It was a massive weekend of action in the NRL with the Dogs continuing to stay alive in the finals race, the Storm just about sealing the minor premiership and the NRL Finals picture remaining anyone’s guess.
In short, it was just another weekend of rugby league for us all to enjoy.
If you’re punting on the final two weeks of the regular season its worth putting a little bit more thought into it than your average week with so much still up in the air.
Which clubs want to play spoiler and which clubs will go into the next week prioritising health over results are just two of the questions you’ll have to ask yourself before next week kicks off.
We can help out with that with our Five Lessons Learned from NRL Round 23
1 – Bulldogs Continue to Bark
Better late than never, the Bulldogs continued their run as one of the most in form NRL sides.
They picked up their fourth straight win and fifth straight cover with a Thursday night victory away to the Eels, who have been a pretty strong side at Bankwest.
While their finals hopes are still slim at best, they have given themselves a chance and can continue their run with a win up in Townsville this Thursday night.
For the Cowboys the last two games are basically just playing out the draw before the time off can begin.
It would be remiss to think they will just roll over for the Bulldogs though, but it just shows it won’t be easy.
That being said, Bulldogs and the under does look pretty tempting plus it keeps the fun storyline in play into the final round.
2 – Bunnies Double Life?
It certainly wasn’t pretty but for Souths, it was just the result they needed after three straight losses.
Whatever your thoughts on the sin binning of James Roberts and Jardn Su’A, you have to admire the efforts of the Souths players still on the park in that 20 minute span.
Remarkably, despite being down a man, Souths actually finished ahead in that time by a score of 6-2.
You would have been forgiven for thinking when Kotoni Staggs bowled over with four minutes remaining, the Broncos would pull off one of those Suncorp miracles.
It wasn’t to be for the Broncos but they still managed to stay in the top eight and with the Eels coming to town next, they still have plenty to play for.
As for the Bunnies, well that at least kept them in touch with the Raiders and Manly with a trip to New Zealand coming up next.
3 – The Haves and Have Nots
Sometimes, form can be a funny thing to read.
In this case though, it’s pretty well clear, the sides in the top eight are the ones in good form right now, while the ones on the outside looking in are paying for some poor recent results.
Seven of the teams in finals positions today have won three or more of their last five games, with only the Rabbitohs sitting below 50%.
Six members of the bottom eight have lost at least four of their last five including the Titans who have lost five straight with their last win coming in early June.
For sides like Penrith, there is a lot on the line as they need to find a way to stop the skid but it will be tough coming up against the Roosters who are in flying form as finals get closer.
4 – Storming Home
Thanks to their win over the Titans the Storm locked up a top two finish on Sunday and put one hand plus four fingers on the minor premiership.
What was of note though, is the fact they failed to cover the spread which was a massive 20.5 points at one stage.
At home the Storm have actually gone 4-7 against the spread this season and could have a huge line to cover in the final game against the Cowboys at home.
It’s really a first world problem for them to deal with.
Because of the scheduling, they can claim the minor premiership this Saturday evening when they take on Manly at Brookvale.
5 – Backing the Run Home
With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, there’s still any number of outcomes for the finals picture, so it might be a good time to do some forward thinking with your betting strategy.
You can back markets on all 16 remaining games in the NRL season so one option is to work out what needs to happen for a team to finish in a certain spot and look at that.
For example, the Bulldogs can make the final if they win their remaining two games, plus the Eels, Roosters, Titans and Dragons win in Round 25 plus the Sharks and Knights win in Round 26, although the odds of 304.16 at the time of writing should give you an idea of the likelihood of that happening.
You can also back teams to win out over the last fortnight in a multi so get studying and find your bets!