Round 13 continues on Sunday with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs hosting the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles, while the Panthers search for back-to-back wins in a blockbuster clash against the North Sydney Bears.
Match: Panthers v Bears
Round 13 -
Venue: Panthers Stadium, Penrith
The Penrith Panthers have reclaimed first place on the ladder after a 32 -nil win over the North Sydney Bears at Panthers Stadium.
After a grinding start to the match, the Panthers dominated and kept the Bears scoreless on the back of a terrific defensive display. Stephen Crichton impressed on the left wing scoring a hat-trick to assist his side to victory.
In perfect sunny conditions, it took 28 minutes before the Panthers scored the first points of the match through Sione Katoa.
The Bears received the first penalty of the game, with Sam McKendry being sent to the sin bin for a professional foul. The Bears came close to crossing the line before a forward pass denied them the opening points of the game.
Another penalty was awarded to the Bears, with halfback Brock Lamb providing them good field position, however they were unable to capitalise on it making an unforced error.
After three penalties in a row were handed to the Panthers, Sione Katoa went close to scoring but was held up.
The Bears then conceded another two penalties before Spencer Leniu ran through their defensive line to score the first points of the match. Kurt Falls successfully converted to put the Panthers in front 6-0.
Discipline and errors continued to hurt the Bears as the Panthers received another penalty and forced a goal line drop out.
After consistent pressure was applied by the Panthers, they were in again following a brilliant put-down from Stephen Crichton. The conversion attempt by Falls from the sideline was unsuccessful.
The Bears couldn’t capitalise off an opportunity before half-time, with Lamb making an unforced error and unable to maintain possession.
With a 10- nil lead at half- time, the Panthers came out determined with a quick tap was taken following a penalty. The Panthers shifted down the left- hand side for Crichton to score his second of the game. Falls successfully converted to extend the lead to 16 points.
The Panthers forced a goal line drop out in the 61st minute, with the Bears opting to kick a short-drop out however it didn’t go to plan with the Panthers gaining possession 10 metres out. They utilised this opportunity as fullback Caleb Aekins powered through the Bears defence to score. Falls' conversion was successful to extend their lead 22–0.
The Bears players frustration was getting the better of them, as Max Bailey was sent to the sin bin for back chat.
Panthers continued to find space on the left edge with Crichton going over for his hat-trick. Five minutes later they were in the same position with Jed Cartwright running through a gap to score. Falls successfully converted Cartwright’s try to assist the Panthers to a 32-0 victory.
“I’m lost for words," Crichton said after the match.
"It’s only my third Cup game and I’ve already scored three. It feels good, it’s only my third game and played hard with the boys to get the win.
"I’m still 18 and still have a lot to learn, especially learning on Malakai (Watene- Zalezniak) on the other side wing."
Match: Bulldogs v Sea Eagles
Round 13 -
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney
HIGHLIGHTS | Canterbury-Bankstown v Blacktown Workers – Rd 13
The individual brilliance of Fa’amanu Brown and leadership of Michael Lichaa helped an error-prone Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs to a 30-20 win against Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Belmore Oval on Sunday afternoon.
The home team were the first to score after Lichaa jumped out of dummy-half to pass the ball to rampaging 106kg forward Francis Taulau.
Lichaa stepped up again in the 22nd minute after throwing a sublime cut-out pass for winger John Olive to score in the corner and extend the lead to 10-0.
Blacktown were invited back into the game after a penalty, allowing forward Haumole Olakau’atu to put his side on the score sheet in the 29th minute, with Abbas Miski converting to reduce the deficit to 10-6.
The Bulldogs were proving to be their own worst enemy, lacked ball control and not completing sets, and things went from bad to worse after Lachlan Lewis limped from the field with an ankle injury.
Coming to save the day, Brown stepped up with a sensational solo effort after dancing his way past a handful of defenders before planting the ball over the line with one minute remaining in the first half to extend the lead to 16-6.
With Lewis out of the game, it was left up to NRL players Lichaa, Brown and Harawira-Naera to lead the team in the second half.
It took the Bulldogs only five minutes after halftime for the team to heed coach Brad Henderson’s request to hold on to the ball with Brown passing for fullback Toa Mata’afa to touch down.
Sea Eagles captain Zach Dockar-Clay punched through the Bulldogs line at the 50th minute, pushing his side to within 10 points of the opposition.
Olive got the Dogs some breathing space after scoring his second try and final for his side for the afternoon before the Sea Eales scored two late tries to put some respectability into the scoreline.
Match: Warriors v Dragons
Round 13 -
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
HIGHLIGHTS | Warriors v St George Illawarra – Rd 13
A fantastic all-round game by Tristan Sailor has propelled the Dragons to a powerful 28-6 win over the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday afternoon, in a game played in very blustery conditions.
The Warriors enjoyed an excellent start, forcing three repeat sets forcing the kickoff return all the way back over the Dragons’ goal line. The visitors did very well to hold the Warriors out, eventually forcing an error.
