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Keith Titmuss’s family pay tribute following death of rising Manly Sea Eagles NRL star


Keith Titmuss’s older brother says the Manly Sea Eagles rugby league player died “doing what he loved”.

Titmuss died on Monday after falling ill following a Sea Eagles training session held in Narrabeen on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

He was transported by ambulance to nearby Northern Beaches Hospital, before being transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital, where he died a short time later.

A Sea Eagles spokesperson said the club was unable to comment further on the circumstances surrounding Titmuss’s death, but said more details would be known later in the week.

Jesse Titmuss paid tribute to his younger brother on Facebook this morning, saying the 20-year-old was fulfilling his dreams as a professional rugby league player.

“My rock, my best friend, you were always by [my] side through thick and thin. I miss you so much lil bro,” Jesse Titmuss wrote.

“Keith passed on doing what he loved, living out his dream and there is no doubt about that.

“The hardest working individual I knew, with a mindset like no other. That never give up mentality took him to where he was. I was so proud to call Keith my lil bro and if anyone knows me, Keith was all I would talk about.

“Keith, a man of very few words was loved by many and had so many close friends who were all by his side. His friends and family were the most important and influential people in his life and every bit of advice he was given he would take it all in.

Jesse Titmuss described the emotional pain the family was going through following his brother’s death.

“We love you Keithy! You are so heavy on my heart right now and I will forever carry you by my side,” he wrote.

“I will take care of Mum, Dad and Zara for you bro, we are all hurting so much.

“Take care lil bro and rest easy.”

Keith Titmuss, a prop forward, was regarded as a rising star at the Sea Eagles, with the club saying he was a “very promising” prospect.

He was tipped to make his NRL debut in the 2021 season after being included in the Sea Eagles’ full-time 30-player squad.

Jesse Titmuss said his brother was “looking forward to what would have been his breakthrough season”.

“We were just talking about it a couple of days ago about how well prepared he was physically and mentally for pre season,” he wrote.

“All of us as a family were optimistic that Keith was to make his NRL debut in 2021. Keith’s memories and legacy will live on forever.”

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Titmuss was a Sea Eagles junior and scored the match-winning try in the club’s under-20s grand final victory in 2017 as a 17-year-old.

“His ‘Swan Dive’ Grand Final game-winning try was a highlight that brings a bright smile and laugh to everyone!” Jesse Titmuss wrote.

Titmuss fondly remembered

The Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) passed on its condolences to the Titmuss family and their friends.

“On behalf of the RLPA and the entire playing group, we pass on our sincerest condolences to Keith’s family and friends,” RLPA chief executive Clint Newton said in a statement.

“Our team will work with the NRL and Manly Warringah Club to ensure the appropriate support and counselling is available to Keith’s family, the playing group and their respective families.”

A Manly Sea Eagles under 20 players celebrates scoring a try in 2017.
Titmuss (right) was regarded as an emerging star at the Sea Eagles.(Twitter: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)

The Titmuss brothers attended Westfields Sports High School in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield West.

Keith Titmuss finished his HSC just two years ago and was part of the selective schools’ rugby league program.

Westfields Sports High paid tribute to its former student, saying “he epitomised all that a student of Westfields Sports should strive for”.

“A finer young man has never walked the grounds of this school,” a school statement read.

“He will hold a place in the heart of all who knew him and will be greatly missed.”

Titmuss also played for the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the NSWRL.

The club expressed its sympathy to the Titmuss family.

“The Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles is saddened to hear about the passing of player Keith Titmuss,” the club wrote in its Facebook page.

“Our deepest condolences go to his family and friends.”



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Manly Sea Eagles player Keith Titmuss dies aged 20



Manly Sea Eagles player Keith Titmuss has died, with the club saying he fell ill following a training session in Narrabeen on Monday.

The Sea Eagles released a statement on Monday evening saying Titmuss was transported by ambulance to nearby Northern Beaches Hospital, before being transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital.

The 20-year-old died a short time later.

Titmuss was a member of Manly’s full-time NRL squad.

“We are all devastated by this news,” Sea Eagles NRL coach Des Hasler said in a statement.

“Keith was a very popular character amongst the playing group. He will be sorely missed but never forgotten by the Sea Eagles.”

Sea Eagles chief executive Stephen Humphreys said the club had offered support to Titmuss’s family and friends.

