All posts by ZachM

Titans extend winning streak to four in dominant win over the Manly

Gold Coast Titans fullback AJ Brimson

An AJ Brimson masterclass leads the Gold Coast Titan’s to a 42 – 24 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles.

The Titans came into the Saturday afternoon match at Lottoland land on a three win steak, but the biggest story line leading into the match was the return of Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic.

However, it was the young Titans fullback AJ Brimson who was the star of the show, upstaging his representative opposite number.

With both teams only playing for pride at this point of the season it was Manly who drew first blood through Jack Gosiewski, scoring in only the second set of the game.

The Titans gave a penalty for a lifting tackle which gave Manly an early chance to attack.

Daly Cherry-Evans put Gosiewski through a hole with a deft pass at the line.

Cherry-Evans converted to give his side an early six-point lead.

The Titans hit back when Manly was caught napping on defense. A Tom Trbojevic kick led to a 20-meter restart for the Titans.

Trbojevic had chased his own kick and failed to get back into the defensive line before the Titans took the restart.

AJ Brimson had too much pace for Marty Taupau and Jake Trbojevic and with brother Tom out of position, Brimson was able to run 70 meters to the try line unopposed.

Titans fullback AJ Brimson scored a double in his sides dominant victory over Manly.

Ash Taylor converted to level the scores.

The Titans started to gain some ascendency through possession and field possession.

Young Tonumaipea was denied a try off an Ash Taylor grubber when he was deemed by the bunker to have knocked on in the process of collecting the ball.

But moments later the Titans converted their field position through Corey Thompson.

The livewire winger finished off a brilliant Taylor long pass by diving into the corner and putting the ball down just before his foot went into touch.

Taylor wasn’t able to convert from the touchline.

The Titans were in again through Tonumaipea. A backline shift involving Taylor and Brimson put Tonumaipea one-on-one with Cherry-Evans.

The former Storm centre wasn’t going to miss out twice and carried Cherry-Evans over the line before forcing the ball.

Taylor was able to convert the try.

The Titans continued to give the Manly right edge defense headaches.

A long ball from Taylor to Thompson on the Titans’ own 20-meter line lead to the winger making a fifty-meter break up the field.

He was eventually tackled by Cherry-Evans but the Manly defensive line couldn’t get themselves set.

Tonumaipea took advantage of the broken defensive line to stroll through for his second try of the afternoon.

The successful conversion pushed the Titan’s lead out to 14 points.

The Sea Eagles were able to keep themselves in touch with a try to Taniela Paseka moments before halftime.

Jake Trbojevic spread the ball to the big prop. The Titans defense thought the ball was going to Tom Trbojevic and left Paseka wide open, allowing him to run through untouched for the try.

Cherry-Evans converted to send Manly into the sheds trailing 22-12.

The Titans didn’t take long to pick up where they left off, scoring in the fourth minute of the second half through backrower Sam Stone.

Taylor failed to convert the try.

The onslaught continued with tries to Kevin Proctor, Brimson, and Tremaine Spry.

Gold Coast Titans Captain Kevin Proctor re-signed with the club this week.

Procter, who re-signed with the Titans for another two years this week, beat Tom Trbojevic to a Jamal Fogarty grubber kick when the ball bounced in his favor.

Brimson was again too quick for a retreating defense, taking a Taylor pass at the line all the way to the house without being touched.

Spry scored arguably the most spectacular try of the day when Tom Trbojevic failed to gather a Taylor kick.

Spry managed to grab the ball as it bounced out of Trbojevic’s fingers and crossed for his first NRL try.

Manly scored late tries through Gosiewski and Cherry-Evans but they provided little consolation to the Lottoland faithful.

The final score ending up 42 – 24 to the Titans.

To make matters worse for the Sea Eagles, and New South Wales, Tom Trbojevic left the field with about 20 minutes remaining due to a shoulder injury.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – AJ Brimson

2 – Ash Taylor

1 – Daly Cherry-Evans

Gold Coast Titans halfback Ash Taylor

The Penrith Panthers put away the Wests Tigers to extend the club record win streak

Penrith Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai

Despite being below their usual standard the Penrith Panthers still managed to comfortably beat the Wests Tigers 30 to 6.

The Panthers came into the match looking to extend their 10 game win streak.

