Friday night's game between Newcastle and the Dragons was the perfect follow-up to Origin I. Both sides played end-to-end footy and with the Knights getting home thanks to a rip snorter of a goal right on fulltime. The man of the moment was Andrew Johns and for those who doubt that Joey is the best player in the world, you only have to listen to the Gus Gould and the TV commentary team. Pedantic critics point to a word count of 'Joey' 63 times, 'Johns' 136 times and 'champion halfback' 1,354 times. But as far as this expert is concerned, Gus was merely reassuring us that all is well between he and Joey. It was one the most well-balanced and down to earth match calls since the great Rex Mossop aired his dulcet tones during Channel 7's 'Manly match of the day' in the 1970s.
Saturday's footy had another close encounter with the Sharks getting up by two points over the Tigers. The match saw Cronulla halfback Brett Kimmorley being placed on report after a spot of head hunting. It was somewhat ironic when it was Noddy with the broken jaw at fulltime and a likely sideline candidate for the next month. Afterwards, Sharks coach Chris Anderson let loose calling the ref a few a choice names in the tunnel. Angry Anderson was unrepentant and the Sharks found themselves $15,000 poorer after being slugged with a fine today.
Tragically, the Panthers run came to end on Saturday night. The not-so-mighties crashed and burned at the hands of a hot Melbourne outfit. Penrith's winning streak is now over but the result offers new found hope to the Storm.
Talking about new found hope, Parramatta downed a dozy Warriors side and pulled off a come-from-behind victory to become the third team of the round to win by two points. With eight minutes to go, the Warriors had a handy 26-12 lead and never should have lost. But the Eels had other ideas crashing through for three late tries, winning the game and bringing the house down. It was timely comeback for Parra who earlier in the match were looking bound for the NRL cellar. But the fulltime siren saw an amazing victory and jubilation from players who obviously don't need to be told that second last is always better than last.
Another close match was the Roosters v Cowboys encounter which saw a gutsy and courageous Cowboys side go down by just one point to the 2002 premiers. It was a top-notch effort from the North Queenslanders who are making it clear to everyone that they're here to stay.
Finally, we had the top of the table clash in the nation's capital with Canberra taking on Brisbane. The Broncos had a number of players backing up from Wednesday night's Origin but it was always going to be tough for the home side. As it turned out, it was ripper of a game which saw the lead change several times. In the end, the Broncos burst the Raiders bubble to snatch top spot on the NRL ladder.
Next week (round 15, 20-22 June): Panthers v Knights at Penrith Manly v Sharks at Brookvale Saints v Souths in Wollongong Parra v Cowboys at Parramatta Warriors v Raiders at Ericsson* Tigers v Easts in Campbelltown Storm v Bulldogs at Olympic *Mondays Expert match of the round
Round 14 results at a glance home team listed first
KNIGHTS 32 Tries: Quinn, Johns, MacDougall 3, Hughes Goals: Johns 4/6 defeated DRAGONS 30 Tries: Blacklock 2, Cooper 2, Ryles Goals: Firman 2/2, Riddell 3/4 Friday 13 June 2003 EnergyAustralia Stadium Referee: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 18,233 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Johns (Knights) 2 - A MacDougall (Knights) 1 - L Thompson (Dragons)
SHARKS 28 Tries: Bailey 2, Milford, Sullivan, Gibson Goals: Kimmorley 1/1, Anderson 3/5 defeated TIGERS 26 Tries: Skandalis 2, Bradley-Qalilawa, Withers Goals: Lovell 5/6 Saturday 14 June 2003 Toyota Park Referee: Rod Lawrence Crowd: 11,586 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Kimmorley (Sharks) 2 - J Skandalis (Tigers) 1 - P Bailey (Sharks)
PANTHERS 12 Tries: Lewis, Wesser Goals: Campbell 1/2 defeated by STORM 32 Tries: Bai, Geyer, Kidwell, Orford, Kearns Goals: Orford 6/6 Saturday 14 June 2003 Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Crowd: 15,683 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Orford (Storm) 2 - R Kearns (Storm) 1 - P Campbell (Panthers)
