THE Manly Sea Eagles have defeated the Canterbury Bulldogs 16-14 in a tight tussle at Telstra Stadium tonight to maintain their undefeated record after five rounds.
THE Gold Coast Titans have produced a great team performance to hand the Brisbane Broncos their fourth loss in five games by running out 28-16 winners over the defending champions at a packed Suncorp Stadium this evening.
THE North Queensland Cowboys have continued their unbeaten start to the competition with a last minute 25-24 victory over a gallant Wests Tigers side in Townsville tonight.
TRI-NATIONS Game 1 New Zealand 18 v Australia 30at Mt Smart StadiumReferee: Ashley KleinMatch Summary:The Australian Kangaroos have won their opening Tri-Nations match for the first time in three years tonight, showing too much class in defeating the New Zealand Kiwis 30-18 in front of a vocal crowd at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.The Kiwis started strongly, and posted first points through their makeshift five-eighth Nigel Vagana. A 6-0 lead was quickly turned into a 6-12 defecit though, following two quick tries from Karmichael Hunt - much to the disapproval of the parochial home fans.A punch-up erupted in the 21st minute after Matt King was shoved over the sideline following a Kangaroo mistake, and a cameraman found himself right in the thick of the action as players swarmed in to add their ten cents worth. Shortly afterwards, David Kidwell delivered an absolute bell-ringer of a tackle on Willie Mason - some will see it as sweet justice against Mason after he was spotted swearing at the Kiwis during the haka before the match.A 30th-minute penalty goal extended the Kangaroos lead to 8 points before a piece of Mark Gasnier brilliance right on half-time saw the Kangaroos leap out to a 20-6 lead. After holding 61% of the ball in the first half, the Kangaroos took a well-deserved 14 point lead into the second forty.The second half developed into a bit of an arm-wrestle with plenty of chances and half-chances on for both sides. Greg Inglis was unlucky to be denied his first Test try in the 49th minute, called back after the video referee ruled Karmichael Hunt had obstructed the Kiwi defenders.Kiwi interchange player Jerome Ropati broke the second half deadlock with a well-taken try in the 60th minute to give the Kiwis a sniff, but their spark was quickly extinguished by further Kangaroo tries to Mark O'Meley (67th minute) and Greg Inglis (75th minute). Manu Vatuvei capped off the night for the Kiwis with a try in the final minutes, but the race had well and truly been won by then.Both teams left nothing in the tank, and at the end of the day it was simply the class of the Australians that proved the telling factor. Both sets of forwards went strongly all night, and it was the backline stars - notably Lockyer and Thurston for the Kangaroos - that proved the difference. Karmichael Hunt also chimed in with some valuable contributions.The Kiwis tried all night long, but just couldn't crack the Kangaroos when it counted most. Adam Blair produced an eye-catching debut from the bench, providing plenty of strong runs and looking likely to break the line on many occasions. Brent Webb gave a typically strong performance from the back, but the saviour of the Kiwis in 2005 - Stacey Jones - was heavily targeted, and didn't get much of a chance to shine.Scorers:New Zealand: 18Tries: Jerome Ropati, Nigel Vagana, Manu VatuveiGoals: Stacey Jones 3/3Australia: 30Tries: Karmichael Hunt (2), Mark O'Meley, Mark Gasnier, Greg InglisGoals: Johnathan Thurston 5/6By the Clock:Good evening everyone! The 2006 Tri-Nations kicks off tonight with the defending champions on their own turf, up against an Australian team that will start as solid favourites.It's a cool, clear night in Auckland - no sign of rain, and it should be a dry track. A good looking crowd in so far.The anthems have been sung, and the Kiwis are lining up for the haka ... Willie Mason does his bit for international relations by mouthing obscenities as the Kiwis are doing their thing.KICK OFF - We're underway! Mark O'Meley has started for the Kangaroos in place of Willie Mason.4 min: A solid start from both teams. Nigel Vagana finds half a gap down the blindside on the last tackle, but his kick ahead is well claimed by Karmichael Hunt.5 min: A forward pass from the Kangaroos gives the Kiwis a scrum win 40 metres out - and it's followed up by a penalty against Nathan Hindmarsh for a high tackle.6 min: TRY New ZealandA quick play-the-ball from David Kidwell allows Nigel Vagana to catch the Aussie markers on the hop - from ten metres out, he squeezes his way through the defence and only JUST gets the ball down, the try awarded by benefit of the doubt.Stacey Jones adds the extras. New Zealand 6-010 min: Johnathan Thurston puts in a cross-field kick that is easily claimed by Tame Tupou, but he's pushed into touch while trying to evade the Aussie defence up the blindside. Kangaroos on attack, 20 metres out.11 min: Karmichael Hunt is smashed (legally) by Tame Tupou, forcing an error as the Kangaroo backline was looking dangerous.13 min: Johnathan Thurston snaffles an intercept and races 40 metres downfield before being caught.14 min: TRY AustraliaKarmichael Hunt crosses the line untouched following some quick hands from Thurston and Lockyer to get the ball out wide.Johnathan Thurston, despite the instructions of the vocal crowd, adds the extra two. 6 all.15 min: Australia get their first penalty of the night from Ashley Klein. Tame Tupou nearly manages to reel in the kick for touch, but he was touching the chalk.17 min: TRY AustraliaA second try for Karmichael Hunt - this time he followed Johnathan Thurston to the line and took a neat short pass that opened up a huge gap in the Kiwis defence. Worrying signs for the Kiwis here.Thurston adds the extras from right in front. Australia 12-619 min: It's deja-vu all over again - a Kiwi kick-off is quickly followed by a penalty to the Kangaroos. Aussies on attack, 30 metres out.21 min: A grubber from Thurston bounces off a thousand legs before being claimed by the Kiwis - but an accidental offside is ruled, and the Kangaroos will have another attacking set.21 min: BIFF - Mark Gasnier throws a wild pass that Matt King misses, and the ball sails over the touchline. King is then pushed into the advertising boards, and gets up swinging at Manu Vatuvei. Plenty of others rush in to get involved, and the cameraman finds himself right in the middle of it.Eventually referee Klein awards a penalty to the Kiwis, against Matt King. Considering he was up against Vatuvei, he's lucky that's all he got!25 min: JUSTICE - David Kidwell comes in with a beautiful shoulder charge on Willie Mason, and big Willie drops like a sack of spuds. He gets up eventually sporting a nice shiner.26 min: The Kiwis begin to build some pressure on the Kangaroo tryline, but Manu Vatuvei loses the ball in a Mark Gasnier tackle.27 min: Cameron Smith, looking for a 40/20, ends up putting the kick into the Kiwis in-goal. A great chase from Justin Hodges forces a goal-line drop out.28 min: With his first touch of the night, Brent Kite is penalised while in possession for an incorrect play-the-ball.29 min: David Kidwell and Iosia Soliola create some space out wide, but Tame Tupou drops the ball with a fair bit of open space in front of him.30 min: PENALTY GOAL AustraliaBrent Kite makes a huge bust up the middle that ends with Greg Inglis being tackled 10 metres out. On the next play, Stacey Jones is penalised for being offside - but at least it prevented a try.Johnathan Thurston extends the lead with a penalty kick. Australia 14-634 min: Consecutive penalties against Ruben Wiki for stripping the ball hands the Kangaroos more attacking possession ...36 min: Justin Hodges is penalised for an obstruction play, and the Kiwis hang on - somehow.37 min: Karmichael Hunt is picked up and dragged back into the Kangaroo in-goal.39 min: TRY AustraliaA loose pass from Stacey Jones is swooped on by Mark Gasnier, and he tears upfield with only Simon Mannering chasing. Mannering sticks with him and makes a desperate attempted tackle ten metres out from the tryline, but Gasnier skips through and dots down.Johnathan Thurston slots a beautiful conversion from out wide. Australia 20-6HALFTIME: New Zealand 6 Australia 20It's been