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Sea Eagles soften Fonua-Blake loss with re-signing of Paseka

Manly Sea Eagles prop Taniela Paseka

Proving he is more than capable, Taniela Paseka will likely be a starting prop full-time next season as he re-signs with the Manly Sea Eagles.

Paseka, who has deputized for the injured and now departing Addin Fonua-Blake has been in good form all year.

His new contract extension will see Paseka remain at Manly until the end of the 2024 season.

With a total of 43 NRL games to his name since making his NRL debut in 2018, Paseka has been impressive.

He was a part of the club’s 2017 NYC premiership winning team and brings all the traits that Manly coach Des Hasler wants to see.

“Taniela has really stepped up this season and we are delighted to have secured his services until the end of 2024 with this new deal,’’ Hasler said.

“For a young player in just his third season in the NRL, I know Taniela will only further improve and will play a major role in our forward pack in the years to come.”

Equally pleased is Paseka himself, and he knows the opportunity is there for the taking to make a starting prop spot his own.

“I’m really happy here at Manly,” Paseka said.

“This year has been a real learning curve for me as a young prop in the NRL.

Despite their overall tough season, Paseka believes the club is moving in the right direction and he backs himself to get better.

“I know there is a real opportunity for me now to secure a regular starting position at prop and I feel my game is only going to get better with the more matches I play,” Paseka continued.

“It may have been a tough season for us this year but I know this club is heading in the right direction under Coach Des Hasler and I’m looking forward to playing an even greater part.”

Manly Sea Eagles prop Taniela Paseka

2020 NRLW teamlists

Brisbane Broncos NRLW star Ali Brigginshaw

That time is upon us again, the NRLW. Telstra will be naming rights partners after Holden’s departure.

The 2020 competition sees many returning faces but also several new faces that are sure to excite many.

Of course, these are some of Australia’s top female rugby sevens stars, and they are suited to formats like these.

Here are the teams for the 2020 NRLW Telstra Premiership (we will update them as teams add more or announce their full teams as well as any changes):

New Zealand Warriors: Stephanie Ball, Madison Bartlett, Karina Brown, Brianna Clark, Kirra Dibb, Samantha Economos, Tazmin Gray, Ellia Green, Georgia Hale, Naomi Kara, Teaghan Laing & Taimane Levu.
New Zealand Warriors NRLW recruit and Australian rugby sevens star Ellia Green
Laken Paitai, Michaela Peck, Kanyon Paul, Evania Pelite, Hilda Peters, Shaniah Power, Kayla Sauvao, Simone Smith, Shontelle Stowers & Crystal Tamarua.
Four development players: Abii Church, Tyla Gambell, Tahlia Hunter & Patricia Raikadroka.
Coach: Aaron Donald.

Sydney Roosters: Charlotte Caslick, Kennedy Cherrington, Quincy Dodd, Vanessa Foliaki, Grace Hamilton, Filomina Hanisi, Melanie Howard, Jocelyn Kelleher, Bobbi Law, Amelia Mafi, Nita Maynard & Corban McGregor.
Sydney Roosters NRLW recruit and rugby sevens star Charlotte Caslick
Yasmin Meakes, Brydie Parker, Shanice Parker, Kaitlyn Phillips, Taleena Simon, Hannah Southwell, Simaima Taufa, Zahara Temara, Sarah Togatuki & Botille Vette-Welsh.
Coach: Jamie Feeney.

Brisbane Broncos: Amber Hall, Ali Brigginshaw, Millie Boyle, Lavinia Gould, Tarryn Aiken, Annette Brander, Tallisha Harden, Jayme Fressard, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Lauren Brown, Julia Robinson, Meg Ward, Raecene McGregor, Tamika Upton.

Brisbane Broncos NRLW half and Kiwi Ferns international Raecene McGregor
*Note: the Broncos are yet to name their full quota of players.
Coach: Kelvin Wright.