The Tigers desperately needed a win to turn around their recent fortunes and hang on to the slim hope of playing finals football.

It looked as though it was going to be business as usual in the first ten minutes for the Panthers as the controlled the ruck and pinned the Tigers in their half with their kicking game.

Despite the Panthers having all the early possession and field position, they conceded the first try of the game for the first time in 2020 since Round 1.

Off the back of a Dylan Edwards error, Benji Marshall executed a pinpoint cross-field kick to David Nofoaluma early in the tackle count.

Nofoaluma, who was unmarked, strolled over to score under the post.

Moses Mbye converted to give the Tigers an early six-point lead.

There was plenty of feeling in the match as both teams really aimed up on defense and there were several stoppages for the refs to break up scuffles.

The Tigers eventually cracked when Adam Doueihi, who had been excellent under the high ball for most of the night, failed to defuse a Nathan Cleary bomb.

Off the resulting repeat set, Jarome Luai took on a backpedaling defensive line beating three Tigers players on his way to the line.

Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai.

Cleary converted the try to level the scores.

After recent blowouts, the Tigers would have been happy with a six all scoreline going into halftime.

But a controversial high tackle call against Marshall on Luai threw the Tigers into a tailspin.

The Panthers made the most of the opportunity to attack the line. Cleary delivered a short ball to rampaging backrower Liam Martin who ran right over Luke Brooks to score.

Cleary converted the try for a 12 – 6 lead.

With a minute to go in the first half rookie winger, Tommy Talau knocked on bringing the ball off his own line.

The Panthers collected the ball and Brian To’o was inches from scoring their third try.

Doueihi was sent the sin bin for rushing up from an offside position in a desperate bid to shut down the next play.

The Panthers kicked the penalty goal and went into the sheds with an eight-point lead.

The Tigers navigated the early period of the second half well but it wasn’t long until the Panthers got back into their groove.

The third try coming through To’o in his first game back after an eight-week injury layoff.

Tyrone May threw a beautiful cut out pass to To’o on the edge who stepped back inside the cover defense to score his third try of the season.

Defense dominated the remainder of the second half with the game played between the 20-meter lines and very few try-scoring opportunities for either team.

With five minutes to go, the Panthers were awarded a penalty try when BJ Leilua was ruled to have illegally taken out Stephen Crichton who was chasing a Luai grubber kick.

Josh Mansour capped of the night for the Panthers with a try set up by May in the final minute of the game.

Cleary converted from wide out for a final score of 30 – 6.

The Panthers victory extended their current win streak to 11 including 7 straight wins at Panthers stadium.

NRL News player of the game

3 – Jarome Luai

2 – James Fisher-Harris

1 – Tyrone May

Penrith Panthers prop James Fisher-Harris

 

 

Warriors come from behind to put away the Bulldogs

New Zealand Warriors half Kodi Nikorima

Kodi Nikorima was instrumental as the New Zealand Warriors fought back from a ten point deficit to beat the Canterbury Bulldogs 20-14.

The opening exchanges perhaps typified the way both sides had been playing in 2020.

The first 15 minutes saw hard running and decent defence without a whole lot of execution in attack from either side.

The Bulldogs eventually opened the scoring through winger Nick Meaney.

The Bulldogs shifted the ball left through Kieran Foran and Will Hopoate to create an overlap for Meaney on the left-wing.

Meaney drew the defence and passed back inside to Tim Lafai.

Lafai looked like he was going to be bundled into touch but managed to offload back inside to Meaney who stepped inside the cover defence to score.

Meaney failed to convert from the sideline but it didn’t take long for the Dogs to strike again.

Hooker Jeremy Marshall-King made an easy break through the middle of the ruck.

He was then able to draw in fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and passed to Foran who dotted down under the post.

Bulldogs five-eighth Kieran Foran

Meaney didn’t miss from in front of the post pushing the lead out to 10 – 0.

The Warriors had the better of field position and possession over the next 15 minutes and eventually capitalised when interchange forward Jack Murchie scored.

The Warriors were gifted a set on the Bulldogs line when Raymond Faitala-Mariner knocked on during a regulation carry.

On the following set five-eighth Nikorima put up a pinpoint kick over the try line.

The Bulldogs players failed to contest the kick and Murchie came down with the ball to score his first NRL try.

Nikorima converted from in front, sending the Warriors into the sheds trailing 10 – 6.

