• Owen Craigie gives a reviews the past week in rugby (NITV)Source: NITV
There's no room in the NRL for players throwing punching and it needs to be dealt with much more severely, says premiership-winning player and Over the Black Dot co-host Owen Craigie.
By
Owen Craigie

22 May 2018 - 3:00 PM  UPDATED 22 May 2018 - 3:05 PM

I like aggression in rugby league but not the biff we saw on the weekend.

Fighting has been worked out of the NRL and the two-week ban for Melbourne Storm's Curtis Scott was too lenient. Way too lenient.

Scott punched Dylan Walker in the face and fractured his eye socket. While Todd Greenberg wants us to #NRLTalkTheGameUp, it looks pretty bad for the game when Scott could take the early guilty plea for a mere two week ban.

For some unknown reason you seem to get fewer weeks when you do something wrong in the game. Curtis Scott fractured Walker's eye socket and Walker looked in pretty bad shape. He's surely out longer than two weeks.

Dylan Napa's bad tackles

The Dylan Napa tackle is another example, playing up against the Broncos on the weekend and giving Korbin Sims a broken jaw. People go, ‘Oh it was a mistake’, but you watch Napa’s game, that’s how he defends. He’s head first and arms out wide.

I like aggression in rugby league but there are smarter ways of doing it

I like aggression in rugby league but there are smarter ways of doing it.

One of the highlights from that Roosters and Broncos game however, was James 'Jimmy the Jet' Roberts and the try that he scored. And Latrell Mitchell also playing well. I think they both played themselves into a Blues jersey.

We saw the best of rugby league with those two going at each other. They’re both left and right centres and hopefully Freddy and the NSW selectors have taken notice of that and it gives us something to cheer for in State of Origin this year.

State of Origin will dominate so many headlines in the NRL over the next two weeks with who’s playing well and who deserves a spot.
 

Kalyn Ponga deserves the maroon jersey

There are none more deserving at the moment than Kalyn Ponga. He has to play Origin for Queensland.

I know a lot of people are saying ‘ No don’t pick him. Don’t pick him’.

But you know what? He’s 20-years-old and he’s one of the best players in the league, if not the world at the moment, and you’ve got to give him an opportunity right now because he’s performing.

Across the next 12 months, you don’t know what might happen. And he may not get the opportunity ever again to shine. But if you’re playing well, give him a crack.

I reckon he fits in best coming off the bench in Origin this year. He comes off the bench and you play him the last 10 minutes of each half and you blood him nice and easy.

He comes in and can play in the halves and a bit of hooker or fullback or on the wing. Wherever.

At the Knights, he’s delivered more than what he was supposed to in his early days. We weren’t supposed to see this until about two or three years down the track. But he’s taken ownership of the side when starting the season as a 19-year-old kid.

His kick returns and his passing are outstanding.

He’s skipping, he's jinking and jiving; he’s doing everything.

What he’s done for not only Newcastle but the game of rugby league, you go around and you talk to people and they say that they’ve come back to watching rugby league again because of blokes like Kalyn Ponga, and that’s what you want.

We’ve seen a different side of Kalyn Ponga too since Mitchell Pearce went out injured. Ponga has basically been carrying the side.

This weekend, there'll be a great celebration of two of the game's greats on Friday, with Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith lining up against each other, perhaps for the last time.

Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith lining up against each other, perhaps for the last time.

If you’re a rugby league fan, go to the game if you’re close enough, or watch the game on TV, because you’re going to see two future Immortals go against each other for one last time. But expect fireworks. They’ll go toe to toe and be competitive with each other.

It's also the Mark Hughes Foundation round this week and the Knights are playing in the jumper for the Mark Hughes Foundation.

If you can, get online and purchase a beany for the Mark Hughes Foundation because it goes to a great cause for brain cancer.

 
For more Owen Craigie and Rugby League hot topics, tune into Over the Black Dot, live tonight at 8pm on NITV (Ch. 34). Join the conversation #OverTheBlackDot