NRL Round 7 Recap: Dolphins & Sharks Run Riot, Titans Improve

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Bren Gray
NRL Round 7 Recap: Dolphins & Sharks Run Riot, Titans Improve

NRL week seven kicked off with a scintillating battle between the Roosters and Storm. Turns out this was the most competitive fixture of the week. Other than the 34-30 thriller between the Sea Eagles and Titans, the remaining fixtures were mostly one sided. Surprisingly, even the Dolphins and Sharks found free scoring rhythm to thrash their opponents. 

Read on as we take a deep-dive into the nitty-gritty of NRL round seven. We'll be pulling apart the biggest talking points and exposing the good, the bad, and the downright ugly from last weekend's NRL footy. 

News Insights

  • Xavier Coates scored another marvellous try as Melbourne prevail over Sydney.
  • The Dolphins set NRL record, punishing the Eels for their lacklustre defence.
  • Zac Lomax looked as sharp as ever in his 100th NRL outing .
  • Sin bin controversy mars Panthers’ 22-6 win over Wests Tigers.

The Good: Xavier Coates Continues to Impress, Sam Stonestreet Debuts 

Xavier Coates and incredible finishes have become synonymous this year. The Storm winger has developed a penchant for the spectacular this season and he delivered once again as the Storm survived a close call against the Roosters.  

Melbourne needed something special from their talisman after Cameron Munster’s sin bin challenge put them in jeopardy. Yet again, Coates pulled off another magic trick to make the difference in an incredibly competitive tie. Chasing down a grubber from Harry Grant, Coates barged through a series of tackles before taking the ball over the line.  

The Papua New Guinea international has been nothing short of exceptional this season, with bookmaker BoomBet considering him an early favourite for the prestigious Dally M Award. 

Another brilliant moment from the weekend was debutant Sam Stonestreet scoring a try uncontested as his loved ones watched on from the Shark Park stands. It was a special moment for the 21-year-old, who is a childhood Sharks fan. Stonestreet made the starting lineup following Sione Katoa’s suspension and he put his name on the board after Will Kennedy and Tom Hazelton opened the scoring for the home side. 

The Bad: Sea Eagles, Eels and Cowboys Show How Not to Defend in NRL 

Some of the defensive efforts on display over the weekend left plenty to be desired. The Eels, Cowboys and Sea Eagles were all put to sword for their defensive deficiencies.  

While Manly did come out on top of Titans in a high-scoring tie, the North Beaches outfit will be far from happy after opening the floodgates for an out-of-form outfit. The Titans improved, as we expected, but they could not outscore their opponents.  

Fuming after the Eels' humiliating 44-16 defeat to the Dolphins on Friday night, Brad Arthur didn't hold back, labelling his squad a "part-time footy team." Despite taking an early lead at TIO Stadium in Darwin, the Eels crumbled in the second half, conceding eight unanswered tries. 

The Cowboys defence sent out open invitations to the Sharks attackers all evening and they got ruthlessly punished for it. In a match riddled with defensive mistakes, the most glaring error had to be Ronaldo Mulitalo's try midway through the second half. The Sharks' winger was inexplicably allowed to stroll down the dead-ball line and score under the posts unopposed. 

The Ugly: Sin Bin Drama Casts Shadow Over Panthers’ Win 

The Tigers made a bright start as they sought a third win over the Panthers in their last five meetings. John Bateman set up winger Junior Tupou for a try in the eighth minute. It only appeared to be a matter of time before they extended their lead, but a contentious decision swung the momentum in Penrith's favour.  

Brad Schneider was fortunate to escape a trip to the sin bin after his ankle tap brought down Justin Olam, who was clearly through on a try-scoring opportunity without the ball. This proved to be a game-changer, as Penrith dominated the remainder of the first half, scoring two tries of their own to take a 10-6 lead into the break. They eventually secured a comfortable 22-6 victory. 

Xavier Coates and Sam Stonestreet delivered the brightest moments of NRL round seven with two brilliant tries. The Sea Eagles, Eels, and Cowboys were found wanting on defence. Meanwhile, the Tigers were on the receiving end of a potentially match-altering TMO decision, falling short against the Panthers.