|ROUND 13 FIXTURES:
(All times shown are Sydney time)
Friday 3rd June
Parramatta v St George (7:30pm, Parramatta Stadium)
Cronulla v Brisbane (7:30pm, Toyota Stadium)
Saturday 4th June
Gold Coast v Penrith (5:30pm, Skilled Park)
Canterbury v Manly (7:30pm, ANZ Stadium)
Sydney Roosters v NZ Warriors (7:30pm, Sydney Football Stadium)
Sunday 5th June
Canberra v North Queensland (2:00pm, Canberra Stadium)
South Sydney v Melbourne (3:00pm, ANZ Stadium)
Monday 6th June
Wests Tigers v Newcastle (7:00pm, Leichhardt Oval)
|Queensland have dominated State of Origin in recent seasons, and the locals in the Sunshine State have lapped it
up. The opening Origin clash for 2011 sold out in minutes, with a full house in attendance for a match which saw
the Maroons having to overcome some stiff opposition before taking out a 16-12 win over New South Wales.
The game had its share of the obligatory big hits and tough tackles early, and it would be the home side who would
be first to get points on the board. On the fifth tackle, Cameron Smith went for a grubber to the in-goals.
Johnathan Thurston won the race to the ball, and just managed to get a fingertip on it; and after considerable
deliberation by the video referee, the try was awarded. With Thurston converting his own try, the Maroons led 6-0
after seven minutes.
It would be the only score of the first half. In the early stages, the Maroons were doing the bulk of the attacking,
earning themselves repeat sets on occasions and forcing the Blues into some tough defending. But as the half
progressed, the Blues rode out the storm and began to exert some pressure on the Queensland defending.
But the Maroons scored early in the second half. A bomb by Cooper Cronk was taken by Jharal Yow Yeh for a try in
the corner; but the angle was too hard for Johnathan Thurston to land the conversion. Queensland led 10-0, but
blew a chance to add an extra two points to their margin when Thurston missed an attempted penalty goal from
straight in front on the hour.
Five minutes later, the Blues were back in the contest. Greg Bird found an opening and made a 30 metre break
before off-loading to a flying Mitchell Pearce for a try under the posts. Jamie Soward converted, and it was 10-6 to
The Blues were playing with more intensity, and with ten minutes to go took the lead for the first time. Michael
Jennings out-muscled the Queensland defence to crash over the line and score, with Soward’s conversion putting
NSW in front and raising hopes of an upset.
But it wasn’t to be. With just a few minutes to go, veteran Darren Lockyer found Billy Slater, who slid past the NSW
defenders to score and restore the Queensland lead. Thurston’s conversion gave the Maroons a 16-12 advantage
that they would hold for the remainder of the game; putting the Maroons in the box seat for the series, with the
Blues having to win both of the remaining games to avoid a sixth straight Origin series defeat.
Queensland 16 def New South Wales 12
Queensland : Tries – B Slater, J Thurston, J Yow Yeh. Goals – J Thurston 2/4.
New South Wales : Tries – M Pearce, M Jennings. Goals – J Soward 2/2.
Referees – T Archer, J Maxwell. Crowd – 52,144 at Suncorp Stadium.
Friday night saw a double-header at Lang Park. First up, local side Brisbane took on Manly; but it would be the Sea
Eagles who would control proceedings with a 34-10 win over the Broncos.
There were some big hits early, as despite both sides having several players backing up from Wednesday’s Origin
match, both sides were looking for an early advantage. After 12 minutes, a penalty goal to the Broncos gave them
the first points of the game, a 2-0 lead.
On 15 minutes, the Sea Eagles took the lead. Brett Stewart put on a burst of speed to weave his way around the
Brisbane defence before sending Will Hopoate through a gap to score in the corner; but too tight an angle for
Jamie Lyon to convert. The Sea Eagles continued to attack, but Tony Williams’ scoring attempt was denied by the
On the half hour mark, the Broncos regained the lead. A break by Peter Wallace sent Alex Glenn into a gap and a
race against Brett Stewart. Stewart ran Glenn down with a try-saving tackle just centimetres short of the line, but
before the Sea Eagle defenders had a chance to get back on side, Glenn played the ball for Ben Te’o to race to
dummy half, gather the ball and score. Corey Parker converted the try, and a penalty goal a few minutes later gave
the Broncos a 10-4 lead that would hold till half time.
