Almanac Rugby League – 2022 NRL Round 17 Review: As His Bobness said, ‘When you ain’t got nothing you ain’t got nothing to lose’.


I may be a bit biased but you’d have to admit that the highlight of the weekend’s truncated Round 17 was the free-wheeling performance of the grossly undermanned Brisbane Broncos as they ran through, around and over the St George Illawarra Dragons. But more on that later.


The opening clash between the Sharks and the Storm had the pundits heavily supporting the Storm. I begged to differ because I think the Storm are in a genuine bit of strife through both injury and poor team dynamics. And so it proved to be as the Sharks were in control throughout and ran away with a comprehensive win. The Cheese didn’t help their cause with his sin binning, albeit after the result had been decided, but Smith’s frustration was an indication of where I think the Storm are at this point in the season. T they’re just not at the level we expect from them and which they expect of themselves – it seems to be playing on their collective minds. But full credit to the Sharks who were also below strength, especially without Hynes, but played an intense and more full width game to deserve their win. The recent strong form of the often criticised Matt Moylan has been a huge plus for the Sharks. They’re looking good for a top four spot at the moment.


The Rabbitohs are also showing glimpses of regaining their mojo as they overcame a slow start to overrun the Knights by 40-28. Yet again we saw that if Cody Walker keeps his mind on the job and allows his skills to be his focus then Souths have a style and a flow that is both appealing and effective. Latrell Mitchell is also coming into ominous form as he gets back into the swing of things after an extended time out. It looks like Souths can now go on to lock in a finals spot although top four might be out of the question. The Knights put up a half decent fight for a while but can’t find that last bit of ‘click’ that would turn them from maybes to likelies. You might say that they’re better than 12th but not really 8th material. The higher rating will come with better discipline and an 80 minute effort.


The Wests Tigers also started well before reality kicked in and the Eels trotted off to a comfortable 28-20 win. The scoreline was flattering to the Tigers after they scored two late tries. If their season could be summed up in one incident, then the air swing by Luke Brooks as he tried to kick the ball dead was it. He missed, the Eels pounced to score and it knocked the stuffing out of a hapless, luckless outfit. Perhaps it was doubly cruel that it was Brooks who was beaten by the wicked bounce of the oblong ball – the poor bloke can’t take a trick! Like Souths, the Eels appear to have stabilised somewhat and now appear fairly safe in the top eight but things will have to go their way if they are to crack the top four,


But it was the Broncos who were the surprise packet of the weekend. Missing as many as 13 players from their top 30, they cobbled together a rag tag collection of a few regulars, several fringe players and a ring-in or two – a bit like the parable where the host tells his servants to ‘go out into the highways and the byways and compel them to come in’ and put on a jersey to make up a team. And when they got together in the dressing sheds they played Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a rolling stone’, with particular emphasis on the line ‘when you ain’t got nothing you ain’t got nothing to lose’. I’m not sure what Kevin Walters said to them but what we then saw a flashback to the Broncos of old with a free-spirited, free-wheeling, hard-running, expansive, attacking effort that belied all pre-match predictions. Yes, they made some schoolboy errors with a series of forward passes and poor options but you couldn’t fault the effort, the desperate defence and the sheer exuberance of some of their play. More please!


By contrast, the Dragons looked as if they just expected it all to happen for them because they had the more settled combination. But ill discipline (Tariq Sims especially), clunky combinations and inexplicably poor last play options hampered their chances. How they missed the cool head of Ben Hunt! When they did click, for example Cody Ramsey’s first half try, they looked very good indeed, but it was a rare highlight in an otherwise lacklustre effort. Maybe they were due for a miss but their connections will regard this as a badly missed opportunity for two competition points. They now slip out of the top eight on points differential and might find it hard to get back in.


It may have been a weekend of only four games, but what a tale they had to tell!


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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.

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