Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
2 days ago
Friday night footy saw Gorden Tallis return to form to lead his Broncos outfit to a narrow victory over the Roosters and maintain their spot at the top of the ladder. But the curse of Suncorp has claimed another victim with Roosters' backrower, Craig Fitzgibbon falling foul of the Lang Park sand pit.
Saturday saw the Cowboys lose again at home. The Sharks eventually got the money but not before a great effort from the North Queenslanders who had to play with a reduced bench. The result sees both sides sitting on 14 points, four points away from the cut.
Meanwhile, The Storm made sharp work of the Tigers side at Olympic Park. It was an ordinary effort from the error-ridden Westies who showed us all how not to play football. The loss sends the Wests Tigers eight points adrift of the top eight.
In the other Saturday match, the Dragons put 40 on the Sea Eagles at Brookvale. Manly looked a chance before one Nathan Blacklock delivered a trademark intercept to save St George.
The match followed some well documented internal strife in the Manly club. With the Leagues club and Football club merging, someone had to go and Paul Vautin now claims to have 'fallen on his sword'. Given Fatty's excellent credentials as an administrator, investigative journalist and TV anchor man; it's hard to know how the old boys could've let him go.
Sunday football kicked off with The Knights making easy work the Eels in Newcastle. The match was marked by a rare 'eight point try' when Steve Simpson came in late on Parra's try scoring machine, Matty Petersen. It didnt do the Eels much good though as they went down and now find themselves sharing the trenches with the also-rans.
Talking of also-rans, Souths looked well in control before the Warriors staged a tremendous comeback at Aussie Stadium. It took the brilliance of a Stacey Jones' field goal in extra time to guide the Warriors to a one point victory. Unbelievably, the Rabbitohs gave away a 24-6 lead to lose in front a despondent home crowd. With only six points to show after 16 rounds, Souths' main battle now seems to be trying to avoid the wooden spoon.
The NRL round ended with a nail-biting victory at Penrith Stadium. In front of a record crowd of 22,147 people, the mighty Panthers came one step closer to top spot on the ladder. Scoring five tries to four, Penrith were ultimately too good for Canterbury getting home by just two points.
The result relegates the Bulldogs to 7th spot and 18 points... equal with the Storm and the Dragons which means the battle for eighth spot is hotting up.
Next week (round 17, 4-6 July): Dragons v Broncos in Wollongong Easts v Souths at Aussie Sharks v Panthers at Toyota Cowboys v Warriors in Townsville Raiders v Storm in Canberra Eels v Manly at Parramatta Bulldogs v Knights at Telstra Wests Tigers: Bye *Mondays Expert match of the round
Round 16 results at a glance home team listed first
BRONCOS 10 Tries: Tallis, Civoniceva Goals: De Vere 1/2 defeated ROOSTERS 8 Tries: Minichiello Goals: Fitzgibbon 1/1, Crocker 1/2 Friday 27 June 2003 7:30 PM Suncorp Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 28,028 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - G Tallis (Broncos) 2 - S Webcke (Broncos) 1 - L Ricketson (Roosters)
COWBOYS 28 Tries: 2 Williams, Morrison, Bowen Goals: Hannay 6/6 defeated by SHARKS 34 Tries: 2 Bailey, Bird, Nutley, Rieck, Hilder Goals: Anderson 5/7 Saturday 28 June 2003 5:30 PM Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 13,598 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Bowen (Cowboys) 2 - P Bailey (Sharks) 1 - T Williams (Cowboys)
STORM 16 Tries: Slater 2, Cooper Goals: Orford 2/3 defeated TIGERS 8 Tries: Milton Goals: Covell 2/2 Saturday 28 June 2003 7:30 PM Olympic Park Melbourne Referee: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 8,664 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - B Slater (Storm) 2 - M Orford (Storm) 1 - D Senter (Tigers)