St George Illawarra Dragons: Elsie Albert, Kezie Apps, Shaylee Bent, Teagan Berry, Sammy Bremner, Jaime Chapman, Keeley Davis, Jade Etherden, Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa’amausili, Steph Hancock, Talei Holmes, Rikeya Horne, Ellie Johnston, Isabelle Kelly, Mahalia Murphy, Georgia Page, Christine Pauli, Tiana Penitani, Jessica Sergis, Maddie Studdon, Shakiah Tungai & Maddison Weatherall.

Coach: Dean Lacey


 

NRL Teams Rd 20

Junior Paulo. Source: Parramatta Eels.

 

 

 

 

 

Here we are. The final round of the 2020 season. It’s been different but exciting nevertheless. 

Jostling for spots will continue as teams need a win to hold onto their spots but there will be some dead rubbers.

All games should still offer some excitement and so here are the teams for round 20 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLBroncosCowboys); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Thursday, September25. Kick-off: 7:50 pm. 

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Xavier Coates 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Richard Kennar 6. Kotoni Staggs 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Issac Luke 10. Payne Haas 11. Jordan Riki 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patrick Carrigan (C).

Interchange: 14. Cory Paix 15. Ben Te’o 16. Corey Oates 17. Jamil Hopoate.

Reserves: 18. Rhys Kennedy 19. Ethan Bullemor 20. Sean O’Sullivan 21. Brodie Croft.

Coach: Peter Gentle.

Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Murray Taulagi 4. Daejarn Asi 5. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh McGuire 9. Reuben Cotter 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Mitchell Dunn 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. John Asiata 15. Tom Gilbert 16. Corey Jensen 17. Francis Molo.

Reserves: 18. Emry Pere 19. Jake Granville 20. Ben Condon 21. Justin O’Neill.

Coach: Josh Hannay.


Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights (#NRLTitansKnights); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Friday, September 26. Kick-off: 6 pm.

Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Treymain Spry 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor (C) 12. Sam Stone 13. Tyrone Peachey.

Interchange: 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jai Arrow 17. Jai Whitbread.

Reserves: 18. Darius Farmer 19. Corey Thompson 20. Philip Sami 21. Nathan Peats.

Coach: Justin Holbrook.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce (C) 8. David Klemmer 9. Kurt Mann 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Sione Mata’utia 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Mitch Barnett.

Interchange: 14. Chris Randall 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Brodie Jones.

Reserves: 18. Josh King 19. Gehamat Shibasaki 20. Starford To’A 21. Jirah Momoisea.

Coach: Adam O’Brien.


South Sydney Rabbitohs v Sydney Roosters (#NRLSouthsRoosters); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Friday September, 26. Kick-off: 7:55 pm. 

Rabbitohs: 1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Dane Gagai 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds (C) 8. Liam Knight 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jed Cartwright 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray.

Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Hame Sele 16. Patrick Mago 17. Keaon Koloamatangi.

Reserves: 18. Tevita Tatola 19. Jack Johns 20. Troy Dargan 21. Cory Denniss.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Mitch Aubusson 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Angus Crichton

Interchange: 14. Lachlan Lam 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Nat Butcher 17. Sonny Bill Williams.

Reserves: 18. Matt Ikuvalu 19. Daniel Fifita 20. Freddy Lussick 21. Ryan Hall.

Coach: Trent Robinson.


Canterbury Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers (#NRLBulldogsPanthers); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Saturday, September 27. Kick-off: 3 pm.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Reimis Smith 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Jake Averillo 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aidan Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Luke Thompson 11. Chris Smith 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Josh Jackson (C).

Interchange: 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Renouf To’Omaga 16. Sione Katoa 17. Sauaso Sue.

Reserves: 19. Dean Britt 20. Jack Cogger 21. Tuipolutu Katoa 23. Kerrod Holland.

Coach: Steve Georgallis.

Panthers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. Josh Mansour 3. Tyrone May 4. Brent Naden 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Kurt Capewell 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo.

