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NRL News Stats Breakdown: Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs

South Sydney Rabbitohs legend Bernie Purcell

After a  great suggestion by a fan on Twitter, we are writing a stat pack for the fans perusal for every game. The Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs kick things off tonight.

So, sit back, enjoy the read and bask in the ambiance of the stats to see how your team fares historically.

Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbitohs

  • The two sides have played 240 games against each other, with 109 wins for the Sydney Roosters, 123 wins for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and eight draws.
  • It is the second most draws for the Roosters against any one team. Only against the North Sydney Bears did they have more draws with 10.
  • The first game between the two sides was played on Saturday, May 16th, 1908, with the Roosters winning 13-12. Horrie Miller scored a double along with a try for Sandy Pearce in the clash for the Roosters.
  • The Roosters have won the last three games between the two sides with the biggest margin of victory a seven-point win.

Biggest wins

  • The South Sydney Rabbitohs biggest win over the Sydney Roosters was a 50-0 success in rd 8 of the 1952 NSWRFL season on Saturday, June 7, 1952.
  • The Sydney Roosters biggest win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs was a 62-0 victory in Rd 6 on Thursday, April 25, 1996.

Most points scored by players in this clash

  • Bernie Purcell (SOU) – 4 tries & 67 goals (144 pts)
  • Eric Simms (SOU) – 1 try, 60 goals & 10 field goals (141 pts)
  • Johnny Graves (SOU) – 18 tries & 27 goals (109 pts)
  • Craig Fitzgibbon (SYD) – 2 tries & 47 goals (102 pts)
  • Benny Wearing (SOU) – 16 tries & 25 goals (98 pts)
  • Wally Messenger (SYD) – 9 tries & 27 goals (84 pts)
  • Adam Reynolds (SOU) – 1 try & 38 goals (80 pts)
  • Dally Messenger (SYD) – 2 tries, 33 goals, 1 field goal (74 pts)
  • Allan McKean (SYD) – 4 tries, 30 goals & 1 field goal (72 pts)
  • Percy Williams (SOU) – 2 tries & 31 goals (68 pts)
  • Ivan Cleary (SYD) – 3 tries & 28 goals (68 pts)
  • Nathan Merritt (SOU) – 17 tries (68 pts)
  • Arthur Oxford (SOU) – 1 try & 31 goals (65 pts)
  • Harold Horder (SOU) – 8 tries & 19 goals (62 pts)
  • Dave Brown (SYD) – 7 tries & 21 goals (62 pts)

Disclaimer: this is the top 15 point-scorers between the two sides only across all their clashes.

Also, should you require any further stats whether they are club or player related pertinent to the two teams, just ask and we will do our best to provide those answers.

 

NRL Teams Rd 6

Just one team is still winless so far his season but what else can we expect from the round six NRL teams?

With so much uncertainty and unexpected play in the NRL so far this season, tipping and picking winners is nigh impossible.

Nevertheless, the teams have plenty to play for, plenty to salvage and some need wins.

So, with the likelihood of players returning or being dropped, here are the teams for round six of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Sydney Roosters v South Sydney Rabbbitohs (#NRLsydsou); Allianz Stadium, Moore Park; Thursday, April 12. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Reece Robinson 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Mitchell Aubusson 17. Victor Radley.

Reserves: 18. Nat Butcher 19. Kurt Baptiste 20. Tyler Cornish 21. Frank-Paul Nuuausala.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Richie Kennar 3. Greg Inglis (C) 4. Dane Gagai 5. Robert Jennings 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. George Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Cameron Murray.

Interchange: 14. Adam Doueihi 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Jason Clark 17. Tevita Tatola.

Reserves: 18. Robbie Farah 19. Hymel Hunt 20. Campbell Graham 21. Kyle Turner.

Coach: Anthony Seibold.

Ricky’s View: Although Souths have progressively gotten better, it is hard to see them overwhelming a tough Roosters outfit. Slowly finding a mojo of their own, the Roosters are also inconsistent but seem better put together. The rivalry between the two sides is tense so we can expect a fiery encounter.
Roosters by 16


Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights (#NRLmelnew); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Friday, April 13. Kick-off: 6 pm.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Young Tonumaipea 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Kenny Bromwich.

Interchange: 14. Joe Stimson 15. Tim Glasby 16. Christian Welch 17. Sam Kasiano.