He said the club had also reached out to his teammates.

“We are working with the NRL’s wellbeing team to offer support and counselling to our playing group and staff,” he said.

NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said the league was greatly saddened by Titmuss’s death.

“This is a tragic day for rugby league,” he said.

“The game has lost a promising young player with the world at his feet. Keith had made it into Manly’s Top 30 for the 2021 season after coming through the club’s junior ranks.

The Sea Eagles described Titmuss as a “very promising forward”.

Titmuss was a Sea Eagles junior and scored the match-winning try in the club’s under-20s grand final victory in 2017.

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Sea Eagles forward Martin Taupau was among those to pay tribute to his teammate on Twitter.

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Clownfish dubbed ‘Emo Nemos’ welcomed to Sea Life


While these cute baby clownfish look similar to what we saw in Disney’s animated Finding Nemo, these special creatures are a little different.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium welcomed these 50 baby black and white Ocellaris Clownfish last week and because of their special morph, being black instead of orange, they are affectionately known as ‘Emo Nemos’ at the aquarium.

What also makes these creatures so cool — aside from their unique colour — is that they can naturally change sex from male to female. But once they change, they can’t go back.

Sea Life’s displays curator Laura Simmons said these specific clownfish are only found on reefs in the Northern Territory.

“They’re true Aussies and … that habitat is quite unique because reefs there are a bit different,” she said.

“What also makes them special is that they are some of the first F1 generation — which means their parents are from the wild — but they were successfully aquacultured.”

Ms Simmons said while the fish did not go into their new home right away, they have now adapted to their new anemone, which are the marine animals with wavy tentacles that resemble underwater flowers.

“It’s natural for an animal to be cautious,” she said.

“They were swimming around the aquarium in a group, but didn’t go into the anemone and it took about a week for their wild instincts to kick in. It was their first anemone ever.”

You can see the baby Nemos — which are currently 5cm long and will grow to 11cm — at the Darling Harbour aquarium’s Jurassic Seas exhibit.



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200 dead animals towed out to sea for disposal


About 200 dead whales are on their way out to sea as authorities ramp up efforts to dispose of carcasses after the nation’s worst mass stranding in history.

As of 1pm on Sunday, about 200 of an estimated 350 dead pilot whales were being taken out into the Indian Ocean through the Macquarie Heads, near Strahan on Tasmania’s west coast.

Authorities are planning to disperse the whale carcasses over a large area of up to 10 nautical miles based on CSIRO modelling of currents and tides.

Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) confirmed 110 long-finned pilot whales had been saved and released back into the wild outside Macquarie Harbour.

It is believed there are no live whales remaining in the harbour.

Marine Conservation Program wildlife biologist Dr Kris Carlyon hailed the outcome as a fantastic result and a testament of the rescue team’s hard work over the past week.

Incident controller and Parks and Wildlife Service manager Rob Buck said 15 whales had already been buried at sea during a trial on Friday.

That’s left a further 120 to 130 whales still to be disposed of over the next few days.

Mr Buck told NCA NewsWire on Sunday the dead whales were being towed about five to 10 nautical miles offshore behind larger vessels that can handle Tasmania’s rough west coast weather.

He said rescuers would then cut a knot with a knife that released the whales every 200 to 300m apart.

“Collection and disposal is being undertaken with the assistance of aquaculture companies whose equipment and expertise on the harbour is essential for a timely and effective outcome,” he said.

Mr Buck said the disposal site had been chosen as CSIRO modelling had shown it would result in the greatest dispersal of the carcasses and spread them out across an area of about 60 nautical miles.

Authorities have also made a 1cm incision in the soft tissue of the dead whales stomach which they hope will cause them to burst, sink and decompose quicker.

Mr Buck said he couldn’t praise the rescue team and volunteers enough after working tirelessly in cold water all week and dealing with a highly emotive situation to try and free the stranded whales.

“The fantastic and hardworking the members of the Strahan and aquaculture communities have been phenomenal, without them we would be a lot further behind,” he said.

“Thank you to everyone involved for their efforts in such a complex rescue.

“There has been a tremendous team effort and this combined commitment has allowed us to get as many whales as we can back out to sea.”

Authorities said the disposal of the carcasses could take a number of days as some were isolated within Macquarie Harbour and was dependant on wind, tide and weather conditions.

