All posts by Callum Urquhart

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

 

Titans break 364-day winning drought to defeat the Tigers

Gold Coast Titans halfback Ashley Taylor

It was the Wests Tigers who started as favourites but the Gold Coast Titans were desperate for their opening win.

In two days, had the Titans not won, it would have marked a year since their most last NRL win.

The Tigers opened the scoring on their first trip to the Titans end.

Five minutes in, Benji Marshall gave it under to Adam Doueihi who had enough space to power over the line.

He was almost held up but he got the ball down and Marshall converted. The Tigers lead 6-0.

Another five minutes later, the Tigers would crack the scoreboard again.

At the halfway line, the Titans lead a raid down the left side.

Ashley Taylor threw a cutout ball which was intercepted by David Nofoaluma who out jogged Jai Arrow to score.

Again, Marshall converted to make the lead 12-0.

20 minutes into the game, the Titans would get their first points on the board.

Taylor barely kicked a 40/20 before Kevin Proctor crashed over the line. Taylor converted to lower the deficit to 12-6.

Again, five minutes later, the Titans got a try to level the score.

Taylor put a crossfield bomb up for Anthony Don to make a magnificent catch and bring it down for a four-pointer.

Taylor converted to level the scores at 12-all. This score remained until half time.

The Tigers came out firing in the second half with a very early try. Luke Brooks bombed and the Titans let it bounce.

The Tigers got the ball and put it through the hands to the right side.

David Nofoaluma kicked back in perfectly to Joey Leilua who scored a try of the year contender.

Benji Marshall horribly hooked it to keep the lead 16-12 to the Tigers.

10 minutes later, the Tigers had the ball back down the Titans end.

On the last tackle, Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks were both unable to kick so the ball ended up with Doueihi.

Doueihi put in a crossfield kick to Nofoaluma who beat Dale Copley to it to score.

Marshall kicked the goal to make the lead 22-12.

The Titans would hit back a few minutes later.

On the Tigers goal line, Keegan Hipgrave powered over for his first NRL try of his career in his 29th game.

Taylor converted from right in front to lower the deficit to 22-18.

With 10 minutes left, the Titans again crossed the line.

Taylor dribbled a grubber into the corner and Brian Kelly picked it up to score.

Taylor missed the goal to keep the score 22-all and the grandstand finish was set up!

With just 3 minutes left, with the scores tied, it was the 300 game veteran, Benji Marshall who kicked the field goal.

The Tigers led 23-22 but the game wasn’t over.

After a short kickoff, with 2 minutes left, the Titans put a grubber through.

Phillip Sami dived on it to score and win the game.

Taylor converted to make the winning lead 28-23!

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Ashley Taylor (GLD)

2. David Nofoaluma (WST)

  1. Keegan Hipgrave (GLD)
Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma

Raiders weather the Storm in gritty affair

Canberra Raiders halfback George Williams

It was a game that many had as their game of the round as two of the undefeated sides came together to end Super Saturday. Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders.

The Raiders started off brilliantly as they absorbed pressure from the storm and went on the attack.

4 minutes in, close to the Melbourne goal line, Jack Wighton threw a bullet out to Jarrod Croker who tapped it on to Jordan Rapana who went over to open the scoring.

It was Rapana’s first try in his return to the NRL and Croker converted it.

10 minutes in, on the last tackle, Cameron Smith grubbered into the in goal.

Jahrome Hughes chased but Croker got to it first and grounded it.

However, the bunker was referred to to look for a penalty try, looking for interference on Hughes.

Nothing was found and the try was denied.

A few minutes later, the Raiders had the ball on the storm goal line.

This time, it was a George Williams two person cutout ball to Nick Cotric that would crack the defence.

Cotric produced a great finish in the corner to stay in and ground the ball.

Croker again converted to make the lead 12-0.

On the following set, the Raiders knocked on giving Storm great field position.

This field position lead to Ryan Papenhuyzen putting the ball down over the line, or so we thought.

The bunker disallowed the try as Papenhuyzen lost possession over the line, giving the Raiders a 20m restart.

