Category Archive: Rugby League

Rugby League News

Jun 22

Chris Houston’s double lifts Widnes off bottom to leave Leigh more problems

• Widnes 36-10 Leigh
• Two tries apiece from Houston and Corey Thompson help side to victory

Widnes kept their hopes of a top eight finish alive following a well-earned victory against Leigh which moved them off the bottom of the Super League table at the expense of the Centurions.

Related: Warrington fight to stay in Super League a year after contesting the Grand Final

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/22/widnes-leigh-super-league-match-report

Jun 21

Never write off a champion: cool, smart Maroons prove old adage true | Matt Cleary

With a quartet of champion veterans on the field against New South Wales in Game II it was perhaps foolish to doubt Queensland’s State of Origin dynasty

After 50 minutes of Game II of State of Origin XXXVI this journalist – and I would suggest several other chroniclers of recent history – was cranking up the keyboard with variations of “It’s over – Queensland dynasty busted by marauding blue hordes”. Thirty minutes later I wondered how I could be so naïve, so foolish. How could I forget the old but true edict, “Never write off a champion”.

Related: Queensland keep State of Origin hopes alive with thrilling late win over NSW

Related: State of Origin 2017 Game 2: Queensland Maroons beat NSW Blues 18-16 – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/22/never-write-off-a-champion-cool-smart-brilliant-maroons-prove-old-adage-true

Jun 21

Queensland keep State of Origin hopes alive with thrilling late win over NSW

  • New South Wales Blues 16-18 Queensland Maroons
  • Johnathan Thurston boots Maroons to Game II win at ANZ Stadium

Never count out a champion. Like an ageing heavyweight fighting on spit and experience, Queensland willed themselves to an unlikely 18-16 win over New South Wales in Game II of the State of Origin series.

In a match New South Wales dominated – and then murdered – a 78th minute try to winger Dane Gagai followed by a piercing sideline conversion to Johnathan Thurston proved the difference.

Related: State of Origin 2017 Game 2: Queensland Maroons beat NSW Blues 18-16 – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/queensland-keep-state-of-origin-hopes-alive-with-thrilling-late-win-over-nsw

Jun 21

State of Origin 2017 Game 2: Queensland Maroons beat NSW Blues 18-16 – as it happened

  • Maroons outscore Blues 12-0 in second half to send series to decider
  • Johnathan Thurston converts Dane Gagai’s 78th-minute try to seal victory

1.15pm BST

So we head to Brisbane in three weeks for the decider where it will be Thurston’s final Origin game. Queensland would have to be favourites now, given those circumstances. Origin has more twists and turns than a lower intestine.

NSW will be gutted. They had the game in their hands. There were a few contentious referee decisions that went against them but, still, they just seemed to lose composure as the game wore on.

Related: Queensland keep State of Origin hopes alive with thrilling late win over NSW

1.10pm BST

Here’s that pressure kick from Thurston:

Was it ever in doubt!#Origin#NRL pic.twitter.com/PR65MEA7Qb

1.09pm BST

What a thriller! And what a performance from Qld under enormous pressure. At halftime they really looked way off the pace, and not only because they were 10 points behind. They were missing tackles, failing to complete their sets, and NSW just looked the team more likely.

But Qld have just completed a 12-0 second half, winning the game after Gagai’s late try left Thurston with a chance to win it from a kick wide out on the right. You just knew he’d steer it over, it’s what he does. They still weren’t all that convincing tonight but it feels like Qld willed themselves to victory as NSW grew noticeably fatigued as the game wore on.

1.04pm BST

It’s all over, folks! Queensland have won it and the series is still alive.

1.02pm BST

80 min: NSW 50m away from the Qld line with 45 seconds to go.

1.02pm BST

79 min: A short kick-off from NSW and they win the ball back! But on the last Maloney kicks to the left wing and Gagai, who’s been great tonight, catches it.

1.01pm BST

So cool under pressure. From 5m inside the right touchline he guides it over!

1.00pm BST

It was coming! After a big left to right move Smith finds Slater wrapping around, he feeds Morgan and he cleverly flicks a pass to Gagai coming back on the inside. Over! Thurston with the kick to take Qld ahead.

12.57pm BST

76 min: NSW knock on a dangerous Qld kick right on their own line! Qld scrum, 10m out.

12.56pm BST

75 min: Penalty to Qld for a Wade Graham strip on Napa. Qld with six up their sleeve, 50m out. Squeaky bum time!

