Generic NRL Super Saturday Results – More articles and in depth discussion to follow during the weekend.
Dragons 38 def Panthers 20
ST George-Illawarra capped Mark Gasnier’s long-awaited NRL return with a hard-fought 38-20 victory over Penrith at CUA Stadium.
The star five-eighth was solid in his first game of the season after suffering a ruptured pectoral muscle in the Dragons Charity Shield pre-season game in March.
His most telling moment came in the dying seconds when he sent Jason Nightingale over for his second and the Dragons’ seventh try of the night.
It was one of three late tries by the away team which ended a spirited fightback from the bottom-placed Panthers, and left the Dragons â€“ temporarily at least â€“ within two points of the top eight.
Gasnier admitted he was rusty in his comeback.
But after spending the past 18 rounds watching his teammates from the sidelines, the 26-year-old could hardly hide his joy of getting through his comeback match unscathed.
“It was just fun to be back with the guys,” Gasnier said.
“Now I can go back and surf tomorrow morning feeling guilt free, and get back to the way life used to be.
“I didn’t expect to set the world on fire tonight, there’s a lot of rust there, but it’s something that’s going to come with playing football.
“The good thing is I get to play next week, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for about 18 weeks.
“I’ve missed a lot of football the past three or so years, so I don’t really take it for granted much more.
“I think the past two years I’ve enjoyed my football a lot more than what I did when I was younger.
“I probably took it a little bit for granted when I was younger, but I really appreciate it now.”
The Dragons rebounded well from their heavy defeat against the New Zealand Warriors last week to claim their third win from four games.
They looked to have the game in their keeping after charging to a 22-10 lead after two tries â€“ to Josh Morris and Rangi Chase â€“ within three minutes before and after half-time.
The Panthers, though, clawed back to 22-20 down with 20 minutes to play when Richie Williams scored against his former club and then Nick Youngquest touched down from a Peter Wallace kick â€“ the fifth try on the night coming from a boot.
They had their chances to take the lead soon after, but came up short, allowing the Dragons to seal the result with tries to Matt Cooper, Ben Creagh and Nightingale in the final 12 minutes.
“We created enough opportunities to win that game quite easily,” said Panthers coach Matt Elliott after his side’s sixth loss in seven games left the club rooted to last place.
“And when we didn’t take those opportunities, the opposition went down the other end of the field and took theirs.”
Williams, who endured a rocky ride with the Dragons to start the year before joining Penrith mid-season, was “stoked” to get a try against his former club.
“To get the victory would have been sweet, obviously we didn’t, but oh well,” he said.
Adding further to the Panthers woes, Luke Lewis (groin) and fullback Michael Gordon (hamstring) both suffered injuries.
Melbourne Storm 34 def Raiders 6
SEETHING Canberra coach Neil Henry accused referee Jared Maxwell of having a “pre-conceived idea” about his team’s match with Melbourne Storm at Olympic Park.
Canberra lost 34-6 to the competition front-runner and while Henry admitted the better side had won, he said his team was hard done by around the ruck area.
“Did Jared Maxwell have a good game in my opinion? We got beat by a very good side but no he didn’t,” Henry said.
“In my opinion did he have a pre-conceived idea how this game should go? Yes he did.
“They got leap-frogged up the field a number of times.
“It’s hard enough to come here as it is but when well in the game (the penalty count is) 7-1 … I thought it was very lopsided.”
But Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said Maxwell could have blown up more penalties and accused Canberra of repeatedly being offside as it pressured Storm’s kickers.
The final penalty count was 8-5 and Bellamy believed there should have been a greater disparity.
“He (Maxwell) could have gone a little further and blew the pea right out of the whistle but he didn’t.
“You don’t want a thousand penalties in a game but I thought they could have been penalised a little bit more.
“They went right to the edge there tonight.
“You have a look at the kick pressure, two or three of them were offside nearly every kick pressure.
“They get called offside but the referee should be penalising them.”
It provided an interesting end to an otherwise fairly standard match, during which Melbourne proved it could play below par and still win comfortably.
