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Round 8 of the NRL had it all - upsets, blow outs, a golden point finish and a send-off that will be talked about for weeks to come.
This is your Monday recap of the round that was.
Brisbane Broncos 16 - Cronulla Sharks 7
The Broncos put in a gutsy performance in front of their home crowd on Thursday night, downing the Sharks 16-7 and securing their fourth win of the season.
Before this game Cronulla had been averaging 24 points per game, and many thought this would be an easy win for the visitors. Brisbane ended up putting on a huge defensive effort, limiting the Sharks to just one try.
Cronulla opened the scoring first through Matt Moylan, who played one of his best games of the season. Kotoni Staggs hit back late in the first half to help level the scores, but a Nicho Hynes field goal on the stroke of half time gave the Sharks a 7-6 lead.
Two quick tries in the second stanza to the Broncos put them in front 16-7. Their solid defence shutting down the usual flowing attack of the Sharks enabled them to hold that score line until the end.
Brisbane halfback Adam Reynolds was solid despite having to leave the field for a HIA after copping an elbow to the nose, and fullback Te Maire Martin continues to shine since his return to footy. But it was Bronco's centre Staggs who finished as the superstar, winning the hotly publicised battle against his opposing centre Siosifa Talakai. Staggs got around him to cross for his own four pointer and was pivotal in stopping Talakai from playing at his wrecking ball best.
Penrith Panthers 18 - Gold Coast Titans 4
The Panthers have continued their unbeaten run for season 2022, beating the Titans 18-4 on Friday night on the Gold Coast. The win didn't come as easily as normal, with the premiers playing below their usual standard and hadn't even made it onto the scoreboard before the halftime break.
With a 4-0 lead after the first 40 minutes, the Titans held a glimmer of hope of causing the upset of the year. Silly mistakes from both sides kept the score to a minimal and allowed Penrith to come out in the second half and take over.
In the 44th minute Nathan Cleary kicked into gear, putting in a little grubber for Izack Tago to score off. Only four minutes later he crossed for his own try, and he set up the final Panther try off his boot once more towards the end of the match, this time for Jarome Luai. The Titans had many opportunities near the Panther's line to add more points, but just couldn't get through the defensive line.
It was an off night for the usual clinical Premiers, with the team missing 49 tackles, only obtaining 47 percent possession, and giving away nine penalties. Even the usually safe Dylan Edwards struggled under the high ball. Unfortunately for the Titans a bad Panthers side is still pretty good, and they did enough to secure the win.
The correct usage of David Fifita is still causing a headache for coach Justin Holbrook, who played the big bopper from the bench. In the post-match press conference he admitted "I think David is more an impact player....I'd like the luxury of starting Dave, getting him off and then getting him back on, but then you have to worry about your middles." Holbrook can put a pin in working out what to do with Fifita for a while, as he will miss the next few weeks after picking up a knee injury during the game.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 40 - Manly Sea Eagles 22
The Bunnies overcame a fired up Manly side who were reduced to 12 men for most of the match to come out on top 40-22 on Friday night.
A send-off that will continue to be discussed at length occurred in the first eight minutes when Sea Eagle Karl Lawton lifted South's Cam Murray past the horizontal in what many know as a 'spear tackle motion'. Referee Grant Atkins had little choice but to point straight to the sheds.
Many deemed the tackle unintentional, and thankfully Murray walked away unharmed. This led to remarks from some commentators that the send-off was too harsh. Make sure you stop by SPORTbible again tomorrow to read my thoughts on that.
Moving on, we still had still 76 minutes of football to play, and Manly put in a stellar effort while being down a player. Never giving up, they eventually went down seven tries to four, with two of South's tries only coming in the last nine minutes. Daly Cherry-Evans put in a brilliant captain's knock, doing his best to keep his side in the fight.
Tom Burgess was in top form for the Bunnies, running for 186m, making six tackle breaks, and grabbing a try. Cody Walker celebrated his 150th game in style, setting up two of his team's tries, scoring one of his own, and helping to ensure a win on his special night.
New Zealand Warriors 21 - Canberra Raiders 20
It wasn't the most entertaining or skilful match of the round, but the Warriors have come from behind to beat the Raiders on Saturday afternoon in golden point.
In a game full of errors and missed opportunities from both sides, the Warriors did enough to bounce back from their horror 70-10 thrashing at the hands of the Storm last round to take the two points.
Canberra once again forgot that a game goes for 80 minutes, squandering a 20-12 half time lead, to eventually go down 21-20. A Shaun Johnson field goal secured the win for the Warriors and broke the hearts of Canberra fans everywhere.
A questionable penalty was awarded to Warrior prop Matt Lodge who appeared to be taken high with two minutes left of normal time. Johnson got the penalty kick and tied the match up 20-20, and then went on to win the game for his team in extra time.
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was visibly gutted after the loss and was asked if he thought the penalty was deserved. "It doesn't matter now; it should never have got to that.
