On a wet Friday night in Brookvale, a flying start by Manly enabled them to take the points against a depleted Penrith
side, the home team recording a 30-10 victory.
It took just five minutes for the first points to get on the board, with Glenn Hall crashing over the Penrith defence to
record the opening try. The Sea Eagles were bombarding the Penrith line, forcing the Panthers into conceding multiple
drop-outs; and soon the weight of possession and field position would take its toll. On 14 minutes, Steven Bell spotted
an opening, and four minutes later it was David Williams' turn to crash over. It was virtually a point a minute, the Sea
Eagles taking a 16-0 lead, and there was no way back for the Panthers.
Ten minutes later, Michael Robertson made his way through the already tiring Penrith defence, getting the Sea Eagles
out to a convincing 20-0 advantage. The game was already secure for the Sea Eagles, and although the scoring
slowed down from there, the demoralised Panthers, missing several key players, never looked a chance of getting
back into the contest.
Nathan Jennings finally got Penrith on the board in the final minute of the half, crashing over for a try in the corner
which Michael Gordon was unable to convert. But the relentless Sea Eagles quickly snuffed out any hope of a Penrith
revival, with veteran Steve Menzies finding the line shortly after half time and fullback Brett Stewart scoring on the hour.
Even with Nathan Smith's intercept and 80 metre run in the final 10 minutes to at last give the Panthers some joy, it
was a comprehensive one-sided performance by a red-hot Manly team at the peak of form.
Manly Sea Eagles 30 def Penrith Panthers 10
Sea Eagles : Tries - S Bell, G Hall, S Menzies, M Robertson, B Stewart, D Williams. Goals - S Matai 3/5, D Williams 0/1.
Panthers : Tries - M Jennings, N Smith. Goals - M Gordon 1/2.
Referee - S Hayne. Crowd - 7,802 at Brookvale Oval.
A one-sided demolition at Olympic Park on Friday night saw Melbourne put on a dominant performance to thrash a
hapless Gold Coast side 44-4 in cold and windy conditions.
Back to back sets early gave the Storm attacking position, and the sustained pressure resulted in Steve Turner scoring
in the corner for the opening try. The Storm continued to attack, but it wasn’t till the 27th minute that they would score
again; the try coming after Greg Inglis shook off the attentions of the Titan defenders to plant the ball down, and after
considerable deliberation the try was awarded. But in the windy conditions, Cameron Smith was unable to convert, and
the Storm held their 8-0 lead.
The floodgates then opened, and Israel Folau was in unstoppable form. In the next five minutes, Folau would twice
break through the Titan defensive wall and charge to the line to bring up a quick-fire double. Jordon Rapana got one try
back for the Titans, but on the stroke of half time Anthony Quinn chased down a grubber from Cooper Cronk to score. It
had been a one-sided first half, with the Storm scoring five tries to one; the only negative for the Storm being that
Cameron Smith was unable to kick a conversion in the windy conditions, with the Storm’s lead at 20-4 when it could
have been even greater.
Two minutes after half time, Greg Inglis brought up his double, and finally Smith landed a conversion. And it took just
three more minutes for Billy Slater to send Ryan Hoffman through a gap for another try to open up a 32-4 advantage.
Victory for the Storm was assured, and in the countdown to the final siren, Matt Geyer and Jeremy Smith joined the try-
scoring party, turning the victory into a one-sided rout. The result sees the Storm close a significant part of the for-and-
against gap with Manly; and with the Storm scheduled to play the Sea Eagles next week, a blockbuster battle for top
spot is in prospect.
Melbourne Storm 44 def Gold Coast Titans 4
Storm : Tries – I Folau 2, G Inglis 2, M Geyer, R Hoffman, A Quinn, J Smith, S Turner. Goals – C Smith 4/9.
Titans : Tries – J Rapana. Goals – M Rogers 0/1.
Referee – T De las Heras. Crowd – 9,400 at Olympic Park.
A full house for the local derby at Toyota Park saw Cronulla tighten their grip on a top-four finish when the Sharks
edged out St George 13-12 on Saturday evening.