Both sides went back and forth until the half an hour mark when the storm finally got points on the board.

Dale Finucane crashed over right under the posts and Smith converted to make the score 12-6 to Raiders.

This breath of relief didn’t last long as the Raiders continued to weather the storm.

Only 2 minutes after Finucane’s try, Williams dummied his way through the line.

He drew Papenhuyzen and gave the ball to Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad who scored under the posts.

Croker converted to make the lead 18-6 to the Raiders. This remained the score until half time.

Both sides went back and forth for the whole second half, with almost no points coming.

They both defended and defended and in the end, with less than a minute left, the Raiders would go over one last time.

On the 5th tackle, Williams faked the kick and ran down to the right side.

A long ball to Curtis Scott, a chip kick from Nick Cotric and the ball was alive.

It was knocked back by Josh Addo-Carr and jumped on by Jo Tapine to score.

Josh Papalii completely shanked the conversion to finish off his 200th game.

The Raiders went down to Melbourne and defeated the Storm 22-6.

It was a dominant defensive performance by the men in green.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was pleased with his side’s first half but not the second.

“I was really disappointed with how we played and how we executed in the second half and it is not the standard that we are trying to play to,” Stuart said.

“I was very happy with how we started the game… but we didn’t go on with it.

Stuart also went on to praise the grit of his Raiders side.

“It was the grittiness that we showed in the end that was the telling factor,” Stuart continued.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. George Williams

2. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

  1. Nick Cotric
Canberra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Raiders hold on in the heat against the Warriors

Canberra Raiders centre and captain Jarrod Croker

It’s round 2 of the NRL and we kick off our Super Saturday with the New Zealand Warriors taking on the Canberra Raiders on the Gold Coast.

The game started with both sides having attacking opportunities but both made constant errors.

The Raiders would be the first side to crack the defence and score.

Canberra brought the ball left and it ended up with Jarrod Croker who stepped inside instead of handing it out to the winger.

A beautiful offload to Elliott Whitehead and a conversion by Croker gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead.

Both teams attacking struggles continues into the half time break as the score remained 6-0.

Unlike the first half, the Raiders were firing in the start of the second.

Only a metre out, Josh Hodgson put a grubber through the line for Sia Soliola to jump on and score.

Jarrod Croker kicked the goal to make the lead 12-0.

Just 2 minutes later, the Raiders found a way to score their third try.

Adam Blair dropped the ball and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad picked it up to return it the other way.

Nicoll-Klokstad gave it to Curtis Scott who was tackled 10 metres out.

A simple through the hands play to Bailey Simonsson gave the green machine a try in the corner.

Jarrod Croker hooked the goal meaning the score remained 16-0.

With 5 minutes left in the game, the Warriors looked destined to be the first team in a hundred years to be scoreless in their first two games.

However, they made sure to change that.

A grubber was put through the line for Kodi Nikorima to chase.

The raiders defender pulled him out of the way and the bunker called it a penalty try.

Chanel Harris-Tavita sent the goal over to lower the deficit to 16-6.

To finish off the game, on the buzzer, George Williams put a grubber through to the right side.

Curtis Scott chased and scored to make the lead 20-6.

Jarrod Croker hooked the goal meaning the game finished with the Raiders winning 20-6.

The Raiders go two in a row to start the season as the warriors struggle to get their first win.

Next week, the Raiders host the struggling dragons as the Warriors head to Lottoland to play the Sea Eagles.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jarrod Croker

2. Josh Hodgson

  1. Iosia Soliola

Newcastle Knights shut out New Zealand Warriors in the wet

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga

The NRL’s first Super Saturday clash of 2020 was a Newcastle Knights v the New Zealand Warriors showdown. 

Our only late team change is King Vuniyayawa taking Karl Lawton’s spot on the bench.

Kalyn Ponga will play his 50th game while Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Eliesa Katoa and King Vuniyayawa will make their debut!

The Knights opened the scoring after 10 minutes of play.

Only a few metres out, Mitch Pearce dropped it Under to Daniel Saifiti who powered over for the first 4-pointer.

