All posts by RobBowen

Dominant Melbourne Storm power past the Parramatta Eels to progress to the Preliminary Final

Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen

The Melbourne Storm continued their outstanding record in Queensland and finals matches against the Parramatta Eels to record a dominant victory 36-24.

History was all in favour of the Storm in this game and they certainly delivered to make their fourth preliminary final in the past five years

Surprisingly, it was the Storm who uncharacteristically put themselves under pressure very early on with a Cameron Smith kick being charged down.

It was Eels back-rower Shaun Lane who applied the pressure on Smith to charge down the kick.

Mitchell Moses showed his pinpoint kicking accuracy when his crossfield kick landed right on the goal-line.

Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes jumped up to retrieve the ball but knocked on.

Nathan Brown who was following through picked up the loose ball to score underneath the post and register his first try of the year with only two minutes on the clock.

Moses kicked the conversion from in front and the Eels lead by a converted try.

The Eels would then suffer a blow when Fijian flyer Maika Sivo left the field and failed to return with an MCL strain.

The ensuing ten minutes was played at a high intensity and was very physical.

Both teams, however, were guilty of giving away field position and possession through penalties and set re-starts.

The Eels continued their early dominance with another try after a quarter of the match had passed.

The Storm knocked on and the Eels counterattacked as the ball was spread wide to Michael Jennings.

Jennings threw a clever flick pass to Blake Ferguson to find space on the flank.

As all good fullbacks do, Clinton Gutherson was supporting on the inside.

Ferguson drew his man, feigned the initial pass and found captain Gutherson who ran a short distance to score.

Moses again converted and the Eels were out by two converted tries more than halfway through the first half.

To stop the Eels momentum. the Storm needed to be the next to score and with ten minutes remaining before the break they did just that.

A Ryan Papenhuyzen break to get the ball into the Eels attacking zone proved vital.

This led to a slick right-hand side shift by the Storm and Brenko Lee was able to put Suliasi Vunivalu over untouched.

Cameron Smith kicked the easy conversion to bridge the gap back to six points.

A quickfire double put the Storm right back in the match to level things up.

From inside their own half and after two off-loads, Justin Olam found open space.

With Papenhuyzen supporting on the inside, Olam drew in Gutherson and the flying Storm fullback sprinted twenty metres to score.

Smith again slotted the easy conversion to tie the game up at 12-all and that was the score at the break.

The second half started exactly like the first half ended.

Before people could regain their seat at Suncorp Stadium, the Storm scored via Josh Ado-Carr and took the lead for the first time of the match.

The next playoff the restart, great leadup work from Cameron Munster found Kenny Bromwich who made a clean break.

Bromwich was able to get the ball to Papenhuyzen for the fullback to set up his winger.

He threw a great long ball to find Addo-Carr on the wing who raced through to score his eighth straight try at Suncorp Stadium.

Smith converted from out wide for the Storm to lead for the first time in the match 18-12.

Needing a spark, it was great vision by Reed Mahoney the Eels evened the game up.

Early in the tackle count, Mahoney kicked towards the touchline to find only Eels players being close to the ball.

Ferguson was able to gain possession and ground the ball inside the touch-in-goal line.

Moses converted from the touchline and the scores were level.

That momentum was quickly snuffed out when Munster again showed his class with a great short ball to put Jesse Bromwich into a huge hole to score from short range.

The Kiwi enforcer also registered his first try of the year.

The Melbourne men were now well on top and the score blew out even more only three minutes later.

A slick right hand play with plenty of players in motion this had the defenders backpedalling.

Brenko Lee had scored their second try within only a matter of minutes.

After an offload by Papenhuyzen at speed, Lee forced his way over.

Smith was on fire with the boot and slotted the conversion from out wide for the lead to go out to two converted tries.

Papenhuyzen was putting on a man-of-the-match performance and he again showed great support from a Storm break.

From a knockdown by a Parramatta player, Munster was able to run straight through the middle of the Eels defenders.

Papenhyzen was then able to beat Waqa Blake to score in the corner.

Smith had the ball on a string tonight and from the touchline and converted yet again.

Already without Sivo, the Eels would also lose Ferguson who had to succumb to an

The Eels to have any hope of staying in the contest needed to record the next four-pointer.

A penalty to the Eels deep in the Storm territory the ball was shifted to the left with speed.

Hughes tried to attempt the tackle on Shaun Lane but he proved too strong to run ten metres to score.

Moses kicked the conversion from twenty metres in from touch to have the Eels trailing by twelve points.

The remaining time in the match saw no change to the score and the Storm won their 19th game in a row north of the border in their 50th finals match.

The Storm were able to give Bellamy a victory on his birthday but it could be soared with a knee injury to Munster.

Although Arthur praised his Eels side for some of their work, he also criticised their dumb plays.

“It was tough and we showed plenty of character. It was brave and it was just dumb in key moments and critical moments,” he said.

“You can’t do that against the Melbourne Storm. They iced their opportunities, but we need to learn from that.

“The pleasing thing is that we didn’t go away.

We kept fighting and having some blokes out of position probably hurt us a bit, but credit to them because they did the best they could.”

Despite his injury, Munster says he will do whatever it takes to be fit for the grand final qualifier in two weeks time.

“I didn’t re-injure the spot. It is a bit sore,” said Munster.

“I just got a bit of a knee clash and it is a bit swollen,” Munster said after the game.

