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LIVE COVERAGE | Canterbury Cup NSW Rd 12

It's turned into one of the more unpredictable Rugby League competitions, with first placed Mounties and second placed Panthers going down last week. The Jets and the Warriors kicked off the week with an exciting draw, while five other games will be played across the weekend to fill the gaps in an NRL bye round.

Wentworthville Magpies v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Hannah McGrory 

An arm-wrestle between both sides, the Rabbitohs held on to the lead, by a converted try in the final 15 minutes of play. 

A great defensive display from the Rabbitohs and a 60 metre try by centre Jacob Gagan, saw Rabbitohs defeat a solid Wentworthville outfit. 

Centre Jacob Gagan was relieved after defeating Wentworthville, admitting everyone in his side, stepped up to their individual role.

“It’s good to get the win, we’ve had a couple of losses in a row now. Every one stepped up today and we got the win. We were in it the whole game, at the start the penalties and errors lead to them scoring and we grinded away and were fortunate enough to come up with the win,” Gagan told NSWRL post-match.   

Wentworthville were first to score after a long pass from fullback, Bevan French found his winger, George Jennings. French was unable to convert however in their next set, French had a strong run and charged over for their second four-pointer of the game. He successfully converted his try, to give his side a 10-nil victory.

The Rabbitohs were then awarded two consecutive penalties after Wentworthville were found offside. They capitalised by scoring through Kane Allan on the right-hand side with halfback Dean Hawkins successfully converting. Rabbitohs were in again five minutes later, through Josh Cook with Hawkns successfully converting, giving them a two-point lead.

A terrific kick from Bevan French saw five-eighth Jaeman Salmon soaring high to come close to scoring but wasn’t able to hold on to the ball. Time was called off after Rabbitohs halfback, Dean Hawkins was injured, suffering a collarbone injury and didn’t return to the field.

Bevan French’s fast footwork broke through the Rabbitohs defensive line before finding Brad Takairangi, with winger Greg Lelisiuao finishing off the job. French’s kick was unsuccessful as Wentworthville took a 14-12 lead at half time.

Both sides came out with strong defence in the second half, before centre Jacob Gagan found a gap and ran 60 metres to score under the posts in the 57th minute. Centre, Levi Dodd successfully converted after taking over kicking duties from Dean Hawkins.

A modest Gagan reacted to his crucial four-pointer following the game, saying he was hopeful about getting across the line.

“It was a lucky bounce, it bounced up in to my hand I just had to make sure I made it to the try line,” said Gagan.

The Rabbitohs were awarded a penalty with 15 minutes remaining and opted to take the two points with Levi Dodds successfully kicking the penalty goal. The Rabbitohs successfully defended their line and maintained a six-point lead for the remainder of the game.


Bears vs Mounties

Rebecca Szabo

Two converted tries in the final 10 minutes helped the Bears to a win in a close encounter with the Mounties at North Sydney Oval on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides were up off the line quick and strong in defense to start the game before Sam Verrills goose stepped his way to the line for the opening try of the match. Brock Lamb added the extra two  points to put the home team up 6-0.

The Mounties bounced back almost instantly with Ata Hingano intercepting a ball and running 90 metres before unselfishly offloaded for Reubenn Rennie to seal the deal for his team.

The scoring was more free-flowing in the second half, Royce Hunt having an immediate impact five minutes in after he dived over the line with Andre Niko landing a tough conversion to put Mounties in front 12-6.

Bears winger Bernard Lewis hit back straight away with a brilliant individual effort where he strode down the sideline, faked an inside pass before beating the defence to score under the posts.

The Mounties took an opportunity to break the deadlock when Niko converted a penalty kick from right in front to put them up 14-12 with only 15 minutes remaining.

The Bears re-took the lead after Max Bailey soared high to snatch a ball out of the air and score underneath the posts with Lamb converting to extend the lead to 18-14.

In a tense, hard-hitting final five minutes of play, the Mounties came close on a few occasions but it was the Bears who sealed the win after Tom Freebairn strode over next to the posts in the dying minutes to make it 24-14.

Rabbitohs vs Wenty

Hannah McGrory

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have broken their losing streak with an impressive 20-14 victory over Wentworthville Magpies at Ringrose Park.

In what was an arm-wrestle between both sides, the Rabbitohs held on to the lead by a converted try in a thrilling final 15 minutes of play. 

A great defensive display from the Rabbitohs and a 60-metre try by centre Jacob Gagan, saw Rabbitohs defeat a solid Wentworthville uniform. 



St George Illawarra Dragons v Western Suburbs Magpies

Andre Cupido

The Western Suburbs Magpies have fought back from a three-try deficit early in the second half to record an incredible 22-all draw against the St George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Sunday. 