one heck of a first half, but some crucial lapses from the Kiwis have been ruthlessly siezed by a classy Kangaroos outfit. It'll take a fair effort from the boys in black to get themselves back into this one.Possession: Kiwis 39% Kangaroos 61%Completion: Kiwis 68% Kangaroos 72%Offloads: Kiwis 4 Kangaroos 1Missed tackles: Kiwis 15 Kangaroos 5The second half is underway!42 min: Simon Mannering is penalised for getting Brent Kite into a dangerous position in a tackle. Nothing in it really ...43 min: Johnathan Thurston makes a meal of a play-the-ball as the Kangaroos were looking dangerous once more. A lucky let-off for the Kiwis.45 min: Matt King makes a break down the touchline and puts a kick in-field - Tame Tupou claims it in his own in-goal and puts in a great effort to get back into the field of play, but promptly drops the ball.46 min: A fumble from Karmichael Hunt lets the Kiwis off the hook. Steve Matai may have suffered a knee injury, but he's staying on the field (for now).48 min: Another silly penalty conceded by the Kiwis, this time Nigel Vagana nearly falls asleep on Andrew Ryan.49 min: VIDEO REF - possible Kangaroos try ...49 min: NO TRY - Greg Inglis had stepped through the line and past Brent Webb to score, but the Video Ref rules an obstruction play against Karmichael Hunt. The Kangaroos don't look pleased as they wander back from halfway.50 min: The Kiwis burst into life - a cross-field kick from Stacey Jones is allowed to bounce into the in-goal, and Darren Lockyer just wins the race to the ball ahead of Manu Vatuvei.52 min: The Kangaroos defuse a second Jones bomb, but Karmichael Hunt loses the ball as they look to work it out of their own territory.54 min: Some promising attack from the Kiwis is undone by a fumble close to the Kangaroo line.58 min: A solid tackle from Manu Vatuvei forces an error from Johnathan Thurston, ending a promising Kangaroo break up-field.60 min: TRY New ZealandFrom five metres out, Jerome Ropati spins out of dummy-half and reaches out to score under the posts, finally cracking some strong Australian defence.Stacey Jones adds the extras. Australia 20-1264 min: Matt King flies high to claim another Stacey Jones bomb out wide. The Kiwis have fired up, but the Kangaroos are proving tough to crack.65 min: Johnathan Thurston combines with Reni Maitua to make a half-bust out wide, but the referee calls them back for a forward pass.67 min: TRY AustraliaA strong run from Willie Mason sets up a good chance, and on the next play Mark O'Meley takes a short pass from Cameron Smith and crashes across the line. That should wrap things up for the Kangaroos here.Johnathan Thurston converts. Australia 26-1273 min: The Kiwis throw the ball around - Roy Asotasi combines with Tony Puletua to make a break up-field, but the movement is stopped when Ruben Wiki throws a no-look pass straight to Greg Inglis.75 min: TRY AustraliaThe Kiwis rush up in defence, leaving plenty of holes out wide. Darren Lockyer gets the ball out to Greg Inglis, and he dances down the touchline before scoring the try. The Video Ref takes a look, and awards it on benefit of the doubt.Thurston misses for the first time tonight. Australia 30-1279 min: Some razzle-dazzle football from the Kangaroos, but Cameron Smith throws a forward pass as Matt King was looking at some wide open spaces in front of him. Reni Maitua is limping off the field.80 min: TRY New ZealandStacey Jones gets a nice off-load away to Dene Halatau, who races 25 metres upfield before being caught by the Kangaroo defence. On the next play, the ball is thrown wide to Manu Vatuvei and he claims a try just before the siren sounds.Stacey Jones converts from right on the chalk. Australia 30-18FULLTIME: New Zealand 18 Australia 30A convincing victory for the Kangaroos tonight - on this showing, they'll prove hard to beat in this tournament. The Kiwis will need to re-group quickly to have any chance of defending their 2005 title.Possession: Kiwis 44% Kangaroos 56%Completion: Kiwis 69% Kangaroos 64%Offloads: Kiwis 14 Kangaroos 10Missed tackles: Kiwis 28 Kangaroos 14-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Darren Lockyer (Kangaroos)2 - Johnathan Thurston (Kangaroos)1 - Adam Blair (Kiwis)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 26 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 24 v Canberra Raiders 26at Toyota ParkReferee: Steven ClarkMatch Summary:The Canberra Raiders have held on for a hard-fought 26-24 victory over the Cronulla Sharks at Toyota Park tonight, in a game that almost set a new NRL record for the biggest comeback in a match.The Raiders completely dominated the first half to lead 26-0 at the break, and appeared to have the Sharks totally at their mercy. Alan Tongue scored the first try in only the 5th minute, and Simon Woolford followed up 15 minutes later as the Raiders took advantage of some very ineffective Sharks defence. Two quickfire tries to Todd Carney before the break opened up the 26 point lead, and a massacre seemed to be well and truly on the cards.Whatever embattled Sharks coach Stuart Raper was able to say to his under-fire troops at halftime should be bottled. Two Sharks tries within the first 10 minutes of the second half gave an improbable sniff of victory, but the game was well and truly on following a 59th minute try for Brett Kearney immediately followed by a second try for Luke Covell. Suddenly the Sharks only trailed by two points, and all the momentum was well and truly with the Shire boys.The last ten minutes featured some desperate finals-like defence from the Raiders, which will be the only positive they can take out of their second half performance. The match reached its climax when an 80th minute penalty against Queensland centre Adam Mogg for interfering with a Sharks runner off the ball handed sharp-shooter Luke Covell a chance to level the scores with a relatively easy kick.Despite having 4 conversions (including 2 from the sideline) under his belt, Covell was unable to land the kick - and a very relieved Canberra side clung to their two-point victory.The Sharks have now played their final match for 2006, and finish the year sitting on 10 consecutive losses. Their team showed plenty of ticker to come within a sniff of victory, but whether that is enough to save their coach from further scrutiny remains to be seen. This victory for the Raiders will see them finish the regular season in 7th spot, meaning a match-up against the Bulldogs next weekend is on the cards. Scorers:Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 24Tries: Luke Covell(2), Brett Kearney, Ben PomeroyGoals: Luke Covell 4/5Canberra Raiders: 26Tries: Todd Carney(2), Alan Tongue, Simon WoolfordGoals: Clinton Schifcofske 5/5Crowd: 9,289By the Clock:Welcome to Toyota Park for tonights clash between the Cronulla Sharks and the visiting Canberra Raiders.A win for the Raiders will move them out of the dreaded 8th position, so there's definitely some incentive for them here tonight. The Sharks (and especially coach Stuart Raper) will be looking for a much needed win to finish the season on a positive note.KICKOFF - We're underway!4 min: Phil Graham does very well to clean up a fumble from a teammate and run the ball out of his own in-goal. An offside penalty then hands the Raiders an easy ride upfield.5 min: TRY Canberra RaidersA nice offload close to the line from Phil Graham puts Alan Tongue into a huge gap, and he strolls across for an easy try. Simple but effective play from the Raiders.Clinton Schifcofske slips over as he kicks the conversion, but it still goes through! Raiders 6-010 min: PENALTY GOAL Canberra RaidersBrett Kimmorley is penalised for interference on a Raiders chaser. From 10 metres out, Clinton Schifcofske opts for the two points instead of keeping the pressure on. Raiders 8-011 min: Brett Kimmorley redeems himself somewhat as his restart bounces over the dead-ball line - but from the line dropout, the Sharks drop the ball on the first tackle.13 min: A very high Raiders bomb is well claimed by Darren Albert. The Raiders are dominating possession at the moment.16 min: From a scrum win, Brett Kimmorley throws a pass to absolutely nobody. The Sharks recover, but they're looking pretty dusty tonight.18 min: The Sharks suddenly spark up, thanks to a Lance Thompson half-break. Nigel Vagana goes close