All posts by ricky

Dragons buck losing trend in win over Tigers

St George Illawarra Dragons back-rower Luciano Leilua

The last few weeks have been anything but smooth sailing for the St George Illawarra Dragons but they scored a much needed win yesterday over the Wests Tigers.

A morale-boosting win, all eyes were again on Dragons halfback Ben Hunt who continues to be criticised for somewhat of a form slump.

The usually vocal Leichhardt crowd were kept rather quiet as the young Dragons forward pack guided the side to victory.

The Tigers can have no-one but themselves to blame, missing numerous opportunities to change the course of the game.

Although they are still a mathematical chance at making the finals, they need to rely on other results.

Errors and penalties galore by the Dragons gave the Tigers ample opportunities but they failed to capitalise.

The first try eventually came and it was the Dragons who would score it.

A length of the field effort started by Luciano Leilua was finished by winger Jordan Pereira.

The low-scoring first-half soon ended as the Dragons went into the break up 6-0.

It was deja vu for Ben Hunt to start the second half; he dropped the kick-off, reminiscent of his 2015 grand final drop.

The Tigers quickly capitalised as veteran and leader Chris Lawrence crashed over to score.

The night went from bad to worse for Hunt; he was the man sent to the sin-bin after the Dragons were pinged for numerous penalties.

Esan Marsters opted to take the two points to level the score up at 6-all.

The Dragons would then have a penalty goal of their own to retake the lead at 8-6.

Much maligned back-rower Leilua then proved his worth; barging over with raw power to score a crucial try for the Dragons.

The Tigers tried to wrestle back control and pick up the pace despite a dwindling clock, but just fell further behind.

Tyson Frizell continued the back-rower scoring success for the Dragons, barging over and getting the ball down.

The Tigers scored a late consolation through Kevin Naiqama as their season now looks over.

Despite the mathematical chances looking slim, Tigers coach Ivan Cleary is not giving up hope of a finals berth.

“The season’s not over,” Cleary said.

“We’ve got two more games to go.

“You can’t control other things but the reality is we are still alive.

“Anything can happen still but really when we started this season, our season wasn’t going to be defined by anyone external, it was going to be defined by what we did.”

Despite a poor game by Ben Hunt, Dragons coach Paul McGregor said he will remain the club’s halfback.

“Ben’s a part of our 17 and he will always be a part of our 17 while I’m coach, he’s our No.7,” McGregor said.

“Benny’s in next door [in the sheds] and he’s not happy with his performance but that’s ok because he’s got next week.

“I said through the week, if criticism was to come to the team, it should come through the coach so leave my players alone.

Player of the Game:

3. Luciano Leilua

2. Tyson Frizell

  1. Tariq Sims

Panthers top four hopes take a hit after loss to Knights

Newcastle Knights forward Aidan Guerra

Wins would help them cement a top four spot but it is not happening for the Penrith Panthers who went down to the Newcastle Knights. 

A result that many deem as an upset, it was a rather tame and uninspiring performance from the Panthers who went down 20-12.

A confidence-boosting win for the Knights, the match will be remembered not for the play but a late brawl that saw four players sin-binned.

Trailing yet again in this contest, there would be no miracle comeback on this occasion.

Neither side was able to find their mojo early as penalties and errors were rife.

Though it was the Knights who eventually took the upper-hand when Aidan Guerra and Cory Denniss both scored.

Nick Meaney then became a villain when his error resulted in a Tyrone May try for Penrith.

However, he soon redeemed himself, setting up a try for Knights centre Sione Mata’utia.

With an eight buffer at the break, the Knights were poised to go on with it and scored the first try of the second half.

Kalyn Ponga and Mitch Pearce both combined to send winger Ken Sio over the in the corner.

In the end, the Panthers completion rate and missed tackle count proved to be their downfall throughout the match.

Try as they might, they were unable to crack the Knights line for much of the second half until a late consolation try to Wayde Egan.

The incident that had everyone talking, however, was a late brawl.

Two Knights players (Danny Levi and Shaun Kenny-Dowall) and two Penrith players (Viliame Kikau and Tyrone May) were all sin-binned.

With clear punches thrown throughout the brawl by some of the players who were sin-binned, Penrith coach Cam Ciraldo awaits the consequences.

“I’m not sure what the consequences will be,” Ciraldo said.

But it would be disappointing if we did lose anyone to suspension.”

With two tough games against the Warriors and Storm left to come, Ciraldo knows his side has to be better.

