The NRL ladder is starting to take shape after Round Five with both sides of the table looking clearer after the weekend’s results.
Wins for all the clubs in top four keeps the ladder tight as the race for the minor premiership heats up, whilst Wests Tigers are still searching for their first win as the look to avoid this seasons wooden spoon.
Let’s take a look at the results from over the weekend.
Newcastle Knights 6-30 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Manly proved too strong for the Newcastle Knights even without the help of their injured fullback Tom Trbojevic. The Sea Eagles opened the scoring through backrow Andrew Davey as he bundled over for his first try in the NRL, a nice moment for Davey who has suffered horrendously through injury the past two seasons. Manly scored another try in the first half through Morgan Harper. The centre the quickest player to react to a grubber kick in goal. With the score 10-0 to Manly at half time the Knights had to score first after the break, which they did as Kalyn Ponga showed excellent support play to score under the post. The game was close for a long stretch of the second half with only one score in the contest but three late tries for Manly in the final 10 minutes pushed the score line to a flattering look for the Sea Eagles. The Newcastle Knights defended valiantly all game but after playing the entire second half with 14 available players the fatigue eventually caught up to them.
New Zealand Warriors 25-24 North Queensland Cowboys
The New Zealand Warriors made it three wins on the spin as they secured a golden point victory over the North Queensland Cowboys. The contest was close throughout with both teams exchanging tries, the Cowboys had the better of the first half as they looked set for an 18-6 halftime lead after an intercept led to them scoring a full length try. Shaun Johnson made sure that wasn’t the case as he hit a massive 40/20 to put the Warriors in excellent field position which they capitalised on to make it a one score game at the break. New Zealand brought the scores level early in the second half after a clever play from Dummy half saw Kodi Nikorima stroll over to score. After that a try a piece for each team left the scores at 24 each going into the final five minutes. Both teams missed their attempts at a field goal in the closing stages with Reece Walsh and Chad Townsend both missing with poor efforts meaning the game carried on into golden point. Halfback Johnson, who is back for his second spell at his boyhood club, didn’t miss with his attempt in extra time as his low drop goal sailed over the bar to secure the victory for the Warriors.
Brisbane Broncos 20-24 Sydney Roosters
After a run of poor performances, the Brisbane Broncos put in a spirited display as they were narrowly beaten by the Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos started the game the much better team, with centre Kotoni Staggs causing nightmares for his opposite number Paul Momirovski with his hard running and his efforts set up the first try for Corey Oates and Staggs then got a try of his own beating two Rooster defenders on his way to the try line. Brisbane took a well-deserved 10-0 lead into the break after dominating much of the first 40 minutes. The Roosters were the team who came out of the blocks quicker in the second half however, scoring two tries early through Sam Walker and Joseph Manu to put themselves into a two-point lead. Brisbane replied through another Oates try as he leapt highest to score from a bomb, but two more late tries for the Roosters put them into a comfortable position to win. A late Oates try to complete his hat trick gave the Broncos a glimmer of hope but they were unable to bring the scores level in the dying moments and were unfortunate to be on the wrong side of the score line after their best performance for a month
Canberra Raiders 16-30 Melbourne Storm
Two tries for Jahrome Hughes helped the Melbourne Storm to a comfortable victory away to the Canberra Raiders. Hughes alongside the other usual suspects of Harry Grant, Cameron Munster and Ryan Papenhuyzen ran the show for the Storm as the Raiders struggled to deal with their spine like most teams do. Grant opened the scoring from dummyhalf before Hughes scored his first try with smart footwork to score under the posts. Papenhuyzen score the third for Melbourne as he raced away in support after Cameron Munster broke free from his own half. Semi Valemei scored a late first half try for the Raiders to keep them only 10 points behind the Victoria club. After soaking up some early pressure it was the Storm who scored the first points of the second half as Munster turned provider once again as he put Justin Olam through to score. Two late tries for both teams, including Jahrome Hughes’ second, and a late penalty for the Raiders put the score at 30-16 for the Storm as they carry on building momentum as the season progresses.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 24-12 St George Illawarra Dragons
South Sydney bounced back from their defeat last weekend with a hard-earned win against the St George Illawarra Dragons. After being comfortably beaten by Penrith Panthers, the Rabbitohs scored two first half tries through Latrell Mitchell and Keaon Koloamatangi to lead 10-0 at half time. The first try by Mitchell was set up by a brilliant run from dummyhalf by Damien Cook, an aspect of his game which had been missing in the opening weeks of the season and will be needed going forward as it is what makes him one of the best hookers in the game. Moses Mbye scored an early second half try for the Dragons to make it a one score game but tries from both Rabbitohs centres, Campbell Graham and Taane Milne, put the Rabbitohs in a commanding lead. Jaydn Su’a scored a late consolation try against his former club but the Dragons were well beaten in the end. A dominate display by Souths which has been marred by the injury to fullback Mitchell who is expected to miss 8 weeks with a hamstring injury.
