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NRL: Talking points from week six

Brisbane Broncos suffered their first defeat of the 2023 NRL season as the Canberra Raiders pulled off a shock 20-14 victory on Saturday night.

It was another exciting week of NRL action, but performance of the round has to go to the Raiders for upsetting the odds against the Broncos at Suncorp.

Another performance of the round came from the Dolphins in the derby clash against North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.

In front of a packed Queensland Countrybank Stadium the Dolphins won by 10 points to once again show they are not just here to make up the numbers in their debut season.

There were also big wins for the Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Gold Coast Titans and Newcastle Knights.

Wests Tigers lost their sixth game from six against Parramatta Eels on Easter Monday, but at least they showed a lot more fight before going down 28-22.

As always there is lots to talk about in the NRL, let’s take a look at the main talking points.

Courageous Canberra up for the fight

The Raiders deserve great credit for the performance they put in when inflicting Brisbane’s first defeat of the 2023 campaign.

Not many outside of the Raiders camp will have given them a chance of upsetting the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, but they did just that.

The week before the Raiders had suffered a heavy home defeat against the Penrith Panthers, losing by 41 points, and many predicted a similar outcome against Brisbane, who are 9.00 to win the Grand Final.

However, they managed to win by six for their second victory of the season and credit has to go to coach Ricky Stuart for lifting his players.

The Raiders dragged Brisbane into a dogfight and the home side had no answer to it.

That has to be a concern for Brisbane coach Kevin Walters. Despite a strong start to the season, they have looked vulnerable when the going gets tough, the narrow win over the Dolphins is another example.

That is something the Broncos will need to address if they have ambitions of winning the premiership.

Wake-up call for the Sea Eagles

The Sea Eagles had made an impressive start to the season under new coach Anthony Seibold by winning their first two games.

They then slipped to a golden-point defeat against the Rabbitohs, before fighting out a thrilling 32-32 draw with the Knights.

However, the 44-12 defeat against Penrith on Saturday would have served as a big reminder that they still have a long way to before they will be challenging at the top.

Penrith, 3.75 to win the Grand Final, are a quality side, but some of the defending by the Sea Eagles, particularly on the right edge, left a lot to be desired.

Just to make matters worse there are also fitness concerns over star fullback Tom Trbojevic, who was suffering from back spasms.

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Penrith finding their feet

Following a shaky start to the season, the Panthers showed against the Sea Eagles that they are starting to find their feet again.

After losing key players like Viliame Kikau and Api Koroisau in the off-season, it was suggested they would be unable to win a third straight premiership in 2023.

Defeats to St Helens in the World Club Challenge and Brisbane in round one added weight to that argument.However, they are now up to second on the ladder.

Fullback Dylan Edwards also starred against the Sea Eagles and is sure to be a massive player once again for Ivan Cleary’s side.

Pressure back on Griffin

St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin is back in the spotlight after the Dragons slipped to a 20-18 defeat against the Titans on Easter Sunday.

The pressure has been on Griffin since the pre-season, but some encouraging displays and scorelines this season have helped to alleviate some of it.

Last week’s 38-12 win over the Dolphins was one such result, but they then followed it up with a disappointing display against the Titans.

The Dragons had already beaten Gold Coast earlier in the season and, with the home side missing key players, they were expected to do the double.

It was not to be and that has again cast doubt on Griffin’s future. The coach has already been told that the club are weighing up their options for 2024 and that he would have to re-apply for the job.

There has been talk that Griffin could leave before then, but the latest reports suggest that the powers that be will not pull the trigger in 2023.

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