EELS 18 d. PANTHERS 12 @ ANZ STADIUM
THE MATCH: Corey Norman has led Parramatta to an 18-12 win against the Panthers in an entertaining Western derby. The Eels scored three unanswered tries in a display of quality attacking play, as they enjoyed superior possession, territory and some luck, registering their fourth win of the season.
Parramatta scored their first through Norman after a fumble by Bryce Cartwright in the Panthers’ in-goal. After a Clint Gutherson penalty, the Eels kept the pressure deep inside the opposition’s red zone. Norman’s second act was to kick a perfectly weighted kick to Semi Radradra who powered over in the corner.
The Eels completed the demolition straight after halftime, with Norman jumping on a grubber to score out wide. Gutherson converted to make it 18-0.
It took over an hour but the Panthers finally built some pressure in the Eels’ red zone. A sweeping back line play allowed Peta Hiku to score acrobatically in the corner. Corey Harawira-Naera scored another with three minutes to play, but the Eels hung on to win.
THE MAN: Corey Norman. The Eels halfback laid the foundation for all three tries – scoring two himself – and his perfectly timed kick to Radradra was a highlight.
THE MOMENT: the rugby league gods shone on Parramatta early in the first half when Josh Hoffman managed to get a penalty after a period of slapstick play. Gutherson gathered a kick in his in-goal and dropped the ball as he was about to pass, but ended up toeing it though to Hoffman, who gathered the ball and got back into play. The Eels scored their second try soon afterwards.
Parramatta Eels 18 (Norman 2, Radradra tries; Gutherson 3 goals) defeated Penrith Panthers 12 (Hiku, Harawira-Naera tries; Cleary 2 goals) at ANZ Stadium.
COWBOYS 24 d. KNIGHTS 12 @ 1300SMILES STADIUM
THE MATCH: The Cowboys ended a two-game losing streak by defeating the Titans in a professional display at home.
After North Queensland’s Coen Hess butchered a royal chance to score early, his second row teammate Gavin Cooper found the try-line soon after, with a penalty goal extending their lead to 6-0.
Newcastle absorbed the North Queensland attack and turned their limited possession into quick-fire points. Nathan Ross scored in the corner and Brendan Elliott outpaced Kayln Ponga for a 90-metre try that gave the Knights a 12-6 advantage. But Ponga hit back with a try of his own – a simple dummy and score to leave it 10-12 in favour of the visitors at the break.
The Cowboys began the second half with a sense of determination, Kane Linnett bulldozing his way through Brock Lamb and Dane Gagai for a converted try. Ponga ran through a gaping hole to score his second try the 62nd minute. A 72nd minute penalty goal extended the lead to 24-12 and a gutsy win.
THE MOMENT: Kane Linnett’s try punctured the Knights right after half time. The Cows rode on this momentum for the rest of the match.
North Queensland 24 (Gavin Cooper, Kalyn Ponga, Kane Linnett tries; Ethan Lowe 2 goals, Kyle Feldt 2 goals) defeat
ed Newcastle Knights 12 (Nathan Ross, Brendon Elliot tries; Brock Lamb 2 goals) at 1300SMILES Stadium.
GOLD COAST TITANS 16 d. CRONULLA-SUTHERLAND SHARKS 12 @ SOUTHERN CROSS STADIUM
THE MATCH: The Gold Coast has shocked Cronulla with a four-point win. Two late tries by interchange forward Leivaha Pulu resigned the Sharks to their third loss of the season, as well as ending the Titans’ four-game losing streak.
The result will be even harder to fathom for Paul Gallen’s men as they dominated the match for 65 minutes. Tyron Roberts made a bright start for the Titans though, slipping through a gap to score the opening try. The Sharks hit with two tries of their own – one through centre Ricky Leutele in the corner, the other a penalty try – as the Bunker ruled back rower Jason Bukuya was tackled without the football when trying to ground the ball. James Maloney converted to make it 10-6 going into the break.
The Sharks had a chance to increase their lead right after the break, but Leutele was in touch when chasing a kick. The scores remained 10-6 until Maloney kicked a penalty goal with 61 minutes on the clock increased it to 12-6.
Just when you thought Cronulla were going to hold on for another gritty win, up stepped Jarryd Hayne. Wearing the number 16 jersey, the fullback fed Pulu from dummy half and the forward crashed over the score. Pulu scored his second ten minutes later – and five minutes from time – after receiving a pass from Joe Greenwood from a Chad Townsend fumble. The Bunker deliberated for several moments but finally awarded the Titans the try.
THE MAN: Hayne for his second half impact. The Titans were much better for his involvement and he instigated their comeback.
THE MOMENT: Dan Sarginson dropped the ball with the try-line in front of him at 10-10. But it seemed to galvanise the Titans, who kept attacking in the belief they could score again.
Titans 16 (Leivaha Pulu 2, Tyrone Roberts tries; Ash Taylor 2 goals) defeated Sharks 12 (Ricky Leutele, Jayson Bukuya tries; James Maloney 2 goals) at Southern Cross Group Stadium.