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Parramatta beats Cronulla 14-12, Gold Coast claims Queensland NRL honours with win over Cowboys


NRL premiership contender Parramatta has scrapped home to beat Cronulla 14-12 in an absorbing encounter played in atrocious conditions at a waterlogged Kogarah Oval.

In Sunday’s earlier match, the Gold Coast Titans became Queensland’s top-ranked team after a 30-10 win over the Cowboys in Robina.

At Kogarah Oval, players were sliding everywhere and the ball often stopped dead in on-field water puddles, with the Sharks going down to the Eels despite scoring three tries to two.

Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown and Sharks counterpart Shaun Johnson both put on wet-weather masterclasses, while Mitchell Moses was also influential for the victors.

After the Eels led 12-4 early in the second half courtesy of a Brown try and try assist, Johnson almost gave the Sharks the win in a chaotic four minutes.

Having kicked for Jesse Ramien for the Sharks’ first try, he put a juggling Ronaldo Mulitalo over for their next with a cut-out ball to make it 12-8.

From the next set he kicked a 40-20 as Eels captain Clint Gutherson let the ball go out.

It put Cronulla on the attack and allowed Johnson and Will Kennedy to find Mulitalo to go back against the grain and beat three defenders to score.

But Johnson’s errant goalkicking from the sideline was to prove costly.

With scores locked at 12-all and 11 minutes to play, Braden Hamlin-Uele was penalised for hitting Reagan Campbell-Gillard off the ball and the Eels kicked clear.

Johnson then coughed up the last chance to claim the match, fumbling his own short grubber in the last minute.

Earlier, Brown had shown experience well beyond his 20 years of age.

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He got the first try of the match when he fooled the Sharks’ goal-line defence, faking left before darting over from dummy half in the 19th minute.

Brown’s superb day continued after half-time when he dummied his way to the line and offloaded for Kane Evans to score.

The win keeps Parramatta third on the ladder, while Cronulla is still eighth but two points clear of ninth.

Titans outclass struggling Cowboys

The Titans snapped a 10-match losing streak against the Cowboys in style, racing to a six-tries-to-two win in arguably their best display under coach Justin Holbrook in his first season at the club.

The win lifts the Titans above the Cowboys, into 13th place on the ladder.

With the Brisbane Broncos languishing below both clubs in 15th position after their run of 10 defeats from their past 11 matches, the Titans are now the highest placed of the Queensland teams in the competition.

It is also the first time in 10 years the Cowboys have lost six matches in a row.

The Titans were sensational in the opening 40 minutes, charging to 20-0 lead as the Cowboys imploded.

Full-back AJ Brimson, playing in his second match back from injury, scored a double as the Titans dominated possession and territory.

The Cowboys were as bad as the Titans were good in the opening period, with captain Michael Morgan having a day to forget on his return from a shoulder injury that had kept him sidelined since March.

Morgan had five missed tackles in the first half, two of which led directly to Titans tries.

He was also pinged for an escort penalty late in the half, with the Titans going on to score through Brimson from the resulting set.

In total the Cowboys had a paltry 59 per cent completion rate for the half, missing 23 tackles and making seven errors.

Two Gold Coast Titans NRL players embrace as they celebrate a try, as a North Queensland Cowboys opponent walks by.
Brian Kelly (left) is congratulated by Phillip Sami after scoring the Titans’ fifth try.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

The rout continued in the second half with Kevin Proctor producing a special play to bat back a kick that had gone over the dead-ball line for Brian Kelly to score.

After that play the Cowboys finally responded.

Kyle Feldt pounced after a horror bounce took a Morgan grubber away from Titans’ winger Phillip Sami before Justin O’Neill made it back-to-back tries for the visitors minutes later.

A threatened comeback did not materialise, as the Titans regained the upper hand with Sami wrapping up the scoring in the 69th minute.

The Cowboys only slightly improved their completion rate to 63 per cent and made a total of 14 errors.

AAP



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Canberra Raiders score 14-12 NRL win over North Queensland as Sydney Roosters beat Gold Coast


Canberra has shown its class to sneak home with a 14-12 win over North Queensland in an NRL arm wrestle in Townsville.

Earlier in the afternoon, the depleted Sydney Roosters survived an almighty scare from an inspired Gold Coast Titans to escape with a vital 18-12 win at the SCG.

Up north, it was far from the Raiders’ best performance but they did enough to edge a willing Cowboys outfit, with both teams scoring two tries.

The Cowboys threw everything at their opponents but too often let themselves down with their kicking options.

Gunning for their third successive victory, the Raiders looked as if they were suffering jet lag early on after their long match-day flight to Canberra.

They were caught out just two minutes into the match when North Queensland hooker Reece Robson dashed over the line from dummy half.

The Raiders found their groove to level in the 18th minute when half-back George Williams started and finished a 70-metre try, helped by a big charge and fend by winger Nick Cotric.

A 35th-minute penalty strike by captain Jarrod Croker allowed his team to take an 8-6 lead to half-time.

Canberra prop Josh Papalii was both hero and villain within two minutes, stripping the ball but then being placed on report for a forearm to the head of the Cowboys’ teenage full-back Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Cowboys skipper Jason Taumalolo steamed to the try line to put his side up but it was short-lived with the Raiders hitting back four minutes later.

England international John Bateman, playing his first match of the year after two rounds of shoulder surgery, found Curtis Scott, who fended off winger Murray Taulagi to score.

Sharpshooter Croker then showed his value, nailing the conversion from the sideline to put his side ahead again.

The final 12 minutes saw four captains’ challenges, with the Cowboys correct with both but they couldn’t find the points for a win or to take the match into golden point.

Roosters deny gutsy Titans

In an action-packed match laced with drama, the Roosters overcame their crippling injury toll to preserve their place in the top four thanks largely to the heroics of classy centre Joseph Manu.

