Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Dragons young gun signs new long-term contract

Drew Hutchison

Re-signing young, local players is something all clubs strive towards and the St George Illawarra Dragons have long been exponents of that.

Confirming the signing of talented utility Drew Hutchison, the Albion Park Oak Flats Eagle is a local junior and 2014 is his second season with the Dragons Holden Cup side.

Named in the NSW U20′s squad for a stellar season, Hutchison has also made the step up to the NSW Cup.

For the man himself, there is no club he feels more at home with and he relishes the chance to continue to play for them.

“I am really pleased to have re-signed with my childhood Club who I have represented since junior levels,” said Hutchison.

“My main focus now is to continue my development and I’m fortunate to be able to do that under the guidance of both Paul McGregor and the advice from the other senior players around me.

“I have learnt a lot since being invited to train alongside the first-grade squad and hope to someday follow suit by wearing the Red V jersey at NRL level.”

Hutchison is the sixth NYC player to re-sign with the club in recent times and they are pleased to have retained him for three more years.

“Drew is a local junior who has come through out system at an early age and he is presently developing well in the halves,” said Dragons Recruitment Manager Ben Haran.

“He has been invited to train alongside the first-grade squad and is learning a lot simply by being around the more senior and experienced players which I know he appreciates.

“He has a great opportunity at the moment playing with the Illawarra Cutters to test himself against more senior opposition in the NSW Cup and we see him having a bright future here at the Club.”

Raiders prop heads South to Melbourne

Tom Learoyd-Lahrs

It is often said that a coach like Craig Bellamy can turn a player around and Melbourne Storm fans will hope that it is the case, with the club signing Canberra Raiders prop, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs.

Lahrs, who was once a mainstay in the Raiders forward pack has recently been hit hard by injuries and as a result, lost his spot in the Raiders side due to the emergence of props Paul Vaughan and Shannon Boyd.

Over a 9-year career, Lahrs has played for the Raiders and the Brisbane Broncos, notching up 119 first-grade games in total, as well as representing both NSW and Australia.

For the Storm, the club are hopeful that despite his recent injuries, Learoyd-Lahrs can make a steady impact for their side next season.

“Tom is an experienced forward whose skill and size will be a valuable asset to our forwards,” said the Storm’s Director of Football, Frank Ponissi.

“While he has been restricted due to injury over the last 12 months, a chat with Craig on what he can bring to Melbourne Storm and after a successful medical screening, we had no hesitation to sign him.”

For Learoyd-Lahrs, he is just pleased to have another NRL opportunity.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity Melbourne Storm have provided in enabling me to hopefully re-establish my NRL career.

“It will be an honour to have the chance to play with such great players as Melbourne possesses, once I spoke to Craig, I knew that working under his guidance was the best opportunity for me to get back to playing regular week to week NRL.”

His current club, the Canberra Raiders, issued a statement surrounding his departure.

Tom Learoyd-Lahrs has confirmed he will depart the Raiders at the end of the 2014 season, to take up a one year contract with the Melbourne Storm.

Learoyd-Lahrs arrived in Canberra at the beginning of the 2006 season and played over 100 matches for the Raiders, representing NSW Country, NSW State of Origin and Australia in his time at the club.

The Raiders would like to take the opportunity to thank Learoyd-Lahrs for his contribution to the Raiders during his time at the club and wish him all the best in the future for him and his family.

Veteran Titans prop to retire

Luke Bailey

He has been involved with the Gold Coast Titans team and brand since its inception and after an illustrious NRL career, veteran prop Luke Bailey will retire from the NRL.

A Titans foundation player, Bailey had plans to continue his playing career but when he could not come to terms with the Titans, he felt it was best to retire .

“My body felt good and I’d had talks with the club and was hoping a further one-year deal but I can understand that the club needs to look to the future and I accept that,” Bailey said.

“I don’t really want to move and play for another NRL club and packing up the family and going overseas for just one season didn’t really appeal, so it’s time to call it quits.

“I feel very fortunate to have been in the game for as long as I have and I have few regrets.”

For Bailey, he wants to be remembered as a player that played the game hard and well and as a player that gave it his all. He was quick to praise the family for what they had done for him throughout his career.

“I’d like to think I’ve always been a player that had a crack and was consistently above average for 15 years and I am proud of that.

“And that was possible with the support of my family, my wife Rebecca and our children and my mum and dad.

