With only four rounds left to play in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup 2023 regular season, almost every remaining game is crucial in determining final ladder positions. This week's live-streamed NSWRL TV game sees the 5th-placed Panthers host the 2nd-placed Warriors at St Marys Leagues Stadium from 12pm Saturday.
Match: Panthers v Warriors
Round 23 -
Venue: St Marys Leagues Stadium, Sydney
Warriors overcome injury setback in win over Panthers
The Warriors have overcome an injury to replacement fullback Ben Farr to record a 26-14 win over the Penrith Panthers at St Mary’s Leagues Stadium in Round 23 of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, maintaining second spot in what is shaping up as a congested race for the top-five finals.
The Warriors trailed 14-8 early in the second half when Farr left the field, but it galvanised the visitors in an inspired performance to impact the Panthers’ finals chances.
The Warriors got off to a dream start by scoring at the end of the opening set, when a towering Ronald Volkman bomb was allowed to bounce and winger Set Tu pounced, before putting back-rower Kalani Going over for a 4-0 lead.
Penrith opened their account midway through the half following a dummy-half pass from hooker Luke Sommerton to put lock forward Preston Riki into a gap next to the posts, putting the home side up 6-4.
A try to Jesse McLean saw the home side extend their lead to six after the Panthers’ centre broke the line from halfway and skipped through the cover defence to score in the corner in the 28th minute.
But a long-range kick return from stand-in Warriors fullback Ben Farr turned things around just minutes from the break. The Warriors had one more play as the siren sounded and Tu managed to score, putting the Warriors within two points at 10-8 at the main break.
A face ball from Panthers fullback Isaiah Iongi found a hole in the Warriors’ defence and enabled winger Tom Jenkins to score his 14th try of the year, giving Penrith a six-point lead once more after 49 minutes.
The Warriors levelled the scores in the 53rd minute with a try in the northeast corner after an acrobatic effort from centre Moala Graham-Taufa, which was converted by Volkman.
A Panthers error close to the goal-line gave the visitors a chance to take the lead, and Michael Sio regathered the loose ball to score next to the posts.
Another Volkman cross-field kick paid dividends when hooker Freddy Lussick dived on the ball to score out wide with 11 minutes remaining. It gave the Warriors the biggest lead of the game at 26-14, a winning margin they didn’t let slip despite the Panthers’ best efforts.
- Penrith were bolstered by the return from injury of Preston Riki, while the Warriors called upon the experienced Freddy Lussick and outside back Edward Kosi for the top-five clash.
- The Warriors now move to within five competition points behind the ladder-leading North Sydney Bears.
The Warriors’ opening try in the first set of the game gave the visitors the perfect start after, Volkman’s bomb was allowed to bounce back into the hands of Setu Tu, who showed great presence of mind to find his back-rower in support to score.
In Round 24 the Panthers take on the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles on Friday night. Next Saturday the Warriors host the Western Suburbs Magpies at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton.
Match: Knights v Bears
Round 23 -
Venue: Cessnock Sportsground, Cessnock
Dominant Bears secure win against Knights
North Sydney Bears halves, Jesse Marschke and Ben Stevanovic, steered their side to a dominant 54-14 victory over the Newcastle Knights at Cessnock Sportsground on Saturday.
With the win the Bears remain five points clear in first position on The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup ladder.
Knights halfback Simi Sasagi added the first points to the scoreboard, cleaning up a loose ball on the right edge to score within seven minutes. The Knights led 4-0.
The Bears soon found their rhythm, with captain Zach Dockar-Clay busting the line open for Regan Hughes, who sent Jesse Marschke over in the 13th minute.
Fetalaiga Pauga found space in the right corner off the boot of Stevanovic. Kieran Hayman missed the sideline conversion as the Bears held a 10-4 lead.
The Bears scored three more tries in the remaining 10 minutes of the first half. Dockar-Clay barged over under the posts, Pauga planted down for his second, and a Reuben Porter try in the 39th minute gave the Bears a 22-point lead at halftime.
The Knights' fatiguing defence saw Jesse Marschke capitalise by barging over the line under the posts for his second try. A successful conversion by Hayman gave the Bears a 32-4 lead.
The Knights responded in the 54th minute with a line-break from Hymel Hunt, before finding winger Kyle McCarthy to add four more points to the scoreboard.
The Knights found more success minutes later when fullback David Armstrong made a line-break 30 metres out, dodging his way downfield his first try of the afternoon. A successful conversion from Sutton brought the score-line to 32-12.
