|ROUND 5 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 9th April
St George-Illawarra v Brisbane (7:30pm, WIN Stadium)
Gold Coast v Brisbane (7:30pm, Skilled Park)
Saturday 10th April
South Sydney v Newcastle (5:30pm, Bluetongue Stadium)
North Queensland v Wests Tigers (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
Canterbury v NZ Warriors (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Sunday 11th April
Manly v Cronulla (2:00pm, Brookvale Oval)
Penrith v Sydney Roosters (3:00pm, CUA Stadium)
Monday 12th April
Parramatta v Canberra (7:00pm, Parramatta Stadium)
With the AFL not scheduling matches on Good Friday, rugby league has the run of Melbourne to itself and a
blockbuster crowd rocked up to Docklands to see the Storm take on St George-Illawarra.
The first half was an arm wrestle. Both sides pushed each other’s line, but the defences held firm and neither side
was able to break the line. Cameron Smith landed a penalty goal on the 18th minute and another one on the stroke
of half time, and the Storm took a 4-0 lead into the break.
Five minutes after the resumption, Dane Nielsen made a break and found the line for the first try of the game. Four
minutes later, Anthony Quinn crashed over to extend the Storm’s advantage. Jason Nightingale got one back for the
Dragons, but on 67 minutes Billy Slater put on an act of individual brilliance; running the length of the field weaving his
way through the Dragon traffic to score.
Amazingly, none of the four tries of the game were converted, the Storm holding a 16-4 advantage. A late field goal
to Cooper Cronk gave the Storm a 13-point buffer and ensured the crowd would go home happy.
Melbourne Storm 17 def St George-Illawarra Dragons 4
Storm : Tries – D Nielsen, A Quinn, B Slater. Goals – C Smith 2/5. Field Goals – C Cronk 1/1.
Dragons : Tries – J Nightingale. Goals – J Soward 0/1.
Referees – J Maxwell, G Sutton. Crowd – 25,480 at Etihad Stadium.
The traditional Good Friday clash at the SFS saw the Roosters take on the Broncos, and the Roosters returned to the
winning list in style, taking out a comfortable 25-6 victory.
The Roosters took early control, and with three converted tries in the first half went to an 18-0 lead at the break.
Two of the tries and the conversions went to Todd Carney, the former Raider continuing his rehabilitation into NRL
ranks with another best on ground performance at full-back.
The Roosters played impressively, but were helped along by some appalling errors from the Broncos, with a succession
of drop balls and missed tackles underlining how the exodus of quality players over the last couple of years has seen
the Broncos become a shadow of their former selves.
After 30 scoreless minutes in the second half, Andrew McCullough finally broke through to get the Broncos on the
board. But it took just 3 minutes for any hopes of a miracle comeback to be dashed when Anthony Minichiello found
the line to make the game safe for the Roosters. A late field goal to Todd Carney was the icing on the cake.
Sydney Roosters 25 def Brisbane Broncos 6
Roosters : Tries – T Carney 2, J Aubusson, A Minichiello. Goals – T Carney 4/4. Field Goals – T Carney 1/1.
Broncos : Tries – A McCullough. Goals – P Wallace 1/1.
Referees – T Archer, M Cecchin. Crowd – 17,106 at Sydney Football Stadium.
After so much doom and gloom around Cronulla – the long losing streak stretching back to mid last season, financial
woes, a player exodus – finally the Sharks had some good news when they defeated Parramatta 11-0 at Toyota Park
on Saturday night.
The first half was scoreless, but not through any lack of endeavour by either team. Both made numerous raids at
each other’s line, but a combination of tight defence and a slippery ball in the wet conditions made scoring difficult.
But just 4 minutes after the break, Blake Ferguson found a crack in the Eels’ defence to record the first try of the
On the hour, Ferguson was in again after a 50 metre run down the wing to score in the corner. And moving in to
complete the conversion was former Eel Tim Smith, playing his first game in his new colours. Shortly afterwards,
Ferguson was flattened by a high shot from Fuifui Moimoi which saw the big Eel placed on report. Smith then
completed a field goal to take the score to 11-0, with the Sharks then defending grimly as Parramatta pressed the
Cronulla line during the closing minutes. But the defence held and the Eels were kept scoreless, prompting scenes of
jubilation among the Cronulla players and supporters that the long losing run was finally over.
