The Chooks deserve their spot atop the perch at the end of Round 1, it’s literally been a case from the outhouse to the penthouse. Carney performed out of his skin, Nate Myles is reinvented and the key halves in Anasta and Pearce look to be much happier.
Grubbers Comment: Has Nate Myles been to Jenny Craig or was it Tony Fergusons Diet?
2. St George Dragons
Conjured up a 94 percent completion rate, which is unheard of. Probably should have scored more points, but their attack structure was good and their defence was in good knick for early season. Crushed any doubt about their lost stars, Jason Nightingale is more than capable on the flanks and if Hornby has a big year – they have a double threat.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Dell making a comeback now 450/1
3. Newcastle Knights
Pulled off a huge upset against the fancied Dogs. Not only did they face pressure, but they had Kurt Gidley, Issac De Gois and Ben Rogers all not playing. Given the enthusiasm of Cory Patterson, Steve Simpson and Ben Cross – if they can keep it up, forget the spoon – it could be Top 8.
Grubbers Comment: Amount of medical opinions coach Rick Stone will want on Iassac De Gois before he lets him play? 4-5
4. Penrith Panthers
As expected, the streamlined Panthers were too good for the traveling Raiders. At lot to like about Lachlan Coote and Adrian Purtell. Seem to be a well balanced side this year and if they can plug some holes in their line, could be a Top 8 chance. Only concern for Penny is the players missing out, Sammut and Graham might be on the outter given the form of the starting side and that might create friction down the line.
Grubbers Comment: Reason given for leaving Sammut out of first grade side? 3/1 Poor Haircut 6/1 Poor Tattoo
5. Brisbane Broncos
Stunned everyone. The baby faced assassins made short work of the Titans and even had a touch of flare to boot. Unearthed a possible Karmichael Hunt replacement in Cory Norman and the confidence given from this win is invaluable. Interesting to see how they perform on the road, a great start – but will need to prove consistency with such an inexperienced side currently running around.
Grubbers Comment: Odds Justin Hodges is becoming the most injured player ever? 6/1Â (Closing gap quickly on the likes of Ryles, Young and Benji Marshall)
6. Gold Coast Titans
Performed a get-out-of-jail act here, but even though they played poorly – still managed to get a win. When this side begins to gel expect some big wins. A lot to like about their forward pack and talented halves, if both remain consistent then the younger backs will be on autopilot. Will be very hard to beat at Skilled Park this year, expect a big game from Greg Bird next week after the former Origin rep started flat in Round 1.
Grubbers Comment: Estimated cost of Brad Meyers much needed trip to barbers? $350
7. Wests Tigers
Were hyped up prior to this game, but needed to really hit the gas late in the piece to sneak home. At times looked a little disorganised, but their trademark attack on the fringes remains which is a positive sign. Sub forwards Cayless, Moors and Flanagan didn’t add enough impact it seemed. The Tigers will be keen to get Todd Payten back in the frame ASAP and would be happy with Lote settling in quickly.
Grubbers Comment: Amount of TV viewers that understood what Gareth Ellis said when interviewed for Man of the Match? 15-20
8. Melbourne Storm
Were a little flat at Shark Park, but when playing Cronulla most sides struggle to get any cohesion given the negative nature of their game. Did enough to win and this will probably make Bellamy happy given the reshuffle needed to cover for injured Cronk. Having Smith at half took away from his impact around the ruck, however in a good sign it seems Aiden Tolman has lifted to cover for the loss of workhorse Dallas Johnson in defence.
Grubbers Comment: Odds of the Storm missing the Top 8? 1000/1
9. Manly Sea Eagles
The Eagles were flying high for most of their match, but uncharacteristically got violent and started whacking opponents in the head. Forward pack did well considering L’strange, Hall and Cuthbertson all walked away at the end of 2009. Jamie Lyon was extremely impressive in the halves and looks strong enough to play the leading role while Foran can take a back row seat until he develops more. Just couldn’t finish the job. Will find it hard next week with Rose, Kite and Foran all expected to be outed by the judiciary and Brett Stewart out with injury.
