The Bulldogs have done it! They are sitting pretty on top of the ladder for the 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership after Round 20 knocking the Storm from their perch.
Canterbury have been in flying form over the past couple of months, the professional looking outfit racing away to win their past eight matches after their hard fought 20 – 12 victory over the Sea Eagles at Brookvale on Friday night.
It was the grudge match of the season with Bulldogs’ coach Des Hassler facing his old club Manly for the first time since his controversial exit a week after scoring his second premiership last year.
The Doggies did it the hard way too having been 12 – nil down at halftime giving fans plenty of hope heading into the finals.
That win, and the Storm’s shock 16 – 10 defeat at the hands of this year’s likely Wooden Spoon team Parramatta which sent off exiting Eels coach Stephen Kearney on a high, has seen Melbourne lose their number one position on the NRL Ladder with Canterbury now the $4.20 favourites at bookmaker.com.au to win the overall series.
Round 20 was a beauty featuring a number of upset results including the other Friday night match with the Gold Coast Titans getting the better of their bigger brothers, the Brisbane Broncos losing 14 – 10 in a game marred by silly errors and the game’s first eight-point try in two years.
After the defeat, their first in seven games played, Brisbane has found themselves down in fifth and they need to regain their momentum this weekend if they are to get back in touch with that Top 4.
South Sydney meanwhile are now the third-ranked team in the competition after enjoying a huge 36 – 14 victory over the Dragons at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, the Rabbitohs celebrations spoiled by the possible loss of the big Greg Inglis to suspension.
Other Round 20 winners included the Newcastle Knights (11th) who beat the Warriors (9th) 24 – 19 over in New Zealand, and the Canberra Raiders (12th) smashing Cronulla (6th) 36 – 4 down at Shark Park on Sunday arvo.
The round came to a close on Monday night with the Cowboys moving up to fourth spot on the ladder and looking all but assured of a spot in the semis after their powerful 29 – 16 victory over the Wests Tigers who are tentatively hanging onto their eighth ranking.
North Queensland looked to be in trouble early on but a brilliant performance from the great fullback Matt Bowmen fixed that up good and proper, Bowen setting up a trio of tries as well as saving one with a commendable chase down of Chris Lawrence.
See below for the complete NRL Round 20 results and match scores.
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2012 NRL Round 20 Results
Friday July 20, 2012 – Brookvale Oval
- Manly Sea Eagles 12 v 20 Canterbury Bulldogs
Friday July 20, 2012 – Skilled Park
- Gold Coast Titans 14 v 10 Brisbane Broncos
Saturday July 21, 2012 – Parramatta Stadium
- Parramatta Eels 16 v 10 Melbourne Storm
Saturday July 21, 2012 – Mt Smart Stadium
- New Zealand Warriors 19 v 24 Newcastle Knights
Saturday July 21, 2012 – ANZ Stadium
- South Sydney Rabbitohs 36 v 14 St George Illawarra Dragons
Sunday July 22, 2012 – Toyota Stadium
- Cronulla Sharks 4 v 36 Canberra Raiders
Sunday July 22, 2012 – Centrebet Stadium
- Penrith Panthers 28 v 16 Sydney Roosters
Monday July 23, 2012 – Dairy Farmers Stadium
- North Queensland Cowboys 29 v 16 Wests Tigers