“I’ll get scans tomorrow and do everything I can with the physios to make sure I am right for the prelim [final].”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Ryan Papenhuyzen

2 – Cameron Munster

1 – Clinton Gutherson

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster

Cowboys hand the Broncos their first ever wooden spoon in the Queensland Derby clash

North Queensland Cowboys half Jake Clifford

The Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys. Always fiery, lively and physical. Last night was no different.

There was plenty to play for, as both the Broncos and Cowboys were set to farewell club stalwarts.

In the end, the Cowboys scored bragging rights over the Broncos to confine them to last.

It is the first wooden spoon in the Broncos history but caps off a tumultuous season.

The Cowboys and the Broncos have had a great rivalry over the past few years including a grand final.

Recently, however, it was the Broncos who had the wood on the Cowboys in their most recent meetings.

This showed in the first fifteen minutes with the Broncos well on top.

It only took the Brisbane team three minutes to get the first try of the match.

Tom Dearden kicked into the Cowboys in-goal and a clumsy error from Kyle Feldt saw the ball bobbling on the ground.

 Payne Haas followed through and collected the loose ball to crash over for the Broncos to take the early lead.

Kotoni Staggs kicked the relatively easy conversion to have the Broncos up 6-nil.

Staggs, who has been a shining light for the Broncos in 2020 then suffered the unthinkable.

He went down clutching a knee, a confirmed ACL injury and did not return, a big blow for the Broncos.

Only a minute later and from a Cowboys knock-on deep in their own half, the Townsville club was under pressure again.

The pressure proved too much and the milestone man and the retiring veteran Darius Boyd scored his 87th try in his 337th and final game NRL game.

With a play the ball on the Cowboys goal-line, Boyd left the defenders napping from good vision out of dummy half to force his way over.

Isaac Luke took over the kicking duties and he extended the Broncos lead out to 12 due to his successful conversion.

On the half-way mark of the first half, a one on one strip from Jason Taumalolo inside their own half proved to be a big turning point.

The Cowboys worked the play down the field into the Broncos attacking zone.

Scott Drinkwater put in a clever kick for Jake Clifford to follow through.

He out jumped Boyd to run a short distance to score under the posts to get the Cowboys back in the game.

Valentine Holmes kicked the easy conversion to bridge the gap back to six.

Soon after, the Cowboys were denied a try by the bunker due to Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow due to being off-side from a Drinkwater kick on his own ten-metre line.

Feldt would continue his try-scoring form, nabbing his first of his three tries and his 17th of the year.

A right-hand side play by the Cowboys and an excellent cut-out pass by Holmes found an unmarked Feldt on the outside to score an easy try.

Holmes kicked a great sideline conversion to tie the game up at twelve apiece.

With only a few minutes left on the clock in the first stanza, the Broncos were penalised deep in their half due to a high tackle.

Holmes was again was on song with his passing game to deliver a good short ball to Justin O’Neill.

Running the perfect line, O’Neill was able to ground the ball in the in-goal to give the Cowboys a handy 16-12 lead at the break.

It took fifteen minutes for the score to change after half-time and fortunately for the Broncos, it was them who got a try through Corey Oates.

A Cowboys knock on fifteen metres out from their own line would prove costly.

A clever pass by Dearden put the Cowboys defence under pressure and Corey Oates was able to force the ball in the corner.

 Luke missed the kicked but the Broncos back in the contest with the scores again locked up, this time at 16-all.

This proved to be the Broncos last score of the game with the Cowboys running away with the match in the remaining 25 minutes.

With plenty of possession and momentum, the Cowboys were able to score again through Feldt just on ten minutes later.

Drinkwater fooled the Broncos defence, as Feldt crossed easily for his second of the match and his 18th of the season.

Holmes kicked the conversion from five metres in from touch.

It was not long later when Feldt registered his hat-trick of tries for the match.

Taumalolo gave the Cowboys great momentum into the Broncos half through from a great run.

Drinkwater kicked in behind the defensive line for a flying Feldt to retrieve the ball to cross again.

Holmes missed the conversion from the touchline but the Cowboys had a commanding lead with less than ten minutes left on the clock.

Tabuai-Fidow who was having an unlucky night due to unforced errors and having tries disallowed was not going to be denied four minutes from full-time.

Holmes retrieved a kick on his goal-line and found open space from a  scattered defensive line.

He worked across to the left-hand side of the field to find Tabuai-Fidow on the flank.

The lightning-fast winger was not going to be stopped in open space and he ran 60 metres untouched to score.

This gave the Cowboys an unassailable lead 32-16.

The conversion with four minutes remaining was kicked by Gavin Cooper who was playing his last game for the Cowboys.

The win was just the Cowboys second win at Suncorp Stadium in the past eleven meetings between the two teams.

Peter Gentle lamented his side’s performance after they officially took home the spoon.

“It’s extremely disappointing [to get the wooden spoon]. It is not the finish we wanted,” Gentle said.

“The table doesn’t lie.”

Although all the focus was on Cooper, grand final winner in 2015, John Asiata, was also playing his last game for the Cowboys.

“He is a grand final winner and that, unfortunately, gets lost in Coops’ send-off but it was great to send them both out the right way,” said Cowboys coach Josh Hannay.

