Rd 1: Five things we’ve learnt in five games

1. Sydney Roosters title defence won’t be easy

The Sydney Roosters title defence got off to a painful start with a twenty point defeat to rivals South Sydney.  SBW looks like he could be out for a few weeks following a shoulder charge.  They should account for a new Eels side next week, but face the Broncos on Friday night in Brisbane and Sea Eagles in round four.  The latter two sides will be keen to knock off the defending Premiers.

2. 40/20 fully rewards the attacking side

When Penrith’s Jamie Soward sent a long 40/20 kick down Newcastle’s end of the field at SportingBet Stadium yesterday, the Panthers received a ‘tap’ restart and were instantly rewarded through a try to Josh Mansour.  What we could see in the next few months as the season progresses, teams will be quicker at restarting after this kind of play.  Yesterday there was some confusion as to whether it would be a scrum feed under the new rules.  That will disappear over time.

3. Never write off the Storm

Manly turned up for forty minutes and were cruising to victory.  Melbourne without Cooper Cronk still managed to claw their way back into the game.  A golden point field goal to Cameron Smith and the game went to the Storm.  Anyone doubting the ageing Storm side would have sat up and taken note of the incredible performance.

4. Canberra might go well with new management

No one expected the Raiders to be anywhere near the Cowboy’s at full-time in their pre-game predictions.  Through some passion and guts shown by the visitors, not only did they lead, but looked certain to provide an upset.  JT lived up to his best and the Cowboys got home.  Kudos to the Raiders, but that type of effort will be required week-in, week-out.  They face the Knights away next Sunday.

5. Canterbury depth will be tested

The Bulldogs missed Sam Kasiano and Krisnan Inu.  Inu’s replacement Corey Thompson tried hard but was not in the class of Inu.  As for Kasiano, he could have been handy to back up Frank Pritchard.  Pritchard lifted the team mid-way through the second half when it looked certain the Dogs would finish the better of the two teams.  The Dog’s can’t afford to have too many long-term injuries otherwise their campaign may be over before it starts.

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