Interchange: 14. Matt Burton 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Moses Leota 17. Zane Tetevano.

Reserves: 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Dean Whare 20. Jack Hetherington 21. Billy Burns.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.


Cronulla Sharks v Canberra Raiders (#NRLSharksRaiders); Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah; Saturday, September 27. Kick-off: 5:30 pm.

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Mawene Hiroti 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Wade Graham 7. Connor Tracey 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Siosifa Talakai 13. Toby Rudolf.

Interchange: 14. Scott Sorenson 15. Jack Williams 16. Andrew Fifita 17. Teig Wilton.

Reserves: 18. Billy Magoulias 19. Braydon Trindall 20. Bryson Goodwin 21. Daniel Vasquez.

Coach: John Morris.

Raiders: 1.  Adam Cook 2. Semi Valemei 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Harley Smith-Shields 5. Nick Cotric 6. Matt Frawley 7. Sam Williams 8. Dunamis Lui 9. Tom Starling 10. Iosia Soliola 11. Hudson Young 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Siliva Havili.

Interchange: 14. Kai O’Donnell 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Darby Medlyn 17. Jarrett Subloo.

Reserves: 18. Ata Mariota 19. Joseph Tapine 20. Jack Wighton 21. Elliott Whitehead.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.


Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels (#NRLTigersEels); Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta; Saturday, September 27. Kick-off: 7:35 pm.

Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tommy Talau 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Asu Kepaoa 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Zane Musgrove 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal.

Interchange: 14. Matthew Eisenhuth 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Shawn Blore 17. Michael Chee-Kam.

Reserves: 18. Alex Seyfarth 19. Jacob Liddle 20. Josh Reynolds 21. Joey Leilua.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jai Field 7. Mitch Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Will Smith 15. Andrew Davey 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi.

Reserves: 18. Haze Dunster 19. Brad Takairangi 20. George Jennings 21. Daniel Alvaro.

Coach: Brad Arthur.


New Zealand Warriors v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLWarriorsManly); Central Coast Stadium, Gosford; Sunday, September 28. Kick-off: 2 pm. 

Warriors: 1. Peta Hiku 2. Adam Pompey 3. Adam Keighran 4. Hayze Perham 5. Patrick Herbert 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Lachlan Burr 9. Karl Lawton 10. Isaiah Papali’i 11. Eliesa Katoa 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga.

Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan 15. Adam Blair 16. Jack Murchie 17. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.

Reserves: 18. Josh Curran 19. Paul Turner 20. Gerard Beale 21. Tom Ale.

Coach: Todd Payten.

Manly: 1. Tevita Funa 2. Abbas Miski 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Corey Waddell 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Albert Hopoate 15. Morgan Boyle 16. Sean Keppie 17. Haumole Olakau’atu.

Reserves: 18. Ben Trbojevic 19. Luke Metcalf 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Sione Fainu.

Coach: Des Hasler.


St George Illawarra Dragons v Melbourne Storm (#NRLDragonsStorm); Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah; Sunday, September 28. Kick-off: 4:05 pm. 

Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Max Feagai 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Cody Ramsey 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Cameron McInnes (C) 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Jacob Host 13. Jackson Ford.

Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims 15. Kaide Ellis 16. Josh Kerr 17. Eddie Blacker.

Reserves: 18. Brayden Wiliame 19. Corey Norman 20. Jordan Pereira 21. Tyrell Fuimaono.

Coach: Dean Young.

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Sandor Earl 3. Ricky Leutele 4. Paul Momirovski 5. Issac Lumelume 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Cooper Johns 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Tom Eisenhuth 12. Chris Lewis 13. Max King.

Interchange: 14. Nicho Hynes 15. Darryn Schonig 16. Albert Vete 17. Aaron Pene.

Reserves: 18. Aaron Booth 19. Dean Ieremia 20. Trent Lolero 21. Judda Turahui.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.


