With half of the 2016 season officially in the bag we look back at the first 14 rounds for the best matches of the season so far.

5) Round 1 Tigers defeat Warriors 34-26

Neither of these teams are likely to make the finals but they put on a heart stopping thriller in the first weekend of the season that had an avalanche of points courtesy of some wonderful attacking footy and some equally horrific defence. The Tigers raced to an 18-0 lead inside the first 20 minutes with tries to Curtis Sironen, Kyle Lovett and David Nofalouma before Solomone Kata responded for the Warriors.

The Tigers responded with something special. James Tedesco claimed a Mitchell Moses chip kick and threw the ball out the back. The Steeden then passed through a thousand hands before Kevin Naiqama had it on the other side of the field and centre kicked for the flying Tedesco to score one of the tries of the year. Another try, this time to Tim Simona, gave the Tigers a 28-4 advantage at the break.


Because the Warriors are the Warriors they drew within two points after tries to Simon Mannering, Bodene Thompson, Shaun Johnson and a second for Kata. With a little over 15 minutes to go the game was anyone's but the Tigers managed to hold fast. Tedesco put the capper on an excellent individual performance when he latched onto a desperate Warriors chip kick and took it all the way back for his second try, securing a memorable 34-26 victory.

4) Round 8: Penrith defeat Cronulla 20-18

Cronulla were cementing a place in the top four while Penrith were looking for consistency after a host of narrow losses on a blustery afternoon at Southern Cross Stadium. Michael Ennis snuck over from close range early for the only score of an enthralling first half highlighted by a shot on Matt Moylan by Luke Lewis that was so hard Moylan's children will be born bruised.

The Panthers finally got on the board through Moylan early in the second half when Siosaia Feki insanely tried to volley a swirling Jamie Soward bomb and tapped it right to Moylan's waiting arms. Then Isaah Yeo scrambled over out wide before James Fisher-Harris finished off a dazzling Panther movement to stretch the score to 14-8. Chad Towsned answered for the Sharks, slicing through and finding James Maloney, who levelled the scores.

Without warning the Sharks struck again with an early shift from their own end. Valentine Holmes was given an inch of space by the Panthers and took it all the way home. There was still one final twist in the tale - with barely any time left the Panthers threw the ball around like mad things and the raw boned Fisher-Harris plunged over for his second. Jamie Soward had a chance to level the game from wide out but his conversion drifted away and despite scoring four tries to three the Panthers left the Shire with a 20-18 defeat.

Storm players celebrate after winning the round 10 NRL match. Photo / Getty Images
Storm players celebrate after winning the round 10 NRL match. Photo / Getty Images

3) Round 10: Melbourne defeat North Queensland 15-14

The Storm opened the season 7-2 but some people struggled to take them seriously as title contenders due to the impressive form of the Cowboys and the Broncos. The purple cyborgs had a chance to show off their premiership credentials at Suncorp Stadium in the first match of the double header in front of a sellout crowd of 52,347.

In a finals like atmosphere were points were at a premium and after Gavin Cooper opened the scoring the Storm managed to eke out a 12-8 halftime lead after tries to Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor.

The second half became a battle of wills as the Cowboys surged into the Storm defence again and again with a mountain of field position and possession. Things looked ominous when Michael Morgan knifed through off a marvellous set play to level the scores.

With 13 minutes left Antonio Winterstein had a chance at the line but was turned away by wonderful tackles by Cameron Munster and Tohu Harris. Cameron Smith knocked over just the second field goal of his career and the Storm ground their way to victory.

2) Round 11: North Queensland defeat Brisbane 19-18

Not since Rocky III has a third act of a trilogy been as terrific as Broncos-Cowboys III. This game was looser than the grand final and the first rematch as both teams running in soft tries in the opening half and the scoreline was again 12-6 at the break to the Broncos. Jordan Kahu strolled over untouched early in the second half and Brisbane looked well in control.

The Cowboys managed to snag a try in the 57th minute when Lachlan Coote regathered a ricocheted kick they were back in the match. Shortly afterwards, Taumalolo reappeared off the bench and began destroying the Broncos with every carry. Morgan put Justin O'Neill over to set up a razor close final quarter.

With five minutes to go, Thurston took a late shot and was clearly troubled by a hip injury but no matter - he knocked over the winning field goal yet again and gave North Queensland a lead they never surrendered. Some late game mishaps from Broncos halves Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt secured the Cowboys victory and had every red blooded footy fan dreaming of a fourth match up between the two later in the season.

1) Round 4: Brisbane defeat North Queensland 21-20

Not since The Godfather has a sequel managed to live up to the original quite like the first grand final replay between the Broncos and Cowboys. Brisbane led 12-6 at halftime after a scorching try to Anthony Milford but the Cowboys roared back into the match with Jason Taumalolo, Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan leading the way. When some wonderful interplay between Thurston and Morgan put Ethan Lowe over the line the Cowboys led 18-14 and they were well on top.

Brisbane had been starved of the ball throughout the second half but from a scrum deep in their own end Anthony Milford ran past Thurston like he wasn't even there and found the flying James Roberts, who scored. A late Thurston penalty tied things up and remarkably we were heading to golden point again.

The Cowboys had two tries disallowed in extra time, one to Kyle Feldt for a forward pass and one to Thurston for a knock on. On another day, both could have been given. Instead Milford was the hero, kicking a remarkable field goal from so far out he was halfway up Caxton Street.