NRL Six Again R25: Eye-gouging madness in Canberra

First tackle: Eye-gouging madness

Who could possibly know what was going through the mind of young Raiders forward Hudson Young as he helped tackle Warriors' winger Adam Pompey. Hudson's hand made clear contact with Pompey's face around the eye area as he made two distinct raking motions. There has been so much said about attacking the eyes this year with several high-profile cases, one of them involving none other than Hudson himself. The young Raider was suspended for five weeks for a similar low act in June of this year.

If it didn't occur naturally to Hudson that attacking a prone player's eyes is one of the lowest things you can do on the football field, then surely his previous experience at the judiciary would have entered his thought process. With the Raiders a true shot at challenging for the Premiership this year, Hudson may have thrown away a chance of a lifetime through his stupidity.

The contact was considered so serious that he has been sent directly to the judiciary this week. George Burgess was given nine weeks for a similar offence in July. If five weeks wasn't enough to teach Hudson a lesson, he could be in for a long holiday.

Second tackle: Razzle dazzle Warriors

We saw the Warriors at their very best late in their upset victory over the Raiders. On the last tackle, well within Raiders territory, they turned on the Harlem Globetrotters routine, passing it from one side of the field and back again for what seemed like five minutes. Almost every player handled the ball at least once before Roger Tuivasa Sheck grabbed it for a third time and sweet-stepped his way over the line for a vital try.

It's a style of play that doesn't always come off and it is impossible for any NRL coach to stake his career on having his team play that way every week. But maybe it is the best way for the Warriors. During their best years they were known to play the expansive, entertaining, high risk football. They clearly don't prosper playing safety-first, completions-based football. Somewhere between the two might be the sweet spot, but it's a balancing act no Warriors coach has managed to master.

Third tackle: A Leichhardt draw would have been fun

Paul Gallen ran onto Leichhardt Oval for what could have been his last game. A loss to the Tigers and the Sharks season and Gallen's career were over. In the other sheds, Tigers club legend Robbie Farah was left out of the starting side for what could similarly be the last game of his career. Then, almost unbelievably, Tigers fullback Corey Thompson strained a calf and Farah was brought onto the bench for the Tigers.

The crowd buzzed with anticipation, knowing that one team was playing their last game of the year - or were they? The other highly unlikely scenario was a drawn game which would have seen both clubs, both legends, move on into the finals at the expense of the Broncos. I very much doubt that a full survey of the 19, 491 fans in attendance would have found a single person upset at the prospect of the Broncos missing out.

At half-time with the Sharks leading 6-4, it seemed one more penalty goal to the Tigers would do the trick. But the Sharks weren't interested in helping Farah or the Tigers, as they went on a three-try scoring spree after the break that all but ended the game. The Broncos could breathe a sigh of relief. The Tigers could head off on Mad Monday celebrations and Sharks legend Gallen would play on for at least another game.

Fourth tackle: To'o presses go and the Knights leave

With eight minutes remaining in the first half of the clash between the Panthers and Knights, we saw an individual try which was as much a credit to a brilliant young player as it was indicative of a season lacking commitment from the Newcastle players.

Brian To'o received the ball on the back end of a fairly non-threatening passing movement. There were plenty of Knights players around as he stepped hard off his right foot and headed infield. A jink, a shimmy, another step and with six Knights players left in his wake he crossed for the Panthers' second try. The gates opened from that point on and the Panthers happily ran through for a total of nine tries.

Defence is about attitude and the Knights' attitude has been well short of acceptable for large parts of the year. It resulted in coach Nathan Brown's departure and if the players weren't embarrassed by that outcome, they certainly should have been by their efforts in Penrith on Sunday.

Fifth and last: Send him off!

After seeing the head damaging contact made by Manly prop Martin Taupau and later by Eels forward Kane Evans during their Friday night clash, it would seem that the concept of sending a player off is once again completely dead. With all the information about the long-term damage caused by concussions resulting in the introduction of concussion protocols it seems the one area the NRL is letting itself down on is the kind of swift justice that should add the ultimate deterrence. Both players were sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes, but both victims were knocked out of the game.

There seemed to be very few mitigating circumstances with either hit. Taupau came across in defence to close a gap and made heavy contact flush on the victim's jaw. Evans used his shoulder to the same devastating effect. There was a strong case for sending both of them off. There was certainly plenty of time for the bunker to review the tackles as both victims were out cold and receiving urgent medical attention.

Handover: Milford not the man for the job

There is something about the way Anthony Milford plays that suggests the Broncos will never win a premiership while he is their main attacking weapon. Milford has moments of brilliance every couple of games, but frustratingly he has way too many moments of mediocrity. In a team with young hooker Jake Turpin playing halfback and veteran fullback Darius Boyd playing five-eighth, way too much attacking responsibility lies with the inconsistent Milford.

The Broncos' last game before the finals was against an improving Bulldogs side, and they really should have stepped up and showed why they are in the finals. Instead they were disjointed, lacked direction and were largely without attacking spark as Milford drifted in and out of the game. They face a fired up Eels team at Bankwest Stadium in an elimination final this weekend. Unless Milford pulls out one of his absolute blinders, it looks like being season over for Brisbane.