Home Australia NRL Round-Up: A new leader surges, a new lowest sinks and a new Lomax special

NRL Round-Up: A new leader surges, a new lowest sinks and a new Lomax special

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NRL player David Fifita is about to score, with two opponents on his back trying to tackle him.

After one of the closest rounds in recent memory last week, round seven featured a cavalcade of blowouts.

The crowded ladder was shaken again and again, with a new leader, a new leader at the lowest level and still no real favorite for the premiership.

Here is our summary.

1. Uncanny X-Man is still working hard

Xavier Coates looks like a different player this year and goes far beyond his highlights, as impressive as he may have been.

Coates has three tries this season, but each of them has had a huge impact – the historic effort against the Warriors in the second round lit up the sporting world and his high-flying act against Brisbane a few weeks later earned him Mark of the Week . AFL honours.

But his latest goal, the winner against the Roosters, is the true measure of his improvement.

Coates has always been a player capable of the incredible. He can fly high and perform acrobatic finishes in the corners, and he has done so for a while now.

But this year Coates is playing harder. He’s running harder, using every part of his 194cm, 108kg frame, especially in yardage and defense, two areas of the game that haven’t always been his strong suits.

To score the winning goal on Thursday night, he ran past Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Connor Watson and Victor Radley, all tremendous defenders, to score.

It’s the kind of finish he might not have achieved last year and that willingness to push himself physically has helped Coates become a much more complete player for the Storm.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Jahrome Hughes (Storm)

2 – Xavier Coates (Storm)

1 – Lindsay Collins (Roosters)

2. Zac Lomax’s Origin case could soon be undeniable

In the space of seven weeks, Zac Lomax has played the best football of his career in a position he doesn’t want to play, asked for a release from the Dragons, signed with another club and, incredibly, joined New South Wales. Origin calculations.

Blues coach Michael Maguire has confirmed Lomax on his radar and the Temora product once again showed why with a brilliant display against the Warriors.

Lomax scored a try, kicked five goals, scored a two-point field goal and was involved throughout the Dragons’ brilliant victory over the Warriors. His four points, a spectacular leap early in the second half, was a sign of his seemingly limitless talent.

For some time it seemed that this talent could not be fully utilized. But if Lomax keeps this up, the stages will only get bigger because he’s playing the kind of football that’s impossible to ignore.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Zac Lomax (Dragons)

2 – Ben Hunt (Dragons)

1 – Francis Molo (Dragons)

3. Young, late sensations dazzle the Dolphins

The Dolphins were without four of their best players for their trip to Darwin to play Parramatta and, just to make things a little more difficult, they were also without coach Wayne Bennett after their veteran mentor fell ill.

Any victory over Parramatta in those circumstances would have been impressive, but taking the 44-16 victory made this one of the best performances in the club’s nascent history and it was two contrasting players who led the way.

Isaiya Katoa is quickly becoming the team’s dominant offensive presence and the young running back again orchestrated his team’s attack with a veteran touch in a magnificent display of control and playmaking ability. At just 20 years old, he’s already come a long way to justify the hype that surrounded him in his youthful days with the Panthers.

Trai Fuller has never attracted the same attention, although that could change now. The 27-year-old has spent the last six seasons playing with Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup, but this was only his second NRL game. You would never have guessed it from his performance, though, as Fuller scored a try, set up another and looked classy with every touch of the ball.

The Dolphins will need to navigate rougher waters as they wait for their stars to return, but with Katoa and Fuller at the helm they will still be very dangerous for any team that dares to take them lightly.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Jeremy Marshall-King (Dolphins)

2 – Trai Fuller (Dolphins)

1 – Isaiya Katoa (Dolphins)

4. The Panthers remain favorites in a difficult competition

There have been those who have been quick to dismiss the Penrith Panthers as having fallen, and while they may have lost a step, no one else has established themselves as the main challenger.

Cronulla and Melbourne are top of the table with five wins, but are you really convinced by either of those sides – the Storm who refuse to win by more than single digits and the Sharks who were beaten 32-6 by the Tigers in less than a year? one month ago?

After their season-opening 8-0 loss to Melbourne, the Panthers took care of business in grand final rematches against Parramatta and Brisbane, and after their 22-6 win over the Wests Tigers in Bathurst, they have 2-1 record without injured superstar running back Nathan. Clear.

