All posts by Callum Urquhart

Raiders easily dispose of Titans

Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton

The Canberra Raiders were hoping to snag a top four spot, the Gold Coast Titans looking to move away from the wooden spoon.

In the end, just one side could prevail and that was the Raiders in a comprehensive victory.

Despite the favouritism tag given to the Raiders, it was the Titans who pounced first.

After 13 minutes, the Titans opened the scoring.

On the goal line, Tanah Boyd put a grubber through that was missed by Nick Cotric.

It bounced perfectly and Phillip Sami reaped the rewards.

Jamal Fogarty hooked the goal meaning the score remained at 4-nil.

However, this lead did not last long as the Raiders hit back after 5 minutes.

On the goal line, they went down a short side with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

Nicoll-Klokstad threw a cutout ball for Nick Cotric to score in the corner and level the score.

Jarrod Croker hit the post on the conversion attempt so the score stayed at 4-all.

A few minutes later, a beautiful set play would get the Raiders the lead.

Jack Wighton got the ball on a short side and gave it to Elliott Whitehead.

Wighton received it on a wrap around to get the overlap and sent Jordan Rapana into space on the sideline.

Rapana drew in the fullback and passed to Wighton in support to score the try.

Croker converted to make the lead 10-4.

Not long after, the Raiders would find their way back to the goal line.

Wighton got the ball on a seemingly nothing play but managed to step his way over the line to get his double.

Croker converted again to make the lead 16-4.

With only four minutes left in the first half, Canberra would score their fourth unanswered try.

A few metres out from the line, Tom Starling dummied left and went himself to score from dummy half to get his first NRL try.

Jarrod Croker added the two to make the lead 22-4. This remained the score until half time.

The Titans got first points of the second half, 15 minutes in.

On the last tackle, Jamal Fogarty took on the line and popped out an offload for AJ Brimson to score.

Fogarty converted to lower the deficit to 10-22.

However, 5 minutes later, Starling sent Hudson Young over on a crash line to extend the lead again.

Croker converted to make the lead 28-10.

With 15 minutes left in the game, the Raiders would cross again.

Cotric intercepted a  Sami pass and returned it to score and get the Raiders above 30 points.

Croker added the 2 to make the lead 34-10.

10 minutes later, Keegan Hipgrave crashed over for the Gold Coast under the posts.

Fogarty converted to make the score 16-34.

From the ensuing kickoff, the Titans were penalised for an obstruction.

Croker kicked a penalty goal to make the lead 36-16. This score remained until full time.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jack Wighton (CAN)

2. Tom Starling (CAN)

  1. AJ Brimson (GLD)
Canberra Raiders hooker Tom Starling

Panthers dominate Raiders in the wet

Penrith Panthers forward Liam Martin

The Penrith Panthers took on the Canberra Raiders in what was billed as the game of the round.

The Panthers competing for the minor premiership and the Raiders for a top 4 spot.

After successfully turning away an attacking raid from the Canberra, Penrith went on the attack.

10 minutes in, Viliame Kikau opened the scoring.

Nathan Cleary double pumped and sent the big Fijian through a hole and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad couldn’t stop him 1-on-1.

Cleary added the 2 to make the lead 6-nil.

The Panthers cracked the Raiders again and this time, it was the other back rower.

Api Koroisau faked left and sent Liam Martin in the gap between Elliott Whitehead and Jack Wighton to score.

Cleary again kicked the 2 to make the lead 12-nil.

The Raiders had their chance when Elliott Whitehead was sent to the bunker with a chance to give the Raiders their first points.

However, Jordan Rapana was deemed to be offside and a penalty was awarded to the Panthers.

Again a few minutes later, the Raiders almost scored.

Josh Papalii powered over but the bunker ruled that he was held up in goal by the brick wall defence of Penrith.

With little time remaining in the half, the Panthers scored their third unanswered try.

Jarome Luai grubbered through the line and Stephen Crichton pounced on it to score the 4-pointer.

Cleary went 3 from 3 to make the lead 18-nil.

With less than a minute left, Panthers continued the demolition.

