The NRL wrap: Round 6

Slayed Dragons
Another week, another scoreless performance from the Dragons. Alarm bells are ringing at Kogarah as the Red V failed to fire again, the Broncos easy winners 26-0. This was the second time St George Illawarra have not scored a try and they’ve only crossed for six all season. A lot of the blame is going on Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop, but with the amount of errors being made and penalties being given away, the Dragons have little chance of creating anything. Now even their defence is failing them. For Brisbane it’s another roll on, even taking the ‘rat in the house’ controversy along in their stride. The Broncos sit on top of the NRL tree.

Destructive Dylan
Big Dylan Napa was on fire in this one, skittling opponents and smashing defenders as he led the Roosters to their first win of 2016. The fiery redhead even managed to put Sam Burgess on his arse three times, the prop driving the Chooks to break their drought. Oh if only for Queensland he wasn’t banned from State of Origin this year… Souths were below par and seem to be on the nose since they thumped Easts in round one. Can Madge lift his team? This victory will give the Roosters a huge shot of confidence, something they desperately need.

Slippery as an Eel
They may about to be docked competition points but Parramatta power on, the Eels taking care of Canberra in style. This new spine of Michael Gordon, Corey Norman, Keiran Foran and Nathan Peats looks the goods as Parra’s attack ripped the Raiders to shreds. Canberra had a few injuries in this one, Josh Hodgson being taken off, and will want some fit bodies back for round 7. Ricky Stuart’s return to Pirtek was not a happy one, with Sticky copping some stick from Eels fans.

Eagle Rock
Can Manly play New Zealand every week? The Sea Eagles have always had strong links to the Land of the Long White Cloud – think Matt Ridge, Graham Lowe, the Iros, Craig Innes, Steve Matai etc etc – and they seem to love playing the Warriors. They’ve won 17 of the past 21 matches between the two clubs, including the 2011 grand final. Most surprising was how well Dylan Walker and Apsi Koroisau are combining in the halves with their marquee 7 out injured. Daly Cherry-who?

Cat-rustling
Winning back-to-back titles in the NRL is basically impossible but the Cowboys will certainly give it a real shake. The reigning premiers were pushed all the way by a tough Panthers side, who definitely impressed, but scored two tries in the last 15 minutes to get the win. North Queensland seem to have an extra gear that other teams don’t, and when times are tough they have the class and experience to go to another level. Former Panther Lachlan Coote haunted his old club while Anthony Griffin will rue the one that got away.

Sutherland strike
Gold Coast were beaten but not broken, battling bravely and almost upsetting the Sharks away from home. Cronulla endured a nervy few moments at the end of the game after starting on fire, grabbing three tries in the first 18 minutes. If nothing else, Neil Henry has installed a real spirit in his team, a never-say-die attitude that is serving them well. Young half Ash Taylor continues to mature but it was the Sharks, who rise up to fourth on the ladder, who went home happy despite several worrying injuries.

Brownie’s Breakthrough
Nathan Brown has his first NRL victory as Knights coach. It might have taken six rounds but it mattered little, this was a deserved win for Newcastle and came as a huge relief. A big crowd on Sunday at Hunter Stadium saw the home team wear high-vis and ride some rollecoaster moments to just sneak out with the victory over the Tigers. It wasn’t without some controversy, including the key moment when two balls were on the field amd the referee allowed play to continue. However, that will matter little to the Knights. Tries to Uate, Sims and Ross, and the boot of Trent Hodkinson, got them the result they so badly craved. For Wests it was their fourth loss in succession, undoubtedly a concern for JT.

Canterbry’s Melbourne magic
The Storm suffered their first home loss of this campaign in a close one against the Doggies. Canterbury have a great record in the Victorian capital and it continued on Monday night, Kerrod Holland’s try the difference between the two teams in the second half. The young hooker kicked well and he was helped by a monster match from James Graham, who made 44 tackles to go with 164 metres. Sam Perrett was another Dog who starred, while the Storm will bemoan a disallowed try in the first half to Cooper Cronk. It was chalked off after a dive from Tony Williams – some of the best acting we’ve seen in the NRL this year.

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