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NRL: Five takeaways from round 23

It was another exciting week of action in the NRL with the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters piling on the points, while the Canberra Raiders remain in the mix for the top eight.

There are now just two rounds of the regular season remaining and things are hotting up nicely in the top eight, while some teams would love the season to be over already.

There were big wins for all of the teams in the top four. The minor premiers Penrith again showed their quality and strength in depth when beating a strong South Sydney Rabbitohs side on their own patch.

The race to finish just behind them in second place is also tight as North Queensland Cowboys cruised to a 44-point win over the New Zealand Warriors.

Cronulla Sharks remain level on points with them though as they crushed the Manly Sea Eagles by 34 points.

Melbourne Storm remain in fourth spot with the Parramatta Eels just two points behind them following a 42-6 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs.

There were important wins for the Roosters and Raiders, who defeated Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights respectively.

The Gold Coast Titans are still in danger of picking up the wooden spoon after they lost 46-26 against St George Illawarra Dragons.

It was another great week with plenty to talk about, so let’s delve in.

Melbourne Storm need one more win

The Storm revival continued as they smashed the Brisbane Broncos 60-12 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

Melbourne have always had a good record against Brisbane at Suncorp, but no-one predicted such an emphatic win for Craig Bellamy’s side who are peaking at just the right time with finals approaching. They are 15/4 to win the grand final.

They need one more win to secure a place in the top four, which is crucial. So we are set up for a blockbuster on Friday night when they entertain the Sydney Roosters.
 

Broncos are in free-fall

If Melbourne Storm are a team on the up, the Broncos are very much heading in the opposite direction following that defeat on Friday night.
They have now lost three out of the last four games but it is the manner of the defeat against the Storm that could take some getting over.

However there is no time to feel sorry for yourself. They need to bounce back and have a huge game against the Parramatta Eels this week.

Another loss and their top-eight hopes are in real danger. They are priced at 1/7 to make finals.
 

Raiders fighting for the top eight

The Raiders are the team that could replace the Broncos in the top eight after they showed great spirit to come from behind to win in Newcastle on Sunday.

Ricky Stuart’s men looked in trouble at one point but came back to win 28-22 to keep them within two points of the Brisbane Broncos in eighth.

The green machine just need to win their last two games to give themselves a real chance and they are priced at 2/1 to make it.

The run-in is a nice one for Canberra with games against Manly Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers to come.
 

Wests Tigers hit a new low

The Tigers will be wishing the season could end right now after they were thrashed 72-6 by the Sydney Roosters at the SCG on Saturday night.

Wests Tigers will have a new coaching set up for 2023 and they have a huge job on their hands judging by what we saw against the Roosters.

The players appeared to give up and that will set alarm bells ringing for the Tigers faithful. They had shown some spirited displays recently when running the Cowboys close and then beating the Broncos.

However that all went out of the window at the weekend and they now look on course for the first wooden spoon in their history.
 

Duo key to Rabbitohs premiership chances

South Sydney may have slipped to a 26-20 loss against the Penrith Panthers on Friday night but there were positives to take from the game.

In particular the performances of fullback Latrell Mitchell and playmaker Cody Walker. The pair combined for one spectacular try in particular and appear to be hitting their straps at just the right time.

It could be an obvious thing to say but these two need to keep up the good work if Souths are to go deep into finals once again. They are priced at 12/1 to win the grand final.

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