NRL Round 17: Things we learned

Forget SBW, it’s all about Tedesco
All the headlines were robbed by Sonny Bill Williams’ second debut for Sydney Roosters but it was James Tedesco who shone as they cemented their place in the top four.
Williams’ first hit up was met by a green wall while Tedesco scored two crucial tries.
John Bateman was great, again, in defeat. We can’t wait to see him back in Super League.

Brisbane aren’t a lost cause
People were getting ready to wheel out the cricket scoreboard when Penrith visited Brisbane but the Broncos, despite not winning, put in a decent effort against the table toppers.
They scored the first try and when the game got away from them, they were able to stay with their opponents and not get smashed as they have done in previous weeks

Ponga’s special
We knew this already but he gave us all a big smack in the face to remind us just how good he is as the Knights stamped their authority over fellow Finals hopefuls Cronulla last week.
They comfortably saw them off and Ponga scored his first-ever hat-trick, showcasing his brilliant pace and skill. He has a brilliant ability to step and not lose speed and he showed that off against the Sharks.

Storm catch the eye
Melbourne’s second-half showing against South Sydney was very impressive as they halted the Bunnies’ five-match unbeaten run.
It looked as if Souths would extend that after a solid first half but Melbourne came back fighting in the second as errors took hold for the Rabbitohs.
We learned that if you want to beat the Storm, you can’t give them free stuff and Souths gave them too many.

It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings
Manly must have thought they had it in the bag against Wests but back the Tigers came from 14 down with as many minutes left.
They’re an entertaining side, there’s no doubt about that. David Nofoaluma is a scintillating winger and Adam Doueihi has found his home in the centres.
Imagine if Benji Marshall is ripping it up in the Championship with Leigh next year!

Holbrook’s the man
For the first time in the season, Gold Coast secured back-to-back victories when they defeated Canterbury on Saturday.
The improvement from them this year has been massive and they are sure to improve again next year.
Meanwhile, for Canterbury, they still remain bottom but are only one win away from moving off the bottom and condemning Brisbane to the wooden spoon but the loss of Kieran Foran to a peck injury is a huge blow.

Form is everything
Parramatta are towards the top end of the table but if you’re not on form come the Finals, that could count for very little.
So thankfully, from their fans point of view, they were able to notch up a win on Sunday after last week’s dismal display against South Sydney.
There are only three games left in the regular season for the Eels to generate some momentum in order to trouble the likes of Melbourne and Penrith above them in the division.

Plenty to play for in North Queensland
You’d have thought that the Dragons would have had the motivational advantage over the Cowboys on Sunday. St George still had a good chance of making the Finals while North Queensland were on the wrong end of a nine-match losing run.
However, the Cowboys produced a stunning golden-point win thanks to Valentine Holmes.
Holmes’ field goal was coolly taken. But his side will need to do some major improving next year if they are to make the Finals for the first time in four years.