“We need to turn things around pretty quickly,” the Penrith coach continued.

“We spoke about that in there (in the sheds).

“We’ve got two weeks to turn it around and get our game back on track.”

“They’re two tough away trips but that might be the making of our season if we can go away, be around each other a bit more, rip in, and get two good performances.”

With much conjecture over whether Ponga’s best position is fullback or five-eighth, Nathan Brown left it up to the man himself.

“If he wants to stay at five-eighth, I don’t think Pearcey would be unhappy or the team,” Brown said.

“If he wants to play fullback, he can.

“They are both good little footy players he and Connor so they’re interchangeable in the long run anyway.”

Player of the Game:

3. Aidan Guerra

2. Nathan Cleary

  1. Ken Sio

Manly surrender healthy lead in loss to Titans

Gold Coast Titans utility back AJ Brimson

Up 16 points and seemingly cruising, the Manly Sea Eagles seemed destined to win. The Gold Coast Titans, however, had other ideas.

The Titans celebrated their eighth win of the year in a high-scoring contest, coming back from a 16-point deficit to win 42-34.

It was the Titans who would actually score first; winger Anthony Don drawing level with David Mead for most tries in Titans colours with 67.

From here, though, Manly would dominate the next exchanges.

In what was essentially the Trbojevic show, brothers Tom and Jake put on an exhibition.

Tom Trbojevic powered his way over the line to get things back to level pegging.

Before Jake Trbojevic started and ended the next play that saw swift hands and brother Tom also involved.

Tom then had his second when a swift back-line play to the right saw him feign a pass and glide over himself to score.

A fourth Manly try came when Joel Thompson ran a perfect line and hustled his way over with ease.

Manly could have had two more tries before the break but Frank Winterstein was short and Thompson was guilty of double movement.

From here, Manly, with a seemingly healthy lead, somehow began to slowly implode.

The Titans, to their credit, dug deep and scored on the cusp of half-time.

It was Alexander Brimson, deputising at fullback, who firstly saved a try on the defensive end.

Then followed that up with a solo effort that saw him coast pass lazy Manly defence to score.

Soon after the resumption, Manly did not know what would soon hit them hard in the face.

Manly-bound Kane Elgey split their defence and halves team-mate Ash Taylor was there in support to score.

The Titans would go back-to-back as a slick back-line movement saw Philip Sami score in the left corner.

Providing some lift and energy off the bench, Mitch Rein then dived his way over to give the Titans the lead again at 26-22.

There was then no denying Jack Stockwell who will avoid the dreaded nudie run; he just got the ball down on the line.

Brimson then did it all himself yet again. Facing his own try-line, he swiveled, grubbered ahead, regathered and scored, making it look easy.

Things then got even worse for Manly when Dylan Walker was sin-binned for a professional foul.

Despite the player disadvantage, Manly found a way to score as Tom turned provider for brother Jake to give the Manly lock his second try.

Remarkably, Manly would then score again; another bustling effort by Tom Trbojevic who was in fine form.

The Titans would hold on, however, and get a much needed win to stay well and truly away from the wooden spoon battle.

With plenty of talk surrounding the future of Manly coach Trent Barrett and whether he will leave, that did not affect the players.

“Only a player can answer that and it doesn’t affect you,” Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans said.

“It honestly doesn’t.

“We’re paid to do a job and at the end of the day when you cross the white line, any player knows it’s business.

“It doesn’t matter what is happening. You go out there and do a job the best your can. Headlines don’t make you miss tackles. That’s just poor footy.”

The selection headaches now exist for Titans coach Garth Brennan after Brimson’s blistering form but he welcomes it.

“It’s nice to have. We’ve probably lacked that over the last 12 months or so – depth,” Brennan said.

“Michael Gordon has been one of our best players all year. He’s Mr. Reliable, ‘Flash’.

“One door opens and it’s another opportunity.

I’ve said publicly that I think AJ’s future going forward is probably at fullback.

“The only thing concerning me about throwing him in so early was understanding defensive structures and getting the numbering [in defence] right.”

Player of the Game:

3. AJ Brimson

2. Tom Trbojevic

  1. Jake Trbojevic

Lomax given new deal Dragons

St George Illawarra Dragons centre Zac Lomax

Already signed on for 2019, Zac Lomax will stick around for a further season after re-signing with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Making his club debut earlier this year, only a hand injury has prevented him from further selection.