Reserves: 18. Brandon Smith 19. Patrick Kaufusi 20. Brodie Croft 21. Justin Olam.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Nathan Ross 5. Ken Sio 6. Brock Lamb 7. Mitch Pearce (C) 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Slade Griffin 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Herman Ese’ese.

Interchange: 14. Danny Levi 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jamie Buhrer (C) 17. Jacob Saifiti.

Reserves: 18. Luke Yates 19. Josh King 20. Jack Cogger 21. Cory Denniss.

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Ricky’s View:  Rarely have the Storm started a season so poorly and they, perhaps more than most, need a win. With potential players to be getting the flick, they will want to get their season back on track and back in the winners’ circle. It will not come easy, though, as the Knights are on fire and producing the best football we have seen from them in years. A well-oiled machine and led by Kalyn Ponga and Mitch Pearce, they perform consistently. A really hard one to pick. Storm by 1.


St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLsgicro); WIN Stadium, Wollongong; Friday, April 13. Kick-off: 8:05 pm.

Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop (C) 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Kurt Mann 16. Leeson Ah Mau 17. Hame Sele.

Reserves: 18. Jacob Host 19. Zac Lomax 20. Reece Robson 21. Blake Lawrie.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Sharks: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Edrick Lee 3. Josh Dugan 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Trent Hodkinson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham (C) 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Kurt Capewell 15. Kurt Dillon 16. Ava Seumanufagai 17. Joseph Paulo.

Reserves: 18. Jesse Ramien 19. Scott Sorenson 20. Jack Williams 21. Kyle Flanagan.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Ricky’s View: By their own standards, the Sharks should and can be better. Notoriously ill-disciplined, they have lost games via their own hand and it has cost them. If they are to win, they have to be at their best against an unbeaten Dragons side.
Widdop and Hunt, arguably the form halves duo, are playing their part beautifully. Capitalising on the Dragons strong forward play, there seems to be no team capable of going toe-to-toe with them.
Dragons should have this one safe for the local derby.
Dragons by 10. 


New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLwarbri); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday, April 14. Kick-off: 3 pm (AEDT) & 5 pm (local time).

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Blake Green 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Bunty Afoa 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Leivaha Pulu 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair.

Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Sam Lisone 16. Simon Mannering 17. Anthony Gelling.

Reserves: 18. Mason Lino 20. Chris Satae 21. Isaiah Papali’i 22. Sam Cook.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (C) 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Jack Bird 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Matt Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Tevita Pangai Jr. 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14. Sam Thaiday 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Korbin Sims 17. Jaydn Su’A.

Reserves: 18. Tom Opacic 19. Troy Dargan 20. Sam Tagataese 21. Payne Haas.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Ricky’s View: Although the Broncos looked good last week, the clinical nature and fluidity of the Warriors makes this one a foregone conclusion in my eyes. Unless the Warriors have their first poor game of the year, yet another win should be on the cards for them. Warriors by 8.


North Queensland Cowboys v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLnqlcby); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Saturday, April 14. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Ben Hampton 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Te Maire Martin 15. John Asiata 16. Corey Jensen 17. Ethan Lowe.

Reserves: 18. Francis Molo 19. Javid Bowen 20. Enari Tuala 21. Jake Clifford.

Coach: Paul Green.

Bulldogs: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Will Hopoate 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Jeremy Marshall-King 7. Kieran Foran 8. Aaron Woods 9. Michael Lichaa 10. David Klemmer 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott.

Interchange: 14. Asipeli Fine 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Greg Eastwood 17. Kerrod Holland.

Reserves: 18. John Olive 19. Rhyse Martin 20. Renouf Toomaga 21. Reimis Smith.

Coach: Dean Pay.

Ricky’s View: Both teams have their problems here, which makes picking a winner that much harder. With such high expectations, the Cowboys have faltered as a team and just cannot get wins on the board. Against a Dogs side desperate to turn things around themselves, the clash will be feisty and full of flavour. Purely because of their finals experience and the ability of Johnathan Thurston, I lean towards the Cowboys. Just. Cowboys by 10.


Canberra Raiders v Parramatta Eels (#NRLcanpar); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Saturday, April 14. Kick-off: 7:30 pm. 

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Iosia Soliola 9. Siliva Havili 10. Junior Paulo 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Eliott Whitehead 13. Luke Bateman

Interchange: 14. Ata Hingano 15. Shannon Boyd 16. Josh Papalii 17. Dunamis Lui.

