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Storm beat Souths to stay among NRL leaders

August 11, 2013

SYDNEY (AP) — Defending champions Melbourne overpowered one of its major threats to a second consecutive title, while the Parramatta Eels ended a 10-match losing streak at the other end of the National Rugby League standings.

The Storm scored two early tries for a 26-8 win over South Sydney. The Rabbitohs went into the match level with the first-place Sydney Roosters with 34 points each.

The Roosters moved two points ahead of Souths with a 28-22 win Saturday over the Canberra Raiders.

Parramatta, meanwhile, edged the Wests Tigers 26-22. A try three minutes from full time gave the Eels victory over a team also at the bottom of the NRL standings.

Eels coach Ricky Stuart said the game was “pretty ugly — we didn’t play well (but) we have a lot of spirit in the joint.”

Hours after the Tigers loss, one of their star players, former New Zealand rugby league captain Benji Marshall, made his jump to rugby union official, signing a two-year contract to play Super Rugby for the Auckland-based Blues in a late-career code switch he hopes might take him to the Rio Olympics in 2016 when rugby sevens is added to the competition.

On Sunday, Manly beat the New Zealand Warriors 27-12 to move into third place, level on competition points with Melbourne at 31, but ahead on points differential. In another Sunday match, Brisbane defeated St. George Illawarra 26-24.

Newcastle center Dane Gagai scored a late try off a cross-field kick by Jarrod Mullen to give the Knights an 18-14 win over Cronulla.

The Canterbury Bulldogs play Gold Coast on Monday to conclude the 22nd round.