Round 10: Eight things we learned

Canberra aren’t done yet

Most people believed that Canberra’s chances of a second Grand Final appearance in as many years went out the window when Josh Hodgson’s knee went last week. But their performance against Sydney Roosters in the Grand Final replay made sure everyone knows they still mean business.

George Williams was outstanding, scoring an important try at an important moment and his partner Jack Wighton is as good a running halfback as any in the world right now. The Raiders aren’t going to go away this year.


Cameron Smith is as good as ever

He may have turned 37 last month but Cameron Smith is still capable of being the best player on an NRL pitch.

Having retired from representative football a while back now, sometimes it’s easy to forget just how good the hooker is.

He took the game by the horns against the Titans allowing Melbourne to obliterate them.

Justin Holbrook should still be pleased with his time in charge of the Titans thus far. They’ve improved hugely.


Chopping and changing can work

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire hasn’t been afraid to make changes to his team when he thinks they’re necessary.

Just last month, Benji Marshall looked to be on his way out of Wests. But on Friday night, he led Wests Tigers to a good pummelling of a desperately poor Brisbane team.

Maguire went with Marshall and Billy Walters in the halves, dropping 2018 Dally M Halfback of the Year Luke Brooks in the process.

You can’t say it didn’t work. The Tigers are punching well above their weight again this year.


Canterbury have a large self-destruct button

They were away and gone against St George. They’d already beaten them this year but a horrible error from Marcelo Montoya handed the Dragons their win on a plate after the Bulldogs had led my ten points in the second half.

When you’ve only won the one game in a season, you’ve got to make sure you do the basics right to win that next game. The Bulldogs weren’t able to do that for the full 80 minutes and so they’re still searching for that elusive second win of the campaign. They’re already adrift of the pack and it could get worse if they’re not careful.


The Knights finally have the steel

Newcastle Knights have been plagued by their leaky defence in recent years but this year looks to be different.

Yes they almost threw away a 20-point lead against South Sydney on Saturday but they managed to hold on, showing their mental toughness despite three late tries for the Bunnies.

They’ve an outside chance of finishing in the top four but will almost certainly feature in the playoff picture come the end of the season.


Manly can win without Turbo Tom

Manly’s record prior to last week without their talismanic fullback Tom Trbojevic was woeful. Since his injury last month, they’d lost all their games and slipped right out of the top eight.

But on Saturday, they managed to topple the Eels off first place in the table.

In a similar story to the Knights, they almost threw it away but the smarts of Daly Cherry-Evans got them over the line.


It gets no easier for the Warriors

They’ve sacrificed so much to keep the NRL competition going but they’re not getting a lot in return.

They’ve registered just three wins all season and they were comprehensively walloped by Cronulla Sharks on Sunday.

It was their former player Shaun Johnson who did the damage. He looks like he’s really settled into his role alongside Chad Townsend. Injury free, he’s rolling back the years to his early days at the Warriors. If he can continue this form, the Sharks will be in the Finals.


Time’s up for Green

Their 2015 Premiership-winning coach Paul Green called time on his incredible stint at the helm of the Cowboys on Monday.

He already knew he’d be leaving when he coached his side to an admirable defeat to Penrith on Sunday.

Green has been with the Townsville-based club since 2014 and oversaw their first ever Premiership win in 2015.

It was time for both parties to have a fresh start but Green will always have a special place in the hearts of those Cowboys players and fans.