Round 16 of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup kicks off with a Friday night top-of-table clash between ladder leaders the Penrith Panthers and the second-placed North Sydney Bears. The action follows with three games on Saturday afternoon headlined by fellow top four teams the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Newtown Jets, then a double-header on Sunday.
Match: Panthers v Bears
Round 16 -
Venue: BlueBet Stadium, Penrith
Panthers prevail in top-of-the-table clash
The Penrith Panthers held off a determined North Sydney Bears outfit to retain top spot on The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup ladder following a hard-fought 24-20 win in slippery conditions at BlueBet Stadium.
Both sides came into the match with plenty of NRL experience throughout their respective line-ups, in a contest that lived up to the billing of a one-versus-two clash.
The opening 20 minutes was marred by poor handling before the Bears opened the scoring through centre Toa Mata’afa with a bustling effort from close range, but Keighran was unable to convert from out wide.
A Naiqama line-break down the right flank and subsequent chip kick resulted in a penalty goal to Keighran five minutes later after a support player was tackled without possession.
Penrith, through a penalty of their own, were able to level the scores five minutes out from the main break when Sean O’Suliivan broke the line inside the North Sydney’s 20 and placed a well-weighted kick into the in-goal for winger Daeon Amituanai to win the race and score out wide. Falls successfully converted.
Another Keighran penalty goal on the stroke of halftime from 30 metres out restored the Bears’ lead to 8-6.
The second half began strongly for the Panthers when another deft kick from O’Sullivan enabled centre Thomas Jenkins to compete for the ball before and find Amituanai to score his second of the game. Falls’ conversion gave Penrith a 12-8 advantage after 44 minutes.
From the next set, the Panthers scored again with Jenkins and Amituanai combining for Turuva to get on the scoreboard, after Bears fullback Ethan King fumbled a grubber as the Fijian international kicked ahead and grounded the ball. Falls added the extras for an 18-8.
Not long after it was Jenkins who snatched an intercept and ran 70 metres to score in the 57th minute, before Falls converted from out wide to put the Panthers further ahead 24-8.
The Bears eventually scored some points of their own in the second half with a slick try in the southwest corner by Naiqama, courtesy of a Mata’afa backhand flick pass. It was backed up by a try to prop Terrell May in the closing seconds, but it was too little, too late as the Panthers prevailed 24-20.
With the Panthers in the midst of their toughest part of the season, coach Peter Wallace would be pleased with successive victories against fellow top four teams, the Jets and Bears.
Penrith managed to hold on for a narrow win despite second-half injuries to Sean O’Sullivan and back-rower Chris Smith.
The Bears produced a valiant fightback late on, but they will be ruing another missed opportunity against the Panthers after their second four-point loss to the ladder leaders this season.
After failing to gain the lead for the opening 42 minutes, Penrith hit the front for the first time then blew the game wide open within three minutes when the left edge combination of Daeon Amituanai and Thomas Jenkins turned their two-point deficit into a 10-point lead. From that point the Panthers stayed ahead until the final whistle, despite the late flurry of tries from the Bears.
The Bears travel to Belconnen next Saturday to take on top eight aspirants the Raiders, while on the same day, the Panthers host the Bulldogs at Windsor.
Match: Bulldogs v Jets
Round 16 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Jets' second half sets up victory in top four battle
The Newtown Jets secured a 28-16 win over Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in a blockbuster top four clash, living up to expectations in heavy rain at CommBank Stadium on Saturday.
The contest was evenly poised throughout the opening half, with first points coming in the 12th minute when Matt Dufty found some space on the short side to put the Bulldogs 4-0 ahead.
The Jets responded when a late Billy Magoulias offload created an overlap for Kayal Iro to score his ninth try of the season.
Caleb Uele extended the visitors’ lead when he was simply too strong to be stopped close to the line.
The Bulldogs responded in gritty fashion when hooker Josh Cook burrowed his way to the stripe from dummy-half to reduce the deficit to 12-10.
Canterbury-Bankstown hit the front for the second time after Bailey Biondi-Odo was awarded a try with a miraculous putdown from a Braidon Burns grubber.
Newtown came out firing in the second half and didn’t take long to score next – Braydon Trindall the beneficiary of Jayden Berrell’s second try assist.
Tyla Tamou scored four minutes later to re-establish the lead for Newtown as the backline outnumbered the home side’s defence.
Trindall was in the action again when he delivered a short ball to a charging Mawene Hiroti, who made an angling run through a gaping to score the sealing try in the 58th minute.