Kalyn Ponga sent the kick over from right in front to make the score 6-0 Knights.

10 minutes later, Newcastle cracked the warriors again.

An attempted grubber ricocheted off the Warriors and they knocked on.

Kurt Mann picked up the ball, drew in the winger and gave it to Edrick Lee to score.

Kalyn Ponga hooked the goal so the score remained 10-0 Knights.

Throughout the whole first quarter, penalties plagued the warriors.

The eighth penalty in the first 20 minutes lead to Chanel Harris-Tavita being sin-binned.

The Warriors successfully defended during this 10 minute period and the score held until half time.

To start off the second half, errors creeped back into the warriors game.

An error followed by a penalty lead to Kalyn Ponga slotting a penalty goal to make the lead 12-0.

Again, with half an hour left, Ponga slotted another goal to make the lead 14-0.

5 minutes later, the Knights continued their dominance of the Warriors with another try.

Kalyn Ponga was the man to crack the defence for the third try of game and he converted his own try to make the lead 20-0.

Warriors just couldn’t get any points on the board as the score remained until full time.

The Knights open their bank for 2020 with their first win of the season as they shut out the warriors in the rain.

Knights will play the Wests Tigers next week and the Warriors will play the Canberra Raiders next week (given nothing occurs with COVID-19).

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Kalyn Ponga

2. David Klemmer

  1. Connor Watson

SuperCoach team analysis: One man’s view

As of 2 days ago, the 2019 NRL SuperCoach began and this is a rundown of who I believe will do well and who I have gone with on my team.

1. Hookers

To start off, I’ll take a look at the hookers.

You have one starting hooker and one benched hooker so I’ve picked Jayden Brailey and Jake Turpin.

In his 2 games where he played the full 80 minutes as starting hooker, he averaged 62 with a high of 81.

With a price of 336k, if he keeps up those performances at the start of the season, he would be a great cash cow to eventually upgrade to a much more expensive hooker (e.g. Damien Cook).

I would be having Jake Turpin as one of my scoring bench players.

Newly signed Newcastle Knights recruit Jayden Brailey

Jayden Brailey is a new recruit to the knights after leaving the Sharks last year.

He is the clear favourite to replace the recently departed Danny Levi.

Newcastle start with what is predicted to be some relatively easy games with the Warriors, Tigers and Sharks.

With a quite small starting price of 424k, this could be an opening for Brailey to become a cash cow for the start of the season and allow for upgrades going into round 6-7.

2. Front Rowers

For the front rowers, we are allowed 2 starting and 2 on the bench.

I usually find that the front row forwards are the most consistent players on the field every week so this would be a good place to splurge a bit of money.

For starters, on the bench, I’ve selected Stefano Utoikamanu and Tom Flegler.

Utoikamanu is a cheapie (171k) from the Eels and could be a possibility to get a small bit of game time.

Parramatta Eels prop Stefano Utoikamanu

Either way, it’s a way to just fill a spot with as least money as possible.

Tom Flegler is only 294k and a good chance to be a regular starter. He’ll be a great option to be a cash cow to get a big upgrade later.

For my first starter, I’ve picked Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

Taukeiaho is a consistently consistent forward and usually racks up a decent score.

A finalist for the golden boot in 2019, he averaged 58 throughout the NRL season with a high score of 99.

Also, he has the advantage of being a goal kicker.

With Latrell Mitchell now a Rabbitoh, the two goal kicking options at the Roosters are Kyle Flanagan and Taukeiaho.

Flanagan’s goal kicking was sporadic during the year which means Taukeiaho could get the call up to kick for the Chooks.

Brisbane Broncos prop Payne Haas

Secondly, I’ve added Payne Haas.

After missing the first 4 games of the year in 2019, he still went on to be the Rookie of the Year and almost won the Dally M medal.

Haas averaged a whopping 78 points per game in 2019 which is brilliant for a SuperCoach player.

This was just in his rookie season and as long as we don’t have any more second year syndrome, we’ll be fine with him in 2020.

3. 2nd Row Forwards

In the second row, we have 3 starters and 3 bench players.

