Redbank Plains' player Tuitoga Leota makes a strong run during last weekend's A-Grade thriller against Swifts.
Redbank Plains' player Tuitoga Leota makes a strong run during last weekend's A-Grade thriller against Swifts. Cordell Richardson

The best footballer: Amazing durability in 400 games



CAMERON Smith plays his 400th game tomorrow, the most by a player in NRL history.

What an achievement from a man that will one day be an Immortal.

Smith plays in the middle of the field and has to tackle the big boppers that come running his way but he doesn't shy away from topping the tackle count in the majority of these games.

His durability is phenomenal as he has only missed roughly 20 odd games through suspensions and injury over 17 years of toil.

Add to these 400 games, 42 Origins and 56 Tests and you have a champion that by season's end will eclipse the 500 game barrier.

We have 13 Immortals currently and a lot of good judges rate Smith just as good if not better than all of them.

His day will come but at the moment he doesn't look like slowing down as he leads his beloved Melbourne Storm towards another grand final appearance.


Cameron Smith.
Cameron Smith. AAP

RLI previews

ROUND 16: Goodna v Swifts (Saturday 4.30pm).

Goodna worked back into some form last week with a victory over the Bombers while Swifts gave the top of the table Bretheren a huge fright before losing narrowly.

Goodna will play in their Indigenous jerseys which will give them some added incentive to put a big game in. Swifts need a win to maintain a chance to keep in touch with the top two.

The Eagles forwards must step up and lay a platform to enable the speed men in Brett Kelly and Ray Baira to show their talents outwide.

The Bluebirds must work on starting their games better or this one may be out of their reach by halftime.

A tight tussle is tipped but the home ground advantage should play a part.

Tip: Goodna.

Brothers v Norths (Saturday 6pm).

Brothers are flying high on top of the table and a win over the Tigers will go a long way to cementing them the minor premiership.

Norths are currently fifth on the ladder and a loss here could nearly spell the end of a top four position for them.

The Bretheren are a professional outfit and do the little things right, which makes the job very hard for most teams to reel them in, when they get in front.

The Tigers must play some basic football and try and curtail the brilliant Wes Conlon if they want to taste success in this game.

They have some experienced players in their side that must step up and help led the younger cubs around.

The Tigers will be hungry early but can they stay the full 80 minutes?

Tip: Brothers.

Redbank v West End (Saturday 6pm).

Redbank are the red-hot team at the moment having not lost a fixture game since Round 6.

West End have been in several games this year but inexperience at the vital times has really cost them.

The Bears have played as a team for most of the season and start games well and love to play from the front. Their forwards have dominated most packs this year, which has given their speedy backline a lot of room to move, most notably Godfrey Okot.

The Bulldogs must slow the game down and play it at their pace if they want to have any chance of victory.

They must also get the ball into the hands of the Lisati Brothers who on their day can tear teams apart out wide.

Tip: Redbank.

Latest ladders: A Grade - Brothers 41, Redbank 38, Goodna 36, Swifts 36, Norths 31, West End 22, Fassifern 21.

Reserve Grade: Brothers 43, Goodna 42, Fassifern 36, Swifts 33, Redbank 27, Norths 25, Rosewood 19, West End 15.

Under 20: Brothers 32, Goodna 25, Redbank 20, Norths 17.

2nd Division: Brothers 22, Swifts 17, Goodna 15, Fassifern 13, Norths 11.

Quick thoughts

SAINTS: 1. The LA Clippers have never won the NBA title but the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have them installed as favourites to win the title next year season.

2. They are the best three players in the world and are re-enforcing that at Wimbledon. Djokovic, Federer and Nadal are into the semi-finals.

Sinners: 1. The Gold Coast Suns sit at the bottom of the AFL Ladder and after last week's thrashing from the Tigers. They were terrible.

2. The NRL bunker gets a bad rap on occasions but they give the doubters plenty of ammunition with some bemusing decisions.

Did you know?

1. NSW won the Under 20 game on Wednesday night to make it seven victories in the eight games played.

2. NSW have won the women's Origin the past four years but have a long way to go to catch Queensland, who won the first 16 games.

Bomber's best: My horse tip ran a good race but had to settle for second.

This week, head back to the AFL where the Tigers and Bombers will both salute.

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