12.55pm BST

73 min: Inside NSW’s 20m, Thurston is dragged down by Woods. Trbojevic then wraps up Cronk. Smith attempts a grubber but it rebounds and Gillett is in space five metres out. He’s tackled but spins in the tackle and fires a ball towards his winger…and over the touchline!

12.53pm BST

72 min: Hayne spills a Pearce pass on the half. This feels ominous. Or is it just my Origin muscle-memory?

12.52pm BST

70 min: Another strong run by Dugan —who only moments earlier had snuffed out a dangerous Cronk run— gets NSW away from their own line.

Play has stopped so Chambers can be treated. He came in for a big hit on Ferguson and there was a clash of heads. Chambers’ head then was hit from behind by Napa. A double blow. He’s going off and won’t be back.

12.49pm BST

68 min: A huge run by Dugan pushes NSW out from their own line to the 30m. He was like a runaway bumper car.

On the last a kick which Slater catches a couple of metres out from his line. But he’s so canny he has one leg stretched out to touch the chalk ensuring a 20m restart.

12.47pm BST

65 min: After a penalty Qld attack NSW’s line from 30m out. Morris slams Gagai on his back after Boyd crabs from the left touch to the right.

Woods fields a kick, taking a slips catch. He’s held down and wants a penalty but he’s not getting one. He shakes his head. NSW haven’t had a good run with the refs this half.

12.44pm BST

61 min: Chambers receives the ball on the right wing after Qld spreads it wide. Hayne, fired up by his earlier error, crunches Chambers and rolls him into touch. Players from both sides form a wee set-to, pushing and shoving, and what not.

A few tackles later, Pearce bombs to Valentine Holmes.

12.41pm BST

60 min: NSW forwards make great metres again. On the last Graham makes another lovely left-foot kick that Slater has to turn and chase. Slater only just gets into the field of play.

12.39pm BST

58 min: NSW punch dents in Qld’s defence then spin it left, creating an extra man. Tedesco passes to Hayne who attempts a kind of tunnel-ball pass to Morris, succeeding only in propelling the ball into touch. A miracle play with no miracle.

12.37pm BST

56 min: Pearce finally gets a kick over the head of Gagai who has to turn and chase. Hayne then tackles him in the Qld in-goal. Great kick and chase, NSW.

12.36pm BST

55 min: Well, that’s made things interesting, hasn’t it? Qld weren’t really looking all that dangerous but all of a sudden they’re right back in it.

12.34pm BST

From 10m inside the right touchline Thurston makes no mistake.

12.34pm BST

What a try from Qld! From nothing, McGuire spins out of a tackle in his own half. That gets him over the halfway line where he finds Cronk on his outside. Cronk runs an angle and turns the ball back inside to Chambers. Chambers then runs an angle himself and turns it back inside to Gagai. From 20m out, Gagai has enough toe to hold off the chasers!

12.31pm BST

52 min: Pearce bombs to… you guessed it… Gagai. Was Hayne bumped out of the way? NSW think so, but play goes on.

12.29pm BST

49 min: Qld try to stretch NSW left then right but they can’t get through. Gagai is then tackled near the touch line then driven over it by Morris and friends. High fives all round in the Blues’ camp.

12.27pm BST

47 mins: Gillett, coming out of the line, rings Maloney’s bell, taking momentum out of a NSW charge.

A cross-field kick towards Dugan ends up in Slater’s arms, after Dugan was surely forcibly prevented from making a leap at it. Nope, says the ref, and Holmes takes the 20m restart.

12.24pm BST

46 min: Pearce finds Graham on the short side deep in Qld’s half. Graham kicks forward for Morris and he measures it well, the ball sitting up in the in-goal. Slater fields it but Morris forces him into touch in-goal. Drop out.

12.23pm BST

44 min: NSW making the easier metres in attack at the moment.

Slater fields a kick beautifully, picking it up at pace. I didn’t see who tackled him there but it was a good one, stopping the Qld flyer when there was broken field ahead of him.

12.21pm BST

42 mins: Dugan offloads to Cordner and NSW charge into Qld territory.

Pearce bombs, Slater leaps to take it, but the ball pops out to Wade Graham. He has no time to react and and bounces off him to Jarryd Hayne who is about to stroll over the Qld tryline when the whistle goes. Yep, he was offside.

12.19pm BST

41 min: NSW kick us off and, if they can maintain the rage, they’ll be 2017 Origin champions in 40 minutes times.

