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New Zealand’s All Blacks defeat Australia 27-7 in second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland


Australia’s run of outs at Eden Park has continued, with New Zealand recording a convincing 27-7 victory in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland.

The Wallabies have not beaten the All Blacks at the venue since 1986 and the visitors backed their chances of snapping the losing streak following their spirited display in last weekend’s pulsating 16-16 draw in Wellington.

But the All Blacks were in a different class for much of the contest at Eden Park, scoring four tries to one to edge closer to retaining the Bledisloe Cup, which they have held since 2003.

After holding a slender 10-7 lead at half-time, the All Blacks scored three tries in the second term and kept the Wallabies scoreless on the way to their 20th straight victory over their trans-Tasman rival at Eden Park.

The All Blacks and Wallabies will meet again in two Tests in Sydney (October 31) and Brisbane (November 7) in what is a revamped Rugby Championship tournament following the withdrawal of South Africa.

Both sides will also play Argentina in the three-nation competition.

The All Blacks, stung by a poor effort in the Bledisloe Cup opener, came into Sunday’s Test in Auckland with more venom.

Veteran hooker Dane Coles bristled with energy and the return of Beauden Barrett from injury injected penetrative pace.

A New Zealand All Blacks players holds an Australian Wallabies opponent around the shoulders.
There was some feeling in the early exchanges between the All Blacks and Wallabies.(AP: Mark Baker)

But the undoubted star was winger Caleb Clarke, who showed Jonah Lomu-like skills and strength as he bulldozed the Wallabies defence time and again to announce himself as a future star in the making.

Clarke, whose father Eroni played for the All Blacks, was so impressive he left the field to a standing ovation with 12 minutes remaining in the match.

The All Blacks did a great job protecting five-eighth Richie Mo’unga after he was ruffled by the Wallabies’ defence in Wellington.

They used skip passes to Jack Goodhue and Barrett also stepped into first receiver role.

After a Mo’unga penalty, it was Goodhue running at first receiver in the 23rd minute that led to the All Blacks’ first try.

Goodhue powered to within a metre of the line and Aaron Smith scooted around from the base of the ruck to score.

Ned Hanigan was a strong addition to the Wallabies’ starting XV and they struck back just on the half-hour mark when the blindside flanker broke through an attempted tackle by Joe Moody.

Moody was left face down on the turf after being knocked out when his head smacked into Hanigan’s hip.

Hanigan burst clear to give the Wallabies vital field position and they capitalised through Marika Koroibete scoring in the left corner.

Four Australian Wallabies players celebrate a try against New Zealand's All Blacks.
The Wallabies had a glimmer of hope when Marika Koroibete (second from right) scored a try.(AP: Mark Baker)

The Wallabies were dealt a blow from the ensuing kick-off when Matt To’omua appeared to strain a hip flexor while making a clearing kick and he was replaced by Jordan Petaia.

Leading by three points at half-time, the All Blacks started the second term with a try-scoring blitz.

Within three minutes of the resumption, Jordie Barrett crossed after Mo’unga and Goodhue combined to create an overlap against a flat-footed Wallabies defence.

The match was effectively over three minutes later when Clarke — with a mix of raw power and savvy footwork — smashed through five would-be tacklers to create the space for number eight Ardie Savea to bust past the remnants of the Wallabies’ broken defence.

With the All Blacks leading 20-7, the Wallabies had appeared to grab one try back when hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa crawled over the line from a rolling maul deep inside opposition territory.

But following the intervention of the TMO, Paenga-Amosa was judged to have promoted the ball illegally across the line and the All Blacks were awarded a penalty.

All Blacks skipper Same Cane scored the fourth and final try in the 53rd minute, with Mo’unga adding the conversion to close out the scoring for the afternoon.

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South Sydney Rabbitohs defeat Parramatta Eels 38-24 to reach NRL preliminary finals



A stunning second half from South Sydney saw Parramatta eliminated from the NRL finals series via a 38-24 defeat at Western Sydney Stadium on a day of much drama for the Eels.

