Almanac Rugby League: NRL Round 4 Roundup

If there’s something you just don’t want in any competition, it’s a situation where the haves and the have nots get sorted out early on in the season and you then have to hang around for months before the inevitable teams make the finals and the rest get set for Mad Monday. So, in that context, it was a good weekend for the NRL, primarily because the results threw a lot of preconceived ideas out the door!

 

There were a couple of inevitable results. The Roosters had a training run at Lang Park and badly exposed the Broncos for the pretenders they are. No surprises there. The Storm accounted for the Rabbitohs in Melbourne yet again to maintain a perfect record against Souths at AMMI Park. But credit to the visitors who pushed hard all the way only to fail to complete the task even though they had their chances. Melbourne were just that bit classier in their finishing. So we know that the Roosters and the Storm will be there in October. Brisbane won’t be, Souths  may be.

 

But that’s where the certainties ended. The previously winless Sharks travelled north, found their rhythm and touched up the favoured Cowboys. I half suspected this might happen even though I tipped the home team. But one win does not a season make, so I’ll hold back on any pronouncement about the Sharks just yet. As for the Cowboys? Yet to convince me they’ve got it – certainly not top four, maybe not even finalists.

 

The Panthers are yet to lose and have shown some good signs but I’m not getting carried away. Let’s see what happens when they take on the Eels on Friday night. The Warriors were back to their inconsistent worst after a good showing the previous week. Given all the hurdles they face every day, it’s hard to escape the thought that the Warriors will be relaxing at home come October.

 

The Eels and the Sea Eagles put on a beauty which will be remembered for the wrong reason. Forget the last minute controversy; remember it instead for the good game that it was. Two certain finalists here, and possibly both top four material. The Eels are looking good but have had three easy games out of four; the next three against more highly rated outfits will tell us more.

 

The Dragons are now officially wooden spoon favourites after another awful performance against the Bulldogs. On paper they look good but it’s almost three hours since St George scored a try. It could get ugly behind closed doors at Kogarah. At the Bulldogs, Dean Pay gets to breathe a bit longer but gets no real relief because the Roosters are next on Sunday afternoon!

 

Then there were the upsets. The Knights are unbeaten and look to have found some real grit, but next up are the Storm – let’s see how that plays out. The Raiders had a rare poor day and I’m not reading too much into it. Two sure finalists here. The Titans came from a long way behind to win at the death; Wests Tigers will be dirty on themselves for letting that one get away. Many more of those and they can kiss the finals goodbye. Good on the Titans but I, like most punters, can’t see them anywhere but in the bottom quarter of the ladder.

 

Game of the week goes to Eels v Sea Eagles – spirited, exciting and a grandstand finish. Team of the week goes to the Titans – when a struggling club which hasn’t won for 364 days can twice come back from double digit deficits and win on a final roll of the dice, they deserve some credit. It may not happen too often this year, so let them have their moment while they can. Player of the week goes to Maika Sivo who showed that he is more than just a big, brutal bulldozer. His flick pass to Jennings was high class. Unlucky to miss out were Cameron Munster who showed all his skills in Melbourne’s win and Luke Keary who orchestrated the Roosters masterfully. The refs, as a whole, had another good weekend barring one poor call.

 

Final note: If the talk of the weekend is about one contentious call on a forward pass, then we know that ‘normal service has resumed’. I think we hoped for more.

 

@blenheimboy2

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au

Comments

  1. Liam Hauser says

    I don’t know who’s under more pressure: McGregor or Seibold. I think it could only be a matter of time before McGregor cops the axe.
    If a team goes poorly, I can never understand why the coach is usually the first scapegoat. They’re not the ones who are dropping the ball, missing tackles and conceding penalties.
    I’m not sure where the problem lies with the Dragons. With the Broncos, I think the management and recruiting are the main issues.
    I’m not sure if Seibold is part of the problem or a victim of the overall mess.
    I know the Broncos have injuries and suspensions, but it defies belief that the rich club just doesn’t have the cattle/personnel/playing stocks. The highest paid players (Milford and Boyd) have been appalling, quite frankly. Alex Glenn was made captain soon after the club was ready to part with him. Go figure!
    Seibold also made some quote last Thursday night about when the Roosters were depleted in 2016 and lost 46-0 to Melbourne, with a certain number of young players. How weird. I don’t expect coaches to know these things about other clubs. I can’t help but think Seibold did his research beforehand to come up with a premeditated and rehearsed answer/comment, in anticipation that his team would get thrashed.

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