Powerhouse prop Fonua-Blake makes Warriors move official

Newly signed New Zealand Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake

Addin Fonua-Blake, a powerhouse prop, a Tongan international and a leading NRL forward has signed with the New Zealand Warriors.

Fonua-Blake’s deal will run until the end of the 2023 season, adding to an already solid pack.

The Warriors have re-signed Jack Murchie, signed Kane Evans and Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Adding Fonua-Blake gives the Warriors additional mongrel upfront and his combination with Murdoch-Masila should be electric.

“Addin’s signing could be one of the most important the club’s history,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.

“He is exactly what we have been looking for to bring into our squad.”

O’Sullivan described Fonua-Blake as the type of prop they need and believes he will fit in well with the club.

“Addin has a big motor, power, the skill set and the body shape we were looking for to take our pack to a new level.

“He’s very close to a lot of players in our squad having cemented relationships with them over a number of years at Test level and with the Junior Kiwis.

“At 24 years of age he has the best years in front of him as a premier front rower in the NRL.”

Just as pleased to sign Fonua-Blake is Warriors CEO Cameron George.

“It’s a huge coup for us and we’re thrilled to welcome Addin and his family to our club,” George said.

“Having him on board is the missing part of the puzzle as we have worked to establish a squad to compete with the best clubs in the competition.”

The Manly Sea Eagles issued a brief statement on Fonua-Blake’s early release.

“Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have today formally released prop Addin Fonua-Blake from the remainder of his contract.

Fonua-Blake was signed to the Sea Eagles for 2021-22. He asked for a release on compassionate grounds.

The 24-year-old played 97 NRL games for Manly after making his club debut in 2016.”

Knights pile on the points against Dragons and inch closer to a home final

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga

It was their start that got them the win, one that the Newcastle Knights can be proud of after a 42-18 rout of the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Leaping into sixth position after the win and holding a home final spot, next week’s clash with the Gold Coast Titans is crucial.

With the home final so close they can taste it, Knights coach Adam O’Brien admits it would be exciting for the club.

“I know capacity may only be at 50% but I’ve been here when the place was rocking. I know how difficult it is coming up the highway to play here,” O’Brien said.

“So it would be huge. It would be great for everyone but we’re not there yet.”

The Knights started off like a house on fire with two tries in the first seven minutes.

Makeshift hooker Chris Randall took the line on and found Kalyn Ponga who streaked away to score.

This was followed by an aerial leap from Gehamat Shibasaki off a Mason Lino crossfield kick, and the Knights were flying.

Before too long, the score blew out to 24-0, the Knights asserting their dominance.

Ponga would turn provider for the third, laying on a lovely short ball at the line for Aidan Guerra to crash over.

Daniel Saifiti then continued his good form this season, twisting in the tackle with three Dragons on him to plant the ball down.

It was a different story for the Dragons, though. Errors – and many of them – both from errant passing and predictable kicking.

It went from bad to worse when Ben Hunt was penalised and put on report for a crusher tackle.

Late in the first half, the Dragons would finally get on the scoreboard through in-form centre Zac Lomax.

Lomax, who has been a rare spark for the Dragons in 2020, jostled out of several tackles and found the try-line.

Halfback Mitchell Pearce would then combine with Enari Tuala to give the Knights a commanding 30-6 lead at the break.

The Knights dominance would continue with Jacob Saifiti joining brother Daniel on the scoreboard.

The Dragons would pull one try back, though.

Lomax and youngster Cody Ramsey combined on the right flank, before Ramsey found Norman inside to score.

That faint sniff was shortlived, however, when Tuala scored his second off a lovely short pass from Ponga.

The final try of the game would go the Dragons way and it was their best player in Lomax yet again.

Lomax leaped highest to steal the ball from Ponga and had a short run to the try-line to score a simple try.

The Knights will desperately hope they can hold onto sixth spot and secure their first home final since 2006.

The win was even more special, for it was Old Boys’ Day at the club; a tradition the Knights value highly.

