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

Round One of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup kicks off on Friday night with Penrith Panthers taking on the North Sydney Bears at BlueBet Stadium. There will be four more games on Saturday, and rounding out the weekend the Western Suburbs Magpies will take on the Sydney Roosters on Sunday from 3.55pm. 

Panthers v Bears 

Warriors v Knights 

Sea Eagles v Bulldogs

Eels v Raiders

Jets v Rabbitohs

Magpies v Roosters


Penrith Panthers v North Sydney Bears

Panthers v Bears | NSW Cup Round One Highlights

Panthers start title defence with hard-fought win  

Stewart Moses

Reigning premiers the Penrith Panthers tonight overcame a slow start to kick off their defence of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup with a solid 18-12 win over the North Sydney Bears at BlueBet Stadium. 

The win was the first for new Penrith NSW Cup coach Ben Harden, having taken over from Peter Wallace following his promotion to the NRL coaching ranks for the Panthers in season 2023. 

A new look Bears side were more than competitive in the opening 20 minutes, and it was no surprise to see the visitors open the scoring through Jesse Marschke. Some quick hands enabled the visitors to create an overlap for the five-eighth to stroll over from close range and Marschke backed the effort up with a conversion to take his side to a 6-0 lead. 

The Panthers were stung into action, hitting back with tries in quick succession to Tyrone Peachey (27th minute) and Isaiah Iongi (29th minute). 

Peachey, a former Panther for the NRL team from 2014-18, broke the line from 45m out before producing an audacious flick pass to put winger Tom Jenkins away down the touchline. Jenkins came up with an equally impressive flick back inside for Peachey to crawl over and score in the corner. 

Iongi also scored a spectacular effort after finishing off a set that was started by replacement forward Preston Riki deep inside his own line before the Panthers No.1 went the length of the field. Halfback Kurt Falls converted both tries from the touchline to give to home side a 12-6 lead heading into the half-time break. 

Penrith’s dominance continued early in the second half after skipper Matt Eisenhuth put five-eighth Jack Cogger into a yawning gap to dive over from close range. Falls landed the easy conversion to give the defending premiers an 18-6 lead with just over 30 minutes to go. 

Norths’ stoic defensive performance for the remainder of the half served them well after lock Zach Dockar-Clay steamed onto a short pass close to the line to setup a grandstand finish. The Bears once again trailed by just a converted try at 18-12 with three minutes remaining but the Panthers were able to control possession over the closing minutes to run out victors. 

Talking points 

The opening match represented the NSW Cup coaching debut for Penrith’s Ben Harden coming up against the vastly experienced Jason Taylor.

Penrith boasted a fairly settled side with several players returning from their successful 2022 campaign. In contrast it was a fairly new looking Bears side with the likes of Tuipulotu Katoa, Junior Pauga, Alfred Smalley, Kurt Deluis, Dane Aukafolau, Rueben Porter and Zach Dockar-Clay making their NSW Cup debuts for the club.

Penrith’s win continued their dominance over the Bears in the NSW Cup having won 16 of the past 19 clashes. 

Key moment

After trailing early, the Panthers hit back with two spectacular tries in as many minutes. The second try was a brilliant length of the field team effort and from that moment the home side were never headed despite a gallant fightback from the Bears. 

What's next?

The Panthers have a six-day turnaround when they host the South Sydney Rabbitohs next Thursday night at Blue Bet Stadium, while the Bears will be looking to getting their season back on track when they travel to Belconnen next Sunday to take on the Canberra Raiders.


Warriors v Newcastle Knights

Warriors v Knights | NSW Cup Round One Highlights

Warriors make emphatic return to NSW Cup

Via Richard Becht -

A 24-point second half scoring spree carried the One New Zealand Warriors to a 42-20 win over Newcastle providing success on debut for first-year New South Wales Cup head coach Slade Griffin.

Taking on the Knights in Saturday’s season-opening encounter at Pukekohe’s Navigation Homes Stadium, the home side was just 18-16 ahead at halftime but then outscored the visitors 24-4 to run away with the result.

The One New Zealand Warriors fielded a rearranged side bolstered by four players from the NRL squad.

Fullback Taine Tuaupiki and halfback Ronald Volkman flew back from Wellington following the NRL side’s final field session at Sky Stadium while hooker Freddy Lussick and centre Viliami Vailea returned early this morning after last night’s first-grade triumph.

All four made scoreboard contributions in Pukekohe with Vailea, Lussick and Tuaupiki each scoring a try while Volkman was perfect with the boot converting each of the side’s seven tries.

The One New Zealand Warriors took time to settle, conceding a try in the opening minute and allowing the Knights to add two more for a 16-12 lead three minutes out from halftime.

However, the home side hit the front with a converted Demitric Sifakula try before picking up four second half tries to wrap up an ultimately convincing win.

The One New Zealand Warriors went into the match with former Toa Samoa international and back rower Michael Sio installed as captain for the season.

The well-travelled Sio collected the Sonny Fai Medal as the Warriors’ under-20 player of the year in 2013 and played for the club’s NSW Cup side in 2014.