12.18pm BST

NSW in “good spirits” says Peter Sterling, who’s been loitering in the Blues’ dressing sheds.

Anyway, enough filler…

12.17pm BST

Qld coach Kev Walters is interviewed by Darren Lockyer as the teams head out. “We’re positive,” he says. “We didn’t do a whole lot wrong.”

Yep, that certainly is taking a positive approach to things. Obviously he hasn’t seen the stats we’ve just seen.

12.15pm BST

Second half coming up. NSW have all the momentum (thanks, in part, to those two try-saving tackles in the shadows of half-time) so Qld will need to overturn that early doors.

Here are the first half stats. Special mention to missed tackles and completion rate:

The tale of the tape a HT!#Origin #NRLFantasy pic.twitter.com/RuTqdsYcKP

12.04pm BST

Phew, that was tough, fast-paced, hectic and thrilling. That’s Origin for you. If you’re just joining us, where have you been?

Qld scored the opening try but it’s been NSW ever since. Take a breather. I’ll be back in a tick.

12.02pm BST

40 min: Blimey! What a finish! First Trbojevic pulls Cronk down when he seems certain to score. Trbojevic wrestles him back from the line and folds him in half like an envelope on which you’ve jotted down your shopping list.

Cronk then plays the ball as the siren sounds. Qld go left, Thurston hits Gavin Cooper who is flipped on to his back, by Dugan, as he’s about to crash over, and Cooper cannot get the ball down! Two try-savers in two tackles!

11.57am BST

39 min: Tedesco grabs a Thurston grubber in the NSW in goal. Can NSW hold their 10-point lead with half-time nigh?

11.56am BST

37 min: Thurston grubbers from a long way out, which catches no-one by surprise. NSW pick up inside their own 10m line. A few tackles later Pearce kicks to Gagai again. It’s like he’s trying to kick to him.

Here’s that ‘bombed’ try that may come back to haunt Hayne and NSW:

wwos: #Sports “If he gives it, they score.” – Fatty on Hayne. #Origin #9WWOS pic.twitter.com/sdcZmbJKFI

11.54am BST

34 min: Penalty to NSW after Cooper is pinged for knocking the ball from Klemmer’s hands as the Blue was playing the ball near the halfway line.

Phil Withall, as reliable as a Swiss watch with an overdeveloped sense of responsibility, writes in:

As he ages Laurie Daley seems to be turning into Kenn Dodd. @PFConnolly pic.twitter.com/mNlm8j9om4

11.52am BST

32 min: NSW blow a chance to really put on gap on Qld. Driving left inside Qld’s 20m Hayne is in space with Morris outside him. Hayne draws Gagai but doesn’t pass to Morris who has a clear run to the line, though Slater is coming across in cover. Gagai hangs on and drives Hayne into touch. Would Morris have scored? I think so.

11.49am BST

30 min: NSW right on top, I hardly need to say. Qld have been missing tackles and NSW have a head of steam.

Slater appears to be carrying his left arm. That’s to say, its dangling limply by his side. He carries on, however, and soon kicks into touch on the full. Don’t see that often.

11.47am BST

Maloney, who’s been excellent, converts from almost in front.

11.47am BST

NSW in again! A big charge from Trbojevic early in the set. He then gets his hands on the ball a tackle or so later and, on the halfway line, finds Tedesco backing up on his inside. Tedesco is clear and has the presence of mind to draw Slater before finding Pearce backing up. Pearce under the posts!

11.43am BST

After receiving the ball back from a kick, NSW gets over the halfway line. Maloney takes possession with plenty of defence in front of him, but he wriggles past a slipping Tim Glasby and is in open space! He then finds Morris on his left and he holds off Gagai to score in the left corner.

11.40am BST

23 min: That isn’t good from Frizell! On the second tackle, he charges into a half gap 20m out but his attempt at a flick pass is snaffled by the Maroons.

11.39am BST

22 min: Maloney grubbers into the in-goal. Slater cleans up but he has no choice but to run it over the dead-ball line. Drop out.

11.37am BST

20 min: Qld put it though the hands in their own half but Holmes runs himself into a cul-de-sac and Ferguson, tackling, forces the turnover as Holmes desperately tried to stay in the field of play.

11.36am BST

19 min: Pearce bombs to Gagai again, and Gagai catches just inside the sideline under a fair bit of pressure.

