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LIVE COVERAGE | Canterbury Cup NSW Rd 21

Live coverage of Round 21 in the Canterbury Cup NSW.

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles v Western Suburbs Magpies

HIGHLIGHTS | Blacktown v Western Suburbs - Rd 21

Stewart Moses

Blacktown’s improved late season form has continued, having claimed their third top eight scalp in the past month, following an impressive 30-20 win over the Western Suburbs Magpies at HE Laybutt Field.

The loss could be crucial for a Magpies outfit who were looking to cement their spot well inside the top eight but instead find themselves in a real tussle for a finals spot following earlier round wins to Newtown and Mounties.

Lachlan Croker was a key late inclusion for a home side that boasted plenty of NRL experience with the likes of Tony Williams, Lloyd Perrett, Kane Elgey and Tim Simona, while it was mixed news for the visiting Magpies, with the loss of Chris McQueen offset by the late addition of Josh Reynolds to the run-on side.

Blacktown’s rapid-fire start with a try to Tevita Funa in only the 2nd minute of play, was cancelled out with a try in the 15th minute to that man Reynolds.

Four minutes later, the home side would reassume a lead that they would ultimately never concede for the rest for the game when winger Abbas Miski scored the first of his two tries for the afternoon and with Elgey’s successful conversion from the touchline, Blacktown led 10-4.

Blacktown’s lead was extended to 12-4 at the main break after a high tackle penalty conceded by the Magpies was duly converted by Kane Elgey from 20m out.

An early second half missed opportunity to extend the lead to 12, possibly even 14 by the Sea Eagles, was duly punished just minutes later when Tigers winger Robert Jennings, following an incisive run into opposition territory, kicked inside for his halfback, Jock Madden, to steam through and score next to the posts.

But from the very next set, Blacktown’s eight-point halftime lead resumed in the 50th minute following a 45m intercept try to Miski, his second for the match.

The try was compounded with what appeared to be a serious leg injury which forced Madden from the field and out of the game.

Despite the setback, the Magpies continued to probe for the hit-back try and it looked as though they would get it in the 55th minute when Josh Reynolds creating the overlap for Marrbani to score in the corner only for the centre to grass the overhead pass with the try-line wide open.

But there was no denying the Magpies in the 61st minute, when a quick shift left inside Blacktown’s 20m zone following a penalty, enabled the hooker, Soni Luke to reach out and score out wide to trail by just the two points, with plenty if time left on the clock.

Just when all the momentum appeared to be with the visitors, Blacktown had all the answers once again, when some quick thinking from Simona, saw the winger put through a deft inside kick inside for the trailing Zach Dockar-Clay, who scored near the posts in the 67th minute, to push the lead back to eight for the third time in the game.

Blacktown ultimately secured another two precious competition points that would see them remain in touch with second-last Newcastle, following a barging try from close range to lock forward Sean Keppie in the 75th minute, before a late try to Magpies centre, Blilal Maarbani restored some respectability to a final scoreline that saw the Sea Eagles run out deserved winners, 30-20.

Next Sunday the Sea Eagles host Wentworthville at HE Laybutt Field while on the same day the Magpies will be looking to bounce back from today’s defeat when they take on Penrith at Panthers Stadium.

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Warriors

HIGHLIGHTS | South Sydney v Warriors - Rd 21

Jarrod Ryan

A high scoring game saw South Sydney hold off a second half New Zealand Warriors comeback as Rabbitohs Prop Tom Amone stared with two tries to secure his team the win at Central Coast Stadium.

New Zealand opened the scoring with a powerful try from forward Sam Lisone as he ran onto the ball just left of the up-rights. This came off the back of up-tempo New Zealand attack with runs out from behind the play-the-ball from hooker Tyler Slade.

South Sydney’s forward pack returned serve with a dominant run from Tom Amone, fracturing the New Zealand defence and landing over the line. An unsuccessful conversion by Mawene Hiroti saw the Warriors retain a two-point lead twelve minutes into the game.

Their first try seemed to inspire the South Sydney attack as they continued to put pressure on the Warriors right edge. This came to no avail as New Zealand reinforced their lead after a quick play the ball from winger Setu Tu, setting the pace for lock forward Josh Curran to barrel over the line.

