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

Eels back in the winners’ circle as Broncos face prospect of the wooden spoon

Parramatta Eels captain and fullback Clint Gutherson

It was a welcome win for the Parramatta Eels, as the Brisbane Broncos stare down the barrel of a wooden spoon after the 26-12 loss. 

The loss was compounded by an injury to hulking back-rower David Fifita, who was seen on crutches nursing an ankle issue.

Criticised in recent weeks for their lack of cohesion in attack, there were some good signs of improvement.

Making his first Broncos appearance, Tyson Gamble left the field in just the first minute due to concussion.

Slogging it out and testing the waters early, the first twenty minutes was a defensive slog.

The duck was broken after 20 minutes, however, when a lovely cut-out pass from Clint Gutherson found Blake Ferguson.

The Eels would then attack down their other flank and Mitch Moses would throw an equally solid cut-out pass for Maika Sivo.

Not one to rest on their laurels, though, the Broncos showed that they had plenty of fight.

A swashbuckling run from David Fifita close to the line saw him power over for a try, typical of those we see from him.

Just when it seemed like the momentum was with the Broncos, the Eels would score once again.

Gutherson got himself on the scoreboard when he grubbered for himself, collected the ricochet, and burrowed over to score.

The King of Parramatta has his second soon after off a scrum play, simply taking the line on, spotting the gap, and going over to score.

The Broncos would again hit back, this time through Herbie Farnworth who just managed to hold onto the ball.

An errant pass would see the Eels extend their lead once again, though, as Jai Field showed his pace to race away and score.

A major talking point was the decision to put Junior Paulo on report for a hip tackle, but Eels coach Brad Arthur saw nothing in it.

“There’s nothing much in that, is there? It shouldn’t have even been a penalty,” Arthur said.

“That’s not a penalty. What is he supposed to do? No way. That was not the description of the hip tackle.”

Arthur believes the win was a step in the right direction but was quick to praise Brisbane for their efforts.

“It was a step in the right direction, it was better,” Arthur said.

“I thought we tried to play a lot more football. We played a nice power game there for a while.

“The second half, it would’ve been nice to nail a couple of those opportunities, but we’ve got to give credit to the Broncos – they were brave.”

Desperate to avoid the wooden spoon and keen to send Darius Boyd out a winner, the Broncos are determined for a win next week.

“We’re expecting a chance to get the biggest crowd of the round with the Queensland derby back at Suncorp,” Broncos coach Peter Gentle said.

“We’d like to fill it as much as we can.

“We’ve known for quite a while now where Darius’s finish line was.

“We’ll have to send Dave [Fifita] off as well – that’s in the balance. We’ll be doing everything to send Darbs out a winner.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Clint Gutherson

2. Oregon Kaufusi

  1. Andrew Davey
Parramatta Eels prop Oregon Kaufusi

Panthers confirm Minor Premiership with win over Cowboys

The Penrith Panthers have secured the 2020 minor premiership following a comprehensive 32-12 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville.

On the night that the Cowboys farewelled Gavin Cooper after over 300 NRL games, Penrith left their opposition in their dust after a fast and furious start to the match.

The Panthers’ first try of the night was set up by Dylan Edwards, who placed a deft grubber kick into the in-goal for Brian To’o to score.

They would then double their lead through Viliame Kikau, who broke the Cowboys’ defence with a trademark charge before passing off to Stephen Crichton.

Three minutes later, the Panthers were in again as Josh Mansour grounded a rolling kick from Jarome Luai just centimetres from the dead ball line.

The try provided Luai with his seventeenth try assist of the season, bettered only by Luke Keary at the five-eighth position.

The Panthers almost had their fourth through Viliame Kikau but he was miraculously stopped by a strong one-on-one defensive effort from Daejarn Asi.

Unfortunately for Cowboys fans, Penrith’s left edge attack simply refused to be silenced as Jarome Luai crossed for one of his own with six minutes left in the first half.

The try extended the lead to twenty, where it remained until half-time.

The Penrith ambush looked set to continue in the second half with Kikau catching a cross-field kick from Nathan Cleary to score after just five minutes of play.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow finally got the Cowboys on the board with their first try of the match fifteen minutes later.

