Roosters move into first after Souths stumble
SYDNEY (AP) — There was a switch in the status quo among the leading teams in Australia’s National Rugby League on the weekend, with the Sydney Roosters moving ahead of South Sydney after surprisingly one-sided results.
Two tries from Boyd Cordner led the Roosters to a 42-6 win over Penrith while North Queensland dominated Souths from start to finish, with the Rabbitohs scoring two late tries to make the 30-12 scoreline barely respectable.
“We controlled our kicking game, we controlled our possession,” North Queensland coach Neil Henry said of his side’s easy win.
While the Roosters and Souths had pulled away from the chasing teams in the last several rounds, Souths’ stutter helped Manly, which beat Parramatta 40-6, to close in on the leaders.
The Roosters are ahead of Souths on points difference, with each team having 34 points.
Manly is in third place with 29, level on points with defending champions Melbourne. The Storm, who trail the Sea Eagles on points differential, overwhelmed the Canberra Raiders 68-4, continuing the sequence of lopsided results by running in 12 tries.
Elsewhere, Newcastle and Brisbane played to an 18-18 draw after the Broncos blew an 18-10 lead with eight minutes remaining. Knights captain Jarrod Mullen missed with four field goal attempts in 10 minutes of golden point extra time, his third and fourth shots both shading the upright after his first two were desperately charged down by the Broncos.
Brisbane’s Peter Wallace and Ben Hunt also missed field goal attempts.
Newcastle coach Wayne Bennett said the two teams should have shared the points after 80 minutes rather than having to put their bodies through extra time.
“It is just a totally different football game to what you see for 80 minutes,” Bennett said. “At the end of the night, we both walked away with one point each and the fans have got to go home with one point each and we all get on with life.
“And for the life of me, I can’t see why the game didn’t stop at 80 minutes. I hope in the future we get to that point.”
Fifth-place Cronulla beat the New Zealand Warriors 18-14 while St. George Illawarra plays the Canterbury Bulldogs on Monday to conclude the 21st round.