On the bench, I’ve picked cheapies who probably won’t play. They are there to fill positions for little money. I’ve picked Kelma Tuilagi, Ben Trbojevic and Teig Wilton.

For my first starter, I’ve picked Brandon Smith.

Smith was interchange player of the year in 2019 and could possibly get a bigger role in the Storm side going into 2020.

In 2019, he averaged 49 off the bench with an absolutely massive high score of 100 wearing the 14 jumper. He could end up being a great cash cow for the start of the season.

Sydney Roosters utility Victor Radley

Secondly, I’ve got Victor Radley. Radley has shown to be a great utility being strong, fast and having some playmaking skills.

He played hooker and lock during the 2019 season and had some very impressive performances, mainly at lock.

He averaged 52 in 2019 and with that score, could have a decent price rise at the start of the season.

Also, the Roosters first round opponent is the Panthers and against them, he averages 62 which would be a great score for round 1.

Brisbane Broncos back-rower David Fifita

Finally, I’ve got David Fifita. The 19-year old tyro dominated defences throughout 2019 totalling Over 100 Tackle busts.

Also a great try-scorer for a second rower, it’s no wonder he averaged 54 during the NRL season.

Only being priced at 501k means he could easily undergo a massive price rise early in the season and even be used as a cash cow.

4. Halfbacks

Now, onto the halfbacks. We get 1 starter and 1 bench player for our Halfback position.

On the bench, I’ve got Jarome Luai. He impressed a lot during his limited game time in 2019, showing a lot of great playmaking skills.

In his final game of season, playing 80 minutes, he got 73 which is a very decent score.

However, his first game is against the Roosters, the only team he’s never been fielded against so we don’t know how well he will go.

I’ve still got him as a scoring reserve though.

Canberra Raiders halfback George Williams

For our starter, I’ve picked George Williams.

Coming from the English Super League this year, he is set to be the replacement for the departing, Aidan Sezer.

Williams impressed this year for the Wigan Warriors, scoring 14 tries in 29 games.

He is also a backup goal kicking option if something happened to Jarrod Croker.

However, a lot of promising Englishmen come to the NRL and underperform which could be the fate for Williams.

He is a risky pick but it’s worth it considering he is only 333k.

5. 5/8s

For our 5/8 position, we again get 1 starter and 1 bench player. For my benched player, I’ve chosen Benji Marshall.

Benji showed class in his play in 2019, getting his highest average in over 5 years, 51.

Also, in round 1, Marshall takes on his former team, the Dragons, which he averages 57 points against in his entire career.

He is 469k which means he may be able to get a bit of a price rise as the season advances.

However, he may not be able to climb for very long, so if you are using him as a cash cow, you may have to cash out early. I have selected him as a scoring reserve.

Brisbane Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford

For my starter, I’ve gone with Anthony Milford.

“The Milf” had a lacklustre season in 2019, with a lacklustre side around him but in 2020, the pressure won’t be on him as much to run an entire team.

With the addition of Brodie Croft, Milford will be able to be the running half he likes to be.

I’m tipping a return to form, even if it may take a few rounds. If you want Milford, you’ll have to be patient but it could pay off by about Round 6-10.

6. Wings/Centres

The wings and centres are the most common positions on the team, with 4 starters and 3 on the bench.

I’ve started with 2 cheapies on the bench in the form of Semi Valemei and Ilikena Vudogo.

My only actual bench player in this position is Xavier Coates.

Coates is extremely cheap, only coming in at 205k but he is a chance to get a starting spot.

In his 2 starts at wing, he averaged 30, and these 2 games were the first of his career.

This will be his official rookie season if he plays a game and if he starts regularly, could be a threat to defences. Coates possibly might be a good cash cow option.

Canberra Raiders centre Curtis Scott

For my first starter, I’ve got Curtis Scott. Scott moved from Melbourne to Canberra this off-season and is now fighting with Joey Leilua for a Spot at centre.

He is a risky pick as you might need to trade him out if Leilua wins but could definitely rack up some good scores if he starts.

He had an injury-riddled 2019 but in his final game before injuring his foot in the 60th minute, he got 100 points.

