Just four games made up Round 13 of the 2021 NRL season and it was not a great weekend for close finishes.
Outside of Saturday’s Storm B v Titans contest, the other three games were decided by 20 points or more.
Admittedly the Origin enforced byes are a big upgrade over seeing majorly depleted teams in the build up to the representative games but it does leave you wanting more on a Sunday.
Right now you might be asking, “how will they find five takeaways from just 4 games of rugby league?”
Well read on and find out!
1 – Ben Hunt Deserves His Call Up
He may have had his ups and downs over the course of his career, but few can argue against Ben Hunt joining the Maroons State of Origin camp this week.
While he probably won’t see the field on Wednesday night in Townsville, Queensland will have to be happy with the form his is bringing into camp as a late replacement for Reed Mahoney.
The Dragons man starred on Thursday night when his side scored nine tries against the Broncos.
Hunt even crossed in the 64th minute as his side ran away with it after leading by six at halftime.
Even if he doesn’t take part beyond the warm up on Wednesday, Hunt is making a great case for Origin Two at the end of June.
In the meantime he can help himself out with a big game against the lowly Bulldogs on Monday.
2 – Nobody Cares Penrith Lost
We called it a few weeks ago, State of Origin was the only thing that could slow down the Penrith Panthers and as it turns out, it did.
Missing eight players thanks to Wednesday night’s big game, the Panthers just did not have it against the Tigers, going down by 20 points.
You can play the “what if” game all you want but there is no doubt the scoreline would have been very different if these teams met a month ago.
The positive side for the Panthers though is that nobody seems to care that they suffered their first loss of the season.
There was no movement in our NRL Premiership market with Ivan Cleary’s men still the undisputed favourites and they will head into Friday night’s game with the Sharks as clear favourites.
3 – Melbourne Just Wins
It might not have been the prettiest performance but the Storm did just enough on Saturday to get home on the Sunshine Coast.
The Titans could very easily have punished the undermanned Storm as they wasted a handful of good chances but Craig Bellamy’s men, as they tend to do, just got over the line.
Even with a handful of Origin players missing, it helped that they were able to call on the likes of Nicho Hynes and Justin Olam plus Reimis and Brandon Smith.
By now managing this period is second nature for the Storm and while they failed to cover the 26 point line, they got what mattered, the two points.
4 – You Can Find A Winner at Origin Time
Depleted squads, bye weeks & late call ups can make weeks like this a nightmare for tipsters, punters and fantasy players.
With only four games on the schedule, you can wind up overanalysing and overthinking, leading to a shocking week of results.
Not this punter though, they put a 12-leg SGM on the Eels-Knights contest and turned the $5 outlay into a payout of over $12000.
The Eels rebounded in the best possible way after dropping their last two games crusing to a 40-4 demolition of the Knights.
While not an exact recreation of the scene, we are reliably informed the punter was celebrating in a similar manner to this photo.
5 – Origin Will Be Everything We Expect It To Be
After 40 years, we know that State of Origin is probably going to follow a certain pattern.
It will be physical, grinding and come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes.
And we will love every single minute of it.
New South Wales will go into the game as deserved favourites but as they love to say north of the Tweed, you can never count out the Maroons.
Where the real value lies here though is the total points market.
Even with the recent rule changes to open the game up and invite more scoring, these players are too good to make too many mistakes and the winner will likely be the first team to reach 20 points.
Game 1 also tends to produce a bit of a feeling out period with both sides looking for weaknesses in their opponent.
The last time a State of Origin Game 1 featured over 40 total points was in 2010 when Queensland won 28-24 at Stadium Australia.