PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 13: Jarome Luai of the Panthers is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Panthers and the Sharks at Panthers Stadium on July 13, 2018 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

1. I know it was only the Broncos but I’m calling it. The Roosters are back! There’s never a good time to lose superstar players but the Roosters ‘timed’ it pretty well with the majority of their big names coming back in the lead up to the finals.

2. Spoiler: Look for his name to appear in this week’s Origin watch for QLD but AJ Brimson is one of the most exciting players in the competition right now. It would be almost criminal for him to be overlooked for a utility spot. He may even end up in the centres with the state of the QLD options right now. Keep an eye out.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 10: Aj Brimson of the Titans is tackled during the round 21 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Gold Coast Titans at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

3. Manly may be the biggest one-man team in the modern game. Their fortunes have completely fallen off a cliff since the injury to Tommy Turbo. His absence shouldn’t have such a huge affect on their attack, and certainly not their defence. It’s almost as though they don’t believe they can win without him. I know there have been other injuries but all the talk is “Turbo’s only X weeks away”. Not good.

4. The Dragons are at a big risk of not improving their standing post coach sacking. They left it so late that players are hesitant to move while the group of available coaches is slim and not overly exciting.

5. Seriously, someone please tell me what Geoff Toovey did so wrong that he can’t get a gig!? Please. I beg of you! Manly fans?

6. Todd Payten is a great get for the Cowboys. A very smart coaching appointment following his incredible abilities with the Warriors. A coach in demand too, with the Warriors offering him the role. The same can’t be said for the Broncos, Dragons and I’d even argue the Dogs. They seem to feeding on scraps.

NRL Rd 7 - Storm v Warriors
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 26: Warriors interim head coach Todd Payten speaks to media in the post match press conference during the round seven NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on June 26, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

7. I’m actually starting to believe that the Panthers may go through the rest of the season without dropping a game. Last week I said I was waiting for the bubble to burst. Some argue that they need a loss before the finals. I’m not so sure anymore. They won’t be losing this weekend (vs Brisbane) with next weekend’s game vs Parra the only real challenge for the rest of their run.

8. As a Sharks fan I was extremely happy with the way young Braydon Trindall played on Saturday evening. He’s been good in all three of his top grade appearances. So much so that there is a genuine fear that yet another exciting, young halfback (ala Kyle Flanagan) may leave the club after being stuck behind Chad Townsend. Hopefully the club makes the right decision this time.

9. The Bulldogs fans can pull a loss from absolutely anywhere. It’s become an art form. Up by eight, with a player advantage, they fell apart (AGAIN) on Sunday evening. It’s super frustrating to watch as they should realistically be three or four wins better-off than what they are.

10. Valentine Holmes’ return to Rugby League has been a huge let down. I’m a huge fan of the Premiership, Origin and World Cup winner but he’s been reduced to a confidence-lacking shell of his former self. I’d be looking for new management if I were Val.

11. Tigers players speaking out, re-treading on egg shells and being trained too hard should be shipped out immediately. It’s always the coach’s fault. They haven’t played finals since TV was broadcast in colour. Time to stick by a coach who won’t take any grief and move on the complainers. How often do you hear players from the Roosters or Storm complain about being trained too hard? Exactly!

12. The Eels are really letting me down following my comments that they’d end their title drought in 2020. With Dylan Brown out for the season I can’t see any way they finally turn my words to truth. Mitch Moses has been deplorable for the past month while their superstar forward pack was bullied by the Bunnies. A 14-0 win over the Storm reserve grade side shouldn’t paper over the very real cracks they’re showing lately.

13. Speaking of the Storm, how exciting were they this past Sunday? Only Addo Carr and maybe two or three other players score that try. Only Cam Smith and maybe one or two others even attempts that play. Incredible!

NRL Rd 10 - Storm v Titans
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA – JULY 17: Josh Addo-Carr and Cameron Smith of the Storm celebrates victory during the round 10 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Gold Coast Titans at Sunshine Coast Stadium on July 17, 2020 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

14. Expect a big bounce back by the Knights this Friday evening against the Sharks. They were woeful against the Warriors on Saturday. A win cements their return to finals footy. A loss puts them in real danger of freefalling out of the top eight.

15. I don’t mean to hark back but how bad were the Broncos on Friday? I thought it was the coach’s fault? On a positive, Patrick Carrigan is a machine. If he doesn’t play Origin then there needs to be some sort of investigation.

Patrick Carrigan

16. Jarome Luai may be the most improved player in the competition. He’s had some handy players around him this season but his form has been a major reason for the Panthers Minor Premiership-elect run.

17. Talks of Fox Sports having a dedicated “SBW Cam” are ridiculous. He’ll probably only play 20/25 minutes so they’re going to have a camera on a guy watching from the bench!? Horrible. As long as they don’t have that cringe voice over that nine insisted on for his last return then I suppose it could always be worse.

18. Bronson Xerri’s B sample returning positive confirms what we already knew … that he’ll be a Rooster in four year’s time.

19. This week’s footy was far better than last week’s bore-fest, although there was still only one close game this round. That will change as six games have very closely matched opponents. The phone will be on silent and the footy on LOUD!

20. Nathan Cleary is your 2020 Dally M medal winner. Hand him the medal right now.

NRL Rd 12 - Sea Eagles v Panthers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 01: Nathan Cleary of the Panthers kicks during the round 12 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers at Lottoland on August 01, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

1 COMMENT

  1. Bit of snide dan in your comments about Dragons, Broncos and Dogs. For the record the Sharks have been sensationally disgraced on at least 3 matters in the last decade. Perhaps you should not be so quick to denigrate other clubs. Unless it’s roosters or storm. Then I’m right there behind you.

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