NORTH Queensland has grabbed the outright competition lead and the New Zealand Warriors have made it to square one after another unpredictable round of the NRL.
LAST year?s grand finalists the Cowboys are outright competition leaders after coming back to defeat the Eels 26-18 at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night. Five-eighth Johnathan Thurston again led the way as the North Queenslanders remain undefeated in season 2006.In a round of close score lines, the Sharks got their first win of the year on Saturday when they downed the hapless Rabbitohs 24-22. Even closer were the Raiders who came back in extra time to pip the Panthers 21-20. Saturday night also saw Manly looking impressive when they overcame the Roosters 30-22 at Brookvale.On Sunday the reigning premiers Wests Tigers held out the Melbourne Storm to post a narrow 30-28 victory. Meanwhile a young St George Illawarra Dragons pack got the better of Brisbane to down the Broncos 26-12 in Wollongong.But the Monday?s Expert pick of the round goes to the New Zealand Warriors who travelled across the Tasman with the hope of stopping Newcastle?s winning run and advancing to zero points on the competition ladder. With no Andrew Johns to worry about, Warriors halfback Nathan Fien directed his troops across the park to defeat the second-placed Knights 26-22. Newcastle grabbed an early 10-0 lead but fell away to trail 14-10 at half time, the Warriors eventually coming out on top to win.The big news for the Warriors is they have now wiped the slate clean on the competition ladder. After starting on -4 points, the New Zealand side have posted two wins. Although still in last position, the NZ lads look to have plenty of victories left in them for the season ahead.All match results and details are listed below.After four rounds, the LeagueUnlimited.com Player Awards sees Cowboys five-eighth Johnathan Thurston holding outright lead on 12 points, three points ahead of Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns and four points ahead of St George Illawarra centre Mark Gasnier.Not far away on six points are Craig Gower (Panthers), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders) and Cameron Smith (Storm). Meanwhile Adam Dykes (Sharks) and Amos Roberts (Roosters) are well in contention on five points.The full leader board is below.The Leagueunlimited.com 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 4, 31 March ? 2 April 2006MATCH RESULTS:Parramatta Eels: 18Tries: Eric Grothe, Wade McKinnon (2)Goals: Mark Riddell 2/3, Brett Delaney 1/1North Queensland Cowboys: 26Tries: David Fauiumu, Matthew Scott, Matt Sing (2)Goals: Johnathan Thurston 5/6Half time: Eels 14-6Venue: Parramatta StadiumCrowd: 15,131Referee: Paul SimpkinsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)2 - Matt Sing (Cowboys)1 - Tim Smith (Eels)Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 24Tries: Phil Bailey, Beau Scott, Lance Thompson, Luke Douglas, Tevita LatuGoals: Luke Covell 2/5South Sydney Rabbitohs: 22Tries: Todd Polglase, John Sutton, Nathan Merritt, Paul MellorGoals: Joe Williams 2/2, Nathan Merritt 1/2Half time: Sharks 20-6Venue: Toyota ParkCrowd: 12,274Referee: Shayne HayneLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)2 - Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs)1 - John Sutton (Rabbitohs)Manly Sea Eagles: 30Tries: Travis Burns, Brett Stewart, Matt Orford, Steve Matai, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 5/5Sydney Roosters: 22Tries: Anthony Minichiello, Adrian Morley, Jamie SowardGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 3/3, Amos Roberts 2/2Half time: Roosters 20-12Venue: Brookvale OvalCrowd: 17,117Referee: Tony ArcherLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)2 - Steve Bell (Sea Eagles)1 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)Canberra Raiders: 21Tries: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, David Howell, Adam Mogg (2)Goals: Clinton Shifcofske 2/4Field Goals: Clinton ShifcofskePenrith Panthers: 20Tries: Luke Lewis, Frank Pritchard, Rhys Wesser, Lee HookeyGoals: Preston Campbell 2/5Half time: Raiders 10-8Venue: Canberra StadiumCrowd: 9,399Referee: Gavin BadgerLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)2 - Luke Priddis (Panthers)1 - Simon Woolford (Raiders)Wests Tigers: 30Tries: Shane Elford (2), Daniel Fitzhenry (3), Anthony Laffranchi, Paul WhatuiraGoals: Brett Hodgson 1/7Melbourne Storm: 28Tries: Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater (2)Goals: Cameron Smith 4/5Half time: Tigers 18-4Venue: Leichhardt OvalCrowd: 17,803Referee: Jason RobinsonLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Paul Whatuira (Tigers)2 - Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers)1 - Billy Slater (Storm)St George Illawarra Dragons: 26Tries: Aaron Gorrell, Ben Hornby, Sam Isemonger, Andrew PriceGoals: Mark Gasnier 1/1, Aaron Gorrell 4/4Brisbane Broncos: 12Tries: Shane Webcke, Darius BoydGoals: Michael Ennis 2/2Half time: Dragons 14-6Venue: WIN StadiumCrowd: 13,708Referee: Sean HampsteadLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Aaron Gorrell (Dragons)2 - Mark Gasnier (Dragons)1 - Michael Ennis (Broncos)Newcastle Knights: 22Tries: Matthew Gidley(2), Todd Lowrie, Steve SimpsonGoals: Kurt Gidley 3/4New Zealand Warriors: 26Tries: Nathan Fien, Grant Rovelli, Evarn Tuimavave, Manu VatuveiGoals: Tony Martin 5/5Half time: Warriors 14-10Venue: EnergyAustralia StadiumCrowd: 18,359Referee: Russell SmithLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Nathan Fien (Warriors)2 - Steve Price (Warriors)1 - Matthew Gidley (Knights)Canterbury Bulldogs - ByeFULL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HERENext weekend?s matches:Round 5, 7-9 April 2006Fri 7:30 - COWBOYS v TIGERS - Dairy Farmers StadiumSat 5:30 - BRONCOS v RABBITOHS - Suncorp StadiumSat 7:30 - SHARKS v ROOSTERS - Toyota ParkSat 7:30 - DRAGONS v KNIGHTS - WIN StadiumSun 2:00(NZ) 12:00(AEST) - WARRIORS SEA EAGLES - Ericsson StadiumSun 2:30 - BULLDOGS v RAIDERS - Telstra StadiumSun 3:00 - EELS v PANTHERS - Parramatta StadiumSTORM v BYEFOR LATEST CENTREBET ODDSCLICK HERELEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM PLAYER AWARDS 2006LEADER BOARDThe Leagueunlimited.com players awards are decided by our live score updaters.