“My one regret has been not reaching a grand final but I will settle with having a great, healthy family and being healthy myself.”

Someone who knew Bailey well was inaugural Titans coach John Cartwright, who coached him for a total of 8 years.

“I’d like to think I’ve always been a player that had a crack and was consistently above average for 15 years and I am proud of that.

“And that was possible with the support of my family, my wife Rebecca and our children and my mum and dad.

“My one regret has been not reaching a grand final but I will settle with having a great, healthy family and being healthy myself.”

Bunnies spoil a club farewell for Michael Ennis and move into first

Sam Burgess

A win would have seen them move into equal first and a win is what they got, as the South Sydney Rabbitohs spoiled the club farewell for Canterbury Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis in the process.

In what was an overall gritty game, Souths eventually got the win, coming from behind to defeat the Bulldogs on the back of another terrific game from Englishman, Sam Burgess.

The win may have come with a bitter taste, though – both Sam Burgess and Chris McQueen left the field due to injury. Burgess eventually returned, but his hip injury will be monitored by club staff in the coming days.

To leave a further bitter taste in the mouths of Souths fans, Adam Reynolds – who kicked the decisive field goal for Souths – will come under scrutiny from the match review panel after being put on report for a lifting tackle.

Fellow team-mate Issac Luke will face similar scrutiny, put on report for lashing out at a Bulldogs player with his foot.

The big fanfare was all around Ennis, though, and being his club farewell, the fans and the team were keen to send him out on a high, though it was not to be.

He made the crowd cheer, however, with a great early tackle to set the tone as well as scoring a try after he dummied from dummy half and cruised over to score.

Despite Souths win, coach Michael Maguire is still refusing to get carried away.

“That’s up to us, really. I mean, one thing at the moment, we haven’t done anything yet,” Maguire said.

“We’re performing and we’ve got to keep growing as a team, but we’re well aware that we’re going to be playing against a very good team in a week’s time. And that’s going to be our focus because that’s what’s in front of us now.”

Even the players are distancing themselves from the premiership talk, with stand-in skipper Greg Inglis pointing out that such thoughts are not in the players minds right now.

“To be totally honest, we’ve got a good bunch of leadership group in our club and we put all that aside. That’s in the background where we can’t control,” Inglis said.

“But what we can control is what we believe in and what we do each and every week. So that’s all put aside. Our focus is the Roosters now. We can’t control what’s been said in the papers, we can only control what we do.”

Knowing that his side had every opportunity to win the game, Dogs coach Des Hasler lamented his side for their poor ball control that led to errors.

“We were probably guilty of too many unforced errors,” said Hasler.

Aside from that, Hasler was very critical of the referees performance.

“I thought the referee was poor,” said a disappointed Hasler.

“It was very, very poor. It’ll take more than a bunker to fix this mob.”

When prompted, Hasler went on to give reasons as to why he thought that was the case.

“I think when James Graham carried the ball and collided with a Souths player, it should have been called to play on,” said Hasler.

“It’s the little things that have a huge impact.”

Veteran Manly prop to retire at season’s end

Jason King

For any NRL player, they know when the time is right to retire and for Manly Sea Eagles prop Jason King, that time is now.

The veteran prop will hang up the boots at season’s end and admits that the decision was not an easy one.

“It’s not an easy decision to step away from the game I love. I’ve thought a lot about it, discussed it many, many times with my family and simply feel that it’s the right time to hang up the boots at season’s end,” said King.

“The Sea Eagles are a part of me and will always be. I was a even Belrose Eagle as a young one, so to have had the privilege of playing first-grade football for such a long period of time for my local team makes me incredibly proud.

“The aura that surrounds the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles was built well before my time. People like Ken Arthurson, Bob Fulton, Terry Randall, Geoff Toovey and Steve Menzies come to mind. I hope in any small way over the past 14 seasons I have contributed to keeping this aura alive.

Along the way, King has played in and won numerous grand finals and made representative appearances and after a stellar career, he was quick to thank all those involved throughout.

“To all the people who helped me along the way, I want to take this opportunity to thank you. To the members, supporters, fans, sponsors and staff of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles – I can’t thank you enough for the support you have shown me over the years on and off the field,” said King.

“To all of my teammates and coaches over the years, I sincerely thank you. To Geof, my current teammates and coaching staff, I’m looking forward to working alongside you all as hard as ever over these next few weeks. We’ve still got a job to do.