Already missing eight players from their 2019 grand final-winning outfit and with superstar signing Sonny Bill Williams holed up in quarantine, the Roosters lost try-scoring ace Josh Morris to a calf strain before this afternoon’s kick-off.

Fortunately the back-to-back premiers had Manu, whose leaping 58th-minute try and miracle first-half try saver on Phillip Sami saved the Roosters embarrassment.

The Titans could have bagged four first-half tries but had to settle for only one after blowing two and seeing Manu pull off his incredible rescue act before the break.

Jamal Fogarty was also denied a try in just the second minute, the half-back touching down only for the bunker to rule Titans teammate Brian Kelly had passed him the ball off the ground.

A Sydney Roosters NRL player tackles a Gold Coast Titans opponent holding the ball around the chest area.
Roosters hooker Jake Friend (left) tries to bring down Gold Coast lock Jai Arrow.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

But there was no denying Anthony Don eight minutes later when the prolific winger started and finished his own 75-metre effort.

After scrambling for much of the half, somehow the Roosters went to the break with a 10-6 advantage after half-back Kyle Flanagan added two penalties to his conversion of Mitch Aubusson’s try.

The Titans were reduced to 12 men for a second time in the match when Keegan Hipgrave was sin-binned for taking out Lindsay Collins.

The Roosters’ claims for a penalty try were denied but Flanagan’s two points made it 12-6 before Manu soared high to reel in Luke Keary’s cross-field bomb.

That appeared to seal the deal before Sami crossed with five minutes remaining to give Roosters fans a tense finish.

AAP/ABC



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Newcastle beats Manly 14-12 after fiery finish at Brookvale, South Sydney beats Canterbury Bulldogs 26-10


Newcastle have held on for a controversial 14-12 win over Manly, claiming just their fourth-ever victory at Brookvale.

With just one man on the bench at full-time, the Knights withstood a glut of Sea Eagles possession in the second half to move into the top four.

But the win was shrouded in controversy, with Manly prop Addin Fonua-Blake sent off after the full-time siren for dissent.

With the Knights leading by two points on the siren, Manly spread the ball right from within their own half as Tevita Funa broke down field.

The winger grubbered for himself from 20 metres out but appeared to be taken to the ground by Tex Hoy and Bradman Best after kicking.

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Referee Grant Atkins referred the play upstairs, bunker official Jared Maxwell ruled no penalty and full-time was blown — drawing anger from a number of Manly players.

Captain Daly Cherry-Evans attempted to have the decision taken back to the bunker for a captain’s challenge, but was denied.

The late drama overshadowed a gutsy win by the Knights.

Kalyn Ponga was one of three players to finish the match off the field for the Knights, taken for a HIA after falling awkwardly in a contest for the ball.

In a second half that contrasted with the first, Manly had 61 per cent of possession and had 22 tackles in the Knights’ red zone.

But they could muster just one try, desperately missing backline stars Dylan Walker and Tom Trbojevic in attack as they collected a second consecutive loss without them.

Playmaker Walker is hopeful of being back in a fortnight against Parramatta, while full-back Trbojevic is expected to be sidelined for up to another six weeks with his hamstring issue.

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Manly’s only second-half try came when Cherry-Evans helped Cade Cust burst through from close to the line from a Curtis Sironen offload in the 67th minute.

Otherwise, the Knights were resolute.

With Sione Mata’utia concussed and Edrick Lee suffering a broken wrist, the Knights played the majority of the match with 15 men.

Andrew McCullough made 48 tackles while David Klemmer ran 188 metres and fellow prop Daniel Saifiti managed 164.

The Knights had earlier dominated the ball in the first half, capitalising on the first Cherry-Evans sin bin of his career for a professional foul to score eight points while he was off the field.

Their first try to McCullough came after Sironen was penalised for picking the ball up in the second row at the back of a five-man scrum.

Cherry-Evans got his revenge when he came back on the field, stepping and jinking his way through the line to score after Daniel Saifiti rushed up.

But the Knights took an eight-point lead to the break when Kurt Mann juggled a Mitchell Pearce kick out of Cherry-Evans’ grasp to score what proved a crucial try.

Rabbitohs down the Bulldogs

A grinning NRL player gets a hug from a teammate after scoring a try.
Alex Johnston scored one of South Sydney’s four tries in a 26-10 win over the Bulldogs.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Canterbury put up a valiant fight but could not end its NRL losing streak, extending it to four games as they fell to South Sydney 26-10 on Sunday night.

Down just two points at halftime, the Bulldogs remained in the battle but could not overcome a Rabbitohs side that showed more polish at Parramatta Stadium.

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It took just four minutes for Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston to make one of his trademark blitzes down the sideline, scoring after a 60-metre dash from a Latrell Mitchell pass.

Dean Pay’s men have lacked polish in 2020 but they haven’t been short on bravery.

Souths went into the sheds up by just a penalty as the Bulldogs refused to roll over — Marcelo Montoya scoring a clever try in the 36th minute.

There were danger signs when Souths started the second half with a quick try, but they switched off again and let the Dogs back into the fight.

After Jaydn Su’a collected a grubber from Adam Reynolds for Souths’ second try in the 42nd minute, the Dogs marched up the field and Raymond Faitala-Mariner returned serve.

They were back within four points but not for long as full-back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak coughed up possession in Bulldogs territory and Cody Walker scored in the next set.

A burrowing try to Walker from close to the line with 20 minutes to go put the result to bed.

Dane Gagai’s runaway try in the final minute was a cherry on top of the win and his 50th in the NRL.

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The Bulldogs will now face a desperate Brisbane side at Lang Park on Saturday, while South Sydney will take on Wests Tigers on Friday night.

AAP



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