Ayny faint comeback hopes were squashed when Nathan Cleary streaked away down the right-wing before sending Brent Naden away to score.

With the result sealed, a late try to Kyle Feldt was little more than a consolation effort.

Penrith has now moved five points clear of Melbourne and will lift the J.J. Giltinan shield for the third time in franchise history.

On both previous occasions that they won the minor premiership, they went on to win the premiership.

Panthers’ coach Ivan Cleary expressed his satisfaction at wrapping up the minor premiership but admitted there is still plenty of improvement left in his side as they build towards the finals.

“I’m obviously very proud of everyone at the club and everyone who has been involved in getting the minor premiership because that’s no mean feat”, he stated.

For the Cowboys, Josh Hannay was disappointed that his side wasn’t able to send Gavin Cooper out a winner in his last home game, but credited their opposition for their relentlessness in attack.

“There’s a reason why they sit where they sit, and why we sit where we sit. They didn’t overdo it out there tonight, they were just happy to build pressure and control the football”, he said.

Penrith will advance to face the Bulldogs in their final match of the regular season, while the Cowboys will play Brisbane in a bottom-of-the-table clash on Thursday night at Suncorp Stadium.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 Points – Viliame Kikau – The Penrith right-edge absolutely dominated the Cowboys tonight and Kikau was involved in everything with one try and a try assist.

His run that set up Crichton’s try was everything we’ve come to expect from the damaging edge runner throughout his career.

2 Points – Jarome Luai – If Kikau was the star, then Luai was the director as he dictated all the play down the right edge.

He chimed in with one try assist and a try of his own.

1 Point – Nathan Cleary – He’s used to playing the lead, but Nathan Cleary won today’s award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

While most of the attack was sent down the right, Cleary still managed two try assists and a line-break in an indication that he’s still in red-hot form with the finals just two weeks away.

Penrith Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai

Last placed Bulldogs cause boil over to down finals bound Rabbitohs

Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Raymond Faitala-Mariner

2 – William Hopoate

1 – Cody Walker

Canterbury Bulldogs utility back Will Hopoate

Veteran Titans back-rower Proctor to stick around for 2021

Gold Coast Titans captain and back-rower Kevin Proctor

Veteran back-rower and current Gold Coast Titans captain Kevin Proctor will stay on with the club for the 2021 season.

Proctor, who brings a wealth of experience, has been at the Titans for a few seasons now and helped nurture the next generation.

With 250 NRL games and 24 tests for the Kiwis, Proctor has been there and done that in the game.

He will lead exciting talents in David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui as he looks to propel the Titans forward and build on their recent form.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook praised Proctor for his form and knows he will be invaluable in 2021.

“Kevin has played some of the best football of his career this season and I look forward to that continuing next season,” Holbrook said.

“It is great to have a local junior continue at our Club and I know Kevin wants the Club to be successful.

“He is excited to be part of that.”

Bulldogs strengthen back-row with signing of Waddell

New Canterbury Bulldogs signing Corey Waddell

The Canterbury Bulldogs have strengthened their forward pack with the signing of Manly Sea Eagles back-rower Corey Waddell.

Appearing in 34 NRL games to date with Manly, Waddell brings professionalism and hard-running to the Bulldogs club.

Waddell is no stranger to incoming Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett with the two working together at the Penrith Panthers.

Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill is pleased to add a player like Waddell to their roster.

“We are continuing to construct our squad for 2021 and beyond and Corey will be an important part of that process,” said Hill.

“He is a hard-working footballer who is a strong defender and someone who will bring additional quality and depth to our forward pack.

We look forward to Corey joining us next season.”

NRL Teams Rd 19

Newcastle Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga






Another week and another round of NRL teams. 

The top eight may be set but the jostling for positions within it continues. Can teams maintain their standing?

Or will we see the make-up of the sides change depending on results?

Let us get straight into it; here are the teams for Round 19 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLSouthsBulldogs); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Thursday, September 17. Kick-off: 7:50 pm. 

Souths: 1. Corey Allan 2. Alex Johnston 3. Campbell Graham 4. Steven Marsters 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds (C) 8. Liam Knight 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Cameron Murray.

