The first two Origin games of 2008 were one-sided affairs, but the decider was a contest worthy of the Origin hype; a
fascinating arm-wrestle which was in the balance all the way to the final siren.
After the 30-0 defeat in the second game, NSW made changes for the third game including bringing in young Rooster
Mitchell Pearce; who along with father Wayne made the first father-son combination to have played Origin for NSW.
Skipper Danny Buderus earned himself a place in the record books, taking over the record for the most games as NSW
captain and for the most consecutive Origin appearance.
Craig Fitzgibbon put the Blues in front with an early penalty goal, but the Maroons would score the first try for the night
when Anthony Quinn fumbled the ball in-goal, with the crumbs spilling free to gift Israel Folau the easiest of tries.
The Maroon suffered a setback when halfback Scott Prince broke his arm and left the action, and the Blues capitalised
within a minute, with Matt Cooper finding a yawning gap in the Queensland line to score. Fitzgibbon converted and the
Blues were in front.
In the 25th minute, Johnathan Thurston lobbed up a bomb into the corner, and Folau flew high like an AFL player to
grab the ball and score. The angle was just too tight for Thurston’s conversion; and when Fitzgibbon landed a penalty
goal on the stroke of half time it was 10-10 at the break.
And for the next half hour after the restart the score would remain 10-10. Both sides threw everything at the contest,
defending resolutely to hold their opposition out. At times tempers became heated, passions flowing in a contest where
emotions could run high; the vocal NSW crowd rising to the occasion with an electric atmosphere.
The deadlock was finally broken with 10 minutes to go. A brilliant offload by Johnathan Thurston found Billy Slater, who
wrong-footed the Blues defence to find the line and score under the posts. Thurston added the extras, and the Maroons
held the Blues out in the final minutes to take the game and their third successive Origin series.
Queensland 16 def New South Wales 10
Queensland : Tries – I Folau 2, B Slater. Goals – J Thurston 2/3.
New South Wales : Tries – M Cooper. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 3/3.
Referee – T Archer. Crowd – 78,751 at ANZ Stadium.
Manly retained top spot on the ladder, and threw doubt on Gold Coast’s prospects of playing finals this season, when
the Sea Eagles travelled to Robina and returned victorious with a 34-14 win over the Titans on Friday night.
The Titans started brightly, and should have scored in the second minute but a pass from Mat Rogers failed to find its
target. But five minutes later, Nathan Friend set up Anthony Laffranchi and the Titans were on the scoreboard.
But the Sea Eagles quickly fought back. Repeat sets gave them field position, and Steve Bell capitalised on the build-up
of pressure to score. And on the half hour, a gaping hole in the Gold Coast line enabled veteran Steve Menzies to stroll
through for the easiest of tries, one that put the Sea Eagles 12-6 ahead at the break.
After the restart, Nathan Friend wrong-footed the Titans’ defence with a dummy before offloading to Laffranchi for his
second try. A penalty goal shortly afterwards put the Titans back in front.
But the Sea Eagles regained the lead on the hour, and it was the signal for the floodgates to open. Jamie Lyon pounced
on a pass from Michael Robertson to run in and score in the corner, in what would be the first of four Manly tries in the
last 20 minutes. Brett Stewart, whose contribution to the match in the first hour was negligible, suddenly began to
assert himself and a double was the reward for his latter efforts. David Williams also found the line as the Gold Coast
defence capitulated in the final moments of the game.
The result keeps the Sea Eagles on top, further adding to their imposing for and against. But it was not the home result
the Titans were hoping for, and after a promising opening half of the season the competition’s newest club have lost
three in a row and find themselves at genuine risk of falling out of the top 8.
Manly Sea Eagles 34 def Gold Coast Titans 14
Sea Eagles : Tries – B Stewart 2, S Bell, J Lyon, S Menzies, D Williams. Goals – M Orford 5/6.
Titans : Tries – A Laffranchi 2. Goals – M Rogers 3/3.
Referee – J Maxwell. Crowd – 21,374 at Skilled Park.
St George stretched their winning streak to 7 games when the Dragons completed a 24-16 win over Newcastle in
front of a big crowd at Energy Australia Stadium on Saturday night.
