Parramatta were keen to move their opening round game against St George-Illawarra from their 20,000 capacity
home ground to ANZ Stadium where they could potentially have drawn a crowd of around 40,000. But contractual
issues would deny them the opportunity to switch, and the game would go ahead at Parramatta Stadium.
It took just 6 minutes for the Dragons to take the lead, when Ben Hornby chased a grubber and got his hand to the
ball just centimetres from the dead ball line. And on 20 minutes the lead blew out to 12-0 after Jeremy Smith
managed to evade two tacklers to cross the line and ground the ball. But the Eels fought back through Eric Grothe,
who scored in the corner and after a magnificent conversion kick by Luke Burt the margin was back to 12-6.
The Dragons led by 6 at the break, and with the better of play in the early stages of the second half, helped by
some poor discipline by the Eels, were able to extend the advantage. Twice penalties were awarded within kicking
range, and rather than take the tap the Dragons elected to send Jamie Soward to the kicking tee. But with 15
minutes to go, the margin was suddenly back to 4 points after a strong run by Luke Burt saw him race half the length
of the field to score a sensational try. But that was as close as the Eels would get; and a late penalty goal to Soward
gave the Dragons a 6-point win and some small measure of revenge for last year’s qualifying final shock.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 18 def Parramatta Eels 12
Dragons : Tries – B Hornby, J Smith. Goals – J Soward 5/5.
Eels : Tries – E Grothe, L Burt. Goals – L Burt 2/2.
Referees – T Archer, G Badger. Crowd – 18,293 at Parramatta Stadium.
A run of quickfire scoring by North Queensland was not enough to get the Cowboys over the line against Brisbane, as
the Broncos recorded a 30-24 win at Suncorp Stadium.
The Cowboys, with Willie Mason pulling on the jersey for the first time, came out strongly but despite a few close
calls were unable to cross the Brisbane line. And on 19 minutes it was the Broncos who opened the scoring, with
Israel Folau shaking off the attentions of three tacklers to crash over the line. And just 3 minutes later, a lightning
pass from Antonio Winterstein set up Darren Lockyer in the corner. Winterstein was again in the thick of the action
on 28 minutes, breaking through the Cowboys’ defensive line before offloading to Michael Gillett to set the Broncos
up with a 16-0 lead.
Anthony Glenn also crossed the line with just minutes to go in the first half, and at the break the Broncos led 22-0. A
penalty goal early in the second half added to the advantage, and on the hour the Broncos had a 24 point lead and
But suddenly, out of nowhere, the Cowboys stormed back into the contest. Broncos’ debutant fullback Corey
Norman knocked on a grubber, the ball spilling to Ty Williams for the easiest of tries. Three minutes later, Ashley
Graham found an opening and scored in the corner. With 12 minutes remaining, Willie Tonga was on the end of a
well-timed chip from Thurston to add another; and with Thurston converting all 3 tries, suddenly the margin was back
to 6 points.
Johnathan Thurston then continued his purple patch, crossing the line to score himself, and after his successful
conversion, scores were level. Just 12 minutes ago the Broncos were sitting pretty 24 points clear, and suddenly the
lead had been taken from them.
But in the final minutes the Broncos regrouped. And 5 minutes from time, Denan Kemp caught the Cowboys’
defence napping to cross the line and restore the Broncos’ advantage. Brisbane would take the win they always
looked likely to achieve, but what for much of the night looked set to be a comfortable result turned out instead to
be a nervous ending.
Brisbane Broncos 30 def North Queensland Cowboys 24
Broncos : Tries – I Folau, D Lockyer, M Gillett, A Glenn, D Kemp. Goals – C Parker 5/6.
Cowboys : Tries – T Williams, A Graham, W Tonga, J Thurston. Goals – J Thurston 4/4.
Referees – J Maxwell, G Sutton. Crowd – 48,516 at Suncorp Stadium.
Melbourne weren’t at the top of their game and didn’t look convincing, but the Storm did enough to get past Cronulla 14-10 at Shark Park on
An early penalty goal put the Sharks 2-0 ahead, but the first half was an arm-wrestle. Both sides were defending strongly but struggling to
complete their attacking sets. But with five minutes to go in the half, the game changed when Trent Barrett was sent to the sin bin. And the
Storm took advantage of their numerical advantage, with Greg Inglis crossing the line in the corner and after the video referee took plenty of
time to view the replays the try was awarded. Cameron Smith added the extras and the Storm took a 6-2 lead into the break.
Before the game kicked off, a minute’s silence was held for Cronulla’s Scott Porter, who elected to play in the game despite the loss of his
sister that morning. And shortly after the break, Porter took the kicking tee and landed a penalty goal from the sideline to the applause of the
But the Storm were soon asserting control over the game, a running move setting up Luke MacDougall in the corner. And on the hour, a
Storm penalty goal gave them a 14-4 lead.
But the Sharks weren’t finished yet, and with 10 minutes to go Luke Douglas found the line for the Sharks’ first try. Luke Covell, back on the
field, kicked the conversion and the margin was back to 4 points. But, although the Sharks pressed hard in the final minutes, the Storm
defence held firm and the defending champions were able to take out the victory.
