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Canterbury Cup NSW Rd 23 – scores, highlights, reports

Live coverage of Round 23 in the Canterbury Cup NSW.

Mounties v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles

HIGHLIGHTS | Mounties v Blacktown - Rd 23

A try just 10 minutes out from full-time from Sebastian Kris has helped the Mounties survive with a enthralling 30-26 victory over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at GIO Stadium on Sunday. 

The Mounties were relentless opening half to lead 26-4 at the break, although a valiant Blacktown Workers outfit would not die wondering with a fighting effort in the second stanza with four unanswered tries. 

The score would remain level for just four minutes, however, with Kris crosing in the 68th minute before the Mounties held-off with some defiant defensive efforts to record a gritty win. 

Newcastle Knights v South Sydney Rabbitohs

HIGHLIGHTS | Newcastle v South Sydney - Rd 23

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have restored to spot on the competition ladder with a resounding 32-4 victory over the Newcastle Knights at Maitland Sports Ground on Sunday. 

Ethan Lowe was a late inclusion after he was omitted from the first-grade squad on Friday night, and capped off the afternoon with a well-deserved try in the dying stages of the contest. 

An early double to Mawene Hiroti would be the only points of the first-half as the Rabbitohs held onto a slender 12-0 lead before the Knights had a glimmer of hope with a try to Kiah Cooper in the 48th minute. 

Despite the short burst of momentum, a relentless final half-hour from the Rabbitohs cemented a fighting victory away from home. 

North Sydney Bears v Penrith Panthers

HIGHLIGHTS | North Sydney v Penrith - Rd 23

Andrew Jackson

The North Sydney Bears have taken a giant step towards securing a top-four finish with a dominant 42-24 win over the Penrith Panthers at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.

There were no real standouts for the Bears with everyone playing their part in the victory over an at times disinterested Panthers side.

Jarome Luai returned from an eye injury to line up at halfback for Penrith, playing alongside recent NRL debutant Matt Burton.

While the pair may be teammates now, James Maloney’s departure at the end of the year means they are effectively competing for his vacant position alongside Nathan Cleary.

It is hard to get a good read on their individual performances given they weren’t given much of a chance of putting their stamp on the game. 

Luai’s footwork proved dangerous but he was guilty of sending Penrith’s attack too sideways.

Burton came up with a crucial try-saving tackle in defence and put in a couple of well-positioned kicks in a mixed effort.

In all, the Panthers struggled to get into a rhythm for much of the match and were too frantic in attack when they had opportunities on the opposition line.

Bears five-eighth Lachlan Lam broke through for the first try of the game when he took the line on in the 6thminute.

Penrith regrouped though to score eight minutes later through Matheson Johns after a spiralling kick from Burton forced an error.

A deceptive pass out of dummy-half from Sione Katoa and late offload created space as quick hands put the winger Johns over in the corner.

North Sydney rallied to run in the next three tries, the first seeing Asu Kepaoa prove too strong close to the line before great support play saw Elih Jackson score with his first touch of the ball.

James Tuitahi then burst through the middle and found a speedy Kieran Moss back on the inside only for Burton to stop a certain try in a strong one-on-one tackle.

The relief was short-lived for the Panthers though as Tuitahi crossed over moments later to extend North Sydney’s lead to 20.

Bradley Deitz then sliced through the middle in the dying moments of the first half, Moss backing up again and this time scoring under the posts.

After a tough first half, Burton and Luai combined brilliantly to send Malakai Watene-Zelezniak over in the corner.

The Panthers quickly went back-to-back as Shannon Harris broke through, linked with Johns and backed up in support to score.

Two-straight dropouts then heaped more pressure on North Sydney who folded again, Katoa throwing a beautiful ball from dummy-half to send Patrick Hollis over.

Burton kicked just one of the conversions to leave the difference at two converted tries.

A penalty saw the Bears extend the buffer by two though before Drew Hutchison took on the line and reached out to score.

Asu Kepaoa then barged over as North Sydney pushed further away.

Kaide Ellis scored late for the Panthers but it made little difference as they suffered a heavy defeat.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Warriors

HIGHLIGHTS | St George Illawarra v Warriors - Rd 23

Blake Edwards 

A strong defensive effort from the St George Illawarra Dragons has seen them cement their spot in the top four, recording an empathic 28-0 victory over the New Zealand Warriors at Kogarah on Saturday evening.

Both sides had plenty to play for heading into the encounter, with the Dragons looking to secure their position in the top four heading into September, while the Warriors were looking to fight their way into the top eight to qualify for a finals berth.

The hosts started with a bang scoring three quality four pointers within the first fifteen minutes of play. The ever reliable boot of Adam Clune provided the Red V with their first when the cross-field kick was plucked out of the air by a leaping Eli Levido, before he grounding it. In the ensuing set after initial points,  backrower Luke Gale raced away down past the Warriors left edge defence before turning the ball inside to Charly Runciman who finished it off.

Moments later Matt Dufty exploited the left edge defence again, scoring a flashy four pointer when he raced down the touchline before diving from five metres out to plant in just inside the corner post. The NRL outcast showed great athleticism and game awareness to stay within the field of play, as well as give the Dragons a dream start at 16-0.

The Warriors began to warm to the contest after the initial ambush, holding out the Dragons for an extended period of time and finding their way into good attacking areas. However, they were unable to etch any points. Their good work suffered a blow in the final stages of the half, when a wayward kick was collected out wide by flanker Steve Marsters just inside the touchline, before he lobbed a hail-mary ball inside which found the support player in Darren Nicholls, who raced away to improve the position, grounding it under the posts to give the saints a substantial 22-0 lead at the break.