Reserves: 18. Liam Knight 19. Michael Oldfield 20. Brad Abbey 21. Jack Murchie.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. George Jennings 3. Michael Jennings 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Bevan French 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitch Moses 8. Peni Terepo 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma’u (C) 12. Tony Williams 13. Tepai Moeroa.

Interchange: 14. Beau Scott 15. Kenny Edwards 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Kane Evans.

Reserves: 18. Will Smith 19. David Gower 20. Suaia Matagi 21. Josh Hoffman.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Ricky’s View: The Raiders may have gotten their first win last week with a hard-fought display but the Eels, however, did not. Languishing at the bottom, it is now or never for blue and gold. Though they will be boosted by the return of Clint Gutherson and Bevan French. Is that enough, though?
The Raiders have themselves been inconsistent but dug deep to record a maiden 2018 win. With one team looking to build momentum and the other seeking to start it, picking a winner is hard. Eels by 4. 


Penrith Panthers v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLpengld); Pepper Stadium, Penrith; Sunday, April 15. Kick-off: 2 pm.

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3, Isaah Yeo 4. Dean Whare 5. Christian Crichton 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. James Maloney 8. Trent Merrin 9. Peter Wallace (C) 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. James Fisher-Harris.

Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan 15. Kaide Ellis 16. Moses Leota 17. James Tamou.

Reserves: 18. Jarome Luai 19. Nick Lui-Toso 20. Sione Katoa 21. Jack Hetherington.

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Philip Sami 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Max King 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Will Matthews 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Mitch Rein 15. Morgan Boyle 16. Bryce Cartwright 17. Jack Stockwell.

Reserves: 18. Leilani Latu 19. Keegan Hipgrave 20. Ryan Simpkins 21. Tyronne Roberts-Davis.

Coach: Garth Brennan.

Ricky’s View: The Titans are flying high in recent times after some hard-fought wins led by their forwards. Jai Arrow is leading from the front and has many fans impressed but can their pack match an equally in-form Penrith pack?
Viliame Kikau on the fringe has been perhaps the surprise packet of the year so far. Difficult to stop, he looms as the key threat against a weak Titans edge defence. I like what I have seen from the Titans in recent weeks.
Titans by 6. 


Manly Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers (#NRLmanwst); Lottoland, Brookvale; Sunday, April 15. Kick-off: 4 pm. 

Manly: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Brad Parker 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Jack Gosiewski 13. Jake Trbojevic. 

Interchange: 14. Jackson Hastings 15. Shaun Lane 16. Lloyd Perrett 17. Frank Winterstein.

Reserves: 18. Matt Wright 19. Jonathan Wright 21. Taniela Paseka 22. Tom Wright.

Coach: Trent Barrett.

Tigers: 1. Corey Thompson 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Benji Marshall (C) 7. Luke Brooks 8. Alex Twal 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Ben Matulino 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Matt Eisenhuth.

Interchange: 14. Josh Reynolds 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Michael Chee-Kam 17. Sauaso Sue.

Reserves: 18. Tim Grant 19. Chris McQueen 20. Tyson Gamble 21. Tuimoala Lolohea.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Ricky’s View:  The Tigers surprise season this year has so far been based around sturdy, resolute defence. They will need that against a Manly side known for their attack. With a possible return for Tom Trbojevic, his x-factor could be enough to get Manly over the line.
Defensive approaches week in and week out can actively wear a team down and so that is the challenge for the Tigers.
Although their defence is strong, Manly at home for mine. Manly by 4.


 

Gutsy Knights back in winners circle after win against Broncos

Newcastle Knights back-rower Lachlan Fitzgibbon

The Newcastle Knights are back in the winners circle after some steely resolve saw them hold off the Brisbane Broncos. 

Playing at home for the first time since the opening round of the season, the win is a boost for a flourishing Knights outfit.

It was the Broncos with the early momentum, as repeat sets and penalties in their favour gave them a perfect opportunity to strike.

They failed to capitalise, though, but the chances went begging.

Newcastle were no saints in attack themselves, also letting numerous opportunities slip.

Points did eventually arrive as Kalyn Ponga continued his brilliant form at the back, sending Lachlan Fitzgibbon over.

With not much else happening, Mitchell Pearce nonchalantly kicked a field goal to give the Knights a 7-0 half-time lead.

