MAN OF THE ROUND: There has been talk that Damien Cook’s Origin and Test jumpers are under threat from Api Koroisau and Harry Grant. But, against Canterbury, Cook showed why he is still regarded as one of the game’s elite hookers. He grabbed a first career hat-trick and was a constant menace in South Sydney’s big win.
QUOTE OF THE ROUND: “I like the fact that he’s taking opportunities, seizing moments and he’s not shy” – Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson on 19-year-old five-eighth Sam Walker, who played a starring role in their 22-14 win over the Warriors, kicking five goals and scoring a try.
STAT THAT MATTERS: The Wests Tigers’ 21-20 win over Parramatta was their first over the Eels since 2018. The result, which was their maiden victory of the campaign, was their first under Michael Maguire in 247 days. Relief.
MAGIC MOMENT: Jackson Hastings’ match-winning field goal for Wests Tigers in their one-point victory over Parramatta. With the clock ticking towards golden point, Hastings took the game by the scruff of the neck and hoofed a field goal from 38 metres to seal a drought-breaking Tigers victory.
TALKING POINT: Another Newcastle loss and another avalanche of conjecture about Kalyn Ponga’s future. A story that the Knights pulled their contract offer did the rounds while they were losing to St George Illawarra and has only added fuel to the fire. For the sake of the Knights’ season, coach Adam O’Brien must be praying his fullback makes a decision sooner rather than later.
CASUALTY WARD: Raiders – Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (leg), Xavier Savage (shoulder); Bulldogs – Chris Patolo (concussion), Josh Jackson (concussion), Braidon Burns (hamstring); Broncos – Tesi Niu (hamstring); Sea Eagles – Josh Aloiai (shoulder), Sean Keppie (concussion), Tolutau Koula (concussion); Sharks – Dale Finucane (concussion), Braden Hamlin-Uele (wrist); Storm – Ryan Papenhuyzen (ankle); Tigers – Jake Simpkin (ankle), Ken Maumalo (knee), Eels – Reagan Campbell-Gillard (ankle), Tom Opacic (neck).
JUDICIARY WATCH: Bulldogs – Brandon Wakeham (crusher tackle); Panthers – Nathan Cleary (dangerous contact); Broncos – Kobe Hetherington (contrary conduct); Storm – Felise Kaufusi (dangerous contact); Dragons – Zac Lomax (contrary conduct), Francis Molo (careless high tackle); Tigers – Kelma Tuilagi (late hit).
UNDER PRESSURE: Canberra coach Ricky Stuart put a rocket up his side after they threw away a 12-point lead to lose to North Queensland on Thursday. The Raiders are missing their first-choice hooker and halfback but there is no excuse for their continued ability to fold like a cheap suit when they have a lead. They have blown seven double-digit leads since the start of 2020 and Stuart warned of changes to a side that have just two wins to start the season.