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.12 pointsJohnathan Thurston (Cowboys)9 pointsAndrew Johns (Knights)8 pointsMark Gasnier (Dragons)6 pointsCraig Gower (Panthers), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders), Cameron Smith (Storm)5 pointsAdam Dykes (Sharks), Amos Roberts (Roosters)4 pointsSteve Bell (Sea Eagles), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Jamie Soward (Roosters), Paul Whatuira (Tigers)3 pointsHazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), Steve Price (Warriors), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Ruben Wiki (Warriors)2 pointsPreston Campbell (Panthers), George Carmont (Knights), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), 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), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Priddis (Panthers), Scott Prince (Tigers), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Jason Smith (Raiders), Steven Southern (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Dean Young (Dragons)1 pointsTrent Barrett (Dragons), Paul Bowman (Cowboys), Danny Buderus (Knights), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Billy Slater (Storm), Tim Smith (Eels), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Lincoln Withers (Raiders), Simon Woolford (Raiders), William Zillman (Raiders)
BALMAIN celebrated resounding victories in both the NSWRL matches played at Leichhardt oval today with Premier League Defeating the Knights and Jersey Flegg downing North Sydney entrenching positions in the top 4 for both grades.In Jersey Flegg North Sydney were the first to score in just the second minute when halfback James Maloney kicked a penalty goal from in front of the posts however just three minutes later Balmain took the lead when Winger Jono Freeman dived on a Dean Caldwell chop kick and Mark Russell converted and from that moment on Balmain never looked like losing the match.Ten minutes later Dean Jamison dived over from dummy half and soon after lock Jarrad Farlow put fullback Dean McGrath into space and McGrath ran 50m to score under the posts. Russell converted bringing the tigers to a 16-2 lead.There was plenty of drama to follow when Norths back rower Arnold Mano found himself sent to the bin after rushing across the field to join in a fight and just minutes later he was followed by teammates Daniel Phillips after continued infringements and captain Maloney for backchat.Down to ten men it was almost inevitable that Norths would concede points and right on halftime Balmain centre Gavin Cowen beat two defenders to score under the posts. Russell added the extras and the teams went into halftime with Balmain ahead by twenty-two points to two.Soon after halftime back rower Griffen barged over on the last tackle and Russell converted from the sideline putting the tigers ahead 28-2 as the binned Norths players returned to the field.In the 42nd minute Norths scored their sole try of the match when Jason Saliba exploited some poor Balmain defence and crossed untouched from dummy half but any hopes they may have had of launching a comeback were crushed just five minutes later when Balmain centre Robert Chauvet ran 45m to score and Russell converted.Balmain scored their final try of the match with just a minute to go when winger Chance Bunce stepped past the tired norths defence and raced 60m to score under the posts. Russell converted and at fulltime Balmain ran out winners by forty points to eight.Best for the tigers were halfback Russell, back rowers Stanfield and Griffen and Lock Farlow while halves Baird and Maloney and prop Tupo Peaua looked dangerous for the bears. In Premier League Balmain were the first to cross the line in the 4rh minute when 5/8th Jono Rolfe put centre Keith Eshman into space and Ben Reynolds converted.Twelve minutes later Lock Sam Harris picked up the ball from the scrum and ran with it, passing to Reynolds who offloaded to winger Tuiaki to score untouched under the posts. Minutes later Harris again broke the line and offloaded to Rolfe who ran ten metres with the ball before kicking for fullback Shannon McDonnell who scored about 20m out from the sideline. Yet another try followed immediately after when the knights players fumbled a Rolfe bomb and winger Michael Crockett picked up the ball to score beside the posts. Reynolds was unable to convert putting Balmain ahead by twenty points to nil after just 22 minutes of game time.Balmain scored again in the 28th minute when a Rangi Chase kick was picked up by Rolfe who passed on the inside to send Sam Moa racing 20m before carrying two defenders over the sideline. This was followed in the next set by a brilliant individual try to Shannon McDonnell who ran 30m to score under the posts and five minutes after that Corey Niwa crossed again after running 20m through a tired knights defence to score. Reynolds converted all three trys and Balmain ran out at halftime leading by 38 to nil.Newcastle looked a much better side in the second half and fullback Nathan Hinton scored their first try of the match when he crossed out wide in the 43rd minute. Centre Brad Tighe was able to convert bringing the score to 38-6. The knights backed up 11 minutes later when prop Kane Snowden barged through the defence and Tighe once again converted.It didn?t take long for Balmain to once again stamp their authority on the match and four minutes later prop Stacy Katu dived on a Ben Reynolds kick and scored under the posts, Reynolds was unable to convert but with twenty minutes left to play Balmain held a commanding 42 points to 12 lead.In the 67th minute Keith Galloway made a massive run and a quick play the ball saw Jamie Nowland take off from dummy half, pass to Reynolds who offloaded to Katu who raced 20m before offloading to Sam Harris who scored under the posts. With six minutes left of game time Newcastle scored their final try of the match when Matt Kennedy barged over next to the posts and Tighe converted to bring the final score to Forty Eight points to eight.Best for Balmain were lock Harris, 5/8th Rolfe and hooker Chase while McDonnell, Jeffrey, Katu and Metuisela also had strong games. For the knights centre Brad Tighe was the standout.
