WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Ben Hunt of the Dragons runs the ball during the round six NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Cronulla Sharks at WIN Stadium on April 13, 2018 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

There may have been only four games of NRL action this weekend but there were no shortage of talking points, on and off the field.

Here are 20 thoughts from Round 17 and rugby league in general.

1. It was always going to happen. A superstar player was going to miss an important game due to COVID but for Munster to miss an Origin decider is almost worst case scenario. The NRL and QRL had no choice, it's simply bad luck, but boy does it put Queensland on the back foot.

2. Sticking with Origin, as bad as the Munster out is, it's almost perfect for the Queensland mentality. There's nothing to lose now. They're big outsiders and will blood an Origin rookie in a decider. Where have I heard this story before? Not for a second am I suggesting QLD are favourites but never, ever count them out.

3. Adam Doueihi is well within his rights to ask to be played in the halves. Six is his undoubted best position and I believe he is well ahead of Brooks. That said, to demand he be played in the halves or allowed to play NSW Cup is the wrong attitude. Worst of all, how did that information leave the club's inner sanctum? I hate to pile on but that is amateur hour stuff.

4. For weeks now I've been predicting Jesse Ramien will blow a team apart. He's one of the game's most underrated centres and his talents are often overlooked due to his recent, poor decision making. This past Thursday he absolutely bathed one of the game's elite centres in Justin Olam. That is the Ramien the Sharks need if they're to trouble a full strength top-three side.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 10: Jesse Ramien of the Sharks watches on during the round 14 NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Wests Tigers at Southern Cross Group Stadium on June 10, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

5. I laugh at these "team A only plays X amount of teams above them in the run in to the finals" agendas. The Panthers haven't played a team below them all season, nor do they for the rest of the season. What a blessed draw, right? Ridiculous.

6. For the second time this season a deliverable elbow in a tackle has lead to a fine. David Klemmer was sent off for supposedly dropping an elbow onto a prone player and escaped with a tiny fine. The precedent was set earlier in the season when Kaufusi was slapped on the wrist for similar. The NRL needs to decide, is it a send off or an inconsequential fine? It can't be both.

7. Latrell Mitchell slotting a side-line conversion then turning around and having a laugh with the crowd will never get old. The tradition is to boo the opposition kicker but when they nail the conversion, as a fan you have to cop it sweet. When in the right spirit, it's a small part of the game I really get a laugh out of.

8. It's honestly months overdue but Brett Kimmorley needs to omit Luke Brooks this weekend. Whether he plays NSW Cup or watches on, he can no longer run out. He was ordinary, at best, on Saturday night. It's become a major distraction and Brooks is obviously under pressure. For the record I completely blame the club for allowing this although Brooks comments mid week did not help.

9. Picture it - Origin weekend, four games, 24-hour rugby league channel and only one game of NSW Cup shown. I know it has become a real bugbear of mine but surely the NRL or NSWRL can step in to convince the two rights holders to come to an agreement to show more games. The Dogs and Panthers put on a thriller in a top-four clash... For 350 people on Facebook live.

10. Depending on what time you asked, Friday Night's game was both the worst game of the season but also the best. It was scrappy and it was fun. That is the way South Sydney need to win football games. They don't have the clinical precision of last season. They need to blast teams off the park with their big forwards and freakish spine players. The blue print was found is strange circumstances.

NRL Rd 3 - Rabbitohs v Roosters
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 25: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs celebrates with Alex Johnston of the Rabbitohs after scoring a try during the round three NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters at Accor Stadium, on March 25, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

11. Brandon Smith has looked frustrated over the past few weeks and it boiled over on Thursday night. The talk is he's facing a four-week suspension. For mine that is bang on. There are lines you cannot cross and blatantly labelling an official a "cheat" is one of those. He's a character but that was very poor from a senior player.

12. This Sunday's Women's Premiership grand final will see the Cronulla Sharks take on the Wests Tigers. Both teams recently won admittance into the NRLW for 2023 and beyond. Great news for both clubs. Without a deep dive into the contract status of both squads, here's hoping that some players can represent their current club at NRLW level next season.

13. If reports re Tim Sheens being the next Tigers coach are true, then the club deserves exactly what it gets. They would be admitting they can't attract a coach of any note and would justify thoughts of those who believed this was always the plan for Sheens. As for whether or not it is the best move forward for the club? Absolutely not.

14. Adam Reynolds, off one of the worst games of his recent career against the Cowboys, was absolutely shaken in the early stages of yesterday's clash with the Dragons. He returned from the halftime break every bit the superstar he is and guided his side to a big win. The sign of a true champion.

15. Any suggestions that NRL sides should assist the Dolphins is any way is laughable. Why should any competing side help an opponent?

Dolphins Media Opportunity
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: Wayne Bennett poses for a photo with the revealing of the Dolphins Heritage jersey and a new sponsor in Kings Adventure during a Dolphins NRL press conference at Suncorp Stadium on October 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

16. The top eight is down to a race in nine. Two out of Souths, the Dragons or Manly will make it. Yes I'm writing off the Roosters and Raiders. As for the spoon? It's a straight shoot out between the Tigers and Titans.

17. Words cannot describe how happy I am that the rep period is done. Round 18 will likely see plenty of Origin stars rested but from then on it should be all hands on deck for sides. Bring it on.

18. Earlier in the week I suggested Ben Hunt being out of the Dragons outfit hurt them more than the plethora of Broncos missing would hurt their game. That comment was 100 per cent spot on the mark. No player is more important to their side in the NRL than Ben Hunt.

19. I'm a big fan of the month of try celebrations. It's for a great cause and adds to the entertainment during the rep affected rounds. I saw some people suggest it's disrespectful but if Connor Tracey pretending to be a hooked fish for $5,000 to charity is disrespectful then perhaps we've lost our sense of fun.

20. Reece Walsh back to the Broncos is absolutely no surprise, and the cynic in me believes this was always the plan, but is a huge win for both club and player. That Broncos side for 2023 is legit! The Kevolution is very real.