After a brief stint with the Mackay Cutters in the Queensland Cup in 2015 he signed with Wakfield in the Super League. His term included loan deals with Dewsbury and Halifax before he returned to the Queensland Cup in 2018 spending the last five seasons with the Norths Devils.

While Griffin has appointed Sio captain he has also named back rower Kalani Going as vice-captain.

Coming from the renowned Going clan in Northland he naturally has a strong background in rugby union.

He switched from union to rugby league when he was in Canberra’s system playing in the SG Ball Cup, NYC and NSW Cup from 2014-2018 as well as the Queensland Cup for Tweed Heads in 2018 and 2019. He returned home to union representing Northland in the National Provincial Championship but has switched back to league joining the Warriors this season.

The One New Zealand Warriors face the Sydney Roosters in Sydney next Saturday.

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

Bulldogs overcome early onslaught to beat Sea Eagles

Anthony Eltarraf

Despite an early onslaught from the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs scored 36 unanswered points to complete a dominant, comeback victory at 4 Pines Park on Saturday afternoon.

After withholding early pressure from the visitors, the Sea Eagles took full advantage when they reached the opposition 20. With halves Dean Matterson and Troy Dargan combining down the right side, Dargan sent Jackson Ferris over with a floating pass to score Blacktown’s first.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to double their lead when Bulldogs’ Blake Wilson knocked on from a Dargan bomb, allowing Ferris to pick up the ball and score his second try of the afternoon.

The Sea Eagles scored a third with a well-worked play between Joshua Stuckey and Clayton Faulalo, before Matterson fooled the defence with a show-and-go and planted the ball down for a try of his own. All four tries were left unconverted for the home side, leaving the score at 16-nil with just under 20 minutes left in the half.

The Bulldogs shifted the momentum with their first points through Hooker Ryan Gray, who capitalised on a quick play-the-ball from Josh Reynolds and scored underneath the posts from dummy-half.

Two more tries before halftime saw the Bulldogs level the game, with Reynolds putting a chip into the corner for Okunbor to score, before Joash Papalii showed his athleticism by swerving his way to the try-line.

The visitors came out firing in the second half and scored early after five-eighth Karl Oloapu’s grubber ricocheted off of a Sea Eagles player, with Lipoi Hopoi gathering the ball to score and putting the Bulldogs in front.

Centre Jeral Skelton then extended the Bulldogs’ lead, scoring in the corner from a right-side shift started by Oloapu. A penalty goal saw the Dogs increase their lead to 30-16.

The dominance continued when Oloapu showed his ability again, stepping his way through the Sea Eagles’ line to give the Bulldogs a 36-16 win.

Talking points

The Bulldogs’ incredible fightback. Down 16-0 just over 20 minutes into the game, it looked to be a one-sided game until the visitors were able to swing momentum and score 36 unanswered points.

Josh Reynolds was impressive in his first game back for the Bulldogs and led the team around the park effectively.

Karl Oloapu, 18, starred in his first NSW Cup game. He had a hand in all the Bulldogs’ second half tries while showcasing his agility and explosiveness throughout the game.

Key moment

The momentum of the game completely changed when the returning Josh Reynolds took on the line and played the ball quickly, allowing Ryan Gray scoop up possession and score his side’s first try of the match.

What’s next?

The Sea Eagles go into a bye next week, while the Bulldogs travel to Kogarah next Sunday to face St George Illawarra Dragons from 3.55 pm.


Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders

NSWRL TV Highlights | Eels v Raiders NSW Cup Round One

Raiders victorious in boilover against Eels

Patrick Staveley

Canberra Raiders produced an away victory to open their 2023 season in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, overcoming the Parramatta Eels 16-10.

Parramatta started the match perfectly with late inclusion Joshuah Minhinnick being the beneficiary of four points, crossing in the corner inside the first six minutes.

Canberra found their way back when fullback Elijah Anderson scored, following up lock forward Hohepa Puru’s line-break which left the Parramatta at sixes and sevens.

Scores were 6-6 at the interval, but shortly after the break Anderson crossed again. The Raiders’ 10-6 lead wasn’t troubled again for almost 30 minutes until slick passing from the Eels stripped Canberra’s left edge for Zac Cini to level things up.

The parity didn’t last long once Canberra found themselves in good field position minutes later. Parramatta’s goal-line defence faltered as Clay Webb powered his way to the try line to score what proved to be the matchwinner.

Talking points

Canberra’s power running in the forwards was too strong for Parramatta for most of the encounter.

The short balls used by the Raiders’ playmakers along with strong hole-running was a constant threat to the Eels defence.

Key moment

The opening and closing minutes of each half were arguably the most crucial in the contest. The Eels peppered Canberra’s defence for a sustained period late in the first half but they lacked penetration while Canberra held strong. The Eels made an error from the kick off in the second half and Canberra tasted the lead for the first time in the set that followed to gain the ascendancy.

What’s next?

Parramatta are at home next week when they host Newtown Jets at CommBank Stadium. Canberra will have their first home game as they take on North Sydney Bears.