A promising junior in the club ranks, Lomax is pleased to extend his Red V stay.

“It’s definitely a good decision I’ve made to extend my stay at the Dragons,” Lomax said.

“My family and I are very happy to stay at the club.

To come through the junior reps to now with the first grade squad, I can’t thank the Dragons enough.”

For Lomax, earning a regular first-grade spot is the key and he looks forward to making that happen.

“The goal for me is to earn a spot in the first grade side and hopefully I’ll play a few more before the season is out,” the talented junior continued.

“It was a dream come true making my NRL debut so I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.”

The club know how good Lomax is and have made their plans clear to use him.

“Zac is one of the most promising players to come through our ranks in many years. Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways and List Management Ian Millward.

“He’s a player we look at building this team around in the long-term because we think he has all the attributes to be an outstanding NRL player,”

The Dragons also have a plan to keep Lomax around long-term.

“We do look at him as a long-term centre and we don’t hide that fact at all,” continued Millward.

“Although this is just an extension to 2020, we look at Zac as if he’ll be a 10-year player for the Dragons and challenge for higher representatives.”


NRL Teams Rd 23

Just a few rounds of the NRL regular season to go and it is that time again; Teamlist Tuesday for NRL Teams Rd 23! 

The battle for the minor premiership, top four and top eight are all still alive, with wins more crucial than ever.

Who can come out on top and who will falter at the final hurdle?

Time shall tell. In the mean time, here are the teams for round 23 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Brisbane Broncos v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLbrisou); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Thursday, August 16. Kick-off: 7:50 pm. 

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (C) 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Jordan Kahu 5. Jaymayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Sam Thaiday 11. Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Jr. 13. Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14. Kotoni Staggs 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Korbin Sims 17. David Fifita.

Reserves: 18. Patrick Mago 19. Troy Dargan 20. Gehamat Shibasaki 21. Sam Tagataese.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Rabbitohs: 1. Dane Gagai 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Braidon Burns 4. Tyrell Fuimaono 5. Richie Kennar 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. George Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess (C).

Interchange: 14. Mawene Hiroti 15. Cameron Murray 16. Jason Clark 17. Tevita Tatola.

Reserves: 18. Matt McIlwrick 19. Kyle Turner 20. Dean Britt 21. Connor Tracey.

Coach: Anthony Seibold.

Manly Sea Eagles v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLmangld); Lottoland, Brookvale; Friday, August 17. Kick-off: 6 pm.

Manly: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Moses Suli 4. Brian Kelly 5. Brad Parker 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Manase Fainu 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Trent Hodkinson 15. Kelepi Tanginoa 16. Frank Winterstein 17. Lloyd Perrett.

Reserves: 18. Matthew Wright 19. Thomas Wright 21. Toafofoa Sipley 22. Taniela Paseka.

Coach: Trent Barrett.

Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Brenko Lee 5. Philip Sami 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Mitch Rein 15. Moeaki Fotuaika 16. Jack Stockwell 17. Will Matthews.

Reserves: 18. Brendan Elliott 19. Jai Whitbread 20. Leilani Latu 21. Bryce Cartwright.

Coach: Garth Brennan

Melbourne Storm v Parramatta Eels (#NRLmelpar); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Friday, August 17. Kick-off: 7:55 pm. 

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Joe Stimson 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Cheyse Blair 15. Tim Glasby 16. Christian Welch 17. Kenny Bromwich.

Reserves: 18. Brandon Smith 19. Tui Kamikamica 20. Albert Vete 21. Brodie Croft.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Eels: 1. Corey Norman 2. Jarryd Hayne 3. Michael Jennings 4. Clint Gutherson (C) 5. George Jennings 6. Jaeman Salmon 7. Mitch Moses 8. Siosaia Vave 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Marata Niukore 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Oregon Kaufusi 15. Peni Terepo 16. David Gower 17. Brad Takairangi.

Reserves: 18. Josh Hoffman 19. Bevan French 20. Cameron King 21. Ray Stone.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Penrith Panthers v Newcastle Knights (#NRLpennew); Penrith Stadium; Saturday, August 18. Kick-off: 3 pm. 

Panthers: 1. Tyrone Peachey 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Dean Whare 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tyrone May 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Sione Katoa 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris.

Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan 15. Trent Merrin 16. Corey Harawira-Naerea 17. Moses Leota.

Reserves: 18. Kaide Ellis 19. Christian Crichton 20. Adam Keighran 21. Liam Martin.