to scoring on the last tackle, but is pulled down just a couple of metres short.20 min: TRY Canberra RaidersA penalty for a high tackle hands the Raiders a full set right on the Sharks line. From there, Simon Woolford is able to take advantage of some pretty slack marker defence to squeeze through for a try. There's a hint of a double-movement, but Steve Clark awards the try straight away.Clinton Schifcofske adds the extras. Raiders 14-025 min: The Sharks rustiness flares up again as Lance Thompson is forced to kick on the last tackle. Meanwhile, Alan Tongue has clocked up his 1000th tackle for the season.28 min: A fumble from Adam Mogg (thanks to some strong Sharks defence) hands a scrum to Cronulla only 15 metres out from the Raiders line.30 min: Mitch Brown goes pretty close to scoring in the corner, but is denied by some good Raiders defence.35 min: TRY Canberra RaidersYet another Sharks penalty deep within their own half hands excellent field position to the Raiders. This time, Todd Carney is able to put on a neat little step and slide through almost untouched and claim a try.Clinton Schifcofske converts. Raiders 20-037 min: TRY Canberra RaidersAnd it keeps getting worse! Todd Carney scores his second try, taking a simple short pass from Simon Woolford and diving under the posts for an embarrasingly easy try.Clinton Schifcofske kicks another two points. Raiders 26-0HALFTIME: Cronulla Sharks 0 Canberra Raiders 26Unfortunately for the Sharks home crowd, it appears their team may have gone into hibernation a week too early. The Raiders are playing their usual brand of effective football, and could easily rack up a half-century at this rate tonight.The second half is underway!41 min: The Raiders have travelled 90 metres upfield on their first set. It looks like it's going to be a long second half for the Sharkies fans.45 min: Lincoln Withers looks to have suffered a hand injury, but he's staying on the field.46 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksThe Sharks are finally on the board! Adam Dykes runs the ball to the line and slips a nice pass to Ben Pomeroy to open their account tonight.Luke Covell adds the extras. Raiders 26-649 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksA high Adam Dykes bomb is fumbled by Craig Frawley, and Luke Covell is on hand to clean up the scraps and dot down in the corner. Could the impossible be on the cards??From out wide, Covell slots the conversion beautifully. Raiders 26-1251 min: The Sharks make a meal of the kick-off, handing possession back to the Raiders.54 min: The Sharks are lining up for their third consecutive line drop-out as the Raiders look to turn the screws.55 min: Steve Clark seems to have officially lost his marbles, ruling a fair pass backwards from Troy Thompson as a lost ball.59 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksKevin Kingston spots a huge hole up the middle of the ruck and darts twenty metres upfield. Brett Kearney backs him up to receive the pass and score under the posts.Luke Covell converts, and we've got a game on our hands! Raiders 26-1864 min: VIDEO REF - possible Sharks try ...64 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksSome sparkling play from the Sharks here! Adam Dykes pops a chip kick over to the corner, and Luke Covell claims a good catch and scores just before the dead ball line.Covell nails another sideline conversion. Raiders 26-2468 min: VIDEO REF - possible Raiders try ...68 min: NO TRY Canberra RaidersPhil Graham went bloody close to scoring right in the corner, but after plenty of looks the video ref rules that he had lost the ball short of the line.70 min: Ben Pomeroy drops a pass out wide just as the Sharks were looking dangerous once more.71 min: Second half completion rates so far - Sharks 11/16, Raiders 5/14. Sharks on attack once more.73 min: The game is being played entirely in the Raiders half for now, but the Sharks can't quite crack the line.75 min: Craig Frawley takes a great catch on his own line to deny the Sharks a good scoring opportunity.76 min: The Raiders try to run the ball on the last tackle within their own half, but Todd Carney's pass is called forward.79 min: A huge Brett Kimmorley bomb is spilled by Craig Frawley - but a touch judge has come on and a penalty is awarded to the Sharks instead. Luke Covell is about to have a shot at goal from 20 metres out to level the scores.80 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland SharksCovell misses the kick!! Canberra escape, but only just. Raiders 26-24FULLTIME: Cronulla Sharks 24 Canberra Raiders 26Despite almost pulling off a comeback of record proportions, the Sharks will finish 2006 with 10 straight losses. The Canberra Raiders finish the regular season in 7th spot, and will face the Bulldogs in the finals next Saturday night.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Todd Carney (Raiders)2 - Kevin Kingston (Sharks)1 - Phillip Graham (Raiders)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 26 North Queensland Cowboys 22 v Parramatta Eels 8at Dairy Farmers StadiumReferee: Shayne HayneCrowd: 18,351Match Summary:The North Queensland Cowboys have finished their 2006 season with a 22-8 victory over the finals-bound Parramatta Eels in Townsville tonight.Both teams fought hard in the first forty minutes to overcome the tough conditions, as sporadic heavy showers made an expansive game too risky. Jarryd Hayne was able to open the scoring in the 15th minute before the Cowboys hit back through local hero Matt Bowen, capitalising on an Eels error in front of their own posts. A second try to Hayne gave Parramatta a tight 8-6 lead at the break, despite the Eels enjoying 58% of the ball.Strangely, two completely different teams seemed to emerge from the sheds for the second half - well not quite, but the Eels seemed to have fallen asleep while the Cowboys rediscovered some of their best form. The Cowboys dominated field position to score three second half tries while holding the visitors scoreless.All three second half tries featured plays reminiscent of the Cowboys early-season form, and will pose plenty of "what-if's" for their fans. Matthew Bowen in particular seemed to rise an extra few gears, combining well with the returning Johnathan Thurston and lively hooker Aaron Payne. Much has been made of the Eels lack of prop forwards, and the Cowboys duo of Shane Tronc and Ray Cashmere certainly rolled up their sleeves to press home the forward advantage.The Eels will be disappointed with their effort, but will at least have a chance to redeem themselves when the finals kick off next weekend. Unfortunately, unless they can unearth a couple of fit front-rowers, it's hard to see them going much further in the competition. Nathan Hindmarsh, Wade McKinnon and Jarryd Hayne were easily the Eels best players on display.On a side note, the match was refreshingly devoid of any major refereeing controversies. Shayne Hayne can certainly book himself in a gig for next weekend - but let's hope it lasts!Scorers:North Queensland Cowboys: 22Tries: Matthew Bowen(2), Aaron Payne, Neil SweeneyGoals: Josh Hannay 3/4Parramatta Eels: 8Tries: Jarryd Hayne(2)Goals: Mark Riddell 0/1, Brett Delaney 0/1By the Clock:Good evening and welcome to Dairy Farmers Stadium as we kick off the final round of regular season NRL action! Tonight we've got the finals-bound Eels up against the Mad Monday-bound Cowboys.Late changes: The Cowboys welcome back Johnathan Thurston in the halfback spot, pushing Aaron Payne to hooker and David Faiumu drops out of the squad. For the Eels, Luke Burt takes Michael Vella's bench spot.KICK OFF - We're underway!5 min: Solid start by both teams, nothing fancy. There's been a bit of rain around, and that may slow things up a bit.6 min: The Cowboys receive a scrum win in a good attacking position, but they spill the ball while trying to spread it wide.8 min: Wade McKinnon takes a great catch right next to his own posts, defusing a very high Matt Bowen bomb. The Eels receive a penalty straight away for an offside infringement.11 min: The Eels receive their first real attacking chance, and Mark Riddell decides to try a grubber kick on the third tackle that hands the ball straight back to the Cowboys.13 min: Carl Webb has copped a knock while making a tackle and is looking very dusty.15 min: TRY Parramatta