Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Storm Loses Vital Edge

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Storm Loses Vital Edge

Article excerpt

WHEN the NRL stripped the Storm of their accrued points in April and advised the club it would continue in the 2010 premiership merely to make up the numbers, alarm bells rang loudly.

Opinion was divided on how this mighty, illegal team would perform without a purpose.

Some suggested they would play like the Harlem Globetrotters, without a care in the world. Others thought they would eventually lay down their arms.

Despite the Storm losing six of its past eight, I have had no issue with it not "having a dig". Three of their big four Co Smith, Slater and Cronk Co have seemed as competitive as in any normal season.

However, incidents in two matches last weekend typified the disparity between the current Storm and the Melbourne teams that dominated the NRL for the past seven seasons.

In the Melbourne-Manly match, giant Sea Eagles winger Tony Williams bumped off Billy Slater with ease Co an extremely rare occurrence. Conversely, when tiny Titans fullback Preston Campbell was confronted by a runaway Fui Fui Moi Moi in the Gold Coast-Eels clash, he displayed all the courage for which he is renowned and grounded the big prop.

Campbell's team is finals bound, Slater's is not.

I have tipped the Storm to beat the Rabbitohs on Sunday, but with little confidence. And the sad fact is that a team playing for nothing can decide the fate of a team with a finals berth on the line.

Sam not even a tough guy

TWO years ago, Sam Thaiday won the Paul Morgan Medal as Broncos Player of the Year. In a stellar season, he was also named best forward and player's player.

But Thaiday has played even better than that in 2010. Along with Nate Myles and Sam Burgess, he has been the standout forward in the NRL and will no doubt figure in the prestigious Dally M awards at season's end.

One aspect of Thaiday's current play, however, is a concern Co his predilection for being the third man into an on-field fracas.

He has become involved in a number of ugly incidents, the latest last Saturday in Townsville.

What surprises me is that this is out of character for big Sam. He is not a thug Co not even a tough guy. …

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