Mr Buck said they also had approval to dispose of up to 50 whales in landfill if weather conditions prevented crews from taking them out to sea.

DPIPWE said it was possible whales could be found in other areas around Macquarie Harbour in coming days, with people urged to report any sightings to the Whale Hotline on 0427 WHALES.

jack.paynter@news.com.au



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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.

AAP/ABC



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Panthers beat Parramatta 20-2 to clinch NRL home final, Bulldogs lose to Manly Sea Eagles


Penrith is guaranteed a home qualifying final for the first time in a decade after taking its winning streak to 13 matches with a 20-2 victory over Parramatta at Panthers Stadium.

Jarome Luai again starred at five-eighth with a try and an assist to help the Panthers dispatch the only team to have beaten them this year.

In truth, had it not been for Parramatta’s grit and a lack of finishing from Penrith, the Panthers could have won by a more significant margin.

They had 57 tackles on Parramatta’s line to the Eels’ six at the other end, and blew at least five try-scoring opportunities in the first half before scoring their first on the break.

The result was soured with Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau and bench forward Spencer Leniu both suffering concussions and neither returning.

But regardless, it wraps up a top-two finish and a game at Panthers Stadium in week one of the finals, with their following finals match also certain to be in Sydney.

The minor premiership also now looks a mere formality, with a win over either the struggling North Queensland or Canterbury in the final two rounds enough to wrap up top spot.

Realistically though, the match against the Eels was as much as they were likely to be pushed before the finals and they still controlled it in its entirety.

Their back three of Dylan Edwards, Josh Mansour and Brian To’o totalled almost 700 run metres combined to set up their field position, while James Fisher-Harris played 78 minutes straight up front.

They had a ridiculous 72 per cent of the ball in early stages and should have scored at least five tries in the opening 35 minutes of the match.

Mansour was denied one when Stephen Crichton was controversially ruled to have knocked the ball on, while the centre put another into touch with Mansour unmarked.

Luai was held up once when he put the ball down on Blake Ferguson’s leg, while To’o went within a fingernail of scoring himself.

Moses Leota was one of several players to drop the ball on the line.

But somehow the Eels were the first to score via a penalty goal.

Finally though, the pressure told when Mansour crossed on the half-time siren from a Luai cut-out ball on the siren.

Liam Martin then put the game in the bag when he leapt high to mark a Nathan Cleary kick and get it down in the 56th minute, before Luai crossed at full-time.

The result means the Eels could finish the round fourth, and there is every chance they will meet the Panthers again in week one of the finals.

Bulldogs stuck at bottom of ladder

Canterbury, winless since July, has surrendered a 10-point advantage in a 32-20 loss to Manly on Friday night to remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder with two rounds remaining.

Up against heavyweights South Sydney and Penrith in the closing two rounds, the Bulldogs’ seventh straight defeat leaves Steve Georgallis’s battlers with forlorn hopes of hauling themselves out of the cellar.

Including 2002, when stripped of 37 competition points for salary cap breaches, it looms as only the third wooden spoon for the once-proud and mighty Canterbury club in 56 years.

A Manly Sea Eagles NRL player puts the ball down on the ground with his right hand as he scores a try next to the goal posts.
Taniela Paseka scored Manly’s opening try in their drought-breaking win over the Bulldogs.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

And the Bulldogs have only themselves to blame.

Facing a Manly outfit riding their own six-match losing streak, Canterbury led 10-0 on the half-hour mark courtesy of an early Matt Doorey try, Nick Meaney’s conversion and two penalty goals.

But the match soon turned in Manly’s favour, with interchange forward Taniela Paseka, Curtis Sironen, Brad Parker and Jack Gosiewski all scoring tries.

The four-try blitz in 13 minutes either side of half-time had Manly suddenly leading 22-10.

Halfback Lachie Lewis briefly raised hopes of a Bulldogs fightback with a try against the run of play in the 50th minute.

But tries Morgan Harper and Marty Taupau snuffed out the comeback to propel Manly into 10th spot on the ladder, four points adrift of eighth-placed Cronulla.

The Sea Eagles have the faintest of chances of playing finals football, as they need to win their remaining two matches against Gold Coast and the Warriors, and hope the Sharks record heavy defeats in their next three fixtures.

