Brookvale Oval was packed on Friday night, and the pro-Manly crowd were sent into raptures of excitement as the Sea
Eagles won their 7th game on the trot, a 28-10 result over Parramatta.
The Eels started brightly, pressing the Manly line for the first 10 minutes before Mark Riddell crashed over to score
under the posts. Krisnan Inu’s conversion put the visitors 6-0 ahead. But it didn’t take the Sea Eagles long to level the
scores, Matt Ballin scoring out wide. And when David Williams burst through to score in the corner with two minutes to
go before the break, the Sea Eagles would take a 10-6 lead into the sheds at half time.
Tony Williams crossed for the Eels within minutes of the restart, but Inu was unable to conver and scores were locked
at 10-10. And for the next 15 minutes the scores would remain locked. It was an arm wrestle, both sides struggling for
supremacy and defending resolutely to deny the other side any scoring momentum.
But eventually the Eels could defend no longer, and the floodgates opened. Anthony Watmough barged over from
dummy half to score, the first of four tries that could come in the next 10 minutes. Steve Matai and David Williams
completed their doubles during the Sea Eagles’ purple patch, a period in which the Sea Eagles enjoyed a virtual
monopoly on possession and the Eels had no answer to the flair and attacking prowess of the Sea Eagles.
The final scoreline of 28-10 to the Sea Eagles was a reflection of the one-sided nature of the second half; and was a
result that further strengthened the Sea Eagles’ hold on the minor premiership. But it was bad news for the Eels, their
third loss in a row, and the Eels’ finals dream is fast fading away.
Manly Sea Eagles 28 def Parramatta Eels 10
Sea Eagles : Tries – S Matai 2, D Williams 2, M Ballin, A Watmough. Goals – D Williams 2/6.
Eels : Tries – M Riddell, T Williams. Goals – K Inu 1/2.
Referee – S Hayne. Crowd – 18,970 at Brookvale Oval.
North Queensland’s annus horribilus took another turn of disaster when the Cowboys suffered their 11th loss in a row,
a 32-18 home defeat against Brisbane.
From the start the Broncos were throwing the ball around, electing to attack rather than take tackles, and were rewarded
in the third minute when Kane Mainhera was at the end of a chain of passes to score in the corner. The try wasn’t
converted, but the Broncos were making plenty of metres with every attacking set and it looked only a matter of time till
they scored again. And on 14 minutes the second try came, Sam Thaiday following a kick downfield and a lucky bounce
saw the ball sit up for an easy take for the big Bronco.
The Broncos were already 10-0 ahead, and in the 10 minutes before half time the floodgates would open. After John
Williams knocked on from a grubber, Denan Kemp scooped up the crumbs to score. An intercept and 60 metre run by
Joel Moon set up Darius Boyd. And when Sam Thaiday brought up his double with a try under the posts, the Broncos
took a 26-0 lead into the sheds at half time.
The second half threatened to start as the first half left off, but the Broncos were pulled up for a forward pass. And
instead it was the Cowboys who launched a mini-comeback. John Williams chased a chip kick to score, and then
Shane Tronc scoring under the posts cut the margin to 14 points with still plenty of time to go. On the hour, Ty Williams
with a superb run put in a try-saving effort to beat Michael Ennis to the ball and knock it dead a milli-second before
Ennis would have scored.
But three minutes later, Denan Kemp gave the Broncos a buffer when he beat three defenders to score. The try wasn’t
converted, but a penalty goal a few minutes later gave the Broncos a 20 point lead, and with time running out the game
was safe for the Broncos. Steve Southern scored a consolation try for the Cowboys in the final minute, but it wasn’t
enough to prevent the struggling Cowboys from adding another loss to their disastrous run of outs and keep the North
Queensland side firmly on the bottom of the ladder.
Brisbane Broncos 32 def North Queensland Cowboys 18
Broncos : Tries – D Kemp 2, S Thaiday 2, D Boyd, K Manihera. Goals – M Ennis 4/7.
Cowboys : Tries – S Southern, S Tronc, J Williams. Goals – J Williams 3/3.
Referee – B Cummins. Crowd – 22,048 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
In such a congested race for the top 8 as we have this year, a win against a fellow finals challenger is worth its
weight in gold. And Penrith pulled off a vitally important win on the road when they defeated Gold Coast 36-22 at
Skilled Park on Saturday night.
