What a difference a couple of weeks make in the NRL, with the Wests Tigers officially back! Meanwhile there is even more pressure piling up on losing teams and the referees simply must fix the inconsistent sin binning of players.
Read on as we take a look back at some of the biggest hits and misses of the weekend.
Sin bin inconsistency has to be fixed now
There needs to be greater consistency on the use of the sin bin. It is a huge punishment for a team, which can completely turn a game, and it is currently handed out arbitrarily with no pattern either within a game or across a round.
Thirteen minutes into the second half of the clash between the Cowboys and Titans, Jeremiah Nanai was put on report and sent to the sin bin for a lifting tackle which, although technically illegal, was far from dangerous or malicious. The whole reason offences are put on report is because they are not bad enough for a send off and they need further review to determine the appropriate punishment. Still, the Cowboys were left short for what seemed like a minor infringement.
Souths prop Liam Knight made a similarly harmless lifting tackle against the Tigers. He was placed on report, but allowed to play on. Then on Anzac Day we had Roosters winger Daniel Tupou take Mikaele Ravalawa's head clean off. He was placed on report with no further action. Later that night Warriors forward Aaron Pene knocked Reimis Smith senseless with a high shoulder to the head. He was put on report, but stayed on the field, Smith failed his HIA.
It's a weekly lottery that leaves players, coaches and fans confused. Dragons coach Anthony Griffin certainly took issue with the Tupou hit.
"He had 30 metres to decide where to tackle him. It was direct contact with the head," Griffin said.
"I don't understand the rules. At least (should have been put) in the bin.
"He would have got two years in jail for that in Magic Round last year.
"If you're not going to put that (Tupou tackle) in the bin for some of the things that have been in the bin over the last four or five weeks, I don't know where we go now."
Young Warrior sets a low standard
Warriors winger Edward Kosi was missing with his hands against the Storm on Monday night. The young outside back dropped a pass in the sixth minute with just 15 metres and the cover defence of Ryan Papenhuyzen between him and the try line. To make the mistake worse, Papenhuyzen swooped on the ball and took off down the touchline before slipping it inside to Jahrome Hughes who ran away to score Melbourne's first try of the game.
The Storm's second try came from a Hughes grubber kick from ten metres out. Kosi seemingly had it well covered, but the ball squeezed from his grasp allowing Xavier Coates to swoop. With 28 minutes left and the Storm really starting to dominate, Kosi dropped a high kick. Papenhuyzen crossed again shortly after to take the score to 34-10. With just over ten minutes remaining Kosi slowed down when chasing a Hughes kick back towards his line, figuring it was going out. Xavier Coates flew past him to score in the corner.
There was moisture about which had AAMI Park slippery under foot and handling conditions weren't ideal, but coach Nathan Brown and Kosi would have both been disappointed with his efforts. His performance was just part of a horror night for the Warriors as they completely collapsed in the second half, allowing the Storm to tally their equal highest score of 70.
Losing streaks putting more coaches under pressure
While the weight has been lifted off Michael Maguire's shoulders in the past couple of weeks, his counterparts at the Bulldogs, Knights, Raiders and Titans are increasingly feeling the heat. Each of those teams is stuck in a losing streak at the moment -- Canterbury with six straight defeats, Newcastle five, Canberra four and the Gold Coast three.
All four teams are causing plenty of frustration for their fans, but if there's any silver lining it's that the bulk of those losses have come against teams currently in the top eight.
Across those four losing streaks there have been 18 defeats, and only three of those have come against bottom-eighth teams (Newcastle losing to the Dragons in round 6, and Canterbury losing to Brisbane in rounds 2 and 7).
That will come as small consolation for three of those teams -- with the Bulldogs, Knights and Titans playing against big guns the Roosters, Storm and Panthers this week -- but the Raiders will fancy their chances of putting an end to their losing run when they face the ninth-placed Warriors on Saturday.
The Tigers are back!
Are the Wests Tigers bound for their first premiership since 2005? No. Will they go on a run that will catapult them into finals contention? Probably not. Can they at least compete week-to-week against the NRL's better teams? Yes!
The Tigers may be going through their one purple patch of the 2022 season but the signs are good that this is more than that. Jackson Hastings has been terrific at halfback in the team's back-to-back one-point wins over the Eels and Rabbitohs, but his halves partner Luke Brooks has also excelled in the five-eighth role.
The Tigers have had moments of luck in both wins but they've also given themselves every chance by doing the little things right -- against Souths they completed 45 of their 47 sets, a super impressive 95% completion rate, dwarfing the Rabbitohs' 67% (25 of 37). They also had just 16 missed tackles to Souths' 31, and actually have the second-fewest missed tackles in the league this season.
The wooden spoon favourites may not have the talent to match the best teams in the league at their best, but whenever they get the basics right and stay in the contest they'll give themselves the chance to sneak a tight victory like these ones.
Southern end left out of the game
The Northern end of PointsBet Stadium was a real hit on Thursday night during the clash between the Sharks and Sea Eagles. There were 54 points scored during the game and all but two of them were scored at that end.
There was a decent southerly blowing, bringing with it some heavy showers, and the Sharks through centre Siosifa Talakai completely dominated the first half. They ran in six tries to take a 32-0 lead into the break, with Talakai scoring two and setting up three.
Fans at the southern end of the ground hoping to see the onslaught continue would have been disappointed as the Sea Eagles scored 22 points to the Sharks' solitary penalty goal after the break.
New Raider's debut surprise
The result didn't go their way against the Panthers on Sunday but the Canberra Raiders did have a hit on social media last week with the presentation of Harry Rushton's debut NRL jersey.
The 21-year-old former Wigan forward had his jersey presented to him by his parents, who flew to Australia from the UK to surprise their son and witness his first appearance in the NRL.
The game itself wasn't much to write home about -- Rushton made a 20-minute cameo off the bench as Canberra were thumped 36-6 -- but Rushton has been dominating the stats sheet in the NSW Cup and appears to have a big future ahead of him.