Almanac Rugby League – NRL Round 5 Wrap

I saw nothing this weekend to change my comment of last week that several clubs are already firm favourites to wear the ‘also ran’ tag by the end of the month. In fact, I’m tempted to go so far as to say that I think there are only four or five teams capable of winning the flag this year – Storm, Roosters, Raiders, Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles. The Dragons might be smokies.


From this group, the Roosters impress the most across the park, the Storm keep winning but haven’t imposed themselves to be totally convincing, the Raiders haven’t really beaten anyone of note yet, the Rabbitohs look good in patches (but were within one score of going down after 60 minutes on Saturday), and the Sea Eagles aren’t fully convincing yet. The Dragons have won their last two but are less than overwhelming. I’ll say it again – it’s hard to go past the Roosters at this stage.


It’s not hard to tell who won’t feature – the Knights, Broncos, Titans, Cowboys and Bulldogs! They are gone! Already three wins out of the top four after five rounds, you just can’t see any of them mounting a challenge.


In the middle we have Wests Tigers, Eels, Sharks, Warriors and Panthers, all losers this weekend bar the Tigers who were gifted a win by the rudderless Broncos. The Warriors probably put up the best show with a gutsy effort against the Rabbitohs.


There are a couple of telling match-ups over the Easter weekend but we’ll look at them next time.


The Rabbitohs v Warriors game at Sunshine Coast Stadium before a sellout crowd just shy of 12,000 was entertaining. This was the first of three annual matches that South Sydney intends to play here and so they might given the clear enthusiasm of the fans. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck showed why he is the reigning Dally M medallist with another mercurial performance and probably polled a couple votes. His pack was very strong but they need a bit more in the halves. Cody Walker got the headlines with four tries of his own and an exciting running game to get Souths back into the game when they looked gone. Damian Cook picks and chooses his moments well in attack (usually off the back of a quick play-the-ball) and is an excellent defender. It’s amazing what a good Nos. 9, 7 and 6 combination can create with skill, vision and pace. (Are you watching, Broncos?) And those Burgess twins – they are big units! (Actually, have you noticed the similarities in looks, not physiques, between Sam Burgess and JTH? Have a look.)


So it was all good, BUT I have a visceral dislike of the NRL’s obsession with the egregious, so-called event entertainment in the form of persistent, invasive, ear-bleedingly raucous and utterly unnecessary and irrelevant bursts of DJ-programmed music during any and every break in play. Bloody hell, it’s a game of footy, for crying out loud! We, the fans, go there for the footy, not this crap distraction. It adds nothing, NOTHING to the experience other than frustration. It is not, I repeat NOT, entertaining in the least. Like JPY from the 70s, ‘I hate the music’, but only in this context.


Yet another milestone passed by Storm captain Cameron Smith as he becomes the highest scorer in the history of the code. GOAT? Maybe, certainly the most enduring but possibly the greatest in maintaining such a high standard of performance for so long. An Immortal in waiting, undoubtedly.


Not a bad weekend of tipping – 5 out of 8 again, should have been 6 with the Broncos, and who would have tipped the Titans?


Meanwhile, in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup, the Sunshine Coast Falcons have emerged as premiership favourites after a strong win over Easts Tigers by 30-6. The Tigers were never in it as the Falcons burst out of the blocks and never looked back. Todd Murphy was in everything and Nathaneal McGavin played an excellent winger’s game. Albert Vete and Billy Walters tried hard for Easts but received little support.


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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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