Melbourne Storm vs Brisbane Broncos
Tries: Ryley Jacks, Josh Addo-Carr
Goals: Cameron Smith 3/3
Tries: James Roberts, Ben Hunt
Goals: Jordan Kahu 2/2
The Melbourne Storm improved their premiership credentials and gave their fans a massive boost in the process with a sensational win over the Brisbane Broncos in the last five minutes of a gripping contest at AAMI Park, in front of a healthy crowd of 16,344 people.
Brisbane were holding a 12-8 lead when a ball ricocheted around pinball style off two dumbstruck Broncos and fell perfectly for the grateful Josh Addo-Carr to score in the corner and level things up. From there, ever-present leader Cameron Smith made no mistake with a difficult conversion to seal a monumental win and keep the Storm’s undefeated start to 2017 alive.
The game marked the second loss of the season for a Broncos outfit under immense pressure and they will feel aggrieved they weren’t able to secure vital points in Melbourne.
Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs vs New Zealand Warriors
Tries: Brett Morris (2), Moses Mbye, Marcelo Montoya
Goals: Moses Mbye 4/5
Tries: Bodene Thompson, Shaun Johnson
Goals: Shaun Johnson 2/2
It may have taken until the third week of the season, but the Canterbury Bulldogs finally opened their 2017 NRL account with a hard-fought win over a patchy New Zealand Warriors outfit in Friday Night football at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
While the contest as a whole struggled for any real momentum, often stopping and starting, and failing to reach any great heights, the Dogs did enough to secure two very valuable competition points after twice going behind to a Warriors side under its own cloud of pressure and uncertainty.
The game was on the back of the Canterbury defence as the Bulldogs found themselves starved of possession for long spells and being forced to dig on and defend on their own line for large swathes of play but the ‘visitors’ were unable to puncture the Canterbury defence often enough to have a real impact on the clash.
Bulldogs big man David Klemmer was a standout, running for over 200 metres while hooker Michael Lychaa and New South Wales representative Josh Jackson both notched over 40 tackles
Gold Coast Titans vs Parramatta Eels
Tries: Chris McQueen, Tyler Cornish, Kane Elgey, Tyrone Roberts
Goals: Ashley Taylor 5/5
Tries: Clint Gutherson, Jeff Robson
Goals: Clint Gutherson 3/3
In what will go down as one of the bigger upsets of the season so far, an injury-stricken Titans outfit has battled to secure a huge victory over a disappointing and error-riddled Parramatta Eels outfit at Cbus Super Stadium on the second of the two Frida night fixtures.
The visitors shot out of the gates exceptionally quick and led 12-0 inside 18 minutes of action, silencing a poor crowd of 11,612 and looking odds on to post a big score before the Titans hit back, and hit back again to level the scores right on the stroke of half-time.
While the depleted Titans would see William Zillman (calf) and Konrad Hurrell (concussion) both exit the clash, with Chris McQueen and Kevin Proctor forced in to a makeshift backline, the hosts managed to fight on bravely and secure a very handy win against the odds.
With further injury concerns to Tyrone Roberts (hamstring), Ryan Simpkins (concussion), Ryan James (concussion) as well as question marks over Joe Greenwood, Ashley Taylor and Kane Elgey, the Titans players looked to have gone through a war zone on their way to the two points, sealed magnificently when Kane Elgey slipped in to space late in the second half and put Tyler Cornish in for a memorable try to finish proceedings.
Newcastle Knights vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Tries: Trent Hodkinson, Peter Mata’utia, Ken Sio
Goals: Trent Hodkinson 2/3, Brock Lamb 1/1
Tries: Alex Johnston, John Sutton, Bryson Goodwin, Braidon Burns
Goals: Adam Reynolds 4/5
For the second time in three clashes this season, the Newcastle Knights managed to fight right to the end and put up a brave effort built on resilience, resolve and a tremendous courage, but it would not be enough to secure the competition points against a Rabbitohs outfit with far too much class for their Novocastrian counterparts.
Souths kept their opponents in the contest for long spells with fundamental errors at inexcusable times with their big men in the middle the most culpable, but it was the composure and class of Adam Reynolds, not long back from fitness concerns, that secured a win that won’t be memorable beyond this week, but provided two very important points.
Alex Johnston and John Sutton both managed to capitalise on some sloppy defence to score early tries before big George Burgess coughed up possession, elbowed young Mitch Barnett in the ensuing scuffle before delivering an obvious hit with the back of his fist, earning himself a 10 minute trip to the sin bin, which, in all honesty should probably have been a sending off.
With a man down, the Rabbitohs struggled to contain the Knights, who raced in two quick tries through halfback Trent Hodkinson and Peter Mata’utia before Hodkinson slotted a penalty goal to edge the Knights in to the lead 12-10 at the break.
More errors from the Knights allowed the Rabbitohs to launch back in to the lead, especially though a great try to former Panthers’ junior Braidon Burns, who extended the game to 22-12. The Knights would grab another try, through new recruit Ken Sio, but they weren’t able to chase down the Rabbitohs a second time.
Penrith Panthers vs Sydney Roosters
Tries: Tyrone Peachey
Goals: Nathan Cleary 4/4
Tries: Michael Gordon (2), Latrell Mitchell
Goals: Michael Gordon 1/3
In a game that started so well for the homeside, Penrith Panthers head coach Anthony Griffin would finish the night with his head in his hands, questioning some ridiculous decisions as the NRL suffered its first terrible game from an officiating standpoint for the 2017 season.
