The best time for any team to be drawn to play against Brisbane is the week before an Origin game, when the
Broncos always have plenty of big names absent at Origin camp; and it was Wests Tigers who were given the
lucky draw ahead of Origin III. And the Tigers made the most of their good fortune, completing a 16-14 win to
maintain their position in the top 4.
The Tigers got off to a flying start, Chris Lawrence diving over from dummy half to put the Tigers on the board in
just the third minute. But the Broncos fought back in the 20th minute, with Ben Te’o receiving an offload from
Peter Wallace to score under the posts; and after the conversion scores were level at 6-6.
The Tigers took the lead again 10 minutes later, Benji Marshall running the length of the field to plant the ball
under the posts. The try was converted, but the Broncos added a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time,
cutting the margin to 12-8 in favour of the Tigers at half time.
10 minutes after the break, the Broncos took the lead. After a knock-on by Daniel Fitzhenry, Antonio Winterstein
pounced on the ball and off-loaded to Gerard Beale who ran 40 metres to score. Corey Parker’s conversion put
the Broncos 14-12 ahead; and that’s how the scores would stay for nearly half an hour.
The Broncos may have been missing their Origin side, but the team they did have was working well, pressuring
the Tigers and pressing the line. Helped along by a one-sided penalty count, and with a run of possession, the
Broncos had the Tigers under siege. But the knock-out blow wouldn’t come.
Instead, against all expectations, and against the run of play, it was the Tigers who would score at the death.
Robbie Farah kicked the ball out wide, where Mitch Brown gathered and scored in the corner. The Broncos were
stunned, a victory that had looked inevitable taken away from them; while the Tigers were celebrating a win that
for most of the second half had looked impossible.
Wests Tigers 16 def Brisbane Broncos 14
Tigers : Tries – M Brown, C Lawrence, B Marshall. Goals – B Marshall 2/3.
Broncos : Tries – G Beale, B Te’o. Goals – C Parker 3/3.
Referees – B Cummins, M Cecchin. Crowd – 30,127 at Suncorp Stadium.
It was a cold night in Gosford for the Sharks’ game against the Bulldogs. But Bulldog hearts were warmed by a
performance which saw them take out a 24-12 win, their first back-to-back wins since rounds 6 and 7.
The win was inspired by Ben Barba, who has established himself as an NRL level player this season. Early on he
was a super-sub, and in recent weeks has made the fullback position his own. And even in the first set of the
game Barba was influential, after five tackles landing a 40-20 kick to put the Bulldogs in an attacking position. And
with the play, Bryson Goodwin ran down the wing and set up Blake Green for a try. Goodwin’s conversion made
the score 6-0.
The Sharks got on the board through a penalty goal, but Jamal Idris shook off the attentions of the Sharks
defenders to add another try, and at the 15 minute mark Ben Barba caught the Cronulla defence napping to
score and put the Bulldogs 18-2 ahead.
The Sharks were under siege, but a bomb by Porter and a high-flying AFL-style grab by Blake Ferguson resulted in
their first try. But almost immediately Barba scored his second try, charging down a kick and running 50 metres to
plant the ball under the posts. The score was now 24-8, and Barba was close to bringing up his hat-trick before
half time only to be denied by the video referee.
The Bulldogs were again denied by the video ref in the first few minutes of the second half, but the second
stanza was to be a grinding, defensive affair. Scoreless until the final minutes, the half saw both sides put in some
heavy tackles but were unable to turn on any attacking flair. The possession count favoured the Bulldogs early,
but as the half continued the Sharks began to get more of the ball.
But as the clock was ticking down, the Sharks became increasingly desperate. Desperation led to errors, errors
led to turnovers, and the scoring chances that the Sharks so desperately needed would not be forthcoming. For
all their efforts, and they worked hard to keep themselves in an attacking position, there were no openings in
the Bulldogs’ line that they could exploit.