“Lastly, but most importantly, I would like to thank my family; my parents for everything they have ever done for me, guiding me along the way at each corner and especially my wife Jackie and our son William for their unconditional love and support. The time spent with you guys when all this is done is what I will treasure the most.”

Loyalty is often a dying art in rugby league but coach Geoff Toovey praised King for staying with Manly for such a long period of time.

“Jason has spent half his life with the Sea Eagles, and has been amazing player, clubman and role-model throughout that entire time,” said Toovey.

“He is a wonderful leader and his impact on our Club and its culture since he started is unquestionable. He has lead from the front at all times through his efforts and dedication both on and off the field.

“I want to thank Jason for his contribution to the team and the Club, and we all look forward to trying to send him out in the best possible way in a few weeks time,” said Toovey.

With his rugby league career set to cease, King has his eyes on both spending time with his family and on his law degree.

“I‘ll be having a well earned rest to begin with, but I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life beginning. I will be spending as much time with my family as possible, and focusing on finishing my studies (Law at Macquarie University),” said King.

“That all being said, my sole focus right now is playing the best I can for team during the remainder of the 2014 season. That hasn’t changed since I made my debut all those years ago – I just want to win more than ever now,” he added.

Experienced centre signs with the Eels

Beau Champion

Injury has not been kind to him in 2014 but NRL centre Beau Champion is keen for a new start and a fresh opportunity and he has one, signing with the Parramatta Eels for the 2015 season.

After completing his current deal with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, the 27-year old centre will make the move West to the Eels, a move that coach Brad Arthur is pleased with.

“Beau is a great competitor and athlete, and will be a valuable addition to our side for 2015,” said Arthur.

“He will bring back line experience to our team, and maturity to our young squad.”

For Champion himself, who has previously played for the Bunnies, the Melbourne Storm and the Gold Coast Titans, he feels honoured to be a part of a club on the rise and with so many talented players.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to come to a club that I believe is on the rise, with a lot of young talent,” Champion said.

“I’m looking forward to the chance to play alongside these young players and be part of the Eels next year.”

Eels CEO Scott Seward also applauded the signing, acknowledging the depth Champion offers within the team.

“It’s a great sign for the Eels to have players of Beau’s calibre interested in joining our ranks,” Parramatta Eels CEO Scott Seward said.

“The club is building a squad with depth and balance in key positions, and I look forward to seeing what Beau will bring next season.”

The Souths club was like a home to Champion and with 80 of his first-grade games coming at the club – including his NRL debut – he is forever indebted to the club.

“I want to say a big thank you to the Members and fans of the Rabbitohs, and everyone in the South Sydney community, for the support they’ve given me over the past ten years,” Champion said.

“They have helped create some great memories for me that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“I’m a South Sydney junior and I was very proud man every time I’ve had the opportunity to pull on the red and green jersey.

“I also want to thank the South Sydney Football Club for the opportunity to play first grade for this club originally in 2005 and when I returned in 2013.

“Unfortunately this year hasn’t been the best personally on the field for me, but I’ll be cheering the boys on for the rest of the season and through the finals.

“The Rabbitohs will always be part of me.”

Knowing that he is departing, Souths coach Michael Maguire praised Champion for his continued commitment to the club even though he is injured.

“Beau has been great for us despite not being able to play a lot of games since coming back to the Club last year,” Maguire said.

“He is a South Sydney man and one of the great clubmen amongst this squad.

“We’re pleased he’s going to get another opportunity to play in the NRL at Parramatta and we wish him the best of luck for next year.

“For now, he’s very much part of our squad and we’re looking forward to enjoying the rest of the season with him.”

NRL Teams Rd 25

The season sure flies and what a season it has been. Upsets galore, surprises all round and some teams improving dramatically, whilst others have seemed to decline dramatically.

Just two rounds of the regular season to go and here we are, Rd 25.

Without further adieu, here are the teams:

Canterbury Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLcbysou); ANZ Stadium; Thursday August 28. Kick-off: 7:45pm.

Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Corey Thompson 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Mitch Brown 6. Moses Mbye 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Ennis (C) 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood.

Interchange: 14. Reni Maitua 15. Dale Finucane 16. David Klemmer 17. Pat O’Hanlon 19. Harlan Alaalatoa (One to be omitted).

Coach: Des Hasler.

