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The top eight looks settled with Roosters, the mighty Panthers, Canterbury, Canberra all sitting comfortably in the top four. Four points back, the Broncos, Storm, Warriors and Knights are sitting on 28 points to make up the remainder of the cut.
A further four points back are the Dragons who have probably butchered the hopes for 2003. With three rounds remaining, Saints are at best an outside chance of scraping in should the results go their way.
In a high scoring round of NRL footy, we saw no less than 357 points scored. Kicking off with the Knights 36-20 demolition of the Warriors in Newcastle, the local lads proved that they can indeed win without Joey Johns, at least sometimes.
Saturday saw the upset of the round with the Cowboys steam-rolling the Raiders in Canberra. Two hours later, the Sharks buried the Dragons in front an elated Toyota Park crowd. Meanwhile, another upset was happening in the Broncos' graveyard, as Brisbane went down at home, yet again - this time to the Wests Tigers.
Sunday footy opened with Easts disposing of the Rabbitohs at Aussie Stadium. The match saw Freddy Fittler forced from the field again which must be a worrying sign for Roosters' fans.
Then it was a quick drive across the bridge to see Manly copping another hammering as the Bulldogs piled on 56 points to let everyone know that they are the team to beat.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, the Storm were sending out similar warnings as they put 50 on the board to finally put an end to the Eels' 2003 campaign. Next week (round 24, 15-17 August): St George vs Melbourne in Wollongong Panthers vs Westie Tigers in Penrith Eels vs Sharkies in Parramatta Cowboys vs Rabbitohs in Townsville Warriors vs Broncos in Auckland Raiders vs Knights in Canberra Roosters vs Sea Eagles at Aussie Bulldogs: Bye *Mondays Expert match of the round
Round 23 results at a glance home team listed first
KNIGHTS 36 Tries: MacDougall 2, Hughes 2, Rudder, Gidley Goals: Abraham 5/6, Gidley 1/2 defeated WARRIORS 20 Tries: Toopi 2, Villasanti, Meli Goals: Hohaia 2/4 Friday 15 August 2003 7:30 PM EnergyAustralia Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Video Referee: Graeme West Crowd: 17,198 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - K Gidley (Knights) 2 - J Perry (Knights) 1 - L Hohaia (Warriors)
RAIDERS 28 Tries: J Monaghan 2, Evans, Lolesi, Graham Goals: J Monaghan 6/8 defeated by COWBOYS 34 Tries: B Bowen, Hannay, Myles, Payne, Bowman, Williams Goals: Hannay 3/5 Saturday 16 August 2003 5:30 PM Canberra Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Video Referee: Eddie Ward Crowd: 8,074 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - D Myles (Cowboys) 2 - J Monaghan (Raiders) 1 - G Morrison (Cowboys)
SHARKS 25 Tries: Anderson, Sullivan, P Bailey, Hilder, Kent Goals: Anderson 2/5 Field Goal: Sullivan defeated DRAGONS 16 Tries: Nero, Creagh, Firman Goals: Riddell 2/3 Saturday 16 August 2003 7:30 PM Toyota Park Referee: Sean Hampstead Video Referee: Chris Ward Crowd: 15,504 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Sullivan (Sharks) 2 - L Bailey (Dragons) 1 - D Nutley (Sharks)
BRONCOS 10 Tries: Carroll, Wyatt Goals: Devere 1/2 defeated by TIGERS 12 Tries: Miles, Heighnington Goals: Covell 2/2 Saturday 16 August 2003 7:30 PM Suncorp Stadium Referee: Stephen Clark Video Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 15,042 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M O'Neill (Tigers) 2 - C Heighnington (Tigers) 1 - S Webcke (Broncos)
RABBITOHS 12 Tries: MacDougall 2 Goals: Smith 2/2 defeated by ROOSTERS 22 Tries: Heggarty, Minichiello, Byrne, Flannery Goals: Walker 3/5 Sunday 17 August 2003 2:30 PM Aussie Stadium Referee: Steve Lyons Video Referee: Stephen Clark Crowd: 11,201 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Minichiello (Roosters) 2 - N Cayless (Roosters) 1 - J Smith (Rabbitohs)
SEA EAGLES 24 Tries: Dorn, Menzies 2, Watmough Goals: Walker 4/6 defeated by BULLDOGS 56 Tries: Thurston 2, Mason 2, Patten 2, Utai 3, Vagana Goals: El Masri 8/10 Sunday 17 August 2003 3:00 PM Brookvale Oval Referee: Tim Mander Video Referee: Mick Lewis Crowd: 12,820 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - H El Masri (Bulldogs) 2 - M Utai (Bulldogs) 1 - W Mason (Bulldogs)
