Magic Round was a big success in Brisbane over the weekend, with all 8 games registering healthy attendances and showcasing some entertaining football. The crowd at Suncorp was understandably happiest with the Bronco’s beating the Sea Eagles, but Melbourne brought the crowd to their feet with one of the best displays the NRL has ever seen.
The weekend kicked off on Thursday with the Sharks playing the Titans, and given the size of the Sharks’ casualty ward and the form of the Titans it could easily have been a fizzer. However, each side turned up with the desire to win and they played out a gritty, tough encounter – with the exception of Tyrone Peachey, who probably played himself out of his Origin spot. The Sharks won 26-18.
On Friday Wests Tigers took back the Cleary Cup by doing a demolition job on the Panthers with a 30-4 win that looked like an early contender for biggest thrashing of the round. This was followed by the biggest game (crowd-wise) of the weekend, when Brisbane gave their season a jump start by beating Manly, who were defensively tough but had all of their creativity sitting in the injury room.
On Saturday the Knights continued their resurgence by beating the Bulldogs in a third consecutive man of the match performance from Mitchell Pearce. The Warriors then returned to the winners’ circle with a second half surge against the Dragons, who looked like they shut up shop early.
The final Saturday game was billed as the match of the round, with the Melbourne Storm coming off a narrow loss and abysmal performance against the Sharks while the Eels were in strong form. However, whatever coach Craig Bellamy said to his side clearly worked as the Storm played one of their best ever matches, in front of a Brisbane crowd keen to show their appreciation for some of Melbourne’s Queensland stars. The Storm absolutely dominated, winning 64-10.
On Sunday the 1st placed Roosters beat the 4th ranked Raiders 30-24, and the Rabbitohs got the job done against the Cowboys 32-16.