While in other countries where rugby is popular there might be debate about which is more popular, the rugby league or rugby union, that isn’t the case in Australia. In Australia, the National Rugby League (NRL) is the top rugby organization in the country and one of the most popular organizations across all sports. And with a season like we’ve had so far this year, it’s no surprise why.
It will be another few months before the players of the NRL get some time off to relax and recuperate from the hard hits they’ve been bringing. While some of the top leisure activities for pro athletes might already be calling to them, there are actually still three more full months of play until the season ends.
Since we’re at the halfway point of the season, now is the perfect time to look back at the season so far. This article will focus on some of the best moments from the NRL season from March to June 2022.
The Penrith Panthers
With the exception of a single loss to the Parramatta Eels back in early May, this entire season has been a best moment for the Penrith Panthers. Under Head Coach Ivan Cleary, the team has been moving from strength to strength and they look set to continue on that trajectory.
With the way they’ve been playing this year, it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll see them defending their title in the Grand Final. One of the key players for the Panthers is the young Winger, Brian To’o. He missed several weeks due to an MCL tear early in the season but has since made up for it with 5 tries in his 8 appearances this season and a tackle efficiency of 92%.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, 36-16
The South Sydney Rabbitohs had a bit of a rough start to the season but their performance in Round 6 against the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs showed that they’re still the same team that made it all the way to the Grand Final last year. They might only be sitting at 7th currently but we wouldn’t be surprised to see them climbing the standings in the coming months.
The Bulldogs got the first try of the match but their lead didn’t last long. The Bunnies’ Hooker, Damien Cook, scored a try between the goal posts at 29’. He followed it up only two minutes later, with a beautiful second try. Alex Johnston proceeded to score two tries running down the outside and then Cook ran in a third off a dummy play. The final try of the match came from Isaiah Tass in his NRL debut, quite a way to end his first match!
North Queensland Cowboys vs. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles, 28-26
This Round 15 match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles kept fans on their toes until the very end. Despite being 7 places behind the Cowboys in the standings, the Sea Eagles looked like the favorites going into the match, since they hadn’t lost a game at home all season.
They started off strong, putting the first points on the board. The two teams traded the lead the entire night, staying within 2 points of each other for most of the first half. However, the Sea Eagles surged ahead early in the second half, leading by 24-12 at one point. But, the Cowboys showed why they’re 3rd in the NRL and spent the rest of the match scoring try after try and holding the Sea Eagles at bay. It was a devastatingly impressive display.
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks vs. Sydney Roosters, 16-36
On May 28th, the Sydney Roosters showed the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks just what they’re made of and showed the rest of the league that they’re going to keep brawling their way to the top. Despite sitting at 9th in the NRL standings, the Roosters have had some great performances so far this season against the top 4 teams and, this match was no exception.
The Roosters’ Captain, James Tedesco, demonstrated again why he’s considered one of the best players in the world. The Fullback contributed a try, two try assists, and nine tackle breaks, with 242 running meters. What really made the match impressive though, was the consistency across the entire team. They managed to make their passing game look effortless.
When the Sharks seemed to be rallying and gaining momentum, it was Joseph Manu’s try that put an end to any hope they had. Manu was able to scoop up a loose ball and run the 60 meters to the goal line completely untouched.