Coach: Cameron Ciraldo.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Ken Sio 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Cory Denniss 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Jack Cogger 7. Mitchell Pearce (C) 8. Herman Ese’ese 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitch Barnett 13. Aidan Guerra.

Interchange: 14. Jamie Buhrer (C) 15. Chris Heighington 16. Pasami Saulo 17. JJ Felise.

Reserves: 18. Nick Meaney 19. Josh King 20. Brodie Jones 21. Luke Yates.

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLwstsgi); Leichhardt Oval; Saturday, August 18. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Mahe Fonua 5. Kevin Naiqama 6. Benji Marshall (C) 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer 9. Robbie Farah 10. Ben Matulino 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Michael Chee-Kam 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Alex Twal 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Luke Garner 17. Matthew Eisenhuth.

Reserves: 18. Jacob Liddle 19. Robbie Rochow 20. Tyson Gamble 21. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jordan Pereira 6. Kurt Mann 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes (C) 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Tyson Frizell (C) 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Jacob Host 16. Blake Lawrie 17. Luciano Leilua.

Reserves: 18. Zac Lomax 19. Jai Field 20. Hame Sele 21. Darren Nicholls.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLcronql); Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla; Saturday, August 18. Kick-off: 7:30 pm. 

Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Josh Dugan 6. Matt Moylan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Scott Sorenson 13. Paul Gallen.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Capewell 15. James Segeyaro 16. Aaron Woods 17. Jayson Bukuya.

Reserves: 18. Joseph Paulo 19. Ava Seumanufagai 20. Wade Graham 21. Sione Katoa.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Cowboys: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Gideon Gela-Mosby 6. Jake Clifford 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. John Asiata.

Interchange: 14.  Ben Hampton 15. Francis Molo 16. Corey Jensen 17. Scott Bolton.

Reserves: 18. Ethan Lowe 19. Kyle Laybutt 20. Shaun Fensom 21. Enari Tuala.

Coach: Paul Green.

Canterbury Bulldogs v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLcbywar); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Sunday, August 19. Kick-off: 2 pm. 

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Reimis Smith 6. Lachlan Lewis 7. Jeremy Marshall-King 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. David Klemmer 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Rhyse Martin 13. Adam Elliott.

Interchange: 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Ofahiki Ogden 17. Greg Eastwood.

Reserves: 19. Francis Tualau 20. Matt Frawley 21. Renouf To’Omaga 23. John Olive.

Coach: Dean Pay

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Gerard Beale 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Blake Green 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Adam Blair 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Leivaha Pulu 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Peta Hiku.

Reserves: 18. Joseph Vuna 20. Anthony Gelling 21. Tevita Satae 22. Karl Lawton.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters (#NRLcansyd); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Sunday, August 19. Kick-off: 4:10 pm. 

Raiders: 1. Brad Abbey 2. Nick Cotric 3. Elliott Whitehead 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Sam Williams 8. Dunamis Lui 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Iosia Soliola 13. Josh Papalii.

Interchange: 14. Emre Guler 15. Luke Bateman 16. Siliva Havili 17. Junior Paulo.

Reserves: 18. Jack Murchie 19. Liam Knight 20. Makahesi Makatoa 21. Michael Oldfield.

Coach: Ricky Stuart

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Ryan Matterson 7. Luke Keary 8. Dylan Napa 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Isaac Liu 13. Victor Radley.

Interchange: 14. Nat Butcher 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Mitchell Aubusson 17. Sean O’Sullivan.

Reserves: 18. Sitili Tupouniua 19. Kurt Baptiste 20. Paul Momirovski 21. Lindsay Collins.

Coach: Trent Robinson.


Bulldogs add hard-running Sue to roster for two seasons

Wests Tigers forward Sauaso Sue

Only able to add lesser names due to apparent cap space, the Canterbury Bulldogs have signed Sauaso Sue from the Wests Tigers.

A versatile player across the forward pack, Sue has so far played in 113 NRL games for the Tigers and has represented Samoa.

Also known as Jesse Sue, the signing is one that pleases the Bulldogs club.

” Signing someone of Jesse’s experience and consistency is great for our club as he will add to the depth of our forward pack and be someone who can play a number of positions,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“This is another piece of our new look squad for next season and I am glad that we have been able to land someone of Jesse’s calibre.”

The Tigers issued a brief statement confirming the departure of Sue from the club and wishing him all the best.

