NRL Round 12: Eight things we learned

There’s no substitute for speed
Alex Johnston’s hat-trick for South Sydney proved the difference against the Dragons and two of his tries came through his brilliant vision and speed.
He intercepted two passes from St George players and ran the length of the field with both without anyone close to catching him.
When you’ve got players with speed who can finish off those chances, it gives you a real edge.

Warriors can recover from trio’s departure
New Zealand Warriors trio David Fusitu’a, Ken Maumalo and Agnatius Paasi all left Australia to return home across the Tasman Sea and considering they’d lost their two first-choice wingers, the Warriors did brilliantly to register their fourth win of the season against Wests.
George Jennings has joined from Parramatta on loan to fill one of the wing spots but Peta Hiku also stepped up in the centre role, scoring a key double for his side last week.

Brisbane are brilliant at losing
Only the Broncos could have lost that game on Friday, although perhaps Huddersfield Giants would give them a run for their money. They were eight points to the good with nine minutes left on the clock. They’d just forced a goal-line drop-out but managed to make a mess of catching it and conceded three tries to eventually lose by ten points.
Brisbane seem capable of playing well for 70 minutes now, hopefully they’ll get up to 80 soon.

Roosters can do it tough too
In the last two weeks, the Roosters have had to fight hard against lower-league opposition to win.
They scraped past the Warriors in round eleven and the Titans pushed them hard last week.
But as good as they are at scoring tries and running away with games, they have the mental strength to be able to fend away from teams that give them a real challenge.
They’re doing it tough with injuries at the moment but they keep on picking up the competition points.

English contingent still key for Canberra
Even with the injury to Josh Hodgson, the four remaining English players for the Raiders, George Williams, Ryan Sutton, John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead, are the backbone to their side.
Williams’ kicking and running game are causing no end of problems for the NRL defences while Sutton has proved a real menace off the bench. He produced a stunning fend on Reece Robson that put the Cowboys hooker on his backside in the Raiders’ latest victory.
Bateman’s return from injury showed Wigan fans just what they’re in for next year. But they already know just how important he will be.

Panthers young guns are outstanding
When you look down the Panthers side that defeated Manly, a good majority of them are still considered young players yet they’re strutting around at the top of the Premiership, demolishing decent sides like Manly Sea Eagles.
The Sea Eagles had no answer to the Panthers’ onslaught. Charlie Staines has now scored six tries in his two NRL games to date while other try scorers Stephen Crichton, Brent Naden and Nathan Cleary are 19, 24 and 22 respectively.
The Panthers are going to be quality for quite some time.

Bulldogs continue to improve
They just gave themselves too much to do. They were 18-0 down after 28 minutes and although they had got themselves back within two points early in the second half, the Bulldogs couldn’t topple the Eels.
Canterbury are still rock bottom but after beating Newcastle and pushing Parramatta all the way last week, there are definite signs that they can lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

It’s Tino time
Tino Faasuamaleaui is one of the brightest young forwards in the NRL at the moment.
He continually comes off the bench for Melbourne and is one of the best players on the pitch.
He’s not staying at Melbourne, though. The 20-year-old has already signed a three-year deal with Gold Coast Titans and their fans must be licking their lips at the prospect of seeing him and David Fifita in their team next year.