It was a poor start to the second half for the Warriors when debutant halfback Paul Turner kick out on the full in their first step.

The Dogs took advantage of the field position scoring through Hopoate.

Halfback Jack Cogger took on the line with numbers and delivered a beautiful short pass to Hopoate who scored with ease.

Meaney missed the conversion again meaning the Dogs only had an eight-point lead despite outscoring the Warriors three tries to one.

The Warriors new-found resilience was on show again and were able to hit back through Adam Pompey moments later.

Tuivasa-Sheck shifted the ball to Murchie who threw a one-handed pass to Peta Hiku to create a two-on-one overlap.

Hiku drew in Meaney and passed to Pompey who had too much pace for Foran and Hopoate in cover defence.

Nikorima missed the kick from the sideline, leaving the Warriors behind by four.

There were warning bells for the Bulldogs when the Warriors scored again to take the lead in the following set.

Nikorima took on the line and broke through the other side with a brilliant show and go.

Murchie backed up on the inside and when Nikorima drew in fullback Hopoate he was in a perfect position to score his second try of the game.

Warriors five-eighth Kodi Nikorima.

The Warriors began to get the ascendancy through the middle, dominating the ruck through hard running and harder defence.

As a result, the Bulldogs spend most of the second half trying to get out of their own end.

The Warriors created opportunities for rookie Turner but couldn’t convert with the first ruled a double movement and the second an obstruction.

With errors creeping into the Bulldogs game, it felt like they wouldn’t be able to hold on much longer and that proved to be the case when Tuivasa-Sheck scored in the next set.

Nikorima was again in the action.

He took on the line and danced away from Dogs defenders before finding his captain with a short ball.

Tuivasa-Sheck hit the pass at full speed and Hopoate had no chance of catching him on his way to the try line.

Nikorima missed the conversion and the score stayed 20 – 14 Warriors.

The Bulldogs had a number of chances in the final ten minutes but the Warriors hung on with tough goal line defence to bank their sixth win of the season.

The Warriors are three wins outside of the top eight and are sure to aim up next week against the Knights who beat them 20 nil in round one.

The Bulldogs missed another opportunity to secure their third win and move off the bottom of the ladder.

With a tough run home, the Dogs are staring down the barrel of their first wooden spoon since 2008.

NRL News player of the game

3 – Kodi Nikorima (WAR)

2 – Jack Murchie (WAR)

1 – Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (WAR)

New Zealand Warriors forward Jack Murchie

Rabbitohs edge out the Cowboys in Saturday night thriller

South Sydney Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds

Souths captain Adam Reynolds proved the difference as the South Sydney Rabbitohs beat the North Queensland Cowboys 31 – 30.

The Cowboys were dominant for long periods of the match but despite outscoring the Rabbitohs six tries to five couldn’t finish off the game.

It was Reynolds who got the Rabbitohs off to a perfect start in what would turn out to be a see-sawing game at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

The crafty halfback noticed North Queensland fullback Scott Drinkwater was out of position.

He took full advantage, kicking over the top and regathering his own kick to score under the post.

He converted to give the Rabbitohs a 6 – 0 lead.

South Sydney Captain Adam Reynolds.

The momentum shifted and the Cowboys took advantage, scoring three tries in 15 minutes.

Goal kicking kept the Rabbitohs in the game as Kyle Feldt failed to convert any of the tries.

Connelly Lemuelu put the Cowboys on the scoreboard when he finished off a right-side shift involving quick hands from Jordan McLean and a brilliant offload from Mitchell Dunn.

Michael Morgan, who had a quiet return from injury in Round 13, was next to score.

Morgan ran the ball down the short side and fooled the Rabbitohs defence with a beautiful dummy pass to score himself.

The first half blitz concluded with a magical try from Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Drinkwater took a risk and kicked across to the unmarked winger while the Cowboys were still deep in their own territory.

Tabuai-Fidow caught the ball in space and with his pace and step turned Alex Johnston inside out and ran 50 meters to score.

Despite the Cowboys dominance, they only led 12 – 6 on the scoreboard.

The Rabbitohs then hit back minutes before halftime.

Reynolds and halves partner, Cody Walker, combined to put Queensland winger Dane Gagai over for an easy try.

Reynolds kicked the conversion to level the scores.

