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NRL: Five things we learnt from round 14

After some thrilling encounters, with two games both decided by a single point, there’s plenty to chew over from Round 14 of the 2023 NRL campaign.

Wins for the Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos meant they have edged away at the top of the table, while at the bottom end, North Queensland Cowboys pulled off the shock of the weekend with a rout against Melbourne Storm. 

Here are five things we learnt from the latest round of action in the NRL.

Panthers still the team to beat 

Reigning champions Penrith showed why many still consider them the team to beat in the NRL this season after a 26-18 win over St George/Illawarra Dragons. 

With a host of State of Origin names in their lineup, the Panthers got the job done, with Brian To’o one of the stars of the show with his brace of tries in Penrith. 

The win for the Panthers means they are currently 3.75 to win the grand final this year.

Cleary injury a concern for Blues 

Penrith’s win did come at a cost with Nathan Cleary picking up a hamstring injury in the early stages of the clash with the Dragons. 

It’s a blow not only to Penrith but also to New South Wales as they look to bounce back from their defeat to Queensland in Game 1 of the Origin series. 

NSW can’t afford another defeat and are available at 3.60 to come from behind and win this year’s series.

Rabbitohs are back 

After a dip in form which saw South Sydney lose back-to-back home games against the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders, the Rabbitohs were back with a bang against the Gold Coast Titans. 

Alex Johnston had a game to remember as he ran in three tries to help the Rabbitohs to a resounding 46-28 at Cbus Super Stadium. 

The win was a timely reminder South Sydney should not be written off, with the Rabbitohs now at 4.33 to win the grand final this season. 

Raiders and Roosters not to be written off 

There were two nail-biting contests over the weekend with the Raiders and the Sydney Roosters both edging thrillers. 

Friday night saw the Raiders pull off a 20-19 win at the West Tigers, while Sunday threw up another intriguing contest as the Roosters won 25-24 on home soil against the Canterbury Bulldogs. 

They were big wins for both the Raiders and Roosters, with Canberra now in sixth place, while Sydney kept themselves in touching distance of the top six.

Cowboys spring shock of the weekend 

North Queensland were expected to be up against it against the Melbourne Storm on Sunday but the Cowboys showed their ladder position does not represent what they are truly capable of. 

Few would have anticipated the Cowboys taking down the Storm and even fewer would have seen the 45-20 scoreline coming. 

It gives the Cowboys hope of a top-eight finish, for which they are 4.50, while it’s back to the drawing board for Melbourne as they look to move on quickly from their heavy defeat in Townsville.

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