South Sydney’s win sets up a preliminary final with minor premiers Penrith at Sydney’s Olympic stadium next Saturday night.

The Eels had been rocked on Saturday morning by the revelation former Test and State of Origin centre Michael Jennings had failed a doping test and would be provisionally suspended under the NRL’s anti-doping policy.

The NRL said Jennings returned a positive A-sample for banned substances Ligandrol and Ibutamoren and three of their metabolites.

He had been named in the Eels’ squad to face the Rabbitohs and his withdrawal meant rookie winger Haze Dunster was given a baptism of fire after getting the call-up to debut in the morning.

Dunster was thrown onto the wing as a part of Brad Arthur’s patched-together backline with Maika Sivo and Blake Ferguson also missing through injury.

And while the Eels were gutsy in defeat, their season ended in front of 14,510 spectators.

The match was there for the taking at half-time when the Eels led 18-8 following a flurry of points within four minutes, all either set up or scored by star fullback Clint Gutherson.

But the Rabbitohs pounced with two quick converted tries to start the second half and clawed back the lead.

Eels halfback Mitch Moses had the chance to level the scores with a penalty goal in the 62nd minute but the ball hit the posts and Rabbitohs winger Jaxon Paulo went streaking down the sideline.

Full of steam, the Rabbitohs landed on Eels line, with Gutherson bobbling a grubber kick from Damien Cook just enough for Bailey Sironen to ground the ball.

Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown threw an intercept for Paulo to score his second of the night with 10 minutes to go.

The try put the Rabbitohs in front 32-18 but the Eels went down fighting.

Jennings’s younger brother George, playing on the wing for the Eels, grabbed his second try of the night with five minutes to go in the match.

But a late try to Damien Cook put an end to a miserable day for the Eels, leaving Parramatta players strewn and emotional on the turf.

It is the second year in the row the Eels have bowed out of the finals in week two and the third time in four seasons.

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Canberra Raiders defeat Sydney Roosters 22-18 in NRL semi-final classic at SCG


The Canberra Raiders are one win away from a second-straight grand final after they exacted revenge on the Sydney Roosters by denying the defending two-time premiers a shot at an NRL three-peat.

The Raiders shot out of the blocks to lead 16-0 after 23 minutes before holding out the fast-finishing Roosters to win 22-18 at the SCG.

The result sets up a preliminary final date with the Melbourne Storm next Friday in Brisbane, with the winner to advance to the season decider on October 25.

Josh Papalii was again immense for the Raiders, as the visitors won the battle of the middle.

Fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was also superb, with two crucial try-saving tackles on Brett and Josh Morris to halt the Roosters’ charge.

His tackle on Josh Morris in the second half was one of the most important moments of the match. He sprinted across the field to put the Roosters centre into touch when the Raiders were clinging to a 16-12 lead.

Moments later the Raiders had their lead back out to 10 points, as James Tedesco lost his feet trying to field a George Williams kick and Jack Wighton scored.

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But even then the Roosters would not let up in front of 18,110 spectators.

They again cut back the Raiders’ advantage to four points with five minutes to play when Sonny Bill Williams and Sitili Tupouniua combined to put Tedesco over.

And they looked as if they had the Raiders in all sorts of trouble in the dying minutes, only for Tedesco to drop a ball 30 metres out with Canberra short on numbers.

A Canberra Raiders NRL player is tackled across his upper body by two Sydney Roosters opponents.
Raiders enforcer Josh Papalii (centre) is met by the Roosters defence.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Papalii had earlier started the run for the Raiders when he crashed over for the first try of the match from close range, making the most of a piggyback penalty.

The Raiders forward was also instrumental in their next try.

He began a centre-field movement with an offload for John Bateman, before Jordan Rapana put Williams over.

And the match looked all but over when Joseph Tapine pushed his way through five defenders from close to the line to make it 16-0.

