SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Lachlan Lewis of the Bulldogs runs out during the round 24 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Canterbury Bulldogs at UOW Jubilee Oval on August 26, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Round 18 in the NRL threw up some incredible action, memorable tries, bombed tries and plenty of points. We look at the big discussion points in this week's 20 thoughts.

1. We saw two of the strangest moments in memory across the one weekend. Siosifa Talakai was sinbinned with no clear explanation (I believe due to dissent or a post-try slap) then the Lachlan Lewis brain-snap. It didn't even look as though Cody Walker said anything. Strange, yet entertaining.

2. I had low expectations for Sunday afternoon's Tigers vs Broncos match but spent Sunday evening eating my words. That was a lot of fun. The scoreline blew out late but if the Isaako 'try' was worked better and counted, then the Broncos go close to winning that game. Awesome fun.

3. The Warriors were on top of the Panthers until Tohu Harris and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck went off. Not to say they would have won but it was great to see that fight. Penrith have had a few close games recently while the Storm are running up cricket scores for fun. Both are missing two members of their spine also.

4. Sticking with the Storm, that Felise Kaufusi potential head-slam on Connor Watson did not make for good viewing. He needs to cut that garbage out of his game. For those that saw it, I'm shocked more hasn't been made of it.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Felise Kaufusi of the Storm looks on after being placed on report for a tackle on Ryan Matterson of the Eels during the round two NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Melbourne Storm at Bankwest Stadium on March 18, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

5. Nick Meaney has the raw talent that screams the kind of player that the Melbourne Storm can turn into a star but his form is way off at the moment. Remember this moment in 12 months time after he's transformed into a fringe Origin player under Craig Bellamy.

6. The incident that lead to Kalyn Ponga's HIA split social media right down the middle. I watched the footage, from all angles, 20+ times and I still can't tell if there was any malice or not. I'm happy enough it went unpunished but the other half of Twitter was not.

7. I feel as though Manly got a monkey off their back on the weekend. Winning a game, well, without Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans would have done them the world of good confidence-wise. They're the only team outside the top four that can prove any worry to the big four.

8. Two weeks in a row now the Raiders have looked better with Tom Starling at nine and Josh Hodgson moving into a playmaking role. I genuinely think there's something there.

TOM STARLING
Hooker
Raiders
2021 SEASON AVG
26.9
Tackles Made
0.1
Tries
0.1
LB Assists

9. That was not an eight-point try. That was a farcical decision that no one in the world other than Henry Perenara thought was such. The Sharks scored the next try and Jesse Ramien was clipped in the process of scoring. No wonder fans get so frustrated. It's like officials pick and choose. Both or neither.

10. The Warriors played undermanned due to four injuries while a fit player sat as 18th man without being able to enter the game. The current 18th man rule is not right in my opinion. Roger was sent to Disneyland, Tohu Harris hobbled off, Wade Egan lasted just 16 minutes and Rocco Berry was unable to continue all before half-time. There's no reason the 18th man shouldn't be activated.

Watch the Round 17 talking points discussed via Rugby League Outlaws

11. The Roosters, even without James Tedesco and with their monster injury tally, were still miles better than the Cowboys. The gulf in quality between the top six and the rest is eye-watering. Sam Walker, what a star.

SAM WALKER
Halfback
Roosters
ROUND 18 STATS
2
Try Assists
1
Tries
141
Kick Metres

12. Ryan Matterson had one of the most dominant second-row performances of the season. Meanwhile David Fifita was benched due to a horror start to the game. He ultimately scored a good solo try, and should have had a second, but Matterson was best forward on ground by some margin. If the Titans are going to play finals footy that needs to be Fifita.

13. The Tigers looked far better with Adam Doueihi back in the halves. He put in arguably the individual performance of the weekend with five try assists. I understand he is versatile but moving him to the centres was a huge error.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Adam Doueihi of the Wests Tigers looks dejected during the round two NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, on March 21, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

14. I can't say enough about how well Reece Walsh has started his career. Obviously, there are going to be errors in his rookie season but he earned that Origin call-up and has exceeded all expectations to date.

15. Jack Wighton was very obviously injured and in severe pain during the game on Saturday night from early on yet the Sharks did not capitalise. That shows a lack of leadership within the Sharks squad and in the coaching ranks. Why Ramien wasn't sent on a wrecking ball spree is beyond belief. I guarantee you if the roles were reversed Stuart would have had them target the obvious weakness.

16. Cody Walker was hard to spot at times during the Bunnies win over the Dogs but when it came time for a big play he put his hand up and was brilliant. He's an absolute star. One player for the Bunnies who won't obtain the media attention is Keaon Koloamatangi but he is making a case for being the break-out star of the competition (rookies aside).

17. Was shocked to see Gus Gould move to a Head of Football from the Warriors but this may be the Bulldogs best signing to date. Gould was unable to achieve what he wanted, in horror circumstances, at the Warriors but has an amazing track record.

Phil Gould commits to Warriors
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Former Penrith Panthers General Manager of Football Phil Gould in the mounting yard to watch his horse Jailbreak compete in race 1 during Sydney Racing at Rosehill Gardens on May 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

18. I will expand on this later today or early tomorrow but the Bulldogs are looking for a quick fix and are taking big risks. I like it but it has an "all or nothing" type feel.

19. Maybe it was just a good week of footy but talk of the new rules bringing upon the end of days seem to have faded off a little. Almost as if people, and players, are getting used to them?

20. Happy one week to the NRL and the players. A full week without a bubble breach! Let's aim for many, many more please.