The 2018 season has started with a bang, and as usual, there are many interesting points to be made. These are the 5 major talking points that came out of the first round of the season.
2018 will be very unpredictable
The first round of the season was a nightmare for tipping, with many unexpected results. In fact, last season’s bottom four teams all recorded victories. This included the incredible upset of the Tigers defeating the Roosters in a gritty match.
At this point, it is difficult to predict what the Top 8 will look like at all except to say it could include almost any team in the competition.
Last year was a very different story, with the competition favourites winning both the minor premiership and premiership in a dominant season.
For the latest odds, head to http://openodds.com/.
Refereeing was high quality
Too many times throughout the last few seasons we have seen entire games overshadowed by poor refereeing performances. It was a positive that this was not the case at all in the first round of 2018.
Barring a few poor decisions, the match officials were excellent and helped improve games. If this level of officiating can be maintained, the 2018 season will be the best for the referees in a long time.
Perth needs support from the NRL
As usual, NRL in Perth was a huge success. The doubleheader that featured the Bulldogs, Storm, Warriors and Rabbitohs attracted nearly 39,000 fans to attend.
This led to Craig Bellamy claiming expansion should be back on the agenda, as Western Australians have shown they want more rugby league.
Whether this expansion comes in the form of an NRL team or not is yet to be decided, but NRL officials should capitalise.
Big name signings fire (mostly)
While James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk failed to help the Roosters to a win over the Tigers, many of the other big signings impressed.
Mitchell Pearce, Slade Griffin and Kalyn Ponga all starred for the Knights, Blake Green and Tohu Harris impressed at the Warriors and Ben Hunt and James Graham were huge for the Dragons. And these were only a few of the players that made their club debuts in a positive fashion.
After so many players moved to new clubs in the offseason it was impressive to see many of them perform well at their new clubs.
Broncos need Bird
After a shocking start to the season, the Broncos will need to be much better against the Cowboys if they are to be competitive. Though they have only played one game, the Broncos look like a shadow of the premiership heavyweights they used to be.
Jack Bird may just be the x-factor that Brisbane need in 2018. Bird is an excellent player in almost any position and his return will boost the Broncos significantly. The sooner Bird makes his Broncos debut the better; as far as Brisbane supporters are concerned.