With the rain coming down harder the errors were bound to pile up, so the team who came out best in the second half was going to have the advantage. The Jets set the tone for the second half with first points through Trindall, and Newtown went on a role from that moment.
The handling was brilliant from both sides for the first hour, defying the slipperiness of the ball and keeping the entertainment value up.
The Jets travel to face Mounties next Saturday, while the Bulldogs have another tough match when they head to Windsor to meet the high-flying Panthers.
Match: Magpies v Knights
Round 16 -
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney
Committed Magpies defy Knights in the wet for third win
The Western Suburbs Magpies weathered the storm and a late charge by the Newcastle Knights to hold on for a gutsy 18-12 win in Round 16 of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup at Campbelltown Stadium.
In treacherous conditions, kicking was always going to prove decisive and it was Jake Clifford’s spiral bomb that put the Knights on the front foot in the opening set. A restart following a Magpies fumble set the platform for the former Cowboy, and the No.6 quickly weaved his magic with ball in hand to send Lachlan Fitzgibbon over untouched in the second minute.
It took Wests five minutes to get their opening possession, but had their first try just a couple of minutes later when Junior Pauga broke away from several Knights defenders before finding centre Israel Ogden backing up on the inside. With Jock Madden’s conversion the home side levelled at 6-all.
As the match progressed, both sides attempted to overcome the slippery conditions with long kicks but failed to capitalise on several scoring opportunities.
Another grassed bomb, this time by Newcastle, was all Wests needed to hit the front. Prop Sione Fainu made sure the opportunity wasn't lost when he barged over next to the uprights.
Trailing by six points, Newcastle opened the second half with several chances deep inside Western Suburbs' territory, but it was the home side who scored against the run of play.
A long range Madden clearing kick in the 50th minute turned Newcastle’s outside backs around, but their desperation to save a 40-20 only gifted the Magpies' chasers possession as Wests jumped to an unlikely 18-6 lead when prop Aistasi James backed up to dive under the posts.
Wests’ victory was built on desperate goal-line defence but some sloppy work opened the door for Newcastle with 18 minutes left to play. When centre Heath Gibbs raced 30 metres to score untouched, the Knights were back in the contest trailing 18-12.
Newcastle had all the ball and field position in the closing stages and looked like scoring off a Clifford grubber in the 74th minute. The try was denied but the Magpies were forced to defend with 12 when Madden was sent to the sin-bin.
Yet with the rain bucketing down and the floodlights in full effect, the Magpies held firm and finished in front for their third win of the season.
In difficult playing conditions the playmakers from both sides stepped up to give their respective teams enough opportunity to secure the two-points. Clifford’s short kicking game almost got the Knights home, but it was Madden’s driving punts under pressure that helped get Wests out of trouble when it mattered most.
Newcastle entered the contest having lost three matches this season by four-points or less. Once again they were always in the contest, but this was a better Magpies outfit than the side they beat 30-4 back in Round Two.
Leading 18-12 with Madden in the sin-bin, Wests were forced to dig deep as Newcastle peppered their line in the closing stages. During that period Lachlan Fitzgibbon powered over and appeared to have scored his second of the day, but in the act of scoring the ball bobbled free and once again the Knights were left empty handed.
Both sides are on home turf next Saturday when the Knights kick off Round 17 against the Rabbitohs at St Johns Oval, before Wests meet Parramatta in the final game of the day at Leichhardt Oval.
Match: Rabbitohs v Eels
Round 16 -
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney
Eels surge home to overcome Rabbitohs in the wet
The Parramatta Eels left their comeback until the final minutes to earn a 16-14 win over South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday night.
Souths started fast and took advantage of early field position, with second-rower Ben Lovett sliding over in the third minute.
Halfback Dean Hawkins extended the Rabbitohs’ lead to eight points after Eels winger Solomone Naiduki was sin-binned for an illegal tackle on Liam Knight.
Playing with a man down, the Eels struggled to absorb the relentless attacking pressure from the Rabbitohs, as centre Izaac Thompson scored in the 19th minute. As the first half continued into the latter stages, errors quickly crept into the game with both sides struggling to maintain possession.
South Sydney squandered a late chance to extend the lead beyond three tries, failing to complete a lovely attacking move after a forward pass. The Eels capitalised and marched upfield before receiving a penalty on the stroke of halftime.
Captain-coach Jordan Rankin then slotted the penalty goal to give Parramatta their first points of the game, trailing 14-2.
