|ROUND 8 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 30th April
Brisbane v Newcastle (7:30pm, Suncorp Stadium)
Parramatta v Canterbury (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Saturday 1st May
NZ Warriors v Canberra (3:00pm, Mt Smart Stadium)
Gold Coast v Penrith (5:30pm, Skilled Park)
North Queensland v Melbourne (7:30pm, Dairy Farmers Stadium)
St George-Illawarra v Cronulla (7:30pm, WIN Stadium)
Sunday 2nd May
Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters (2:00pm, Campbelltown Sports Stadium)
South Sydney v Manly (3:00pm, ANZ Stadium)
The rugby league world was rocked in the leadup to Round 7 when the NRL’s salary cap auditors discovered
systematic rorting by Melbourne Storm; which would turn the 2010 season on its head. The penalties handed down
were harsh. The Storm were stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships, their 2006, 2007 and 2008 minor
premierships, and will not receive premiership points this season.
But there remained a round of NRL action to be played, and it started on Friday night at ANZ Stadium when the
Bulldogs took on the Broncos. Both sides went into the match having won last week, but desperately needing
another win to get their seasons back on track after indifferent starts to 2010. And it was the Bulldogs who would
emerge with the points, after a hard-fought 36-18 victory.
The early stages were end to end, but Bryson Goodwin broke through the Brisbane line to open the scoring after 14
minutes. A quick reply to Corey Parker kept the Broncos within range; but unlike Goodwin a few minutes earlier,
Parker was unable to convert his own try and the Bulldogs led 6-4. And on 26 minutes, a penalty goal to the Broncos
levelled the scores.
But the pendulum swing the Bulldogs’ way two minutes before half time when Jamal Idris found some room to move
in and score to restore the Bulldogs’ lead. After the break, a penalty goal to Bryson Goodwin, followed by a
devastating 7-minute burst in which Ben Barba, Luke Patten and Bryson Goodwin all found the line put the Bulldogs
Darren Lockyer and Alex Glenn scored to cut the margin back to 12 points with still more than 10 minutes on the
clock, but Blake Green would intercept and score to put the result beyond doubt.
Canterbury Bulldogs 36 def Brisbane Broncos 18
Bulldogs : Tries – B Goodwin 2, J Idris, B Barba, L Patten, B Green. Goals – B Goodwin 6/7.
Broncos : Tries – C Parker, D Lockyer, A Glenn. Goals – C Parker 3/4.
Referees – G Badger, J Maxwell. Crowd – 17,014 at ANZ Stadium.
Parramatta made a step towards salvaging their 2010 year from the early-season wreckage when the Eels took out a
24-18 victory over North Queensland at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Friday night, their first win in Townsville for 10
The Eels made the early front-running, tries to Ben Smith and Timana Tahu putting the Eels 12-0 ahead after 20
minutes and stunning the smaller than expected Townsville crowd into silence. But the home side fought back, with
Scott Bolton and Ashley Graham crossing the Eels’ line late in the first half to tie the game up at 12-12 at the break.
Five minutes after the break, the home side was in front for the first time. Willie Mason, who had put in plenty of
effort all day and made plenty of metres for his new club, offloaded to Willie Tonga, and Tonga ran around Luke Burt
to score in the corner. A clever conversion from the sideline by Johnathan Thurston put the Cowboys 18-12 ahead.
But with 12 minutes to go the game was back on level terms. Daniel Mortimer found Feleti Mateo who went for a
run before a perfectly-executed long-range pass put Timana Tahu through under the posts for his second try of the
night. And just a few minutes later, Krisnan Inu chased a kick from Mortimer to put the Eels back in front, Burt’s
conversion making the margin an even 6 points. The Cowboys fought hard, looking for the try to get them back to
equilibrium, but it would not be forthcoming and the Eels would complete their second straight win and leave the
Cowboys stranded on the lower reaches of the ladder.
Parramatta Eels 24 def North Queensland Cowboys 18
Eels : Tries – T Tahu 2, B Smith, K Inu. Goals – L Burt 4/4.
Cowboys : Tries – S Bolton, A Graham, W Tonga. Goals – J Thurston 3/3.
Referees – T De las Heras, J Robinson. Crowd – 11,335 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
A penalty goal to the Panthers gave them the lead at half time; and the scoring dried up early in the second half. The Tigers had the better of
play, but was unable to convert it into scoreboard pressure. But the Panthers created opportunities of their own, and finally on the 65th
minute they were able to capitalise on one; when Luke Lewis fired off a pass for Coote’s second try of the night.
Five minutes later, the game was back in the balance when Mark Flanagan scored under the posts; and there was only 2 points in it. The near-
capacity crowd were on their feet, the entertaining fare on the park sending both teams of supporters into a frenzy of excitement.
With just 4 minutes to go, the Panthers made the game safe. A high bomb from the Panthers was chased by Michael Gordon, who took
advantage of some indecisive defence from the Tigers to catch the ball and run in to score. His conversion put the margin out to 8 points; and
the Tigers’ victory was assured.