Feldt managed to kick his first goal of the night when the Cowboys received a penalty right on halftime.

The Cowboys went into halftime with a 2 point lead.

The Rabbitohs were next to score through Alex Johnston as the lead swapped again.

Walker took the ball to the line and threw a cut out ball to Johnston whose speed did the rest as he ran down the sideline almost untouched to score.

Reynolds converted to give the Rabbitohs an 18 – 14 lead.

Michael Morgan took advantage of some soft defence, taking the line on and beating three defenders to score his second try of the night.

Feldt converted to put the Cowboys back into the lead.

It didn’t last long with Damien Cook putting Campbell Graham over from short range to level the score.

Reynolds converted again to put the Rabbits ahead by 2.

It appeared that the Cowboys were going to get control of the match when they scored back-to-back tries for the first time in the second half.

Mitch Dunn took advantage of a Latrell Mitchell error to score a brilliant solo try.

Mitchell failed to collect a kick that had ricocheted off a South Sydney player.

Dunn collected the ball and threw a dummy to get rid of the defence and run 30 meters to score.

Feldt failed to convert the try.

Tom Opacic then scored what looked like the match-winner with 5 minutes to go.

Drinkwater kicked across the field to put Opacic one-on-one with James Roberts.

Opacic flew up above Roberts to collect the ball and scored the Cowboys sixth try.

North Queensland fullback Scott Drinkwater.

Feldt was able to convert this time to give the Cowboys a six-point lead.

The Rabbitohs weren’t ready to give up though, getting themselves into a try scoring position off the back of some hard running in the middle of the field.

Walker and Mitchell combined to create an overlap for Johnston who again used his pace on the edge to score his second try of the game.

It was a difficult sideline conversion and with the game on the line Reynolds missed his first kick at goal of the night.

However, the Rabbitohs held the momentum and were able to get back into goal kicking range before earning themselves a penalty.

Reynolds didn’t make the same mistake twice, kicking the penalty goal to level the score with less than 2 minutes remaining.

When the Rabbitohs got themselves into field goal position with a minute remaining, it was no surprise that Reynolds stepped up to the plate.

He kicked his first field goal of the season to secure the two competition points and keep the Rabbitohs in touch with the top four.

NRL News Player of the game

3 – Adam Reynolds (SOU)

2 – Michael Morgan (NQL)

1 – Scott Drinkwater (NQL)

North Queensland Cowboys five-eighth Michael Morgan

 

A first half blitz sees Gold Coast hang on for victory over the Cowboys

Gold Coast Titans back-rower and captain Kevin Proctor

A captains knock from Kevin Proctor led the Gold Coast Titans to a 30 – 10 victory over Queensland rivals the North Queensland Cowboys.

The Sunday afternoon clash between the Titans and Cowboys at CBUS Super Stadium had an interesting sub plot.

The winner of the Queensland derby would be the highest ranked Queensland team on the NRL ladder at the end of Round 13.

The headlines leading into the game surrounded the return on Michael Morgan.

As a result, the cowboys came into the game heavy favourites.

But it was the Titans who had planned an ambush.

They shot out to a 20 – 0 halftime lead and all but took the game away from the visitors.

It was a dream start for the Titans when their leading try scorer Anthony Don crossed over inside the first 5 minutes.

A sweeping AJ Brimson got on the outside of Tom Opacic drawing in Justin O’Neill and creating an easy overlap for Don to score in the corner.

Ash Taylor failed to convert the try.

The Titans went in again off the back of a repeat set when Fogarty forced a drop out putting the Cowboys under pressure.

Off the resulting set, Taylor put Captain Kevin Proctor over with a deft short ball at the line.

Proctor carried several defenders over to score.

Gold Coast Titans Captain Kevin Proctor.

Taylor failed to convert again.

It started to look dire for the visitors when fullback Brimson scored the first of his double minutes later.

Brian Kelly broke the line off a regulation carry thanks to some soft defence from Coen Hess.

Kelly offloaded to Brimson who scored under the posts.

Fogarty took over the kicking duties and converted the try.

Brimson scored his second and Taylor and Proctor combined to put him through a hole.

Taylor fired a ball to Proctor right at the defensive line.

Proctor showed great skill to catch and quickly pass the ball back inside to Brimson who ran through almost untouched.

Gold Coast fullback AJ Brimson.

