AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 16: Adam Keighran of the Warriors scores a try during the round 1 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Mt Smart Stadium on March 16, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/2019 Getty Images)

It was a welcomed return of rugby league as Round 1 kicked off over the weekend.

There were highs and lows, excitement and disappointment; and of course a fair share of controversy. Here are five talking points from the opening round of 2019.

Jason Taumalolo leads the way

The million-dollar man of North Queensland and the only ‘JT’ now at the Cowboys carried an enormous workload on his shoulders as his side fought their way to a 24-12 victory over the Dragons.

The Tongan forward showed his freak power as he ran a whopping 301 metres, paving the way for the home side to come from behind to win their opening game.

Jennings goes from hero to villain to hero again as Parramatta get on the board early

It was a funny old game for Parramatta’s veteran centre.

The former Penrith man scored his side’s second try of the game before he was sent to the sin bin in the second half for a high tackle on Isaah Yeo.

Penrith clawed their way back from trailing 14-0 to 14-12 after he was sent from the field, only for Jennings to score the match-sealer with three minutes remaining.

Grey area of the ‘High Tackle’

Michael Jennings’ controversial sin-binning for his high shot that knocked out Penrith forward Isaah Yeo has reignited the debate of refereeing inconsistency.

Latrell Mitchell caught Sam Burgess high in Friday night’s clash between the Roosters and Souths yet he stayed on the field and wasn’t hit with a suspension – only a fine.

While NRL players are susceptible to spending time on the sidelines if they force a player to leave the field with a dangerous tackle, there clearly needs to be some consistency across the referees.

Rabbitohs make an early statement over reigning Premiers

South Sydney outplayed their fierce rivals on Friday night as they produced a 26-16 victory.

Their classy halfback Adam Reynolds steered the ship, chipping in with three try assists and maintaining a brilliant kicking game throughout the encounter.

It’s the perfect way for Souths to state their intent at the beginning of the season, especially with new coach Wayne Bennett at the helm, with a convincing win over the favourites for 2019.

Warriors play for Christchurch in Bulldogs thumping

The New Zealand Warriors stormed to the top of the ladder under emotional conditions with a 40-6 victory over the Bulldogs in Auckland.

The country is still reeling after a shocking and tragic attack in Christchurch and the Warriors showed plenty of heart and passion as they produced a brilliant display to condemn the Dogs to a tough opening defeat.

The NRL responded to the Christchurch attack admirably, holding a minute’s silence before each game while the Warriors allowed free entry for all fans for their game on Saturday.