NSW took first blood in the 2008 Origin series with an 18-10 home victory. The Blues got off to a flying start when
Anthony Quinn was on the end of a brilliant offload from Ryan Hoffman to score in just the 4th minute of the game.
The early minutes of any Origin contest is known for its hard hitting and ferocious tackling, and this match would be no
exception. The Blues had their tails up after the early try, and with the majority of possession and better field position, it
was no surprise on 18 minutes when a bomb from Peter Wallace and a nice high leap by Quinn resulted in Quinn’s
second try and the Blues getting out to a 10-0 lead. Mark Gasnier set up Brett Stewart for another, and despite the
conversion being missed, the Blues were looking good and Queensland desperately needed a spark to get back into
With just seconds to go before half time, a grubber from Johnathan Thurston was pounced on by Brent Tate to put the
Maroons on the board; but it was a 14-6 lead to NSW at the break.
The second half was an arm wrestle, end to end ball movement thwarted by some sensational desperation tackling.
Neither side was able to make an impression on the scoreboard until the 68th minute. But it was NSW who broke the
deadlock, Anthony Laffranchi’s try making the game safe for NSW. Israel Folau got a late try back for Queensland, but
the victory would go to NSW; and with a 1-0 victory and the third game in the series also due to be played at
Homebush, the Blues are in the box seat to regain the State of Origin title.
New South Wales 18 def Queensland 10
New South Wales : Tries – A Quinn 2, B Stewart, A Laffranchi. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 1/4.
Queensland : Tries – B Tate, I Folau. Goals – J Thurston 1/2.
Referee – T Archer. Crowd – 67,620 at ANZ Stadium.
Manly were in trouble after just 5 minutes in their game against St George at Brookvale on Friday night. Anthony
Watmough was knocked out in a tackle, and a minute later Beau Scott found his way through a gaping hole in the
Manly defensive line to open the scoring.
But a string of penalties led to a glut of possession for the Sea Eagles, and on 20 minutes it finally reaped its reward
when “Wolfman” David Williams went over in the corner; and with Matt Orford making no mistake with the conversion
the Sea Eagles took the lead. But St George quickly regained the lead, Ben Hornby pouncing on a dropped bomb and
wrong-footing the Manly defence to score. But the first half scoreboard action wasn’t finished yet, with veteran Steve
Menzies putting in a brilliant solo effort to go over, and with the try converted Manly led 12-10 at the break.
St George regained the lead early in the second half, when a chip kick from Jamie Soward found Ben Nightingale and
while it was borderline whether he grounded the ball while being tackled, the video ref awarded a benefit of the doubt
try; but Soward was unable to convert.
A 65m run with 10 minutes to go so Michael Robertson go over to restore the Manly lead. But the final twist in the game
came with just 3 minutes remaining, when Brett Morris barged through the pack to score under the posts. The try was
converted to give St George the win.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 20 def Manly Sea Eagles 18
Dragons : Tries – B Hornby, B Morris, J Nightingale, B Scott. Goals – J Soward 2/4.
Sea Eagles : Tries – S Menzies, M Robertson, D Williams. Goals – M Orford 3/3.
Referee – J Robinson. Crowd – 12,058 at Brookvale Oval.
Melbourne, with 8 players backing up from State of Origin, put in a lacklustre performance in Gosford on Saturday
night, but still did enough to get past the struggling Souths and record an important 2 competition points.
The Rabbitohs had the bulk of possession and scoring opportunities in the first half, but were unable to penetrate the
Melbourne line. Against the run of play, Will Chambers ran in an unconverted try, and the Storm led 4-0 at the break.
|ROUND 12 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 30th May
Brisbane v Parramatta (7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium)
Canberra v Manly (7:30pm, Canberra Stadium)
Saturday 31st May
Melbourne v Bulldogs (5:30pm, Olympic Park)
North Queensland v Penrith (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Newcastle v NZ Warriors (7:30pm, Energy Australia Stadium)
Sunday 1st June
South Sydney v St George-Illawarra (2:00pm, ANZ Stadium)
Cronulla v Gold Coast (3:00pm, Toyota Stadium)
Monday 2nd June
Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers (7:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
A penalty goal to Cameron Smith early in the second half extended the lead to 6 points and when Jeremy Smith
went over in the corner the Storm looked to be heading to victory. But with still 18 minutes to go, Nigel Vagana
pounced on a dropped ball and made his way over the Storm line to give the Rabbitohs a lifeline. The conversion
reduced the deficit to just 6 points and there was still plenty of time for Souths to steal the game.
The Rabbitohs continued to attack, but there was no way through. And with 7 minutes to go, Cooper Cronk went with
a long drop kick to land a field goal and give the Storm a buffer. Two minutes later, a penalty gave Cam Smith a
chance to add a further two points and importantly to use up some time. And although Vagana scored his second try
for the game in the dying seconds of the game, the Storm had done enough to take the points; maintaining their
position in the top 4 while keeping the hapless Rabbitohs stuck on the bottom of the ladder.
Melbourne Storm 15 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
Storm : Tries – W Chambers, J Smith. Goals – C Smith 3/4. Field Goals – C Cronk 1/1.
Rabbitohs : Tries – N Vagana 2. Goals – I Luke 1/2.
