Souths bounce back to down Gold Coast 32-4 in NRL
SYDNEY (AP) — South Sydney rebounded from Monday’s shock loss to St. George-Illawarra to beat the Gold Coast 32-4 and consolidate its hold on first place in the weekend’s 20th round of Australia’s National Rugby League.
Sam Burgess scored two tries and 21-year-old Luke Keary earned his first and second NRL tries as Souths inflicted Gold Coast’s fourth-straight loss, denting its chances of a top-eight finish with six regular season matches remaining.
The fifth-placed Bulldogs scored with their first three possessions to lead 16-0 after eight minutes on their way to a 40-12 win over last-placed Parramatta which endured a ninth-straight loss.
Brisbane kept its slim playoffs hopes alive with an 18-16 win over North Queensland, while Canberra beat St. George 22-18 to stay in sixth place.
The second-placed Sydney Roosters beat Newcastle 28-12 on Sunday to stay within two points on Souths. The New Zealand Warriors posted their seventh win in eight games, beating third-placed Melbourne 30-22 to leave the Storm only two points ahead of Manly who play Wests on Monday.
England-born brothers Sam and George Burgess were both try-scorers in South’s convincing win over Gold Coast. Souths were helped by the Titans, who missed 51 tackles and whose only points came from a try to winger Kevin Gordon.
“We’ve got a great squad. It’s very competitive,” said Souths captain John Sutton, who made his 200th NRL appearance for the club. “Everyone in the lower-grades is pushing hard for a first-grade spot.
“This is probably the best team I’ve been associated with at the club. It’s good times here and hopefully we can just keep it up.”
Gold Coast coach John Cartwright said his team had been “bashed up all over the park” by Souths.
“It wasn’t our worst performance of the year, put it that way,” Cartwright said. “Physically they came through us and it steamrolled.”
The Bulldogs took advantage of a blazing start to score seven tries against Parramatta, which took some of the sting from the scoreline with two late tries of their own.
But their win came at a cost when star fullback Ben Barba limped from the field after 10 minutes with a serious ankle injury.
“He’s probably got what they call a syndesmosis and we’ll know the full story tomorrow when he has a scan,” coach Des Hasler said. “But (he’ll be out) for weeks.”
Parramatta was without captain Jarryd Hayne, who has a hamstring injury, and now look likely to claim the wooden spoon for the second year in a row.
Center Justin Hodges scored a try with seven minutes remaining and five-eighth Scott Prince coolly slotted the conversion to lift Brisbane to an 18-16 win over North Queensland.
Brisbane dashed to a 12-0 lead after 15 minutes with tries to Ben Hunt and Corey Oates before North Queensland closed within four points with a try to winger Kalifa Faifai Loa four minutes from halftime.
A 52nd minute try to Gavin Cooper gave North Queensland the lead for the first time but Brisbane reclaimed the lead with Hodge’s late try.
Tries on either side of halftime clinched Canberra’s win over St. George, who have now won only one of the last 17 matches between the teams.