“Both clubs are turning over a new chapter in their history and there were two footy sides out there with really young players.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Jake Clifford

2 – Scott Drinkwater

1 – Valentine Holmes

North Queensland Cowboys utility back Scott Drinkwater

Last placed Bulldogs cause boil over to down finals bound Rabbitohs

Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner

With plenty to play for both teams for totally different reasons, the Canterbury Bulldogs came off the bottom of the ladder with a great win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs 26-16.

In Josh Jackson’s 200th NRL game and being Women in League Round, this brought the best out of the Bulldogs.

They led from start to finish with Raymond Faitala-Mariner a powerhouse for the Belmore men.

After just seven minutes, the Bulldogs took an early lead when Jake Averillo slotted a penalty goal.

The first ten minutes saw both teams completing at 100% and the Bulldogs were not far off that mark for the remainder of the match.

The Bulldogs were on a roll early and Tim Lafai scored the first try of the game thirteen minutes into the contest.

Lachlan Lewis kicked crossfield, that saw Jayden Okunbor out-jump Jaxson Paulo knock the ball infield to Lafai.

Showing his strength, Lafai beat two defenders to ground the ball in the in-goal from short range.

Averillo converted from close to the touchline for the Bulldogs to have a handy 8-nil lead.

A turning point and somewhat controversial moment then caused an uproar.

Rabbitohs back-rower Jaydn Su’A was sent to the sin-bin for what the referees deemed a shoulder charge.

The ensuing ten minutes with a man down proved very costly for the Rabbitohs with the Bulldogs crossing for two tries.

Remis Smith was the first one to cross with Su’A missing two minutes later.

Smith proved too powerful for the defenders to plant the ball over the stripe from a backline shift.

Averillo was proving very handy with the boot slotting the conversation for the Bulldogs to extend their lead even more.

Okunbor was again the target on the last tackle, this time Averillo was the one kicking crossfield.

On this occasion, he found Faitala-Mariner who used clever footwork from short range to score the Bulldogs third try of the match.

Averillo kicked the simplest of conversions for the Bulldogs to lead 20-0 with just under fifteen minutes remaining in the half.

The Rabbitohs needed to get on the board before the break to stay in the game and that they did.

South Sydney received a penalty for a player being tackled without the ball eight minutes from the break.

They worked the ball downfield and through a great tip on by Cody Walker the flying winger, Jaxson Paulo proved too quick for the Bulldogs defence.

Replays showed that Paulo was lucky to be awarded the try due to his foot touching the touch-in-goal line before grounding the ball.

Adam Reynolds missed the conversion from the touch-line to bridge the gap to sixteen points with not long left on the clock until the break.

Just before the break, Corey Allan was denied a try for pushing a Bulldogs player in the back while trying to gain possession of the ball.

The Rabbitohs never gave up on trying to get another try before the interval and with two minutes remaining, Campbell Graham scored his 9th try in his last 6 games.

A backline shift saw Corey Allan throw a lovely pass off his bootlaces to find Graham who showed too much class to score.

Reynolds converted to have the Rabbitohs only trailing by ten points at the break.

The Rabbitohs could have been the first on the scoreboard early on in the second half but Graham was denied a second try of the match.

There would be no denying the cardinal and myrtle later, though, with Alex Johnston crossing for his 50th NRL try at ANZ Stadium.

Another clever pass by Walker found Johnston who had a clear run to the line to bring the Rabbitohs right back into the game.

Reynolds who makes a habit of kicking sideline conversions had no trouble with his kick to have the Rabbitohs back to within four points of the Bulldogs.

With fifteen minutes left in the match, Chris Smith scored his first NRL try in what proved to be the defining moment.

Brandon Wakeham kicked for a Bulldogs chaser as Johnston failed to retrieve the ball and the ball was bouncing towards the dead ball line.

Smith raced through and was able to ground the ball inches inside the line to give the Bulldogs a very handy lead.

This lead was extended even further when Wakeham kicked the easy conversion from adjacent to the posts.

The Rabbitohs had plenty of opportunities in the last fifteen minutes to score through penalties and possession inside the Bulldogs half.

They bombed a certain try to Cartwright with ten minutes remaining but they were denied through great defence from William Hopoate.

Wakeham tried to extend the Bulldogs lead out to more than two converted tries but he missed a penalty goal due to the Rabbitohs being penalised for obstruction.

The Bulldogs last-ditch defence was a key factor in the Bulldogs putting an end to their losing streak.

Bulldogs coach Steve Georgallis said he was so proud of his players and that the win was seven weeks in the making.

“That was seven weeks in the making, that game. I’m just so proud of the 17 players,” Georgallis said.

“We had a few injuries there, lost Lachie Lewis [to a head knock] with his kicking game, Jake [Averillo] played injured that whole second half [with a quad strain].

“To the kid’s credit, he stayed on the football field.”

Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett lamented his side’s attitude issues, believing the side may have underestimated the Bulldogs.

“I didn’t see it coming but again if you underestimate your opponent and don’t have enough respect for them you find yourself in that situation, that’s what we did,” Bennett said.

“The indications would be that they thought it was going to be a bit easier than what it was.

“I think it’s more of an attitude problem.

“We gave them a 20-point start then decided we’d get ourselves back in the contest and the scoreboard ended up being 16-6 for the next 60 minutes.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Raymond Faitala-Mariner

2 – William Hopoate

1 – Cody Walker

Canterbury Bulldogs utility back Will Hopoate

Rabbitohs win torrid encounter to end Tigers finals hopes

South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker

With plenty to play for and finals spots up for grabs, the South Sydney  Rabbitohs held on to defeat the Wests Tigers for a nail-biting 26-24 win.

