The footy weekend started off with the ANZAC match between Easts and St George. In true Digger spirit, both sides made great gains early in each half only to stand firm in the trenches and refuse to budge for the final 20 - the Dragons hanging on long enough to dictate the terms to the vanquished.
At the other end of the weekend, the mighty chocolate soldiers are now officially listed as a force to be reckoned with and leave a shell-shocked Warriors side lying in the battlefield of despair. The Kiwi brigade struggled in the wake of a Penrith juggernaut and the men from the mountains are now in 9th position... and 9th is only one below 8th !!!
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are looking like the competition's big improvers, but I've fallen for this before... as soon as they start looking the goods, I put a few quid on them and they get clobbered. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The biggest thrashing of the round goes to the Newcastle boys who had little trouble disposing of the Tigers. But it may have come at a cost after Andrew Johns mistook Mark O'Halloran's head for a basketball. I liked this match because it had everything - eye gouging, head slamming, high shots, punch-ups, mega swearing, broken bones, stitches... what more can you ask for? Anyone who wasn't happy with that match just simply doesn't understand the greatest game of all.
Channel Nine have finally taken notice of the Raiders who are the only undefeated team in the NRL. The Raiders have scored a Friday night gig at the end of May and only have to beat the Sharks to make it all worthwhile. But that's in round 12 - the Raiders still have to overcome Penrith in three weeks... and like any team, Canberra will be already trying to work out how to halt the charge of the mighty Panthers.
Next weekend (round 8, 2-4 May): Bulldogs v Warriors at Wellington Eels v Roosters at Parramatta Panthers v Sea Eagles at Penrith Storm v Knights at Olympic Rabbitohs v Raiders at Aussie Dragons v Sharks at Kogarah* Tigers v Broncos at Leichhardt *Mondays Expert match of the round
Round 7 results at a glance
ROOSTERS 20 Tries: Hodges, Finch, Hegarty, Fittler Goals: Fitzgibbons 2/4 defeated by DRAGONS 24 Tries: Firman, Nero, Riddell, Barrett Goals: Riddell 4/4 Friday 25 April 2003 ANZAC DAY match Aussie Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Crowd: 26,014
EELS 14 Tries: Dunley, Lyon Goals: Hodgson 3/3 defeated by BRONCOS 20 Tries: De Vere 2, Tate, Lockyer Goals: De Vere 2/5 Friday 25 April 2003 Parramatta Stadium Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 12,097
KNIGHTS 34 Tries: Rudder 3, Perry, Gidley, Hall Goals: Johns 5/6 defeated TIGERS 6 Tries: Wilson Goals: Covell 1/1 Saturday 26 April 2003 Energy Australia Stadium Referee: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 15,621
RAIDERS 26 Tries: Schifcofske 2, Woolford, Graham, McLinden Goals: Schifcofske 3/6 defeated BULLDOGS 22 Tries: Anasta, Vagana, Utai, Thurston Goals: El Masri 3/3 Saturday 26 April 2003 Canberra Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 20,000
COWBOYS 32 Tries: Sing 3, Hannay, Williams Goals: Hannay 6/6 defeated STORM 12 Tries: Sargent, Bai Goals: Smith 2/2 Saturday 26 April 2003 Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Steve Lyons Crowd: 12,023
SEA EAGLES 28 Tries: Jenson, Watmough, McGuiness Goals: B. Walker 8/8 defeated RABBITOHS 20 Tries: Merritt 2, Kearney, Fletcher Goals: Smith 1/2, Craigie 1/2 Sunday 27 April 2003 Brookvale Oval Referee: Matt Cecchin Crowd: 8,178
WARRIORS 14 Tries: Koopu, Tony, Fa'afili Goals: Marsh 0/2, Jones 1/1 defeated by PANTHERS 28 Tries: Wesser 3, Rooney, Lewis Goals: Campbell 4/5 Sunday 27 April 2003 Ericsson Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 15,732
League Unlimited's Player of the Year Awards Points awarded for round seven: 3 points: Luke Bailey (Dragons), D Lockyer (Broncos), S Rudder (Knights), C Schifcofske (Raiders), M Sing (Cowboys), A Watmough (Sea Eagles), C Gower (Panthers) 2 points: Mark Riddell (Dragons), D Carlaw (Broncos), J Perry (Knights), S Woolford (Raiders), G Morrison (Cowboys), N Merritt (Rabbitohs), R Wesser (Panthers) 1 point: Craig Wing (Roosters), S Dunley (Eels), D Buderus (Knights), J Thurston (Bulldogs), J Hannay (Cowboys), J Ferris (Sea Eagles), T Puletua (Panthers)
Tally update: 14 points: C Schicofske (Raiders) 11 points: L Bailey (Dragons) 10 points: C Fitzgibbon (Roosters) 9 points: A Johns (Knights), J Smith (Rabbitohs) 8 points: D Lockyer (Broncos), A Minichiello (Roosters) 7 points: L Hohaia (Warriors), PJ Marsh (Warriors) 6 points: T Carroll (Broncos), B Drew (Raiders), J Ferris (Sea Eagles), B Slater (Storm), R Wesser (Panthers) 5 points: B Fittler (Roosters), S Kearney (Storm), J Morris (Eels), M Sing (Cowboys), P Stringer (Rabbitohs), S Woolford (Raiders) 4 points: C Gower (Panthers), B Hodgson (Eels), B Kennedy (Knights), S Price (Bulldogs), T Puletua (Panthers), G Tallis (Broncos), A Watmough (Sea Eagles) 3 points: D Abraham (Knights), S Bell (Storm), D Buderus (Knights), T Byrne (Roosters), K Campion (Cowboys), H El Masri (Bulldogs), A Guttenbeil (Warriors), T Hill (Tigers), J Lowe (Cowboys), J Lyon (Eels), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), F Meli (Warriors), D Myles (Cowboys), C Pearson (Wests Tigers), J Perry (Knights), J Seu Seu (Warriors), B Sherwin (Bulldogs), B Walker (Sea Eagles), C Wing (Roosters), L Withers (Wests Tigers) 2 points: S Berrigan (Broncos), M Bowen (Cowboys), D Carlaw (Broncos), J Caine (Wests Tigers), M Gasnier (Dragons), J Hannay (Cowboys), S Hill (Storm), S Jones (Warriors), J Lolesi (Raiders), W Mason (Bulldogs), N Merritt (Rabbitohs), L McWilliams (Cowboys), G Morrison (Cowboys), D Peachey (Sharks), C Pearson (Wests Tigers), Mark Riddell (Dragons), S Rudder (Knights), D Senter (Wests Tigers), J Seu Seu (Warriors), S Tadulala (Storm), S Timmins (Dragons), N Vagana (Bulldogs), P Whatuira (Panthers), R Wiki (Raiders) 1 point: P Bailey (Sharks), T Barrett (Dragons), P Campbell (Panthers), S Donald (Sea Eagles), S Dunley (Eels), B Galea (Wests Tigers), R Girdler (Panthers), P Graham (Raiders), F Meli (Warriors), S Menzies (Sea Eagles), R O'Davis (Knights), L Priddis (Panthers), R Swain (Broncos), L Thompson (Dragons), J Thurston (Bulldogs), A Woolnough (Knights)