Penrith Panthers 26 def Wests Tigers 18
Panthers : Tries – L Coote 2, M Jennings, M Gordon. Goals – M Gordon 5/5.
Tigers : Tries – C Heighington, C Lawrence, M Flanagan. Goals – B Marshall 3/3.
Referees – S Hayne, C James. Crowd – 19,220 at CUA Stadium.
Cronulla broke through for their second win of the season when the Sharks assumed control of their match against Newcastle at Toyota
Stadium on Saturday night and recorded a 26-6 win over the Knights.
The Melbourne salary cap scandal had eliminated the risk of the Sharks taking out the wooden spoon, and with the weight of the world
suddenly off their shoulders the Sharks played a more attacking, more enterprising game and the attacking opportunities that had eluded them
for so long began to come their way.
Dean Collis and Isaac Gordon scored off the back of kicks in the first half to see the Sharks to a 10-0 lead at the break. And early in the second
half, John Morris went for a long kick on the 5th tackle, which Tim Smith chased down and weaved his way around Newcastle’s Cooper Vuna
to score. Gordon’s second try and a strong individual effort to Kade Snowden were the icing on the cake.
Newcastle never looked like scoring, having little possession anywhere near the Cronulla line. In the final seconds of the game Junior Sau
crashed over for a try against the run of play which prevented the score from being a complete whitewash; but it was too little too late for a
disappointing Newcastle side which was playing without any noticeable passion or spirit.
Cronulla Sharks 26 def Newcastle Knights 6
Sharks : Tries – I Gordon 2, D Collis, T Smith, K Snowden. Goals – N Stapleton 3/5.
Knights : Tries – J Sau. Goals – K Gidley 1/1.
Referees – P Haines, A Klein. Crowd – 10,662 at Toyota Stadium.
Souths maintained their spot in the top 8 when the Rabbitohs came from behind to defeat Canberra 26-24 in an entertaining clash at Canberra
Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
John Sutton scored an early try for the Rabbitohs, but it would be a rare first half highlight for the Rabbitohs. For most of the half they were
outplayed by a determined Canberra side. It took all the resistance Souths could muster to hold the Raiders out, but when Jarrod Croker burst
over the line in the 20th minute the floodgates began to open. It would be the first of four tries that the Raiders would pile on before half
time; the best of which was a sensational 50 metre run by Josh Dugan along the sideline, balancing to just stay within the field of play before
scoring in the corner. And with Terry Campese landing every conversion, the Raiders led 24-6 at the break.
But whatever Souths’ coach John Lang said to his charges at half time had the desired effect, with the pattern of play in the second half being
the opposite of the first. Instead of the Raiders dominating possession and attacking, it was the Rabbitohs who assumed the upper hand and
the Raiders who began to struggle. And the scoreboard would reflect the change in the game. 20 unanswered points to the Rabbitohs in the
second half turned the deficit into a 2-point lead; and a win that never looked likely had suddenly become a reality.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 26 def Canberra Raiders 24
Rabbitohs : Tries – J Sutton, N Merritt, I Luke, D Taylor, R Wesser. Goals – C Sandow 2/4, I Luke 1/1.
Raiders : Tries – J Croker, J Dugan, J Thompson, T Thurling. Goals – T Campese 4/4.
Referees – M Cecchin, S Lyons. Crowd – 13,145 at Canberra Stadium.
The traditional Anzac Day clash at the Sydney Football Stadium saw a blockbuster crowd on hand. And a strong second half ensured St George
would remain top of the ladder after a convincing 28-6 win over the Roosters.
An early penalty goal gave the Roosters the first score, and for 20 minutes the score would stay 2-0. The action was physical and sometimes
spiteful, with the occasional mellee breaking out. On 27 minutes, Brett Morris burst through to score for the Dragons. On the stroke of half
time, Mitchell Aubusson scored for the Roosters. But uncharacteristically, neither try was converted; and the Roosters led 6-4 at the break.
But the second half was one-way traffic. Dominating possession and territory, the Dragons assumed complete control and were constantly
pressing the Roosters’ line. And the weight of possession took its toll on the scoreboard, with the Dragons recording four unanswered tries.
The last of these was a penalty try, as Matt Cooper was held behind play, preventing him from pouncing on the ball to score what would have
been his second try.
The result sees the Dragons remain top of the ladder, while the Roosters join a congested field in the lower reaches of the top 8.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 28 def Sydney Roosters 6
Dragons : Tries – B Morris, T Merrin, M Cooper, L Priddis, penalty try. Goals – J Soward 4/5.
Roosters : Tries – M Aubusson. Goals – T Carney 1/2.
Referees – T Archer, A Shortall. Crowd – 36,212 at Sydney Football Stadium.