It was Storm’s seventh successive victory and maintained its four-point buffer over second-placed Manly, and kept the Raiders winless in Melbourne since 2000.
Backing up from the Monday night shellacking of Newcastle, Storm looked flat early on and put itself under pressure with a spate of uncharacteristic errors and only led 16-6 at the break.
Canberra, who is outside the eight, also deserved credit as it toiled hard and out-enthused the home side in the chilly seven degree conditions.
Melbourne scored six tries, with five-eighth Greg Inglis in his first game back from a knee injury suffered during Origin, collecting a double.
Halfback Cooper Cronk set up two through his kicks.
The first came five minutes into the match as he put a perfectly-weighted 40m kick through which sat up just over the try-line, with veteran winger Matt Geyer winning the race to the ball.
His second was similar, seven minutes into the second half, with fellow winger Steve Turner collecting the spoils which opened the lead out to 22-6.
One of the other tries of the night was scored by tearaway teen Israel Folau, who showed he has pace to match his power.
The giant 18-year-old ran on to a pass and palmed off one defender, stepped out of a tackle and then stepped around another defender in a 30m dash to the line.
Inglis’s knee flared again while fullback Billy Slater suffered a knock to the ankle however neither injury was rated seriously.
Bellamy said he was satisfied with his side’s performance.
“We got off to a good start but then we lost our way with some handling, we just couldn’t get out of our half.
“The second half ended up into a grind but I was happy with the way we grinded.”
Roosters 20 def Knights 17
SYDNEY Roosters continued Brad Fittler’s unbeaten record as coach with a late 20-17 win over a courageous Newcastle Knights at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
Centre Mitchell Aubusson stepped over the tryline with three minutes remaining to hand rookie coach Fittler his second win from as many games since taking over the duties from Chris Anderson.
“It’s good fun as a coach,” said a cheeky Fittler after the tense win.
“It was a great finish and great that they kept believing.
“I watched it (the game) a bit more closely, the first one I was a bit more excited.
“(But) there’s not much you can do up there (in the coach’s box), you can pass on the messages but no one listens.”
But as Fittler continued smiling his way through the coaching journey his Newcastle opposite Brian Smith had to put on a brave face as he fielded his most depleted Knights side of the season with injured New South Wales Origin stars Danny Buderus, Steve Simpson and Jarrod Mullen all sidelined and prop Adam Woolnough a late withdrawal due to a virus.
The news only gets worse too with talented young back rower Zeb Taia injuring the AC joint in his shoulder.
Newcastle led 12-10 at half-time but the Roosters struck early in the second half through Lopini Paea before Knights winger Cooper Vuna hit back to complete his double and level scores 16-all in the 55th minute.
Rookie Knights halfback Luke Walsh booted a 66th minute field goal to grab a 17-16 lead and raise hopes of an against-the-odds win but the Roosters â€“ with seven Origin experienced players and a Kiwi international â€“ had the nerve to rally at the death.
Smith felt his side deserved the victory but lacked the experience to dominate down the stretch and close out the result.
“We did not dominate enough to feel completely comfortable (with a one-point lead) but at the back end I thought we had done enough to win,” said Smith.
“If you don’t dominate the game you run the risk of losing it.
“We have a lot of young fellas in that team and guys who are not comfortable in first grade dealing with that sort of pressure down the stretch.
“We were a bit stiff not to get the cash tonight.”
The Roosters victory keeps alive slim finals hopes, moving to 16 competition points but remaining in 15th place due to an atrocious for and against record.
More importantly, with Penrith losing to St George-Illawarra, they hold a handy four-point gap over the last-placed Panthers to ease pressure of claiming the wooden spoon in their centenary season.
But Fittler is refusing to consider both finals and wooden spoon chances.
“It’s the one thing I’ve promised myself, not to look at the ladder,” said Fittler.
“Just keep plugging along.
“(I’ll look at the ladder) at the last round, or the week before that.”
Centre Sia Soliola is the Roosters’ only concern after he suffered a fractured eye socket late in the game and could miss four weeks.