All posts by ricky

Walker’s four-try blitz guides Rabbitohs to comeback win over Warriors

South Sydney Rabbitohs 5/8 Cody Walker

A late two-try blitz from Cody Walker has guided the South Sydney Rabbitohs to a comeback win over the New Zealand Warriors. 

Playing at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, it was the New Zealand Warriors who looked the goods early.

They were eventually chased down by the Rabbitohs with Walker’s two tries gifting the Bunnies a narrow 28-24 win.

A reshuffle forced Peta Hiku to move into the halves and Gerard Beale called upon to play at centre.

The early forced change failed to dampen the Warriors rapid start to the game as captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck led from the front.

After blowing the chance for a try earlier, he made amends as he nabbed the game’s first four-pointer.

A quick-fire Cody Walker double then put Souths ahead as the cardinal and myrtle side began to gain ascendancy.

A rare try for Warriors utility hooker Jazz Tevaga was next, as he darted through the Bunnies line off a Lachlan Burr offload.

The match looked to be wrapped up for the Warriors as a barging Sam Lisone planted the ball down.

Tohu Harris crossed soon after in what looked like a match-winning lead for the Warriors.

It was not to be, however, as that man stood up again. Cody Walker scored two further tries in quick succession to gift the Rabbitohs victory.

His efforts saw him become the first Rabbitohs player to score four tries against the Warriors.

Souths coach Wayne Bennett has been there and done that, so he was not phased when his side was

“Strangely enough, I was more worried long before we were down 24-12,” Bennett said.

“I wasn’t worried when we were down 24-12. There was a lot of time left in the game and we were picking up the momentum we lost.

“The rhythm wasn’t there, it was stop-start, and I said to our assistant coach we’re starting to get back into a groove and we’ll be OK.”

Not blaming the loss of Blake Green as a reason for the loss, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney lamented his side’s lack of game management.

“I couldn’t fault the effort but I thought we weren’t that smart at the back end of sets in the second half,” Kearney said.

“When we got 12 points ahead, we had to manage the game more effectively. We didn’t do that so well and that was frustrating.

“I reckon we had enough occasions to manage the game properly but just failed to do so.

“That’s the NRL, you’ve got to work to the final whistle. Sixty-minute efforts don’t get you the win.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Cody Walker

2. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

  1. Damien Cook

Smith breaks all-time points record as Storm overcome Cowboys

Melbourne Storm fullback Jahrome Hughes

Cameron Smith is now the great all-time scorer in NRL history, as his Melbourne Storm side beat the North Queensland Cowboys in a close affair.

Passing the mark in the 49th minute of the Storm’s win with a penalty goal, Smith surpassed previous record holder Hazem El Masri.

Both teams started rather sluggishly but the Cowboys pressure eventually saw them score the first points.

Michael Morgan’s crossfield kick saw Gavin Cooper soar highest to bat the ball back for Te Maire Martin to score.

In relative control of the match for large parts of the first half, a Morgan 40/20 then gave the Cowboys more chances.

Although they were only able to come away with a penalty goal to lead 8-0.

Not a team to rest on their laurels or admit defeat easily, the Storm hit back on the stroke of half-time.

A lovely pass by Cameron Munster saw Will Chambers slice right through to open the scoring for the Storm.

As both teams defended strongly, it was another penalty goal that saw the scores draw level and Smith break the record.

Not one to make his own mark in a game, Josh Addo-Carr nabbed two tries to put the Storm in the box seat.

Though the Cowboys showed resolve of their own, as a Jordan Kahu flick pass saw Ben Hampton score.

The Cowboys loss was worsened by a suspected compound fracture to winger Nene Macdonald after a collision with team-mate John Asiata.

Despite their loss that keeps them near the bottom, Cowboys coach Paul Green was pleased with how his side performed.

“I was proud of the way we played tonight,” Green said.

“I think we showed it in patches but never really consistently, in particular when we’d been under pressure in games up to this point.”