The second half descended into a battle for field position as the rain waterlogged the middle of the field, making it difficult to build any momentum.
It was the Eels who adapted best to the surge in rainfall, with winger Sean Russell crossing for Parramatta’s first try of the evening in the 49th minute. Rankin converted to bring the Eels within six points of the Rabbitohs.
Russell’s try was a brief reprieve for the Eels as Souths dominated proceedings for the next 10 minutes, yet they failed to make the most of their momentum with the score remaining 14-8 as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
With 10 minutes remaining, Eels back-rower Elie El-Zakhem crashed over the stripe to put his side within two points of the Rabbitohs. Hayze Perham followed up with a try just four minutes later, giving the Eels a narrow lead in the final stages.
The Eels managed to close out their emphatic comeback with some solid defence and calmness in attack for the remaining minutes, keeping the Rabbitohs scoreless in the second half and running out 16-14 winners.
Due to wet and windy conditions, it was vital both teams kicked well to win the field position battle. Opposing halfbacks Jake Arthur and Dean Hawkins answered the call and showed great composure throughout the game.
Although the Eels’ victory came in the shadows of full-time, the consistent work of the outside backs put them in a position to win. The Parramatta back five fielded several difficult kicks, defended strongly, and gained great yardage coming out of trouble, topped off with tries for Sean Russell and Hayze Perham.
When the Eels trailed by two points the result was well and truly in the balance. Off the back of Elie El-Zakhem’s try, the Eels put themselves in great position again with Jack A Williams landing a 40/20. Parramatta took the opportunity with a try to Perham, who beat his opposing man to score the match-winner.
The Rabbitohs will look to put the loss behind them when they face the Knights next Saturday at St Johns Oval, while the Eels take on the much-improved Magpies at Leichardt Oval in Saturday’s NRL curtain-raiser – broadcast live on Fox League.
Match: Dragons v Raiders
Round 16 -
Venue: WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Match: Sea Eagles v Mounties
Round 16 -
Venue: HE Laybutt Field, Sydney
Mounties jump early to earn second straight win
Mounties made it back-to-back victories for the first time this season after they were never headed in a 20-10 win over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at H.E. Laybutt Field.
Despite persistent rain, the playing surface presented in superb condition and a repeat set deep inside Workers territory allowed Mounties to showcase some early magic.
A long, looping pass from five-eighth Brad Abbey in the third minute ended with a spectacular one handed put-down by winger Tuipulotu Katoa in the left corner. From there, Mounties continued to dominate field position and crossed again 11 minutes later through Dane Aukafolau.
The backrower once again exposed Blacktown’s right edge, and Mounties led 12-0 after Dylan Smith’s second sideline conversion.
Blacktown finally found their rhythm and traded sets for the remainder of the half. Several deft grubbers by halfback Jake Toby and James Segeyaro earned repeat sets, but the points didn’t eventuate.
The Workers’ best chance presented itself on the stroke of half-time but the opportunity was dashed by Josh Ralph. After the halfback’s length of the field intercept, Mounties went to the sheds in control at 18-0.
Blacktown looked on the way to scoring 15 minutes after the resumption when winger Bilal Maarbani broke into the back-field. The play broke down, but Mounties hooker Josh Daley was sent to the sin bin.
Blacktown capitalised with the extra man when Alfred Smalley crossed out wide for his sixth four-pointer of the season. When Segeyaro burrowed over under the posts shortly after, at 18-10 Blacktown were within striking distance with 15 minutes still to play.
Blacktown continued to dictate field position but a promising play was shut down by another intercept, this time by Tim Simona. The former Blacktown centre was eventually run down, but a penalty to Mounties saw a penalty goal to Smith round out the scoring and their fourth win of the season.
Despite a commanding first half, Mounties spent the majority of the second half defending their own try-line. With Josh Daley in the sin-bin, the workload only intensified, but on several occasions they held Blacktown up in-goal with four and five committed defenders.
Blacktown playmakers Adam Fearnley and Dylan White had their moments, but starting in place of last week’s combination of Kaeo Weekes Jamie Humphreys, they’ll be better with more outings together.
When a Segeyaro kick forced a Mounties goal line restart four minutes from the break, Blacktown were poised for their first points. They formed for a left side shift, but the ball barely left the ruck before Ralph swooped, and in the blink of an eye Mounties had bounded clear 18-0.
Next Saturday Mounties tackle the high flying Newtown Jets at Aubrey Keech Reserve while on the following day, Blacktown return to HE Laybutt Field for the third consecutive week when they host the Dragons.