The NRL continues to deliver in 2022. Following Round 3 action, we have a shock top four, a downright impossible to predict bottom four and everything in between. Another weekend of upsets dominates this week's 20 thoughts.

1. That Storm and Eels game was everything we hoped it would be. The Eels have now been in back-to-back thrillers and are one tackle away from being three and zero. Having beaten two top eight favourites and losing on the bell to a third, it's time to admit the Eels are the real deal.

2. Nicho Hynes is supposedly one of the Dally M front runners. While I wouldn't go that far, especially with Nathan Cleary yet to step onto an NRL field yet in 2022, the Sharks certainly have signed a good one in Hynes. The Sharks took a risk and after three games, so far, so good.

3. There is no defence, no justification and no reason that can be offered up for Mitch Barnett's attack on Chris Smith. That's what it was, an attack! An elbow to the throat and jaw of a player 10 metres away from the ball, and with his back turned. Anything less than eight weeks will be a complete joke. The game is tough enough and doesn't need that rubbish.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Mitch Barnett of the Newcastle Knights sits on the bench during the round two NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Penrith Panthers at McDonald Jones Stadium on March 23, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

4. For the record; Nelson Asofa-Solomona escaping sanction and being given a fine is ridiculous. Another unproved shot on a prone player. He should have been on the sidelines and should miss the next two to three weeks. That said, this miss from the NRL has no effect on Barnett's case.

5. Bradman Best was quiet on Saturday afternoon for 70+ minutes. In one run he absolutely tore Stephen Crichton, one of the top three defensive centres in the game, to shreds en route to a magical try. How have the Knights not cottoned on to using the wrecking ball centre more? Hopefully, it doesn't happen this week against my Sharks.

6. Dipping into NSW Cup, Warriors fans can be very happy with the performance of their recruit for 2023. Luke Metcalf scored 26 points against the Dragons this past weekend for the Newtown Jets. By all reports, he has been the star of the competition across three rounds. Could forgive the Warriors for offering up a potential trade to secure him early.

7. I thought I had seen it all but seeing a player ordered off for a HIA due to copping a shot in the groin is new. He was sent to the test due to staying down following a tackle. If that is the new standard for assessments then we're going to see 30 a game. One replay showed what happened and should have seen the decision reversed. Kurt Mann was rightly perplexed at the decision.

NRL Rd 10  - Rabbitohs v Knights
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18: Kurt Mann of the Knights passes the ball during the round 10 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Newcastle Knights at Bankwest Stadium on July 18, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

8. The scenes following Buddy Franklin's 1000th goal on Friday night were incredible. This lead to some in the media suggesting the NRL needs something similar. Why? It's an AFL tradition. Let it be. For the record Ray Stone's golden point try deserved a similar reaction.

9. Brisbane copped a harsh reality check on Sunday afternoon. The Cowboys were so much better than their Queensland rivals in every way. Brisbane's first try should never have been awarded and their second was in garbage time. Not good.

10. That Tigers and Warriors game was almost a case of neither team wanting to win. The Tigers attacked 13 on 12 for ten minutes yet looked as though they wouldn't score against eight defenders. Yes the refereeing decision didn't help but the Tigers blew chance after chance. The Warriors won by default.

11. Speaking of overlaps, did I seriously see the Dragons kick early when attacking an 11 man defensive line? I know the game was gone but spread it right and you almost have to score! The Sharks beat the confidence out of their local rivals.

12. You have to wonder what the halftime talk in the Titans shed on Saturday night was. Did Justin Holbrook offer up cups of warm milk because his side were asleep in that second stanza.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 28: Titans coach Justin Holbrook looks on during a media interview before the start of the round three NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans at QCB Stadium on March 28, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

13. I was about to name Isaah Yeo as the new best number 13 in the game. Someone obviously told Cameron Murray, Dale Finucane and Jason Taumalolo who all had monster games. Last year was the year of the fullbacks. Is this year the year of the lock forwards?

14. A noteworthy member of the media has written off the Roosters... with that squad... and that coach... in Round 3. Classic Rugby League overreaction.

15. The last game of the NRLW season regular couldn't have been scripted any better. The back-to-back-to-back minor premiers and premiers the Broncos needed a huge win to capture their fourth straight minor premiership in front of a big crowd. They did it, easily in the end. Class rises to the top. The Eels, unfortunately, suffered a massive loss which saw them fall short of a finals appearance.

16. The Panthers are the new Storm in terms of the backline conveyer belt. To'o being out for two months has seen young Taylan May emerge on the back of Izack Tago's brilliant start to the season. They just keep rolling them out. Their NSW Cup side battered the Knights on Sunday too.

NRL Rd 1 - Panthers v Sea Eagles
PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Izack Tago of the Panthers celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round one NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Manly Sea Eagles at BlueBet Stadium on March 10, 2022, in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

17. If there is a player you want kicking a field goal for your NRL life, it is Daly Cherry-Evans. He is the master of the one-pointer. I honestly can't think who would even be close. Perhaps Cleary?

18. Thursday Night footy doesn't need to be the biggest game of the round but with all due respect to both sides; Titans vs Tigers ... really?

19. At the end of Round 3 we have only one side who is undefeated and one side yet to win a game. Without digging into the archives, that seems rare. Last year it was two (undefeated) and three (winless) while in 2020 it was two and four. Still early but it just seems closer this season. I like it.

20. If every player available for Samoa were to play in this year's World Cup, they could seriously give the big four a shake. Unfortunately it looks as though Haas and co. will nominate for Australia. Absolutely behind their decision but it only takes two or three to see another Tonga-like rise.


  1. Jeez Dan, Nicho’s under enough pressure already without respectable commentators like yourself tightening the ratchet another click!

    If you have to speculate on the Dally M after just three rounds then what about that kid Nannai who has been playing for only a few games and who got three tries this weekend? Or closer to home, what about Dale Finucaine who is on track for the world record number of tackles in a season?

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