On the back of a dominant 3-0 victory in the World Club Series the Australian teams got the 2015 NRL season underway this weekend and in emphatic fashion.
2014 Premiers and newly crowned World Club Champions South Sydney got the competition underway with a convincing 36-6 victory away to fellow World Series side Brisbane. However the Bunnies only led 2-10 at the interval, Dylan Walker with the only try.
They came to play in the second half though – John Sutton, Greg Inglis and Luke Keary all scoring in a fifteen minute spell after the break. A try from Brisbane’s Matt Gillett was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect start to the second half for the visitors. Joel Reddy would score another for Souths before Adam Reynolds kicked a penalty from just inside his own half. The defending champions were off to a flyer.
However Souths weren’t the highest scorers of the weekend as that award went to Parramatta who hammered Manly 42-12.
Semi Radrada and Will Hopoate got the Eels off to a good start but tries from Manly’s Brett Stewart and Cheyse Blair brought the game back level.
Radrada’s late first half effort would be a sign of things to come in the second forty as Chris Sandow grabbed two tries, Brad Takairangi also crossed as well as Radrada getting his hat-trick try. Semi Radrada was the real star of the show as the Eels sit top of the league.
Pat Richards was the hero for Wests as they won by one point at Gold Coast, 18-19. Richards also scored Wests first two tries bringing them back level after James Roberts and James Ryan had twice put the Titans in front. James Tedesco put Wests in front for the first time in the game before Roberts got his second to bring it back to 18-18. This all before Richards, famed for his kicking ability, sunk the drop-goal which gave the Tigers an opening weekend victory.
Also on Saturday, Sydney opened their season with a 28-4 win at North Queensland. Boyd Cordner crossed twice whilst Danny Tupou, Michael Jennings and Aiden Guerra also scored. A 68th minute Justin O’Neill try was only a consolation for the home side.
A second half comeback meant Newcastle also earned a win on Saturday with a 24-14 win over the New Zealand Warriors. Thomas Leuluai and Ryan Hoffman cancelled out an early Dane Gagai try to put the Warriors in front at the break. The Knights would come back with a second try from Gagai before Tyler Randall and a late Robbie Rochow try finished off the comeback.
Canberra came out 20-24 victors in an end-to-end game against Cronulla on Sunday. Jack Wighton got the first two scores for Canberra either side of a Cronulla try from Anthony Tupou. Early second half tries from Sosaia Feki and Ricky Leutele for the home side and Jordan Rapana for the visitors meant the game was level. A penalty goal from Michael Gordon put the sharks in front. However Sisa Waqa’s 63rd minute converted try gave the Raiders a four point victory.
A late Canterbury resurgence wasn’t enough to earn them anything as they fell to Penrith 24-18. Penrith ran up 24 points with Dallin Watene Zelezniak scoring twice either side of George Jennings’ and James Segeyaro tries. The game looked to be wrapped up for the Panthers but with twelve minutes remaining the Bulldogs bit back. Tim Browne, Curtis Rona and Brett Morris all scored within the space of eight minutes but the visitors couldn’t find another to pull the game level and Penrith hung on.
The final game of the weekend was on Monday as Melbourne narrowly edged out St George Illawarra in a tight affair. Young Tonumaipea opened the scoring for Melbourne. Etonia Nabuli crossed for St George but the conversion was unsuccessful. A Will Chambers try just eight minutes later was the final scoring of the game and meant Melbourne were off to a winning start.
- Brisbane Broncos 6 v 36 South Sydney Rabbitohs
- Parramatta Eels 42 v 12 Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
- Newcastle Knights 24-14 New Zealand Warriors
- Gold Coast Titans 18 v 19 Wests Tigers
- North Queensland Cowboys 4 v 28 Sydney Roosters
- Penrith Panthers 24 v 18 Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs
- Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 20-24 Canberra Raiders
- St George Illawarra Dragons 4 v 12 Melbourne Storm