The Warriors could not maintain pressure after the kick off with a poor play-the-ball on their own twenty-meter line, gifting South Sydney Five-Eighth Connor Tracy a try five tackles after the scrum. A successful conversion by Winger Hiroti saw the game return to a two point deficit.

The Rabbitohs finally saw their first lead with an impressive sixty meter sprint from Fullback Leigh Higgins after South Sydney spread the ball through to their left edge. An unsuccessful conversion attempt from just inside the touch line left the Rabbitohs ahead with eight minutes to go in the half.

South Sydney highlighted why they are one of the competition favourites by regaining possession after their own dropout by dribbling the ball over the touch line. A penalty conversion on the half time siren gave the Rabbitohs the advantage going into the second half with a four point lead over the visitors.

Undisciplined South Sydney defence at the start of the second half saw back to back Warriors penalties which resulted in a conversion by Taane Milne in front of the posts to narrow the Rabbitohs lead by two.

A Taaffe, Su’A, Dodd, combination on the right edge saw the Rabbitohs widen their lead but a shanked Hiroti conversion attempt left the home team ahead by six points having played fifteen minutes of the second half.

Minutes later, South Sydney Second Rower Jaydn Su’A burst into space on the right edge, combining again with his halfback to put pressure on the New Zealand goal line defence. The forward got his hands back on the ball in the next play, putting winger Nakubuwai over with a try off the back of a classy flick pass as he attacked the line.

A fantastic exhibition of footwork broke New Zealand Fullback Paul Turner through the Rabbitoh’s line to score an unconverted try to close the gap between the teams.

Minutes later the Turner attacked the line again with an impressive chip and chase, turning the South Sydney defence around as he passed to Centre Patrick Herbert who crossed over the line.  Another relatively easy conversion was missed due to the sea breeze on the Central Coast field keeping the home team ahead by two points with less than fifteen minutes to go.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs refused to let the Warriors get the better of them as Tom Amone crossed for his second try of the game through at least four New Zealand defenders who were caught standing on the try line.

New Zealand remained in the game with five minutes left on the clock as winger Setu Tu crossed for his first try combining with Halfback Blake Ayshford and edge partner Taane Milne to break a fatiguing South Sydney defence.

A repeat set in the Rabbitohs half gave the Warriors the opportunity for an upset win with thirty seconds to go on the clock but could not capitalise on their field position as South Sydney Winger Mawene Hiroti made an inspired one-on-one tackle to keep his team ahead.

Mounties v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs

HIGHLIGHTS | Mounties v Canterbury-Bankstown - Rd 21

Hannah McGrory 

The Mounties have kept their finals footy campaign alive after defeating the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs 26-14 at HE Laybutt Field. 

The Mounties have broken a six- game losing streak to remain in the top 8 on the ladder. With captain Tom Starling securing victory with a terrific try in the 67th minute.

Last time these two teams met the Bulldogs dominated, 52-22. Mounties came out strong and showed determination to defeat a full strength top four side.  

Mounties had a strong start to the game, with captain Tom Starling happy to take the two points especially heading into finals.

“We dug in and got the two points which was very pleasing,” Starling told NSWRL post game.

“We’ve been really good in patches the last few weeks, we’ve let ourselves down in certain periods. Today was a good 80- minute performance and that’s what we really need to get back on the horse and lead into the semi-finals.”

Jack Murchie read the Bulldogs fifth tackle play well after charging down a kick from their five-eighth, Brandon Wakeham. This play set up the first points of the game with Harley Smith-Shields receiving a great pass from Reubenn Rennie to cross for a four-pointer in the 9th minute. The kick attempt was unsuccessful with the Mounties taking a 4- nil lead early on.

Following a tough call on Morgan Harper, Mounties received a penalty 20 metres out from the Bulldogs line. They went over to score their second of the day after a dummy half run from Tony Satini set up Sebastian Kris. The kick attempt was unsuccessful.

The Bulldogs were next to respond through the fullback Toa Mata’afa, who barged through the defensive line to score. The kick attempt was unsuccessful as the Mounties remained in front 8-4.

