KEY TALKING POINTS FOR NRL ROUND TWO
* HOW WILL SHANE FLANAGAN RUN CRONULLA'S ATTACK?
Questions over the long-term future of Valentine Holmes in Cronulla's No.1 jersey are already being asked, and we're only one round into the season. Holmes scored a record 12 tries on the wing for Australia in last year's World Cup and it's there where he starred for the Sharks in their premiership success in 2016. He wants to play fullback but Flanagan has plenty of options with recruits Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan having previously worn the No.1 for NSW.
* WHAT WILL THE RETURN OF LUKE KEARY DO FOR THE SYDNEY ROOSTERS?
For all the hype as pre-season favourites, the Roosters' first-up loss to the Wests Tigers was the biggest shock of the opening round. But the absence of Luke Keary shouldn't be underestimated. He's already spoken about feeling comfortable with Cooper Cronk in the halves and they will have their first chance to run out side by side in Friday's clash with Canterbury as the five-eighth overcomes his jaw injury.
* ARE BRISBANE REALLY THAT FAR OFF THE PACE?
Brisbane were easily the most disappointing team of the opening round, after their decision not to replace Ben Hunt in their roster exposed a massive hole against St George Illawarra. The Broncos return home on Friday night but have a tough test against North Queensland. Anthony Milford needs to step up and show that he's in charge of a much better attacking unit than the one seen in the season opener.
* IS SLATER HEALTHY ENOUGH FOR ANOTHER FULL SEASON?
Billy Slater will join the 300-club when he runs out against the Wests Tigers but questions have already been raised about his long-term fitness this year. The Melbourne veteran injured his shoulder in the World Club Challenge win over Leeds, and missed last week's opening-round win over Canterbury. Craig Bellamy says the fullback's problematic shoulder won't slow him down, but Slater will be desperate to build his own confidence back up on Saturday night.
* WAS NEWCASTLE'S WIN A FLASH IN THE PAN?
Spurred on by a massive home crowd, Newcastle's golden-point win over Manly helped kick off a new era at the club. But can they keep that momentum going into Canberra on Sunday evening? A win over the Raiders would leave them at 2-0, and a real chance to push forward and make an impact this season. But a disappointing loss will leave fans pondering if the road ahead will still be an incredibly tough ride.