New Zealand Warriors made some progress towards salvaging something from their season when they kept their
second clean sheet in a row at home, defeating Newcastle 13-0 in driving rain at a muddy Mt Smart Stadium quagmire
on Friday night.
It was a flying start for the Warriors, with Lance Hohaia barging over the line from close range to score in the 5th
minute. The try was converted, but then there would be no more scoring for another hour.
The Warriors had the bulk of possession, but were unable to convert it into field position. Both sides adopting a
defensive mindset, the tackling was tight and tough but neither side was able to build any attacking flair or seriously
threaten the opposition’s line. The score was still 6-0 at half time and for much of the second half. The game was an
arm-wrestle, neither side conceding an inch of ground. The Knights sought a try to level the game, the Warriors sought
a try to build on their advantage; but neither would come.
With 12 minutes to go, Hohaia gave the Warriors some breathing space with a field goal, meaning a converted try
would not be enough for the Knights. Not that they ever looked like getting a converted try, as the Warriors had the run of
possession in the final minutes. And with less than 5 minutes to go, an intercept and running try to Kevin Locke put the
result of the game beyond doubt.
NZ Warriors 13 def Newcastle Knights 0
Warriors : Tries – L Hohaia, K Locke. Goals – K Locke 2/2. Field Goals – L Hohaia 1/1.
Knights – Nil.
Referee – S Lyons, B Sutton. Crowd – 14,255 at Mt Smart Stadium.
The Brisbane v Bulldogs game at Suncorp Stadium was in doubt during the week. A swine flu scare saw the Broncos
forced into quarantine, with their lockout period expiring just hours before kick-off. With a disrupted preparation, and
having been unable to train together during the week, the Broncos struggled to form a coherent game plan but fought
bravely in their 44-22 loss to the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs started well, with Josh Morris going in for a double in the first 14 minutes. But Jharal Yow Yeh with a
strong run got the Broncos back into the contest, with Lagi Setu getting another for the home team. Hazem El Masri
scored for the Bulldogs but uncharacteristically missed his conversion, and when Ashton Sims scored on the stroke of
half time and Corey Parker added the extras, the Broncos had a shock 18-16 lead.
But as the second half wore on, the lack of fitness caused by their disrupted preparations began to take its toll on the
Broncos; and the Bulldogs, with their superior fitness, took full advantage. The Broncos ran in 5 tries to 1 in the second
half to take the margin out to a comprehensive 22 points. Had it not been for the interchange bungle earlier in the
season, the Bulldogs would be undisputed top of the table; while the Broncos’ loss may potentially cost them a
position in the top 4.
Bulldogs 44 def Brisbane Broncos 22
Bulldogs : Tries – H El Masri 2, B Goodwin 2, J Morris 2, M Hodgson, B Roberts. Goals – H El Masri 6/8.
Broncos : Tries – J Yow Yeh 2, L Setu, A Sims. Goals – C Parker 3/4.
Referees – T Archer, S Hayne. Crowd – 26,353 at Suncorp Stadium.
Gold Coast remained in the top 4 while the Roosters remain stuck on bottom spot. But it was a closely fought contest
on the Central Coast on Saturday evening, with only a late try to former Rooster Chris Walker that got the Titans over the
Mitchell Pearce scored early for the Roosters, but the Titans got on top in the second half of the opening period. Tries to
Canning, Friend and Tonga set up an 18-6 lead at the break, and the Titans looked set to cruise home to a comfortable
Teenager Sisa Waqa got the Roosters back into the contest, a double within 12 minutes getting the Roosters back
within reach of the Titans. But poor kicking for goal, with neither try being converted, saw the Titans’ lead cut to 18-14
on the hour.
In the 72nd minute, youngster Tom Symonds crossed over to score for the Roosters; and with the try this time being
successfully converted, the Roosters now led 20-18. The scent of an upset was in the air, and despite only a very
small crowd being present at the game, they were in fine voice during the closing stages and were anticipating what
looked like being a shock result.
But it wasn’t to be. With only a few seconds left on the clock, Chris Walker took the ball and with a pack of players
surrounding Walker, the ball was placed on the ground for just a moment. After what seemed an eternity, the video
referee awarded the try; and Gold Coast had won the game.
Gold Coast Titans 24 def Sydney Roosters 20
Titans : Tries – A Cannings, N Friend, E Tonga, C Walker. Goals – S Prince 4/4.
Roosters : Tries – S Waqa 2, M Pearce, T Symonds. Goals – B Anasta 1/1, C Fitzgibbon 1/3.