TO be honest, I found the first three rounds of this year?s NRL competition dull and boring because of the huge blowout scorelines being inflicted across the board. No game had caught my imagination and there haven?t been many grudge matches so far where the result is in doubt leading into the final stages.Being a Canberra fan certainly hasn?t helped matters but six out of seven games this weekend were decided by eight points or less with one golden point thriller between the Raiders and Panthers (praise the Lord) and only one game with a double digit victory with the Dragons prevailing 26-12 over the aging Broncos at WIN Stadium this afternoon.Apart from the Cowboys, Knights and Panthers, all the other teams have looked dreadful on occasions so far this season but my belief is we don?t start seeing the high quality footy until about round six. By then it?s cooler and teams have had time to work on combinations and players work themselves into match fitness ahead of the representative season.Most teams at the wrong end of the table showed some resolve this week apart from Souths and the Eels with teams like the Warriors and Raiders showing while many think they will be cannon fodder, the glimmer of hope flickers just that little bit brighter than it did last week. Let?s take the Warriors for example, you will never see a team more jubilant to be in the fourth week of the competition on 0 points. They have won two on the trot albeit against a depleted Tigers outfit and a Joey-less Knights this afternoon. However, in the modern game any coach will tell you that two points is worth more than the current price of gold and there are no easy beats (well Souths are the exception) and that anytime you can get two on the trot you are doing well. It gives you some breathing space and time to call off the dogs for a fleeting moment. Ivan Cleary must have felt like a West Papuan in sight of Arnhem Land when the hooter blew this afternoon.Then you have the Raiders, walloped by record margins two weeks running and then they come out last night in freezing conditions and get by the undefeated Panthers in golden point to breathe a little life back into their premiership campaign. Being a Raiders fan, I thought April fools had been extended about 9.5 hours past the usual deadline and this time I and all Raiders fans were the proverbial butt of a cruel hoax but alas, this was no prank. The Raiders won a golden point thriller to have this poor sod shaking his fists in front of the TV and it wasn?t because I was watching the adult channel, although the joy was relative and it did last a little longer.Sitting back in a relaxed mood this afternoon watching the Storm cop a hiding at the hands of the Premiers, I switched over to see what was happening during the formula one and to try and catch the action of the Liverpool? I mean Dragons and Broncos clash at Anfield? I mean WIN Stadium, only to learn the Storm finished within two points of the Tigers after holding a commanding lead midway through the second half. This proves one thing, whilst you may be beaten, for and against could decide your teams fate and your coaches fate so playing the full eighty minutes has never been so vital. Both the Storm and Bunnies showed this resolve and it may end up paying dividends down the track although with Souths I feel you may as well rip up your ticket right now and bet on something closer to a sure thing, like finding life on Mars or a Bulldogs fan not being named the next heavyweight champion of the world.Next week may well see a return to the blowout scores that have plagued the league in the opening rounds, but for today and the rest of the coming week, your author will believe in the Utopian ideal of an even competition and that the Raiders do actually have a chance to show they can be competitive for more than a week at a time. It?s a hard sell I know, but it?s not Amway folks, so cough up and refer me to your friends as we can all enjoy the pyramid scheme that is the NRL.
ROUND 4New Zealand Warriors 26 def. Newcastle Knights 22Match summary:The New Zealand Warriors will take two points back across the Tasman tonight after a solid 26-22 victory against the Newcastle Knights at EnergyAustralia Stadium.With Andrew Johns ruled out through an injury to his neck, the Warriors were always a good chance of stretching the Knights in front of another big crowd. But the early signs were good for the home team, racing to a 10-0 lead through tries to Todd Lowrie and Matt Gidley.The game turned into an arm-wrestle, with the Warriors forwards applying pressure to the Knights defence and also their kicking options late in the tackle count. With two converted tries to hulking winger Manu Vatuvei and replacement forward Evarn Tuimavave plus a penalty goal, the visitors took a 14-10 advantage into the break.It didn?t take the Warriors too long to resume after returning from the sheds, with a try to plucky utility replacement Grant Rovelli in the 43rd minute opening up a 10-point lead and putting Newcastle to the sword. From there they were always chasing the Warriors but a try to Steve Simpson in the 51st minute got them within striking distance at 20-16.Both teams then laid converted on tries through Fien for the Warriors (54th minute) and a second to Matt Gidley in the 61st minute setting up a furious final quarter of the match.The video referee was called upon to adjudicate on possible tries to the Warriors in the 70th minute and the Knights via Irish winger Brian Carney in the 75th minute but both were denied. The Warriors then managed to wind down the clock and record a memorable victory in Newcastle for the second year in a row. Ironically, it wasn?t until Johns suffered a broken jaw late in the first half last year that New Zealand stormed home to win.Most of the post-match talk will no doubt centre on Newcastle?s inability to win without Johns in the team, but they did face up against a Warriors outfit that have been improving each week and arrived full of enthusiasm to get back to square on the ladder.The Knights have a tough road trip ahead of them next week, travelling to Wollongong to take on the Dragons whilst the Warriors are at home to the Sea Eagles in what?s sure to be a tough encounter played out through the forwards.By the clock:Newcastle Knights: 22Tries: Matthew Gidley(2), Todd Lowrie, Steve SimpsonGoals: Kurt