SEA EAGLES 28 Tries: Donald 3, Watmough, Torrens Goals: Williamson 5/7 defeated by DRAGONS 42 Tries: Cooper 2, Wilshere 2, Blacklock 2, Firman, Young, Goals: Riddell 5/7. Firman 0/1 Saturday 28 June 2003 7:30 PM Brookvale Oval Referee: Stephen Clark Crowd: 11,161 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - S Timmins (Dragons) 2 - L Bailey (Dragons) 1 - N Blacklock (Dragons)
KNIGHTS 30 Tries: Perry, M Gidley, K Gidley, Hall, Abraham Goals: Johns 5/7 defeated EELS 16 Tries: Peterson 2, Tsoulos Goals: Witt 2/4 Sunday 29 June 2003 2:30 PM EnergyAustralia Stadium Referee: Shayne Hayne Crowd: 18,704 Leagueunlimited.com players of the match: 3 - M Gidley (Knights) 2 - T Tahu (Knights) 1 - A Johns (Knights)
RABBITOHS 30 Tries: Fa'alago, Rigon, Merritt, Stringer, MacGillivray Goals: Smith 4/5, Craigie 1/1 defeated by WARRIORS 31 Tries: Meli, Jones, Toopi, Tony, Webb Goals: Jones 6/7. F/Goal: Jones Sunday 29 June 2003 3:00 PM Aussie Stadium Referee: Steve Lyons Crowd: 9,109 Leagueunlimited players of the match: 3 - F Meli (Warriors) 2 - S Jones (Warriors) 1 - J Death (Rabbitohs)
PANTHERS 28 Tries: Lewis 2, Wesser, Elford, Rooney, Goals: Girdler 4/5 defeated BULLDOGS 26 Tries: Vagana 2, Hughes, Mason Goals: El Masri 5/5 Sunday 29 June 2003 3:00 PM Penrith Football Stadium Referee: Bill Harrigan Crowd: 22,147 (Ground record) Leagueunlimited players of the match: 3 - L Lewis (Panthers) 2 - L Priddis (Panthers) 1 - N Vagana (Bulldogs)
Leagueunlimited.com Player of the Year Awards Round 16
Tally update: 18 points: D Lockyer (Broncos) 17 points: L Bailey (Dragons), M Orford (Storm) 16 points: P Campbell (Panthers), A Johns (Knights), C Schicofske (Raiders) 13 points: C Fitzgibbon (Roosters) 12 points: B Kimmorley (Sharks), A Minichiello (Roosters), S Price (Bulldogs) 10 points: C Gower (Panthers), PJ Marsh (Warriors), L Priddis (Panthers), B Sherwin (Bulldogs), M Sing (Cowboys), B Slater (Storm) 9 points: B Drew (Raiders), T Hill (Tigers), J Smith (Rabbitohs), R Wesser (Panthers), B Walker (Sea Eagles), C Wing (Roosters) 8 points: M Bowen (Cowboys), J Ferris (Sea Eagles), G Morrison (Cowboys), D Nutley (Sharks), G Tallis (Broncos), R Wiki (Raiders) 7 points: S Berrigan (Broncos), D Buderus (Knights), L Hohaia (Warriors), S Kearney (Storm), F Meli (Warriors), J Morris (Eels), S Timmins (Dragons), N Vagana (Bulldogs) 6 points: T Carroll (Broncos), S Faumuina (Warriors), B Firman (Dragons), B Kennedy (Knights), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), C Pearson (Wests Tigers), A Watmough (Sea Eagles), L Withers (Wests Tigers) 5 points: K Campion (Cowboys), B Fittler (Roosters), M Gidley (Knights), S Jones (Warriors), J Hannay (Cowboys), D Peachey (Sharks), J Seu Seu (Warriors), P Stringer (Rabbitohs), L Swann (Warriors), L Thompson (Dragons), S Webcke (Broncos), S Woolford (Raiders) 4 points: D Abraham (Knights), P Bailey (Sharks), T Byrne (Roosters), B Finch (Roosters), B Fletcher (Rabbitohs), B Hodgson (Eels), R Kearns (Storm), J Lyon (Eels), L McWilliams (Cowboys), J Monaghan (Raiders), T Puletua (Panthers), C Randall (Sea Eagles), M Riddell (Dragons), J Skandalis (Tigers), B Tate (Broncos), P Whatuira (Panthers) 3 points: B Anasta (Bulldogs), S Bell (Storm), O Craigie (Rabbitohs), H El Masri (Bulldogs), P Graham (Raiders), A Guttenbeil (Warriors), N Hindmarsh (Eels), L Lewis (Panthers), J Lowe (Cowboys), W Mason (Bulldogs), M McClinden (Raiders), A Morley (Roosters), D Myles (Cowboys), J Perry (Knights), D Senter (Wests Tigers), B Webb (Warriors) 2 points: N Blacklock (Dragons), L Covell (Tigers), D Byrne (Dragons), D Carlaw (Broncos), J Caine (Wests Tigers), L Dorn (Sea Eagles), J Feeney (Bulldogs), M Gasnier (Dragons), 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), L Ricketson (Roosters), S Rudder (Knights), S Sattler (Panthers), S Tadulala (Storm), T Tahu (Knights) 1 point: T Barrett (Dragons), C Beattie (Sharks), J Death (Rabbitohs), 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), E Grothe (Roosters), A Hart (Rabbitohs), J Hodges (Roosters), S Kelly (Broncos), D Kidwell (Storm), S Menzies (Sea Eagles), R O'Davis (Knights), M Peterson (Eels), A Quinn (Knights), C Sheppard (Cowboys), T Smith (Raiders), R Swain (Broncos), J Thurston (Bulldogs), D Widders (Eels), T Williams (Cowboys), M Witt (Eels), A Woolnough (Knights)