Toyota Cup: Round Seven Preview
Fox Sports' coverage of the Toyota Cup this week televises two heavyweights for the first time. Last year's beaten Grand Finalists Wests Tigers are on a four-match winning streak and out to make it five against Penrith. Inaugural premiers, the Canberra Raiders, have won four of their last five and are out to beat South Sydney. <br><br>Commentator Matt Russell looks at both games as part of his Round 7 preview.<br><br><b>What next..</b><br><br>Just when I think football boots can't get any more colourful, up pops Wayne Ulugia!<br><br>The Cowboys fullback scored two tries - both of them good ones - in a pair of fluorescent purple boots on Saturday.<br><br>Myself and co-commentator Brett Kimmorley were aware of red, yellow, orange, green and multi-coloured varieties previously... but never puprle, at least on a rugby league player.<br><br>It begs the question... what's next? Polkadots? Zebra stripes? Leopard spots?<br><br>At least it explains why my son wanted to buy boots that looked more like Pro Hart's paint palette.<br><br>We've come a long way since Graeme Langlands famously wore white boots in the 1975 Grand Final.<br><br>Maybe there'll come a day when you have to do something outrageous like wearing black boots to stand out!<br><br><b>Young guns..</b><br><br>Ulugia burst onto the scene last year as a 16-year-old and the trend continues at North Queensland this year.<br><br>On Saturday, five-eighth Luke Abdul-Rahman and powerful interchange forward Jason Taumalolo played as 16-year-olds.<br><br>They are just two of the reasons North Queensland sits top of the table with five wins from six starts.<br><br>Not bad for a team without power prop Dylan Smith (knee) and big centre Moses Pangai (jaw).<br><br><b>Driving them nuts..</b><br><br>North Queensland hooker James Segeyaro picked up the Fox Sports Young Gun title in Round 6, as judged by Brett Kimmorley.<br><br>Segeyaro scored a try and set up another as the Cowboys stormed home to win.<br><br>It was a big comeback from the team and individual.<br><br>Earlier, Seyegaro copped an accidental knee to the jatz crackers and couldn't walk. In fact, I don't think he could talk either.<br><br>He recovered, but not before Kimmorley relayed how painful such a blow can be, himself suffering a ruptured testicle on the rugby league field.<br><br>Footnote: Noddy is happily married with three daughters.<br><br><b>Coach killers..</b><br><br>Speaking of deep breaths, Garth Brennan must be taking some for a different reason at Newcastle.<br><br>His players have given up handy leads twice in as many games.<br><br>They led South Sydney 22-0 only to be beaten 48-34.<br><br>They led North Queensland by 10 only to be beaten by 14.<br><br>Injuries, illness and discipline hampered Newcastle's preparation but Brennan will hear none of that.<br><br>His squad has the talent and experience to create a lead and keep it.<br><br>Look for a determined showing against the Sharks on Saturday.<br><br><b>Head over heels..</b><br><br>The league continues its tough stance on spear tackles with two more Toyota Cup players charged with dangerous throws.<br><br>A week after two Warriors were rubbed out for six weeks, Bulldogs Shane Pumipi and Dale Finucane incurred the match review commitee's wrath.<br><br>Pumipi misses two games with an early plea.<br><br>Finucane escapes suspension but will be lumbered with 93 carry-over points.<br><br><b>What junior nursery..</b><br><br>Western Sydney is often described as the prized rugby league nursery but it's not on show in the Toyota Cup.<br><br>Parramatta, Penrith and Canterbury fill the bottom three positions, with just two wins between them.<br><br>It's nothing new either. Last year they finished 11th, 12th and 13th.<br><br>It leaves the Wests Tigers to fly the flag in Greater Western Sydney.<br><br><b>Here come the Tiges..</b><br><br>Saturday's game between two Western Sydney rivals looks ugly on paper.<br><br>The Tigers have won four in a row to climb to third.<br><br>The Panthers have lost five in a row to be second last.<br><br>The Tigers are racking up the points, scoring 36, 38, 42 and 56 over the past month.<br><br>The Panthers are leaking points, giving up 56, 40, 44 and 36 in their last four.<br><br>And the Tigers have Jake Mullaney. <br><br>The man who scored 20 tries in the last 10 weeks of 2009, is at it again. <br><br>He's scored two first-half trebles in his last three games, already with seven tries, 24 goals and 76 points this season.<br><br>It will be great to see one of the Toyota Cup's most exciting off-contract players at Penrith on Saturday although the Panthers might be sick of the sight of him by the end of 80 minutes.<br><br>Join myself and Scott Sattler for all the action as part of Super Saturday on Fox Sports 2.<br><br><b>Profitable punting..</b><br><br>Some brave punters have used the Toyota Cup to take thousands from TAB Sportsbet.<br><br>One punter had $30,000 on North Queensland -4.5 at $1.95 against Newcastle's in the Under 20s.<br><br>He wasn't too worried at halftime when the Knights led 16-6 and re-loaded with another $18,700 on the Cowboys -4.5 at $1.85.<br><br>The Cowboys won the second half 30-6 and the game 36-22. The punter made a PROFIT of $44,395.<br><br>Then there was the $50,000 Monday night multi backing Manly's Toyota Cup team and NRL team (+7.5) at the combined price of $5.<br><br>Manly's Under 20s won 42-18 and the NRL team 18-16.<br><br>The punter's investment never looked in doubt. He COLLECTED $250,000!<br><br><b>In the Hunt..</b><br><br>Broncos coach Ivan Henjak has opted for 2008 Toyota Cup Player of the Year Ben Hunt to solve his halfback headache.<br><br>Plenty of Brisbane fans will watch Hunt, hoping he can build on his four NRL starts so far. He's yet to win an NRL game.<br><br>The 2009 Toyota Cup Player of the Year Beau Henry is back in the Under 20 ranks for a thrid season after starting the year in NSW Cup.<br><br>He's still waiting for an NRL debut behind Ben Hornby and Jamie Soward.<br><br><b>Anzac Day in the Capital..</b><br><br>The Canberra Raiders have been a real Toyota Cup success story - in terms of on-field results and the number of players to graduate to NRL.<br><br>We get to see them for the first time in 2010 on Sunday, where the club has a big promotion built around Anzac Day.<br><br>Canberra has won four of its last five games, most recently a 25-24 thriller against the Roosters.<br><br>Viewers might remember names like Drury Low, Sam Williams, Mark Appleton, Matt McIlwrick, Mitch Kennedy and Sam Mataora, who are all survivors from last season.<br><br>Souths are with Canberra in equal second and have won their last three in a row.<br><br>Like Canberra, the Bunnies have plenty of Toyota Cup survivors from last season and great strikepower.<br><br>Both sides can score but who will defend with the most determination?<br><br>Join myself and Simon Woolford for all the action from 11.30am EST on Fox Sports 2.