Souths: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Lote Tuqiri 6. Luke Leary 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Issac Luke 10. Dave Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turner 12. Chris McQueen 13. Sam Burgess.

Interchange: 14. Jason Clark 15. Ben Lowe 16. Luke Burgess 17. Tom Burgess 18. Bryson Goodwin 19. Joe Picker (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Michael Maguire.

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Brisbane Broncos v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLbrisgi); Suncorp Stadium; Friday August 29. Kick-off: 7:45pm.

Broncos: 1. Justin Hodges (C) 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jack Reed 4. Dale Copley 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Ben Barba 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Corey Parker (C) 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Sam Thaiday.

Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Martin Kennedy 16. Ben Hannant 17. Corey Oates 18. Todd Lowrie (One to be omitted).

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Dragons: 1. Gerard Beale 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Dugan 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Ben Creagh (C) 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jack De Belin 11. Leeson Ah Mau 12. Joel Thompson 13. Trent Merrin.

Interchange: 14. Tyson Frizell 15. Mike Cooper 16. Will Matthews 17. Kyle Stanley 19. Nathan Green 20. Bronson Harrison 25. Jack Stockwell (Three to be omitted).

Coach: Paul McGregor.

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Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels (#NRLnewpar); Hunter Stadium; Saturday August 30. Kick-off: 3pm.

Knights: 1. Kurt Gidley (C) 2. Chanel Mata’utia 3. Dane Gagai 5. Joey Leilua 5. Sione Mata’utia 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. David Fa’alogo 9. Adam Clydsdale 10. Willie Mason 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Adam Cuthbertson.

Interchange: 14. Travis Waddell 15. Korbin Sims 17. Chris Houston 18. Timana Tahu.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne (C) 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Ryan Morgan 5. Vai Toutai 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Tim Mannah (C) 9. Issac De Gois 10. Junior Paulo 11. Kenny Edwards 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Joseph Paulo.

Interchange: 14. Peni Terepo 15. David Gower 16. Darcy Lussick 17. Ben Smith 18. Pauli Pauli (One to be omitted).

Coach: Brad Arthur.

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Canberra Raiders v Wests Tigers (#NRLcanwst); GIO Stadium; Saturday August 30. Kick-off: 5:30pm.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Bill Tupou 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Jeremy Hawkins 5. Edrick Lee 6. Anthony Milford 7. Mitch Cornish 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Brett White 11. Josh Papalii 12. Jarrad Kennedy 13. Joel Edwards.

Interchange: 14. Josh McCrone 15. Matt McIlwrick 16. Kyle O’Donnell 17. Paul Vaughan.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Tigers: 1. Jy Hitchcox 2. Sitaleki Akuaola 3. Cory Paterson 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Pat Richards 6. Blake Austin 7. Mitch Moses 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah (C) 10. Matt Lodge 11. Curtis Sironen 12. Bodene Thompson 13. Adam Blair.

Interchange: 14. Ava Seumanafagai 15. Martin Taupau 16. Sauaso Sue 17. Jack Buchanan.

Coach: Mick Potter.

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Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm (#NRLsydmel); Allianz Stadium; Saturday August 30. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Roosters: 1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. James Maloney 7. Mitch Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Aidan Guerra.

Interchange: 14. Mitch Aubusson 15. Issac Liu 16. Dylan Napa 17. Frank-Paul Nuuausala.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Sisa Waqa 3. Will Chambers 4. Mahe Fonua 5. Marika Koroibete 6. Ben Roberts 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cam Smith (C) 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe.

Interchange: 14. Tim Glasby 15. Tohu Harris 16. Dayne Weston 17. Jordan McLean 18. Junior Moors 19. Justin O’Neill.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

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New Zealand Warriors v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLwargld); Mt Smart Stadium; Sunday August 31. Kick-off: 2pm (local time) & 12pm AEST.

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Ngani Laumape 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Dominique Peyroux 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathan Friend 10. Ben Matulino 11. Ben Henry 12. Simon Mannering (C) 13. Sione Lousi.

Interchange: 14. Sam Rapira 15. Suaia Matagi 16. Sebastine Ikahihifo 17. Jayson Bukuya 18. John Palavi (One to be omitted).

Coach: Andrew McFadden.

