Eels 16 Bulldogs 20
Eels: Matthew Ryan (13’), Cheyse Blair (17’, 38’)
Rabbitohs: Josh Jackson (5’), Mitch Brown (8’), Josh Reynolds (21’), Sam Perrett (30’)
The Bulldogs look to bounce back from a horrible round 1 performance by trying to silence the Eels after their fantastic start to the season.
In the 5th minute a sloppy cross-field bomb from Josh Reynolds left Bulldogs fans disappointed, until Josh Morris’s little desperate grubber was bounced on by Josh Jackson to opening the scoring.
Things only got worse for the Eels as the ‘Hayne Train’ managed to kick the ball dead off the ensuing restart.
Off the back of a quick play the ball, and some smooth hands in the opposition 20, Mitch Brown went over for the Dog’s second of the night (8’).
The first 10 minutes was all Bulldogs and the Eels were reminding everyone why they were Wooden Spooner’s in 2012.
However Chris Sandow made sure the game went the Eels way over the next 10. He started by using his boot, and secured the Eels first 4-pointer when a bomb 25 meters out was tapped back into the hands of Matthew Ryan.
Sandow wasn’t finished yet. As the Eels were 10-meters out the halfback took off sideways, a dummy runner back on the inside drew in the outside defense which gave Cheyse Blair just enough space to receive a Sandow cut out pass and slam it down (17’).
Just when it looked like the Eels halfback was taking over the game, the Bulldogs half, Josh Reynolds, showed fans some of that magic which got the Dog’s to the NRL Grand Final in 2012.
Combined with a dummy and a little fend, Josh found himself in space on his own 30-meter line. With just the fullback (Hayne) to beat, he sucked Hayne in with a dummy and managed to get to the line all by himself.
The Dogs kept attacking. The combination of a cross-field bomb and a lovely aerial display from Sam Perrett, allowed the Bulldogs to cross the white line again.
Sandow continued to make his mark on the game. In the 38th minute a tackle from Sandow forced the ball loose and Cheyse Blair was in again. There is speculation to whether the tackle was a now illegal should charge or not.
Half Time: Eels 16 Bulldogs 20.
Both teams gave it their all in the second half. There were numerous breaks and exciting plays, however neither team could execute well enough to add to the scoreboard.
Dragons 6 Broncos 22
Dragons: Michael Weyman (31’)
Broncos: Ben Hannant (5’), Josh Hoffman (48’), David Stagg (64’), Corey Norman (74’)
Both teams suffered a loss in round 1 and were eager to get their first 2-points of the season.
The Dragons looked the goods early as Jason Nightingale broke the line and had Jamie Soward open on the inside. However an excellent effort from Justin Hodges to chase down Soward and strip the ball saved a certain 4-pointer.
Moments later, the Broncos big man Ben Hannant powered threw some soft goal-line defense to open Brisbanes account on the night.
The Dragons dominated for the next 25 minutes but were struggling to find the line. Eventually in the 31st minute a simple offload to a storming Michael Weyman levelled the score at 6 all.
With the game locked, Justin Hodges proved his legs still have speed as he gunned down a run away Brett Morris. However Justin was pinned for holding too long and sent to the sin bin in the 35th minute.
Half Time Dragons 6 Broncos 6.
Hodges returned from the bin and looked determined to make up for his lost time. That he did, in the 48th minute as Josh Hoffman pounced on a Hodges grubber.
The Broncos kept attacking and piled on two more tries before full time.
The Dragons performance over the first two round won’t have their fans excited for the season ahead.
Warriors 14 Roosters 16
Warriors: Shaun Johnson (51’), Pita Godinet (59’), Bill Tupou (74’)
Roosters: Anthony Minichiello (5’), Mitchell Aubusson (42’), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (46’)
The Warriors were keen to break a 9-match losing streak that dated back to the 2012 season, however it was the men from Sydney who took control in the first half.
In just the 5th minute, the Roosters scored via Anthony Minichiello, when he capped off a beautiful team try from 50 meters out with a spectacular dive in the corner.
After a little scuffle involving Sonny Bill-Williams, the Warriors seemed to fire up. Though the Roosters desperate goal line defense was up to the task.
Half Time: Warriors 0 Roosters 6.
Minutes into the second half some fancy footwork down the right hand side allowed Mitchell Aubusson to stroll over.
Identifying the Warriors weakness, James Maloney continued to attack down the right, and through some hard running Shaun Kenny-Dowall found the line to give the Roosters a 16-0 lead in the 46th minute.
It had been 51 minutes and the Warriors hadn’t put a single point on the board, but when the lighting fast Shaun Johnson found himself in some space, the men in black found the white line.
Furthermore, when Pita Godinet snuck over from dummy half in the 59th minute, the come back was well and truly on.
SBW produced a magically offload to a flying Jennings in the 69th minute, however some frantic defense denied the Origin center.
With the momentum in their favour, the Warriors kept pushing.
With one of their last chances, Johnson put in a grubber which bounced awkwardly for Minichiello, but fantastically for Bill Tupou (74’). Johnson had a chance to tie the game with the conversion, but cracked under pressure as the ball went no were near the posts.