Daniel Saifiti scored a rare try after a swashbuckling run and the Knights looked home and hosed at 13-0.

Momentum swung, though, after a Shaun Kenny-Dowall error.

One that the Broncos captialised on after Corey Oates scored in the corner.

Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford then threatened to bust the game wide open with some scintillating runs.

One led to a try and the others to potential opportunities but in front of 21,000 fans, the Knights held on.

The loss was a straightforward one in Wayne Bennett’s eyes, as his Broncos side lacks fluidity and confidence.

“We are just lacking a bit of confidence right now, and I think that (tonight) was a big performance for us, but we have been clunky and haven’t been able to consistently put it together,” Bennett said.

“There were a number of opportunities out there, and different players missed them.

“My experience is if you start going upward, things sort themselves out pretty quickly.”

Knights captain Pearce praised his side’s defence but knows they must be consistent, particularly with a clash against the Melbourne Storm looming.

“The key for us is to back that up week to week now,” Pearce said.

“We have got a big task against Melbourne, so it does not get any easier.”

Player of the Game:

3. Lachlan Fitzgibbon

2. Anthony Milford

  1. Kalyn Ponga

Warriors maintain unbeaten start with win over Cowboys

New Zealand Warriors winger David Fusitu’a

Not many would have predicted it, but the New Zealand Warriors are 5-0 to start the year after yet another win, this time over the North Queensland Cowboys.

Just one of two teams to remain unbeaten after five rounds – the St George Illawarra Dragons are the other – the Warriors right side edge again shone through.

The 22-12 victory over the Cowboys leaves the Townsville side with just one win from four games, far from the lofty heights of previous years.

The Warriors drew first blood as Ken Maumalo continued his impressive start with an acrobatic finish for the first of his two tries.

Before the Warriors scored again, the Cowboys would have a very good chance to get over the line.

Instead, Warriors forwards Agnatius Paasi and Adam Blair miraculously held Jason Taumalolo up over the try-line.

From there, Fusitu’a had his second, as he and Shaun Johnson combined – the latter with a lovely cut-out pass.

The Warriors went over again, as Peta Hiku took the line and flicked a pass out to Fusitu’a for his second.

The Cowboys would hit back before the break, however, as a bullet-like pass from Michael Morgan found winger Kyle Feldt.

The Warriors extended their lead via penalty goal before Ben Hampton gave the Cowboys a sniff with a try on the left edge.

It was not to be, though, as defence held firm and another Johnson penalty goal culminated in the Warriors 22-12 win.

As honest as they come for a coach, Paul Green says his Cowboys side lacks some confidence.

“We are just lacking a little bit of confidence at the moment and conceding those couple of tries early doesn’t help that,” Green said.

“Playing from behind all the time is putting pressure on us.

“You don’t forget how to play footy, you don’t lose your talent overnight, it’s just important that we stay strong mentally moving forward because that’s the difference at the moment.”

Defence and attitude are the keys for the Warriors in their impressive start to the season.

“The attitude and commitment is different (than in previous seasons),” Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said.

“Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) says he feels comfortable at the back, and the boys in the middle of the park are responding to him.”

Player of the Game:

3. David Fusitu’a

2. Peta Hiku

  1. Shaun Johnson

Tigers upset Storm for second time this season

Wests Tigers forward Josh Aloiai

If you had said prior to the season that the Wests Tigers would beat the Melbourne Storm twice, you would be brave.

In reality, that is exactly what has happened, as for the second time this season, the Tigers have upset the Storm.

In the end, a late Benji Marshall field goal sealed the game for the Tigers in the first of a doubleheader at Mt Smart Stadium.

The Storm usually celebrate milestone games with a win but that trend has stopped in 2018.

Coach Craig Bellamy had his 400th game in charge and Ryan Hoffman his 250th game for the club but a win was not forthcoming.

The win moves the Tigers to a surprising 4-1, made even more impressive by their tough draw to open the season.

The Storm on the other hand, sit at 2-3, not at at all like their usual start to the NRL seasons.

The Storm went up 2-0 after a Brodie Croft penalty goal but it was the Tigers who would score the game’s first try.

Josh Addo-Carr raced near the sideline and flinged the ball back into the field of play, only for Tigers back-rower Josh Aloiai to be on the receiving end to score.