The Dragons were denied an early try when the video referee ruled they were offside, and their first score would be a
penalty goal. On 23 minutes Kirk Reynoldson butchered a golden chance for the Knights to score a try, and a few
minutes later the Knights were made to pay when Chase Stanley was awarded a benefit-of-the-doubt try after what
had seemed like an eternity for the video referee to make a ruling.
With moments to go before the half time siren, Brett Morris gathered the ball on his own 20 metre line before
offloading to twin brother Josh Morris, who ran 80 metres to score. Jamie Soward’s conversion gave the Dragons a
14-0 lead at the break.
Four minutes after the break, the game was safely in St George’s keeping after Jamie Soward ran through minimal
resistance to add another try. And on 55 minutes, Jason Ryles crashed over the Newcastle defence to score again;
and at 24-0 the game was a blowout.
The Knights scored three tries in the final 20 minutes to restore some respectability to the score, but the reality is
that the Dragons had the game safely won long before Newcastle’s late run. The win, the Dragons’ 7th on the trot,
keeps them in the running for a top 4 spot. But for the Knights, their third loss in a row leaves them stuck outside of
the top 8, out of form and down on confidence and needing something to turn their fortunes around to get back into
the finals race.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 24 def Newcastle Knights 16
Dragons : Tries – J Morris, J Ryles, J Soward, C Stanley. Goals – J Soward 4/5.
Knights : Tries – J Sau 2, K Gidley. Goals – K Gidley 2/3.
Referee – S Hampstead. Crowd – 22,348 at Energy Australia Stadium.
Melbourne maintained their grip on a top 4 position when the Storm completed a 30-14 win over Canberra at
Olympic Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Raiders scored early, with Joel Monaghan crashing over in the corner; but the angle was too tight for Todd
Carney who was unable to convert the try. The Raiders put the Storm under pressure, threatening to score and then
defending tightly to hold the Melbourne juggernaut out. Keeping the home side scoreless for over half an hour and
holding on to their 4-0 lead, the Raiders looked set to give the Storm a run for their money.
But a devastating 7-minute burst before half time swung the game heavily in the Storm’s favour. Tries to Anthony
Quinn, Billy Slater and Sika Manu within those seven minutes, with Cam Smith landing two conversions, gave the
Storm a 16-4 lead at the break; a scoreline that barely looked possible just a few minutes earlier.
The Raiders hit back shortly after the half time when Todd Carney crossed the line and converted his own try to cut
the margin back to 6 points. But the visitors were unable to bridge the gap any further, as the Storm again stepped
up a gear. Cooper Cronk, after feeding a scrum, threw the ball to Greg Inglis who found a gap to score. On the hour,
a flick pass from Israel Folau set up Steve Turner. And Inglis shortly afterwards brought up his second try of the day,
an individual effort culminating in a 40 metre run to the line.
Marshall Chalk scored a consolation try for the Raiders, but there was no doubting it was the Storm’s day. Despite
only a few days’ turnaround from the Origin game, Greg Inglis and Billy Slater were dominant players throughout.
The result maintained the Storm’s grip over the Raiders, with the Victorian side having won their last 13 clashes
against the green machine.
Melbourne Storm 30 def Canberra Raiders 14
Storm : Tries – G Inglis 2, S Manu, A Quinn, B Slater, S Turner. Goals – C Smith 3/6.
Raiders : Tries – T Carney, M Chalk, J Monaghan. Goals – T Carney 1/3.
Referee – B Cummins. Crowd – 11,719 at Olympic Park.
The stakes were high in the western Sydney derby at Penrith Stadium on Sunday afternoon. A spot in the top 8 was
up for grabs. And it would be the Panthers who would prevail 22-16, leap-frogging the Eels into the top half of the
The Panthers started like a house on fire, pressing the Parramatta line from the start and taking just 7 minutes to
get the opening try, after a cross-field kick rebounded off Eels’ fullback Jarryd Hayne into the waiting arms of Luke
Lewis. Rhys Wesser had a try disallowed in the 10th minute, but it took only five minutes for Wesser to get another
opportunity, and this time it was a try.
On the half hour, Masala Iosefa capitalised on a break from Lachlan Coote to score, and the Panthers were looking
unstoppable with a 16-0 lead.
