|ROUND 4 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 2nd April
Melbourne v St George-Illawarra (2:00pm, Etihad Stadium)
Sydney Roosters v Brisbane (8:30pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Saturday 3rd April
Cronulla v Parramatta (5:30pm, Toyota Stadium)
North Queensland v Gold Coast (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Sunday 4th April
NZ Warriors v Manly (2:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
Canberra v Wests Tigers (3:00pm, Canberra Stadium)
Monday 5th April
Newcastle v Penrith (4:00pm, Energy Australia Stadium)
South Sydney v Canterbury (7:00pm, ANZ Stadium)
Wests Tigers put on some of their scintillating best rugby league to defeat Parramatta 23-12 at the Sydney Football
Stadium on Friday night.
Backing themselves and throwing the ball around, the Tigers put on an electrifying opening with a run from Lote
Tuqiri seeing them score in the 7th minute, and 7 minutes later Benji Marshall set up Blake Ayshford. Neither try was
converted, but the Eels failed to make any impression on the Tigers’ line during their time in possession, while the
Tigers continued to press but were unable to put any more scoreboard pressure on until the final seconds of the half
when Benji Marshall banged a field goal over to give the Tigers a 9-0 lead at the break.
Five minutes after the break, Marshall was on the end of a bomb to put the Tigers on the board again, and after
finally being able to land a conversion the lead blew out to 15 points.
But this was the spur for Parramatta to put in their best period of play for the night. Joel Reddy finally put the Eels
on the board, and on 57 minutes Krishnan Inu found the line. Inu, taking over the goalkicking duties in the absence
of Luke Burt, converted both tries and suddenly the margin was back to 3 points.
Six minutes later, a stunning individual effort by Lote Tuqiri, weaving his way around the Eels’ defence in an 80 metre
run, gave the Tigers some safety margin. Marshall’s second try was the icing on the cake; but although he was
having a shocker of a night with the boot, kicking just 1 from 5 for the night, the Tigers had put on enough exciting
play to score 5 tries to 2 and take out a comfortable win.
Wests Tigers 23 def Parramatta Eels 12
Tigers : Tries – L Tuqiri 2, B Marshall 2, B Ayshford. Goals – B Marshall 1/5. Field Goals – B Marshall 1/1.
Eels : Tries – J Reddy, K Inu. Goals – K Inu 2/2.
Referees – T Archer, M Cecchin. Crowd – 21,318 at Sydney Football Stadium.
St George’s undefeated start to the season continued, with the Dragons being untroubled in taking out a 33-8 win
over North Queensland at WIN Stadium.
The Cowboys opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the 2nd minute, but would not trouble the scorers again
until after the hour; the North Queensland side are yet to score a first-half try this season. And by then it was too
late as the Dragons had built a match-winning lead.
Brett Morris on the 7th minute got the Dragons on the board, taking a pass from Darius Boyd and running 30 metres
to score without any Cowboy defenders landing a touch let alone a tackle. Matt Cooper, in his first game for the
season, found some space to score another, and on half an hour another gap opened up in the Cowboys’ line to let
Jason Nightingale run through and score. And when Jamie Soward put a drop goal over on the shadows of half time,
the Dragons led 17-2 at the break.
And it was more of the same shortly after the resumption, Ben Creagh taking advantage of a gifted opportunity for
another try. By then, the contest was well and truly over; and even after Ashley Graham finally scored the Cowboys’
first try, Morris and Nightingale landed their second tries to wrap up a big win that sees the Dragons sitting
comfortably on top of the ladder.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 33 def North Queensland Cowboys 8
Dragons : Tries – B Morris 2, J Nightingale 2, M Cooper, B Creagh. Goals – J Soward 4/6. Field Goals – J Soward 1/1.
Cowboys : Tries – A Graham. Goals – J Thurston 2/2.
Referees – J Maxwell, G Sutton. Crowd – 13,267 at WIN Stadium.
Penrith put up a fight when they hosted defending champions Melbourne at CUA Stadium on Saturday evening, but
in the end the Storm did enough to get over the line and maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
The first half was forgettable, with both sides displaying numerous handling errors and struggling to form any
coherent attacks. Brett Finch was first to get on the board, and Sam McKendrie replied for the Panthers, the only
difference between the sides at the break being Cam Smith’s conversion.
