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NRL: ANZAC Round Ultimate Preview

Danielle Smith

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NRL: ANZAC Round Ultimate Preview

It's only been three days since our last footy match, and we are ready again for another five days straight of footy!

Here's your preview of every game coming up in Round 7.

Cronulla Sharks v Manly Sea Eagles, Thursday 8pm, Sportsbet Stadium

What a cracker of a game to open the round with.


The Sharks are sitting nicely in third position, with the Sea Eagles continuing to climb the ladder after their fourth straight win in round six. Both teams are playing superb football and will be looking to continue that form in this match.

Nicho Hynes is getting better every week wearing the number seven jersey, but he just needs to get some more kicks between the sticks. Blayke Brailey is growing in maturity at hooker and making a real impact, and Siosifa Talakai has been close to unstoppable since his move to the centres.

DCE and Kieran Foran have been firing on all cylinders in the halves and each with a great kicking game. Haumole Olakau'atu continues to impress in the second row, averaging 30 tackles and 104 running metres a game.


This match should be a real close one, with Sharks favourites at home. Cronulla will be hoping it doesn't all come down to goal kicking with Hynes only mustering a 58 percent success rate and Manly sharpshooter Reuben Garrick sitting pretty at 90 percent. Whoever wins, we will still get to see the amazing Des Hasler in the post-match press conference looking like he got dressed and did his hair in the dark.

Brisbane Broncos v Canterbury Bulldogs, Friday 8pm, Suncorp Stadium

The only one match to be played on Friday night, and it's this one.

Both teams have been trying, I will give them that. But everyone expected a quicker success with all the big-name recruits that joined the ranks in the off season. The Broncos have been hot and cold in their efforts and executions, and the Bulldogs just can't seem to turn their efforts into points.


Broncos finished 14th and the Dogs 16th at the end of last season, and that is exactly where we find them now. To add to the Dogs woes is the fact that the side has been decimated for this match thanks to injury and Covid-19. 12 players in total are unavailable for selection including Brent Naden, Ava Seumanufagai, Jake Averillo and Reece Hoffman who all tested positive.

On the flip side, in wonderful news for the Broncos and the whole rugby league community, Te Maire Martin will return to the field for the first time in three years, after a brain bleed in 2019 forced him into early retirement. Regardless of what colours you wear, everyone should be cheering him on and hoping he has a great game.

Broncos should get the two points here comfortably with the Bulldogs struggling to get a side on the park let alone be competitive.


North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans, Saturday 5.30pm, Queensland Country Bank Stadium

A Queensland battle for a Saturday night!

The Cowboys have been the surprise packet of the season, winning three of their six matches and unlucky to not have more wins on the board. They are seventh on the ladder and will be looking to stay in the eight.

Jason Taumalolo has quashed all critics and speculation on his form and is back to his wrecking ball best. Valentine Holmes also looks like he has gone back in time, playing some sensational footy in the centres. And young rookie Jeremiah Nanai is showing everyone why he will be a star of the future.

Jason Taumalolo.
Jason Taumalolo.

The Titans have a load of talent across the field including AJ Brimson, Big Tino and of course David Fifita, but just can't seem to put it all together. They have been making life difficult for themselves by starting matches off slowly and having to chase points and race the clock. The Cowboys have shown that they can put points on the board fast, so the Titans won't want to give them too much of a head start. I don't think this will be the game that the Titans learn their lesson.

Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs, Saturday 7.35pm CommBank Stadium

The Tigers have been the talk of the town this week for all the right reasons! They pulled off an Easter miracle last round, causing a major upset by beating the Eels in the dying seconds of the match and finally securing their first win of the season.

Everyone played their part perfectly, and combination of Jackson Hastings at halfback and Luke Brooks in his new role of five-eighth proved invaluable, with the pair gelling immediately and leading the Tigers effortlessly around the park.

The Bunnies haven't had the best start to the season themselves, but had a great win last weekend, convincingly beating the Bulldogs. Hooker Damien Cook has found his stride again, and captain Cam Murray has been leading his men from the front and causing havoc for his opponents.

Life without Adam Reynolds started off tough for Souths, but they slowly turning that around and will be looking for their third win in a row here.

But if the Tigers play how they did against the Eels, they will win this.

Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels, Sunday 2pm, McDonald Jones Stadium

Starting the season off with two wins, Newcastle slumped to their fourth loss on the trot last weekend. Injury, form, and the Kalyn Ponga contract circus haven't helped the struggling Knights, who will be desperate to get a win in front of their home crowd.

Dane Gagai has been one of the buys for the season and continues to be one of the Knights best players. With the announcement yesterday that Ponga's future is finally secured at the Knights, fans will be hoping he can now step up and lead the way.

The Eels have been electric so far this season, with Mitch Moses and Dylan Brown leading the way in the halves, and Clint Gutherson just 'Guther-e-no-ing' out the back.

They were absolutely stunned by a Tigers side ready to play on Monday. That loss would have hurt, and they will be out to make amends this round.

Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders, Sunday 4pm, Bluebet Stadium

Their opponents keep turning up and the reining premiers just keep knocking them down. Penrith just seem unstoppable at the moment and currently have the best view on the street all to themselves at the top of the ladder.

With Nathan Cleary out injured for the first few rounds the Panthers never missed a beat, and since he has come back, they have gone up a level. And there is a reason captain Isaah Yeo is leading the Dally M leader board at the moment - just phenomenal.

Isaah Yeo.
Isaah Yeo.

The poor old Canberra 'Faiders' are unfortunately living up to their dreaded nickname, storming to the front and having great first halves, only to come out and have a poor second half and lose the match. They did this again last round against the Cowboys, allowing a 12-0 lead turn into an 18-12 loss.

The Panthers should win easily against the Raiders, taking their season to 7-0 and Canberra falling further down the ladder.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Sydney Roosters, Monday 4pm, Sydney Cricket Ground

Our first of the traditional ANZAC Day matches, and this one should be a beauty. Both teams are coming off last round wins and always lift for this very special game.

The Dragons have had a poor start to the year, with a last round win against the Knights only their second for the season. On paper they should be doing better than the have, but if the likes of Ben Hunt, Andrew McCollough and Zac Lomax can play like they did last week, that will put the rest of the Red V in good stead.

The Roosters haven't been playing at their usual best but have still been doing well enough to be 4-2. Joey Manu has to be one of the inform centres in the comp, and Sam Walker is playing like he has been there forever. And JWH is always up for big matches like this.

The history and the meaning of the day always adds to the emotion and the efforts. The Roosters should claim victory, but the Dragons won't let them take it easily.

Melbourne Storm v New Zealand Warriors, Monday 7pm AAMI Park

In the second of the annual ANZAC Day clashes, this is another game where both teams rise to another level.

The Storm are cruising along ever so nicely, only having lost one match so far. Just when you think the likes of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Munster and Harry Grant can't get any better, they do. Throw into the mix Jerome Hughes and big NAS, their never-ending conveyer belt of talent continues to amaze. They streaked away last week against the Sharks in a match that everyone thought would go down to the wire.

The Warriors have been a bit of a surprise packet so far, playing some really great footy. Having Shaun Johnson back at the club has been a blessing for the side, and he has just slotted in like he never left. Big boys Josh Curran, Euan Aitkin and Addin Fonua-Blake are having standout seasons, leading their sides strongly from the front.

They were unlucky against the Roosters last round and will throw everything they have at Melbourne to claim the two points. In saying that, the Storm should win comfortably at home, keeping their 2022 season ticking along nicely.

Enjoy the footy everyone!

Featured Image Credit: NRL

Topics: nrl, Australia

Danielle Smith
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