After a spread from left to right, Brent Naden leapt for the corner and got the ball down with a great finish.

Cleary kept his perfect kicking record to make the lead 24-0 at the break.

As the second half started, the Raiders finally got their first points.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad burrowed down and powered over with 4 defenders hanging on.

Jarrod Croker converted to lower the deficit to 24-6.

Penrith were soon given a penalty when it was deemed that Croker was offside.

Cleary kicked the penalty goal to make the lead 26-6.

Only two minutes later, the Raiders looked like they had scored through George Williams.

However, Corey Harawira-Naera was found to have obstructed Kikau and the try was denied.

With the game winding down,  Nicoll-Klokstad scored his second try of the night as he slid over with two defenders on his back.

Croker converted to lower the margin to 26-12.

The Raiders didn’t have enough in the end and one last penalty goal on the buzzer gave the Panthers a 28-12 victory.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Liam Martin (PEN)

2. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (CAN)

  1. Apisai Koroisau (PEN)
Canberra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Roosters hold on against gutsy Titans

Roosters forward Siosiua Tauekahio

People may have expected a blowout but it was anything but as the Sydney Roosters only narrowly defeated a gutsy Gold Coast Titans side.

The Roosters looked to solidify their top 4 spot for the week while the Titans were trying to keep off the bottom of the ladder.

After Jamal Fogarty was denied a try early due to a pass off the ground, the Roosters opened the scoring.

Kyle Flanagan added a penalty goal after Jai Arrow was offside to make the lead 2-0.

The Titans struck back with the first try of the game after 10 minutes of play.

Dale Copley made a break up the right sideline and kicked infield for Anthony Don to put it down.

Ashley Taylor missed the conversion so the score remained 4-2 to the Titans.

Soon after, the Roosters had a scrum 10 metres out. the Titans were offside and Joey Manu was cost a try so Brian Kelly was sent to the sin bin.

Kyle Flanagan added another penalty goal to make the score 4-all.

The Roosters were quick to take advantage of the extra man.

James Tedesco sent Mitchell Aubusson over on the right sideline and Kyle Flanagan converted to make the score 10-4 to the Chooks.

On the half time buzzer, the Roosters were caught offside.

Titans kicked the penalty goal to make the HT score 10-6 to Sydney.

Not long into the second half, Keegan Hipgrave was sent to the sin bin for escorting Lindsay Collins.

Flanagan missed the penalty goal but he had another attempt 2 minutes later because Jarrod Wallace was offside.

He nailed it and the lead was 12-6.

As the battle waged on, both sides went set-for-set and tit-for-tat.

The Roosters got into good field position with a wonderful defensive set. on the set, Luke Keary put a chip up and Joey Manu took it to score a try.

Flanagan converted to make the lead 18-6.

With 5 minutes left, Phillip Sami found his way over the line.

Taylor converted to lower the lead to 18-12.

However, the Roosters would hold on for the victory.

The Roosters almost guaranteed their spot in the top four while the Titans were very gutsy but could possibly drop to 15th this week.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Siosiua Taukeiaho

2. Philip Sami

  1. Joey Manu
Gold Coast Titans winger Philip Sami

Bulldogs hold on against Knights in the wet

Canterbury Bulldogs prop Aiden Tolman

The Newcastle Knights took on the Canterbury Bulldogs at McDonald Jones Stadium and looked to push for a top four spot. 

The Knights had not gone two wins in a row since round 2 and aimed to finally get it done and get back in the top 4.

For the Bulldogs, they were trying to break a 6 game losing streak.

12 minutes in, the Bulldogs got the first points.

Aiden Tolman crashed over following a grubber down the right side from Lachlan Lewis.

Nick Meaney converted and the lead was 6-0. This score remained for a very low half time score.

The Knights needed a strong second half but that’s not how they started.

Less than 3 minutes in, Raymond Faitala-Mariner powered over and got the ball down to give the Bulldogs a second try.

Jake Averillo added the 2 points to make the lead 12-0.

The Bulldogs would cross again to cement their dominance over the opening 50 minutes.

Kieran Foran put a grubber through and the knights made a mess of it.