Fogarty converted again for a 20 – 0 halftime lead.

It was the worst possible start to the second half for the Cowboys when Kelly scored for the Titans off a piece of brilliance from Procter.

Taylor kicked through into the in goal.

It looked as though the ball was going to go over the dead ball line but a diving Proctor batted it back into the field of play.

Kelly won the race to the ball to score the Titans fifth try of the game.

Fogarty missed the conversion.

The Cowboys began to mount a fight back, scoring through wingers Kyle Feldt and O’Neill.

But any chance of victory was snuffed out when the Titans scored their sixth try of the game though Phillip Sami.

Fogarty kicked the touchline conversion to leave a final score of 30 – 10 to the Titans.

While the Titans are long odds of playing finals this season, their recent form will give fans something to be excited for in 2021.

Cowboys coach Josh Hannay did not mince his words, labelling his side’s performance a disservice.

“It was a real step backwards for us,” Hannay said.

“I thought we’d made some improvements in that [attitude] area the past two or three weeks.

“I thought the first half [where the Titans led 20-0] was just really poor.

“They did the jersey and the club a disservice with some of the football that was put out there.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Kevin Proctor (GLD)

2 – AJ Brimson (GLD)

1 – Brian Kelly (GLD)

Gold Coast Titans utility AJ Brimson

Eels hang on as the Dogs show some bite

Parramatta Eels captain and fullback Clint Gutherson

A first half double for Clint Gutherson helped the Parramatta Eels hang on for an 18-16 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs hosted the Eels at ANZ stadium in the round 12 clash.

The sun was shining and the stage was set for some fast paced attacking football.

The Eels, who were without Ryan Matterson, started fast getting the scoring underway through Mitchell Moses in the sixth minute.

Junior Paulo. Source: Parramatta Eels.

The elusive halfback was set up by prop Junior Paulo who took the line on, attracted three defenders and offloaded in the tackle for Moses to cross untouched.

Moses converted his own try for a 6 – 0 lead.

The Bulldogs found themselves to good attacking position after getting a repeat set when Parramatta couldn’t contain a Lachlan Lewis kick.

They looked to have got themselves on the board through Marcelo Montoya but referee Chris Sutton ruled there had been an obstruction in the lead up.

If the Bulldogs had challenged the decision it most likely would have been reversed as it appeared Moses made a defensive decision to come in on Raymond Faitala-Mariner.

The missed opportunity was compounded when moments Dallin Watene-Zelezniak got up facing the wrong way after a heavy tackle. He played the ball in the wrong direction resulting in an Eels penalty.

A slick backline move saw Gutherson score the first of his two tries off a Michael Jennings linebreak.

Moses converted for a 12 – 0 lead.

The Bulldogs continued to give the Eels easy field position from penalties and about 10 minutes before halftime Gutherson got his second try.

Moses kicked in field toward the goalposts and Gutherson split two Bulldogs defenders to collect the  ball and score.

The resulting conversion gave the Eels an 18 point lead.

Eels Captain Clint Gutherson.

It looked like things were going to get ugly for the Dogs. But as they have all season the Dogs refused to go away.

They forced a repeat set when they pushed Blake Ferguson back into the in goal area.

Kieran Foran then showed his experience, going to the line and isolating Moses to put Faitala-Mariner over for the Dogs first try.

Jake Averillo converted to send the Bulldogs into the sheds trailing 18 – 6.

The Bulldogs picked up where they left off after the break. But despite dominating the second half they couldn’t overcome the Eels.

Averillo scored a contender for try of the seasons with a brilliant one handed put down in the corner.

Lewis threw a long ball to Watene-Zelezniak who drew in Maika Sivo and passed to Averillo looping around.

Averillo dove for the corner and managed to put the ball down millimetres from the touch line as Sivo tried to push him out of play.

Averillo missed what would turn out to be a crucial conversion attempt.

The Eels struggled to contain the Bulldogs, particularly down the left edge, and the Dogs were in again minutes later.

Lewis and Foran combined to draw in Moses and Waqa Blake creating an overlap for Montoya to cross over.

Averillo converted to make it a two point game.

The Bulldogs continued to dominate field position and possession but the Eels defence weathered the storm, as it has done most of the season.

There was a crucial moment with about 20 minutes to go when the Eels concerned a penalty for offside.