Titans: 1. Will Zillman 2. Kalifa Faifai Loa 3. James Roebrts 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Anthony Don 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Daniel Mortimer 8. Luke Bailey 9. Beau Falloon 10. Matt White 11. Mark Minichiello 12. Paul Carter 13. Greg Bird (C).

Interchange: 14. Mark Ioane 15. Cody Nelson 16. Tom Kingston 17. Maurice Blair 19. David Mead.

Coach: Neil Henry.

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Manly Sea Eagles v Penrith Panthers (#NRLmanpen); Brookvale Oval; Sunday August 31. Kick-off: 3pm.

Manly: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon (C) 4. Steve Matai 5. Peta Hiku 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Starling 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brenton Lawrence 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Tom Symonds 13. Jamie Buhrer.

Interchange: 14. Jesse Sene-Lefao 15. Justin Horo 16. James Hasson 17. Jason King.

Coach: Geoff Toovey.

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Jamal Idris 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Will Smith 7. Jamie Soward 8. Nigel Plum 9. Kevin Kingston 10. Sam McKendry 11. Sika Manu 12. Matt Robinson 13. Adam Docker.

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Ben Murdoch-Masila 17. Tim Grant.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

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North Queensland Cowboys v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLnqlcro); 1300 Smiles Stadium; Monday August 1. Kick-off: 7pm.

Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Tautau Moga 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Rob Lui 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Rory Kostjaysn 10. Ashton Sims 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Ray Thompson 15. Scott Bolton 16. Glenn Hall 17. James Tamou.

Coach: Paul Green.

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Daniel Holdsworth 7. Jeff Robson (C) 8. Tim Robinson 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Matt Prior 11. Tinirau Arona 12. Tupou Sopoaga 13. Chris Heighington.

Interchange: 14. Pat Politoni 15. Junior Roqica 16. Sione Masima 17. Scott Sorenson.

Coach: James Shepherd.

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McGregor’s full-time tenure as Dragons coach off to perfect start

Benji Marshall

On the back of the club opting to retain him as head coach for three seasons, the St George Illawarra Dragons have kick-started the full-time coaching tenure of Paul McGregor with a win.

Coming into the game needing a win to keep their slim finals hopes alive, the Dragons were clinical and overpowered a rather poor Titans side, taking the game 34-6 in front of a vocal home crowd.

The win improved their for and against drastically and has them just two points outside the eight with their finals destiny now in their own hands.

The road is not easy, though, and despite their recent comprehensive win, they have another hoodoo to break next week – winning in Brisbane.

It was really one-way traffic throughout the game as the Dragons made the most of their chances and had their key players step up when it mattered.

For the Titans, it has not been the best recent stretch – they are currently on a five-game losing streak.

It could have been even more disappointing had Anthony Don not scored a try for the Titans, with the Gold Coast-based club never held scoreless in their eight-year history.

With many initially questioning the signing of Benji Marshall, the former Tigers half drew praise galore from coach McGregor, who lauded the composure and play of the halfback.

“The composure that Benji’s starting to play with, he’s just going to get better at it at and better at it,” McGregor said.

“He’s a leader, he’s one of our most experienced players and he’s not that bloke that he was 10 years ago. He’s a different player.

“With his experience, when he first came through he was a brilliant player, still is, but he used to play off the cuff a touch.

“He used to get the ball in his hands and anything could happen. Now he’s got players around him that can also score points. What we need from him is to get the ball in the right hands.”

As for the Titans, the message post-game was plain and simple by interim coach Neil Henry. They were not up to first-grade standard.

“I said to the boys after ‘that’s just not a first grade performance,’ regardless of who’s on the park,” Henry said.

“We know we’re a bit depleted but we didn’t match any intensity early and paid the price, which is disappointing.”

Despite celebrating two milestones – Luke Bailey, Daniel Mortimer & Greg Bird – the Titans were off the pace and it left Henry disappointed.

“We lacked real intensity in the game,” Henry said.

“They’re playing for their season and a chance to be in the eight and we’re gone and we’re playing like a side with two games to go and it’s over, which is disappointing.

“We had a couple of milestones to celebrate today. Bailey’s 150th for the club, Bird’s 200th NRL appearance and Daniel Mortimer’s 100th game all fell on the same game.

“We were off the pace today. We didn’t have the right mentality to get out there and slog it out for whatever reason.