But it was then that the Roosters’ comeback started.

Tedesco scored his first try of the evening in the 35th minute and with Kyle Flanagan’s conversion, the Roosters only trailed 16-6 at half-time.

Joey Manu provided plenty of spark, denied once after half-time for a double movement before convincing the bunker moments later to record the Roosters’ second try.

Looming as a threat all night, he picked up a loose ball from 25 metres out and found the line, despite a desperate last effort from Raiders veteran Jarrod Croker.

The loss not only ended the Roosters’ hopes of three straight premiership wins, but it also brought down the curtain on Mitchell Aubusson’s 306-match career with the club.

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Penrith Panthers defeat Sydney Roosters 29-28 in NRL qualifying final



Penrith is one win away from its first grand final in 17 years after a first-half hat-trick from Nathan Cleary helped propel the Panthers to a thrilling 29-28 win over the Sydney Roosters.

Cleary racked up 21 points, his tally capped off by a decisive late field goal, as the minor premiers held off a second-half comeback from the Roosters at Panthers Stadium.

While Cleary got the points, halves partner Jarome Luai was just as impressive in his first finals match, but second rower Viliame Kikau could face a suspension for a dangerous tackle.

The Panthers now advance through to the preliminary final, while the Roosters face a sudden-death semi-final against the winner of Canberra and Cronulla, to keep their hopes of a third straight premiership alive.

The Roosters, who entered the match on the back of a 60-8 thrashing at the hands of South Sydney in the final round, have their concerns, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves on report for a high shot.

The Panthers’ win took their winning streak to 16 matches, making it the equal-third longest of all time.

But they did not do it easy on Friday night.

After the Panthers led 28-10 with 27 minutes to go, the Roosters scored two tries in 11 minutes through James Tedesco and Josh Morris to put themselves back in the match.

Cleary’s field goal looked as if it would seal the match with two minutes to play at 29-22, but Penrith gave away a penalty from the kick-off and Angus Crichton scored a try, that was duly converted for the Roosters.

The Panthers were able to hold on, with Liam Martin making a last-ditch tackle on Morris and Kikau getting a finger on a 40-metre field-goal attempt from Luke Keary.

The late Roosters charge was not the first time the Panthers had to rally.

After Morris and Freddy Lussick scored early for the Roosters, the Panthers were trailing 10-0 before Josh Mansour got their first try of the match.

Cleary then went in under the posts from a Dylan Edwards pass, before completing his hat-trick inside a 15-minute period.

The four unanswered tries helped establish a 22-10 half-time lead for the Panthers, the advantage extended to 18 points when Stephen Crichton crossed for a converted try prior to the Roosters’ comeback.

Cleary finished the match with four conversions from five attempts.

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Melbourne Vixens hand Sunshine Coast Lightning 58-54 defeat ahead of Super Netball finals



The high-flying Melbourne Vixens have rounded out their preparations for the Super Netball finals series with a 58-54 victory over Sunshine Coast Lightning.

The two sides will meet again in next Saturday’s major semi-final but the minor premiers took the honours in Sunday’s dress rehearsal at USC Stadium to finish 10 points clear of the second-placed Lightning.

Mwai Kumwenda celebrated her 31st birthday in style with 43-of-44 shooting — including one super shot — to guide the Vixens to their 11th win of the season.

“It’s always hard when you’re playing against the Lightning, you just need to go hard every time because they are a good team,” Kumwenda said.

The Lightning were guaranteed to finish in second spot after West Coast Fever and NSW Swifts were unable to record wins in the final round, handing the two-time champions a double chance at a fourth consecutive grand final berth.

While both teams were eager to grab a confidence-building win ahead of the finals, it was the Vixens demonstrating all the qualities that saw them hold onto top spot on the ladder since round two as they led by five goals at half-time.

Vixens coach Simone McKinnis opted to rest starters Liz Watson and Kate Eddy in the second half and the Lightning capitalised to draw level in the third quarter.

