Tuesdays Expert Wrap - Round One

After another controversy filled off-season it was a welcome relief to see the players return to the field and let their actions do to talking. Round one action is always intriguing and didn't the fans turn out in style - crowd numbers accumulated to the greatest round aggregate in the history of the NRL!

Moving right along, and Friday night saw Sydney's big derby between the Roosters and Rabbitohs at the SFS. The resounding theme of the clash was that the Rabbitohs still don't have the required tenacity to defend their own try line under pressure. Typified by the ever-arrogant Chris Sandow, Souths look flashy and fancy but a soft underbelly is again their major obstacle to success.

Prior to round one, Tuesday's Expert was asked to predict the biggest surprise packet and biggest flop for the 2011 season. And the first round of action highlighted that Tuesday's Expert is, well, nothing short of an expert. The Parramatta Eels were nominated as the team set to surprise and the Penrith Panthers as the side to sink. In Nostradamus-like fashion, both were on the money.

Although it is very early days, the influence of Bellamy-mentored Steven Kearney has had a notable impact on Parramatta. The Eels now play with structure and discipline and seem, to quote a cliche, all know their role in the side. A key ingredient is Casey McGuire in the hooking role - he calmly directed the attack in a performance that mirrored Melbourne's Cam Smith.

Penrith, on the other hand, were a complete shambles. They conceded every type of penalty in the book in the worst performance by an NRL side in recent memory. Aside from the classy Luke Lewis and aging warhorse Petero Civoniceva, on paper there's not much evoke any confidence and it's hard to see them getting anywhere near the top eight this year.

A team that caught the eye for all the right reasons was Canberra. In the absense of Matt Orford and Terry Campese, second choice halves Josh McCrone and Sam Williams steered the ship admirably. Such playmaking depth is almost non-existent these days and it was refreshing to see two crafty young players take centre stage.

Match Details

Sydney Roosters 40 defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 29

National Rugby League - Round 1 - Friday March 11, 2011 7:45pm
Crowd: 28,703

Sydney Roosters (40)
Tries: Anthony Minichiello, Sam Perrett, Braith Anasta, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Tom Symonds (2), Joseph Leilua
Conversions: Braith Anasta (5/7)
Penalty Goals: Braith Anasta (1/1)

South Sydney Rabbitohs (29)
Tries: John Sutton, Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Eddy Pettybourne, Chris Sandow
Field Goals: Chris Sandow (1/1)
Conversions: Issac Luke (0/1), Chris Sandow (4/4)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Mitchell Pearce
2 Points - Tom Symonds (2 Tries)
1 Point - Chris Sandow (1 Try, 4 Conversions, 1 Field Goal)

Brisbane Broncos 14 were defeated by North Queensland Cowboys 16
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Friday March 11, 2011 8:45pm
Crowd: 45,119

Brisbane Broncos (14)
Tries: Jharal Yow Yeh, Dane Gagai, Jack Reed
Conversions: Corey Parker (1/3)

North Queensland Cowboys (16)
Tries: Michael Bani, James Tamou, Will Tupou
Conversions: Johnathan Thurston (2/3)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Johnathan Thurston (2 Conversions)
2 Points - Matt Bowen
1 Point - Josh Hoffman

New Zealand Warriors 18 were defeated by Parramatta Eels 24
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Saturday March 12, 2011 5:30pm
Crowd: 38,405

New Zealand Warriors (18)
Tries: Jerome Ropati (2), Lewis Brown
Conversions: James Maloney (3/3)

Parramatta Eels (24)
Tries: Luke Burt (2), Jarryd Hayne, Jeff Robson
Conversions: Luke Burt (3/4)
Penalty Goals: Luke Burt (1/1)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jarryd Hayne (1 Try)
2 Points - Luke Burt (2 Tries, 3 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
1 Point - Mitchell Allgood

Gold Coast Titans 18 were defeated by St George Illawarra Dragons 25
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Saturday March 12, 2011 7:30pm
Crowd: 21,729

