New Zealand Warriors 26 v Newcastle Knights 22 @ Mount Smart Stadium
1.This was a typical Jeckyl and Hyde performance from the Warriors. Their opening 20 minutes was terrible before they completely dominated and had the game at their mercy at 20-8. Before allowing the Knights 3 straight tries to hit the lead. They were lucky to get out ofjail in the end.
2. This was a really encouraging comeback from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck coming off a knee reconstruction. He was in no way timid and his speed looked close to full capacity on one long kick return.
3. Rugby League can be a very cruel game at times and that was the case for young Knights' fullback Dylan Phythian. Now out with a season ending knee reconstruction, a guy who was digging ditches for a living 12 month ago now has to sit out a season and watch other young hopefuls take his spot.
4. Newcastle will improve this season based on this showing. They looked far more capable of competing physically in parts of this game. They also looked to have some dangerous combinations out wide and caused the Warriors some headaches.
5. I think Warriors' Coach Steve Kearney will be looking to inject Kieron Foran straight back into this Warriors' side in Round 3. Foran, when focused, is capable of giving the Warriors a much steelier resolve, and settling the side down that are known to make too many fundamental errors and defensive lapses.
Manly Sea Eagles 12 v Parramatta Eels 20 @ Brookvale Oval
1. I loved how hard both these forward packs played early in this game. It was extremely physical and willing with a number of big hits and turbo charged runs. Both teams put everything into it to try and assert some early superiority.
2. Corey Norman put on a wonderful display of short kicking in this game, forcing 4-5 line drop kicks, to have Manly on their knees for the rest of the game physically. He also produced an unbelievable 40-20.
3. Manly just made way too many simple errors in this game with the football. Blake Green had a really scratchy first game as he was exposed defensively a few times and his combination with Cherry Evans never really took flight.
4. I was super impressed with Eels' fullback Bevan French. Not only was he extremely dangerous, but I thought he was courageous on a few occasions and highly involved. I think he will only get better.
5. Parramatta still need to work on their attack in the red zone. With the amount of ball they had, they really should have scored 30 points plus in this game. At one stage they had 6 repeat sets, but couldn't cross the stripe.