Expert League Wrap - Round 7, 2006

While most of us were tossing up whether or not to make an extra long weekend of it, the National Rugby League got underway with a number of score blow outs and over 50 tries for League fans to enjoy.

The round kicked off with Friday Night Football at Parramatta Stadium. Leading 14-6 at half time, the Eels withstood a second half revival from Wests Tigers to run away with a 28-16 victory. It was a much needed win for the 2005 minor premiers and another clanger for the reigning premiers. Both sides are looking shaky in the wrong half of the NRL ladder.

On Saturday, the Warriors made short work of the hapless Rabbitohs in Auckland. In what might well be the battle of the wooden spooners, the New Zealand side got some running practice to trounce Souths by 46-14. The win sees the Warriors get into the positives on the ladder. Meanwhile Souths have yet to post a win in 2006 and are now officially listed as the competition bottom feeders.

On Saturday evening, the Melbourne Storm ripped into a Joey-less Knights, thrashing the fourth-placed Newcastle side by 52-6. It was a tremendous victory for the Storm who now sit in second position on the ladder. The Knights however, were a shadow of the side that clobbered Saints just two weeks earlier. It?s abundantly clear that this well-drilled Novocastrian outfit can quickly turn into rabble as soon there?s no Joey Johns at the helm.

Meanwhile over at Shark Park, a boilover was happening with Cronulla Sharks pulling off a narrow 24-22 victory over competition favourites the Cowboys. After leading 22-10 at half time, the North Queenslanders were kept scoreless in the second half as Cronulla rallied home in front of woefully small crowd. Sitting in 11th position on the ladder, the victory comes after a tough week for the Sharks, and especially for coach Stuart Raper who was on the receiving end of an internet campaign to have him ousted. For the Cowboys, it was their first loss of the year but they?re looking quite solid at the top of the ladder.

Sunday Football booted off with a victory to the Manly Sea Eagles as they thumped a disappointing Canterbury Bulldogs 40-14 at Telstra Stadium. Now in fifth position, Manly were impressive in posting their fourth win of the year and dominated their opposites from the outset. The Bulldogs lacked spark or imagination, especially in the halves. Now in sixth position, Canterbury have next week to bounce back and will need to lift or they?ll soon be heading south on the NRL ladder.

Sunday afternoon saw a win to the Brisbane Broncos as they beat up a lacklustre Penrith Panthers by 30-6. Played in front 25,000 at old Lang Park, the Broncos took full advantage of an inept performance from Penrith. Described as a disorganised rabble, dropping balls, missing tackles and squandering possession throughout the contest, the Panthers obviously have some work to do. Like the Bulldogs, the Panthers have a number of teams breathing down their neck on the NRL ladder and will need to get a wriggle-on if they want to be serious contenders in 2006. The Broncos are sitting pretty in third spot and well placed as the representative season looms closer.

Round Seven of Monday?s Expert League Wrap rounds up with Tuesday's Anzac day clash between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters. The Dragons led 14-12 at half time before a second half slog saw Saints get the points in downing the Roosters by 22-12. Heavy rain didn't dampen the spirits at Aussie Stadium with a crowd of over 31,000 on hand.

All match results and details are listed below. Player Awards
The Player Awards still has Johnathan Thurston at the head of the leader board. The Cowboys five-eighth didn?t score any points over the weekend but is looking good on 16 points and maintains a four-point buffer over his nearest rival.

Knights half back Andrew Johns is in second position on 12 points and is expected back from injury in the next week or two.

Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith is making his move after scoring two points last Saturday and he advances to outright third position on 10 points. Not far away are Adam Dykes (Sharks), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), and Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders), all are well in contention on eight points.

The full leader board is below.

The players of the match are decided by our live score updaters and tallied here each week on Monday?s Expert League wrap.

Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.

League Wrap: Round 7, 21 ? 25 April 2006

Parramatta Eels: 28
Tries: Glenn Morrison, Chad Robinson, Tim Smith , Timana Tahu
Goals: Brett Delaney 6/6
Wests Tigers: 16
Tries: Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Shannon McDonnell
Goals: Scott Prince 2/3
Half time: Eels 14-6
Venue: Parramatta Stadium
Crowd: 21,141
Referee: Tony Archer players of the match:
3 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)
2 - Robert Farah (Tigers)
1 - Nathan Cayless (Eels)

New Zealand Warriors: 46
Tries: Todd Byrne, Tony Martin, Steve Price, Brent Webb, Ruben Wiki(2), George Gatis
Goals: Tony Martin 9/9
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 14
Tries: John Sutton, Paul Mellor, Ben Rogers
Goals: Nathan Merritt 1/3
Half time: Warriors 26-4
Venue: Ericsson Stadium
Crowd: 8,015
Referee: Jason Robinson players of the match:
3 - Ruben Wiki (Warriors)
2 - Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors)
1 - Steve Price (Warriors)

