Brian To’o ran for a lazy 265 metres in his first game back and will be crucial to the Panthers’ chances of toppling the Storm in a top-of-the-table belter headlining Magic Round. How much did coach Ivan Cleary‘s bizarre absence from game day duties, holed up in hospital after knee surgery, have an effect on the Panthers? It’s hard to know. They weren’t going to be perfect forever, and the loss might not be such a bad thing.
Sea Eagles 36 bt Tigers 16 at 4 Pines Park
The Trbojevic family and the love between the brothers is a wonderful thing for Manly.
Daly Cherry-Evans was excellent, again, as was Kieran Foranwhile Haumole Olakau’atu (illness) and Josh Schuster (calf) are still to return to this side who will push deep into the finals again. Fortress Brookie is becoming that again after 17,385 fans soaked up the Saturday sunshine. The Tigers refused to roll over and had a serious dig, which is a good sign for coach Michael Maguire. They paid the price for all the defense they had to absorb early, not to mention the loss of two players to concussion before half-time. Luke Garner is a back-rower who deserves to finish the season in the centres. For a big man Garner has some excellent pace, which is why Penrith quickly signed him for the next two seasons. Stefano Utoikamanu will also be a big addition for the club as he regains fitness in the coming weeks.
Sydney Roosters 44 bt Gold Coast Titans 16 at BB Print Stadium, Mackay
It’s way too early to suggest the Roosters are baaaaaaack, but they showed some green shoots here. James Tedesco was the standout star, but even more pleasing was Luke Keyary and Sam Walker combining for their best game together.
We’re about to learn a lot more about the Roosters. Their upcoming opponents are Parramatta, Penrith, Cronulla, Canberra, Melbourne and then Parramatta and Penrith again. It’s an ugly part of the draw for the Tricolours, but no one builds into a season better than Trent Robinson.
North Queensland Cowboys 36 bt Newcastle Knights 16
Adam O’Brien said he expects as many as eight players to return from injury over the next fortnight for the Knights. You would imagine he will spend that time staring at his watch because the Knights need a major boost if they are to turn around a season that has become the stuff of nightmares.