Ladder leaders St George-Illawarra have continued the Roosters’ season from hell, the Dragons dominating in the
second half at Jubilee Stadium on Friday night to record an easy 34-12 victory.
At half time, the Roosters had hopes of pulling off an upset. Craig Fitzgibbon got on the board with an early converted
try, but the Dragons fought back with a try to Neville Costigan. Both sides created chances, but there would be no
further scoring till the last minute of the half. A 40-20 by Mitchell Pearce gave the Roosters an attacking opportunity, and
Craig Fitzgibbon found an opening in the Dragons’ line to run in and score under the posts. Converting his own try after
the siren, the Roosters held a shock 12-6 lead after possibly their best half of play in 2009.
But it all went horribly wrong for the Roosters after the break, as the Dragons emerged from the sheds with increased
instensity that the Roosters were unable to overcome. The Dragons ran through five tries for the half, while leaving the
Roosters scoreless. Matt Prior bagged a double, as did former Rooster Jamie Soward; Soward was also in strong
form from the kicking tee with 5 conversions form 6 attempts. Wendell Sailor also was influential, and was rewarded
for his efforts with the try that gave the Dragons the lead for the first time. And from there it was a procession.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 34 def Sydney Roosters 12
Dragons : Tries – M Prior 2, J Soward 2, N Costigan, W Sailor. Goals – J Soward 5/6.
Roosters : Tries – C Fitzgibbon 2. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 2/2.
Referees – T Archer, T De las Heras. Crowd – 12,472 at WIN Jubilee Stadium.
Brisbane set themselves up to re-enter the top 8 when the Broncos completed a hard-fought 28-14 win over the New
Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night. It was a contest that was closer than the final scoreline
suggested, with the Warriors leading for much of the night and the Broncos only truly asserting control in the latter
stages of the match.
An early try to Steve Price gave the Warriors the lead, and a penalty goal extended the margin to 8-0. The Warriors
continued to press the Broncos’ line, looking to further extend their advantage. But, although they had the Broncos on
the ropes, they were unable to put them away and slowly but surely the Broncos began to recover the field position they
were giving up early.
It took till the 36th minute for the Broncos to get on the board, but they finally broke through when Darren Lockyer took
advantage of a Warriors’ handling error, and from the ensuing run Israel Folau crossed over in the corner and after
what seemed an eternity the video referee awarded the try.
It was 8-6 to the Warriors at the break, and shortly afterwards Sam Thaiday grubbered the ball low and straight for Josh
Hoffman to crash over and score to give the Broncos the lead.
The game would remain in the balance until the closing stages, the Warriors hanging in there and remaining within
striking distance. But in the final moments they visibly tired, and the fitter and more enthusiastic Broncos, backed up by
an enormous and vocal home crowd, had enough in the tank to cruise home to victory.
Brisbane Broncos 28 def New Zealand Warriors 14
Broncos : Tries – I Folau, S Michaels, L Setu, A Winterstein, J Hoffman. Goals – S Wallace 4/6.
Warriors : Tries – S Price 2. Goals – S Locke 3/3.
Referees – J Maxwell, B Sutton. Crowd – 32,456 at Suncorp Stadium.
A season which promised much for Souths has unraveled in recent weeks, and the Rabbitohs’ fall from grace
continued when they slumped to their fifth loss on the trot, belted 54-20 by lowly Wests Tigers at ANZ Stadium on
The Tigers had suffered numerous frustrations this season, but for one game everything fell into place and they would
put on a performance to delight their long-suffering fan. Robbie Farah at hooker was back to his best form, while Benji
Marshall was another who rediscovered his touch after indifferent recent form.
Melbourne kept their imposing record at the Olympic Park “graveyard” intact when they defeated a courageous Newcastle Knights lineup 18-14 in
a thriller on Saturday night.
The Storm got off to a good start, when Billy Slater made a break before off-loading to Greg Inglis to get on the board after 7 minutes. But the early
appearance was deceptive, as the Knights would have the better of possession and field position through the remainder of the half, and it took all
the Storm’s defensive resolve to hold them out; a task that became more difficult when Brett Finch departed injured, and would play no further part
in the game.
But eventually the Knights would break through, after Billy Slater knocked on and the ball spilled free to Wes Naiqama. Kurt Gidley’s conversion,
and a penalty goal shortly before half time, saw the Knights go in to the break with an 8-6 lead.
Shortly after half-time, Billy Slater put the Storm in front, chasing a kick and out-running Kurt Gidley to put his hand on the ball as it hit the ground;
and after extensive deliberation on the video the benefit of the doubt try was awarded. But the lead would be short-lived, Akuila Uate flying high to
catch a bomb and plant the ball to put the Knights back in front.
14-12 to the Knights on 50 minutes, and for most of the remaining half hour that’s how it would remain. Both sides desperately looked for the line
but came up blank as the defences tightened. With the clock ticking down, the Knights looked like they had done enough to hang on to claim what
would have been a remarkable upset win on the road.
But with just 3 minutes to go, Newcastle hearts would be broken, Inglis putting in a flick-pass to Will Chambers who evaded the Newcastle
defenders to crash over in the corner. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective, and was enough to get the Storm over the line for two valuable
Melbourne Storm 18 def Newcastle Knights 14
Storm : Tries – W Chambers, G Inglis, B Slater. Goals – C Smith 3/3.
Knights : Tries – W Naiqama, A Uate. Goals – K Gidley 3/3.
Referees – S Hayne, M Cecchin. Crowd – 9,041 at Olympic Park.
North Queensland maintained their position in the top 8, and continued Cronulla’s dismal season, when the Cowboys dominated from start to
finish in Townsville on Saturday night to complete a comfortable 24-4 victory.
In wet conditions, both sides struggled to form any form of attacking momentum in the first half. Neither side troubled the scorers before half time,
as a combination of tight defence, handling errors and poor decision-making by both sides meant neither side had any way of breaking the
So it was 0-0 at the break, but it was the Cowboys who would snap out of their lethargy the better in the second half to pile on the scoreboard
pressure. John Williams broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half, finding plenty of space to run over out wide and score in the
corner. And then it was Matt Bowen’s time to shine, and in Bowen’s first game back from injury he made an important impression on the game by
running in to score a double, each try within 5 minutes of the other. Matt Wright got one try back for the Sharks, but a late effort by Ty Williams put
the result beyond doubt.
It wasn’t a game that reached any great heights. The scoreless first half was an exhibition of appalling skill errors and the second half wasn’t
much better. But it was an important two points for the Cowboys, keeping their 2009 season’s finals hopes on track. But the Sharks’ season goes
from bad to worse.
North Queensland Cowboys 24 def Cronulla Sharks 4
Cowboys : Tries – M Bowen 2, J Williams, T Williams. Goals – J Thurston 4/5.
Sharks : Tries – M Wright. Goals – L Covell 0/1.
Referees – B Cummins, B Suttor. Crowd – 17,283 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
One of the upsets of the season came in the early Sunday game at Bruce Stadium, when the struggling Canberra stunned minor premiership
aspirant Gold Coast 34-28.
The first half was all Canberra, as the Raiders played an open, attacking game to lead 28-6 at the break. An speculator pass by Terry Campese
found Phil Graham in the corner for the opening try, and at the 20 minute mark Josh Miller crashed through a line of Titans from dummy half to put
the Raiders 10-0 ahead.
Anthony Laffranchi got one back for the Titans, but the flood gates opened in the final 10 minutes of the half as the Raiders ran in three tries.
Graham and Miller had completed doubles by the time the half-time siren sounded, and they were joined in the scoring list by Tom Learoyd-
Lahrs; who after a strong performance through the half capped it off with a running effort to send the small but vocal Canberran crowd into
Shortly after the break the Raiders lost a golden chance to go further ahead when Jarrod Croker made a break and ran 60 metres before being
ankle-tapped by Chris Walker. Another chance was denied by the video referee when Marc Herbert was squeezed for room near the touchline and
was unable to ground the ball before falling out of bounds. Then, against the run of play, the Titans struck. A quick-fire double to David Mead cut
the margin to 10 points, and with still 25 minutes to go the Titans were back in the contest.
The Raiders needed a steadier, and Bronson Harrison provided it to side-step the Titans defence and score under the posts. But the Titans
weren’t finished yet, and two tries within three minutes to Chris Walker and Preston Campbell saw the scoreline move closer to 34-28 with five
minutes left on the clock. The Titans searched desperately for the try that would send the game to golden point, but it would not be forthcoming
and the Raiders would hang on for an entertaining, morale-boosting victory.
Canberra Raiders 34 def Gold Coast Titans 28
Raiders : Tries – J Miller 2, P Graham 2, T Learoyd-Lahrs, B Harrison. Goals – T Campese 5/6.
Titans : Tries – D Mead 2, A Laffranchi, C Walker, P Campbell. Goals – S Prince 4/5.
Referees – G Badger, C James. Crowd – 9,800 at Canberra Stadium.
A high-scoring shootout at Penrith Stadium on Sunday afternoon saw the Panthers maintain their position in the top 8 with a 38-34 win over
It was an entertaining game, with both sides playing free-flowing attacking games all day. Tim Grant set the scene for the day by crossing over in
the 4th minute, only to be answered almost instantly by a 40 metre running try to Daniel Mortimer. It was a day when the lead would constantly see-
saw, with the Panthers leading 22-18 at the break but losing it within two minutes of the restart.
At no time in the game did either side lead by more than a converted try, and as the clock ran down the main question was who would be holding
the winning parcel when the music stopped. Daniel Mortimer’s second try in the 73rd minute restored the lead for Parramatta and the Eels’ hopes
of taking the all-important two points grew stronger.
But the Panthers had one more try in them, and it was Michael Jennings who crossed over in the final minute to bring up his hat-trick and put the
Panthers back into the lead. A remarkable game finished with the Panthers scoring 7 times to the Eels 6, each team having five players who
would cross the opposition’s line. After such an entertaining game there had to be a loser, and Parramatta will go home disappointed that they
created so much attacking play and yet came home empty-handed. But it was Penrith’s day, with the result ensuring the Panthers would maintain
their position in the top 8.
Penrith Panthers 38 def Parramatta Eels 34
Panthers : Tries – M Jennings 3, J Tia-Kilifi, T Grant, J Paulo, N Smith. Goals – L Walsh 5/7.
Eels : Tries – D Mortimer 2, L Burt, J Hayne, N Hindmarsh, J Reddy. Goals – L Burt 5/6.
Referees – J Robinson, G Sutton. Crowd – 16,845 at CUA Stadium.
Manly maintained their position in the top 8 and added another chapter to their record at fortress Brookvale when the Sea Eagles overcame the
high-flying Bulldogs 19-12 on Monday night.
After 5 minutes, Matt Orford broke through the Bulldogs’ line before offloading to Glenn Stewart for the opening try. The Sea Eagles were getting
plenty of the ball, and putting the Bulldogs under pressure, but were twice denied by the video referee before Josh Morris scored against the run
of play for the Bulldogs. Scores were locked at 6-6, but the Sea Eagles again took the upper hand when Matt Orford landed a field goal in the final
seconds before half time.
A penalty goal to the Bulldogs after the break put the visitors in front for the first time; and 10 minutes later Josh Morris found room to move to
score his second try. Hazem El Masri’s penalty attempt was unsuccessful, and the Bulldogs held a 12-7 lead.
The game became heated with 15 minutes to go, when Bryson Goodwin landed a spear tackle on Michael Robertson. Tempers flared, but play
went on, Robertson playing the ball back to David Williams who ran over the line and put the ball down. A mellee broke out while the video referee
checked out the action, but eventually the try was awarded. Orford’s conversion put the Sea Eagles back into the lead.
The Bulldogs worked hard to attempt to regain the lead, but Ben Roberts twice coughed the ball up when he had no-one to obstruct his passage
to the line. And with 3 minutes to go, Josh Perry made a break, scored, and the game was safe for the Sea Eagles.
Manly Sea Eagles 19 def Canterbury Bulldogs 12
Sea Eagles : Tries – J Perry, G Stewart, D Williams. Goals – M Orford 3/3. Field Goals – M Orford 1/1.
Bulldogs : Tries – J Morris 2. Goals – H El Masri 2/3.
Referees – T Archer, J Maxwell. Crowd – 15,501 at Brookvale Oval.
* Bulldogs penalised 2 points for breach of interchange rule.
|ROUND 17 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 10th July
South Sydney v Penrith (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Saturday 11th July
Newcastle v Canberra (7:30pm, Energy Australia Stadium)
Sunday 12th July
NZ Warriors v Canterbury (2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
St George-Illawarra v Manly (3:00pm, WIN Stadium)
Monday 13th July
Gold Coast v Parramatta (7:00pm, Skilled Park)
BYE - Brisbane, Cronulla, Melbourne, North Queensland, Sydney Roosters, Wests Tigers.
Taniela Tuiaki was unstoppable early, bringing up a hat-trick in the first half hour to get the Tigers off to a flying start,
and the Rabbitohs were always chasing the game. Even when the Rabbitohs managed to get on the board, a string of
blunders would let the Tigers get back on top and prevent Souths from building any form of momentum.
It was 26-10 at the break, and the floodgates opened in the second half as the Tigers would go on to score 10 times in
the game. Tuiaki scored a hat-trick and Blake Ayshford weighed in with 2. Even with Luke Capewell completing a hat-
trick for the Rabbitohs, it was a dominant display by the Tigers. Although the Tigers are still stuck in the lower reaches
of the ladder, they are now just one point behind Souths; a season which showed signs early of a Rabbitoh
resurgence now sees them once again among the lower-ranked teams.
Wests Tigers 54 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 20
Tigers : Tries – T Tuiaki 3, B Ayshford 2, S Gallant, T Moltzen, C Payne, B Ryan, J Skandallis. Goals – B Marshall 7/10.
Rabbitohs : Tries – L Capewell 3, N Merritt. Goals – C Sandow 2/3, I Luke 0/1.
Referees – S Lyons, A Shortall. Crowd – 14,586 at ANZ Stadium.