Ill-discipline was shown by the Mounties after conceding three consecutive penalties. The Bulldogs capitalised off the opportunity as they shifted to the left and Connelly Leumelu grounded the ball next to the corner post to level the scores. Jake Averillo’s kick attempt from the sideline was struck very well, successfully putting his side in the lead, 10-8.

Bulldogs were unable to utilise back-to-back sets following a drop out and penalty, as Starling put a try saving tackle on Jayden Okunbor who was taken into touch.

Royce Hunt impressed with a run straight through the Buldlogs defensive line and flicked a pass to Jarrett Boland under the posts with the half time siren sounding in the background. Sam Williams successfully converted his first of the match giving his side a 14-10 lead at half time.

Mounties started strong in the second half with Michael Oldfield putting his body on the line with a terrific tackle on Connelly Leumelu. Following a penalty, Mounties Hudson Young was next to push his way over to score with a successful conversion from Sam Williams to extend their lead 20-10.

Time was called off as Mounties five-eighth, Ata Hingano had to come from the field with a shoulder injury.

Starling then secured the win for the Mounties in the 68th minute as he found a gap and charged over. The conversion was successful to extend the lead to 26-10.

A determined Jake Averillo found space down the left side of the field but was left with no-one in support, which saw three Mounties outfits take him into touch.

Averillo finished off the game with a consolation try for the Bulldogs in the 79th minute but the conversion attempt unsuccessful.

Mounties will travel to McDonald Jones Stadium next Saturday to play the Newcastle Knights, with the Bulldogs playing in an NRL curtain raiser against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium.

Wentworthville Magpies v Newcastle Knights

HIGHLIGHTS | Wentworthville v Newcastle - Rd 21

Rebecca Szabo

The Newcastle Knights prevail against the Wentworthville Magpies in a tough low scoring match, played as a curtain raiser before the Parramatta Eels took on the Newcastle Knights at a cold Bankwest Stadium.

Both teams came out to a slow start, playing through the sets cautiously for the first 15 minutes of the game until Jamie Buhrer grabbed himself the first try of the game off a perfectly placed grubber kick from Bayden Searle. Searle converted and put the Knights up 6-0.

The Wentworthville defence was something to commend and kept the Knights in check consistently, however their offense was lacking and repeat unforced errors became the Magpies downfall towards the latter end of the half. Newcastle were able to capitalize on this and Bayden Searle slotted an easy two-pointer to push the Knights lead to 8-0.

A flat ball to Tex Hoy in the middle of the field saw him fly with pace through the Magpies defence, outrunning 4 defenders to score in the corner. Bayden Searle hit the post trying to convert from the sideline, putting the Knights in front 12-0 just before the halftime bell.

The Knights were dealt an early blow at the start of the second half with Beau Fermor limping off the field in pain with an apparent leg injury.

Newcastle then took on the defensive foot for the start of the half, with the Magpies forwards relentlessly attacking the try line seeking their first points of the game, only to be held up on multiple occasions. Dropped balls and unforced errors seemed to be the driving force behind the Magpies inability to score.

The Knights dipped offensively later in the second half, looking just to defend their 12-point lead. The last 10 minutes of the game became stop start with fatigue setting in and the refs calling penalty after penalty, creating a slow end to the game.

A surge of optimism saw the Magpies look sure to get there first points of the game in the dying minutes, however a flick pass to the wing was deemed forward.

All hope was not lost for a Magpie consolation try as a chip kick after the siren landed in a charging Tim Mannah’s hands and much to Bankwest Stadium’s delight he dived over under the posts. Mannah is able to convert his own try and end the game halving the score line to 6-12 in favour of the Newcastle Knights.

St George Illawarra Dragons v North Sydney Bears

HIGHLIGHTS | St George Illawarra v North Sydney - Rd 21

Blake Edwards

The St George Illawarra Dragons have held onto their top four spot with a nail-biting 22-18 victory over the North Sydney Bears at a breezy Jubilee Oval.

 The home side were dealt a blow before kick-off, when winger Lachlan Maranta ruled out in warm-up due to a hamstring injury. Mat Head was forced to re-shape his line-up, with Jai Field given the duties of starting the game on the flank.

St George Illawarra’s woes continued into the game with the Bears crossing for their first try after just seven minutes had elapsed. A silky backline shift was finished off by Keiran Moss who slid nicely across field, before a gap opened for the fullback to dart through and score, notching the 4-0 lead.