The Knights' momentum was soon taken away with two quick tries from Dockar-Clay and Bears winger Tuipulotu Katoa, giving the home side a 42-14 lead.
The Bears scored two more tries in the final minutes through hooker Ben Marschke and centre Toa Mata'afa, each converted by Dockar-Clay, to round out the 54-14 win.
- The Marschke duo combined well all afternoon, with the pair controlling proceedings midway through the second half.
- Docker-Clay, Jesse Marschke and Pauga all scored doubles for the hosts, with Dockar-Clay stepping up for goal-kicking after Hayman left the field through injury.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Knights were trailing by 28 points and needed a confidence boost. David Armstrong provided that, showcasing his attacking prowess with a break down the centre and a try under the posts in the 59th minute.
The Bears host the Sydney Roosters next Sunday in Round 24 at North Sydney Oval, while the Knights have another home game at McDonald Jones Stadium against the Bulldogs.
Match: Raiders v Magpies
Round 23 -
Venue: Raiders Belconnen, Canberra
Raiders record back-to-back victories with narrow win
The Canberra Raiders have recorded back-to-back wins with finals looming in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, after defeating the Western Suburbs Magpies 28-22 at Raiders Belconnen in Round 23.
The Raiders jumped out of the blocks in the first half to lead 18-4, racking up three tries within 25 minutes through centre Harley Smith-Shields, halfback Matt Frawley and No.16 Josh Allen, before the Magpies scored three minutes from halftime.
The Magpies caught the Raiders off guard early in the second half with two tries. First Brandon Mansfield managed to get the ball down from a grubber kick, then centre Triston Riley picked up a loose ball and ran for the try-line. Brandon Wakeham successfully converted both tries to trail the Raiders by two points.
The comeback was short-lived as the Raiders produced the next two tries which pretty much sealed their victory. Matt Frawley made a run at the line and came out successful with his second try. Seven minutes later, James Schiller took on his opposite defender and dragged him over the line score another four points for the men in green.
With time ticking away for the Magpies, the Raiders were forced into a goal-line drop-out in the last minute of play.
The Magpies retrieved the short kick and were back on the attack as Wakeham put in a cross-field kick to Sione Hopoate, who scored in the corner on the siren. A successful conversion from Wakeham wasn’t enough to take victory away from the Raiders, the final score-line 28-22.
- Raiders No.16 Josh Allen left the field in the 32nd minute with a shoulder injury. Magpies captain Rua Ngatikaura was also assisted from the field shortly after.
- The victory for the Raiders sees them still in with a chance of playing finals football, with Canberra now sitting in sixth position and one win outside the top five.
With the Magpies strong start to the second half putting immense pressure on the Raiders, Canberra needed to be next to score. James Schiller’s try in the 70th minute gave the Raiders the confidence they needed, as the home side defended their goal-line strongly in the final 10 minutes.
With finals hopes still alive, the Canberra Raiders head to Sydney on Saturday to face fourth-placed Newtown Jets in a must-win game for both teams at Henson Park. The Magpies fly to Hamilton, New Zealand for Round 24 to face the Warriors on Saturday at FMG Stadium Waikato.
Match: Rabbitohs v Jets
Round 23 -
Venue: Redfern Oval, Sydney
Rabbitohs' second-half dominance puts Jets' finals hopes in doubt
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have moved into the top five on The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup ladder, with a 32-16 victory over the Newtown Jets at Redfern Oval.
After forcing a drop-out, the Jets got on the board in the 15th minute with some crafty play from hooker and captain, Jayden Berrell.
The Rabbitohs hit back just four minutes later when winger Izaac Thompson dived on a well-weighted kick, levelling the scores at 4-4.
The Jets' captain grabbed a first-half double, backing up powerhouse forward Tuku Hau Tapuha and ducking over to give his side a six-point lead with 12 minutes remaining in the half.
With halftime looming, Rabbitohs fullback and 2024 Bulldogs recruit Blake Taaffe crossed the try-line, bringing the scores to 10-all at the break.
The Rabbitohs made a fast start to the second half with five-eighth Dion Teaupa surging his way to the line in the 43rd minute.
However, the early try saw the Jets click into gear with a try finished off by fullback Manaia Waitere. Halfback Niwhai Puru converted to lock the scores at 16-all with 30 minutes remaining.
