Broncos to Tigers: What we're missing most from NRL

The young Broncos pack swarm all over Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys. Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

It has been a couple of weeks since the NRL pulled the pin on the season after just two rounds. Those two weeks provided us with just enough of a taste to make the hiatus even tougher to take.

We take a look through all 16 NRL teams and reveal what it is we are missing most about each.

Brisbane Broncos - Brodie Croft's rein as halfback

Although injured early in the Broncos' second win, the introduction of halfback Croft was looking very promising. He looks like he just might be the missing ingredient for Brisbane as they search for more premiership success. Croft has all the attributes of a great halfback and, behind Brisbane's dominant young pack, he will have plenty of room to take control, freeing up Anthony Milford to play a more natural running game.

Canberra Raiders - The English connection

The Green Machine fell an agonising six-again call short of winning the title last year and on paper have improved their Grand Final line-up by adding another Englishman. The international combination of Josh Hodgson at hooker with new half George Williams, coupled with back-row dynamos Elliott Whitehead and John Bateman promises so much. Bateman may have missed the first two victories through injury, but Whitehead made up for his absence scoring a try in each.

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs - Pay's search for answers

The weekly calls from Bulldogs fans for coach Dean Pay to make changes to the line-up will no doubt continue. The problem is Kieran Foran takes up a large chunk of salary cap for little return. The Bulldogs are short on talent, but showed some signs of hope in their last game when half Jake Averilla made a promising debut off the bench. Fans should be more concerned about a lack of structure or game plan in attack, something Pay is entirely responsible for.

Cronulla Sutherland Sharks - Big-time performances from Johnson

Shaun Johnson starts his second season at the Sharks after mixed results during his first year in the Shire. He's had another full off-season to work out his place in the set-up after looking a bit lost at times in 2019. The Sharks started their first season in recent memory without Paul Gallen, and the pressure was on the remaining forwards to give Johnson the room to work his magic. You don't have to be a Sharks fan to enjoy Johnson at his best.

Gold Coast Titans - two points for your team

The Titans looked like they were comfortably on their way towards another wooden spoon, with another new coach's career going up in smoke before it really started. Fans of the other 15 teams are really missing the almost certain two points. It would be unfair to call them easy-beats, because they often put up a good fight, but usually manage to find a way to lose, even when performing well.

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles - Tommy Turbo

Tom Trbojevic missed a large chunk of last season through injury and it might have been easy enough to forget just how good he really is. In his two games back he reminded fans that in attack and defence he is an elite level player. With the Roosters struggling early and James Tedesco with them, New South Wales selectors are going to have a decision to make when naming their fullback. Of course, squeezing both players in with Trbojevic on the wing is the easy option.

Melbourne Storm - surely Smith's last hurrah

The Storm started the year in typically methodical fashion, winning both games against tough opponents. In the middle of it all was old man Cameron Smith using all his wiles to cover for any drop in pace. Smith hasn't decided on his future, as yet, and this disjointed season might just give him enough of a breather to go around again. Still, we miss watching what could be the final season of one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of rugby boots.

Newcastle Knights - Pearce continuing his dominance

Mitchell Pearce had a career defining moment last season when he was part of a State of Origin winning Blues side after many years of suffering Queensland humiliation and public ridicule. He started 2020 with an extra spring in his step, with all the confidence that goes with being one of the competition's best halfbacks. Combining well with new hooker Jayden Brailey with weapon Kalyn Ponga at his disposal, Pearce and the Knights were looking very good.

North Queensland Cowboys - The most dominant back-rower ever

When Jason Taumalolo signed his historic 10-year, $10 million contract with the Cowboys in 2017, there were two trains of thought. One was that the Club was taking an enormous risk offering such unprecedented terms to a forward. The opposing thought was that Taumalolo might be short changing his own value in 10-year's time. The financial situation of the league aside, Taumalolo started the season in such devastating form that $1 millon looks like an absolute bargain.

Parramatta Eels - This was their year, again

Out of the blocks with another flying start, after overcoming a difficult Bulldogs team and smashing the Titans, Eels fans were full of blue and gold bravado. Could this finally be the year they break their premiership drought? Mitchell Moses has blossomed following the departure of Corey Norman a year ago and with Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Ryan Matterson adding starch to the pack, he should have the momentum to work his magic. Captain Clint Gutherson was looking good again from fullback. We are really missing that overwhelming optimism.

Penrith Panthers - exciting football

The Panthers started the season with two tough wins over the Roosters and Dragons. They may have been hard-fought victories, but they were certainly entertaining. The Panthers may leak points in defence, but they are never far away from scoring themselves. Nathan Cleary started the year with greater maturity and Apisai Koroisau has made a real difference at hooker. With Viliame Kikau as destructive as ever out wide, the Panthers were great to watch.

South Sydney Rabbitohs - Latrell's development at fullback

Will he or won't he make the transition to fullback at the Rabbitohs? That was the question being closely scrutinised each and every time Souths took to the field in 2020. Painfully, the season was brought to a halt before that question could be fully answered and just as he was set to face his old teammates at the Roosters. We can only hope Latrell finds his way back to top form in time to take his place in the representative teams. At his best he has so much to offer.

St George Illawarra Dragons - Frizell's last hurrah

Tyson Frizell has long been one of the Dragons' best players and in recent years has become an integral part of the Blues 'resurgence against Queensland. The hard-running, hard-hitting back rower recently agreed to head north to the Knights next season. It's a decision that must have been tough for Frizell and he'll want to leave the Dragons on the best terms possible. It's difficult to imagine him playing any harder, but he'll be doing everything he can to go out a winner.

Sydney Roosters - The quest for a hat-trick

The Roosters were always going to be up against it in trying to be the first team since the Eels in the early '80s to win three successive premierships. The holes left by the departure of Cooper Cronk and Latrell Mitchell are not going to be easy to fill and we saw that clearly in the opening two rounds. The Roosters are struggling with their title defence having lost both games and the break might just give them the reset they needed.

New Zealand Warriors - RTS doing his best

It's hard to be too critical of the Warriors, even with two losses in the first two rounds. They were the team set to suffer the most during the NRL's efforts to continue playing through the coronavirus. Told after Round 1 that New Zealand was effectively locking them out, they made the tough decision to stay in Australia and battle on. It couldn't have helped their mental state as they managed to score a total of six points while conceding 20 points in each loss. Watching captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck doing his best at the back to inspire his team is what we miss most.

Wests Tigers - Benji defying the clock

Surely also in his final year, Benji Marshall has been defying logic with his form in recent times. Although the Tigers suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the Knights in Round 2, Benji was at his scheming best. He might have lost a bit of pace, but he still has all the moves and an uncoachable football instinct. The Tigers just need to settle the line-up around him and they will hopefully come back roaring.