But the game sprung to life three minutes after the interval. Cooper Cronk, returning from injury to play his first
game for the season, hit a patch of form with a 40-20 from the opening set of the second half; and from the
ensuing set Cronk was again in the thick of the action with a pass to Billy Slater to add to the Storm’s advantage.
On the hour, Luke MacDougall found the line and the Storm looked safe with a 16-4 advantage.
With 9 minutes to go, the Panthers found themselves back in the contest. A string of passes on the last tackle
ended up with Lachlan Coote scrambling over the line, and after considerable deliberation from the video ref the try
was finally awarded. Michael Gordon landed the conversion and the margin was back to a converted try. The
Panthers continued to press the Melbourne line in the final minutes, looking for the score that would send the game
into golden point, but the Storm defence held firm.
Melbourne Storm 16 def Penrith Panthers 10
Storm : Tries – B Finch, B Slater, L MacDougall. Goals – C Smith 2/3.
Panthers : Tries – S McKendrie, L Coote. Goals – M Gordon 1/2.
Referees – G Badger, P Haines. Crowd – 11,024 at CUA Stadium.
Manly recorded their first win of 2010 when the Sea Eagles put on a comprehensive all-round performance to defeat
Newcastle 36-12 at Gosford on Saturday night.
It was a Manly home game, but the majority of the crowd were supporting the Knights, and they had something to cheer about early when
Evarn Tuimavave found the line in the 5th minute. But the Sea Eagles then found their rhythm to run through four first-half tries. Ben Farrar
crashed through a wall of defenders to put the Sea Eagles on the board, before Shane Rodney on 20 minutes scored in the corner to give
them the lead. Just 3 minutes later, Steve Mattai was on the board and he would make it a double on the half hour mark. And when Matt
Ballin crossed the line in the first set after the break, the conversion gave the Sea Eagles a 20-6 lead.
In the first two rounds, the Sea Eagles had got out to big leads and been unable to last the distance. But there would be no let-up this time;
and shortly after the hour Jason King made the game safe for Manly. The Knights did manage a late try to Richard Fa’aoso, but it was too little
too late for the Knights.
Manly Sea Eagles 36 def Newcastle Knights 12
Sea Eagles : Tries – S Mattai 2, B Farrar, S Rodney, M Ballin, J King. Goals – J Lyon 6/6.
Knights : Tries – E Tuimavave, R Fa’aoso. Goals – W Naiqama 2/2.
Referees – T De las Heras, A Klein. Crowd – 12,138 at Bluetonge Stadium.
Gold Coast maintained their unbeaten start to the season when the Titans overcame Canberra 24-4 at Skilled Park on Saturday night.
It was a scrappy and error-ridden game, with the Titans always looking in control against a disappointing Canberra side. And after a penalty was
awarded in the 6th minute, Scott Prince put through the goal to give the home side the lead. But, although they dominated possession and
looked likely to score, it was not until the 20th minute that they were able to convert their territorial play into scoreboard pressure. Scott
Prince put on some individual brilliance to score, his conversion giving the Titans an 8-0 lead that they would carry with them into the half time
Shortly after the restart, Greg Bird set up Joseph Tomane to further extend the Gold Coast advantage. And shortly after the hour, tries in
quick succession to the wingers Gordon and Mead put the issue beyond doubt.
It hadn’t been pretty, but it had been effective; as the Titans found little to inspire but maintained the advantage over the Raiders by doing
the basics like holding the ball for a full set of 6. While for the Raiders, it was a dismal night when nothing went right.
Finally in the final minute, the Raiders got on the board when Vidot found an opening in the Titans’ defence that appeared to have clocked off
early. But the Titans had the game won long before that try got on the board, ensuring the Titans a share of top of the ladder.
Gold Coast Titans 24 def Canberra Raiders 4
Titans : Tries – S Prince, J Tomane, K Gordon, D Mead. Goals – S Prince 4/5.
Raiders : Tries – D Vidot. Goals – T Campese 0/1.
Referees – B Cummins, C James. Crowd – 11,521 at Skilled Park.
The odds of Brisbane missing the finals for the first time since 1991 got shorter after the Broncos were humiliated at home by the New Zealand
Warriors in warm conditions in the early Sunday game.
A big crowd of over 32,000 was on hand for the game, but as the injuries began to pile up the Broncos lacked the stamina to match it with
the Warriors. A broken hand for Israel Folau, broken ribs for Denan Kemp and a cork thigh for Matt Gillett in the first half saw the Broncos
restricted to just one on the bench.