“We had a good win here against the Dragons but in the other games when the pressure was applied to us we probably didn’t show that.”

Having been around Smith for most of his career, Storm coach Craig Bellamy lauded his record-breaking captain.

“We’ve seen a lot of quality players in our game but I think that quality he’s shown for so long, to me, it makes him the best player I’ve seen,” Bellamy said.

“He’s tough, too.

Obviously Mother Nature was polite to him and given him a body that has allowed him to absorb the rigours of 18 seasons of NRL which is unbelievable, especially in the position that he plays and the size that he is.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jahrome Hughes

2. Cameron Munster

  1. Michael Morgan

Titans record first win of the season against Panthers in high-scoring affair

Gold Coast Titans fullback Michael Gordon

Desperate for a win, the Gold Coast Titans fought valiantly and came away with the goods, recording their first victory in 2019 against the Penrith Panthers.

With both sides coming into the game with as the two lowest scoring teams, a result that produced 54 points was probably not something many expected.

In the end, the Titans 30-24 win was enough to give the team some renewed spirit as the fans at Cbus Super Stadium had something to cheer about.

Penrith started the brighter of the two sides and it was James Maloney who opened the scoring off a James Fisher-Harris pass.

The Titans clawed their way into the contest with some exciting footy and were eventually rewarded for their efforts.

Halves pairing Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts combined, with Roberts pouncing on a Maloney fumble to level things up.

Milestone man Michael Gordon took advantage of a penalty and raced away off a quick tap.

The Titans then took the lead for the first time all season with Anthony Don soared highest to score in the corner.

Penrith would hit back, as a barnstorming Viliame Kikau proved unstoppable as he plowed through several Titans defenders to score.

With some renewed spirit, the Titans would again hit the lead just before the break.

Tyrone Peachey laid on the try this time as Gordon scored a try in his 250th game.

The 18-12 Titans half-time lead was short-lived as some poor goal line defence saw Fisher-Harris barge over.

After a disallowed try due to obstruction, the Titans thought more points may not come.

Penrith took the lead soon after, as a crafty one-handed pass by Nathan Cleary found winger Josh Mansour to score.

The Titans resolve was strong, however, as prop Jarrod Wallace scored a rare but crucial try for the club.

To retake the lead, the Titans were then awarded a penalty try after interference from Tyrell Fuimaono.

Try as they might, and despite some chances deep inside Titans territory, they were unable to break the Gold Coast line again.

The win was soured with an injury to Ash Taylor, though, who will be in some doubt.

Also injured was Panthers back-rower Isaah Yeo, who suffered a shoulder injury.

Not overly impressed with his side, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary lamented his side’s lack of consistency.

“It wasn’t great,” Cleary said.

“We’ve got a long way to go in terms of being able to play consistently for 80 minutes either side of the ball.

“That was our biggest issue tonight.

“I thought we had every reason a couple of times tonight to be able to go on with it but through a whole bunch of different things we can’t quite be consistent enough.”

The Titans resolve and attitude impressed coach Garth Brennan.

“I knew they weren’t going to give up but I knew we weren’t going to give up either,” a relieved Brennan said.

“A few of the defensive sets when Penrith were coming out of trouble showed me the desire in the football team that I knew was there.

“The ball hasn’t been bouncing our way but I knew if we kept working hard it would go our way eventually.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Michael Gordon

2. James Fisher-Harris

  1. Tyrone Roberts

English adventure begins for Seumanufagai

Former Cronulla Sharks now Leeds Rhinos prop Ava Seumanufagai

Somewhat forced out in the end, an English adventure awaits now former Cronulla Sharks prop Ava Seumanufagai, who has signed with the Leeds Rhinos.

Seumanufagai has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Super League side, a signing they are pleased with.

“We are delighted to get the deal finally done to sign Ava,” said Leeds Director of Rugby, Kevin Sinfield.

“He is a player we have been monitoring for a while and it is good that we have secured him until the end of the 2021 season.”