A trademark Storm set-play from the scrum followed soon after, however, as Billy Slater and Cameron Munster combined.

A further Croft penalty goal extended the lead before he turned villain, failing to catch a kick-off that then went dead.

The Tigers capitalised as halfback Luke Brooks and back-rower Chris Lawrence combined to send the veteran forward over.

In the process, he surpassed Benji Marshall as the Tigers most prolific try-scorer with 77 tries.

From there, Marrshall calmly slotted a field goal as the Tigers celebrate their impressive start to the season.

Tigers coach Ivan Cleary praised both his halves for the way they stood up in the game when it mattered.

“Late in the game, Benji and Luke came up with some big plays,” he said.

“I thought Luke, in particular, played really well tonight. He looked dangerous every time he touched the ball.”

Marshall was also full of praise for his halves team-mate.

“He was a big reason why we got home tonight,” Marshall said.

I really thought Brooksy took control of the game for us.

“When I felt a little bit off, he really took over and sort of played the role I have been playing for the last few weeks so, he was great.”

Rather than lay blame on anything that Bellamy has done, Storm coach Cameron Smith focused on the players and their lack of ball control.

“It’s on us as players it’s got nothing to do with this bloke here – Craig and his staff prepare us as good as anyone could,” Smith said.

“Craig gives us everything we need to go out there and play well, the players just aren’t taking ownership on that.

“The ball control from us tonight was just awful. It has been all season. Until players in our team understand that you can’t win without the ball, this is going to continue happening.”

Player of the Game:

3. Josh Aloiai

2. Esan Marsters

  1. Cameron Smith

Dragons hold on for historic start despite late Bunnies comeback

St George Illawarra Dragons centre Euan Aitken

Only just did the St George Illawarra Dragons hold on for a historic fifth straight win to start the season. 

Though it almost did not happen, as a late fightback by the South Sydney Rabbitohs threatened to derail it.

In control at 16-2 with nine minutes to go, the Dragons took their foot off the pedal.

In doing so, they allowed the Bunnies a chance to get back into the game and they took it.

A Cody Walker try that turned the game and a further try to captain Greg Inglis set up a grandstand finish.

The Rabbitohs had a further chance to potentially win but a crucial dropped pass by Walker ended those chances.

The Dragons 5-0 start is now officially the best in the club’s history and it would take a brave person to bet against them making the finals.

On 12 previous occasions when a team has started the year 5-0, only once have they not made the finals – this was the 2006 North Queensland Cowboys side.

Souths looked shaky under the high ball early but their defence held firm to begin with after a try-saver on Dragons winger Nene Macdonald.

As the Dragons scored their points to get the lead, the Rabbitohs threw everything they had at the Red V.

Though as hard as they tried, they continued to come up short against a resolute Dragons outfit.

The two late Souths tries then came but it was too little, too late, in the end.

Dragons coach Paul McGregor believes this sort of game is not one that his side would have won last year.

With their newfound tenacity and resolve, he knows that by winning it, the club are heading in the right direction.

“We wouldn’t have won that game last year and in fact we didn’t win that game against Souths last year, whereas we did this year, so that tells me we are going in the right direction,” McGregor said.

“These games are what you can build your year on, we know we can play footy when we have got it but defensively we have kept another team under 16 points, which is our goal.

It’s as good as winning by 50, that’s for sure.”

Rabbitohs coach Anthony Seibold was proud of his side’s efforts but knows they cannot keep relying on late flurries to get back into a game or win it.

“We won’t give in. That’s the big take away, we kept fighting to the death and that’s all of us in the group,” he said.

“We keep fighting and give ourselves a chance at the back end of the game – that’s what I said at halftime again tonight.

“With three minutes to go, we had a penalty on their line and we could have stolen the result but we just weren’t good enough tonight.

“You can’t keep relying on that every weekend.”

Player of the Game:

3. Euan Aitken

2. Cody Walker

  1. Matt Dufty

Sydney Roosters bounce back to record comfortable win over Cronulla Sharks

Sydney Roosters back-rower Ryan Matterson

After a disappointing outing last week, the Sydney Roosters have hit back with a win to defeat the Cronulla Sharks.

With the Sharks on a high after two straight wins, they were simply outmatched by the Roosters.

The Sharks cause was not helped by a late withdrawal of Josh Dugan due to a groin injury.

The injury prompted a re-shuffle of Matt Moylan to fullback and Trent Hodkinson to five-eighth.

