Monday Morning Halfback: Round 10
Round 10 gave us a photo that could immortalise two greats of the game, a touching gesture from Josh Reynolds, a thrilling double header and much more.
Tickets on the double header
More than 47,500 tickets were sold for the Suncorp Stadium double header on Saturday night – a resounding show of support behind the concept considering Broncos members didn't have access to the game via their season passes.
Jerseys from almost every team in the NRL were among the crowd of 52,347 who revelled in a double-dose of NRL action and must surely have given Sydney clubs cause to consider whether they could produce something similar at ANZ Stadium.
As NRL.com's Tony Webeck pondered, we may not have the capacity – or inclination – to go down the English Super League's line of a 'Magic Weekend' but we should certainly be exploring ways to create more occasions such as we witnessed on Saturday night.
Thurston-Smith immortalised in one moment
It is the image that could come to epitomise one of the great eras of rugby league.
The photo of Cameron Smith helping great mate and opposition captain Johnathan Thurston back to his feet in the midst of a gripping contest at Suncorp Stadium could be one of the defining snapshots of two immortals in waiting.
The special moment will join famous images of Norm Provan and Arthur Summons, Ben Elias and his mother, John Sattler's broken jaw, Wally Lewis and Mark Geyer, Terry Hill and Gordon Tallis and others as the very essence of rugby league.
Arguably the two best players in an era of great players, showing mateship and sportsmanship in the heat of battle; it should stand the test of time.
"First time for everything," quipped Storm coach Craig Bellamy in the post-match press conference and Smith himself admitted that such an act of sportsmanship was not a regular part of his routine.
"I was hoping you weren't going to bring that up," Smith said sheepishly.
"Each time I did that I thought, 'I hope Craig didn't see that. He's going to chip me for it.'
"He (Thurston) picked up a kicking tee for me after a couple of times that I picked him up off the ground so he paid me back there.
"I guess that's a bit of a respect thing but to be honest to answer that question, no I don't do that every time."
The image had over 50,000 likes and comments on social media alone.
'Grub' act shows true heart
He has a notorious reputation that earnt him the nickname 'grub' on the field, but Josh Reynolds showed his true colours on Sunday night.
Reynolds was inadvertently involved in Robbie Farah being stretchered from the field when the Wests Tigers hooker collided with Reynolds' hip while attempting to make a tackle.
Farah left the field on a stretcher and was then taken to hospital for scans.
When he got home, Reynolds was already there waiting for him.
Got home after being discharged from hospital and @joshreynolds9 was waiting at my house to see me and check up on me. Want to thank him for the concern he showed me on the field and looking after me while i was on the ground concussed. One of my best mates and silly for anyone to think that what happened was anything but an accident. Love ya Grubby xx
Who'd be a coach? Exhibit A
Spare a thought for Canberra coach Ricky Stuart. He had watched his team fight their way back into the contest against the Dragons and drag the game into golden point with a try in the final three minutes, only to throw it away with a brain snap.
When the Dragons missed a field goal attempt at the end of the first half of extra-time, it should have been the final action of the half. But a rush of blood from Raiders duo Jack Wighton and Jordan Rapana resulted in a dramatic intercept try to St George Illawarra's Euan Aitken to end the match.
Stuart was diplomatic in the post-match press conference, but it would have been a bitter pill to swallow and a big learning experience for both Wighton and Rapana.
Who'd be a coach? Exhibit B
When Des Hasler is under pressure from some quarters to keep his job, you know the role of a coach is a thankless task. This is a coach who has led the Bulldogs to two grand finals in four years and made the top eight every season he has been behind the clipboard. This after winning two premierships with Manly in 2008 and 2011.
The Bulldogs have been a little inconsistent to start the year, but they are now just two points outside of the top four. This after letting NSW State of Origin halfback Trent Hodkinson go to Newcastle. They are without the injured Brett Morris and even without Will Hopoate on Sunday afternoon were way too good for the Wests Tigers.
If Hasler's position is seriously being questioned, how can any coach be safe?
Eels fans' touching tribute
The emotional outpouring by fans during the ninth minute of the Eels clash with the Rabbitohs as a nod to departed hooker Nathan Peats was a touching moment at Pirtek Stadium.
Peats unwittingly become the very public face of Parramatta's salary cap scandal when he was forced out of the club, but his effort and sacrifice on the field for the blue and golds was laid bare by the crowd's gesture on Friday night.
Parra fans. Thank you so much for the standing ovation. Unbelievable honour for that to happen. I'll never forget that or you guys.— Nathan Peats (@peats05) May 13, 2016
Hill of a debut
Spare a thought for Newcastle's Jack Cogger who was on the wrong side of a 62-0 flogging in his NRL debut against the Sharks at Hunter Stadium.
Cogger was one of seven players for the Knights who were 20 or under.
Cogger and Cory Denniss are only 18, while Brock Lamb, Jacob and Daniel Saifiti and Sione Mata'utia are all only 19. Danny Levi is almost an elder statesmen of the team at just 20.
Still as Andrew Hill can attest, it could have been worse. Hill made his debut for Parramatta against the might of Canberra in 1993. The game ended 68-0. Hill never played first grade again, but did however go on to become a senior executive of the NRL.
"Hope he enjoyed the experience, it could have been worse," Hill said of Cogger.
Croker raids the record books
Jarrod Croker at just 25 years of age became Canberra's all-time leading point scorer during Friday night's game against the Dragons, a remarkable effort that sees David Furner's 16-year record surpassed.
Croker's one-try, two-goal haul saw him reach 1,224 points and go two clear of Furner as he continues his steady rise up the competition's all-time point scorer's list.
"It's something I'll probably look back on in a couple of years' time to tell you the truth," a downcast Croker said following his team's defeat.
"I'd take plenty of those points back if it meant we had a couple more of those close wins especially over past two games."
Poor Nate Myles
First Nate Myles was told by his grandad, "You're not playing good enough to play for Queensland". Then during his side's big loss to the Broncos, Brisbane's Sam Thaiday used a scrum as the perfect chance to work on his stand-up comedy, telling the referee that Myles's head was too big and that it should have been a penalty.
The 'sledge' was deadpanned in typical Thaiday fashion and has since been watched over 615,000 times on the NRL's facebook page alone.