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The Rock-itt : May 2010
Brisbane Broncos After years of dominance the Broncos, in their 22nd season of the NRL are finally going through a rebuilding stage. Their record isn't great and they sit in the bottom half of the competition ladder, this may be contributed by the absence of players such as Israel Folau, Corey Parker, and Peter Wallace, but the boys from Red Hill are certainly not at the same level which saw them make last year's final 4. Darren Lockyer announced he would play rep football in 2010, a decision that is set to test the 'Baby Broncos' depth even more. Bulldogs After a shaky start to the season, Canterbury Bankstown look like they are starting to hit their straps. After a huge 60-14 win against the Roosters, before suffering yet 2 more defeats, which saw the team tipped to hoist the premiership trophy in September, sink to a poor 1-4 record. But 2 straight victories have rocketted them up the table and are now on level with most other clubs in the premiership. In the coming weeks the Bulldogs may have to be without Ben Roberts and Josh Morris who both may have suffered serious injuries. Raiders It has been a mixed month for the side hailing from the nation's capital. They blew a big lead at home gifting the West Tigers 2 competition points that the Green Machine could have really used, but replied with an uncharacteristic away win against last year's Grand Finalists, the Parramatta Eels. Many people rate Canberra, as a team of the future but with players such as Josh Dugan, Terry Campese, and Daniel Vidot, there's no reason why, if these players start firing, can't make a run for the finals in 2010. Sharks It's been very well documented that the Sharks are a struggling club on and off the field, but the die-hard fans that have stuck solid with the embattled club finally got something to cheer about in round 4 as they grabbed their first victory in 15 starts against the Eels with an 11-0 win. Things haven't been so good since then, being easily disposed of by Manly and Brisbane, but one thing the Sharks have shown is that they are resilient, and I highly doubt Shire fans will have to wait that long for another win. Titans Since their inception back in 2007 the Titans Achilles heel has always been the depth. They went out and signed William Zillman and Greg Bird in the past few seasons attempting to repel this problem, and now they have to put it to the test. With playmakers, Scott Price and Mat Roger unavailable, the Gold Coast side will find it tough to maintain their spot in the 8 with some tough match-ups coming up, none more than their battle with the Manly Sea Eagles in round 7 at Brookvale Oval. Sea Eagles Is there a hotter side in the NRL than the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles? After a disappointing start to 2010, Manly have done a complete 180 and are now looked at as major contenders. New halves combination, Kieran Foran and Trent Hodkinson look like they have been playing together for years as they expertly command their side around. Steve Matai is another player who has been on fire and another impressive showing in the Sea Eagles gutsy 18-16 victory over the Melbourne Storm almost assured that Matai will run-out for the NZ Kiwis in the upcoming test match against Australia. Storm Thursday 22 April will forever go down as one of the darkest days in Rugby League. In the biggest controversy since Super League, It was found that the Melbourne Storm had been cheating the salary cap for a number of years. Their punishment was just as shocking as the crime. Stripped of 2 premierships, 3 minor premierships, fined $500000, forced to repay 1.1 million dollars of prize money and learning that during the 2010 season they will play for nothing. The upsetting thing about the controversy is that it hasn't even been investigated yet. What secrets will be revealed in the coming weeks? And will the Melbourne Storm survive? Warriors Like always the Auckland based club has been hot and cold. One week the grind out a hard fought away victory against the Bulldogs, the next they get blown away at home against the Panthers. A shining light of the Warriors has been half James Maloney who has come to the club via the Melbourne Storm; he is possibly Stacey Jones replacement that NZ have been searching for the past few seasons. Knights The Knights have been struggling this year but have been bolstered with the inception of captain Kurt Gidley who is as important to Newcastle now as Andrew Johns was during his career, as the Novocastrians just don't win without him. Jarred Mullen is playing solid football as he pushes for an origin birth but needs more support from his back-row of Cameron Ciraldo, Corey Patterson, and Steve Simpson if the Knights are going to fire this season.