NRL Finals, Round 1 – things we learned

Bunnies players take no notice
It’s been one hell of a week for South Sydney Rabbitohs. It was incredibly sad to read of the accusations against both the club and their former player Sam Burgess and I think people would have forgiven the players for being a little distracted when they played Newcastle in the first week of the Finals.
Initially it looked like that might be the case as Newcastle opened up a 14-0 lead but back came South Sydney to comfortably see them off. They’re definitely the dark horses now and face Parramatta Eels next for a place in the Qualifying Finals against Penrith Panthers.

Melbourne have the strike
The Storm struggled early on against the Eels as their execution let them down in try-scoring opportunities but as soon as they get one, one felt they’d have enough to see off their opponents and so it proved.
Clint Gutherson scored a great try for the visitors but Parramatta will have to improve if they are to beat the in-form Rabbitohs this week and progress.

Williams starring for Canberra
George Williams has had an exceptional first season in the NRL with Canberra Raiders and he was at it again, alongside halfback partner Jack Wighton with both of them scoring two tries as their side came from behind to beat Cronulla Sharks.
They will have to play Sydney Roosters next in yet another Grand Final rematch and they will go into that match as underdogs but Williams’ form is so good, they’ve got a chance.

Cleary is ready for a Premiership
It would have been easy for a young Panthers side to get rattled, going 10-0 behind against the double Champions but Nathan Cleary brought them back into the game against Sydney Roosters with a hat-trick of first-half before sealing their win with a brilliant field goal in the dying minutes.
He’s already got big-game experience with his Origin endeavours for New South Wales and he looked right at home in the Finals as his side made it 16 wins in a row. Just two more needed!