But the last 10 minutes before the break saw a Parramatta fightback, as the Eels gained repeat sets and Matthew
Keating made a break to get the Eels on the board with a minute to go before half time. The Panthers went into the
sheds 16-6 ahead, and that’s how the score would remain for 20 minutes after the break.
It wasn’t for a lack of effort, as both sides created chances and both sides found themselves denied by the video
referee. But on the hour, an individual effort by Fetuli Mateo resulted in an Eels try which got the scoreline back to 16-
12 and the game was up for grabs.
But the Panthers hit straight back with a try to Frank Pritchard to restore the 10-point lead. The Panthers were
confident and getting the bulk of possession, but were twice more denied by the referee and thus prevented from
getting the try that would put the result beyond doubt.
And a thrilling finish was assured with three minutes to go when Taulima Tautai crossed in the corner for the Eels.
Burt was unable to convert, leaving the margin at 6 points. The Eels pressed in the final minutes, looking for another
try to send the game to golden point, but it would not come. And so the Panthers moved into the top 8, and took
bragging rights over their western suburbs rivals.
Penrith Panthers 22 def Parramatta Eels 16
Panthers : Tries – M Iosefa, L Lewis, F Pritchard, R Wesser. Goals – L Coote 3/4.
Eels : Tries – M Keating, F Mateo, T Tautai. Goals – L Burt 2/3.
Referee – S Hayne. Crowd – 14,012 at CUA Stadium.
Souths stretched their winning streak to 4 games when the Rabbitohs overcame the Bulldogs to take a golden point
34-30 win in an entertaining and high-scoring Monday night clash at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs did the early attacking, getting out to a strong half-time lead. An 80-metre run gave Arana Taumata the
first try, and David Crisp was on the board 3 minutes later. David Fa’alogo got one back for the Rabbitohs, but a
penalty goal to Hazem El Masri and a try to Andrew Ryan in the final minute of the half gave the Rabbitohs an 18-6
advantage at the break. And when Tim Winitana out-paced the Souths defenders to score out wide in the 4th minute
after the restart, the Bulldogs led 24-6 and were looking good.
But Souths had come from behind to win their previous three games, and the Rabbitohs again had the superior
stamina to run the game out and get back into the contest. In the 49th minute, an offload by Craig Wing found Luke
Capewell who ran the final 20 minutes to score. And three minutes later, Wing went himself and crashed over to
score another try, and suddenly the margin was back to 6 points.
By now the Rabbitohs were on a roll, and Chris Sandow wrong-footed the Bulldogs’ defence in a brilliant solo effort
for the next try. Converting his own try, Sandow saw the scores draw level with 20 minutes to go.
Shortly afterwards, a penalty goal to Sandow gave the Rabbitohs the lead for the first time. But the Bulldogs hit back,
Heka Nanai crashing over in the corner and Hasem El Masri converting from the sideline.
A 40-20 by Sandow gave the Rabbitohs another opportunity, and Fetuli Talanoa scored in the corner with just 3
minutes to go. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and so the game went to golden point.
Both sides looked for field position for the field goal, but neither was able to find it. And early in the second period of
overtime, Luke Capewell became the hero, catching the Bulldogs’ defence off-guard to score in the corner. The
Rabbitohs had pulled off their 4th win in a row, delivering some hope after what until the last month has been a
dismal season for Souths.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 34 def Bulldogs 30 in golden point extra time
Rabbitohs : Tries – L Capewell 2, D Fa’alogo, C Sandow, F Talanoa, C Wing. Goals – C Sandow 4/5, I Luke 1/1.
Bulldogs : Tries – B Crisp, H Nanai, A Ryan, A Taumata, T Winitana. Goals – H El Masri 5/6.
Referee – J Robinson. Crowd – 15,562 at ANZ Stadium.
|ROUND 18 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 11th July
Penrith v Newcastle (7:30pm, CUA Stadium)
Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast (7:30pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Saturday 12th July
NZ Warriors v North Queensland (5:30pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
South Sydney v Parramatta (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Cronulla v Manly (7:30pm, Toyota Stadium)
Sunday 13th July
St George-Illawarra v Canberra (2:00pm, WIN Stadium)
Brisbane v Bulldogs (3:00pm, Suncorp Stadium)
Monday 14th July
Wests Tigers v Melbourne (3:00pm, Campbelltown Stadium)