What a contrasting weekend of rugby league! We had one absolute fizzer and one all-time classic. Those two games, and other goings on, have promoted this week's 20 thoughts.
1. Ashley Klein, although he didn't have the best night, did not decide the result on Saturday night. Parramatta had more than enough chances but took the wrong option and Penrith held on.
2. Channel 9s commentary didn't help with confusion. They were unaware that the Panthers were owed an interchange due to an earlier reportedly offence. Easy to miss but shows how easy it is to get caught up without the proper information.
4. I don't know how many teams (Storm aside) who could have gone as far as the Roosters did under such circumstances. If you'd said in the pre-season that they would lose Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend, Brett Morris, Luke Keary and multiple others, there's no way I'd say they make it to Week 2 of the finals. Incredible!
5. I would not, at all, be shocked if South Sydney cancel Anthony Milford's contract before he even arrives at Red Hill. Milford is facing some serious charges and my guess is the Bunnies want no part of that.
6. This is absolutely Kieran Foran's best season since last time he played for Manly. He looks younger, faster and more athletic than he has at any time in any other colour. He just works in partnership with Daly Cherry-Evans
7. Tom Trbojevic bounced back, as we knew he would, against the Roosters. He was barely sighted against the Storm. This weekend's preliminary final is the tiebreaker. His season will be remembered in high regard either way, however, this will define his 2021 for mine.
8. Rugby League did not need negative headlines given everything that has gone on in 2021. Unfortunately the Broncos Mad Monday incident between Thomas Flegler and Jordan Riki delivered said unwanted headline. That club have some serious issues. Adam Reynolds is the perfect signing both on, and more importantly, off the field.
9. Dylan Walker is the player who has most gained from the new rules. He has gone from bit part fullback or half, to a weapon off the bench. I am loathe to say anything positive about a Manly player, let alone Walker, but credit where it's due.
Rugby League Outlaws preview the Prelims and talk the Broncos mess
11. James Tedesco was arguably the fourth-best fullback this season but the way he put the Roosters on his back and carried them for the past two months has been incredible. The way he stepped up in the absence of Cordner then Friend also needs to be commended.
12. Ryan Girdler was well within his rights to call the Sea Eagles "flat track bullies". The stats back him up. They've been beaten by the Storm and Panthers. They've only beaten the Eels (twice) and a broken Roosters side this past weekend.
13. It's not often I enjoy games that end in an 8-6 result. This Saturday's final was a brilliant game despite only two tries. There should have been far more points if not for brilliant defence and scrambling efforts.
14. Mitchell Moses has shown over the past fortnight that he is a big-game player. I believe the Eels will be back in the mix next season and will be far better served for 2021s experience. He so very easily could have lead his side to a prelim. He deserved to.
15. Dylan Edwards had a nightmare on Saturday night. How he responds this weekend will have a huge say in who goes through to the decider. In 2016 Lachlan Coote had a horror game against Brisbane then carried it over against the Sharks. Edwards will bounce back.
16. Can't help but think if Reed Mahoney had been fit that the Eels are lining up this weekend. Of course you can't fantasy book with bringing injured players back but the game was arguably lost due to a lack of quality at nine.
17. I honestly don't know why we bother with post match press conferences. Coaches want no part of them. Why would a coach, especially one who has just seen his side lose, want a camera and know-it-all journos in their face?
18. I'm really glad the NRL has pulled up the Panthers trainer. He called for time off before performing the required assessment. Dangerous territory.
19. If the Bunnies can't make the grand final this year, their fourth prelim in a row, then there is no hope. They've had the week off, face a team who hasn't beaten a top side yet this season, and have Adam Reynolds.
20. The Tigers are absolutely kidding themselves if they believe sacking Michael Maguire is the answer. How many times are the board going to make the coach the scapegoat before they make a serious attempt at rejuvenating the club!?