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NSWRL Premier League : Round 7
The Premier League competition saw some movement on the competition ladder with some good performances put in and a return of one of the stars of Rugby League, Nathan Blacklock.
Up against Balmain, the Bulldogs outgunned the Tigers to run out convincing 34 to 6 winners. This was a relieving victory for the Dogs after being spanked by 54-4 by the Dragons last week.
Balmain scored a converted try early to lead 6-0 before the Bulldogs got on top and put on 34 unanswered points.
The win keeps the Dogs in the top four in the Premier League competition. The Raiders, Dragons and Eels all head the ladder with 6 wins from 7 starts. The Dogs are outright 4th on 5 wins and 2 losses.
The top of the table Raiders cruised to an easy victory over Newtown on Saturday afternoon by 52 - 8. The Canberra side were all class proving they were worthy of their number one position. Newtown, without a few of their key players through injury, just couldn't match the Raiders across the park.
What turned out to be a closer game than expected saw the Parramatta side just creep home ahead of the Roosters by 28 -22. The win puts the Eels equal on 12 points with Canberra and St George. Chris Walker made his debut for the Roosters and scored an early try along with some very enthusiastic plays. Andrew Lomu, returning from injury also put in a fine performance for the Roosters, looking to get back into the top grade.
Manly finally managed their first win of the competition at home when Norths travelled over to Brookvale. Manly and Norths now share the same number of competition points after Manly's 28 - 8 win.
Bottom of the table Newcastle still remain without a win but came so close when the Sharks travelled to Newcastle. The score of 20 - 18 to the Sharks just shows how near the game was.
The first Sunday game between the St Mary / Penrith Cougars and Wests Magpies had all the markings of a good match. The visiting Cougars sealed the 32 - 20. Chad Halliday scored a hat-trick in the first half and the Cougars went into the break leading 26-4. The Magpies made a determined fightback in the second half but the Cougars never looked in real trouble.
The Dragons were without their usual captain Dean Byrne, who had been called into the first grade side. Even so the Dragons looked impressive in their win over Souths 24 - 10, in what can only be described as atrocious conditions at the SCG. It took all of seven minutes for Nathan Blacklock to score in his return to rugby league. He proved a handful for the Rabbitohs making numerous breaks including one to set up the red and whites second try after 27 minutes.
Results at a glance:
Round 7 - May 23 - 25
Canterbury 34 - Balmain 6. Canberra 52 - Newtown 8. Parramatta 28 - Roosters 22. Manly 28 - Norths 8. Newcastle 18 - Cronulla 20. Wests 20 - Cougars 32. Souths 10 - Dragons 24.