Poms in Oz: James Graham and Bulldogs top NRL ladder

Canterburry Bulldogs went to the top of the NRL ladder with a 20-12 win over Manly Sea Eagles.

James Graham came off the bench in his usual number 14 jersey, and was a part of the play building up to Sam Perrett’s try in the 14th minute. 

Canterbury had earlier scored through Ben Barba as the Bulldogs went into the sheds 12-0 ahead.

It took Manly 50 minutes to score their first try through Jamie Lyon, and the Sea Eagles set up a nervous finale when captain Jason King scored nine minutes later.

However Ben Barba, who must be a serious contender for the Dally M award, scored with three minutes remaining to seal the win for the Bulldogs.

 

Melbourne Storm and Gareth Widdop dropped from first place in the NRL ladder after their fourth consecutive defeat.

Their 16-10 defeat to wooden spoon favourites Parramatta Eels came as a shock, but the Eels had just lost their coach Stephen Kearney in the week building up to the match.

Ken Sio and Ben Smith got the Eels into a 10 point lead after the quarter of the game mark, but the Storm replied through Rory Kostjasyn before half time.

Nathan Hindmarsh secured the win for the Eels with 10 minutes remaining, while Ryan Hoffman’s late try was noting more than consolation. 

 

George Burgess was dropped from the South Sydney Rabbitohs’ side following the return of prop forward Eddy Pettybourne

Luke Burgess was subsequently placed on the bench, while brother Sam kept his number 10 jersey.

The Rabbitohs defeated St Geroge Illawarra 36-14 to keep their minor premiership hopes alive, but could be without Greg Inglis after he was charged with committing a dangerous tackle on Dean Young.

Nathan Merritt’s hat trick secured the win for the Rabbitohs, as the home side got into an early lead. Andrew Everingham’s try inside the first two minutes was increased by Merritt six minutes later. Brett Morris replied for the Dragons before Merrit grabbed his second try.

Inglis and Matt King scored tries before Ben Creagh touched down with just over 15 minutes remaining. 

John Sutton scored for the home side, before Morris rounded off the scoring through a consolation try for the Dragons.

 

Chris Heighington’s Wests Tigers fell to North Queensland Cowboys 29-16 at Dairy Farmers Stadium. 

The win meant the Cowboys moved up to fourth spot, but for Wests it could signal the end of their season, according to coach Tim Sheens.

The Tigers are struggling through injury, after three of the Sheens’ men were sent to hospital following the Cowboys loss.

Heighington, who himself had been struggling throughout the year with injury, came through the match unscathed. 

 

Brisbane Broncos were defeated by Queensland rivals Gold Coast Titans 14-10 at Skilled Park.

The Broncos, who are still missing England winger Jack Reed through injury, were not helped by a eight-point try awarded to the Titans’ Luke Bailey.

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