Cronulla Sharks 11 def Parramatta Eels 0
Sharks : Tries – B Ferguson 2. Goals – T Smith 1/3. Field Goals – T Smith 1/1.
Eels : Tries – Nil. Goals – Nil.
Referees – T De las Heras, A Klein. Crowd – 13,213 at Toyota Stadium.
It wasn’t pretty to watch, but Manly recorded an important away win when the Sea Eagles won their second match in succession, defeating
the Warriors 14-6 at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.
Michael Robertson scored the only try of the first half, running close to the sideline and staying inside the field of play by only a few centimetres
before being airborne when landing the ball in the corner. Jamie Lyon was unable to land the conversion, and Ben Farrer found himself given 10
in the bin shortly afterwards. But the Warriors were unable to make anything of their time with a numerical advantage, and instead the Sea
Eagles landed two penalty goals to take an 8-0 lead into the break.
The Warriors got on the board shortly after the break after a run by Jerome Ropati led to a converted try. But the turning point came with 15
minutes to go, when Steve Matai chased a grubber from Kieran Foran. After an eternity of replays, the video ref awarded a benefit of the
doubt try – and doubtful it was, with it being very dubious whether Matai had grounded the ball. But after being denied a win by two
Parramatta forward passes not being called a fortnight ago, maybe this was the stroke of luck for Manly that made up for that result.
Manly Sea Eagles 14 def New Zealand Warriors 6
Sea Eagles : Tries – M Robertson, S Matai. Goals – J Lyon 3/4.
Warriors : Tries – J Ropati. Goals – J Maloney 1/1.
Referees – B Cummins, C James. Crowd – 19,230 at Mt Smart Stadium.
Wests Tigers pulled off another miracle victory when they came from behind to defeat Canberra 35-22 at Canberra Stadium on Sunday
The first half was all Canberra. From the moment Dane Tilse crossed over for the opening try, the Raiders were dominant. Five-eighth Terry
Campese was the major destroyer, putting on two runs that wrong-footed the Tiger defence to set up Shaun Fensom and then a creative
offload put Joe Picker over the line. Even when some sloppy defence enabled the Tigers to score on the stroke of half time to reduce the
deficit to 22-10, few could have forseen the transformation in the game that would come in the second half.
After the break, it was the opposite five-eighth, the Tigers’ Benji Marshall, who was the key playmaker. Robbie Farah went over within minutes
of the restart but a penalty sent Campese to the kicking tee for a chance to give the Raiders an 8-point buffer. But his kick was unsuccessful,
and a few minutes later Chris Lawrence was over and after the conversion scores were level. Liam Fulton’s second try with 10 minutes to go
gave the Tigers the lead for the first time, and Farah’s field goal gave the Tigers a 7-point advantage. A late try to Beau Ryan was the icing on
the cake, as the Tigers had pulled off a remarkable victory, their second big comeback win already this season.
Wests Tigers 35 def Canberra Raiders 22
Tigers : Tries – L Fulton 2, B Marshall, R Farah, C Lawrence, B Ryan. Goals – B Marshall 5/7. Field Goals – R Farah 1/1.
Raiders : Tries – D Tilse, J Croker, S Fensom, J Picker. Goals – T Campese 3/5.
Referees – S Hayne, B Suttor. Crowd – 17,112 at Canberra Stadium.
Penrith moved into the top 8 after a thrilling come-from-behind 34-30 away win over Newcastle in an Easter Monday thriller.
Everything looked to be plain sailing for the Knights in the first half as they cruised to a 24-6 lead at the break. Lachlan Coote scored an early
try for the Panthers, but the Knights then ran through four tries in the final 20 minutes of the half. Three of the tries came after the Panthers
were pulled up for forward passes in their own half, handing the Knights field position from which they were easily able to capitalise. Akuila Uate
helped himself to a hat-trick as the Knights looked to be in control.
