So what do we learn after round one of the Rugby League?
First, that as much as league fans might not like delayed telecasts, Channel 9 will always do what is best for Channel 9. There is nothing wrong with that because they are a commercial operation with the main priority being to make money . They do that by getting as many viewers as possible to watch for as long as possible. Delayed telecasts are therefore manna from heaven. But there is something wrong when the first game of the year ( between contenders Souths and Easts ) is not televised live – and that responsibility rests entirely with the NRL, who have again handed over the TV rights without clauses that force the broadcaster to place the game ahead of other interests.
On the field it is no surprise that Souths have confirmed their favouritism with an imposing win over a somewhat disorganised Roosters. The defending premiers were disappointing and the halves were clearly out played. In fact, the score flattered Easts. Early days but The Bunnies have set the benchmark.
The Broncos did well to win away against The Bulldogs but neither side did enough to instil undue fear in upcoming opponents . It was good to see Ben Barba do some excellent things, but Josh Hoffman at 5/8 looked uncomfortable despite some good moments.
The Storm confirmed that, as with Mark Twain,reports of their demise were somewhat premature . Manly will be disappointed -and should be. A 20 point lead at Brookvale should always be enough.
Elsewhere Penrith gave their fans something to look forward to whilst The Raiders showed plenty in going down in Townsville. That they lost is less significant than that they looked good enough to win. The Cowboys will have a good year but must turn their abundant potential into consistent results. 65 good minutes per game won’t be enough. Even with JT.
Parramatta were the most impressive of the other winners and could be the surprise. The Warriors, to be fair, were terrible and the Eels’ first big test will come next weekend . I hope, for their loyal and long-suffering fans, they pass it.
The Titans will, as always, compete hard and, if they can win the close matches they have so regularly lost in recent years, they could well exceed expectations.
There is more to say and there is time to say it. Winter is here ..and the game is on.