But with Lightning coach Kylee Byrne ringing the changes to her line-up, the Vixens took charge of the contest with an 11-1 start to the fourth quarter.

Kumwenda piled on 10 goals without a miss in that stretch to seal the victory.

Vixens co-captain Watson was taking part in her 100th national league game after missing two matches with an ankle injury.

The outstanding midcourter picked up 15 goal assists and 21 circle feeds before sitting out the second half.

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World champions Australia defeat New Zealand by 17 runs in T20 international in Brisbane



Australia has defeated New Zealand by 17 runs in the T20 series opener in Brisbane, with Ashleigh Gardner scoring a half-century in the home side’s first match since winning the T20 World Cup final in March.

Gardner made 61 runs from 41 deliveries to help Australia post a total of 6-138 from its 20 overs at Allan Border Field.

New Zealand managed to make 7-121 in reply to fall short in the first of three T20 internationals in Brisbane.

The two sides will face off again in Brisbane on Sunday and Wednesday.

Making their first appearance since playing in front of more than 80,000 spectators in the T20 World Cup final at the MCG, the Australians held their nerve in front of a restricted attendance of just 380 fans.

Gardner smashed three sixes and six fours to help pull the hosts clear after a shaky start on a two-paced wicket.

Openers Beth Mooney and Alyssa Healy both fell trying to drive on the up before Rachael Haynes (23 from 18) and Sophie Molineux (duck) were guilty of the same.

Meg Lanning (24 from 28) was dismissed just as she was hitting her straps and it could have been 6-83 when Nicola Carey survived what appeared to be an edge behind from the first ball she faced off Sophie Devine.

Australia rode its luck, with Gardner fuelling their final overs with three well-struck sixes over midwicket and a crisp off-drive to bring up her 50 off 37 balls.

New Zealand skipper Devine mixed her pace nicely, going for 10 runs in her final over to finish with 3-18 from four overs.

She then did her best with the bat before Healy produced a match-changing legside stumping off the bowling of Delissa Kimmince.

Devine was ruled out of her crease by the third umpire as Healy whipped off the bails, the New Zealander out for 29.

Suzie Bates produced the top score for New Zealand with 33 from 38 deliveries.

Megan Schutt was the best of the Australian bowlers with 4-23 and Kimmince contributed figures of 2-24.

Both teams wore black armbands and shared a minute’s silence before the match in memory of Dean Jones.

Jones, who played 52 Tests and 164 ODIs for Australia, died of a heart attack in India on Thursday, aged 59.

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Raiders in NRL top-four contention after beating Warriors in Canberra, Knights defeat Dragons


The Canberra Raiders have survived a testing battle against the Warriors to claim a 26-14 victory and remain in sight of a crucial top-four NRL finish.

Another finals-bound side, the Knights, also triumphed in the penultimate round, posting a convincing 42-18 defeat of St George Illawarra in Newcastle later on Sunday.

The Raiders lost halfback George Williams to concussion early at Canberra Stadium, and were down by eight points when star five-eighth Jack Wighton was sent to the sin-bin during the first half.

Strike second rower John Bateman also sustained an elbow injury in the second half.

But the Raiders — led by two-try hero Semi Valemei and veteran Elliott Whitehead — recovered to cement fifth spot on the ladder, two points behind fourth-placed Parramatta with one match left in the regular season.

With a superior points differential, the Raiders can steal a qualifying final berth should they defeat Cronulla and the Eels get upset by the Wests Tigers next weekend.

The Warriors, who lost captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to a suspected season-ending hamstring injury in the second half, again showed admirable spirit by taking it to the Raiders early but they could not muster a late push.

They look forward to finally flying home to New Zealand after facing Manly next week.

Warriors centre Peta Hiku and counterpart Jarrod Croker traded tries inside a combative opening 15 minutes.

The visitors threatened to run away with the match when Hiku nabbed his second try in the 28th minute, however a 90-metre Valemei try for the Raiders four minutes later proved a critical turning point.