The Dragons looked well in control for a majority of the contest as they raced out to a comfortable 22-4 lead, but two tries to Bilal Maarbani and another to Watson Heleta in the dying stages ensured an enthralling finish. 

The Magpies can take a wealth of confidence from their character-defining performance in the second 40 to record their second draw in two weeks against worthy opposition in the Dragons. 

Both teams took their time to work their way into the contest with limited chances throughout the opening exchanges but the Dragons eventually found a breakthrough with two tries in quick succession.  

Josh Kerr broke the deadlock in the 18th minute with a powerful surge from close-range before Pio Sokobalavu capitalised on a Tyson Gamble error off the kick-off with a carbon-copy effort just two minutes later.  

Adam Clune continued to control the game nicely with a pinpoint kicking game to help the Dragons win the battle of field position although momentum quickly shifted when Matt Dufty threw an intercept pass to Kane Bradley who streaked 60m to score in the left-hand corner.  

The Magpies threatened for back-to-back tries late in the first-half when Jayden Morgan was sent to the sin-bin for repeated infringements, but the defiant Dragons defence held strong and they took a 12-4 advantage into half-time. 

The Dragons continued with their relentless attacking raids to start the second half and they quickly found themselves with a 22-4 lead after back-to-back tries in the opening 10 minutes. 

Steven Marsters was the first beneficiary when he latched onto a towering Tristan Sailor bomb in the 42nd minute before a floating Clune cut-out pass found an unmarked Jason Gillard in the left-hand corner just moments later. 

Although sitting comfortably with a handy three-try lead with still 30 minutes remaining, the Magpies had a glimmer of hope when Marbaani crashed over in the 55th minute.  

Marsters broke the game wide open when he burst through the line with a lethal right foot step, before kicking ahead for a flying Dufty only for the livewire to fumble the ball in his efforts to scoop up the loose ball.

They were made to rue the missed opportunity when the Magpies responded with a classy backline movement to send Maarbani over for his second try with Kauri Aupouri-Puketapu converting from out-wide to reduce the deficit to a mere six points.  

A missed field-goal attempt from Tristan Sailor gave the Magpies a valuable seven-tackle set with just five minutes remaining, and pressure quickly mounted when they forced a line drop-out at the opposing end. 

They eventually reaped the rewards when Heleta crashed over with just two minutes remaining to incredibly grab a share of the competition points.


Penrith Panthers v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles

Blake Edwards

Four tries in the final twenty minutes has helped the Penrith Panthers record a gutsy 28-16 come from behind victory against the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Panthers Stadium on Saturday.

Both sides were out to prove a point after coming off Round 11 losses to the Magpies and Warriors respectively, with the Panthers coming out of the blocks early, creating two scoring opportunities straight off the bat, though, were unable to convert them into points.

Blacktown followed suit when given their opportunity with the steeden. troubling the scorers first through some nice soccer like skills from Karmen Cryer who put a neat little kick into the Panthers line, which defected off a Panther before Cryer toed it ahead planting the ball when it reached the in-goal. The Eagles good work continued in the ensuing set, running in another try to centre Dane Aukafolau to give his side a 10-0 lead after just ten minutes of play.

After a frustrating opening quarter for the hosts, Penrith were finally able to muster their first points when Kurt Falls split through  Blacktown defenders racing downfield before linking up with Allan Fitzgibbon who toed down the touchline before planting it over the stripe. Falls made no mistake with the boot, narrowing the Eagles lead to 10-6.

An error riddled second quarter from boths sides made it hard viewing for the punters at Panthers Stadium, with Guy Missio’s men creating plenty of point scoring opportunities, but on each occasion, the final pass just wouldn’t stick. As a result, the Workers held onto their narrow 10-6 lead at the break.

Blacktown struck shortly after the resumption through a brilliant individual try to Zach Docker-Clay who weaved through every line of defense the Panthers had, racing away to dive over the line, giving his side a handy ten point lead.

It appeared Missio’s miseries were sent to continue in the second stanza, with the Panthers unable to complete sets and capitalize on their opportunities.

However, things started to change after a brave play from Caleb Aekins in the in-goal who linked up with Fitzgibbon after fielding a Blacktown kick, swug the momentum in the Panthers favor, with the Panthers rolling up the field scoring a well executed try to Reed Izzard. This was soon followed by another cracking try to Brayden McGregor, with an even better sideline conversion by Falls giving the hosts their first lead of the game at 18-16, with twelve to play.

