Eight talking points from NRL Round 8

Eight rounds are on the books, a third of the season is over, and with injuries, breakouts and a couple of upsets, there’s a lot to discuss. Here are my NRL talking points for Round 8.

Brett Morris was the greatest winger of this generation
“Heartbreaking” would be the word to describe Brett Morris injuring his ACL on Saturday night.

Fans of Roosters, Dragons and Bulldogs will especially agree, but neutral fans of this competition who have had the pleasure (and sometimes the pain) of watching Morris go around will all agree on its quality.

It will be a huge shame to see Morris come out on anything other than his own terms, and being forced out by an ACL injury while in a form most could only dream of is more than unhappy.

Even at the age of 34, Morris fired up competition this year in one of the competitive powers, though their chances of winning a prime ministerial post in 2021 are growing longer with the growing injury crisis.

Seven games were enough for Morris to score 11 tries, make nine line breaks and 25 tackle busts, add three assists and run an average of 146 yards per game. These are numbers that any winger, at any time, would be jealous of.

Morris joins Lindsay Collins with late-season injuries this weekend at the Habs, and the Roosters are now in the creek without a paddle, but Morris’s impact on the sport will not be forgotten.

There is some hope he can come back for one last race, but otherwise it has been a hell of a career for the best winger of this generation.

Brett Morris (Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

Ricky Stuart’s confusing decisions impact the Raiders
Odd would be the word that comes to mind to describe the Raiders over the past few weeks.

Now, with four straight losses under their belt, the Green Machine has decided to head to their final clash against the hot South Sydney Rabbitohs without Josh Papalii resting.

The five-day turnaround was the reasons given, but given that the end result is that the Rabbitohs now have seven rebound wins since their first-round loss, it hasn’t quite worked out for Ricky Stuart and the Raiders. .

Papalii, whatever his form, is the club’s best forward, and at times the Raiders were sorely lacking in advancing during the contest, an area you’d think Papalii could help improve.

Not only was the decision to rest Papalii, but on the pitch Stuart refused to use his bench properly, especially with Sia Soliola getting just seven minutes.

Despite a gassed attacking platoon launched by Redfern’s men, Soliola played an incredibly limited time, while the struggling Hudson Young sort of played the full 80.

It didn’t make sense, and the decisions bite the Raiders.

Ricky stuart

Ricky Stuart (Photo by Mark Nolan / Getty Images)

The Sea Eagles aren’t that far away
The Sea Eagles could have come down to Penrith on Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t a horrible effort on the part of the Northern Beaches men.

Des Hasler’s side had a decent fight against the heavyweights of the competition, who, after eight rounds, still haven’t given up a game this season.

It’s a phenomenal start for the Panthers, but it was the real test for Manly with Tom Trbojevic now back to full force. They may have failed on the scoreboard, but Manly will take comfort in the fact that they can stick with Penrith for a while and, at their best, shouldn’t miss the top eight.

There’s still a mountain of water to go under the bridge in 2021, but the Sea Eagles have been on the other side since Tom Trbojevic returned from injury.

Provided it doesn’t collapse again, the Sea Eagles’ organization will remain at a much better level defensively, and offense will naturally follow as the little things get done right.

Embarrassing defense could prevent Titans from playing final soccer
When the Titans played four tries in the first quarter of an hour against the Broncos on Friday night, the game should have been over.

Granted, the majority of neutral fans would have thought so, Titans fans would have, and even Brisbane fans would have worried about the destination of this scoreboard.

But instead of putting their foot down and running away properly with a score-sized cricket victory, the Titans did the opposite. They read their own game situation and invited the Broncos to come back with a golden ticket.

Brisbane was always awkward, always anything but perfect, but they didn’t just time as they often do once they get behind.

Instead, they fought, defended well, and let their offense lean on their backs, with their outside full-backs starting sets in good positions and the rest gaining the upper hand during the set.

The Broncos won’t be the favorites in this competition, but neither are the Titans. Their defense is just not up to par and one would imagine they will be forced to do a lot this weekend.

Dragons fell from a cliff
Sure, there were injuries, but Sunday’s appalling effort against the Tigers (who, let’s be honest, weren’t that good themselves) was one of the worst games the Dragons have put on in recent years. time.