A nice tip on by the Dragons midway through the first half found Matt Dufty unmarked on the wing, with the live wire youngster racing down the field before stepping the would-be Norths defenders to improve the position, diving underneath the posts. Tristan Sailor slotted the goal to give the Red V the 6-4 advantage. The Bears responded immediately down the right-hand side of the Dragons defence, with big Billy Smith crashing over from close range to snatch the lead back at 8-6.

Darren Nicholls kicked the Dragons out of trouble, booting a beautiful forty-twenty, which was more of a thirty-ten, with the breeze heavily behind his back. The hosts took full advantage in the ensuing set, with Adam Clune providing a neat short ball for Jacob Host who ran through a considerable hole in the Bears defence to plant it down. Sailor made no mistake with his attempt at goal to make it 12-8.

A frantic final few minutes of the first half ended with the Dragons crossing for their third try of the afternoon through Nicholls who pulled out the old show and go close to the line, spinning out of a last ditch effort by a bears defender before scoring a great individual try. Sailor’s goal was successful to give the Dragons a ten point advantage at the break at 18-8.

North Sydney mounted pressure early in the second half, turning their first opportunity into points with Drew Hutchison dishing a beautiful short ball meters out from the line for Jerry Key to finish it off by barging over. Smith converted his first for the day to reduce the Dragons lead to 18-14. Hutchison continued his high involvement setting up the next Bears four pointer with a floating cut out pass that found James Tuitaih who linked with winger Nick O’Meley who finished it off out wide. The difficult goal attempt was missed, with the scores locked at 18-all.

The Dragons had plenty of opportunities to respond midway through the second stanza, but failed at the last hurdle on every attempt. They finally found the stripe ahead of the seventieth minute through Charly Runciman, to break the deadlock and regain the lead at 22-18 setting up an exciting finish.

An exciting finish it was with the Bears throwing plenty at the Dragons who held their nerve to hang on to run out 22-18 victors.

Penrith Panthers v Newtown Jets

HIGHLIGHTS | Penrith v Newtown - Rd 21

Andrew Jackson

Newtown Jets have temporarily drawn level with the seventh-placed Mounties after upsetting the Penrith Panthers 28-18 at Panthers Stadium on Friday.

Penrith were bolstered by the inclusion of veteran centre Dean Whare, who showed promising signs with the few opportunities he had with the ball in hand.

The Jets weren’t without plenty of first-grade experience of their own, with Blayke Brailey, Scott Sorensen, Billy Magoulias and Jayson Bukuya all featuring.

Bukuya in particular impressed in a strong Jets forward pack that laid the platform for victory.

The Panthers made a quick start to Friday night’s clash as Billy Burns ran a lovely line to burst through and score in the 3rd minute for his 12th try of the year.

Jed Cartwright’s conversion was successful to push the lead out to six.

A last-tackle penalty gifted the Jets a full set on the Penrith line and they quickly capitalised as Billy Magoulias pounced on a deft grubber.

Jayson Bukuya later steamed straight through soft middle defence to score under the posts and extend Newtown’s lead to six. 

185-gamer Bukuya hasn’t played in first grade since Cronulla’s Round 17 loss to Melbourne but he was certainly standing up on Friday night, powering the Jets through the middle.

The power game up front eventually led to more points as William Kennedy chased his own kick and scooped up the loose ball after it hit the posts.

22-year old Kennedy has only played two NRL games in a stacked Cronulla backline but he too impressed, his kick returns in particular proving a handful for the Panthers in defence.

All three tries were converted, seeing Newtown lead by 12 at the break.

Penrith eventually hit back after great line running from fullback Charlie Staines.

They then camped themselves on the Newtown line after forcing consecutive repeat sets and the pressure told as Burns then kicked to the corner for a diving Matheson Johns.

The Jets then turned it on with a brilliant team try which saw Greg Eastwood regather a chip kick, pass to Scott Sorensen and end up with Brayden Trindall scoring in support.

Frank Winterstein crashed over late for the Panthers to reduce the deficit but it wasn’t enough in the end.

Acknowledgement of Country

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respect and honour the Darug and Eora nations, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.