The previous eight meetings between the two sides were split at four a piece.

The first ten minutes of the match was a good quality contest with Wests Tigers being put under a great deal of pressure from the South Sydney attack.

It would not take long, however, before the Tigers defence cracked.

A Tigers error and a set-restart saw the returning Dane Gagai score his eighth try in his past eight games.

A Damien Cook long ball found Cody Walker who was able to catch and pass under pressure to find a flying Gagai to score in the corner.

Adam Reynolds kicked the conversion from out wide for the Rabbitohs to lead 6-nil.

The Rabbitohs dominated possession and the Tigers continued to make the errors, gifting the Rabbitohs good field position.

After a penalty for an illegal steal, Reynolds kicked the easy penalty goal to extend the Rabbitohs lead out to eight points.

The next three minutes were chaos for the Tigers conceding two quick tries without even touching the ball.

Corey Allan, filling in for the injured Latrell Mitchell, scored a clever try from good support play.

The Rabbitohs worked the ball downfield from the kick off and got the ball into the Tigers attacking zone.

Cook darted out of dummy half to find open space. He found Walker in support who off-loaded to Allan.

He raced through to score and the score blew out to 14-0 with after Reynolds converted.

Not to be outdone, Campbell Graham wanted to join in the fun only three minutes later.

A shift down the left saw Allan find Alex Johnston unmarked on the outside.

Johnston sped downfield and off-loaded to Campbell Graham who was there in support to run a short distance to score his tenth try of the season.

Reynolds kept his perfect record intact for the night to put the Rabbitohs up 20-0.

The Tigers needed to score before half-time to bring some respectability back to the scoreboard.

The Tigers would get their opening try, opting to run it on the last, with Luke Garner powering over.

A nice pass out of dummy-half by Harry Grant this put Garner into a nice hole and he forced his way over.

Adam Doueihi kicked the conversion to bridge the gap to 20-6 in favour of the South Sydney side.

The Tigers were on a roll and they again made the scoreboard attendant work for his money only four minutes from the break.

A Benji Marshall cut out ball saw Tommy Talau get his name on the score-sheet.

Doueihi again kicked his team’s conversion for the Tigers to only trail by eight points at the half-time.

It was a frantic start to the second half but for all the wrong reasons.

Alex Twal was sent to the bin for ten minutes for holding the Rabbitohs player.

Before you could blink, Luke Brooks and Gagai were joining Twal in the dressing sheds due to punching.

Gagai threw the ball at Brooks which resulted in the players coming together and trading blows.

Soon after, Graham would score his second try of the match.

Deep in the Tigers attacking zone, the great combination of Adam Reynolds and Walker delivered again.

A Walker double pump created plenty of space for Graham on the outside to score.

The Tigers needed to score next to stay in the game and the finals race.

Brooks redeemed himself by scoring a clever team try for the Tigers 18 minutes from full-time.

A left side play that started with a Marshall flick pass to David Nofoaluma followed by a kick infield.

The bounce went Brooks’ way and he gathered the bouncing ball to score adjacent to the uprights.

Doueihi kicked the easy conversion to have the Tigers back  in the game only trailing by eight points.

The Tigers were no yet satisfied and not giving in just yet.

From the ensuing play, Marshall again showed his magic by finding the speedster Asu Kepaoa unmarked on the flank to score in the corner.

The Tigers were only trailing by two points after Doueihi kicked a superb conversion from the sideline with 15 minutes left.

The Tigers threw everything at the Rabbitohs for the remainder of the match but they just came up short.

The nail-biting loss has all but ended the final hopes for the Tigers and they will have to wait at least another year to make it past the regular competition matches.

Tigers coach Michael Maguire praised his side’s toughness and determination despite the loss.

“We gave away too much possession at the start but the effort, I was really proud of the way the boys looked after each other out there,” he said.

“You could really see the determination that’s been building in the team throughout the season.

“It came alive in the second half and the boys were really determined to get that win.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Cody Walker

2 – Benji Marshall

1 – Harry Grant

Wests Tigers veteran Benji Marshall

Panthers continue their winning streak to down a dogged Broncos outfit

Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary

The Penrith Panthers recorded their 12th consecutive win over a Brisbane Broncos side who were up for the challenge in this game.

Even though the Panthers were not at the top of their game they still won by a comfortable margin 25-12.

This win took the mountain men a step closer to securing the minor premiership with 3 games remaining.

With some star personnel returning for the Penrith side, this helped Nathan Cleary again show why he is the in-form player of the competition with a man of the match display.

The Broncos started the game very strongly and completed well in the first half while the Panthers were a bit sluggish in the first 40.

The Broncos did score first and it could have been more tries going their way but the Panthers scrambling defensive kept them in the game early.

Ten minutes in and from a right side shift Darius Boyd threw a great short ball to put Kotoni Staggs in a hole to leave the defenders in his wake.

This was Boyd’s eighth try assist for the year and Staggs’ registering his tenth try of the year.

Staggs converted his own try for them to take the early lead 6-nil.

It took another fifteen minutes for Panthers to trouble the scoreboard.

After receiving a penalty just inside their own half, the Panthers they worked their way down field.