After dominating possession and field position for almost 20 minutes, the Rabbitohs capitalised with four-pointers to forwards Ethan O’Neill and Shaquai Mitchell. Both tries were converted by halfback Dean Hawkins to move for the biggest lead of the match at 28-16.
The try-scoring continued for the Rabbitohs, with a four-pointer to winger Tom Carr in the 74th minute to put the game out of reach for the Jets.
The try closed out an impressive second half with some strong defence by the Rabbitohs, to come away with the 32-16 win.
- Despite the wet conditions, it didn't stop the attacking flair displayed by both sides.
- The loss is Newtown’s third straight defeat, leaving the Jets in a close battle for the top five with three rounds remaining.
The try to Rabbitohs back-rower Ethan O’Neill, who spun his way over, commenced a string of unanswered tries for the home side. Two more tries were scored in the next 10 minutes, ultimately putting the game beyond doubt for South Sydney.
The Jets will look to avoid four straight losses when they take on the Canberra Raiders, a side also fighting for a chance at finals football. The Rabbitohs are back at Redfern Oval next week to take on the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Match: Eels v Dragons
Round 23 -
Venue: Kellyville Park, Kellyville
Parramatta get the two points in high scoring affair
The Parramatta Eels hosted St George Illawarra Dragons in Round 23 of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup at Kellyville Park where the home side came out on top to win 44-28 in a thrilling try-filled encounter.
Parramatta struck first in the first half when some tidy passing along the right edge found rising star Brendan Hands who passed the ball to Jirah Momoisea who skipped past the last Dragons defender with ease to score a comfortable try. Captain Jordan Rankin converted to make the score 6-0.
Repeated pressure on the opposition’s 10-metre line earned Parramatta another four pointer when the Dragons failed to clean up a loose ball behind the tryline and Jordan Rankin dived on the ball to claim a try. He converted his own try to make it 12-0.
It was one way traffic at Kellyville on Sunday afternoon when the Eels scored their third unanswered try following some slick passing along that dangerous right edge. Halfback Rankin eyed a wide-open gap on the wing and threw a cut-out pass to Chris Tupou who dived in the corner to score a try.
The Eels struck another blow against their opponents following some good defence when backrower Jack Murchie broke through the line with strength. Murchie found Daejarn Asi in support who used his pace to blitz past the defenders and score himself a try.
The Dragons bounced back late in the second half when halfback Zach Herring kicked the ball cross-field and, after a scramble just before tryline, the ball was collected by veteran outside back Tautau Moga who steamrolled past the defender to score in the corner.
St George Illawarra made it back-to-back tries when Savelio Tamale found himself 20 metres out from the tryline and decided to back himself by blitzing past three Parramatta defenders to score. Alexander Lobb converted the try to make the score 22-10 heading into halftime.
Parramatta bounced back in the second half when Hands put up a threatening kick near the line, before Asi leaped up uncontested to win the ball and dive over the tryline. Rankin converted from in front to extend the scoreline to 28-10.
The Eels extended their lead further when Rankin put a tidy chip into his opposition’s corner which bounced perfectly for centre Lachlan Blackburn to score his first try of the day.
St George Illawarra bounced back mere minutes after Blackburn’s try when speedy winger Sione Finau made a blitz down the blind side to find Tamale inside who scored directly underneath the posts to claim his second of the day. Lobb converted to bring the score to 34-16.
It was tit for tat at Kellyville and the experience of halfback Jordan Rankin proved too much for the Dragons to handle. Rankin threw a delightful cut-out pass to winger Waqa Blake who stepped past Lobb to score his first try of the season.
St George Illawarra’s left edge combination proved crucial once again when halfback Zach Herring found Sione Finau who broke through the line and passed inside to Savelio Tamale who scored another try to complete the first hat-trick of his career.
It didn’t take long for Tamale to score again when the young centre found himself with the ball on the 10-metre line after his forwards making some huge metres. He stepped past two defenders to score his 4th directly underneath the posts. Lobb converted to bring the score to 38-28.
Parramatta bounced back with minutes to go in the second half and secured the win in the process. Asi found himself with the ball metres out from the tryline and busted through a tackle to score a try and complete his own hat-trick. Rankin added the extras to make the final score 44-28.
- Rising hooker Brendan Hands shifted into the halves for this game against the Dragons and he put in a stellar performance with his long kicking game causing the opposition plenty of problems and setting up two tries.
