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By Danielle Smith
Another entertaining round of rugby league that produced a some upsets, controversy, a new ladder leader, and an effort for the ages.
This is your Monday recap for Round 9!
Brisbane Broncos 32 – South Sydney Rabbitohs 12
It doesn’t matter if you are missing a Haas and a Capewell, as long as you have a Reynolds everything will be fine!
The former Bunny and the rest of his new pals put on quite a show on Thursday night, beating Souths 32-12 in the hotly anticipated matchup between the Rabbitohs and Reynolds, I mean, Brisbane.
With one try and two assists against his name, as well as a six from six kicking game, it was a nice way for Reynolds to spend his time back at his old stomping ground. But it wasn’t just the Bronco’s captain who was in fine form, with Selwyn Cobbo having a blinder and grabbing a double, and Herbie Farnworth keeping his impressive season going, crossing for a try and putting in another solid performance.
It was a poor effort form Souths, with a low 70 percent completion rate and 22 missed tackles. The Broncos were able to restrict Souths stars Damien Cook and Cody Walker from playing their natural game.
They now find themselves out of the eight and in unfamiliar territory.
Canberra Raiders 14 – Canterbury Bulldogs 4
The Raiders broke a five-game losing streak in front of their Canberra faithful on Friday night against the Bulldogs. The Green Machine put in a much better performance and played for the entire match, finally securing the long-awaited win.
Elliot Whitehead opened the scoring for the home side, crossing in the 16th minute. Matt Frawley grabbed one of his own in the 30th minute, to give the Raiders a 10-0 lead at half time. Frawley had a solid game filling in at five eighth for the suspended Jack Wighton.
With their only points in the second half coming from penalty kicks, Canberra did enough to restrict the Dogs to just one try and hold on for the win.
It’s back to the drawing board for Canterbury, who couldn’t replicate their winning formula from last round. With only 69 percent completion they were unable to capitalise when they did have the ball. Matt Burton was the best player in a losing side, scoring the only try for the Dogs and doing his best to get his team in the match.
As relieved as they would have been to get the two points, their victory was soured by what looks like another long-term injury for veteran Jarrod Croker, who had only returned to the footy field for the first time this season. In his comeback match following stem-cell knee surgery, Croker looked to have dislocated his shoulder making a try saving tackle late in the game.
Parramatta Eels 22 – Penrith Panthers 20
My fingers are so used to typing Panthers first when doing their match report each week, they did it automatically while putting this together. My brain had to intervene and put Parra at the start.
In a thrilling match seeing both teams score four-tries each, Penrith’s unbeaten season finally came to an end on Friday night, going down 22-20 in front of their home fans who were unsure how to process a loss.
After losing to the Cowboys 35-4 last round, it seemed unlikely the Eels would bounce back against the reigning premiers. And when Dylan Edwards crossed for the opening try in only the fourth minute, it looked like it would just be another normal night at Penrith. But the visitors hit back through Clint Gutherson and were then awarded a penalty try shortly after to Reed Mahoney and jumped to the lead. Just before half time Taylan May scored for Penrith and levelled the score to 10-all - and we all knew we had a game on our hands.
May scored his second in the 53rd minute, but once again the Eels replied with two of their own. Penrith crossed with just three minutes left to trail by two points but couldn’t do enough to break the deadlock. Parramatta were too good on the night and did everything right to cause the upset.
An exciting game from start to finish, it was always going to have some contentious moments. Panthers’ fans were unhappy about the penalty try, and Eels fans (and every other fan) blew up deluxe about a blatant knock on from Viliame Kikau that went unnoticed and led to a Penrith try.
Manly Sea Eagles 36 – Wests Tigers 22
Forget the news of Turbo returning from injury, or Jurbo putting in yet another tough effort, it was Burbo who stole the spotlight in the Sea Eagles 36-22 win over the Tigers. Ben, the youngest of Trbojevic’s scored a double in only his second NRL match, and it was wonderful to see him share the special occasion with his brothers.
As for the game itself, it was an even matched performance from both sides, but the home team were fortunate to have some 50/50 calls go their way. The Tigers appeared to score first but it was disallowed due to obstruction, with a try to Manly later in the match awarded despite the ball seemingly held up. A sin binning to Stefano Utoikamanu that would be a set restart in every other game allowed the home side to score two quick tries, but a possible professional foul by Tommy Turbo didn’t get a second glance by match officials.
Daly Cherry-Evans had good day out, with another solid kicking game, a try assist and crossing for one of his own. Turbo’s return from injury was quiet but promising.
The Tigers put in a gallant effort, continuing to come at the Sea Eagles for the entire match. Behind 9-3 on the penalty count, down two players on the bench due to early injuries to Ken Maumalo and Thomas Mikaele and playing 10 minutes with 12 men due to the sin binning, they never gave up the fight. Fans on social media were left frustrated once again, feeling their team short-changed with some of the refereeing calls.
In the end the Sea Eagles scored seven tries to four to secure the win, but with a few different whistle blows it could have been a very different match.