The first half belonged to the Roosters as pinpoint Cooper Cronk kicks found Ryan Matterson on two occasions.

Though the second try is where Blake Ferguson should get the credit. He soared high above Sosaia Feki to bat the ball back to Matterson to score.

Although Valentine Holmes tried to get some respectability back into the scoreline, the Sharks still trailed 18-6 at the break.

Much of the same ensued in the second, as Luke Keary and James Tedesco combined for the latter to beat Trent Hodkinson to the line.

In the end, the Sharks were their own worst enemy. They had more line-breaks and numerous repeat sets to break down the Roosters defence but failed to do so.

Although their defence, for the most part, is solid, the Sharks attack is the worrying part for coach Shane Flanagan.

After their forwards were dominated in a disappointing loss to the New Zealand Warriors, Roosters coach Trent Robinson said his forwards were keen to bounce back.

“They wanted to stand up tonight and play better. After last week [30-6 loss to Warriors], that’s now one week. We need to keep doing it,” Robinson said.

“Possession allows those guys to run and that happened tonight,” he said of the 83 percent set completion rate.

“We controlled the ball more and the first half we had more possession and created more opportunities. It’s our best completion rate for the year, so it’s a good result.”

Although the changes disrupted the team’s cohesion, Flanagan refused to lay the blame at those.

“I think that (spine changes) has a little to do about the clunkiness but it’s not the reason we lost tonight,” Flanagan said.

“It was the penalties late in the tackle count, gifting them field position in the first half in particular.

We defended those silly, or frustrating penalties in my view, because one stage in the second half we only had just over 30 percent possession.”

Player of the Game:

3. Ryan Matterson

2. Cooper Cronk

  1. Luke Keary

Wests Tigers terminate contract of Taane Milne

Former Wests Tigers utility Taane Milne

The Wests Tigers have terminated the contract of Taane Milne after for illicit drug use. 

It was Milne’s second contravention under the NRL’s Illicit Drugs Policy.

His first incident occurred at a previous club and his second, at the Wests Tigers.

The Tigers issued a statement on their website regarding Milne’s dismissal.

“After due process and full consideration, and in collaboration with the NRL’s Illicit Drug Policy guidelines, the club has made the decision to terminate Milne’s playing contract.

His behaviour contradicts the values, behaviours and culture being created at the club.

Wests Tigers have committed to providing Milne with support and counselling during this challenging time.”

Tigers winger Thompson signs contract extension

Wests Tigers winger Corey Thompson

A surprise packet in the Wests Tigers side this season, Corey Thompson’s good form has been rewarded with a new deal. 

The contract extension will see the winger stay until the end of the 2019 season.

A standout since joining the club, Thompson came to the Tigers from English Super League side, the Widnes Vikings.

In the end, the decision to stay was an easy one for Thompson.

“It was a pretty easy decision, I’ve loved my time here so far,” said Thompson.

“Ivan gave me the opportunity to come back here and prove myself and I think I’ve had a great month of footy to start the year off.

“My focus is now just to keep the same attitude I have and to make the team each week.”

Playing with confidence, Thompson praised the coaching staff for the work they have done with he and the side.

“Ever since day one, I’ve leant so much off Ivan and all the other boys,” continued Thompson.

“I’m playing with confidence at the moment and that’s down to the coaching staff and what they’ve taught all of us.

“I feel like I’ve been here for a couple of years now with how well I’m settled into this club.”

Hard work means a new deal and coach Cleary knows it is justified for the speedy winger.

“Corey has been impressive in how he’s committed himself to training and his efforts on the field since joining the club,” said Cleary.

“His new contract is a great reward for his hard work and I look forward to seeing him continue to develop over the coming seasons.”

 

NRL Teams Rd 5

It is literally do-or-die for some NRL teams in round five. For others, they continue to fly high. 

In true rugby league fashion, though, the unpredictability keeps us all on our toes as inconsistency reigns supreme.

Without further adieu, here are the teams for round five of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Canberra Raiders v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLcancby); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Thursday, April 5. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Sam Williams 8. Iosia Soliola 9. Siliva Havili 10. Junior Paulo 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Luke Bateman.

Interchange: 14. Ata Hingano 15. Shannon Boyd 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Liam Knight.

