2010 NRL Telstra Premiership Round 3 Results & Wrap-Up

The third round of the NRL Telstra Premiership was an action packed affair, with a number of high scoring games and many of the pre match favourites going down by huge deficits.

Over the weekend quite a few teams who were coming off poor performances in the first two rounds showed that they were in the competition this year and that they shouldn’t be discounted this early in the season.

One of the biggest upsets was the Canterbury Bulldogs emphatic defeat of the Sydney Roosters 60 -14, with the Doggies claiming their first win of the season and the Roosters suffering their first defeat.

Meanwhile, three clubs remain undefeated – St George Illawarra Dragons, Gold Coast Titans and the Melbourne Storm, all having had dazzling wins over the weekend.

Just one team is yet to secure a win for 2010, the Cronulla Sharks who went down to the South Sydney Rabbitohs on Monday night.

Read on for the results and review of the eight Round 3 matches.

Match 1: Wests Tigers 23 – Parramatta Eels 12

The Eels, despite heading onto the field as the odds on favourites never looked a threat on Friday night as they went down 12 – 23 to an impressive Wests Tigers team at Sydney Football Stadium, headlined by an impeccable performance by Benji Marshall.

Missing five-eighth Daniel Mortimer, the Eels put in a lacklustre performance unable to score in the first half while the Tigers set up a sensational lead scoring in the 7th and 15th minutes. The man of the moment Lote Tuqiri made the opening try for the Tigers, which was followed just eight minutes later by the Wests second try by Blake Ayshford.

Despite being unable to convert either, Marshall calmly kicked a field goal on the half time siren extending their lead 9 – nil.

In the second half Marshall’s brilliant playing continued, the skipper scoring himself a double getting over the line just four minutes into the last forty minutes and then again with only four minutes left on the clock he ran 85 metres to score the try of the night, while powerhouse Tuqiri scored his second try of the evening in the 63rd minute.

The Eels began to fight back ten minutes into the second half, with Joel Reddy getting over the line in the 50th minute and then Krisnan Inu scored the Eels second and final try seven minutes later. Inu converted both, but they were unable to score again as the Wests were too impressive both in attack and defence.

Marshall’s performance was even more amazing considering he was suffering a rib injury from last week and it looks like the Tigers are back in the competition and have long forgotten their terrible defeat by the Roosters in Round 2.

Match 2: St George Illawarra Dragons 33 – North Queensland Cowboys 8

The Dragons continued their sensational start to the season on Friday night when they snared their third win of 2010, maintaining their unbeaten record. It was another huge winning margin with the Dragons defeating the Cowboys by a hefty 25 points at WIN Stadium.

St George Illawarra scored six tries to the Cowboys one, with Brett Morris and Jason Nightingale both scoring themselves a double.

In the first half Brett Morris, Matt Cooper and Jason Nightingale all scored for the Dragons and their strong attack continued in the second half with Ben Creagh, Morris and Nightingale scoring another three for the seemingly unstoppable St. George.

The Cowboys began well, putting their first points on the board just three minutes in with Thurston’s penalty kick. But North Queensland were simply outclassed and failed to score their first try until Ashely Graham went over the line to score their sole try in the 67th minute.

The ability the Dragons have of keeping their rivals from crossing the line has seen their competition get just four tries in over their three games to date making them the team to beat at this stage.

Match 3: Penrith Panthers 10 – Melbourne Storm 16

The first match on Saturday again saw one of the best teams in the NRL make it three from three this season when the Storm took down Penrith at CUA Stadium. One of the lower scoring games of Round 3 with the Storm, who had Cooper Cronk back on board for the first time this year, coming away with the win by only six points.

Both teams were evenly matched in the first half, Melbourne putting the first points on the board when Brett Finch scored a minute inside the first quarter. Cameron Smith’s conversion saw them hold a 6 – nil lead until 15 minutes later when Sam McKendry got over the line for the Panthers, but they missed the conversion and went to the half time break two points behind the reigning premiers.