Sinfield praised the hard work that Seumanufagai puts in as a player and thanked the Sharks for the smooth transition.

“Ava is a big player with a great work ethic,” continued Sinfield.

“I would like to thank Cronulla Sharks for their help in getting the deal agreed and we look forward to welcoming Ava into our group once all the necessary paperwork has been completed.”

A Parramatta junior, Seumanufagai eventually made his way to the Wests Tigers and played for five years with the club.

2018 was his first season with the Sharks and with a new chapter ahead of him, the hulking prop is excited.

“I am really excited to be joining the Rhinos, “said Seumanufagai.

“I have been speaking to Kevin Sinfield for a while and I know a few blokes who have been over at Leeds and they have loved it at the club, so I am really looking forward to coming over.

“I like to play the game hard and aggressive, I like to get my job done and I enjoy the physical side of the game.”

Although their start to the season has not been the best, that does not phase the NZ-born forward.

“I know the Rhinos have had a tough start to the new season but I have been in teams that have had tough starts before and I know how rewarding it is when you turn your season around and achieve something as a group,” he continued.

“The Rhinos current form certainly wasn’t something that concerned me in terms of my long term decision to come to the club.

“That is the challenge and I am looking forward to doing my job. Once the paperwork is completed I will be heading over and I am keen to get started as soon as I arrive.”

NRL Teams Rd 5

Some surprise high fliers, some interesting cellar dwellars but entertaining footy nevertheless with NRL Teams Rd 5 now announced! 

With some needing to prove themselves and others looking to consolidate, no game is an easy one as teams jostle for spots.

So, we shall not keep you waiting much longer.

Here are the NRL teams for round five of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Brisbane Broncos v Wests Tigers (#NRLbriwst); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Thursday, April 11. Kick-off: 7:50 pm. 

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (C) 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jack Bird 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Alex Glenn 12. David Fifita 13. Matt Gillett.

Interchange: 14. Gehamat Shibasaki 15. Jaydn Su’A 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Patrick Carrigan.

Reserves: 18. Payne Haas 19. Shaun Fensom 20. James Roberts 21. Richie Kennar.

Coach: Anthony Seibold.

Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye (C) 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Robert Jennings 4. Esan Marsters 5. Corey Thompson 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Luke Garner 13. Josh Aloiai.

Interchange: 14. Ben Matulino 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Michael Chee-Kam.

Reserves: 18. Paul Momirovski 19. Elijah Taylor 20. David Nofoaluma 21. Chris McQueen.

Coach: Michael Maguire

Gold Coast Titans v Penrith Panthers (#NRLgldpen); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Friday, April 12. Kick-off: 6 pm.

Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Alexander Brimson 15. Max King 16. Shannon Boyd 17. Keegan Hipgrave.

Reserves: 18. Jack Stockwell 19. Philip Sami 20. Jai Whitbread 21. Ryley Jacks.

Coach: Garth Brennan.

Panthers: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dylan Edwards 6. James Maloney (C) 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. Tyrell Fuimaono 16. Moses Letoa 17. Hame Sele.

Reserves: 18. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 19. Tim Grant 20. Jarome Luai 21. Liam Martin.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm (#NRLnqlmel); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Friday, April 12. Kick-off: 8:05 pm. 

Cowboys: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Jordan Kahu 4. Enari Tuala 5. Ben Hampton 6. Jake Clifford 7. Michael Morgan (C) 8. Matt Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. John Asiata 15. Corey Jensen 16. Mitchell Dunn 17. Francis Molo.

Reserves: 18. Shane Wright 19. Justin O’Neill 20. Kurt Baptiste 21. Peter Hola.

Coach: Paul Green

Storm: 1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Marion Seve 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Christian Welch 16. Tui Kamikamica 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen.

Reserves: 18. Billy Walters 19. Patrick Kaufusi 20. Albert Vete 21. Sandor Earl.

