The opening round of the SG Ball competition has been completed, with nine clubs walking away as winners, while the other half will be eager to improve on their games for next weekend.

Zero TackleĀ reviews the results and examines the top try-scorers, top-point scorers, and tables of the SG Ball Cup, as well as the three biggest talking points of the weekend.

The future of the Wests Tigers looks bright

Beginning a new era under Benji Marshall, several up-and-coming Wests Tigers players were impressive on the weekend as the Western Suburbs Magpies kicked off the SG Ball Cup season in style.

Showing glimpses of the Tigers' future, Australian Schoolboys fullback Heath Mason and former Sydney Swans Academy member Navren Willett were the standout, alongside hooker Tallyn Da Silva.

The performances by the trio further illustrate that the Wests Tigers will have to be patient in developing these players as they a bonafide stars of the NRL in the future. In particular, it will be interesting to see what happens with Mason this season as it will be difficult for him to replace Jahream Bula at the back of the field.

After spending time in the NRL last season, Tallyn Da Silva dropped down to the SG Ball Cup on the weekend to get some game time before the regular season begins and had multiple try involvements. The hooker will contend with Jake Simpkin this year as to who is the best player to accompany Apisai Koroisau in the NRL.

Heath Mason in action. (Photo: Flickr- @NAPARAZZI)

Sharks outside back depth continues to get better

The Canterbury Bulldogs may be licking their wounds after the opening round due to the recently departed Michael Gabrael putting in a tremendous performance for his new club.

Signed until the end of the 2026 season, Gabrael's first game as a Shark couldn't have gone any better, scoring a hat-trick and putting on a show with his elegant footwork and incredible speed.

A future NRL centre in the making, his form will put further pressure on the likes of Jesse Ramien, Siosifa Talakai, Kayal Iro and Kade Dykes as the Cronulla Sharks have more talent than spots in the centres.

Gabrael wasn't the only outside back at the Sharks to have a tremendous Round 1, with winger Richard Whalebone putting on a showcase. If he is able to continue last week's form, expect many clubs to keep a close eye on the former Randwick Boys High School student.

Michael Gabrael in action. (Photo: Flickr- @NAPARAZZI)

Reigning premiers have perfect start

The Parramatta Eels may be missing Ethan Sanders and Richard Penisini from last year's premiership team, but that hasn't stopped them from getting off to a flying start.

After giving up three consecutive tries to the New Zealand Warriors, they scored three unanswered tries in the second half, returning from an eight-point deficit to finish the game 32-20.

A star in last year's premiership team, winger Mohammed Alameddine continued his form from 2023 with two tries to kick-start the comeback, while halves Lorenzo Talataina and Dylan Brettle were impressive in attack, showing they can do perfectly fine with Sanders.


Western Suburbs Magpies 42 def Manly Sea Eagles 18
Newcastle Knights 56 def Canberra Raiders 10
Melbourne Storm 32 def North Sydney Bears 16
St George Dragons 26 def Penrith Panthers 24
Sydney Roosters 36 def Canterbury Bulldogs 24
Illawarra Steelers 26 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 12
Cronulla Sharks 44 def Balmain Tigers 18
Parramatta Eels 32 def New Zealand Warriors 20

Top Try Scorer

1. Michael Gabrael 3 (Cronulla Sharks)
= Logan Aoake
3. Mohamed Alameddine 2
= Richard Whalebone (Cronulla Sharks)
= Pharrell Gray
= Aholoka Toia
= Ratu Rinakama (Canterbury Bulldogs)
= Druzel Taula (Manly Sea Eagles)
= Heath Mason (Western Suburbs Magpies)
= Tallyn Da Silva (Western Suburbs Magpies)
= Navren Willett (Western Suburbs Magpies)
= Jaxen Edgar (Penrith Panthers)
= Jye Linnane (Newcastle Knights)
= Sosaia Latu (Newcastle Knights)
= Jesse Williams (St George Dragons)

Top Point Scorer

1. Connor Votano 16 (Newcastle Knights)
2. Dominic Farrugia 14 (Parramatta Eels)
3. Michael Gabrael 12 (Cronulla Sharks)
4. Luke Keppie 10 (Western Suburbs Magpies)
= Shadi Hammoud (St George Dragons)
= Jake Elliott (Sydney Roosters)
= Kade Reed (Illawarra Steelers)
= Riley Pollard (Cronulla Sharks)


1. Newcastle Knights
2. Cronulla Sharks
3. Western Suburbs Magpies
4. Melbourne Storm
5. Illawarra Steelers
6. Parramatta Eels
7. Sydney Roosters
8. St George Dragons
9. Penrith Panthers
10. Canterbury Bulldogs
11. New Zealand Warriors
12. South Sydney Rabbitohs
13. North Sydney Bears
14. Manly Sea Eagles
15. Balmain Tigers
16. Canberra Raiders