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And then there were six?
Widely publicised as the showcase match of the round, Friday night saw the Panthers v Dragons encounter live up expectations with some tremendous clashes up front and sparkling footy out wide. Missing key personnel, the Panthers were in sensational form early on, blowing Saints away with some stunning attacking football. At 24-0 down, the Dragons came back valiantly to get within range, only to go down by one point, 31-30.
On Saturday, Melbourne weathered the storm to come back and decimate the Broncos in Brisbane. Down 8-0 at half time, the Storm simply ran riot to outclass the Broncos 31-14.
Later in the same evening, the North Queensland Cowboys had a ball in upsetting the Bulldogs in Sydney. The Cowboys were supposed to lose but decided instead to play confident footy around the ruck, posting a sensational 30-22 victory and surprising punters everywhere.
Under the McIntyre Finals system, the Cowboys' win saw the Dragons make a sudden and unexpected exit from the comp.
On Sunday, the Roosters and the Raiders played to the script with Roosters winning 38-12, seeing off the Raiders for 2004.
The weekend results give the Panthers and the Roosters a week off.
Next weekend matches: Saturday 18 Sept: Broncos v Cowboys, Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville Sunday 19 Sept: Bulldogs v Storm, Aussie Stadium
League wrap Finals: week one
PANTHERS 31 Tries: Waterhouse 2, Campbell 2, Priddis Goals: Girdler 5/5, Gower F/G defeated DRAGONS 30 Tries: Blacklock, Hornby, Timmins, Thompson, Young Goals: Head 5/5 Penrith Football Stadium, Crowd: 21,963 Referee: Sean Hampstead Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - T Waterhouse (Panthers) 2 - M Lang (Panthers) 1 - M Head (Dragons)
BRONCOS 14 Tries: Carroll, Tate Goals: Lockyer 3/3 defeated by STORM 31 Tries: Hill, Bell, King, Slater, Orford, Geyer Goals: Orford 3/6. Field goal: Orford Suncorp Stadium, Crowd: 31,100 Referee: Stephen Clark Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Hill (Storm) 2 - M Orford (Storm) 1 - R Kearns (Storm)
BULLDOGS 22 Tries: S.B.Williams, Utai, Harris, Tonga Goals: El Masri 3/4 defeated by COWBOYS 30 Tries: O'Donnell, Sing 3, Bowen Goals: Hannay 5/7 Telstra Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Sing (Cowboys) 2 - S Southern (Cowboys) 1 - M Bowen (Cowboys)
ROOSTERS 38 Tries: Minichiello 2, Fitzgibbon, Walker, Hodges, Fittler, Flannery Goals: Fitzgibbon 5/7 defeated RAIDERS 12 Tries: Smith, Chalk Goals: Schifcofske 2/2 Aussie Stadium, Crowd: 18,325 Referee: Paul Simpkins Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Finch (Roosters) 2 - A Morley (Roosters) 1 - A Tupou (Roosters)