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The Rock-itt : July 2010
Broncos Throughout their 22 seasons in the NRL, Brisbane have notoriously struggled through the origin months due to players being inactive through state commitments or player fatigue, but it seems that coach Ivan Henjak has found a way to combat that with the Broncos in quite the purple patch. The team based at Red Hill have won 5 of their past 6 and have climbed their way into the top 8. With names like Lockyer, Thaiday, and Folau soon to resume full playing commitments, Brisbane look to be heading for a successful final stretch. Bulldogs The most disappointing team of 2010, the Bulldogs are looking almost like no hope of September footy despite last year coming within 80 minutes of the big dance. But Canterbury- Bankstown fans shouldn't despair. With the club not vying for a finals birth they have let young gun, Ben Barba develop his skills with increased minutes, as well as signing young prospects, Trent Hodkinson from Manly, and Aiden Tolman from the Storm. The future looks bright for the Bulldogs. Raiders The Raiders finals hopes, much like the Bulldogs, are dwindling and they only have themselves to blame. On their day the Raiders are capable of knocking off the competition's elite but their inconsistency is crippling any chance of making the finals for the first time since 2007. A shining light for the Nation's Capital based side this year is David Shillington. Since his selection in last year's 4-Nations tour, the former Rooster has been the form front rower and an automatic inclusion to Australian and Queensland teams Sharks Sharks fans have dealt with a lot of heartache the past 18 months, but as the dust settles from Ricky Stuart's bombshell that he will leave the club at the end of the season, Sharks have settled the embattled club who are now playing an exciting brand of footy. No player from the Shire has stood out as much as Nathan Gardner. A complete unknown just 6 weeks ago since making his debut, Gardner has impressed as fullback and against the Roosters produced a try of the year contender with a solo 100m effort. Titans The youngest team in the competition remains in the top half of the ladder, but has looked like pretenders rather than contenders in past weeks. The Titans renowned for their fitness, have allowed a truckload of points against them in their games but still seem to be hanging in there by the skin of their teeth. An injury to captain and key playmaker, Scott Prince won't make things any easier for the Titans who look to the halfback to set up a majority of their points. Sea Eagles The Sea Eagles had an up and down month, and injuries to co-captain Jamie Lyon, and enforcer Anthony Watmough, as well as suspension to Kiwi representative, Steve Matai were major contributors to that. Manly suffered back to back losses against Brisbane and the Gold Coast before bouncing back to take the 2 points against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a cliffhanger at 'Fortress Brookie'. A sour note to come from the Rabbitohs game was Lyon injuring himself further, meaning that Manly will have to look to young halves, Foran and Hodkinson for an attacking spark until 'Killer' makes his return. Storm With origin 2010 nearing completion, the Storm are beginning to do what many predicted would happen after the 3-game series and that is lose interest. It has become more noticeable as each week progresses that at the latter end of a tight game, Melbourne don't seem to be as willing and players won't put their bodies on the line as you would expect from a team who is eligible to register competition points. The biggest talking point south of NSW's border is the future of their stars Inglis, Smith, Slater and Cronk who are all rumoured to be receiving lucrative offers from Rugby, AFL, and other NRL clubs. Warriors The Auckland based club were recently told by doctors that Steve Price has played his last game for the club and the code. The veteran frontrower has succumbed to an Achilles complaint and requires a third surgery, thus ending his season. Price played 313 first grade games (222 Bulldogs, 91 Warriors), represented Queensland on 28 occasions, lined up for Australia 16 times and played 1 match for the All Golds. Brent Tate has also played his last match for the Warriors. The injury prone centre that is currently sidelined with a broken jaw will link up with the Cowboys next year. Knights The Knights looked done and dusted a fortnight ago, but an ugly last minute win over Parramatta and an impressive