The Anzac Day blockbuster at Docklands was overshadowed by the salary cap scandal; which saw the home team disgraced, stripped of their
2007 and 2009 titles and playing for no points this season. But a crowd of nearly 24,000 came along, and the players came out fighting to
record a 40-6 win over the New Zealand Warriors.
It had been an emotional roller-coaster for the Storm players, but somehow they focussed on the occasion and came out swinging. In the third
minute, Wade McKinnon was flattened by Ryan Hoffman, a clear signal of the Storm’s intent. The Warriors defended grimly as the Storm
continued to attack; and on 16 minutes Cameron Smith crashed over for the opening try. It was the first of four tries as the Storm dominated
position and possession to lead 22-0 at the break.
The second quarter was more of the same. Matthew Duffie completed a double, while Adam Blair, Ryan Tandy, William Isa and Billy Slater also
got on the board. With such a determined team coming out to make a point, the Storm were in unstoppable form. The Warriors had few
chances, but avoided a whitewash when Ukama Ta’ai crossed in the 79th minute.
No points were awarded from the game, with the Storm ineligible to get off the bottom in 2010. But although the Storm have lost so much
through the scandal of this week, it would appear their team spirit and determination remains intact.
Melbourne Storm 40 def New Zealand Warriors 6
Storm : Tries – M Duffie 2, C Smith, A Blair, R Tandy, W Isa, B Slater. Goals – C Smith 6/7.
Warriors : Tries – U Ta’ai. Goals – J Maloney 1/1.
Referees – G Badger, B Suttor. Crowd – 23,906 at Docklands.
Manly suffered a rare loss at Fortress Brookvale when Gold Coast came from behind to defeat the Sea Eagles 24-22 on Monday night.
The Titans got off to a perfect start, Kevin Gordon pouncing on the crumbs from a Glenn Stewart knock-on and running 60 metres to score.
But on 8 minutes the game was back on level terms at 6-6 when Greg Bird knocked on, allowing Trent Hodkinson to run in and score.
Hodkinson was again in the action in the 17th minute, drawing the Gold Coast defence before offloading to an unmarked Steve Matai. The Sea
Eagles were dominating, and continued to press the Gold Coast line. On 29 minutes, Ben Farrar found the line; and despite Lyon’s conversion
being unsuccessful the Sea Eagles still were looking comfortable at 16-6.
Against the run of play, Gold Coast scored before the break. It took another running effort by Kevin Gordon, but despite Manly being clearly
the better side during the first half, they had only a 4-point lead to show for it at half time.
Shortly after the break, Matai was on the end of a length of the field play by the Sea Eagles to score in the corner, and a magnificent
conversion put the Sea Eagles 22-12 ahead. And for 20 minutes, the scores remained unchanged. The Sea Eagles searched for the knockout
blow, the Titans tried hard to get back into the contest; but both sides drew blanks. But the clock was running down, the 10-point lead
remaining intact with less than 10 minutes to play.
But for the third time this season, the Sea Eagles blew a match-winning lead. On 71 minutes, a miracle pass from Nathan Friend put Preston
Campbell in the clear, his try keeping the Titans in the game. And four minutes later, Anthony Laffranchi found a gap in the Manly line and
charged through to level the scores. Preston Campbell’s conversion under pressure put the Titans into the lead, a lead they were able to hang
on to during the tense last few minutes.
Gold Coast Titans 24 def Manly Sea Eagles 22
Titans : Tries – K Gordon 2, P Campbell, A Laffranchi. Goals – P Campbell 4/4.
Sea Eagles : Tries – S Matai 2, T Hodkinson, B Farrar. Goals – J Lyon 3/4.
Referees – J Maxwell, B Sutton. Crowd – 15,195 at Brookvale Oval.
NOTE - Melbourne stripped of all points for 2010 due to salary cap breach.
Two of the competition’s big improvers, the two most attacking sides in the competition, faced off when Penrith
hosted Wests Tigers at CUA Stadium on Saturday evening. And to the delight of the locals at CUA Stadium, it would
be the Panthers who would emerge with the points after an entertaining 26-18 victory.
The Panthers got off to a dream start, scoring in just the 4th minute. Capitalising on an error, the Panthers worked
the ball forward where Frank Pritchard set up Lachlan Coote. Michael Gordon’s conversion put the Panthers 6-0
ahead. But the Tigers hit back almost straight away when Robbie Farah burst through some loose Penrith tackling
and ran 50 metres before offloading to Chris Heighington.
The Tigers, lifted by the try, continued to press the Panthers’ line but were denied. And the Panthers then ran
downfield and were awarded a penalty 25 out. Despite the obvious temptation to take the two points, the Panthers
elected to kick for the line and attack; and the decision was vindicated when Michael Jennings crashed through to
On half an hour, a forward pass gave the Tigers possession, and a penalty late in the set gave them more time and
room to attack. And that was enough for Chris Lawrence to overcome the Penrith defence to score the Tigers’
second try. Benji Marshall converted successfully and scores were locked at 12-12.