AAP/ABC



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Bulldogs lose to Manly Sea Eagles 32-20 to stay bottom of NRL ladder



Canterbury, winless since July, has surrendered a 10-point advantage in a 32-20 loss to Manly on Friday night to remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder with two rounds remaining.

Up against heavyweights South Sydney and Penrith in the closing two rounds, the Bulldogs’ seventh straight defeat leaves Steve Georgallis’s battlers with forlorn hopes of hauling themselves out of the cellar.

Including 2002, when stripped of 37 competition points for salary cap breaches, it looms as only the third wooden spoon for the once-proud and mighty Canterbury club in 56 years.

And the Bulldogs have only themselves to blame.

Facing a Manly outfit riding their own six-match losing streak, Canterbury led 10-0 on the half-hour mark courtesy of an early Matt Doorey try, Nick Meaney’s conversion and two penalty goals.

But the match soon turned in Manly’s favour, with interchange forward Taniela Paseka, Curtis Sironen, Brad Parker and Jack Gosiewski all scoring tries.

The four-try blitz in 13 minutes either side of half-time had Manly suddenly leading 22-10.

Halfback Lachie Lewis briefly raised hopes of a Bulldogs fightback with a try against the run of play in the 50th minute.

But tries Morgan Harper and Marty Taupau snuffed out the comeback to propel Manly into 10th spot on the ladder, four points adrift of eighth-placed Cronulla.

The Sea Eagles have the faintest of chances of playing finals football, as they need to win their remaining two matches against Gold Coast and the Warriors, and hope the Sharks record heavy defeats in their next three fixtures.

AAP/ABC



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Country Fire Authority hopes sea- and tree-changers will bolster volunteer base


In 2010 the CFA had 36,736 operational volunteers, compared to 34,380 in 2018-19, with many having served for decades.

Mr Cook said substantial new operational procedures had been introduced to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with firefighters expected to wear masks extensively – not just on the fireground – and sharply reduce social interaction.

Acting CFA Chief Officer Garry Cook.

Acting CFA Chief Officer Garry Cook.

“What we’re now talking about is those masks being potentially worn from the minute they get in and arrive at the station to go to an emergency to the minute they get home and disinfect and clean up,” Mr Cook said.

Some training drills that require firefighters to work in close proximity have been scrapped. And Mr Cook said post-fire procedures would be adapted.

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“When the fire’s out then there’s usually a catering trailer that turns up. People gather around. There’ll be a cup of tea and a sandwich and people talk about what just happened and how they went,” he said. “We just won’t be able to do some of those things in the same manner that we would have.”

This will be the first summer under the fire service’s new structure, with the CFA and its volunteers separated from Fire Rescue Victoria, which employs paid firefighters in urban areas.

A succession of CFA leaders quit their posts as the state government rammed through a shake-up, and the CFA board was sacked in 2016 amid the fallout.

Mr Cook said he was confident the service had retained operational experience despite the chaos and controversy surrounding the restructure.

He insisted volunteers remained energetic despite a gruelling and long fire season last summer.
A wet spring is forecast for Victoria this year, which is a welcome relief to communities where bushfires started burning in September.

Despite the late start anticipated for the fire season, Mr Cook said major bushfires could still break out after successive days of hot weather and fire seasons were becoming more volatile due to climate change.

Peter Sandy’s family has grazed cattle at Swifts Creek in Gippsland for four generations and he has served as a volunteer firefighter for four decades.

In that time he has seen the fires change along with the climate.

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Not long ago the pastures were dormant all winter, but now the grass grows all year around.

As the alps have grown warmer and dryer, the megafires that were once a rarity seem to menace the local community with a terrifying belligerence and insistence.

The coming of spring, once welcomed, now carries anxiety over what fires the season may bring.

“Everyone feels it. We had the 2003 fires up here but before that the last really bad ones were Black Friday in ‘39. Since 2003, we had 2008, 2009 and last summer. It just goes on.”

Mr Sandy, 67, still works as an incident controller, but would not mind stepping back. However, he does not think there is much chance of that.

It is not just that the fire seasons are worse, but over years of drought and low commodity prices many of the region’s youth and young families have moved away, leaving volunteer posts to be filled by veterans.

Mr Sandy remembers the afternoon of December 30 last year, when a vast column of smoke, cinder and flame built up over a fire complex just south of Swifts Creek, it was unlike anything he’d ever seen before. “They told me it was 16 kilometers high.”