EelsAs the rain starts again, Jarryd Hayne opens the scoring with a well-worked try in the corner. Both teams have started to throw the ball around and are creating some good gaps, and the Eels have managed to take advantage first.Mark Riddell misses the conversion. Eels 4-019 min: Johnathan Thurston tries a neat-looking chip & chase, but the Eels go straight on the counter attack through Wade McKinnon. The crowd thinks Thurston may have been tackled without the ball, but play continues.23 min: VIDEO REF - possible Cowboys try ...23 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysLuke O'Dwyer loses the ball twenty metres out from his own line, and Matt Bowen is on hand to pick up the scraps and run away for a try under the posts. Josh Hannay slots the conversion. Cowboys 6-427 min: Steve Southern is (harshly) penalised for tackling Tim Smith after he had chipped the ball ahead - Eels now have a good opportunity 20 metres out.29 min: Plenty of possession for the Eels here - they've forced a second consecutive line drop-out from the Cowboys.31 min: VIDEO REF - possible Eels try ...31 min: TRY Parramatta EelsJarryd Hayne collects a double, doing very well to chase through a Dean Widders grubber kick and then get underneath Ashley Graham to get to the ball first.Brett Delaney misses the kick from out wide. Eels 8-634 min: The Eels have had ALL the ball for the past seven or eight minutes - another line drop-out coming up now from the Cowboys. Another heavy shower also coming down.37 min: From halfway, Matt Bowen kicks ahead for Matt Sing to chase - but Eric Grothe manages to get himself in the way, and Sing can't regather the ball.HALFTIME: Cowboys 6 Eels 8The weather is playing it's part to keep both teams pretty even tonight. Nathan Hindmarsh is putting in his usual superman effort for the Eels, and Wade McKinnon has been very sharp at the back. The Cowboys are trying hard through Thurston & Bowen, but are finding it tough to break through some determined Eels defence.Possession: Cowboys 42% Eels 58%Completion: Cowboys 13/18 Eels 14/20Missed tackles: Cowboys 11 Eels 3Line breaks: Cowboys 0 Eels 3The second half is underway!44 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysA great Cowboys try! Johnathan Thurston creates some space deep inside his own territory and offloads to Ashley Graham, who steams 45 metres upfield and produces a neat pass in traffic for Neil Sweeney to score the try.Josh Hannay adds the extras. Cowboys 12-850 min: Another promising Cowboys raid comes unstuck as Aaron Payne passes the ball straight to the touch judge.52 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysAnother Cowboys special! Shane Tronc takes a neat inside pass from Aaron Payne and finds a huge gap before offloading to Matt Bowen to finish off with his second try of the night, right under the posts.Josh Hannay's conversion is successful. Cowboys 18-856 min: Wade McKinnon saves another Cowboys try by hoofing the ball dead.57 min: Matt Bowen is denied his third try by a matter of inches - but the Cowboys are still able to force another Eels drop-out.63 min: The Eels are starting to panic a bit now, while the Cowboys are playing a good patient game.64 min: Johnathan Thurston is all set to score under the posts, but Shayne Hayne rules the pass he received from Matt Bowen was forward.67 min: John Morris kicks straight upfield on the second tackle well within his own half for no apparent reason.70 min: CROWD - 18,35171 min: Some more sparkling Cowboys attack is only just denied by some desperate Eels defence. This time, Brett Delaney makes a try-saving tackle on Matt Sing.71 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysShane Tronc comes up with a nice offload to Aaron Payne, who weaves his way through several tired defenders from thirty metres out to score a great individual try. Hannay misses the conversion from out wide. Cowboys 22-8FULLTIME: Cowboys 22 Eels 8A completely different Cowboys team came out to play in the second half tonight, outscoring the tiring Eels 16-0 after halftime.Possession: Cowboys 49% Eels 51%Completion: Cowboys 28/41 Eels 25/37Missed tackles: Cowboys 26 Eels 19Line breaks: Cowboys 4 Eels 3-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)2 - Wade McKinnon (Eels)1 - Shane Tronc (Cowboys)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 23 Newcastle Knights 14 v Manly Sea Eagles 16at EnergyAustralia StadiumReferee: Paul SimpkinsMatch Summary:The Manly Sea Eagles have rocketed up to third spot on the NRL ladder after claiming a controversial 16-14 victory over the Newcastle Knights in front of 25,105 parochial Novocastrians tonight.The Knights started the match strongly and were able to claim an early lead thanks to an Andrew Johns try in the 8th minute, and continued to create half-chances and near misses from the majority of the possession they were enjoying. The Sea Eagles posted their first points almost by accident, with Steve Menzies claiming a wayward Matt Orford kick before linking with his outside men for a try to Steve Bell, but the Knights were able to hit straight back before a late Matt Orford try gave the Sea Eagles a 10-8 lead at the split.The score didn't change for the first 33 minutes of the second half, and both teams were producing performances definitely worthy of finals contenders. Each side had a heavy rotation of forwards, with the Knights using up all 12 of their interchanges by the 68th minute. Sea Eagles veteran Ben Kennedy suffered a corked knee and was forced from the field, but courageously returned to the fray before being forced off again after only a few short minutes.The final seven minutes of the match produced plenty of action - first, Travis Burns found a half-gap in the Knights defence to create a try for Chris Hicks, and the Matt Orford conversion from touch gave the visitors an 8-point lead at a crucial time. But the Knights hit back swiftly after claiming a short kick-off, and Josh Perry was able to crash across to reduce the lead back to two points.The final minute of the game was marred by a controversial decision from the match officials, who ruled that Sea Eagles centre Steve Matai hadn't played at the ball when it appeared he had deliberately knocked a pass forward. The play-on call handed possession to the Sea Eagles, costing the Knights their final shot at victory.There were plenty of heroes for both teams tonight. Brett Stewart, Travis Burns and Steve Menzies were the pick of the Sea Eagles, and were well supported by centres Steve Bell and Steve Matai. The knee injury to Ben Kennedy will be a concern, and Brent Kite was also placed on report late in the match for a high tackle.The Knights produced a strong forward effort led by Josh Perry, Steve Simpson and Kirk Reynoldson, and also had plenty of spark through Andrew Johns, Milton Thaiday, Matt Gidley and George Carmont in the backs. While they were right in the match until the very end, the Knights will be disappointed with a lack of a "killer instinct" when it appeared that they had the Sea Eagles well and truly on the ropes on a number of occasions.Scorers:Newcastle Knights: 14Tries: Matthew Gidley, Andrew Johns, Josh PerryGoals: Andrew Johns 1/3Manly Sea Eagles: 16Tries: Chris Hicks, Matt Orford, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 2/3By the Clock:Welcome to EnergyAustralia Stadium as we kick off Round 23 with a game between 4th & 5th - the Newcastle Knights up against the Manly Sea Eagles.Late changes: Mullen is out for the Knights, replaced by Kurt Gidley with Chris Bailey taking a bench spot. Manly have swapped Kylie Leuluai and Brent Kite around, and George Rose nabs the last bench spot in place of Shayne Dunley.KICKOFF: We're underway!3 min: The Knights receive the first penalty of the night - a strong start from both teams here, plenty of hard running and big hits on defence.4 min: Two attacking kicks from the Knights on the same tackle nearly puts Milton Thaiday over the line, but the ball is hoofed dead by a Manly defender - a line drop-out is the result.6 min: Some great ball movement presents another half-chance for the Knights, but George Carmont gets a little too close to the sideline and throws the ball away.8 min: VIDEO REF - possible Knights try ...8 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsKirk Reynoldson produces