And they deserved every bit of the win. The Eels benefited from having Dylan Brown back at five-eighth, and Reagan Campbell-Gillard is making a good case to be alongside teammate Junior Paulo in the NSW front row.
Brian To’o ran for a lazy 265 meters in his first game back and will be crucial to the Panthers’ chances of toppling the Storm in a top-of-the-table belter headlining Magic Round. How much did coach Ivan Cleary‘s bizarre absence from game day duties, holed up in hospital after knee surgery, have an effect on the panthers? It’s hard to know. They weren’t going to be perfect forever, and the loss might not be such a bad thing.
Sea Eagles 36 bt Tigers 16 at 4 Pines Park
The Trbojevic family and the love between the brothers is a wonderful thing for Manly.
infant ben bagged a double and punched out 80 minutes in the back row, and you could see how much he means to Jake and Tom and the rest of the squad.
Daly Cherry-Evans was excellent, again, as was Kieran Foranwhile Haumole Olakau’atu (illness) and Josh Schuster (calf) are still to return to this side who will push deep into the finals again. Fortress Brookie is becoming that again after 17,385 fans soaked up the Saturday sunshine. The Tigers refused to roll over and had a serious dig, which is a good sign for coach Michael Maguire. They paid the price for all the defense they had to absorb early, not to mention the loss of two players to concussion before half-time. Luke Garner is a back-rower who deserves to finish the season in the centres. For a big man Garner has some excellent pace, which is why Penrith quickly signed him for the next two seasons. Stefano Utoikamanu will also be a big addition for the club as he regains fitness in the coming weeks.
Sydney Roosters 44 bt Gold Coast Titans 16 at BB Print Stadium, Mackay
It’s way too early to suggest the Roosters are baaaaaaack, but they showed some green shoots here. James Tedesco was the standout star, but even more pleasing was Luke Keary other Sam Walker combining for their best game together.
Not that they were up against much. What has happened to the Titans? Justin Holbrook‘s side came within a whisker of topping the Roosters in last year’s final clash, but their decline since has been alarming. They look legless without David Fifita in attack and they conceded the majority of their tries down a porous left-edge defence.
We’re about to learn a lot more about the Roosters. Their upcoming opponents are Parramatta, Penrith, Cronulla, Canberra, Melbourne and then Parramatta and Penrith again. It’s an ugly part of the draw for the Tricolors, but no one builds into a season better than Trent Robinson.
North Queensland Cowboys 36 bt Newcastle Knights 16
Adam O’Brien said he expects as many as eight players to return from injury over the next fortnight for the Knights. You would imagine he will spend that time staring at his watch because the Knights need a major boost if they are to turn around a season that has become the stuff of nightmares.
They weren’t terrible against the Cowboys by any stretch; they even had a 16-12 lead at halftime. But once North Queensland found their groove, it was one-way traffic, while Newcastle obliged with a string of errors and failed to contest simple kicks.
The Cowboys are a great story and deserve some more love in the wider coverage. Chad Townsend is the buy of the season at this point. Away they go.
Melbourne Storm 42 bt St George Illawarra Dragons 6 at AAMI Park
This was a training run for the Storm as they tune up for the Magic Round blockbuster against Penrith. Unfortunately, they won’t have some of their most influential stars at their disposal after Ryan Papenhuyzen other Reimis Smith succumbed to injuries.
We’re about to discover just how deep their roster runs. This result showed just how wide the gulf between the top and middling sides is. The Red V are going to be one of half-a-dozen sides in a logjam for one of the final play-off spots, but even if they get there – on current form – they will be making up the numbers.
Their Magic Round task is the Titans, an opponent more on their level. It’s a long way back for the loser of this one.
Sharks 29 bt Warriors 10, PointsBet Stadium
When a man gets sent off with more than an hour to play, it always ruins the contest. Why don’t they think of the warriors?
Yep, a team with 13 men lost to another who played 12 for 63 minutes – and only 11 for 10 of those. You wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but the Sharks not only beat Nathan Brown‘s side, they pulverized them.
There will be nervous waits for Will Kennedywho was marched for a high shot on Reece Walshand Jesse Ramiensin-binned for clocking Euan Aitken high. But this performance was as much about coach Craig Fitzgibbon, who knew he had to release the shackles when his side was down to 12 to keep the warriors moving. Their superior speed and fitness told. Siosifa Talakai Edged closer to a State of Origin jumper posting huge numbers (184 meters from 19 runs), while Cameron McInnes played his best game in his new sharks colours. How the warriors were 4-4 going into the game is a mystery.
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