The Roosters would bank a handy two points despite being under the pump for consistent spells from a Panthers side still struggling to find the right rhythm after a contrasting first two performances, but it would come question marks and an apology from the referee’s boss Tony Archer before the weekend was through.
Former Panther Michael Gordon managed himself a double, the second, and match-winning try coming from a clear forward pass, as he enjoyed a happy return to his former stomping ground while the Panthers were unable to take any of the chances on offer late to snatch the two points despite the best efforts of the outstanding Tyrone Peachey and the marvellous Nathan Cleary.
Despite the questionable calls from the men in yellow, the Panthers will rue a string of poor ball-handling and silly penalties, which ensured they were unable to put the game away.
North Queensland Cowboys vs Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Tries: Jake Granville
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 2/2
Tries: Jorge Taufua, Tom Trbojevic, Brenton Lawrence, Jackson Hastings
Goals: Dylan Walker 7/7
A Sea Eagles side under the pump and dealing with significant turmoil on and off the field has put all the distractions behind them and dealt a huge blow to a Cowboys side which started the night intent on remaining undefeated after two scintillating golden point wins over the first two weeks of the season.
While injuries certainly played their part, the Sea Eagles simply turned up to 1300Smiles Stadium the more determined team and they were duly rewarded with a comprehensive win. Having kept their hosts top a solitary try, the Sea Eagles ran in four of their own, alongside a swag of goals for centre Dylan Walker as they racked up a huge win.
An early penalty goal got things started for the Eagles, before penalties were traded in what was fast becoming a turgid and tough affair. The visitors turned the game on its head with a 40/20 from the impressive Daly Cherry-Evans, before the same man came up with a sublime grubber in to deliver a try on a plate for winger Jorge Tafua, setting the upset in motion, especially once Tom Trbojevic scooped up a Johnathan Thurston kick and sprinted 90m to tack on another chunk of points.
While the Cowboys would manage to fight back with a try through hooker Jake Granville, the Sea Eagles wouldn’t let up and trues to Brenton Lawrence and Jackson Hastings secured a memorable win.
Canberra Raiders vs Wests Tigers
Tries: Jordan Rapana (2), Jarrod Croker, Josh Papalii, Blake Austin, Nick Cotric, Jack Wighton, Elliott Whitehead
Goals: Jarrod Croker 7/8
Tries: David Nofoaluma
Goals: Mitchell Moses 1/1
For the second straight week in a row the Wests Tigers threw up the single most pathetic and pitiful performance of the weekend in a shellacking at the hands of a young, vibrant and thrilling side and this time it has cost their coach, Jason Taylor, his employment.
In a second half performance worthy of the Raiders highlight reel, the Green Machine blew away a terrible Tigers outfit on a great afternoon out at GIO Stadium in front of 14,628 of Canberra’s finest faithful.
With the game locked at 6-6 and failing to live up to any real heights, two quick tries to the homeside right before the half-time break, in much the same way the Panthers carved open the same opposition last week, and from there, it went from bad to worse for the Tigers.
Jordan Rapana (213m) and Josh Papalii (225) both went big as their side piled on the points as Ricky Stuart’s men got back to their impressive best.
Both Chris Lawrence and Kevin Naiqama would come off during the second stanza for concussion tests and both would fail to return as the Raiders flicked the switch and turned up the intensity with Jarrod Croker strolling over for a try alongside his seven goals, before Elliott Whitehead barged over off the back of bullocking run from Junior Paulo who left Tigers halfback Luke Brooks in a trail of destruction, before the hugely impressive Jordan Rapana snuck over for his second four-pointer right on the sound of the full time whistle to extend the lead and the humiliation of the visitors.
Cronulla Sharks vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Tries: Luke Lewis, Edrick Lee
Goals: James Maloney 1/2
Tries: Euan Aitken (2)
Goals: Gareth Widdop (4/5)
While 14,247 people packed themselves in to Southern Cross Group Stadium for the local derby between the Sharks and the Dragons, it was the under-appreciated visitors who took the spoils on the back of a stirring second half comeback in the last game of the weekend.
The Dragons took steps back toward the side that pummelled an unexpecting Panthers outfit in the first weekend of the season as they turned on a stunning defensive display to hold out a fast-finishing Sharks unit.
Skipper Gareth Widdop opened the scoring shortly before the 20 minute mark with a penalty goal from smack bang in front of the sticks as inspirational Sharks forward Wade Graham left the field for a concussion test before exciting prospect Euan Aitken pounced on a deft Cameron McInnes grubber to extend the Dragons lead out to 6-0.
Widdop punished the defending premiers with another penalty goal to make it 8-0 before the Sharks gifted Aitken a second four pointer after a mistake by Ricky Leutele, making it 14-0 and close to lights out for the homside.
With half an hour left, veteran forward Luke Lewis snuck across the stripe to pull four points back, whch was quickly followed by new import Edrick Lee’s first try for the Shire side, pulling the Sharks back within four points and setting up a grandstand finish.
Joel Thompson pulled off a stunning try saving tackle on Kurt Capewell to deny the Sharks a match-tying try another penalty goal, courtesy of an Andrew Fifiita indiscretion finished the scoring for the night and threw up another contender for upset of the week.
What were your highlights from Round Three of the NRL? Let us know in the comments below.