Game 1: Warriors 52 def Knights 10
The NZ Warriors were dynamic in Auckland last night, putting the foot on the gas pedal immediately to splice open the Knights and continue on with it through out the match.
The Warriors forwards are simply unstoppable right now, Steve Price and Ruben Wiki battering rams for which other teams have no answer. As they roll forward with good play the ball and ruck speed – the remainder of the team are falling in beautifully behind them. Halves Grant Roveli and Michael Witt are directing the outside backs to perfection – choosing the right options – as fullback Wade McKinnon remains one of the best players in the NRL at present.
Warriors coach Ivan Cleary would also be delighted with the Warriors defence – the NZ men keeping the Knights to only 10 points in a comprehensive display. The Warriors face the Roosters in Sydney next weekend for what should be a blockbuster – given the Roosters current form.
Game 2: South Sydney 20 def Titans 14
South Sydney turned a massive corner last night, these days they seem to be in the habit of winning. They were able to pull this game from the jaws of defeat, through solid attitude and good defence. Taylor has his men believing – the Bunnies raced out to a lead, scoring two tries but missing the costly conversions. Souths had plenty of ball and their attack initially was impressive, they did tend to lose their way on final tackle options as the game wore on and this allowed the Titans to get a sniff – through Bailey and improved forward muscle the Titans were well and truly back into the game at half time.
As the arm wrestle ensued in the second half – it was a patient and believing South Sydney side that were able to pinch a try late in the piece. Half back Paea continues to be a good choice in the middle and South Sydney coach Jason Taylor has been justified in his decision to use Nathan Merritt at fullback for the Bunnies. The win keeps Souths well and truly in the hunt for the NRL finals Top 8 series in 2007.
Game 3: Bulldogs 28 def Dragons 24
It was an unconvincing win for the for the Bulldogs; facing the much improved Dragons at WIN stadium. The Bulldogs were carved up mid field early on and looked shell shocked for much of the first half. Jason Ryles for the Dragons in particular looked the best he has in years – the much maligned and injured forward put his hand up and did the hard stuff – helped the Dragons establish a big lead in this match.
Jamie Soward was simply untouchable at times, the Dragons halfback regularly stepping through the Bulldogs line with fancy footwork and troubling the retreating forwards plenty.
In the end – the experience and patience of the Bulldogs shone through. Some crafty tries to old stager Hazem El Masri in the second half sparked the Dogs and they simply waited for the Dragons mistake – coming in the 73rd minute, with the young Saints letting a bomb bounce and spilling the pill for the Dogs to claim an unexpected win after the early play going against them.