5 Lessons Learned – NRL Round 5

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Shutouts, blowouts, upsets, comebacks and… unfortunately injuries were the headline makers for Round 5 of the NRL.

Some games had nailbiting finishes, others were over pretty much straight after the opening kickoff.

On top of all of that we are forced to say farewell to a legend of the game as Greg Inglis retired this morning.

Read on for our five big takeaways from the weekend that was in the NRL.

1 – Injuries Take Centre Stage

It’s never what you want to be the leading headline after a weekend of rugby league but, it has to take centre stage after some key players went down.

Aside from the usual bumps and bruises collected over the weekend, there were a number of serious injuries that have to be taken into account going forward.

Nene Macdonald is likely gone for the season for the Cowboys, his move up north hasn’t quite gone the way he would have hoped.

Elsewhere Aidan Guerra suffered a similarly serious injury in the Knights loss to the Sea Eagles.

The Newcastle second rower might have started every game off the bench this season but was still a contributor for the team that will need to be replaced.

Even though it is a team sport, the injury lists have to be monitored every week as one absence could be the difference between a team being a good or bad bet.

2 – Early Underdogs Rally

If you backed the favourites at the line in every game this weekend, you would have had a frustrating start as the underdogs covered in each of the first five games.

It started with the Tigers pulling off an upset at Suncorp and ran right through to Manly’s win in the Hunter.

Of course two of those underdogs, the Cowboys and Warriors did go down head to head and they were on the end of the biggest lines (+7.5) of the weekend.

For the first time since Round 2 there were no double digit favourites although that weekend saw the favourites cover in seven of the eight games.

So far this season the favourites have covered the line in 22 of 40 games so it’s not like there’s a massive swing one way or another but the way it’s trending right now, if you see a big line, back the underdogs to at least keep it close.

3 – Overs Rule the Roost

One result that seems to go one way or another is the points total, a week after one game went over, there were five this weekend, the equal best performance of the season.

There’s not a lot of consistency week to week in this market, the overs totals have gone, 2, 4, 5, 1, 5 so it’s not like there’s a great trend to follow league wide.

Instead the value might come from finding teams that tend to have a lot or a little amount of points in their games.

Three teams have had four games go over the total points line, with the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Warriors all having plenty of points in their games so far.

The Roosters only loss in a game that went over was the Round 1 defeat to the Rabbitohs who have gone 4-0 in those games, while the Warriors went over in their first up win, but have lost every other high scoring game since.

On the other end of the scale, a whole lot more teams have gone under the total points line just once so far.

The Tigers, Broncos, Eels, Sharks, Raiders, Panthers and Knights are all in that category, although at least in the case of the Broncos, it has been close.

In their defeat to the Tigers, it was the third time this season the game went under the total points line by a half point.

Remarkably though, it’s the Storm that are the only team yet to have a game go over the points line.

The defensive maestros of the competition have given up just 52 points at an average of just over 10 per game, meaning they would generally need to score 28 or more to cover their line.

4 – Raiders Shutout Win… Again

There have been two shutouts this NRL season, both have been done on the back of phenomenal defence by the Canberra Raiders.

It should not be too surprising to see the Raiders on the list above having only had one game go over so far this season.

Interestingly enough though, their one game that did go over, was the only Round 4 game to do that.

So will we see a low scoring clash on Easter Sunday as everyone comes down from their sugar high?

Perhaps considering the Broncos have only had one game go over this season themselves.

5 – Inglis will Be Missed

Technically this came after Round 5 but with this morning’s breaking news, it’s fair to pay tribute to the retiring Greg Inglis.

It’s fair to say the Rabbitohs will miss him, but with a breaking down body, Inglis is leaving the game having achieved pretty much everything he could have.

What will that do for the Rabbitohs going forward?

Well Inglis hasn’t played since their Round 2 win over the Dragons and the club has had three relatively tight games since then.

They are still a pretty good side even without their skipper but now there’s a sense of finality to it, how will the react against the Bulldogs on Friday night?