This is a massive score and if he can stay in that form, be a massive boost to all SuperCoach teams. Especially with a price tag of 406k, he could definitely be a cash cow as well.

Secondly, I’ve gone with his centre counterpart, Jarrod Croker.

Being a try-scoring and goal-kicking Centre, he is a points machine and starts the season at a low 496k.

He could end up as a good cash cow to end up upgrading to someone like a Latrell Mitchell.

Also, for the last 3 seasons straight, Croker has averaged 50+ points per game which shows how consistent he is in his performances.

Cronulla Sharks centre Bronson Xerri

Thirdly, I’ve gone for Bronson Xerri.

The young speedster from the shire has shown incredible promise and talent at such a young age. Oh yeah, and he’s also got blistering pace.

Xerri was brought in in round 4 and has not disappointed since, averaging 56 points per game.

This is brilliant for a centre. Xerri is also almost guaranteed a starting spot at the Sharks and could get a lot of points.

He is priced at 523k which is a little high so he might not be a cash cow but he could be worth it points-wise.

Parramatta Eels winger Maika Sivo

Lastly, I’ve gone for Maika Sivo. The young Fijian for Parra.

Topping the try-scorers list in his rookie season.

He went from no one knowing his name, to the whole BankWest Stadium crowd chanting “Sivo” after every try, and there sure were plenty.

Sivo possesses the speed and strength to be a beast of a winger and he sure is.

He averaged 59 points, ending the season with a absolutely stunning 152 score against Manly.

He may be priced high but I doubt he will let anyone who picks him down.

7. Fullbacks

To finish of the team, we have our fullbacks. I’ve splurged a lot of money on my fullbacks.

Firstly, on the bench, the young gun playing for the Storm, Ryan Papenhuyzen.

He’s one of the fastest players in the game and even debuted for Australia in the World 9s in his rookie season!

Papenhuyzen averaged 52 with a high score of 123 against the Titans late in the season.

Melbourne Storm custodian Ryan Papenhuyzen

Also, he scored a try in each one of his first five starts for the team. If he keeps up his form, he will be not only a great cash cow from 508k, but a great point-scorer.

For the final player, I’ve gone with the most obvious pick, James Tedesco.

Teddy led the league in Linebreaks, tackle busts and run metres in 2019.

He destroyed defences and averaged a gigantic total of 84 points per game. The only problem is his price tag.

Because he is a great player, he is priced at 781k. He would be great for points but it would also be smart if you waited until about round 4-6 to get him because his price will be a bit lower and will probably start rising again soon after.

Sydney Roosters fullback James Tedesco

Teddy is a must-have in my opinion, whether you get him now or wait for a few rounds.

These are my picks for my SuperCoach team going into the 2020 season.

Remember, these are just predictions, anyone in this team could go into the year and be a bust, but that’s the fun of playing SuperCoach/NRL fantasy.

Great Britain end their dreadful Oceania tour with a loss to Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea half Watson Boas

The final match of the 2019 Rugby League Calendar is here. Papua New Guinea Kumuls vs Great Britain Lions.

Both teams have not won a game this year and will want to end the season on a positive note.

Kickoff

From the very first kickoff, Luke Page took the hitup.

From this hitup, St George Illawarra Dragons forward, James Graham would go down and he left the field only 1 minute into the game.

15 minutes in, Great Britain clocked the first points onto the scoreboard.

On a spread to the left, Warrington Wolves half, Gareth Widdop threw a cutout to Hull FC back, Jake Connor.

Connor drew and passed to Warrington Wolves back, Blake Austin who dived over in the corner for first points.

Widdop’s conversion from the left sideline was shanked across the face and the lead remained 4-0.

England five-eighth Gareth Widdop

With less than 20 minutes left in the half, Great Britain were back inside the 10 metre line.

Josh Hodgson dummied left and ran through himself to score the GB Lions’ second unanswered try.

Widdop converted from the right side to make the lead 10-0.

With 10 minutes left in the half, it looked like Edene Gebbie had possibly scored PNG’s first try in the corner.

