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Zac Lomax dropped, Dragons, NSW Cup, Queensland Cup, Jacob Liddle, Tariq Sims, Storm

Zac Lomax played his first New South Wales Cup game since being sensationally axed from the Dragons’ NRL side.

He had a quiet first half, but came alive in the second to help set up the game. Meanwhile, Jacob Liddle — who was also dropped a fortnight ago — scored the matchwinner.

Newcastle’s newest recruit had an instant impact, Kyle Flanagan is looking more and more at home at hooker, while Luke Metcalf returned from a serious hamstring injury.

NRL veteran Tariq Sims starred for one of the Storm’s feeder sides and a Broncos winger got a staggering 17 tackle busts in his side’s win.

Read on for the latest Reserve Grade Wrap.

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ALL EYES WERE ON

Zac Lomax took a little bit of time to warm into the game but played a crucial role in the second half. Lomax scored a try — which he nailed the conversion for — then set up another nine minutes later. He also finished with fie tackle busts and 107 running metres as well as five tackles with two misses.

When asked by Fox League if he’d been given any indications on what he can work on in NSW Cup, Lomax said: “Nah, it’s just about competing and enjoying my footy — I feel as though I was able to do that today.

“I just wanted to come back and learn my craft again and just hopefully be a voice for the team back here,” he added.

“It was really good to come back and just enjoy playing footy. It’s a really good bunch of boys and I really enjoyed it today.”

Jacob Liddle was on of the Dragons’ best last week and backed it up with another dominant performance which included two linebreaks, two tackle busts, 42 tackles with one miss and most importantly the matchwinning try in the 77th minute.

“That’s the key (turning up with a good attitude),” Liddle told Fox League.

“Obviously it’s not great when you get dropped. All I want to do is get back here, play some good footy, get my head in order and try and make it back into grade.”

When asked how he gets back into the NRL side Liddle said:“Just play good footy, (have) the right attitude and win games — that helps.”

On the other side of the field, Dane Aukafolau celebrated signing with the Knights with two tries in the first 20 minutes of his club debut. The towering second-rower also got two linebreaks, a linebreak assist, six tackle busts, 93 running metres and 24 tackles with two misses.

Meanwhile Kyle Flanagan got through a mountain of work on both sides of the ball at hooker for the Bulldogs. He finished the game with two try assists, two linebreak assists, 114 running metres and 45 tackles with four misses. He did, however, have a chance to win the game with a field goal in the final two minutes but missed.

Warriors playmaker Luke Metcalf just played the first half in his return from a hamstring injury but still had an impact on the game, scoring a try, getting a linebreak, four tackle busts and 64 running metres.

STANDOUTS

Jack Cogger is hitting form at the time of year that Penrith will need him most. Cogger scored a try, got two linebreaks, nine tackle busts and ran for 130 metres, while making 19 tackles with three misses in his side’s two-point win over the Roosters.

Cogger will play a key role for the NRL side over the State of Origin period.

It was three tries a piece in that game with Sandon Smith’s goalkicking ultimately costing the Chooks. But the young halfback, who has been playing fullback for the last month, was impressive in other areas, setting up a try, getting two linebreak assists, five tackle busts and 155 running metres.

Naufahu Whyte should be knocking on the door of an NRL call-up with the Roosters after another strong 80-minute performance where he racked up 242 metres — 106 post-contact — six tackle busts and 37 tackles. However he did miss seven tackles.

The Bulldogs’ Rugby Sevens convert Jeral Skelton was hard to handle with eight tackle busts and 228 running metres to go with his try and linebreak in their 14-all draw with the Warriors.

On the other side of the field, veteran forward James Gavet was all class, finishing with a try assist, a linebreak assist, two tackle busts, 152 running metres and 26 tackles with three misses.

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South Sydney’s Izaac Tu’itupou Thompson bagged a hat-trick in their stunning second-half comeback against the Magpies. He also got three linebreaks, five tackle busts and 167 metres.

Fullback Blake Taaffe was instrumental in the win, setting up three tries and getting a linebreak assist. He was set to be 18th man for NRL afterwards but ended up in the 17 after Tom Burgess got injured in the warm-up. The Bunnies didn’t end up needing him though.

Corey Harawira-Naera impressed for the Raiders with a try, 171 running metres and 33 tackles — zero misses, while Manly’s Samuela Fainu was dynamic in his side’s draw with a try assist, two linebreak assists and 138 metres, while also making 30 tackles with one miss.

Manaia Waitere did an admirable job at fullback for Newtown in what was his NSW Cup debut. Waitere, who was promoted from the Sharks’ Jersey Flegg side, set up a try, got two linebreak assists, six tackle busts and 108 running metres.

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NRL veteran Tariq Sims had a game to remember for Storm feeder side Brisbane Tigers. Sims scored a try, set another up, got a linebreak and ran for 197 metres. while also making 33 tackles with zero misses.

George Jennings also showed he’s a step above Queensland Cup, bagging a double, while Maron Seve set up a try, got two linebreak assists and 127 running metres.

Tristan Sailor was electric for Souths Logan, scoring a try, setting up another, getting a linebreak, a linebreak assist and seven tackle busts as well as 226 running metres. So too was Ethan Quai-Ward, who set up a try, got six tackle busts and 256 running metres.

Meanwhile winger Jordan Pereira dominated with a try, a linebreak, 161 running metres and a staggering 17 tackle busts.

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Townsville winger Jodeci Baker-Tiraha got a hat-trick, two linebreaks and three tackle busts in his side’s 54-4 win over the PNG Hunters, but it was Riley Price — son of NRL legend, Steve Price — who stole the show with two tries, three linebreaks, a linebreak assist, nine tackle busts and 220 running metres. He also made 17 tackles with zero misses.

Hooker Jayden Hodges also had a day out, setting up four tries, getting a linebreak, two linebreak assists, 169 running metres and 34 tackles with three misses.

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Burleigh’s second-rower Jacob Alick and centre Sami Sauiluma both bagged two tries each. Alick also got two linebreaks and four tackle busts to go with his 137 running metres, while Sauiluma got a linebreak, a linebreak assist and 182 running metres.

Dolphins winger Brayden McGrady scored a try and set up two more as well as a linebreak assist, eight tackle busts and 161 running metres.

Five-eighth Cory McGrady set up three tries for the Western Clydesdales but it wasn’t enough to get the win over Northern Pride, whom Harry Freebairn starred for with two try assists and three linebreak assists.

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