Jordan Rapana scored twice on debut for the Titans, and it didn’t take long for him to score again, flying high to catch
a cross-field bomb from Mat Rogers and running over the line to score the opening try. The Titans were looking good
early, and a string of penalties kept them on the attack for Luke O’Dwyer to beat a couple of Penrith defenders and
score the second try. Mat Rogers’ conversion put the Titans 10-0 ahead.
But ill-discipline by the Titans allowed the Panthers to get back into the game. A combination of four penalties in a
row and a well-weighted 40-20 kick by Michael Gordon meant the Titans went for a full five minutes without touching
the ball. Such a weight of possession would inevitably take its toll, with Frank Pritchard crashing over for the first
Penrith try on the half hour. A lightning-quick pass by Brad Tighe set up Michael Gordon for another try to give the
Panthers the lead; and when Michael Jennings was awarded a try by the video referee in the final minute before half
time the Panthers took an 18-10 lead into the break.
Three minutes after the break, a short ball by Nathan Friend set up Anthony Laffranchi for a Gold Coast try; but the
Panthers had an almost immediate reply when Michael Gordon chased down a grubber from Luke Lewis to score.
Five minutes later, some terrible defence from Preston Campbell allowed Rhys Wesser to stroll through for the
easiest of tries to put the Panthers 28-16 ahead.
A penalty goal on the hour extended Penrith’s lead by 2 points. Shortly afterwards, a solo effort by Michael Hodgson
was rewarded with a try, which gave the Titans a sniff. But the Titans needed the next try to put the Panthers under
any real pressure, and instead it was Frank Pritchard who crashed through for his second try to put the issue beyond
doubt. An important away win keeps the Panthers in the top 8, only one point behind Gold Coast in a congested
Penrith Panthers 36 def Gold Coast Titans 22
Panthers : Tries – M Gordon 2, F Pritchard 2, M Jennings, R Wesser. Goals – M Gordon 6/7.
Titans : Tries – M Hodgson, A Laffranchi, L O’Dwyer, J Rapana. Goals – M Rogers 3/4.
Referee – M Cecchin. Crowd – 17,759 at Skilled Park.
Cronulla’s hold on a top-4 position strengthened when the Sharks ground out a hard-fought 16-13 win over
Newcastle at Toyota Park on Saturday night.
David Simmons opened the scoring for the Sharks, only for it to be cancelled out within two minutes by Taia, flying
high AFL-style to mark a high bomb from Jarrod Mullen and plant the ball under the posts.
10 minutes before the break the Sharks were back in front. The Sharks had been pressing the Newcastle line for
several minutes but had been struggling to find a way through, so Brett Kimmorley went to the air on the last tackle,
putting the ball high and wide; Anderson being in the right spot to take the ball and put it down. Luke Covell
comfortably landed the conversion.
But the Knights hit back a few minutes before half time. Akuila Uate was the try-scorer, identifying a gap in the
Sharks’ defence and strolling over for the easiest of tries. Kurt Gidley landed the conversion, and in the final seconds
of the half Mullen put the Knights in front for the first time by popping a field goal over.
The Knights led by a point at half time, and a tryless second half would ensure the game would remain in the
balance until the final siren. It hadn’t been a great game, but the closeness of the scores would keep the crowd
interested until the final moments.
The only scoring of the second half came from two penalty goals to the Sharks, which Luke Covell had no trouble in
turning the penalty decision into points on both occasions. Both were controversial, borderline decisions. The first
was a penalty against Chris Bailey for interference in the Sharks’ play-the-ball, the second being for a strip; although
on both occasions the whistle was blown for offences that are often overlooked.
But the penalty goals were enough to give the Sharks the lead, which they were able to maintain till the end, despite
some nervous moments when the Knights went on the attack.
Cronulla Sharks 16 def Newcastle Knights 13
Sharks : Tries – F Anderson, D Simmons. Goals – L Covell 4/4.
Knights : Tries – Z Taia, A Uate. Goals – K Gidley 2/2. Field Goals – J Mullen 1/1.
Referee – T Archer. Crowd – 10,112 at Toyota Park.
