Monday?s Expert League Wrap - Round 23, 2006

With just three rounds remaining before the finals, the Melbourne Storm have all but wrapped up the minor premiership following their 18-12 victory over the Brisbane Broncos last Sunday. Played in front of a Lang Park crowd of 40,159, the Storm overcame a 10-0 half time deficit to run out winners and maintain their spot at the top of the NRL ladder. The southern franchise are now on 40 competition points and six points clear of the field. The Broncos are clinging onto fifth spot and join a log jam of teams on 26 points.

Round 23 kicked off on Friday night with the Manly Sea Eagles hanging on to defeat the Newcastle Knights 16-14 in Newcastle. The Sea Eagles are now in outright third position on 28 points while the Knights are in sixth position on 26 points.

Saturday rugby league took us to Auckland where the New Zealand Warriors treated a small crowd to their 10th win of the year, thrashing the North Queensland Cowboys by 26-0. The in-form Warriors are on 20 points and in 12th position and realistically no chance of making the top eight. The 11th-placed Cowboys are on 22 points and are playing like a team that has already given the season away.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Roosters were handing the Penrith Panthers a 20-10 pasting at Penrith Stadium. The 10th-placed Panthers, like the Cowboys, are still a mathematical chance of making the top eight but are unlikely contenders if recent form is anything to go on. The Roosters are in 13th position but are looking to unsettle teams above them on the ladder.

Saturday wrapped up in the Shire with the Parramatta Eels staging a second half comeback to blitz the Cronulla Sharks by 34-14. The Eels have now posted their eighth win on the trot and move up to fourth position and 26 points. With other results going their way, the Sharks are still clinging onto ninth spot but on 22 points, find themselves four points adrift of the top eight.

Sunday football took us to Homebush where the Canterbury Bulldogs maintained the rage in disposing of an out-of-form St George Illawarra Dragons by 26-10. The Bulldogs are in outright second position on 34 points. Meanwhile the Dragons have crashed to their fifth consecutive loss and are hanging onto seventh position amongst a crowd of teams on 26 points.

Round 23 wrapped up with the Canberra Raiders pipping the Wests Tigers by a golden point for the second time this year. Locked up at 18-all after 80 minutes, the match went into extra time with a field goal giving the Raiders a surprise 19-18 victory. The Wests Tigers are in second last position and the result all but ends any chance of them defending their title. The Raiders are looking rough on 26 points but are set to take the final position in the top eight.

The last-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs had the bye for round 23.

All match results and details are listed below. Player Awards
This year?s Player Awards still has Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith coming first on 27 points. Canberra full back Clinton Schifcofske is in second spot with 26 points.

Moving up the leader board are forwards Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels) and Willie Mason (Bulldogs) on 23 points. Preston Campbell (Panthers) is not far away on 21 points while Greg Inglis (Storm) and Matt Orford (Sea Eagles) are on 20 points. On 19 points are Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles) and Andrew Johns (Knights).

The full leader board is below.

The players of the match are decided by our live score updaters and tallied here each week on Monday?s Expert League wrap.

Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us

League Wrap: Round 23, 11 August ? 13 August 2006

Newcastle Knights: 14
Tries: Matthew Gidley, Andrew Johns, Josh Perry
Goals: Andrew Johns 1/3
Manly Sea Eagles: 16
Tries: Chris Hicks, Matt Orford, Steve Bell
Goals: Matt Orford 2/3
Half time: Sea Eagles 10-8
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Crowd: 25,105
Referee: Paul Simpkins players of the match:
3 - Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)
2 - Josh Perry (Knights)
1 - Travis Burns (Sea Eagles)

New Zealand Warriors: 26
Tries: Lance Hohaia (2), Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Sam Rapira
Goals: Lance Hohaia 3/6
North Queensland Cowboys: 0
Half time: Warriors 12-0
Venue: Mt Smart (Ericsson) Stadium
Crowd: 5,425
Referee: Gavin Badger players of the match:
3 - Lance Hohaia (Warriors)
2 - Steve Price (Warriors)
1 - Sam Rapira (Warriors)

