The 2021 NRL newcomers showed what they are capable of, with Sam Walker, Reece Walsh and debutant Zac Cini shining for their respective sides in the eighth round. over the next few weeks.
The weekend was marked by a mix of massive breakouts, clashes and surprise wins, as the Roosters found themselves in new trouble with injuries, the Raiders and Sharks gave a tight lead in the mid -time and the Broncos broke a club record with their shock comeback. against their rivals in South East Queensland.
Raiders vs. Rabbitohs
Canberra Raiders pulled it off pre-match shots on social media, but South Sydney had the final say.
Canberra took the lead early with Jordan Rapana on the left edge and Elliot Whitehead beating two defenders. The Rabbitohs remained on hand during the first half, but a plethora of injuries made it difficult and a Jaxson Paulo fumble in their own in-goal allowed Sebastian Kris to score for the Raiders in the 25th. .
The Suds found the lead on their left edge with a number advantage to send both Dane Gagai and Alex Johnston to the line. Jaydn Su’A also scored to take the lead at 16, but the Raiders struggled to try to close the gap in the final ten minutes. And they could have done it, if the obstruction of the Southern defense hadn’t cost Jack Wighton two tries.
Now at four straight losses, the Raiders have a chance to salvage their premier claim when they host the Knights next week before heading to face the Bulldogs.
Storm vs. Sharks
An overwhelming display of storm dominance in the second half leaves Cronulla wondering again what could have been.
The rivalry between the two had another element this time around, with former Storm Chambers center Will Chambers returning to the NRL in a Sharks jersey after his brief stint in the Japanese rugby union. With one try and one penalty each within the first forty minutes, the only thing separating the two was a failed conversion attempt by Cameron Munster to give the Sharks a narrow lead. But after half-time their defense opened up and the Storm took full advantage.
Harry Grant was spectacular in his first game in the Storm’s starting lineup, setting up three dummy half tries while having one hand in two more. Tom Eisenhuth, Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith were among the names to find the try line through some easy gaps, while Reimis Smith netted a hat-trick. Despite their best attempts, Cronulla struggled to make good use of the ball until the last minute when Connor Tracey dove into the left corner to save some pride.
It’s a new low for Cronulla this season, after a handful of games where they seemed to have a late chance of losing only by a single-digit margin.
Broncos vs. Titans
Humiliated by the Titans in the second round, the Brisbane Broncos took their revenge in one of the best comebacks of the year.
Gold Coast, however, threatened to run away thanks to a few lucky passes and a touch of acrobatic work. In less than 14 minutes they had taken a 22-0 lead, but from there the Broncos struggled to get back there. Jamayne Isaako picked up a brace as Brisbane closed the gap completely for a tie to death at halftime.
From there they took the lead themselves as Corey Oates intercepted an interception and ran over 90 yards for the line. Anthony Milford and Michael Gamble’s new pair were on fire throughout, both leading the charge which resulted in a 14-point lead. Mitch Rein gave the Titans a boost with a dummy half try, but the Broncos held them back enough to secure their second victory of the season.
In doing so, the Broncos set a club record for their biggest comeback in history.
Panthers v Sea Eagles
Penrith’s perfect start to the season continues after ending Manly’s winning streak.
As the Sea Eagles refused to descend without a fight, Penrith continued his run, starting with a combined effort of 90 yards which resulted in a kick finding Dylan Edwards in the in-goal. Brian To’o also found the line before Tom Trbojevic put the Sea Eagles on the board with an interception and a solo 70-yard dash.
But for every try gathered by the Sea Eagles, the Panthers have responded in kind. Manly had times when they continued to hammer the Penrith defense but couldn’t break them. Instead, the Panthers delivered the final blow, as Liam Martin saved a Dylan Edwards grubber for Stephen Crichton to pick it up and score with three minutes remaining.
Penrith’s eighth in a row is any club’s best start to a season since the Storm won their first nine in 2012. The Panthers will manage to tie that against Cronulla next week.
Bulldogs vs. Eels
The matches between these two former rivals have been known as tough slogs. But this weekend’s reunion was anything but as Parramatta walked home.
The cracks were evident in Canterbury’s defense early on as Reed Mahoney slipped easily to prepare Clint Gutherson for the first down. The Bulldogs had few chances with the ball, especially in the first half, and they struggled to maintain a consistent defensive line. This allowed Maika Sivo to defeat four defensemen on her first try against the Dogs before Gutherson went on for her second try of the night.
The Bulldogs still produced bone-shaking tackles and scored twice in the second half to reduce the margin to 12. However, the Eels continued as Sivo and Marata Niukore pulled back the lead. Both teams were plagued by injury issues with Bulldogs’ Dylan Napa succumbing to shoulder problems and Parra’s Nathan Brown suffering from a hip pointer injury.
But when it comes to injuries, the Eels have always performed better than their next opponent the Sydney Roosters, giving them a shot at
Knights vs. roosters
The Chooks will continue to be underperforming for some time to come, with injuries easing their flogging 34 points behind the Newcastle Knights.
Brett Morris has been the most notable casualty when it comes to Sydney, tearing his ACL apart to cast doubt on the future of his rugby league career. Lindsay Collins suffered a similar injury, both players were forced to leave the pitch at the end of the game to end it on a bitter note.
Previously, the Roosters had put on a dazzling display with Brett’s twin Josh scoring a hat-trick. Sam Walker was once again noted for his outstanding performance, competing in four of their seven tries and scoring one himself. Matt Ikuvalu, Angus Crichton and Daniel Tupou also found the line throughout the game.
The Roosters’ roster for next week’s clash against Parramatta is set for a reshuffle, with James Tedesco returning and Sitili Tupouniua withdrawing due to suspension.
Warriors v Cowboys
The same small mistakes that plagued north Queensland for three years haunted them again, denying them a good early start that led to a failed comeback against New Zealand.
The transfer of young gun Reece Walsh from last week’s full-back role to five-eighth paid off for the Warriors as the kid got involved in every other piece. His half-time partner at Kodi Nikorima also played, cutting two gaps to score the first down of the day before crossing the line again to help set up the Warriors’ third. Meanwhile, the Cowboys continued to give up their chances on the try line with several fallen balls.
But a string of Warriors’ mistakes helped the Cowboys get back into the game, holding New Zealand scoreless in the second half. However, they spent the last ten minutes making more mistakes that cost them the matchwinner. Valentine Holmes had a rough day, throwing a blatant forward pass in desperation before hitting the ball too hard and sending it over the dead ball line.
The Warriors then face the Sea Eagles, who upset them with a basket last month.
Tigers vs. Dragons
Zac Cini was the name on every title after the Wests Tigers wrath against St. George Illawarra.
The young backline, easy to notice due to his distinct blonde mullet, produced a try-and-save tryout on his debut and was widely seen as having a leading role. The Dragons drew first with Cody Ramsey in the left corner, but after Zac Lomax came off the pitch with a thumb injury, the Tigers’ offense targeted the right edge and got some trumps. They had the chance to equalize in the first half as David Nofoaluma tapped a Luke Brooks kick and Tommy Talau managed to catch it with one hand to score in the corner.
St. George fought hard but failed to regain the try line. Instead, Cini and Joey Leilua found the left corner to give Wests a lead just after a converted try. A weird little knee to Talau’s game by Kaide Ellis gave the Tigers a chance to add a penalty goal to the score, but Adam Doueihi barely missed the goal to wrap up the game with an eight-point victory.
The win was an important answer to questions surrounding coach Michael Maguire, but they will want to back her against the Gold Coast Titans next week for a chance to properly dispel the rhetoric.