NRL Bunker Review – Round 3

Round 3 of the 2022 NRL season came up with the goods as Tom Dearden exacted his revenge, Ray Stone became a hero and the Rabbitohs ran riot.

Sharks Circling Premiership Contenders

There is always one team that climbs the NRL ladder and puts themselves amongst the expected top four of five teams in the competition. It’s early days and they’ve been presented with a relatively favourable draw, but the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are shaping up as that team.

The ‘players never play well after leaving the Storm’ crowd have been left silenced by the play of Nicho Hynes. He has been superb in the #7 jersey, displaying all of the signs of an organising halfback while popping up in attacking positions throughout a match. His combination with Matt Moylan and Will Kennedy is already causing havoc for defensive lines.

Despite trying conditions on the road, the Sharks did it easy against the St. George-Illawarra Dragons to win 36-12 on Thursday night.

Much has been made about the Jaydn Su’A sin bin. The Sharks made good use of those ten minutes to build a lead. However, there is no doubt that the Sharks were the better team on the night and deserved the two competition points. They’re into the 7th line of betting to win the NRL premiership at $15.

NRL Premiership Odds After Round 3

Panthers $4.25
Storm $5.50
Roosters $7
Eels $9
Rabbitohs $11
Sea Eagles $13
Sharks $15
Raiders $23
Knights $23
Broncos $26
Titans $31
Bulldogs $34
Cowboys $34
Dragons $34
Warriors $67
Tigers $151


Statement Game of Round 2:

Statements are made every round in the NRL. In Round 2 it was the Sharks. This week it’s the South Sydney Rabbitohs who recaptured their form with the ball in hand.

It felt like a matter of time, really.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs were never going to be that bad in attack for long. Sure, beating the Sydney Roosters 28-16 came somewhat as a surprise but the Rabbitohs are now playing the sort of football most anticipated they would before the NRL season kicked off.

There is a slight overreliance on Cody Walker. He is in everything they do and Lachan Ilias is struggling to make a consistent impact across 80 minutes. However, the improvements across the field – and the return of Latrell Mitchell – have had a significant impact on the Rabbitohs attack overall. Left, right and through the middle Souths threatened the line and piled up points on what is a good Roosters defence.

It’s a different challenge in Round 4, though. The Rabbitohs ($3.07) are preparing to face the best defensive team of the last two seasons in the Penrith Panthers ($1.38).

Stone Cold Eels

It isn’t often that a team gets through the clutch moments against the Melbourne Storm with two competition points. However, as the Storm rallied late to force the game into Golden Point, the Parramatta Eels held firm. They defended well and gave themselves a chance to pinch a rare 28-24 win in Melbourne.

Ray Stone collecting an attempted field goal that bounced off the post isn’t how the Eels drew it up. As the Eels players celebrated the win, Stone lay on his back with a suspected ACL injury after stepping the last line of Storm defence.

We’ve been here before with the Eels. They can play out a shocker (last week against the Sharks) before putting together a blinder the following week. Consistency has been their issue for the last three seasons and 2022 looks no different at the moment. It’s crucial that Brad Arthur’s side back up this performance with a convincing win over the Dragons in Round 4 of the 2022 NRL season as $1.34 and -7.5 favourites.

Cowboys Can Play?

They’ve been talked about as wooden spoon contenders for weeks but the North Queensland Cowboys looked like premiership contenders when thrashing the Brisbane Broncos 38-12. While it is the Broncos and they’re hardly a top team in the competition, making it look that easy at Suncorp Stadium is notable.

It will be remembered as a Tom Dearden revenge game. The former Bronco finished up with a try, three try assists, two line-break assists, a line break and 68 running metres after putting on a clinic at his old home ground.

The Cowboys are all of a sudden 2-1 and 2nd on the NRL ladder…

Todd Payten’s methods have been questioned and his use of Jason Taumalolo has been a talking point for weeks. Perhaps he was onto something all along?