Almanac Rugby League – Five Metre Gap: NRL Round 7, 2016

@hamishneal

Like the way of the five metre gap in defence looking at the points you may have missed from the seventh round of the NRL. Brisbane blanked the Knights 53-0 and Cronulla thrashed the Raiders in Canberra.

Manly kept up a rather unique streak in round seven as for the fifth weekend running they had five or more players attempt a kick in general play. The usual suspects of halves have been doing most of the kicking in the likes of Dylan Walker and Apisai Koroisau but often forwards have been isolated on final tackle plays. Players including Tom Symonds and Blake Leary tried their hand at kicking in the Sea Eagles 22-10 defeat at the hands of the Eels. Without Daly Cherry-Evans on deck due to injury Manly’s attack has been largely ineffectual, absent the Warriors game in round six, and the amount of kickers used is probably an example of this lack of direction. The Sea Eagles were not the only team to reel off five kickers this weekend with, for example, Souths utilising the same figure and Brisbane, 53-0 winners over Newcastle, using five general play kickers. Maybe the latter is the exception that proves the rule.

Speaking of kickers, Penrith’s Jamie Soward forced five drop-outs as his side poured the pressure on the Roosters late in their game on Monday night to seal a 20-16 victory. Anthony Griffin’s side, who picked up their third win of the campaign, didn’t score a four-pointer for the final 34 minutes of the game but it was the pivot’s late play in wet conditions which kept the Roosters camped well in their own half and meant the Tricolours finished the round anchored to the foot of the ladder.

South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds wasn’t missed in his return from injury on the weekend making 24 tackles, the most of any halfback for this round, as his side was humbled 44-18 by the reigning premiers North Queensland. The Rabbitohs’ playmaker was equal to the task with no glaring misses but that effort was telling on his attack with the 25 year-old only showing glimpses of his brilliance. However with his side failing to complete ten of their 38 sets it didn’t give Reynolds a great base to work from on attack.

As his side suffered an agonising golden point defeat at the hands of the Storm Tigers forward Ava Seumanufagai can be proud of his effort logging 166 metres in place of skipper Aaron Woods with the Blues prop out of action for the next month at least. Seumanufagai, 24, crossed the 150-metre threshold despite only playing 47 minutes and also made 26 tackles as Jason Taylor’s side were edged out 19-18 after Cooper Cronk’s field goal. Also notable in that fixture was Storm forward Jesse Bromwich’s 216 metres in 66 minutes, the third week running the Kiwi international has run for 150 metres or more.

Cronulla are proving surprising entertainers early this season and convincingly beat Canberra on Sunday 40-16. It took until rounds 15 and 16 last season for the Sharks to score 24 points or more in successive games when they played the Knights followed by the Cowboys in Townsville, winning both encounters. Shane Flanagan’s side have won their last three games in 2016 scoring 25 or more points and two of those triumphs have come away from home. Rush those Sharks players into your fantasy team/s.

This review first appeared on From the sideline of sport

 

About Hamish Neal

Born in Lower Hutt New Zealand Hamish is forever wedded to all things All Black, All Whites, Tall Blacks and more. Writing more nowadays in his 'spare time' (what is that anyway?) but still with a passion for broadcasting. Has worked in various sports development roles in England, Northern Ireland and Australia.

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