NRL Rd 6 NRL News Stats Breakdown: Dragons v Sharks

St George Illawarra Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop

The shire derby. Wollongong v Cronulla. St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks. 

Always interesting, close affairs, the two sides have formed a strong rivalry and that continues tonight.

With the Dragons flying high and the Sharks mid-table, what can we expect to see?

Here is the NRL News Stats Breakdown for the clash:

St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks

The Cronulla Sharks need just four more points to score 700 pts against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Dragons have won three of the last four clashes between the two sides.

The two sides have only played in Wollongong six times previously with the Dragons winning five of those games.

The first game between the two sides was played in round eight of the 1999 season with the Sharks winning 18-16.

The Dragons and Sharks have played against each other 42 times, with the Dragons winning 21 games, the Sharks winning 19 games and 2 draws.

Biggest Wins

The Cronulla Sharks biggest win over the St George Illawarra Dragons was a 40-4 thumping in round 24, 2007, on Monday April 9.

The St George Illawarra Dragons biggest win over the Cronulla Sharks was a comfortable 38-0 victory on Saturday, May, 2010 (round eight).

Most prolific point-scorer in this clash

  • Gareth Widdop (SGI) – 1 try & 28 goals (60 pts)
  • Mark Riddell (SGI) – 5 tries & 17 goals (56 pts)
  • Jamie Soward (SGI) – 2 tries, 23 goals & 1 field goal (55 pts)
  • Luke Covell (CRO) – 2 tries & 23 goals (54 pts)
  • Brett Morris (SGI) – 12 tries (48 pts)
  • Brett Kimmorley (CRO) – 2 tries, 18 goals & 1 field goal (45 pts)
  • Colin Best (CRO) – 9 tries (36 pts)
  • Mat Rogers (CRO) – 1 try & 15 goals (34 pts)
  • Wayne Bartrim (SGI) – 17 goals (34 pts)
  • Nathan Blacklock (SGI) – 8 tries & 1 goal (34 pts)
  • Ben Hornby (SGI) – 8 tries & 1 goal (34 pts)
  • David Peachey (CRO) – 7 tries (28 pts)
  • Matt Cooper (SGI) – 7 tries (28 pts)
  • Jason Nightingale (SGI) – 7 tries (28 pts)

Rd 6 NRL News Stats Breakdown: Storm v Knights

Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith

Teams with very different starts to the season so far and perhaps not in the way we would expect.

The Melbourne Storm have had one of their worst starts to the year in recent memory, whilst the Newcastle Knights enjoy a good start.

We look at the history between the two sides in our stats breakdown.

Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights

The two sides have played forty games against each other with the 23 wins for the Storm, the 15 wins for the Knights and two draws.

The Storm are in unfamiliar territory, having won just two of their opening five games. For the first time in 92 rounds, they are not in the top eight.

The Storm have had a similar record several times before; they went 2-6 in 2001 and 2-3 in 2004.

The Storm need just 1 point to score 1000 total points against Newcastle. Only against Brisbane have they scored 1000+ points (1063).

The Storm are aiming for five wins in a row against the Knights for the third time since their opening clash.

The first game between the two sides was a 32-16 win for the Storm in Rd 20 if the 1998 season at the Olympic Park Stadium.

Biggest Wins

The biggest win for the Melbourne Storm against the Newcastle Knights was a 52-6 success in Rd 7, 2006 on Saturday, April 22.

The Newcastle Knights biggest win over the Melbourne Storm was a 48-16 win in Rd 19 of the 2001 NRL season on Sunday, July 15, 2001.

Most points scored by players in this clash

  • Cameron Smith (MEL) – 3 tries & 81 goals (172 pts)
  • Andrew Johns (NEW) – 3 tries, 53 goals & 3 field goals (118 pts)
  • Kurt Gidley (NEW) – 4 tries & 31 goals (78 pts)
  • Matt Orford (MEL) – 8 tries & 22 goals (76 pts)
  • Billy Slater (MEL) – 18 tries (76 pts)
  • Matt Geyer (MEL) – 8 tries & 7 goals (46 pts)
  • Anthony Quinn (NEW) – 11 tries (44 pts)
  • Timana Tahu (NEW) – 10 tries (40 pts)
  • Akuila Uate (NEW) – 9 tries (36 pts)
  • Tyrone Roberts (NEW) – 2 tries & 12 goals (32 pts)
  • Danny Buderus (NEW) – 8 tries (32 pts)
  • Adam MacDougall (NEW) – 7 tries (28 pts)

As always, we seek to best ourselves, improve the product and add more information.

So, if you have any stats you would like to see, just mention it in a comment or on Twitter (@NRLNEWS) and we can look to add it in.

Disclaimer: The above players are solely the top 15 most prolific point-scorers in games between the two sides. 


Rabbitohs outlast poor Roosters side in fierce rivalry

South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook

On paper, you would back the Sydney Roosters to win. However, games are not played on paper as it was the South Sydney Rabbitohs who came away with victory.

In a rivalry that dates back to the inaugural season in 1908, the two sides have been at each other’s throats for years.

With bickering and pot shots taking place on social media, it was the Rabbitohs who got the last laugh with the 26-14 win.

It was a horror show from James Tedesco that ultimately led to the Roosters demise after two crucial mistakes gave Souths the impetus they needed.

The first one, Tedesco failed to grab a loose ball with Rabbitohs back-rower Angus Crichton scoring.

Before the second saw the Roosters fullback outmatched and out-leaped by a flying Greg Inglis.

A late try to Ryan Matterson did little to stem the tide as the Roosters have bigger problems.

Losing Sio Siua Taukeiaho with a knee injury in the warm-up, the Roosters forwards lost the ruck and failed to aim up.

Torn apart through the middle by Damien Cook, the live-wire Rabbitohs hooker continues to press his Origin claims.

The end product was a start contrast to the opening stanza of the game as a penalty each had the scores at 2-all.

The first four-pointer eventually came via Latrell Mitchell, as he evaded Souths defenders with ease before an acrobatic put-down.

In the end, try as they might, the Roosters lack of execution cost them with their attack never really clicking.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson lamented his side’s disappointing start but praised Tedesco despite his errors.

“That start of the second half was disappointing,” Robinson said.

“That was disappointing there for Teddy but then when it came to his ability to play after that he was the one that kept probing.

“That was a real positive there about his involvements and attacking the ruck, I thought that was good.”

Slowly getting back to his best, Souths captain Inglis drew praise from coach Anthony Seibold.

“I’m proud of the way Greg’s started the year,” Seibold said.

“It’s been challenging at times for him, we had some pretty tough conversations at different times over the pre-season.

It’s a long slog when you’re coming back from an ACL so I’m really proud of where he’s got himself to.”

Player of the Game:

3. Damien Cook

2. Latrell Mitchell

  1. Greg Inglis

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

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