Cowboys 10 Storm 32
Cowboys: Kane Linnett (11’), Ashley Graham (71’)
Storm: Ryan Hinchcliffe (3’), Cooper Cronk (28’, 48’), Will Chambers (38’, 75’), Ryan Hoffman (78’)
It took just 3 minutes for the visitors to score. When Cam Smith and Cooper Cronk combined to put Ryan Hinchcliffe through a gap 50 meters out, he couldn’t be stopped.
Johnathan Thurston didn’t take long to prove he was worth every penny of his new contract, producing a spectacular cut out ball to an open Winterstein who threw it back on the inside to Kane Linnett who crossed the white line.
Both teams blew great chances over the next 15 minutes, but a hungry Cooper Cronk spotted a gap 10 meters out and put his foot down to score his first try of the night.
Just before the half some great build up play, along with some horrible Cowboys defense, and Will Chambers was in for the Storm’s 3rd try.
Half Time: Cowboys 6 Storm 16.
Melbourne’s scramble defense continued to cause problems. 19 second into the second half and the video referee denied Kane Linnett for a second time.
Melbourne went straight back on the attacked.
The Cowboys were defending well, however a cross-field bomb managed to be tapped back on the inside, and Cooper Cronk was there to complete his double.
The Cowboys got into a rhythm and found themselves with an overlap in the 71st minute. Some simple hands, with a dive by Ashley Graham, and the Cowboys hopes were kept alive.
However, an areal bomb by Cooper Cronk that was botched by Matt Bowen gifted Will Chambers another try to put the game out of reach.
Melbourne’s Ryan Hoffman rubbed some salt in the wounds as he scored in the 78th minute.
Titans 36 Raiders 0
Titans: Albert Kelly (4’, 39’), Greg Bird (8’), Matt Srama 25’, 31’), Kevin Gordon (60’)
Raiders were in the media for all the wrong reasons after the sacking of Josh Dugan and standing down Blake Ferguson for breaking team protocol. Things didn’t get any easier as they traveled to the Gold Coast.
Searching for their 150th club win, the Titans were off to the perfect start as Albert Kelly scored under the posted thanks to some horrible defense.
Numerous errors and the Titans were back in the Raiders 20. A second man play, backed up with some quick hands, Greg Bird and his new bleached hair style walked over untouched to give his team a 12-0 lead in the 8th minute.
The Titans ran in two more tries in the 25th and 31st minutes through Matt Srama, however it was Jamal Idris’s 70-meter run down the side line which set up Albert Kelly for his second in the 39th minute that really had the Gold Coast fans cheering.
Half Time: Titans 30 Raider 0.
The Titians didn’t score as easily in the second half, yet did manage one more in the 60th minute threw Kevin Gordon.
The Titans finished the day with a record victory.
Tigers 28 Panthers 18
Tigers: Benji Marshall (17’), Jacob Miller (33’). Aaron Woods (46’, 64’), Marika Koroibete (67’).
Panthers: Sika Manu (5’, 72’), David Simmons (55’)
Campbelltown Sports Stadium
The Tigers were trying to look forward after the Knights smashed them in round 1. Things didn’t start well when a kick from David Simmons took a wicked bounce and Sika Manu managed to dive on the loose ball in just the 5th minute.
The Tigers gathered themselves and manage to put together a few good sets of 6. This gave them great field position, and off a penalty tap 3 meters out, Robbie Farah found a charging Benji Marshal who walked over in the 17th minute.
Just before the half Jacob Miller showed great strength and slammed the ball down, which gave the tigers a 12-6 at the half.
Half Time: Tigers 12-6.
The Tigers came out in the second half like they finished the first and were pounding the Panther line. Soon enough, Aaron Woods found the line with a Robbie Farah assist in the 46th minute.
The Panthers hit back in the 55th minute when David Simmons finished a lovely backline move from 10 out.
After success early in the half, Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods combined again and the Tigers went up by two converted tries as Woods snatched a double (64’).
The game was all done when Marika Koroibete jumped on a wobbly chip kick which confused the Panthers outside men.
Two notable injuries on the night:
Tigers: Keith Galloway – Pectoral muscle injury (Sidelined for up to four months).
Panthers: Lachlan Coote – Pectoral muscle injury (Out for the season, scheduled for surgery).
Manly 32 Knights 0
Manly: Jorge Taufua (6’, 60’, 78’), Jamie Lyon (15’), Anthony Watmough (44’), Brett Stewart (71’)
On the back of some heavy defense and dazzling attack, Manly completely dominated the Knights from start to finish.
It took Manly 6 minutes to open their account. With a tough finish off the back of a second man play, Jorge Taufua went over with his first of the night.
Jamie Lyon put his mark on the game when he reached to the sky and took an AFL like catch to score Manly’s second try in the 15th minute.
The Knights found themselves in some good fields position a few of times in the half. However all it took was a few big hits from Manly center Steve Matai to completely stop any momentum the Knights were building.
Half Time: Manly 10 Knights 0.
The Knights struggled to get points and their defense didn’t make it any easier 4 minutes into the second half. Anthony Watmough broke the line on his own 40 and made it all the way for a 4-pointer.
Taufua slid over in the 60th minute for his second, but it was a break down the right that produced the highlight of the night. Lyon found himself close to the sideline, he kicked back in field and none other than fullback Brett Stewart won the race to the ball to cap off a spectacular try.
Manly’s strong defense lasted the whole game, and Taufua completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute.
Three notable injuries on the night:
Manly: Steve Matai
Knights: Dane Gagai and William Mason