Some solid lead-up work by Kieran Foran set up Tony Williams for a try after five minutes in the second half to
level the scores. Five minutes later, Daly Cherry-Evans put up a bomb which Jamie Lyon flew high to catch and
plant the ball for the try that gave the Sea Eagles the lead. And on the hour, Cherry-Evans made a 30 metre
individual break to score and create a 12-point buffer between the Sea Eagles and the Broncos.
By now the Sea Eagles could do no wrong. Daly Cherry-Evans and Will Hopoate completed doubles, turning the
game into a one-sided demolition as the Sea Eagles completely deflated Brisbane’s morale. For the Sea Eagles, a
place in the top four has been consolidated; but the result condemned the Broncos to their third loss in a row,
and a season that started so strongly is in danger of unravelling.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 34 def Brisbane Broncos 10
Sea Eagles : Tries – D Cherry-Evans 2, W Hopoate 2, J Lyon, T Williams. Goals – J Lyon 5/6.
Broncos : Tries – B Te’o. Goals – C Parker 3/3.
Referees – B Cummins, G Sutton. At Suncorp Stadium.
Canterbury had struggled for form in recent weeks, a three match losing streak seeing them with a precarious
grip on the top eight. But the Bulldogs returned to form in the second game of the double-header, completing a
28-6 win over the struggling Gold Coast Titans.
The Bulldogs wasted no time in asserting themselves on the contest. After just five minutes, Kris Keating
offloaded to Frank Pritchard, and the big Bulldog crashed his way through the Titan defenders, dragging three
opponents with him as he crossed the try-line to record the opening try of the game. And it took only three
more minutes before Pritchard again muscled his way over the line, and the video referee confirmed the try was
scored. Pritchard already had a double after just eight minutes, and the Bulldogs led 12-0.
Gold Coast were shell-shocked, but they attempted to fight back. The Titans put in some solid attacking work,
but luck wasn’t running their way as they were twice denied tries by the video replay. At the other end, the
Bulldogs had the luxury of being able to convert their penalties into points, with two penalty goals giving the
Bulldogs a 16-0 at half time.
Six minuted after the break, the Bulldogs were in again. This time it came with a try out wide, with Steve Turner
chasing down a grubber from Ben Barba to score in the corner, but with the tight angle he was unable to
In a season where everything had gone wrong for Gold Coast, the Titans must have felt that their luck had
completely deserted them. Three more times the Titans attempted to score tries but were denied by the video
referee. And with ten minutes to go, Josh Morris scored to wrap up the game for the Bulldogs. Scott Prince
managed a late try for the Titans, and Steve Turner kicked a penalty goal after the final siren for the Bulldogs;
and the siren gave the Bulldogs a comprehensive win to maintain their position in the top eight.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 28 def Gold Coast Titans 6
Bulldogs : Tries – F Pritchard 2, S Turner, J Morris. Goals – S Turner 6/7.
Titans : Tries – S Prince. Goals – S Prince 1/1.
Referees – A Klein, T De las Heras. Crowd – 32,283 at Suncorp Stadium.
Despite a night of wild weather in Newcastle, a crowd of over 18,000 braved the conditions on Saturday night to
see Newcastle take on Parramatta; and the majority would go home happy after the Knights edged out the Eels
8-6 in a low-scoring thriller.
The game last year between the two sides was played in similar conditions and it took till after an hour for the
first score. And this time round it looked to be heading to a similar pattern, with both sides tackling strongly but
struggling to control the slippery ball; as the ball travelled from end to end without looking like crossing the line.
But on 26 minutes, the Knights got on the scoreboard. Jarrod Mullen threw the ball out wide to Wes Naiqama,
who dummied to wrong-foot Luke Burt before racing to the line and planting the ball down for the opening try
of the game. Kurt Gidley added the extras to give Newcastle a 6-0 lead that would be maintained till half time.
The Knights suffered an injury blow, with Mullen injuring his shoulder in a tackle; and the Knights were forced to
defend vigorously against a determined Parramatta side. But the Novocastrian defence was equal to the task and
the Eels were unable to break through. And on the hour, a penalty for a high tackle gave Kurt Gidley to add
another two points to the scoreboard.
But just three minutes later, the game was back in contention. A kick forward saw Jarryd Hayne and Kurt Gidley
contesting the ball in-goal; but somehow neither of them managed to get a touch on it. Casey McGuire flew in to
put a hand on the ball and score a messy try, and after what seemed an eternity the video referee awarded a
benefit-of-the-doubt try to the Eels. Luke Burt’s conversion made the score 8-6.
