NRL Bunker Review – Round 19

The NRL world doesn’t often come together unanimously, but a controversial decision to wrap up Round 19 evening has done just that as the Tigers remain fixed at the bottom of the ladder.

Statement Game of Round 19

Statements are made every round in the NRL. In Round 18, it was the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks. This week it’s the Brisbane Broncos.

The Brisbane Broncos have been threatening to sneak into the premiership conversation for a few weeks now. They’ve played consistent footy all year, but many expected the wheels to fall off at some point. A team that has been so bad over the last three years can’t improve to the point they finish inside the Top 4 on the NRL ladder, surely…

However, following their convincing 36-14 win over the Parramatta Eels on Thursday night, the Broncos are on the third line of betting to claim a Top 4 spot at $1.50.

Kevin Walters has his side playing a simple yet effective brand. The middle forwards are charging up the field, Pat Carrigan and the spine are shifting the ball, and the outside backs are piling up points. Adam Reynolds, in particular, is instrumental in ensuring the simple style is stuck with and successful.

The Penrith Panthers are in a league of their own as premiership favourites. Still, there is a contending group just behind them. The Broncos are one of them heading into the pointy end of the season.

Roosters Crow

The Sydney Roosters are coming…

Sure, the 42-12 win came over the Newcastle Knights and followed a 54-26 win over the St. George-Illawarra Dragons a week earlier. Neither are particularly dangerous opposition and there should have been little doubt of a Roosters victory. But the good teams get the job done in these matches, and that’s precisely what the Roosters did.

Luke Keary moved into five-eighth and Sam Walker to halfback. It’s a move that has been on the horizon for weeks and looks set to stay following an encouraging display. James Tedesco was the standout, though.

2 Tries
191 Running Metres
1 Linebreak
10 Tackle Breaks

The Roosters fullback put himself into everything. He moved across the field, playing both sides in the same play leading to points at one stage. While he may have started the 2022 NRL season slow by his standards, Tedesco has well and truly reclaimed his spot as the undisputed best fullback in the game.

Ok, It Really Is Time To Worry About The Storm

The Melbourne Storm have lost four games in a row…

The Storm…Four!

Craig Bellamy is scratching his head, trying to figure out where it’s all going wrong.

“I’m not confident we can turn it around. At the end of the day, I’ve come in here and said the same thing every week, or [am] thinking the same thing every week.”

In unfamiliar territory and running out of time to play themselves into form, Melbourne is out to $8 in the premiership winner market.

On the other hand, Jason Demetriou finally has his first-choice South Sydney Rabbitohs side out on the field and they’re inching closer to contention. Latrell Mitchell is in outrageous form following his return from injury and is making everybody around him better. That confidence and effectiveness in attack is helping to firm up the defence, too.

Now 6th on the NRL ladder and just two competition points behind the Sharks for 3rd, the Bunnies are at $6 to sneak into the Top 4.

A Controversial Finish

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans kicked things off on Sunday with an entertaining high-scoring 80 minutes. The Bulldogs proved to be too strong to secure the 36-26 win. However, Sunday, and Round 19, finished in controversy.

Never has the rugby league public come together to bemoan a decision quite like this one. With only one second on the clock and the seeming absence of a whistle, the North Queensland Cowboys were able to challenge the game’s last play in which a Wests Tigers player was penalised for an escort.

Nobody appeared to know what was going on. The rule states that a “captain can only challenge decisions by the referee, which cause play to stop.”

Is full-time that play cause to stop? Had the NRL considered this as a possibility when introducing the rule back in 2020?

Even if the answer is yes to both, the escort decision is soft at best. It certainly shouldn’t be one that determines a result.

The Tigers are exploring options but the result will ultimately stand. It’s one that keeps them fixed to the bottom of the NRL ladder and as $1.60 favourites to finish the season holding the wooden spoon.