“Wests Tigers have today confirmed that Sauaso Sue will depart the club at the end of the 2018 season.

Sue will take up a contract in the 2019 season with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

A local junior of the club, Sue made his first-grade debut in 2013 after featuring as a member of the club’s Toyota Cup-winning side in 2012.

He has since played 113 first-grade games in Wests Tigers colours, scoring 10 tries, while also making 10 appearances for Samoa.

Wests Tigers would like to thank Sauaso for his ongoing commitment and service to the club, and wish both he and his partner Liza well in the future.”

Elgey makes move to Sydney after signing with Manly

Gold Coast Titans five-eighth Kane Elgey

Told he was not wanted by the Gold Coast Titans, Kane Elgey will move to Sydney, signing a deal with the Manly Sea Eagles. 

Manly, who have been trying to find the right fit to partner captain and halfback Daly Cherry-Evans may have found their man.

Elgey, who burst onto the scene when coming into first-grade, had everyone at the Titans excited about his partnership with Ash Taylor.

Unfortunately, a bout of poor form and injury struck and that combination was denied the chance to flourish.

Manly fans will be pleased with what they have seen from Elgey in 2018, however, as he looks to recapture some form.

Playing some Queensland Cup this season, Elgey knew he had to maintain the form to attract a potential suitor which he did.

“It’s been hard and pretty nerve-wracking,” said Elgey.

“Of course I was worried [he mightn’t get an NRL contract], but I just had to keep at it in ‘Q Cup’ and hope my manager could get something for me and in the end I had a few options, which was good.

“It is what it is, it’s a business.

“My type of football wasn’t what they wanted here and you have to accept that.

“Hopefully I can go down to Manly and get better and better, and I just want to keep learning.”

Elgey will link up with former Titans coach John Cartwright and looks forward to working under Trent Barrett, another former five-eighth.

“Having [former Titans head coach] John Cartwright at Manly had a lot to do with it, and Trent Barrett, being a five-eighth, as head coach is great,” continued Elgey.

“I’m hoping I can stay in the Titans team for the next few games and get some confidence to take into next year but if I’m not I’ll go back to Tweed and do my best there.

“All my family came out today and treated it like my last game [for the Titans].”

Cartwright spoke of knowing Elgey since he was seventeen and believes he can thrive in Manly’s system.

“I’ve known Kane since he was seventeen and playing on the Gold Coast have watched him progress through the grades, he’s a great kid and very dedicated,” Cartwright said.

“I think he’ll relish the opportunity and thrive with the quality of players that will surround him down here. He also gives us more depth in key areas.”

Manly secure rare home win in clash v Bulldogs

Manly Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic

Needing someone to step up, Tom Trbojevic delivered at the clutch for the Manly Sea Eagles in their 18-6 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The first half was one dominated by the Bulldogs. They had the possession, the field position but failed to capitalise.

It proved costly as a second-half blitz and period of dominance of their own, saw Manly record a much-needed win.

The Sea Eagles hit the lead with an early penalty goal but the Bulldogs would score the first try and their only points.

Michael Lichaa passed back on the inside and Reimis Smith did the rest, bustling his way over.

Try as they might before and after, despite all their possession, the Dogs could not crack the Manly line again.

The game then turned on its head as Manly dominated possession and the Bulldogs errors began to climb.

Manly’s first try came off an attacking scrum as Trbojevic outpaced Kerrod Holland to score.

Soon after, a second try for Trbojevic came, as Brian Kelly popped a lovely late offload for the fullback to simply fall over the line.

Forced to do a mountain of defence, the Dogs line eventually cracked again.

Addin Fonua-Blake scoring a rare NRL try as he crashed over off a Daly Cherry-Evans short pass.

The win was the first for Manly at Lottland (named McGrath Foundation Stadium for this week due to Women in League round) in seven starts.

With defence so crucial in today’s game, Trent Barrett praised his side’s resolve to keep the Dogs at bay.

“Our first half set it up really, down to 12 men, the defensive effort in the first half they just kept turning up and turning up,” he said.

“I think we only had one good ball set in the first half and on the wrong end of possession and 7-3 penalties.

“To come in at 6-4, was a real good result for us.

I knew if we had enough good ball we’d score enough points. Credit to the players, they did a terrific job.”