11.35am BST

17 min: Cronk goes for touch when he could have put up a bomb. The commentators are scratching their heads. Cronk at least gave the players time for a breather.

11.34am BST

15 min: A high kickoff bounces and is caught by Hayne. He is smashed like a Gold Coast ‘toolie’, Gagai then coming in for some afters. Hayne is groggy but he’ll be fine. Borderline stuff from Gagai, but no penalty.

11.33am BST

Beautiful kick from the left touchline levels the scores.

11.32am BST

NSW hit straight back! A try to Hayne on the left wing after NSW put it though the hands; Pearce to Maloney, Maloney to a chiming-in Tedesco. Gagai comes in on Tedesco but he gets the ball out to Hayne who holds off Cronk to score inside the left corner.

11.30am BST

13 min: Back-to-back penalties to NSW. The Blues are 10m out, six up their sleeve. Oh, Frizell goes oh so close!

11.29am BST

12 min: NSW win a penalty and they’ll restart play on the Qld 20m.

Seems they love their Origin in Santiago…

@PFConnolly Following origin in baking hot Santiago, Spain. I think the young Maroons will give a good account but the bad guys will win.

11.27am BST

From the left touchline Thurston aims way right and bends it back. He makes that look easy.

11.26am BST

It was close, but not conclusive, so a try is given! How important was that penalty won by Slater? Very, is the answer.

11.25am BST

Valentine Holmes ‘Superman’s’ over in the left corner after a sweeping right to left Maroons move. But did his boot find the touchline?

11.24am BST

8 min: NSW get through a fast set before Pearce kicks high to Gagai, who catches under little pressure 10m out from his own line.

Penalty to Qld, Slater tackled off the ball. Maloney gave him a wee shove and Slater fell like a giant redwood after a run in with an axe.

11.22am BST

7 min: Solid NSW defence forces Thurston to kick on the fifth on the halfway line. Tedesco fields the ball and has his first gallop of the night.

11.20am BST

5 min: Qld inside NSW’s 30, Thurston and Slater combining on the left. Then they go right, Cronk finding Chambers, but Hayne scythes him down like a sheaf of wheat and drags him into touch.

11.18am BST

3 min: The Blues’ forwards keep poking their heads through the tackle but there’s little organisation, and on the last Frizell is tackled by Gavin Cooper.

Early penalty to Qld.

11.16am BST

1 min: NSW with the early carries, Pearce with the first kick of the night. Down Gagai’s throat. Valentine Holmes is then smashed by Woods and he loses the ball on his own 30m. Looked like a knock back, but they don’t seem to exist any more.

11.14am BST

The players are out of the park and everyone is standing —upstanding, no less— for the anthem. The Australian one. The Blues look focused and, if I read their body language correctly, rather relaxed. The Maroons have more of a grimace to their collective visage.

There’s your man, Thurston. Cool as a cucumber that’s been sitting in the fridge crisper for an hour.

11.11am BST

Picking a winner tonight is tough, which seems crazy when you saw how dominant NSW were in Game 1, and how tired Qld looked. Not tired-on-the-night tired, either, but the kind of bone weary tiredness you get as a parent after, say, 10 years. My first daughter, apropos of that, was born in 2006, the year Qld’s era of dominance began. Little did I know the effect her arrival would have on the Origin arena. The butterfly effect at work, innit?

Where was I? Ah, yes, picking a winner. I’ll say Queensland, but with no confidence. Thurston and Slater will be primed and give them a lift. It may just be enough. Then again, if NSW can weather the early storm they may run away with it again. See, I’ve got no idea. That’s what’s so great about Origin.

11.05am BST

Speaking of ‘bants’; if Queensland lose tonight this could be tomorrow’s Centrelink waiting room:

One last word from the coach!#Origin#NRL pic.twitter.com/TKYCsUTubr

11.03am BST

There’s been a lot of banter before this game, as usual.

Best part of #StateOfOrigin is the newspaper sledging #mediawatch pic.twitter.com/VqkbyoV1Uf

10.56am BST

The Olympic Stadium is sold out for tonight, which is great news. You should be able to scoop the atmosphere with a soup ladle and baste yourself in it. Clearly the good people of Sydney want to be in attendance for a potential series-winning game.

Qld used to have a woeful record here where they’ve won just 8/24. But recently they’ve done rather well, winning three of the past five, and seven of the past 12.