two sparking offloads in the same set - the second one creates a gap for George Carmont and Anthony Quinn down the flank, and Andrew Johns follows through to claim a try, despite a desperate tackle attempt from Brett Stewart.Johns' conversion is waved away. Knights 4-012 min: Brett Stewart creates a good chance with a nice offload to Matt Orford, but Orford spoils the chance with a risky no-look pass that is claimed by Andrew Johns.14 min: The Knights force another line drop-out as Brett Stewart is tackled in goal. The drop-out is a shocker, only going 15 metres.19 min: Brett Stewart falls over while trying to position himself underneath an Andrew Johns bomb - from the resulting scramble, the Knights knock the ball dead.20 min: VIDEO REF - possible Sea Eagles try ...20 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesMatt Orford puts up a shocker of a kick just inside the Knights half, but it's claimed by Steve Menzies who manages to get the ball out wide. Suddenly the Sea Eagles find themselves some space, and Steve Bell combines beautifully with Chris Hicks before Bell claims a try right in the corner. There was a suggestion of a knock-on, but Bill Harrigan awards the try with benefit of the doubt.Orford's conversion goes close, but not close enough. 4 all.23 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThe Knights hit straight back after Brent Kite loses possession. Matt Gidley scores the try following some nice lead-up work from Andrew Johns and Milton Thaiday.Johns misses the conversion. Knights 8-427 min: Another Brent Kite error presents more excellent field position to the Knights - this time, Brett Stewart is able to dive on an Andrew Johns grubber kick to snuff out the chance.31 min: A rare chance for the Sea Eagles coming up as some rushing defence forces an error from George Carmont inside the Knights half.32 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesMatt Orford embarrasses the Newcastle defence by scoring a try directly from a scrum win, running through some weak tackles to dot down under the posts.Orford converts his own try. Sea Eagles 10-837 min: Some more great work from Carmont & Quinn out wide creates some space for the Knights, and a chip in-field from Quinn in taken dead by Michael Monaghan.38 min: Anthony Watmough seems to have suffered a shoulder injury and is quickly replaced - he's heading straight up the tunnel.40 min: Newcastle let a Manly bomb bounce right on their own try-line, but Milton Thaiday is able to claim the scraps.HALFTIME: Newcastle Knights 8 Manly Sea Eagles 10It's been a pretty fast-paced first forty with plenty of strong hits on defence from both sides. Manly have done well to take a lead into the sheds after seeming to allow the Knights a fair bit of attacking latitude.Possession: Knights 53% Sea Eagles 47%Completion: Knights 14/21 Sea Eagles 14/18Offloads: Knights 7 Sea Eagles 3Total metres: Knights 812 Sea Eagles 637The second half is underway!43 min: A bit of a role reversal here - Clint Newton puts up a high kick that's claimed by Steve Menzies!45 min: Manly receive a penalty ten metres out from the Knights line and opt to take the tap. Ben Kennedy is limping off the field.47 min: Plenty of action here - the Sea Eagles receive a second penalty and choose to keep the pressure on - this time they force a goal line drop-out. Travis Burns has been shaken up in a strong tackle and looks a bit wobbly.48 min: Manly try to throw the ball wide, but Steve Matai slips over and Brian Carney takes an intercept before heading upfield. Brett Stewart races across to make a much-needed tackle.53 min: An attempted 40/20 early in the tackle count from Michael Monaghan is well claimed by Milton Thaiday.56 min: A nice offload from Adam Woolnough creates some space for the Knights, and on the next tackle Brett Stewart is forced to take a grubber kick dead in-goal.57 min: A knock-on halts the Knights attacking momentum when they were looking dangerous. Ben Kennedy is getting ready to come back on to the field for the Sea Eagles.59 min: Milton Thaiday is put into a huge hole from a nice Andrew Johns pass, but the ball is fumbled as Thaiday tries to link up with Matt Gidley. A definite let-off for the Sea Eagles here.61 min: Ben Kennedy returned for only a couple of minutes before coming off again, still limping badly.65 min: Matt Orford grubbers into the Knights in-goal and Brian Carney seems to have interfered with Michael Robertson's run to the line, but neither the ref or the touch judge calls it.CROWD: 25,10568 min: VIDEO REF - possible Sea Eagles try ...68 min: NO TRY - the faintest of knock-ons from Brett Stewart denies the Sea Eagles a try to Chris Hicks. The Sea Eagles have just had three consecutive attacking sets on the Knights line, but have now come up empty.69 min: The Knights have used all 12 of their interchanges, the Sea Eagles still have 2 left.71 min: We're in for an exciting finish here - both teams are looking tired but are continuing to put in plenty of effort. Steve Matai has gone down with an injury (cramp?) to give both teams a much-needed breather.73 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesA beautiful try here! Travis Burns spots a half-gap between two tired Knights forwards and goes straight through - he is well backed up by Brett Stewart who flick-passes out to Chris Hicks to bounce across the line.Orford, from out wide, converts the try. Sea Eagles 16-875 min: The Knights try a short kick-off and come up with possession.76 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsIt's not over yet!! Manly concede a penalty on their own line, and from the tap Andrew Johns puts Josh Perry over the line with a neat short pass.Johns takes a super-fast conversion. Sea Eagles 16-1477 min: An idiot with a guitar has invaded the field, causing a slight hold-up in play.77 min: ON REPORT - Brent Kite, for a high shot on Josh Perry. Penalty to the Knights.78 min: Johns and Thaiday combine once more to create a chance, but the last pass goes to ground and is claimed by the Sea Eagles.79 min: On his own 20 metre line, Travis Burns puts a kick out on the full. Last chance for Newcastle here.80 min: An Andrew Johns pass is seemingly knocked down by a Manly player, but the ref rules play on and the Sea Eagles claim possession. Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus are blowing up big-time, and concede a penalty in doing so.FULLTIME: Newcastle Knights 14 Manly Sea Eagles 16The Manly Sea Eagles have produced a courageous effort to defeat the Newcastle Knights in front of a parochial Knights home crowd tonight.Full time stats:Possession: Knights 48% Sea Eagles 52%Completion: Knights 28/40 Sea Eagles 35/41Errors: Knights 14 Sea Eagles 6Total metres: Knights 1615 Sea Eagles 1485-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)2 - Josh Perry (Knights)1 - Travis Burns (Sea Eagles)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 22 Parramatta Eels 28 v St George Illawarra Dragons 6at Parramatta StadiumReferee: Steve ClarkMatch Summary:The Parramatta Eels have continued their unlikely finals charge by defeating the St George Illawarra Dragons by 28-6 in front of 19,137 wet fans at Parramatta Stadium tonight.The first twenty minutes of the match belonged almost exclusively to the Dragons, and an early penalty goal followed by a superb Colin Best try opened up a 6-0 lead to the visitors. However, as has so often been the case in recent weeks, the Dragons weren't able to keep their foot on the pedal and allowed the Eels to slowly but surely graft their way back into the match.After building plenty of pressure, the Eels were able to cut loose within the final ten minutes of the first half. Tries to Luke Burt and Eric Grothe (and a further two very near misses) had the Eels up by 10-6 at the break, and the momentum of the match had quickly swung around to the home team.Any chance of a Dragons revival was dented by a second Eric Grothe try in the 46th minute, and shortly afterwards Danny Wicks was sin-binned as punishment for repeated infringements in the ruck by the Dragons team. Luke Burt was able to extend the Eels lead with a couple of penalty goals before fill-in front rower Chad Robinson claimed a 64th minute try to put the match well out of the Dragons reach.Apart from the opening quarter, there was very little for Dragons fans to get excited about tonight. Their general discipline was dreadful, and although Mathew Head tried hard, they lacked a certain spark on attack. After tonight's result, the Dragons now find themselves with a negative points differential - and that could be crucial as the race for finals positions intensifies.While it looked like a relatively comfortable win for the Eels, they weren't at their best either - although the wet conditions probably contributed to that as well. Nathan Cayless was a tower of strength up front, best illustrated by his recovery of a Trent Barrett chip-kick in the 78th minute. PJ Marsh had an excellent game from the bench, providing plenty of spark around dummy-half, while Eric Grothe, John Morris, Nathan Hindmarsh and Luke Burt were other strong contributors to the final result.Scorers:Parramatta Eels: 28Tries: Eric Grothe (2), Luke Burt, Chad RobinsonGoals: Luke Burt 6/7St George Illawarra Dragons: 6Tries: Colin BestGoals: Mathew Head 1/2By the Clock:Welcome to Parramatta Stadium for what promises to be a ripper of a clash between the Eels and the Dragons!For the Dragons, Clint Greenshields comes onto the bench in place of Michael Henderson. The Eels are unchanged from 1-17.KICKOFF: We're underway!2 min: Matt Bickerstaff is penalised for a dodgy-looking hit on Jeremy Smith after he had kicked the ball upfield. Eels on attack ...3 min: The first attacking opportunity of the night amounts to nothing as an Eels grubber kick goes dead in-goal.5 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsGlenn Morrison is penalised for stripping the ball in the tackle - Mathew Head steps up and opens the scoring tonight. Dragons 2-08 min: The crowd are getting stuck into referee Steve Clark nice and early, and he responds by handing a penalty to the Eels - but on the very next hit-up, Nathan Cayless loses the ball in a great Dragons tackle.9 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsTrent Barrett hoists a perfectly timed bomb 35 metres out from the tryline; Colin Best claims the ball beautifully and crosses the line untouched. Head misses the conversion attempt. Dragons 6-013 min: Jeremy Smith is pressured on a last-tackle kick again (legally this time), and he puts the ball out on the full well inside Eels territory.14 min: A dropped ball from Matt Bickerstaff saves the Eels from conceding another try.17 min: There have been 7 penalties already tonight (split 4-3 to the Eels), mostly for offside infringements.18 min: A great Eric Grothe offload sets up a good chance for the Eels, but John Morris knocks-on close to the Dragons try-line. It's raining quite heavily in Parramatta which is obviously going to affect the handling from both teams tonight.20 min: NO TRY Parramatta EelsMark Riddell tries a barge-over right under the posts, but loses the ball among the Dragons defenders.26 min: Matt Cooper combines with Ben Hornby to split the Eels up the middle, and on the next tackle they force the Eels into a goal line drop-out.30 min: VIDEO REF - possible Eels try ...30 min: TRY Parramatta EelsJohn Morris kicks into the in-goal very early in the tackle count, and Luke Burt races through to dot down for the try.Burt converts his own try, and we're all locked up. 6 all.32 min: Mathew Head intercepts a Dean Widders pass, and puts Brett Morris into space with a clear run to the line - but some great covering defence from Jarryd Hayne and Nathan Hindmarsh pushes him into touch just inches away from the tryline.38 min: NO TRY Parramatta EelsJohn Morris puts in another pinpoint kick, this time out to the wing of Jarryd Hayne. Hayne is able to get above Brett Morris to claim the ball, but loses it as he's trying to put it down.39 min: NO TRY Parramatta EelsA dropped ball from the Dragons gives the Eels another chance - this time, Jeremy Smith is declined as the Dragons defence pulls him down just short of the line.39 min: TRY Parramatta EelsAll the pressure finally pays off! Ben Smith produces a beauty of a flick pass to Eric Grothe, who spins out of an attempted tackle from Colin Best and scores in the corner.Luke Burt misses the conversion. Eels 10-6HALFTIME: Eels 10 Dragons 6So far, it's an all-too-familiar tale for the Dragons as they started strongly but then retreated back into their shells and allowed the Eels back into the match. Despite copping a warning for getting too lippy to the ref, PJ Marsh has produced a lot of spark for the Eels since coming into the match from the bench.Possession: Eels 56% Dragons 44%Completion: Eels 13/21 Dragons 13/20Dummy half runs: Eels 15 Dragons 6Penalties: Eels 7 Dragons 5The second half is underway!42 min: The Dragons get an early chance to hit back, but Ben Creagh fumbles a Trent Barrett pass with the try-line beckoning.46 min: TRY Parramatta EelsEric Grothe claims his second try following some great pressure from the Eels. Josh Cordoba makes a good break up the middle, and on the next play the ball is spun wide to Grothe, who again ignores Colin Best to score.Luke Burt converts from out wide. Eels 16-650 min: Mathew Head puts in a little chip for Brett Morris, but the ball goes over the sideline in-goal.52: SIN BIN - Danny Wicks is sin-binned for holding down in the tackle as the Dragons discipline goes from bad to worse.52 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta EelsLuke Burt pots another two points from the ensuing penalty. Eels 18-654 min: The Dragons try to spin the ball wide on the last tackle inside their own 30-metre line, but the play is called back for a forward pass.57 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta EelsThe Eels force a goal-line drop out, and Trent Barrett kicks the ball out on the full. Luke Burt kicks the penalty goal from right in front of the posts. Eels 20-660 min: A charge-down gives the Dragons a full set of six only twenty metres out from the Eels line - but a forward pass spoils their chance to reduce the defecit.62 min: Danny Wicks returns to the field.62 min: A great forty metre kick-return from Luke Burt sets up a brilliant chance for the Eels - but some desperate Dragons defence pushes Luke O'Dwyer into touch close to the tryline.64 min: VIDEO REF - possible Eels try ...64 min: TRY Parramatta EelsDean Widders puts a neat grubber into the in-goal, and three Dragons defenders make a complete mess of trying to cover it. Chad Robinson is on hand to claim the try.Luke Burt adds the extras. Eels 26-6CROWD: 19,13769 min: Yet again, a Mathew Head pass is fumbled as the Dragons search for a way through to the tryline. The Eels have gone off the boil slightly after their last try.73 min: PJ Marsh puts in a long kick that is fumbled by Brett Morris and goes over the sideline 10 metres out from the Dragons tryline.74 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta EelsClint Greenshields is penalised for a high shot on Mark Riddell that looked worse than it probably was. Luke Burt adds another penalty goal from right in front of the posts. Eels 28-679 min: Plenty of fumbles from both teams now as the match winds down.FULLTIME: Eels 28 Dragons 6Both teams have continued their recent form here tonight - the Eels run just keeps on going, while the Dragons have plenty of soul-searching to do in the lead-up to the finals.Fulltime stats:Possession: Eels 56% Dragons 44%Completion: Eels 33/46 Dragons 25/38Dummy half runs: Eels 29 Dragons 11Penalties: Eels 13 Dragons 8-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Nathan Cayless (Eels)2 - Peter-John Marsh (Eels)1 - John Morris (Eels)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 21 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 18 v Newcastle Knights 22at Toyota ParkReferee: Shayne HayneMatch Summary:The Newcastle Knights have produced a strong defensive effort to deny a desperate Cronulla Sharks team at Toyota Park to open Round 21 of NRL action.In an entertaining match played in front of a vocal crowd, the lead changed hands five times before a scoreless final twenty minutes saw the Knights emerge victorious after absorbing plenty of Sharks pressure.The first half was played at a frantic pace as both teams looked to establish an early advantage. A penalty goal to Luke Covell was quickly countered by the opening try to Knights centre George Carmont, before the Sharks were able to hit back following a bizarre passage of play - an injured Jarrod Mullen raced away from a trainer with half-attached bandages waving around to effect a try-saving tackle on Darren Albert, but Paul Gallen was able to cross soon afterwards. Luke Covell missed the conversion, ending an impressive run of consecutive goals.Mullen was later forced from the field with a sternum injury as the Sharks scored again, but the Knights were able to claim a late first-half try and trailled by only two points at the break.The second half featured plenty of dropped ball from the Knights, and fortunately their defence was up to the task. Adam Woolnough scored against the run of play before the Sharks were finally able to take advantage of the Knights errors through a Reece Williams try. A piece of individual class from Andrew Johns in the 61st minute gave the Knights a 22-18 lead which was never relinquished.Danny Buderus had an excellent game for the Knights, producing his customary flashes of brilliance to fire up his team. He was well supported by a strong forward effort and a sharp game out wide from centre Matt Gidley. As well as the Mullen injury, Todd Lowrie injured a hamstring late in the match to cause some concern for the Knights medical staff.The Sharks never gave up, but couldn't find the magic to cross the line late in the match. Their back row of Bird, Thompson and Gallen produced eye-catching performances, and Nigel Vagana looked dangerous when switched to the fullback position - but they'll need more spark on attack to resurrect a season that now hangs in the balance.Scorers:Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 18Tries: Paul Gallen, Reece Williams, Lance ThompsonGoals: Luke Covell 3/4Newcastle Knights: 22Tries: George Carmont, Andrew Johns, Adam Woolnough, Brian CarneyGoals: Andrew Johns 3/4By the Clock:Good evening everyone! We're here at Toyota Park tonight for a clash between the Sharks and the Knights - two teams desperate to cling on to their positions in the Top 8.Late changes for both teams: The Sharks have replaced the injured Richard Villasanti with Mutch Maiava. For the Knights, Woolnough and Reynoldson will start in place of Smith and Tanner.KICK OFF: We're underway!3 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland SharksAn Anthony Quinn fumble right on his own line sets up a good scoring chance for the Sharks. On the next set, Josh Perry is penalised for a strip in the tackle and Luke Covell steps up to open the scoring. Sharks 2-08 min: VIDEO REF - possible Knights try ...8 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsAn Andrew Johns bomb is fumbled by Darren Albert - the ball rolls over the Sharks goal-line, and George Carmont is on hand to claim the first try of the night. There was some doubt as to whether Albert had been taken out, and on the grounding for the try - but the green light flashes up.Johns converts. Knights 6-213 min: Jarrod Mullen (Knights) has a nasty-looking cut above his eye - could be a stapler job.14 min: The Sharks make a huge break up-field through Darren Albert, but Jarrod Mullen (who was 80 metres upfield having bandages applied) races away from the trainer to make a try-saving tackle.15 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksThe Sharks make the most of Albert's break to catch the Knights short out wide - Paul Gallen crashes through several attempted tackles to score.Covell misses the conversion from a relatively easy position. 6 all18 min: Some desperate Sharks defence denies the Knights as Brian Carney is dragged across the touchline while he was preparing to reach out for the try. A pretty fast-paced game is unfolding here.21 min: VIDEO REF - possible Sharks try ...21 min: NO TRY - Luke Covell is ruled to have knocked-on while contesting a bomb, denying Ben Pomeroy a try.25 min: Luke Covell knocks-on again while trying to claim an Andrew Johns bomb - fortunately for him, the Knights chasers are ruled offside.27 min: Andrew Johns shows amazing strength to push back Hutch Maiava as he tried to steamroll across the line. Sharks hard on attack here.28 min: VIDEO REF - possible Sharks try ...28 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksSome beautiful lead-up work from Dykes, Kimmorley and (especially) Gallen opens up a nice gap for Lance Thompson to score. Covell converts. Sharks 12-631 min: Brett Kearney fumbles a bomb 10 metres out from his own line. The Knights have currently got both Steve Simpson and Jarrod Mullen off the field injured.31 min: Matt Gidley knocks-on on the first tackle from the scrum - a let-off for the Sharks.33 min: INJURY UPDATE - Simpson should be back, but Mullen probably won't be - possible sternum injury.33 min: The Knights look dangerous as Johns combines with Milton Thaiday, but the Knights are penalised for an obstruction play.36 min: The Knights force the Sharks into a goal-line drop out. The Sharks are having all sorts of problems contesting the high balls tonight.37 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsA 55-metre drop out from Brett Kimmorley doesn't stop them! Clint Newton and George Carmont combine to make a break up the left-hand side, and from the next play the ball is swung to the other side of the field for Brian Carney to score.Johns misses the conversion. Sharks 12-10HALFTIME: Sharks 12 Knights 10We've got an exciting game of footy unfolding here. The Sharks are looking slighty more impressive at this stage, but the Knights are giving the impression that they've got more fuel in the tank.Possession: Sharks 52% Knights 48%Completion: Sharks 15/18 Knights 13/19Missed tackles: Sharks 7 Knights 15Line breaks: Sharks 3 Knights 1The second half is underway!44 min: A couple of Knights errors have presented some good scoring opportunities for the Sharks, but the Knights defence is holding firm for now.46 min: Anthony Quinn appears to have fumbled a Sharks bomb in his own in-goal, but Shayne Hayne rules a fair catch.48 min: The Knights ball-handling is becoming atrocious this half. A knock-on from a scrum hands another great chance to the Sharks.50 min: The Knights finally complete a set of six, and manage to force a goal-line drop out.51 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsAdam Woolnough crashes over after taking a good short pass from Danny Buderus close to the line.Johns converts. Knights 16-1255 min: VIDEO REF - possible Sharks try ...55 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksThis time, the Sharks are able to take advantage of a Knights fumble. Reece Williams scores a try after some good lead-up work from Nigel Vagana, who is involving himself a lot more in the attack.Covell adds the extras as the Sharks reclaim the lead. Sharks 18-1661 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThe Knights score again after forcing another repeat set. This time, the Sharks make the fatal mistake of standing back and watching Andrew Johns run with the ball - so he decides to run straight through and score next to the posts.Johns converts his own try. Knights 22-1866 min: Excellent defence from the Knights here as they repell two consecutive Sharks attacking sets.68 min: A bad error from referee Shayne Hayne here - Milton Thaiday is ruled to have knocked-on, but the ball clearly came off his knee. Fortunately the Knights defence denies the Sharks from taking any advantage.73 min: Time is running out for the Sharks - they need to find some magic to keep their season on track.74 min: The Knights have used all 12 interchanges, but Todd Lowrie looks to be in trouble with a hamstring injury.78 min: A huge Adam Dykes bomb is knocked-on by the Sharks.80 min: Steve Simpson and Andrew Johns combine in a great tackle on Greg Bird, forcing a fumble.FULLTIME: Sharks 18 Knights 22A strong defensive effort from the Knights has seen them edge out the Sharks in front of their vocal home crowd tonight.Possession: Sharks 52% Knights 48%Completion: Sharks 29/37 Knights 25/38Missed tackles: Sharks 21 Knights 24-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Danny Buderus2 - Matthew Gidley1 - Greg Bird-----------------------------------------