The video ref would deny him, however, because he was deemed to have grounded the ball on the touch in goal line.

The Great Britain Lions brought the ball out to the 20 metre line for the 7 tackle set.

As the buzzer went for half time, the Kumuls just got one last play the ball in time.

PNG player Edwin Ipape

Edwin Ipape faked to go down the short side and busted the defence on his own through the middle.

Ipape ran all the way to the endzone and planted the ball down to finish off his 63-metre effort from dummy half!

Kyle Laybutt converted from almost right in front to lower the deficit to 6-10.

Half Time

Papua New Guinea 6 – 10 Great Britain

6 minutes into the second half, PNG were 30 metres out on the 4th tackle.

Gebbie from dummy half put in a grubber through the line and there was no lions fullback at home.

Watson Boas raced through and got to the ball first for the try to level the scores.

Rhyse Martin split the sticks from the far left side to take the lead 12-10!

With less than half an hour left, PNG were inside the 10 metre line.

Laybutt put a kick through that ricocheted off of a Great Britain player.

Papua New Guinea utility back Justin Olam

The ricochet landed perfectly for Justin Olam to sprint into it and score the try!

Martin landed the conversion from the far left side to make the lead 18-10!

Only 3 minutes later, PNG were back inside the 10 and had a chance to keep the points flowing.

Boas put a kick through but it didn’t make it through the line.

On the ground, Boas picked it up and handed it off to South Sydney Rabbitohs utility back Alex Johnston who sprinted around the defence to score.

 

Martin missed the conversion so the lead remained 22-10.

With 15 minutes left in the game, PNG were at midfield on the last tackle.

England prop James Graham

Wartovo Puara gave it to Laybutt who bombed it for Jonny Lomax to catch.

Lomax knocked it on and Nixon Putt capitalised on it to score and make it a 3-score game.

Martin nailed the kick from the right side after hitting the post to make the lead 28-10.

Full Time

Papua New Guinea 28 – 10 Great Britain

PNG women pick up first ever international win over England

Here we are, the final day of the 2019 Rugby League season. To start, we have a women’s test match as the Papua New Guinea Orchids face the England Lionesses.

The women’s England beat Papua New Guinea last week 24-10 so Will England go 2-up over PNG or will PNG avenge last week’s loss?

Kickoff

From the very first set, Rhiannon Marshall busted the PNG defence up the middle only getting stopped 10 metres out.

The very next play, England went on the short side to Tara-Jane Stanley to get the first points of the test match.

Stanley missed the conversion so the score remained 4-0, 2 minutes in.

10 minutes later, PNG would give away two penalties for a high tackle, and then for holding down in the tackle.

Stanley kicked the penalty goal from right in front, 30 metres out to make the lead 6-0.

5 minutes later, England made an error, 30 metres out from their own line.

PNG capitalised on this field position as they spread it right  only for Carol Humeu to barge over.

Erswin Kaiat didn’t get enough power on the kick from the far right side and the deficit remained 4-6.

With 15 minutes left in the half, PNG had great field position again.

They had a massive overlap left and brought it that way to send Belinda Gwasamum over the stripe.

This try took the lead for the Orchids and Kaiat extended it by kicking the goal from the far left side and making the lead 10-6.

This score remained until half time.

Half Time

Papua New Guinea 10 – 6 England

Copying England from the first half, PNG scored points in the very first set of the second half.

After getting field position due to a penalty, Roswita Kapo barged over just to the left of the posts to make it a 2-score game!

Kaiat converted from almost right in front to make the lead 16-6.

Discipline really dropped in this half with constant errors and penalties.

20 minutes into the half, England started a spread to the left side where they had an overlaps.

Instead of passing, Emily Rudge powered over with three defenders on her back to score!

Stanley shanked the kick to the right so the deficit remained 16-10.

With 12 minutes left and a converted try the difference, England were 30 metres out and needed points soon.

From dummy half, Jodie Cunningham went short side to Georgia Roache who sent Naomi Williams flying into open space for a 30 metre run to the try line.

From the right sideline, Stanley nailed the conversion and levelled the scores at 16-all.