Referee – J Maxwell. Crowd – 8,761 at Bluetongue Stadium.
A hat-trick from Shaun Kenny-Dowall spearheaded the Sydney Roosters as they continued on their winning ways
with a comprehensive 38-12 win over the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
The Roosters got off to a flying start, scoring twice in the opening 5 minutes and the Warriors would always be
chasing the game. The Warriors got one try back, but two more unconverted Roosters tries would see the lead blow
out to 20-4 before a penalty goal and a converted try to the Warriors in the final minutes before the break restored
some hopes that the Warriors could get back into the contest.
But such hopes evaporated within minutes of the restart, as the Roosters again became a dominant force. Three
converted tries, a dominance of possession and field position was the result of a clinical performance by the
Roosters, for which the Warriors had no answer.
It was the Warriors’ first home loss of the season, and with the loss also providing a serious hit to the Warriors’
already lowly for and against, it was one that sees them at serious risk of losing contact with the final 8; while the
Roosters are flying high at the top of the ladder and hopes of the premiership title returning to Bondi Junction for the
first time since 2002 are growing.
Sydney Roosters 38 def New Zealand Warriors 12
Roosters : Tries – S Kenny-Dowall 3, B Anasta 2, S Perrett, S Sa. Goals – B Anasta 5/7.
Warriors : Tries – I Henderson, A Kirk. Goals – L Hohaia 2/3.
Referee – B Cummins. Crowd – 11,922 at Mt Smart Stadium.
A full house in glorious sunshine at historic Leichhardt Oval were in raptures as the Wests Tigers upset ladder
leaders Gold Coast 20-18 to ensure the Tigers would maintain their position in the top 8.
The atmosphere was electric early, and the Tigers took advantage with the bulk of early field position, and on 8
minutes a kick from Benji Marshall set up Ben Te’o for the opening try. And on 14 minutes, Robbie Farah crashed
over the line when in a 3-man tackle; and after what seemed an eternity the video referee finally determined the ball
had been grounded and awarded the try, Hodgson’s conversion making the lead 12-0. The Titans got a try back
when Scott Prince offloaded to Aaron Cannings to put him in under the posts, and when Bryce Gibbs was sent to
the sin bin for 10 minutes it took some rugged defence to hold Gold Coast out. But the tide turned again moments
before the break when a penalty kick was awarded, Hodgson slotting home the goal to give the Tigers a 14-6 lead
at half time.
Gold Coast did the early attacking in the second half, but were unable to penetrate the Tigers’ line. It took nearly 20
minutes for another score to come on the board, and to the home side’s delight it came to the Tigers. A penalty was
awarded when the Titans took too long to get off Benji Marshall in a tackle, and the Tigers went over during the next
set of 6, Brett Hodgson crossing the line next to the posts to stretch the lead to 20-6; giving the Tigers a handy buffer.
And the Tigers would need that buffer as the Titans came storming home at the end against a visibly tiring Tigers
side. Brenton Bowen went for a run and scored in the corner in the 68th minute, and when with still 6 minutes to go
Preston Campbell outran the Tigers’ defence to score under the posts, with both tries being converted, the margin
was back to 2 points. But although the Titans continued to press, they were unable to find the winner.
Wests Tigers 20 def Gold Coast Titans 18
Tigers : Tries – R Farah, B Hodgson, B Te’o. Goals – B Hodgson 4/5.
Titans : Tries – B Bowen, P Campbell, A Cannings. Goals – S Prince 3/3.
Referee – S Hayne. Crowd – 17,493 at Leichhardt Oval.
Monday night at Homebush saw the struggling Bulldogs cost Cronulla a spot in the top 4 when the home side
recorded a 30-22 victory.
Putting a week of internal turmoil behind them, the Bulldogs came out fighting; and although Fraser Anderson
quickly crossed over for the opening try, centre Tim Winitana was on the end of a run with multiple passes of the
football to cross the Sharks’ line, Hazem El-Masri’s conversion putting the Bulldogs in front. A brilliant solo effort by
Daniel Holdsworth added another, and on the stroke of half time Sonny Bill Williams crashed through some weak
Sharks defence to stretch the lead to 18-4 at the break.
Shortly after the break, Winitana’s second try, a similar move to his first, extended the Bulldogs’ advantage, but the
Sharks weren’t done yet. Daniel Nutley pounced on a loose ball to go over, and then Brett Kimmorley grabbed onto
a grubber from Greg Bird to score; and the scoreline on the hour was back to 24-16.
But the Sharks’ hopes of working their way back into the contest were dashed five minutes later when Andrew Ryan
found some space to run in and score. Ben Pomeroy got a try back for the Sharks, but the deficit was too great to
overcome. For the Sharks, it was an opportunity missed to move into the top 4; but it was a confidence boost for the
Bulldogs and turned around a week of calamity for the club.
Bulldogs 30 def Cronulla Sharks 22
Bulldogs : Tries – T Winitana 2, D Holdsworth, A Ryan, SB Williams. Goals – H El Masri 5/5.
Sharks : Tries – F Anderson, B Kimmorley, D Nutley, B Pomeroy. Goals – B Seymour 3/4.
Referee – T Archer. Crowd – 9,289 at ANZ Stadium.