Round 12 of the NRL was the last for many before their mid-season bye, and while some affirmed their positions at the top of the ladder, others failed what were significant tests heading towards the second half of the season. These are how some of the biggest games of the round went down.
Thursday Night: Melbourne Storm vs Manly Sea Eagles
The Storm needed a win heading into Thursday night’s game, after they’d lost two in a row to first the Panthers and then the Cowboys. With the Sea Eagles having displayed indifferent form and the best player in the game in Tom Trbojevic out of their side with injury, this game presented a great opportunity for Melbourne to get back on the winners’ list, and the game played out just as the betting sites predicted. They jumped out to a 12-4 half-time lead which they extended to 20 points by the final whistle, and shored up second spot on the NRL ladder for another week.
Next Match for Melbourne:
The Storm get to rest and reset next week, with their bye scheduled for Round 13 before they face the Roosters the week after.
Next Match for Manly
The Sea Eagles badly need a win, and they get a good chance to get it next week when they welcome a Warriors outfit coming off four consecutive losses to 4 Pines Park, though they will be without a number of State of Origin stars.
Friday Evening: Penrith Panthers vs North Queensland Cowboys
Friday night’s first game loomed as the best of the round, with the unstoppable Panthers coming up against the vastly improved Cowboys in what was a great test of the visitors’ legitimacy as a Premiership contender. NRL betting sites have them pegged as one of the Panthers’ biggest contenders for this year’s Premiership, but unfortunately, they failed their test badly. Isaah Yeo’s second-minute try set the scene for the game, with the Cowboys unable to score for all 80 minutes and going down 22-0 in a brilliant display of defence from the league’s best team.
Next Match for Penrith
It’s first versus last next Friday night, though with numerous Penrith players on State of Origin duty this will be closer than it might have been otherwise.
Next Match for North Queensland
The Cowboys get a great chance to jump straight back on the winners’ list with a clash against the struggling Titans next week.
Friday Night: Brisbane Broncos vs Gold Coast Titans
At half-time of Friday night’s second game a boilover looked like it was on the cards, with the Titans having jumped out to a 24-4 lead against a Broncos team on a five-game winning streak despite entering the game as a decent underdog with the betting apps. Things changed rapidly in the second half. Brisbane scored three tries in six minutes between the 52nd and 58th minute to draw within two points, before grabbing a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in the 69th minute courtesy of a Kurt Capewell try. At the final whistle, they led 35-24 and jumped inside the top four as a result.
Next Match for Brisbane
The Broncos get a chance to rest on their laurels following six consecutive wins, before facing the Raiders in a fortnight.
Next Match for Gold Coast
The Titans have now last seven of their past eight, and will have a tough time bucking the trend when they face the Cowboys this weekend.
Saturday Night: Cronulla Sharks vs Sydney Roosters
There was plenty on the line when the Sharks welcomed the Roosters to PointsBet Stadium on Saturday night, with both teams boasting similar aspirations for later in the season. And while the Sharks headed in as slight favourites with the betting sites, it was the Roosters who put in perhaps their best performance of the season. They burst out of the blocks and went into half-time with a 20-0 lead, and while the second half was a more tightly contested affair, they were able to hang onto that 20-point lead and run out 36-16 winners.
Next Match for Cronulla
The Sharks will need to wait a couple of weeks before they get a chance to atone for what was a disappointing performance, with a bye next weekend preceding a matchup with the Warriors.
Next Match for Sydney
The Roosters will have a chance to jump into the top four next week, though they won’t have it all their own way against an improved Raiders outfit.
Sunday Afternoon: Canberra Raiders vs Parramatta Eels
The Raiders entered their Sunday afternoon clash with one of the most enigmatic teams in the NRL in Parramatta with high hopes of securing what would be an upset according to the betting apps, and with an 18-16 half-time lead they looked like a good chance of doing so. Unfortunately their offence dried up in the second half and they couldn’t cross the line again, and a second try to each of Bailey Simonsson and Dylan Brown gave the Eels an important 28-20 win.
Next Match for Canberra
The Raiders are playing much better footy in recent weeks, and have to be given a good chance against the in-form Roosters on Sunday afternoon.
Next Match for Parramatta
The Eels will get a chance to reflect on what’s been a solid albeit inconsistent first half of the season with a bye this weekend, before they face the Bulldogs the following round.