Gidley 3/4New Zealand Warriors: 26Tries: Nathan Fien, Grant Rovelli, Evarn Tuimavave, Manu VatuveiGoals: Tony Martin 5/5Energy Australia StadiumReferee: Russell SmithCrowd: 18,359Sunny day up here in Newcastle. Big news is that Andrew Johns is out of the match with a crook neck. Jarrod Mullen comes in at five-eighth with Kurt Gidley pushing into halfback.1 min: NEWS And we're underway in the first half!5 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThe Knights get on the board early with a try to forward Lowrie. Kurt Gidley converts and the Knights take a nice early lead. Knights 6-014 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsMatt Gidley jinks and weaves his way to the line out wide. His brother Kurt can't convert but the Knights are looking sharp early. Knights 10-020 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand WarriorsThe Warriors are on the board with a penalty goal thanks to an indiscretion by the Knights. Knights 10-227 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsThe Warriors tighten up the game with a good try to Tuimavave. They're looking ok at the moment and playing enthusiastically. Martin converts and the gap is now only 2 points. Knights 10-840 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsVatuvei, the hulking Warriors winger, storms over for the visitors just as the buzzer is sounding. With Martin's conversion the Warriors have a 4 point advantage going into the break. Warriors 14-1040 min: NEWS Halftime: The Knights started the match on fire, but it seems they could be missing the presence of Johns. The Warriors slowly ground their way back into the contest and now lead at the break. Still anyone's game and is shaping as a terrific duel.41 min: NEWS We're underway in the final 40 here at Newcastle!43 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsClever try to replacement Rovelli and the Warriors push ahead. Martine converts. Warriors 20-1051 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsBig backrower Steve Simpson barges his way to a try and get the Knights rolling again. Kurt Gidley converts. Warriors 20-1654 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsHalfback Fien chimes in and bags another one for the visitors. They're playing really well and look as though they're going to cause a major upset. Martin converts and the lead is out to 10. Warriors 26-1661 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsIt's a Gidley-athon out here with Matthew scoring his second try and getting the Knights back into the contest. His brother Kurt converts. The lead is back to 4 in favour of the Warriors. Warriors 26-2270 min: NEWS Video referee denies the Warriors a try that could have sewn up the game.75 min: NEWS Video referee denies a try to Brian Carney in the corner. Warriors are hanging on!77 min: NEWS Crowd - 18,35980 min: NEWS The Warriors hang on to record a memorable victory over the Knights, minus Joey, in Newcastle for the second year in a row.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Nathan Fien (Warriors)2 - Steve Price (Warriors)1 - Matthew Gidley (Knights)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 4St George Illawarra 26 def. Brisbane Broncos 12Match summary:The St George Illawarra Dragons have defeated the Brisbane Broncos by 26-12 in front of a solid home crowd at Wollongong this afternoon.The Dragons took the field with fullback Clint Greenshields back in reserve grade, allowing Hornby to slot into the custodian role. Mark Gasnier divided his time between five-eighth and centre pushing Trent Barrett to halfback, where he ran the show comfortably.A penalty goal in the second minute to relief kicker Gasnier saw the home side take an early lead, but the Dragons began the game in an otherwise slow fashion, allowing the Broncos to post the first try to veteran Broncos prop Shane Webcke in the 6th minute. Both teams then settled in for a heavy battle in the forwards and it wasn?t until late in the half that the Dragons began to flex their muscles.A good try to lock Andrew Price for the Dragons in the 32nd minute put the Broncos on notice before Ben Hornby posted the home side?s second just prior to the break, with Aaron Gorrell sliding both conversions between the posts.But Brisbane returned from the sheds full of steam with winger Darius Boyd finding his way to the line in the 46th minute to trail by only two. But the Broncos didn?t trouble the scorers again, despite several near misses including a certain try bombed by Justin Hodges as a wayward pass to Darren Lockyer went begging.The Dragons scored good tries to Gorrell in the 54th minute and Sam Isemonger, locking up the game for the Dragons when he found his way to the line with 10 minutes to spare.It was a victory that was needed by St George Illawarra after yet another lethargic start to the season. They re-signed coach Nathan Brown during the week, and with speculation surrounding the futures of Mark Gasnier and Trent Barrett, today?s win was a timely boost for the club. They will head into next week?s clash against the Knights at WIN with added confidence.The Broncos will be disappointed with the defeat as they had begun to build some steam in the competition with wins over Parramatta and Cronulla following their first week touch-up by the Cowboys. They host the Rabbitohs at home next week, presenting a good opportunity to return to the winners circle.Scorers:St George Illawarra Dragons: 26Tries: Aaron Gorrell, Ben Hornby, Sam Isemonger, Andrew PriceGoals: Mark Gasnier 1/1, Aaron Gorrell 4/4Brisbane Broncos: 12Tries: Shane Webcke, Darius BoydGoals: Michael Ennis 2/2WIN StadiumReferee: Sean HampsteadCrowd: 13,708By the clock:Windy Wollongong has put on a terrific day. 1 min: NEWS And we're underway in the first half!2 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsThe Dragons take an early lead through a penalty from the Broncos. Dragons 2-08 min: NEWS Both teams in for a real arm wrestle here with the forwards exchanging pleasantries in the early stages.13 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosWebcke, the big Broncos prop, barges over the chalk to score a good try. Former Dragon Ennis converts and Brisbane take the lead. Broncos 6-224 min: NEWS The video referee denies the Dragons a try after a push in the back to Boyd allows Millard to scoop up the ball and race away close to the line.32 