2010 NRL Telstra Premiership Round 1 Results & Wrap-Up

Well the 2010 Rugby League season has officially begun with round one the NRL Telstra Premiership done and dusted with punters already looking towards the scintillating showdowns set for Round 2.

But first, here is a quick look at the round one matches, giving us an indication of what is to come over the next few months of fantastic footy!

The weekend saw eight intense matches take place, with a number of upset wins and startling second-half comebacks adding to the excitement and allure of round one.

All NRL fans will know just how tough it is to pick the winning teams in the first round, and this season proved that by degrees as last year’s Wooden Spoon team, the Sydney Roosters, are now sitting as number one on the ladder!

Friday night footy was back to its brilliant best with the opening match of 2010 seeing the Brisbane Broncos defeat the North Queensland Cowboys 30 -24.

For a detailed match review of Game 1 click here.

The following game on Friday night was another close finish with only a converted try between the two teams. Last season’s runners-up the Parramatta Eels went down to an in-form St. Gorge Illawarra Dragons 12 – 18.

For a detailed match review of Game 2 click here.

Match 3: Canterbury Bulldogs 16 – Newcastle Knights 20

Game three saw one of the shock defeats of round one, when the Newcastle Knights, one of the early favourites for the 2010 Wooden Spoon, fought back against last season’s preliminary finalists, Canterbury.

The Bulldogs suffered a round one loss at their home ground when the Knights showed they had the strength and skill to overcome the odds and their off-field controversy, even without the motivation of captain Kurt Gidley.

It was an intense match with both teams scoring four tries without conversion. Newcastle dominated the first half with Cooper Vuna putting them on the board only six minutes in. Ten minutes later they were at it again with Akuila Uate adding another four points to the shock score.

Seemingly unstoppable, the Knights continued their assault scoring again in the 26minute to see them go to the half-time break leading a downtrodden Canterbury 16 – nil.

Coming back for the next 40 minutes of footy, the Bulldogs gave one of the first round’s best second-half comebacks, scoring four tries, the final two only three minutes apart in the 75th and 78th minutes.

But with Canterbury’s new kicker Michael Ennis missing all four conversion attempts, it wasn’t enough to get the round one win so many expected from them.

It was too little too late for the Bulldogs, showing just how much they missed the genius of their retired champion Hazem El Masri, after the Knights had bought their score up with a sensational try by Mark Taufua, breaking away to run 60m down the field after picking up a loose ball from Brett Kimmorley, in the 53rd minute and two penalties kicked in the first half saw them finish the 20 – 16 winners.

Match 4: Penrith Panthers 34 – Canberra Raiders 16

The Penrith v Raiders game on Saturday was one of the few weekend matches where the favourites heading onto the field lived up to expectations and claimed a round one victory.

The Panthers totally took control of the game, leaving the Raiders scoreless in the first half. Penrith scored four tries in the first forty minutes, with Michael Gordon converting all but the first so they went to the half-time break leading the Raiders 22 – nil.

In the second half a more animated Raiders looked set for one of round one’s brilliant comebacks, as Scott Logan put their first points on the board four minutes in. They did it again less than five minutes later when Daniel Vidot scored in the 48th minute. Panthers begun to look worried when Joel Thompson got another one in, scoring Canberra’s third try with 22 minutes left to play to bring them back in the game 22 – 16.

But Penrith quickly regained their composure and control and left the Raiders’ heads spinning as they put down another two tries by Adrian Purtell and fullback Lachlan Coote, his second of the match.

Purtell, playing his first match for the Panthers following his release from the Raiders, showed his new club his loyalty when he intercepted a pass made by Terry Campese before charging down the length of the field to score the try of the game in the 62nd minute.

And with Gordon’s impressive kicking converting both, it was all over for the Raiders as they lost 16 – 34.

Match 5: Cronulla Sharks 10 – Storm 14

Storm fans and punters were kept on the edge of their seats in game four, when the early wooden spoon favourites Cronulla Sharks came within 4 points of defeating the reigning premiers Melbourne Storm on Saturday night.

It was a less than spectacular performance by the highly fancied Storm, who showed their vulnerability without their representative stars Brett White, Skika Manu and well-missed halfback Copper Cronk off with injury.

The first 40 minutes went by without Storm displaying the top-class form that saw them come away with the premiership last season.

The Sharks kicked two penalties in the first half and there was only one try scored in the 35th minute for the Storm by Greg Inglis. Cameron Smith’s conversion saw them head into half-time with a narrow 6 – 4 lead.

The first try of the game came only a few minutes after Sharks skipper and captain Trent Barrett was controversially sin-binned for “ruck indiscretions”, an incident Cronulla’s coach Ricky Stuart is still annoyed over.

With Barrett out of the play it left a massive hole in the Sharks’ defence allowing Inglis to score.

