Monday?s Expert League
Wrap - Round 3, 2006

The Newcastle Knights kicked off the round by racking up a big score against the Bulldogs and moving to the top of the competition ladder. Fullback Milton Thaiday got himself a hat trick of tries while ?Joey? Johns was running rings around the flat-footed Bulldogs defence. Last year?s wooden spooners, the Knights have stunned opposition packs in recent weeks.

The Warriors defeated last year?s premiers Wests Tigers to finally get their first win on the board for 2006 and their first win in New Zealand outside of Auckland. Now on minus two competition points, the result sees the Warriors move closer to zero, just one win away from wiping the slate clean and starting over.

Meanwhile the Sea Eagles scored their first win of the season, defeating the Sharks in Brookvale. For the second week running, the Sharks have posted a handy first half lead only to be chased down by their opponents.

In Townsville, the North Queensland Cowboys thrashed the Melbourne Storm. Five-eighth Jonhathan Thurston carved them up in a man-of-the-match performance. Last year?s grand-finalists, the Cowboys are looking to go one better in 2006.

Sunday football saw the St George Illawarra Dragons score a big win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but not before Souths showed some ticker in the first half. In a sometimes scrappy game, Saints were just too good in the second half with Mark Gasnier racking up a hat trick of tries.

In other matches, Darren Lockyer put in a sterling performance in Brisbane as the Broncos downed the Parramatta Eels and posted their second win on the trot. Meanwhile in Sydney, the Roosters hammered the Raiders 56-20 after the Raiders actually led 20-10 early in the second half.

All match results and details are listed below.

The Player Awards sees two players breaking away from the pack. Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns and Cowboys five-eighth Johnathan Thurston have scored maximum points for three consecutive weeks to lead the awards on nine points.

A log jam is developing on six points with Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Craig Gower (Panthers), Darren Lockyer (Broncos) and Cameron Smith (Storm) not far away from the front-runners.

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.

League Wrap: Round 3, 24-26 March 2006

Newcastle Knights: 46
Tries: Danny Buderus, Matthew Gidley, Todd Lowrie, Milton Thaiday (3), Brian Carney
Goals: Andrew Johns 9/10
Canterbury Bulldogs: 22
Tries: Hazem El Masri, Corey Hughes, Willie Mason, Andrew Emelio
Goals: Hazem El Masri 3/4
Half time: Knights 34-6
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium
Crowd: 25,504
Referee: Steve Clark players of the match:
3 - Andrew Johns (Knights)
2 - Josh Perry (Knights)
1 - Milton Thaiday (Knights)

Wests Tigers: 10
Tries: Daniel Fitzhenry, Michael Crockett
Goals: Brett Hodgson 1/2
New Zealand Warriors: 26
Tries: Awen Guttenbeil, Jerome Ropati, Clinton Toopi, Manu Vatuvei, Brent Webb
Goals: Tony Martin 3/5
Half time: Warriors 14-0
Venue: Jade Stadium NZ
Crowd: 14,675
Referee: Paul Simpkins players of the match:
3 - Ruben Wiki (Warriors)
2 - Clinton Toopi (Warriors)
1 - Steve Price (Warriors)

Manly Sea Eagles: 20
Tries: Travis Burns, Brett Stewart, Steve Bell
Goals: Matt Orford 4/4
Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 18
Tries: Phil Bailey, Adam Dykes, Darren Albert
Goals: Luke Covell 3/4
Half time: Sharks 10-6
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Crowd: 13,114
Referee: Sean Hampstead players of the match:
3 - Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)
2 - Steve Bell (Sea Eagles)
1 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)

North Queensland Cowboys: 40
Tries: Paul Bowman, Luke O'Donnell, Johnathan Thurston (2), Ty Williams, Neil Sweeney
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 8/8
Melbourne Storm: 8
Tries: Matt Geyer, Jake Webster
Goals: Cameron Smith 0/2
Half time: Cowboys 22-4
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
Crowd: 21,346
Referee: Russell Smith players of the match: players of the match:
3 - Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
2 - Steven Southern (Cowboys)
1 - Luke O?Donnell (Cowboys)

South Sydney Rabbitohs: 14
Tries: Yileen Gordon, Shane Rigon, Nathan Merritt
Goals: Nathan Merritt 1/3
St George Illawarra Dragons: 44
Tries: Colin Best, Mark Gasnie r(3), Aaron Gorrell, Ben Hornby, Daryl Millard
Goals: Aaron Gorrell 8/8
Half time: Dragons 26-8
Venue: Telstra Stadium
Crowd: 16,049
Referee: Jason Robinson players of the match:
3 - Mark Gasnier (Dragons)
2 - Dean Young (Dragons)
1 - Trent Barrett (Dragons)

Brisbane Broncos: 30
Tries: Justin Hodges, Karmichael Hunt, Darren Lockyer, David Stagg, Tame Tupou (2)
Goals: Corey Parker 1/1, Michael Ennis 2/5
Parramatta Eels: 10
Tries: Ben Smith , Micheal Vella
Goals: Luke Burt 1/2
Half time: Broncos 8-6
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Crowd: 25,525
Referee: Tony Archer players of the match:
3 - Darren Lockyer (Broncos)
2 - Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)
1 - Justin Hodges (Broncos)

Sydney Roosters: 56
Tries: Ryan Cross, Brett Finch, Anthony Minichello(2), Amos Roberts(2), Iosia Soliola, Anthony Tupou(2), Ashley Harrison
Goals: Craig Fitzgibbon 6/8, Amos Roberts 2/2
Canberra Raiders: 20
Tries: David Howell, Alan Tongue(2), Lincoln Withers
Goals: Clinton Shifcofske 2/4
Half time: Raiders 14-10
Venue: Aussie Stadium
Crowd: 9,826
Referee: Shayne Hayne players of the match:
3 - Amos Roberts (Roosters)
2 - Anthony Minichiello (Roosters)
1 - Anthony Tupou (Roosters)

Penrith Panthers - Bye


Next weekend?s matches:
Round 4, 31 March-2 April 2006

Fri 7:30 - EELS v COWBOYS - Parramatta Stadium
Sat 5:30 - SHARKS v RABBITOHS - Toyota Park
Sat 7:30 - SEA EAGLES ROOSTERS - Brookvale Oval
Sat 7:30 - RAIDERS v PANTHERS - Canberra Stadium
Sun 2:30 - TIGERS v STORM - Leichhardt Oval
Sun 3:00 - DRAGONS v BRONCOS - WIN Stadium
Sun 3:00 - KNIGHTS v WARRIORS - EnergyAustralia Stadium
(NB: NSW Daylight Saving ends 3am Sunday 2 March)


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

9 points
Andrew Johns (Knights), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)

6 points
Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Craig Gower (Panthers), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Cameron Smith (Storm)

5 points
Amos Roberts (Roosters)

4 points
Jamie Soward (Roosters)

3 points
Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Clinton Shifcofske (Raiders), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Ruben Wiki (Warriors)

2 points
Steve Bell (Sea Eagles), Preston Campbell (Panthers), George Carmont (Knights), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Adam Dykes (Sharks), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos), Greg Inglis (Storm), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), Josh Perry (Knights), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), Scott Prince (Tigers), Jason Smith (Raiders), Steven Southern (Cowboys), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Dean Young (Dragons)

1 points
Trent Barrett (Dragons), Paul Bowman (Cowboys), Danny Buderus (Knights), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Steve Price (Warriors), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Paul Whatuira (Tigers), Lincoln Withers (Raiders), William Zillman (Raiders)