5 Lessons Learned – NRL Finals Week 1

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In a season full of blowouts and big wins, the first weekend of the NRL Finals delivered some of the best drama you can find in the rugby league arena.

Sure the Storm made short work of Manly but the other three games gave us plenty of talking points.

There were feuds, boilovers and nerves of steel on display and we have our five big takeaways here!

1 – We Should Not Have Been Surprised

It is very possible to overthink things.

All week you, like many people might have thought that maybe there was a clear path to victory for the Manly Sea Eagles.

If Tommy Turbo went off… if Garrick had a perfect night with the boot… if they could force a few mistakes… if there was a 40 knot wind at their backs in both halves.

This is the Storm’s time of year and we should have known what was coming.

Mea culpa, my bad, I apologise 1000 times to you Craig Bellamy.

Now enjoy the week off.

2 – Sam Walker: Titan Slayer

He did it again.

Sam Walker nailed the winning field goal against the Titans for the second time this season.

Not bad for a kid who is still finding his feet in the competition and trying to become a regular starter for the Roosters.

He was able to keep their season alive for another week at least and will have to produce more heroics against Manly this weekend.

3 – Souths Managed to Out-Penrith the Panthers

If you knew that the final score in Saturday’s second game was going to be 16-10, it would have been a fairly safe bet that the Panthers came out on top in a gritty encounter.

But instead it was the Rabbitohs coming out on top thanks to defensive teamwork like this.

After entering the NRL Finals with plenty of question marks over their capacity to finish the job, Souths went a long way to answering those and giving themselves a great chance of reaching the Grand Final.

4 – Newcastle Will Be Back

You could see it from time to time this season, the Knights have the potential to grow into a properly competitive team.

It will come down to whether or not they can fully commit to Kalyn Ponga who combined so effectively with Enari Tuala setting up the winger’s first try of the afternoon.

He might not have been at his devastating best running the ball but he showed he has more than one trick up his sleeve as the 23 year old continues to mature.

They just couldn’t execute in the closing stages falling short but there is no reason to think they won’t be making the finals again in 2022.

5 – Mitch Moses Had His Moment

It’s fair to say that Mitchell Moses has not had the most consistent of careers but on Sunday, in Rockhampton, he made it count.

Having won just one of his seven finals appearances before this weekend, Moses made sure he gave his team every chance against the Knights.

Now what can he do this weekend against Penrith?