Interchange: 14. Mark Nicholls 15. Jed Cartwright 16. Hame Sele 17. Keaon Koloamatangi.

Reserves: 18. Tevita Tatola 19. Patrick Mago 20. Troy Dargan 21. Cory Denniss.

Coach: Wayne Bennett

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Reimis Smith 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Jake Averillo 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Luke Thompson 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Chris Smith.

Interchange: 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Renouf To’Omaga 16. Sione Katoa 17. Sauaso Sue.

Reserves: 19. Dean Britt 20. Katoa 21. Nick Meaney 23. James Roumanos.

Coach: Steve Georgallis.

North Queensland Cowboys v Penrith Panthers (#NRLCowboysPanthers); Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville; Friday, September 18. Kick-off: 6 pm. 

Cowboys: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Murray Taulagi 4. Esan Marsters 5. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Corey Jensen 9. Reuben Cotter 10. Jordan McLean (C) 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Mitchell Dunn 13. Francis Molo.

Interchange: 14. Daejarn Asi 15. Emry Pere 16. Tom Gilbert 7. Ben Condon.

Reserves: 18. Jason Taumalolo 19. Jake Granville 20. Peter Hola 21. Ben Hampton.

Coach: Josh Hannay.

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Brent Naden 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Mitch Kenny 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo (C).

Interchange: 14. Tyrone May 15. Spencer Leniu 16. Kurt Capewell 17. Jack Hetherington.

Reserves: 18. Dean Whare 19. Billy Burns 20. Matt Burton 21. Charlie Staines.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Parramatta Eels v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLEelsBroncos); Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta; Friday, September 18. Kick-off: 7:55 pm. 

Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jai Field 7. Mitch Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Will Smith 15. Andrew Davey 16. Kane Evans 17. Oregon Kaufusi.

Reserves: 18. Haze Dunster 19. Stefano Utoikamanu 20. George Jennings 21. Daniel Alvaro.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Richard Kennar 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Tom Dearden 8. Joe Ofahengaue 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Te’o 11. David Fifita 12. Alex Glenn 13. Patrick Carrigan (C).

Interchange: 14. Cory Paix 15. Jamil Hopoate 16. Xavier Coates 17. Ethan Bullemor.

Reserves: 18. Kobe Hetherington 19. Pride Petterson-Robati 20. Sean O’Sullivan 21. Jesse Arthars.

Coach: Peter Gentle.

Manly Sea Eagles v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLManlyTitans); Lottoland, Brookvale; Saturday, September 19. Kick-off: 3 pm.

Manly: 1. Tevita Funa 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Abbas Miski 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Jack Gosiewski 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Morgan Boyle 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka.

Reserves: 18. Haumole Olakau’atu 19. Reuben Garrick 20. Ben Trbojevic 21. Tom Trbojevic.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Titans: 1. Alexander Brimson 2. Anthony Don 3. Treymain Spry 4. Young Tonumaipea 5. Corey Thompson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Mitch Rein 10. Moeaki Fotuaika 11. Kevin Proctor (C) 12. Sam Stone 13. Tyrone Peachey.

Interchange: 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Jai Arrow 16. Sam Lisone 17. Jai Whitbread.

Reserves: 18. Darius Farmer 19. Brian Kelly 20. Toby Sexton 21. Nathan Peats.

Coach: Justin Holbrook.

Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers (#NRLStormTigers); Sunshine Coast Stadium, Kawana Waters; Saturday, September 19. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Storm: 1. Nicho Hynes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Brenko Lee 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Interchange: 14. Ryley Jacks 15. Tino Faasuamaleaui 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Tui Kamikamica.

Reserves: 18. Brandon Smith 19. Issac Lumelume 20. Max King 21. Paul Momirovski.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Asu Kepaoa 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Thomas Mikaele 11. Sam McIntyre 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Alex Twal.

Interchange: 14. Zane Musgrove 15. Matthew Eisenhuth 16. Russell Packer 17. Luke Garner.

Reserves: 18. Tommy Talau 19. Michael Chee-Kam 20. Jock Madden 21. Jacob Liddle.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Sydney Roosters v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLRoostersSharks); Sydney Cricket Ground, Moore Park; Saturday, September 19. Kick-off: 7:35 pm. 