Both sides traded errors and it was an arm wrestle as to who was going to make the error to cost their team the game.

England knocked on 40 out from their own line and PNG had good field position with 90 seconds left.

30 metres out, Shirley Joe dummied through the line and beat the fullback to score herself to win the game for PNG.

Kaiat didn’t get the length on the kick but it didn’t matter as the Orchids were victorious for an historic win.

Full Time

Papua New Guinea 20 – 16 England

PNG have achieved their first ever women’s international victory.

They defeated England in an extremely physical affair which saw Joe score the buzzer beater!

England will be trying to improve for next year as the PNG team will end the season as winners.

Great Britain continue to struggle in their Oceania tour against the Kiwis

New Zealand halfback Kieran Foran

The second match of our triple header comes as part of Great Britain Lions’ Oceania tour.

They’ll be taking on the New Zealand Kiwis in New Zealand. This is the first of two clashes between the 2 sides with the next one next week in Christchurch.

The only late change is Brandon Smith has been dropped so Kodi Nikorima started at hooker.

Kickoff

We had some great free-flowing football with no errors in the first 5 minutes.

6 minutes into the game, Kieran Foran would go down with a shoulder injury.

The worst fears were confirmed; Foran suffered a dislocated shoulder and may face a lengthy stint on the sidelines.

A couple minutes later, the Kiwis opened the scoring with a penalty goal from the boot of the Brisbane Broncos winger, Jamayne Isaako.

10 minutes later, the Lions received a penalty close to the Kiwis line.

Warrington Wolves half, Gareth Widdop added the 2 points for the penalty goal to level the scores at 2-all.

English half Gareth Widdop

Completions were 100% at this points and they remained like this until the 25th minute, when Kenny Bromwich dropped it.

The rest of the half was filled with errors and penalties as we went into the break 2-all.

Half time

New Zealand 2 – 2 Great Britain

After a try-less first half, both teams would be looking for some better attack in the second stanza.

10 minutes in, we got exactly that with the Kiwis with possession, 5 metres inside their own half.

Warriors fullback, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck dummied through and went himself!

The fullback got to him but he threw a magical flick pass out the back to Jamayne Isaako who scored in the corner for the first try of the game.

New Zealand Kiwis fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

Isaako hooked the goal across the face so the lead remained 6-2.

On the very next set, 25m out on the last tackle, Nikorima gave it to Marshall to put the kick in.

It was a lacklustre kick but Sharks second rower Briton Nikora ran through and toed it along the ground for the try.

On video review, it was revealed that Nikora just knocked the ball on before his first kick. The game remained a 1 score game.

A few minutes later, Great Britain gave away a penalty which gave New Zealand great field position.

10 metres out, on the 4th tackle, they gave it to BulldogssSecond rower, Corey Harawira-Naera for the hitup.

He carried 4 defenders with him as he powered his legs for 10 metres to score the try.

The video ref confirmed it and they had a 10-2 lead.

New Zealand Kiwis back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera

Jamayne Isaako converted from just to the left to make the lead 12-2.

With 20 minutes left, we had our first flare-up of the game.

James Graham was in the thick of it but the penalty would go to Great Britain for a late shot on him which made tempers flare.

Just a minute later, tempers flared again but this time it was Raiders second rower John Bateman vs Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

The ref had a word with both captains and gave the warning of using the bin.

A few minutes later, Corey Harawira-Naera was taken off for a HIA.

With 10 minutes left, Great Britain received a penalty in great field position, only 5 metres out.

St Helens prop Alex Walmsley took the hit up, only for Briton Nikora to strip it in a 3-man tackle.

Nikora lost it and Warrington Wolves Hooker, Daryl Clark picked it up and went over for the try.

Great Britain hooker Daryl Clark

Gareth Widdop converted from the left side to lower the deficit to 12-8.

With less than 4 minutes left, Huddersfield Giants winger, Jermaine McGillvary dived over in the corner to level the scores and gave them a chance to win the game.

However, the video ref denied the try due to McGillvary dropping it in goal.

