Frizell’s Origin hopes take hit as Sharks star emerges
BRONSON Xerri will never forget this one. But Tyson Frizell? Expect things to be far more blurry for the St George Illawarra enforcer following a head knock in his side's 22-9 loss to rivals Cronulla.
Indeed, on an afternoon when Sharks winger Xerri confirmed himself undeniably as part of Generation Next - bagging three tries to get his side home in the local derby - Frizell was knocked cold and will now undergo further concussion testing before being cleared for the NSW Origin side.
While the Sharkies got up thanks largely to rookie stars Xerri and Kyle Flanagan, and an outstanding return from injury of fullback Matt Moylan, the immediate story is undoubtedly Frizell after the Blues backrower was knocked out after a head clash with Sharks centre Josh Dugan.
Among the game's toughest players - and already wearing a UFC-style cup to protect a testicle injury - St George Illawarra skipper Frizell was forced off the field late in the first half.
The Blues enforcer lay sprawled out on the ground for several minutes, and initially looked set to be stretchered from the field, after being knocked cold when colliding with Dugan while carrying the Steeden.
Eventually, however, the 27-year-old walked off and up the tunnel, while Dugan left the field with a Gatorade towel pressed tight against his forehead.
Neither man was allowed to return however, after failing their HIA assessments.
Already, NSW coach Brad Fittler is without Roosters No.6 Luke Keary, who was heavily concussed in his side's shock Friday Night Football loss against the Newcastle Knights.
THREE FOR XERRI
While Xerri walked out of WIN Stadium with a hattrick, the young flyer had plenty to thank for it.
Take his first, with only seven minutes gone fullback Moylan, who has missed the past seven weeks, announced his return in outstanding fashion.
Being passed a ball by halfback Chad Townsend, Moylan moved outside Dragons centre Tim Lafai while the Steeden was floating through the air to eventually set up a try for Xerri.
Then in the second half, it was Sharkies five-eighth Kyle Flanagan who kicked bravely on the third tackle, and from inside his own half, for what would eventually be Xerri's second.
And just on Flanagan, the kid was outstanding.
Undoubtedly set to provide some headaches for coach John Morris when Warriors recruit Shaun Johnson returns from injury.
And as for Xerri's third?
That was a sweeping play where Moylan threw the last pass for Xerri's third.
How long until Dragons coach Paul McGregor is forced to dust off the boots?
Already missing a host of big names including Corey Norman, Gareth Widdop and Jack de Belin, the club's horror run of luck continued through the first half of the WIN Stadium clash - losing Frizell (concussion), centre Tim Lafai (ankle) and prop James Graham.
Already on a run of four straight losses, the Dragons were forced to play the entire second half with just one player on the bench.
WHAT THE FEKI
Cronulla winger Sosaia Feki came up with one of the most bizarre, and costly, errors of the season - blowing an almost certain try after taking the Steeden on a backline shift while standing on the sideline. With Cronulla moving the ball quickly left, fullback Matt Moylan passed on to Feki who had only a couple of metres to travel and nobody in front of him.
However, when he took Moylan's pass, the Shire pick 'n' swinger inexplicably had both feet over the sideline.
ONE FOR HUNT
It may have taken 10 years, but Dragons halfback Ben Hunt finally has his field goal.
While it had no bearing in the result, and came 12 seconds out from the break, Hunt booted his first one-pointer in 223 NRL games, six tests for Australia and four Origin appearances for Queensland.