Coach: Craig Bellamy

South Sydney Rabbitohs v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLsouwar); Sunshine Coast Stadium; Saturday, April 13. Kick-off: 3 pm. 

Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Corey Allan 3. Kyle Turner 4. Dane Gagai 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Sam Burgess 13. Cameron Murray.

Interchange: 14. Tevita Tatola 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ethan Lowe 17. Liam Knight.

Reserves: 18. Connor Tracey 19. Bayley Sironen 20. Rhys Kennedy 21. Jacob Gagan.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Agnatius Paasi 9. Karl Lawton 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Adam Blair 12. Tohu Harris 13. Lachlan Burr.

Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Isaiah Papali’i 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Sam Lisone.

Reserves: 18. Ligi Sao 19. Gerard Beale 21. Adam Keighran 23. Issac Luke.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Newcastle Knights v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLnewman); McDonald Jones Stadium, Broadmeadow; Saturday, April 13. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitch Pearce (C) 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. James Gavet 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utia 13. Tim Glasby.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Aidan Guerra 16. Jacob Saifiti 17. Mitch Barnett.

Reserves: 18. Josh King 19. Connor Watson 20. Herman Ese’ese 21. Tautau Moga.

Coach: Nathan Brown

Manly: 1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Moses Suli 4. Brad Parker 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kane Elgey 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Manase Fainu 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Corey Waddell 17. Toafofoa Sipley.

Reserves: 18. Trent Hodkinson 19. Lachlan Croker 20. Kelepi Tanginoa 21. Taniela Paseka.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Cronulla Sharks v Sydney Roosters (#NRLcrosyd); Pointsbet Stadium, Cronulla; Saturday, April 13. Kick-off: 7:35pm. 

Sharks: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Josh Morris 5. Sione Katoa 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Briton Nikora 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Paul Gallen.

Interchange: 14. Blayke Brailey 15. Jayson Bukuya 16. Jack Williams 17. Scott Sorenson.

Reserves: 18. Kyle Flanagan 19. William Kennedy 20. Braden Hamlin-Uele 21. Aaron Gray.

Coach: John Morris

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Angus Crichton 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Lindsay Collins 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Poasa Faumausilii 17. Mitch Aubusson.

Reserves: 18. Nat Butcher 19. Sitili Tupouniua 20. Sam Verrills 23. Lachlan Lam.

Coach: Trent Robinson

St George Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLsgicby); Netstrata Jubilee Stadium; Sunday, April 14. Kick-off: 4:05 pm. 

Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Jordan Pereiera 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Blake Lawrie.

Interchange: 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Zac Lomax 16. Jacob Host 17. Luciano Leilua.

Reserves: 18. Mitchell Allgood 19. Jai Field 20. Josh Kerr 21. Jonus Pearson.

Coach: Paul McGregor

Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Jack Cogger 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Ofahiki Ogden 11. Josh Jackson(C) 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Rhyse Martin.

Interchange: 14. Michael Lichaa 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Adam Elliott 17. Chris Smith.

Reserves: 18. Danny Fualalo 19. Marcelo Montoya 21. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 22. Fa’amanu Brown.

Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels (#NRLcanpar); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Sunday, April 14. Kick-off: 6:10 pm. 

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Sam Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton.

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Hudson Young 16. Iosia Soliola 17. Joseph Tapine.

Reserves: 18. Royce Hunt 19. Aidan Sezer 20. Bailey Simonsson 21. JJ Collins.

Coach: Ricky Stuart

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jaeman Salmon 7. Mitch Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tepai Moeroa.

Interchange: 14. Peni Terepo 15. Tim Mannah 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi.

Reserves: 18. David Gower 19. Ray Stone 20. Josh Hoffman 21. Bevan French.

Coach: Brad Arthur.


Late comeback by gritty Bulldogs not enough as Storm prevail

Canterbury Bulldogs half Lachlan Lewis

One goal. That is all it would have taken to level it up. Instead, a conversion goes wide and the Melbourne Storm defeat a valiant Canterbury Bulldogs outfit.

