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NRL: Talking points from week five

It was another thrilling week of action in the NRL with three of the games going to golden point, while Brisbane Broncos continue to dominate.

Out of all the eight games played in week five, there was not one low-scoring affair, as fans of the NRL and rugby league around the world were treated to a try-fest. 

In one of the biggest thrillers of the round Manly Sea Eagles and Newcastle Knights had to settle for a 32-32 draw as 90 minutes of rugby, including golden point, could not separate the two sides. 

The Warriors also pulled off the result of the weekend when coming from behind to win 32-30 at Cronulla, also in extra time. 

On Thursday night the Sydney Roosters beat Parramatta 28-20, and then on Friday Penrith Panthers blitzed Canberra Raiders 53-12, while the Storm won 18-10 at the South Sydney. 

Moving on to Saturday and the Dragons pulled off a much-needed 38-12 win over the Dolphins, while Brisbane Broncos beat Wests Tigers 46-12. To wrap up the action on Sunday we had another golden-point thriller as the Bulldogs edged out the North Queensland Cowboys 15-14.

Excitement levels reach new heights

The quality of rugby league on show in the opening rounds of the 2023 NRL season has been outstanding, while the excitement level is going through the roof.

It reached new heights in week five with three of the games going to golden point. The first of which was Manly Sea Eagles versus Newcastle Knights which finished 32-32 at the conclusion of normal time with 12 tries being scored.

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An extra 10 minutes of golden point could not separate the two sides and we had our first draw in the NRL since round three in 2020.

There was more to follow with both games on Sunday going to golden point. The Warriors fought back to beat the Sharks at the death, while Matt Burton booted the golden point as the Bulldogs beat the Cowboys.

It has been a disappointing week for the NRL in some ways after it was revealed that Roosters star Joseph Sua’ali’i will swap codes and play Rugby Union with the Wallabies.

There is talk that more players may be lured over by new Wallabies coach Eddie Jones. However, on the evidence of the weekend, the NRL is in a very strong place and will live on despite one or two defections to rugby union. The game is more exciting than ever.

Warriors the real deal

The Warriors were being tipped as wooden spoon contenders before the season started but now they look set for top-eight at the very least following a strong start.

They have won four out of the opening five games, but it was the manner of the victory over Cronulla on Sunday that will really get people standing up to take notice. After a disastrous start that saw them 20-0 down after 20 minutes of action, the Warriors showed great fight to come back and pull off one of the greatest all-time victories.

Somehow they took it to golden point with the scores level at 30-30. Then cometh the hour cometh the man as Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson booted a long-range penalty to seal a dramatic win.

Under coach Andrew Webster, the Warriors are playing with great belief and that can take them a long way. There are one or two issues to fix but they are a completely different side from 2022 and have what it takes to have a big year.

The Warriors can now be backed at 2.10 to make the top eight and 4.33 to go even higher and make the top four. If they can show the same spirit all season, that cannot be ruled out.

Mitchell below par

South Sydney have got the season off to a disappointing start and so too has Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell, who was criticised for his performance in the 18-10 home loss against Melbourne Storm.

Usually if Mitchell is at the top of his game, so are the bunnies, and both are below par at the moment. Mitchell had just three runs for 27 metres in the first half against the Storm and he admits he needs to be way more involved if he is to have a big impact.

The Rabbitohs are no one-man team, but they need Mitchell to get firing asap. The good news is it is still very early days and Mitchell is well aware of what he needs to do to improve - get involved more.

Souths are 2-3 and are priced at 9.00 to go on and win the 2023 NRL grand final.

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