Referees – B Cummins, A Shortall, Crowd – 6,232 at Bluetongue Stadium.
|ROUND 15 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 19th June
Bulldogs v Penrith (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Saturday 20th June
North Queensland v Sydney Roosters (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Sunday 21st June
Melbourne v Wests Tigers (2:00pm, Olympic Park)
Manly v Canberra (3:00pm, Brookvale Oval)
Sunday 22nd June
Cronulla v Brisbane (7:00pm, Toyota Park)
BYE - Gold Coast, Newcastle, NZ Warriors, Parramatta, South Sydney, St George-Illawarra
* Bulldogs penalised 2 points for breach of interchange rule.
Manly gave their chances of salvaging a finals position from the season a boost when the Sea Eagles defeated Penrith 20-6 at CUA Stadium on
The Sea Eagles, with repeat sets of tackles after twice forcing the Panthers into drop-outs, converted their possession into scoreboard advantage
when Tony Williams outmuscled the Panthers’ defence to score under the posts in the 7th minute. A penalty goal shortly after extended the
advantage to 8-0.
The Panthers had plenty of the ball during the first half, but it took until the final minute before the break for the home side to get on the
scoreboard. It came with a converted try to Nathan Smith, and the teams came into the rooms at half time with the Sea Eagles leading 8-6.
But within 5 minutes of the restart, the game looked safe for the Sea Eagles. Ben Farrar and Anthony Watmough wasted no time in adding
second half tries; and with a 14 point lead the Sea Eagles were in a commanding position. And although the Panthers tried hard, they were
unable to get back into the match. Their best chance came on the hour, when Lachlan Coote made an intercept and ran most of the length of the
field; only to be pulled up 5 metres from the line by Manly winger David Williams, who had chased Coote downfield before making the try-saving
Manly Sea Eagles 20 def Penrith Panthers 6
Sea Eagles : Tries – A Watmough, T Williams, B Farrar. Goals – M Orford 4/4.
Panthers : Tries – N Smith. Goals – L Walsh 1/1.
Referees – J Robinson, T De las Heras. Crowd – 15,806 at CUA Stadium.
Melbourne moved into the top 4, condemning Souths to fall further away from the top 8, when the Storm completed a 28-22 win over the
Rabbitohs in Perth on Saturday night.
Jamie Simpson got the Rabbitohs off to a flying start with an intercept and running 80 metres to score. With the bulk of possession early, and
forcing repeat sets on a number of occasions, the Rabbitohs put the Storm under pressure; and on 19 minutes they buckled and Jamie Simpson
was in for his second try.
The Storm were struggling to get their game going against an enthusiastic Souths outfit, but sparked into action on the half hour when Ryan
Hoffman set up Greg Inglis. Hoffman went in himself a few minutes later, and at half time scores were locked at 10-all.
The Rabbitohs again had the majority of the ball early in the second half, and David Fa’alogo made the Storm pay with the simplest of tries. 5
minutes later, Koopu scored for the Storm; but Cameron Smith, who was having a shocker with the kicking, missed the conversion. The
Rabbitohs had a chance on the hour to take a penalty goal, but chose to back themselves and take a tap instead; and were rewarded when
Nathan Merritt scored in the ensuing set to take the Rabbitohs to a 22-14 lead.
But in the final stages of the game, the visibly tiring Rabbitohs were unable to match the superior fitness and stamina of the Storm; and three tries
in the final minutes was enough to get the Storm home 28-22. It had been a brave fight by the Rabbitohs, but having got themselves into a
winning position were unable to seal the deal; and this loss, their third in succession, sees them at risk of losing touch with the top 8 and a
promising start to the season may be slipping away. But for the Storm, the result sees them move into the top 4, and confidence that they may
force their way into their 4th straight grand final continues to grow.
Melbourne Storm 28 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 22
Storm : Tries – C Cronk, R Hoffman, G Inglis, W Koopu, J Tomane, S Turner. Goals – C Smith 2/5, J Tomane 0/1.
Rabbitohs : Tries – J Simpson 2, D Fa’alogo, N Merritt. Goals – I Luke 2/2, C Sandow 1/2.
Referees – A Klein, C James. Crowd – 15,197 at Members Equity Stadium.
Cronulla continued their mid-season fightback when the Sharks won their third game on the trot, a come from behind 24-22 win over Canberra at
Bruce Stadium on Sunday.
It took just 5 minutes for Terry Campese to set up Tom Learoyd-Lars for the opening try of the game, and just a few minutes later Joel Monaghan
crossed to give the Raiders a 10-0 lead. But the kick-off to restart play after Monaghan’s try was knocked on, giving the Sharks an opening to get
back into the game. Nathan Stapleton made the most of the opportunity, crashing over in the corner to open Cronulla’s account.