"Publicly, I'm lost for comment in regard to the quality of that performance in the second half," Stuart admitted. "For any loyal fan, any real fans we have got left I feel really embarrassed and sorry for them".
Canterbury Bulldogs 16 - Sydney Roosters 12
I think the Dogs fans are still celebrating this one!
It was a gritty game that came down to the wire, but Canterbury have broken their six-match losing streak, holding on for a 16-12 win against the Roosters on Saturday night.
Scoring three tries each, Matt Burton's goal kicking kept the Dogs in front, successful with 2/3 and the Roosters missing all of theirs.
With minutes left on the clock, the Tricolours looked to have scored in the corner after a spectacular pass from Joey Manu found his winger Joseph Suaalii. Manu's overenthusiastic celebrations were short lived when replays showed Suaalii's foot went over the sideline and the Bunker denied the try. The Dogs played the last few minutes like their lives depended on it and held on for the win.
As they have done most of the season, Canterbury showed plenty of heart and played with effort. The difference here was they were finally able to turn those efforts into points. Josh Addo-Carr had a top game, scoring two of the Dogs tries with one coming from an intercept close to his line that saw him sprint 90m to score.
The Roosters were once again below par, completing only 66 percent of their sets and making 18 errors compared to the Dogs 10.
After having a much-publicised tough week, Bulldogs coach Trent Barret spent the whole match on the sideline, riding every wave with his team. He couldn't hide his emotions after the siren, exploding with happiness and relief. "I'm over the moon for the players," he said in the post-match press conference. "It was a great win and the club needed it......they just hung in and hung in and hung in."
North Queensland Cowboys 35 - Parramatta Eels 4
The Cowboys put on a masterclass performance, thumping the Eels six tries to one in front of a packed Darwin crowd on Saturday night.
Continuing to show the rest of the competition that they are real titles contenders, the Cowboys hardly put a foot wrong throughout the match and gave captain Chad Townsend a fantastic win to celebrate his 200th game.
Townsend, along with Tom Deardon and Scott Drinkwater effortlessly steered the Cowboys around the park, with Jason Taumalolo playing a barnstorming game up the middle running for 187 meters and 76 post contact metres. Kyle Feldt had a party on the wing scoring a hat-trick, with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow also crossing for a try in his first game back from injury.
But it was Rueben Cotter who once again had an absolute blinder, making the most tackles of the either side with 54, and now finding himself being discussed in Origin conversations.
Parramatta just couldn't get into the match, with three tries being disallowed and one eventually being given in the 63rd minute. The Eels may consider taking a different side to play against for their next annual trek to Darwin, with the Cowboys one of the only sides used to the heat and humidity and played in the conditions perfectly.
Melbourne Storm 50 - Newcastle Knights 2
When it rains it pours, and the Knights found themselves in the midst of a destructive Storm (see what I did there) getting absolutely thumped by Melbourne in Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
The Storm were just unstoppable, and the Knights just abysmal. Once again, a penalty goal kept the home team from being held scoreless, but I'm not sure two points on the board makes it looks that much better.
Currently out of form, and missing players like Brailey, Gagai, Hunt and Fitzgibbon makes it hard enough, but coming up against a Storm outfit that have a 'take no prisoners' attitude made the game even more unbearable for the home side.
The usual suspects put on a stellar performance, with Ryan Papenhuyzen, Harry Grant, Cameron Munster and Jahrome Hughes all close to faultless. Add to that Xavier Coates, Justin Olam and Nick Meany all scoring tries like their opposition forgot to show up.
After going down to the Eels 39-2 last week, the Knights were hoping to put on a better performance this round. It was not to be, with the tone set from kick off when Clifford kicked the ball out on the full.
After their sixth straight loss the Knights now find themselves sitting dead last on the ladder and will be praying that the only way for them is now up.
St George Illawarra 12 - Wests Tigers 6
With both teams coming into this match looking for their third straight win, it was the Dragons who held off a late surge from the Tigers to claim victory in front of their Wollongong fans on Sunday.
Errors from both sides kept the first half a low scoring affair. In a game that stretched both team's defensive efforts, the Tigers scored the only points through a penalty goal and went to the break leading 2-0.
It wasn't until the 58th minute that the first try of the match was scored, when Dragon's halfback Ben Hunt ducked under the Tigers defence to score. Jayden Sullivan crossed not long after to give the Dragons a 12-2 lead.
When Luke Brooks scored with six minutes to go, it brought the Tigers back to within striking distance. They threw everything they could at the Dragons the in last few minutes, but the clock wasn't on their side and the Red V held on for the win.
Despite being full of effort, the Tigers weren't as slick as they have been in their last two performances and will be hoping to get that winning formula back before next round.
Hunt was superb once again for the home side, leading his team around and getting them back in the match. The Dragons are certainly hitting their stride, finding some much-needed consistent form after a slow start to the season.
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