The kiwis held on for the rest of the game.

Full time

New Zealand 12 – 8 Great Britain

Great Britain lose their second out of two games in their Oceania tour.

They’re still in New Zealand to face the Kiwis again next week in Christchurch.

Will the Kiwis go 2-0 or will the Lions finally win a match on their tour?

Find out next week on Saturday Night, 8PM local time.

Fiji dominate Samoa in their Oceania Cup match

Fiji back-rower Viliame Kikau

We’re back with more offseason tests. To kick off the action today, Toa Samoa take on the Fiji Bati in the first match of our Eden Park triple header!

If Samoa win, they win division B of the Oceania Cup. They will be promoted to division A next year if this happens.

If Fiji win, it’s down to next week’s game between Fiji and PNG.

The only late change was that Bunty Afoa is benched and Dunamis Lui is starting lock. Kickoff was 2:20PM local time.

Kickoff

The game kicked off and Fiji’s first set ended with an error from Samoa. Another repeat set ended up with Joe Lovodua dummying and going from an offload to get first points within 7 minutes!

Brandon Wakeham converted from right in front to make the lead 6-0. Fiji went back-to-back on the next set as they scored through D’Rhys Miller.

Wakeham converted again, this time from the left sideline, for the 12-0 lead.

Fiji kept the points flowing with Vil Kikau and Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu crossing the stripe for tries.

Brandon Wakeham remained perfect off the boot for the 24-0 lead, 25 minutes in.

Samoa centre Tim Lafai

2 minutes later, Samoa finally got their first points through the Dragons centre, Tim Lafai.

Jarome Luai brought it left and held up the pass perfectly for Tim Lafai to dummy his way through. Lafai converted for the 24-6 scoreline.

With a few minutes left in the half, normal transmission resumed as the Panthers big second rower, Vil Kikau flew over for a double to get Fiji’s fifth try of the half.

Brandon Wakeham converted again for the 30-6 lead. The Fijians held onto this lead until the half time break hit.

Half time

Samoa 6 – 30 Fiji

To start the second half, Fiji gave away a penalty in the first set. In this penalty, Taane Milne would get the worst of a head clash and be taken off for a HIA.

10 minutes later, Manly Winger Jorge Taufua opened the second half scoring.

Jarome Luai brought it left and gave it to Tim Lafai who sucked in the winger and gave it to Taufua to score in the corner.

Samoan winger Jorge Taufua

Lafai hooked the conversion so the score remained 10-30.

Just following the kickoff, Jorge Taufua dropped it and handed Fiji great field position.

They spread it left and Braydon Wiliame threw a beauty of a flick pass to Isaac Lumelume to score.

Brandon Wakeham missed his first goal so the score remained 34-10.

10 minutes later, from just inside their own half, Fiji decided to spread it left.

An offload sent Brayden Wiliame into space. Wiliame went outside to Lumelume to beat the first defender and then it was sent back inside to Wiliame.

He then beat the last defender and was still able to score.

Fijian utility back Kevin Naiqama

Siti Moceidreke hit the post on the conversion so the lead remained 38-10.

In the following set, they punted it downfield but Ronaldo Mulitalo knocked it on.

From the scrum, they spread it right and Kevin Naiqama dummied and powered over himself for the 42-10 lead.

Siti Moceidreke converted from the right side for the 44-10 lead.

To finish the game, with less than 2 minutes left, Jorge Taufua crossed for the double for some constellation points.

Tim Lafai hooked the kick to keep the score 14-44 with less than a minute left.

The scoring didn’t stop though, as Jorge Taufua offloaded to Ronaldo Mulitalo who kicked for himself and scored on the buzzer.

Tim Lafai missed again so the full time score to 18-44.

Full time

Samoa 18 – 44 Fiji

Fiji have won their first game of the 2019 Oceania Cup and Samoa have finished their campaign with one win and one loss.

Next week, Fiji take on PNG in the match to decide who is promoted to Division A.

If Fiji win, they earn promotion. If PNG win by 45 or more, they qualify for Division A.

However, If PNG win by 44 or less, Fiji qualify as well.