The buzz around the game following Magic Round is primarily negative, due to the rule changes enforced earlier in the week.
Many fans were frustrated and disappointed as they watched 14 sin bins and three send-offs across eight games. A level of discipline that the game has never seen before and that many had never wanted to see.
With the disciplinary action that has now seen 24 judiciary charges, Magic Round has been tainted for many fans.
Without discrediting any frustration, there are still many positives to have come from the weekend. These positives prove why this event is in the NRL calendar and why it is one that many fans want to see stay.
The Suncorp Stadium field
The mere thought of a damaged Suncorp Stadium after eight games in three days is enough to force anyone against the idea of Magic Round but now, after the fact, we can celebrate how well the turf held up. Although the weatherwas great, the Suncorp field maintained its condition throughout the weekend and we saw minimal injuries. Given the reputation Suncorp Stadium has held in the past, this is a huge positive for Brisbane as well as Magic Round going forward.
Josh Addo-Carr scoring nine tries in two games
In round 9 we saw Josh Addo-Carr make club history as he scored 6 tries in Melbourne’s beat down against South Sydney. The Fox is no stranger to scoring tries although, there weren’t too many fans that thought he would rack up similar statistics in Magic Round. However, the flying winger overcame a leg injury to score a hat-trick and bring his fortnight tally to nine. As we close in on game one of the Origin series, many Blues fans are buzzing at Addo-Carr’s current form hoping he can replicate the same sort of performances for their state. Queensland fans of course, are hoping the opposite. Regardless, his current form has rugby league fans watching in awe and questioning whether he is the best winger the game has seen.
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10 straight for Penrith
The Penrith Panthers go into round 11 having not lost a game yet. An accomplishment that has not been seen since the Sydney Roosters in 1996. For context, almost half the current squad weren’t even born yet. This young squad looks to just be getting better and better, leaving many questioning when and/or will they lose this year?
Jakob Arthur’s try on debut
There aren’t too many people who saw Jakob Arthur making his debut in round 10 of the 2021 season, including his father – and coach. When Dylan Brown was suspended after the Sydney Roosters game however, Arthur’s name was thrown around.
Knowing that Will Smith remained sidelined with a broken thumb, the playing group fought for his debut. When his father weighed up his options, it became a clear decision. The decision did not come without some hurdles to cross first, including Arthur being elevated to the top 30 just a day before flying to Brisbane. All of the pieces of the puzzle came together however and the 18-year-old ran onto Suncorp Stadium alongside the likes of Mitch Moses and Clint Gutherson.
Although it was not a debut to rock the history books, Arthur still found himself with a meat pie in the 75th minute. A try that would usually see a subdued response from the coach’s box however, this time we saw not a coach’s reaction but a proud dad’s. A beautiful moment for the Arthur family, Parramatta Eels and Rugby League in general. In the words of many fans across, we love to see it.
Fans from across the nation and New Zealand packed out Suncorp across the three days, providing an unmatched atmosphere. The end goals were packed out with respective bays for specific team fans but the rest of the stadium was still buzzing with neutral fans just enjoying the footy.
There were Mexican waves, the singing of Hey Baby, dancing and even some lucky winners of $25,000. This was a truly magical atmosphere which trickled out from the stadium and into the grounds, beer garden and Caxton Street. 130,059 fans left Suncorp having been apart of something very special.
We, as a fan base, can choose to acknowledge the changes and our disagreement while still applauding the positives.
Do not let this weekend be ruined for you. Do not let the game be ruined for you. There is still plenty to celebrate, you just have to want to.