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Big League Weekly Edition 2018 - Round 04

Your weekly guide to the NRL season, including the entire Final Series, the souvenir Grand Final program and our bumper Season Review. Every week Big League will feature stories on the big names, preview the big games and continue our popular Little League section for the young rugby league fans. With official team-lists, extensive statistics and up-to-date news, Big League provides everything you need to follow the NRL.

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in this issue

2 min
defensive focus at all costs for tigers

KEVIN Naiqama has declared the Wests Tigers will continue to play ‘boring’ football this season in order to remain competitive. Coach Ivan Cleary has put an emphasis on playing defensive football this season, and it’s been evident in their first three performances. Starting the new campaign with a 2-1 record, the Tigers have conceded just two tries – but have only scored three themselves. Naiqama admitted their new style of play might not be as entertaining for the fans, but that isn’t bothering the team at all. “We’d prefer to play boring football and get the two points than play exciting football and lose,” Naiqamatold Big League. “At the end of the day, no one remembers how the game goes – it’s the wins that count and it’s the wins that get you playing…

1 min
kicking off

GREG Inglis is one of the biggest names in our game and there is no other player like him. He can do things we’ve never witnessed on a football field – he brought us the deadly fend that can make even the most solid defence seem inconsequential. He revived the romance of the post-try celebration by giving us ‘The Goanna’ and across 245 NRL games he’s scored 139 magnificent times. While it’s easy to think it’s all been a wonderful experience, perhaps the best thing he has done for the game is admit he isn’t untouchable. He endures the ups and downs of the human condition, like you and me. Last year was difficult for Inglis on a personal level, but in speaking about his struggle with mental health, he’s…

2 min
repaying the faith driving success

THE Warriors have opened a season 3-0 for the first time in their history, culminating in a back-from-the-dead away victory over Canberra. But the club’s long-awaited resurgence faces a strenuous litmus test in coming weeks, facing Sydney Roosters, North Queensland, Brisbane, St George Illawarra and Melbourne in the space of 25 days. Former Warriors and Kiwis coach Frank Endacott is backing the team to continue their unprecedented roll. “It’s going to be a big test, but they’re good enough to match them all,” Endacott tells Big League. “I don’t think they fear anyone. They’re going in with a winning shot in every game they play. Hopefully we’re in for a good year for Warriors fans, who have suffered for a long time.” Endacott, who remains a passionate Warriors supporter, is buzzing after the club’s watershed…

1 min
painful defeats continue worrying trend

CANBERRA’S inability to put close games to bed has reached epidemic proportions in 2018. A return of two wins from 10 games decided by six points or less scuppered the Raiders’ finals hopes last season and already threatens to do the same this year, following back-to-back 30-28 losses to Gold Coast and Newcastle with a shattering 20-19 defeat to the Warriors in the first three rounds. The Raiders led all three matches in the 74th minute or later. It continues a frustrating trend for the Raiders, who have won nine of 36 games with a margin of six points or less since Ricky Stuart took over as coach - a success rate of 25 per cent. The only club with a comparably poor record during that period is three-time wooden spooners Newcastle, winning only…

2 min
first-up wins to pump up rivalry

IT’S developed into one of the biggest games in the rugby league calendar, and this week’s Good Friday clash between the Rabbitohs and Bulldogs looks set to be a classic after the traditional rivals notched impressive last-start wins. The annual clash has produced some thrilling finishes in recent years, with the form book often going out the window in front of huge crowds at ANZ Stadium. With the Olympic Park precinct to be packed with Easter Show revellers and footy fans, another bumper crowd is expected – and Bulldogs centre Josh Morris knows the importance of making a statement on the big stage. “It’s certainly one of the biggest games of the year for us and it’s one that we look forward to. There’s plenty of history between us and the Good Friday…

1 min
teddy ready for flying warriors

BEFORE a ball had been kicked this season, the prospect of facing the Warriors wouldn’t have been a daunting task for the Roosters. The New Zealand side finished 2017 on a nine-game losing streak, but now find themselves as one of two undefeated teams after three weeks of competition. New Roosters fullback James Tedesco said his side will be on high alert when they take on the unbeaten side on Saturday night. “It’s a strange competition. Teams are on one week and then off the next, so you never know what to expect, but we’re preparing for a tough match because the Warriors have been really good so far,” Tedesco told Big League. The New South Wales fullback will face off against Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who has been in sublime form so far this…