Kalyn Ponga slipped over and Jake Averillo got to it to add a third unanswered try.

He converted it himself to make the lead 18-0.

With 20 minutes left, Hymel Hunt finally got the Knights on the board.

Ponga converted the try and the deficit was down to 18-6.

With 10 minutes left, Kurt Mann went short to Sione Mata’utia on a crash line to score.

Ponga added the 2 to make it a 1-score game.

The Knights kept pushing for a final try but they just didn’t have enough and the Bulldogs held on.

The Knights failed to break into the top 4 while the Bulldogs broke their six-game losing streak.

For a team that has yearned for a win, Bulldogs coach Steve Georgallis admits they just sang the team song straight away.

“Any type of winning feels great,” Georgallis said.

“We didn’t even talk after the game, we just went straight into the team song. That’s how happy we were.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Aiden Tolman

2. Bradman Best

  1. Nick Meaney
Newcastle Knights centre Bradman Best

Eels survive in nail-biter against Knights

Parramatta Eels lock Nathan Brown

The Newcastle Knights hosted the Parramatta Eels, finally back at their home ground, McDonald Jones Stadium.

If the Knights won, they would make the top 4 while if the Eels won, they took move back into first place.

Early in the game, the late inclusion Tautau Moga had a try opportunity sent to the bunker.

It was ruled a knock on and the Eels survived.

17 minutes in, Ryan Matterson opened the scoring.

A few metres out, Junior Paulo drew in a few defenders and offloaded to Reed Mahoney.

Mahoney handed it off to Ryan Matterson who scored. Clint Gutherson missed the goal and the lead remained 4-nil to the Eels.

Both sides went set for set for a while. With 5 minutes left in the first half, the Knights got their first points.

Andrew McCullough dove over the goal line from dummy-half and corkscrewed around to score.

Kalyn Ponga hit the post and the score remained 4-all.

The Knights had the first scoring opportunity of the second half.

A kick landed on the goal line, under the posts and no Eel wanted to touch it.

It bounced to Tautau Moga but Michael Jennings hit his arm and he dropped it, giving the Eels possession.

First points of the second half came at the hour mark.

The Knights were called offside and Clint Gutherson broke the deadlock and kicked Parramatta ahead 6-4.

The Eels made their lead a little bit safer with 15 minutes left.

Mitch Pearce gave away a high tackle penalty and Clint Gutherson took the quick tap.

Gutherson ran through the a Knights defence caught off-guard and gave it to Maika Sivo to score.

This try tied Maika Sivo as top try scorer so far during the season.

Clint Gutherson hooked the goal and the lead remained 10-4.

With 3 minutes left, it looked like a grubber from Kalyn Ponga and a spectacular put down by Tex Hoy had leveled the game but on a second look, Tex Hoy was offside.

Parramatta survived with their six-point lead until full time.

Although the win was one deemed as ugly, Eels coach Brad Arthur was pleased to get the win.

“We did a lot of defence at training this week – just focused on our defence and hardly touched the ball. It probably showed tonight,” he said.

“But we knew defence would be important for us.

“And at the back end of the year we need to make sure we’ve got our systems in place with our defence.

“[Tonight] we’ve shown we’ve got some work to do with our attack but I’m proud of the defensive effort.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Nathan Brown (PAR)

2. Kurt Mann (NEW)

  1. Reed Mahoney (PAR)
Newcastle Knights five-eighth Kurt Mann

Dean Paying the price for the Bulldogs’ board woes

Canterbury Bulldogs coach Dean Pay

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have been in dire straits in 2020.

With just 1 win from 8 games so far this season, something needs to change.

Earlier in the season, it looked like Dean Pay was all but gone.

In round 4 and with both sides winless heading into the clash, the Bulldogs took on the St George Illawarra Dragons at Bankwest Stadium.

The match was billed with the losing coach losing their job. Dean Pay vs Paul McGregor. The Bulldogs won and Dean Pay survived.

Even though the men in blue and white won the game easily (22-2), the Dragons have picked up in form and the Doggies now sit dead last.

However, the men on the NRL 360 desk believe the coach is not the problem.

