2010 NRL Telstra Premiership Round 2 Results & Wrap-Up

It was another bumper weekend of footy as Round 2 of the NRL Telstra Premiership took place across the country, again showing League fans that this year will be one of the closest and competitive seasons in history.

This week proved a little easier for punters picking the favourites, with a few less upset victories this round than last.

Still, the underdogs managed to make their mark on a couple of occasions, such as when the Gold Coast Titans proved they can win away from Skilled Park and win well when they defeated the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday night.

Below is a quick look at the eight Round 2 matches and how the teams performed the second week in.

Match 1: St. George Illawarra Dragons 26 – Canterbury Bulldogs 6

On Friday night at WIN Stadium the Dragons showed again that they are a force to be reckoned with when they scored their second win of the season, this time by a blistering 20 point margin ahead of the downtrodden Bulldogs.

It seems the Dragons, last year’s Minor Premiers, have maintained and even improved on their impeccable plays that saw them finish at the top of the Ladder, but it is a different story for the Bulldogs. Canterbury were number two on the Ladder at the end of the season last year, but after two disappointing defeats so far this season they are currently sitting as the second last team.

The win, the Dragons first against the Bulldogs at Wollongong, has seen them soar to top of the betting markets, now the firm favourites for the Premiership.

Only three minutes into the match Brett Morris put the first points onto the board for the Dragons, giving them an early advantage against Canterbury. It was a sensational first half, with St. George displaying precision, accuracy and athleticism taking absolute control of the game. They scored twice more before the first 20 minutes had played out, at 11 minutes and then Brett Morris touched down his second of three match tries 16 minutes in.

The Michael Ennis-less Bulldogs just couldn’t get enough possession of the ball and their less than impressive defence saw the Dragons head into halftime with a very comfortable 16 – nil lead.

Canterbury scored their only points of the match 12 minutes into the second half, narrowing the margin to 16 – 6, but they weren’t back in the game long as Nick Emmett scored again in the 64th minute for the Dragons and then Brett Morris completed his hat-trick with three minutes left on the clock.

The Dragons were impressive with their defence this week, definitely having improved on it after they nearly let the Eels come back in the second-half of their Round 1 match. And this is what is so great about Bennett’s coaching, he sees a problem and it gets fixed quickly, making the Dragons a very dangerous team.

If they keep winning like this the Dragons will be a shoe-in for the Premiership this year.

Match 2: South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 – Gold Coast Titans 19

The second match on Friday night was one of the few matches in Round 2 where the favourites were defeated, but only just. A mere one point separated the Titans from the Rabbitohs after 81 minutes of heart-stopping play.

This was without doubt the most intense game of Round 2, with the teams going into golden point extra time to determine the winner after a penalty-ridden match.

Beau Champion scored for the Rabbitohs within the first 10 minutes of play after a 25 metre sprint down the right side of the field, igniting the 10, 000 plus South Sydney fans at ANZ Stadium.

But just six minutes later the Titans turned the tables and looked set for a glorious Round 2 upset dominating the rest of the first half.

Substitute fullback William Zillman scored the Gold Coast’s first try in the 14th minute and then after 15 minutes of brilliant defence from both sides, second-rower Anthony Laffranchi broke through the Rabbitohs’ line. Scott Prince’s conversion of both tries saw the Titans finish the first half leading South Sydney 12 – 6.

In the second half the Titans scored their third and final try ten minutes in, Prince missed the kick and the scoreboard read 16 – 6, but not for long. Ten minutes later Beau Champion scored his second try of the match for the Rabbitohs and with the Titans unable to hold a gallant South Sydney, they scored again in the 65th minute.

Issac Luke converted all three of the Rabbitohs’ trys giving them an 18 – 16 lead but just when it all looked over for the Titans, the talented Scott Prince kicked a penalty goal after Rabbitohs’ halfback Chris Sandwo was sent to the sin-bin seconds before the full time siren and the game was tied 18 all.

It was all over for the Rabbitohs, who have had a devastating start to the 2010 season, just 60 seconds later when Prince stepped up to the plate again coolly kicking the field goal that won the Titans the game.

It was the Titans’ second win this season after they also defeated the Warriors last week.

