Knights hand Cowboys another away loss

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Newcastle Knights ended a seven-game NRL losing streak to hand North Queensland Cowboys a seventh-straight away loss.

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Brisbane Broncos topple woeful Canberra Raiders

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The Brisbane Broncos have defeated the Canberra Raiders 22-4 at GIO Stadium to record their fourth consecutive win.

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Brisbane Broncos v Canberra Raiders Preview

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The Canberra Raiders host the Brisbane Broncos at GIO Stadium on Monday, June 9 in Round 13 of the NRL. The match kicks off at 7pm (AEST).

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Sydney Roosters topple ladder-leading Canterbury Bulldogs

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The Sydney Roosters have whitewashed a lacklustre Bulldogs side with an imposing performance against the league leaders, winning 32-12 at ANZ Stadium.

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Cronulla Sharks v South Sydney Rabbitohs Preview

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What: NRL Round 11

Who: Cronulla Sharks v South Sydney Rabbitohs

When: Monday May 26 – 7pm

Where: Remondis Stadium

I Can Watch It On: FOX

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North Queensland Cowboys crush Sydney Roosters

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It was all too easy for the Cowboys as they cruised to a massive 42-10 win over the Roosters who are looking far from the side they were last season.

80 Minutes in 80 Seconds:

The Cowboys opened proceedings at a blistering pace with the Northerners scoring three tries in the first 20 minutes. However, the Roosters aren’t ranked the second best defensive team in the NRL for nothing, and it was the veteran Anthony Minichiello who got the Sydney boys on the board.

The Roosters were starting to gain momentum before a contentious decision saw Captain Johnathan Thurston diving over the line after a Brent Tate fumble.

Following another Roosters blunder, the Cowboys were impeccable in their retaliation and some expansive ball play saw winger Matthew Wright prove to be the embodiment of their revitalised formation, giving the Cowboys a 30-6 half time lead.

The second half was all North Queensland with the side dominating possession, territory and getting the rub of the green with the referees. The Roosters couldn’t keep up with the Cowboys relentless attack and by the 60th minute the Cowboys were up 36-6 with the game all but over.

Kane Linnett’s hat trick was the icing on the cake for the Cowboys as the centre went crashing over in the 71st minute, extending the Cowboys lead to 42-6. The Roosters managed a consolation try after some Tuivasa-Sheck brilliance to finish with a 42-10 drubbing.

Who Killed It:

Johnathan Thurston put NSW on high alert as his standout display summarised the brilliant talent the half contains. His influence on the Cowboys was consolidated by his combination with late inclusion Robert Lui, as the two terrorised the Roosters. Do New South Wales fans really need another reason to be worried about Origin?

Who Stank It Up:

Spectators of this encounter would be baffled to know that the Roosters only average 14 points conceded per game and are ranked as the second best defence in the competition. Their defence was a shamble tonight, and their inability to capitalise on opportunities highlighted their lack of venom in attack.

What Do I Need To Know:

Gavin Cooper was stretchered from the field in the 52nd minute after a hip dislocation, while Cameron King was carried off after reportedly “feeling his knee go.” Origin camp’s had their hearts in their mouths as Boyd Cordner (ankle) and Brent Tate (leg and hip) showed obvious signs of pain in a tackle they were both adversely affected in.

What The..:

What has happened to the Roosters? The reigning premiers’ performance emulated that of the wooden spooner’s and need to get back on track, soon.

Look Out Up Ahead:

The Cowboys take on the struggling Canberra Raiders, Sunday 3pm at Canberra Stadium, as they will look to make it three wins in a row. The reigning premiers are on the road as they shape up against the Bulldogs who have won five on the trot, Friday 7.45pm.

Sam Alexander

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Crusaders Demolish Hapless Reds

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The Crusaders made it four wins in a row and kept their finals hopes alive with a crushing 57-29 bonus-point win over the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

Reds supporters laid witness to the most points ever scored at Suncorp in Super Rugby, unfortunately most of them against their side.

Visiting fly-half Colin Slade was the stand-out, sinking 11 goals from as many attempts and playing a significant hand in his side’s comfortable win.

Coming into the match in last place in the Australian conference, the Reds were playing for pride and started well with an early 3-0 lead.

The Crusaders hit back three minutes later through a barnstorming try to winger Nemani Nadolo. The Crusaders’ discipline then came under scrutiny and six long arm penalties in a short period resulted in half Andy Ellis being sent to the bin.

The Reds took full advantage, running in two tries in just three minutes.

Leading 17-16 the Reds were flying, however the Crusaders were swift in their retaliation with an energetic start to the second half, yielding two quick tries.

Prop Wyatt Crockett crashed over following a cheeky quick tap in the 43rd minute and then winger Johnny McNicholl scored a beautiful runaway try after a brilliant Israel Dagg kick.

Any chance the Reds had of restoring some pride was dashed as they failed to deal with a Crusaders high ball resulting in No.8 Sam Whitelock crashing over the line. It had the Crusaders up 40-17 and home fans leaving despite having 20 minutes to go.

The tries kept coming as the Crusaders eased to a comfortable win.