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsYoung forward Andrew Price busts his way through the Broncos defences and levels things up down here at Win Stadium. Gorrell converts well and he puts the home side in front. Dragons 8-639 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsHornby, playing at fullback for the first time in a while, breaks through to score for the Dragons as they build on their lead. Gorrell converts and the Dragons head to the sheds in the lead. Dragons 14-640 min: NEWS Halftime: A rugged encounter down here at the 'Gong with plenty of bash and barge up the middle. The Dragons hold a good 8-point advantage as they cut the oranges, but the Broncos are sure to come out firing in the second stanza. Promises to be a great contest in the 2nd half.41 min: NEWS Play restarts here in the second half!46 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosBrisbane winger Boyd flies through for a try after a great backline movement. Ennis adds the extras and there's only 2 points in it again. Dragons 14-1254 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsSneaky hooker Gorrell makes his way over the stripe to keep the Dragons in front. He converts and the lead is 8 points again. Dragons 20-1270 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsGood lead-up work by Barrett and Matt Bickerstaff sees Sam Isemonger storm through a gap and score what should be the match-winner. Gorrell convert and the Dragons lead by 14. Dragons 26-1275 min: NEWS Crowd - 13,70880 min: NEWS The Dragons record a good victory here in Wollongong against some a tough Brisbane outfit.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Aaron Gorrell (Dragons)2 - Mark Gasnier (Dragons)1 - Michael Ennis (Broncos)-----------------------------------------
REDCLIFFE hooker Michael Roberts yesterday ripped the mat from under Easts to master-mind victory in the rugby league Wizard Queensland Cup at Langlands Park.The Dolphins prevailed 48-22, rushing in five tries in the last 20 minutes after Easts had doggedly turned a 4-16 deficit into a 22-all scoreline after 52 minutes. Roberts, with fresh legs in the last 20 minutes, engineered three tries to crack an overheating Easts. He put Adam Starr under the posts, linked with Shane Perry to enable Grant Flugge to score and then handed Perry a try with a dummy half scurry. Roberts not only directly challenged Easts' defence with his running game but also indirectly livened up halfback Perry. Prop Pat Gardner, who like Roberts had been rested, also finished strongly, giving Redcliffe tremendous drive down the middle. The recruitment of Marty Turner, the development of ball-playing Chris Fox, and the form of Roberts, Perry and the dangerous Ryan Cullen gave Redcliffe fleet-of-foot attackers around the ruck. Redcliffe's homeward surge also coincided with their best ball control of the match when they completed eight of nine sets of six. Easts, rallied by veteran Darren Smith and sparked by dangerous winger John Tamanika, were not a 26-point inferior side. It is just that when Roberts pressed the go button on the back of a weight of possession, they had no answers late in the clash. For Easts, the remarkable Smith returned from retirement to score two tries. Smith owns the right hand side of the field at Easts, but once he moved left of the ruck to sweep onto a Luke Branighan pass and glide over to score to get his team back to 16-10 in the first half. Then early in the second he was back to his hole-running best on the right side of the field for another four-pointer. This article is courtesy of the Sunday Mail Queensland number one Sunday paper.
BACK from one of the shortest retirements in history Darren Smith tried all he might, but still couldn?t prevent Easts falling to a startling 48-22 defeat at the hands of Redcliffe on Saturday.
THE Powergen Challenge Cup fourth round has thrown up an unexpected but potentially enthralling clash between Super League's bottom two sides.
BRADFORD'S hopes of winning the Powergen Challenge Cup were ended by eventual winners Hull last year and the Bulls will feel this draw could have been kinder.
ROUND 4 Canberra Raiders 21 v Penrith Panthers 20Match Summary:Canberra Raiders fullback and skipper Clinton Schifcofske has potted an 87th minute field goal to sink the Penrith Panthers by 21-20 at Canberra Stadium tonight.Minutes earlier and on the stroke of full time, centre David Howell scored out wide. Schifcofske kept Canberra in the match by successfully converting Howell's try to lock the scores up at 20-all and sending the match into Golden Point extra time.Following an attempt at field goal from Raiders hooker Simon Woolford and then two shots from Panthers half back Craig Gower, Schifcofske chanced his boot. After one unsuccessful attempt, Schifcofske kicked the winning point from 25 metres out.For the Panthers, it was their second golden point game of 2006 when in round two they defeated the Dragons thanks to the boot of five-eighth Preston Campell.Played in chilly conditions, the Raiders struck first with a try in the 10th minute before the Panthers hit back 10 minutes later. Both sides continued to swap four-pointers and at half time it was two tries each with the Raiders holding a slender 10-8 lead.Canberra went further ahead in the second half when winger Adam Mogg got his second try. But the Panthers were not be outdone with forward Frank Pritchard running wide and crashing over to level up the scores again.Panthers fullback Rhys Wesser put the visitors in the box seat following a 60 metre movement and tremendous display of attacking football, Gower handling the ball three times with Luke Priddis backing up to deliver the final pass to a flying Wesser.At 20-14 and with time running out, it looked like the Panthers were ready to go on with it. But a try in the final minute to Howell, and Schifcofske's conversion, turned the tables with the home side ultimately coming out on top.Scorers:Canberra Raiders: 21Tries: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, David Howell, Adam Mogg(2)Goals: Clinton Schifcofske 2/4Field Goals: Clinton ShifcofskePenrith Panthers: 20Tries: Luke Lewis, Frank Pritchard, Rhys Wesser, Lee HookeyGoals: Preston Campbell 2/5Canberra StadiumReferee: Gavin BadgerBy the Clock:Players on the field. A small crowd on hand of approxinately 7,000. Chilly night in Canberra, Raiders will have a slight breeze behind them in the first half.Kick off!10 min: TRY Canberra RaidersCentre Adam Mogg scores in the corner for the Raiders, Jason Smith and Lincoln Withers creating the opportunity. Clinton Schifcofske unsuccessful with the conversion attempt. Raiders 4-020 min: TRY Penrith PanthersLee Hookey scores out wide for Penrith. Preston Campbell unable to add the extras. 