Interim Dragons coach Dean Young was livid with his side’s meek effort and made it known post-game.

“It was just under-8s stuff,” said Young.

“In the end, they made 265 tackles and we made 406.

“So you’re going to get some poor defensive stuff and fundamental errors when you’re making that many tackles.

“But that’s not an excuse. We are much better than that and the players know it.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Kalyn Ponga (NEW)

2. Zac Lomax (SGI)

  1. Daniel Saifiti (NEW)
St George Illawarra Dragons centre Zac Lomax

 

Knights forward Glasby forced into premature retirement due to prolonged concussion symptoms

Retiring Newcastle Knights forward Tim Glasby

A successful NRL career, a premiership, and representing Queensland, Tim Glasby achieved plenty in his rugby league career.

Although he would have preferred to retire on his own terms, prolonged concussion symptoms have intervened.

Glasby has been forced into premature retirement after receiving doctor’s advice not to return to full contact.

That made Glasby’s decision easier with 138 NRL games and five QLD games, the forward had time to reflect.

“I’ve had a lot of time to sit back and reflect on my career and I am truly grateful for everything the game has given me,” Glasby said.

“If you had told me when I first signed with the Storm, I would go on to win a premiership and run out for Queensland in State of Origin, I would’ve thought you were joking.”

Glasby, who enjoyed stints with both the Storm and the Knights, was quick to thank both clubs and his family.

“I am appreciative for the opportunities I have had and the support of my family throughout the journey,” Glasby continued.

“I want to thank my mum and dad, my wife Casey, children Parker and Remy and all the teammates and staff at the Storm, Maroons and Knights.

“I have worked with some incredible people over the years.”

Knowing Glasby well, Knights coach Adam O’Brien praised Glasby’s work ethic and determination to succeed.

“Tim Glasby typifies exactly what hard work and determination can get you in life,” O’Brien said.

“All of his success at Club and representative level has come on the back of hard work.”

Working alongside each other in some capacity for a decade, O’Brien lauded Glasby for helping him with his coaching transition.

“I have been very fortunate to spend over a decade with Tim and share some special moments in the NRL with him,” O’Brien continued.

“He’s also been a huge help with my transition into head coaching.”

Former Melbourne Storm prop Tim Glasby

Roosters celebrate Aubusson milestone in style with win over Sharks

Sydney Roosters forward Isaac Liu

303 games, a Sydney Roosters club record. Mitch Aubusson ran out and performed well to guide the Roosters to a win over the Cronulla Sharks.

The celebration was great for Aubusson but the Sharks will head into the finals with their talisman in Shaun Johnson.

Taking the line on, Johnson fell and injured his Achilles, an injury that rules him out for 4-6 months.

Johnson would not be the only Sharks injury, unfortunately.

Prop Royce Hunt dislocated his kneecap and Josh Dugan also had knee injuries of his own.

Before the game began, the Roosters players made a guard of honour celebrating Aubusson’s club milestone.

The first try of the game went to the milestone man, as he raced over off a Joey Manu short ball.

Cronulla came ready to play, though, and scored a near carbon copy try of their own.

Johnson the provider and Siosifa Talakai the scorer, to make it 6-apiece.

Kyle Flanagan continued his solid night with the boot when he slotted a penalty goal to give the Roosters the lead.

That lead was extended when Daniel Tupou wrestled his way over the line to avoid Sione Katoa.

Although their attack was not as fluid as last week, the fancy footwork was on show and that came via Isaac Liu.

He danced his way past the Sharks defence and found Keary on the inside to extend the Roosters lead even further.

Angus Crichton showed off his grubbering skills to find Aubusson for his second, beating Ronaldo Mulitalo to the punch.

Mulitalo would nab a try of his own, though, when he returned serve.

With all the focus on Johnson’s injury, the Sharks spirits were near broken and the Roosters capitalised.

A short side raid saw Keary grab his second as he coasted over untouched.