Hardly at their best, the win maintains the Storm’s unbeaten start to the season, despite being overwhelmed and manhandled by the Dogs at times.

Looking to reverse their own fortunes around, the Bulldogs started the brighter of the two sides with some good attacking play.

It paid dividends as they peppered the Storm’s right side defence – as they would do all game – with Kerrod Holland scoring.

They then went further ahead as some slick back-line movement saw hulking winger Jayden Okunbor touch down.

Needing a rocket of a pep talk to get back into it, the Storm would then resolve in typical Storm fashion.

It was hard going, however, as two tries were disallowed; one to Christian Welch and the other to Dale Finucane.

Luck would finally come their way as they were awarded a rare penalty try.

Chasing after his own kick, Will Chambers was taken out prior to touching the ball by Reimis Smith, making the decision easy for the video referee.

The 15,000 strong crowd was ready to cheer their side home and there was plenty to be excited about soon after.

Cameron Smith produced a bullet-like pass for a barging Tui Kamikamica to score his first NRL try.

Desperate to hold onto the 12-all scoreline, it was in vain for the Bulldogs.

Always a threat at any time, Cam Munster threw a dummy, bamboozled defenders and darted over to score off a scrum play.

Then, came the defining moment.

As Reimis Smith scored in the corner, Martin lined up his shot, had it in his sights but missed.

The rest, as they say, is history.

After matching the Storm and outpacing them in numerous elements, Bulldogs coach Dean Pay now wants consistency.

“We played better than what we did last week,” he said.

“I was really proud of the boys the way they hung in and played until the death.

“We are starting to build and we want to make sure we turn up and do that next week.”

Although his side claimed the two points, Storm coach Craig Bellamy believes his side were lucky to win.

“We were pretty lucky to get the win,” Bellamy said.

“Where we won the game was that we ‘out-completed’ them in the second half.

“I don’t think we did a whole heap wrong, although some of our defence was out at times.

“But you have to give a lot of credit to the Bulldogs and how they played and how energetic they were.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Lachlan Lewis

2. Cameron Munster

  1. Jayden Okunbor

Eels wave ANZ Stadium goodbye with gritty win over Sharks

Parramatta Eels half Mitch Moses

Led by half Mitch Moses, who, like his religious namesake, parted the Cronulla Sharks defence – obviously, water for Moses – the Parramatta Eels have bid farewell to ANZ Stadium with a win. 

Keen to bounce back after a last start loss to the Roosters – although they were competitive – this was another stern test.

As the Sharks faced life without Paul Gallen, Wade Graham, Matt Moylan and Shaun Johnson, a late scratching, the conclusion was still in the air.

The win was the Eels first in the traditional Johnny Mannah Cup clash since 2014.

There were early ebbs and flows and a forced reshuffle due to Josh Dugan leaving the field with a HIA led to first points.

Moses’ cross-field kick was fumbled by Sosaia Feki and Marata Niukore pounced to score a rare meat pie.

Feki was keen to make amends and he soon did, as the bouncing ball evaded Eels winger Blake Ferguson as Feki grounded it ahead of the dead ball line.

The Eels would hit the lead again, however, as a set play on the right saw Brad Takairangi with acres of space to simply stroll over.

Not be outdone as the second half began, a sneaky trick play saw the Sharks right back in the contest.

Starting a play right, then feigning and going back to the left, Feki nabbed a double in the corner.

As the Sharks looked to assert their dominance on the match, several surging runs by Eels forwards quickly turned the game around.

Tepai Moeroa, Tim Mannah and Kane Evans all played their part in that build-up, as Moses was again involved to assist.

This time, a spill from Dugan off a Moses grubber, saw Michael Jennings ground the ball with his back to it.

It would then read game, set and match, as Moses found a bullocking Blake Ferguson who passed inside to Jennings for his second try.

With so much talk around attitude, Eels coach Brad Arthur said it is the players driving it and not him.