4 all.24 min: TRY Canberra RaidersForward Tom Learoyd-Lahrs steamrolls his way through to score for Canberra. Conversion successful. Raiders 10-430 min: TRY Penrith PanthersLuke Lewis scores out wide for the Panthers. Campbell unable to convert. Raiders 10-8Half time: Raiders 10-8A tightly fought match and too close to call.41 min: NEWS Second half underway with Panthers kicking off. Raiders have a horror start allowing the ball to go dead and forcing a line drop out. Panthers on the attack but they lose the ball and Raiders are off the hook.44 min: TRY Canberra RaidersMogg gets a double racing 25m downfield. Set up by Craig Frawley who delivered a beaut offload.Sideline conversion unsuccessful. Raiders 14-856 min: TRY Penrith PanthersPritchard scores out wide following sustained pressure, big Frank Pritchard on the burst and near impossible to stop.Conversion from Campbell is a ripper. 14 all.59 min: TRY Penrith PanthersRhys Wesser scores after Craig Gower takes off up the middle of the park, finds Luke Priddis in support who gives it to Wesser.Campbell adds the extras. Panthers 20-1465 min: NEWS Panthers winger Luke Rooney NO TRY after being held up. Raiders right side defence looks suspect.68 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Penrith PanthersLong range field goal from (over 40 metres out) from Campbell unsuccessful. Panthers 20-1471 min: NEWS Forward Shane Rodney (Panthers) comes off with concussion.73 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Penrith PanthersCampbell unsuccessful with penalty goal attempt, 15m in from touch and 25m out.Panthers 20-1480 min: TRY Canberra RaidersHowell scores out wide. Pressure kick from Clinton Schifcofske to lock it up at 20-all and it leaves the boot perfectly. Siren sounding in the background, we're going into golden point time. 20 all.82 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canberra RaidersSimon Woolford has a shot at field goal - unsuccessful. 20 all.82 min: NEWS Jason Smith (Raiders) comes off with concussion.83 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Penrith PanthersCraig Gower has a shot at field goal for the Panthers - unsuccessful. 20 all84 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Penrith PanthersGower has another shot at field goal - right in front - very close but unsuccessful.20 all85 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Canberra RaidersClinton Schifcofske now has a shot and that's the first half of extra time. Still 20 all87 min: FIELD GOAL Canberra RaidersSchifcofske gets a clean kick in from 25m out and the Raiders have come back in extra time to win! Raiders 21-20-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)2 - Luke Priddis (Panthers)1 - Simon Woolford (Raiders)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 4 Manly Sea Eagles 30 v Sydney Roosters 22Match Summary:The Manly Sea Eagles had to come back from a double figure deficit for the second week in a row to record their second win of the 2006 season, 30-22 over the Sydney Roosters. The Roosters lead 20-12 at half time.The Roosters scored two early tries to Jamie Soward and Adrian Morley to lead 12-0 after only nine minutes. The Sea Eagles struck back quickly with a nice try to Brett Stewart after a cross field kick, and then Steve Matai scored in the 22nd minute. Two sideline conversions from Matt Orford levelled the match at 12-all. A Fitzgibbon penalty goal and a magnificent breakout try to Anthony Minichello gave the Roosters a 20-12 halftime lead.The Roosters extended their lead to 22-12 after Travis Burns was penalised in possession for dissent, and Amos Roberts added the penalty goal. Steve Bell was then awarded a controversial try after Steve Menzies caught a bomb and Bell caught the Roosters defence short, despite replays showing that Menzies may have knocked the ball on. Matt Orford scored a great solo try after breaking up the middle and then diving over in the middle of a Minichello tackle, his conversion put the Sea Eagles ahead for the first time, 24-22. The match was sealed with seven minutes to go with another controversial try to Travis Burns, after it appeared the defence was obstructed, the final score Manly 30, Roosters 22.Scorers:Manly Sea Eagles: 30Tries: Travis Burns, Brett Stewart, Matt Orford, Steve Matai, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 5/5Sydney Roosters: 22Tries: Anthony Minichiello, Adrian Morley, Jamie SowardGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 3/3, Amos Roberts 2/2Brookvale OvalReferee: Tony ArcherBy the Clock:Teams about to run out at Brookvale.1 min: NEWS The Roosters get us started!3 min: NEWS Video referee for an early Roosters try.3 min: TRY Sydney RoostersAn Anasta kick deflects off the posts and is dived on by Jamie Soward. Awarded via benefit of the doubt. Fitzgibbon converts. Roosters 6-09 min: TRY Sydney RoostersAn error from the Sea Eagles has Adrian Morley crash over. Fitzgibbon adds the extras. Roosters 12-014 min: NEWS Video referee for an Eagles try.14 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesA cross kick finds Robinson who passes the ball back to Stewart who scores out wide. Orford nails the sideline conversion. 12-619 min: NEWS Video referee for a Roosters try...20 min: NEWS No try - Roosters penalised for obstruction.22 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesSteve Matai breaks through a few weak tackles and scores out wide. Orford repeats his touchline success. 12 all.30 min: PENALTY GOAL Sydney RoostersAfter a high shot from Kennedy, Fitzgibbon converts the penalty goal. Roosters 14-1235 min: TRY Sydney RoostersA great breakout and top support play has Minichello scoring for the Roosters. Roberts converts. Roosters 20-1240 min: NEWS The Eagles break out just on half time, but Matai loses the ball near the line.40 min: NEWS Back underway at Brookvale!45 min: PENALTY GOAL Sydney RoostersBurns is penalised in possession for dissent, and Roberts slots the penalty goal. Roosters 22-1252 min: TRY - Sea EaglesMenzies comes down with the high ball and the ball gets to Bell who scores. Orford converts.Roosters 22-1859 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesOrford breaks up the middle and scores in some tackles. He converts his own try and Manly take the lead. Sea Eagles 24-2273 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesSeveral penalties put the Roosters on their own line, Burns steps inside and scores in the tackle of Minichello. Try awarded by the video referee. Orford converts and it looks like this game is settled. Sea Eagles 30-2280 min: NEWS The Eagles show some starch and get up to beat the Roosters.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)2 - Steve Bell (Sea Eagles)1 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)-----------------------------------------
