Queensland had already wrapped up the State of Origin series for 2009, but New South Wales at least prevented a
clean sweep when the Blues took a 28-16 win in a spiteful match at Suncorp Stadium to restore some NSW pride.
Dallas Johnson scored an early try for the Maroons, but Anthony Watmough set up Ben Creagh for a NSW equaliser.
The tackling had been ferocious, the big hits continuing to come. And controversy would hit as David Williams found the
line to score despite copping a boot to the face from Johnathan Thurston. Thurston’s sliding boot found the
Queensland half-back placed on report, while the Blues were awarded the first 8-point try in Origin history to give them
a 14-6 lead at half time.
For a short period in the second half, the game opened up. Justin Hodges scored for Queensland just three minutes
after the break before Josh Morris quickly crossed over for NSW at 46 minutes. Billy Slater went for a 40 metre run to
score for the Maroons, but Ben Creagh replied shortly after the hour and the Blues held a 28-16 advantage.
High shots and hard hits kept coming, and tensions were rising. The referees had to break up a few scuffles between
players. But the Blues were playing with passion, Brett Kimmorley bringing down Greg Inglis to prevent a certain
Queensland try and Kurt Gidley stopping the run of Darius Boyd.
But with three minutes to go, the tension came to a head. As Jarryd Hayne grabbed the ball to score for NSW, Steve
Price was blindsided by Trent Waterhouse. As Price went to the ground concussed, Justin Poore ran in and appeared
to pick up and drop Price, which insensed the Maroons.
The try was disallowed and Waterhouse was sent off. A mellee broke out, from which Ben Creagh and Sam Thaiday
were sent to the sin bin. As David Williams got up to play the ball, Michael Crocker had a swing at Michael Ennis and
another all-in brawl broke out; at which point the referees ended the match and brought to a close the most violent final
few minutes in the history of an Origin match.
New South Wales 28 def Queensland 16
New South Wales : Tries – B Creagh 2, D Williams, J Morris. Goals – M Ennis 3/3, K Gidley 3/3.
Queensland : Tries – D Johnson, J Hodges, B Slater. Goals – J Thurston 2/3.
Referees – T Archer, S Hayne. Crowd – 52,439 at Suncorp Stadium.
The first match of a double-header at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night saw South Sydney keep their finals chances
alive when they defeated Brisbane 44-12; their first win against the Broncos on Queensland soil since 1989 and their
biggest ever win against the Broncos.
It took 15 minutes for the opening score of the game as both sides took time to feel each other out, but once Beau
Champion made an attacking raid and broke the deadlock with a try out wide it was one-way traffic.
With three tries to one in the first half, the Rabbitohs enjoyed a 16-6 lead, but it was when the second half got under
way that the scores blew out. The Rabbitohs scored three tries in the first 10 minutes of the half to blow the lead out to
32-6, and the Broncos’ fate was sealed. Beau Champion was the star of the show with three tries, while Nathan Merritt
ran in a double; but it was hard to find a poor Souths player on a day when everything went right for the team in red and
But it was a night that went horribly wrong for referee Tony De las Heras, who found himself out of position as Jamie
Simpson made a break, then slipped over and copped an accidental knee to the head by the chasing Corey Parker.
Play was held up while De las Heras received medical treatment, but he was OK to continue for the remainder of the
match, a match that kept the Rabbitohs in the finals hunt while casting doubt on the Broncos’ ability to maintain their
impressive run of making the finals in 17 consecutive seasons.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 44 def Brisbane Broncos 12
Rabbitohs : Tries – B Champion 3, N Merritt 2, E Pettybourne, F Talanoa, D Tyrrell. Goals – C Sandow 5/7, I Luke 1/2.
Broncos : Tries – C Parker, D Taylor. Goals – P Wallace 2/2.
Referees – G Badger, T De las Heras. At Suncorp Stadium.
With nine minutes to go, a chip and chase by Kevin Gordon resulted in a try under the posts. Three minutes later, the Titans were in again and the
game was back in the balance when Mat Rogers raced away and scored in the corner. The try was unconverted, leaving the Bulldogs 6 points
clear but the Titans had all the momentum and were storming home with a wet sail.
But the Bulldogs had one ace up their sleeve, a 40 metre drop goal to Brett Kimmorley. The field goal gave the Bulldogs a 7-point buffer, and the
game was safe.
