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The Rock-itt : August 2010
Broncos Earlier in the season the Brisbane Broncos looked as though they were not going to make the finals for the first time in nearly 20 years. Justin Hodges was ruled out with a long term injury and they were faced with the likes of Lockyer, Thaiday, Folau missing games due to Origin Coach. Ivan Henjak did a great job to get his team through this tough period virtually unscathed and now looks to be near certainties to finish in the final 8. They recently showed a lot of character to comeback after trailing by as much as 22 to nearly snatch victory against the Roosters, and will have their credentials tested against the Dragons in round 21. Bulldogs A purple patch of form early in the month of July gave Canterbury fans aspirations of September league, the Bulldogs seem to have gone back to their old ways, sitting 13th on the ladder, last year's Preliminary finalists have a tough road ahead if they are to make the finals. Coach, Kevin Moore has already started making moves towards the 2011 season trying some new things including starting Ben Barba at five-eighth, and moving NSW centre Jamal Idris to the back-row. Raiders A 3-match winning streak rocketed the Canberra Raiders up the competition ladder this month as the team from the nation's capital demonstrated how they could win in different situations. In round 18 they showed grit and determination to upset the highly fancied Sea Eagles team at Brookvale Oval, before showing their ability to annihilate a team in round 19 with a 52-18 drubbing of the Newcastle Knights. In round 20 the Don Furner coached side showed they can deal with the unusual tag of favourites, getting the job done against the Sharks 20-13. Sharks The big story from the month of July came out of the Cronulla camp, in a move that finally brings some stability to the controversy engrossed club. Ricky Stuart who announced he would leave the club at season's end, decided to end his tenure with the Sharks prematurely, quitting the day after his former side was humbled 48- 18 by Manly in round 19. Ricky Stuart believed the players no longer had the desire to play for him, and handed the role to assistant, Shane Flanagan who was to take over at the start of 2011. Titans The Titans remain in the top 8, but have been shaky the past month. They're not playing bad, just not winning. They have gone done in some tight games against the Broncos and the Tigers, but were bolstered by an 11-10 golden point victory of competition favourites St. George Dragons in round 20. In order to assure their spot in the finals, the Coast will have to win 5 from their 6 games, which is tough considering upcoming match-ups with a resurgent Parramatta, Roosters, NZ, and Wests. Sea Eagles After threatening to slide down the competition ladder during the early stages of July, Des Hasler has seemed to stabilise his men and has them primed to make a run at the right time of the season. After a few shaky weeks that was emphasised with a loss to the Raiders in round 18, Manly have found their feet. That thrashed an uninspiring Sharks outfit before dominating fellow premiership contenders the West Tigers 38-20. Manly however can't rest on their morals, as in their final 6 games they will take on tough opposition in St. George, Melbourne, and the Roosters. Storm It has reached that time of the season where many wondered if the Storm would even bother turning up. With no Origin, and no finals to worry about, discussions were raised debating whether the Storm players would give 100%, and a 3-game losing streak added fuel to the fire. That was before Melbourne turned in a typical Storm performance to get a win over the high-flying Panthers in round 20. Melbourne's fallout from the Salary Cap has begun with Brett Finch, Jeff Lima, and Ryan Hoffman all leaving for Super League club Wigan with rumours that Brett White will go to Canberra, and Greg Inglis to replace Folau at the Broncos. Warriors Earlier in the season Ivan Cleary was a dead man walking with talks that the Warriors' coach was just days away before getting the news his services were no longer required. Well now the NZ Warriors board are being rewarded for their faith in Cleary with the Auckland based club winning 5 of their past 6 matches, and sitting in 6th position. Young playmaker, James Maloney has led the revival, his on-field leadership has worked well with the flair that is brought to the table from backs Manu Vatuvei and Kevin Locke, whose solo after the siren, try of the year candidate got them over the line against the Roosters in round 16. Knights Newcastle were rocked at the beginning of the season with 2 players let go after drug charges, Kurt Gidley being