NRL Round 7

The second time this season that Wayne Bennett’s Knights  clash with his old side the Dragons  and it could well be a repeat of round one where the Dragons got home in Golden Point. Neither of these teams has shown consistency through the year with both on six points from three wins and three losses. Newcastle play well at Kogarah and Bennett’s knowledge of the Dragons might be a factor. If the home side is to win, Jamie Soward has to be involved but he will be targeted by Danny Buderus and Jarrod Mullen. Newcastle Knights 1-12

Brisbane  has winning form going into the home game against Canberra , shooting for five wins in a row, with only the narrow loss to the Cowboys in round two spoiling a perfect start to the year. The Broncos still have plenty of improvement and aren’t at the polished state that the Storm has reached but at their best are better than most other teams. The Raiders are consistent in one respect…their record is loss, win, loss, win, loss, win. On that score the Broncos should be good things but don’t write off the green machine. Brisbane Broncos 1-12  but Canberra is value in the line betting market.

Melbourne  is simply a class above every other team at the moment and some good judges are already talking of an undefeated year. That is somewhat premature with the representative season still to come but it is difficult to see how they will be beaten. The Storm is hard to beat anywhere but particularly at home and this is an acid test for Canterbury . The Dogs are 4 and 2 for this year and must be the rank outsiders in this match but it is the sort of game where Des Hasler will call on the famous Canterbury spirit to help their chances. Melbourne Storm 1-12

How do you follow Manly’s  form? Beaten one week by cellar dwellers Parramatta then they come out and trounce Penrith 30-nil. Probably best to ignore the downer against the Eels and look at the class in the team that took them to a premiership last season. The Sea Eagles are strengthened this week against the Gold Coast  by Brett Stewart’s return and his likely decision to remain at Manly will be a boost. The Titans are doing it tough on and off field and hard to see them being in the contest here. Manly Sea Eagles 13+

Darwin is the venue for the Roosters  and Cowboys  and although it is a home game for Sydney, the conditions should certainly favour North Queensland who train in the heat and humidity of the tropics all year round. The Roosters have surprised everyone with four wins so far this season but it is hard to get carried away with an average win against the Titans last start. The Cowboys did well to beat Canberra away in round five and they know that they won’t be the only team to cop a caning from the Storm as happened last week. The Roosters have a dominant 20-7 win/loss record against the northerners so this could be close. North Queensland Cowboys 1-12

The Warriors  are proving one of the year’s major disappointments and this Sunday at home against South Sydney  could be a make or break game. Coach Brian McLennan will know how important it is to get a win after back to back defeats but it won’t be an easy task. The Rabbitohs are much improved and it is no surprise that their turnaround has come after Greg Inglis was shifted to fullback, and like Billy Slater at the Storm, every team worries about what the opposite number one might do. South Sydney Rabbitohs 1-12

What a topsy turvy season with Cronulla . The universal tip for wooden spoon at the start of the year, they sit fourth on eight points and are likely to record another win this week against Parramatta . The Sharks are playing with confidence and every player is taking the lead from captain Paul Gallen with no one wanting to let the skipper down. Todd Carney for all of his off-field drams is proving just the spark that Cronulla needed. Parramatta showed with the upset win over Manly that there is some hope but they were back to their bad old ways last week against Newcastle. The Sharks love playing at home particularly with a large, vocal crowd behind them and they will get that on Sunday. Cronulla Sharks 1-12

Surely pre-season favourites Wests Tigers  won’t finish this week with just one win from seven starts but the rumours continue to get louder that there is trouble within the Tigers’ den and they are playing like a club that has divisions. The Penrith Panthers  have a good record against the joint venture club with a 14-7 win/loss ratio but they will need to improve greatly on a poor effort at Brookvale Oval on Monday night. Robbie Farrah still needs match time after making his return last week and he means so much to the Tigers’ fortunes. Tough game to pick between two out of form sides but it should be the Tigers’ turn. Wests Tigers 1-12

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