Finally, with three minutes to go, the Sharks did get one try back; but by then it was too late. Dean Collis finally
managed a try in the corner, but by then the clock was against the Sharks and their chance to steal a result had
Canterbury Bulldogs 24 def Cronulla Sharks 12
Bulldogs : Tries – B Barba 2, B Green, J Idris. Goals – B Goodwin 4/4.
Sharks : Tries – D Collis, B Ferguson. Goals – S Porter 2/3.
Referees – J Robinson, A Shortall. Crowd – 9,826 at Bluetongue Stadium.
The Sydney Roosters maintained their position in the top 8; Todd Carney relishing his return to the nation’s
capital as the Roosters came back after trailing at half time to defeat Canberra 22-12 on a chilly Sunday afternoon
at Canberra Stadium.
The Roosters were on the attack from the start after the Raiders knocked on from the kick-off, but were unable
to score from their early period of attack. The Raiders steadied and were looking to get themselves back into a
competitive field position, but an intercept by Carney saw him run 40 metres to score under the posts.
At 14 minutes, the Roosters were in again. Carney attempted a 40-20 kick, which bounced and sat up instead of
rolling into touch; but Josh Dugan was unable to control the ball for the Raiders, and after fumbling, Dugan had
to watch in horror as Sam Perrett scooped the ball and ran in to score. But Carney’s conversion was unsuccessful,
the Roosters’ lead staying at 10-0.
The Raiders had a stroke of luck to open their account, with a high bomb going into the corner. Daniel Vidot
attempted to knock the ball back, but it looked to the naked eye like a knock-on. Joel Thompson dived on the
ball and put it down to claim a try; and after considerable deliberation by the video referee, the benefit of the
doubt was awarded and the Raiders had their first try.
Shortly before half time, Josh Dugan made a break and ran 60 metres before being brought down just before
the line. A quick play-the-ball and Joel Monaghan dived over to score the easiest of tries, with Jarrod Croker’s
conversion giving the Raiders a 12-10 lead at half time.
Shortly after the break, the Roosters were back in front, after Mitch Aubusson made a break, and after drawing
the Raider defenders, Aubusson off-loaded to Shaun Kenny-Dowall for a try in the corner. Carney’s conversion
swung magnificently in the wind and the extras were added. And after the hour, Braith Anasta put up a spiral
bomb. Josh Dugan knocked on, and Jake Friend was there to pounce on the ball and score, putting the Roosters
22-12 ahead. The Raiders pressed hard during the remaining time, but were unable to score during the second
half, and the Roosters would hang on to take two valuable competition points and ensure they would remain in
the top 8. But for the Raiders, it was their fourth loss on the trot, and their finals hopes appear to be sinking fast.
Sydney Roosters 22 def Canberra Raiders 12
Roosters : Tries – T Carney, J Friend, S Kenny-Dowall, S Perrett. Goals – T Carney 3/4.
Raiders : Tries – J Monaghan, J Thompson. Goals – J Croker 2/2.
Referees – B Cummins, T De las Heras. Crowd – 10,767 at Canberra Stadium.
Parramatta travelled across the Tasman to take on the New Zealand Warriors, in co-captain Nathan Cayless’s
250th game. But it was a milestone game to forget, as Cayless put in a shocker and his Eels team was thrashed
35-6 by the Warriors.
Lewis Brown opened the scoring for the Warriors, chasing down a grubber from Isaac John and crossing the line
to score. But the Eels quickly replied, Feliti Mateo setting up fullback Tom Humble for a try in the corner, which
Luke Burt sensationally converted to level the scores.
The Eels could have taken the lead, but Nathan Hindmarsh was ruled to have knocked on. And instead it was the
Warriors who would finish the first half going back in front, with Ben Matulino out-running the Parramatta
defenders to score and ensure the Warriors would take a 12-6 lead to half-time.
The Warriors missed a penalty goal in the second half, but put the Eels under pressure. But it took until the hour
for the Warriors to score, with Ukama Ta’ai making a break to score in the corner. Maloney’s conversion was
unsuccessful but the Warriors had extended their lead; and a penalty goal a few minutes later stretched the
margin to 12 points.
