Round 7 saw another six big games in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW, with all but one game having a margin of eight points or less – and one not having a margin at all.
The exception to the Easter long weekend’s close encounters came under lights at North Sydney Oval, when the Bears returned home to kick off the round against the Roos on Thursday night. Finishing in Wyong’s favour 34-6, the home side was forced to make the most tackles of the round (342), while the Roos can put their dominant win down to their exceptional kicking game and the class of NRL regular Connor Watson. Rip Taylor’s men topped the kick metres count of the round (496 metres), while Watson tore the Bears apart with 284 running metres – the most of the season so far. That victory came despite the Roos conceding a round-high 12 penalties.
The closest match of the round, clearly, was Mounties’ ‘come-from-behind’ draw with the Warriors at Aubrey Keech Reserve. The 30-30 result came thanks to Mounties’ missed conversion attempts, with the home side scoring six tries to the Warriors’ five, and the same balance existed for line-breaks. Both sides also had the two smallest metre counts of the weekend (Mounties with 1,123 metres, the Warriors with 1,136 metres) and Mounties made the fewest tackles (243 tackles) in an interesting one for two high-quality sides.
Once again, the Sea Eagles produced an up-and-down performance against the Knights, which was clear for all to see on the Fox League Match of the Round. The Blacktown side had Round 7’s greatest share of possession (54 per cent) but made the most errors (16 errors) and, for the sixth time this season, were outscored in the final quarter of the contest.
Defensively it’s the Panthers who appear to have the most work to do, missing 40 tackles despite hooker Mitch Rein continuing his good form with a round-high 51 tackles for the side. The Magpies, led by Cody Nelson’s tally of 48 tackles, missed just 14 in another grind at Belmore Sports Ground, while Illawarra’s 339 tackles was second only to the Bears in Round 7.
The Wests Tigers continue to improve the little things, with a combined 13 errors and penalties, resulting in a 72 per cent completion rate. As with the Mounties-Warriors game, goal kicking prevented the Tigers from taking two competition points as they went down to Illawarra – and outright last place on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder.
View the full stats reports from each of the games below - and stay tuned for the Round 7 Team of the Week, to be released on NSWRL.com.au later today.