Talking Points, Round 12, Alex Johnston, Rabbitohs, James Tedesco, Roosters, Cameron Munster, Storm

Roosters skipper James Tedesco proved why he is the most consistent fullback in the game. Meanwhile, Souths flyer Alex Johnston is on track for one of the game’s unbreakable marks after passing Nathan Merrit as Souths’ all-time leading try-scorer.

Read on for all of the big talking points out of Indigenous Round.

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Tigers to launch review of Maguire 00:32


Cameron Munster was simply outstanding against the Sea Eagles.

The Storm five-eighth struggled in recent weeks as Craig Bellamy’s side lost two in a row in uncharacteristic scenes against the Panthers and Cowboys.

Pressure was on Munster to deliver, and he did in spades.

The elite playmaker recorded 103 running meters, two tries, a try assist, a linebreak and a linebreak assist in his 80-minute masterclass.

At times Munster looked untouchable, dancing around the defensive line to put runners through holes and slice through himself.

“Everything that has been good for Melbourne tonight has happened around their No.6. He’s having a great night Cameron Munster, ”Michael Ennis said on Fox League.

“The big moments, he loves them, Cameron Munster. Origin is around the corner, he’s been in stellar form this year. It’s been a couple of quiet weeks but we always knew he’d bounce back.

“The No.6 is running riot, absolutely running riot.”

“He’s done it again, he’s done it again, call the police. Munster back-to-back theft of football, ”Andrew Voss said on Fox League.

“It’s like he owns the Steeden and nobody else is allowed to have it.

“I’ve got nothing to do with the Dally M but it’s an easy three points tonight. Cam Munster might get the three, two and the one, to be honest. ”

Munster’s performance came right on queue, with questions beginning to be raised about the Storm without Ryan Papenhuyzen and Jahrome Hughes.

Hughes returned on Thursday and coach Craig Bellamy believes he probably helped the “tremendous” Munster to play his natural game.

“We probably just got a little bit away from what he’s good at and he went straight back to that tonight,” Bellamy said after Melbourne’s 28-8 win.

“I thought he was tremendous actually, I thought if he wasn’t our best player he was up there. When he plays well we usually follow.

“Cameron’s the ultimate competitor so when it wasn’t going that well for him he probably tries too hard.

“But as I said I thought he was tremendous tonight, it was a good performance by him and obviously having Jahrome back helped.”

MAGIC Munster mashes Manly! | 00:59


Anthony Milford has had an immediate impact on the Knights with the veteran playmaker leading the way in his first two games.

After more than six months out of the game, Milford returned to the field last week and finished with 78 running meters, a linebreak assist and five tackle busts against the Broncos.

He took his kicking game up a notch in Newcastle’s 24-16 win over the Warriors on Saturday with a try assist, two tackle busts and 58 running meters.

Fox League expert Corey Parker believes the 27-year-old is looking more comfortable each week in his new colors.

“We see Anthony Milford in his second game in Knights colors and he’s been pretty good,” he said.

“He’s been out of the game for a long period of time and last week he really injected himself at different stages.

“This afternoon he’s done something very similar but he’s had a couple of really nice kicks – one for the try for Tuala and one to get a repeat set and off the back of that they got a try.

“So Anthony Milford is starting to really find his feet in the NRL and particularly in this Knights team.”

Knights skipper Kalyn Ponga was full of praise for Milford following the win.

“He was in everything. His talk and his experience for this team is massive, ”he said.

“It’s good to see him playing good footy, I think he was pretty solid for us last week – had a few touches that he’d probably like to take back – but this week he was pretty special with the ball.

“For me it’s just about learning off him and building that combination and just enjoying footy with him.”

Coach Adam O’Brien revealed that Ponga had missed training all week due to an illness but Milford’s 194 games worth of experienced meant he knew how to keep pushing on with a key spine member.

“They didn’t train together this week but the class of Milf going ‘that’s OK, I don’t need him there we can communicate’,” O’Brien said.

“When we did allow him back into the club later in the week they just formulated how they wanted to play and that will only get better the more time they spend together.

“That to me is a good sign that they weren’t together physically on the training field but still went out and had some really nice moments. Anthony’s shown his class. ”

Newcastle Knights press conference 08:44


Alex Johnston became South Sydney’s all-time leading try-scorer in a comeback win over the Tigers that could have been a turning point for the Rabbitohs season.

Granted the Tigers were poor in the second half but they started strongly and the way Souths stormed home can give them momentum entering the Origin period in the top eight.

“It means a lot to me, there’s no club I’d rather play for,” Johnston said of his record of 147 tries for Souths.

“I love this club and to break this record is something I could never dream of.

“I have so many people to thank. Teammates and family and coaches. Everyone that got me here. ”

Now Ken Irvine’s record of 212 tries is just 65 tries away and at 27, Johnston has a real chance to break it if he can stay healthy over the course of the remainder of his career.

Johnston got the spoils, but it was a team effort from Souths and Cooper Cronk believes Jason Demetriou needs to get his team playing like they did in the second half for a full 80 minutes.

“Whatever Jason said at halftime he should record it because there was a reaction from some of the best players in South Sydney,” Cronk said.