Canterbury Bulldogs half Kieran Foran

Instead, it is the boardroom dramas at Belmore.

The current board, chaired by Lynne Anderson, is just as much of a mess as the club is on field.

The club does not have anything for the future.

They don’t know who their coach is, what their home ground will be, what their main sponsor will be.

The current board came in on the promise that they would fix everything and that has not happened well.

Phil Rothfield said on NRL 360, “There was some impatient people on the edges, and I’m talking lobbying power brokers who got rid of Ray Dibb last time and put this new board in have now turned on them”.

Canterbury Bulldogs veteran prop Aiden Tolman

Rothfield also believed they will bring in a new board and will attempt to bring Wayne Bennett over from Redfern.

As well, they want Mick Ennis to come in and learn coaching from Wayne Bennett to become an NRL coach.

Paul Kent said, “this is where I feel bad for a bloke like Dean Pay who is paying the price for what is happening.”

The main example of this is Josh Reynolds, the current starting five-eighth for the Wests Tigers.

Dean Pay wanted to sign Josh Reynolds but the board blocked the signing.

The reason for this is because the board wanted to look long term and not sign an old halfback but, they aren’t giving Dean Pay long term.

Canterbury Bulldogs young half Lachlan Lewis

They want short term results from a long term vision and the coach is paying the price for that.

Ben Ikin said, “the patience that they expected from their constituents, they are not prepared to give to their current coach.”

James Hooper says on the show that the factionalism of the board is a massive issue and their all constantly at war.

This leads to indecision in the board over the big decisions, such as the coach.

This also affects player recruitment and retention.

James Hooper said, “The first question that any player that Canterbury show any interest in signing for 2021 asks; who’s going to be the coach? And they can’t give them an answer”.

The dogs of war have become the dogs at war.

Canterbury Bulldogs captain and back-rower Josh Jackson

Warriors drown disappointing Broncos

New Zealand Warriors veteran half Blake Green

The Brisbane Broncos nightmare continued after they fell to a sixth straight defeat, this time at the hands of the New Zealand Warriors.

It would be the men in maroon and gold who opened the scoring.

After a few repeat sets on the goal line, a simple overlap to the right side that opened up the Warriors.

Tesi Niu delivered the final pass to PNG international, Xavier Coates who crossed in the corner.

Jamayne Isaako hit the post so the score remained 4-0 to the Broncos.

The Warriors then had a few sets on the goal line and it looked like they had a great chance to score.

However, Coates intercepted it and ran 90 to get a double against the run of play.

Isaako converted this one to make the lead 10-0.

The Warriors would finally get on the board with 1 and a half minutes left in the half after a nice short side play.

Chanel Harris-Tavita threw a cutout ball to Gerard Beale who gave the last pass to Ken Maumalo.

Maumalo gave the Warriors their first points and Harris-Tavita converted to lower the deficit to 10-6 going into the half time break

The Warriors started fast in the second half to level the scores.

Agnatius Paasi crashed over under the posts to score the 4-pointer. Harris-Tavita converted to take the lead 12-10.

10 minutes later, the Broncos would strike back.

From 40 out, Anthony Milford put up a beautiful spiral bomb.

Peta Hiku let it bounce and it went into the in goal.

It bounced over the head of a defender into the grasp of Herbie Farnworth to score.

Isaako converted to make the lead 16-12.

A few minutes later, David Fusitu’a scored to strike back for the New Zealanders but the Broncos challenged the try.

An obstruction was ruled and the Broncos survived.

This would not last long though.

With 10 minutes left, Wayde Egan ran from dummy-half and managed to break through three defenders to score.

Harris-Tavita converted to take the lead 18-16.

A few minutes later, the Warriors would all but seal the game as they crosses for the 4th time this game.

On the last tackle, Maumalo dived over in the corner with a wonderful put down.

However,  Harris-Tavita missed the goal meaning the lead remained 22-16.

To finish off the game, with 1 minute left, Isaiah Papali’i crossed the stripe.

David Fusitu’a was given the final kick but he hooked it.

The score held 26-16 until the end of the game.

