The 26th Round of the Telstra 2017 NRL Premiership competition is setting up to hold a lot of interest, based on the Round 25 outcomes.
The Manly Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Cowboys both won to maintain hopes of finals play, but both had to bust a gut to earn hard fought wins. Manly had to put it all out there in order to secure a 22 – 21 win over the lowly New Zealand Warriors and the win rested on the foot of Dale Cherry-Evans, who kicked two field goals. With seven minutes left in the game, it looked like the Warriors were going to topple the Eagles.
At Campbelltown Sports Stadium, it would have seemed as though the Cows had a walkover in their future when the stepped on the ground to play West Tigers, but that turned out not to be the case, as the Tigers did not want to surrender without a fight.
The St. George Illawarra Dragons seem to have some momentum on their side, but they had to work hard to secure their upset win over the Penrith Panthers in a 16 – 14 victory at Pepper Stadium.
As for the Melbourne Storm, they probably could have saved a bit of gas by switching off against the Rabbitohs, but they may have been sending a signal to the rest of the finals contenders with their 64 – 6 braising of the Rabbitohs. They might wish they had kept some of those points in their pockets when they face the Canberra Raiders on September 2 to finish off the regular season. The Raiders are probably set for an early end to 2017, which makes them dangerous to a team like the Storm, who has first sewed up and might be pulling people out of the bleachers in order to rest their stars.