In the second half Luke MacDougall, a former Cronulla player, scored again for Melbourne and their second converted try had them at 12 – 4. With 20 minutes left on the clock Cameron Smith kicked a penalty that bought the Storm to their final score of 14.

A committed Sharks never gave up and with ten minutes to go Luke Douglas scored Cronulla’s first try and the conversion saw them within four points of the Storm.

But Melbourne, perhaps a little worn and weary following their World Club Challenge win against Leeds Rhinos, were able to hold them off for the remaining minutes and come away with the win.

Match 6: Gold Coast Titans 24 – New Zealand Warriors 18

The odds-on favourites again reigned supreme on Sunday afternoon’s first game, when the Titans scored a home ground win against the Warriors at Skilled Park.

New Zealand had a great start to the game, scoring two tries within in the first 23 minutes with Brett Seymour, new halfback for the Warriors after being fired from Cronulla last year, converting them both.

The Titans soon woke up to the threat and only two minutes after the Warriors’ second try Joseph Tomane scored for the Gold Coast putting them into the game.

It was head to head in the first half, with winger Manu Vatuvei scoring his second try for the New Zealand in the 33rd minute. Brett Seymour made it three from three with the kick, giving the Warriors a comfortable 18 – 6 lead.

Less than ten minutes later Anthony Laffranchi shorted the margin with another Gold Coast try and the brilliant Scott Prince again converted so the Titans went into half-time trailing by just six points.

The Warriors failed to score in the second half as the Titans picked up their defence, with the Gold Coast managing to peel off two more converted tries in the 62nd and 70th minute to give them the 24 – 18 victory in round one.

The Titans didn’t come away without injury, however, the worst being Preston Campbell’s serious concussion after suffering a knee to the head in the second half.

Match 7: South Sydney Rabbitohs 10 – Sydney Roosters 36

It was another amazing upset in Sunday’s second match, the 200th game between rival founding clubs Rabbitohs and Roosters. A reinvented and reinvigorated Sydney Roosters stormed onto the field proving they don’t want to repeat last year’s nightmare season.

The Roosters defeated the odds-on favourites South Sydney in a forceful win, bringing the Rabbitohs back to reality after all the pre-season hype.

The Roosters new fullback, Todd Carney, put in an unfaltering man of the match performance. Once the bad boy of League sacked from Canberra in 2008, Carney was back to his brilliant best in his first match back in the NRL following a 16-month enforced break and is already a hot contender to don a blue jersey in this year’s State of Origin.

Sydney put the first points on the board 12 minutes in when halfback Mitchell Pearce scored for Sydney. They did it again in the 28th minute, with Shaun Kenny-Dowall getting a try. Carney converted both with ease bringing the Roosters to a 12 – 0 lead over the favourites.

Ten minutes later Nathan Merritt scored South Sydney’s first try and Issac Luke’s conversion bought the scoreboard to 12 – 6 for the half-time break in favour of the Roosters.

There were many brilliant second-half fightbacks in round one this year, but the Rabbitohs did not pull one of them off here.

The Roosters were relentless in the final 40 minutes of the match, scoring four more tries with Carney converting all but the last one, which was from the sideline.

The most memorable of trys was the Roosters first one back from half-time, when Carney pulled out an extraordinary move. On the last tackle he kicked the ball, chasing it into goal and just when it looked to go over the dead ball line he tapped it back in towards where he knew Sam Perrett was waiting to score.

The Roosters nearly made the winning margin at least four points more when they put the ball down over the line again, but the try was found to come off a forward pass.

With two minutes left on the clock, Nathan Merritt scored again for the Rabbitohs but it was too late. A penalty kick by Carney in the 46th minute took the final score to 36 – 10.

Match 8: Wests Tigers 26 – Manly Sea Eagles 22

The first Monday afternoon match of 2010 saw the Wests Tigers secure a win at Sydney Football Stadium against Matt Orford-missing Manly.

The Sea Eagles didn’t go down without a fight, however, and by the end of the match there was only four points separating the two, another down to the wire round one performance.

The Tigers scored the opening try in the first four minutes of the game, when powerhouse Lote Tuqiri, in his first NRL match since returning from a seven-year career in rugby union, put the first points on the board.

But it was Manly who dominated the rest of the second half, scoring three tries in ten minutes, with Jamie Lyon converting all three.

Lyon also put in a brilliant field goal on the half-time siren to give them an 18 – 4 lead ahead of the Tigers.

The Wests looked in trouble when they still hadn’t scored nearly an hour into the game. But to the relief of the crowd the Tigers turned it all around in the last 20 minutes, scoring four successive tries with Benji Marshall converting three from four so they snared the lead from Manly with a 26 – 20 scoreboard.

The Sea Eagles only put two more points on the board with another solid field goal by Lyon in the 69th minute but it wasn’t enough and Wests came away with the 26 – 22 win.