The man they call ‘Sauce’, that being Josh Mansour, crossed in the corner.

It was Jarome Luai’s good play on the left that saw him beat Tom Dearden through pure strength.

Add in some nimble footwork to then draw and pass and he found Mansour who crossed untouched.

Cleary converted from out wide to bring the game back to six-a-piece.

With eight minutes remaining in the half the Broncos were penalised for a ruck infringement.

Cleary took the safe option of taking the gift two points through a successful penalty goal.

The Panthers now lead for the first time in the game 8-6.

The Broncos momentum was starting to ease off with Kurt Capewell’s first touch of the ball in 3 months resulting in him winning the race to the ball to record a four pointer.

As the half winded to a close, Cleary shaped to pass but kicked late to find space in the in-goal.

Capewell won the race to the ball to score a well-earned try.

Cleary again kicked the conversion for the Panthers to take a handy lead 14-6 into the break.

The second half did not start with much quality due to penalties being given away by both teams and unforced stopping each team’s momentum.

It took 16 minutes into the second half for the first points to be scored.

The form halves pairing of the competition combined brilliantly for Luai to just get enough downward pressure on the ball in the in-goal.

A perfectly weighted kick by Cleary saw him record his 16th try assist for the year, as Luai beat the defenders to the ball.

Cleary converted and the score line started to blow out. 20 points to 6 with 24 minutes remaining.

Not to be out done and a never say die attitude saw the Broncos hit back with a great try seven minutes later.

Dearden’s short ball put Jordan Riki into a hole and he ran 45 metres to score.

He beat Edwards on his way to the line through his brilliant speed.

Staggs converted from near the touch line to bridge the gap to 20-12.

The Panthers scored their last try of the game with ten minutes remaining to seal the game for the ladder leaders through Brian To’o.

From a Broncos goal-line dropout the Panthers worked their way into the Broncos attacking zone.

Apisai Koroisau jumped out of dummy half to get the ball out to their right hand side.

The ball went slickly through the hands for To’o to have too much speed for Herbie Farnworth to sprint 15 metres to score.

Cleary missed the conversion from the touch line for the Panthers to lead by two converted tries.

Cleary iced the game from 20 metres out with his 6th career field goal for the Panthers to take the win by 13 plus.

This was a much improved performance by the Broncos but even a Panthers side not performing at their best tonight proved too good in the end.

Cleary mentioned that the Broncos played some really good football and kept them on their toes. We needed to work hard for our points today.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Nathan Cleary

2 – Dylan Edwards

1 – Payne Haas

Penrith Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards

Red-hot Rabbitohs totally outclass Eels but lose Mitchell to injury

South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds

The South Sydney Rabbitohs were in a class of their own in this on-sided match totally outplaying the Parramatta Eels 38 points to nil at Bankwest Stadium.

The Rabbitohs continued their very strong recent form and their big win over Manly last weekend to stamp their authority as a genuine premiership contender.

Parramatta could have been on the scoreboard first within three minutes but they were denied a try due to a forward pass.

On the back of some poor ball handling by the Eels, it would be the Rabbitohs who drew first blood.

Corey Allan, who was filling in for the injured Alex Johnston, recorded the first try of the match after only six minutes.

It started with Cody Walker and ended with a Latrell Mitchell no-look pass Allan raced in to score in the corner.

Adam Reynolds converted the try for the Rabbitohs to take the early lead 6-0.

The next ten minutes was riddled with the Eels giving away possession through penalties and poor completion rates.

Due to the pressure mounting, the Rabbitohs were in again through Jaxson Paulo just before the half-way mark of the first stanza.

This time it was Reynolds who got involved, finding Steven Marsters who performed a great flick pass.

His pass found Paulo and he touched down inside the corner post to register the Rabbitohs’ second try of the match.

Reynolds missed the conversion from the touchline for the Rabbitohs to lead 10 points to nil.

South Sydney’s completion rate through the game was very high and their first error did not come until the 23rd minute of the first half.

Reynolds and Walker would then combine for the Rabbitohs third try.

Reynolds fooled the Parramatta defenders by throwing a nice short ball to put Walker into a great hole.

He beat Clint Gutherson to score to throw the game wide open.

Reynolds kicked the easy conversion from in front for the score to blow out to 16-0.

Just two minutes later the score board attendant needed to get off his seat again.

A Jaydn Su’a break continued to give the Rabbitohs great momentum within Parramatta’s attacking zone.

On the last play, Reynolds kicked the ball which rebounded off Shaun Lane.

Su’a was the beneficially of being in the right place at the right time from the Rabbitohs to take a 22 points to nil lead into half-time break after Reynolds converted his try.

Parramatta was their own worst enemy in the first half and did not give themselves a chance through numerous enforced errors.

The pattern did not improve early on in the second half as it took just over ten minutes for Campbell Graham to score the first of his two tries.

It started with Reynolds, before Cameron Murray threw a slick pass to Graham.

Graham used his good left foot step to beat Gutherson to the line.

Reynolds, who rarely misses, converted again for the lead to extend to 28-0 with just over 30 minutes remaining.

Brad Arthur’s men could have been again on the receiving end of a try but were denied due to a correct forward pas ruling.

It was that sort of night for the Eels; they were disallowed a third try after obstruction was ruled.

With thirteen minutes remaining, man of the match Reynolds got a deserved try.

