Newcastle kept themselves within reach of the top 8 when the Knights took an important 30-18 away win over Penrith
on Friday night.
The Knights went into the game without captain Danny Buderus and vice-captain Steve Simpson, and the Panthers
capitalised early, with Trent Waterhouse crashing over in the corner in the 4th minute, and with Lachlan Coote
converting the try and adding a penalty goal the Panthers held an early 8-0 lead.
But stand-in captain Kurt Gidley stood up to propel the Knights into the contest. A sensational individual try, followed by
an offload to Chris Bailey, and converting both tries, saw the Knights move 12-8 ahead. But the Panthers fought back
shortly before half time, with Lachlan Coote throwing a dummy to catch the Knights off-guard before passing off to Brad
Tighe to score in the corner and level the match at 12-12 at half time.
Shortly after the restart, a 30 metre run by Chris Houston put the Knights back in front. But a lopsided penalty count
resulted in a lopsided possession count, with the Panthers getting set after set to attack the Knights. And finally on 57
minutes the weight of possession took its toll with Trent Waterhouse crossing for his second try, Coote’s conversion
levelling the scores.
The Knights had been copping the rough end of the refereeing, but finally a call came their way, enabling Gidley to land
a penalty goal to put the Knights 20-18 ahead. From the kick-off, Daniel Tolar gathered and weaved his way around the
chasing pack of Panthers to score. Houston’s second try in the dying minutes of the game was the icing on the cake;
sealing a win for the Knights that keeps them within striking distance of the top 8, but ensuring a nervous weekend for
the Panthers with their current top-8 position in jeopardy.
Newcastle Knights 30 def Penrith Panthers 18
Knights : Tries – C Houston 2, C Bailey, K Gidley, D Tolar. Goals – K Gidley 5/6.
Panthers : Tries – T Waterhouse 2, B Tighe. Goals – L Coote 3/4.
Referee – G Badger. Crowd – 10,092 at Penrith Stadium.
A three-game losing streak had put Gold Coast’s finals hopes in jeopardy, but the Titans consolidated their position in
the top 8 on Friday night when they pulled off a stunning upset by defeating the second-placed Sydney Roosters away.
No Gold Coast side, either the Titans or any of the previous incarnations, had ever beaten the Roosters at the SFS; and
with the Titans going into this match without Scott Prince, Luke Bailey or Mark Minichiello, few gave them a chance of
recording a win this time. But the depleted Titans came out fighting, with Ben Jeffery and first-gamer Jordan Rapana
crossing over to score within the first five minutes to give the Titans a shock 12-0 lead.
But the Roosters quickly fought back, and by the 20 minute mark had taken the lead. Braith Anasta and Willie Mason
scored, and then Amos Roberts went for a 40 metre run to bring up his 100th career try. The Roosters by now had the
momentum, and not even Rapana’s second try, against the run of play, could stop them. Before half time, Setamata Sa
and Mitch Aubusson had crossed and the Roosters led 28-16 at the break.
But during the break, the Titans found some new resolve and new attacking prowess, while the Roosters were unable
to maintain the momentum they had built late in the first period. A solo effort to Mat Rogers put the Titans back into the
contest, and on 57 minutes Josh Graham crashed through the Roosters’ defensive wall to score. Mat Rogers’
conversion levelled the scores.
Five minutes later, the Roosters were stunned when Ben Jeffery found the line and the Titans took a lead that never
looked likely at half time. The Roosters tried hard to restore their lead, but the Titans by now had their tails up and
would deny the Roosters any further scoring despite everything the home side would throw at them. A sensational
tackle by Preston Campbell, the little fullback putting his body on the line to single-handedly stop Willie Mason, was
typical of the resolve the Gold Coast side would muster as they held on for dear life to record a remarkable,
courageous, against-the-odds victory.
Gold Coast Titans 32 def Sydney Roosters 28
Titans : Tries – B Jeffery 2, J Rapana 2, J Graham, M Rogers. Goals – M Rogers 4/6.
Roosters : Tries – B Anasta, M Aubusson, W Mason, A Roberts, S Sa. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 4/5.
Referee - B Cummins. Crowd – 10,762 at Sydney Football Stadium.
New Zealand Warriors kept their finals chances alive when they completed a 24-14 home win over the struggling
North Queensland Cowboys in wet and cold conditions on Saturday night.
