 clash at GIO Stadium, but the Eels fought back to get within four points to be 22-18 with 12 minutes to go. Parramatta looked to have the momentum until rookie Raiders winger Nick Cotric's brilliant individual effort in the 68th minute. Cotric picked the ball up from dummy-half, 32 metres out from the Eels try-line before breaking two tackles and evading Eels fullback Bevan French with a right-foot step to score under the posts. The Raiders went on to win 30-18.
Nathan Ross – Knights v Bulldogs – Round 6
Newcastle Knights winger Nathan 'Rossdog' Ross is fast becoming a cult hero in the NRL with his blinding speed, ability to leap and take high bombs in a single bound, and his athletic try-scoring ability when flying towards the corner post. From a Trent Hodkinson kick against the Bulldogs, Ross leapt high to take the ball over opposing winger Marcelo Montoya before becoming horizontal mid-air and planting the ball down with his right hand. It was a tough play, showing no self-preservation.
Dane Gagai – Knights v Bulldogs – Round 6
From the same game and with the Knights down 18-6, Newcastle five-eighth Brock Lamb swooped onto a messy pass and broke the Bulldogs' line with his speed. The even faster Dane Gagai quickly caught up, with Lamb passing to his centre 25 metres out from the Bulldogs' try-line. Gagai still had both Morris brothers to beat and they looked to have him covered. But Gagai showed his toughness, pushing off Brett Morris's attempted tackle and breezing past brother Josh Morris to score in the corner.
Nene Macdonald – Roosters v Dragons – Round 8
It was another Anzac Day thriller for the ages, with the Roosters and Dragons in a tight tussle at Allianz Stadium in Round 8. With the Roosters leading 12-6 and looking to close the game out with just two-and-a-half minutes remaining, they needed to repel one final Dragons' attack. Dragons winger Nene Macdonald picked up a poor pass from dummy-half and was actually going backwards when 15 metres out from the Roosters' line. He brushed off Paul Carter before heading to the try-line and breaking through a Shaun Kenny-Dowall grab, busting a Michael Gordon attempted tackle, and burrowing through Daniel Tupou and Luke Keary to score a tough individual try. Josh Dugan kicked the conversion to send the Anzac Day clash into extra time.
Konrad Hurrell – Titans v Knights – Round 9
The Titans led the Knights 26-8 in the 72nd minute at Cbus Super Stadium, and the game was all but over. However Titans' centre Konrad Hurrell had other ideas as the Knights worked the ball away from their own end. Knights halfback Jaelen Feeney was the unlucky player as Hurrell lined him up from a mile away before catching him with a beauty of a hit. Feeney could be forgiven for spilling the ball 15 metres out from his own line. From the ensuing set of six, Hurrell finished the job off when he burrowed over from dummy-half for his second try of the game. We're not sure if Konrad has anything against Jaelen Feeney, but it was again the Knights halfback who he targeted on the try-line.