Monday Morning Halfback: Round 13
Raiders captain Jarrod Croker is set to smash all club records at Canberra, Perth continues to prove it has the support to sustain a team if the NRL decides to expand, while Wayne Bennett believes his Broncos are 'lucky' to be at the top of the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder.
Not only did Canberra captain Jarrod Croker draw level with Raiders legend Mal Meninga in the club's all-time try scoring list against Newcastle, but he also became just the third Raider to reach 1000 points for the club.
Joining Dave Furner and Clinton Schifcofske as members of the Green Machine to achieve the milestone, Croker's 20-point haul means he only requires 201 points to become the leading point-scorer in Raiders history.
Croker averages 170 points per season, so is well on his way to breaking the Canberra point scoring record. When he finally hangs up the iconic headgear, it could be a record that stands for a very long time in the Nation's Capital.
The 24-year-old is in his seventh full season with the Green Machine since debuting as an 18-year-old in 2008. Croker burst onto the scene scoring six tries in his first seven games in Canberra. Since taking over the goal kicking duties a year later, he has averaged over 84% three times and over 80% in four of his six years as a goal kicker, making him one of the sharpest shooters in the NRL.
Three time Premiership winning club legend and now coach Ricky Stuart has no doubt Croker will go on to smash all records.
"Jarrod achieved a great milestone and he's going to go on and break all the records at this club," Stuart said.
"I was really excited for Jarrod because it's a big effort and being so young into his career and achieving that, we just congratulated him there in the change rooms. It's a huge effort for an individual."
If Croker plays into his mid 30s he could double the current record held by David Furner.
Is it time for Perth expansion?
The people of Perth showed once again that an NRL team would be welcomed and well supported in Western Australia.
With a ground record 20,272 packed in to nib Stadium to watch the clash between the Rabbitohs and Warriors, the case for a full-time NRL team grows even stronger.
The support at the ground did not go unnoticed by players, coaches and administrators.
"We got a record crowd, so it's great to see the people of Perth turn out and the atmosphere was great," South Sydney coach Michael Maguire said.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden agreed and believes "there probably is a future for the game over here".
"It's great, it's a great atmosphere we've got a lot of support over here as well as Souths."
Australian, Queensland and South Sydney superstar Greg Inglis loved the experience of playing in front of some passionate West Australian fans.
"It was terrific," Inglis said. "We've been coming over here for a number of years now and we see a crowd like that every time."
Perth is seen as a great prospect for expansion with the advantageous time zone offering a favourable outcome for television bosses. However, the benefit of the scheduling options is offset somewhat by the logistics and expense of broadcasting every second week from the far west. It'll no doubt be a factor if and when the code decides it needs to expand.
But if fans vote with their feet, rugby league certainly has a viable option to become a truly national competition by expanding west.
The harder you work, the luckier you get
It's an old adage coined by legendary South African golfer Gary Player that the harder you work, the luckier you get, and in the NRL in 2015 the Broncos are the living proof.
'Luck' was the word used by both coach Wayne Bennett and captain Justin Hodges to not only describe their 44-10 win over the Sea Eagles on Friday night but also their position on top of the table at the halfway point of the season. Yes, the bounce of the ball did go the way of the home side in a number of their tries but even Bennett conceded their good fortune is borne out of a relentless intensity that saw them produce a near flawless first half of football.
"There were probably three or four tries out there where we didn't knock the ball on, the luck of the bounce went our way but we were competing great," Bennett said. "I'm not underestimating how we're competing but on another night those things could have all gone against you. We're making things happen and we're pushing the envelope. We were on our game here tonight."
The Broncos do have a tough run home with their final five games of the regular season all against teams currently in the top eight. It could possibly be the reason Bennett, a master of the mind-game, is tempering expectations on his team at the midway point of the season.
We are not sure 'luck' has much to do with their 10-3 start to the season. The Broncos are the real deal in 2015.
A debate for two
It is a debate that resurfaces every couple of years and especially around big games, finals and Origin. Take the two, or go for six. The last few weeks has seen a lot of teams opting to take the guaranteed points over pushing for the try. The logic is that you take the points when they are on offer.
While teams have been criticised for taking the perceived negative tactic, you can't blame them from wanting to take the lead in a game. With the competition so close, any chance to hit the front in a game is something worth considering. But by taking the two, you do put your side under pressure to complete the next set coming out of your own end.