NRL Bunker Review – Round 5

The top teams in the NRL are starting to stand out. The Sharks, in particular, have impressed in 2022 to become part of the premiership conversation after Round 5. Meanwhile, Shaun Johnson thrives, the Sea Eagles kick on without Trbojevic, and bad beats define a controversial Super Saturday.

Sea Eagles Sink Knights

Everybody was looking at how the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles would respond to their latest stint without Tom Trbojevic. The influential fullback is out with another injury, and as we know, his side struggles without him. However, they piled up the points in an impressive 30-6 win over the Newcastle Knights on Thursday night to inch closer to the sort of form that still has them at $11 to win the premiership.

It has been a rough start to the NRL season for Des Hasler’s side. After making the most of the six-again rule in 2021, they’re slowly adjusting to the changes in 2022. There isn’t as much fatigue in the game and Manly’s desire to look wide early and often isn’t paying dividends quite like it did last season. However, they’re improving every week and starting to look like the side many had finishing inside the Top 4 this season. If they can continue to develop with the ball and reintroduce Trbojevic to the side for their Round 9 match against the Tigers, we might start to see the Sea Eagles take flight as the State of Origin period begins.

Welcome Home, Shaun Johnson

Shaun Johnson wasn’t perfect on Friday night. He threw an intercept that led to points and didn’t dominate the game quite like he did a week earlier. However, with the competition points on the line and the New Zealand Warriors in need of a big play, Johnson produced the goods.

A superb Warriors set put Johnson within range and he popped over a field goal to beat the North Queensland Cowboys 25-24.

Remarkably, the Warriors have won three games on the bounce to sit inside the NRL’s Top 8. Things are about to get difficult for the Kiwi club, though.

Upcoming Draw: @ Roosters ($5.10), @ Storm, Raiders, @ Sharks, Rabbitohs

Bad Beat Saturday

Melbourne Storm-14.5 punters thought they were home as Justin Olam crunched Brad Schneider to secure the 28-14 win over the Canberra Raiders. Easy.

Except it wasn’t the end of the game…

The Raiders, for some reason, challenged the knock-on. They didn’t have a lot to gain from the captain’s challenge. Still, the decision went upstairs with the Bunker ruling an early tackle and penalty to the Raiders.

They challenged the play so the Raiders must be looking to score a late consolation try, right? Wrong.

Referee Gerard Sutton pointed to the post, Schneider split them with the boot, and the Raiders closed the gap to 14 points.

It ended as a bad beat for Storm punters but one Raiders backers will remember fondly.

Those big on NRL favourites caught another rough one in the next game, too.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs were the more dangerous team all night. Even without Latrell Mitchell for most of it, they had better moments and the 24-6 scoreline as the game ticked over into the final minute felt right. However, another strange, strange passage of play led to one last point-scoring moment. As Ben Hunt’s kickoff sailed towards the dead ball line, Cameron Murray made a play for the ball, passed it forward and gave the St. George Illawarra Dragons one last chance to find points. As Jaydn Su’A crashed over with the clock at 00:00, Rabbitohs 13+ punters were left gobsmacked.

Statement Game of Round 5:

Statements are made every round in the NRL. In Round 4 it was the Eels. This week it’s the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks who made it four in a row on Sunday afternoon.

The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are on fire.

Sure, their latest win came over a hapless Wests Tigers side. One that will surely be talking about the future of their coach as Michael Maguire sat in the box, bemused by the performance of his side throughout the 30-4 defeat. But the Sharks can only play what is in front of them, and over the last month, they’ve beaten them all comfortably to win by an average of 14.5 points to be 2nd on the NRL ladder after five rounds.

Nicho Hynes is a legitimate first-grade halfback while Matt Moylan is fitting in exceptionally well beside him. Will Kennedy continues to be grossly underrated while Cameron McInnes might be the most impactful bench forward in the competition right now. They’re well-rounded, performing on both sides of the ball, and face their biggest test of the season so far as $3.25 and +8.5 underdogs against the Melbourne Storm in Round 6.

The Sharks have shortened from $11 to win the premiership last week into $10 after Round 5.

NRL Premiership Odds

After Round 5

Panthers $3.75
Storm $4.25
Roosters $8
Eels $8
Sharks $10
Sea Eagles $11
Rabbitohs $13
Titans $41
Raiders $41
Knights $51
Broncos $61
Warriors $61
Cowboys $81
Dragons $81
Bulldogs $101
Tigers $501