First tackle: Injuries part of the game, but shouldn't ruin it
It can't be long now before we see a game finish with one team down on numbers due to injuries. We went awfully close over the weekend, with the Raiders down to one reserve on the bench and centre Curtis Scott running around with broken ribs, while Cronulla finished their clash with the Eels with a completely empty bench. Rugby league is an inherently tough and physical game, with injuries unfortunate, but fairly common.
The recent push to take better care of players' brains has meant that head knocks which would have mostly been ignored in the past, are now resulting in players being rightly ruled out of the game. It doesn't take much to have several players cop knocks to the head in the one game, with HIA ruling them out.
There have been calls for an 18th man to be on standby to take the place of a player ruled out for the rest of the game. It is a sad indictment on the game that the biggest concern about doing so is that coaches will exploit the system. Some players don't agree with the move. "It's a tough game we play so if you make a tackle and put your head in the wrong spot that's your fault," Aaron Woods told AAP.
"The game has been 17 players for how many years now?
"The only time we should bring another man on is if there's foul play. If one of their players takes you out or is on report or 10 in the bin, then you can't come back, you should be allowed the 18th man then."
Second tackle: Miracle match-winning tackles
We saw two unbelievable try saving tackles to win games right on full time in Round 3. On Thursday night in a monumental effort, Viliame Kikau climbed up off the turf to cover 20 metres across field to stick his arm under the ball as Jacob Olam crossed for what would have been a match-winning try.
On Saturday with the Warriors leading by three points, the Raiders regathered the ball from a short kick off. A brilliant long pass from George Williams saw Jordan Rapana streaking away towards the corner. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at top speed raced towards him, they both dived full stretch; Rapana for the line, Tuivasa-Sheck for his arm. Tuivasa-Sheck made enough contact to jar the ball from the winger's grasp and win the game for his Warriors.
Third tackle: Bunnies take feet off Roosters' throat
Wayne Bennett can be a fairly relaxed character at times, but he wouldn't have been happy with the way his Rabbitohs finished the game against the Roosters. After blowing their rivals away in the first half to lead 18-0, they took their foot off the pedal to coast home. In a competition where finals positions can be determined by for and against, the Rabbitohs let in a couple of soft tries, the last after the final siren.
The Roosters were attacking the Rabbitohs line as the clock ran down and a grubber kick into the in goal area was hurried over the dead ball line. Fullback Latrell Mitchell starting shaking hands and hugging teammates, but there was still enough time remaining to force them into taking a goal line drop out. Instead of kicking it as far as he could, Mitchell went for another short drop out, kicking it out on the full instead.
The Roosters took a tap, threw the ball to Joseph Manu who put a grubber kick through for a Josh Morris try. It meant a more respectable score line and a reduced for and against gain on their fierce rivals.
Fourth tackle You can't do that
Tigers fullback Dane Laurie appeared to work a piece of magic with 12 minutes left in the first half of their clash with the Knights. Knights hooker Jayden Brailey put in a monster kick from dummy-half which was heading for a 40/20 until Laurie sprinted to it and scooped it back into the field of play. The ball bobbled towards the corner post and Laurie ran around it, leapt into the air and gathered the ball landing in his own in-goal area. Laurie ran the ball out with the crowd and commentators screaming for justice.
The rule says if a player gathers the ball in the air, it is considered to be taken where his feet were last grounded. In order for the Laurie play to be legitimate, he had to step back into the field of play before touching it. He didn't have time to do that and the touch judge racing towards him with full view of everything, appeared to not know the rule, because play was allowed to continue. Fortunately, it didn't make much difference as the Tigers spilt the ball shortly after.
Fifth and last: Leave the double pump to the experts
Sometimes forwards forget who they are and try things that really should be left to the backs.
Halfway through the first half in the clash with the Broncos, Bulldogs forward Adam Elliott made a clean break near halfway and streaked away downfield. He had support inside and out and simply had to draw the fullback before sending Kyle Flanagan off for the first try of the match.
For whatever reason Elliott felt the need to double pump the pass. Whether he thought he needed to commit the fullback more with the dummy or whether he thought Flanagan needed extra seconds to be in the right position or whether he was just trying something he saw on TV, it was awful. The ball floated forward, Flanagan couldn't hang onto it off his fingertips and a try was blown. It ended up being the Bulldogs only realistic chance at scoring a try all game.
Handover: Lowest of the low
Speaking of the Bulldogs, they were diabolical against the Broncos as they slumped to their third loss of the season, but they are not dead last in the premiership ladder. That honour remains with the Manly Sea Eagles who have lost all three games convincingly. The Bulldogs' for and against sits at -68 while the Sea Eagles are at -82.
Things aren't looking good at Brookvale and you have to wonder about the thought process that went into extending Des Hasler's contract so early in the season. The loss of Tom Trbojevic has obviously had an enormous impact, but the reintroduction of Keiran Foran clearly hasn't worked. It looks similar to when the Eels brought Jarryd Hayne back, they went from finalists to wooden spooners in the space of a season, with a lot of players seemingly having their noses put out of joint by the move.