First tackle: Crowd noise nonsense adds nothing
Broadcasters, please consider dropping the canned crowd noise for future rounds, the viewing experience really isn't improved by it. Even if you try to push it to your subconscious, it is still nothing short of annoying. If you take a minute to actually focus on it, the roars and cheers become ridiculous. The cardboard cut-out fans are great, keep adding them to the stands, but they are all the atmosphere we need.
In the final round before the two-month break, most fans were excited by how much detail they could hear from the field without crowd noise. Now most of that is being drowned out by a man with a computerized sound track. It really falls down when the away team receives the same level of fake cheering as the home team. The fake crowd were ecstatic as the Raiders ran the Storm ragged in Melbourne, where stunned silence would have been much more realistic.
Can we at the very least see a return to the days when different coloured buttons on the remote control allowed us to choose the soundtrack to our rugby league viewing?
Second tackle: Kelly's magic moment
There have always been big wraps on Titans back Brian Kelly, but a lack of off field focus has been his main knock. He came off the bench against the Cowboys on Friday night and put on some real magic. Catching a flick pass from centre Dale Copley he took off on what look like an infield run, stopped dead in his tracks, pirouetted on the spot and slipped back along the sideline leaving Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt stumbling in his wake.
It was the only try for the Titans on an otherwise forgettable night as they crashed to a 36-6 loss in Townsville. It was a try that will no doubt feature in a few highlight reels during the year.
Third tackle: Almost unlimited tackles crushing teams
I'm not a big fan of the new six again rule. With everyone raving about how much quicker the game is with the referee allowed to signal another six tackles for ruck indiscretions, what is being overlooked is how influential this can be in determining a result. If a team gets on a roll early like the Eels did on Thursday night, receiving back-to-back-to-back tackle restarts, there really is no chance for the defence to recover. And lets face it, the referee could make the call in just about every ruck situation if they wanted to.
The Broncos spent most of the night tackling and had absolutely nothing left in the tank. They were never in the game from those opening exchanges. If you thought a lopsided penalty count could influence an outcome, you haven't seen anything yet. In Friday night's early game, the Titans came crashing back into the game through a similar roll, they just didn't have the ability to hold the Cowboys when they had the ball.
The Raiders were similarly given a leg up early against the Storm. The Storm were their own worst enemies for much of the night, but those early multiple sets are very draining. For the rest of the round the call was not as noticeable or as destructive, but there will be plenty of times in the future when it will decide games.
Fourth tackle: Twinspirational stuff
What an astute pick up the Morris twins are proving to be for the Roosters. Brett joined the club at the beginning of last year, while Josh went to the Sharks, both leaving the salary cap mess of the Bulldogs behind. Brett played an integral part in the Roosters' charge to back-to-back premierships, while Josh sought a release from Cronulla earlier this year and made his debut in Roosters colours against the Rabbitohs on Friday night.
Both were brilliant against the old foe, with Josh setting up the Roosters' second try, putting winger Daniel Topou in the clear before backing up and kicking through for halfback Kyle Flanagan to score under the posts. One Brett highlight saw him chase down a try-bound Braidon Burns, he grabbed the Rabbitohs flyer who passed it to Alex Johnston in support. Brett released his grip of Burns, turned and chased down and tackled Johnston. He helped make the next tackle as well before scrambling the last-tackle grubber kick over the dead ball line.
The brothers bring with them more than a wealth of experience and a bag full of pace and skills - they are both 100 percent die-for-the-cause players. They inspire their teammates with their actions. We've seen them do it at the highest levels and they continue to do it every week at club level.
- NRL (@NRL) May 29, 2020
Fifth and last: Sharks shockers
Sione Katoa is a very good winger for Cronulla Sharks, you don't play first grade football without a fair degree of talent. But, his efforts in defence 13 minutes into the second half against the Tigers on Saturday night were simply horrible. With Benji Marshall carrying the ball towards his wing he charged up out of the line allowing a perfectly floated Marshall pass to hit his winger David Nofoaluma.
Katoa had time to prop and chase and still had Nofoaluma covered with the sideline his ally. Instead of burying his shoulder into the hip of the fleeing winger, dragging him to the ground and possibly into touch, he grabbed at his upper body before falling away. Nofoaluma was able to get the ball to Luke Garner who crashed over for the try, taking the Tigers within two points, the score 16-14 in the Sharks' favour.
The Tigers took the lead 10 minutes later with an equally soft effort in defence, this time from Josh Dugan and Chad Townsend. Nofoaluma took a Sharks drop-out just 35 metres out and skipped, propped and fended Townsend off while Dugan just stuck a forlorn arm out. His try put the Tigers in front and they were never headed.
Handover: Michael Ennis, really?
Michael Ennis has followed up a successful playing career with a move into the media as a commentator and expert on Foxsports' rugby league coverage. He is generally insightful, well informed and almost always adds to the viewing experience.
But he said something early during the Knights clash with the Panthers that didn't quite compute. As Knights halfback and leader Mitchell Pearce left the field with concussion and Connor Watson hobbled off not long after, Ennis was asked by Andrew Voss what it was like to lose key players so early in a game. Ennis replied that it was sometimes easier to lose a key player during the game than it was to lose them during the week before.
He was suggesting that the players were pumped up and more capable of coping mentally with the loss. He obviously didn't take into account the ability to replace that injured player with the next best in that position, as you would during the week. It seemed an even more incredulous thing to say when Tim Glasby wobbled off the field as well, leaving the Knights with only one fit replacement player at the time.