Round 10 done and dusted with a handful of upsets and some nice storylines to come from the weekend. Penrith climb to the top of the table whilst the Bulldogs let a great opportunity slip to record just their second win of the year. Let's look at what went down.
The grand final rematch, jeez it didn't disappoint, the Raiders getting some revenge on the back of Josh Papalii, beating the chooks and holding on to hopes of a Top 4 finish in 2020. Not only a ripping match, but a bit of biff as well with Angus Crichton deciding an elbow to Papalii was a good idea, the Raiders big man got the last laugh. The Roosters still seem to be the benchmark in the competition, but they've dropped two of the last three against the Storm and now the Raiders, injuries have no doubt impacted them and a game against the Warriors will likely get their season heading back in the right direction.
It wasn't a pleasant evening for QLD viewers on Friday night. The Storm dismantled the Titans by 36 points at Sunshine Coast Stadium and you would have been forgiven for thinking that would have been the biggest margin of the night. Queue, the Brisbane Broncos and the most gutless performance perhaps ever seen on an NRL field. No heart, no intensity. High kicks allowed to bounce, poor work rate off the ball and Brodie Croft's 'attempt' at tackle just prior to the Tigers' third try was simply embarrassing.
Journo's in Brisbane will be turning the heat up at Red Hill this week, what happens next with the Broncos? The mighty have fallen and there doesn't appear an end in sight.
Saturday afternoon the Bulldogs almost won for new coach Steve Georgallis but a late try to Corey Norman gave the Dragons the late victory. All of a sudden, the Dragons are one win outside the Top 8, 3-4 weeks ago, Paul McGregor could have been forgiven for checking Seek for available positions. Big game against the Sharks this week, could they make it 3 in a row? For the Dogs, they showed fight, they always do but they have a distinct lack of talent and a game against the Knights next week looks difficult!
A couple of belters in the two other Saturday night games, Newcastle getting off to a flyer on the back of a resurgent Kalyn Ponga. 20 to nil looked comfortable until Souths made a remarkable comeback, falling just short of a famous victory. Both these teams I think will find themselves in the 5th-8th bracket by season's end.
What about Manly? Took it to Parra early and held on to break their losing streak and knock the Eels off. Parra haven't been able to confirm in anyone's mind, or perhaps it's just mine, that they are a top shelf team, coach Brad Arthur dishing out a fairly passionate post-match spray.
Maybe I am being harsh, but the Roosters and Storm still seem the testing material, whilst the Eels, Panthers and perhaps the Raiders are the teams that sit in the tier or two below. Sound fair? Good on DCE and Manly, that win gets their finals hopes right back on track and with a game this week against the Cowboys, they could sneak into the Top 8 by this time next week.
To be fair, it didn't present as an overly exciting Sunday of NRL. The Sharks destroyed the poor old Warriors, not much to say about that one, whilst the Cowboys fought hard but ultimately were outclassed by the Panthers who moved to the top of the table. Looks as though they might make the spot atop the NRL ladder home for a few weeks at least with the Titans next Sunday, no betting in that match!