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Big League Weekly Edition

Big League Weekly Edition 2018 - Round 08

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.
hulk slams cowboy critics

NORTH Queensland enforcer Jason Taumalolo wants everyone to stop talking about his form. The 2016 Dally M Medallist understands the extra expectations that come with being one of the game’s elite players, but has had enough of the criticism. Taumalolo’s stats so far aren’t as impressive as recent seasons, but out of all the forwards in the competition, he’s still ranked third for metres gained, second for post-contact metres and first for tackle-breaks. “There’s been a lot of pressure put on me with the numbers that apparently decide how I’m going at the moment, but I think I’m going all right,” Taumalolo told Big League. “Obviously everyone has their own opinions on how I’m going. Everyone is going to be critical, especially after the past few years that I’ve had.” Although he’s content with…

1 min.
kicking off

IT warmed my cold country heart to see Scully Park in Tamworth sell out for last week’s Wests Tigers v Newcastle clash. More than 10,000 people crammed into the stadium, which presented beautifully on television and I’m sure it was even better for those who attended. I’m a huge advocate for taking NRL games to the bush because I know first-hand how much of an impact it has on these regions. Growing up in Orange and then in Wagga, I don’t think I attended an NRL game in until I was at least 13, and it was a few years after that before I got to go to another one – and I was lucky! So many fans don’t have the opportunity or means to travel hours to attend a…

2 min.
holmes happy to accept new role

CRONULLA’S Valentine Holmes has conceded he doesn’t expect to play fullback again in 2018. He started the season wearing the No.1 jersey, but has been switched to the wing with coach Shane Flanagan opting to play either Matt Moylan or Josh Dugan at the back. Holmes admitted he would’ve liked the opportunity to spend the season at fullback, but is now content on the wing. “I understand I’m not going to be fullback anymore,” Holmes told Big League. “I’m not disappointed, I’m over that now. I understand we’ve got to play the best team possible because we need to get everyone in there. As long as I’m playing week-in, week-out, I’m happy with that.” Although Moylan excelled when he featured at fullback, Holmes believes Dugan is the right man to don the No.1 jersey. “By…

2 min.
pearce pec won’t worry knights

KNIGHTS back-rower Aidan Guerra said his side hasn’t given up on finals footy after scans confirmed team-mate Mitchell Pearce had suffered a ruptured pectoral muscle in the Round 7 win over the Wests Tigers. The prized recruit has helped Newcastle to a 4-3 start to the season, combining with wunderkind Kalyn Ponga to breathe new life into the club after three-straight wooden spoons, but is now facing the longest injury lay-off of his career. While Pearce’s hopes of retaining his Blues jersey are over, Guerra believes the Knights can still be a force in 2018 without their co-captain. “It looks like we’re going to be missing him for three to four months which isn’t ideal, but we’ll be confident enough with whoever comes in at half to be in games and get ourselves…

1 min.
eastwood weighing up his options

BULLDOGS utility forward Greg Eastwood is considering his options for the future should the club not re-sign him, despite calling Belmore home for the past seven seasons. Although he spent the 2010 season in the Super League, the father of five has ruled out the option of returning to England, saying it’s not as easy to up and leave now that he has a much bigger family. The 31-year old’s first preference is to stay at the Bulldogs. However, if that doesn’t eventuate, he would be open to other Sydney clubs – but he’s also fond of the idea of heading back to Queensland, where his NRL career started. “Staying at [the Bulldogs], that’s first and foremost for me. If that doesn’t happen, somewhere in Sydney or even back to Brisbane or Gold…

2 min.
women’s game gets own origin story

WHAT’S in a name? For some it’s nothing, but for others it means the world. For years, New South Welshwomen and Queenslanders duked it out for Interstate Challenge glory, but in 2018, the fierce rivalry will fall under the State of Origin banner in a massive boost for the women’s game. After NSW ended Queensland’s seemingly endless reign in 2016, the Blues made it back-to-back wins last year with a 22-6 victory in Wollongong lead by captain Ruan Sims(pictured)– and they’ll be out to start their own dynasty at North Sydney Oval on June 22. “I feel like in previous years there hasn’t been as much as an emphasis on it for us girls, especially considering it was called the Interstate Challenge rather than State of Origin,” NSW back-rower Talesha Quinn told Big…