The NRL is back for another year and that means our weekly recap is making its return as well.
As you would expect after the build up for the new season, there was a lot to take away from the first eight games.
So sit back and find out our 5 Lessons Learned for Round 1.
1 – The Favourites Dominated
The opening round of the 2021 NRL season largely followed the form lines with the favourites winning outright in six of the eight games.
Even more impressive is the fact that five of the six favourites won by double digit margins and had an average gap of 20.33 points in those games, despite no line reaching double digits.
Both the Storm (+1) and Warriors (+1.5) recorded victories that were technically upsets however it’s pretty easy to see just how closely those two games were perceived to be.
The only favourite to win and not cover was the Eels who had to overcome a 16-0 halftime deficit against the Broncos.
That line spent most of the week in the Eels -8.5 range however if you managed to get them when it briefly dropped to -7.5 it would have been a fairly miraculous cover.
Had you backed every favourite to cover on the Ladbrokes $2 Lines you would have produced a 125% ROI for Round 1, not a bad way to kick off the new season.
2 – Melbourne Is Still Very, Very Good
No Cameron Smith, no worries for the Storm.
The somewhat hopeful suggestions that the NRL powerhouse might waver with the retirement of their legend appear to have missed the mark as they came away with a 26-18 victory over Souths.
It feels like it might be a bit of a jinx but after two decades, it’s fair to wonder if they will ever lose in Round 1 again.
it’s not as though they were given a minor speedbump to run over either, with Souths seen as one of their chief rivals in the NRL Grand Final market.
Up next is another big test as they head north to take on fellow first up winners the Eels.
3 – So Are The Roosters
After the (relative) disappointment of a fourth place finish and straight sets exit in 2020, the Roosters flexed their muscles early on in the 2020 season.
Manly could not do a whole lot as they were forced to sit back and watch a Roosters onslaught, outscored nine tries to one.
It was pretty clear early on what the course of the match was going to be as James Tedesco opened his account for 2021 with this leaping effort.
Last season the Roosters got off to a very slow start, dropping their first two games but there was no stumble out of the blocks this time around.
4 – There Was Plenty Of Scoring
Despite three teams being held to single digit scores, the average points total was up significantly on Round 1 in 2020.
In the eight games, we saw 323 points at an average of 40.375 per game, a huge raise on the 30.375 last season and the 34.75 in the post-COVID resumption round as well.
Despite that only four games went over their total points lines however both the Broncos-Eels (41.5) and Raiders-Tigers (43.5) finished just under their respective numbers.
Unsurprisingly, the Sharks, who finished with 16 overs in their 20 regular season games in 2020, saw their game go over as they came away with a convincing 30-12 win over the Dragons.
With teams still rounding into in-season fitness after a condensed preseason, don’t be surprised if the points continue to pile up in the next few weeks before combinations begin to settle.
5 – There’s A Perfect Bounce Back Opportunity For The Titans And Broncos
There is plenty to look forward to on the Gold Coast this Friday as the Broncos and Titans both chase their first wins of the season.
Brisbane put together a very impressive first half against the Eels before fading late while the Titans will know they cannot perform any worse than they did against the Warriors.
Last season the Titans won both clashes against the Broncos but this contest is promising to be a very tight affair.
Perhaps the return home is just what the Titans will be looking for, or perhaps the Broncos will build on their opening 40 minutes from last week.