A 40-20 to Trent Barrett gave the Sharks another opportunity, and Paul Gallen capitalised to level the scores at 10-10. But Bronson Harrison with
just 2 minutes on the clock before half time scored in the corner, and although the try was not converted it was enough to give the Raiders a 14-10
lead at the break.
Three minutes into the second half, the Raiders were in again. David Milne found a gap in the Sharks’ line and crashed through before offloading
to Jason Croker for a try under the posts. This time Campese converted to give the Raiders a 10-point lead for the second time.
But the Sharks weren’t finished yet. An intercept and 70 metre run by Stapleton set up Matt Wright, and Ben Pomeroy’s try on the hour levelled the
game up at 20-20. With 11 minutes to go, a penalty goal to Terry Campese put the Raiders back in front, and the clock continued to tick. Time was
running out, and although the Sharks continued to press, there appeared to be no way through. But with just 45 seconds to go, Paul Gallen found
an opening to score his second try and snatch the victory for the Sharks.
Cronulla Sharks 24 def Canberra Raiders 22
Sharks : Tries – P Gallen 2, N Stapleton, M Wright, B Pomeroy. Goals – L Covell 2/5.
Raiders : Tries – J Monaghan, B Harrison, J Croker, T Learoyd-Lars. Goals – T Campese 3/5.
Referee – S Hayne, G Sutton. Crowd – 10,104 at Canberra Stadium.
St George-Illawarra maintained their hold on top spot when the Dragons completed a comfortable 32-18 win over North Queensland at WIN
Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Dragons were beaten by a slow start last week and were determined not to repeat that mistake, racing out of the blocks. Brett Morris went
over in the first set of the game, and an offload from Ben Creagh set up Matt Cooper to give the Dragons a 12-0 lead before 10 minutes were up.
An intercept try to Ty Williams, against the run of play, got the Cowboys on the board; but a reply by Ben Creagh gave the Dragons an 18-6 lead at
A penalty goal to Jamie Soward, having an impressive day with the boot, further added to the Dragons’ lead. And it became a handy buffer as the
Cowboys came storming back into the contest. With the bulk of possession and field position starting to run the Cowboys’ way, it took some
stubborn defence by the Dragons to hold them out. But eventually the resistance could last no longer, and quick-fire tries to Luke O’Donnell and
Ty Williams cut the margin to just 2 points, with 10 minutes left on the clock.
But the Dragons weathered the storm, and in the final minutes added two more converted tries to extend the winning margin to a flattering 14
points. Matt Cooper got one, a 70 metre intercept and run to the line to repel the Cowboy challenge. And at the death, Jamie Soward’s try was the
icing on the cake.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 32 def North Queensland Cowboys 18
Dragons : Tries – M Cooper 2, B Creagh, B Morris, J Soward. Goals – J Soward 6/6.
Cowboys : Tries – L O’Donnell, W Tonga, T Williams. Goals – J Thurston 3/3.
Referees – T Archer, M Cecchin. Crowd – 11,374 at WIN Stadium.
Wests Tigers brought their 5-game losing streak to an end when they defeated Parramatta 23-6 on Monday night at Parramatta Stadium.
Parramatta bombed an early chance to score when Nathan Cayless dropped the ball when attempting to place it over the line, and the Eels had
the bulk of possession early. But the Tigers opened the scoring on 18 minutes when a chip kick from Benji Marshall was chased down by Dene
Halatau; Marshall’s conversion giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead. But the Eels fought back 10 minutes from half time, a brilliant solo effort from Luke
Burt seeing him cross the line before converting his own try to level the scores.
It was 6-6 at the break, and the scores remained deadlocked for another 15 minutes of end to end play before Willie Mataka found an opening in
the Parramatta line to run in and score. Benji Marshall landed the conversion and the Tigers led 12-6.
With 13 minutes to go, Robbie Farah added some safety margin for the Tigers with a field goal, putting the lead to beyond a converted try. Not that
the Tigers had any cause to worry, as they dominated the final 10 minutes of play. Robbie Farah was on the end of a bomb from Marshall to score
another try, and Taniela Tuiaki at the death added another to make the margin a comfortable 17 points; a result that sees the Tigers leap-frog the
Eels on the competition ladder, although both are well short of the top 8.
Wests Tigers 23 def Parramatta Eels 6
Tigers : Tries – D Halatau, W Mataka, R Farrah, T Tuiaki. Goals – B Marshall 3/4. Field Goals – R Farah 1/1.
Eels : Tries – L Burt. Goals – L Burt.
Referees – B Cummins, B Suttor. Crowd – 12,003 at Parramatta Stadium.