The Dogs could have taken a kick at goal to level the game but Aidan Tolman took a quick tap and was tackled a metre out from the line.

While it wasn’t a pretty win the Eels will be happy to have come away with the two competition points in a tight grinding match.

Their quest for a premiership continues with the Sharks in Round 13.

The Dogs have every right to be disappointed as it was a game they had their chances to win. But they will take confidence from their performance into their next game against the Storm.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Clint Gutherson

2  – Junior Paulo

1 – Kieran Foran

 

 

Storm sink Broncos with second half blitz

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster

A second half master class from Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster led the Melbourne Storm to a 46 – 8 win over the hapless Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

A half time score line of 14-8 was a testament to a Broncos side hanging tough.

But the Broncos couldn’t contain the Storm in the second half.

The Storm were heavy favourites heading into the Round 11 match with the Broncos.

The favouritism with punters proved true when Josh Addo-Carr scored within the first 2 minutes of the game.

Josh Addo-Carr. Source: Getty Images.

A deft Cameron Smith grubber which was kicked ahead by Kenny Bromwich resulted in an early try to the Storm. Smith converted the try.

The Broncos were next to score when Thomas Dearden, Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd combined to put Herbie Farnworth over.

Staggs kicked the conversion to level the scores at 6 – 6.

The Broncos took the lead moments later when Staggs kicked the penalty goal.

Smith responded with a Storm penalty 10 minutes later.

The Storm took the lead just before half time when Jahrome Hughes took advantage from some poor defence from Jamil Hopoate to bust the line open and score under the posts.

The Melbourne side took a 14-8 lead into half time.

The Storm picked up where they left off in the second half sealing a dominant win with a six try blitz.

Kenny Bromwich scored within minutes of the halftime when a Brodie Croft error gave the Storm perfect field position after Addo-Carr kicked the loose ball ahead and ran 60 meters.

Gold Coast bound Tino Fa’asuamaleaui was next to score after running right over the top of Broncos captain Alex Glenn off a Cameron Smith pass.

Ryan Papenhuyzen then took advantage of a Munster offload to bust through three defenders and score a try that looked to put the game out of reach for a struggling Broncos side.

Cameron Munster. Source: AAP.

Hughes, Fa’asuamaleaui and Addo-Carr all scored doubles as the Storm ran away with the game.

Hughes delivered a beautiful long ball to put Papenhuyzen on the outside of the defence.

He then chased hard in support to take a brilliant inside ball to cross over untouched.

Addo-Carr was also able to cross over untouched when a wobbly long ball from Munster found him wide open on the flank.

Fa’asuamaleaui scored the final try of the game off some broken play.

The rushing Broncos defence caused the ball to go to ground.

Cameron Smith scooped it up and ran down the short side putting Fa’asuamaleaui over with an inside ball.

Another heavy defend piles more pressure on Anthony Seibold.

It was revealed earlier in the week that the club would review his performance as head coach at the end of the season.

Seibold wasn’t happy with the second half fade out but commented that there were positive signs in the first half.

“It was a really good first half and that is as good as we have been since the resumption after COVID.

“That is what makes it really disappointing how the scoreline got away from us in the second half.”

The Broncos face the Sharks in the next round while the Storm go on to play the Knights.

NRL News player of the game

3 – Cameron Munster

2 – Cameron Smith

1- Jarome Hughes

Sharks go on a feeding frenzy as the Warriors woes continue

Cronulla Sharks half Shaun Johnson

A Shaun Johnson master class leads the Cronulla Sharks to a 46-10 rout of the New Zealand Warriors Warriors.

The round 10 clash between the Warriors and Sharks at Central Coast Stadium was a hard one to pick coming into the game.

The Sharks were embarrassed by the Panthers in a heartless performance the week before.

While the Warriors went down to the Titans in a tight game.

With both sides having Jekyll and Hyde seasons, the game script was always going to depend on which version of each side showed up.

It was the Sharks who turned up on form with a first half blitz that took the game away from the Warriors inside the first 20 minutes.

Braden Hamlin-Uele took advantage of some soft defence to cross over from 20 meters out.

Chad Townsend took on the line and delivered a short pass to Hamilton-Uele who ran through almost untouched.

Shaun Johnson converted to make it 6-0 inside 5 minutes.

The Warriors had an opportunity to score when David Fusitua made a break but Patrick Herbert was adjudicated to have dropped the ball over the line.