“Cody Walker was great. Campbell Graham set up multiple tries down that left edge.

“At 18-12 at halftime you were thinking the Tigers were right in this contest and it was just an avalanche of good ball for South Sydney.

“When South Sydney are great they are so in sync and they just combine really well. They attacked so well in that second half. ”

Benji Marshall believes Souths have shown what they can do when they complete and hold the footy and they just have to do it more often for longer periods.

“It has been the story of their seasons completion rates,” Marshall said.

“They talk about it every second week not being good enough. They were at 88 per cent and when they have that much ball and control possession and territory they are a hard team to stop.

“Alex Johnston’s hat-trick of trying he was outstanding tonight. Cody Walker showed some flair, I thought he was really good.

“But it was their forward pack for me. Mark Nicholls came back and was really outstanding. Tom Burgess that was probably the best game he played all season. ”

Cronk believes Souths now have the blueprint to be successful in the second half of the year.

“When you score that many points in the second half of everything works,” Cronk said.

“Their middle forwards were great. Cameron Murray’s ability to promote that ball but then know when to run allowed Damien Cook to have one of his better games.

“And Benji Marshall wanted Cody Walker to smile, well he was smiling to finish that win off.”

Records tumble as AJ runs riot | 01:09


No one can take away what Tom Trbojevic did last year, but James Tedesco is still the most consistent fullback in the game.

Tedesco was at his brilliant best in a 36-16 win over the Sharks with 205 meters, seven tackle busts, three offloads, two linebreaks, three linebreak assists, two try assists and a try to lead his side to a convincing victory.

Cooper Cronk, who played plenty of football with Tedesco in two premiership winning teams and coaches him now at the Roosters, lifted the lid on what makes him so special.

“I think there is a couple of parts to it, his fitness levels are up there with the best because for someone to be everywhere at once it is hard to do unless you are physically prepared, so that’s the number one thing that Tedesco brings to it, ”Cronk said of Tedesco.

“And when he first came into football he always had that ability to do something pretty special.

“But the other part to it in the last two years is the captaincy. And some people like Kalyn Ponga you can see is really juggling those moments. Can I be the captain and still be the gun player?

“Tedesco has now got that in the palm of his hand. He does it all. Leadership, best player, big moments and he does it without even breaking a sweat.

“He has been doing it for a long period of time and he will continue to do it.”

Cronk has no doubt Tedesco will be playing for the Blues for as long as he is playing in the NRL.

“Obviously the captain is a lock,” Cronk said of Tedesco’s Origin chances.

“He can have the jersey for the next 20 years if he wants to play the way he performed tonight.”

Former Roosters assistant and Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon believes Tedesco was the difference between the two teams.

“We just didn’t get it right, and every time we didn’t he did,” Fitzgibbon said of Tedesco.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson was effusive in his praise for Tedesco on the eve of the Origin series.

“These guys work so hard, for guys that are about to go into Origin and stay focused and stay in their lane,” Robinson said.

“I get to see it a lot with him, the incredible way he is able to stay in the moment and say what is my task.

“There wasn’t any backing off because he has a big six-week period, I was very impressed.”

Cronk tips Crichton for Blues spot | 01:58


Dylan Brown took his game to even greater heights to lead the Eels to a 28-20 comeback win over the Raiders in one of the Indigenous round games.

Brown finished with a whopping 153 meters, six tackle busts, three linebreaks and two tries in a superb display of running rugby league from the five-eighth.

Gorden Tallis believes the Eels are a much better team with Brown back in his preferred five-eighth role and he compliments Mitchell Moses perfectly.

“Now that they have moved him back to five-eighth, Parramatta are a much better side,” Tallis said on Sunday Night with Matty Johns.

“He is a natural ball runner and combined with Mitchell Moses’ kicking game, he is such a threat right on the edge, especially when you get tired.

“He has that footwork and great strength and they probably don’t win without him today.”

Matty Johns believes Brown is so talented he could handle a number of positions, but wherever he plays he needs to keep playing to his strengths and run the ball.

“He’s such a handful through the middle,” Johns said.

“You could play him at No.13. You could play him at No.1. He is a very, very good footballer.

“It sounds simple but with its game and its size and power and acceleration as we saw with the last try. He has just got to run the football. ”

Broncos legend Steve Renouf agreed that Brown needs to keep it simple and challenge the line.

“When he does run the footy he is a better footy player,” Renouf said.

“That’s an old saying but it is exactly Dylan Brown’s game. Watching what he does is a line-breaker and he can also set tries up, so he has a massive effect. ”

Eels legend Nathan Hindmarsh believes Brown is starting to realize how good he can be and the impact he can have on the team winning footy games.

“He has the confidence now,” Hindmarsh said.

“He has developed the confidence. He had a bit of a rough trot with injury and a bit of a bad back injury a couple of years back.

“He wasn’t understanding his role within the side, but now he sees himself as one of the main guys in the side now.”

Eels coach Brad Arthur paid tribute to Brown’s toughness post match, ”Arthur said.

“That’s Dyl. He’s a competitor – he competes, fights and scraps for everything.

“He’s a tough kid, his strength is his running game and when our team provides momentum he can carry off the back of it.”

Simonsson stunner sinks former club! | 00:36

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