Swifts Creek “dodged a bullet”, but Mr Sandy noted that just means there is more left to burn.

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Manly Sea Eagles score 24-12 NRL victory over North Queensland Cowboys



North Queensland has started life without former coach Paul Green on a losing note, as Manly moved into the top eight with a 24-12 win over the Cowboys in Townsville.

Green, who coached the Cowboys to their only NRL premiership in 2015, departed the club last Monday after a disappointing start to the season and the home side showed plenty of heart under his interim replacement Josh Hannay.

But they could not do enough to secure their fourth win of the season, with Addin Fonua-Blake making his mark for Manly in his first appearance since he was suspended for two matches and fined $20,000 by the NRL for abusing a referee earlier this month.

Fonua-Blake topped 200 run metres, while Martin Taupau was also dominant up front for Manly, who rose to seventh on the ladder via the win.

Barred from playing in Queensland a week ago due to their vaccination policy, Fonua-Blake only met the State Government’s requirements this week.

He finished the match with four tackle busts, with 93 of his metres coming post-contact and all but six of the Sea Eagles’ points coming while he was on the field.

Cade Cust was also superb for Manly at five-eighth.

He put Manly on the front foot early with a forced drop-out, before Daly Cherry-Evans backed it up with another and put Curtis Sironen over from the ensuing set.

And after both teams traded tries to make it 12-6 at half-time, Cust pulled off the two decisive plays of the second half.

His first came in the 59th minute when he broke downfield and put Cherry-Evans over, despite a desperate effort from winger Kyle Feldt to hold him up between the posts.

Cust sealed the match eight minutes later when he dummied through the line from 10 metres out to cross.

The win did come at a cost for Manly, though, with Joel Thompson leaving the field early with an ankle injury.

AAP/ABC



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Sea Eagles down the Eels 22-18, Dragons beat Bulldogs 28-22, Knights beat Rabbitohs 20-18


Daly Cherry-Evans has rebounded from last week’s horror show, helping Manly to shock Parramatta 22-18 at Brookvale for their first NRL win this year without Tom Trbojevic.

Recovering from one of the hardest games of his career last round against St George Illawarra, Cherry-Evans starred on Saturday night as Manly outplayed the Eels.

The half-back set up a try and scored one in a big first half for the Sea Eagles, who led 22-4 at the break before fading late.

Martin Taupau was also massive for Manly in his 100th game for the club, crossing for their first try and finishing with 137 metres.

After cruising to a 22-4 halftime lead, the Sea Eagles had to endure a nervous final seven minutes as they controlled just 41 per cent of the ball in the second half.

Parramatta had the margin back to eight points with seven minutes to play, and then four with seven seconds left when George Jennings crossed.

But when the Eels failed to take the final-minute kickoff, it gave Manly a crucial win after losing their past three without Trbojevic and Dylan Walker.

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It means the Eels will relinquish top spot on the ladder for the first time since before the coronavirus shutdown if Penrith beat North Queensland on Sunday.

They desperately missed Mitchell Moses in attack as he planned his return from a calf injury, while Blake Ferguson and Ryan Matterson were also sidelined.

It looked like Manly’s night from the opening minute, when Jennings dropped the ball on the Eels’ opening play-the-ball.

It allowed Taupau to barge over from the ensuing set, before Cherry-Evans cut Parramatta’s line open in the 15th minute to cross untouched.

The Eagles’ captain sliced through Shaun Lane and Dylan Brown on Parramatta’s left, as he also finished with a game-high seven tackle busts.

Lane was found wanting in defence against his former club moments later, when Danny Levi went over from dummy-half from the next set.

And after the Eels hit back to make it 16-4, Cherry-Evans provided a killer blow on the halftime siren when he grubbered for a chasing Joel Thompson.

Parramatta failed to make the most of their chances early in the second half.

Waqa Blake briefly put them in the match with 25 minutes to play when he emerged with the ball from a tackle on Taupau and ran 90 metres to score.

Manly desperately appealed for it to be ruled a two-on-one strip, however the bunker deemed he had attempted to offload the ball before it came loose.

Michael Jennings claimed two tries, his second with eight minutes to play giving the Eels late hope before Manly finally held on.