It was danger signs for the Warriors defence when William Kennedy scored moments later off a scrum.

Johnson gave Kennedy early ball and he was able to get on the outside of Peta Hiku to run through for an easy try.

Johnson converted again from out wide.

The next Sharks try came when Josh Dugan beat two defenders to deliver a brilliant one handed pass to winger Ronaldo Mulitalo.

Johnson converted and just like that the Warriors were down 18 points inside 20 minutes.

The Warriors had a tough task ahead, having only scored more than 18 points once this season.

But they managed to score next through Ken Maumalo, who is one of four Warriors players who will be returning to New Zealand on 27 July.

It was Kodi Nikorima who split the Sharks left edge defence with a darting run creating an overlap for Maumalo to score in the corner.

Nikorima couldn’t add the extras.

Any chance of a Warriors come back was thwarted by their former superstar Johnson when he scored his first try of the season shortly before half time.

Johnson put a grubber through for Townsend who couldn’t collect.

But Blake Green failed to knock the ball dead and Johnson manage to ground the ball just inside the field of play.

He converted his own try to give the Sharks a 24 – 4 lead at halftime.

The Sharks delivered more of the same in the second half with Sione Katoa and Jesse Ramien both crossing for two tries each.

Katoa’s first came shortly after halftime.

Johnson collected a Green grubber kick under the posts and beat several Warriors with his footwork.

He then offloaded to Katoa who ran 70 meters to score in the corner.

Green was sent to the sin bin moments later when he was ruled to have taken out Wade Graham in a try scoring situation.

It was then Ramien’s turn when Johnson and Kennedy combined to take advantage of an overlap and put him over in the corner.

Katoa grabbed his second off the back of quick hands again, this time between Johnson and Townsend.

With 5 minutes remaining, Ramien scooped up a loose pass from Tohu Harris to score his second try.

The Warriors scored a late consolation try through Wayde Egan for a final score line of 46 – 10.

The Sharks have an opportunity to build momentum with a match against the Dragons in Round 11.

Things only get tougher for the Warriors who play the Roosters next week.

The Warriors have confirmed that four players, Maumalo, Fusitua, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa, will return to New Zealand on compassionate grounds at the end of the month.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Shaun Johnson

2 – Sione Katoa

1 – Toby Rudolf

Cronulla Sharks winger Sione Katoa

Panthers maul floundering Sharks

Penrith Panthers fullback Dylan Edwards

It was a dream debut for rookie Charlie Staines who scored four tries as the Penrith Panthers downed the Cronulla Sharks 56 – 24.

A round nine clash with the number two Panthers was the perfect yardstick for a Cronulla side who were gathering momentum on the back of three wins in a row.

But it was the 19-year-old debutant Staines who crashed the party, becoming the first player since 2008 to score four tries on debut.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the third minute through Brent Naden who had moved to centre to accommodate Staines.

Fullback Dylan Edwards took on the line and delivered a brilliant one-handed offload to Naden who strolled through for an easy four-pointer.

The Panthers were in again eight minutes later through Liam Martin courtesy of some Api Koroisau sleight of hand.

Koroisau fooled the Cronulla defence by faking left before stepping right and putting Martin through a hole to score.

Nathan Cleary kicked his second conversion to put the Panthers up 12 – 0 within twelve minutes.

Stephen Crichton continued his run of try-scoring form when he dove over in the corner for the Panthers third try.

Five minutes later, Staines crossed for the first of his four tries off the back of quick hands from Cleary and Naden.

Staines was straight back in the action when he broke the line off the kickoff.

This drew in Sharks fullback Josh Dugan to put Edwards away.

Crichton converted to give the Panthers a 26 – 0 lead inside the first 30 minutes.

The game looked like it had gotten away from the Sharks, but two tries in the last 10 minutes of the first half gave them some hope going into halftime.

The first was set up by Shaun Johnson who continued his rich vein of form.

He ran the ball off the back of a quick play of the ball and put Briton Nikora through a hole to score.

Blayke Brailey then busted over from dummy half right on halftime.

Johnson converted to send the Sharks into the sheds trailing 26 – 12.

The Sharks needed to score first in the second half to have any chance of clawing the game back.

But it was Staines who grabbed the first try of the second half, and his second for the game.