Roosters: 1. Joseph Manu 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Mitch Aubusson 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Lindsay Collins 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Angus Crichton 16. Nat Butcher 17. Sonny Bill Williams.

Reserves: 18. Poasa Faamausili 19. Drew Hutchison 20. Daniel Fifita 21. Matt Ikuvalu.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Sharks: 1. William Kennedy 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Ronaldo Mulitalo 6. Connor Tracey 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Braden Hamlin-Uele 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Siosifa Talakai 13. Toby Rudolf.

Interchange: 14. Teig Wilton 15. Jack Williams 16. Andrew Fifita 17. Royce Hunt.

Reserves: 18. Scott Sorenson 19. Bryson Goodwin 20. Braydon Trindall 21. Billy Magoulias.

Coach: John Morris.

Canberra Raiders v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLRaidersWarriors); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Sunday, September 20. Kick-off: 2 pm.

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Semi Valemei 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Jordan Rapana 5. Nick Cotrick 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Siliva Havili 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Eliott Whitehead 13.  Joseph Tapine

Interchange: 14. Tom Starling 15. Ryan Sutton 16. Tom Starling 17. Corey Harawira-Naera.

Reserves: 18. Sam Williams 19. Matt Frawley 20. Matt Timoko 21. Iosia Soliola.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Adam Pompey 3. Adam Keighran 4. Peta Hiku 5. Hayze Perham 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Lachlan Burr 9. Karl Lawton 10. Isaiah Papali’i 11. Jack Murchie 12. Tohu Harris 13. Jazz Tevaga.

Interchange: 14. Wayde Egan 15. Adam Blair 16. Eliesa Katoa 17. Tom Ale.

Reserves: 18. Josh Curran 19. Paul Turner 20. Gerard Beale 21. Rocco Berry.

Coach: Todd Payten.

Newcastle Knights v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLKnightsDragons); McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle; Sunday, September 20. Kick-off: 4:05 pm.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Starford To’A 6. Tex Hoy 7. Mitchell Pearce (C) 8. David Klemmer 9. Chris Randall 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Mitch Barnett.

Interchange: 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Sione Mata’utia.

Reserves: 18. Josh King 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Mason Lino 21. Tautau Moga.

Coach: Adam O’Brien.

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Cody Ramsey 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Kaide Ellis 9. Ben Hunt 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Jackson Ford 13. Cameron McInnes (C).

Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims 15. Josh Kerr 16. Blake Lawrie 17. Max Feagai.

Reserves: 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tyrell Fuimaono 20. Brayden Wiliame 21. Jayden Sullivan.

Coach: Dean Young.

North Queensland Cowboys hulking forward Jason Taumalolo

Papalii set to finish his career at the Raiders

Canberra Raiders forward Josh Papalii

In a huge boost for the Canberra Raiders, veteran prop Josh Papalii has signed a deal likely for life. 

Already contracted until 2022, talk had begun that Papalii would make a move away from the nation’s capital.

Papalii’s new deal with the Raiders runs for three seasons, with the final year an option.

An integral part of the Raiders system for many years now, the three-time Mal Meninga medallist continues to impress.

Papalii recently played in his 200th NRL game and to date, has played 215 games in his career.

The Raiders club is all Papalii knows and to be able to stay is a relief for him.

“I love this club and I love Canberra,” Papalii said.

“This is my home now and my family and I are very happy to be remaining with the Raiders and in Canberra.

“I came here as a junior player, made my debut here, and played my 200th NRL game here and there’s no other club I want to play for.”

Establishing himself as an elite prop of the game, the Raiders knew that keeping Papalii was imperative.

“There’s no doubt Josh has developed into one of the all-time greats of our club and he is now recognised among the game’s elite superstars,” club CEO Don Furner said.

“His commitment to the club and the city of Canberra is wonderful to see and we know we have a player who we can continue to be a big part of our club for years to come.”

Canberra Raiders forward Josh Papalii

Former NRL player Tuimavave extends Hull FC stay

Hull FC centre and halfback Carlos Tuimavave

His NRL stint may have been short but Carlos Tuimavave has seen success in the Super League with Hull FC and has re-signed with the club.

