The break in play is now a distant memory and the NRL is in full flight as we enter Round 7!
Thursday night’s match between the Panthers and Rabbitohs shapes as a blockbuster, as does Saturday night’s Eels vs Raiders game. Otherwise, we’re faced with pretty clear favourites in every other contest!
You can find a preview of each game and all my NRL Round 7 tips below.
We might not have to wait long until the match of the round!
Both Penrith and South Sydney have found terrific form recently and I can barely separate them ahead of Round 7.
I personally wasn’t too sure of Penrith’s legitimacy until they comfortably outplayed the Storm in Round 6 and now, I am a real believer.
Their forward pack is immense and full of blokes who can play eighty minutes, while players like Josh Mansour in the backline appear to have returned to peak condition.
They look set to start favourites against a South Sydney side who have continued to improve with each effort since returning from the break, culminating in an absolute flogging of the Warriors.
Sure, it’s pretty hard to line up the form from a win over a team who are extremely inconsistent, and who fired their coach immediately after the game in question, but there is absolutely no denying how clinical the Rabbits were.
I genuinely think this could fall either way, so I’m instead going to put my money somewhere else that was hinted in the stanzas above.
A mammoth task awaits the Warriors when they line up opposite the Storm on Saturday evening.
For their lofty standards, the Storm have actually only managed 2-2 since returning from the break, but they simply cannot ever be underestimated and rarely do they lose two in a row.
There was still a lot to like about what they managed to do against the red-hot Penrith last week and a similar performance against New Zealand would surely herald a completely different result.
The Warriors have actually been a real thorn in the side of the Storm in Melbourne these last few years, but that one chance they appeared to have has now disappeared with the game moved to Sydney.
Sometimes teams can respond with a big performance off the back of a change in coach, but I really can’t imagine that the Warriors will be able to compete for the full 80.
Betting suggests that the most one-sided game of Round 7 will come up later on Friday night, and it’s really not hard to see why.
The Roosters have absolutely dominated everyone.
They are head and shoulders above everyone, and I seriously think that there is a case to be made for the footy they are currently playing being the best they have played during this dynasty.
Even last week, the previously undefeated Eels put up something of a fight, but the Roosters still managed to win in the 13+ bracket.
When considering that, and then considering that the line for this game against the Dragons is only 16.5 points, it shapes as one of the all-time greatest bets.
I will all but give up tipping the footy if St George win.
All three Queensland clubs have been struggling and another big task faces the Cowboys on Saturday, when they take on the Knights.
Despite still having a decent enough roster, the Cowboys’ desire to compete in the NRL has seemingly fallen off a cliff.
It was evident more than ever in Round 6, with errors galore and even their stars failing to make anything of an impact.
They charged home late, but I think that was more a case of Wests calling it a day early than anything.
The Knights meanwhile charged back into the winner’s stall when they became the latest club to beat the Broncos.
Mitchell Pearce and Daniel Saifiti were standouts, but nearly every player has some sort of impact and another performance like that would simply be too good for the down and out Cows.
It would take a big improvement for this to be the Queensland Derby that we’ve all been hoping for but if nothing else, it means that at least one club from the self-appointed ‘heartland’ of Rugby League will be winning in Round 7.
The Broncos have been just awful.
Even when they had Manly on the ropes two weeks ago, they choked, and then were comfortably beaten by the Knights.
More new players, positioning and combinations will be tested this week and it can’t be installing any confidence in fans and punters alike.
I actually think that there’s been some thing to like about the Titans since returning from the break.
The win over Wests was obviously great, but they competed somewhat credibly with the Dragons and the Rabbits in the wake, and I think that the bookies are giving the Broncos far too much credit in betting for this one.
Saturday night is saved for high quality matches and the NRL have really delivered in Round 7!
The Eels suffered their first defeat of the season in Round 6.
While it is fair to say that everyone would lose to the Roosters in current touch, I also think that it’s fair to say the Eels were lucky not to have dropped any points prior to it.
They’re clearly good, but I think that by season’s end, it might be proven they are just a touch below the absolute top echelon of teams.
On the other hand, I think that the Raiders might prove to be in that top echelon.
They looked like they’d be unbeatable when they did in the Storm in Round 3 and while they’ve only been shaky in three subsequent games, I think they’ll keep improving.
This game will be a real indication as to how well they’re going, and I think that Ricky will have them cherry ripe.
Very, very interesting game, this one.
Manly are an exciting side and really did put the writing on the wall with a tough win over the Raiders in Round 6.
Dessie’s impact since returning to the Northern Beaches simply cannot be understated, but there is absolutely no doubt that Tom Trbojevic is the ultimate linchpin to their success.
He won’t be available for selection in Round 7.
While I still think that Manly are a far better side than Cronulla, it really opens the door for the Sharks to strike.
Manly have a habit of beating themselves when Turbo isn’t available and if the Sharks identify that and play up to their abilities, they are a serious chance of winning.
I’m staying away from match and line betting because I simply have no confidence in it.
Another good opportunity faces the Tigers (proudly sponsored by Neds) when they meet the Bulldogs in the final game of the round.
What a first half it was for Michael Maguire’s men in Round 6.
From literally the first minute when Zane Musgrove crossed for the game’s first meat pie, they were in complete control, and went into the sheds on the right end of a 36-0 score line.
The break in momentum had disastrous effects however, and they were kept scoreless by the Cowboys in the second 40, while also leaking 20 points.
Against a mediocre side, it doesn’t matter too much. Against a good one, they would have been punished.
It’s going to be a long season for the Dogs, but they are still trying week-in, week out, and gave Cronulla a real game in Round 6.
I think they can cover a line that is currently set at 5.5 points as the outsiders.