Eels and Rabbitohs draw 16 all at ANZ Stadium; the Bunnies struggling to mentally come down off their last gasp win against the Tigers the week before, they looked a little tired and disinterested for the most part, scored two fortunate tries to keep themselves in front for most of the match. Merritt a standout for his side and Crocker will be better for the run. The Eels were hampered by several injuries and while they were rudderless without a quality half and pivot, their effort kept them in this game along with the unstoppable form of Jarryd Hayne. Eels will fancy themselves next week against fellow strugglers, the Sharks.
Broncos 20 pip Tigers 18 at Campbelltown, heavily backed Brisbane were lucky to get this one, only a fortunate call from the video referee and some poor kicking from Benji Marshall allowed the visitors to sneak home. The Tigers have good confidence in their attack at the moment and are purely down on luck, if they can remain patient in the weeks ahead they will be OK. The Broncos have enough strike power to win most matches, and when a few things fell their way – they are always good enough to sieze the moment. Still feel the Broncos forwards aren’t quite playing for the full 80 minutes, scary to think this side can get much better.
Dragons 26 def Sharks 4 at Shark Park. Fortunately the Shire locals came out to support their under-fire team, but it wasn’t quite enough. Despite a gutsy effort in the first half, keeping the Dragons to only 4 points – Cronulla just couldn’t go with them. Saints remained patient and their class shone through, the defence of Beau Scott remains close to NRL best, this guy is a machine. Attacking plays from the Dragons continue to improve and their passing selection and depth is looking very sharp. Cronulla are trying, but don’t have anywhere near the talent to compete it seems. Gallen, while having ability, continues to let frustration and dirty tactics take away from his play. He’s always played on the borderline, but he needs to bring it back several notches. A good showing from Toupu who needed to fire up after a few quiet weeks.
Bulldogs 26 def Storm 10 at Gosford, interestingly some poor crowds have turned up at Bluetongue of late, which would be of concern to the Bears franchise. While weather was only average, the locals need to continue to vote with their feet to keep themselves on the radar of the NRL. With the Sharks close to the grave, there could be an SOS to a new franchise very soon and these guys need to be ready. Now to the footy, some physical, committed play by the Dogs continues to see them grow and grow. They are reaching the level where they can win even when slightly off their game. Losing Noddy early was a worry, but they didn’t flinch, they continued to play smart footy with a great balance of risk / safety. The Storm would be better for the test, but it shows they are still a way off the top teams. Slater continues to place himself in the best of all time, such is his form. Melbourne forwards aren’t dominating like they used to.
Panthers 48 smack Roosters 6 at CUA Stadium, the Mountain men continue their resurgence on the back of Luke Walsh and his conducting. His arrival has seen them lift to a new level, under Walsh this outfit have not lost a match, they are 4 from 4. While it’s clear the Panthers turned on the points, their defence was unbelievable. They scrambled and fought all night to virtually keep a clean sheet, this showing will have coach Elliott stoked and has them primed for a decent shot at the Top 8 come years end. Jennings was again unstoppable scoring 3, as was Luke Lewis who has virtually rediscovered his vintage top shelf game. For the Roosters, its really all over. The experiment of putting Anasta at fullback was bizzare and certainly didn’t work, Fittler claiming he wanted the his playmaker out of the defence line?Â The most worrying sign for the Bondi men was their lack of effort, they simply shut up shop and were completely smashed.