It was an error riddled start to the second stanza with both sides showing an inability to complete their sets. When a better completion rate resumed for the Warriors, they were given plenty of opportunities by an ill-disciplined Dragons, though the visitors still couldn’t break through the brute goal-line defence of the Red V. Warriors Adam Keighran continued tiresley to mustre something up for his desperate side, though the Dragons continued to turn them away.

The Dragons finally provided some entertainment for the second half, albeit in the final minute, with a four pointer from close range to Clune, to give the Dragons an important 28-0 victory, to cement their spot in the top four.

Newtown Jets v Western Suburbs Magpies

HIGHLIGHTS | Newtown v Western Suburbs - Rd 23

Hannah McGrory 

In perfect weather conditions in front of 8,972 fans on Saturday afternoon at Henson Park, the Newtown Jets have dominated over the Wests Magpies 42-14, in the battle for the Tommy Raudonikis Cup.

The Jets scored eight tries including a double to Luke Polselli and Greg Eastwood which has kept theit season alive.

A try of the year contender was scored by Sione Katoa after he chased a deft grubber and scored next to the corner post.

The home side came out and applied pressure early before capitalising on a penalty with Luke Polselli opening the scoring for the game. The conversion from Kyle Flanagan was unsuccessful.  

After an unforced error from Jets, the Magpies responded through centre Bilal Maarbani, however the conversion attempt was unsuccessful. Wests were in again four minutes later through Watson Heleta, which put the Magpies in front 8-4.

Newtown were next to respond after Kyle Flanagan scored in the 22nd minute and successfully converted his own try.

Magpies halfback Kauri Aupouri-Puketapu was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul after not allowing Newtown to play the ball. Jets made the most of the opportunity as second rower Siosifa Talakai pushed his way through the defensive line for their third try of the game, the conversion was successful.

A contender for the try of the year was scored Jets Sione Katoa, after a wayward pass went back Flanagan’s put in a deft grubber kick which Katoa chased to score a four-pointer. The conversion was successful to extend the lead. There was no stopping the Jets, as Greg Eastwood crossed for his first of the season under the posts following a great run from Polselli. Flanagan successfully converted to give the Jets a 20-point lead at half time.

A crucial error in the second half from the Wests Magpies cost them a try, as Greg Eastwood scored his second of the day. The conversion was successful from Flanagan.

Newtown were not done as Luke Polelli scored his second of the day, with Flanagan successfully converting to extend their lead 38-8.

Wests Magpies scored a consolation try through Harrison O’Toole with Bilal Maarbani successfully converting from the sideline.

Newtown secured the win after fullback William Kennedy broke through the line to score in the 70th minute. Kyle Flanagan successfully converted his sixth of the day to extend the score 42-14.

Newtown will face the Newcastle Knights next Saturday afternoon with the Magpies playing the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium in the final regular game of the season.

Wentworthville Magpies v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

HIGHLIGHTS | Wentworthville v Canterbury-Bankstown - Rd 23

Jarrod Ryan

A second half two-try effort from Winger George Jennings broke a fatigued Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs lead as eighth placed Wentworthville Magpies kept their finals hopes alive.

Both teams started the match with dominant runs through the middle with both sets of Forwards attempting to break through tough defensive lines. A brain snap from Canterbury’s Ofahiki Ogden resulted in the Prop being placed on report after a hefty shoulder-charge landed into Wentworthville’s Tim Mannah.

The first points of the game came from Magpies Prop Stefano Utoikamanu who forced himself through four Bulldogs defenders, grounding the ball just left of the goal posts. A successful conversion by Ryse Davies put the home side ahead by six points, seven minutes into the game.

A miraculous try by Canterbury’s Jack Cogger saw the Five-Eighth intercept the ball from a Magpies scum after the Bulldogs’ Kayne Kalache miss judged a pass just short of the try line. Cogger placed the ball between the up-rights to secure an easy extra two points for the visiting team to even the scores after fifteen minutes.

Clearly inspired by his halves partner, Bulldogs Half Back Fa’amanu Brown intercepted the ball of the back of another Wentworthville scrum and gifted the visiting side another six points in an almost identical fashion.


A penalty goal by Jake Averillo gave Canterbury an eight-point edge going into half time.

A Wentworthville knock-on from the kick off gifted the visiting team the ball straight after the break. A perfectly weighted grubber from five-eigthh Jack Cogger saw the Bulldogs capitalise on their field position as Brandon Wakeham slid behind the Magpie’s defence to score. Converting his own try, Wakeham put his team ahead by fourteen points.

The Bulldogs continued to pressure the Magpies defence but a wayward floating pass gifted Wentworthville Five-Eighth Will Smith an intercept, who showed his speed over distance, placing the ball between the posts after an uncontested eighty-metre sprint. A successful conversion by Davies closed the Canterbury lead to only eight points.

The Magpies stuck again six minutes later as Winger George Jennings cut inside the Bulldogs scramble defence after his edge partner managed to offload the ball. Although the try closed the gap, an unsuccessful conversion kept the deficit to four points.

Minutes later, Wentworthville Winger George Jennings struck for his second of the game as he managed to break away from a stagnant multiple defender tackle to ground the ball between the posts. A successful conversion saw the home team ahead for the first time in the second half.

A clearly fatigued Bulldogs pack kept themselves from developing any momentum in attack, gifting the home team back-to-back sets through dropped balls on their try line or missed opportunities for a seven tackle sets from touch. Desperate to regain the ball in defence, Canterbury seemed to be more focused on stripping the ball than actually making a tackle, allowing Wentworthville to dominate through the middle of the field.

A try on the full-time siren from Wentworthville Magpies Winger Ethan Parry saw the home team finish the game with an eight-point lead to keep their hopes for finals football alive.