The dismal weather kept the crowd down, but those that were on hand cheered on Reuben Wiki in his first home
appearance since his 300th senior game, the first New Zealander to record that milestone. Beginning in Canberra
in 1994, Wiki signed with the Warriors for their debut season in 1995 before cancelling the contract to remain in
Canberra; finally crossing to the Raiders 10 years later. And Wiki would be among the Warriors’ best players.
The Warriors started strongly, with Sonny Fai and Aidan Kirk scoring out wide within the first 10 minutes, ensuring
that the Warriors would lead throughout. A double to John Williams kept the Cowboys in the contest, but Jerome
Ropati scored to give the Warriors a 14-10 lead at half time.
The second half saw Grant Rovelli throw a sensational pass to Simon Mannering for another try in the corner. In the
windy conditions, Lance Hohaia was unable to convert but the try gave the Warriors an 8-point buffer.
But with 11 minutes to go, Ashley Graham broke through the line of Warriors’ defenders and ran to the line for a try
that put the game back up for grabs. The Cowboys were finishing well and for the next five minutes kept the ball
camped in the Warriors’ half. But eventually the Warriors got a set within the Cowboys’ half, and Micheal Luck
capitalised on the opportunity to score and put the result beyond doubt.
The result keeps the Warriors within reach of the finals, only a game outside the top 8; but their for-and-against will
count against them in a very congested run for the top 8. But it was another dismal evening for the Cowboys, their
10th loss on the trot, and the club remains stuck in the wooden spoon position with seemingly no way out of the pit
of despair they find themselves in.
New Zealand Warriors 24 def North Queensland Cowboys 14
Warriors : Tries – S Fai, A Kirk, M Luck, S Mannering, J Ropati. Goals – L Hohaia 2/5.
Cowboys : Tries – J Williams 2, A Graham. Goals – D Abraham 1/3.
Referee – S Hampstead. Crowd – 7,722 at Mt Smart Stadium.
Top spot was up for grabs at Shark Park on Saturday night when Cronulla hosted Manly. And it was the Sea Eagles
who stood up and were counted, dominating proceedings with a comfortable 34-6 victory.
On a chilly Saturday night, a full house of 18,217 came to see two sides battle for the ladder leadership and
premiership favouritism. But the majority, the fans of the home side, were soon stunned into silence as the Sea
Eagles wasted no time in putting the game out of the Sharks’ reach.
Matt Ballin drew first blood after 5 minutes, weaving through the Sharks’ defenders to score under the posts. On 11
minutes, Josh Perry shook off the attentions of the Cronulla defenders to crash over for another try. On 18 minutes
Brett Stewart crossed on the end of a backline movement; and when Glenn Stewart ran unmarked to score under the
posts it had been a point a minute; and after 22 minutes it was 22-0 to the Sea Eagles.
The shell-shocked Sharks had barely completed a set and already found themselves four tries down. It had been
one-way traffic, with the Sea Eagles toying with the Sharks. The Sharks managed to get one try back shortly before
half-time, when Paul Gallen crossed over out wide; but even when Luke Covell landed the conversion on the half-
time siren the Sharks still trailed 22-6.
The Sharks attemped a comeback early in the second half, and were denied a try when the video referee found Brett
Kearney failed to gather the ball correctly before planting it over the line. The Sea Eagles moved the ball forward, and
on the last tackle Steve Matai grubbered for Michael Robertson to score out wide. Matt Orford had been interchanged
at half time, but Jamie Lyon had no trouble in kicking the conversion.
On the hour, Glenn Stewart shook off some feeble tackling to score his second try, and the result of the game was
beyond doubt. The Sharks held the Sea Eagles out for the remainder of the contest, but the damage was done. The
Sea Eagles had taken the opportunity presented to them, and on the back of a 6-game winning streak now find
themselves outright top of the ladder; and hot favourites to go one better than last year and take out this year’s
Manly Sea Eagles 34 def Cronulla Sharks 6
Sea Eagles : Tries – G Stewart 2, M Ballin, J Perry, M Robertson, B Stewart. Goals – M Orford 3/4, J Lyon 2/2.
Sharks : Tries – P Gallen. Goals – L Covell 1/1.
Referee – J Robinson. Crowd – 18,217 at Toyota Stadium
It’s all come too late for Souths to be a finals threat, but the Rabbitohs continued their revivial when they won their
fifth game on the trot, a 32-20 win over Parramatta at ANZ Stadium; making a dent in the Eels’ chances of qualifying
for playoff action.
Souths’ winning streak has involved numerous instances of the Rabbitohs having to come from behind, and it
happened again after the Eels jumped the Rabbitohs at the start. At the 8 minute mark, Mark Riddell took the ball
from dummy half and crashed over for a try that took some time for the video referee to award. And just 3 minutes
later, Jarryd Hayne turned on a burst of speed to score in the corner and take the Eels to a 10-0 lead.
