Another weekend is in the books and the NRL is closing in on a Finals series that should produce plenty of memorable games.
The league’s tiers appear to be splitting up with some clubs already focused on a finals run while others are looking to next season and the rest still fighting for to save their seasons.
We have gone over the games and found our five big takeaways from Round 22 of the NRL season right here!
1 – It Was A Favourites Clean Sweep
It has been coming and for the first time this season the favourites won all eight games played.
The Roosters and Knights were pushed to the brink by the Broncos and Sharks respectively with those two sides winning by a combined three points.
Five of the games were decided by double digit margins with the average gap between the victors and losers was 16.125 points, up over four points from last week.
Manly was a big reason for that rise after belting the ever-loving daylights out of the flailing Eels.
Let’s see what they can do against the Raiders this week.
2 – Don’t Stress Over The Storm
Yeah this is a bit of a Storm love-in this season but when they just keep winning for fun, there’s not a lot to nitpick from their performances.
Sure they beat the Raiders by “only” 10 points but they are focused on just getting the job done, they have made their statements.
Even without the pillars of their dynastic run in Smith, Cronk and Slater, this side just keeps rolling on and thanks to the success brought on by that aforementioned trio, the new stars can carry the team through the business end of the campaign.
When they can produce tries like this, they’ll be fine come finals time.
3 – Payne Haas is a Beast
The Broncos have the centrepiece for their forward pack for the next decade in Payne Haas and his effort in Friday’s loss to the Roosters shows the talent on offer.
He opened the scoring with this determined effort.
Then pulled off this try saver on James Tedesco.
4 – Cody Walker Could Pip Tommy Turbo for the Dally M
If we were judging the award on the most literal interpretation of most “valuable” player in the NRL, it would have to be Tom Trbojevic given how Manly goes from sputtering to unstoppable when he is in the team.
But Cody Walker from Souths has put together a career year and has been pulling the strings at an expert level for Souths lately.
He has only scored three tries since Round 12, not all that impressive but he has set up 23 scores in that time including three in their 30 point destruction of the Titans.
It was the sixth time this season he has been credited three assists in a game and shows just how good he can be on his day.
Now Souths will be hoping he can keep this form up all the way into October because if he does, you would be brave to back against them most weeks.
5 – Redcliffe Would Be A Great Option For Team 17
We know the NRL’s 17th team will be based out of South East Queensland and the greater Brisbane region and this weekend gave a great case as to why Moreton Daily Stadium should be the home of that side.
It is already the home of a professional club in another code with the Brisbane Roar playing their home games there in the most recent A-League season.
With the QRL side as the anchor for the ground and the ones bidding for the NRL expansion, it just makes sense.
It’s a stadium that will not be cavernous week in week out as Redcliffe is building its supporter base and far enough away from Brisbane that it can offer something different.
The Saturday and Sunday afternoon kickoffs will provide an excellent backdrop as we saw when the Roar were able to play at that time and the ground is conducive to an intense atmosphere if the supporters get behind it.