And that’s how it would stay. The Eels threw caution to the wind in the later stages, desperately looking for the
winning try; but it would elude them. The Knights defended hard, never looking like adding to their score as the
majority of the final stages of the match were played in the Knights’ half. And with three minutes to go, Chris
Walker attempted a try which would have won the game for Parramatta, but the video referee’s decision denied
the try and denied the Eels the win.
Newcastle Knights 8 def Parramatta Eels 6
Knights : Tries – W Naiqama. Goals – K Gidley 2/2.
Eels : Tries – C McGuire. Goals – L Burt 1/1.
Referees – G Badger, B Suttor. Crowd – 18,723 at Ausgrid Stadium.
North Queensland have kept their place in the top four, capitalising on the sloppy play of an appalling Sydney
Roosters side to record a 20-6 victory at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.
The Roosters were struggling to control the ball, failing to complete their sets with regularity through a series of
knock-ons and silly penalties. But it took the Cowboys a long time to take advantage, with the game still scoreless
after 26 minutes. But eventually the Cowboys got on the scoreboard, with Thurston getting the ball from a
scrum win and off-loading to Glenn Hall for the opening try. The conversion, and a penalty goal shortly
afterwards, got the Cowboys to an 8-0 advantage at half time.
The Cowboys had been unlucky, with Leeson Ah Mau controversially denied what looked a straightforward try by
the video referee. But they should have made more of the lopsided penalty and possession count they were
receiving; and the Roosters were lucky to only be eight points down, and still within reach. And the trend of
play, with the Roosters making errors and the Cowboys failing to take advantage, continued in the second half as
the clock ticked towards the hour and still only eight points had been scored.
But eventually the floodgates opened. James Tamou powered his way over the line, bringing some Rooster
defenders with him as he was too strong and crashed over the line to score. And shortly afterwards, Johnathan
Thurston put on some individual vision and pace to manufacture a try from nowhere. And with Thurston
converting both tries, the Cowboys led 20-0 and the game was safely won.
It hadn’t been pretty, with few highlights in a game that never reached any great heights. But the Cowboys had
done enough to take out victory; and even with Frank-Paul Nuuausala scoring a consolation try for the Roosters
in the final few minutes, the result of the match was never in doubt. The Cowboys remain in the top four, but it
was another chapter in the Roosters’ disappointing 2011, the top eight looking even further out of reach.
North Queensland Cowboys 20 def Sydney Roosters 6
Cowboys : Tries – J Thurston, G Hall, J Tamou. Goals – J Thurston 4/4.
Roosters : Tries – F-P Nuuausala. Goals – B Anasta 1/1.
Referees – J Robinson, A Devcich. Crowd – 13,335 at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Melbourne marked Cameron Smith’s 200th game in the right style, with the Storm running out to victory; but it
was far from convincing as the Storm was pushed all the way by a determined Cronulla before taking the points
14-8 at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Sharks wasted a golden opportunity to open the scoring after six minutes, when after moving the ball 90
metres during the set, fullback Isaac Gordon dropped the ball just metres from the line. But shortly afterwards, a
40-20 by the Storm enabled them to get out of their defensive zone and attack the Sharks’ line.
Conditions were wet and slippery, and both sides had trouble controlling the ball during the first half; leading to a
series of knock-ons and penalties. Both sides created chances but were unable to capitalise, and scores were
locked at 0-0 at half time.
But seven minutes after the break, the deadlock was finally broken. A cross-field bomb by Garth Widdop ended
up in the arms of Dane Nielsen and it was a straightforward 10 metres to the line for the opening try. Cameron
Smith had no trouble with the conversion.
But the Sharks quickly hit back, with Paul Gallen sending Isaac Gordon into a gap and a race to the try line, with
Gordon getting the better of a chasing Billy Slater to score and level the game up at 6-6.
The Sharks took the lead on the hour with a penalty goal, but the Storm took a two-pointer to level the scores
With seven minutes to go, Sisa Waqa took the ball and after a desperate scramble the ball was grounded over
the line. The video referee eventually awarded the try, and with Cameron Smith’s conversion it was enough for
the Storm to take the points.
Melbourne Storm 14 def Cronulla Sharks 8
Storm : Tries – S Waqa, D Nielsen. Goals – C Smith 3/3.