The Sharks missed a chance to take the lead when a penalty goal attempt was unsuccessful. And instead, it was
the Dragons who took the lead, after some individual magic by Brett Morris for a try; which Jamie Soward had no
difficulty in converting. It would be the only score in the first half, with both sides creating chances but being unable to
make anything out of the opportunities. At the long break, the Dragons were 6-0 ahead.
Shortly after the break, Josh Morris outran Ben Pomeroy in a one-on-one sprint race to plant the ball under the posts
and give the Dragons a 12-0 advantage. The clock continued to tick by, past the hour mark, the match not looking
like going anywhere except to a St George win.
The Sharks were unlucky when an attempted try by Brett Simmons was disallowed by referee Jarred Maxwell without
going upstairs; when replays showed the pass was fine. But the Sharks appeared to be drifting to defeat, before
suddenly the game was turned on its head.
But with 15 minutes to go, the Sharks received a controversial penalty, with the Dragons deemed to have inflicted an
illegal strip on Paul Gallen. The Sharks, with a scrum feed 20 metres from the Dragons’ line, capitalised with Luke
Covell finding the line to reduce the margin to six points.
With five minutes to go, Brett Kimmorley made a break and with a 40 metre run planted the ball under the posts.
Luke Covell made no mistake with the conversion, and scores were locked at 12-12 and a game that looked to be
going nowhere just a few minutes earlier had come to life.
The Sharks had possession, and worked hard to create chances. With just a few minutes to go, Brett Kimmorley
attempted a field goal but was unsuccessful. But, with just seconds left on the clock and the game seemingly
headed for golden point, Kimmorley let go with an attempted drop goal from 40 metres; which somehow just
managed to squeeze its way through for a field goal that would hand victory to the Sharks.
Cronulla Sharks 13 def St George-Illawarra Dragons 12
Sharks : Tries – L Covell, B Kimmorley. Goals – L Covell 2/3. Field Goals – B Kimmorley 1/2.
Dragons : Tries – B Morris, J Morris. Goals – J Soward 2/2.
Referee – J Maxwell. Crowd – 18,256 at Toyota Park.
North Queensland’s dismal season had another turn for the worse when the Cowboys slumped to their 13th
straight defeat, a 32-20 loss to the Sydney Roosters at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.
The Cowboys were looking good early, and the home crowd sensed an upset as the early tries piled on. Mitchell
Pearce scored early for the Roosters, but Dayne Weston quickly hit back and burst over for a try to level the match at
After 20 minutes, Mark Henry flew high to grab a bomb and score. And four minutes later, the Cowboys went to the
air again for Luke O’Donnell to grab the mark AFL-style and put the ball down over the line. Shortly afterwards, Mark
Henry set up Ty Williams, and the Cowboys had run out to an unlikely 20-6 lead. Even with Mitch Aubusson scoring
for the Roosters shortly before half time, the Cowboys were 10 points in front at half time; and the crowd was in voice
as an upset beckoned and hope dawned that the Cowboys would at least bring their losing run to a close.
Five minutes into the second half, the Roosters were on the board. Taking the ball in the in-goal, the ball went
through several sets of hands before a 50 metre run by Amos Roberts and then an off-load to Mitchell Pearce
resulted in a 100m team try. Craig Fitzgibbon converted and the margin was back to four points.
Not long afterwards, Mitchell Pearce grabbed the ball and brought up his hat-trick, with Fitzgibbon’s conversion
putting the Roosters in front. Willie Mason crashed over to add another, and another long-range run by Amos
Roberts resulted in the final try; a 12-point win to the Roosters. The Roosters with the win consolidate their grip on a
top-four position; but it was another chapter of heartbreak and disappointment for the Cowboys, as a potential win
had been snatched from their grasp by a rampant Roosters’ second half.
Sydney Roosters 32 def North Queensland Cowboys 20
Roosters : Tries – M Pearce 3, M Aubusson, W Mason, A Roberts. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 3/5, A Roberts 1/1.
Cowboys : Tries – M Henry, L O’Donnell, D Weston, T Williams. Goals – J Williams 2/4.
