We have taken a look at the main talking points from round seven of the NRL season.
Penrith 20-12 South Sydney
Penrith backed up their win over Melbourne by easing past South Sydney.
Nathan Cleary’s performance ran for 100 metres and added a late try to seal the win which could have been an even greater margin as he landed only one of four kicks.
Tries from Brett Naden, in for the injured Josh Mansour, and Stephen Crichton gave them a half-time lead with Dylan Edwards effectively settling the game after the break.
It was an off night for the Bunnies who made 12 errors and conceded eight penalties as they helped lay the platform for their opponents.
Penrith will look to continue their winning run when they face Wests Tigers while the Rabbitohs will hope to bounce back against Canterbury.
Stat of the match: 3 – Teams of last season’s top four Penrith have beaten, and they face Canberra on August 8.
Melbourne 50-12 New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors were thrashed by Melbourne in Todd Payten’s first match as interim coach.
Paul Momirovski grabbed two tries on debut for the Storm with Ryan Papenhuyzen matching him as well as recording two assists.
The performance of Jahrome Hughes will have been a welcome sight for coach Craig Bellamy after seeing half-back Cameron Munster limp off with an ankle injury which could rule him out for four weeks.
Bellamy, Cameron Smith and Ryan Hoffman addressed the Warriors players at full-time who will have no doubt been affected by the sacking of Stephen Kearney.
The match was played at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium after a COVID-19 spike in Victoria resulted in it being moved from AAMI Park and have since been told they will have to stay away for at least 28 days.
Therefore, the Storm’s match against Sydney Roosters will be held at Suncorp Stadium while the Warriors face a bottom of the table clash against Brisbane.
Stat of the match: 1,519 – running metres by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in 2020, the most in the competition.
Sydney 26-12 St George Illawarra
Sydney Roosters recovered from a host of injuries before and during the game to overcome the Dragons.
Having lost James Tedesco and Josh Morris beforehand, Trent Robinson watched as Victor Radley and Sam Verrills both suffered ACL injuries within minutes of each other.
The Roosters had hit the front through Brett Morris before Radley went off and Joseph Manu’s stunning flick pass set up Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Two bullet passes from Matt Dufty led to Mikaele Ravalawa and Zac Lomax tries and after the break, Luke Keary went one further for the Roosters as he set up Morris for a couple of more tries either side of grabbing one himself.
Sydney Roosters face Melbourne to start round seven, with St George Illawarra travelling to Canberra to face the Raiders as teams are allowed to play at their home grounds.
Stat of the match: 10 – career hat-tricks Brett Morris has scored.
North Queensland 32-20 Newcastle
North Queensland produced a clinical first half display to overcome Newcastle.
The opening period was a complete reversal of the Cowboys’ previous match against Wests Tigers as they were the side scoring all the points, leading 26-0 at the break.
There were four different scorers for Paul Green’s men with Coen Hess grabbing their sole try after the break.
Newcastle added four second half tries as they fought back but it was to no avail as Green’s men hung on for a victory that kept them in the hunt for a finals place.
North Queensland will hope to build on this win against Parramatta, with the Knights facing the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.
Stat of the match: 9 – tries Kyle Feldt has scored this season, the most in the competition.
Brisbane 12-30 Gold Coast
Brisbane’s season sank to even lower depths with an embarrassing home defeat against fellow strugglers Gold Coast.
The damage was done in the first half as they trailed 22-0 with winger Anthony Don scoring a brace.
On his return to the club Ben Te’o gave the Broncos hope and Herbie Farnworth looked to have set up a close finish but Phillip Sami produced an impressive finish in the corner to seal the win.
For Titans coach Justin Holbrook this was his biggest win as an NRL coach and was the Titans’ biggest win over Brisbane.
Half-back Ash Taylor impressed with a try, an assist and a kicking game causing all sorts of problems and Jai Arrow against his old team ended with 120 metres and 25 tackles.
The Broncos will look to avoid losing six consecutive matches for the first time since 2001 and face the Warriors next with the Titans looking to make it back-to-back wins when they play Cronulla.
Stat of the match: 3 – consecutive years the Titans have beaten the Broncos, with all victories coming in Brisbane.
Parramatta 25-24 Canberra
In a thriller at Bankwest, Parramatta recovered from losing Mitchell Moses to edge Canberra with a Clint Gutherson drop goal in Golden Point.
Moses had left the field in the 34th minute with a torn calf and looked on as Canberra took a surprise 12-6 lead into the break.
Parramatta looked to have the match won with tries from Ray Stone, Michael Jennings and Maika Sivo giving them a 12-point lead which they held until a dramatic finale.
With just four minutes left, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad grabbed a double to level the scores at 24-24 and force extra-time and Gutherson’s intervention.
Parramatta will most likely be without their star half-back when they face North Queensland while the Raiders will be back on home turf against the Dragons.
Stat of the match: 5 – wins from 15 matches in golden point for Parramatta.
Manly 22-40 Cronulla
The Sharks beat Manly to record their third victory in four games.
Manly were missing Tom Trbojevic, Dylan Walker and Moses Suli and Cronulla’s own trio made them pay.
Shaun Johnson, Chad Townsend and Matt Moylan created seven tries between each other as Cronulla put 40 points on their rivals for the first time in 15 years.
Their creativity also allowed Sione Katoa to add to last week’s hat-trick with a brace.
The game was effectively sealed with four tries in 16 minutes either side of half-time.
Manly will look to bounce back at home against Newcastle with Cronulla aiming to continue their form when they play the Titans.
Stat of the match: 11 – times in the previous 12 matches Manly had beaten Cronulla.
Canterbury 6-34 Wests
Wests Tigers marked their 500th match as a club with a resounding victory over the competition’s bottom side.
They were helped by a double from Tommy Talau, the son of former Bulldogs player Willie Talau, his first tries in the NRL.
Other young players impressed with hooker Harry Grant grabbing another try and Sam McIntyre claiming his maiden first-grade assist for Talau.
It was a disappointing 80 minutes for Canterbury, with Reimis Smith grabbing their only try as they actually opened the scoring.
The Bulldogs will play the Rabbitohs at Bankwest in the final match of round seven with the Tigers facing second-place Penrith.
Stat of the match: 100 – victories Michael Maguire has in the NRL.
By Sam Harris
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