Sharks : Tries – I Gordon. Goals – S Porter 2/2.
Referees – S Lyons, P Haines. Crowd – 9,733 at AAMI Park.
With nearly 20,000 fans crammed into Kogarah, St George had to hold on against a fast-finishing Wests Tigers
side before eventually prevailing 24-18 to retain their position on top of the ladder.
In the early stages, it looked like a St George benefit show, as the Dragons virtually monopolised possession and
had the bulk of the attacking chances. Brett Morris made a break and an offload to Matt Cooper got the Dragons
on the scoreboard early. The Dragons continued to attack, and it seemed only a matter of time until they would
But it took until the 24 minute mark until the next try. But eventually it came, with Trent Merrin crossing the
line. And with that try, the floodgates opened; and Mark Gasnier set up Jason Nightingale just a few minutes
later to put the Dragons 16-0 ahead. And it could so easily have blown out even more, but Brett Morris’ scoring
attempt was denied by the video referee.
With three minutes to go till half time, against the run of play, Andrew Fifita made a quick play from dummy half
and crossed the line to score. Benji Marshall added the extras, but with seconds to go before half time a cut-out
pass by Ben Hornby set up Brett Morris for a try. Jamie Soward was unable to convert, and the Dragons led 20-6
at half time.
The Tigers had a scoring chance early in the second half, with a line drop-out giving the Tigers repeat sets. And
with Benji Marshall setting up Matt Utai, the Tigers reduced the gap to eight points and they were back in the
contest. But on the hour, Mark Gasnier scored in the corner; and although Soward was unable to convert, the
lead was out to two converted tries.
With three minutes to go, the marign was halved after Tim Moltzen chased down a grubber to score. The Tigers
continued to attack in the final minutes, but the Dragons defended grimly and had enough of a lead to hang on
and take the win.
St George-Illawarra Dragons 24 def Wests Tigers 18
Dragons : Tries – M Cooper, M Gasnier, B Morris, J Nightingale, T Merrin. Goals – J Soward 2/5.
Tigers : Tries – M Utai, T Moltzen, A Fifita. Goals – B Marshall 3/3.
Referees – M Cecchin, A Shortall. Crowd – 19,892 at WIN Jubilee Stadium.
The heavens opened on Monday night, and only a small crowd braved the conditions in Penrith as the Panthers
took on Souths. The game was a slog in appalling conditions, but the Panthers would at least go home happy
after completed a hard-fought 22-10 win over the Rabbitohs.
Luke Lewis wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard, sliding over to score in the corner after just five
minutes. Luke Walsh from the sideline let fly with the conversion kick, which bounced off the uprights and went
over to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, the Rabbitohs got back into the contest, with Dave Taylor setting up James Roberts, but the
Panthers would waste little time in re-asserting themselves. Forcing a drop-out and repeat sets, the Panthers
went on the attack and Luke Walsh sent Trent Waterhouse through a gap for a try under the posts to give the
Panthers a 12-4 advantage.
The Panthers were on a roll, and shortly afterwards Adrian Purtell outran the Rabbitoh defence to add another
try in the corner, which Walsh was unable to convert. And the Panthers could easily have got another before half
time, only to be denied by the video referee.
But the game came to life early in the second half, as Isaac Luke burst over the line from dummy half to score,
and Chris Sandow’s conversion reduced the deficit to just six points. For the next half hour, the tension was high
as the Rabbitohs pressed hard in search of the equaliser, only to be denied by the determined Penrith defence.
The ball was slippery, and both sides struggled to control possession. The Panthers had few scoring chances, and
although they must have been tempted to add a point to their safety margin, were rarely anywhere near in
range to land a drop-goal.
But eventually, controversially, and against the run of play, the Panthers would score with five minutes to go and
make the game safe. It came when Iosefa looked to have knocked on, but just managed to get a foot to the
ball and kick it to Lachlan Coote, who flew in to dive over the ball and score the match-winning try; which took
the video referee several looks at the replays from various angles before it was finally awarded. Luke Walsh’s
conversion extended the margin to 12 points, and with just five minutes to go, the game was safe.
Penrith Panthers 22 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
Panthers : Tries – L Lewis, T Waterhouse, A Purtell, L Coote. Goals – L Walsh 3/4.
Rabbitohs : Tries – I Luke, J Roberts. Goals – C Sandow 1/2.
Referees – S Hayne, L Phillips. Crowd – 5,703 at Centrebet Stadium.