The Wests Tigers pipped the depleted Brisbane Broncos 19-18 on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos, missing experienced stars like Sam Thaiday and Corey Parker – absent at Origin training camp – were first over, with British flyer Greg Eden scoring in the 11th minutes. But Tiger Elijah Taylor swiftly showed that his team were eyeing an unlikely win, scoring in the 19th minute to lock things up. The Tigers crossed again within 10 minutes, sending Tim Simona over to take the lead to 12-8 for half-time.
The Tigers were handed a penalty by the Broncos soon after the restart and goal-kicker Jordan Rankin secured the two points. The fastest man in the NRL, James Roberts, made a typically dashing run to cross for the Broncos, drawing close at 14-12. The Tigers’ Josh Addo-Carr broke the line for his third try of the season and took the score to 18-12 in the 64th. The Tigers made the most of superior possession, finding room and distance for Mitchell Moses to snap a field goal with four minutes remaining. But the Broncos weren’t finished yet, taking the game to a grandstand finish when Lachlan Maranta crossed in the 77th and Kahu converted. Brisbane had one chance of pushing the game into extra time but Ben Hunt pushed his shot at goal wide. Elijah Taylor, with an astounding 48 tackles, deserved his man-of-the-match award.
Dragons back in top eight after downing Cowboys
The St George Illawarra Dragons thrilled their home crowd by defeating the under-strength North Queensland Cowboys 14-10 at WIN Stadium on Saturday night. The Cowboys were missing Johnathan Thurston, James Tamou, Matt Scott and Michael Morgan on Origin duty. The Dragons were missing only their star full-back Josh Dugan.
The dynamic combination of Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop proved to be the difference throughout the match. In the 5th minute fullback Jason Nightingale went over to score in the corner and Widdop produced a lovely kick from the side-line to put the Dragons in front. In the 10th minute of the first half the Cowboys seemed to have their first points as Javid Bowen went over but the bunker ruled it no try because the Cowboys had raked the ball from the Dragons’ grasp. The next try was spectacular, with Marshall throwing a beautiful cut-out pass to Widdop who turned and wrapped it around to the centre Tim Lafai to pass it on for Kurt Mann to score in the corner untouched. In the 37th minute the Cowboys finally opened their score when Kyle Feldt leapt above the pack to pluck a cross-field kick from Coote out of the air to score, taking the premiers into half-time at 10-4.
In his first game back in three years Jahrome Hughes scored in the 47th and and Ethan Lowe converted to level the scores. In the 63rd minute Marshall and Widdop again combined to send Euan Aitken in to score. In a hard-fought game the top tacklers were Mitch Rein (57) and Jake Granville (53).
The Canberra Raiders outclass Bulldogs 32-20
A sad result for the Bulldogs who looked the goods for the first half despite losing Josh Morris in the morning after Josh Dugan ruled himself out of the Origin side because of injury. The Canterbury side started strongly when debutant winger Reimis Smith, standing in for Morris, crossed in the 7th minute. The Dogs kept the momentum going when Aiden Tolman gathered a neat grubber kick from Josh Reynolds to put the ball down for his first try of the season. The Raiders opened their account with a well executed try that went through many hands until Jordan Rapana scored in the corner. Smith went over for his second try in the 27th to give the Dogs a 14-4 lead. Just before half-time, Joseph Leilua broke through the Dogs’ defence to narrow the gap to 14-10 at half-time.
Just four minutes into the second half Moses Mbye cut through flimsy Raiders defence from close range to score under the uprights and put the Dogs ahead 20-10. A big shift in momentum followed when the Raiders added three tries in 10 minutes. Joseph Tapine came off the bench to score a try, followed seven minutes later by Edrick Lee, though the celebrations were dampened when Lee left the field with a suspected hamstring injury. Then Iosia Soliola, playing for the first time since he broke an arm in round two, scored while seemingly carrying half the Dogs’ defence with him. Tapine finished the game off with his second try to take the Raiders to a solid 12-point margin. – Jesse Mullens
Photo shows Joseph Tapine crossing for the Raiders. Photo by Mark Nolan from the Canberra Raiders’ website.