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Recap | The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup - Round 23

Round 23 of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup kicks off on Thursday night when the Rabbitohs take on the high-flying Panthers. There are two more games to follow on Saturday and three on Sunday with the round being closed out by the Bears v Magpies.

Rabbitohs v Panthers

Eels v Bulldogs

Sea Eagles v Jets

Dragons v Mounties

Bears v Magpies

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Penrith Panthers

NSW Cup Highlights | Rabbitohs v Panthers - Round 23

Panthers stay in Minor Premiership race with thrilling draw

Stewart Moses

Game Summary

Penrith Panthers have kept themselves in the hunt for the Minor Premiership after fighting back twice to force a thrilling 24-all draw against South Sydney Rabbitohs at Accor Stadium tonight.

Trailing 12-0 for the opening 30 minutes, the Panthers turned the game on its head with three tries in the final ten minutes of the opening half, to take an unlikely 18-12 lead into the sheds at the main break.

They found themselves in trouble again in the second half to be 24-18 behind on the scoreboard until a late Isaiah Iongi try with minutes set up the draw and kept them in contention for the Minor Premiership.

An error from Panthers prop Eddie Blacker enabled Souths to open proceedings with fullback Blake Taaffe swooping on the loose ball before finding winger Jake Tago in support to take a 6-0 lead after 12 minutes.

Souths doubled their lead six minutes later when halfback Dean Hawkins put a deft kick through for back-rower Maila Chan-Foon to score untouched.

The Panthers finally opened their account in the 29th minute when a floating cut-out pass from five-eighth Jack Cole gave winger Christian Crichton just enough space along the western touchline to step and crash his way over to reduce the deficit to 12-6.

Crichton scored his second try four minutes from halftime following some terrific lead-up work from hooker Soni Luke, Liam Henry and Robert Jennings. The Penrith winger finished off the movement in acrobatic fashion to score in the same spot with Falls converting from the western sideline to put the visitors back on level terms at 12-all.

Cole then intercepted a wayward Rabbitohs pass to streak 80m upfield to score underneath the posts and put the Panthers in front 18-12 at the break.

Souths muscled up in defence early in the second half before a darting run from hooker Peter Mamouzelos bamboozled the Panthers defence to score from 15m out and level the scores yet again at 18-all.

A line-break down the right flank from ex-Panther Josh Mansour, ended in spectacular fashion for the home side when the winger’s inside kick was regathered by a flying Hawkins to put the Rabbitohs back in front 24-18 with 13 minutes remaining.

Penrith peppered the Rabbitohs try line and the weight of possession finally told when Iongi crashed over from close range to score. Falls, who was having a perfect night with the boot, converted from out wide to force an all-important draw.

Match Snapshot

It remains to be whether leading try-scorers Thomas Jenkins or Izaac Thompson will finish the season as the competition’s try scorers given both sides have the bye next week; Jenkins failed to add to his total tonight while Thompson did not play.

Whilst Kurt Falls (144 points) enjoyed a perfect evening with the boot it still wasn’t enough to dislodge the Bears’ Adam Keighran from the top of the points-scorers list (155).

Panthers’ Liam Henry could miss the opening week of the finals should his reportable offence for a crusher tackle end up attracting any form of suspension with the Panthers having the bye in the last round of the regular season.

It remains to be seen whether Souths veterans Mansour and Yileen Gordon will return next season given the Rabbitohs who are out of finals contention and also have the bye next week.

Souths’ Dean Hawkins maintains his stranglehold at the top of the try assists table adding another to his impressive season tally of 28.

Key Moment

Mansour turned back the clock after making a break down the right flank, before producing an inside kick that eluded the converging Panthers cover defence for Hawkins to score a sensational try and put the Rabbitohs back in front for the second time in the game.

What's Next

The Panthers now await results from the remaining two rounds to see whether they finish first or second having the bye next week, while Souths also have the bye to complete their season.


Parramatta Eels v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

NSW Cup Highlights | Eels v Bulldogs Round 23

Bulldogs defeat Eels on home soil

Patrick Staveley

Game Summary

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have defeated Parramatta Eels 19-16 on their own turf in a hotly contested affair at Commbank Stadium to edge closer to securing a spot in the top three. 

The Eels started off strong, winning the ball back after their kick-off bounced dead and Hayze Perham opened the scoring as he beat a couple of defenders easily on the short side just three minutes in.

The Bulldogs replied shortly after as they found an overlap on the left edge for Declan Casey to cross.

The Eels extended the lead again through a bit of magic as Jake Arthur plucked a poor pass from Brandon Wakeham out of the air before sprinting and offloading to Daniel Keir.

The Eels stayed on top for most of the half before the Dogs found their way back into the contest when Matt Doorey ran through a gap off a sublime Wakeham pass to score.