Match 3: New Zealand Warriors 30 – Cronulla Sharks 16

The Warriors secured their first 2010 win in sensational style on Saturday afternoon, beating the Sharks 30 – 6 at Mt Smart Stadium headlined by Manu Vatuvei’s hat-trick of tries.

The Warriors set the scene early scoring 16 points in the first 20 minutes with hooker Aaron Heremaia, the brilliant Manu Vatuvei and new skipper Simon Mannering, playing for the first time in 2010 after missing last week’s round one match due to an eight-week rest for a torn hamstring, scoring for New Zealand.

Winger Luke Covell and centre Blake Ferguson made sure the Sharks had some points on the board before the half-time break, taking advantage of a tiring Warriors side and scoring in the 24th and 33rd minutes and Scott Porter’s conversion of both tries and his penalty kick in the 40th minute saw the scoreboard read 16 – 14 in favour of the Warriors after the first half.

It looked as though things were going in favour of the Sharks in the second half as Scott Porter kicked an early penalty goal tying the teams 16 all.

But the Sharks were not able to keep up their form or luck for long, letting Vatuvei fly away with two tries in less than ten minutes. Vatuvei has now scored five tries this season for New Zealand following the two he attained last week when the Warriors were defeated 24-18 by the Titans.

And putting the final nail in Cronulla’s coffin was prop Sam Rapira who scored in the 75th minute for New Zealand.

The match was Sharks front-rower Luke Douglas’ 100th consecutive NRL match but it made no difference to the result as Cronulla suffered their 12th defeat in succession.

Match 4: Newcastle Knights 14 – Melbourne Storm 20

The Knights gave it their all but weren’t able to do what their fans were hoping – take down another big team early in the season. Coming off a win against the Bulldogs last week, Newcastle suffered a second round loss to the Storm at Energy Australia Stadium on Saturday night.

Melbourne didn’t play brilliantly, again, but as in round one they still came away with the win at the end of the night.

Newcastle scored the first two tries of the match bringing the 16, 000 plus crowd to their feet as Akulia Uate and Adam MacDougall scored in the 7th and 21st minutes. Wes Naiqama converted both, and kicked an early penalty goal 12 minutes in, giving the Storm a fright as they trailed 14 – nil midway through the first half.

But Melbourne were quick in their comeback, with Luke MacDougall and Anthony Quinn, ironically both ex-Newcastle players, scoring two tries in six minutes and a penalty kick by Cameron Smith seconds before half-time saw the score tied 14 all going into the break.

The second half was dominated by solid defence by both teams and only one more try was scored when centre Dane Nielsen got over the line for the Storm with ten minutes left to play. In the final minute of the game Smith was able to kick another penalty goal that bought the Storm’s final winning score to 20 over the Knights with 14.

Despite their two wins so far many are saying that Melbourne, and an uncharacteristically error-prone Inglis, still need to do a lot of work on their game if they are to secure back-to-back premierships this year.

Match 5: North Queensland Cowboys 28 – Penrith Panthers 20

Another win for the odds-on favourite occurred on Saturday night when the Cowboys defeated the Panthers at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville. It was a brilliant second-half comeback victory for North Queensland in their first home game of the year.

The outcome originally didn’t look good for the Cowboys, who failed to score a try in the first half.

Just four minutes into the match Michael Gordon kicked a penalty goal for the Panthers, putting their first points on the board and then just five minutes later Luke Lewis scored Penrith’s first try taking advantage of a huge gap in the Cowboys’ defence.

Ten minutes later Cowboys skipper Thurston kicked a penalty goal for North Queensland before Luke Walsh scored the second try of the night for the Panthers in the 27th minute. Gordon again converted and the scoreboard sat at 14 – 2 with the Panthers looking set for an upset win.

But as they did in their second-half against the Broncos last week, the Cowboys came back onto the field after the half-time break reenergised and ready to give their fans what they came to see, a win.

Ten minutes into the second-half Scott Bolton scored the Cowboy’s first try of the night and the conversion saw the margin shorten to 14 – 8.

But before the Cowboys fans could get too excited, Luke Lewis scored his second try of the night for the Panthers off the back of a Ty Williams knock-on, which Gordon converted and they extended their lead to 20 – 8.

Trailing by 10, North Queensland pulled out a tremendous burst of determination and skill, leaving the Panther’s heads spinning as Willie Tonga, Scott Bolton and Michael Bani scored three tries in nine minutes.