Warriors five eighth Adam Keighran burst through after nine minutes, almost scoring in the corner, but a perfect cover tackle by Sailor saved a certain try.
Sailor was in the action not long after, chiming into the line off some nice work by Adam Clune and providing the last pass to send Jordan Pereira over for the game’s first try after 14 minutes. The fullback then judged the wind perfectly, landing the conversion from the sideline.
The home side hit back shortly after, when Keighran showed some great skill off a set that seemed to be going nowhere. After putting a kick along the deck, he managed to grab the deflection and popped a pass for Phillip Makatoa to dive over in the corner. Like Sailor, he put in a perfect kick to convert and lock up the scores at 6-6.
A fast set saw the Dragons threaten again with nine minutes left in the half, and the Warriors had no choice but to concede a ruck penalty close to their line. Sailor edged them in front with the shot just to the right of the posts.
Pereira then cut his way back through a couple of weak tackle attempts to score his second, giving the Dragons a handy 14-6 lead at the break.
Sailor again edged the Dragons further ahead with a penalty goal shortly after the restart, before Clune scored a spectacular try off his own kick that was taken and offloaded by winger Jason Saab close to the line. In fact, the Dragons deprived the Warriors of the ball for almost the first 10 minutes of the half.
They finally got a break after a bad lifting tackle saw Lachlan Timm, Josaia Lovodua and Eli Levido all put on report.
The ensuing attacking set saw Sean Mullany held up over the line, but that’s as close as the Warriors got. With 20 minutes to go, though, they seemed destined to score - however a pass from Hayze Perham ended up in the hands of Dragons’ second rower Jackson Ford. He had 90 metres to run, outpacing Adam Pompey and Cole Waaka to score under the posts to make the score 28-6.
That strike effectively killed off any hope of a Warriors comeback. The result anchors them near the foot of the table, while the Dragons picked up their first win in three games.
Match: Rabbitohs v Knights
Round 13 -
Venue: Metricon High Performance Centre, Sydney
HIGHLIGHTS | South Sydney v Newcastle – Rd 13
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have won their second consecutive game after defeating the Newcastle Knights 26-6 at Metricon High Performance Centre.
Rabbitohs captain and hooker Billy Brittain backed up after his brief NRL stint last, making his presence felt early with the opening try of the contest. The Rabbitohs lost five-eighth Bayley Sironen late in the first half after he was on the receiving end of a high shot.
The Newcastle Knights were kept scoreless in the first half, as they attempted to break through a strong defensive line by the Rabbitohs but were unable to find a breakthrough.
The Rabbitohs had a strong start with Brittain running through a gap on the left-hand side to score the opening points of the game. Levi Dodd successfully converted to give them a 6-0 lead in opening three minutes.
“It was really tough, pretty greasy conditions, wet weather footy and I’m pretty happy with our result," Brittain said.
"Our defence was awesome, it was something we spoke about a lot before the game and everyone bought into it. I thought all of our points came from our defence so that was really pleasing."
A great kick chase from Knights halfback Brayden Searle, forced a goal line drop out which gave his side another set of six. However, the Knights made an unforced error early in the tackle count as Rabbitohs intercepted to receive possession.
In the 19th minute, the Rabbitohs received a penalty and opted to take the two points. Dodd made no mistake successfully kicking the goal to extend their lead 8–nil.
After five-eighth Bayley Sironen was on the receiving end of a high shot, the Rabbitohs were awarded a penalty. They capitalised with a brilliant passing sequence along the left edge of the field with winger Jaxon Paulo scoring. Dodd successfully converted from the sideline, to give his side a 14- nil lead.
A high- spiralling kick from the Rabbitohs resulted in an unforced Knights error, providing them with another opportunity 20 metres out. The Rabbitohs were unable to make the most of the opportunity as Knights defended their line.
In the 34th minute, Sironen came off the field as the trainer indicated he required a HIA. Sironen failed the HIA, and did not return for the match.
Knights centre Tautau Moga was chased down after finding a gap, with Rabbitohs winger Kane Allen sent off for a professional foul. Knights were unable to utilise the opportunity as they remained scoreless.
Rabbitohs second rower Keaon Koloamatangi came off with a shoulder injury just before half time, with the home team heading into the sheds with a dominant 14- point lead.
The Knights came out strong in the second half, scoring in the opening minutes through fullback Tex Hoy. Searle successfully converted, as Souths remained in front 14-6. The Rabbitohs were quick to respond through centre Jacob Gagan and Dodd continued his good form with the boot by successfully converting.
Moga was then sent off for a professional foul, as Rabbitohs' Trent Peoples came off for HIA. Peoples also failed his HIA and did not return to the field.
The Rabbitohs closed out the match after second rower Dean Britt ran through the defensive line and found Paulo on his inside who scored his second try of the afternoon under the posts. Dodd, continued his 100 per cent striking rate and converted.