“It’s got nothing to do with me, it’s the players attitude. They’ve got a real drive in their attitude,” Arthur said.

“When the blowtorch started to get applied to us tonight, we stuck to our guns with what we needed to do and try to play field position and go with them.

“I thought both teams had a red-hot crack.

“The completion rates were high, attrition came into it and both teams were out on their feet.”

Despite the loss, John Morris was proud of his Cronulla Sharks team throughout the match.

“I’m really proud of them, they kept coming against a really powerful team that had a lot more ball than us in the first half and took a bit more juice out of us,” Morris said.

“We couldn’t cover the loss of Woodsy and no Shaun Johnson and no Matt Moylan took its toll when we were attacking their line, we looked a little bit lost.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Mitch Moses

2. Andrew Fifita

  1. Clint Gutherson

Cowboys season goes from bad to worse after home loss to Raiders

Canberra Raiders winger Jordan Rapana

They may not have had the best start but at home, the North Queensland Cowboys are usually pretty good. Not today, as the Canberra Raiders manhandled them to win.

The five tries to two victory for the Raiders saw them continue their impressive start to the year, now sitting at three wins and one loss.

The Raiders burst out of the blocks and pounced on a Javid Bowen error just four minutes in.

Nick Cotric was on hand to finish, with the winger scoring in the corner.

Poor Bowen had a turbulent opening period, as a fumble this time, led to a second Raiders try.

This try would go to Jordan Rapana who went on to have a stellar performance.

Try as they might to create some attacking spark soon after, errors let the Cowboys down.

Luckily for them, the Raiders were also making silly mistakes of their own and failing to pile on the pressure even more.

Their tenacity was on show but their lack of execution cost them until the 31st minute.

Just like the old Thurston and Cooper combination had people excited, Michael Morgan became the provider this time for the back-rower.

In perhaps his best game in Raiders colours, the Raiders third try was all set up by Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad.

His ball-work led to a break for Rapana, who kicked infield for Joey Leilua to score under the posts.

At 16-6 heading into half-time, things looked cruisy for the Raiders.

A further penalty goal early in the second half extended the Raiders lead to 12.

Morgan was again involved in the Cowboys second; this time finding John Asiata who simply flopped over the line.

There very nearly could have been more, but the Cowboys lack of execution yet again reared its ugly head.

That would prove costly, as a left-side play saw Jarrod Croker score.

Finding Cotric on his outside, the winger made the break and passed back infield to his centre to score.

Rapana would grab his second soon after when showed his dazzling skills to break the Cowboys defence and their spirits.

With many experienced players at his disposal, it was his veterans that pleased Raiders coach Ricky Stuart the most.

“Some experienced representative players in your squad is really beneficial because they’ve played big games and they’re good players,” he said.

“You get into scenarios where you need their experience and ability, and they get you over the line.

“I thought Ryan Sutton was probably one of our best.

“I was really impressed with Ryan’s game, he carried tough and made some really big efforts in defence when he had to.”

Cowboys coach Paul Green was in no mood to beat around the bush.

If his players continue to perform badly, the axe will continue to fall.

“If guys just aren’t doing their job, we’ve got to find some blokes that can,” he said strongly.

“You can’t keep tossing up performances like that and expect to keep your position.

“Our starts are putting us under pressure, we’re just not consistent enough at the moment.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jordan Rapana

2. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad

  1. Joey Leilua

Rabbitohs winning streak snapped by Manly’s golden point win

Manly Sea Eagles prop Addin Fonua-Blake

Flying high and expected to win, it instead went the other way as the Manly Sea Eagles snapped the South Sydney Rabbitohs unbeaten start to the year.

In the end, it came down to a field goal from Daly Cherry-Evans in golden point to hand Manly the win.

The sour note out of it all, however, is a re-occurrence of a hamstring injury for fullback Tom Trbojevic.

Although the severity is unknown, it does not bode well given he missed the first two rounds with the same injury.

