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NRL: 5 things we learnt from week 25

It was another big week in the NRL as the battle for the minor premiership is set to go right to the wire, as is the race to make the top eight.

Penrith Panthers cemented their place as the team to beat this season as they thrashed the Titans by 26 points. They are priced at 1.16 to wrap up the minor premiership, with the Broncos 5.00.

There were also big wins for the New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders.

Wests Tigers picked up just their fourth win of the season to keep alive hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon.

Let’s take a look at the five things we learnt from another exciting round.

Ponga shines for Knights

Kalyn Ponga made a strong case for being labelled as the best fullback in the NRL following an outstanding display against South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Newcastle Knights smashed the Bunnies 29-10 on Sunday afternoon and Ponga was at his best during the win.

All the talk has been about Broncos fullback Reece Walsh being the best No.1 in the competition, while Ponga was also up against another gun in the form of Latrell Mitchell.

However Ponga was superior to Mitchell on Sunday and many now believe he is also above the likes of Walsh, Dylan Walker and Scott Drinkwater.

Ponga will be key to Knights making finals and going deep into them.

Rabbitohs top-eight hopes in danger

South Sydney’s chances of making the top eight are in severe danger after they lost to Newcastle on Sunday.

The Rabbitohs have a bye next week but then wrap up the regular season with a massive game against their arch rivals the Sydney Roosters.

It could come down to a shoot-out between the two clubs for who takes eighth spot and extends their season.

To make matters worse for Souths, they could be without Latrell Mitchell for the Roosters clash after he was sent to the sin bin against the Knights.

Eels season comes to an end

Parramatta’s season came to a disappointing end on Friday night when they slipped to a home defeat against the Roosters.

The game was billed as a ‘must-win’ for both sides as they battle to make the eight, and it was the Roosters that came out on top 34-12.

The Eels have a bye next week and even if they pulled off a huge upset against Penrith in week 27, it would not be enough to get them in the eight.

It is a huge come down for Parramatta, who made the grand final in 2022, and they face a big off-season to get back on track.

Marshall era begins with a win

Benji Marshall celebrated his first match as coach of Wests Tigers with a thrilling one-point win over the Dolphins.

It has been a huge week for the Tigers after Tim Sheens stepped aside as coach a year early to hand the reins to rookie coach Marshall.

And the Tigers legend could not have asked for a better start as they picked up just their fourth win of the season.

The Tigers have games against the Roosters and Sea Eagles to come, and could yet avoid the wooden spoon.

Roosters missing Tedesco

Sydney Roosters' hopes of making the eight have been hit by the news that gun fullback and captain James Tedesco will miss next week’s clash against Wests Tigers.

The Roosters need to win their last two games against the Tigers and Rabbitohs to make the eight, and the loss of Tedesco to concussion is a big blow.

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