The New Zealand Warriors made a move towards the finals, winning their third game on the trot with a 40-22 win
over the hapless Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs, struggling on the field and struggling to find people to watch their games at the massive ANZ
Stadium, gave away free tickets to anyone with a New Zealand or Pacific Islander passport. And their generosity to
the Polynesians didn’t end there, as the Bulldogs put in another shocker on the field to hand the Warriors an easy
It took less than a minute for Sonny Fai to cross for the first try of the game, and in quick succession tries to Lance
Hohaia and Aidan Kirk would follow; and after just 12 minutes the Warriors were already 16-0 ahead. Malo
Solomona at the 25 minute mark threw a dummy which wrong-footed Bulldog fullback Luke Patten, giving the
Warriors a 20-0 advantage, a situation from which the Warriors were never going to recover.
A benefit of the doubt try to Hazem El Masri put the Bulldogs on the board, but within three minutes of the conversion
Sam Rapira made an intercept and ran 50 metres to score. And when Solomona brought up his second try in the
final minute of the first half, the Warriors held a 30-6 lead and the disgruntled Bulldogs fans made no secret of their
frustration as the players left the field at the break.
But the Bulldogs came to life in the second half, completing their sets and putting the Warriors under pressure.
Heka Nanai scored after 10 minutes, El Masri completed his double on the hour, and when Reni Maitua crossed the
line with 9 minutes to go, the margin was suddenly back to 8 points and the Bulldogs had got themselves back in
But with four minutes to go, former Bulldogs’ legend Steve Price snuffed out the Bulldogs’ challenge with a try in the
corner. And in the dying seconds of the game, Solomona brought up his hat-trick and the Warriors’ win was assured.
New Zealand Warriors 40 def Bulldogs 22
Warriors : Tries – M Solomona 3, S Fai, L Hohaia, A Kirk, S Price, S Rapira. Goals – L Hohaia 4/8.
Bulldogs : Tries – H El Masri 2, R Maitua, H Nanai. Goals – H El Masri 3/4.
Referee – T De las Heras. Crowd – 12,973 at ANZ Stadium.
An upset on Sunday afternoon saw Canberra send the Sydney Roosters to their second loss in a row when the
Raiders pulled off a convincing 34-12 win over the Roosters at Bruce Stadium.
It was first blood to the Raiders after 6 minutes, a 50 metre run that saw the ball go through several pairs of hands
finished with a flick-pass from Colin Best to Terry Campese, who scored under the posts. Todd Carney added the
extras and the Raiders were 6-0 ahead.
The Raiders were again on the attack shortly afterwards, a 40-20 kick from Carney giving the Raiders field position.
The Roosters managed to hold Canberra out, but never looked comfortable in the first half and were never a realistic
chance to score. Instead, on the half hour, it was the Raiders who were in again, with Marshall Chalk receiving the
crumbs of a scrum feed to dive over and score. And when Chalk crashed over again to score his second try with just
seconds to go till half time, the Raiders took an 18-0 lead into the break.
The Raiders were in again just four minutes after the break, Colin Best chipping the ball forward on the fifth tackle
and Adrian Purtell diving on the ball to score in the corner. With a magnificent conversion kick from a tough angle on
the sideline, Carney further extended the Raiders’ lead. The Raiders could have been further ahead, but a potential
try to Campese was disallowed by the video referee. But there was no doubt about Joel Monaghan’s solo effort that
produced the fifth try for the Raiders and saw them go 28-0 ahead.
The Roosters finally got on the board on the hour, Braith Anasta throwing a dummy that caught the Raiders’ defence
off-guard to stroll through for the visitor’s opening try. Shortly afterwards, Anasta put a bomb up that Amos Roberts
chased down to score. But it was too little too late for the Roosters, with the Raiders having the game comfortably
under control. Joel Monaghan’s second try, in the dying stages of the game, was the icing on the cake.
Canberra Raiders 34 def Sydney Roosters 12
Raiders : Tries – M Chalk 2, J Monaghan 2, T Campese, A Purtell. Goals – T Carney 5/6.
Roosters : Tries – B Anasta, A Roberts. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 2/2.
Referee – J Maxwell. Crowd – 13,417 at Canberra Stadium.
Souths’ 5-game winning streak is over, after the Rabbitohs were comprehensively beaten 36-12 by the Wests Tigers
at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers, thanks to a run of early penalties, were on the attack; and after 8 minutes they received a reward for their
efforts. Benji Marshall put a grubber forward, which Taniela Tuiaki chased down and scored in the corner.
But the Rabbitohs fought back, with Chris Sandow making a break and running 60 metres before being brought
down just short of the line by Tim Moltzen. But referee Jason Robinson wasn’t impressed with the length of time
Moltzen took to get off Sandow after the tackle, and gave Moltzen 10 minutes in the sin bin. And while the Tigers were
a man short, the Rabbitohs scored after some individual brilliance by Jamie Simpson. Isaac Luke’s conversion
levelled scores at 6-6.
The Rabbitohs pressed hard for a try that would put them in front, but it would not be forthcoming. Instead, it was
Beau Ryan who would get the Tigers the next try, breaking through the Rabbitoh’s wall and running 50 metres to
score under the posts. Benji Marshall’s conversion was successful, putting the Tigers 12-6 ahead, and that
scoreline would remain in place until half time. Robbie Farah attempted a field goal in the final seconds before the
break, but it was waved away.
The Tigers came out breathing fire after the break, and scored twice within seven minutes. Chris Lawrence and
Robbie Farah crossed for the Tigers, but both were scored at tight angles and Benji Marshall was unable to land
Shortly after the hour, the Rabbitohs were back in the contest when Roy Asotasi crossed under the posts. But four
minutes later, Lawrence was in for his second try, Marshall’s conversion restoring the 14-point margin. Late tries to
Ryan and Tuiaki were the icing on the cake, ending the Tigers’ 4-game losing streak.
Wests Tigers 36 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 12
Tigers : Tries – C Lawrence 2, B Ryan 2, T Tuiaki 2, R Farah. Goals – B Marshall 4/7. Field Goals – R Farah 0/1.
Rabbitohs : Tries – R Asotasi, J Simpson. Goals – I Luke 2/2.
Referee – J Robinson. Crowd – 21,818 at ANZ Stadium.
Melbourne maintained their grip on second place, and placed St George’s top 4 hopes in severe jeopardy, when the
Storm dominated from start to finish to defeat the Dragons 26-0 at Olympic Park on Monday night.
Israel Folau opened the scoring for the Storm after eight minutes, flying high for a bomb and running through with
the ball to score in the corner; but the conversion attempt was too wide for Cameron Smith, and the Storm’s lead
remained at 4-0.
A wild mellee broke out midway through the half. And in a body blow for the Dragons, referee Gavin Badger sent prop
Jason Ryles off for his role in the mellee. It was one incident in a spiteful game, in which Storm duo Billy Slater and
Adam Blair and St George’s Jamie Soward had spells in the sin bin; while there were plenty of hard hits and ill-
feeling between the two teams throughout.
Jeff Lima, in the final moments before half time, scooped up a pass from Cameron Smith and scored for the Storm,
extending the lead to 10-0 at the break.
The rain and wind were even heavier when the second half got under way, and it would be nearly 20 minutes before
any more scoring would take place. But eventually the Dragons could hold out the Storm juggernaut no longer,
Jeremy Smith crashing through to score. Steve Turner found himself at the end of a chain of passes to add another;
and Matt Geyer’s solo effort with five minutes to go was the icing on the cake. And, importantly for the Storm’s for-and-
against, the Storm remained focussed throughout, refusing to allow the Dragons a score, completing a miserable
evening for the Dragons.
Melbourne Storm 26 def St George-Illawarra 0
Storm : Tries – I Folau, M Geyer, J Lima, J Smith, S Turner. Goals – C Smith 3/5.
Dragons : Tries – Nil. Goals – Nil.
Referee – G Badger. Crowd – 9,335 at Olympic Park.
|ROUND 20 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 25th July
Brisbane v Cronulla (7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium)
Parramatta v North Queensland (7:30pm, Parramatta Stadium)
Saturday 26th July
Canberra v Gold Coast (5:30pm, Canberra Stadium)
Penrith v Wests Tigers (7:30pm, CUA Stadium)
Sunday 27th July
NZ Warriors v Melbourne (12:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
Newcastle v South Sydney (2:00pm, Energy Australia Stadium)
Sydney Roosters v Manly (3:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Monday 28th July
St George-Illawarra v Bulldogs (7:00pm, ANZ Stadium)