The Newsroom recaps round 19 of the National Rugby League.
The Manly Sea Eagles’ finals charge continues after a gritty 15-14 win in extra time over the NZ Warriors in wet conditions in Perth.
Manly started strongly with two tries in the opening 15 minutes. Fullback Tom Trbojevic beat Blake Ayshford and David Fusitua on the Warriors’ right side to score in the fourth minute, before showing quick hands with Matthew Wright in the back-line to put Jorge Taufua over in the corner.
The Warriors hit back with a rapid fire double. Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson twice found space in the Manly defence for Bunty Afoa who crossed to take the lead in the 30th minute. A late transgression by Solomone Kata gave Manly a penalty conversion to go into the sheds up 14-12.
The Warriors dominated the opening minutes of the second half but both sides struggled in the rain, with completion rates suffering. Issac Luke kicked a penalty goal for the only scoring play in the second half. The game went into extra time and in the 84th minute, off a Jake Trbojevic chargedown, Daly Cherry-Evans slotted a field goal to break the Warriors’ hearts.
Brisbane back on track
The Broncos demolished the South Sydney Rabbitohs 30-10 at ANZ Stadium.
Souths were missing Greg Inglis (suspension) and Adam Reynolds (injury) and their attack really suffered as a result. The Broncos crossed early when Lachlan Maranta collected a pass from Darius Boyd to score, before Souths hit back through a Luke Keary try after an error from Sam Thaiday.
Souths wouldn’t see the tryline again until the 68th minute as the Broncos started to find form after two lacklustre rounds. Tries from Ben Hunt and Corey Oates put pressure on the Rabbits, who clocked 18 errors for the match – an uninspiring performance. In the 55th minute, James Roberts ducked and weaved through the tired Souths defence to score. Oates added another try to his tally with a 90-metre effort off an intercept minutes later.
With the loss, Souths are staring down the barrel of not making the finals for the first time since 2012 having lost six consecutive games.
Storm survive gutsy Knights
The Melbourne Storm beat the Newcastle Knights 20-16 at Hunter Stadium.
Marika Koroibete took an intercept in the 11th minute to open the scoring before the Knights took the lead with a Jake Mamo try after the bunker failed to find obstruction. Rookie try-scoring sensation Suliasi Vunivalu beat two defenders to score his 17th try of the season and put Melbourne in front 8-6 at the break.
Koroibete carried three defenders into the corner to score his second in the 52nd minute. The Knights didn’t go down without a fight: a Brendan Elliot try brought the local crowd to its feet. Smith worked a try for Tohu Harris to stretch the Storm lead to 10 points, before Mullen put up a bomb for Mamo who flew above the pack to gather and score three minutes from the end. The Storm defended its narrow lead to deliver yet another loss to the last-placed Knights.
Marika Koroibete was outstanding for the Storm showing immense strength and speed. The erratic Jake Mamo was the stand-out for the Knights and made his case to remain in first grade. Jarrod Mullen, on his return for the Knights gave the team direction and really improved their attack with his kicking game. In the end, the class of Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk proved too much for the Knights. – Jesse Mullens
Gold Coast Titans 32-12 St George Illawarra Dragons
Penrith Panthers 22-18 Parramatta Eels
Cronulla Sharks 32-20 Sydney Roosters
Photo of the Manly Sea Eagles celebrating with Daly Cherry-Evans from the Sea Eagles’ Facebook page.