It's Round 5 of the Canterbury Cup with Mounties on top of the ladder trying to keep their undefeated streak alive. The Rabbitohs travel to New Zealand after suffering their first loss last week, while the Newtown Jets are trying to get their first win of the year.
Match: Warriors v Rabbitohs
Round 5 -
Venue: North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
HIGHLIGHTS | Warriors v South Sydney - Round 5
By Jamie Wall
The Rabbitohs have fed off a feast of Warriors mistakes to record a hard-fought 18-14 win in Auckland this afternoon.
The teams took the field in bright sunshine, a marked contrast to last weekend in Auckland when the home side overcame the wet conditions to record their first win of the season. The Warriors had also switched to their alternate home ground of QBE Stadium on the North Shore.
The change of scenery didn’t deter the Warriors to start with, with late replacement Karl Lawton forcing a Rabbitohs’ goal line drop out off their first set. The resulting opportunity almost saw Lewis Soosemea score in the corner, but some desperate Rabbitohs defence forced him out before he could ground the ball.
What should have the Rabbitohs’ first real chance turned into a 50 metre break upfield by the Warriors after a pass was dropped with the goal line begging.
They were left to rue that mistake a couple of minutes later, after a strong carry from Warriors prop Chris Satae opened up some room on the blindside for Taane Milne to throw a slightly forward looking pass to Adam Pompey. The tall centre then weaved his way 20 metres to score next to the posts and give the Warriors the early lead.
They could have made that larger, however it seemed as though panic set in to the Warriors’ attack over the next quarter of the game. Passes were forced and chances bombed, most notably when Lawton almost set Api Pewhairangi in under the posts. He was hauled down short, and then in the follow up Patrick Herbert knocked the ball on close to the line.
It took the Rabbitohs till 25 minutes in to threaten again, with a good grubber kick by Keaon Kolomatangi forcing a goal line drop out. It went sailing out on the full, and from the resulting penalty it only took one play for Mawene Hiroti to collect a wide pass and dot down in the left hand corner. He banged over the kick from out wide to level the scores.
The Warriors was when Clayton Williams went close off an Adam Keighran kick, the Warriors finding a bit of fluidity but ultimately Williams couldn’t reach out and score. Coach Nathan Cayless would’ve been annoyed at that, but then absolutely furious at what transpired a few minutes later. Pompey should’ve been in for his second for the Warriors with five minutes to go after some great lead up play on the left edge, but a poor finish saw him bundled out in goal as well.
It was made worse when Trent Peoples scored for the Rabbitohs after a bad mistake comedy of errors. Pompey ran a lost ball close to his line upfield and linked up with Milne, who tried to get his hands free and only succeeded in dropping the ball for Kolomatangi to pick up and take back the other way. He sent Trent Peoples away for one of the easiest tries of his life, which gave the Rabbitohs a slightly undeserved 12-6 lead at the break.
Another chance for the home side was blown eight minutes into the second spell, after Sean Mullany was held up over the line. Not long after a forward pass under no pressure at all handed the Rabbitohs a scrum 40 metres out. What should have been an innocuous hit up turned into a try for Jack Johns, after he burst through a couple of pathetic tackle attempts by Blake Ayshford and Pewhairangi.
By now the Rabbitohs were seemingly well and truly in control, although the Warriors suddenly got things working in the last quarter of the match. Leivaha Pulu was unlucky to have been adjudged to have committed a double movement, but one set later and Keighran sent Hayze Perham through a yawning gap to score wide out on the right hand side to make the score 18-10.
The last 10 minutes should have seen the Rabbitohs grind the game out, and they looked to have done so after forcing a goal line drop out with four to play. However, a freakish bounce saw the ball drop into Pompey’s arms for the centre to streak 60 metres to score in the corner for his second.
Ultimately, it was too little, too late. The Rabbitohs managed to hold out the last couple of minutes to record a valuable away win.
The physicality of the defence was shown in injury stakes - the first half yielded four head injury assessments alone. One of them was the result of the Rabbitohs’ Kurt Dillon, who was placed on report for a high shot just before halftime.
Match: Knights v Sea Eagles
Round 5 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
HIGHLIGHTS | Newcastle v Blacktown - Round 5
By Robert Crosby
The Newcastle Knights have ended a three-match losing streak in the Canterbury Cup NSW, downing the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 16-14 in an entertaining affair at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Holding off a Sea Eagles attacking raid on the final play of the game, the Knights were held scoreless in the second 40 minutes after causing plenty of damage in the opening half.
Coming off their first win of the season last Saturday, the Sea Eagles started in fine form scoring within 90 seconds through Abbas Miski in the left hand corner.
Hitting back moments later courtesy of a strong Tautau Moga run, the Knights proceeded to launch a point-scoring blitz with Heath Gibbs and a brilliant effort from Beau Fermor giving the home side a 12-4 lead inside 20 minutes.
