Round 24 saw the race for the top eight shaved down to nine, perhaps nine and a half.

Penrith were uninspiring yet still won sans their five-eighth and a recognised centre. Brisbane continued to build toward a return to finals, while the Sharks, Bunnies and Knights recorded super important wins.

Unfortunately it looks as though injuries on Sunday afternoon may dominate talk across the next 24 to 48 hours, but Round 24 certainly produced a number of highlights.

Below are 20 thoughts from Round 24's round of action:

1. The Titans announced the combined $2 million per year re-signings of Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and David Fifita. I'm torn on this. They had to re-sign these players or face massive fan backlash but I can't see how sinking two million dollars a year into two forwards can be smart business. They were both the Titans best on Friday night. The Titans lost by 30 points. There's a reason there aren't many million dollar forwards.

2. Sticking with this, the length of Tino's deal worries me greatly. Jason Taumalolo signed a similar deal a few years back. The game has changed to the point where Taumalolo can't bang out 250-plus metre games regularly anymore. He's worth approximately half of what the Cowboys are paying him.

3. Last one but the Titans have had nothing but terrible experience on long-term deals in the past. William Zillman signed a five-year deal and it was a disaster. Jamal Idris didn't fare much better. Tino is a far more impactful player but he's a middle forward. Ten years of wear and tear. This is a massive risk.

4. A few weeks back I proclaimed only an off game from the Panthers could see Penrith lose come finals time. The Broncos have now shown enough to be taken very seriously as a threat. Reece Walsh has been the undoubted difference between 2022 and 2023 but Herbie Farnworth has genuine claims of being the game's best centre right now.

5. I still firmly believe that the Roosters left their run too late, but if the season was another two weeks long, they sneak in. From there, who knows? The Roosters 2023 season will remain a question of "what could have been?"

6. Is is time to have a discussion about Matt Burton moving back into the centres?

7. Newcastle have been the game's great entertainers over the past six weeks, however Sunday may ultimately end their run. They lost the supremely underrated Jackson Hastings and his back-up Phoenix Crossland in the space of a game. I'm not sure Adam Clune has that next level in him if the duo can't find a way back onto the field.

8. The Canberra Raiders may be the most ordinary side to ever comfortably qualify for finals footy. If they can't end their horror run of games without a 13+ win against the Bulldogs this weekend, then fold the cold. They need a massive win to shake off those doubts, albeit against an awful Dogs side.

9. The Wests Tigers are playing far better than the position they currently occupy. They are so much better than the Dragons and Dogs. That said, their best player in recent weeks, Dane Laurie, is moving on. How did it take the club so long to realise his potential in the halves?

10. The Dragons have publicly made known their intentions to target Joseph Manu should he still be unsigned come November 1. If that isn't motivation to work out a contract extension in Bondi, then I don't know what it. I don't know why Flanagan put that on record. Of course everyone is going to look at Manu if given the chance.

11. Anyone who says that Herbie Farnworth try on Friday night was disrespectful needs to go outside. I loved the moonwalk in. Penrith fans were quick to protest that their side would have been run down should a Panther have done the same thing. They're absolutely right for the record. Rugby League!

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 11: Herbie Farnworth of the Broncos celebrates victory after the round one NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Suncorp Stadium, on March 11, 2022, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

12. Graham Annesley will be completely bald by the time that finals roll round. Another week of horror decisions from his crew. I'm not going to go into it in depth but there was no improvement despite multiple declarations that lessons were learned from last week.

13. I'm not sure Payne Haas looking to Sonny Bill Williams for advice is the best decision. Let's leave it at that.

14. Genuine question. Outside of Warriors and Tigers fans, did anyone watch that game on Saturday evening? Talk about a horror time slot given the Matilda's game. For the record I re-watched it back. Addin Fonua-Blake is unstoppable right now.

15. The Dragons NRLW side are struggling right now after being attacked from all sides by the new sides coming into the competition. That said, Jamie Soward has shown a level of passion and knowledge at this level that really stands out. He has signed a contract extension with the club. This is great news and good for the women's game.

16. Even with confirmation of the four teams heading to Vegas, I still can't see anything positive in this publicity stunt. Wolverine supports Manly and Gladiator owns the Bunnies. That's the sell. I'm sure it'll be fun but worth the 28-hour round-trip? My guess is all four sides will have a bye come Round 2.

17. Wade Graham is an all time Sharks legend. We're talking top 15 Sharks of all time. Don't let his past year-or-two, where age has caught up with him. He had a kicking game I'd never seen before, or since, in a second rower. He is special and I was so happy to see him score to celebrate on Friday evening.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Wade Graham of the Sharks in action during the round 12 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Cronulla Sharks at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 27, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

18. Yesterday fans, including myself, were questioning Craig Bellamy's sanity in naming Harry Grant on the bench. He came on and was arguably best on ground. Never doubt Craig Bellamy.

19. I'm super glad that the NRL vs players union clash has come to an end. I was sick of hearing about it. How about those incredible half time interviews? Seriously though, how it took so long is beyond me.

20. On Saturday I joked that I hated watching the Newtown Jets (Sharks reserve grade side). He asked me why I watch them then. I didn't have an answer. I bet many fans feel the same. The good times are worth those horrible lows.