But the Rabbitohs quickly fought back. On 17 minutes, Nathan Merritt made a break before off-loading to Beau
Champion to put Souths on the board for the first time. Shortly before the half hour, Jamie Simpson chased a
grubber from Isaac Luke to add another and level the scores. And with two minutes to go before half time, Simpson
made it a double with a brilliant solo effort that left the Eel defenders in his wake. Luke’s conversion from the
sideline saw the Rabbitohs go into the break with a 16-10 lead.
A piece of individual brilliance by Krisnan Inu gave the Eels the first score of the second half, but importantly Luke
Burt was unable to convert the try, keeping the Rabbitohs with a 2-point buffer; a lead that was quickly added to when
Shannan McPherson hit back with a quick-fire try.
On the hour Shannon Hegarty wound back the clock, turning on some pace to run 30 metres to score in the corner
and put the Rabbitohs 26-16 ahead. The Rabbitohs were looking to centre the ball when in Parramatta’s half,
looking for field goal position, but the Parramatta defence prevented them from being in drop goal range. But with the
Eels defenders moving closer to the centre, space was created on the wings, Isaac Luke taking advantage to run in
and score under the posts before following it up with a sweetly-timed conversion from the sideline.
The game was safe for the Rabbitohs, and even with Krisnan Inu scoring a late consolation try for the Eels, it was
Souths’ night. After a disastrous early part of the season the Rabbitohs have now won five in a row; and although
they’ve left their run too late to be a finals contender, the winning streak has done a lot to boost the morale in the
South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 def Parramatta Eels 20
Rabbitohs : Tries – J Simpson 2, B Champion, S Hegarty, I Luke, S McPherson. Goals – I Luke 3/4, C Sandow 1/2.
Eels : Tries – K Inu 2, J Hayne, M Riddell. Goals – L Burt 2/4.
Referee – M Cecchin. Crowd – 17,897 at ANZ Stadium.
Canberra have kept themselves in finals contention, and delivered a blow to St George’s top 4 prospects, when the
Raiders returned from Wollongong on Sunday afternoon with the points after an upset 19-12 win. The Dragons went
into the game full of confidence, on the back of a 7-game winning streak and with the home ground advantage on a
windy Wollongong afternoon.
The Dragons were running with the wind in the first half, and went close to scoring after 7 minutes, but were denied
when the video referee observed Jarrod Saffy knocking on and not grounding the ball correctly. And against the run of
play, it was the Raiders who was first to score when Colin Best scooped up the ball on the half-way line and ran
around three Dragon defenders to score in the corner; but the angle of the conversion attempt was too wide for Todd
On 17 minutes, Dane Tilse crashed over the Dragons line to score, the conversion making it 10-0 to the Raiders.
And on 24 minutes, a creative attacking move by the Raiders saw the ball pass through several sets of hands before
Adrian Purtell scored in the corner. The Dragons were shell-shocked, unable to muster any coherent attack against
a Canberra side that was showing plenty of endeavour and attacking the ball at every opportunity. The margin could
have been even greater shortly before half time, but Purtell’s attempt at a second try in the corner was disallowed
when his foot went into touch.
So it was 14-0 at the break, and Purtell made up for his missed try within two minutes of the restart after half time,
racing along the sideline and outpacing the Dragon defenders for another try in the corner to put the Raiders 18-0
10 minutes later, the Dragons finally got on the board, Josh Morris pouncing on a grubber from Rangi Chase for a try
that the video referee finally gave a benefit of the doubt ruling on. But the Canberra defence was tight, and the
Dragons were unable to make any further inroads into the Raiders’ lead as the clock continued to tick down.
With 10 minutes to go, Todd Carney put the result of the game beyond doubt with a field goal, putting the margin
beyond two converted tries. And even with Josh Morris landing a late consolation goal, the Raiders had pulled off an
Canberra Raiders 19 def St George-Illawarra Dragons 12
Raiders : Tries – A Purtell 2, C Best, D Tilse. Goals – T Carney 1/4. Field Goals – T Carney 1/1.
Dragons : Tries – B Morris, J Morris. Goals – J Soward 2/2.
Referee – T De las Heras. Crowd – 14,040 at WIN Stadium.
It’s been a season to forget for the Bulldogs, and after eight losses from their last nine games, few gave them much
hope of knocking off the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon. But in a stunning upset, the Bulldogs
turned back the clock to better times in seasons past with a 26-18 win.
