Nene learns from controversial 'try'
Dragons winger Nene Macdonald says it was his controversial try against the Roosters in round eight that laid the foundations for last week's stunning four-pointer against the Storm.
In round eight Macdonald leapt for the corner only for Cooper Cronk to jolt his arm; the subsequent 'try' ruling from the NRL Bunker was deemed incorrect by refs boss Bernard Sutton.
Macdonald told NRL.com that Dave Ackers, who coached Macdonald at Kirwan State High in Townsville, had texted him after that Roosters game to advise him he should have switched the ball into his left hand to score the try.
That advice was still resonating when Macdonald saw a glimpse of the left edge of the try line against the Storm - with Curtis Scott racing across in cover, Macdonald dutifully ensured the ball was in his left hand to avoid a repeat of the arm contact that should have cost him in round eight.
However, with Scott rocking Macdonald across the touch-line with a full-body shot, he realised in a split second his only hope of reaching the line was to transfer the ball back to his right. In one smooth movement, he transferred the ball, leapt, and grounded it centimetres inside the touch-in-goal line with the rest of his body suspended outside the field of play.
"It's pretty funny, [Ackers] sort of gave it to me that game against Roosters when I put it out with my right hand and Cronk sort of nudged my hand and everyone was giving it a 50-50, it ended up coming down as try but he said 'you should be swapping hands'," Macdonald said at a kids' coaching clinic for local fans at Bexley during the week.
"I texted him straight after that [Storm] game 'how bout that!' I knew [Scott] was going to try and hit it out so I swapped to my left then as I was going out I wasn't able to reach with my left so I put it in my right and just got it down in time.
"It was a pretty good try everyone's been telling me, all the little kids saying 'how'd you score that!' It's pretty funny."
Macdonald said while the team was very unhappy with the defensive effort in the 52-30 loss, he had watched the game back and was amazed by the quality of entertainment.
"As a fan it was such a wonderful game to watch. There haven't been many games like that, try for try until it was 30-30 then they sort of blew us out," he said.
In particular he praised the efforts of younger players from both teams chancing their arms and nailing some tries.
The result tipped the Dragons out of top spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder on differential – a spot they can potentially reclaim if they beat the Wests Tigers at Kogarah on Sunday.
There will be some extra motivation for Macdonald, who bagged a double in a big win for the Titans at Kogarah in 2016 but is try-less in eight starts at the venue since switching to the Dragons in 2017.
"I haven't scored there yet for Dragons, I've scored for other teams against Dragons at Kogarah so now I feel like I've got to get a try there this week," he laughed.
The Queensland-raised flyer and Maroons hopeful also admitted a big part of him will be cheering on the Blues – or at least four of them – in the third match of the Holden State of Origin series on Wednesday night.
In particular Macdonald's left-edge partner Tariq Sims, who will be making his long-awaited NSW debut after a strong season.
"I'm so stoked for him, he's such a good person, one of those guys who puts everyone else first," Macdonald said of Sims.
"The opportunity he's got, he really deserves it, he's been playing such good footy this year and he's really lifted our left edge.
"I do go for my boys [the NSW Dragons] because we all stick together as one team but yeah in my heart I'm a Maroon, grew up up north so that's who I go for. Hopefully one day I might chuck the jersey on and verse the boys but I'll be going for them, I'll be going for my teammates.
"We've got some very talented outside backs in the Maroons team so it's tough to crack. The good thing about them is they're very loyal so you have to play outstanding to get in there because they stick to their boys which is really good."