Melbourne Storm 14 def Cronulla Sharks 10
Storm : Tries – G Inglis, L MacDougall. Goals – C Smith 3/3.
Sharks : Tries – L Douglas. Goals – L Covell 2/2, S Porter 1/1.
Referees – B Cummins, B Suttor. Goals – 11,820 at Toyota Stadium.
After a strong start, Penrith were forced to hang on as Canberra came back strongly, before the tide turned again and the Panthers were able
to record a 34-16 victory over the Raiders at CUA Stadium on Saturday night.
The Panthers got off to a flying start, with 4 tries before the half hour mark. Shane Elford pounced on a well timed kick to open the scoring.
Luke Lewis received an offload to add another. A knock on gave the Panthers field position and Pritchard set up Kingston. And a brilliant solo
effort by Lachlan Coote saw the Panthers 22-0 ahead, it the Panthers were looking comfortable after maintaining their lead until half time.
But momentum shifted the Raiders’ way after the break. Prop Scott Logan powered over the line to get the Raiders on the board. David
Campese set up Daniel Vidot, and just a few minutes later Joel Thompson was on the board and the margin was reduced to 6 points.
With 10 minutes to go, and the Raiders again threatening the Penrith line, they were searching hard for an equaliser. David Campese fired off a
pass, but it was intercepted by Adrian Purtell. Purtell, given his marching orders by the Raiders after last season before being thrown a lifeline
by the Panthers, took delight at running 95m to score against his old club. Lachlan Coote’s second try came minutes later, and the Panthers
were headed for victory.
Penrith Panthers 34 def Canberra Raiders 16
Panthers : Tries – L Coote 2, S Elford, L Lewis, K Kingston, A Purtell. Goals – M Gordon 5/6.
Raiders : Tries – S Logan, D Vidot, J Thompson. Goals – D Campese 2/3.
Referees – S Lyons, A Shortall. Crowd – 11,133 at CUA Stadium.
New Zealand Warriors threatened to pull off an opening round upset when they took on Gold Coast at Robina in the early Sunday game, but
the Titans rallied to pull off a 24-18 victory.
It took just 8 minutes for the Warriors to get on the scoreboard, after a well weighted kick by James Maloney sat up for Manu Vatuvei to run in
and score. On 26 minutes, Kevin Locke chased a kick and scored to give the Warriors a 12-0 lead.
The ball went back to the centre, where Preston Campbell caught the Warriors’ defence napping with a short kick-off. With the Titans having
possession when they shouldn’t have expected it, inside the Warriors’ half, they pressed hard and scored during the set when Joseph Tomane
found an opening to run in and score under the posts.
Vatuvei’s second try extended the Warriors’ advantage before Anthony Laffranchi went over in the last minute before half time to reduce the
Titans’ deficit to 6 points.
On the hour, David Mead found the line and after Scott Prince’s conversion scores were level. And with 10 minutes to go, Preston Campbell
continued his stellar game with a strong individual effort to give the Titans the lead. And they were able to maintain the lead after Campbell
courageously blocked off Manu Vatuvei, preventing the Warrior from scoring his third try.
Gold Coast Titans 24 def New Zealand Warriors 18
Titans : Tries – J Tomane, A Laffranchi, D Mead, P Campbell. Goals – S Prince 4/4.
Warriors : Tries – M Vatuvei 2, K Locke. Goals – B Seymour 3/3.
Referees – M Cecchin, C James. Crowd – 16,112 at Skilled Park.
For the fifth year in a row the traditional season opener between Souths and the Roosters was won by the away team; with the Roosters
recording a convincing 36-10 win.
Todd Carney, in his first game for the Roosters and returning to the NRL after being sacked by Canberra in 2008, was instrumental in the
victory; not only with his accuracy in goals with 6 from 7 attempts but also controlling the play around the ground. An offload from Carney set
up Mitchell Pearce in the 12th minute for the opening try. On 28 minutes, with the Rabbitohs looking for an equaliser, an intercept from Shaun
Kenny-Dowall followed by a 90 metre run saw the Roosters double their advantage. Nathan Merritt got one back for the Rabbitohs shortly
before half time, and the score was 12-6 to the Roosters at the break.
But the second half was one-way traffic. An offload by Carney set up Sam Perrett, before a chip and chase by Aiden Guerra resulted in another
Roosters’ try. Pearce and Kenny-Dowall, the first half try scorers, each added another in the second half; and although Merritt scored a late try
for the Rabbitohs this was a comfortable win for the Roosters.
It was a disappointing opening to the season for the Rabbitohs, who had promised much during the pre-season but were unable to reproduce
that form when the pressure was on in the opening round. But for the Roosters, coached by Brian Smith for the first time, the result gave
hope that the woes of their disastrous 2009 season were behind them and that the Roosters would show some improved form in 2010.
Sydney Roosters 36 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
Roosters : Tries – M Pearce 2, S Kenny-Dowall 2, S Perrett, A Guerra. Goals – T Carney 6/7.
Rabbitohs : Tries – N Merritt 2. Goals – I Luke 1/2.