Posting a fourth try ten minutes later after Moga sent Kiah Cooper over for his fourth try in two matches, poor goal kicking from Zac Woolford and Fermor limited the Knights to a 16-4 lead.
Gaining a much-needed strike of fortune after Newcastle second-rower Brodie Jones was unable to gather in a rolling grubber before the dead ball line, Blacktown struck back just before the break with Miski bagging his second of the day.
Taking a 16-8 lead into the change of ends after Sea Eagles halfback Zach Docker-Clay missed a penalty goal on halftime, the Knights appeared in control to break a three-match losing run.
With both sides unable to capitalise upon strong runs from Fermor and Jade Anderson early in the second half, a key moment occurred in the 58th minute when Miski was sent to the sin bin for holding down following an 80 metre break from Newcastle fullback Jacob Gagai.
Defying the one-man disadvantage, Blacktown second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu produced a terrific catch to score his first try of the season, reducing the score to 16-14 with 15 minutes remaining.
Going close to pulling off a late escape with Sam Smith and Alfred Smalley in the final ten minutes, the Sea Eagles almost came away with two points on the final play of the game, only for Cooper to knock a cross field kick dead, allowing the Knights to hold on for a two-point win.
Next week, the Knights travel to North Sydney Oval on Good Friday to take on the Bears, while the Sea Eagles face the Dragons at WIN Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Match: Jets v Bears
Round 5 -
Venue: Henson Park, Sydney
HIGHLIGHTS | Newtown v North Sydney - Round 5
By Kristy Harris
Happiness at Henson as the Newtown Jets win an absolute thriller against the North Sydney Bears, their first win of the season.
Loud cheers of '8972' onlookers roared through Henson Park on Saturday afternoon when the Jets resisted a Bears comeback after leading 24-0 despite the absence of key players Bronson Xerri, Kyle Flanagan and Anthony Moraitis.
Isaac Lumelume caused havoc for the Bears as he scored twice before the game was even a quarter old after some strategic play from the Jets through the middle third.
Luke Polselli was another star for the home side, scoring two tries of his own with one coming off the back of some 'razzle dazzle' to keep the ball alive.
Both kickers for the sides had a 100% conversion rate on the day unlike the Knights v Blacktown game earlier in the day where seven conversions were waved away from eight attempts.
North Sydney made a raring comeback in the second half after finishing the first half only 12 points behind thanks to tries by Brock Lamb and Bernard Lewis; a better position than they were when they were down 24-0.
Bernard Lewis proved unstoppable towards the back-end of the game when he broke the line twice and scored a crucial try for the Bears to lock the scores up at 30-all and set up an epic finish.
A penalty enforced with nine minutes on the clock gave the lead back to the Jets and they managed to hold on to win what was an epic first leg of the Frank Hyde Shield.
Match: Magpies v Panthers
Round 5 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
HIGHLIGHTS | Western Suburbs v Penrith
HIGHLIGHTS | Western Suburbs v Penrith
The Western Suburbs Magpies have bounced back from their heavy loss last week in fitting style with a commanding 32-12 victory over the Penrith Panthers at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
The Magpies were boosted by the late inclusions of NRL stars Elijah Taylor and David Nofoaluma into the starting line-up while the addition of Paul Momirovski at left-centre also bolstered their attacking prowess.
The last-minute reshuffle paid dividends as Wests orchestrated an attacking masterclass on either side of half-time – lead by the ever-green Kauri Aupouri-Puketapu who put aside an early blunder to cross for two vital tries in the second-half.
It was the first time the Panthers had recorded back-to-back losses since their four consecutive defeats between Rounds 5-8 of the 2017 season.
While Aupouri-Puketapu impressed in his two-try performance it was also the experience of Taylor that proved significant with his tireless efforts in defence resonating with his team-mates.
Taylor credited a rather simple game plan as the key to the strong attacking performance but acknowledged the effort on the other side of the ball was just as influential.
"It was a credit to our game plan because it was pretty simple - we just wanted to hold the ball, complete our sets...and Penrith gave us alot of opportunities in their (own) half," Taylor told NSWRL.com.au.
"(Defensively) that's the culture we're trying to build at the Wests Tigers – it's what Madge (Michael Maguire) wants us to be alot better at and we've done a lot of work in the past three months over pre-season.
"We've just been trying to get our defence right and it's good that the second-grade boys have been defending well and it made my job alot easier."
The game opened as a gritty affair as the scores were levelled at 4-all after 15 although it was the Panthers who got off to a flying start through 2018 Player of the Year, Caleb Aekins.
Aekins' try was courtesy of a late Jed Cartwright offload as the Panthers took a 4-0 lead after just two minutes following a fumble from Apouri-Puketapu on the opening kick-off.
But they would be made to rue their costly handling errors in the period following as the Magpies recorded three unanswered tries in a relentless 12-minute period to take a 14-4 lead after 30 minutes.
Their first came through Sam McIntyre when he crashed over from close-range in the 14th minute before a carbon-copy effort and some slick hands from Momirovski sent Kane Bradley over for a try on his Canterbury Cup NSW debut.
