Round 4 of the NRL started and finished with the biggest talking points of the weekend with the Broncos being flogged and the hapless Dragons losing again.
Both sides were under scrutiny after their round 3 losses and did nothing to ease the pressure with their performances this round.
The other stories of the weekend came from the Sunday games with two big upsets.
Round 4 of the NRL saw the Knights announce themselves as premiership contenders with a dominant victory over the fancied Raiders while the Titans won their first game in almost a year.
Brisbane Broncos 0 – 59 Sydney Roosters
Wow. Most people thought the Roosters would win this comfortably, but nobody could’ve predicted a 59-0 score line.
It is now the biggest defeat in Broncos history, eclipsing last year’s 58-0 loss to Parramatta in the finals and follows last weeks 34-6 loss to Parramatta too.
The defeat has forced scathing assessments from club legends about the list management of the Broncos and their serious lack of leadership.
The club’s captaincy has come into focus after given they shopped 2020 skipper Alex Glenn just last year.
Their two most experienced players on Thursday night were Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd; both having struggled for the best part of 12 months.
If these two massive back-to-back defeats don’t spark coach Anthony Seibold into changes then I’m not sure what will.
For the Roosters, they are really good, but we already knew that.
Penrith Panthers 26 – 0 New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors were so impressive last week holding the Dragons scoreless but unfortunately failed to repeat that performance, instead being held scoreless themselves.
They lacked spark in attack and let themselves down with some sloppy mistakes.
After a disappointing draw last week, the Panthers responded with a clinical performance, James Fisher-Harris the star of the show running for 257 metres.
Young Matt Burton pressed his case to keep his spot when Nathan Cleary returns next week, scoring two tries and setting up another in a classy display.
Melbourne Storm 22 – 8 South Sydney Rabbitohs
This was a game between two top four sides from last year, but it didn’t look that way with plenty of simple mistakes from both teams.
Craig Bellamy said he was “embarrassed” by his sides 22-6 loss to the Raiders last week so you thought the Storm would come out fired up.
Their goal line defence was better this week with several important tackles late in the game to hold out the Rabbitohs.
They did enough to win this one, but Bellamy would still see a plethora of improvement in his team.
The Rabbitohs looked to have the momentum in the second half when they levelled the scores at 8-8 but came up with some basic errors that spoiled any chance they had of coming back.
Parramatta Eels 19 – 16 Manly Sea Eagles
This was a cracker of a match between two sides expected to play finals but will unfortunately be remembered for some late controversy, with a forward pass call robbing Manly of a late try to steal victory.
The Eels jumped out to a 18-2 lead just after half time and looked unstoppable until Manly made a late charge.
Clawing their way back into the contest, a try to Jorge Taufua in the 76th minute made it 19-16.
Unfortunately, the comeback wasn’t to be as a Tom Trjobevic pass to Rueben Garrick was judged forward by the touchline referee as it travelled backwards out of his hands but floated forward.
Garrick went on to beat Clint Gutherson and cross for what would have been the match winning try.
Referees boss Graham Annesley admitted after the match that the call was wrong and that the try should have stood. Heartbreaking for Manly fans.
North Queensland Cowboys 16 – 26 Cronulla Sharks
This was a pretty scrappy game up in Townsville with the Cowboys just making too many errors to compete with the Sharks.
The Cowboys really missed Jason Taumalolo and their forward pack looked far weaker without their best player.
For the Sharks, Jesse Ramien has come back to the club in fine order and looked incredibly dangerous on the right edge scoring two tries and setting up another.
It was their first win of the season and something for the Sharks to build upon.
Canberra Raiders 18 – 34 Newcastle Knights
Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart accused his side of “playing like children” in their comprehensive loss to the Knights.
The Raiders were completely outplayed by the Knights from the get-go and never looked like winning the match.
Kalyn Ponga was a huge inclusion for the Knights, troubling the Raiders defence all night.
Gold Coast Titans 28 – Wests Tigers 23
This was the upset of the round with the Titans winning their first match in 364 days in a classic.
After an Ash Taylor intercept gave the Tigers a 12-0 lead you thought it was bound to be another heavy defeat for the Titans but they composed themselves and outplayed the Tigers from that point on.
Taylor has copped a lot of criticism for his play in the last year, but he played one of his best games for the club guiding his team around the park while Moeaki Fotuaika ran for 217 metres to continue his hot start to the year.
The loss sums up how inconsistent the Tigers have been for the past few years.
After a strong win against the Sharks last week they came into this one as red-hot favourites but were ultimately outplayed by the last-placed Titans.
It left coach Michael McGuire a little frustrated.
“But I’m sick and tired of the ups and downs of the performances. We need to change that. That’s what this club has been, I didn’t want to say that, but it’s the truth. and the truth is we need to fix how we do things when we are performing,” McGuire said.
Canterbury Bulldogs 22 – 2 St George Illawarra Dragons
Whoever lost this one was always going to be placed in the furnace and the Dragons have certainly felt the heat since their lifeless loss.
Dragons coach Paul McGregor was on NRL 360’s Round 4 wrap straight after the defeat and copped a barrage of questions about his future and whether he would resign or not.
It’s hard not to feel sorry for McGregor but after 7 years at the club with little success and consecutive losses to lowly ranked sides in the Warriors and the Bulldogs, it’s understandable that he’s under so much pressure.
The Bulldogs on the other hand responded after a 32-6 loss to Manly the week before with a better display against the Dragons.
The match was scrappy early on but after the Bulldogs scored their first try in the 19th minute they powered home comfortably.