The away side crossed again on the stroke of halftime after retaining possession from an Eels error with Kurtis Morrin the man to score. It would turn out to be the last try of the match until the 75th minute with errors and poor discipline costing both sides.

A penalty goal to Wakeham and field goal from Bailey Biondi-Odo sealed the victory before Sean Russell scored a late try which would be his 10th try of the season.

Talking points

The Eels were forced into an early change with forward Dan Keir moving to the centres after Solomone Naiduki failed his HIA. Carnage followed in the second half with Matt Doorey also failing his HIA and Phillip Makatoa copping a big hit from Wiremu Greig. The hit resulted in Greig being sent from the field with Declan Casey binned for his involvement.

Key moment

A determined effort from Kurtis Morrin to beat several defenders on his way to the line ended up being the key difference to the match shortly before half-time with the Eels being left to rue the moment. 

What's Next

The Bulldogs face the Jets next week in a tough battle as Newtown look to secure the minor premiership, while the Eels will need to beat the Knights to ensure their spot in the finals.


Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Newtown Jets

NSW Cup Highlights | Sea Eagles v Jets Round 23

Jets on top after seventh straight win

Jason Hosken

Game Summary

Newtown Jets have rounded out a seventh straight win after comfortably accounting for Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 50-8 to maintain top spot on The Knock-On-Effect NSW Cup ladder. 

Coming off a bye, the Jets lit up 4 Pines Park with three tries in the opening 15 minutes to lead 16-0.

Winger Mawene Hiroti was first to score before fellow bookends Thomas Hazelton and Jesse Colquhoun each powered over within the space of four minutes.

With an even share of possession, Blacktown’s left edge began to look dangerous, but the Workers’ big men were unable to back it up through the middle.

It left scheming Jets hooker Jayden Berrell to his own devices and a trademark inside ball saw Franklin Pele crash over for Newtown’s fourth. Another try to Jets halfback Ryan Rivett extended the advantage to 28-0.

From there the points kept flowing. Four minutes after the break former Sea Eagle Luke Metcalf showed a clean pair of heels crossing for his 14th try of the season, before fullback Kayal Iro grabbed one of his own six minutes later.

Pele then bagged a double before the Workers finally grabbed one of their own in the 70th minute through Bailey King, when the winger finished a shift down the right hand side.

They quickly doubled their tally when fullback Jake Toby evaded several defenders on the way to a well deserved try, before Charbel Tasipale brought up Newtown’s half century with a try right on full-time.

Talking points 

The win takes Newtown one step closer to the minor premiership, but with the second placed Panthers just two points behind and with a bye next week, the Jets will need a final round win to overcome Penrith’s superior points differential to maintain top spot. 

On a difficult afternoon with limited opportunities, halfback Ben Stevanovic and Toby were shining lights for Blacktown with their darting runs and endless energy.

Key moment 

Trailing 16-0 after Newtown’s early onslaught, Blacktown created several opportunities and looked like getting on the board following a well weighted grubber, but the ball was lost forward in-goal and from there the Jets didn’t look back.

What’s next?

Round 24 see's Blacktown on the road for their last game of the season against Canberra. In what could be a finals preview, Newtown finishes the regular season against Canterbury at Henson Park.


St George Illawarra Dragons v Mounties

Mounties stage late comeback to overcome Dragons

Blake Edwards

Game Summary

It was a case of deja vu for the Dragons in Wollongong, with a Brad Abbey field goal in the dying stages securing a thrilling 35-34 victory for Mounties, in similar fashion to their encounter in Round 15 this season. 

After a fast start from both sides, it was Mounties who struck the first blow in the 11th minute through Josh Carr. In the following sets after Mounties' try, the Dragons went on to create opportunities, with fullback Tyrell Sloan looking particularly dangerous, although errors denied them converting the opportunities into points.

The Dragons would go onto score their first try in the 20th minute, with Jaiyden Hunt showing great strength to reach over multiple Mounties defenders and plant the Steeden, levelling proceedings. 

Mounties hit back through Carr who was on the receiving end of a neat inside ball from Semisi Kioa.

Both sides went set for set and the Dragons were able to crack Mounties when Sloan scooped up a cross field kick and raced away to score. Sloan continued to show his skill set with some eyes up footy on the half-time siren, providing a perfectly weighted chip kick for Winger Sam McCcan who scored a brilliant try, extending the Dragons lead to 16-10 at half-time. 

Mounties didn’t let the McCan try break their spirits, with the visitors coming out to score back-to-back tries through Dane Aukafolau, and Tuipultotu Katoa, who was in the right place at the right time, when a cross-field kick was juggled by Dragons centre Ethan Clark-Wood and landed into the hands of Katoa, who dashed over to score. 