It was a gallant performance by the Storm in the second half as they dominated play. Fullback Billy Slater scored just three minutes back from the break and ten minutes later winger Luke MacDougall scored Melbourne’s third and final try.

The Panthers fought on well and didn’t go down without a fight, putting a final lot of points to their name in the 72nd minute by way of a converted try, closing the winning margin to just six points.

The points by which Melbourne won by could have been far more impressive had they handled the ball better in the first half and completed sets more consistently, but no matter the margin Melbourne won and remain unbeaten.

Match 4: Manly Sea Eagles 36 – Newcastle Knights 12

Manly grabbed their first victory of 2010 at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night when they defeated the Knights by an easy 24 points.

The Sea Eagles scored an impressive six tries, all converted talented centre Jamie Lyon, while the Knights could only manage one try per half.

Newcastle were first to score just five minutes in when Evarn Tuimavave went over the line and Wes Naiqama converted. But the Sea Eagles, eager for their first win of the season after their controversial loss to the Eels in Round 2, fought back quickly and Ben Farrar scored their first try in the 13th minute.

Just six minutes later Shane Rodney scored again for Manly, set up by five-eighth Kieran Foran, and the Knights were in trouble failing to score again in the first forty minutes. Meanwhile Manly’s Steve Matai went on to score himself an impressive double, putting down his first a mere three minutes on the back of Rodney’s try, and then his second less than ten minutes later in the 30th minute.

Their dominance of the ball saw the Sea Eagles head to the half-time break leading 24 – 6. But instead of falling behind in the last 40 minutes giving away their half-time lead to be defeated as in their opening two games this season, Manly came back from the break firing from all cylinders.

The second half was no disappointment to the fans filling the Gosford stadium, as hooker Matt Ballin scored Manly’s fifth try in the first two minutes of play. Co-captain Jason King scored their final try in the 64th minute, while Newcastle managed to get one last try in with four minutes left on the clock, but it was too little too late.

Match 5: Gold Coast Titans 24 – Canberra Raiders 4

Canberra proved once again why they are not popular with the punters away from home, when the Titans reigned supreme at Skilled Park defeating the Raiders by an emphatic 20 points.

The Gold Coast club, still unbeaten this year, totally controlled the game throughout both halves, scoring once in the first forty minutes and then three more times in the second half.

Scott Prince put aside the off-field controversy surrounding possible salary cap breaches to come out with one of his best performances this season. The skipper put the first points on the board seven minutes in with a penalty kick, then went on to score the first try of the match 11 minutes later, converting his own try and taking them to an 8 – nil lead at half time.

No more points were scored until the 56th minute when centre Joseph Tomane got over the line, which was then followed by tries for Kevin Gordon and David Mead in the 65th and 70th minutes.

Meanwhile an uninspired Canberra making countless mistakes looked to remain scoreless right up until the final minute when winger Daniel Vidot scored their only four points in a 79th minute try.

The victory has seen the Gold Coast elevated to equal first position on the ladder board alongside the mighty Dragons, setting the club up for their best chance of making the Grand Final since their inauguration.

Match 6: Brisbane Broncos 16 – New Zealand Warriors 48

Sunday afternoon saw one of the biggest shock defeats of Round 3, when the seemingly solid Broncos suffered their second lost this season. Brisbane were well beaten in Round 2 at Canberra Stadium by the Raiders, but many thought a return to Suncorp Stadium would see them back to their best.

So when the Warriors, fresh off a victory against the Sharks, smashed the Broncos in Brisbane 48 – 16, many were understandably shocked and the 32, 000 plus Brisbane supporters in the crowd were more than disappointed.

The loss wasn’t all Brisbane suffered either, with a number of nasty injuries knocking out some of their most talented players including winger Denan Kemp with an injured rib and brilliant centre Israel Folau who will miss up to six weeks with a fractured finger.

Ten minutes into play James Maloney kicked a penalty goal for New Zealand before Folau scored the first try of the match 15 minutes in for Brisbane.

Warriors Simon Mannering and Lance Hohaia fought back with two tries in five minutes scoring in the 22nd and 27th minutes of the game. Replacement halfback James Maloney, who impressively scored his own hat-trick of second half tries in the final 20 minutes, converted both of the Warriors first half tries.

