Weekend Wash-up Round 26
Newcastle v Souths
Knights winger Akuila Uate equalled the Newcastle record for most tries in a game with his sizzling effort against Souths at Ausgrid Stadium on Friday night. Uate joined Darren Albert (2000), Adam MacDougall (2001), Andrew Johns (2001) and Cooper Vuna (2010) in scoring four tries in a game and took his two-season tally to 40 tries from 46 appearances.
St George Illawarra v Penrith
Dragons winger Brett Morris continued his “love affair” with WIN Stadium when he crossed twice in St George Illawarra’s 32-12 defeat of Penrith last Friday night. The double took him to 21 tries from 19 appearances in Wollongong.
Warriors v North Queensland
There was sweet vindication for former Eels Krisnan Inu and Feleti Mateo when they completed the regular season with their new club in sixth position following the Warriors’ 18-6 defeat of North Queensland last Saturday night. On the same night their former team-mates were locked in a fight to avoid the wooden spoon with the Titans.
Wests Tigers v Cronulla
Wests Tigers might have made heavy weather of their 30-22 defeat of Cronulla at Toyota Stadium but the win was history-making nonetheless. It was the Tigers’ eighth successive victory, equalling the record established by the club in their premiership-winning season of 2005. That year the Tigers’ run was halted two weeks out from the finals when they were beaten in Rounds 25 and 26 before recovering to take out the title.
Gold Coast v Parramatta
The Gold Coast never looked like making a game of it against Parramatta in the “battle for the wooden spoon” at Skilled Park. It was the first time since 1962 that two teams had clashed to avoid finishing last in a final round game. That year, North Sydney and South Sydney were level on nine competition points and fought out a 20-all draw at Redfern Oval. Souths copped the spoon because of their inferior for and against record.
Canterbury v Canberra
South Sydney’s Nathan Merritt must have thought he was across the line as the season’s leading try-scorer after scoring twice against Newcastle last Friday night to take his tally to 23 tries for the season. Canterbury’s Ben Barba was a distant second, with 19, until he scorched across for four tries against Canberra to draw level with Merritt. Barba’s tally equalled Canterbury’s season try-scoring record, held by former centre Nigel Vagana since 2002.
Brisbane v Manly
In-form Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough broke his try-scoring drought in timely fashion last Sunday when he crossed for the opening try against Manly in front of a record Broncos’ home crowd of 50,859 at Suncorp Stadium. McCullough’s dummy-half effort was his first four-pointer since Round 26, 2010.
Sydney Roosters v Melbourne
The Sydney Roosters submitted two contenders for try of the year in a breezy 40-8 defeat of Melbourne at Sydney Football Stadium. The Roosters took advantage of a Storm outfit weakened by suspension, injury and the decision of coach Craig Bellamy to rest star players Cameron Smith and Billy Slater, by running in seven tries en route to their biggest win of the season. Fullback Anthony Minichiello crossed for a pearler after a long movement swept from one side of the field to the other early in the game, but centre Justin Carney left that effort in the shade 12 minutes from fulltime. His try featured superb work from flying winger Phil Graham, who reached back for a Mitchell Pearce bullet pass, then kicked to the Storm in-goal where captain Braith Anasta leapt high and forehanded the ball back to the waiting Carney.