Six Again: NRL Round 9 Sivo lucky to stay, Magic Round receives a pass mark

First tackle: Sivo lucky to stay

Early in the second half of the game between the Eels and Storm on Saturday night a video review of a Melbourne scoring opportunity found an explanation for the prone figure of Jahrome Hughes. The Storm fullback had been knocked out cold by the shoulder of Eels winger Maika Sivo.

This is the same Sivo who was lucky to escape sanction last week when his head-first tackle sent Dragons five eighth Corey Norman on an eight week facial fracture holiday.

Counsel for the defence, Eels captain Clint Gutherson, tried to argue that a similar incident against the Eels during their clash with the Tigers hadn't resulted in a send-off or sin-binning. Luckily for the Eels, referee Henry Perenara refused to consider any precedence when making his ruling or Sivo's hit on Norman might have established a pattern that deserved a send-off.

Second tackle: Magic Round tough on the turf

You'd have to wonder how impressed the Suncorp Stadium groundsmen were with the Magic Round concept. By the time the Rabbitohs and Cowboys ran on for the eighth NRL game in four days the turf was looking decidedly worn and torn.

It is already a tough part of the year for groundsmen as the summer grass dies off and is replaced by the winter grass. Suncorp has in previous years struggled through the transition. The rain that tumbled down during the second game of the weekend wouldn't have helped either.

Still, despite a slew of injuries across the weekend, most players and coaches refused to blame the surface. Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett went so far as to give the ground a perfect rating.

"He (the groundsman) was confident in the ground. He said it had dried up a little bit, the green tinge had gone. But he said underneath it was really firm. And players came in at halftime and said it was great. So, it was a 10 out of 10," Bennett said after the final game of Magic Round.

The next showpiece event at the ground will be the State of Origin opener on June 5. Before then there will be another Broncos game and two Queensland Super Rugby clashes. The groundsmen have a busy couple of weeks ahead.

Third tackle: People vote with their seats for Magic Round

If you were to measure the success of Magic Round on attendance only, you'd have to say it went well, with a total of 134,677 fans through the Suncorp Stadium gates over the four days at an average of 16,835 per game.

So far this year we've seen: Round 1 - 135,395 (16,924), Round 2 - 143,481 (17,935), Round 3 - 104,645 (13,081), Round 4 - 107,077 (13,385), Round 5 - 123,837 (15,480), Round 6 - 140,721 (17, 590), Round 7 - 149,342 (18, 668), Round 8 - 106,721 (13,340).

The average total attendance per round has been 126,402. The extra 8,000 this week would be appreciated, but I'm not too sure you could justify future Magic Rounds on that figure alone. The tough-to-measure public awareness boost would also come into consideration as well as the Queensland tourism benefits. With everyone falling over themselves to declare the weekend a success, it looks like it won't be the last.

Fourth tackle: Something is seriously wrong at Penrith

Something is very rotten at the foot of the mountains. Ten minutes into their clash with the Tigers and they were down 20-0. The try that took the Tigers to 20 points was a simple backline movement with a cut out pass to Corey Thompson who scored in the corner.

It was symptomatic of deeper, darker issues at the club, with representative quality winger Josh Mansour moving off his wing to help two other Panthers players tackle decoy runner Mahe Fonua. It is true that Fonua is a handful, but the two defenders inside Mansour certainly didn't need help tackling a player who never even received the ball.

There was an ironic cheer in the fourteenth minute when, like an outgunned junior team, the Panthers finally received the ball for the first time in ten minutes. But, the Tigers weren't finished for the half with another simple chain passing effort fooling Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on the other wing.

If defence is about attitude, the Panthers were sulking like a bunch of teenagers who had run out of screen time. You can't put such performances down to form slumps or to a team adjusting to a new game plan. It is becoming clearer that players and the coach aren't on the same page, and the players look as though they are protesting through a lack of on-field effort.

Fifth and last: Sea Eagles depleted

Des Hasler's Sea Eagles gave away home ground advantage to play the Broncos at Suncorp for Magic Round. One unwanted similarity to Brookvale Oval seemed to follow them, with a number of players suffering serious injuries on the night.

The Sea Eagles, who will struggle to field a first grade squad at this rate, received some better news from the courts with star five-eighth Dylan Walker found not guilty of domestic violence against his fiance.

Coach Des Hasler is now eagerly awaiting the NRL's decision on when Walker can resume playing.

"We have had to abide by what's been played out and he's done that, it's gone through it's course, natural justice and been found not guilty so it's now up to the integrity unit to pour over that," Hasler said of Walker.

"I am not going to get caught into any judgment on the NRL, what's the point? The ball is in their court now. But I am sure common sense prevails and they will reach a decision.

"We were abiding by the no fault policy, that is now terminated, he has served that, he has been found not guilty, it is now with the integrity unit."

Handover - Sampson loses her strength

Yvonne Sampson is one of the more talented presenters covering the great game of rugby league, but during Thursday night's telecast of the Sharks, Titans game she proved that you are only as good as the information put in front of you.

At halftime she threw to the break with; "Well it's the Titans with a slight of hand to begin Magic Round on Fox League. Gold Coast with five tries to four over Cronulla, they lead 18 points to 10, the Lang Park ghosts of old coming back to haunt Paul Gallen one last time."

I'm not sure where her information came from, but unless they were counting disallowed tries as well, the numbers didn't quite add up.