Reserves: 18. Jack Murchie 19. Michael Oldfield 20. Blake Austin 21. Josh Papalii.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Bulldogs: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Will Hopoate 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Jeremy Marshall-King 7. Kieran Foran 8. Aaron Woods 9. Michael Lichaa 10. David Klemmer 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott.

Interchange: 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Francis Tualau 17. Kerrod Holland.

Reserves: 18. Greg Eastwood 19. Asipeli Fine 20. John Olive 21. Rhyse Martin.

Coach: Dean Pay.

Ricky’s View: Both sides have had inconsistencies but none more so than the Raiders. Several games this year, they should have won but failed to. As the pressure mounts on Stuart and his players, can they buck the trend?
The Dogs have looked good in patches but have failed to kick-on. Is this game the jumpstart they need? Moses Mbye shapes as a key from the back.
Bulldogs by 16.


Cronulla Sharks v Sydney Roosters (#NRLcrosyd); Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla; Friday, April 6. Kick-off: 6 pm.

Sharks: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Matt Moylan 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham (C) 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Kurt Capewell 15. James Segeyaro 16. Ava Seumanufagai 17. Joseph Paulo.

Reserves: 18. Trent Hodkinson 19. Kurt Dillon 20. Edrick Lee 21. Jack Williams.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Reece Robinson 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Dylan Napa 11. oyd Cordner (C) 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Mitch Aubusson 17. Victor Radley.

Reserves: 18. Nat Butcher 19. Kurt Baptiste 20. Mitchell Cornish 21. Lindsay Collins.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Ricky’s View: Both these competition heavyweights have been disappointing by their own standards and will want to start producing some form and consistency.
As they look to bounce back and achieve that, several returning players gives the Sharks an added boost. Is it enough, though, to defeat a Roosters side eager to return to the winner’s circle?
Roosters by 8.


St George Illawarra Dragons v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLsgisou); WIN Jubilee Oval; Friday, April 6. Kick-off: 8:05 pm.

Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop (C) 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin .

Interchange: 14. Luciano Leilua 15. Kurt Mann 16. Leeson Ah Mau 17. Hame Sele.

Reserves: 18. Jeremy Latimore 19. Zac Lomax 20. Jacob Host 21. Blake Lawrie.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Dane Gagai 3. Greg Inglis (C) 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Robert Jennings 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Sam Burgess 11. John Sutton 12. Angus Crichton 13. Campbell Graham.

Interchange: 14. Adam Doueihi 15. Mark Nicholls 16. George Burgess 17. Tevita Tatola.

Reserves: 18. Robbie Farah 19. Jason Clark 20. Braidon Burns 21. Kyle Turner.

Coach: Anthony Seibold.

Ricky’s View: The Dragons are flying high right now and are on cloud nine. Although the Rabbitohs are no slouches, the form of the Dragons is seemingly unstoppable right now but all streaks have to end at some point. Is this the round? It won’t be a blowout but the Dragons will just have too much firepower.
Dragons by 10.


Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm (#NRLwstmel); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday, April 7. Kick-off: 3 pm.

Tigers: 1. Tuimoala Lolohea 2. Corey Thompson 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer (C) 9. Pita Godinet 10. Ben Matulino 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Matthew Eisenhuth.

Interchange: 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Alex Twal 16. Michael Chee-Kam 17. Josh Aloiai.

Reserves: 18. Tyson Gamble 19. Tim Grant 20. David Nofoaluma 21. Sauaso Sue.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Curtis Scott 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Joe Stimson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Kenny Bromwich.

Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tim Glasby 16. Christian Welch 17. Sam Kasiano.

Reserves: 18. Justin Olam 19. Patrick Kaufusi 20. Ryley Jacks 21. Felise Kaufusi.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Ricky’s View: The Tigers have already won once over the Storm this year but can they do it again? By the Storm’s standards, their season has been more inconsistent than usual and they will be out to get it back on track.
The Tigers defensive resolve was found wanting late on against the Eels but will it shore up once more against a resolute Storm outfit. The Storm don’t often lose many in a season and with Craig Bellamy screaming down the their throats, I’m leaning towards Melbourne in a close one.
Melbourne by 6.


New Zealand Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLwarnql); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday, April 7. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Mamalo 6. Blake Green 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Bunty Afoa 9. Issac Luke 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Leivaha Pulu 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair.

Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Sam Lisone 16. Simon Mannering 17. Anthony Gelling.