Player of the Game:

3. Tom Trbojevic

2. Addin Fonua-Blake

  1. Daly Cherry-Evans


Comeback kings strike again as Panthers beat Titans


Gold Coast Titans prop Ryan James


Somehow, the comeback kings have done it again; the Penrith Panthers winning after being behind, this time against the Gold Coast Titans. 

How they are always doing it is anyone’s guess but it has many questioning their premiership credentials against more elite sides.

In a game that went to extra-time, it was villain-turned-hero in Nathan Cleary that shone brightest.

Missing what is usually an easy conversion by his standards, the miss pushed the game to golden point.

But it all came full circle as Cleary, calmly as you like, slotted the winning field goal and gave Penrith a 17-16 win at Cbus Super Stadium.

In a week mired with turmoil of sorts for the Panthers; the sacking of Anthony Griffin, the rumours around Ivan Cleary and much more, they somehow found a way to win.

It was a first-up win as an NRL coach for Cameron Ciraldo although his side has much to improve on.

Slow starts have killed them in 2018 and this game was no different.

The Titans got on the scoreboard first when Ryan James powered over from close range.

The Panthers did, however, hit back, when Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Cleary and Waqa Blake all combined to with the latter scoring.

Both sides shot themselves in the foot a few times in the ensuing plays, especially the Titans who could have scored soon after.

They would eventually get their next try, though, as a Panthers error gifted a try to Titans winger Philip Sami.

Another soon followed as Anthony Don took a simple interception and coasted away to score and give the Titans a 16-6 lead.

In a match largely dominated by the Titans, the Panthers side were lucky to be in it at all.

Two quick tries followed, however, as the comeback kings somehow got it back to 16-all.

First, a Dean Whare break through brittle Titans defence saw Cleary score.

Before a run play on the last went through the hands and it was Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who levelled things up.

Cleary may have gone on to miss the conversion but he certainly did not miss the field goal.

Ciraldo praised his side for their resolve and half Cleary for how he has handled himself amid speculation this week.

“I didn’t think we were playing well enough, to their credit they are just a talented group,” the rookie coach said.

“They pulled it out at the end there and I am so glad to the bloke sitting next to me for him to win it for us after the week he’s had, not of his own doing.

“The way he has handled himself this week, I couldn’t be prouder of him and I’m just so happy that he had the chance to win us the game and he nailed it.”

Player of the Game:

3. Ryan James

2. Nathan Cleary

  1. Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

Roosters hit top spot after win over arch rivals Souths

Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk

One of the oldest, fiercest rivals in Australian rugby league history, the Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs clashes are always lively. 

Last night was no exception as it was the Roosters who came out on top in a defensive slog to win 18-14.

The win moves the Roosters into first place for the first time in 2018 after a steady climb up the ladder.

Souths night was hampered by the early loss of Alex Johnston who left the field with a hamstring injury.

They would score the first points in the game, however, with Adam Reynolds slotting a penalty goal to put Souths up 2-0.

The first try would go to the Roosters; Victor Radley hitting the line, spinning and popping a miracle ball for James Tedesco to score.

A further penalty goal extended the Roosters  lead but Reynolds had plans of his own.

Grubbering ahead, he regathered his own kick and converted to boot, before Mitchell kicked another penalty goal.

Evenly poised at half-time, it was the Roosters who led 10-8.

The Roosters would go further ahead when Joseph Manu scored on the back of a length of the field run from Blake Ferguson.

Another penalty goal put the Roosters up 18-8 but the Bunnies would grab a late try to make it interesting.

Hymel Hunt was the scorer after a behind-the-back pass by Braidon Burns.

Although his side might be first at the moment, Roosters coach Trent Robinson says they are not the only favourites.

“No, you can’t change within a night,” Robinson said.

“We haven’t been there all year. It’s insignificant, that’s changed three weeks in a row hasn’t it? Within eight days we’ve had three [favourites].

“We are where we want to be, probably would have liked to have been there earlier in the season, but we are where we want to be now and are getting better.

“But there is room for improvement, we’re not done yet.”

The injury to Johnston has Souths back-line depth even skinnier than it was, something that coach Anthony Seibold knows cannot be controlled.

“We are under the pump a bit with our outside backs so we don’t have too many options to be fair,” Seibold said.

“Gags hasn’t done any reps all season at fullback and young Tyrell, we pulled him up two days ago and he hasn’t trained with us for months.

“For him to do a good job on Latrell Mitchell … that’s why I am really proud of the effort of the guys tonight.”

Player of the Game:

3. Cooper Cronk

2. James Tedesco

  1. Thomas Burgess