The big hitters produced again in round five with the likes of Melbourne, Souths and the Roosters all picking up important victories. There were a number of eye-catching performances throughout the round too. Here are the five talking points from round five.
Cameron Smith breaks Hazem’s record
In his 18th season, a new player has taken the mantle as the NRL’s greatest ever point scorer, in the shape of Melbourne captain and legend of the game Cameron Smith. Smith is the most capped Queensland player and holds the record for the most NRL games, 34 ahead of Darren Lockyer and is set to eclipse the 400-mark this season. On Friday night against the Cowboys, Smith converted a penalty goal to break ex-Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri’s record of 2418 points. Just another accolade to add to an incredible career, Smith is destined to go down as one of the best players to play the game.
Cody Walker scores four as Rabbits come from behind
It was some performance from the Bunnies’ talented five-eighth. After trailing 6-0 to the Warriors, Walker scored two tries in as many minutes to take his side to a 12-6 lead. The first was a kick for himself which he picked up after a deflection to score. His second was superb support play for his crafty hooker Damien Cook who found open pastures. After falling behind 24-12, the Rabbitohs clicked back into gear when Walker set up Ethan Lowe on the fringes. The number 6 was the hole-runner himself ten minutes later when he was set up again by Cook. Walker became the match-winner with just two and a half minutes left when he received the ball on the fourth tackle and evaded three players to crash over.
Titans finally on the board for 2019
It’s taken five weeks but the Gold Coast Titans have finally produced their first victory of the season much to the relief of coach Garth Brennan and their fans. It was a scrappy win, but the Titans knuckled down and gritted their teeth as they clawed back against Penrith with four ex-Panthers; Michael Gordon, Tyrone Peachey, Mitch Rein and Bryce Cartwright all playing a role in frustrating their former side. It was Cartwright who was essentially the hero in the end, as he was awarded a penalty try after being held back in chasing a kick. It was a fitting result for Gordon, playing his 250th NRL match.
Luke Keary destined for Origin berth
Keary starred again for the Roosters as his side cruised to a 30-16 win over the Sharks in Cronulla on Saturday. Keary set up three of his team’s tries as they ran riot. The five-eighth found space before setting up Cooper Cronk to run under the posts. He showed how well he reads a game on the stroke of halftime when a delicate cross-field chip to Latrell Mitchell resulted in the Blues’ centre sprinting past Sione Katoa to extend the Roosters’ advantage. A short ball to Boyd Cordner in the second half produced a third try assist for the Kangaroos representative. With the Penrith halves partnership of Maloney and Cleary struggling to impress so far in 2019, Keary appears to be a logical selection.
Are Canberra pretenders or contenders?
The Canberra Raiders have got off to their best start to a season since 2005, winning four out of their first five games. Granted, when they won four of their first five in ’05, they only won five more as they slumped down to 14th. However, their team this year appears a lot stronger with the English quartet of Josh Hodgson, Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman and Ryan Sutton leading the way. They enforced a complete shutout of the Eels on Sunday as they won 19-0, the first time they’ve held the opposition scoreless since 2013, against the same side. It can be too early to say, considering all of Canberra’s victories so far have been against teams that didn’t qualify for finals last year, but the way they are playing footy is much more convincing.