As is very common with many plays from the Rabbitohs, it started with the man himself.

It ended with Paulo throwing a nice ball under pressure to find the in-form number seven to score an easy try.

The man of the moment missed the opportunity to convert his own try but it still took the Rabbitohs out to a very comfortable lead of 32 points to nil.

Graham would snare his second try to put the icing on the cake.

A determined effort from Walker, he off-loaded to Corey Allan who threw a great long ball to Graham.

With a run against the grain, he crossed relatively untouched.

Reynolds kicked the conversion for the Rabbitohs to win very comfortably 38 points to nil.

With South Sydney’s eleven line breaks to two and with the Eels missing over 50 tackles the score line flattered the Eels.

The last 3 occasions the Eels had held their opposition scoreless the previous week they have been defeated the following week.

Although he was not hitting the panic button yet, Arthur criticised his side for not being able to build a game properly.

“We’re not a team at the moment that’s prepared to roll our sleeves up and build a game,” Arthur said.

“I am very surprised.

“We were not prepared to roll the sleeves up and play the long game and build our game.

“Last week we were prepared to do that but we still lacked a bit of patience last week then straight away second or third set tonight we lacked patience [forcing a pass to lose possession].

“You have to be able to defend it. You can’t say our defence is good if you leak 38 points.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Adam Reynolds

2 – Cody Walker

1 – Corey Allan

South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker

Eels show class and finesse to down under-strength Storm

Parramatta Eels fullback and captain Clint Gutherson

The Parramatta Eels defied recent history and form between the two teams to prove too good for the Melbourne Storm at Bankwest Stadium.

In a hard fought battle, it would be the Eels who took out the win 14 points to nil.

The last 4 meetings between these two powerhouse teams had the Storm scoring 134 points to 30.

With the Storm missing up to 11 players due to injury or suspension, they were going to struggle to continue their 8 match winning streak.

It took until the fourteen minute for either team to register the first points of the match.

After the Storm were penalised for an escort play, it left the Eels with a decision to make.

Mitchell Moses kicked the easy penalty goal for the Eels to lead 2-nil.

Just three minutes later, the Eels registered the first try of the match through Waqa Blake.

Ryan Matterson showcased his silky offloading skills with a lovely one-handed flick inside to Blake.

The centre put on a right foot step to beat Josh Addo-Carr to the line.

Moses kicked the conversion for the Eels to take a handy 8-nil lead.

The next fifteen minutes did not reach any great heights due to mainly poor possession from both teams.

As half-time neared, Maika Sivo who scores tries for fun at Bankwest, raced his way to the corner to score.

From a scrum in the middle of the field, the ball was passed to Clint Gutherson from Dylan Brown.

Gutherson off-loaded a quick pass under pressure for Sivo to win the race to the goal-line and score his 22nd try in 20 games at Bankwest.

Moses missed the sideline conversion for the Eels to lead by 2 converted tries.

The Eels 12-0 lead at the break was their biggest half-time lead over the Storm since 2002.

Thirteen minutes into the second half the Storm’s bad luck continued with Nelson Asofa-Solomona sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.

Already on the back foot, the Storm were again penalised due to a strip.

Moses kicked the easy penalty goal from in front.

The game did not reach any great level in the next 20 minutes and the Eels ended up keeping the Storm scoreless for only the sixth time in their history and first time since 2014.

In a further blow for the Storm, there are concerns that Brandon Smith suffered a broken jaw and Kenny Bromwich a calf tear.

Although they were held to nil, the effort his players showed with so many out pleased Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

“I think it was only 2-0 in the second half with the players we had in, we had a debutant and a new captain so we had a bit of a disrupted week. I couldn’t have asked for much more from them,” Bellamy said.

Not a coach to rest on his laurels, Eels boss Brad Arthur wants his side to show more patience in attack.

“All we’re doing at training is working on our defence, we’re doing bits and pieces with the ball,” Arthur said.

“We have to make sure our defence is working together and it is.

“It’s getting better, we’ll start spending more time on our attack as we go.”

Grinding out wins is a crucial component in Arthur’s eyes for his Eels side.

“We need to learn to be able to grind out a full 80 minutes and there’s still parts of our game we’re not on top of,” Arthur continued.

“Part of that is making sure we can get three tries out [in front] and defend our way to a win because that’s what it’s going to take.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Clint Gutherson

2 – Ryan Papenhuyzen

1 – Nathan Brown

Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen

Ruthless Storm dominate under-manned Roosters

Melbourne Storm half Jahrome Hughes

A dominant Melbourne Storm display against the Sydney Roosters saw them buck the historic trend to win 24-6.

Both teams were missing key personnel but the Roosters were the hardest hit.

They had two more players leaving the game early in the first half and will be lucky to return this year.

Mitch Aubusson and Lachlan Lam were those two, coupled with the loss of Luke Keary later in the game.

The Storm did not miss a beat even though their two best players in Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster were both out injured.

It was Jahrome Hughes who lead from the front in the big win.

Through some physical early exchanges from both teams, it was the Storm who got the first try of the match.

Just four minutes in and on the last tackle Hughes, came down the short side of the field to beat four defenders to force his way to the line.

Ryan Papenhuyzen, filling in for Smith with the kicking duties slotted the conversion for a 6-0 Storm lead.

On the back of an obstruction penalty, Papenhuyzen kicked a penalty goal and the Storm took a handy 8-nil lead.

