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NRL: Five things we learnt from round 15

Penrith Panthers and Brisbane Broncos continue to set the pace at the top of the NRL, while Melbourne Storm are also right in the mix following a big win.

There is still one game of round 15 to take place with the Canterbury Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels set to battle it out on the King’s Birthday. 

But it has been an enthralling round so far with the Panthers, Broncos and Storm all picking up important wins. 

Penrith defeated Sydney Roosters 30-6, Brisbane edged out Newcastle Knights 24-20, while the Storm romped to a 54-10 win over Cronulla Sharks. 

Gold Coast Titans beat Wests Tigers 28-12, while New Zealand Warriors pulled off one of the results of the round when beating Canberra Raiders 36-14 on their own patch. 

There was also a massive win for the Dragons as they shocked South Sydney Rabbitohs 36-30 and Manly Sea Eagles smashed the Dolphins 58-18. 

But what five things did we learn from round 15?

Storm statement of intent 

Melbourne Storm are priced at 7.50 to win the NRL grand final and they fired a warning to the rest of the comp as they thrashed the Sharks 54-10. 

The Storm ran in nine tries and it was the perfect response to the previous week’s 25-point loss against the Cowboys. 

Craig Bellamy may have lost one or two quality players in the off-season but on the evidence of this latest win they have enough class and strength in depth to go deep into finals. 

Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and Jahrome Hughes all stepped up to the plate and will be key to their premiership chances. 

Hynes fails Origin audition 

Nicho Hynes disappointed as the Sharks were crushed by the Storm and his chances of starting game two in State of Origin took a hit. 

New South Wales need to replace the injured Nathan Cleary and Hynes has been in the frame to step in. However he was not at his best, and with Mitchell Moses and Adam Reynolds also in the mix, Hynes did himself no favours.

Reynolds stakes his claim 

If Nicho Hynes failed his Origin audition, then Adam Reynolds passed his. The playmaker was the star of the show as the Broncos beat the Knights by four points. 

Reynolds scored the winning try and set up another in an impressive display. Not only that, his kicking game was on point and that area of the game will be crucial in game two at Suncorp Stadium. 

The 32-year-old admitted he can do no more and now the decision sits with New South Wales coach Brad Fittler.

Origin worries for Blues and Maroons 

Fittler and Queensland counterpart Billy Slater both have concerns ahead of game two following another bruising weekend. 

For the Blues, Liam Martin looks set to miss out after the Penrith star suffered a grade one concussion in the win over Sydney Roosters. 

Meanwhile, Christian Welch could miss out for Queensland after he was sent to the sin bin and put on report following a high hit against the Sharks. Queensland are priced at 1.60 to win game two, while New South Wales are 2.35

Flanagan set for Dragons job 

Following the win over the Rabbitohs, Dragons skipper Ben Hunt dropped the bombshell that Shane Flanagan is in line to fill the vacant coaching role at the club. 

The Red V need to replace Anthony Griffin and Hunt has revealed he has already spoken to Flanagan, who is keen to step in. 

Hunt also revealed that Flanagan wants him to play halfback if he gets the job.

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