NRL Bunker Review – Round 7

In a weekend of upsets thanks to the Dragons and Tigers, Round 7 of the 2022 NRL season will be remembered for the worst loss in one club’s history after the Storm ran riot on Monday night.

Bulldogs Keep Battling

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs are once again 16th on the NRL ladder.

It’s worth noting they have faced a brutal draw to start the season with the Sydney Roosters to come in Round 8. However, to lose 34-14 to the Brisbane Broncos in Round 7 after being 10-0 in front is a massive cause for concern. Trent Barrett’s attack remains ineffective and lacks any semblance of a game plan. What good is signing all of these attacking weapons over the summer if you can’t put them in positions to attack?

A loss this week and Barrett will take possession of the worst winning percentage in Bulldogs history. Just think about the seasons they’ve gone through in recent years…

With the Wests Tigers improving and no other side looking worse right now, the Bulldogs have a fight on their hands if they’re to avoid another wooden spoon.

Statement Game of Round 6:

Statements are made every round in the NRL. In Round 6 it was the Rabbitohs. This week it’s the North Queensland Cowboys who thrashed the Titans on Saturday night.

If the North Queensland Cowboys can maintain their improved defence and make Queensland Country Bank Stadium a fortress, they’ll play finals football to finish the 2022 NRL season.

Superb on Saturday night in thrashing the Gold Coast Titans 30-4, the Cowboys made a statement to the bottom half of the ladder. There looks to only be one or two spots available in the Top 8 at the moment. It’s going to come down to which of the bottom teams can beat those around them on the ladder most often, and the Cowboys are doing that to be 5th through seven rounds.

Tom Dearden and Chad Townsend are linking up well in the halves while Scott Drinkwater will be unlucky to lose his spot at fullback should Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow replace him when he’s fit. Meanwhile, Valentine Holmes has put his hand up as a State of Origin centre and one of the best in the competition right now. The backline has been able to succeed thanks to the foundation being laid before them with the Cowboys ranking 3rd in the NRL in yardage at 1,699 running metres per game.

Little was expected of the Cowboys heading into the season. However, they’ve improved on what was the worst defence in the NRL in 2021 and it’s translating into a more consistent attack that is capable of putting points on anybody.

Tigers Do It Again!

The Wests Tigers have won two games in a row!

Remarkably, Jackson Hastings managed to improve on his 90 touches last week throughout the 23-22 win to finish up with 102 on the night. He moved the Tigers around the field as the South Sydney Rabbitohs struggled to shut him down. The inside pressure on such a dominant half never eventuated and the Rabbitohs suffered what is an embarrassing and mildly concerning defeat.

We’ve been waiting for the Rabbitohs attack to click for a couple of weeks now. Even without Latrell Mitchell, the expectation was for points against a Tigers side that had only won one game heading into this one. However, Michael Maguire’s side continued on their upward trajectory. Defensively encouraging and able to find points in attack, the Tigers knocked off one of the NRL’s heavyweights to jump up to 13th on the ladder.

Now they’re preparing to record their third win on the bounce for the first time since Round 6 2018 as $2.35 and +3.5 underdogs against the St. George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday night.

Perfect Panthers

What can you do when the Panthers are playing like this?

The scoreboard doesn’t quite do the Canberra Raiders justice. They fought hard for periods but some unlucky penalties scattered throughout the sort that will have Ricky Stuart pulling his hair out cost the Green Machine as they gave the defending premiers too much possession.

Wounded Warriors

New Zealand Warriors coach Nathan Brown made sure to mention the injuries to open his post-match press conference, but there is nothing he could say to justify the 70-10 thrashing his side copped from the Melbourne Storm.

Injuries or not, to see the side lay down and offer nothing in the second half as they conceded 56 points is embarrassing.

The Storm ran riot on Monday night to the point it looked as though they felt bad. Ryan Papenhuyzen, Nick Meaney and Jahrome Hughes all scored doubles while Xavier Coates bagged four against Edward Kosi who had a night to forget on the Warriors left wing.

One of the best teams in the NRL and among the favourites for the premiership, there is only so much we can take out of that game for the Storm. It was a training run and a game they were barely challenged despite the relatively close 16-10 halftime scoreline.