The break in play now feels like a lifetime ago and Round 5 of the NRL boasts another eight quality contests.
A few shock results and questionable decisions were the undoing of many of us in Round 4, but there is no doubt that it was a vastly improved effort on the week prior and, like the mighty Neds Gold Coast Titans, the only way is up!
You can find a preview of every game and my NRL Round 5 tips below.
Two sides with completely different prospects will square off on Thursday night, when the Sea Eagles ‘host’ the Broncos on the Central Coast.
The Sea Eagles look the goods in 2020.
Even when they started slowly against a legitimately good side in the Eels, they managed to stay within reach for the full eighty minutes and ultimately, were only undone by a refereeing blunder.
If the Trbojevic brothers haven’t been given the keys to the Northern Beaches yet, someone at the local council needs to pull their finger out.
They pull nearly every string for this Manly side, DCE included in that broad assessment, and they will be key to another big performance and (what really should be a) win this week.
The Broncos are just awful.
Sure, they’ve been ravaged by injury, but those remaining put up literally no fight last week and for the second round in a row, they were big drifters in Premiership betting – now out to $21!
Manly should be winning this comfortably.
Two Round 4 losers will be eager to atone on Friday evening when the Warriors and Cowboys do battle, also on the Central Coast.
The Warriors were outstanding in their return to the competition a couple of weeks ago, but it appears as though they were playing on enormous adrenaline, as well as that week’s opponent being the pits (St George), because they didn’t have an answer for the Panthers in Round 4.
There was a bit to like about a few solo performances – Tohu Harris for one, has wound back the clock to his Melbourne Storm days and has so-far been about the pick of the bunch in 2020.
They’ll need that and a lot more to defeat the Cowboys, who were also caught with their pants down by the Sharks.
The Cows seemed to lack direction, confidence and a sturdy defensive line, and it showed in their inability to contain and young and injury-ravaged Cronulla line-up.
I actually can’t have the Cowboys as short as they are this week and while I do think they might sneak home, I’m happy to have something on the Warriors at the line.
Another quality Friday night primetime game will see the undefeated Eels play host to impressive Round 4 winners the Panthers.
Let’s face it – the Eels were extremely lucky to scrape away with the win last week. If you’re a Manly fan, you have every right to feel cheated by the Round 4 result.
Regardless, this is where we find ourselves and to the Eels’ credit, they still did enough to put 19 on a good side and hold on for the W.
Penrith’s Round 3 draw with the Knights now looks a whole lot better.
Not only did they torch the Warriors, but they Knights came out and beat competition favourites the Raiders, and that is bang on the kind of form needed for them to topple our undefeated comp leaders.
Ivan Cleary has a good headache in choosing his halves this week, but there’s no way he isn’t picking his son, and thankfully for the mountain men, Nathan is outstanding.
Backing the upset.
The out of form South Sydney Rabbitohs will surely have their hands full again on Saturday, when one of the league’s more impressive Round 4 performers rolls into town.
HOW ABOUT THE MIGHTY NEDS GOLD COAST TITANS!?
Almost a year to the day since they last tasted victory, our boys rallied several times to fight back into the game with a credible Tigers side and ultimately ice their first win of season 2020.
Without getting ahead of ourselves, it was a step in the right direction, and you can never underestimate the confidence that comes with a result like that one.
To their credit, Souths were in their game with the Storm for at least the first forty last week and there is no denying that this represents their best chance of winning since the resumption.
I can’t have them as short as they are, but I do understand why they’ve been priced as so.
Instead, I’m going to back our man Anthony Don to cross the paint for a meat pie at any time. The bloke is as safe as houses!
The Newcastle Knights stamped themselves as a genuine title threat in Round 4, and they can consolidate their position with another big win over the Storm on Saturday evening.
Wowee. I really don’t think that there is anything else to say about their performance and win over the Raiders last week.
They controlled the game from the outset and really didn’t let up at any point. Along with the Eels and Panthers, they are the only other team to have recorded four wins from as many games in 2020 and other than history, I really don’t know why the Storm have been priced as firm favourites to beat them.
In Round 3, the Storm failed to account for a side that then failed to account for the Knights in Round 4.
They were better than South Sydney last weekend and were rewarded with a win, but I personally think that the jury is still out on how the Bunnies are actually travelling at the moment.
That’s all I really have to say, and I am more than happy to take the value around the Knights, yet again.
We’re back to Sydney on Saturday night for what betting suggests will be a reasonably one-sided affair between the Tigers and Raiders.
If there’s a side we want to see the Tigers losing to, it’s the Titans.
The latter were just so desperate for the win in last weekend’s Neds Derby, but there were still things to like about what the Tigers did.
Unfortunately, they’re charged with reversing their fortunes against a side that is clearly one of the league’s benchmarks, and who will be even more keen on atoning for their own Round 4 loss.
It was a quite a shock to see the Green Machine fold just a week after their historic win over the Storm, but you can’t keep a good team down for long and I think they will respond in a big way.
George Williams is a star, and there is no doubt that he’ll play a key role in Canberra’s performance and likely victory this week.
When I was watching the Roosters dismantle the Broncos in Round 4, it dawned on me at about the 70th minute mark that the Bulldogs were the next team on the chopping block:
The Roosters play the Bulldogs next weekend.
— NedsAU (@NedsAus) June 4, 2020
Even without James Tedesco, the Roosters gave a new meaning to clinical in their performance and win over the Broncos, the worst defeat suffered by that club in their entire history, and the first-ever time they’ve been kept scoreless at Suncorp Stadium.
Canterbury are not a good side in 2020, but they proved that they are still better than at least one other club with Monday afternoon’s comfortable win over the Dragons.
While I’m sure they’ll try, I just don’t think they’re up to the Roosters’ class.
Paul McGregor was somehow saved from the axe after a board meeting at St George on Tuesday and he will be eager to prove the doubters wrong by guiding the Dragons to a win over the Sharks.
Can he do it? Really bloody doubtful.
All four of the Dragons performances in 2020 have been diabolical and somehow, they seem to be getting worse as they’re getting fitter.
People complain about the Broncos getting a favourable draw each season and while I tend to agree with that, I feel like it always somehow works out even better for the Sharks.
They’re always prone to an injury yet seem to run into weak opponents at the perfect moments.
Case in point, the Cows last weekend but even more so, the Dragons this Sunday evening.
This looks like being one-way traffic and at only 6.5 points, I think that the Sharks will cover the line with their eyes closed.