Naden climbed up over two Sharks players to bat back a Cleary bomb for Staines to cross over.

The Sharks were given an opportunity when James Tamou was sent to the sin bin.

But they failed to capitalise when Chad Townsend kicked the ball dead and then they gave away a repeat set.

The Panthers scored through Billy Burns off the resulting possession.

The Sharks were lucky it wasn’t ruled an 8 point try with Aaron Woods contacting Burns high as he scored.

The Sharks were eventually able to use their numbers advantage scoring through Jesse Ramien before Tamou returned from the bin.

Woods was sent to the bin moments later when he was ruled to have committed a professional foul after an Edwards line-break.

While Woods was off the field, the Panthers scored again through Crichton and Staines and conceded an intercept try to Nene MacDonald.

Staines then crossed over in the 78th minute for his fourth try when Naden delivered a brilliant one-handed pass.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Dylan Edwards

2. Charlie Staines

1. Brent Naden

Penrith Panthers winger Charlie Staines

 

Sharks wallop spirited Titans

Cronulla Sharks halfback Shaun Johnson

A five-try second half blitz proved the difference as the Cronulla Sharks defeated the Gold Coast Titans 40-10. 

The Titans had a number of last-minute changes which saw new recruit Corey Thompson move to the wing to cover Phillip Sami.

Tyrone Roberts returned from injury at fullback and rookie Beau Fermor start in place of Kevin Proctor.

A surprise choice in Bryce Cartwright was named in the centres over Brian Kelly.

The changes looked like they might have paid off early in the game when Thompson made a break down the left-wing, beating several Sharks players on the way to the try line.

But the bunker ruled that Tyrone Peachey knocked on in the lead-up and the try was overturned.

Five minutes later, Braden Hamlin-Uele opened the scoring for the Sharks.

Halfback Jamal Fogarty shot out of the line in an attempt to shutdown Matt Moylan, who threw a deft pass to put Hamlin-Uele in a position to bust over the line.

It wasn’t long until the Sharks were on the attack again after Roberts failed to stop a brilliant 40/20 from Blayke Brailey.

However, the Titans had a stroke of luck when a Shaun Johnson pass hit the deck.

Thompson scooped up the loose ball and ran the length of the field to score.

The terrible string of luck for Sharks fullback Moylan continued when he pulled up with what appeared to be another hamstring injury.

Moylan shuffled to the centres briefly, pushing Josh Dugan back to fullback.

It wasn’t long until Moylan succumbed and had to leave the field.

The Sharks recovered quickly hitting the lead again when Andrew Fifita scored off a Wade Graham offload.

The Sharks appeared to be getting on top but right before halftime, the Titans scored when Roberts and Cartwright combined to put Anthony Don over in the corner.

Ash Taylor missed the conversion, sending the Titans into the sheds trailing by 2.

The second half started perfectly for the Sharks who crossed over through Briton Nikora within minutes.

Nikora was set up by Johnson who put on a pass at the line reminiscence of their 2019 combination.

It was Johnson’s swift stepping which created the Sharks next try as well.

Johnson took on the line to beat two Titans defenders and offloaded for Brailey who busted through a tackle to score.

The flood gates opened when Chad Townsend was able to step back inside and run through untouched for an easy try.

Brailey then put interchange prop Royce Hunt over for his first ever NRL try.

The Sharks capped off the demolition with a try to Bryce Goodwin set up by a beautiful long ball from Townsend.

It will be back to the drawing board for the Titans who have a good chance of picking up their third win of the season against the Warriors next week.

The Sharks are beginning to build momentum with a third win in a row.

Moving forward, they won’t be helped by the injury to Moylan with a date with the Panthers around the corner.

Johnson’s experience and guile shone through and Sharks coach John Morris made sure to mention it.

“He is just starting to get the balance right, Shauny,” Morris said.

“He has worked so hard on his game and had a really solid pre-season so I was confident that he was going to have a good year.”

Despite the loss, Titans coach Justin Holbrook was ecstatic with the performance of rookie back-rower Beau Fermor.

“He was fantastic for us, Beau,” Holbrook said.

“Ideally, 60 minutes would have been perfect for him after he has only played one scrimmage game, last week, in the past 12 months.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Shaun Johnson

2. Blayke Brailey

  1. Braden Hamlin-Uele
Cronulla Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey