Andrew Cook

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Cowboys finish on a high

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)-----------------------------------------

Sea Eagles hold on against Knights

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)-----------------------------------------

Eels keep their finals charge on track

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)-----------------------------------------

Defence delivers victory for the Knights

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-----------------------------------------

Knights claim victory at Brookvale

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-----------------------------------------

GB triumph over flat Kiwis

GB v NZ 2006 Great Britain 46 v New Zealand 14at Knowsley Road, St HelensReferee: Steve ClarkMatch Summary:Great Britain have run out convincing 46-14 winners over New Zealand at Knowsley Road in today's Test Match, in front of a healthy (and vocal) home crowd that certainly had plenty to cheer about.The Kiwis started the match looking like the stronger team, and were able to claim the first try through giant winger Lesley Vainikolo. But from that promising early start, things went rapidly downhill as the Kiwis struggled to contain a fired-up Great Britain pack that was able to find plenty of space all over the paddock.The Lions had reclaimed the lead by the 7th minute through Danny McGuire, and two further tries to Sean Long and debutant James Graham gave them an 18-4 lead at the break. Unfortunately for the home side, captain Paul Sculthorpe was forced from the field with knee ligament damage early in the match, and couldn't take any further part in the game.The Kiwis weren't too worried about the half-time deficit, and returned to the field with the hope that they would finish the match strongly. However, three tries to Great Britain within the first 12 minutes quickly proved this theory to be slightly inaccurate.The Lions continued to ram home their advantage, and pushed the score out to 36-4 before the Kiwis were able to hit back. Iafeta Paleaaesina managed to score thanks to an error from the home team, but normal service quickly resumed with further tries to Ade Gardner and Sean Long rubbing salt into some gaping Kiwi wounds.Every player for Great Britain put in a tremendous performance in this match. Stand-outs included fullback Paul Wellens, halves McGuire & Long, and a pack of forwards that were determined not to take a backwards step. Roosters prop Adrian Morley contributed strongly, and received strong support from Fielden, Newton and debutant James Graham.The Kiwis have promoted this match as a chance for some "lesser-lights" to press for inclusion in their Tri-Nations squad, and unfortunately several players may have written themselves out of the script. David Kidwell and David Solomona tried hard to produce some spark, but the team was obviously affected by the lack of an established halves combination. Ben Roberts tried hard in his International debut and has a promising future, but certainly isn't ready for this level of competition just yet.Scorers:Great Britain: 46Tries: Danny McGuire(2), James Graham(2), Sean Long(2), Keith Senior, Ade GardnerGoals: Sean Long 6/7, Paul Sculthorpe 1/1New Zealand: 14Tries: Henry Fa'afili, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Lesley VainikoloGoals: Stacey Jones 1/1, Ben Roberts 0/1, Motu Tony 0/1Halftime: GB 18-4By the Clock:TEAM LINE-UPS:Great Britain: Wellens, Gardner, Gleeson, Senior, Pryce; McGuire, Long; Fielden, Cunningham, Morley, Peacock, Ellis, Sculthorpe; Newton, Gilmour, Graham, O'Loughlin.New Zealand: Toopi, Vainikolo, Hape, Talau, Fa'afili; Roberts, Jones; Chan, Tony, Paleaaesina, Lauitiiti, Solomona, Kidwell; Paul, Hansen, Anderson, Betham.Welcome to Knowsley Road! The teams are taking the field to a rousing reception from a healthy looking crowd. No rain at the moment, but apparently the ground is still pretty wet.KICKOFF: We're underway!3 min: TRY New ZealandThe Kiwi forwards have steamrolled Great Britain with their first use of the ball, and moved straight into a good attacking position. Stacey Jones puts up a huge cross-field bomb, and Lesley Vainikolo gets on top of his opposite number to claim the try.Ben Roberts misses the conversion attempt. New Zealand 4-07 min: TRY Great BritainTwo penalties conceded by the Kiwis give Great Britain plenty of attacking possession, and Danny McGuire is able to dummy his way through the defensive line to cross in the corner.Paul Sculthorpe nails a great conversion from out wide. Great Britain 6-412 min: Great Britain are looking sharp out here, and the Kiwis are conceding plenty of penalties which isn't making their job any easier!13 min: VIDEO REF - Keiron Cunningham tries a trademark barge-over from dummy half, but is ruled to have lost the ball within plenty of Kiwi defense.13 min: The Kiwis are awarded their first penalty of the match, but they don't find touch with their kick!15 min: Stacey Jones misses out on a 40/20 kick by a matter of inches.16 min: Paul Sculthorpe has left the field and headed straight up the tunnel.18 min: The Kiwis survive an attacking set from Great Britain with some desperate defence on their own line.23 min: With the Kiwis just metres out from the Great Britain tryline, Clinton Toopi throws a "Toopi Special" that goes 20 metres backwards.25 min: A half-chance for the Kiwis - Stacey Jones spots a gap and tears up the middle, but his offload is snaffled by Terry Newton.26 min: TRY Great BritainFollowing a dropped ball from Willie Talau on his own 20-metre line, Terry Newton spots some space up the blindside that is well exploited by Keith Senior and Leon Pryce. James Graham is on hand to complete the movement and score a great try.Sean Long adds the extras. Great Britain 12-431 min: A huge Sean Long bomb is well claimed by Henry Fa'afili, who managed to hang on by his fingertips despite falling over at the same time.32 min: TRY Great BritainTerry Newton creates some space by attracting four defenders yet still managing to off-load the ball. Paul Wellens picks it up and passes to Sean Long, who is able to skip through for a try under the posts.Long converts his own try. Great Britain 18-435 min: NO TRY - Great Britain dot down in the corner through Ade Gardner, but the pass he received from Martin Gleeson is called forward.39 min: The Kiwis pull out every concievable off-load in an attempt to add to their score before halftime - it looks fantastic, but ultimately unsuccessful.40 min: A scrum win to the Kiwis on the stroke of half-time sees Stacey Jones put up a monster bomb to the corner, but Great Britain are able to get the ball over the sideline.HALFTIME: Great Britain 18 New Zealand 4Injury update: Paul Sculthorpe has suffered possible knee ligament damage, and won't be back for this match (at least).41 min: The second half is underway! Great Britain recover their own kickoff with a great chase.42 min: Gareth Ellis drops the ball with the tryline beckoning - a definite letoff for the Kiwis here.46 min: ON REPORT - Lesley Vainikolo, for a dangerous throw on Martin Gleeson.47 min: TRY Great BritainThe ensuing penalty gives Great Britain another attacking chance - this time, Paul Wellens makes a great bust up the middle and off-loads to Keith Senior for an easy run to the line.Sean Long kicks the extra two. Great Britain 24-449 min: TRY Great BritainIt's a carve-up!! Sean Long puts through a nice kick to the blindside that the Kiwis aren't able to contain. Paul Wellens picks up the loose ball and passes to James Graham, who is able to run 30 metres untouched to score his second try.Sean Long steps up again and adds another two points. Great Britain 30-452 min: The Kiwis are looking a bit shell-shocked now. Possession is running 70/30 in Great Britain's favour this half.53 min: TRY Great BritainFrom a scrum win 40 metres out, Danny McGuire receives the ball and jinks through some shaky Kiwi defence to claim his second try.Sean Long adds yet another conversion. Great Britain 36-458 min: The Kiwis are showing very little sign of being able to score again in this match, and are being completely out-enthused here.60 min: As usual, I've spoken too soon. The Kiwis have forced a goal-line drop out - can they score again??62 min: TRY New ZealandThe Great Britain defence held firm, but on attack Adrian Morley fumbles the ball straight to Iafeta Paleaaesina. "Feka" is able to crash over the line and claim a much-needed Kiwi try.Stacey Jones kicks the conversion. Great Britain 36-1065 min: Ali "Afroman" Lauitiiti knocks-on as the Kiwis continue to try and spark their attacking machine into gear.66 min: Another Great Britain fumble is claimed by Paleaaesina - who is penalised straight away for an incorrect play-the-ball.68 min: TRY Great BritainGreat Britain continue to swing the ball from sideline to sideline - and this time, Ade Gardner takes advantage of some space created by Martin Gleeson to cross untouched in the corner.Sean Long's conversion from out wide is waved away. Great Britain 40-1071 min: VIDEO REF - Great Britain are claiming a bizarre try here ...71 min: TRY Great BritainSean Long kicks deep, and the chasers are put onside by a Kiwi touch. Leon Pryce is then able to chip infield, and Stuart Fielden shows some remarkable soccer skills to get the ball around Robbie Paul. From there, Sean Long picks up the scraps and slides in for his second try.Long converts. Great Britain 46-1077 min: Leon Pryce throws Henry Fa'afili into touch with a great tackle while the Kiwis were looking dangerous out wide.80 min: TRY New ZealandIt took another 77 minutes, but another Kiwi attacking raid has finally paid off! Following a scrum win, the ball finds its way to Ali Lauitiiti who creates space for his outside men with a nice offload. Henry Fa'afili is backing up and scores in the corner.Motu Tony takes the conversion attempt, but it's waved away. Great Britain 46-14FULLTIME: Great Britain 46 New Zealand 14As the score suggests, there was pretty much only one side in the match tonight. Great Britain were strong across the park and have claimed a well-deserved victory over a rusty-looking Kiwis team.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Paul Wellens (Great Britain)2 - Sean Long (Great Britain)1 - Terry Newton (Great Britain)-----------------------------------------

Great Britain triumph over flat Kiwis

GB v NZ 2006 Great Britain 46 v New Zealand 14at Knowsley Road, St HelensReferees: Steve ClarkMatch Summary:Great Britain have run out convincing 46-14 winners over New Zealand at Knowsley Road in today's Test Match, in front of a healthy (and vocal) home crowd that certainly had plenty to cheer about.The Kiwis started the match looking like the stronger team, and were able to claim the first try through giant winger Lesley Vainikolo. But from that promising early start, things went rapidly downhill as the Kiwis struggled to contain a fired-up Great Britain pack that was able to find plenty of space all over the paddock.The Lions had reclaimed the lead by the 7th minute through Danny McGuire, and two further tries to Sean Long and debutant James Graham gave them an 18-4 lead at the break. Unfortunately for the home side, captain Paul Sculthorpe was forced from the field with knee ligament damage early in the match, and couldn't take any further part in the game.The Kiwis weren't too worried about the half-time deficit, and returned to the field with the hope that they would finish the match strongly. However, three tries to Great Britain within the first 12 minutes quickly proved this theory to be slightly inaccurate.The Lions continued to ram home their advantage, and pushed the score out to 36-4 before the Kiwis were able to hit back. Iafeta Paleaaesina managed to score thanks to an error from the home team, but normal service quickly resumed with further tries to Ade Gardner and Sean Long rubbing salt into some gaping Kiwi wounds.Every player for Great Britain put in a tremendous performance in this match. Stand-outs included fullback Paul Wellens, halves McGuire & Long, and a pack of forwards that were determined not to take a backwards step. Roosters prop Adrian Morley contributed strongly, and received strong support from Fielden, Newton and debutant James Graham.The Kiwis have promoted this match as a chance for some "lesser-lights" to press for inclusion in their Tri-Nations squad, and unfortunately several players may have written themselves out of the script. David Kidwell and David Solomona tried hard to produce some spark, but the team was obviously affected by the lack of an established halves combination. Ben Roberts tried hard in his International debut and has a promising future, but certainly isn't ready for this level of competition just yet.Scorers:Great Britain: 46Tries: Danny McGuire(2), James Graham(2), Sean Long(2), Keith Senior, Ade GardnerGoals: Sean Long 6/7, Paul Sculthorpe 1/1New Zealand: 14Tries: Henry Fa'afili, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Lesley VainikoloGoals: Stacey Jones 1/1, Ben Roberts 0/1, Motu Tony 0/1Halftime: GB 18-4By the Clock:TEAM LINE-UPS:Great Britain: Wellens, Gardner, Gleeson, Senior, Pryce; McGuire, Long; Fielden, Cunningham, Morley, Peacock, Ellis, Sculthorpe; Newton, Gilmour, Graham, O'Loughlin.New Zealand: Toopi, Vainikolo, Hape, Talau, Fa'afili; Roberts, Jones; Chan, Tony, Paleaaesina, Lauitiiti, Solomona, Kidwell; Paul, Hansen, Anderson, Betham.Welcome to Knowsley Road! The teams are taking the field to a rousing reception from a healthy looking crowd. No rain at the moment, but apparently the ground is still pretty wet.KICKOFF: We're underway!3 min: TRY New ZealandThe Kiwi forwards have steamrolled Great Britain with their first use of the ball, and moved straight into a good attacking position. Stacey Jones puts up a huge cross-field bomb, and Lesley Vainikolo gets on top of his opposite number to claim the try.Ben Roberts misses the conversion attempt. New Zealand 4-07 min: TRY Great BritainTwo penalties conceded by the Kiwis give Great Britain plenty of attacking possession, and Danny McGuire is able to dummy his way through the defensive line to cross in the corner.Paul Sculthorpe nails a great conversion from out wide. Great Britain 6-412 min: Great Britain are looking sharp out here, and the Kiwis are conceding plenty of penalties which isn't making their job any easier!13 min: VIDEO REF - Keiron Cunningham tries a trademark barge-over from dummy half, but is ruled to have lost the ball within plenty of Kiwi defense.13 min: The Kiwis are awarded their first penalty of the match, but they don't find touch with their kick!15 min: Stacey Jones misses out on a 40/20 kick by a matter of inches.16 min: Paul Sculthorpe has left the field and headed straight up the tunnel.18 min: The Kiwis survive an attacking set from Great Britain with some desperate defence on their own line.23 min: With the Kiwis just metres out from the Great Britain tryline, Clinton Toopi throws a "Toopi Special" that goes 20 metres backwards.25 min: A half-chance for the Kiwis - Stacey Jones spots a gap and tears up the middle, but his offload is snaffled by Terry Newton.26 min: TRY Great BritainFollowing a dropped ball from Willie Talau on his own 20-metre line, Terry Newton spots some space up the blindside that is well exploited by Keith Senior and Leon Pryce. James Graham is on hand to complete the movement and score a great try.Sean Long adds the extras. Great Britain 12-431 min: A huge Sean Long bomb is well claimed by Henry Fa'afili, who managed to hang on by his fingertips despite falling over at the same time.32 min: TRY Great BritainTerry Newton creates some space by attracting four defenders yet still managing to off-load the ball. Paul Wellens picks it up and passes to Sean Long, who is able to skip through for a try under the posts.Long converts his own try. Great Britain 18-435 min: NO TRY - Great Britain dot down in the corner through Ade Gardner, but the pass he received from Martin Gleeson is called forward.39 min: The Kiwis pull out every concievable off-load in an attempt to add to their score before halftime - it looks fantastic, but ultimately unsuccessful.40 min: A scrum win to the Kiwis on the stroke of half-time sees Stacey Jones put up a monster bomb to the corner, but Great Britain are able to get the ball over the sideline.HALFTIME: Great Britain 18 New Zealand 4Injury update: Paul Sculthorpe has suffered possible knee ligament damage, and won't be back for this match (at least).41 min: The second half is underway! Great Britain recover their own kickoff with a great chase.42 min: Gareth Ellis drops the ball with the tryline beckoning - a definite letoff for the Kiwis here.46 min: ON REPORT - Lesley Vainikolo, for a dangerous throw on Martin Gleeson.47 min: TRY Great BritainThe ensuing penalty gives Great Britain another attacking chance - this time, Paul Wellens makes a great bust up the middle and off-loads to Keith Senior for an easy run to the line.Sean Long kicks the extra two. Great Britain 24-449 min: TRY Great BritainIt's a carve-up!! Sean Long puts through a nice kick to the blindside that the Kiwis aren't able to contain. Paul Wellens picks up the loose ball and passes to James Graham, who is able to run 30 metres untouched to score his second try.Sean Long steps up again and adds another two points. Great Britain 30-452 min: The Kiwis are looking a bit shell-shocked now. Possession is running 70/30 in Great Britain's favour this half.53 min: TRY Great BritainFrom a scrum win 40 metres out, Danny McGuire receives the ball and jinks through some shaky Kiwi defence to claim his second try.Sean Long adds yet another conversion. Great Britain 36-458 min: The Kiwis are showing very little sign of being able to score again in this match, and are being completely out-enthused here.60 min: As usual, I've spoken too soon. The Kiwis have forced a goal-line drop out - can they score again??62 min: TRY New ZealandThe Great Britain defence held firm, but on attack Adrian Morley fumbles the ball straight to Iafeta Paleaaesina. "Feka" is able to crash over the line and claim a much-needed Kiwi try.Stacey Jones kicks the conversion. Great Britain 36-1065 min: Ali "Afroman" Lauitiiti knocks-on as the Kiwis continue to try and spark their attacking machine into gear.66 min: Another Great Britain fumble is claimed by Paleaaesina - who is penalised straight away for an incorrect play-the-ball.68 min: TRY Great BritainGreat Britain continue to swing the ball from sideline to sideline - and this time, Ade Gardner takes advantage of some space created by Martin Gleeson to cross untouched in the corner.Sean Long's conversion from out wide is waved away. Great Britain 40-1071 min: VIDEO REF - Great Britain are claiming a bizarre try here ...71 min: TRY Great BritainSean Long kicks deep, and the chasers are put onside by a Kiwi touch. Leon Pryce is then able to chip infield, and Stuart Fielden shows some remarkable soccer skills to get the ball around Robbie Paul. From there, Sean Long picks up the scraps and slides in for his second try.Long converts. Great Britain 46-1077 min: Leon Pryce throws Henry Fa'afili into touch with a great tackle while the Kiwis were looking dangerous out wide.80 min: TRY New ZealandIt took another 77 minutes, but another Kiwi attacking raid has finally paid off! Following a scrum win, the ball finds its way to Ali Lauitiiti who creates space for his outside men with a nice offload. Henry Fa'afili is backing up and scores in the corner.Motu Tony takes the conversion attempt, but it's waved away. Great Britain 46-14FULLTIME: Great Britain 46 New Zealand 14As the score suggests, there was pretty much only one side in the match tonight. Great Britain were strong across the park and have claimed a well-deserved victory over a rusty-looking Kiwis team.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Paul Wellens (Great Britain)2 - Sean Long (Great Britain)1 - Terry Newton (Great Britain)-----------------------------------------

Storm snatch a Friday Night Thriller

ROUND 16 Melbourne Storm 16 v Canterbury Bulldogs 12at Olympic Park, MelbourneReferees: Sean HampsteadMatch Summary:The Melbourne Storm have come up with a one-in-a-million finish to secure victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs tonight, and have opened up a six-point gap at the top of the table in the process.The Storm didn't secure the result until a spectacular try to Jake Webster in the 80th minute, following a speculative kick out wide from halfback Cooper Cronk. Second-rower Ryan Hoffman, playing in the centres after an injury to fullback Steve Turner, won the race to the ball and threw a great pass infield that gave Webster a clear run to the tryline.For the preceeding 79 minutes of the match, the Bulldogs looked to be well on the way to ending the Storm's winning streak at Olympic Park. After opening up a 4-0 lead with an early try to Sonny Bill Williams, they had plenty of further chances to add to their score only to be denied by some stubborn Melbourne defence.The Storm didn't trouble the scorers until the 46th minute thanks to some clever play from Queensland Origin hooker Cameron Smith, but even then the Bulldogs were able to hit straight back with a Trent Cutler try. A penalty kick from Hazem El Masri opened up a 6 point gap with 15 minutes to go, and it looked as though the absence of some potent attacking weapons could come back to haunt the home team.Then along came an unlikely hero for the Storm - within the last six minutes, Ryan Hoffman was able to provide the final pass for two tries to Kiwi winger Jake Webster, and the Storm had secured an amazing victory.The Bulldogs certainly put in enough effort to win the match tonight - their forward effort was strong, especially thanks to Reni Maitua and newcomer Jarrad Hickey. Sonny Bill Williams was a constant handful out wide, and produced one of his strongest efforts of the season.The Storm will consider themselves lucky to escape with this one, especially after losing Steve Turner (ribs) and Ian Donnelly (leg) to injury during the match. Ryan Hoffman did a fantastic job slotting in to the backline, and Cameron Smith provided the spark for his forwards. They can now look forward to a timely bye next round, and are very well positioned for a strong run to the finals.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 16Tries: Antonio Kaufusi, Jake Webster(2)Goals: Cameron Smith 2/3Canterbury Bulldogs: 12Tries: Trent Cutler, Sonny Bill WilliamsGoals: Hazem El Masri 2/3Halftime: Bulldogs 4-0Crowd: 10,373By the Clock:Welcome to Melbourne! We've got a top of the table clash here tonight between the 1st-placed Storm and the 4th-placed Bulldogs.Late changes: Willie Mason is out for the Dogs, so Nate Myles will start and Jarrad Hickey comes onto the bench. The only change for the Storm sees Garrett Crossman and Ian Donnelly swapping places, meaning Donnelly will start.KICKOFF - We're underway!3 min: Scott Hill hoists a bomb right on the Doggies try-line that is well claimed by Trent Cutler.5 min: The first chance for the Bulldogs sees them try to run the ball on the last tackle, but the Storm defence is up to the task.6 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsA dropped ball from David Kidwell gives the Bulldogs an excellent chance. Cameron Phelps is then tackled just inches away from the tryline, and on the next play the ball is swung wide for Sonny Bill Williams to open the scoring tonight.Hazem El Masri misses the conversion from out wide. Bulldogs 4-011 min: The Bulldogs squander a half-chance as Brent Sherwin drops the ball cold 20 metres out from the Melbourne tryline.12 min: The Storm receive their first penalty of the night, but the kick doesn't find touch thanks to some acrobatic work from Luke Patten.15 min: A 1-on-1 strip on Matt Geyer by Sonny Bill Williams sets up another great chance for the Bulldogs. Unfortunately on their last tackle, a Brent Sherwin pass floats untouched over the sideline.19 min: The Storm have suddenly fired up and forced a line drop-out from the Bulldogs.21 min: After a second consecutive drop-out, the Storm let the Dogs off the hook with a Cooper Cronk knock-on.23 min: A bomb from the Bulldogs lands on the crossbar and bounces back into the field of play - the Dogs regain possession, but hand it back to the Storm with a loose pass out wide.25 min: Matt Geyer makes up for an earlier blunder by managing to get in the way of a Sonny Bill offload when the Dogs were looking likely to score.27 min: Matt Geyer and Matt King both try to claim a Cooper Cronk bomb, and manage to come up with a fumble instead. Melbourne are looking dangerous when given the opportunity, but the Dogs are certainly looking like the stronger team at the moment.31 min: Current error count - Storm 8 Bulldogs 5.32 min: The Bulldogs make a great bust up the left flank that ends with Cameron Phelps trying a miracle off-load that tumbles into touch.35 min: The Storm forwards make a clean break up the middle, and force another Bulldogs line drop-out from the ensuing play - but the kick is then knocked-on by Cooper Cronk.40 min: Cooper Cronk puts in a nice banana kick that is almost claimed by Chris Walker - a try was beckoning, but another knock-on is the result.HALFTIME: Storm 0 Bulldogs 4The halftime score flatters the Storm a bit here, and they're doing well to hold on against a Bulldogs team producing plenty of options on attack. It's a cold dewey night down in Melbourne which is producing plenty of dropped ball from both teams.Possession: Storm 46% Bulldogs 54%Completion: Storm 13/20 Bulldogs 17/25Offloads: Storm 7 Bulldogs 10Errors: Storm 9 Bulldogs 8The second half is underway!Injury update: The curse of the Melbourne fullbacks continues - Steve Turner, who left the field during the first half, has suffered suspected fractured ribs and won't be back tonight.46 min: TRY Melbourne StormCameron Smith makes a clean break up the middle through some relatively soft Bulldogs defence, and Antonio Kaufusi backs up to claim an easy try under the posts.Cameron Smith converts to put the Storm into the lead. Storm 6-451 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsThe Dogs hit back with a swift backline move that puts Trent Cutler across the line in the corner.Hazem El Masri nails the conversion from the touchline. Bulldogs 10-656 min: The Storm defence fires up as the Bulldogs can only make 30 metres in a set of six off their own line. The errors have dried up from both teams, and we've got a pretty decent game of footy on our hands.59 min: Ian Donnelly is in all sorts of trouble with a knee injury after attempting to charge a Brent Sherwin clearing kick. He's assisted from the field, and the Storm are down to a two-man bench.62 min: The Storm continue to pressure the Bulldogs kickers, and come up with a charge-down to set up good field position.64 min: Jamie Feeney has conceded two consecutive penalties (one while in possession), and Hazem El Masri steps up to increase the lead.64 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsHazem slots the penalty kick from 40 metres out. Bulldogs 12-671 min: Hazem El Masri does a remarkable job to get the ball out of his own in-goal in the face of some rushing Storm defence.73 min: Luke Patten has knocked-on five metres out from his own line - a great chance for the Storm coming up here.74 min: TRY Melbourne StormA great run and offload from Ryan Hoffman presents a chance for the Storm, and Jake Webster is on hand to dot down right next to the corner post.A pressure kick for Cameron Smith here to level the scores .... and it's bounced away off the upright! Bulldogs 12-1078 min: Just a couple of minutes to go, and the Storm are working the ball away from their own line.80 min: TRY Melbourne StormWOW!!!!!! With ten seconds left on the clock, Cooper Cronk puts a kick ahead for his backs to chase. Ryan Hoffman wins the race, and gets a great pass away to Jake Webster to cross for his second try. What a finish!Cameron Smith puts the icing on the cake with a great conversion from out wide. Storm 16-12FULLTIME: Storm 16 Bulldogs 12The Storm have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat tonight - they've produced a determined effort to topple the Bulldogs and open up a six-point lead at the top of the table.Possession: Storm 49% Bulldogs 51%Completion: Storm 33/44 Bulldogs 29/39Offloads: Storm 11 Bulldogs 13Errors: Storm 11 Bulldogs 13-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Ryan Hoffman (Storm)2 - Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)1 - Cameron Smith (Storm)-----------------------------------------

Dragons deny Broncos at the death

ROUND 15 Brisbane Broncos 16 v St George Illawarra Dragons 18at Suncorp StadiumReferees: Tony ArcherMatch Summary:The St George Illawarra Dragons have recorded a last-minute victory over a valiant Brisbane Broncos team at Suncorp Stadium to kick off Round 15 action in sensational style.Every stat indicates that the Broncos should have won this match by plenty. The Dragons made 21 errors and only completed 51% of their sets, but still managed to hang in against a visibly fatigued Broncos side. The home team were also hit by a spate of injuries during the match, with Ben Hannant and Ian Lacey both unable to return after leaving the field.Despite their high error rate, the Dragons produced some sparkling touches in the first half to take a 12-8 lead into the sheds. This lead was quickly reigned in by the Broncos with a try to boom rookie Greg Eastwood in the 42nd minute, and Darren Lockyer added two further penalties to push the Broncos out to a 16-12 lead with only minutes remaining in the match.And then came the sensational finish - firstly, Maroons hero Sam Thaiday came up with a costly knock-on that gave the Dragons the field position they so depserately needed. From the ensuing set, Mathew Head chipped to the corner, Brett Morris flew high to claim the ball, and somehow managed to bend around several Bronco defenders to claim the try. Aaron Gorrell was handed the kicking duties despite Head having kicked the previous two goals, and landed a beaut of a conversion to claim the victory for the Dragons.The Broncos were extremely unlucky to lose this match tonight - it was an enormous effort just two days after an Origin encounter. Their forwards led the way with a dominant performance, especially their two book-ends Civoniceva & Webcke. Darren Lockyer continued his rich vein of recent form, and Shaun Berrigan produced some classy touches out wide. For the Dragons, Ben Creagh shone brightly and was well backed up with strong games from Mark Gasnier and Colin Best. Mathew Head produced a mixed performance in his return match, with patches of genius combined equally with patches of rustiness.Scorers:Brisbane Broncos: 16Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Greg EastwoodGoals: Darren Lockyer 4/5St George Illawarra Dragons: 18Tries: Colin Best, Matt Cooper, Brett MorrisGoals: Aaron Gorrell 1/1, Mathew Head 2/2Halftime: Dragons 12-8Crowd: 32,914By the Clock:Good evening! We're back at Suncorp Stadium tonight for an enticing match-up between the Broncos and the Dragons.Late changes: The Dragons lose Michael Henderson, replaced by Charlie Leaeno. The Broncos have brought Casey McGuire, Fraser Anderson and Brad Thorn into their starting line-up.KICKOFF - We're underway!2 min: Uncontested, Clint Greenshields drops a long kick on his own 30 metre line. First chance for the Broncos here tonight.3 min: Dane Carlaw knocks-on, and the chance goes begging.5 min: The first penalty of the night is awarded to the Dragons to help them out of their own territory. Plenty of dropped balls from both teams to start this match.8 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosA classic Broncos move here - Lockyer runs to the line before passing to Hunt, then the ball is passed to Shaun Berrigan for a short run to the line. A hint of obstruction on the play is over-ruled by the Video Ref.Darren Lockyer is successful with the conversion. Broncos 6-011 min: Whoops - a second knock-on for Greenshields here, and this one is only 12 metres out from his own line.12 min: PENALTY GOAL Brisbane BroncosDean Young is penalised for a lazy high tackle on David Stagg. Lockyer slots an easy kick from right in front. Broncos 8-015 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsThe Dragons run it on the last after some rushing Broncos defence, and Ben Creagh makes a tremendous 40 metre bust up the middle before throwing a wild pass out to Matt Cooper, who crosses untouched. The Suncorp crowd is claiming Creagh's pass went forward (and they're probably right!), but none of the officials have called it.Mathew Head adds the extras. Broncos 8-617 min: Broncos kick-off goes out on the full. Momentum has quickly swung around in this match!20 min: Nearly another try to the Dragons - Colin Best links with Dean Young to create a good break up the middle, but the next pass to Sam Isemonger is called forward.21 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsSome brilliant passing through the backline gives Colin Best plenty of space out wide. From the halfway line he beats Darius Boyd and outpaces Karmichael Hunt to cross for a great try.Head's conversion goes straight down the middle. Dragons 12-825 min: NO TRY Brisbane BroncosFollowing some good lead-up work from Karmichael Hunt, Darius Boyd squeezes over the line right in the corner - but the Video Ref rules he has dropped the ball in trying to force it.26 min: Mathew Head puts in a little chip kick that finds plenty of open space. Mark Gasnier regathers, but passes straight to Darren Lockyer.28 min: Ben Hannant is assisted from the field and goes straight up the tunnel - looks like a knee injury.30 min: The Broncos go close to scoring again through a barge-over attempt from Ian Lacey, but the ball is dropped.33 min: Sam Thaiday makes a great 30 metre bust upfield, throwing dummies in all directions.34 min: Now it's Matt Cooper's turn as he streaks up the touchline, but the Broncos defence races across and they manage to push him into touch.36 min: Fraser Anderson intercepts a dangerous Mathew Head pass that was intended for Matt Cooper, and possibly saves a try in the process. Both teams are really throwing the ball around here, and the backs are getting plenty of work.39 min: Darius Boyd receives the ball out wide with a bit of space to work in. He tries to chip ahead to beat the cover defence, but the ball rolls into touch.40 min: With their last attacking chance for the half, Shane Perry throws a long pass that is nearly intercepted by Colin Best. A long-range try would have been on the cards, but Best couldn't hang on to the ball.HALFTIME: Broncos 8 Dragons 12We've got a ripper of a game unfolding here with plenty of attacking spark on display from both sides. Some enterprising ball movement is being let down with a fair share of errors, so both coaches will be stressing ball control with their respective teams.Posession: Broncos 52% Dragons 48%Completion: Broncos 12/19 Dragons 9/19Missed tackles: Broncos 30 (!) Dragons 11Errors: Broncos 8 Dragons 12Line Breaks: Broncos 2 Dragons 4The second half is underway!41 min: Ian Lacey makes a quick 20 metres from dummy-half, and also gets a penalty for his team. Unfortunately he appears to have suffered a leg injury in the process, and quickly leaves the field.42 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosGreg Eastwood takes a short Darren Lockyer pass 18 metres out, and steps through plenty of Dragons to crash across the line.Lockyer's conversion attempt is wide. 12 all.46 min: Shane Perry has been flattened by a Ben Creagh hit-up. He'll have to stay on though, as the Broncos are short of troops on the bench.49 min: Mark Gasnier makes a half-break out wide and tries to link up with Ben Hornby, but the ball is lost forward.51 min: A nice grubber from Mathew Head is cleaned up by Karmichael Hunt, but the Dragons defence is on hand to pin him inside his own in-goal.52 min: Clint Greenshields breaks the line and is heading off for a try, but Tony Archer calls the play back for a blatant obstruction.54 min: PENALTY GOAL Brisbane BroncosOn a kick-return, Clint Greenshields is penalised for playing on after being called held. Lockyer slots an easy kick from in front to put the Broncos back into the lead. Broncos 14-1260 min: A sparkling kick-return from Brett Morris is followed by some great passing between Mark Gasnier and Mathew Head to put the Dragons well within striking distance. A Broncos goal-line drop out is the result.62 min: The Broncos hold on thanks to a Dragons error. The Broncos have already used 10 interchanges and are running out of fit troops. IF the Dragons can start holding on to the ball (their current completion rate is 12/31), they should be able to win this one.69 min: The Broncos force a line drop-out from the Dragons. The Broncos are starting to get their second wind here.72 min: PENALTY GOAL Brisbane BroncosBrad Thorn loses the ball in front of the Dragons posts. Tony Archer initially rules a lost ball, but the Video Ref overturns the decision and Archer awards the Broncos a penalty for a strip instead. Darren Lockyer takes his time and adds another two points. Broncos 16-1274 min: Matt Bickerstaff charges down a Broncos clearing kick, but Darius Boyd wins the race to the loose ball.77 min: A gripping last few minutes are unfolding here - the Broncos are looking desperately tired on defence but are still managing to hold on. The Dragons are throwing everything at them at the moment, but constant errors are crucifying them.78 min: Sam Thaiday knocks-on just inside his own half - the Dragons race in to form the scrum.79 min: VIDEO REF - possible Dragons try!79 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsA cross-field kick from Mathew Head is well claimed by Brett Morris out wide, and he spins around to score despite plenty of Broncos defence in his way.Aaron Gorrell is faced with a huge pressure conversion from the sideline ... and he NAILS IT!!!! Dragons 18-16FULLTIME: Broncos 16 Dragons 18What a phenomenal finish to a thrilling game of League! Just when it looked like the Broncos would be able to hang on despite some overwhelming obstacles, the Dragons have snuck through in the last minute to claim a very valuable two Premiership points.Possession: Broncos 55% Dragons 45%Completion: Broncos 29/39 Dragons 18/35Missed tackles: Broncos 47 Dragons 23Errors: Broncos 11 Dragons 21Line Breaks: Broncos 3 Dragons 6-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Petero Civoniceva2 - Darren Lockyer1 - Ben Creagh-----------------------------------------