The score line could have been worse for the Roosters but Suliasi Vunivalu was disallowed a try through a knock-on.

The pressure was telling as the Storm would score another try soon after.

Quick hands from a drop-out  found Josh Ado-Carr before he passed inside to find Papenhuyzen.

The in-form fullback then threw a slick pass for Justin Olam to score out wide.

Papenhuyzen converted again and the Storm lead 14-nil just over half-way through the first half.

By this stage of the match, the Storm had completed thirteen from thirteen sets to dominate field position and the game.

Again Vunivalu could of troubled the scores nine minutes out from the break.

Remarkably, he was disallowed a second try due to jumping from the touch line to make a play at the ball.

With this try disallowed, the Storm held the score line of 14 nil at the break,

The second half started like the second with an early Storm try, Olam’s second of the game.

Christian Welch’s offload kick-started the play and the promising movement saw the Papua New Guinea nab a double.

The ball quickly went wide to find Olam who left defenders in his wake to ground the ball over the goal-line.

Papenhuyzen missed the conversion and the Storm lead 18-0.

Hughes continued to step up when it mattered, playing a vital role in the Storm’s final try. 

He drew in the fullback and found Felise Kaufusi in support to run 30 m to score soon after.

Papenhuyzen converted and the Storm were out to a commanding 24-nil lead.

The Roosters could have had their first try of the game 24 minutes in but Siosiua Taukeiaho was ruled to be held up by the Bunker.

The Roosters would get a try, and it came via winger Christian Tuipolutu.

Jake Friend and Drew Hutchison combined down the left before the bench half floated a ball over the top for the winger to score.

Taukeiaho slotted the conversion from the sideline to  cut the deficit to 18 points.

This ended up being the full-time score and made it 8 straight wins for the men from Melbourne.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson admitted that his side was poor and they were outplayed.

“We were poor tonight; we got outplayed,” Robinson said.

“We could talk about injuries and how unlucky we were but we got outplayed.

“We’ve had games before where we’ve finished with one on the bench or none on the bench and played really well … but we didn’t deserve to win.”

Craig Bellamy praised Jahrome Hughes for his masterful display, even if the half is likely to miss time due to a groin injury.

“Having those other two out he really went to another level. I thought he and Papenhuyzen were our best players tonight,” Bellamy added.

“It was certainly his best game as a halfback for us.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Jahrome Hughes

2 – Ryan Papenhuyzen

1 – Justin Olam

Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen

Rabbitohs heap more pain on Broncos in rivalry clash

South Sydney Rabbitohs half Tom Dearden

In a grudge match for the ages, the South Sydney Rabbitohs proved too good against the under-performing Brisbane Broncos.

Missing coach Wayne Bennett due to bio security breaches, the Rabbitohs gave themselves some breathing room in the top eight.

The Rabbitohs continued the Broncos recent poor record against them by recording their ninth victory in their past eleven meetings.

The early exchanges from both teams were full of unforced errors which stopped either team from asserting their authority.

It took thirteen minutes for the first points to recorded on the score board and Dane Gagai drew first blood.

From a set piece, the play-makers found Alex Johnston who in turn found the flying Gagai to beat Xavier Coates to score in the corner.

Adam Reynolds kicked a great conversion from out wide to give the Rabbitohs the early lead 6-0.

Only three minutes later, the Rabbitohs extended their lead by a successful penalty goal to Reynolds.

The Broncos then responded very well with a try to Herbie Farnworth 21 minutes into the game.

After quick hands from Brodie Croft and Darius Boyd, Farnworth had an easy run to the line to get the Broncos on the board.

Kotoni Staggs converted the centre’s try to make the score 8-6 in favour of the Rabbitohs.

Rookie Jaxson Paulo kicked into the in-goal and Reynolds, who was the man of the match, won the race to the ball.

Reynolds converted his own try to the take the Rabbitohs out to a 14-6 lead.

The Rabbitohs would score again on the back of a high tackle deep inside their own half.

From the ensuing tap, Damien Cook found Mark Nicholls who beat two Broncos defenders to score a very easy try.

Reynolds converted from in front of the posts to give the Rabbitohs a comfortable 20-6 buffer at the break.

The Broncos needed to be the first to score in the second half to stay in the game and they did exactly that.

David Fifita who was returning from a long injury lay off powered his way to the line.

A clever Tom Dearden pass meant that Fifita was never going to be stopped from close range.

Staggs missed the conversion for the score to remain at 20-10 with 36 minutes remaining.

The Broncos were penalised for taking a Rabbitohs kick chaser out and the score went out to 22-10.

The score could have been extended in favour of the Rabbitohs again but they were disallowed a try from the bunker.

Thomas Burgess proved that from close range big men are hard to stop and he scored a rare four-pointer.

With Cook jumping out of dummy-half, Burgess ran into a great hole to be two defenders to plant the ball in the in-goal.

Reynolds again kicked the easy conversion to blow the game wide open with a 28-10 lead.

The score remained 28-10 until the full-time siren sounded and the Rabbitohs recorded only their tenth victory over the Broncos in the NRL era.

Cook was very happy with the result with the forwards getting up and down the field to set the platform throughout the game.

This helped the halves having a great game to put pressure on the Broncos all over the field.

Broncos prop Matt Lodge believes that good times will come if the side continues to play for each other.