Referee – S Hampstead. Goals – 14,601 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
South Sydney ended their two-match losing streak, and threw the New Zealand Warriors’ finals hopes in disarray,
when the Rabbitohs took out an 18-16 win over the Warriors at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Nathan Merritt got the home side off to a flying start, outrunning all the Warrior opponents up the wing to cross the
line and centre to score under the posts after just six minutes. It had been a scintillating individual effort, and the
Rabbitohs were looking confident and attacking gamely through the early stages of the game.
But against the run of play, the Warriors would be next to score, with Jerome Ropati gathering the ball from a Souths
knock-on and running 80 metres to score and see the game tied up at 6-6. But just three minutes later, Ben Lowe
would charge through a gap and score for the Rabbitohs to put them back in front.
Three minutes before half time, the Warriors tied the game up again, with Manu Vatuvei setting up Lance Hohaia for
a try in the corner. Converting his own try from the sideline, Hohaia saw scores tied at 12-12 at the break.
The scores remained deadlocked for 15 tense minutes after the break. But the Rabbitohs found themselves in
scoring range after a 40-20 kick from Chris Sandow. After five tackles, Chris Sandow grubbered to the line, where
David Kidwell raced to the ball and put it down to score his first try for the season. Sandow’s conversion gave the
Rabbitohs an 18-12 advantage; but they were unable to add to that lead when Nathan Merritt’s scoring attempt was
disallowed by the video referee.
But with 15 minutes to go, an individual effort by Lance Hohaia netted the big New Zealand international his second
try. But importantly, he was unable to convert, and the Rabbitohs retained their two-point advantage.
Through the final minutes, the Warriors attacked hard, looking for the winner, but it would not be forthcoming.
Resolutely, grimly, determinedly, the Rabbitohs held out every Warrior raid until time ran out; giving a result that will
boost Souths’ morale, but one which will make it difficult for the Warriors to qualify for this year’s finals.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 def New Zealand Warriors 16
Rabbitohs : Tries – D Kidwell, B Lowe, N Merritt. Goals – I Luke 2/2, C Sandow 1/1.
Warriors : Tries – L Hohaia 2, J Ropati. Goals – L Hohaia 2/3.
Referee – S Lyons. Crowd – 9,276 at ANZ Stadium.
Wests Tigers put themselves back in the finals race, with a valuable two points and plenty of for-and-against,
etching out another chapter in the Bulldogs’ season of woe; when the Tigers completed a comprehensive 56-4 win
at ANZ Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
On the back of last week’s 30-0 humiliation and the walkout of Sonny Bill Williams, morale was low in the Bulldogs’
camp. And the Tigers wasted no time in rubbing more salt in the Bulldog wound. Shannon Gallant and Chris
Heighington had tries on the board within the first eight minutes, setting the scene for what would be another
Heka Nanai eked out a try for the Bulldogs, but any hopes of it creating some momentum were instantly dashed
when the Bulldogs knocked on from the kick-off; and after the ensuing scrum win by the Tigers, Shannon Gallant
cruised through virtually untouched to score for the Tigers and put them 18-4 ahead.
Peni Tagive and Liam Fulton joined the try-scoring party before the first half was completed, capitalising on some
paper-thin defending by the Bulldogs as the Tigers raced to a 28-4 half time lead.
The Bulldogs pressed hard for five minutes to start the second half, but were unable to cross the Tigers’ line. But
when the Tigers had an attacking opportunity, it was a different story as Dene Halatau faced little opposition to
score; and the floodgates opened again. A solo effort by Benji Marshall on the hour added another, and shortly
afterwards Chris Heighington brought up his double.
The Tigers were in complete control, and in the last five minutes substitute Ben Te’o scored a double to put the
score over the half century.
For the Tigers, it was not just the win that was important, but the margin as well. Their for-and-against is now back in
positive territory; and the Tigers find themselves back in a congested pack of challengers within striking distance of
the finals. But for the Bulldogs, the club is in tatters, at its lowest ebb, leaking points and players as each heavy
defeat further drains the fighting spirit from the once-proud club.
Wests Tigers 56 def Bulldogs 4
Tigers : Tries – S Gallant 2, C Heighington 2, B Te’o 2, L Fulton, D Halatau, B Marshall, P Tagive. Goals – B Marshall
Bulldogs : Tries – H Nanai. Goals – H El Masri 0/1.
Referee – B Cummins. Crowd – 16,121 at ANZ Stadium.