Hudson Young’s try in the shadows of half-time completed a stunning turnaround and a two-point lead to the Raiders at the break, 16-14.

Whitehead was instrumental in the Raiders posting the first points of the second half when he intercepted a Warriors pass to set up Valemei’s second try.

Nick Cotric, who is headed to Canterbury next season, scored the Raiders’ fifth try to ice the win for the hosts.

Knights smash Dragons

The finals-bound Knights heaped more misery on the Dragons in their last home match of the season.

They led 30-6 at half-time, with Kalyn Ponga, Gehamat Shibasaki, Aidan Guerra, Daniel Saifiti and Enari Tuala all scoring tries, while Mason Lino added five conversions.

The sole points for the Dragons in the first half came from a Zac Lomax converted try.

A try to Jacob Saifiti and a second to Tuala after half-time made sure the Knights’ win was never in the doubt, although Corey Norman and Lomax did cross the stripe for converted tries to add respectability to the Dragons’ total.

It was a miserable performance from the Dragons, but Lomax and Cody Ramsey were shining lights.

A Newcastle Knights NRL players slides on his stomach after socring a try against St George Illawarra.
Aidan Guerra added a try to the Knights’ total in the big win in Newcastle.(AAP: Darren Pateman)

The Knights, who jumped ahead of South Sydney into sixth place on the ladder following the win, are set to play their first finals series since 2013.

They could also host their first home finals game in Newcastle since 2006.

That destiny is now in their own hands, as they sit one point above the Rabbitohs heading into the final round of the minor premiership.

The Knights will face Gold Coast on Friday, needing a win to lock down sixth place.

Should they beat the Titans, the Knights will face Wayne Bennett’s Rabbitohs in the first week of the finals in Newcastle.

Ironically, Bennett was the last man to get the Knights to the finals in 2013.

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Sydney Roosters defeat Sharks ahead of NRL finals, Shaun Johnson suffers serious injury


Cronulla is set to be without Shaun Johnson for its NRL finals campaign amid fears the star halfback snapped his Achilles tendon in a tough 34-18 loss to the Sydney Roosters at the SCG.

Johnson went down untouched clutching his lower right leg in the 48th minute and was soon after carted from the field.

He gave the thumbs up to the crowd from the back of the medicab before reports emerged of the season-ending injury.

Adding to the Sharks’ injury woes, prop Royce Hunt dislocated his right knee cap in the second half and Josh Dugan was taken off late with a knee ailment.

With just one match left before the finals, losing Johnson — who leads the NRL with 22 try-assists this season — is a disaster for the Sharks who will not have a second chance in week one.

And while the Sharks’ injury crisis dominated the second half, the opening 40 minutes was all about the Roosters.

Roosters players tackle Ronaldo Mulitalo
The Roosters’ defence had the measure of the Sharks in the 16-point victory.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

It was a magical night for Mitch Aubusson, who scored a brace in his 303rd NRL match for the club to become their most-capped player.

The first was a short ball from Joseph Manu to crash over just five minutes after Aubusson led the team out as captain through a guard of honour.

But the second was more dubious.

Chasing through a grubber from Angus Crichton, Aubusson appeared to knock the ball on but replays showed he trapped it between his leg and hand.

The stroke of luck landed the milestone man his double and put the Roosters ahead 24-6 before they conceded late in the half.

After seven first-half errors the Sharks still managed to score twice with just 42 per cent possession, as they were steered around by Johnson before he went down.

Ronaldo Mulitalo and Siosifa Talakai scored in the first half but a third try to Braden Hamlin-Uele further punished the disjointed Roosters’ defence.

The premiers had enough class to polish off the win, even while missing some of their biggest stars.

James Tedesco, Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner all watched from the stands as the Roosters ran in six tries, including a double to Luke Keary.

All are set to return to play South Sydney on Friday night.

