Roosters 18-22 Raiders
Canberra gained revenge for last year’s grand final loss to Sydney Roosters with an accomplished performance on Friday.
The Raiders were outstanding in the opening period with tries from arguably the world’s best prop Josh Papali, George Williams and Joe Tapine before a late deserved score from Jack Wighton sealed a place in the preliminary final.
For Trent Robinson’s men it was the end of their dynasty and three-peat ambitions in a disappointing performance although a double from James Tedesco and a Joseph Manu try saw them fightback, only for Canberra fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to produce a try-saver on Josh Morris when he looked set to restore parity late on.
Ricky Stuart’s side will now face Melbourne on Friday (9:50am) for a place in the grand final while the Roosters will look to reclaim their title in 2021, albeit without Mitch Aubusson, with the Tricolour stalwart having played his 306th and final match.
Stat of the match: 2017 – Parramatta were the last team to lose in week one and two of the finals, with defeats to the Storm and Cowboys
Eels 24-38 Rabbitohs
A brilliant second-half performance from South Sydney took them to a third consecutive preliminary final and continued Parramatta’s wait for a return to the grand final.
Trailing 18-8 at the break, the Rabbitohs blew the Eels away with tries from Liam Knight, Cameron Murray, Bayley Sironen, a second from Jaxson Paulo and Damien Cook, who had a hand in three others.
For Parramatta, who suffered a pre-match setback with Michael Jennings being immediately suspended for failing a drugs test, the match swung when Mitchell Moses missed a simple kick to level the scores and Souths went down the other end and crossed through Sironen.
The Eels have now not reached a grand final for 11 years but not without the effort of Clint Gutherson who scored twice and assisted George Jennings in a five-minute spell in the first half while Wayne Bennett’s men will aim for their first showpiece appearance since 2014 against Penrith on Saturday (09:50am).
Stat of the match: 2009 – The last time 2 top 4 teams went out in straight sets was 2009 when the Dragons who finished first and Titans who ended third both bowed out.