Sam Alexander

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Brumbies Beat Jake White’s Sharks

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The Brumbies got one up on their former coach and extended their lead at the top of the Australian conference with a convincing 16-9 win over Jake White’s Sharks in a fiery encounter at GIO stadium.

It was White’s first trip back to Canberra since walking out on the Brumbies mid-contract at the end of last season.

Man-of-the-match Sam Carter scored the only try of an ill-tempered clash 15 minutes from full-time to lead the Brumbies to a satisfying victory over the ladder-leading Sharks.

Christian Lealiifano’s trusty kicking boot was also key as he slotted three penalties and a conversion, while the usually reliable Francois Steyn managed just three penalty goals from six attempts for the visitors.

The Springbok also kicked the ball out on the full twice from re-starts and failed to find touch with a penalty kick.

Both sides suffered casualties in a bruising and niggly top-of-the-table clash in wet conditions, with winger Joe Tomane the worst off after suffering a cheekbone injury.

The two teams employed similar tactics but Brumbies scored a points victory in the physical battle and won the kicking duel as both looked to play field position.

Lealiifano nailed two first-half penalties to send the Brumbies into the shed ahead 6-3
He extended the margin to 9-6 after the break before Nic White sent Carter charging through a gap from close range for the only five-pointer of the contest.

Steyn slotted his third penalty goal in the 72nd minute but the visitors had to settle for a bonus point for finishing within seven points.

Despite the loss the Sharks remain on top of the Super Rugby ladder, two points clear of the Brumbies who sit third.

Sam Alexander

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Waratahs Topple Hurricanes in Thriller

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The NSW Waratahs have rediscovered their tryscoring mojo to consolidate their position in the top six with a 39-30 win over the Hurricanes.

Disorganised and misdirected, the Waratahs were lucky to lead 7-0 before a catalystic retailiation from the Hurricanes, resulting in the travelling side putting 24 unanswered points on the board.

Following their early deficit, the Hurricanes’ came out firing with three tries and a penalty goal. Toomanga-Allen got the scoring underway for the Canes’ with a barreling try, soon followed by a penalty goal to fly half Beauden Barrett.

The Hurricanes continued the onslaught through a five pointer to standout Barrett followed by a quick fire try to winger Julian Savea.

Desperate to make amends for their previous lapse in concentration, the Warahtahs counter attack was relentless as they finished the half with an even scoreboard. Captain Dave Dennins, and Bernard Foley receive the plaudits as the enforcers got their side back on track.

The second half was off to a flyer with the Waratahs looking ominous. It was hard to find adequate superlatives for their inspired display and Matthew Carraro received the rewards following a brilliant inside ball, sending the flying winger over the line. Foley’s standout performance was further highlighted through his outstanding vision and playmaking ability.

The Waratahs may have been on top but their discipline was lacking. Two successive penalty goals for Barrett had the Hurricanes’ trailing by one and well and truly back in the game.

Stephen Hoiles was ultimately the difference between the two, with the substitute scoring his first try in an astonishing eight years. Making a brilliant break, only to be caught, the veteran soon found himself in the action again and had the ball over the line – giving the Waratahs a six point lead.

Michael Cheika’s heart would’ve been in his mouth in the dying ten as the Hurricanes’ made a couple of dangerous line breaks and were gifted a penalty.

However, it was ultimately the Hurricanes’ who shot themselves in the foot. Giving away a sloppy penalty, followed by a march for backchat, Foley was happy to finish the game with another penalty goal, capping off an outstanding performance with six conversions and a brilliant try.

Beauden Barrett deserves special mention for the Hurricanes’, the fly-half emulated Foley’s effort and was the standout for his side. The sharpshooter arguably the man of the man if the result had gone his way.

Sam Alexander

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Wests Tigers v Gold Coast Titans Round 8 Preview

What: NRL Round 8
Who: Wests Tigers v Gold Coast
When: Sunday 27th April – 3pm
Where: Leichhardt Oval
I Can Watch It On: Channel Nine

Form Guide

Things You Need To Know:
Human wrecking ball James Gavet is a huge loss for the Tigers, the enforcer dropping out with a hamstring injury. Sitaleki Akauola is on the bench to accommodate the return of Liam Fulton.
The Titans’ only change is Mark Ioane coming in for the suspended Matt White. Surprisingly William Zillman is still out of the side after reports he was training last week.

Reason To Watch:
Two (surprise) heavyweights go head to head with the Tigers coming off three wins and playing their best footy in recent seasons. The Titans are firming in premiership contention after a 5-2 start to the season. The Tigers always aim up at Leichhardt, and their 42-12 win over the Titans earlier this season shouldn’t be brushed aside.

Reason To Turn Away:
Just when the Tigers thought they’d never hear of him again, Benji arrives home asking for forgiveness from the rugby league brethren. He won’t be in black and gold again but the mere mention of his name is guaranteed to start a blue in Tigertown.

Say What:
“I’m not getting ahead of myself – the coaching staff know it’s a long haul getting to the semis.” – Mick Potter is keeping it real despite the Tigers’ great start to 2014.

Final Word:
Recent form and home ground advantage will get the Wests Tigers across the line – but only just. WT by 6.

Sam Alexander

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