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NRL: The big talking points from round 25

The final round of the regular NRL season has been completed and we can now look forward to what promises to be an exciting 2022 finals campaign.

The battle to make the top four and top eight has been a close one but it was settled in the final round of matches which threw up some excitement.

Parramatta made sure of fourth spot at the expense of Melbourne Storm, who they defeated 22-14 at Commbank Stadium on Thursday night.

The Storm will now have to win the premiership the hard way after finishing in fifth.

Brisbane Broncos were the big losers on Saturday. They needed to beat the Dragons to have any chance of jumping over the Canberra Raiders into eighth.

However they could not manage it when losing 22-12. It meant the pressure was off the Raiders who went on to thrash the Wests Tigers 56-10 on Sunday.

Elsewhere the Cowboys beat an under-strength Penrith Panthers side 38-8, while Cronulla held on to second spot on the ladder with a 38-16 win over Newcastle on Sunday.

On Friday night the Sydney Roosters beat arch rivals South Sydney 26-16 and the Bulldogs edged out Manly Sea Eagles 21-20.

It was also a close one between the Warriors and Titans on Saturday, with the latter coming out on top 27-26.

So what did we learn from the round? And what were some of the talking points?

Finals have been decided

There is no rest for the wicked and we jump straight into the finals campaign this week, with some cracking games to come.

On Friday night we have the first qualifying final between the minor premiers Penrith and Parramatta, who finished fourth on the ladder. The game will of course take place at BlueBet Stadium, the home of the Panthers.

Then on Saturday Cronulla Sharks, who finished second, will entertain third-place North Queensland at PointsBet Stadium in the second qualifying final.

Also on Saturday Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders clash in the elimination final at AAMI, and as the name suggests, the losers go straight out.

The same can be said for whoever loses the second elimination final. It does not get much bigger when two arch rivals Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs go head-to-head at Allianz Stadium.

Heartbreak for the Broncos

The Broncos looked nailed on to make the finals following an electric start to the 2022 season. There was even talk of them squeezing into the top four and possibly going on to win the premiership.

However the season turned sour as an alarming run of poor results saw them slip out of the eight altogether.

They managed to win just one game out of the last six and the heavy defeats against Parramatta and the Melbourne Storm were alarming to say the least.

A ninth-place finish at the start of the season may have been viewed as a success, but not any longer. It will be seen as a failure and the club will once again go through a review to see what went wrong.

There is hope for the future though as the Broncos boast a talented young squad and gun fullback Reece Walsh is also set to arrive from the Warriors for 2022.

Wests Tigers look to be in deep trouble

The Wests Tigers will have a new coaching set-up for 2023 with Tim Sheens set to take charge as head coach. Club legends and Benji Marshall and Robbie Farrah will work alongside him and they have a huge job on their hands.

The Tigers finish the 2022 campaign with the wooden spoon for the first time in their history. Just to make matters worse the manner of the 56-10 defeat against the Canberra Raiders on Sunday was alarming.

NRL legend Andrew Johns labelled the performance as pathetic as the Tigers appeared to throw the towel in, not for the first time this season.

The performance also resulted in the Tigers faithful leaving the Leichhardt Oval early. Some of them may not return in 2023 unless there is a huge improvement under Sheens and co.

All is not well at Manly

Reports over the weekend suggested that all is not well at Manly following a poor end to the season that saw their finals chances disappear.

The rumours claim that there is a split in the camp and two of the star players Tom and Jake Trbojevic could look to leave the club.
It is claimed that they will push for a move if under-fire coach Des Hasler is sacked during the off-season.

There has also been talk that all is not well between Tom Trbojevic and captain Daly Cherry-Evans. However the former has spoken out to dismiss all the rumours that are swirling around.

He says both him and Jake are very happy at Manly and have no intention of leaving, while he also threw his support behind Cherry-Evans remaining as captain.

Even so there is no smoke without fire and the Sea Eagles could be in for an interesting off-season.

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