St George continued their imposing run of form, winning their sixth game on the trot, when the Dragons endangered
Melbourne’s top 4 chances with a 26-12 win over the Storm at Kogarah on Friday night.
A big crowd populated the small Kogarah ground, providing a noisy atmosphere throughout the evening, and it didn’t
take long for the Dragons Army to have reason to find their voice. The opening try came after just five minutes, Brett
Morris turning on his pace to leave the Storm chasers in his wake and diving over in the corner.
But on 15 minutes, the Storm looked dangerous and threatened to run away with proceedings. Repeat sets put the St
George defence under pressure, and eventually they cracked, with Brett Finch wrong-footing the defence to score. And
two minutes later, Greg Inglis dived over in the corner; and after a long time checking replays the video ref threw the
decision back as a ref’s call; and an 8-point try was awarded. Cam Smith missed the conversion from the sideline, but
had no trouble with the penalty from directly in front, and the Storm were 12-4 ahead.
The Dragons scored shortly before half-time, a well-timed pass by Jamie Soward sending Wendell Sailor on a 50
metre run to the line. But Soward’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and at half time the Storm held a 12-8
Three minutes into the second half, Beau Scott successfully chased a grubber from Ben Hornby to score. Soward’s
conversion gave the Dragons the lead.
The Storm had a chance to get a quick reply, but Joseph Tomane’s effort was disallowed by the video referee. And on
the hour, Soward set up Wendell Sailor again for another run down the sideline that resulted in a try for the Dragons.
And when Jon Green found the line five minutes later, the Dragons were home and victory was assured.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 26 def Melbourne Storm 12
Dragons : Tries – W Sailor 2, J Green, B Morris, B Scott. Goals – J Soward 3/5.
Storm : Tries – B Finch, G Inglis. Goals – C Smith 2/3.
Referees – J Maxwell, M Cecchin. Crowd – 16,474 at WIN Jubilee Oval.
Gold Coast’s unbeaten run at home came to an end when the Titans were well beaten 34-18 by North Queensland on
The Titans had not lost at home this season, but would soon find themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard, as
the Cowboys got off to a flying start. Matt Bowen was given the benefit of the doubt by the video referee, and was
awarded his 100th career try. And on 20 minutes, John Williams strolled through some weak defence to score in the
corner and put the visitors 10-0 ahead.
Kevin Gordon went close to getting a try back for the Titans, but the video referee after a long deliberation rules he had
hit the corner post a split second before grounding the ball, and the try was disallowed. And instead it was the Cowboys
who would be next to score, after Johnathan Thurston’s cross-field kick found an unmarked Michael Bani. And in the
final minute before half time, Willie Tonga crossed the line and the Cowboys led 22-0 at the break.
The Titans were stunned by their shocking performance in the first half, and came out looking determined and stronger
in the second half. But it would take them 14 minutes to break through the resolute Cowboys’ defence and score. The
try finally came at the 54 minute mark, after Kevin Gordon chased a grubber by William Zillman and just scored in the
corner a split second before the ball would have bounced past the dead ball line.
But hopes of a Gold Coast comeback would quickly be dashed, as the Cowboys replied almost instantly. Steve Rapira
broke through the Titans’ defensive line before offloading to Matt Bowen who ran 50 metres to score under the posts.
And just three minutes later, Rapira got himself on the scoreboard. That made the game safe for the Cowboys, and
even with two Titans tries in the final minutes of the game, the Cowboys’ lead was never in doubt.
The Titans’ survival in the top 4 would be dependent on other results. But for the Cowboys, the win and the margin of
victory consolidates their position in the top 8, and further boosts their imposing for-and-against.
North Queensland Cowboys 34 def Gold Coast Titans 18
Cowboys : Tries – M Bowen 2, M Bani, S Rapira, W Tonga, J Williams. Goals – J Thurston 5/6.
Titans : Tries – N Friend, K Gordon, E Tonga. Goals – S Prince 3/3.
Referees – T Archer, A Klein. Crowd – 20,315 at Skilled Park.
The Brisbane Broncos, playing their 23rd season in the top flight of rugby league, suffered their worst defeat in their
history when they were humiliated 56-0 by a red-hot Canberra side at a chilly Bruce Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Raiders had the better of the first half, going to a 16-0 lead at half time, with Josh McCrone, Josh Dugan and Phil
Graham getting on the board. The lead could have been greater, with the Raiders having the bulk of possession and
being twice denied by the video referee. But even then at half time, few could have imagined the Bronco capitulation
that would follow.
