Magic Round was well and truly its name this past weekend.

We saw seven brilliant games and an entertaining blowout (for one team). We also witnessed two almighty upsets, one of which has re-ignited a season.

With Origin selection very much on the horizon we look at 20 thoughts from Round 11 and beyond:

1. This may have been the best Magic Round yet. Seven of the eight games were close. Six were thrillers. That Panthers/Warriors game may have been the sentimental favourite game but that Sharks/Roosters game was stunning! What a concept. Any worries we had re the ground or fan burn out were put away as Bris Vegas shone brightly.

2. Both the Warriors and Cowboys saved their seasons this past weekend. A loss to the Panthers would have made it near impossible for the Warriors to claw back 2024, but the Warriors would not be denied. Meanwhile, the Cowboys must win due to the strength of their opponents, the Bunnies. Both clubs need to use their respective wins to reignite their seasons.

3. Man for man, I believe Queensland have got the Blues covered talent-wise. The only chance NSW have come Origin time is to unleash the likes of Terrell May and Haumole Olakau'atu. Picking Junior Paulo, Jake Trbojevic and Liam Martin as "they never let anyone down" is fine but the Blues need to blow the Maroons open. Pick the biggest, most frightening forward pack and give yourself a chance over picking hard-working middles or big-minute players.

4. It was brilliant to host the Women's Origin opener the night before Magic Round. A record crowd was in attendance for a ripper of a contest. Jaime Chapman scored one of the best solo tries you'll see. I dare say that record crowd may only last the fixture with Newcastle set to sell out.

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5. Any talk of leaving Nicho Hynes out of Origin selection now is just ridiculous. The only reason I can see him being overlooked come in his own comments, made a few weeks back. Hynes said he wasn't sure if he was ready. That may put doubts in the mind of Michael Maguire. His form certainly shouldn't.

6. The NRL absolutely stole the Magic Round concept from the English Super League. It may be time to steal another idea in the Challenge Cup. We don't have the tiered system like our English counterparts but a midweek competition or a knockout comp could be something fun. Or just bring back the Nines!

7. Hipdrops have again reared their ugly, ankle breaking head. Much like high tackles, not every hip drop is going to be a sin bin. That said, we saw two in the Panthers/Warriors game that were textbook sin-bin worthy hipd rops go un punished. I cannot blame fans for throwing their hands up in frustration.

8. To fans bagging on other fans for celebrating wins ... shh! Let people enjoy the wins. The amount of times I've heard "yeah but" re the Sharks win streak, is beyond as high as numbers can go. Everyone has to run to try and discredit teams for playing well and fans from enjoying wins.

9. Brent Naden may have recorded the brain snap of 2024 on Sunday evening. For those who missed it, Jack Bostock dove on a lost ball just before half time. Brent Naden, rather than simply place hands on him, or just do nothing, decided to launch in and make contact with Bostock's jaw. It was pure stupidity and if I'm a Tigers fan I am filthy.

10. It's Monday (as I type this) and I am already sick of hearing about the "Battle of Brookvale". This Friday night's game should be fun. Two rivals playing in front of a packed house. Sign me up! That said, marketing it on a fight that happened in a different era ... Pass.

11. I'd imagine Parra need to move heaven and earth to re-sign Blaize Talagai to a long-term deal. I would start by offering him the fullback role full-time and shift Gutherson to centre. There's two issues solved and your most exciting youngster tied to the club. Easy!

NRL Rd 10 - Eels v Broncos
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: Blaize Talagi of the Eelsreacts during the round 10 NRL match between Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos at CommBank Stadium on May 10, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

12. Milking has absolutely come back into the game. Six or seven times on the weekend we saw players stay down to let the Bunker have a look and hopefully find a penalty. I understand sometimes players are genuinely hurt but when a bloke stands there and shakes his head and refuses to play the ball, it's not a great look.

13. As a Blues fan, a potential halves partnership of Burton and Luai is about as unexciting as it could possibly get. Just rumours at this stage but there's no world where NSW can run out that combo in Game One. Surely!?

14. North Sydney Oval hosted a NSW Cup version of Magic Round. I watched a few games on the stream and had massive regrets from not heading out. Brilliant work by the organisers as the old oval hosted two days of big crowds.

15. It's no coincidence that David Fifita has returned to being the best second rower in the competition around the time he sorted his future. The distraction can't be good for any player, let alone one who seems to be in the media so often. Brilliant stuff from the big man. Happy to eat my words on suggesting the Titans let him walk away. He's the heart and soul of that team.

NRL Rd 18 - Titans v Broncos
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: David Fifita of the Titans is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium, on July 16, 2022, in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

16. A moment of silence for Jackson Hastings who worked himself up to being sinbinned. Reed Mahoney has become known for baiting opposition props. Hastings baited himself.

17. As I write this, the Eels have relieved Brad Arthur of his position. For mine it should have happened in October last season. Instead of having an entire off-season to prepare, now Trent Barrett has been thrown into the lions den. His every press conference will now be about his future in the role as a circus to replace Arthur will take place. 2024 could have been saved. It has been long known that Arthur was not the man to turn the club around.

18. The list of available coaches to take over the Eels job is hardly a who's who is a suitable candidate. My guess is Barrett has the job for the rest of the season with the club being forced to take a punt on a rookie coach. Jason Ryles will surely be the top candidate right off the bat.

19. Just quickly, how do the Eels board say they have full support behind Arthur all the while talking to Wayne Bennett about taking over!? Why would anybody want that vacant job right now?

20. Zac Lomax supposedly asked for a Brad Arthur clause to be inserted into his Eels deal. Why would he ask for this? Are there any other clauses? Would Lomax be having second thoughts? All questions to be answered in the coming days.