Grubbers Comment: Honorable mention to Steve Matai for getting through an entire NRL game without going down injured. No sign of neck, leg or shoulder clutching.
10. Parramatta Eels
Were talked up deluxe prior to kickoff, but were ambushed by the near perfect Saints. The Eels however won’t be too worried just yet, despite having virtually no possession and up against a perfect completion rate by the Dragons – they only lost by 6 and nearly stole it at the death. Will be disappointed in losing Shackleton for the season given the spend on the upcoming backrower – although Tahu slotted back in nicely and Poore didn’t do too much wrong.
Grubbers Comment: Truth in the rumour Shackleton has been offered a gymnastics contract? 12/1
11. NZ Warriors
Luck might have been captaining this side, but they certainly didn’t get much luck in this game. Played so well for the most part, and punched above their weight given the amount of new faces in the side. Always a tough road trip to the Gold Coast, however Ivan Cleary will come away not too down hearted after this game. Hohaia was very good at the back and might keep McKinnon out and the new halfback Brett Seymour was ideal at 7 and kicked to perfection for the most part. Desperate for Steve Price and Simon Mannering to get back on deck.
Grubbers Comment: Estimated number of Round before Ivan Cleary is shown the door? 8-10
12. Canberra Raiders
The Green Machine were never expected to win at Penrith, but they showed some positive signs. Got a little ambushed early, but old faces such as Scott Logan and Alan Tongue were working themselves to a standstill in a good sign for the club. Dugan is a real prospect and if Herbert can have a big year and take pressure off Campese then this side will win most of their home games.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of new assistant coach Any McFadden making the run on side should the team struggle? 40/1
13. North Queensland Cowboys
JT and the boys were expected to whip the kindergarten Broncos but just missed out. Were guilty of going to sleep in patches and possibly took this game too lightly given their heavy favouritism. This side desperately need a positive start to this year for confidence reasons. Will be happy with the role Willie Mason played from the bench, but coach Neil Henry would be a little nervous over the first up loss. Could be a tough year for these boys.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of the JT contract circus ending anytime soon? Slim to none.
14. Cronulla Sharks
More of the same from the Shire boys. Played much like they did in 2009, despite having several new faces in the team. Sure, they were playing the Storm – but they need some belief before they’ll win any games. Forwards were again tradesman like, Gallen hasn’t curbed his temper one little bit and the outside backs look like they would have more chance scoring at a local establishment than on the NRL field. Need something to fall their way.
Grubbers Comment: Odds Ricky Stuart will be on suicide watch by mid-season? 10/1
15. Canterbury Bulldogs
Would have been the biggest talking point of Round 1 had Souths not got smashed by the Chooks. The Doggies were really caught by surprise by Newcastle and the first 20 minutes saw the likes of Hannant, Ennis and Hodgson all being steamrolled. Got some momentum late in this game, but the horse had already bolted. Good to see rookie half Ben Barba getting some game time, as he is the future for this club. Should bounce back hard in Round 2, but will miss Ennis who will be suspended.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Jamaal Idris linking with Lote Tiquiri to form a Milli Vanilli style duo? 50/1
16. South Sydney Rabbitohs
The only people who would have enjoyed the Bunnies losing apart from Roosters faithful, would be Jason Taylor and George Piggins. Both love seeing Souths struggle given their falling out with club bosses Russell Crowe and co. However, with such a media focus – South Sydney need to really perform or they could have every critic on their backs by Round 3. Worked hard in the engine room, but just dropped too much ball. Admittedly, the Roosters were hot and played extremely well. John Lang isn’t the kind of guy to panic. So it’s not the end of the world just yet.
Grubbers Comment: Chances of Dave Taylor talking to the media again at length this year? Slim to none.