Queensland wrapped up the State of Origin series, too good for NSW as the Maroons took out a 24-14 win over the
Blues at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night. The Maroons led 18-0 after 23 minutes, but in the end had to hang on for
dear life against a resurgent Blues side and against a rising injury toll.
Coming off a win in the opening game, the Maroons came into the game high on form and confidence, and early on a
second win was looking a mere formality. Israel Folau, Greg Inglis and Darren Lockyer all wasted little time in getting
on the scoreboard, and already the Maroons held an 18-0 lead. Creating space and exploiting every NSW mistake, the
Maroons were looking unstoppable.
Against the run of play, Jarryd Hayne found an opening to get NSW on the board, but Kurt Gidley was unable to convert.
And with just moments to go before half time, Hayne created his second try to reduce the difference to 18-10 at the
The injury toll was mounting for the Maroons. Greg Inglis went off with a suspected broken jaw, an incident that saw
Trent Barrett placed on report. Ben Hannant with a knee injury and Ashley Harrison with a rib injury had also departed,
leaving the Maroons with only one on the bench; while NSW had a full bench to call upon. And when David Williams
scored on the hour, the margin was back to 4 points with still 20 minutes to go.
The Blues tried hard, looking for another chance to put some scoreboard pressure on. But the Maroons defended
resolutely, and there was no way through for the Blues. And finally, with just minutes to go and against the run of play,
Cameron Smith turned on some individual brilliance to score for the Maroons and put the result beyond doubt.
NSW have an imposing record at Homebush, and this was a rare win there for the Maroons. But it was enough to
ensure the Origin title would remain with the Queenslanders; and with the final match scheduled for Suncorp Stadium,
the opportunity is there for a Maroon clean sweep.
Queensland 24 def New South Wales 14
Queensland : Tries – I Folau, G Inglis, D Lockyer, C Smith. Goals – J Thurston 4/4.
New South Wales : Tries – J Hayne 2, D Williams. Goals – K Gidley 1/3.
Referees – T Archer, S Hayne. Crowd – 80,459 at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs have continued on their winning ways on Friday night, taking out a comfortable 30-18 win over North
Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium.
The Bulldogs raced out of the blocks, Ben Roberts capitalising on a missed tackle to go for a run down the sidelines
before offloading to Josh Morris for the opening try. Bryson Goodwin then turned on a good solo effort to score the
second; and with Hazem El Masri converting both tries from out wide with consummate ease it was a solid start for the
Bulldogs; a margin that could have been even greater had Johnathan Thurston not performed a spectacular try-saving
tackle. But luck was running with the Bulldogs, with Sam Rapira denied a try by the video referee despite the video ref
looking at multiple replays for several minutes.
Greg Eastwood and Bryson Goodwin scored in the first few minutes after the break, and at 24-0 the contest was
beyond doubt. The Cowboys would lift in the closing stages of the game, and would score three tries in the final 20
minutes, but by then the damage was done.
Bulldogs 30 def North Queensland Cowboys 18
Bulldogs : Tries – B Goodwin 2, G Eastwood, J Morris, L Patten. Goals – H El Masri 5/5.
Cowboys Tries – A Payne, A Watts, J Williams. Goals – J Thurston 3/3.
Referees – J Maxwell, B Sutton. Crowd – 13,461 at ANZ Stadium.
The St George juggernaut continued on its merry way when the Dragons were 21-10 too good for the struggling Wests
Tigers at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday night.
It was a flying start for the Dragons. In just the third minute of the game, Darius Boyd weaved around the Tigers’
defence before offloading to Brett Morris who dived over to score in the corner. Jamie Soward missed the conversion,
but the score was 4-0 to the Dragons.
The Tigers fired into action, and for 20 minutes pressed the St George line without reward. A succession of drop-outs
led to a lopsided possession flow, but some bombed chances and some tight defence denied the Tigers a score.
And then, against the run of play, it was the Dragons who got the next try, with Ben Hornby offloading to Ben Creagh
who crashed through the Tigers’ line to score. And just a few minutes later, Matt Cooper, running close to the sideline
on the 5th tackle, chipped the ball forward for Ben Creagh to run in and score. And the next try also came off a kick, with
Jamie Soward chasing his own bomb to add another and put the Dragons 20-0 ahead.
The Tigers got one back shortly before the break, with Blake Ayshford wrong-footing Brett Morris to put Beau Ryan over;
and at the break the Dragons led 20-4.
* Bulldogs penalised 2 points for breach of interchange rule.
|ROUND 17 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 3rd July
St George-Illawarra v Sydney Roosters (7:30pm, WIN Jubilee Stadium)
Brisbane v NZ Warriors (7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium)
Saturday 4th July
South Sydney v Wests Tigers (5:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Melbourne v Newcastle (7:30pm, Olympic Park)
North Queensland v Cronulla (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Sunday 5th July
Canberra v Gold Coast (2:00pm, Canberra Stadium)
Penrith v Parramatta (3:00pm, CUA Stadium)
Monday 6th July
Manly v Bulldogs (7:00pm, Brookvale Oval)
The Tigers threw everything at St George in the second half, but again were unable to apply scoreboard pressure. The St George defence held
firm for over half an hour, despite the Tigers dominating possession and getting plenty of repeat sets. Eventually with 8 minutes to go the St
George defence finally broke down, allowing Benji Marshall to run in and score. But his conversion was unsuccessful, keeping the margin 10
points St George’s way with time running out. A late field goal to Jamie Soward helped to run down the clock, and gave the Dragons an 11-point
St George-Illawarra Dragons 21 def Wests Tigers 10
Dragons : Tries – B Creagh, B Hornby, B Morris, W Sailor. Goals – J Soward 2/4. Field Goals – J Soward 1/1.
Tigers : Tries – B Marshall, B Ryan. Goals – B Marshall 1/2.
Referees – J Robinson, T De las Heras. Crowd – 15,211 at Sydney Football Stadium.
Saturday evening saw Gold Coast take on the Warriors in front of a blockbuster crowd at Skilled Park; and it was the Titans who would take the
competition points to join the Bulldogs and St George as equal top of the ladder.
Kevin Locke opened the scoring for the Warriors with a penalty goal, but it didn’t take long for the Titans to reply, William Zillman crashing through
the Warriors’ defence before an offload to Anthony Laffranchi led to the Titans’ first try.
Late injury worries for the Titans forced both selected wingers to pull out, with teenage rookies Kevin Gordon and David Mead getting call-ups.
And both would find themselves on the scorers’ list before half time. Back to back sets to the Titans gave them field position, and Gordon
capitalised to score in the corner. And a few minutes later, Mead intercepted and ran the length of the field to score and ensure the Titans would
go into the sheds at half time with a 16-2 lead.
The second half continued similarly, with Scott Prince setting Mead up for his second try of the night. Lance Hohaia got one back for the Warriors,
but they would again be denied by an intercept and length of the field run. This time it was Kevin Gordon who scooped up a Warrior pass, and
instead of looking like setting up a Warriors try it was a length of the field run and a try to the Titans to put the result beyond doubt.
Lewis Brown scored for the Warriors in the dying moments of the game, but it was too little too late for the Warriors. The loss sees the New
Zealand side languishing well outside the top 8, and needing a change in their season momentum to get their 2009 campaign back on track. But
for the Titans, the win was a satisfying one, and one that sees them with a share of top spot and their first finals appearance is a step closer.
Gold Coast Titans 28 def New Zealand Warriors 12
Titans : Tries – K Gordon 2, D Mead 2, A Laffranchi. Goals – S Prince 4/5.
Warriors : Tries – L Brown, L Hohaia. Goals – K Locke 2/3.
Referees – B Cummins, A Shortall. Crowd – 20,031 at Skilled Park.
Bottom-placed Sydney Roosters finally ended their 6-game losing streak, defeating fellow strugglers Cronulla 19-12 in front of a small crowd at
the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday night.
It wasn’t a game that reached any great heights, both sides fumbling and performing numerous errors in the slippery conditions. It took 17
minutes for the first score of the match to come, when Nathan Stapleton crashed over to get the Sharks on the board first. Mitchell Pearce replied
for the Roosters; but in the last set before half time, Blake Ferguson took advantage of some woeful Roosters defending to cross the line and put
the Sharks 12-6 ahead at the break.
The Roosters emerged from the sheds after the break full of running, and it didn’t take long for their new-found run to become scoreboard
pressure. Sam Perrett found room to move out wide to wrong-foot the Cronulla defence, crossing in the corner before running around to score
under the posts. And after Fitzgibbon converted the try, Shaun Kenny-Dowall took the ball from the kick-off and ran around the Sharks for another
try that put the Roosters in front for the first time.
The Roosters had their tails up and a spring in their step, but the night was going pear-shaped for the Sharks. A dismal night for Cronulla was
punctuated with unforced errors, missed tackles and drop ball. The Roosters weren’t much better, but had done enough to maintain their lead. A
late field goal to Mitchell Pearce put the result beyond doubt and ensured the losing streak was finally over.
Sydney Roosters 19 def Cronulla Sharks 12
Roosters : Tries – S Kenny-Dowall, M Pearce, S Perrett. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 3/3. Field Goals – M Pearce 1/1.
Sharks : Tries – B Ferguson, N Stapleton. Goals – L Covell 2/2.
Referees – A Klein, C James. Crowd – 7,472 at Sydney Football Stadium.
A statue of Mal Meninga was unveiled at Canberra Stadium, and the Canberra legend would have been impressed with the current generation of
Raiders as they put on their best performance of the year to date to upset Melbourne 26-16.
Canberra hadn’t beaten Melbourne since 2002, but the Raiders got off to a quick start. Joel Monaghan was in the thick of the action, setting up
Justin Carney for the opening try of the game and then bagging a first half double to put the Raiders 14-4 ahead at half time.
Five minutes after the break, Monaghan was over again and the conversion boosted the score to 20-4. The Raiders were playing with spirit and
determination, spurred on by the small but vocal local crowd. The clock ticked on, past the hour mark, and the scent of an upset was in the air.
But in the blink of an eye, the game was back in the balance. Repeat sets put the Storm into attacking position before Greg Inglis crossed the line
for the Storm. Two minutes later, Will Chambers was in; and after the try was converted the margin was back to 4 points and still more than 10
minutes to go.
The Storm continued to attack, but the Raiders’ defence held firm. And in the final minutes of the game, Bronson Harrison powered forward to
score and put the result beyond doubt. Despite the Raiders’ lowly ladder position, the result keeps them within reach of the finals. The Storm
remain in fourth place.
Canberra Raiders 26 def Melbourne Storm 16
Raiders : Tries – J Carney 2, J Monaghan 2, B Harrison. Goals – T Campese 3/5.
Storm : Tries – W Chambers, G Inglis, C Smith. Goals – C Smith 2/2, J Tomane 0/1.
Referees – G Badger, B Suttor. Crowd – 9,551 at Canberra Stadium.
Brisbane slumped to their fourth loss on the trot when the Broncos were upset 21-14 by the Eels at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Eric Grothe and Joel Reddy put on two acts of individual brilliance to score the first two tries of the game, before Steve Michael replied for the
Broncos. But amazingly, none of the tries were converted and the Eels held an 8-4 lead at the break.
The Broncos pressed the Parramatta line early in the second half, looking for the equalising try. But after five minutes of having the Eels on the
ropes, Krisnan Inu intercepted and ran 90 metres to score. Against the run of play, the Eels had a 14-4 lead.
But the Broncos rallied. Andrew McCullough charged through the despairing Parramatta defence to score. Steve Michaels’ second try was
converted, and scores were tied up at 14-14.
Both sides had scoring chances. Corey Parker had a try disallowed by the video ref, while Fuifui Moimoi failed to pass to an unmarked Daniel
Mortimer, only to be brought down by Karmichael Hunt. Scores were level, the clock was continuing to tick down.
With just 3 minutes to go, Luke Burt restored the lead for Parramatta with a long-range field goal. And in the final minute, Joel Reddy found the line
to put the result beyond doubt.
Parramatta Eels 21 def Brisbane Broncos 14
Eels : Tries – E Grothe, K Inu, D Mortimer, J Reddy. Goals – L Burt 2/4. Field Goals – L Burt 1/1.
Broncos : Tries – S Michaels 2, A McCullough. Goals – C Parker 1/3.
Referees – T Archer, M Cecchin. Crowd – 10,030 at Parramatta Stadium.
Monday night saw Souths travel up the F3 to Newcastle to take on the Knights and celebrate Craig Wing’s 250th game, but it would be another
night of disappointment for the Rabbitohs; and their dream of returning to finals action looks to be fast fading away.
The Knights were looking to celebrate Steve Simpson’s 200th game in style, and Simpson was in the thick of the action all night. Akuila Uate was
first to get on the board, flying high to pull down a bomb and score in the corner. But the try wasn’t converted, and after a string of penalties gave
numerous repeat sets to the Rabbitohs, Michael Crocker finally found a gap in the Newcastle line to cross over. Isaac Luke’s conversion gave the
Rabbitohs the lead. On 29 minutes, Jamie Simpson took the ball out wide and crossed the line before centreing to reduce the angle. The
Rabbitohs were on top, but let the Knights off the hook in the dying stages of the half to allow Kurt Gidley a penalty goal which cut the margin to 12-
6 at the break.
But after the break the Knights came out firing, while the Rabbitohs dropped off in their intensity; and it was all Newcastle. Isaac de Gois went
close to scoring in the 42nd minute but was denied by the video ref; but just four minutes later de Gois set up Richard Fa’aoso, and the
conversion levelled the scores. In the 54th minute, an offload from Adam McDougall put Keith Lulia over; and on the hour Steve Simpson’s
milestone game got sweeter when he crossed over for a try that put the home side 24-12 clear.
The Rabbitohs were shell-shocked and produced few chances during the Newcastle burst. The Knights now had a comfortable advantage, and a
field goal to Jarrod Mullen put the game out of Souths’ reach. The Rabbitohs would score two late unconverted tries, but it was too little too late.
Newcastle Knights 25 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 20
Knights : Tries – R Fa’aoso, S Simpson, K Lulia, A Uate. Goals – K Gidley 4/5. Field Goals – J Mullen 1/1.
Rabbitohs : Tries – J Simpson 2, M Crocker, D Fa’alogo. Goals – I Luke 2/4.
Referees – S Hayne, G Sutton. Crowd – 14,204 at Energy Australia Stadium.