Before his injury, it was Tom Trbojevic who scored the game’s first try.

Taking the line on, he slid past Sam Burgess and powered his way over as Manly took a surprise lead.

Souths would slowly wrestle back momentum and took the lead towards the end of the first half.

Sam Burgess got his revenge when he powered over for a try of his own to level things up.

Try as they might, the next chance to extend their lead failed to arise until the 35th minute when Campbell Graham arrived.

He finished off a set play that saw him slice through the line and over to score.

Not long into the second half, Tom Trbojevic pulled up lame and many expected that Manly would throw in the towel.

That was not the case; instead, they dug deep and dug hard, pushing Souths to their limits.

The reward came when Manase Fainu pounced on an errant pass and weaved his way through the Souths defence.

As both sides went tit-for-tat, eager to get a win, the game made its way towards golden point.

Missed field goals from Souths half Adam Reynolds proved costly as, when given the chance, Cherry-Evans slotted one over.

That proved all she wrote, as Souths winning streak ended and Manly’s confidence grows.

Not one to mince words, Manly coach Des Hasler knows injuries are, sadly, a part of the game.

“Look, it’s part and parcel of the game,” Hasler said.

“I felt sorry for the young fellow.

“He’s worked hard on the injury and he does it tough on the sideline too. So he’s going to have to do it a little bit tougher for a bit longer.”

As for their win, Hasler knows how crucial it was for his side.

“It was an important win for us,” Hasler said.

“It was an entertaining game where there was probably 21 reasons why we shouldn’t have won the game and one reason why we did.”

Also an honest coach, Wayne Bennett simply lamented his side’s lack of attitude and desire.

“I just thought we got what we deserved,” Bennett said.

“We were average. It was the attitude today that killed them.

“We’ve been heading in that direction – our performances have been getting worse since we played game one.

“We haven’t played a game for 80 minutes yet.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Addin Fonua-Blake

2. Sam Burgess

  1. Tom Trbojevic

Return of Cronk steers Roosters to dominating win over Broncos

Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk

Luke Keary is already playing well and now Cooper Cronk has joined in, with the two combining to help the Sydney Roosters crush the Brisbane Broncos. 

Playing in indifferent weather as rain battered the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Roosters were just far too good for an insipid Broncos side.

In the end, they ran out comfortable 36-4 winners, with Cronk the focus on his return from a hamstring injury.

It all began in just the ninth minute when a quick tap-on saw Roosters winger Matt Ikuvalu outpace Jack Bird to score.

Just a few short minutes later, the Roosters were in again.

This time, it was back-rower Angus Crichton who scored his first try in Roosters colours, off a short pass from Cooper Cronk.

The scoreline could have been much worse had the Roosters not bombed two further attempts.

They would, however, go ahead 18-0 when Mitch Aubusson ran a great line off a short pass for his fourth try of the year.

Cronk was again involved when the Roosters scored through winger Daniel Tupou on the cusp of half-time.

Cronk’s pinpoint chip saw Tupou jump highest to score with ease.

The Broncos would not go scoreless with Matt Gillett scoring their only try but that was all they got.

A second to Aubusson and a razzle-dazzle, offload-ridden and kick-frenzy led to a try for Joseph Manu.

In the end, it was a rout, as the Roosters soar and the Broncos are left scratching their heads.

Forced into some changes mid-game yet again, Roosters coach Trent Robinson said that proves your flexibility as a side.

“We’ve had the third week in a row where we’ve had some changes that have had to happen. It’s not ideal but I love it at the same time,” Robinson said.

“If it happens it means you’re flexible, guys can play different positions.”

Despite Jared Waerea-Hargreaves not playing, Broncos coach Anthony Seibold just admits his side were outmuscled.

“The Roosters ran harder than us and they defended more aggressively than us,” Seibold said.

“I thought that the Roosters forward pack missing [Jared] Waerea-Hargreaves did the job on our forward pack.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Cooper Cronk

2. James Tedesco

  1. Mitch Aubusson