Storm post half-century

Two Melbourne Storm NRL players embrace after scoring a try against Wests Tigers.
Storm captain Cameron Smith had plenty of reasons to smile during his side’s win.(AAP: Regi Varghese)

Melbourne has sealed a top-two berth ahead of the NRL finals after claiming a comfortable 50-22 win over the Wests Tigers on the Sunshine Coast.

The Storm ran in nine tries against the Wests Tigers, with wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr each chipping in with doubles.

Captain Cameron Smith, Nicho Hynes, Jahrome Hughes, Justin Olam and Tino Faasuamaleaui also crossed for Storm tries.

The comfortable victory featured a comical moment between Smith and Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

The Storm were leading by 16 points late in the match when Smith kicked ahead for himself to claim the 47th try of his career.

Smith’s tally surpassed the total achieved Bellamy during his 150-match career with Canberra between 1982 and 1992.

Smith instantly directed his celebration towards the coach’s box on the Sunshine Coast, before Bellamy responded by giving Smith the finger in jest.

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It was a vintage performance from Smith, who finished the night with a try assist, seven conversions from nine attempts, and 30 tackles.

Rookie Asu Kepaoa scored two of the Wests Tigers’ four tries.

The Storm will finish second on the ladder to Penrith, who wrapped up the minor premiership with a victory over the Cowboys on Friday night.

Trbojevic injured in loss to Gold Coast

A Manly Sea Eagles NRL receives treatment from a trainer during the match against the Gold Coast Titans.
Injury-plagued Tom Trbojevic (left) was forced from the field in the Sea Eagles’ loss.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Tom Trbojevic sustained a shoulder injury in his long-awaited return for Manly, who went down to Gold Coast in a crushing 42-24 defeat at Brookvale Oval.

Playing his first match since June after being sidelined with a troublesome hamstring injury, Trbojevic was hurt attempting to make a tackle on Titans fullback AJ Brimson during the second half.

Brimson crossed for a try, with Trbojevic left with his right arm dangling by his side before he later departed the field.

Manly officials were initially hopeful the injury was only a stinger, but it comes at the worst possible time for Trbojevic.

Including Saturday’s loss, he had just two matches to impress New South Wales coach Brad Fittler before the end-of-season State of Origin series.

Trbojevic looked particularly rusty at the back on Saturday afternoon in both attack and defence, with two of his four errors coming after the shoulder injury.

His presence in attack helped Manly score one try as he drew in two defenders off the ball, while he also helped chase down Titans flyer Treymain Spry Sprei to deny him a 90-metre intercept try.

But on other occasions his injury lay-off showed, such as his failure to shadow a grubber dead that allowed Kevin Proctor to score and his fumbling of a poor Tevita Funa pass in the lead-up to another Titans try.

Regardless, the Sea Eagles were completely outplayed by the Titans, who posted their equal-highest score in their 14-year history.

The Titans have now won four straight matches for the first time since 2014. They are ninth on the ladder after being tipped by a number of commentators to collect the wooden spoon.

Brimson scored two tries, including an 80-metre effort that left referee Matt Noyen with an injured hamstring after Young Tonumaipea found his teammate from a 20-metre tap.

Tonumaipea also claimed a brace, making the most of a 60-metre intercept from Corey Thompson for his second.

Thompson finished the match off with a hamstring injury after earlier scoring a try, while Sam Stone and Spry scored the Titans’ other tries.

The result means Manly will finish the season with just one win from seven matches at its home ground Brookvale Oval.

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NSW Swifts survive scare to defeat Adelaide Thunderbirds in Cairns Super Netball clash



Cracks have appeared in the NSW Swifts’ Super Netball title defence despite their 57-54 win over Adelaide Thunderbirds in Cairns on Saturday.

Assured of a finals berth, the Swifts should have put away the seventh-placed Thunderbirds in the Indigenous Round fixture but instead gave coach Briony Akle some headaches ahead of next weekend’s final match of the regular season.

