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NRL: Takeaways from week two

The Penrith Panthers returned to winning ways, while the Dolphins showed their week one win over the Roosters was no fluke as they made it two wins on the bounce.

Week two of the NRL may not have had the thrills and spills of the opening round but it still provided some entertaining rugby league with plenty to talk about.

Penrith began the round with a 16-10 victory over South Sydney Rabbitohs on Thursday night, then on Friday the Parramatta Eels slipped to another defeat, this time against Cronulla Sharks, going down 30-26. Also on Friday the Brisbane Broncos beat North Queensland Cowboys 28-16 to continue their fine start to the new season.

On Saturday Sydney Roosters beat New Zealand Warriors 20-12, the Dolphins beat Canberra Raiders 20-14 and the Canterbury Bulldogs beat Melbourne Storm 26-12.

To wrap up the action on Sunday, Wests Tigers lost 14-12 at home to Newcastle Knights and the Dragons beat Gold Coast Titans 32-18. Lots to talk about but let’s take a look at the main takeaways from week two in the NRL.

Panthers silence the critics

Following their opening week loss to the Brisbane Broncos and the World Club Championship defeat against St Helens, questions were raised over how the Panthers would go this season.

However they bounced back in fine style to see off South Sydney. The Rabbitohs were missing a couple of key players, but it was still a big win nonetheless. It is still early days but proved there can be life without Api Koroisau and Viliame Kikau. 

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Big four in action on Friday night

The team spirit is also there and was needed as the Rabbitohs made a late fightback. Penrith dug in to get the job done and with the first win of the season under the belt they will be looking to kick on. They will have to wait though as they have a bye in week three.

That could actually work in their favour though as they go away to work on one or two things on the training pitch. The Panthers are priced at 4.33 to win the Grand Final in 2023.

Ponga facing spell on sidelines

The Newcastle Knights picked up their first win of the season with a massive 14-12 victory over Wests Tigers at Liechhardt Oval. It eased the pressure on coach Adam O’Brien, who needs a solid start to the season, but came at a cost as the Knights could now be without Kalyn Ponga for a lengthy spell.

Ponga has switched from fullback to the halves and picked up his fourth concussion in 10 months during the win over the Tigers. It has now been suggested that he will be out for a while to safeguard him from any issues down the line. The Knights will put the player’s health first.

There has also been a claim that Ponga should switch back to the No.1 jersey when he is ready to return. Playing in the halves he is expected to make four times as many tackles as when he is playing at fullback. That puts him in the firing line a lot more and more at risk from concussions.

O’Brien could have a decision to make when he is ready to return.

Tigers lose again

The new era at the Wests Tigers has not started at all well following another home defeat, this time against the Knights.

It was by just two points but is a defeat nonetheless and it is the manner of the performance that will have set alarm bells ringing. Some have labelled the performance as ‘dreadful’ raising question marks over the new coaching set-up which sees Tim Sheens in charge as head coach with Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah working under him.

The plan is to eventually pass the reins on to the duo full time but if they carry on the way they are going it may happen sooner rather than later. Despite only playing two games, it looks as though the current set-up is not working. The Tigers are priced at 4.25 to suffer most losses this season.

Tedesco pens new deal

It has been a great weekend for the Sydney Roosters. Not only did they pick up their first win of the season but they have also secured their star man and captain James Tedesco to a new deal.

There had been suggestions that Tedesco could move on but the new deal means he is likely to see out his career with the Bondi outfit. Tedesco’s deal is set to run through until the end of the 2025 NRL campaign, before young star Joseph Suaalii then takes over at fullback.

The Roosters are priced at 6.00 to win the Grand Final.

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