SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 14: Chad Townsend of the Sharks passes during the round one NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Cronulla Sharks at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on March 14, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Each week we present our random thoughts from the previous NRL round, or the game in general. Sometimes they’re positive, sometimes negative, sometimes deep in thought, sometimes throwaway thoughts for discussion.

Below are what I’m left thinking about following Round 1, 2021:

1. First and foremost, how good is having Rugby League back? The action, the atmosphere, the banter online, the Supercoach, the tipping. Everything about the game just makes Thursday through Sunday just that little bit better!

2. How good are the “part time” kickers going? Papenhuyzen nailed them from everywhere. So too did Chad Townsend and Mitch Barnett. George Williams rounds out the top four goal kickers right now. None of those kicked full time last year. Incredible stat, even after one round.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – MARCH 05: Mitchell Barnett of the Knights in action during the round one NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Newcastle Knights at Mt Smart Stadium on March 5, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

3. I know it’s early but I think it’s safe to say that Des Hasler has made a series of errors with his number nine jersey. Foran was never an option, while they’ve signed a player who won’t be available for up to 18 weeks due to injury. Meanwhile, Cade Cust was player of the week in the NSW Cup playing at rake and Nathan Peats sits without a club.

4. How good were the fullbacks this weekend? James Tedesco, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Will Kennedy and Dylan Edwards were all standouts in their teams wins, while Latrell Mitchell and Clint Gutherson were also very good. Seems the fullbacks get better every week.

5. Two Tigers players made comments pre-season. BJ Leilua said he was the game’s best centre, while Luke Brooks was said to be “unleashed”. Both were in the top five for worst players of Round 1. It’s early but those sorts of comments will, rightly, be scrutinised all season.

6. I’m not completely sold on the new “award a try and then check the video” rule, however just like every rule that seems strange at first, within a month it’ll be routine.

7. The Storm’s opening 10 minutes was some of the scariest football I’ve seen. They were LIGHTNING fast and absolutely blew the competition favourites away. The Storm have this ability to largely win the game within the opening 15-20 minutes. Not many sides can come back. Brilliant.

8. Titans fans were, rightly, excited after their new look side ran out on Saturday. Unfortunately they learned what most clubs know; it takes time for new sides to gel. They’ll come good. Patience will be required though.

NRL Trial Match - Titans v Warriors
LISMORE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 27: Bunty Afoa of the Warriors is tackled by Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and David Fifita of the Titans during the NRL Trial Match between the Gold Coast Titans and the New Zealand Warriors at Oaks Oval on February 27, 2021 in Lismore, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

9. I have no doubt that Joseph Suaalii is ready for first grade but why have rules if they’re going to make this exception?

10. Thursday’s game was a cracker and I really enjoyed the derby from the hill on Sunday evening, however we’re still waiting for this year’s first real thriller. Friday night is my tip.

11. I thought Toby Rudolf’s interview was the highlight of NRL coverage over the weekend. Obviously the NRL disagreed in sending him a warning letter over his comments. Fans are drawn toward the larrikins like Rudolf, Radley and co and the media are always complaining about cliched answers to boring questions.

100% you need to respect ALL fans of the game but this was complete overkill for a throwaway line that seemed to offend no one.

12. JFH looks like he’s going to sign a MONSTER contract extension. Over the past two seasons he has become an elite prop and is worth every cent of his supposed contract. Mobile props are now worth their weight in gold. JFH is a beauty.

13. Tevita Pangai Jr had seven offloads in 38 minutes of footy. He leads the stat despite playing less than half a game. He’s going to be dangerous in attack this year.

14. Sunday evening summed up Matt Dufty perfectly. He scored a marvelous try with speed the Sharks middles just couldn’t contain. He also had five handling errors.

15. Wouldn’t wanna be the Tigers or Sea Eagles this weekend …

16. I can’t believe that the Cowboys are paying a reported one million dollars per season for a winger. For that side to have ANY chance of playing finals they need Holmes in everything.

NRL Rd 3 - Cowboys v Titans
TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 29: Valentine Holmes of the Cowboys passes the ball during the round three NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans at QCB Stadium on May 29, 2020 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

You can’t tie up that kind of money in a winger, albeit a top five in that position. He HAS to play fullback with Drinkwater in the halves. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t happen this weekend.

17. Pretty funny how the only time League journos agree is when they’re banding together to badmouth players for badmouthing journos. Must be a coincidence?

18. Who do you think Michael Ennis will be Viking clapping for on Sunday evening? Sharks vs Raiders. The image of Ennis clapping post game after the heated Semi will sit long in my memory. For those who don’t get the reference he’s now on the Raiders coaching staff after playing a huge part in breaking the Sharks title drought.