If Madge cops a fine for blasting these officials, I'll chip in for the bill#NRLManlyTigers— P. Franklin Virtue (@BigVness) May 7, 2022
Sydney Roosters 44 – Gold Coast Titans 16
The Roosters bounced back into form to thrash the Titans up in Mackay on Saturday night. James Tedesco put on a superb captain’s knock for the Tricolours, scoring a hattrick, running for the most metres from any side with 226, and leading his team to an eight tries to three victory.
Beau Fermor crossed for the Titans in just the second minute, with Tedesco returning serve only four minutes later. Despite losing Sam Verrills to a shoulder injury and Lindsay Collins for ten minutes in the sin bin, the Roosters still managed to put points on the board and went to the half time break leading 24-10.
A quick try to Hermen Ese’ese in the second stanza gave the Gold Coast some hope, but the Roosters streaked away with another four tries and the win.
After their fifth consecutive loss, Titan’s coach Justin Holbrook didn’t hold back in his post-match press conference. “Collectively we let ourselves down. Tonight, we got beat everywhere; attitude, enthusiasm, and execution. We obviously need some personnel changes. We can’t accept what we dished up out there tonight,” he said.
North Queensland Cowboys 36 – Newcastle Knights 16
The Cowboys have shaken off a slow first half to come from behind and win 36-16 over the last placed Knights in Townsville.
After only kicking a penalty goal in each of their past two matches, Newcastle were finally able to score a try. Three in fact. Putting on a strong first half that would have excited their fans, they went to the break leading 16-12 with the possibility of an upset well and truly on the cards.
But the Cowboys we have been used to seeing came back out for the second half, scoring an unanswered 24 points to knock the Knights back down to reality. Young guns, Murray Taulagi, Jeremiah Nanai and Heilum Luki all crossing for tries. Valentine Holmes had a perfect night with the boot kicking six from six, and even crossing for his own four pointer.
Chad Townsend’s kicking game once again proved invaluable to the home side, with four of their tries coming off the back of one of his kicks.
The injury ravaged Knights started on the back foot, with second rower Tyson Frizell scratched just before kick-off. They then lost Jack Johns and Edrick Lee to separate injuries during the game. Kayln Ponga has come under major criticism this season, but he did well for the visitors, setting up a try and doing his best to spur on his troops.
While Newcastle played with a lot more heart, inexperience is proving hard to overcome. With eight regular first graders due to come back over the next few weeks, the Knights will be hanging out to have a full-strength squad back on the park.
Melbourne Storm 42 – St George Illawarra Dragons 6
The Storm leapfrogged the Panthers into number one spot on the ladder, thanks to their thrashing of the Dragons on Sunday down in Melbourne. Another lopsided score line has earnt the Storm a points differential of +225, a massive 77 points clear of Penrith.
After hitting their stride with three straight wins, many thought the Dragons would put up a good fight against the Storm and make it a close game. The complete opposite occurred, with the visitors instead trampled seven tries to one, with Jack De Belin scoring a consolation try late in the match.
Another clinical performance from the men in purple, who just seem unable to put a foot wrong. Cameron Munster, Harry Grant, and Ryan Papenhuyzen were all heavily involved in their side’s victory. Pap’s game was cut short due to an injured hamstring, along with Reimis Smith who left the match very early on with a suspected pectoral tear and Kenny Bromwich who failed to return for his 200th match after a HIA.
Nick Meany proved yet again to be one of the buys of the year, with the young winger scoring a try and successfully taking over the kicking duties after Papenhuyzen’s departure.
Despite being down on troops, the Storm seem to be one of the only sides able to cope with a diminished bench, never missing a beat against the Dragons.
Cronulla Sharks 29 – New Zealand Warriors 10
What an absolute herculean effort from the Sharks to finish off the round!
Despite Will Kennedy being sent off in only the 16th minute for a coat-hanger tackle on opposing fullback Reece Walsh, and then Jesse Ramien sin binned for a high shot on Euan Aitkin throughout the match, Cronulla overcame the odds to beat the Warriors 29-10 at Shark Park on Sunday afternoon.
With the home side getting away to an early 6-0 lead thanks to Nicho Hynes, the Warriors hit back with two quick tries once Kennedy was off the field. Many expected the Warriors to just cruise to victory with the overlap, but the Sharks had other ideas. Cronulla scored again before half time and managed to go to the break with a 12-10 lead.
Despite the advantage, the Warriors played the second half like they were a man down. Even with Ramein in the bin and playing against 11 the visitors failed to score anymore points. On the flipside, Connor Tracey bagged himself a double, and Ramien made up for his time on the sideline crossing for a four pointer towards the end.
Playing most of the game with 12 men, and at one stage 11, the Sharks dug deep and played for each other. They put on a brilliant and very brave performance, bounce back perfectly after their loss to the Broncos last week. Nicho Hynes admitted after the game how proud he was of his teammates. "That was probably one of the best games I've been a part of at a club. We defended our arses off going down to 11 men, it's such a gutsy effort.”
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