ICYMI, on Thursday the @NRL - National Rugby League released the 2018 #NRLDraw.
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Monday's Expert is Tuesday's Expert this week thanks to the wisdom of the NRL and the experiment of playing games during the working week.
At least there's no disputing last place. Its only round three and Souths already seem to be fighting off all challenges for the 2003 wooden spoon... an impressive display considering the disappointment of last year when Canterbury cruelly swooped in from the clouds to snatch away what was rightfully a Rabbitoh's possession. No doubt, they intend on correcting this oversight before the season is done with.
Meanwhile, things at the pointy end of the ladder are a little more congested. Its still the Raiders clinging onto the number one spot equal on points with the Broncos and the Storm.
The beating-the-ref-and-winning-the-game award goes to the Warriors this week who overcame several hundred penalties from referee Steve Lyons to narrowly defeat everyone's favourite team, Manly at Brookvale Oval. Despite scoring four tries to one, the Kiwi side only won by four points after fighting off no less than five penalty goals, which no doubt entertained the locals immensely. I'm sure Mr Lyons has his fans but I think someone should remind him that the game is called Rugby League... not Rugby Union.
And what about those Panthers? Lets not forget that this expert predicted the Panthers to be the competition's surprise packet from round one... and yes, I did put my money where my mouth was with a visit to the TAB, much to enjoyment of the lads down at the Firkin L Hotel. Who's laughing now, eh?
It was a great round for players standing up and having a go. Penrith fullback Rhys Wesser showed some tremendous flair and won me the bet but he wasnt the only one. Brisbane's utility back, Tonie Carroll showed once again even stocky blokes can look good in full flight. Canberra's Simon Woolford put on a great captain's knock and was probably the difference between winning and losing. And then there was the best player in a losing side with Saints' front rower, Luke Bailey notching up 18 hit ups and a massive 55 tackles! I get tired just thinking about it.
League Unlimited's Player of the Year Awards Points awarded for round three: 3 points: J Lyon (Eels), S Woolford (Raiders), PJ Marsh (Warriors), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), R Wesser (Panthers), T Carroll (Broncos), K Campion (Cowboys) 2 points: J Morris (Eels), L Bailey (Dragons), S Jones (Warriors), N Vagana (Bulldogs), P Whatuira (Panthers), S Berrigan (Broncos), J Smith (Souths) 1 point: A Woolnough (Knights), B Drew (Raiders), J Seu Seu (Warriors), W Mason (Bulldogs), C Gower (Panthers), D Lockyer (Broncos), J Hannay (Cowboys)
Tally update: 5 points L Bailey (Dragons), C Schicofske (Raiders) 4 points C Fitzgibbon (Roosters), L Hohaia (Warriors), D Lockyer (Broncos), A Minichiello (Roosters), J Smith (Souths), G Tallis (Broncos) 3 points S Bell (Storm), K Campion (Cowboys), T Carroll (Broncos), B Drew (Raiders), B Fittler (Roosters), A Guttenbeil (Warriors), A Johns (Knights), J Lowe (Cowboys), J Lyon (Eels), PJ Marsh (Warriors), H El Masri (Bulldogs), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), B Slater (Storm), P Stringer (Rabbitohs), R Wesser (Panthers), L Withers (Wests Tigers), S Woolford (Raiders) 2 points S Berrigan (Broncos), M Gasnier (Dragons), S Jones (Warriors), S Kearney (Storm), B Kennedy (Knights), J Lolesi (Raiders), J Morris (Eels), S Price (Bulldogs), D Senter (Wests Tigers), M Sing (Cowboys), S Tadulala (Storm), N Vagana (Bulldogs), P Whatuira (Panthers) 1 point J Caine (Wests Tigers), P Campbell (Panthers), S Donald (Sea Eagles), B Drew (Raiders), R Girdler (Panthers), C Gower (Panthers), P Graham (Raiders), J Hannay (Cowboys), B Hodgson (Eels), W Mason (Bulldogs), R O'Davis (Knights), D Peachey (Sharks), J Seu Seu (Warriors), R Swain (Broncos), L Thompson (Dragons), A Woolnough (Knights)
Round 3 results at a glance Parramatta Eels 30 (Tries: D Widders, A Dykes, P Richards, J Moodie, J Lyon; Conversions: L Burt 5/5, J Moodie 0/2, P Richards 0/1; Field Goals: P Green 0/1) def Newcastle Knights 12 (Tries: Steve Simpson, T Bates; Conversions: A Johns 2/2) Referee: B Harrigan Crowd: 17,175
Canberra Raiders 18 (Tries: A Mogg, J Monaghan, S Woolford; Conversions: C Schifcofske 3/5) def St George Illawarra 14 (Tries: R Simmonds, D Howell; Conversions: M Riddell 3/3, A Roberts 0/1) Referee: S Hampstead Crowd: 13,744
Warriors 20 (Tries: C Toopi (2), H Fa'afil, L Swann; Conversions: PJ Marsh 2/4) def Manly Sea Eagles 16 (Tries: D Lima; Conversions: B Walker 6/6) Referee: S Lyons Crowd: 14,273
Bulldogs 38 (Tries: Nigel Vagana (3), Willie Talau, Braith Anasta (2), Glen Hughes; Conversions: Hazem El Masri 5/7) def Wests Tigers 6 (Tries: M O'Halloran; Conversions: J Caine (1/1) Referee: S Hayne Crowd: 15,774
Penrith Panthers 23 (Tries: R Wesser (3), P Whatuira; Conversions: 3/4; Field Goals: C Gower 1/1) def Sydney Roosters 22 (Tries: B Fittler (2), T Byrne, C Wing; Conversions: C Fitzgibbon 3/5) Referee: S Clark Crowd: 9,854
Brisbane Broncos 30 (Tries: S Berrigan (2), T Carroll, B Tate, D Lockyer; Conversions: M De Vere 5/6) def Cronulla Sharks 4 (Tries: P Gallen; Conversions: B Kimmorley 0/1) Referee: P Simpkins Crowd: 17,687
North Queensland 27 (B Bowen C Muckert C Sheppard tries; J Hannay 7 goals, Sheppard field goal) South Sydney 20 (J Smith 2 B Watts M Minichiello tries; Smith 2 goals) at Aussie Stadium. Referee: T Mander Crowd: 9,422