The Broncos were first on the board with a penalty goal, but on 7 minutes the Bulldogs had broken through for the
first try of the day. Young half-back Arana Taumata, in his first season in the top flight, found a gap in the Brisbane
line and made a 20 metre burst to score.
On 20 minutes, the Broncos were awarded a penalty after Reni Maitua took too long to get off Tonie Carroll after a
tackle. Electing to take a quick tap rather than two points, the Broncos were rewarded when they threw the ball out
wide to Peter Wallace, who ran to cross the line and then centred to score under the posts. Michael Ennis’
conversion put the home side back in front; but a penalty goal to Hazem El Masri shortly before half time levelled the
scores at 8-8 at the break.
It took just three minutes after the break for Daniel Holdsworth to find a gaping hole in the Brisbane line and race
through to score and put the Bulldogs back in front. And five minutes later, Sonny Bill Williams, who had been in the
thick of the action all day, put on a brilliant solo effort to add another and put the Bulldogs 20-8 ahead.
At the 55 minute mark, Sam Thaiday wrong-footed the Bulldogs’ defenders, catching them off-guard to barge
through and score. The Broncos were on the attack, throwing everything at the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs defended
resolutely, but eventually something had to give, and at 69 minutes Michael Ennis weaved his way over the line to
score. A conversion would have levelled the scores, but Ennis was unable to convert his own try, a miss which kept
the Bulldogs two points in front.
Five minutes later, Sonny Bill Williams set up Heka Nanai, and the Bulldogs extended their lead. Hazem El Masri’s
conversion attempt from the sideline never looked like missing, and the Bulldogs had put their advantage to more
than a converted try. The Broncos were forced into taking risks during the final minutes, looking for two tries, but
were unable to find any and the Bulldogs were able to play out time to complete one of the upsets of the season.
Bulldogs 26 def Brisbane Broncos 18
Bulldogs : Tries – D Holdsworth, H Nanai, A Taumata, SB Williams. Goals – H El Masri 5/5.
Broncos : Tries – M Ennis, S Thaiday, P Wallace. Goals – M Ennis 3/4.
Referee – T Archer. Crowd – 37,683 at Suncorp Stadium.
Monday night at Campbelltown saw Matt Geyer celebrate his 250th game in style as his Melbourne Storm side dealt
a blow to Wests Tigers’ final hopes with a comfortable 30-18 victory.
Billy Slater’s attacking flair got the Storm off to the start they wanted, as he burst through the Tigers’ line and ran 70
metres to put the Storm into attacking position, a move which culminated with Greg Inglis scoring in the corner for
the opening try.
Taniela Tuiaki quickly replied for the Tigers, but the Storm got back in front just a few minutes later when Inglis burst
through for his second try. The next 20 minutes was end to end, as both sides looked to create scoring chances but
neither troubled the scorers until the final minute of the half when Dele Halatau offloaded to Brett Hodgson. The
Tigers’ fullback made no mistake, scoring the try to bring the crowd to their feet in his final game at Campbelltown
before calmly slotting the conversion between the posts to level the scores at 12-12 at half time.
After the break, it was all Melbourne. Billy Slater flew high to catch a bomb and plant the ball for a try which put the
Storm back in front. On the hour, Greg Inglis made a break to bring up his hat-trick. And shortly afterwards, Sika
Manu found the line to put the result beyond doubt. Beau Ryan scored a consolation try for the Tigers in the final
minutes, but it was a good win for the Storm; one that keeps the defending premiers comfortably in the top 4.
Melbourne Storm 30 def Wests Tigers 18
Storm : Tries – G Inglis 3, S Manu, B Slater. Goals – C Smith 5/5.
Tigers : Tries – B Hodgson, B Ryan, T Tuiaki. Goals – B Hodgson 3/3.
Referee – J Maxwell. Crowd – 16,653 at Campbelltown Stadium.
|ROUND 19 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 18th July
Manly v Parramatta (7:30pm, Brookvale Oval)
North Queensland v Brisbane (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Saturday 19th July
Gold Coast v Penrith (5:30pm, Skilled Park)
Cronulla v Newcastle (7:30pm, Toyota Stadium)
Bulldogs v NZ Warriors (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Sunday 20th July
Canberra v Sydney Roosters (2:00pm, Canberra Stadium)
South Sydney v Wests Tigers (3:00pm, ANZ Stadium)
Monday 21st July
Melbourne v St George-Illawarra (7:00pm, Olympic Park)