The NRL wrap: Round 8

Sucky Souths
South Sydney’s slump rolls on and so does Brisbane’s outstanding 2016. The Broncos are on top of the table after outclassing Souths 30-8. This was a comprehensive display from the Broncs, Anthony Milford again was awesome, as Brisbane put down an under-fire Rabbitohs. Sam Burgess tried to fire up his teammates with some aggressive defence, and one hit on a prone Joe Ofahengaue sparked an all-in melee, but to no avail. It was another loss for South Sydney and they are starting to mount up.

Squeaky Doggies
Another game, another gusty Titans performance with nothing to take from it. The Bulldogs edged it 21-20 and again the Gold Coast got no reward for all their hard work. Heart-breaking. James Graham made 238 metres and led from the front, helping the Dogs to a 20-8 lead. But the Titans rallied and only a Josh Reynolds field goal separated the two teams.

Raiders run riot
Jason Taylor is a dead man walking. Taylor’s team were torn apart by Canberra, the 60-6 scoreline an embarrassment for everyone at the Wests Tigers club. Josh Hodgson had a field day, setting up four tries. The Tiges have lost six on the trot now and Taylor seems to have no answers. If he can’t turn them around very soon he is gone. But this situation seems eerily familiar to what happened with both Mick Potter and Tim Sheens in recent seasons at Wests. The players, and the club’s board and offficals, have to also take some ownership of the terrible mess the joint-venture find themselves in.

Cows ride home
It was close run thing but the Cowboys scored three tries in the last nine minutes to beat an impressive Parramatta, and keep pressure on the Broncos at the top of the ladder. The turning point came in the 66th minute when Corey Norman was sin-binned for holding back Michael Morgan form scoring. North Queensland then cut loose with a man advantage, Antonio Winterstein crossing then Morgan bagging two for the 32-16 scoreline. It was harsh on the Eels but they will regroup, and take some confidence out the fact that they troubled the 2015 champions for nearly 70 minutes.

Lewis goes boom
Luke Lewis pulled off the hit of the season so far in the Sharkies’ close 20-18 win over Penrith. Lewis smashed Matt Moylan into next week, knocking the ball loose and throwing back the years with some defensive brilliance. This game had a bit of everything – some great tries, killer hits, dramatic moments and a gutting finish for the Panthers, with Jamie Soward missing a kick with two minutes left to tie the game up. If you weren’t sure before, you should be now – Cronulla are real contenders this season. Harold Holt might just finally turn up on the porch come grand final time.

Injury issues
Manly may have defeated Newcastle but both clubs ending up licking their wounds after this Anzac Day clash. The Sea Eagles lost Tom Trbojevic and Brett Stewart, and it looks like Api Korisau might also have some time on the sidelines. The Knights had Jarrod Mullen go down with a hammy issue and Peter Mata’utai out with a knee injury. There wasn’t too much between these two teams but a double from the Trobjevic brothers, and the kicking of Jamie Lyon, proved crucial. Daly Cherry-Evans was also good on his return as Manly now focus on their trip to Townsville ahead.

Anzac delight
A big crowd at Allianz stadium saw the Dragons hold off a fast-finishing Roosters side 20-18. St George Illawarra started the game like a house on fire, taking an 18-0 lead into half-time. But after a rocket from Trent Robinson the Roosters fired up, scoring three tries to almost sneak a win. In the end the Chooks had too much catching up to do and it ended being another disappointing loss for them. The fallout from this game has been interesting after Robinson ripped referee Ben Cummins a new hole in his post-game presser. The NRL is set to slap Robbo and the Roosters with a big fine.

Storm clouds
Was this Melbourne’s best performance of this campaign? Quite probably. Their 42-0 Anzac Day spanking of the Warriors was sensational as they ran in eight tries and didn’t concede one. The Storm have been grinding out wins so far this season but not playing particularly well, but this certainly wasn’t the case on Monday. The Victorians schooled the Kiwis, Cameron Smith really catching the eye with an outstanding 80 minutes. Most impressive from Melbourne was their defence, as they kept the likes of Shaun Johnson and Isaac Luke out all afternoon. The heat on Andrew MacFadden rackets up once again.

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