Roosters Down Warriors and Bunnies Caught In StormRound 13 started with a golden point game and was punctuated with yet another golden pointer on Monday night. The first game of the round ended in a stalemate between the Eels and Dragons while the final game between the Tigers and Knights produced a result in favour of the home team. In between these fantastic games were a few shellackings of some of the lower placed teams and it all took place at the halfway mark of this year’s premiership. The final 13 rounds are going to be a real race to the line with as many as 12 teams competing for top eight positions and even outside possibilities for the bottom four.
RABBITOHS 6 – STORM 16
Souths got off on the right foot scoring the first try of the match and looked like they had come to compete but unfortunately Melbourne were committed to competing harder. ‘Man Mountain’ Dave Taylor was the first to grab a try, doing his best impersonation of a flying winger when he succeeded in re-gathering a Sandow chip kick across the face of the posts. The Storm followed this up with tries to Maurice Blair and Jesse Bromwich to take a 4-point lead into the break. The second half was engulfed in controversy when Dave Taylor again crossed the line and appeared to have grounded the ball on the chalk only to be denied by the on field referees. The video ref was never called upon to examine this possible try further and it was most definitely a crucial call. Despite this setback, the Rabbitohs had their opportunities towards the end of the second half but were unable to convert them into the match-winning try they needed. The Storm capped the match with a try to Cameron Smith and secured the two competition points for this round.
Next Round – RABBITOHS (BYE)
ROOSTERS 13 – WARRIORS 6
Tri-Colour fans will be happy to see their team back in the winner’s circle but with an injury list to rival all other teams it will be a long and arduous final 13 rounds. The first half was a true battle that culminated in a flurry of Roosters tries to give them a 12-point lead at the break. Aiden Guerra and Shaun Kenny-Dowall provided the points that they needed but it looks as though Kenny-Dowall has injured his ankle and could be out for a few rounds. The Warriors came out in the second half with a new resolve and converted it into points through Simon Mannering, getting them back in the chase. Again the battle was stifling in defence and both teams failed to cross the line for the remainder of the match. A Todd Carney field goal to get the Roosters out to a 7-point lead was the only other score as the Chooks locked away a much needed win.
Next Round – STORM vs. ROOSTERS (13/06 at 7:00pm at AAMI PARK)
EELS 14 – DRAGONS 14
Ninety minutes of football and no result except for a point apiece was a cheap ending to what was an absolute firecracker of a match. In a game most expected the Dragons to win easily, the Eels proved to be a handful and surprisingly lead for the majority of the game. Scoring first and going on with it by adding another two points from a penalty goal put them in a good position to play from the front, but the Dragons were quick to add their own points through a bustling Adam Cuthbertson. At half time the scoreboard read 14-6 and it seemed as though the Eels had the Red Vs measure. For 60 minutes the better team wore blue and gold but the Dragons peppered the Eels’ defence in the final twenty to get the scores back to even. A frantic final ten minutes of golden point extra time saw a field goal attempt-a-thon from both teams that resulted in the competition points being split.
SHARKS 16 – BRONCOS 34
Cronulla were desperate and the Broncos really needed to get back on track after three losses so this was going to come down to who wanted it most… and the Broncos claimed that trophy. Sharks fans were treated to an apology post match from the coach and captain but would have much more enjoyed a win on the field. The Broncos scored six tries to Cronulla’s three and controlled the game quite comfortably but they will face an uphill battle due to Origin that will again force them to field an inexperienced team next week.
TITANS 10 – PANTHERS 23
The Titans are lacking something this year but by the time they figure out what it is it may be too late. Another loss, this time to the Panthers on Saturday afternoon at home, was not what they needed. The first try came off the back of a penalty and the Titans were quick to capitalise through David Mead out wide. The Panthers managed two tries in the first and second half and this was clearly enough to destroy the chances of a less than enthusiastic Gold Coast outfit. Michael Jennings broke his club drought and grabbed his first for the Panthers this season.
BULLDOGS 4 – SEA EAGLES 38
One would have thought that this game would have been closer but Manly seem to be skimming under the radar and they put in a premiership winning performance. Controlling the first half with a series of well-executed tries put them out to a 22-nil lead and the Doggies never looked like catching them. The second half resulted in more of the same and the only saving grace for the Dogs was a consolation try to the ever-exciting Ben Barba. Questions have been raised about Kevin Moore’s ability to work with a collection quality players that should be a real threat by this point in the season and while everyone else is wondering what’s going on, the Sea Eagles are efficiently making moves in the right direction.
RAIDERS 24 – COWBOYS 40
If you only saw the opening twenty minutes of this game then by that performance alone the Raiders had this won. All fans of the Green Machine would have liked this review to end there. Unfortunately this was not to be the case. Jonathan Thurston again produced a superhuman performance and dragged his team not only back in to the lead but to a seven tries to four decimation. The Raiders appear to have lost Josh Dugan for an extended period again and it is possible he will not be sighted on the field until round 17.
TIGERS 17 – KNIGHTS 16
Well the first half ended with a 10-all draw and at full-time the scores were still locked at 16-16 meaning another ten minutes were added to the clock and the second golden point match of the round was set for a dramatic finish. Both teams played well and the Knights were unlucky not to walk away with the points. They were clearly shattered when Robbie Farah slotted over the match winning field goal.