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NRL: Week seven talking points

Brisbane Broncos returned to winning ways with a big win over the Gold Coast Titans, while there was more golden-point drama as Penrith Panthers edged out Newcastle Knights.

The excitement continued to flow in the NRL with some closely fought battles in week seven. 

None more so than the clash between the Newcastle and Penrith, which was settled in extra-time courtesy of a Nathan Cleary drop goal. 

The Broncos smashed the Titans 43-26 in the Queensland derby, while the Cronulla Sharks picked up a massive 22-12 win over Sydney Roosters. 

The New Zealand Warriors also returned to winning ways with a 22-14 win over the North Queensland Cowboys, who continue to struggle in 2023. 

There were also big wins for Manly Sea Eagles over Melbourne Storm, the Canberra Raiders over the St. George Illawarra Dragons and the Parramatta Eels against the Canterbury Bulldogs. 

Let’s take a look at the main talking points from week seven in the NRL.

Knights fume over Luai penalty 

Jarome Luai’s long hair was the centre of attention on Saturday night as the Panthers picked up a golden-point win over Newcastle. 

The Knights were leading 14-8 when backrower Tyson Frizell incidentally pulled Luai’s hair when tackling him from behind. 

Referee Peter Gough awarded a penalty to Penrith and two tackles later the Panthers scored a try and went on to level the scores before Cleary booted the golden point. 

The decision to award the penalty came in for fierce criticism from Newcastle after the game, while media pundits also claimed that Gough got it wrong. 

The NRL have stood by the referee and say he was in a ‘no-win situation’ as he would have been criticised had he let it go. 

Either way, the win kept Penrith in sixth spot on the ladder, and they are priced at  to go 3.75 on and win the grand final in 2023.

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Slater cools Dragons rumours 

Queensland State of Origin coach Billy Slater says he is in the dark over reports suggesting the Dragons are targeting him to be their next coach. 

The Dragons are having another tough campaign, sitting 13th on the ladder, and they have already confirmed they are weighing up their options for next season and beyond. 

With the role of Anthony Griffin looking in severe danger, it has been suggested that Slater is now a top target. 

This despite the fact he is coach of the Maroons and also has a busy schedule as a media pundit for Channel 9. 

Slater has reacted to reports that the Dragons have spoken to him, by saying it is news to him and he is happy doing what he is doing for now. 

The Dragons, who are priced at 10.00 to make the top eight, look to be fighting a losing battle if they do want Slater as their next head coach.

Wighton quits Origin 

The Canberra Raiders picked up back-to-back wins after seeing off the Dragons at the weekend and are now priced at 2.75 to make the top eight. 

However it is star playmaker Jack Wighton that continues to dominate the headlines. After first revealing he will explore his options to leave the club at the end of the season, he has now dropped another bombshell. 

He has apparently revealed he will quit playing representative football at the tender age of 30. 

Wighton will not added to the 10 appearances he has made for New South Wales at Origin and the decision has stunned many Blues legends. 

Some of which are now calling on the player to come out and reveal the thinking behind his decision.

Roosters continue to stumble 

The Sydney Roosters were one of the hot fancies to go on and win the 2023 NRL premiership. 

If anyone was to prevent Penrith winning three straight premierships, many suggested the Roosters would be the side to do it. 

However after slipping to back-to-back defeats against the Storm and Sharks, they are looking miles away from being contenders. 

Trent Robinson’s side can be backed at 7.00 to go on and win the grand final, and even though it is still early days, they cannot afford too many slip ups.  

Next up is the traditional Anzac Day clash against St. George Illawarra Dragons and nothing other than a win will do. 

The good news is Brandon Smith has just been handed a fine after being sin-binned and put on report following a late hit with the shoulder against the Sharks. 

It means he avoids a suspension and is free to face the Dragons.

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