Penrith Panthers: 20
Tries: Luke Priddis, Rhys Wesser, Michael Gordon
Goals: Preston Campbell 4/4
Sydney Roosters: 40
Tries: Sam Perrett (3), Amos Roberts, Jamie Soward, Shaun Foley, Josh Lewis
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 4/5, Josh Lewis 2/2
Half time: Roosters 16-14
Venue: CUA Stadium, Penrith
Crowd: 11,704
Referee: Jason Robinson players of the match:
3 - Sam Perrett (Roosters)
2 - Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters)
1 - Josh Lewis (Roosters)

Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 14
Tries: David Simmons, Ben Pomeroy
Goals: Luke Covell 3/3
Parramatta Eels: 34
Tries: Luke Burt (2), Wade McKinnon, Glenn Morrison, Mark Riddell, Jarryd Hayne
Goals: Luke Burt 5/7
Half time: Sharks 12-8
Venue: Toyota Park
Crowd: 12,830
Referee: Tony Archer players of the match:
3 - Luke Burt (Eels)
2 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)
1 - Paul Gallen (Sharks)

Brisbane Broncos: 12
Tries: Darren Lockyer, Tame Tupou
Goals: Darren Lockyer 1/2, Corey Parker 1/1
Melbourne Storm: 18
Tries: Cooper Cronk, Matt King, Steve Turner
Goals: Cameron Smith 3/3
Half time: Broncos 10-0
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Crowd: 40,159
Referee: Shayne Hayne players of the match:
3 - Steve Turner (Storm)
2 - Justin Hodges (Broncos)
1 - Sam Thaiday (Broncos)

Canterbury Bulldogs: 26
Tries: Hazem El Masri, Willie Mason, Brent Sherwin, Sonny Bill Williams
Goals: Hazem El Masri 5/6
St George Illawarra Dragons: 10
Tries: Trent Barrett, Brett Morris
Goals: Mathew Head 1/2
Half time: Bulldogs 16-4
Venue: Telstra Stadium
Crowd: 31,256
Referee: Sean Hampstead players of the match:
3 - Willie Mason (Bulldogs)
2 - Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)
1 - Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs)

Wests Tigers: 18
Tries: Daniel Fitzhenry, Chris Heighington, Scott Prince
Goals: Scott Prince 3/4
Canberra Raiders: 19
Tries: Phillip Graham, Adam Mogg, Alan Tongue
Goals: Clinton Schifcofske 3/3
Field Goals: Todd Carney
Half time: 12 all
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium
Crowd: 18,474
Referee: Steven Clark players of the match:
3 - Scott Prince (Tigers)
2 - Todd Carney (Raiders)
1 - Alan Tongue (Raiders)

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Bye


Round 24, 18-20 August 2006
Fri 7:30 BULLDOGS v BRONCOS - Telstra Stadium
Sat 5:30 SHARKS v PANTHERS - Toyota Park
Sat 7:30 COWBOYS v KNIGHTS - Dairy Farmers Stadium
Sat 7:30 STORM v WARRIORS - Olympic Park Melbourne
Sun 2:30 ROOSTERS v EELS - Aussie Stadium
Sun 3:00 SEA EAGLES v RABBITOHS - Brookvale Oval
Sun 3:00 DRAGONS v TIGERS - OKI Jubilee Stadium

The players awards are decided by our live score updaters.
Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.

27 points
Cameron Smith (Storm)

26 points
Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)

23 points
Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Willie Mason (Bulldogs)

21 points
Preston Campbell (Panthers)

20 points
Greg Inglis (Storm), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)

19 points
Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Andrew Johns (Knights)

17 points
Cooper Cronk (Storm), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)

16 points
Danny Buderus (Knights)

14 points
Matthew Bowen (Cowboys), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Steve Price (Warriors), Scott Prince (Tigers)

13 points
Adam Dykes (Sharks), Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Darren Lockyer (Broncos)

12 points
Jason Smith (Raiders), Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)

11 points
Roy Asotasi (Bulldogs), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Paul Gallen (Sharks), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)

10 points
Petero Civoniceva (Broncos), Robert Farah (Tigers), Alan Tongue (Raiders)

9 points
Mathew Head (Dragons), Brett Hodgson (Tigers)

8 points
Brett Kimmorley (Sharks), Corey Parker (Broncos), Grant Rovelli (Warriors), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Ruben Wiki (Warriors), Dean Young (Dragons)

7 points
Steve Bell (Sea Eagles), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Nathan Merritt (Rabbitohs), Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), David Peachey (Rabbitohs), Amos Roberts (Roosters), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs), Steve Simpson (Knights)

6 points
Nathan Cayless (Eels), Craig Gower (Panthers), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Ryan Hoffman (Storm), Luke Lewis (Panthers), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Lance Thompson (Sharks)

5 points
Trent Barrett (Dragons), Dean Collis (Tigers), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Brett Finch (Roosters), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Jarryd Hayne (Eels), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Luke Priddis (Panthers), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Brent Webb (Warriors)

4 points
Darren Albert (Sharks), Greg Bird (Sharks), Brian Carney (Knights), Todd Carney (Raiders), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Sione Faumuina (Warriors), Phillip Graham (Raiders), David Kidwell (Storm), Scott Hill (Storm), Ben Hornby (Dragons), Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers), Adam MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Fuifui Moimoi (Eels), Clint Newton (Knights), Josh Perry (Knights), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), David Simmons (Sharks), Billy Slater (Storm), Jamie Soward (Roosters), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Paul Whatuira (Tigers), Lincoln Withers (Raiders)

3 points
Luke Bailey (Dragons), Travis Burns (Sea Eagles), Luke Burt (Eels), Joel Clinton (Panthers), Darius Boyd (Broncos), Luke Covell (Sharks), Michael Crocker (Storm), Greg Eastwood (Broncos), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Michael Gordon (Panthers), Clint Greenshields (Dragons), Nathan Hinton (Knights), Lance Hohaia (Warriors), Brett Kearney (Sharks), Luke MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Reni Maitua (Bulldogs), Manase Manuokafoa (Rabbitohs), Adam Mogg (Raiders), John Morris (Eels), Sam Perrett (Roosters), Luke O?Dwyer (Eels), Michael Robertson (Sea Eagles), Jerome Ropati (Warriors), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Tame Tupou (Broncos), Steve Turner (Storm), Matthew Utai (Bulldogs), Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles), Jake Webster (Storm), Joe Williams (Rabbitohs)

2 points
Brenton Bowen (Cowboys), George Carmont (Knights), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Keith Galloway (Tigers), Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors), Ashley Harrison (Roosters), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Raiders), Tony Martin (Warriors), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Peter-John Marsh (Eels), Benji Marshall (Tigers), Luke Patten (Bulldogs), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Rooney (Panthers), John Skandalis (Tigers), Craig Smith (Knights), Tim Smith (Eels), Iosia Soliola (Roosters), Steven Southern (Cowboys), Timana Tahu (Eels), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Evarn Tuimavave (Warriors), Nigel Vagana (Sharks), Trent Waterhouse (Panthers), Shane Webcke (Broncos), Michael Weyman (Raiders), Craig Wing (Roosters)

1 point
Paul Bowman (Cowboys), Ben Creagh (Dragons), Shayne Dunley (Sea Eagles), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Shaun Foley (Roosters), Nathan Friend (Storm), Matt Geyer (Storm), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Tony Grimaldi (Bulldogs), Chris Hicks (Sea Eagles), Daniel Holdsworth (Bulldogs), Lee Hookey (Panthers), Matt King (Storm), Josh Lewis (Roosters), Todd Lowrie (Knights), Steve Matai (Sea Eagles), Daryl Millard (Dragons), Ryan O'Hara (Tigers), Shannon McDonnell (Tigers), Sam Rapira (Warriors), Mark Riddell (Eels), Shane Rodney (Panthers), David Shillington (Roosters), Brent Tate (Broncos), Sam Thaiday (Broncos), Willie Tonga (Bulldogs), Shane Tronc (Cowboys), Taniela Tuiaki (Tigers), Ben Walker (Rabbitohs), Simon Woolford (Raiders), William Zillman (Raiders)