Match: Magpies v Mounties
Round 13 -
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney
HIGHLIGHTS | Western Suburbs v Mounties – Rd 13
The weather was dull and the floodlights failed to light up the football at times, but Mounties have momentarily retaken the competition lead in the Canterbury Cup from Penrith for at least the next 24 hours, following their 18-12 win over Western Suburbs at Campbelltown Stadium this afternoon.
Mounties may have been without their classy spine of Aiden Sezer, Ata Hingano and Tom Starling for their clash with the Magpies, but the visitors were still too classy when it mattered, despite the home side being strengthened by late inclusions, Elijah Taylor, Chris McQueen and Paul Momirovski.
Both sides eased their way into the game without creating any opportunities in the opening minutes of the game, but after 16 minutes, it would be the Magpies who would open the scoring through an unconverted try to the backrower, McQueen after he cleaned up a Mounties error close to the try-line to dive over in the south-west corner.
Through lost possession from the kick-off, Mounties had the opportunity to hit back straight away but centre Sebastian Kris was held up over the line by some scrambling Magpies defence.
But the visitors would eventually be the next to score, when half Brendan O’Hagan sliced through some ordinary goal-line defence from the Magpies, to touch down behind the posts and with Niko’s simple conversion, the visitors led 6-4 after 29 minutes.
The home side’s cause wasn’t helped when Aupouri-Puketapu limped from the field soon after, replaced by Soni Luke, but with both sides were guilty of making errors, it would be the Mounties who would hold on to their slender two-point lead at the main break.
However, it took just seven minutes of the second half for the Magpies to regain the lead, doing so in spectacular fashion through an AFL-style mark from winger Billie Maarbani, who was able to hold on to Tyson Gamble’s cross-field kick to score in the north-east corner and give his team an 8-6 lead.
The home side could have extended their lead through a second try to McQueen shortly after, but the back-rower had bobbled a Gamble grubber into an opposing player before grounding the ball and the try was correctly denied.
Mounties took full advantage of that piece of good fortune, regaining the lead a minute later through a try to Niko, after his centre partner Reubenn Rennie, on the back of a quick left shift play, was able to get the offload away for the winger to score unopposed in the corner and with the successful conversion, Mounties led once again, 12-8.
After play ebbed and flowed from one end to the other, Mounties became the first team to extend the lead beyond the converted try margin for the afternoon, after a pin-point grubber kick from Dean Matterson, was dived upon by Rennie and with Niko’s third conversion in succession, the visitors lead pushed out to 18-8, with 11 minutes remaining.
But having regathered possession from a short kick-off, the Magpies weren’t done with just yet and setup a grandstand finish after winger Kane Bradley dived over in the corner to reduce the gap to just the converted try in the 74th minute.
But the visitors were up to the task and held on for a crucial 18-12 win, that sees them regain top spot in the Canterbury Cup pending Sunday’s results.
The victors now return to Aubrey Keech Reserve next Saturday, where they will play hosts to the Newtown Jets, while a day later, Western Suburbs have another date at Campbelltown Stadium, this time against the Newcastle Knights.
Match: Jets v Magpies
Round 13 -
Venue: Henson Park, Sydney
HIGHLIGHTS | Newtown v Wentworthville - Rd 13
The Newtown Jets have overtaken the Wentworthville Magpies in the top eight with a hard-fought 22-10 win in front of a boisterous crowd at Henson Park.
The Jets celebrated their inaugural Diversity & Pride Day on Saturday afternoon in style with a rainbow flag painted onto the ground.
The Newtown faithful who turned up to take part in the occasion were rewarded, fullback Will Kennedy playing a key role and finishing the game with a try and try-assist.
In spite of the result Wentworthville fullback Bevan French continues to push for an NRL recall, and while he may be out of favour at Parramatta, every strong performance will only increase his chances of demanding interest from rival clubs.
French was dangerous throughout the entire 80 minutes, his fancy footwork and slick hands perfectly suited in the five-eighth role despite having the number one jersey on his back.
And his kicking game was just as impressive, eventually converted into points when Salesi Fainga’a pounced onto a French grubber to score the opening try of the game.
After spending much of the opening 20 minutes inside their own half Newtown were rewarded for their defensive grit when Luke Polselli chased down a Matt Evans kick.
Despite dominating possession early, the Magpies then found themselves trailing 16-4 at the break.
First they failed to clean up a bomb, Ronaldo Mulitalo picking up the scraps for the Jets before fullback Kennedy sliced through the middle to score.
Wentworthville eventually responded a few minutes into the second half when Fainga’a fell on the loose ball to claim his second try of the afternoon.
With the next four-pointer to prove vital, Newtown almost re-established their half-time lead when Brayden Trindall took on the line and reached out only to drop it over the line.
It took them a while but with three minutes remaining they eventually sealed the win, a sweeping play to the left seeing Kennedy put Evans over in the corner.