Another round of NRL action is in the books and the try scorers took centre stage as the points flowed.
We were treated to the highest scoring weekend of the season with an average of over 50 points per game.
As we do every week, we are ready to recap all of the rugby league action in our 5 Lessons Learned review.
1 – It’s a Two-Horse Race Right Now
How could we not begin with those unbelievable blowouts to kick start the round with the Storm and Panthers defeating Souths and the Sharks by a ridiculous combined margin of 98-0.
While there is still a very long way to go before the finals, and injuries can play a big role in determining a team’s fate, it’s pretty clear who the best two teams in the competition are at the moment.
For the Storm it was their third straight week scoring at least 40 points and arguably their most dominant performance of the season to date.
Not to mention Josh Addo-Carr punctuating his team’s efforts with a lazy 6 tries.
As for the Panthers, a big win should not have come as a surprise considering they closed as 20.5 point favourites over the Sharks.
What was a surprise was their third shutout of the season and their phenomenal defensive record continued for another week.
Round 10 will see that stout defence will be put to the test against a Titans team that is more than capable of putting up a big score on their day.
2 – Parramatta Is Best Placed To Break Up The Duopoly
It’s not exactly going out on a limb to say the team currently in second place is doing well but the Eels have to be the next cab off the rank behind the Storm and Panthers.
Since their Round 5 slip up against the Dragons, they have won four in a row by an average of 25 points, scoring an insane 36 points per game.
They were made to work by an undermanned Roosters side before pulling away late.
Parramatta has been one of the better overs bets with those four games all clearing the total points number with relative ease.
Up next for them is a Warriors team in Magic Round whose defence has not travelled away from Gosford thus far with overs hitting in four of their five trips.
3 – It Was A Bad Week to Back the Tigers
The Wests Tigers opened up as $2.70 outsiders in the head to head market against the Titans before a wave of money came flying in sending them to $1.62 favourites by the time the game kicked off.
It turns out the early market was much more accurate in terms of reading the game with the Titans coming away with a 36-28 win at Campbelltown.
Sure Wests tried to mount a comeback but a 36-12 deficit was too much to overcome and the final scoreline flattered them all things considered.
Can they bounce back against Newcastle next week?
The odds certainly don’t suggest they have much of a chance.
4 – Brisbane and North Queensland Delivered Again
If the NRL were to schedule Broncos and Cowboys to play every week, it would no doubt be the game of the round nine times out of ten.
Not to mention it was also a good win for punters who had taken the Broncos at the line with them covering for the fifth time this season and first time on the road.
Saturday night’s nailbiter in Townsville might have seen a heartbreaking result for the Broncos but you cannot argue against the entertainment value when two rivals play out a game that goes right to the wire.
It takes two teams to play out a game like that and both sides did their best to put on a spectacle.
For what felt like the millionth time the game was decided in the final minutes as Valentine Holmes’ quick drop goal gave his side a huge win.
The big question now is whether or not the Cowboys will have any sort of hangover when they take on the Roosters after a 166 hour recovery period.
5 – Manly Will Go As Far As Their Defence Takes Them
We all know Manly is great with the ball in hand, especially when those hands belong to Tom Trbojevic.
They put on another attacking clinic on Sunday topping 30 points for the third time in four games (understandably falling short of that mark against Penrith) and they took part in the highest scoring game of the round.
While these high scoring, end to end contests are great to watch as a neutral, there has to be a level of concern about their hot and cold defensive record at the moment.
Even though they took care of business against the Titans and Tigers, holding them to a combined six points, conceding 32 in this game has to be a real issue going forward.
As long as they can keep their key man healthy, Manly should be good to for 20 points most weeks, but if they can’t keep the big name opponents below that number they won’t have a chance at the business end of the season.