The spirit was not too broken to score points through prop Braden Hamlin-Uele, though.

He powered over from close range off a Blayke Brailey pass to give a slight sniff for the Sharks.

When Joey Manu crossed late on, however, the icing was on the cake.

Manu’s night ended sourly when he was sent to the sin-bin.

Trent Robinson was critical of some of his side’s effort, citing the lack of playing for each other as a key issue to focus on.

“We just didn’t have enough people doing those effort areas that the player next to you loves and loves you for,” said Robinson.

“There just wasn’t enough of that.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Isaac Liu (SYD)

2. Braden Hamlin-Uele (CRO)

  1. Joey Manu (SYD)
Cronulla Sharks prop Braden Hamlin-Uele

 

Storm secure second place with comfortable win over Tigers

Melbourne Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes

Playing at Sunshine Coast Stadium, their home away from home, the Melbourne Storm wrapped up second spot with a dominant win over the Wests Tigers.

The win sees Melbourne finish in the top two for the fifth consecutive season.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy was pleased to finish where they have and praised Penrith at the same time.

“One and two get the first home game and get a second chance,” Bellamy siad.

We don’t get the shield like Penrith have and what they have done to win the [JJ Giltinan] Shield with 14 games in a row is remarkable.”

The Storm have also been seen as the measuring stick for consistency and Bellamy is proud of their form.

“It is a really good result for us and I am really proud of the club the last five years,” Bellamy continued.

“This year has gone to another level, living away from home and a lot of things people wouldn’t know about that have been quite challenging and difficult.

The scoring started early for the Storm with Jahrome Hughes and Suliasi Vunivalu combining.

Hughes’ low, long-range kick found Vunivalu racing through and he scored with ease.

The second try went through the hands but was executed just as perfectly.

Nicho Hynes and Kenny Bromwich combined on the edge before Josh Addo-Carr nabbed the goods at the end.

The Tigers lost two men soon after when both Sam McIntyre and Matthew Eisenhuth were the casualties of a barnstorming Tino Fa’asuamaleaui run.

Not to be outdone in attack, though, the Tigers were the next ones to score.

Benji Marshall & Josh Reynolds combined to find winger Asu Kepaoa in the corner who finished acrobatically.

Kenny Bromwich would then show off his class with the ball, to find Hynes who bamboozled the Tigers defence to score.

The heart of the Tigers could not be understated, however, and Josh Aloiai powered over from close range.

Some resolute Storm defence forced Joey Leilua over the sidelines and they capitalised in attack soon after.

Vunivalu and Hughes combined again, this time through the air, with the Fijian soaring high to nab the ball and score.

Hughes then scored a try of his own when he darted through a yawning gap in the Tigers defence.

Addo-Carr would grab his second soon after, when he ran 60 m, weaving in and out of defenders to score.

The half would end with Luke Garner sent to the sin bin for a professional foul and the Storm led 32-10 at the break.

The Storm would not be strangers to casualty, however; Bromwich went off with a HIA and Vunivalu with hamstring tightness.

Harry Grant, Marshall and Reynolds would combine yet again for Kepaoa’s second try.

The Tigers would get a sniff with a quick-fire double to start the second half when Adam Doueihi sliced over.

Though the compounding factor on top of the loss was an ACL injury suffered by in-form forward Josh Aloiai.

The Storm found their mojo soon after, as the ball was spread from one side to the other with Justin Olam finishing the play off.

Cameron Smith then scored his 47th NRL try to pass Craig Bellamy that saw the two engage in some light-hearted banter.

It was Luciano Leilua’s interference in the play the ball that led to Smith’s try.

He would grubber ahead, beating Doueihi to the punch to score.

Smith would then turn provider as he grubbered for Fa’asuamaleaui to score, with the score finishing up 50-22 to the Storm.

Proud of how his side bounced back, Tigers coach Michael Maguire wants to farewell Chris Lawrence and Benji Marshall on the right note next week.