The 32-18 loss to the Sea Eagles in the fifth round was decidedly disappointing, but it was the only real aberration in the first two months of the season.

And, perhaps most importantly, they are one of seven teams with four wins in the first seven rounds and basically all of them have lost games in which they were heavy favorites.

Indicating how congested things are entering the season, the Raiders fell from third to eighth in less than a full round of football, while the Broncos jumped from eleventh to sixth after winning their clash.

Until someone really emerges from the soft middle of the NRL ladder, the three-time defending champions are the only team you can reliably pick for the premiership.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Isaiah Yeo (Panthers)

2 – Dylan Edwards (Panthers)

1 – Aidan Sezer (Tigers)

5. Titans find new and exciting ways to lose

David Fifita’s 33rd minute try was perhaps the softest of the night.(AAP: Jason O’Brien)

With the Rabbitohs taking advantage of their two points from this weekend’s break, the Titans needed to get their first win of the season to avoid taking their place at the bottom of the table.

But, after conceding two goals in the first nine minutes against the Sea Eagles, their chances looked lost.

They then counter-attacked and even took the lead, a quarter of the way into the game, before Manly counter-attacked and it continued all night.

In the end, the two teams scored 64 points before the 60 minutes were up.

The lead changed six times, but the final result was painfully predictable for the Coasters – ending 80 minutes of hard-fought rugby league with no competition points to show for all their work.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Tom Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)

2 – Jake Trbojevic (Sea Eagles)

1 – AJ Brimson (Titans)

6. Raiders rookie on rugby league rollercoaster

Canberra Raiders player Chevy Stewart is sitting on the ground, staring at a football he has just dropped behind him.

Chevy Stewart had his ‘Welcome to the NRL’ moment a week late but made up for lost time.(AAP: Jono Searle)

Eighteen-year-old Chevy Stewart’s introduction to the NRL was nothing short of exciting, with a dynamite debut at fullback for the Raiders in a thrilling golden point win over the Titans.

But he received a reminder of the brutal nature of the league in game number two, with the Brisbane Broncos targeting him to great effect at Lang Park.

Jock Madden’s spiral bombs launched in the pouring rain made his life miserable.

And the defense set out to make him uncomfortable.

He finished with 12 runs for just 93 meters and four errors. On the other side of the ball, Reece ‘Rocks and Diamonds’ Walsh had 16 runs for 199 metres, with two tries and three line breaks, but as many handling errors as Stewart.

“Tough conditions. He’s a good, tough, young defender,” Walsh told Fox Sports of Stewart.

“I just told him ‘it’s a rollercoaster out there.’ He’s got a big heart and it’s good to see a young man do well.”

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Pat Carrigan (Broncos)

2 – Corey Jensen (Broncos)

1 – Reece Walsh (Broncos)

7. Ponga’s pain runs through Newcastle

Because being beaten 36-12 by the Bulldogs wasn’t enough, the football gods decided to give Newcastle fans another big dose of misery on Sunday afternoon when fullback Kalyn Ponga left the game half an hour early.

He was limping badly after the break and everyone assumed it was his already injured hip, but no, it was a recent injury.

Knights coach Adam O’Brien described it as a “rare” injury to a ligament in the arch of his foot, but we will know more after scans.

It looks like Ponga will likely be out for some time, which doesn’t bode well for a Knights team that’s barely staying afloat even with him in the lineup.

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Reed Mahoney (Bulldogs)

2 – Matt Burton (Bulldogs)

1-Josh Curran (Bulldogs)

8. The local junior debuts in front of 200 classmates.

It is always a joyous occasion when a local youth debuts for his local team, and even better when he does so at home.

Trying it in the corner where your friends and family are sitting is simply a dream.

De La Salle Caringbah junior Samuel Stonestreet did just that for his Cronulla Sharks on Sunday afternoon.

The 21-year-old told ABC Sport he “grew up watching the Sharks come last every year” but was overwhelmed with emotion when they won the 2016 grand final.

Somehow, he “was pretty relaxed” and “slept well” before his debut, with his friends and family filling a corner at Shark Park.

“There’s about 200 of them and they’re going crazy. They’re the best, they’re amazing,” he said.

“That’s just my dream come true.”

ABC Player of the Year Awards:

3 – Will Kennedy (Sharks)

2 – Hynes Niche (Sharks)

1 – Kayal Iro (Sharks)

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