The Broncos managed to get one more in before the half time siren when Matt Gillet scored in the 34th minute. Peter Wallace only converted one from two for the Broncos giving the Warriors a close 14 – 10 lead after the first 40 minutes.

What had been set up to be a scintillating second half showdown, after the Bronco’s hooker Andrew McCullough scored three minutes back from the break giving Brisbane a 16 – 14 advantage, soon became an unstoppable and embarrassing display for Brisbane who failed to score again.

New Zealand however simply thrived, scoring an incredible six second half tries, including Maloney’s three in the 63rd, 70th and 77th minutes, with Maloney converting all but one.

Maloney’s performance was nothing short of genius, as he scored an incredible total of 28 points for the Warriors equalling New Zealand’s current club record held by Gene Gnamu and coach Ivan Cleary.

Match 7: Canterbury Bulldogs 60 – Sydney Roosters 14

The largest defeat from Round 3 came in the second match on Sunday when a recently lacklustre Canterbury burst onto the field to absolutely destroy the previously unbeaten Roosters 60 – 14 at ANZ Stadium.

The Bulldogs totally dominated the match with a brilliant and freakish performance that included a total tally of 12 tries across five players – four from centre Josh Morris, a double from Steve Turner, three from dynamic interchange Benjamin Barba, a single try from Andrew Ryan and a Jamal Idris double.

Ten minutes into the match Josh Morris showed that Canterbury expected to score points and plenty of them when he made the Bulldog’s first try. This was followed by Steve Turner just four minutes later, who also scored a second half try with ten minutes to go.

Canterbury managed to get in another two in the 21st and 24th minutes before a shell-shocked Roosters put their first points on the board with a Ben Jones try in the 28th minute.

But Sydney’s singular first half try made little impact as the Dogs scored twice more before the half time break almost too easily.

Bryson Goodwin who was a bit hit and miss on the day but still managed to convert an overall six from 12, kicked three of the Dogs six first half tries giving them a healthy 30 – 4 lead at the break.

Shortly after returning for the second half the Roosters looked for a moment like they might be back in the game with Braith Anasta and Mitchell Pearce scoring two tries in the first five minutes. Carney, who was obviously feeling the pressure, only managed to convert one bringing the score to a more even 30 – 14.

The Bulldogs though were keen to secure their first win for 2010 and five minutes later Idris crossed the line again. The remaining 30 minutes were painful for Sydney as Canterbury fans were given a treat as they played with their rivals scoring five more tries before the game’s end.

60 to 14 was the final score, Canterbury’s biggest ever victory over Sydney and one that not even the most avid Dogs fan could have predicted!

It was a quick return to reality for the Roosters who had been flying high on the back of two large wins this season against the Rabbitohs and the Tigers, but their unimpressive performance and minimal completion rate saw them spiral back towards their poor last-year form.

Match 8: Cronulla Sharks 8 – Rabbitohs 30

The Rabbitohs secured their first NRL win for 2010 on Monday night when they thrashed the Sharks 30 – 8 at Toyota Stadium. It was another disappointing performance and result for Cronulla, defeated all in three of their matches this season, who are fast on track to record one of NRL’s longest ever losing streaks. One more loss in a row will see the Sharks equal the Western Suburbs Magpies 13 consecutive loss record.

The Sharks’ Luke Covell scored the first try of the match just seven minutes, but the Bunnies soon took command of the game getting in three tries before half time including a double by Beau Champion in the 12th and 18th minutes.

South Sydney’s impressive hooker Issac Luke had a brilliant strike rate on the night, converting all five of the Rabbitohs tries, and at half time South Sydney had a solid 18 – 4 lead.

Two minutes into the second half Sam Burgess put down another four pointer for the Bunnies and Luke converted.

Four minutes later Cronulla’s Blake Ferguson put another one on the board for the sharks, but without a conversion it was too late and Issac Luke put the icing on the cake for South Sydney scoring one final try in the 61st minute to bring the final score to 30 – 8.