EELS 28 Tries: 2 Peterson, Hopkins, Graham, Vaealiki, Wagon Goals: Moodie 0/2, Witt 2/5 defeated WARRIORS 26 Tries: Betham, Webb, Faumuina, Meli, Anderson Goals: Jones 2/4, Webb 1/2 Saturday 14 June 2003 Parramatta Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 8,076 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Faumuina (Warriors) 2 - L Hopkins (Eels) 1 - M Peterson (Eels)
BULLDOGS 34 Tries: Vagana, Utai, Sherwin, Anasta, Harris, Grimaldi Goals: El Masri 5/7 defeated SEA EAGLES 20 Tries: Walker, McGuiness, Donald, Hopoate Goals: Walker 2/4 Sunday 15 June 2003 Sydney Showground Referee: Stephen Clark Crowd: 8,403 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - N Vagana (Bulldogs) 2 - B Sherwin (Bulldogs) 1 - C Randall (Sea Eagles)
ROOSTERS 15 Tries: Fittler, Minichiello Goals: Fitzgibbon 3/3. Fittler Field Goal defeated COWBOYS 14 Tries: Myles, Morrison Goals: Hannay 3/4 Sunday 15 June 2003 Aussie Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 9,123 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - A Morley (Roosters) 2 - J Hannay (Cowboys) 1 - C Wing (Roosters)
RAIDERS 20 Tries: Monaghan 3, Wiki Goals: Schifcofske 2/5 defeated by BRONCOS 24 Tries: Civoniceva, Lockyer, De Vere, Minto Goals: De Vere 4/4 Sunday 15 June 2003 Canberra Stadium Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 18,136 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - J Monaghan (Raiders) 2 - D Lockyer (Broncos) 1 - M De Vere (Broncos)
Leagueunlimited.com Player of the Year Awards Round 14
Tally update: 18 points: D Lockyer (Broncos) 16 points: C Schicofske (Raiders) 15 points: L Bailey (Dragons), A Johns (Knights) 14 points: P Campbell (Panthers), M Orford (Storm) 13 points: C Fitzgibbon (Roosters) 12 points: B Kimmorley (Sharks), A Minichiello (Roosters), S Price (Bulldogs) 10 points: PJ Marsh (Warriors), M Sing (Cowboys) 9 points: B Drew (Raiders), J Smith (Rabbitohs), R Wesser (Panthers), C Wing (Roosters) 8 points: J Ferris (Sea Eagles), G Morrison (Cowboys), D Nutley (Sharks), B Sherwin (Bulldogs), R Wiki (Raiders) 7 points: S Berrigan (Broncos), D Buderus (Knights), C Gower (Panthers), L Hohaia (Warriors), S Kearney (Storm), L Priddis (Panthers), B Slater (Storm) 6 points: T Carroll (Broncos), S Faumuina (Warriors), T Hill (Tigers), B Kennedy (Knights), C Pearson (Wests Tigers), B Walker (Sea Eagles), A Watmough (Sea Eagles), L Withers (Wests Tigers) 5 points: B Fittler (Roosters), J Hannay (Cowboys), J Morris (Eels), P Stringer (Rabbitohs), G Tallis (Broncos), N Vagana (Bulldogs), S Woolford (Raiders) 4 points: D Abraham (Knights), M Bowen (Cowboys), T Byrne (Roosters), K Campion (Cowboys), B Finch (Roosters), B Fletcher (Rabbitohs), B Hodgson (Eels), R Kearns (Storm), J Lyon (Eels), L McWilliams (Cowboys), D Peachey (Sharks), T Puletua (Panthers), C Randall (Sea Eagles), M Riddell (Dragons), J Skandalis (Tigers), B Tate (Broncos), S Timmins (Dragons), P Whatuira (Panthers) 3 points: B Anasta (Bulldogs), S Bell (Storm), O Craigie (Rabbitohs), H El Masri (Bulldogs), B Firman (Dragons), P Graham (Raiders), A Guttenbeil (Warriors), S Jones (Warriors), J Lowe (Cowboys), W Mason (Bulldogs), M McClinden (Raiders), F Meli (Warriors), J Monaghan (Raiders), A Morley (Roosters), D Myles (Cowboys), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), J Perry (Knights), J Seu Seu (Warriors), L Thompson (Dragons), S Webcke (Broncos) 2 points: P Bailey (Sharks), D Byrne (Dragons), D Carlaw (Broncos), J Caine (Wests Tigers), J Feeney (Bulldogs), M Gasnier (Dragons), M Gidley (Knights), A Graham (Eels), B Harris (Bulldogs), S Hill (Storm), L Hopkins (Eels), J Lolesi (Raiders), A MacDougall (Knights), M McLinden (Raiders), N Merritt (Rabbitohs), P Rauhihi (Cowboys), B Reeves (Sea Eagles), S Rudder (Knights), S Sattler (Panthers), D Senter (Wests Tigers), J Seu Seu (Warriors), L Swann (Warriors), S Tadulala (Storm) 1 point: T Barrett (Dragons), C Beattie (Sharks), M De Vere (Broncos), S Donald (Sea Eagles), S Dunley (Eels), H Fa'afili (Warriors), B Galea (Wests Tigers), P Gallen (Sharks), J Galuvao (Panthers), R Girdler (Panthers), A Hart (Rabbitohs), J Hodges (Roosters), S Kelly (Broncos), D Kidwell (Storm), F Meli (Warriors), S Menzies (Sea Eagles), R O'Davis (Knights), M Peterson (Eels), A Quinn (Knights), L Ricketson (Roosters), C Sheppard (Cowboys), T Smith (Raiders), R Swain (Broncos), J Thurston (Bulldogs), B Webb (Warriors), D Widders (Eels), M Witt (Eels), A Woolnough (Knights)Like