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NRL: Five things we learned from Round 15

The Panthers continue to lead the way at the top of the NRL with the Storm and Cowboys hot on their heels, while the Bulldogs made it back-to-back wins in another exciting weekend of action.

The NRL will take a week off ahead of State of Origin game two in Perth on Sunday and it went out on a high at the weekend with some cracking games taking place.

Penrith Panthers continue to sweep aside all that is put before them as they defeated the Warriors 40-6, while the Storm put the Broncos in their place with a 32-20 win on Friday night.

The Cowboys came from behind to beat Manly 28-26 and the Sharks and Eels both picked up big wins to stay in contention for the top four.

The Canterbury Bulldogs are on the up with another win against Wests Tigers, while there are big concerns for Sydney Roosters fans after another defeat.

So what did we learn from the weekend’s action?

Mick Potter is in contention for the Bulldogs job

Potter was handed the Bulldogs job on an interim basis for the rest of the season following the departure of Trent Barrett and he is slowly but surely starting to turn things around.

The Bulldogs had won just two games all season under Barrett despite the fact a number of high-profile signings had arrived included Matt Burton and Josh Addo-Carr.

Potter has worked some magic in a short space of time and the hard work is starting to pay off with back-to-back wins against the Eels and Tigers.

The 34-4 win over Parramatta on the Monday shocked a few and it was important they backed it up with another win over the Tigers. They did just that with 36-12 victory.

It is still early days but if the Bulldogs can continue to improve then Potter could get the reins full-time.

There is plenty of speculation linking the likes of Cameron Ciraldo to the job but Bulldogs footy boss Phil Gould will find it difficult to ignore Potter if things carry on as they are.

The Foxx is back firing

The Bulldogs form coincides with the return to form of star winger Josh Addo-Carr. It is no coincidence that the Foxx has started to fire since Potter took charge.

The Bulldogs coach has gone back to basics and Addo-Carr is reaping the benefit. He is also starting to gel with playmaker Burton and the tries are coming thick and fast.
He now has 11 tries for the season with five of them coming in the last two games, including a hat-trick against the Tigers on Sunday. The former Melbourne Storm star may have a bit of extra fire in the belly after being dropped from the New South Wales State of Origin squad.

Amazingly he has been left out of game two as well, which could fire him up even more. That can only be good news for the Bulldogs. One thing is certain though, the Foxx is back.

Parramatta are united

The pressure was on the Eels following a tough week in the wake of the shock defeat against the Bulldogs on the Monday.

It wasn’t so much the fact they lost, it was the manner of the performance that would have had the Parramatta faithful reaching for the panic button. They needed a response against the Roosters and got one.

They came out firing in the first half and although they eased off the break they still managed to get the job done with a 26-16 win.

They also received an added boost with the news that Ryan Matterson turned down the chance to join the Dolphins by penning a new deal with the Eels. Another sign that the Eels are a united bunch and things may not be as bad as some make out.

The Roosters are in danger of missing out on the eight

The defeat against Parramatta means the Roosters have now lost three games on the bounce to slip to ninth place on the NRL ladder.

Not only that they have a tough-looking draw as the end of the season fast approaches and they are in real danger of missing out on finals footy.

The Roosters face Penrith, the Broncos, Storm and Cowboys in the coming weeks and there will need to be a big improvement.

Ben Hunt is at the top of his game

The playmaker had another outstanding game on Thursday night as the Dragons beat South Sydney 32-12. His kicking game was on point once again and he also chipped in with two try assists.

Hunt is currently leading the Dally M standings ahead of Isaah Yeo and Nicho Hynes and deservedly  so. Just to cap the week Hunt has retained his place in Queensland’s State of Origin side.

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