“It is a really important week for Chris Lawrence, Benji and a number of boys that will leave us,” Maguire said.

“It is a really important game for us to make sure we send everyone that is leaving off in the right manner.

“If we go out and put pressure on Parramatta we know what we are capable of doing, so we have got to go out and do that.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jahrome Hughes (MEL)

2. Nicho Hynes (MEL)

  1. Cameron Smith (MEL)
Melbourne Storm fullback Nicho Hynes

Eels back in the winners’ circle as Broncos face prospect of the wooden spoon

Parramatta Eels captain and fullback Clint Gutherson

It was a welcome win for the Parramatta Eels, as the Brisbane Broncos stare down the barrel of a wooden spoon after the 26-12 loss. 

The loss was compounded by an injury to hulking back-rower David Fifita, who was seen on crutches nursing an ankle issue.

Criticised in recent weeks for their lack of cohesion in attack, there were some good signs of improvement.

Making his first Broncos appearance, Tyson Gamble left the field in just the first minute due to concussion.

Slogging it out and testing the waters early, the first twenty minutes was a defensive slog.

The duck was broken after 20 minutes, however, when a lovely cut-out pass from Clint Gutherson found Blake Ferguson.

The Eels would then attack down their other flank and Mitch Moses would throw an equally solid cut-out pass for Maika Sivo.

Not one to rest on their laurels, though, the Broncos showed that they had plenty of fight.

A swashbuckling run from David Fifita close to the line saw him power over for a try, typical of those we see from him.

Just when it seemed like the momentum was with the Broncos, the Eels would score once again.

Gutherson got himself on the scoreboard when he grubbered for himself, collected the ricochet, and burrowed over to score.

The King of Parramatta has his second soon after off a scrum play, simply taking the line on, spotting the gap, and going over to score.

The Broncos would again hit back, this time through Herbie Farnworth who just managed to hold onto the ball.

An errant pass would see the Eels extend their lead once again, though, as Jai Field showed his pace to race away and score.

A major talking point was the decision to put Junior Paulo on report for a hip tackle, but Eels coach Brad Arthur saw nothing in it.

“There’s nothing much in that, is there? It shouldn’t have even been a penalty,” Arthur said.

“That’s not a penalty. What is he supposed to do? No way. That was not the description of the hip tackle.”

Arthur believes the win was a step in the right direction but was quick to praise Brisbane for their efforts.

“It was a step in the right direction, it was better,” Arthur said.

“I thought we tried to play a lot more football. We played a nice power game there for a while.

“The second half, it would’ve been nice to nail a couple of those opportunities, but we’ve got to give credit to the Broncos – they were brave.”

Desperate to avoid the wooden spoon and keen to send Darius Boyd out a winner, the Broncos are determined for a win next week.

“We’re expecting a chance to get the biggest crowd of the round with the Queensland derby back at Suncorp,” Broncos coach Peter Gentle said.

“We’d like to fill it as much as we can.

“We’ve known for quite a while now where Darius’s finish line was.

“We’ll have to send Dave [Fifita] off as well – that’s in the balance. We’ll be doing everything to send Darbs out a winner.”

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Veteran Titans back-rower Proctor to stick around for 2021

Gold Coast Titans captain and back-rower Kevin Proctor

Veteran back-rower and current Gold Coast Titans captain Kevin Proctor will stay on with the club for the 2021 season.

Proctor, who brings a wealth of experience, has been at the Titans for a few seasons now and helped nurture the next generation.

With 250 NRL games and 24 tests for the Kiwis, Proctor has been there and done that in the game.

He will lead exciting talents in David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui as he looks to propel the Titans forward and build on their recent form.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook praised Proctor for his form and knows he will be invaluable in 2021.

“Kevin has played some of the best football of his career this season and I look forward to that continuing next season,” Holbrook said.

“It is great to have a local junior continue at our Club and I know Kevin wants the Club to be successful.

“He is excited to be part of that.”