Warriors coach Todd Payten praised his side’s resolve but also new loan recruit Jack Hetherington.

“He just threw himself into the week as well, he wasn’t quiet or shy,” Payten said.

“I thought he added a lot of leg speed and a different body shape through the middle for us.

“He made me feel old because he’s the first player I’ve ever coached that I’ve played with his father.”

With the Broncos down in the dumps, veteran back-rower Alex Glenn has vowed to help lead the side out of their slump, as he showed emotion post-game.

“I just got overwhelmed out there,” Glenn said.

“Sometimes we cry, we get upset. It’s just been a couple of tough weeks.

“It just hurts because I know the effort that we’re putting into training every week.

It’s just little areas in our game, we’re lacking discipline. I just care for this club, care for this team so much.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Blake Green

2. Wayde Egan

  1. Ken Maumalo
New Zealand Warriors hooker Wayde Egan

Sharks run rampant in high-scoring clash against Manly

Cronulla Sharks half Shaun Johnson

The Manly Sea Eagles came into this game sitting in the top 8 with two wins in a row while the Cronulla Sharks got back into the winners circle last week.

First points of the game went the way of the men in blue.

It was the late starter Braden Hamlin-Uele who crashed over with Shaun Johnson converting to make the lead 6-0.

It was not long until the Sea eagles struck back.

On his return from injury, Jorge Taufua went over for the Sea Eagles first points.

Reuben Garrick was unable to add the 2 points from the left sideline so the lead remained 6-4 to the Sharks.

That lead however, would not last much longer.

5 minutes after Manly’s try, a grubber was put through by the Sea Eagles.

It was cleaned up by Matt Moylan but he was deemed offside as he was in front of Briton Nikora who already touched it.

Garrick added the 2 points from right in front to level the score at 6-all.

Cronulla did not take long to take the lead back.

The scores were only level for 5 minutes before Sione Katoa broke the deadlock.

Johnson sent a grubber through the defensive line and it bounced up for Katoa to add the 4 points.

Johnson converted to make the lead 12-6. This remained the score until the half time break.

Manly needed a fast start to the second half but instead, they didn’t even seem to leave the sheds.

Sharks received the kickoff and on the opening set, Chad Townsend grubbered through for Josh Dugan to score.

Johnson converted to make the lead 24-6.

The Sharks had all the momentum and it was Johnson who was involved yet again.

He threw a beautiful cutout ball to Bryson Goodwin who beat one tackle and powered over to score.

The Kiwi international had his first miss of the night and the score remained 28-6.

A few minutes later, the Sharks again had the ball in great position.

Quick hands through Johnson and Chad gave Katoa enough space.

Katoa raced over and produced a quality put down to score a 4-pointer that was “sexy for the fans”.

Johnson had a brilliant conversion attempt to make the lead 34-6.

Manly finally hit back with 20 minutes left.

Nikora shot up out of the line leaving a gaping hole for Jake Trbojevic.

Addin Fonua-Blake received it on the inside as support to score Manly’s first second half points.

Garrick kicked the goal from right in front to lower the deficit to 34-12.

As Manly looked to build some momentum, an error let Cronulla off the hook and they had field position again.

A grubber was placed through that Blayke Brailey chased to score Cronulla’s seventh try of the afternoon.

Johnson added the 2 to make the lead 40-12.

With less than 10 minutes left and a 28 point lead, Sharks had all but won it.

However, that didn’t stop Manly from scoring a consolation try.

On the goal line, Curtis Sironen drew in a couple defenders and offloaded to Fonua-Blake who scored a double.

Garrick converted to lower the deficit to 40-18.

Manly crossed again five minutes later but it still wasn’t enough.

Tevita Funa got the ball with enough space to get a try with a spectacular finish.

Garrick hooked the goal so the score remained 40-22 to the Sharks.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Shaun Johnson (CRO)

2. Chad Townsend (CRO)

  1. Addin Fonua-Blake (MAN)
Cronulla Sharks half Chad Townsend

Newcastle Knights overpower a tame Brisbane Broncos

Newcastle Knights five-eighth Kurt Mann

The Newcastle Knights took on the Brisbane Broncos and as expected, it was all Newcastle and they got the win.