One advantage Canberra had in their quest to scrape in the finals was their strong for-and-against, which is
superior to that of the other contenders. But that advantage was eroded badly at Lang Park on Sunday afternoon as
the Raiders went down 34-6 to a red-hot Brisbane side.
The Raiders had scoring opportunities early, on the back of a string of penalties, but were unable to capitalise. And
the Broncos made them pay in the 18th minute, as Karmichael Hunt strolled through a gap untouched to score the
first try of the game for the Broncos. Michael Ennis’ conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
But just three minutes later, the Broncos were in again, with Peter Wallace facing little opposition to score. This time
Ennis added the extras. And a penalty goal at the half hour mark added another two points to the Broncos’ score. But
the Raiders fought back in the final minutes before half time, with Trevor Thurling slipping the tackling attempts of
the Broncos to score and cut the margin to 12-6 at the break.
The Raiders attacked hard after the break, and could have levelled the scores; but the video referee denied an
attempted try by Ben Jones. But it was a different story at the other end, as big Sam Thaiday chased down a grubber
It took nearly 20 minutes after that before either side would score, but eventually the Broncos wore the Raider
defence down and Darren Lockyer found Darius Boyd for a try under the posts; Corey Parker’s conversion putting the
Broncos 22-6 ahead.
In the final minutes, Darren Lockyer and Denan Kemp added tries, turning the result into a one-sided rout. The win
keeps the Broncos within reach of the top four, but it was only other results this round that keep the Raiders inside
the top eight.
Brisbane Broncos 34 def Canberra Raiders 6
Broncos : Tries – D Boyd, K Hunt, D Kemp, D Lockyer, S Thaiday, P Wallace. Goals – M Ennis 3/5, C Parker 2/2.
Raiders : Tries – T Thurling. Goals – T Campese 1/1.
Referee – T Archer. Crowd – 28,103 at Suncorp Stadium.
Newcastle may yet salvage a finals appearance out of this season, after the Knights completed a comprehensive
32-12 win over Parramatta at Energy Australia Stadium on Monday night.
Knights’ mentor Brian Smith, in his 500th game as a coach, had a night to remember against the side he coached
for a decade. Eels’ mentor Michael Hagan had a past with Newcastle, coaching them to their 2001 premiership win.
Over the years, the two coaches have built a rivalry, and switched clubs, but this time it was Smith who easily had
The Knights were on top from the start, with four tries on the board within the first half hour as they raced to a 20-0
lead. The home crowd were in raptures as the Knights were unstoppable, tries coming from all over the field in what
was already a one-sided contest. Joel Reddy eventually got the Eels on the board, but any hopes of a revival were
short-lived as Junior Sau gathered the ball in the in-goal just two minutes later and ran the length of the field to put in
a scintillating try.
To make the night worse for Parramatta, Luke Burt departed the field in the first half with a knee injury, and played no
further part in the game. Nathan Cayless also suffered an injury scare, but returned to the field later in the game.
With the win, and the comprehensive 20-point margin, the Knights move into the top eight. But the news is not so
good for Parramatta, with the Eels one game plus a lot of for-and-against separating them from playoff calculations
as they remain stuck in 13th place.
Newcastle Knights 32 def Parramatta Eels 12
Knights : Tries – C Houston, A MacDougall, J McManus, J Sau, S Simpson, M Taufua. Goals – K Gidley 2/4, S
Dureau 1/1, C Paterson 1/2.
Eels : Tries – T Lowrie, J Reddy. Goals – K Inu 2/2.
Referee – J Robinson. Crowd – 16,435 at Energy Australia Stadium.
|ROUND 22 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 8th August
St George-Illawarra v Wests Tigers (7:30pm, WIN Stadium)
Manly v Melbourne (7:30pm, Brookvale Oval)
Saturday 9th August
NZ Warriors v Brisbane (5:30pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
Bulldogs v North Queensland (7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium)
Cronulla v South Sydney (7:30pm, Toyota Park)
Sunday 10th August
Canberra v Penrith (2:00pm, Canberra Stadium)
Sydney Roosters v Parramatta (3:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Monday 11th August
Gold Coast v Newcastle (7:00pm, Skilled Park)