But out of nowhere, the Panthers worked their way back into the contest. Three tries in 20 minutes saw the scores levelled, before a run by
Jarred Mullen restored the Knights’ lead.
At 73 minutes, Joseph Paulo crossed the line for the Panthers, but it was a close call whether he had grounded the ball correctly. After a
lengthy video ref deliberation, a benefit of the doubt try was awarded, to the fury of the local fans. And with just a few seconds to go, Adrian
Purtell dived over to score in the corner and hand the Panthers an unlikely victory.
Penrith Panthers 34 def Newcastle Knights 30
Panthers : Tries – L Coote, M Jennings, S McKendry, L Lewis, J Paulo, A Purtell. Goals – M Gordon 5/6.
Knights : Tries – A Uate 3, C Paterson, J Mullen. Goals – S Dureau 5/5.
Referees – J Robinson, B Sutton. Crowd – 15,894 at Energy Australia Stadium.
With the Easter Show in full swing in the Showgrounds next door, and plenty of Show patrons making their way to the stadium, a bumper
crowd was on hand for the Easter Monday night battle of the ANZ Stadium co-tenants.
It was a Souths home game, but the Bulldogs’ fans were the first to find their voice when Ben Roberts found some space to score in the
corner in the Bulldogs’ first set of the game. But it didn’t take long for the Rabbitohs to level the game up, with Beau Champion taking
advantage of some sloppy defending to put the Rabbitohs on the board; and after 5 minutes scores were locked at 6-6. The game had got off
to an explosive, free-flowing start, and more was to come when Chris Sandow turned on some magic to put the Rabbitohs in front in the 8th
In the 24th minute, Nathan Merritt was over. This was followed by a double to big Sam Burgess, and at half time the lead had extended to 26-
6. The Rabbitohs had turned on their entertaining play, and the Bulldogs had no answers.
Nathan Merritt got on the board shortly before the hour, and the game was safe. The Bulldogs scored two late tries to Bryson Goodwin and
Ben Barba, but it was too little too late; and Beau Champion’s second try in the final minute was the icing on the cake.
Click here to see Harboursport's photo gallery from this match.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 38 def Canterbury Bulldogs 16
Rabbitohs : Tries – B Champion 2, S Burgess 2, C Sandow, N Merritt, I Luke. Goals – I Luke 3/5, C Sandow 2/2.
Bulldogs : Tries – B Roberts, B Goodwin, B Barba. Goals – B Goodwin 2/3.
Referees – G Badger, P Haines. Crowd – 30,120 at ANZ Stadium.
North Queensland handed Gold Coast their first loss of the season when the Cowboys used the home ground
conditions to their advantage to record a 32-18 win on Saturday night.
Scores were locked at 6-6 after an even first half hour, but the final 10 minutes of the first half saw the Cowboys get
the upper hand. Finding gaps in the Gold Coast line, Luke O’Donnell and Willie Tonga broke through to score, Tonga’s
try being his second for the night. And shortly after the break a 50m run turned his return into a hat-trick, and the
Cowboys were well set for victory.
Johnathan Thurston was again an impressive performer. The key playmaker, he had a hand in most of the scoring
throughout the night, and in the final moments turned on some individual brilliance to force a turnover and then put
on a chip and chase to score. In addition, Thurston had a perfect record with the kicking tee, landing 6 from 6. For
the Titans, Mark Minichiello scored two tries, while Mat Rogers kicked 3 from 3. But it was North Queensland’s night,
the Cowboys being easily the superior side and putting the home crowd into raptures.
North Queensland Cowboys 32 def Gold Coast Titans 18
Cowboys : Tries – W Tonga 3, L O’Donnell, J Thurston. Goals – J Thurston 6/6.
Titans : Tries – M Minichiello 2, S Tagataese. Goals – M Rogers 3/3.
Referees – S Lyons, A Shortall. Crowd – 16,551 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.