Gold Coast Titans 20-26 Parramatta Eels
Parramatta Eels saw off the Gold Coast Titans in a thrilling game in Queensland. The Eels scored four unanswered tries to clinch the win. Fullback Clinton Gutherson scored two with Bailey Simonsson and Ryan Matterson getting the other two to give Parramatta 20-point lead. The Titans got their first points of the game in the 52nd minute as Phillip Sami scored. Two more tries in a blistering 15 minutes including a monstrous solo effort from backrow David Fifita brought Gold Coast right back into the game. Any hopes of a sensational comeback for the Titans were dashed as the Eels scored a fifth try through Dylan Brown to push themselves in to a 10-point lead. A late try by Greg Marzhew was not enough for the Titans as they came up just short. Another game where the Titans defence let them down, an issue Justin Holbrook needs to sort out if they have any hopes of making the playoffs this season.
Cronulla Sharks 30-4 Wests Tigers
Wests Tigers remain rooted to the bottom of the NRL ladder still searching for their first win of the season after being well beaten by the Cronulla Sharks in Round Five. The Sharks are looking like real contenders this season and showed their class against the Tigers, leading 14-0 at halftime thanks to tries from Briton Nikora and winger Sione Katoa who scored two as they dominated Wests in the opening 40 minutes. There was no letup in the second half either by Cronulla as they ran in another three tries through Ronaldo Mulitalo, Jesse Ramien and Will Kennedy to inflict more misery on a Tigers team who looked completely out of sorts when defending. A try by Ken Maumalo in the final minute saved the Tigers from going two games without a try after failing to score in last week’s defeat. Looking lost in defence and short of ideas with the ball, it is going to take a lot for coach Michael Maguire to turn the Tigers fortunes around especially with their upcoming run of fixtures.
Canterbury Bulldogs 12-32 Penrith Panthers
The Penrith Panthers continued their perfect start to the season, scoring five tries in their win against the Canterbury Bulldogs. Impressive young winger Taylan May opened the scoring with a powerful finish in the corner, Penrith quickly doubled their lead with Dylan Edwards getting the try after Izack Tago ran the length of the field beating multiple Bulldog defenders before feeding Edwards to score. The Bulldogs replied with a try from former Panther Tevita Pangai Junior after a mistake from Jarome Luai as he failed to gather a simple kick. Liam Martin scored the final try of the first half for the Panthers as they led 20-6 at the break. Their lead was extended to 20 points only five minutes into the second half as prop Spencer Leniu crashed over to score. Canterbury responded shortly after with a try from Joe Stimson after Josh Addo-Carr used his blistering pace to beat his man on the outside and feed Stimson to score. A try for Mitch Kenny, his first in the NRL, rounded off the score as Penrith remain unbeaten in 2022 and still look the team to beat this season.