Six Again: Penalties costly for the Storm

First tackle: Will the Storm ever learn?

The Dragons added another notch on their premiership credentials belt with a dominant display at home against the reigning premiers. The Dragons only scored four tries to three, with the 20-point margin blown out by five penalty goals which were part of Gareth Widdop's perfect display of precision goal kicking on the day.

Melbourne continued to struggle with the 2018 crackdown on ruck and offside infringements. The Storm added another 11 penalties to their already competition-leading tally. It seems the days of pushing the rules to the absolute limit are over and the Storm still haven't adjusted.

There was a penalty that did go Melbourne's way and it was one they could have done without. With 10 minutes remaining in the first half Storm prop Sam Kasiano fell over when playing the ball. The ball went through several sets of hands before Billy Slater threw a brilliant hook shot pass to Josh Addo-Carr, who crossed in the corner. If converted it would have taken the Storm within two points of the Dragons at 12-10.

With Addo-Carr celebrating, the referees brought the Storm down to earth by awarding them a penalty for interference in the ruck. No advantage could be allowed they said, because the play-the-ball was unacceptable. Replays showed it was a terrible decision and it was all Dragons from that point on.

Second tackle: Will Dean pay?

Bulldogs coach Dean Pay will find out today whether the NRL will fine him for his post-patch outburst following the club's seventh loss of the season. Pay's frustration following the two-point loss to the Broncos was captured in one exasperated lament: "...it's like we're not meant to win."

The match-deciding penalty came after Moses Mbye made the slightest of contact to the shoulder of Darius Boyd as he chased a kick into the Bulldogs in-goal area. Boyd was never going to get to the kick which was well-covered by Bulldogs centre William Hopoate, but the penalty was legitimate and so was the inconsequential sin-binning of Mbye.

What probably frustrated Pay more was the fact that the Bulldogs received the first two penalties of the game, before losing the rest of the penalty count 8-1. Their third and final penalty came with 60 minutes remaining in the game.

There was also the Broncos knock-on seen by everyone apart from the referees. Ten minutes into the second half Broncos winger Jamayne Isaako ran back for a high kick, before dropping it cold. He stopped, fullback Darius Boyd stopped and was about to pat him on the back, but the referees called play on.

At the end of that set of six, Bulldogs centre Josh Morris was chasing back on a Broncos kick and made the slightest shoulder to shoulder contact with Broncos centre James Roberts. The referees awarded a penalty and marched David Klemmer for dissent, not realising that he was acting captain at the time. The new mark was within goal-kicking range and Isaako kicked the goal to level the scores at 14-14.

Pay has been handed a tough assignment, taking over the mess left behind at the club by Des Hasler. It is hard enough beating the Broncos at Suncorp without having the big calls go against you.

Third tackle: Poetry in Auckland

Ten minutes into the second half of the clash between Warriors and Tigers at Mt Smart Stadium and I fell in love with rugby league all over again.

Warriors half Shaun Johnson set himself for a kick around halfway, but quickly summed up the jagged Tigers defensive line and instead treated opposite half Luke Brooks to some of his magic. He merely shimmied and stepped, but it was just enough to turn the situation in a flash. He passed to centre Peta Hiku who drew the defence before flicking a pass to David Fusitu'a. The big winger tip-toed down the sideline before throwing a bullet spiral pass 10 metres infield where Johnson was in support to score a magnificent try.

The Warriors at their best is what rugby league is all about. Fast-moving, sweeping ball-work, with players playing what they see in front of them and making the most of any defensive errors.

Fourth tackle: The Fox destined to be a Blue

Melbourne's Josh Addo-Carr has been the form winger of the 2018 NRL season. He crossed for a hat-trick of tries during the loss to the Dragons, the only tries the Storm managed on the day.

He is the ultimate modern-day winger. He rarely misses a chance to finish off a backline movement, and is capable of the most acrobatic of tries. He brings the ball out from his own half like an extra forward and his kick returns ring alarm bells for the best defences.

Most importantly for a winger hoping to step up to State of Origin, he is as hard as nails and lightning quick. With Josh Mansour injured and Blake Ferguson's place in the team questionable at best, it seems the perfect time to give the Fox a run in the sky blue.

Fifth and last: Oh the agony

Sometimes the turning point in a game is so clear it is agonising. Five minutes into the second half of the match between the Knights and the Rabbitohs, a scything break took the Knights well into Souths' end of the field. Swift ball movement saw winger Ken Sio cross in the corner. The referee quickly dismissed what the crowd thought was a certain and vital four pointer, with replays confirming that Sio had dropped the ball as he was trying to ground it untouched.

To add battery acid to the open wound, the Rabbitohs scored a converted try off the next set of six, taking the score to 22-12. They were never headed from there.

Handover: Injuries costly for Panthers

Penrith really missed young fullback Dylan Edwards in their first game without him this season against the Cowboys. Edwards dislocated his shoulder against the Bulldogs a week earlier and the damage done will see him miss the rest of the season.

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak did an admirable job in the fullback position, but he doesn't quite possess the attacking flair and kick return prowess of Edwards. Watene-Zelezniak playing fullback also weakens the wing position he vacates.

Peter Wallace returned from injury for the loss to the Cowboys and halfback Nathan Cleary is back on the training paddock hoping for an early return. To add to their injury woes, forward Trent Merrin snapped a finger during the pre-game warm-up drills and has undergone surgery.