Jack Gosieswki provided a nice offload down the Dragons left edge for McCann to race down the touchline, before throwing inside to support runner Sloan for his second. The hosts again exposed the right side of the Mounties with Sloan linking with Campbell Watchers. Sloan wasn’t finished yet, returning the favour for McCann to bag his double.

Mounties shook off the three quick tries, and mustered one of their own by attacking the Saints line, with a nifty cut-out pass from Dylan Smith finding Watson Heleta out wide, who extended his arm to plant it down inside the corner post.

Josh Daley exposed some tired Dragons defenders in the middle, pivoting through to run 50 metres downfield before linking with fellow spine member Jarret Subloo who scored underneath the posts to level the match at 34-all with less than five minutes remaining.

Mounties forward pack started to roll up their sleeves in the ensuing set gaining good meters, however it was a crusher tackle from Dragons’ Billy Burns that gifted Mounties attacking field position.

In the ensuing set, playmaker Brad Abbey stepped up to the plate slotting the field goal in the 78th Minute, which would end up being the match winning play, with Mounties running out 35-34 victors. 

Key moment

Mounties were assisted with the crucial penalty for the crusher tackle in the 77th minute, which ultimately gifted the visitors the field position to steal victory with the one pointer.

Talking points

Tyrell Sloan was strong once again for the Dragons bagging a double and three try assists while Mounties forward pack laid a brilliant foundation in the back end of the game. 

What’s next?

Both sides will look to finish their respective seasons on a high, with Mounties meeting the Bears at North Sydney Oval on Saturday, while the Dragons head to Leichhardt Oval on Sunday night to tussle with the Magpies. 

Newcastle Knights v Canberra Raiders


North Sydney Bears v Western Suburbs Magpies

Bears overcome the Magpies in an exciting clash

Hugo Lumb

Game Summary

North Sydney Bears have solidified their position in the top four with a 24-20 victory over a valiant Western Suburbs Magpies side at North Sydney oval in Round 23 of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.

After a string of errors from the Bears, the Magpies were able to dominate field position and eventually put first points on the board through centre Junior Pauga in the 12th minute.

As the half continued to play out, the Bears started to build momentum and would be next to score. Five-eighth Sandon Smith stepped inside and broke through a tackle to offload the ball to hooker Ben Marschke who charged onto it to score the Bears first points of the day in the 22nd minute.

Poor defence from North Sydney allowed Jacob Liddle to crash over in the 29th minute, giving the Western Suburbs side the lead for the second time in the match. The Bears then answered Liddle’s try with a four-pointer of their own five minutes later, with winger Ethan King diving over in the 34th minute.

The Bears dominated proceedings for the remainder of the half but couldn’t make an impact on the 10-all score line as the teams ran into the sheds.

The Magpies started the second half strongly, with a darting run from Pauga giving him his second try of the day and the Magpies a four-point lead in the 43rd minute. In a similar fashion to the first half, the Magpies made a costly mistake off the back of points and the Bears immediately capitalised with King showing off some acrobatic skill to score his second try of the match and level the scores once more.

Only four minutes later, North Sydney scored again, with back-rower Jordan Leiu storming through some defence to give the Bears their biggest lead of the match with 30 minutes remaining.

After another ball-handling mistake from North Sydney in their own twenty, Magpies winger Trey Peni somersaulted over the line to score a fantastic four-pointer and level the scores with just over 15 minutes remaining. However, in a manner that had almost become a routine throughout the match, the Bears immediately bounced back, with centre Jacob Preston showing some individual brilliance to score in the 66th minute.

The Bears were able to withstand some late pressure from the Magpies and run out 24-20 winners in a tight affair, confirming their position in the top four with one round to go in The Knock-On Effect NSW cup.

Talking points

Despite winning the game, Jason Taylor and the North Sydney Bears will be looking to improve their completion rates heading into the business end of the season after they made several costly errors throughout the match. 

In the wake of their first-grade sides 72-6 drubbing at the hands of the Sydney Roosters, the Magpies played with a point to prove. Whilst they would eventually fall short, the Magpies played with great enthusiasm and cohesion, dictating the match for large parts of the game.

Key moment

In a match that had over four lead changes, the defining moment came in the final quarter of the game. Immediately after the scores were levelled at 20-all, the Bears, in a manner that they had orchestrated multiple times throughout the day, scored straight after a Magpies try.

With the Bears shifting the ball to the left, centre Jacob Preston found himself in space and accelerated through a gap. With the fullback to beat, Preston elected to back his strength and shoved off the Magpies fullback to score in the corner. This 66th minute try moved the score to 24-20 and would ultimately be the last four-pointer of the match.

What’s next

The Bears will be back at North Sydney oval next week facing Mounties, in their final home-and-away game of the season before the finals commence. In their last game of the season, the Magpies play against the Dragons at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday Night. 


Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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