St. George Illawarra Dragons 34 (B Marshall, B Morris, J Nightingale, J Dugan, G Beale, J Thompson tries; G Widdop 5 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 6 (A Don try; A Sezer goal) at Jubilee Oval. Crowd: 9,584

Raiders win over the Sharks to move further away from spoon territory

Anthony Milford

On top of what has been a turbulent season for them, the Cronulla Sharks may well end up with the wooden spoon to top it all off, after they lost to Canberra this afternoon.

With both sides needing a win to step further away from spoon contention, it was the Raiders who won out, led by departing utility Anthony Milford.

His efforts, along with those of centre Jarrod Croker, gave the Raiders a 22-12 win and puts a sour taste in the mouths of Sharks fans, who have endured one hell of a season in 2014.

Despite the stellar efforts by Milford and Croker, it was ball control and errors that let both sides down for good portions of the game, as the first points only came more than halfway into the first half.

The game went tit-for-tat at one stage as the Sharks resilience continued to shine but ultimately, the class, finishing and skill of Milford was too much for the Shire-based side to handle.

The news did not get any better for the Sharks, either, with talented utility Fa’amanu Brown leaving the field late in the game with a knee injury.

Although Sharks coach James Shepherd praised his young, inexperienced side for their effort, it was a lack of execution that cost them the game.

“The effort was pretty good as a team but we just didn’t take our chances,” said Shepherd.

“The second half was disappointing because we probably didn’t complete as well as we needed to.

“There were some opportunities that we didn’t take and the team was disappointed after that, certainly.”

Whilst it was not their prettiest win, the Raiders were pleased to get the win, especially one that they had to grind out.

“The win was quite similar to the way we trained. We knew it was going to be a grind, we knew it was going to be a slog and anyone that thought we were going to come here and win by 30, was never going to be on the money,” said Raiders coach, Ricky Stuart.

“We practiced all week that this was going to be a real grind and with those three penalties in the first half, ti puts them on the front foot.

“We had to really defend. We had to dig deep in this game because there’s not a lot of confidence in our team due to past results.”

Canberra Raiders 22 (Milford 2, McIlwrick, Croker Tries; Croker 3 Goals) defeated Cronulla Sharks 12 (Feki, Robinson Tries; Gordon 2 Goals) at Remondis Stadium. Crowd: 13,496.

Competition on notice as the Roosters demolish the Warriors

Boyd Cordner

With both sides in some decent form heading into the game, no-one would have been expecting the Sydney Roosters to blow the New Zealand Warriors off the park, but they did.

With the game being played in New Zealand, the Warriors were expected to put in a strong showing but instead, they were demolished by a Roosters side that welcomed back Jake Friend and Sonny Bill Williams.

The warning is an ominous one for rival teams as the Tricolours ran out convincing 46-12 winners in what was a dominant display.

The loss has put the Warriors chances of a finals spot in jeopardy for two main reasons – no two points and a big blow to their points differential.

Things were not looking too bad at half-time, with the Roosters holding a 10-point lead – some defensive errors ended up costing the Warriors despite a good completion rate.

The second half was a different story as the floodgates opened and the Roosters ran away with the game, despite Sam Tomkins’ best efforts to keep his side’s slim hopes alive.

The loss means that the Warriors are now faced with a stark reality. Win against the Gold Coast and Penrith and finals footy is achievable in 2014. Lose either game and they are out.

Coach Andrew McFadden was not about to beat around the bush, disappointed with his side’s effort in every sense.

“I’ll admit that’s pretty disappointing, it’s probably one of the most disappointing games of the season really,” McFadden said.

“We had everything to play for but we certainly didn’t come up with much today. It was well below our best and something we’ll definitely have to look into.

“I thought we lacked a bit of conviction with our play there. We had a plan that I think would have worked, but I didn’t see much of that so it’s something we’ll look into, but there were lots of other disappointing areas as well.

“I didn’t see it coming. I thought our preparation was really good but I think there is something there…I haven’t got any answers for you now.”

As for Roosters coach Trent Robinson, it was a team performance and the first-half is what set up the win as a whole.

“I thought we set up the game well in the first half and then really put it away in the second half. It was a really good performance from our guys,” said Robinson.

“You want to start well, especially against the Warriors who have been starting well this year.

“We knew we had to start well and you have to apply pressure before you get your rewards, and I think we did that.

“I thought we backed up the last three weeks, we have built over that period and our first real big test was going to be coming here [Auckland] with the position the Warriors were in.”