Canterbury Bulldogs 23 def Gold Coast Titans 16
Bulldogs : Tries – J Morris 2, H El Masri, J Idris. Goals – H El Masri 3/4. Field Goals – B Kimmorley 1/1.
Titans : Tries – M Rogers 2, K Gordon. Goals – S Prince 2/3.
Referees – J Maxwell, B Cummins. Crowd – 50,109 at Suncorp Stadium.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was an effective performance from Penrith that got the Panthers over the line to a 27-14 win over Canberra at CUA Stadium
on Saturday evening.
The Panthers led 18-0 at half time, scoring three unanswered tries; all controversially awarded by the video referee. Frank Puletua was first to
score, despite appearing to have been held up in goal. Junior Tia-Kilifi scored despite a hint of obstruction, and a try to Brad Tighe on the stroke of
half time added to the Panthers’ advantage. To add insult to injury, Josh Dugan was denied a try by the video referee; and Canberra’s plight
worsened when Alan Tongue departed the scene with a leg injury shortly before the break.
The Raiders got on the board early in the second half, Terry Campese crashing over from dummy half. But the Panthers were gifted another 2
points from a penalty goal for backchat before a running Daniel Vidot scored again for the Raiders. But Campese’s conversion attempt sailed
wide, keeping the Panthers 20-10 ahead.
On 64 minutes, Junior Paulo beat two Raiders defenders to score and extend the Panthers’ buffer. Five minutes later, Jason Croker responded to
throw the Raiders a lifeline, with the margin back to 2 converted tries. But Luke Walsh landed a field goal to put the issue beyond doubt
Penrith Panthers 27 def Canberra Raiders 14
Panthers : Tries – J Paulo, F Puletua, J Tia-Kilifi, B Tighe. Goals – M Gordon 5/5. Field Goals – L Walsh 1/1.
Raiders : Tries – T Campese, J Croker, D Vidot. Goals – T Campese 1/3.
Referees – J Robinson, G Sutton. Crowd – 8,074 at CUA Stadium.
Manly moved into the top 8, but the Sea Eagles were made to fight all the way by a gutsy Cronulla side before finally prevailing 32-26 at Shark Park
on Saturday night.
The match started in disastrous fashion for the Sea Eagles, dropping the ball on just the third tackle of the game to hand the Sharks a scoring
opportunity, which Matthew Wright gleefully accepted to score. But five minutes later the game was back on level terms in similar circumstances,
after a Sharks’ error was capitalised on by David Williams to hit back for the Sea Eagles.
The Sea Eagles took the lead on 19 minutes when Brett Kite shrugged a tackle close to the line and spun around to score, but the lead would be
short-lived after a 60 metre run by Trent Barratt set up Ben Pomeroy for a quick reply for the Sharks.
On 26 minutes, a chip kick from Covell set up a race for the ball, which Ben Ferguson won to plant the ball and restore Cronulla’s lead. And the
advantage would be extended when Ferguson, despite being bumped close to touch by Tony Williams, managed to keep his feet long enough to
offload to Pomeroy for his second try; which was awarded after extensive deliberation by the video referee.
The Sea Eagles fought back just before the break when Kieran Foran scored under the posts, but at the break the Sharks held a 22-16 advantage.
The Sea Eagles came out strongly for the second half, pressing the Cronulla side and forcing them to some desperate defence. But their
resistance could last just 10 minutes before George Rose was left unmarked to stroll through for the easiest of tries. Orford’s conversion levelled
Matt Orford had a chance to put the Sea Eagles in front with a penalty goal, but his kick was unsuccessful. But the Sea Eagles took the lead with 9
minutes to go when Tony Williams from dummy half scored in the corner. Five minutes later, Kieran Foran found the line to make the game safe
for the Sea Eagles, and despite a late consolation try by Luke Covell the defending premiers had done enough to take the game and move into
the top 8.
Manly Sea Eagles 32 def Cronulla Sharks 26
Sea Eagles : Tries – B Farrar, K Foran, B Kite, G Rose, D Williams, T Williams. Goals – M Orford 4/7.
Sharks : Tries – B Pomeroy 2, L Covell, B Ferguson, M Wright. Goals – L Covell 3/6.
Referees – S Lyons, A Shortall. Crowd – 10,114 at Toyota Stadium.
There was more misery for the Sydney Roosters, but a valuable win on Australian soil for the New Zealand Warriors, after the Warriors came from
behind to complete a 30-24 win over the Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Roosters’ coach Brad Fittler had been advised the day before that his contract would not be renewed at the end of this season, and that
Newcastle mentor Brian Smith has been signed up to take over the Roosters for 2010. The popular Fittler had taken over mid-season in 2007,
and had taken them to the finals in 2008. But a dismal run of results that sees the club coming last on the ladder, coupled with a string of
unsavoury off-field incidents involving Roosters players, had make Fittler’s position untenable, and Smith’s brief will be to not only restore the club’
s on-field fortunes but to clean up the players’ behaviour.
But Fittler was still at the helm for this match, and the Roosters started well enough. Willie Mason crashed over for the first try, and some strong
runs by Mason gave the Roosters field position for Ben Jones to give them a 12-0 lead at the 15 minute mark.
Simon Mannering got one back for the Roosters, but a sensational chip and chase individual effort by Mitchell Pearce kept the Roosters in front;
and even with Patrick Ah Van crossing for the Warriors with a minute to go before half time, the Roosters went into the sheds with an 18-10 lead.
A double by Manu Vatuvei within the first five minutes of the second half gave the Warriors the lead, but the lead would be short-lived when Tom
Symonds scored in the corner, a well-weighted conversion kick from the sideline by Craig Fitzgibbon putting the Roosters 24-20 ahead.
And so the scores would remain for 20 tense minutes. It was a battle of the defences, with some hard-hitting and desperation in the tackling from
both sides. But with seven minutes to go, Mitchell Pearce on the last tackle went for a grubber, which Wade McKinnon scooped up and ran 90
metres to score. Stacey Jones’ conversion gave the Warriors the lead; and Jones was again in the thick of the action four minutes later by scoring
the try that put the icing on the cake; an important result for the Warriors’ finals hopes, but another slice of doom and gloom for the Roosters in a
year that has had so many disappointments and regrets.
New Zealand Warriors 30 def Sydney Roosters 24
Warriors : Tries – M Vatuvei 2, P Ah Van, S Jones, S Mannering, W McKinnon. Goals – S Jones 3/6.
Roosters : Tries – T Symonds, M Pearce, W Mason, B Jones. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 4/4.
Referees – B Cummins, B Suttor. Crowd – 8,021 at Sydney Football Stadium.
A bright sunny Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval is a flashback to times past; and although the facilities at Leichhardt are antiquated and surely
close to their use-by date, the ground retains its charm and character. And the Wests Tigers have an imposing record at the venue, a record that
was strengthened when the Tigers upset North Queensland 34-14 on Sunday afternoon.
From the kick-off to start the game, Anthony Watts took the ball and drew the Tiger defenders before off-loading to Matt Bowen. Bowen ran in to
score and the Cowboys had a try on the board before a single tackle had been laid in the game. The conversion and a penalty goal stretched the
lead to 8-0.
The Tigers would not score until 25 minutes into the game, and it took some genius to hold the Cowboys out; but the clever play came from Benji
Marshall who wrong-footed the Cowboy defenders before scoring out side. A sensational conversion from near the sideline further boosted Benji
Marshall’s contribution to getting the Tigers back into the contest.
Shortly after the try, a stink broke out, resulting in Anthony Watts and Robbie Farah each getting 10 in the bin. On 33 minutes the Tigers were in
front, a 70 metre run by Taniela Tuiaki setting up Chris Lawrence. And five minutes later Lawrence returned the favour by setting up Tuiaki for a try,
and the Tigers led 16-8 at half time.
The Tigers started the second half strongly, and could have scored within five minutes but Blake Ayshford fumbled the ball when he had the line in
front of him. But it barely mattered when just a minute later Shannon Gallant ran through to score in the corner. The try wasn’t converted, but with a
20-8 lead the Tigers were looking good as the clock continued to tick down.
With 13 minutes to go, Carl Webb threw the Cowboys a lifeline when he gathered the ball at dummy half and caught the Tigers’ defence napping
to stroll past them for the easiest of tries. Johnathan Thurston’s conversion made it 20-14, and with only a converted try in it the game was still
there to be won.
The Tigers when they got possession back moved forward, looking to get into field goal position. But suddenly the defence opened up, and Corey
Payne found an opportunity to go for a try rather than just a field goal. A penalty goal made the game safe for the Tigers, and a chip and chase by
Robbie Farah in the final minutes of the game put the icing on the cake.
Wests Tigers 34 def North Queensland Cowboys 14
Tigers : Tries – R Farah, S Gallant, C Lawrence, B Marshall, C Payne, T Tuiaki. Goals – B Marshall 5/7.
Cowboys : Tries – M Bowen, C Webb. Goals – J Thurston 3/3.
Referees – S Hayne, M Cecchin. Crowd – 18,804 at Leichhardt Oval.
Parramatta co-captain Nathan Hindmarsh played his 250th game on Monday night when the Eels hosted Melbourne at Parramatta Stadium, and
the Eels made it a milestone match to remember with an upset 18-16 win over the Storm.
The Storm were without Cameron Smith and Brett Finch, but were still hot favourites with their Origin starts having had several days’ recovery time
after the Origin. And after doing the early attacking, Joseph Tomane crossed the Eels line; but the try was disallowed for a forward pass. From the
resulting set for the Eels, Jarryd Hayne threw a wild pass towards the sideline that Jeff Robson was barely able to keep from going into touch; but
somehow managed to control it and run 50 metres down the sideline to score in the corner. Luke Burt was unable to convert, but prop Fuifui
Moimoi crashed through to score another on 20 minutes, and Burt’s kick from Moimoi’s try gave the Eels a 10-0 advantage.
The Storm lifted late in the half, but were denied a try when Greg Inglis’ effort was over-ruled by the video referee. But in the first set after the break,
Ryan Hoffman chased a kick to score. But the Eels were proving a tough opponent, with a penalty goal to Luke Burt and a converted try to Todd
Lowrie putting the Eels 18-6 ahead on the hour.
With 10 minutes remaining, Dane Neilsen scored in the corner, but importantly the Joseph Tomane was unable to convert and the Eels retained
an 8-point buffer and not even a converted try would be enough for the Storm to force golden point. The Eels defended strongly, and although
Tomane did eventually score it was too little too late and the Eels had pulled off an impressive upset to give Hindmarsh a memorable milestone.
Parramatta Eels 18 def Melbourne Storm 16
Eels : Tries – T Lowrie, F Moimoi, J Robson. Goals – L Burt 3/4.
Storm : Tries – R Hoffman, D Neilsen, J Tomane. Goals – J Tomane 2/3.
Referees – A Klein, B Sutton. Crowd – 10,804 at Parramatta Stadium.
* Bulldogs penalised 2 points for breach of interchange rule.
|ROUND 20 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 24th July
Manly v Newcastle (7:30pm, Bluetongue Stadium)
Gold Coast v Brisbane (7:30pm, Skilled Park)
Saturday 25th July
Bulldogs v Parramatta (5:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
North Queensland v Penrith (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Melbourne v Cronulla (7:30pm, Olympic Park)
Sunday 26th July
Canberra v Wests Tigers (2:00pm, Canberra Stadium)
NZ Warriors v St George-Illawarra (2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
Monday 27th July
South Sydney v Sydney Roosters (7:00pm, ANZ Stadium)
The second match of the Suncorp Stadium double header saw the Bulldogs remain in touch with the ladder-leading St
George when they got off to a strong start and held out a second half charge by the Gold Coast to record a 23-16 win.
Luke Patten in just the third minute found an opening in the Titans’ defence, and an offload to Josh Morris set up the
opening try. And the flying start for the Bulldogs continued in the 10th minute, when after the Bulldogs had enjoyed the
vast bulk of possession some individual brilliance by Jamal Idris saw him shake off the attentions of numerous
defenders before scoring in the corner. Hasem El Masri was unable to convert the try, but the Bulldogs still enjoyed a
The Bulldogs dominated proceedings, and could have easily added a try to Hasem El Masri, but was denied by the
video referee. But on the half hour, a running Morris added his second and the Bulldogs held a 16-0 lead which they
maintained till the break.
10 minutes after the break, the Titans were on the board, after Mat Rogers flew in the air to grab the ball from a cross-
field kick; and after extensive deliberation by the video referee the try was awarded. The Titans were on the attack, the
Bulldogs forced to defend grimly. But against the run of play, the Bulldogs added another try after Daniel Holdsworth
made 40 metres before setting up El Masri.