‘No respect’: Cam Smith brutalised
BULLDOGS rookie Jayden Okunbor showed Cameron Smith "no respect" as he put the Melbourne captain in his place with a ferocious display in Canterbury's nailbiting two-point loss on Sunday.
The Storm won 18-16 when Rhyse Martin sprayed a conversation attempt wide after the siren and while the defeat will be tough to swallow, getting within two points of Melbourne will give heart to Canterbury fans.
The Dogs were thumped by the Warriors and Eels in the first two rounds but bounced back to beat the Tigers before yesterday's heartbreak in the Victorian capital.
Bulldozing winger Okunbor showed he's made of the right stuff to make a dent in the NRL in just his second first grade game. Coach Dean Pay handed the 22-year-old his debut last weekend as he made a raft of changes to his underperforming team and after a solid showing against the Tigers Okunbor ran for more than 200m against the Storm.
Twice Okunbor overpowered Queensland and Kangaroos legend Smith, who was powerless to stop the raging outside back from busting through the defensive line.
"He ran straight at Cam Smith and went straight over the top of him again," Channel 9 commentator Phil Gould said.
"There's no respect."
After brushing Smith aside for the second time, Okunbor tried the same approach as he bore down on fullback Jahrome Hughes. The towering winger didn't deviate at all as he tried to literally run over the top of Hughes, but the custodian did what Smith couldn't and chopped him down around the legs.
Okunbor finished the game with 265 running metres and six tackle breaks to his name.
DRAGONS STAR PLAYED WITH SUSPECTED BROKEN ARM
St George Illawarra will nervously wait for scans on forward Korbin Sims after he played through a suspected broken arm in the Dragons' win over Newcastle.
Sims appeared to have suffered the injury on a routine carry not long after coming on midway through the first half at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday. The 27-year-old bravely played through the pain for the rest of the first half before club doctors ruled him out of action at halftime.
The injury comes in just his second game for the club after completing a two-game suspension incurred while playing for Brisbane last year.
"We're not having too much luck there. It looks like he's broken his arm," Dragons coach Paul McGregor said of Sims' injury.
McGregor admitted doctors were initially unaware of the severity of the injury despite Sims clearly relying on his right arm to attempt tackles. He also turned the ball over on a simple carry.
"Certainly Korbin was displaying to the medical staff that he'd like to stay there and try and work through it," McGregor said.
"Then at halftime the doctor had a look at it, and then the choice was made that he's not to return to the field.
"We still don't know if it's broken by the way. It could be a bad cork, but he's broke one in the past so he had that strapped obviously before the game."
Sims isn't the only injury concern for the Dragons, with second-rower Jacob Host also failing to finish the match after aggravating an ankle issue. He came off with about half an hour to go and didn't return.
Losing either or both players for any length of time will be a gut punch for a side already missing star Jack de Belin due to the NRL's no-fault stand-down policy.
"He rolled it leading into round one, didn't do much training that week, and it's a recurrence of that," McGregor said of Host's injury.
"I'm not a doctor or a physio but he came off because he couldn't continue. We'll just have to look at that during the week."
TOMMY TURBO COOLS HIS JETS
Manly has vowed to overcome the absence of Tom Trbojevic as it faces a lengthy stint without the superstar fullback.
Sea Eagles staff were plotting Trbojevic's return on Monday morning after he had scans on an injured hamstring on Sunday, with initial reports suggesting he could miss up to two months.
However, it could be expected that the club will take a cautious approach with Trbojevic, given he spent four weeks recovering from another left hamstring injury suffered in February.
"Losing a player like Tom, he is an Origin and Australian player and a big part of the team. But we can't sit around with our heads down for too long, we have to move on," forward Addin Fonua Blake said.
"We have good depth.
"Brendan Elliot might slot into fullback and he is a really good footy player. He does his job and we will put all our faith in him.
"Tom is that type of guy, he doesn't let anything get him down too much.
"We all offered out support but Tom he is a positive person ... When he does his rehab he kills it."
Any extended lay-off would leave the 22-year-old Trbojevic little time before the June 5 State of Origin opener in Brisbane, although NSW coach Brad Fittler has already indicated he could come in off the back of limited game time.
Manly received good news on Monday as Corey Waddell passed a head injury assessment test with the forward on track to face Newcastle on Saturday, after he suffered a concussion in last weekend's win over South Sydney.