My summary of the various teams in the NRL, season to date:
Penrith - almost perfect, set ourselves up for back to back premierships. Question marks over upcoming origin period but pacing ourselves nicely.
Melbourne - up there just as one would expect. Putting the sword to low ranked teams, possibly not pacing themselves as they did in ‘21. Will finish top 4.
Cowboys - surprise pack of the season so far. Getting their best out of some players considered washed up at others. Playing as a team. Real test comes next 2 rounds against Melbourne and Penrith.
Roosters - as expected, bouncing back after an injury ridden’21. Seem a step or two behind the top three, but will likely fill a spot if the top 3 slip. Chance for top 4.
Brisbane- as expected, the addition of Reynolds and Capewell making the difference. Question on their ability to sustain form over the season, but giving it a good crack.
Parramatta - big questions on their consistency, they can stand up to the top teams, then get beat convincingly by lessor teams. Not sure they have it in them over the course of the season. Possible top 8
Souths - missing Reynolds big time, Souths have some real flaws in their game. Can’t see them making week 3 of the finals, and injury or two could see them finish outside the 8.
Sharks - Firz has worked wonders with an incomplete roster. A rebuilding phase, look somewhat like Panthers 2012-2017. Not likely to trouble sides in the finals, and if they make it appear like they would just be making up the numbers.
Manly - on their day, could be top 3, but inconsistency and terrible management of Turbo’s injury means top 8 while a chance, is increasingly less likely.
Raiders - continue to disappoint as expected, they have a good roster, but coaching and game management seem lacking. May make the 8 but well below the top teams.
Now it gets tough to rank the rest
Dragons - an ok roster, but gee they look unorganized on the field. Lacking fitness which is odd for a hook coaches side, relying on individuals rather than team structure.
Warriors - try hard but have no defensive structure, win some against lessor sides but struggle against those above them.
Knights - started the season well, then everything fell apart and they are back playing the same style of football as 20/21. Lacking in commitment and Ponga is more a liability than an asset.
Titans - biggest disappointment. Great roster, although reportable player payments skewed to the forwards. Players just lack consistency, intent and interest. Seems the Gold Coast can’t shake the retirement / party home mantra.
Tigers - battling for the spoon as expected. Their best player injured, but made a good move with Hastings at half. Just a really poor roster and their results reflect this.
Bulldogs - what a waste of talent. The dogs recruited well and should be just outside the 8. I don’t believe the issue lay with Barrett. Players just don’t look interested in performing. Something very wrong in the back rooms of the club despite the involvement of Gus. What a waste of the talent of Burto, TPJ and Addo-Car. Don’t have a consistent good half.
Well that’s my summary of the state of the NRL. Now for the refereeing;
On field - going ok, although questionable usage of six agains causes fan frustration, as does use of the sin bin. 6/10
Bunker - seems to make up rules on the spot, obstruction rule continues to confuse fans (inside / outside shoulder ruling when no impact on play, and blatant Sheppards not pickup. Players in front of kicker / downtown rule 10m just ignored). 3/10
Game day experience at Penrith
Crowd - 9/10 (only reason not 10/10 is due to hills packed and empty seats in stands)
PA/ Audio 1/10 (it’s just woeful)
Food and drink 3/10 (you have to go pre game or you will miss 20 min of action) facilities can’t handle big crowds
Toilets 2/10 see food and drink.