Fitzgibbon crossed out wide for his double heading into a tense final ten minutes, before a four-pointer on the bell to Matheson Johns struck the final blow, gifting the Panthers a 28-16 win, setting up a juicy round thirteen clash against the North Sydney Bears next Sunday at Panthers Stadium.


Newtown Jets v Warriors

Andrew Jackson

A 78th minute try to Matt Evans has seen the Newtown Jets steal a dramatic 20-all draw with the New Zealand Warriors at Henson Park on Saturday.

The result was anything but settled when the centre crossed over, with Braydon Trindall facing a tough conversion from near the sideline in windy conditions.

But the halfback judged it perfectly, curling the ball back and through the posts.

This was a Warriors outfit stacked with first-grade experience though as starting front rowers Chris Satae and Sam Lisone led the charge.

All eyes were on halves Adam Keighran and Chanel Harris-Tevita as both continue to try and stake their claim for an NRL recall, currently behind more established playmakers Kodi Nikorima and Blake Green.

Keighran was the more composed of the two, scoring a try and guiding the side around well with his kicking game.

Despite all their experience, the Warriors found themselves trailing early by 10 points.

Newtown broke through for the first try of the afternoon when a cut-out pass from Jack Williams sent Ronaldo Mulitalo slicing over in the left corner.

Siosifa Talakai then scored in the 13th minute when he stormed onto a ricocheted grubber and powered through the line.

The successful conversion from halfback Braydon Trindall pushed their lead out to 10.

The Warriors were guilty of conceding several first-tackle penalties in the opening half, gifting the Jets easy passage out of their own end.

And when they were down near the opposition try line, a lack of polish cost them.

They eventually hit back when Hayze Perham intercepted a William Kennedy pass and steamed away.

He was run down by lock Scott Sorensen but they quickly capitalised on the break, spreading it left as Taane Milne dived over.

Adam Keighran nailed the conversion from the sideline to reduce the deficit to four.

Satae was impressive for the men from across the ditch, dragging defenders with him on each run.

But fellow front rower Lisone made an even bigger statement five minutes after play resumed as he pushed four defenders away before muscling over to score.

It came after a miskick from Trindall landed out on the full, gifting the Warriors prime field position.

They were also helped by wingers Gerard Beale and Milne, whose first-grade experience proved vital with the pair providing plenty of strong carries from deep inside their own half.

But the play of the day came from fullback Adam Pompey, who returned the ball with vigour before bursting through the middle and fending away defenders all the way to the try line.

The 80-metre effort gave the away side the lead for the first time. Keighran wasn’t able to convert either try, unable to account for the windy conditions at Henson Park.

An unnecessary offload from Satae handed possession back to Newtown who immediately capitalised as Sione Katoa went over out wide. Trindall couldn’t land the conversion, leaving scores locked at 14-all.

Keighran then chased his own bomb and picked up the scraps to score as the Warriors regained the lead with 13 minutes remaining.

The five-eighth hooked himself from the kicking duties, handing them over to fellow half Chanel Harris-Tevita who slotted it from next to the posts.

A couple of late penalties presented the Jets with a late chance to snatch the draw and they did just that when Matt Evans crossed over with two minutes remaining.

The wind had wreaked havoc all day but Trindall judged the conversion perfectly, curling it back through the posts to level things up with just over a minute remaining.

The halfback looked to turn match winner as he snapped a rushed attempt at field goal from 40 metres out but it missed to the left of the posts.


Bulldogs vs Knights

Kristy-Lee Harris

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs managed to just scrape through with a 20-18 win against a hungry Newcastle Knights side at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

The sides lacked control and confidence in the first 15 minutes of the match, until Knights hooker Chris Randall scored the first try of the match.

Bulldogs winger Isaiah Tass bit back with the help of superstar halfback Lachlan Lewis to score in the 20th minute and reduce the margin to 6-4. 

Teammate Corey Hawawira-Naira backed that up four minutes later after he pushed his way through a broken Knights defensive line to put the Bulldogs on top.

Tass went over for his second try in the 33rd minute to extend the lead to 14-6 and put the home team on track for the win.

The Bulldogs kept the scoreboard ticking over shortly after play resumed in the second half after Renouf Toomanga scored to make it 20-6.

The Knights needed something special and winger Mitchell Andrews answered the call when he sprinted through a wide gap to reduce the deficit.

A back-and-forth battle continued until Bulldogs hooker Kerrod Holland went down with injury in the 62nd minute, leaving his side in a vulnerable state and putting the onus on key players Toomanga and Lewis to get the Bulldogs home.

Knights’ Justin Worley scored a minute after Holland went down to set the stage for a tense finish but the Bulldogs held their nerve to cling on for a 20-18 win.