It might be lost in the shuffle of Origin coming up, but there’s only nine weeks remaining in the 2019 NRL regular season for some teams, only eight games.
The ladder is very congested and perhaps only the Storm would be feeling secure about being able to ride a form slump and still play in September.
What we saw on the weekend though is that every team can be beaten and there’s no clear favourite from start to finish.
Sunday was undoubtedly the highlight though with the Panthers and Bulldogs pulling off upset wins.
We have our regular five takeaways for your Monday morning reading as we go through the numbers from the weekend that was in the NRL.
1 – Defence Dominates the Weekend
If we were going to go for a silly pun to sum up the weekend, we could say it was “underwhelming” but firstly, we’re better than that and secondly, we might have already used it.
All eight games went under the total points line on the weekend which is the first clean sweep for any of the numbers we track in this column.
The highest scoring game of the round was Manly’s 30-12 win over the Gold Coast which would have covered every other total this weekend but with a super high 43.5 which was the largest total since the Manly-Souths game in Round 4.
All in all it was a weekend for defences though and there may be a few good under plays coming up in next week’s games.
The Broncos have gone under in 10 of 14 games while the Sharks have gone under in six of their 14 so don’t be at all surprised if it’s a race to 16 points.
2 – Time to Panic About Souths
Alright Souths fans, now you can panic.
It has been a brutal stretch for the Bunnies as they lost their fourth straight game, going down to the Tigers on Thursday night.
That bye week couldn’t be more necessary as this side needs a real wake up call.
Of course it does all seem like a massive first world problem since they are still in second spot on the ladder and at worst will be in third place by the time their next game kicks off but you have to wonder if this is a sign of things to come.
3 – Storm Surge
The Storm continued their run as the best away team in the NRL with a win against the Roosters on Friday night.
Ok there is a bit of stretching going on here since the Storm were the designated away side but didn’t have to travel as far as the Roosters as they took to the Adelaide Oval.
But at 6-1 head to head and 5-2 against the spread on the road, it’s still a reminder this side is looking very strong.
Up next is a trip to take on the Dragons in Sydney on Thursday night.
4 – Penrith Undercut the Warriors
It turned out to be the game of the round at Mt Smart Stadium as the Panthers picked up their fifth win on the trot with a 19-18 golden point thriller.
Sure, winning five straight is impressive enough but to do that after thinking they’d scored the winning try with 90 seconds remaining only to give up a penalty that would level up the scores.
It’s also their fifth straight game which has gone under, pushing their record against the points total on the season to 5-10.
For the time being, you could do worse than continuing to back the Panthers and the under although they do have a bye coming up which could kill their momentum.
As a point of comparison, the Knights also won five in a row leading into their bye in Round 12 and managed to beat the Rabbitohs after a week off before falling to the Storm the following week.
For the Panthers, you have a whole fortnight to decide if you want to back them to continue their momentum when they take on the Titans after Origin 3.
5 – Moving Day?
With half the competition on a bye this weekend and a few players missing for Origin, there’s only a couple of choices for the game of the round.
Wests will look to extend their winning streak to three when they take on the Roosters in a game that both sides have plenty to gain from a positive result.
Just four points splits second from ninth and these two sides will look to take advantage of their game in hand this weekend and make a move up the ladder.
Wests have been a very strong side at home, going 5-2 head to head and against the spread while the Roosters are 4-3 on their travels so far.