We now have a 160 minute sample size on every NRL team and the gap between the haves and have nots is already quite wide.
Two rounds into the 2021 NRL season and five teams remain unbeaten, all in differing styles while another five find themselves chasing their first win.
We’ve compiled our five big takeaways from the eight games this past weekend and have them below.
1 – Play The Conditions
By now we have all seen the horrendous conditions sweeping through New South Wales and Queensland over the weekend and it was no surprise to see the successful teams were the ones that adapted to the wet weather.
Overall scoring was down compared to last week at a rate of almost five points per game.
There were 285 points across the eight games and three of them had under 30 total points.
Five games went under the total points number and a total of 10 teams scored 20 points or fewer.
With the combination of poor weather and the way certain teams matched up with one another, it was a good week to back the under.
Canberra has begun its season in impressive fashion firstly recording a convincing win over the Tigers before slowing down the Sharks and keeping their side to just 10 points on Sunday night.
2 – It Was A Good Week To Travel
Six of the eight away teams walked away with two competition points from their games this weekend, while five of those six winners managed to cover the line as well.
Just the Eels and Titans managed to defend their home turf as the visiting teams won the weekend in a big way.
The Knights and Dragons both went on the road as underdogs and managed to win their games over the Warriors (in their makeshift home of Gosford) and Cowboys respectively.
The signs are not good early on for the Cowboys and they now face a Titans side that will be full of confidence after collecting their first victory of the season on Friday night.
3 – The Eels Can Close Out Close Games
It may be a bit of a cliché however in this instance it is apt, the good teams know how to hold their nerve at the end of a tight game.
Round 1 saw them come from behind against the Broncos after trailing 16-0 before they hosted the Storm on Thursday night.
It was a tense and tight contest in horrible conditions from the get go and the Eels were able to close out the game with Maika Sivo the difference maker on the night.
There’s no discernible way to measure the exact amount of confidence Parramatta will take out of that performance but it shows they are ready to go in 2021.
Up next for them is a contest against a Sharks side that has already shown a full range of hot and cold performances through the opening two weeks.
4 – The Roosters Are Scoring For Fun
It’s not exactly going out on a limb to say the Roosters are going to be in the premiership mix once again this season but even with the high bar, they have started off 2021 in impressive fashion.
Two wins from two starts by a combined score of 86-10 and the Roosters mean business.
If you’re looking for good bets for an anytime try scorer, the combination of James Tedesco and Brett Morris have tallied 11 tries between them and are worth keeping an eye on until someone decides to try and stop them.
Of course when they do things like this, it’s not exactly easy to do.
If nothing else, an attack that potent certainly makes for fun viewing and the Roosters will take on a Souths side that picked up its first win of the season over Manly.
5 – We Will Learn A Lot About Penrith This Week
It does not matter who you play, holding consecutive opponents scoreless is a phenomenal achievement and the Panthers should be applauded for their efforts through two weeks.
While not much is expected of the Cowboys and Bulldogs in terms of a premiership challenge, they are still sides full of professionals and Penrith has been ruthless so far.
Nobody should expect a third consecutive 0 in the points allowed column this weekend as they take on the Storm, but we will see just how good this Panthers side is.
Can the Panthers take advantage of a Melbourne side playing their third “big game” in a row and second away from home?
There will be a lot to take away from this weekend as Penrith can lay down an early marker against one of their chief Premiership rivals.