Newtown Jets v South Sydney Rabbitohs

Jets v Rabbitohs | NSW Cup Round One Highlights

Jets power through Round One win over Rabbitohs

Pranav Harish

The Newtown Jets got their 2023 campaign underway with a 26-6 win over the Rabbitohs in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.

Centre Kayal Iro notched up two tries, with his second from a brilliant, individual play as he brushed past the defence to seal the win for the home side just minutes out from full-time.

Both sides played set for set early while Newtown exhibited some strong ball movement to generate momentum.

Iro made a line-break to give the home side a chance at scoring first and was rewarded for his effort by scoring his first after fighting his way through the line. There was some good leadup play by hooker Jayden Berrell who drew in the Rabbitohs’ markers to open up space down the left-hand side.

The Jets scored their second try just minutes after when Charbel Tasipale crossed under the posts. Five-eighth Daniel Atkinson made a break from the Jets’ 40-metre line to set up the try.

The visitors managed to hit back with a try to back-rower Ethan O’Neill, but with a penalty awarded to the Jets on the stroke of halftime, Niwhai Puru nailed the attempt at goal from in front to give his side a 12-6 lead heading into the sheds.

Jets club debutant Josh Mansour came back to haunt his old side after bagging his first try in blue. The winger crossed over down the western touchline as the Jets mounted a 10-point lead.

Jacob Gagan added the finishing touches for the home side after scoring off a deft kick from Billy Magoulias shortly after Iro’s second try. It capped off a great afternoon for the Jets at home to start their season.

Talking points

Josh Mansour played well in his Jets debut as part of a new look back-line for Newtown. The former Rabbitoh joins centre Jacob Gagan as part of a revamped outside back combination for the Jets.

Halfback Niwhai Puru also had a strong first hit out in the blue and white after making the switch from the Panthers. 

Key moment

A line-break from centre Jacob Gagai late in the first half had set up the Rabbitohs with an opportunity to level scores. They were unable to convert that effort into a four-pointer, which would have given South Sydney the chance to not only reduce the deficit, but potentially take a two-point lead.

What’s next?

The Jets will take on Parramatta Eels at CommBank Stadium on Friday, and the Rabbitohs will face reigning Knock-On Effect NSW Cup champions, the Penrith Panthers, on Thursday at BlueBet Stadium.


Western Suburbs Magpies v Sydney Roosters

Magpies spoil Roosters return to NSW Cup

Western Suburbs Magpies hosted the Sydney Roosters in a thrilling matchup on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval, with the home side demolishing the traveling Roosters 44-18.

The home team drew first blood in this opening round of the Knock-On Effect NSW Cup with Magpies second rower Kitione Kautoga making a break through the Roosters defence and scoring with ease.

New signing Brandon Wakeham converted from out wide to put his team up 6-0.

The visitors bounced back when Roosters halfback Sandon Smith used his speed to break through the Magpies defence, to place the ball directly underneath the posts.

Smith converted his own try to level up the score at 6-all.

The home team continued to hammer the Roosters defence and their efforts were rewarded when a scuffle underneath the posts resulted in young gun Sione Fainu placing his hands on the ball to award his side another try. Wakeham converted to put Western Suburbs ahead 12-6.

The Roosters responded in almost immediate fashion when they found themselves within the Magpies 10-metre line. Some slick passing along the right side then resulted in centre Ethan Clark-Wood scoring in the corner.

The Magpies picked up right where they left off in the second half, with back-rower Kautoga picked himself up two more tries, securing himself a hat-trick.

The Magpies piled on the misery when fullback Jahream Bula used his blistering pace to sprint the length of the field and earn himself a stunning solo try.

The tries just kept on coming from the home side with back-rower Brandon Tumeth bagging himself two tries within six minutes, after some slick passing down the left edge resulted in both four-pointers, extending the lead to 40-10.

The Roosters finally found themselves back on the scoreboard when Joseph Tiapari found the Magpies’ defense sleeping and bagged his first try of the afternoon. However it didn’t take long for the home side to respond, with speedster Junior Tupou bolting down the wing to grab his first try of the season.

The Roosters grabbed a late consolation try through Jordan Swann, to reduce the final deficit to 44-18.

Talking Points

Highly touted youngster Kitione Kautoga's performance will have NRL coach Tim Sheens keeping a close eye on the Fijian forward, after he made his NRL debut in Round 19 last year.

Kautoga impressed with his performances in the Jersey Flegg Cup in 2022, and looks to be a great pick up for the Magpies after moving from the Sharks junior system in 2021.

Key Moment

The Magpies went into the sheds with a 18-10 lead, but started to pull away when they ran in three tries in 11 minutes early in the second half thanks to Kautoga, Bula and Tumeth.

From there, the Roosters were unable to hold off the fast-finishing Magpies who look like a brand new outfit in 2023.

What's Next?

The Magpies will take on the Newcastle Knights in their second straight game at Leichhardt Oval, while the Roosters will face off against the Warriors live on NSWRL TV.

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