And there have been some absolute shockers, which really means something to their level of performance.

But there was simply no intensity, no urgency, and no execution of the Red V. Their line speed was in the toilet coming out of defense, more ineffective tackles than you could take a stick and very little creativity for. attack. .

You could write a book about how just about any other team in the competition would have beaten the Dragons by a lot more on Saturday, which says a lot about how the Tigers performed or lacked it, and even more about the Dragons.

Even more disturbing was the fact that they scored in the first ten minutes, and then that was it. No more points, and they barely seemed to score. 43 percent possession could be blamed, but with a horrific completion rate at 24 out of 36, they just had to blame themselves.

In short, when I asked if we should take the Dragons seriously a few weeks ago, they managed to dismiss that idea, serving three terrible losses in a row with terrible performances.

Jackson Ford

The Dragons. (Photo by Matt King / Getty Images)

Is Tohu Harris the most underrated player in the game?
Week after week, Tohu Harris is the quiet director of the warriors.

Locking forward may not receive the same praise and compliments that a player like Roger Tuivasa-Sheck does, but there’s no doubt the Warriors lose more than a bit when Harris is out.

Comparing last week’s Warriors who lost pretty badly against the Storm, to this week’s one who managed to triumph over the Cowboys in a close game – that’s not a good thing for you – and there was a key difference. Impact through the medium, largely caused by Harris’ work.

He finished Sunday’s game with 158 yards on 17 points and 42 clear tackles, and while numbers like those may not get the praise they deserve from commentators, it’s impossible to win games of. rugby without a player like Harris on your team.

Lock of the Warriors is criminally underrated, under-sold, and undervalued – certainly not by his own team of course – and also appears to help raise the standards of those around him. It doesn’t work every time, but it definitely helps.

There were other elements to the Warriors ‘victory, with Reece Walsh playing well again and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck back at the back doing his thing, but Harris’ return from his week off injured was no doubt. the biggest element of the Warriors not only fighting. to a solid lead in the first half, but managing to starve the Cowboys who finished quickly in the second half.

Bryce Cartwright could be an X factor for Parramatta
The raw stats won’t tell you much, but after a failed stint on the Gold Coast, the slash price deal to sign Bryce Cartwright to the Eels could end up being a masterstroke.

Although he still has flaws in his game, the improvement seems to be starting and his effort off the bench against the Bulldogs in what ended up being a tighter victory than he should have received a great start for the Blues and gold was solid.

He didn’t have a lot of chances to run the ball, but when he did, he made it count, and not only that, but he had a solid passing game and vision for the game, while defending better than him. done in a while.

Of course, the opposition makes you take Cartwright’s performance with a grain of salt, but it’s always positive to see the much-maligned utility bring up a screen that somehow realizes the potential it has shown to different people. moments in his career in the NRL at the start of his career. the Penrith Panthers.

That’s not to say that it will reach the level where it becomes an inspiring starter game, but with a role to play off the bench in the Fast Track NRL, Cartwright doing it right could make a lot of difference for Parramatta.

Not only does he offer this ability to trigger things off the bench, but his utility value while being a true striker allows for a much stronger rotation of players for coach Brad Arthur.

It’s a win everywhere in Parramatta if Cartwright plays.

Melbourne’s recruiting system is world class
Look, that’s probably not a big surprise to anyone who follows the sport, but if the Storm voluntarily lets a player go, there’s probably a good reason.

What if they try to sign one? Throw them the kitchen sink to try to get them on board.

Of course, this also has something to do with the system played in Melbourne, as well as the experience in the squad and coach of Craig Bellamy.

Ryan papenhuyzen

Ryan Papenhuyzen of The Storm (Photo by Robert Cianflone ​​/ Getty Images)

But it’s strange that their record of signing other clubs is improving and that departures to other clubs are turning back.

Reimis Smith is the last on a long list who started 2021 in much better shape than he finished the 2020 season, having now almost locked a starting spot in the Melbourne 13.

an away hat trick on Friday in Melbourne’s victory over the Sharks was just the icing on the cake, and while it’s safe to say that any player going from Canterbury to Melbourne will improve, you just look at the rest of the game. list that goes back several years.

Roarers, what did you think of Round 8? Leave a comment and let us know.

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