It's round three of the NRL, and already there has been a slight shift away from the initial period of excitement once the new season starts. We get back into the routine of "really, another bloody Broncos/Storm/Titans/Manly game, is there anything else on?" Can I really be bothered staying up on a Thursday night to watch a match I don't really care about? Rugby League for me is still a Saturday and Sunday afternoon game. I can survive a Friday night match, but that takes away from family time. Sometimes a good thing, sometimes not. Anyway, I digress...
- I only glanced at the Thursday night match between Storm and Broncos, and for those reasons stated above. I don't care about either team, and it's too late on Thursday to watch. I'm sure it was a reasonable game, but all I cared about was finally getting a tip right (Storm winning 14-12 did that).
- Once again the Warriors look as though they are going to disappoint their fans, while the Bulldogs managed to find enough this week to get a victory. The 24-12 win would have pleased their fans without solving any of the issues raised in their first two matches. Their attack was better without being perfectly well run. Their defense though was solid again. The Warriors meanwhile have had three matches in New Zealand for one very scrappy and undeserved victory over last season's wooden spooners. With their roster, they appear in all sorts of trouble.
- The Eels played their third away match in succession, on only a five day layover, and without their playmaker. Compared to most others, it is a very ordinary draw. The inevitable loss to the Titans on the back of that will be put down to the Norman factor, but the draw is somewhat unfair. The Titans have more injury worries, but the loss of Jarryd Hayne from last week appears to have improved their attack nicely. One wonders if his unsettling influence being missing helped their endeavours. The 26-14 victory tends to prove it does.
- If nothing else, at least Newcastle are proving competitive this season. They were perhaps a little unlucky to lose to Souths 24-18 at home, and Souths were fortunate not to have two players sent for the game let alone only one going for ten minutes. The Knights are on a learning curve though, looking to fight their way back to respectability. Souths seem to be just fighting, but are now 2-1 having won two away games in succession.
- I didn't see either of the later games, only smatterings while being out and about and when the cricket went to a break. The Roosters outlasted the Panthers up the mountain, which is no mean feat, but surely the three tries to one gives a better indication of the difference. No matter, the Roosters are 3-0 and the Panthers (title favourites?) are 1-2.
- I know the Cowboys had some injuries and suspensions, but really did anyone expect Manly to go on and win this 30-8 at Townsville? No team will go through this season unscathed by injury, and how you perform without your best 17 available will be the difference between making finals or not. The Cowboys will know they have to do better. The Sea Eagles have at least shown they won't be the soft underbelly they appeared to have last season. It opens up the field substantially with a result like this so early in the season.
- Ooooohhhh Tigers fans. It looks like the whole season is very close to unravelling. After what appeared to be a good opening to their game with the Raiders down in Canberra (despite both teams constant dropping of the ball) the Tigers suddenly forgot how to play, and the Raiders stopped dropping the ball. The 46-6 thrashing will have revived local fans after last week's 'brain fade', but where do the Tigers go from here? Do they have nothing to motivate them if they aren't playing against Robbie Farah? They look shot.
- Seriously, what is going on with the Shire partners? The Sharks couldn't beat Brisbane at home, then pumped the Raiders away. The Dragons surprised against the Panthers, then failed to consolidate against the Eels at home. The derby is always a game played with feeling, but for the most part the Sharks didn't have any. The 16-10 victory for the Dragons feels like it is just a band-aid before the inevitable collapse, but the Sharks at 1-2 need to find something quick or they will be fishing in rougher waters.