The NRL returns with a bang as the focus finally goes back to the field

The NRL returns with a bang as the focus finally goes back to the field
Jason Taumalolo starred for the Cowboys. Photo: Fleets, Wikimedia Commons

The NRL made its return last Thursday to stellar ratings after a horror off-season, and immediately started to entertain on the field. The opening match, between the Storm and Broncos, was the most watched regular season match in 12 months, and the rest of the games were all watched by quite a few people as well.

The season kicked off in Melbourne, with the Storm welcoming the Broncos. Storm coach Craig Bellamy has never lost a round 1 match, and he kept his record intact as Melbourne managed to overcome the loss of Billy Slater.

On Friday the Knights, who are tipped to be contenders this year, overcome the Sharks in a gritty encounter. The Sharks have a new-look spine that will take a few games to click, as well as a new coach, so they won’t feel too down on themselves yet. The Rabbitohs got revenge on the Roosters for last year’s semi-final on Friday as well.

On Saturday the Warriors smashed the Bulldogs 40-6, showing that they haven’t missed a step with the loss of gun half Shaun Johnson. The Bulldogs, however, look to be in for another long season despite Kieran Foran looking dangerous on the few occasions he got clean, fast ball.

In driving rain in Sydney the Sea Eagles and Tigers had a very dour first half before Wests managed to click and run away in the final 20 minutes. In the final Saturday night game the Cowboys, led by a rampaging Jason Taumalolo (who finished with a mind boggling 300 running metres), took out the traditionally fast-starting Dragons.

On Sunday, again in driving rain, the Eels won the battle of the West over the Panthers, who are still fighting off a sex tapes scandal. The new look Parramatta spine went well in their first test, and gave their fans reason to hope this year. The Raiders also ran all over the Titans to finish off the round, winning 21-0 but flying under the radar due to the conditions and the excitement around the Sydney teams.

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