Reserves: 18. Ligi Sao 19. Mason Lino 20. Tevita Satae 21. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Cowboys: 1. Ben Hampton 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Javid Bowen 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Coen Hess 12. Gavin Cooper 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Te Maire Martin 15. John Asiata 16. Corey Jensen 17. Ethan Lowe.

Reserves: 18. Francis Molo 19. Lachlan Coote 20. Enari Tual 21. Kyle Laybutt.

Coach: Paul Green.

Ricky’s View: The surprise packets of the year, the Warriors continue to impress. Even without Shaun Johnson, they dismantled the Roosters last week. With talent across the park, they evenly match the Cowboys in every key position or better it.
The Cowboys have also had an inconsistent season as Thurston and Morgan fail to find their attacking mojos as a cohesive unit. They need it if they are to beat a red-hot Warriors side.
Warriors by 10.


Newcastle Knights v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLnewbri); McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle; Saturday, April 7. Kick-off: 7:30 pm. 

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Nathan Ross 5. Ken Sio 6. Brock Lamb 7. Mitchell Pearce (C) 8. Herman Ese’ese 9. Slade Griffin 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Mitch Barnett.

Interchange: 14. Jamie Buhrer (C) 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jacob Saifiti 17. Daniel Saifiti.

Reserves: 18. Luke Yates 19. Jack Cogger 20. Danny Levi 21. Cory Denniss.

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd (C) 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Jack Bird 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Korbin Sims 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14. Sam Thaiday 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Tom Opacic 17. Jaydn Su’A.

Reserves: 18. Jonus Pearson 19. Tevita Pangai Jr. 20. Gehamat Shibaski 21. Payne Haas.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Ricky’s View: One of the games of the round, both sides boast impressive players in head-to-head battles. Pearce and Ponga are the two keys for the Knights as they go from strength to strength. For the Broncos, the possible return of Pangai Jr. is an added boost to their forward pack in dire need of power and aggression.
A close one but the Knights to edge it. Just. Knights by 2. 


Gold Coast Titans v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLgldman); Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone; Sunday, April 8. Kick-off: 2 pm. 

Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Dale Copley 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Philip Sami 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Will Matthews 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Mitch Rein 15. Max King 16. Bryce Cartwright 17. Morgan Boyle.

Reserves: 18. Leilani Latu 19. Jack Stockwell 20. Keegan Hipgrave 21. Tyronne Roberts-Davis.

Coach: Garth Brennan.

Manly: 1. Matthew Wright 2. Brad Parker 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Marty Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Frank Winterstein 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Jackson Hastings 15. Shaun Lane 16. Lloyd Perrett 17. Jack Gosiewski.

Reserves: 18. Lewis Brown 19. Tom Trbojevic 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Taniela Paseka.

Coach: Trent Barrett.

Ricky’s View: With Tom Trbojevic unlikely to play for Manly, how does that affect them? Producing a stellar display at fullback in their win v Canberra, not having him is a big blow. His replacement Matt Wright lacks the same impact and influence and so more pressure will be on Cherry-Evans to perform.
The Titans are flying high after their comprehensive win over Brisbane. Philip Sami was the man after he scored a hat-trick and bamboozled Broncos defenders repeatedly. Who wins, though, for this, like others, is no easy tip.
Titans by 4. 


Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers (#NRLparpen); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Sunday, April 8. Kick-off: 4 pm.

Eels: 1. Will Smith 2. George Jennings 3. Michael Jennings 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitch Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 15. Kenny Edwards 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 12. Tepai Moeroa 14. Beau Scott 16. Peni Terepo 17. Tony Williams.

Reserves: 18. Cameron King 19. Suaia Matagi 20. David Gower 21. Kane Evans.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Penrith : 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Dean Whare 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. James Maloney 8. Trent Merrin 9. Peter Wallace (C) 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris.

Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan 15. Corey Harawira-Naera 16. Moses Leota 17. James Tamou.

Reserves: 18. Jarome Luai 19. Nick Lui-Toso 20. Sione Katoa 21. Kaide Ellis.

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Ricky’s View: If the Eels are going to start winning games, it has to start with this one. They looked better at the back end of their Tigers loss but didn’t do enough earlier to get themselves in the game.
Penrith are fresh off a Maloney-led masterclass but still need the consistency. Beating an Eels side low on confidence will only further their own but can they do it?
Penrith by 10.