Melbourne Storm: 52
Tries: Matt Geyer, Greg Inglis(2), Antonio Kaufusi, David Kidwell, Matt King, Steve Turner(2), Jake Webster
Goals: Cameron Smith 8/10
Newcastle Knights: 6
Tries: Kurt Gidley
Goals: Kurt Gidley 1/1
Half time: Storm 24-6
Venue: Olympic Park Melbourne
Crowd: 9,084
Referee: Russell Smith players of the match:
3 - Michael Crocker (Storm)
2 - Cameron Smith (Storm)
1 - Greg Inglis (Storm)

Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 24
Tries: Phil Bailey, Adam Dykes, Nigel Vagana, Lance Thompson
Goals: Luke Covell 4/5
North Queensland Cowboys: 22
Tries: Rod Jensen, Luke O'Donnell(2), Matt Sing
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 3/4
Half time: Cowboys 22-10
Venue: Toyota Park
Crowd: 9,025
Referee: Gavin Badger players of the match:
3 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)
2 - Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys)
1 - Darren Albert (Sharks)

Canterbury Bulldogs: 14
Tries: Willie Tonga, Matthew Utai, Sonny Bill Williams
Goals: Hazem El Masri 1/3
Manly Sea Eagles: 40
Tries: Ben Kennedy, Paul Stephenson(2), Matt Orford(2), Steve Matai, Steve Bell
Goals: Matt Orford 6/8
Half time: Sea Eagles 28-6
Venue: Telstra Stadium
Crowd: 13,621
Referee: Sean Hampstead players of the match:
3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)
2 - Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)
1 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)

Brisbane Broncos: 30
Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, Darren Lockyer, Tame Tupou(2)
Goals: Corey Parker 5/6
Penrith Panthers: 6
Tries: Frank Pritchard
Goals: Preston Campbell 1/1
Half time: Broncos 12-0
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Crowd: 25,123
Referee: Shayne Hayne players of the match:
3 - Petero Civoniceva (Broncos)
2 - Tame Tupou (Broncos)
1 - Justin Hodges (Broncos)

St George Illawarra Dragons: 22
Tries: Mark Gasnier, Wes Naiqama(2), Matthew Bickerstaff
Goals: Mathew Head 3/5
Sydney Roosters: 12
Tries: Amos Roberts, David Shillington
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 2/2
Half time: Dragons 14-12
Venue: Aussie Stadium
Crowd: 31,105
Referee: Steven Clark players of the match:
3 - Mathew Head (Dragons)
2 - Luke Bailey (Dragons)
1 - Craig Wing (Roosters)

Canberra Raiders - Bye


Next weekend?s matches:
Round 8, 28-30 April 2006

Fri 7:30 PANTHERS v SHARKS - CUA Stadium
Sat 5:30 COWBOYS v ROOSTERS - Dairy Farmers
Sat 7:30 BRONCOS v RAIDERS - Suncorp Stadium
Sat 7:30 STORM v DRAGONS - Olympic Park
Sun 2:00(NZ) 12:00(AEST) WARRIORS v BULLDOGS - Ericsson Stadium
Sun 2:30 RABBITOHS v KNIGHTS - Telstra Stadium
Sun 3:00 SEA EAGLES v EELS - Sydney Cricket Ground



The players awards are decided by our live score updaters.
Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.

16 points
Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)

12 points
Andrew Johns (Knights)

10 points
Cameron Smith (Storm)

8 points
Adam Dykes (Sharks), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)

7 points
Steve Bell (Sea Eagles), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)

6 points
Karmichael Hunt (Broncos), Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Craig Gower (Panthers), Mathew Head (Dragons), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Greg Inglis (Storm), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), Ruben Wiki (Warriors)

5 points
Matthew Bowen (Cowboys), Danny Buderus (Knights), Petero Civoniceva (Broncos), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Amos Roberts (Roosters)

4 points
Preston Campbell (Panthers), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs), Steve Price (Warriors), Jamie Soward (Roosters), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Paul Whatuira (Tigers)

3 points
Michael Crocker (Storm), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Brett Hodgson (Tigers), Corey Parker (Broncos), Scott Prince (Tigers), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Alan Tongue (Raiders), Tame Tupou (Broncos)

2 points
Luke Bailey (Dragons), George Carmont (Knights), Luke Covell (Sharks), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Robert Farah (Tigers), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors), Josh Perry (Knights), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Priddis (Panthers), John Skandalis (Tigers), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Jason Smith (Raiders), Steven Southern (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Lincoln Withers (Raiders), Dean Young (Dragons)

1 points
Darren Albert (Sharks), Trent Barrett (Dragons), Paul Bowman (Cowboys), Nathan Cayless (Eels), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Ashley Harrison (Roosters), Lee Hookey (Panthers), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Tony Martin (Warriors), Luke Patten (Bulldogs), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Billy Slater (Storm), Tim Smith (Eels), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Shane Tronc (Cowboys), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Trent Waterhouse (Panthers), Simon Woolford (Raiders), Craig Wing (Roosters), William Zillman (Raiders)