NRL Expert @JennaBrooks
NRL Talking Points: Magic Round, Battle of Britain, George Burgess and Dylan Walker
Last Updated: 15/05/19 12:22pm
Jenna Brooks has the latest from the NRL as Magic Round is declared a success, plus details of the 'Battle of Britain' and a huge boost for Manly.
Bit of Magic
The NRL's inaugural Magic Round, which was inspired from our very own Magic Weekend in Super League, has been declared a huge success off the pitch. However on the pitch, clubs suffered some significant injuries.
134,677 fans attended Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane across the four days, with roughly one quarter of all ticketholders coming from interstate.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg called the Magic Round a 'wonderful success'.
"The crowds have been fantastic and there has been a real festival atmosphere both inside and outside the stadium," Greenberg said.
"The number of different jerseys at all games has been one of the really pleasing signs. With such a high percentage of people buying the three-day passes, it's clear fans embraced the concept and wanted to watch multiple teams, games and days."
The Queensland Government reportedly generated almost £11million from the four-day festival, which will take place at Suncorp Stadium again next year.
In terms of the negativity, questions have been raised over the surface of the pitch with 13 players suffering significant injuries.
Raiders winger Jordan Rapana is likely to be sidelined for a month with a knee injury, Rabbitohs stalwart John Sutton suffered a rib injury, while Cowboys hooker Jake Granville was forced from the pitch with a head knock.
Melbourne lost Curtis Scott for 10 weeks after he fractured his foot, while Newcastle will be without Edrick Lee and Connor Watson for at least Round 10.
The Broncos were dealt the biggest blow of the round. Jack Bird looks like he'll miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear. In the same game Manly lost Api Koroisau and Toafoa Sipley. While Cronulla lost Andrew Fifita and Matt Prior.
Roosters' Daniel Tupou was stretchered from the pitch but has been cleared of any serious injury, but Boyd Cordner is extremely unlikely to face the Broncos on Friday.
Despite the amount of injuries suffered over the four days, South Sydney coach Wayne Bennett said he 'loved it'.
"I think it has been a wonderful weekend for everybody. Great for the game, great publicity, great atmosphere. I really enjoyed the atmosphere," Bennett said.
"I think it was great value for money. It is such a great stadium to view rugby league from. I think they picked the right venue and I think it is a great idea."
So on behalf of the RFL and Super League…NRL - you are welcome!
'Battle of Britain'
I've had Saturday's encounter between Canberra and South Sydney marked in my diary since the fixtures were released.
The game is being dubbed 'the battle of Britain' as the Burgess brothers - coached by England boss Wayne Bennett take on Josh Hodgson, Ryan Sutton and Elliott Whitehead of the Raiders.
Sutton, who has spent most of this season in team-mate John Bateman's shadow, is determined to capture Bennett's attention.
"I still understand I'm young so I'm concentrating on my own game. But my goal is definitely to play for England, you want to strive for the peak and that's what I want to do. I want to play for my country."
You can catch Sutton and his compatriots in action live on Sky Sports Arena on Saturday at 10.30am.
13 LIVE matches on Arena this week including 👇🏾— Sky Sports RL (@SkySportsRL) May 13, 2019
🏉Storm v Tigers
🏉Leeds v Cas
🏉Broncos v Roosters
🏉St Helens v Salford
🏉Rabbitohs v Raiders
🏉Catalans v Wigan
Where is George Burgess headed?
It's the million dollar question that even the Englishmen doesn't seem to know the answer to.
The South Sydney forward has been linked with Brisbane, but there is also talk he could be headed to Super League.
"I really don't know. I'd like to stay in the NRL (but) I'm just trying not to think about it too much.
"It'd be nice to keep playing with my brothers (but) all good things come to an end."
When asked if there was a possibility all three brothers could play together in Super League, Burgess smiled and replied: "Anything is possible."
Dylan Walker can return to the game this weekend after he was found not guilty of two domestic violence charges.
The 24-year-old was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault of his fiancee during an argument late last year.
However, the charges were dismissed after the magistrate said she was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Walker had assaulted his partner.
The Manly centre, who has only played in a pre-season game, was stood down by the NRL under the league's controversial no-fault policy in the off-season.
Despite the decision, ARL Commission chair Peter Beattie has defended the new law and insists that it's the right move for the well-being of the game.
"Let me make the equal point - in that time he has been paid, he has trained and the court has made a decision," Beattie told The Australian.
"We have to protect the well-being of the game. If we can't protect the well-being of the game we shouldn't be administrators, we should give it up."
Walker is set to make his long-awaited return for the Sea Eagles on Sunday when they take on Cronulla.