Krisnan Inu was taking the ball out of defence with 10 minutes to go when he was brought down by Manu
Vatuvei in a one-on-one strip; Vatuvei then running through to score. By now the Warriors on a roll, and James
Maloney added another try two minutes later. A field goal made the game safe, and Lewis Brown finished the
afternoon in style to bring up his double and give the Warriors a comprehensive 35-6 result.
The result puts the Warriors in the top 8. But for the Eels, their hopes of back to back finals appearances are
taking a dive. The Eels find themselves two games outside the top 8, and although they came from that far
behind at this stage last year to make the final 8, and then make the run that got them to the grand final, it
would be hard to imagine that such history could repeat this season.
New Zealand Warriors 35 def Parramatta Eels 6
Warriors : Tries – L Brown 2, J Maloney, B Matulino, U Ta’ai, M Vatuvei. Goals – J Maloney 5/8. Field Goals – J
Eels : Tries – T Humble. Goals – L Burt 1/1.
Referee – G Badger, A Klein. Crowd – 9,912 at Mt Smart Stadium.
Monday night saw St George legend Mark Gasnier return to the Dragons after a stint playing rugby overseas. But
Penrith soured his return game, with the Panthers joining the Dragons with a share of the competition lead with
a 12-8 win at a cold and wet Kogarah.
It took time for the teams to feel each other out, and the game remained scoreless for 22 minutes of error-
riddled play. Both sides had key players absent on Origin duty, and conditions were slippery, but the quality of
play was surprisingly poor for a match between two teams up near the top of the ladder. But eventually the
deadlock was broken, when Wade Graham played on from dummy half to open the scoring for the Panthers.
Lachlan Coote landed the conversion, and the Panthers held a 6-0 lead. It would be the only score of the first
Coming off the bench, Mark Gasnier entered the action shortly after the try to a massive ovation from the crowd,
and soon began to make an impact, wasting no time in getting into the action. But shortly after the hour mark,
an error from Gasnier gave the Panthers a chance to add a penalty goal, and Lachlan Coote made no mistake
with the boot.
The Dragons had barely looked like scoring, but with eight minutes to go they suddenly found themselves back in
the contest after Faifai-Loa chased down a grubber to score in the corner. Jamie Soward was unable to convert,
but the deficit was back to four points. But three minutes later the fate of the game was sealed with Dave
Simmns scoring in the corner.
The Panthers remain with an inferior for-and-against than the Dragons, so the Dragons would remain on top. But
that try was enough to seal the game for the Panthers, a result to make the NRL world sit up and take notice.
Not even a late try to Faifai-Loa was enough to give the Dragons a sniff, and the Panthers held on to record an
Penrith Panthers 12 def St George-Illawarra Dragons 8
Panthers : Tries – W Graham, D Simmons. Goals – L Coote 2/3.
Dragons : Tries – K Faifai-Loa 2. Goals – J Soward 0/2.
Referees – J Maxwell, B Suttor. Crowd – 12,974 at Jubilee Stadium.
|ROUND 18 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Wednesday 7th July
State of Origin III - New South Wales v Queensland (8:00pm, ANZ Stadium)
Friday 9th July
Sydney Roosters v South Sydney (7:30pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Wests Tigers v Gold Coast (7:30pm, Campbelltown Stadium)
Saturday 10th July
Manly v Canberra (5:30pm, Brookvale Oval)
Canterbury v Melbourne (7:30pm, Adelaide Oval)
Sunday 11th July
Newcastle v Cronulla (2:00pm, Energy Australia Stadium)
Penrith v NZ Warriors (3:00pm, CUA Stadium)
Monday 12th uly
Parramatta v North Queensland (7:00pm, Parramatta Stadium)
BYE - Brisbane, St George-Illawarra
|NOTE - Melbourne stripped of all points for 2010 due to salary cap breach.