Jason Taylor has been given a stay of execution after his Tigers defeated South Sydney. The damage was done in the first 20 minutes, Wests scoring four tries to blow Souths off the park. Ex-Hull FC man Jordan Rankin ran riot, the winger bagging two tries and kicking three goals in a dynamic display. The Tigers were embarrassed last weekend by Canberra and showed a lot of pride to finally end their six-game losing streak. For the Rabbits that’s now four defeats in a row, with heads expected to roll.
West goes blue and gold
Western Sydney is Parramatta’s after their derby battle with Canterbury. The Eels saw off the Doggies without their skipper Kieran Foran and after contending with a mounting injury toll. Parra lost Tim Mannah and Michael Gordon during the game but fought back to post a 20-12 win. Clinton Gutherson was tremendous at fullback and despite a strong performance from James Graham, with 167 run metres and 48 tackles, the Dogs couldn’t respond. Canterbury have been Jekyll and Hyde this season and their inconsistency continues.
Peter Wallace was the hero as his field goal in the 79th minute sealed an entertaining 19-18 win against Canberra in Bathurst. The Raiders scored two tries in the final 11 minutes to tie the scores up. But Wallace struck, in controversial circumstances as the Canberra players claimed they were illegally blocked, to give the Panthers the sweet win. Elliot Whitehead caught the eye for the Green Machine with 44 tackles.
Mitchell Pearce made his first game back from suspension one to remember with a starring role in the Roosters’ dominant 38-0 victory against Newcastle. The Knights were nilled again in another disastrous loss. Blake Ferguson picked up three tries and Pearce ran the show, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves also making a successful return from injury. The Roosters will hoping to start a run now and mount a charge back up the table.
The Cowboys added the scalp of Manly to their growing hoard in 2016 with another outstanding performance. North Queensland turned it on at Brookie, leading 22-6 at the break and continuing their march in the second half. The Cowboys pack is in awesome form right now and off the back of that their brilliant backline is near unstoppable. This win puts them on top of the table, pipping their banana bending rivals Brisbane in first place. JT, Morgan and co look near unstoppable.
They may have been missing six players through a club suspension, and on the back of a 42-0 hiding from Melbourne last week, but the Warriors didn’t let that bother them. A youngish team stood tall to get over the top of the Dragons 26-10 at home. Amazingly it was the Warriors’ first win over St George Illawarra in their past 12 encounters. And they have Shaun Johnson and their outstanding defence to thank for the victory, the halfback back to his hot-stepping best to score a great try early on.
Cameron Smith may be 32 years old and have 15 years of first-grade footy under his belt, but he is still as effective and dangerous as he’s ever been. Smith was at his scheming peak against the Titans, driving Melbourne to a seven-try smashing of the Gold Coast. The crafty hooker set up several scores as the Storm thrashed the team from south-east Queensland. It was one-way traffic all game in what was the Titans worst defeat of 2016.
Sharks sneak home
We keep saying it every week but the Sharks are the real deal this season. They showed it on Sunday with their 30-28 win over Brisbane, holding off the fast-finishing Broncos to join the three other teams at the top of the ladder. Cronulla piled on 28 points in the first half, with five tries to leave Brisbane stunned. Ahead 28-6 at the break, the Broncos woke up and started to fire. They managed four tries in the second half but a James Maloney penalty goal was enough to just get the Sharkies home. Wayne Bennett later blamed the announcement of the Anzac Test teams for his side’s poor start – one of the worst excuses you’ll hear.