STORM 50 Tries: Slater 3, Moala, Orford, Bell, Smith, Williams, Bai Goals: Orford 6/8, Smith 1/2 defeated EELS 12 Tries: Hopkins, Moodie Goals: Witt 2/3 Sunday 17 August 2003 3:00 PM Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: Bill Harrigan Video Referee: Phil Cooley Crowd: 8,699 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Orford (Storm) 2 - M Geyer (Storm) 1 - C Smith (Storm)
Leagueunlimited.com Player of the Year Awards Round 23 Tally update: 24 points: M Orford (Storm) 21 points: D Lockyer (Broncos) 20 points: L Bailey (Dragons), B Sherwin (Bulldogs) 19 points: P Campbell (Panthers), A Johns (Knights) 17 points: B Firman (Dragons), C Gower (Panthers), A Minichiello (Roosters) 16 points: C Schicofske (Raiders), B Slater (Storm) 15 points: L Priddis (Panthers) 14 points: C Wing (Roosters) 13 points: C Fitzgibbon (Roosters), S Price (Bulldogs) 12 points: B Fittler (Roosters), T Hill (Tigers), B Kimmorley (Sharks) 11 points: G Morrison (Cowboys), J Smith (Rabbitohs) 10 points: D Buderus (Knights), B Drew (Raiders), H El Masri (Bulldogs), M Geyer (Storm), S Jones (Warriors), PJ Marsh (Warriors), F Meli (Warriors), J Monaghan (Raiders), J Morris (Eels), D Nutley (Sharks), M Sing (Cowboys), L Withers (Tigers) 9 points: L Hohaia (Warriors), R Kearns (Storm), B Walker (Sea Eagles), R Wesser (Panthers) 8 points: M Bowen (Cowboys), K Campion (Cowboys), M Crocker (Roosters), J Ferris (Sea Eagles), N Hindmarsh (Eels), M McLinden (Raiders), D Senter (Tigers), G Tallis (Broncos), L Thompson (Dragons), R Wiki (Raiders) 7 points: P Bailey (Sharks), S Berrigan (Broncos), B Fletcher (Rabbitohs), B Harris (Bulldogs), S Kearney (Storm), W Mason (Bulldogs), D Peachey (Sharks), S Timmins (Dragons), N Vagana (Bulldogs), S Webcke (Broncos), M Witt (Eels) 6 points: T Carroll (Broncos), S Faumuina (Warriors), B Kennedy (Knights), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), D Myles (Cowboys), C Pearson (Wests Tigers), J Skandalis (Tigers), A Watmough (Sea Eagles), S Webcke (Broncos) 5 points: D Abraham (Knights), O Craigie (Rabbitohs), M Gidley (Knights), J Hannay (Cowboys), J Lyon (Eels), M O'Neill (Tigers), J Perry (Knights), C Randall (Sea Eagles), P Rauhihi (Cowboys), M Riddell (Dragons), J Seu Seu (Warriors), P Stringer (Rabbitohs), L Swann (Warriors), S Woolford (Raiders) 4 points: N Blacklock (Dragons), T Byrne (Roosters), S Donald (Sea Eagles), B Finch (Roosters), J Galuvao (Panthers), M Gasnier (Dragons), B Hodgson (Eels), L McWilliams (Cowboys), T Puletua (Panthers), S Sattler (Panthers), T Tahu (Knights), B Tate (Broncos), M Utai (Bulldogs), P Whatuira (Panthers) 3 points: B Anasta (Bulldogs), S Bell (Storm), L Covell (Tigers), M De Vere (Broncos), C Flannery (Roosters), K Gidley (Knights), P Graham (Raiders), A Guttenbeil (Warriors), A Lauiti'iti (Warriors), L Lewis (Panthers), J Lowe (Cowboys), A MacDougall (Knights), M McClinden (Raiders), S Menzies (Sea Eagles), A Morley (Roosters), R O'Hara (Raiders), L Rooney (Panthers), C Smith (Storm), M Sullivan (Sharks), B Webb (Warriors) 2 points: D Byrne (Dragons), D Carlaw (Broncos), J Caine (Wests Tigers), N Cayless (Roosters), L Dorn (Sea Eagles), J Feeney (Bulldogs), B Galea (Tigers), A Graham (Eels), T Grimaldi (Bulldogs), D Heckenberg (Eels), C Heighnington (Tigers), S Hill (Storm), L Hopkins (Eels), M Hughes (Knights), A Laffranchi (Tigers), J Lolesi (Raiders), N Merritt (Rabbitohs), A Mogg (Raiders), R O'Hara (Raiders), B Reeves (Sea Eagles), L Ricketson (Roosters), S Rudder (Knights), J Ryles (Dragons), M Sargent (Storm), S Tadulala (Storm), C Toopi (Warriors), D Wagon (Eels), L Williamson (Eagles) 1 point: T Barrett (Dragons), C Beattie (Sharks), J Bulgarelli (Raiders), J Carlaw (Warriors), M Creary (Sea Eagles), J Croker (Raiders), J Death (Rabbitohs), S Dunley (Eels), H Fa'afili (Warriors), P Gallen (Sharks), R Girdler (Panthers), E Grothe (Roosters), A Hart (Rabbitohs), J Hodges (Roosters), S Kelly (Broncos), D Kidwell (Storm), L MacDougall (Rabbitohs), R O'Davis (Knights), C Parker (Broncos), M Peterson (Eels), A Quinn (Knights), C Sheppard (Cowboys), T Smith (Raiders), R Swain (Broncos), J Thurston (Bulldogs), C Webb (Broncos), D Widders (Eels), T Williams (Cowboys), A Woolnough (Knights)