Tuimavave, who played in 14 NRL games for the New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights, has been with Hull FC since 2016.

Also a Samoan international, Tuimavave has been in stellar form for the black and whites alongside another former NRL player in Mahe Fonua.

Tuimavave is pleased to have his future sorted and was quick to thank the city and its fans.

“I’m really happy to sign at the club long term, it was an easy decision as my family are really happy and settled in Hull,” said Tuimavave.

“We love the club, the city, and the fans.

“It is a place we have made our home and I’m fully focused now on playing my best footy for the team and seeing where the next few years take us.”

Tuimavave also thanked the club and knows that Hull FC are going places in the league.

“The club is ambitious and we want to be challenging for honours and that is something I want to play a part in,” continued Tuimavave.

“I’d like to thank the club for their ongoing support, and to Adam and James who have been great to me and my family since we got here.

“I really couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else.”

Andy Last, Hull FC’s interim head coach, expressed his satisfaction in retaining the now veteran at the club.

“We have two of the best strike centres in the competition and they have been our in-form and most consistent players this season, as Carlos has been since he arrived at the club in 2016,” Last said.

“When you talk about building a squad around culture, consistency and professionalism, Carlos is the epitome of that.

“At his age and experience, he is in his prime and I know he really has aspirations to help take his career and the club forward.

“We are looking for him to take a leading role in our group, as well as help nurture an exciting crop of young backs we have in our system.”

Carlos Tuimavave in his playing days for the Newcastle Knights

Warriors admirable season cruelled as Sharks lock in a finals berth

Cronulla Sharks forward Siosifa Talakai

The Cronulla Sharks big men have led the way to another finals berth with a late try to the revelatory Toby Rudolf stealing the game from the resilient New Zealand Warriors in a 22-14 nail-biter.

Both teams were coming in to this match still not guaranteed a position in the Top Eight and – with only two rounds to follow – all bets were off.

For the Sharks, they needed to get their season back on track after a humiliating shellacking from Newcastle in the previous round. For the Warriors it was simple mathematics – they must win.

Again, both teams had their fair share of possession in the opening exchanges before Sione Katoa opened the scoring in the 12th minutes.

The try was assisted ably by the former Warrior Shaun Johnson with an oh-so-perfect long-range grubber.

The magic of SJ was on display, as the mercurial half went about dismantling his old colleagues.

Despite the handling errors of each team (10 errors a-piece in total), the Sharks were again able to find the line 18 minutes later through another Shaun Johnson kick to go up by two scores.

But, as they’ve shown have shown all year, the Warriors refused to lie down and hit back almost immediately through some brilliance from their evergreen captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

He laid on a sweet offload for a rampaging Jack Murchie.

The score would remain 12-6 heading into the sheds with the game very much in the balance and it was certainly game on when the Warriors scored first points in the second half.

Recently re-signed centre Peta Hiku repaid the faith, showing off his strength and silky hands to give Adam Pompey a clear run at the sideline.

Despite the unfavourable sideline position, young gun Chanel Harris-Tevita was able to slot the conversion, locking the game up at 12-12 with half an hour to play.

The Warriors would then take the lead with a long-range penalty goal before digging in for the rest of the game.

It looked like the Warriors would be able to keep their finals hopes alive, absorbing wave after wave of attack from the Sharks big men, before a determined Toby Rudolf run broke their hearts in the 73rd minute.

A late try to Ronaldo Mulitalo rubbed further salt in the wound and sealed a finals spot for the Sharks with two rounds left to go, ending the dreams of four other teams (Tigers, Manly, Titans and Warriors) in one fell swoop.


Cronulla Sharks 22 (Katoa, Rudolf, Mulitalo 2) def New Zealand Warriors 14 (Murchie, Pompey)


Shaun Johnson 2/4

Chanel Harris-Tevita 2/2

Penalty Goals

Shaun Johnson 1/1

Chanel Harris Tevita 1/1

NRL News Player of the Match

3 Points – Siosifa Talakai

2 Points – Shaun Johnson

1 Point – Toby Rudolf

Cronulla Sharks half Shaun Johnson

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