- Savelio Tamale was on fire for the Dragons with the U19’s NSW centre scoring four tries against Parramatta.
Parramatta had all the momentum midway through the first half and fullback Daejarn Asi showed his flair and pace to score his first try of the day and put his side ahead 22-nil.
In Round 24 of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup the Eels will enjoy a week off with the bye, while the Dragons will face off against the Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval.
Match: Roosters v Sea Eagles
Round 23 -
Venue: Wentworth Park, Sydney
Blacktown Workers stake finals claim with crucial victory over the Roosters
The Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles have moved into the top four on The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, defeating the Sydney Roosters 28-18.
The win is a major boost for the Sea Eagles, who now sit in fourth with three difficult games to finish the regular season.
Scores were tied at 0-0 for the majority of the first half, with both team’s initial 40 minutes being defined by firm goal-line defence and simple errors in attack.
Spectacular solo efforts from players on either side meant both teams had numerous opportunities, only for poor discipline or strong contact on the goal-line to deny them from opening the scoring.
It took 32 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, with the Roosters’ Jaxson Paulo scoring the first try. Hooker Thomas Deakin’s dangerous running game had been a problem for Blacktown Workers all match, and it proved so once again as he darted out of dummy half, exposing a tired Sea Eagles’ defence. He found Penioni Tohi on his inside who ultimately put Paulo over next to the posts for a 6-0 lead.
Blacktown Workers hit back with 30 seconds to go in the half as winger Jackson Ferris raced 80m to put Clayton Faulalo over in the corner. Ferris burned his opposition number and successfully took on stand-in fullback Jade Anderson before finding Faulalo as Roosters chasers closed in. The try further extends Faulalo’s lead atop The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup try scorer’s leaderboard. Cooper Johns converted from the sideline to square the two sides up.
The second half started much like the first, with simple errors from both sides leaving valuable chances begging.
Blacktown Workers finally struck in the 50th minute, thanks to a silky combination between the Fainu brothers. Second rower Samuela broke through some weak Roosters defence before finding younger brother Latu back on his inside, giving Blacktown Workers a 6-point advantage.
Tensions boiled over eight minutes later after Jackson Ferris was awarded a penalty try. Ferris was tackled high in the in-goal, leading to a scuffle between the two teams that saw a Roosters trainer sent off and Blacktown centre Morgan Harper placed on report. Cooper Johns converted from in front of the sticks for a 18-6 lead.
The Roosters returned serve with 16 minutes remaining through Joseph Whitikama Temara Taipari, off the back of some silky ball movement and poor discipline from the Sea Eagles. Paulo converted to make it 18-12.
Morgan Harper then crossed for Blacktown Workers in the 70th minute, sliding over in the right corner, having found a hole in the Roosters goal-line defence. Johns failed to convert, giving Blacktown Workers a 10-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Latu Fainu put the result beyond doubt in the 75th minute, capping off a great team try and securing Blacktown Worker’s top four spot in the process. Latu started the movement, throwing an arching cut-out pass over to brother Samuela who made a break down the sideline, before finding Latu back on the inside, amongst a sea of Roosters and Sea Eagles players, getting the young half his second of the day.
The Roosters weren’t quite finished however, with Jaxson Paulo throwing a spectacular 30m pass to his winger, Ethan Clark-Wood, to cross untouched. He converted his own assist to have the Roosters down by 10.
The successful conversion and quick line break from Jade Anderson gave the Roosters hope, but a try-saving ankle tap from Kaeo Weekes forced an error, securing the full-time score of 28-18.
- The Tigers-bound duo of Samuela and Latu Fainu were both impressive for Blacktown Workers, with two tries, two try assists, and strong defence between the two. Samuela continues to push for a recall to Manly’s first grade side with consistent strong performances.
- Roosters fullback and captain Ethan King went off injured early in the game, leaving Jaxson Paulo and Jade Anderson to share the fullback role in attack and defence respectively. Blacktown Workers centre Morgan Harper faces a nervous wait to see if he will face a suspension after being placed on report earlier in the game.
In what was a seesawing game, the penalty try to Jackson Ferris in the 58th minute proved pivotal. That try gave Blacktown Workers a 10-point lead, their biggest of the game so far, and provided a margin the Roosters would be unable to run down.
The Roosters travel to take on the North Sydney Bears on Sunday in what is sure to be a fiery contest. Meanwhile, the Sea Eagles have a crucial match against the Penrith Panthers; a game that will be significant in the make-up of the finals.