Referees – T De las Heras, A Klein. Crowd – 23,149 at ANZ Stadium.
Wests Tigers welcomed back Lote Tuqiri to rugby league after an 8-year stint playing rugby union, and the former Queensland Origin winger
was one of their best in an open, free-flowing game where the Tigers would come from behind to defeat Manly 26-22 at the Sydney Football
Stadium on Monday night.
It took just three minutes for Tuqiri to have an impact, as with his first touch of the football he would move forward to score in the corner.
And the Tigers had a chance to score another try in the opposite corner minutes later but the ball was dropped just short of the line. After
surviving the early onslaught with only one try conceded, Manly gradually began to recover field position, and on 25 minutes Michael Robertson
dived on a bomb to score in the corner. Jamie Lyon added the extras and the Sea Eagles had the lead.
Just four minutes later, Glenn Stewart found a gap to cross the line and score under the posts. George Rose would use his size to power over
the line to add another; and when Lyon added a penalty goal on the stroke of half time, the Sea Eagles enjoyed a 20-4 lead.
The Tigers were struggling with skill errors, and a run of dropped ball gave the Sea Eagles plenty of opportunities to add to their advantage
after the break. But the Sea Eagles, partly held up by resolute defence and partly due to their own errors, were unable to capitalise as for 20
scoreless minutes after the break the Sea Eagles had tried but failed to open the flood gates.
And then the tide turned, and suddenly without warning the Tigers stormed back into the contest. Blake Ayshford found the line, and just
two minutes later Liam Fulton found an opening to score. A Manly penalty goal gave the Sea Eagles some breathing space, but the Tigers were
throwing the ball around and frequently finding holes in the tiring Manly defence. A run by Tuqiri created field position that Chris Lawrence was
able to capitalise on to score. And with 5 minutes to go, Gareth Evans found another gap on the left hand side of the defensive line to score
and give the Tigers a lead that 15 minutes previously looked unlikely.
The Tigers would take the two points, sending a message that the 2010 side was one that means business. It was a disappointing loss for the
Sea Eagles, blowing a game that had looked theirs for the taking, and with fullback Brett Stewart going off with a leg injury late in the game
and three players on report, the Sea Eagles run the risk of being depleted in their upcoming fixtures.
Click here to see Harboursport's photo gallery from this match.
Wests Tigers 26 def Manly Sea Eagles 22
Tigers : Tries – L Tuqiri, B Ayshford, L Fulton, C Lawrence, G Ellis. Goals – B Marshall 3/5.
Manly : Tries – M Robertson, G Stewart, G Rose. Goals – J Lyon 5/5.
Referees – G Badger, J Maxwell. Crowd – 18,421 at Sydney Football Stadium.
|ROUND 2 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 19th March
St George-Illawarra v Canterbury (7:30pm, WIN Stadium)
South Sydney v Gold Coast (8:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Saturday 20th March
NZ Warriors v Cronulla (5:30pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
Newcastle v Melbourne (7:30pm, Energy Australia Stadium)
North Queensland v Penrith (9:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Sunday 21st March
Parramatta v Manly (2:00pm, Parramatta Stadium)
Sydney Roosters v Wests Tigers (3:00pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Monday 22nd March
Canberra v Brisbane (7:00pm, Canberra Stadium)
Newcastle, having lost their coach, in financial strife, having been forced to dismiss two key players during the off-
season after drug charges, looked to be a club on the ropes; and early predictions by many experts suggested the
wooden spoon was heading the Knights’ way. But against the odds, the Knights bounced back, restoring club pride
with a win over the highly-fancied Bulldogs at Homebush on Saturday.
On 7 minutes, the Knights opened the scoring when Cooper Vuna flew high AFL-style to catch a bomb and play on
to score a try in the corner. Akuila Uate added another 9 minutes later, and when Junior Sau found the line in the
27 minute, the Knights held a shock 16-0 lead, an advantage they would hold for the remainder of the first half.
Josh Morris got the first Bulldogs’ points shortly after the break, but a strong run from Mark Taufua resulted in an
almost instant reply for the Knights. The Newcastle side had a handy 16-point buffer as the clock continued to tick
And they would need that buffer as the Bulldogs came back strongly in the latter stages of the game. Josh Morris
and Steve Turner both recorded doubles, and the home side would have been in a position to steal an unlikely win
had their kicking for conversion been straight. But missing the retired Hazem El Masri, the Bulldogs turned to Michael
Ennis to perform the goalkicking; and Ennis was having a shocker of a night with the boot. His return of no goals
from four attempts saw the Bulldogs’ comeback fall short, and the Knights hung on for dear life during the final
minutes of the game to record a victory that will boost spirits around the club and provide rookie coach Rick Stone
with hope that Newcastle can put their off-season woes behind them and be a competitive force in 2010.
Newcastle Knights 20 def Canterbury Bulldogs 16
Knights : Tries – C Vuna, A Uate, J Sau, M Taufua. Goals – W Naiqama 2/4.
Bulldogs : Tries – S Turner 2, J Morris 2. Goals – M Ennis 0/4.
Referees – J Robinson, B Sutton. Crowd – 18,110 at ANZ Stadium.