The second half was the most one-sided display you could ever hope to see. The Raiders were brilliant, making great
judgement calls, attacking, finding the best options to ran through the Brisbane line and score. But as good as the
Raiders were, the Broncos were lamentable. A once-great team, with plenty of Origin greats, put on a display of
fumbling, dropped ball, missed tackles, and looked slow and disinterested as time and time again the Raiders made
them look second rate. As the heads dropped, so did Brisbane’s work-rate, as the Raiders ran though seven tries in
the second half to extend the margin to over 50 points.
* Bulldogs penalised 2 points for breach of interchange rule.
|ROUND 22 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 7th August
Penrith v St George-Illawarra (7:30pm, CUA Stadium)
Melbourne v North Queensland (7:30pm, Olympic Park)
Saturday 8th August
Manly v South Sydney (5:30pm, Brookvale Oval)
Bulldogs v Canberra (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Sunday 9th August
NZ Warriors v Gold Coast (12:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers (2:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Parramatta v Newcastle (3:00pm, Parramatta Stadium)
Monday 10th August
Brisbane v Cronulla (7:00pm, Suncorp Stadium)
Phil Graham finished with four tries, while Joel Monaghan contributed a double, and Terry Campese was in imposing form from the kicking tee
with 8 tries from 10 attempts. The result, coupled with North Queensland’s Friday night win, means the Broncos find themselves a game plus a
lot of for-and-against out of the top 8; and with only five rounds to go, the prospect of Brisbane qualifying for their 18th finals series in a row is
looking increasingly remote.
Canberra Raiders 56 def Brisbane Broncos 0
Raiders : Tries – P Graham 4, J Monaghan 2, J Croker, J Dugan, J McCrone, D Vidot. Goals – T Campese 8/10.
Broncos : Tries – Nil. Goals – Nil.
Referees – J Robinson, G Sutton. Crowd – 10,200 at Canberra Stadium.
Brian Smith, currently coaching Newcastle but contracted to switch to the Roosters next season, watched on as his future club upset his current
club, recording a 30-18 win at Energy Australia Stadium. It was a result that boosts the Roosters’ chances of avoiding the wooden spoon, but
casts down on Newcastle’s 2009 finals prospects
An early Newcastle error gave the Roosters an opening. A goal line drop-out sailed out on the full, handing the Roosters a penalty. Electing to take
the tap, the Roosters moved the ball to Craig Fitzgibbon, who crossed over for the opening try. But just three minutes later the game was back on
level terms, after Kurt Gidley evaded several tacklers in a 40 metre run to score.
The scores remained locked at 6-6 until the 25th minute, but the final 15 minutes of the first half struck a dagger into the Knights and left their
home crowd stunned. Big Willie Mason used his size and strength to draw three Newcastle defenders who were powerless to stop him crashing
over the line for a try. Mitchell Pearce made a break and ran 30 metres to add another. And when Iosia Soliola took advantage of some poor
defending to score, and Craig Fitzgibbon landed the conversion, the Roosters took a 24-6 lead into the half time break.
And the Roosters, sensing a rare win, inflicted more pain on the Knights early in the second half, with Setamata Sa finding a way to cross the line
and stretch the lead to 24 points. The game was safe for the Roosters and victory was assured; and even consolation tries to Kurt Gidley and
Adam MacDougall were not enough for the Knights to pose a threat to the resurgent Roosters.
The Roosters, struggling to find a win for much of the season and coming into the game with a 3-game losing streak, had pulled off a shock away
win against a team currently in the top 8. But it was an insipid performance by the Knights, the club seemingly devoid of the spirit and character
that they had displayed earlier in the season, as if the news of Brian Smith’s pending defection has sucked the will to win out of the players.
Sydney Roosters 30 def Newcastle Knights 18
Roosters : Tries – C Fitzgibbon, W Mason, M Pearce, S Sa, I Soliola. Goals – C Fitzgibbon 5/5.
Knights : Tries – K Gidley 2, A MacDougall. Goals – K Gidley 3/3.
