NRL round-up: Widdop on fire, controversial Klein, Johnson breaking hearts

Drew Darbyshire

There were a couple of blowout scores in round three of the NRL Premiership.

Canterbury Bulldogs beat Penrith Panthers 20-18 in a thrilling match. The Bulldogs went 14-0 up after 20 minutes before the Panthers came back into the game, with the score at one point being 20-12 to Canterbury. Josh Mansour scored for Penrith late on but Canterbury just managed to hang on for the two points.

In the match of the weekend, Shaun Johnson stepped up to the centre stage again and added two drop-goals to steal a huge 20-19 victory for New Zealand Warriors against Canberra Raiders.

The Raiders led 13-6 at half time thanks to tries from Tonga hooker Siliva Havili and England star Elliott Whitehead. Former Catalans and Wakefield half-back Sam Williams also slotted a one-pointer.  The Warriors fought their way back in the second half, with tries coming from Peta Hiku, Tohu Harris and Issac Luke, not forgetting two crucial drop-goals from Johnson.

A hat-trick from Robert Jennings helped South Sydney Rabbitohs register their first win of the season as they thrashed Manly Sea Eagles 34-6 at ANZ Stadium.

Parramatta Eels suffered their third straight defeat of the campaign against Cronulla Sharks. Jarryd Hayne left the field with an injury on the half hour mark and he could be out for over two months. Chad Townsend scored all 14 points as Cronulla won 14-4 at ANZ Stadium.

England ace Gareth Widdop continued his fine start to the year by guiding St George Illawarra Dragons to an emphatic 54-8 win over Gold Coast Titans. He scored two tries, set up five tries and kicked nine goals, totalling 26 points.

Syndey Roosters became the first team to beat Newcastle Knights this year. Australia half-back Cooper Cronk led them to a fine 38-8 victory at Allianz Stadium on Saturday. Latrell Mitchell, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Luke Keary, Victor Radley, Blake Ferguson (2) and Cronk all got on the scoresheet for the Roosters.

A rugby league chat wouldn’t be a rugby league chat without a refereeing decision debate, would it? Former Super League referee Ashley Klein awarded a controversial penalty in golden point extra time on Friday night, with Brisbane Broncos running out 9-7 winners against Wests Tigers.

Cameron Smith’s Melbourne Storm edged past Jonathan Thurston’s North Queensland Cowboys 30-14 at AAMI Park on Thursday night. Storm were the better side for the majority of the game, leading 18-8 at half time and going on to win by 16 points.

The Dragons and Warriors are joint top of the NRL ladder with three wins out of three, while the Raiders and Eels sit rock bottom, with zero points.