FULLTIME score: Cronulla Sharks 24 defeat South Sydney 22Round 4Match summary:The Cronulla Sharks have posted their first win of 2006 narrowly defeating the South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-22 in breezy conditions at Toyota Park tonight.With a strong wind at their backs in the first half, the Sharks opened the scoring after just one minute when Souths made an error from the kickoff. Souths struck back in the 17th minute to make it 6-all.Sharks scored three times between the 30th and 40th minutes, including a decisive blow right on halftime, to post a commanding half time lead of 20-6.With a favourable breeze in the second half, Souths showed some good ball control to get back into the match, scoring in the 50th minute to narrow the margin to eight. But poor defence allowed the opposition to make inroads and the Sharks added an unconverted try in the 59th minute.Souths continued to make a contest of it with a try in the 65th minute before posting a consolation try in the final minute of play.Toyota ParkReferee: Shayne HayneCronulla Sutherland Sharks: 24Tries: Phil Bailey, Beau Scott, Lance Thompson, Luke Douglas, Tevita LatuGoals: Luke Covell 2/5South Sydney Rabbitohs: 22Tries: Todd Polglase, John Sutton, Nathan Merritt, Paul MellorGoals: Joe Williams 2/2, Nathan Merritt 1/2 Live Commntary:Teams coming onto the field with outside back Adam MacDougall and halfback Joe Williams making their first 2006 appearances for the understrength South Sydney.Sharks forward Ben Ross will be playing this game with a fractured cheek bone. Sharks have a strong wind in the first half after Souths win the toss and elect to run against the breeze. Sharks to kick off...1 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksCentre Beau Scott scores out wide for Sharks. Souths make a blunder receiving from kick off, going into touch. Sharks score in the following play. Luke Covell converts from the sideline. Sharks 6-013 min: Possible try to Sharks. Video ref checking...VERDICT: NO TRY. David Simmons busted through some ordinary defence and put the ball down under the posts. But he fumbled it in the one-handed put down. Poor finish to a nice move. Souths marker defence leaving a lot to be desired.17 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsSouths fullback Todd Polglase scores next to the posts. The Rabbitohs strike back and its all evens Conversion from Joe Williams is OK. 6 all.25 min: Possible try to Sharks. Video ref checking...VERDICT: After an eternity the video ref rules NO TRY, the player Luke Douglas deemed to have fallen short. Play the ball is the ruling.25 min: Yet another possible try to Sharks. Video ref checking...VERDICT: NO TRY. Five-eighth Adam Dykes ruled to have made a double movement. Penalty to Souths.30 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksDouglas not denied this time. Set up by Dykes who worked away from dummy half, Douglas shows some neat footwork to step through the defence and score next to the posts.Converted by Covell. Sharks 12-637 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksTevita Latu crashes over 15m in from touch. Adam Dykes again featuring in the lead up work as the South Sydney line cracks again. Sharks 18-640 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksLance Thompson scores wide of the ruck. A killer blow for Souths. Covell's conversion attempt goes across the face of goal. Sharks 20-6Half time: Sharks 20-6Souths will have the wind in the second half but whether or not this is worth 14 points remains to be seen.Some dispute in the lead-up to the last try as Souths supporters were appealing for a penalty moments earlier following a dangerous tackle on fullback Polglase.Adam Dykes in great form for Sharks with a top kicking game and getting plenty of support on the edge of the ruck. Shannon Hegarty and John Sutton are Souths' best.Players on the field and second half underway...47 min: NEWS NO TRY - Sharks denied after back rower Reece Williams loses the ball while crashing through. Souths fulback Polglase copping a hammering as Souths forwards are simply opening up.50 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsFive-eighth John Sutton scores after winger Nathan Merritt drew in two defenders up the middle of the park, opening up a yawning gap for Sutton who raced through from 25m out.Williams converts from almost in front. Sharks 20-1259 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksPhil Bailey scores out wide for the Sharks after Brett Kimmorley takes full advantage of of a broken defensive line and grubbers into the in-goal.Conversion attempt from Covell misses. Sharks 24-1264 min: Possible Souths try. Video ref checking....VERDICT: NO TRY. After Kimmorley knocked on behind the line, Hegarty was unable to cleaning regather to score. Goal line drop out.65 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsWinger Paul Mellor scores for Souths after a beaut flick pass from Polglase. Mellor improves his position to score 15m in from touch. Conversion attempt from Merritt is waved away. Sharks 24-1675 min: NEWS Souths penalised for a high tackle on Darren Albert. Sharks get the penalty and are deep in Rabbitohs territory.39 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsMerritt scores a late try in the corner for Souths after they put on some dazzling football. Merriit kicks the conversion from the sideline. Sharks 24-22Fulltime: Sharks 24-22.An entertaining comeback towards the end from Souths but Sharks get home with a wet sail and post their