Fellow top-four side West Coast Fever won Saturday’s earlier match in Cairns, the 71-66 defeat of the Giants making sure they stayed third on the ladder, one spot ahead of the Swifts.

The Swifts had lost four of their past five matches before the road trip north and their confidence was further dented by the Thunderbirds, who found strength in a midcourt led by rising playmakers Maisie Nankivell and Georgie Horjus.

It took a final-quarter surge from goal attack Helen Housby — who scored 22 goals for the match — and brave milking of possession in the dying seconds for the Swifts to hold off the Thunderbirds.

“That was super tough. We always knew the Thunderbirds were going to come back,” Swifts centre Paige Hadley said.

“Leading into the finals we like matches like that to prepare us for tough games.

“More teams are going to come at us because we are the reigning champions. We need to develop the belief that we can do it again.”

Hadley was the shining light in the centre third, finishing the match with 24 assists and 42 feeds.

Lenize Potgieter’s 33 goals at 97 per cent accuracy gave the Thunderbirds a chance but the Swifts were clinical when the game was on the line.

Sam Wallace led the scoring for the Swifts with 27 points (25 goals, one super shot).

Season over for Giants

The sun has set on the Giants’ finals hopes following their loss to the Fever.

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Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich underlined why she was selected to coach the national side, pulling all the right strings to spark a second-half fightback and keep alive the club’s chances of a top-two finish.

Both teams had much to gain. To snatch second spot, the Fever need to win each of their last two matches and rely on the Lightning to fall to the Vixens in the final round.

That finals thread was even thinner for the Giants who had no lifelines remaining and may rue not giving Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett more court time throughout the season.

The same could not be said of Fever shooter Jhaniele Fowler, who is the season’s most prolific scorer after adding another 62 goals to her tally on Saturday.

Fowler also slotted two super shots to complete another dominant performance.

Jo Harten was the Giants’ top scorer with 34 points (24 goals, five super shots).

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NRL improvers Gold Coast Titans defeat Manly as Sea Eagles ace Tom Trbojevic goes down injured



Tom Trbojevic sustained a suspected shoulder injury in his long-awaited NRL return, as Manly went down to Gold Coast in a crushing 42-24 defeat at Brookvale Oval.

Playing his first match since June after being sidelined with a troublesome hamstring injury, Trbojevic was hurt attempting to make a tackle on Titans fullback AJ Brimson.

Brimson crossed for a try, with Trbojevic left with his right arm dangling by his side before he later departed the field.

Manly officials were initially hopeful the injury was only a stinger, but it comes at the worst possible time for Trbojevic.

Including Saturday’s loss, he had just two matches to impress New South Wales coach Brad Fittler before the end-of-season State of Origin series.

Trbojevic looked particularly rusty at the back on Saturday afternoon in both attack and defence, with two of his four errors coming after the shoulder injury.

His presence in attack helped Manly score one try as he drew in two defenders off the ball, while he also helped chase down Titans flyer Treymain Spry Sprei to deny him a 90-metre intercept try.

But on other occasions his injury lay-off showed, such as his failure to shadow a grubber dead that allowed Kevin Proctor to score and his fumbling of a poor Tevita Funa pass in the lead-up to another Titans try.

Regardless, the Sea Eagles were completely outplayed by the Titans, who posted their equal-highest score in their 14-year history.

The Titans have now won four straight matches for the first time since 2014. They are ninth on the ladder after being tipped by a number of commentators to collect the wooden spoon.

Brimson scored two tries, including an 80-metre effort that left referee Matt Noyen with an injured hamstring after Young Tonumaipea found his teammate from a 20-metre tap.

Tonumaipea also claimed a brace, making the most of a 60-metre intercept from Corey Thompson for his second.

Thompson finished the match off with a hamstring injury after earlier scoring a try, while Sam Stone and Spry scored the Titans’ other tries.

The result means Manly will finish the season with just one win from seven matches at its home ground Brookvale Oval.

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