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Round 18 talking points

Ref blaming is a mug's game.
Roar Pro
16th July, 2014
2

The latest NRL round coincided with the end of State of Origin and the start of the run to the finals.

There were some interesting results over the weekend, and while teams such as the Warriors and Sea Eagles further enhanced their credentials, others such as the Gold Coast and Parramatta drifted further away from finals football.

There were certain aspects and points that caught the eye over the weekend.

1) Shayne Hayne is arrogant
In the past, fans and players have complained legitimate tries were disallowed because there was no video ref. That was years ago and yet despite a substantial break for a scrum to form, Hayne refused to verify the possibility of David Nofoaluma scoring a try.

In some respects this was a turning point, Manly scored from the turnover and were never headed after that.

2) Warriors scrum
It’s received a lot of attention and it’s awesome. For years scrums have been a joke, but this may be a catalyst to see a renewed focus on scrums, While no one wants to see continuous scrum resets, having forwards actually bind and scrum as opposed to be in the backline, would lead to more attacking options off the scrum.

3) Sam Tomkins looks like he has found his feet in the NRL
Tomkins started slowly but may be ready to help drive the Warriors deep into finals football. There was an injury scare at training this week, but if he is fit, the Broncos will a good test of how much Tomkins has improved over the season.

4) The Bulldogs are building
Winning in Melbourne is never easy. Winning in Melbourne and holding them to four points is nigh on impossible. The Bulldogs defence was unreal and showed the kind of defence that premierships are built on.

5) Tony Williams is a decent five eighth
With Josh Reynolds not available, Williams has shown the sleight of hand and vision that makes him look comfortable in the halves. Who knows some teams may actually look to sign him to play in the no.6 in the future.

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6) Sharks’ consistent inconsistency
The Sharks have managed to stage some amazing comebacks over the previous two weeks. Against the Knights they managed to jump out to an 18-0 lead after 34 minutes and end up losing 31-18. The key point is if you are playing Cronulla, give them a start, much more likely you will win then if you lead.

7) Canberra is going to miss Anthony Milford massively
He was untouchable against the Titans and showed why he is a future star of the NRL. Unfortunately for Raiders fans, it will probably be in a long career for the Broncos. Filling Milford’s gap at the Raiders will be virtually impossible, and every future success will only bring more pain to Raiders fans.

8) The Broncos versus Panthers match was possibly the game of the year
The game swung both ways and wasn’t settled until a Matt Moylan drop goal in the 79th minute. What was interesting was Ben Barba still looks below par. He kicked at a high ball when he needed to try and catch it, and he hasn’t recaptured his Dally M winning form.

Barba is on big money, and with Milford arriving at Red Hill next season, he will have to challenge to keep his spot.

9) Matt Moylan will play Origin
Moylan burst on to the scene last year and has made every post a winner. With a lot of injuries to the playmakers at the Panthers, Moylan has stepped up to keep them competitive. He is a class player, and will continue to improve. It may be on the wing, but Moylan will be playing Origin in a few years.

10) Excitement is building ahead of the finals
With only a few rounds to go before finals football, the excitement and intensity level is only going to get higher. The table is incredibly tight and continued winning momentum over the next few weeks will go a long way to deciding who finishes in the top eight.