It may be December but the movement will continue through the month and well into January as NRL teams finalise their 2022 rosters. And the hot topic among recruitment chiefs at the moment is around the backline.
After a weekend of footy to remember with many must-watch games, it’s time to reflect on the most notable things out of Round 3 of the NRL season.
1. Cowboys are near rock bottom
The North Queensland Cowboys are at the lowest of low times at the moment as they have sunk to their third straight loss of the season, which sets their season record to a winless 0-3 to begin the 2021 year.
Their defeat came to the hands of the new look Gold Coast Titans by a whopping 36 points on Sunday night.
It was a Cowboys re-shuffle as new boss Todd Payton sent Scott Drinkwater to halfback, Valentine Holmes to fullback, and much more changes to the team.
This obviously did not improve their performance, however as the side just shown a lack of defence and rarely anything productive in attack.
North Queensland’s lock, Josh McGuire commented on the poor performance after wards by stating “We’ve been doing the same thing for three years”, and later saying “its embarrassing”.
Todd Payten was asked in the post-game press conference if there will be changes made to the 17 for their upcoming match against the Cronulla Sharks, and he answered with a strong yes.
I will not be surprised if these changes are larger their minor ones, as the way that Payten coaches he is not afraid to go after big name players, which is what she shown after Round 1 by going after Jason Taumalolo.
A positive that the Cowboys can take into the future is, although they are certainly overpaying players, the likely retirement of Michael Morgan is not far away, and this will free up cap space for the side.
2. Injury crisis builds greater argument for an 18th man option
On the weekend we witnessed one of the worst injury rounds of the modern era, as there was a list including 20 players placed on the casualty ward. The list is below.
Note: seven of these injuries are concussion.
The main question that came from this is how many more concussions to players do we need to see before we bring in the 18th man rule. More players are victims to head knocks that have the possibility of destroying your career in a blink of an eye.
From my point of view, I think the 18th man rule should be applied and a rule in place where you can only use that 18th man after two concussions, as three concussions has only happened once in the last 184 games.
The reason why I think this rule should only apply in concussion situations is that teams will exploit the rule by faking an injury such as an ankle lateral ligament tear.
This will benefit a team because it will allow for an extra substitute to rest the faking player.
3. Covid forces Kevie’s men to Sydney
The news broke on Friday that there was a coronavirus case in south Queensland which has now sent greater Brisbane (including myself) into lockdown until Thursday 5pm.
This has forced the Brisbane Broncos to relocate to NSW for their ‘Good Friday’ battle with the Melbourne Storm. This could result in their being a double header at Stadium Australia on Friday night as the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Bulldogs will be playing their annual ‘Good Friday’ match at Stadium Australia before the Broncos game.
This would from my thoughts be the best option for the NRL to take as it is the most Covid safe plan and will not put pressure on Brisbane to find a stadium to play at.
The other game that would be taking place in Queensland is the Titans versus Raiders match up which the NRL are currently also making plans for. The North Queensland Cowboys will not have to worry about relocating as they are not located in greater Brisbane.