Tyson Gamble then took it upon himself to give his side an early stranglehold in the contest with a powerful 30m dash helping them to a 10-point advantage.
Repeated infringements and increasing ill-discipline came to a climax when Brent Naden was sin-binned shortly before half-time, but despite the Magpies having a one-man advantage it was Penrith who would make the breakthrough.
A pinpoint grubber from Jarome Luai saw Brian Too pounce on the loose ball with an athletic finish in the left-hand corner to set a 14-8 scoreline at the break.
The Magpies were able to sustain pressure early in the second-half when Momirovski drove Aekins into the in-goal before they capitalised through Aupouri-Puketapu when he split the Panthers defence on the ensuing set-of-six.
The Panthers threatened to hit-back just moments later when Liam Coleman looked to have scored off a Luai grubber only for the referee to rule a knock-on in the process of grounding the ball.
The Magpies had a golden chance to capitalise on the seven-tackle set thanks to a 60m run from Momirovski but they were unable to take advantage as the scrambling Panthers defence held strong.
But Wests' persistence would eventually be rewarded when David Nofoaluma sent Gamble through before he found a supporting Dylan Smith before Aupouri-Puketapuput the icing on the cake with his second try in the 68th minute.
A consolation try to Ratu Tuisese would prove to have little bearing on the final result as the Magpies restored pride with a gallant victory at home.
Match: Dragons v Bulldogs
Round 5 -
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
HIGHLIGHTS | St George Illawarra v Canterbury-Bankstown
By Alex Hrissis
St George Illawarra Dragons hosted Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Nestrata Jubilee Stadium in Round 5 of the Canterbury Cup and it was the home team that emerged victorious with a 28-14 win to earn their second win of the season.
Both teams were evenly matched in the first half with both teams attacking well but it was the home team who took an early lead after Jackson Ford collected a loose ball and placed it down calmly to get his first try of the game.
Bulldogs responded soon after with their first try of the game after a smooth succession of passes led to Connelly Leumelo getting himself a try.
The Saints got themselves one more try before the break after a long pass found Jonus Pearson and the try was converted to extend their lead.
Canterbury replied quickly by scoring two tries in four minutes to take a lead of 10-14 at half time.
The Dragons scored the first try in the second half with some excellent passes finding Lachlan Maranta to level the scores at 14-14.
The Saints took the lead after fullback Tristan Sailor kicked the ball over the Bulldogs’ defence and found its way to Shaun Sauni-Esau who put the ball on the try line with ease.
The home side then scored another two tries in 10 minutes to extend their lead to 28-14, with Shaun Sauni-Esau and Jackson Ford collecting their second tries of the game.
The final score finished at 28-14 with St George Illawarra getting the win over Canterbury and thus securing their second win of the season.
Jackson Ford spoke to nswrl.com.au following the match,
“We’re all pretty happy with the win, after a tough start at the beginning of the season it’s great to get the two wins back to back”
Match: Mounties v WV Magpies
Round 5 -
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
HIGHLIGHTS | Mounties v Wentworthville - Round 5
By Jon Kroiter
The Mounties have continued their undefeated start to the season after defeating the Wentworthville Magpies 32-16 at GIO Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A second half hat-trick from Reubenn Rennie helped the Mounties come back from four points down at halftime to remain undefeated so far this campaign.
Both teams defensive efforts were second to none, however Mounties were able to push through and hold on for the win in the nation’s capital.
The Mounties started off strong, with Jack Murchie tumbling over ten minutes in to get the first points on the board.
A blistering line-break from Tom Starling almost saw the Mounties add to their lead, however a wayward pass from the hooker to Andre Niko saw the attack end.
A pin-point cut-out pass to winger Greg Leleisiuao helped get Wentworthville back into the game with thirteen minutes before half time.
Fancy footwork from Bevan French was finished off by an acrobatic finish from Damon Goolagong just before half time to send Wentworthville into the sheds four points ahead.
A quick start from the Mounties four minutes in saw Niko throw a pass over the top of the Magpies defence and into the hands of Reubenn Rennie, who muscled his way over to score.
It was a bit of déjà vu after Murchie broke through the Magpies line and had Andrew Niko in support, however a miss pass saw another open try opportunity go begging.
Wentworthville were soon to respond, with a lovely chase from a perfectly timed grubber saw Oregon Kaufusi ground it just before the dead ball line.
Five minutes later, Mounties were in again with slick passing on the left side between Murchie and Niko saw the ball reach Reubenn Rennie to get his second of the night.
Andre Niko made up for the missed conversion with a 60 metre break, throwing a dummy to send the defender the wrong way and score with no problems.
Rennie added to the Mounties lead with his third of the night, capping off a stellar second-half hat-trick from the centre, making it his fifth try of the season.
The Mounties comeback was complete when Tony Satini crossed in the right-hand corner from a beautiful build up play, finalising the victory and the Mounties fourth win of the season.