ROUND 17 Manly Sea Eagles 12 v Newcastle Knights 26at Brookvale OvalReferee: Sean HampsteadCrowd: 13,284Match Summary:The Newcastle Knights have reversed their recent run of losses with a solid 26-12 victory tonight over the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval.The match produced the occasional flash of brilliance, but was mainly built on a foundation of one-out forward work due to the damp and cold conditions. As a result, the match failed to reach any great hights.The Sea Eagles dominated all of the early possession and territory, but could not translate this advantage onto the scoreboard. The Knights managed to claim the first try of the match through winger Brian Carney, and it wasn't until the 27th minute that Manly were able to finally crack through the tough Knights defence.Despite continuing to hold the majority of the ball, the Sea Eagles found themselves behind 12-6 at halftime thanks to some great work from Knights forwards Clint Newton and Todd Lowrie. Both Newton and Lowrie lead the way for their forward pack tonight with plenty of strong runs and solid defence.Despite a halftime rev-up from their coach Des Hasler, the Sea Eagles came out for the second forty and promptly conceded two tries to George Carmont and rookie fullback Nathan Hinton, who turned in an eye-catching performance from the back. Matt Orford produced a great kick for Brett Stewart to claim his mandatory Brookvale try in the 57th minute, but they weren't able to trouble the scorers again.The remaining 20 minutes of the match only featured one further penalty goal to Andrew Johns, who scored 10 points to move within 4 points of the all-time Premiership record. Ironically, he will now look to break the record at Parramatta Stadium next week - the same venue where the record was last broken in 2001.Manly were strangely flat in front of their home crowd, obviously affected by some key absences and suffering from a lack of attacking cohesion. Captain Ben Kennedy didn't help matters by engaging in a running battle with referee Sean Hampstead, constantly venting steam and disputing every decision. They could well find themselves out of the 8, pending other weekend results.While the Knights were able to claim the win, they'll be looking forward to plenty of improvement to ensure they're still there at the business end of the season. They were solid without being spectacular tonight, and could easily have been beaten by a tougher opposition.Scorers:Manly Sea Eagles: 12Tries: Brett Stewart, Anthony WatmoughGoals: Michael Witt 2/2Newcastle Knights: 26Tries: George Carmont, Jarrod Mullen, Brian Carney, Nathan HintonGoals: Andrew Johns 5/6By the Clock:Welcome to Friday Night Football, coming to you tonight from Fortress Brookvale. We've got two teams here who are searching for a win to snap some worrying losing streaks.No late changes for either team, and we're all set to go!KICKOFF: We're underway!2 min: INJURY - Josh Perry has left the field, possibly with a dislocated finger. 5 min: The Sea Eagles have the first attacking set of the night, but the Knights defence holds firm. Josh Perry has returned to the field.7 min: A second Sea Eagle raid is repelled. The Knights are looking solid on defence, but Manly aren't really offering too much in attack.10 min: A huge Andrew Johns bomb is allowed to bounce in front of the Sea Eagles posts - Michael Monaghan just manages to knock it dead, so a drop-out is the result.11 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsMatt Gidley combines with Andrew Johns on the right side of the field, and some quick passing presents a gap for Brian Carney to stroll through and open the scoring tonight.The conversion from Andrew Johns falls just short. Knights 4-016 min: The Sea Eagles have received two consecutive penalties within easy kicking range, but have elected to take the tap instead. Despite all the possession, they've been unable to register a point - Michael Monaghan came close, but was held up over the line.20 min: Clint Newton makes a great bust and passes to Matt Gidley, who had a clear run to the line - but the pass is called forward.27 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesFINALLY the Sea Eagles are able to take advantage of the mountain of possession they've been enjoying! Anthony Watmough crashes over the line, following some good lead-up work from Matt Orford and Glenn Stewart.Michael Witt adds the extras. Sea Eagles 6-431 min: Sean Hampstead has given Andrew Johns a final warning - any further infringements from the Knights will be punished with a sin-binning. The penalty count is currently 6-1 to the Sea Eagles.36 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle KnightsMatt Orford is penalised for a limp-wristed slap that crept up a little high on Jarrod Mullen. Andrew Johns takes the opportunity to level the scores. 6 all.37 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsTodd Lowrie receives a beautiful pass from Clint Newton and makes a clean break up the left-hand touchline. On the next play, Andrew Johns quickly shifts the ball to the other side of the field where Matt Gidley is able to put Jarrod Mullen into a gap to score.Andrew Johns adds the extra two points. Knights 12-639 min: The Knights make another half-break and are looking dangerous, but this time Michael Witt manages to intercept a Johns pass.40 min: Ben Kennedy forces an offload that falls loose, and is chipped ahead by Brian Carney. With absolutely no-one in front of him, he knocks-on while trying to pick up the ball.HALFTIME: Sea Eagles 6 Knights 12The Knights have somehow emerged with a six point lead at the break after the Sea Eagles held the majority of the ball. Manly need to kick-start their attack in the second half to claim a result here.Possession: Sea Eagles 56% Knights 44%Completion: Sea Eagles 18/21 Knights 11/18Errors: Sea Eagles 4 Knights 7Missed tackles: Sea Eagles 13 Knights 9The second half is underway!42 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsWhat a start! Andrew Johns combines with Nathan Hinton to make a huge break up the middle, and on the next play Johns sends a wide pass out to George Carmont who strolls through an enormous gap to score.Johns converts the try. Knights 18-649 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsAndrew Johns puts in a pin-point bomb that comes down right under the posts, and Nathan Hinton takes a clean catch and drops over the line. The Sea Eagles seem to still be on their half-time break.Johns adds another two points. Knights 24-654 min: Luke Quigley has left the field with a dislocated elbow, and Jason King is off with a rib injury.57 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesA beautiful play here from the Sea Eagles. From a scrum win inside their own half, Matt Orford chips ahead on the first tackle for Brett Stewart to chase. He gets a good bounce and crosses untouched right next to ths posts.Michael Witt converts. Knights 24-1261 min: With 20 minutes to go, Newcastle have used 11 of their 12 interchanges. Manly have lifted a gear and are starting to look dangerous.CROWD: 13,28468 min: A brilliant run from Chris Hicks gives Manly a great attcking opportunity, but the chance goes begging as Mark Bryant knocks-on as he tries to cross the line.71 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Newcastle KnightsAndrew Johns attempts a field goal from about 35 metres out, but it rebounds off the crossbar and back into the field of play. Knights 24-1273 min: Brett Stewart tears up the touchline before putting a kick infield for Shayne Dunley to chase - but Brian Carney wins the race and kicks the ball dead.74 min: Manly receive a penalty right in front of the Newcastle posts - the ball is instantly swung wide to Chris Hicks, but he is dragged over the sideline on the first tackle.78 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle KnightsBen Kennedy puts the finishing touches on his running battle with Sean Hampstead tonight as he is penalised for backchat. Andrew Johns steps up and slots another two points. Knights 26-12FULLTIME: Sea Eagles 12 Knights 26The Newcastle Knights have snapped their four-game losing streak tonight, recording a 26-12 victory over a disappointing Sea Eagles team that lacked any real attacking spark.Possession: Sea Eagles 50% Knights 50%Completion: Sea Eagles 32/40 Knights 29/38Errors: Sea Eagles 9 Knights 9Missed tackles: Sea Eagles 25 Knights 25-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Nathan Hinton2 - Clint Newton1 - Todd Lowrie-----------------------------------------