“It’s going to get better,” Lodge said.

“It’s like a reality TV show. Everyone is coming at us at the moment and we just love playing. We just need to get rid of that stuff and stick together.

“It will be good to show those guys what it’s like to be winning in Brisbane because there is no better feeling and at the moment it is not happening.”

Bennett, watching from phone due to his isolation, phoned acting head coach Jason Demetriou to praise the players.

“He just said congratulations, the boys did a great job,” Demetriou said.

“Everything we spoke about during the week was about putting them inside their 20 and taking our chances when we got on the tryline. The boys did that well.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Adam Reynolds

2 – Tom Dearden

1 – Cameron Murray

Brisbane Broncos half Tom Dearden

Johnston hat trick helps Rabbitohs down Dragons in entertaining clash

South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker

The Indigenous Round inspired the South Sydney Rabbitohs in an entertaining clash to down the St George Illawarra Dragons 32-24 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

The Dragons recent poor record against the Rabbitohs continued, now losing their last five games against the cardinal and myrtle side.

Matt Dufty continued his great run of form by putting the Dragons on the board first at the 7 minute mark.

An Adam Reynolds kick found its way to him after Reynolds lost the ball on impact from Tariq Sims.

From this, Corey Norman in his 200th NRL game, found space to find Dufty in support who then raced 40 m to score untouched.

This was Dufty’s seventh try in 7 games.

Zac Lomax misses the conversion for the Dragons to lead 4-0.

Reynolds left the field not long after from the collision with Sims and did not return to the game.

The Dragons momentum continued 2 minutes later with a Damien Cook knock on.

The Dragons went down the short side and a great cut out ball from Dufty found its mark.

The Dufty ball fooled the Rabbitohs defenders for centre Euan Aitken to score an easy try.

This was Dufty’s ninth try assist for the season.

Lomax converted this try to take the lead out to 10-0 in favour of the Dragons.

Dufty couldn’t keep out of the action and he scored his second try of the match and tenth try of the season soon after.

The try was set up by Dufty himself through a back-line shift to find Aitken.

Aitken was able to break through the defensive line and he drew the fullback Mitchell to find Dufty in support.

His speed was too much for the Dragons defenders and he raced through to score.

After Lomax converted, the Dragons went out to a 16-nil lead.

It would be Cody Walker who led the Rabbitohs comeback with a resurgent individual performance.

He scored a great individual try through courtesy of a great left foot step to fool the Dragons defenders.

Mitchell who took over the kicking duties from the injured Reynolds converted the first Rabbitohs try of the match.

The Dragons lead was reduced to 16-6.

Alex Johnston would then score the first of his 3 tries after he intercepted a Dufty pass.

The try was against the run of play and Johnston’s speed meant he was not going to be run down.

Mitchell missed the conversion to bring the Rabbitohs back to a converted try deficit. 16-10 to the Dragons.

Just before the half-time break, Johnston was at his best again.

The ball was spread wide and off a good ball from Mitchell, he found Johnston on the flank.

He beat his opposite number to find space down the touch line with his blistering speed.

An optimistic kick back in field found no one but grass until the ball bounced nicely into Mitchell’s hands who was running through as a support player.

Mitchell ran 10 m to score adjacent to the goal posts.

He easily converted his own try to tie the game up at 16-all and this was the score at the break.

The Rabbitohs could of taken the lead for the first time in the match only three mins into the second half but they were disallowed a try through an obstruction call.

On the back of a Dragons error, Johnston scored his second try of the match.

Dane Gagai found space from a great ball from Walker.

Gagai then drew defenders in and passed to Johnston to ground the ball in the in-goal.

Mitchell’s conversion gave the Rabbitohs the lead for the first time at 20-16.

The Dragons didn’t give up and from a Ben Hunt grubber kick soon after saw Tyson Frizell ground the ball in the in-goal to score.

The game was again locked up as Lomax missed the conversion.

It was 20-all with 27 minutes remaining.

Walker, who was having his best match of the year, scored his second try of the match.

Gagai again found space and was pulled down just short of the goal-line.

From a quick play the ball to Johnston at dummy half he found Mark Nicholls at first receiver.

He  then threw a great ball to put Walker into a hole to put the Rabbitohs out to a 6 point lead.

Mitchell converted the easy try for the Rabbitohs to be ahead 26-20.

The Rabbitohs final try saw Johnston once again the beneficiary of an intercept pass.

This time it was Tristan Sailor who gifted Johnston possession for the speeder to ran 70 m untouched to score his fourth career hat-trick.

Mitchell failed to convert for the Rabbitohs to lead 30-20 with 7 minutes remaining.

On the back of a penalty, Mitchell extended the Rabbitohs lead to 32-20.

Mikaele Ravalawa scored a scored a late try with only 60 seconds remaining from a nice kick from Sailor into the in-goal.

Lomax missed the conversion from out wide from the game to end with the Rabbitohs winning by 8 points.

The Rabbitohs have now won 9 out of the last 11 matches between the teams.

This was only the second time in the joint venture history that after lead by 16 points they have lost the game.

Walker mentioning, “it was satisfying to win after being down early.

It was good to do a job for the team with Reynolds going off injured from a big lead up in the week due to the Indigenous Round”.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Cody Walker

2 – Latrell Mitchell

1 – Matt Dufty

South Sydney Rabbitohs fullback Latrell Mitchell