The Knights were coming off their first loss while Brisbane had taken three in a row.

After dominating  possession, the Knights would be the first to crack the scoreboard.

Mitch Pearce held the ball up beautifully and sent Kurt Mann through a gaping hole to score.

Kalyn Ponga converted and the lead was 6-0.

5 minutes later, it looked like Corey Oates had given Broncos some points as well.

However, a second look from the bunker revealed that Jamayne Isaako pushed a defender off the ball and a penalty to the Knights was awarded.

It got worse for the Broncos; Jamayne Isaako was controversially sent to the sin bin and the Knights capitalised.

Mann grubbered to the wing of Hymel Hunt who ran over near the posts to score.

Ponga added the two points to make the lead 12-0.

10 minutes later, still a man down, the Broncos looked for sure to concede to Newcastle.

Andrew McCullough attempted to throw a cutout ball to Edrick Lee but it was intercepted by Xavier Coates who ran 100 to score.

Herbie Farnworth converted to cut the deficit to 12-6.

As the half-time siren approached, Pearce kicked a field goal to make the lead 13-6.

Newcastle came out firing in the second half with an early try.

Daniel Saifiti powered over with 3 defenders on him to score.

Ponga converted to make the lead 19-6.

With 20 minutes left in the game, Pat Carrigan hit Pearce very late and he was sent to the bin.

The Knights kicked the 2 points and the score read 21-6.

To end the game, Pearce stepped over under the posts and Ponga added the 2 to make the final score 27-6.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Kurt Mann

2. Daniel Saifiti

  1. Mitchell Pearce
Newcastle Knights prop Daniel Saifiti

Manly Sea Eagles make resurgent comeback against rejuvenated Brisbane Broncos

Manly Sea Eagles prop Addin Fonua-Blake






The Manly Sea Eagles were coming off a controversial loss to the Eels whereas the Brisbane Broncos were coming off of two heavy defeats  in a row.

Talented Manly rookie Tevita Funa made his NRL debut in this clash.

Brisbane started much stronger than they have recent weeks by scoring first points.

Kotoni Staggs grubbered for himself to score 6 minutes into his return from suspension.

Jamayne Isaako converted and the Broncos had their first lead of the suspended season.

The Broncos again cracked the Manly line 15 minutes in.

The Broncos bombed to the massive winger Xavier Coates who took it in and grounded it to get the second try.

Isaako added the two from the far right side to make the lead 12-0.

The away team kept the points coming against the shellshocked Sea eagles with their third try coming in the 30th minute.

The Brisbane side had Manly beaten for numbers down the left side and former captain Darius Boyd powered over.

Isaako went 3 from 3 to make the lead 18-0.

5 minutes from half time, it looked like Boyd had crossed for his second but a second look from the bunker gave second thoughts.

Corey Oates obstructed Daly Cherry-Evans causing a no try and a penalty to the sea eagles.

Manly used this penalty to finally score.

After a great cutout ball, Funa raced over in the corner to score on debut.

To make the comeback even more difficult, Reuben Garrick missed the goal to keep the score 18-4 in Brisbane’s favour.

Manly needed to come out firing in the second half and they did exactly that.
After 3 and a half minutes, Cherry-Evans cracked the Broncos line with a slick run to get Manly back in the game.

Garrick kicked the goal and the Broncos lead was cut to eight.

15 minutes into the second half, Manly had their second unanswered try of the half.

A shoot by Boyd left space for Moses Suli to walk over and get the 4-pointer.

Garrick converted and the Broncos lead was down to just two points.

65 minutes in, Coates would give away a penalty for an escort and Garrick would level the scores at 18-all with the penalty goal.

With just less than 10 minutes left, Pat Carrigan was penalised for stripping the ball after the held call.

Garrick added the two to take the lead 20-18.

Manly showed gallant defence and just held on to win the game 20-18.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Addin Fonua-Blake (MAN)

2. Xavier Coates (BRI)

1. Daly Cherry-Evans (MAN)

Manly Sea Eagles captain and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans