At the risk of being unpopular I have to admit that I love golden point. Professional sport is all about entertainment and determining a winner; golden point intensifies that and provides unrivaled theatre. As Brad Fittler says, ‘you strap yourself in and set yourself for the ride' – I have to agree with him.

The two games on Saturday night were gripping, pulsating, drama-charged viewing right until the end. As a neutral fan, you can’t ask for better entertainment. I was transfixed on both games even though my team wasn’t involved. Seeing players push themselves above and beyond to come up with one final play to win the game for their team, it doesn’t get much better.

Golden point hasn’t been without detractors, with Roosters CEO Steve Noyce the latest to come out and argue against field goals in the extra period. But I think teams are starting to realize if they actually play football and promote the ball they can find success and plenty of metres as the defensive line is compressed, looking to defend the middle of the field.

Panthers may have won the game with a Luke Walsh field goal, but it was only after they promoted the ball from the eastern sideline to the west, which set up a David Simmons break, stretching the Eels defense. With the Parramatta line scrambling and on their heels, Walsh had all the time in the world to kick the winning point.  

Check out the switch the Panthers used to get in range for the field goal.

If there was ever a change to golden point, I would love to see a straight period of extra-time. I’m not a fan of the proposed ‘golden try’ as it changes the rules from the previous 80-minute contest. But an extra-time period would create more drama and tactics. Do you take a field goal knowing you’ll have to defend the point, or do you roll the dice and try and win the game with a try? It would ensure the defending team is always in two-minds…

The chasing pack

A lot has been written this week about the top teams and the yearning gap to the rest of the competition.  I personally agree that the Telstra Premiership will be won by one of the sides currently in the Top 4, but there is still a long way to go.  Over the last few years we have seen the Roosters and Eels come from relative obscurity to charge into the Grand Final and there is no reason why a team couldn’t make a similar charge this year.  These are the rounds that count, as they say; these are ‘the Glory Bound Rounds’.

We look at the run home for every team in the competition.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Melbourne Storm is winning the Club Championship by six points. Between the NRL and Toyota Cup team, the Storm have won 27 games and lost just 7!
  • Learn.Earn.Legend! Jobs Expos – The NRL in partnership with the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) will deliver five Jobs Expos in Dubbo, Griffith, Armidale, Shellharbour and Gosford that will provide opportunities for Indigenous Australians to meet potential employers, education providers and corporate partners in their local area.


THIS WEEK ON NRL.com

Official View: The ending of the Panthers-Eels epic caused a lot of debate, but after reviewing the game, referees co-coach Bill Harrigan says the referee made the correct decision to call time-off.

NRL Mailbox: The league’s stance on gambling.

Stats Insider: The longest winning streaks to win the Premiership, do Melbourne need to lose in order to achieve the ultimate glory?

Casualty Ward: Six Origin stars will be back for Round 20 – we keep you up to date with all the latest injury news.

 

NRL.com COLUMNISTS

Sterling Gold: NRL.com expert Peter Sterling believes there are only four teams that can win the 2011 Telstra Premiership; Melbourne, St George Illawarra, Manly and Brisbane.

Inside Word: Trent Barrett predicts Rabbitohs, Warriors and Wests Tigers will all make the Top 8.

Next Gen: Matt Russell looks at the unstoppable high school student that ran for over 300 metres for the Cowboys in a single game.

On the Road: The chasing pack can’t match the NRL’s best five teams, but continue to provide thrilling games, writes Steve Mascord.

Coach's Box: Graham Murray says Jarryd Hayne could emulate Darren Lockyer and make a successful transition from fullback to five-eighth.

In Touch: Leila McKinnon says Mark Gasnier’s decision to retire at the end of the season at the age of 30 is a mistake.

 

MATCH CENTRE – ROUND 20

Get all the team lists, head-to-head stats and our match previews in the match centre. Plus live stats and scores, match highlights and much much more!

Updated Team List - all the latest team news.

Casualty Ward – When players were injured and when they are due back.


 Bulldogs v Eels           Video: Last time they played

 Storm v Broncos          Video: Last time they played

 Titans v Cowboys         Video: Last time they played

 Tigers v Roosters         Video: Last time they played

 Sharks v Knights          Video: Last time they played

 Rabbitohs v Warriors      Video: Last time they played

Panthers v Sea Eagles      Video: Last time they played

Raiders v Dragons         Video: Last time they played

 

VIDEO ON NRL.COM

Close the Gap – Hazem El Masri, Dennis Moran and Dave Peachey visit Tennant Creek to raise awareness of the life expectancy disparity between indigenous and non-indiegenous Australian’s.

Sharks injury update – we catch up with Sharks Physio, Konrad Schultz, to find out the latest on Paul Gallen and Matthew Wright.

Rabbitohs looking to build on their dramatic golden point victory when they take on the Warriors on Saturday.

FROM THE CLUBS

There is heaps of great content being produced by your favourite club each and every week.  Both in print and video, the NRL club network is keeping you up to date with your favourite players.  Here is a snapshot of what is making news at some of the clubs.  Make sure you check out your club's website by clicking on their logo in the toolbar above.

Penrith: Winds of change carrying Panthers into the future -

St George Illawarra: Matt Cooper extends his deal with the Dragons.

Melbourne: Storm halfback Cooper Cronk needed a break.

Gold Coast: Titans ‘Mr Versatile’ enhances his reputation.

Brisbane: Anderson and Lockyer fir for Storm.

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