Dragons win in the wet

ROUND 13 St George Illawarra Dragons 8 v Parramatta Eels 1at Oki Jubilee StadiumReferees: Sean HampsteadMatch Summary:The St George Illawarra Dragons have made a successful return to Oki Jubilee Stadium to kick off Round 13, recording a bizarre 8-1 victory over the Parramatta Eels in front of 9,000 soggy fans.The match was played in heavy rain almost throughout, and a solid forward battle ensued. Neither team could gain the upper hand with their field position, meaning a scoreless first half was an inevitable result.The match finally sparked into life with a John Morris field goal in the 70th minute to give the Eels a 1-0 lead, but the Dragons responded well to the challenge. Two field goals to Ben Hornby gave the Dragons a 2-1 lead, and a last minute try to Matt Cooper pushed the final margin out to 8-1 in favour of the home side.Referee Sean Hampstead will feature heavily in post-mortems of this match - he made several "unusual" calls during the game, culminating in a communication error with the Eels as a scrum was being fed in the final 20 seconds. The resulting play led to the match-winning try for Matt Cooper, and players from both teams promptly left the field only to be called back for a conversion to be taken.Thanks to the weather, this game was played predominantely in the forwards. Dean Young stood out with a strong all-round effort, while Nathan Hindmarsh produced his consistently high-standard game for the Eels. Jeremy Smith was placed on report late in the match, but shouldn't be in any trouble from the match reviewers.Scorers:St George Illawarra Dragons: 8Tries: Matt CooperGoals: Aaron Gorrell 1/1Field Goals: Ben Hornby 2/3Parramatta Eels: 1Tries: Field Goals: John Morris 1/1By the Clock:Welcome to Oki Jubilee Stadium!Late changes: Eels are as per program, while the Dragons bring in Sam Isemonger and Charlie Leaneo to replace the injured duo of Shaun Timmins and Matt Bickerstaff.KICK OFF - We're underway!2 min: A good error-free start by both teams in pretty wet & miserable conditions.5 min: PJ Marsh makes a clean break from dummy-half and scoots 30 metres upfield, but spills the ball forward while trying to pass it.9 min: John Morris puts through a neat grubber kick that bounces off the uprights, but Dean Young is on hand to clean up. So far the Eels have looked more dangerous, although the weather is going to play a big part in the match tonight.15 min: Still no score. As you'd expect, the forwards are doing the bulk of the work here. Fuifui Moimoi is producing some eye-catching hitups and tackles.16 min: A strong 25-metre run from Luke Bailey is brought undone by Aaron Gorrell, who promptly kicks out on the full.18 min: The game is slowly starting to open up - both teams are making good half-breaks, but letting themselves down with a knock-on or forward pass at the end.21 min: Eric Grothe is seemingly tackled in-goal, but the ref somehow rules that he'd made it back to the field of play.27 min: The arm wrestle continues - still no score, and the rain is looking heavier.33 min: An Eric Grothe mistake gives a scrum feed to the Dragons 30 metres out from the Eels tryline - could the deadlock be broken?34 min: Nope!37 min: BIFF - Timana Tahu plays the ball then starts swinging at Corey Payne, apparently resenting a high-ish tackle. The ref disagrees, and awards a penalty to the Dragons.HALFTIME: Dragons 0 Eels 0Well there's very little to write home about here so far. Obviously the rain is slowing things down, and neither team has been able to dominate field position or gain a repeat set. Dean Young and Nathan Hindmarsh are leading the way for their respective teams at this stage.Possession: Dragons 50% Eels 50%Completion: Dragons 18/24 Eels 20/25Total metres: Dragons 789 Eels 814Line breaks: Dragons 1 Eels 1The second half is underway!48 min: Some signs of life here - a beautiful Jeremy Smith pass gives Timana Tahu some space, but the Dragons manage to close him down and force an error.50 min: Ben Creagh steams onto a flat pass close to the Eels tryline but spills the ball.51 min: VIDEO REF - checking a possible Eels try ...51 min: NO TRY - A nicely worked movement from the Eels here; Jeremy Smith chips to the corner from 20 metres out and Jarryd Hayne wins the race, but doesn't force the ball properly.53 min: Eric Grothe picks the ball up from his own line and charges 30 metres upfield, through several attempted tackles. Plenty of running now from both teams.58 min: A dropped ball from the Dragons SHOULD have resulted in an offside penalty for the Eels (in easy range for a goal), but Hampstead rules a scrum instead.63 min: Still no score. Has anyone out there taken the odds for a field goal as first scoring play?70 min: FIELD GOAL Parramatta EelsAnd there it is! A Dragons error gives the Eels a scrum win 35 metres out, and some textbook lead-up work from the forwards gives John Morris a clear shot to post the first points of the night. Eels 1-076 min: FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsWe're even once more! Ben Hornby puts in a kick that looked certain to miss, but just manages to squeeze over the posts. 1 all.77 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsBen Hornby tries a second shot from 45 metres out, and this one never even got close. 1 all.79 min: FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsSome great effort from the Dragons forwards presents Ben Hornby with yet another chance - and this one doesn't miss. Dragons take the lead! Dragons 2-180 min: 20 seconds to go, Parra have a scrum 20 metres from their own line ... what can they do from here?80 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsThe Eels have made a complete hash of the scrum, but the ball eventually found John Morris who puts in an awful kick. Matt Cooper picks up the scraps and crosses untouched to complete a bizarre finish to this match.Hampstead has to call the players back on to the field for the conversion to be taken - and Aaron Gorrell slots the extra two. Dragons 8-1FULLTIME: Dragons 8 Eels 1That has to be one of the strangest final 10 minutes I've ever seen. Both teams fired up once first points had been posted, and the Dragons were able to control their field position better and finish strongly.There was plenty of controversy over the final scrum - it seems Hampstead blew his whistle for "time back on" just as the ball left the scrum, and Jeremy Smith thought he was stopping play for some reason. The delay meant the Eels couldn't chance their arms to get back into the game, and ended up handing it to the Dragons on a platter.Possession: Dragons 50% Eels 50%Completion: Dragons 34/45 Eels 39/46Missed tackles: Dragons 27 Eels 19Errors: Dragons 12 Eels 7-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Dean Young (Dragons)2 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)1 - Luke Bailey (Dragons)-----------------------------------------

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