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NRL: Takeaways from week eight

Just when you think the NRL cannot get any more exciting, week eight turned out to be the most competitive yet with all games going right to the wire.

South Sydney Rabbitohs and Penrith Panthers set the tone in the opening game on Thursday night with the bunnies winning by two points. 

Then there were a further five close encounters spread over Friday, Saturday and Sunday before an epic Anzac Day wrapped up the round. 

In the early game the Sydney Roosters managed to fend off a brave fightback from St George Illawarra Dragons to win 27-26 in front of over 40,000 fans at Allianz Stadium. 

Then in the late game we had another thriller between Melbourne Storm and New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park. 

We looked set for golden point at 22-22 in the dying minutes before the Storm grabbed a late try to win 30-22. 
The competition is exciting to say the least and there are plenty of talking points once again. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

Souths set to land Wighton

Starting with action away from the pitch and some of the biggest news to emerge from the week is Jack Wighton’s decision to sign for South Sydney. 

The Canberra Raiders star is reported to have agreed a four-year deal with Souths that will begin from the start of 2024. 

The Raiders were said to have offered Wighton a four-year deal worth $4.4million, while the Dolphins were also chasing the playmaker’s signature. 

However, he has turned them both down and is willing to take a pay-cut in favour of joining Souths. The reason being the New South Wales State of Origin ace is desperate to win a premiership before he retires and believes his best chance is with South Sydney. 

Souths have found some space on the salary cap and the deal is expected to be officially announced in the coming days. The Rabbitohs are next in action on Friday night when they face Brisbane and are priced at 1.87 to get the win. 

Related Rugby League News

NRL: Roosters out to slay Dragons

NRL: Dolphins boosted by Felise Kaufusi return

Competition is closer than ever 

There is little to separate the sides in the NRL this season and week eight has been the shining example. The Sharks beating the Bulldogs by 13 points was the biggest winning margin of the round. 

In three of the games there were just two points in it, while the Roosters beat the Dragons by one. It has been a familiar story throughout the season so far. 

A number of reasons have been given for the trend, one being the World Cup at the end of last year. The top teams from 2022 like Penrith had more players going deep into the tournament and then returning late to start preparations for the new season. 

Compare that to the likes of the Broncos, Warriors, Sea Eagles and Titans who had fewer players involved, meaning they are fitter and sharper in the early rounds. 

That has helped to close the gulf in quality between the top teams and those below them. There are no complaints from rugby league lovers however as they are being treated to the most exciting start in the history of the competition.

Trbo relief for Sea Eagles 

Gun Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic is getting back to his best and has helped the Sea Eagles make a strong start to the season with four wins and a draw from the opening seven games. 

He has been prone to injury though and the Sea Eagles would have been sweating after he limped out of the win over Wests Tigers on Sunday with a groin injury. 

However, Manly have since confirmed it is nothing serious and Trbojevic will be fit and available to face the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday. 

They are priced at 1.44 to get the win, with the Titans available at 2.75. The Sea Eagles are now second on the ladder as new coach Anthony Seibold has transformed their fortunes.

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