The win came at some cost, though, with Moses Suli battling a sternum injury, while Parramatta also lost Nathan Brown to a corked hip.

Dragons leave it late to beat Bulldogs

A 79th-minute clanger by Marcelo Montoya has gifted St George Illawarra a dramatic 28-22 comeback NRL win over Canterbury in Wollongong.

An NRL player carries the ball, sprinting away from a defender, as his teammates cheer behind him.
Corey Norman took advantage of an error by the Bulldogs to run in the winning try with less than two minutes left.(AAP: Dean Lewins)

Scores were locked with just minutes remaining on Saturday afternoon when Dragons five-eighth Corey Norman sprayed a field-goal attempt wide.

His miss resulted in the Bulldogs, just days after the sacking of coach Dean Pay, attempting to spread the ball wide, only for Montoya to drop a routine catch.

Norman picked up the loose ball and raced 35 metres for the game-winner.

It was a disastrous end to a game Canterbury had seemingly sewn up when they led by 12 points with 24 minutes to go under interim coach Steve Georgallis.

Compounding the defeat is a suspected foot injury to luckless playmaker Kieran Foran, who failed to return to the field after half-time.

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The victory lifts the Dragons to within two points of the top eight, while the Bulldogs remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Canterbury’s sorry week looked set for more pain when Zac Lomax soared spectacularly to take a Norman bomb in the opening minute.

His gravity-defying leaped resulted in the opening try for Matt Dufty, who put Euan Aitken over soon after to double their advantage.

But a Jeremy Marshall-King reply from close range against the run of play was the first of three unanswered tries before half-time.

Nick Meaney and Raymond Faitala-Mariner crossed within four minutes, while Meaney added a penalty goal just before the break.

The extra two points came after Tariq Sims was put on report for dangerous contact on Foran late in the first half.

Foran passed the concussion test, but was on the bench for the entire second half.

Both sides struggled to gain the ascendancy in the second term, but the Bulldogs looked home when Meaney potted over a second penalty goal in the 56th minute.

However Dragons tries to Jason Saab and Dufty, who finished off a 70-metre movement, within seven minutes ensured a grandstand finish.

Rabbitohs fall short against Knights

South Sydney almost stole an unlikely win on Saturday night with three tries in eight minutes forcing Newcastle to scrap for a 20-18 win at Western Sydney Stadium.

An NRL player dives over to score a try as his teammate grins in the background.
Kalyn Ponga scored the third of Newcastle’s four tries in their win over South Sydney.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

The Knights held a 20-0 lead until midway through the second half when the Rabbitohs finally came to life.

Looking down and out, nothing was going right for the Rabbitohs until a try to Mark Nicholls swung the momentum in their favour in the 65th minute.

Two quick tries to Damien Cook got the Rabbitohs within two points to ignite the final seven minutes of the match, which went down to the dying seconds.

When Knights half-back Mitchell Pearce kicked for touch on their final set, time ticked down preventing Souths from packing the scrum to have one final shot at victory.

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The victory followed a week of criticism for the Knights over their stale attack in recent weeks, but shone a light on their defensive frailty in the face of momentum.

Days earlier Kalyn Ponga was criticised by Newcastle legend Andrew Johns for not evolving his game, but he helped steer the Knights to the win at both ends of the field.

The 22-year-old ran for 139 metres, scored a first-half try and reignited a lethal combination with rising star Bradman Best on the left edge to propel the Knights back into the top-four.

His safe defence at the back also derailed Souths with the match on the line, but missed conversions remain a problem.

Newcastle’s four tries was the most they have scored for a win since their 27-6 win over Brisbane in round six, and comes after the team spent the week focused on improving their attack.

The Knights started strong, but Souths did not run out of steam to mount the comeback.

Best was a man possessed on the left edge causing confusion in the defensive line to set up winger Enari Tuala for the first try of the match with a brilliant flick pass 11 minutes in.

Three minutes later Best was on the prowl again, splitting the defence down the middle before Pearce put Kurt Mann over on the same edge to give the Knights a 10-0 buffer.

A whopping 16 errors eventually undermined Souths, who now sit eighth on the ladder but in danger of slipping further by the end of the round.

The defensive brain fade from Newcastle looms as an ominous sign for Adam O’Brien’s team, who have prided themselves on their defence this season.

AAP



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