first win of the year, the try just before halftime proving decisive.Sharks still have some work to do with ball control and poor completions while Souths, despite showing some good skills in the second half, have to play for the entire 80 minutes. In all, Souths missed 38 tackles which has to be addressed if they want to make an impression in 2006. -----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)2 - Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs)1 - John Sutton (Rabbitohs)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 4 Parramatta Eels 18 v North Queensland Cowboys 26Match Summary:The Cowboys came back from trailing 14-0 early in their match against Parramatta at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night to complete an impressive 26-18 win. The Eels led 14-6 at half time.The Eels scored against the run of play in the eighth minute with a 90 metre try to Eric Grothe Jnr. The lead was extended after 18 minutes after Tim Smith sent a great inside ball to Wade McKinnon who scored under the posts. The lead was extended to 14-0 with a Mark Riddell penalty goal in the 34th minute. Just before half time the Cowboys scored the first six points in their 26-0 run with a try to Matthew Scott after a Nathan Hindmarsh error.The Cowboys closed the gap to 14-12 after McKinnon played the ball back to no dummy half right under his own posts, and from the next play Faiumu scored under the posts. Nine minutes later the Cowboys took the lead with the first of Matt Sings two tries after creating an overlap on the right hand side. The Eels were controversially denied a try by the video referee after it was ruled Riddell had used McKinnon as a blocker as he dived from dummy half. Following this there was a punch up that saw Chad Robinson and Justin Smith sin binned, and just before the players came back onto the field Johnathan Thurston converted a penalty goal for a 20-14 lead. Moments later Rod Jensen broke up the middle and found Sing in support who scored his second under the posts. Wade McKinnon scored a late try that could have kept the Eels in the match, only for Riddell to miss the conversion.Scorers:Parramatta Eels: 18Tries: Eric Grothe, Wade McKinnon(2)Goals: Mark Riddell 2/3, Brett Delaney 1/1North Queensland Cowboys: 26Tries: David Fauiumu, Matthew Scott, Matt Sing(2)Goals: Johnathan Thurston 5/6By the Clock:Just several minutes away from kickoff at Parramatta Stadium.1 min: NEWS The Cowboys kick the game off!3 min: NEWS Cowboys get the first attacking opportunity through an Eels error, but a poor pass finds touch.8 min: TRY Parramatta EelsAfter having to defend several repeat sets inside their 10 the Eels hold the Cowboys out and spread the ball wide to Grothe who runs 90 metres to score. Riddell lands the easy conversion. Eels 6-013 min: NEWS On their first real attacking opportunity Tim Smith throws a 'forward pass' that led to Brett Delaney crossing the line, called back.17 min: NEWS Cowboys giving away plenty of penalties in an effort to slow the game down..18 min: TRY Parramatta EelsA magnificent step and inside ball from Tim Smith puts Wade McKinnon in under the posts. Delaney converts. Eels 12-020 min: NEWS Luke O'Dwyer currently down injured. Back up now.23 min: NEWS Eels really dominating possession, getting plenty of penalties and repeat sets.24 min: NEWS An unmarked Grothe drops a pass that would have seen him score in the corner.31 min: NEWS Cowboys win a goal line drop out.34 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta EelsAfter a penalty for dissent, Mark Riddell kicks a penalty goal. Eels 14-036 min: NEWS Marsh makes a great run up the middle, but throws a pass to the Cowboys.37 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysOn the back of a great last tackle run, then a Hindmarsh error, Matthew Scott barges over from close range. Thurston converts. Eels 14-640 min: NEWS Half time. The Eels have really dominated the first half but would be dissapointed to only lead by 8.40 min: NEWS Second half underway.41 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysAn awful error from the Eels that had McKinnon playing the ball back to no dummy half leads to a Faiumu try one play later. Thurston converts. Eels 14-1244 min: NEWS Just as the Cowboys were getting momentum Thurston loses the ball as he's tackled.50 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysThe Cowboys draw an overlap and Sing scores out wide. Thurston converts. Cowboys 18-1455 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL North Queensland CowboysThurston misses a penalty goal. Cowboys 18-1458 min: NEWS Cowboys get held up over the line and can't score on the last play.59 min: NEWS PJ Marsh out for tonight with an ankle ligament injury.60 min: NEWS Video referee for an Eels try.60 min: NEWS NO TRY - McKinnon is penalised for obstructing the marker.61 min: NEWS FIGHT - After a swinging arm from Chad Robinson the players come on for a dust up. 61 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Chad Robinson is sent to the sin bin for his swinging arm.61 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Justin Smith is sent to the sin bin for his reaction with the fight. Swinging arm is on report.66 min: NEWS After being stopped on the last tackle Stringer takes a huge air swing at Matt Sing.67 min: NEWS Ben Smith now coming off the field injured.72 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland CowboysAfter a holding down penalty on Hindmash, Thurston successfully kicks a penalty goal. The sin binned players return. Cowboys 20-1473 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysA break up the middle by Rod Jensen finds Matt Sing in support who scores under the posts. Cowboys 26-1477 min: TRY Parramatta EelsA cut out pass finds McKinnon totally unmarked out wide. Riddell misses the conversion. Cowboys 26-1880 min: NEWS The Cowboys complete an impressive comeback from 14-0 down to win 26-18.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Johnathan Thurston2 - Matt Sing1 - Tim Smith -----------------------------------------
NZRL Executive Chairman, Selwyn Pearson is delighted to confirm that Brian McClennan has signed on as Kiwi coach through to the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.The announcement regarding the Kiwi coaching position follows a media session at Rugby League House, Auckland yesterday.