By the Numbers: NRL Round 7
A NSW Origin representative stakes his claim for inclusion in 2015, the Dragons' massive improvement, the Cowboys' prolific dummy half, and good handling in the wet. These are the key numbers and statistics that defined Round 7 of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership.
There's been plenty of talk about the form of Bulldogs five-eighth Josh Reynolds ahead of the representative period. The incumbent NSW pivot injured his arm against the Panthers in Round 1, and had his best game since returning in Round 5 against the Sea Eagles in Round 7, laying on three try assists and three line-break assists. If he continues in this way for the Bulldogs, a return to the NSW Origin side shouldn't be too far away.
As NRL.com's Jack Brady discovered following the Dragons' 12-10 victory over the Broncos on Friday night, the Red V Wall isn't just a thing of imagination. After seven rounds, the Dragons have conceded just 74 points. At the same point in 2014, they had conceded 148 points, exactly double their total for this season. The side with the lowest points conceded after Round 7 last year? The Bulldogs (94), who would go on to appear in the 2014 decider. It's this defence which has seen St George Illawarra climb to second on the ladder on for-and-against, equal with Melbourne and Brisbane on 10 competition points.
Defence might win matches, but it doesn't hurt if you're also running in plenty of tries. That's exactly what the Titans have done over the past two rounds, scoring 70 points against western Sydney clubs the Eels and Panthers. At the same time, they've conceded just 22. Things appear to be starting to click for Neil Henry's men.
The Cowboys might finally have settled on a long-term option at hooker, with Jake Granville starring in the No.9 jersey. Against the Warriors he proved the match-winner, with three tries, five tackle busts, 34 tackles, two line breaks in 62 minutes on the field. That all equated to 84 points in NRL Fantasy, for a man who has the potential to become a point-per-minute machine.
It might not have been Wests Tigers' day at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday afternoon, but centre Tim Simona certainly put on an eye-catching performance in attack. He had two try assists, two tackle busts, three offloads, two line breaks, a line-break assist, and a try of his own in an exciting display. He'll need to be at his best against the Bulldogs in Round 8, as he failed to score or provide an assist when these sides last met in Round 4.
Monday saw Sydney receive 119.4mm of rain, the wettest April day in almost two decades. That provided a unique set of conditions for the Sharks-Rabbitohs clash at Remondis Stadium, with driving rain and an incredibly strong wind hampering proceedings. Despite this, the game contained the second-fewest number of errors (15) of any match in Round 7. The Storm and Roosters had just nine between them on Saturday night, in a game also played in wet conditions.