SCORING MACHINE: Goondiwindi's Jack Barbrooke brings down Valleys fullback Dylan Chown. Chown had another impressive haul of two tries and four goals in the 44-14 win.
SCORING MACHINE: Goondiwindi's Jack Barbrooke brings down Valleys fullback Dylan Chown. Chown had another impressive haul of two tries and four goals in the 44-14 win. Kevin Farmer

Five things learnt from TRL round 7

RUGBY LEAGUE: The big guns continued to rise during round seven of the TRL Premiership.

Valleys remain on top, however there is certainly no breathing space in a competition with the amount of talent involved.

DEFENCE STANDING UP

The oldest saying in the book is that defence wins games, and that showed on the weekend.

Valleys held Goondiwindi to 14, while Dalby and Warwick only conceded a solitary try in their victories.

It's no coincidence that Valleys are yet to taste defeat, when they are averaging just a touch over 11 points per game against them for the season.

They have set the defensive benchmark for the year and are looking like the team to beat at this stage.

OAKEY'S BIG TEST

Wattles showed fight to overcome a tough Pittsworth outfit on the road to remain in second spot on the ladder.

Now their opponents this weekend, Oakey, face their biggest test of the year.

The Bears have won two in a row and were flying, however they haven't played since April 29 due to the 47th Battalion and the bye.

A strong showing could be the catalyst for a finals push.

ALL EFFORT NO REWARD

The frustrating thing for teams in a competition as tight as the TRL is the slow start to the season they can endure.

Goondiwindi has performed much better than their one win to date would suggest, and the same could be said for Pittsworth and Gatton, who have just two wins on the season.

You have to be at your best week in and week out in 2018 to come away with the two points, and sometimes even that isn't enough.

TRY SCORING PARTY

The race for the title of top try scorer is well and truly on, with the leading point scorer honours seemingly wrapped up by Dylan Chown, who brought up his century against Goondiwindi.

Chown currently leads the competition with 12, followed by Austin Jennings with 10, after both picked up weekend doubles.

Jennings in particular has relished the move to Gatton on the end of a classy backline.

Jason Wardrop deserves a mention for showing that meat pies aren't exclusively for the backs, crossing for seven of his own in 2018.

HIGHFIELDS RESPOND

They may have had a week off after their gruelling clash against Wattles, but there was cause for concern when the Eagles found themselves down 18-6 against Gatton.

In the end they rallied to get the win, in what would be very pleasing for coach Gus McKellar.

Their ability to get back in the winner's circle after the heartbreaking loss is a sign of the maturity of this team.



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