Gold Coast Titans (16)
Tries: Steve Michaels, Ashley Harrison, Sam Tagataese
Conversions: Scott Prince (2/3)

St George Illwarra Dragons (25)
Tries: Ben Creagh, Nathan Fien, Darius Boyd (2)
Field Goals: Jamie Soward (1/2)
Conversions: Jamie Soward (4/4)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jamie Soward (4 Conversions, 1 Field Goal)
2 Points - Ben Creagh (1 Try)
1 Point - Scott Prince (3 Conversions)

Melbourne Storm 18 defeated Manly Sea Eagles 6
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Saturday March 12, 2011 7:30pm
Crowd: 14,651

Melbourne Storm (18)
Tries: Chase Stanley, Dane Nielsen, Matt Duffie
Conversions: Cameron Smith (2/3)
Penalty Goals: Cameron Smith (1/1)

Manly Sea Eagles (6)
Tries: Michael Robertson
Conversions: Daly Cherry-Evans (0/1)
Penalty Goals: Jamie Lyon (1/1)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Cooper Cronk
2 Points - Cameron Smith (2 Conversions, 1 Penalty Goal)
1 Point - Glenn Stewart

Canberra Raiders 40 defeated Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 12
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Sunday March 13, 2011 2:00pm
Crowd: 13,450

Canberra Raiders (40)
Tries: Dane Tilse, Joe Picker, Jarrod Croker, Daniel Vidot, Shaun Fensom, Blake Ferguson, Josh McCrone
Conversions: Jarrod Croker (6/7)

Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (12)
Tries: Luke Douglas, Nathan Gardner
Conversions: John Williams (2/2)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Josh McCrone (1 Try)
2 Points - Joel Thompson
1 Point - Sam Williams

Penrith Panthers 8 were defeated by Newcastle Knights 42
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Sunday March 13, 2011 3:00pm
Crowd: 12,431

Penrith Panthers (8)
Tries: Lachlan Coote
Conversions: Michael Gordon (1/1)
Penalty Goals: Michael Gordon (1/1)

Newcastle Knights (42)
Tries: Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, Matt Hilder, Junior Sau (2), Akuila Uate, Beau Henry
Conversions: Kurt Gidley (3/4), Wes Naiqama (3/3)
Penalty Goals: Wes Naiqama (1/1)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Jarrod Mullen (1 Try)
2 Points - Kurt Gidley (1 Try, 3 Conversions)
1 Point - Junior Sau (2 Tries)

Canterbury Bulldogs 24 defeated Wests Tigers 14
National Rugby League - Round 1 - Monday March 14, 2011 7:00pm

Canterbury Bulldogs (24)
Tries: Frank Pritchard, Steve Turner, Kris Keating, Josh Morris
Conversions: Bryson Goodwin (4/4)
Penalty Goals: Bryson Goodwin (0/1)

Wests Tigers (14)
Tries: Benji Marshall, Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri
Conversions: Benji Marshall (1/3)

Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:
3 Points - Trent Hodkinson
2 Points - Frank Pritchard (1 Try)
1 Point - Aiden Tolman


Three Points
Cooper Cronk (Storm), Jarryd Hayne (Eels), Trent Hodkinson (Bulldogs), Josh McCrone (Raiders), Jarrod Mullen (Knights), Mitchell Peace (Roosters), Jamie Soward (Dragons), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)

Matthew Bowen (Cowboys), Luke Burt (Eels), Ben Creagh (Dragons), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Frank Pritchard (Bulldogs), Cameron Smith (Storm), Tom Symonds (Roosters), Joel Thompson (Raiders)

Mitchell Allgood (Eels), Josh Hoffman (Broncos), Scott Prince (Titans), Chris Sandow (Rabbitohs), Junior Sau (Knights), Glenn Stewart (Sea Eagles), Aiden Tolman (Bulldogs), Sam Williams (Raiders)