But for a while the Broncos were competitive. Folau scored early to give the Broncos the lead, but the Warriors replied quickly and held a 14-6
lead before Gillett scored shortly before half time. And with the Broncos going over again in the 44th minute, against the odds the home side
had taken the lead.
But the last half hour was all one-way traffic, as the Warriors ran in 6 tries to turn the result into a flogging. Three of the tries went to James
Maloney, who also took the goal-kicking duties and landed 8 from 9. For Maloney, discarded by 2 other clubs and struggling to regularly fit into
the starting lineup, it was a day to remember. Jerome Ropati also scored twice in a day the Warriors will long cherish as they handed the
Broncos the worst home defeat in their history.
New Zealand Warriors 48 def Brisbane Broncos 16
Warriors : Tries – J Maloney 3, J Ropati 2, S Mannering, L Hohaia, J Moon. Goals – J Maloney 8/9.
Broncos : Tries – I Folau, M Gillett, A McCullough. Goals – P Wallace 2/3.
Referees – S Lyons, A Shortall. Crowd – 32,338 at Suncorp Stadium.
The Bulldogs, close to minor premiers in 2009, were winless going into their clash against the Roosters; while the Roosters, last year’s wooden
spooners, went into the match undefeated. But for one day, the 2009 order was restored as the Bulldogs dominated to record a
comprehensive 60-14 victory.
The ball travelled from end to end for the first 10 minutes, but once Josh Morris went over for the first of four tries, the floodgates opened
and the Bulldogs dominated proceedings. Morris had a hat-trick by half time, with the Bulldogs running in 6 tries before the break. While the
Roosters were having a shocker, missing tackles and dropping the ball with regularity, the Bulldogs rediscovered the barnstorming form that
took them to last season’s preliminary final.
After the break, the Roosters made a mini-revival, scoring twice in the first five minutes to reduce the Bulldogs’ lead to 30-14. But the dropped
ball continued, and when Jamal Idris went over in the 50th minute, the Bulldogs’ juggernaut was on again.
Ben Barba came off the bench in the second half, and continued his meteoric rise with a second half hat-trick. Josh Morris went over for his
fourth try, while Steve Turner and Idris completed doubles.
The Bulldogs’ first win for the season looks set to kick-start their year after a slow start; but for the Roosters it was a return to the dark and
dismal days of last season.
Canterbury Bulldogs 60 def Sydney Roosters 14
Bulldogs : Tries – J Morris 4, B Barba 3, S Turner 2, J Idris 2, A Ryan. Goals – B Goodwin 6/12.
Roosters : Tries – B Jones, B Anasta, M Pearce. Goals – T Carney 1/3.
Referees – J Robinson, B Sutton. Crowd – 19,738 at ANZ Stadium.
South Sydney, having had big expectations pre-season but defeats in their first two games, made the first step towards getting their season
on trace when the Rabbitohs defeated struggling Cronulla 30-8 at Toyota Stadium on Monday night.
The Rabbitohs had more reason to be nervous pre-game. Isaac Luke only arrived at Toyota Stadium minutes before kick-off, having accidentally
gone to the wrong ground. And repeat sets saw Luke Covell open the scoring for the Sharks to take them to a 4-0 lead.
But the Rabbitohs’ fears were to be short-lived, and it wasn’t long until they took the ascendancy. Beau Champion kick-started the Rabbitohs,
scoring a double before the 20 minute mark to take Souths to a 12-4 lead. And just four minutes after Champion’s second try, Colin Best found
the line to further extend the Rabbitohs’ lead. And shortly after half time, big Sam Burgess crashed over for his first NRL try.
The Sharks got one try back through Blake Ferguson, but on the hour Isaac Luke went over for the Rabbitohs’ 5th try. Luke, having converted
the first four tries, handing the kicking tee to Chris Sandow, who was successful with the conversion to give Souths a 30-8 lead.
And that’s how the scoreline remained, Souths content to defend and play out time to record a morale-boosting victory. But for the Sharks,
winless since June last year, it was another night of doom and gloom. The club is in crisis and morale is even further slipping away.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 30 def Cronulla Sharks 8
Rabbitohs : Tries – B Champion 2, C Best, S Burgess, I Luke. Goals – I Luke 4/4, C Sandow 1/1.
Sharks : Tries – L Covell, B Ferguson. Goals – L Covell 0/2.
Referees – S Hayne, B Suttor. Crowd – 10,741 at Toyota Stadium.