Referees – B Cummins, B Suttor. Crowd – 15,112 at Energy Australia Stadium.
In a high-scoring clash at Penrith Stadium on Saturday night, Penrith came from behind to salvage a golden point draw against the New Zealand
The Panthers started brightly, with Michael Jennings scoring an early try, but were soon in trouble as the Warriors began to dominate possession
and get the better of the penalty count. And looking most dangerous was Joel Moon, who was finding gaping holes in the Penrith defence as he
brought up a first half hat-trick. And with Kevin Locke converting all three tries, and adding a penalty goal for good measure, the Warriors were out
to a shock 20-6 lead at half time.
And there was more to come in the second half. Lance Hohaia grubbered the ball forward, and Joel Moon was again on the spot to plant the ball
for his fourth try. And with 30 minutes to go, Wade McKinnon set up Lewis Brown for another try; and after Locke again converted, the home fans
were left in stunned disbelief as the Warriors were 32-6 ahead.
A few minutes later, Shane Elford found the line for the Panthers, but at the time it appeared little more than a consolation. With 15 minutes to go,
Luke Walsh crashed his way through under the posts, and five minutes later Frank Puletua shook off the efforts of the Warrior defenders to add
another; and suddenly the Panthers had a sniff as the scoreline was 32-24.
The Panthers by now had the momentum, the crowd which had been so quiet for much of the contest came to life, and the Panthers continued to
attack. And with four minutes to go, Michael Jennings dived over in the corner for his second try of the night. Michael Gordon added the extras, and
when he landed a penalty goal in the final minute, the game went into golden point.
The golden point period was a field goal shootout, as the Warriors attempted four times to score the drop goal while the Panthers had two
attempts. But none of the attempts were successful, and the game finished with honours even.
Penrith Panthers 32 drew New Zealand Warriors 32 after golden point extra time
Panthers : Tries – M Jennings 2, S Elford, F Puletua, L Walsh. Goals – M Gordon 6/6. Field Goals – L Walsh 0/1, J Sammut 0/1.
Warriors : Tries – J Moon 4, L Brown. Goals – K Locke 6/6. Field Goals – L Hohaia 0/2, S Jones 0/2.
Referees – S Lyons, A Shortall. Crowd – 12,677 at CUA Stadium.
Cronulla have often been a bogey team for Parramatta, but not this time. At Toyota Park on Sunday afternoon, the Eels won their third game on the
trot, dominating from start to finish to complete a 30-0 demolition of the Sharks.
The Eels were in early, with Eric Grothe off-loading to Joel Reddy. Reddy went perilously close to the touch-line, but the video referee eventually
ruled the ball was grounded correctly and the try was awarded; but the angle was too hard for Luke Burt to land the conversion. But the video
referee wasn’t so generous 10 minutes later when Krisnan Inu was ruled to have knocked on in his attempt to control the ball and score what
would have been Parramatta’s second try.
The Sharks were given possession, and a 40-20 put the Sharks into scoring position; but the home team was unable to make anything of its
scoring chance and the game then became a battle of the defences, the Eels sitting on their 4-0 lead until shortly before half time.
But with just a couple of minutes to go before the break, Jarryd Hayne caught the Cronulla defence napping, diving over from dummy half to score
and put the Eels 10-0 ahead at half time. And just after the break, Matt Keating’s kick had a freak bounce, sitting up to allow Krisnan Inu to run
through and take it for the easiest of tries.
The Eels were in again on the hour, Jarryd Hayne running rings around the Cronulla defence for his second try; and with Burt’s conversion and a
22-0 lead, the game was safe for Parramatta. Frustration began to set in for the Sharks, and Burt took a penalty goal shortly afterwards.
By now Parramatta were in complete control, and the Sharks were unable to find anything, and were held scoreless for the day. The Eels
continued to attack, and although Kevin Kingston’s scoring attempt was disallowed, Joel Reddy completed his double to give the Eels an easy 30-
0 victory; a result that means only for-and-against saves Cronulla from last spot on the ladder, but one which keeps Parramatta’s faint finals
hopes alive, but even with the magnitude of this win, they still have a very poor for-and-against differential.
Parramatta Eels 30 def Cronulla Sharks 0
Eels : Tries – J Hayne 2, J Reddy 2, K Inu. Goals – L Burt 5/6.
