Our junior halfbacks need to be protected by playing in weight divisions or learn their skills in touch football, writes Andrew Johns

Our junior halfbacks need to be protected by playing in weight divisions or learn their skills in touch football, writes Andrew Johns

I love his athleticism, his strength, his speed, his skill and timing through the air, but what I admire most is his toughness for someone so young. You watch him on those play-two carries and the way he brings those balls back. He pokes his nose through the line almost every time.

He could play anywhere in the backline except for halfback. He’s already a world-class winger, he’ll be a world-class center and the position he probably wants to play is fullback. How they fit James Tedesco, Joseph Manu and Sualii all probably wanting to play that No.1 position will be a test for the Roosters.

Joseph Sualaii has been a revelation for the Roosters.Credit:Getty

It’s a must-win game for them against the Broncos on Thursday night. I think the top seven is pretty much sorted and the Roosters and Raiders are fighting it out for eighth position.

They had a really solid win last week against Manly, but I thought their attack looked rushed and frantic.

There’s a lot of pressure on Jared Waerea-Hargreaves with their front-row depth tested. There’s no Siosiua Taukeiaho, the concussions are a concern for Lindsay Collins and Egan Butcher is suspended.

But Patrick Carrigan is a massive loss for the Broncos. He does all the cleaning up around the middle of the field you don’t see. He’s going to be missed so much.

I’ve been impressed with the Broncos this year, and speaking to people at the club they’ve got even more great young talent waiting in the wings. I’m most happy for Kevin Walters, though. He was under a lot of pressure, and it’s great to see him smiling again. I don’t think they can win the title this year, but they’re a big show in the next few years.

This should be a belter, but I think the speed of Tedesco, Connor Watson and Sam Verrills around the ruck might get the Roosters home.

Joey’s tip: Roosters by 2
First try-score: Joseph Sualii
Man of the match: James Tedesco

Lack of ban for Asofa-Solomona still mind-boggling

I need to apologise. Not for the first time I got my words mixed up once again on The Footy Show. I said Nelson Asofa-Solomona should have been suspended for four months, but what I meant to say was four weeks. It was an honest mistake.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona escaped charge from the match review committee.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona escaped charge from the match review committee.Credit:Getty

But I won’t apologise for not understanding how he wasn’t suspended. The NRL has come out and said the evidence wasn’t clear. Wayde Egan walking off the field looking like he’d broken his jaw and losing a couple of teeth, is there enough evidence there? It was a cheap shot and the only intent he had was to hurt Egan.

When you have a look at the technique, Nelson actually throws his legs off the ground which means he gets maximum force and weight through his elbow into Egan’s head. I just think they got it horribly wrong. That was really close to a send-off and without doubt four weeks.

I back the players all the time, but that should have been punished.

What I will say is the match review committee got it right on the money with Nathan Cleary’s five-week ban. It was an accident, but we can’t have players put in a position like that.


The silver lining is he’s going to be fresh and fit for Penrith. The hurt and embarrassment will burn in his stomach and he will come back with a steely edge. It makes Penrith even harder to beat. If they’re fully fit, no one will get near them.

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