Thurston’s incredible skill saw all tries converted and they snatched the lead from the Panthers and a final penalty goal by Thurston with four minutes to go saw them get away with their first win of the season eight points clear of the Panthers who suffered with Trent Waterhouse and Nathan Smith both sidelined with injuries.

Match 6: Parramatta Eels 24 – Manly Sea Eagles 20

The Eels claimed their first win of 2010 at their home ground on Sunday afternoon when they defeated Manly, despite looking in serious trouble going into half-time.

The Sea Eagles dominated the first half of the game, with Trent Hodkinson putting their first points on the board a mere three minutes into the match. In a brilliant first 40 minutes of football for Manly, they scored twice more in the 17th and 28th minute and with Lyon converting one of the tries they led at half-time 14 – nil.

Coming back for the second half, the Sea Eagles looked poised to cause a massive round two upset, scoring again just two minutes into play.

But in the best second-half comeback of the NRL season so far, the Eels took advantage of a worn out Manly scoring four sensational tries in the final 30 minutes and with Luke Burt’s accurate kicking seeing him convert four from four, the Eels escaped as the victors by four points.

Fuifui Moimoi stormed over the line and scored the Eels’ first try of the game in the 52nd minute before Timana Tahu scored again ten minutes later, his first try since returning to ruby league.

With just over five minutes left on the clock, the Eels still trailed 20 – 12 but Joel Reddy and Eric Grothe got over the line in the 73rd and 77th minute giving the Parramatta fans the best ten minutes of footy they will have seen in a long time.

The star of the match for the Eels was undoubtedly the reigning Dally M medallist, Jarryd Hayne, who set up the final try that won them the match.

It was Jamie Lyon’s inability to kick the conversions the Sea Eagles needed that gave Parramatta the edge they needed to win.

Match 7: Sydney Roosters 44 – Wests Tigers 32

At Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon, a reinvented Roosters proved that their round one victory against the Rabbitohs was no fluke, with the underdogs winning again in sensational style against the Tigers in a heated match.

In the highest scoring game of round two, the Roosters scored eight tries over the 80 minutes with a massively talented Todd Carney converting six while the Tigers managed six tries and four conversions.

The Tigers started as the odds-on favourites and in the first fifteen minutes of play looked like they would live up to the expectations with skipper Benji Marshall scoring in the ninth minute and converting his own try.

Four minutes later Lote Tuqiri, in another brilliant performance proving he still has what it takes to match it with the best in the NRL, was there to catch the ball and sprint 70m down the left side of the field scoring the Tigers second try.

But the tough conditions, playing in 33 plus degree heat, took its toll on the Tigers who quickly faded failing to score again in the first half. Meanwhile the Roosters began their assault scoring an impressive four tries in just 12 minutes, repeating their dazzling form from last week.

Many thought the Wests would return from the break ready for a big comeback, but the Roosters were just too good scoring four tries in succession almost too easily.

Benji Marshall did his best to captain his side back into form and the Tigers briefly looked like they could fight back with Jason Schirnack, Marshall and Fifita scoring three tires in ten minutes, but it was too little too late.

Match 8: Canberra Raiders 22 – Brisbane Broncos 14

On Monday night the Raiders maintained their imposing home ground record and atoned for their round one loss to the Panthers, when they defeated the Brisbane Broncos at Canberra Stadium.

The Raiders set the scene early with Joel Thompson scoring in the first four minutes before Josh Dugan got across the line seven minutes later and Josh McCrone, who played a brilliant game, scored again a minute before the half time break.

Terry Campese converted all three tries and it was obvious the Broncos were in trouble in their first away game for 2010 as they went into half-time trailing Canberra 18 – nil.

Brisbane fans were worried it would be a repeat performance of their last horrific game in Canberra where they were defeated by 56 points, but although they lost the damage was not quite as bad thanks to some excellent second-half performances from the Brisbane boys.

Israel Folau led Brisbane’s attempt at a second-round resurgence, scoring himself two tries in the 44th and 54th minute before Ben Te’o also got across the line in the 68th minute, putting Brisbane back in the game just four points behind.

But with Corey Parker only converting one of the three, and half-back Josh McCrone scoring his second try of the game for Canberra in the final minute of play, again it was a case of too little too late from the Broncos.