Sharks : Tries – Nil. Goals – Nil.
Referees – J Maxwell, B Sutton. Crowd – 12,246 at Toyota Stadium.
A blockbuster Sunday afternoon crowd at ANZ Stadium saw the Bulldogs come from behind to record a 26-18 win over Souths.
The Rabbitohs went into the game high on confidence, on the back of a three-game winning streak, and the early exchanges further bolstered the
Rabbitoh hopes. Nathan Merritt got an early try, flying high to grab a bomb and score. Just a few minutes later, David Fa’alogo crashed over the
Bulldogs’ line to score. And with Chris Sandow converting both tries, the Rabbitohs held an early 12-0 lead.
It took nearly 20 minutes for the Bulldogs to create a realistic attacking opportunity, but when it came they made the most of it, with Josh Morris
scoring in the corner. Hazem El Masri was unable to convert, but the Bulldogs were soon in again, with Jamal Idris unable to hold a bomb but
knocking the ball backwards for El Masri to score and cut the margin to just two points.
But the Rabbitohs weren’t deterred by the Bulldogs, and shortly before half time Beau Champion crossed the line to score. Sandow’s conversion
gave the Rabbitohs an 18-10 lead at half time; and the Rabbitohs were close to scoring again shortly after the break, only for Fetula Talanoa’s
effort to be denied by the video referee.
On the fifth tackle, the Bulldogs kicked to just short of the Souths’ line, and Colin Best knocked the ball on. El Masri was on the spot, making Best
pay for his error by grabbing the ball and scoring the try. And on the hour, the Bulldogs were in front after a diving effort from Bryson Goodwin was
given the benefit of the doubt by the video referee.
With just under 10 minutes to go, Gary Warburton scored the winning try for the Bulldogs; and with an eight-point lead, there was no way back for
the Rabbitohs. The second placed Bulldogs, bouncing back from the wooden spoon last year, have wrapped up a spot in the 2009 finals. But it
was a disappointing fadeout for the Rabbitohs, their finals hopes now all but over.
Bulldogs 26 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Bulldogs : Tries – H El Masri 2, B Goodwin, J Morris, G Warburton. Goals – H El Masri 3/5.
Rabbitohs : Tries – B Champion, D Fa’alogo, N Merritt. Goals – C Sandow 3/3.
Referees – G Badger, A Klein. Crowd – 24,217 at ANZ Stadium.
Wests Tigers’ late season resurgence continued at the Sydney Football Stadium on Monday night when the Tigers claimed the scalp of defending
premiers Manly in a 19-18 thriller.
The Tigers, needing to keep winning to keep themselves in the finals race after an indifferent first half of the year, burst out of the blocks and put
on a scintillating first half that revived memories of their flashy 2005 premiership style. Benji Marshall, Beau Ryan and Taniela Tuiaki all crossed
the line during the first half, and hopes were high of an upset at the break with the Tigers holding a shock 18-0 advantage.
The Sea Eagles came out hard in the second half, and it wasn’t long until Anthony Watmough crossed the line to get one try back. But the Tigers’
defence was holding firm, and although the Sea Eagles continued to press, the Wests Tigers defenders were equal to the task.
On the hour, Robbie Farah gave the Tigers some breathing space when he popped a field goal over, and it turned out they would need every bit of
that breathing space as the Sea Eagles pressed harder. With 15 minutes to go, Tony Williams crashed over, and there were still seven minutes
of desperate defending to do when Watmough crossed for his second try, which reduced the margin to just one point.
But the Sea Eagles were unable to find the winner, despite their best efforts. In the final minute, Matt Orford attempted from long range to send the
game to golden point, but his drop goal attempt sailed agonisingly wide. And so the Tigers, their winning streak now up to four games, move
ahead of Souths and Brisbane into ninth position, and with five weeks to go are in a position to have a genuine crack at making the finals.
Wests Tigers 19 def Manly Sea Eagles 18
Tigers : Tries – B Marshall, B Ryan, T Tuiaki. Goals – B Marshall 3/4. Field Goals – R Farah 1/1.
Sea Eagles : Tries – A Watmough 2, T Williams. Goals – M Orford 3/3. Field Goals – M Orford 0/1.
Referees – S Hayne, M Cecchin. Crowd – 13,551 at Sydney Football Stadium.