SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 18: Jake Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles celebrates scoring a try during the round two NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Parramatta Eels at Lottoland on March 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

8 things we learned Round 2

1. No one knows the Sharks best 17

The Sharks have talent all over the park but they can’t seem to gel as a team. They have 3 above average options at fullback but neither Holmes nor Dugan have set the world on fire when they’ve been given the chance. Is the answer to give Moylan a go at the back and change up the halves? I’m not sure what they should do but at the moment it just seems like it isn’t clicking. I think Flanagan should probably give this 17 another few weeks to see if they find their feet, if not the Sharks do have a lot of options.

2. Keary is key for Roosters

What a difference a week can make. The Roosters looked a completely different team with Keary back. The chooks got back on track with a 30-12 victory over the Bulldogs. Keary scored a lucky try to open the scoring in the 12th minute and after that, the Bulldogs were never really in the game. The addition of Keary just seemed to calm the whole side, the pairing between him and Cronk will only get better from here in a scary thought for the rest of the competition. The Chooks big guns fired a warning shot to the rest of the NRL with this win on Friday night.

3. Bennetts still got it

Broncos scored a big upset with the 24-20 victory over competition heavyweights North Queensland on Friday night. The Broncos were counted out all week but super coach Wayne Bennett got his side primed and ready to spring the upset. Bennett gave his side a public spraying after the disappointing loss last week and it seemed to work, Brisbane just looked more motivated and hungry the whole game, they had incredible line speed in defence putting pressure on JT and the Cowboys attack all night. The Broncos looked impressive most of the game and it’ll be interesting if they can continue this form into the next few weeks.

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4. Warriors seem to finally work it out

The Warriors are off to their best start since 2009. Take from that what you want because it is the Warriors and they finished 14th that season, however this year they have looked good in the opening two rounds, the new signings have turned the club around. They were back to the Warriors of old with 24 offloads to go with 7 line breaks in Saturday’s game. If the Warriors can finally keep up this kind of form they’ll be a real threat with the amount of talent they have in their side. It’s the Warriors and every year consistency seems to be their biggest issue but it just seems like they have finally figured it out in 2018.

5. Panthers love a comeback

The Panthers have let their opposition get out to 14-0 leads in both opening games and both weeks it hasn’t been an issue going 2 from 2. If the Panthers want to become real contenders they can’t let higher quality sides get ahead like this early, however as long as they keep winning that’s the only thing that really matters. Penrith has been unbelievable in the second halves of their games this season with the aggregate score being 32-0 if they can keep up that sort of effort for 80 minutes they will be competitive with any team in the comp. I’m not sure what happens at halftime but both weeks it seems to have sprung them to life, they look a different side in the second 40. Round 4 against the Cowboys will be a great test for this Panthers team to see where they sit early in the year.

6. Tigers won’t be cellar dwellers in 2018

I don’t think anyone would’ve picked the Tigers to beat 2 of the top 3 premiership favourites in back to back weeks to start the season. The Tigers were again outstanding out grinding Melbourne to a 10-8 victory. The Tigers had everything against them missing their first choice fullback and 5/8 to go with an 18-8 penalty count against them. Wests defence was outstanding holding the Storm to one try and forcing 17 errors, its very early days but so far the Tigers have the best defence in the comp only allowing 8 points a game. Tigers have been great the first two rounds it’ll be interesting to see how they go once they return to full strength.

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7. Something’s not right at Parramatta

54-0. I’d hate to be a Parramatta player at training this week. Something just doesn’t seem right at Parra and they were picked by many to finish top four. They were totally blown off the park on Sunday afternoon, the effort just wasn’t there. The Eels missed a staggering 40 tackles and didn’t manage to trouble the scorers. It just doesn’t make sense the Eels are pretty much full strength barring Gutherson so injuries aren’t an excuse, it just looked like a total lack of effort out there. To Manly’s credit, they looked red hot running in 9 tries in near 40-degree temperatures at Lottoland.

8. Newcastle a different side in 2018

It seemed like the Knights couldn’t win any close games in 2017 but with two narrow victories in the first two rounds this season they look like they’ve turned it around in 2018. The Knights recruited well in the offseason and its paying dividends straight away, considering they only won 5 games all last season they should easily eclipse that mark in 2018. Ponga was again the star; he looks dangerous every time he touches the ball setting up two tries. There are no problems with the Raiders attack they have scored 28 points in both games this season however they just can’t seem to sort out their defence if your scoring 28 points you should win most games, it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Again the Raiders clutch defeat from the jaws of victory.
    This season is following the same storyline as last season for them.

  2. What we learned is the Warriors are the real deal and aren’t even playing at their full potential yet,
    getting the job done without Mannering, and RTS back to his best , the new recruits have gelled well with the team,
    especially Tohu Harris, & Hiku , Green, SJ is out there playing touch football , and the team is in Unicen.
    Looking forward to the next 6 games , raiders , roosters, cowyboys, broncos , dragons, storm ….

    • Mate while I’m as happy as anyone to see Warriors win their first two games, they haven’t proved anything yet. Let’s see them after 8 rounds, and see if they can beat Storm, Broncos, Roosters, Cowboys etc. If they can win 2 or 3 of those games then yes they are the real deal. Beating Titans and Souths proves nothing.

  3. 9. Melbourne will be a completely different team without their organizer halfback Cronk.
    10. Brisbane will still struggle without Hunt at halfback.
    11. Hayne should play fullback and not tied into one little portion on the field left out of the action in the centres. He needs a roving role which fullback provides.
    12 Pearce in red hot form which puts him still at the top of the NSW halfback list after round 2 well in front of the next best Cleary.

    • Bin Chicken, I agree with your points there except Pearce.. Don’t you think its almost time to blood Cleary?

      • Hayne is a liability in defence at Centre. Let in a few tries again yesterday. French is a ragdoll, no sense of positioning in attack or defence

        • Yep. Hayne back to 1 and French to the wing, where he is at his best. When Gutho is fit he can go back to 1, or play in the centres.

      • You could be right, I think the Blues should go for Cleary, but Brad Fittler just may go with form. They have both played two really good games each, so the race is on. Who knows perhaps Pearce may get the nod if he deserves it one very very last time. Maybe 8 times lucky .

        • Of form warrants it why can’t blues have both?? Pearce 6 Cleary 7..
          Throw in Api Koroisau at 9 amd turbo Tom at 1 and that’s a decent spine…
          Ado car ok a wing and let Tedesco and Mansour fight out for other wing

  4. Big surprise for me has been the West Tigers – didn’t see them coming at all. Picked Newcastle to make the 8 this year – not convinced the Warriors or Panthers can keep winning in the same style – neither have played serious contenders yet.

  5. Well I learned a few things too:

    1. Losing like that, especially to Manly, and putting it politely, as I can”t say anything that would get through the filters. Full credit to Manly (ouch, ouch, and even more ouch). As for the Parra players, you’re out there for the full 80 min anyway, and the word TRY, doesn’t only relate to 4 points.

    2. It’s been a nightmare start to the season for footy tipping, with an extra dose of ” Freddie Kruger” for my Fantasy tipping, given I went hard on Parra playmakers this season.

    3. The GI incident from the weekend. Seriously, is it that big of a deal? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning it, but “a lifetime ban”, all but media/NRL Royal Commission into the offence?

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