10.51am BST

So, who is Coen Hess? Ask Mitchell Moses:

Yeah, I don’t think Coen Hess is ready for #Origin either. Said nobody. Ever. #NRLEelsCowboys pic.twitter.com/NzL9hhUcHu

10.49am BST

New South Wales have an unchanged line-up for the first time in 20 years! If that doesn’t tell a story I don’t know what does. So Laurie Daley will be expecting more of the same from his forwards who dominated the Maroons in game 1, not least Andrew Fifita, who was Beetson-like in his brilliance.

For Queensland, the self-proclaimed pickers and stickers, the broom went through after that first-up loss. Gone are Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday, Aidan Guerra, Jacob Lillyman, Justin O’Neill, Corey Oates and Anthony Milford (injured). In comes Thurston, Slater (pushing Boyd to the wing), Valentine Holmes, Gavin Cooper, Jarrod Wallace, Coen Hess and Tim Glasby, the latter three making their debuts. No pressure, fellas.

There’s one man for the job #StateOfOrigin #game2 #coenhess @nthqldcowboys @QLDmaroons pic.twitter.com/xxtx3JZJaD

If that ain’t Ivan Drago about to run out for Queensland i’m a Dutch astronaut #Origin pic.twitter.com/NY2Wprlfv7

10.42am BST

Teams:

Final teams are IN! #Origin pic.twitter.com/tYsOb8I4WW

10.37am BST

Good evening, sportsfans!

As you’ll recall, three weeks ago in Origin I, NSW tore through Queensland like a southerly buster after a long, hot, oppressive spell.

1.22am BST

Paul will be here shortly, which should give you just enough time to read this piece from Joe Gorman, on why State of Origin is just so important to Queenslanders:

Related: ‘So much bigger than everything else’: the religion that is State of Origin in Queensland | Joe Gorman

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jun/21/nsw-blues-v-queensland-maroons-state-of-origin-2017-game-ii-live

Jun 21

AFL’s revenue-sharing deal draws envious looks from NRL and cricket players

  • AFL agrees $1.84bn deal featuring immediate 20% pay increase for players
  • NRL and cricket players still negotiating their own respective deals

Rugby league players have joined cricketers in lauding the AFL’s new pay deal as evidence a revenue-sharing agreement can be struck. The AFL on Tuesday announced a six-year, $1.84bn deal which features an immediate 20% pay increase for players this year. And for the first time, players’ wages are tied to industry revenue with players to receive 28% of AFL revenues and 11.2% of club revenues above forecasts.

Related: Cricket Australia reportedly threatens players over pay dispute

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/afls-revenue-sharing-deal-draws-envious-looks-from-nrl-and-cricket-players

Jun 20

Queensland look to Johnathan Thurston to get back on State of Origin script | Sam Perry

There were signs of desperation in the Maroons’ opening performance but with their talisman back for Game II in Sydney, any NSW concern should be justified

In State of Origin, it’s common practice to explain one team’s triumph through the prism of the game’s tiny, innocuous moments. Not, as is probably the case, because one has far better players than the other.

Listen to certain pundits on Channel Nine enough, and you’ll note that Queensland has largely trounced NSW for the best part of a decade because ‘they’re first to dive on the loose ball’, because ‘they play the last five minutes harder than the first’, and so on. That Queensland do this is both true and admirable, but this explanation presupposes that the gap between both sides is so infinitesimal that the inches prove the difference. If only Gal had dived on more balls, maybe Queensland wouldn’t have won eight straight.

Related: ‘So much bigger than everything else’: the religion that is State of Origin in Queensland | Joe Gorman

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/21/queensland-look-to-johnathan-thurston-to-get-them-back-on-state-of-origin-script

Jun 20

Warrington fight to stay in Super League a year after contesting the Grand Final

Super League is imitating the Premier League; we’re still waiting for rugby league’s Champions Trophy; and State of Origin II is not just an all-Australia affair

By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport Network

Panic on the streets of Warrington, panic on the streets of Wigan; Salford, Leeds and Perpignan. Yes, Morrissey saw it coming. Super League clubs are apparently considering a proposal to increase the competition to 13 or 14 teams in 2019, having cut it to 12 just three years ago. Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before.

It beggars belief – until you realise the RFL and the clubs themselves are simply terrified of losing another giant of the game to relegation. Bradford was bad enough. Warrington, Catalans or Wigan would be an equal opportunity too far.

Related: Super League could expand to 13 or 14 teams under new proposals

Related: Rugby league players should learn from footballers and start their own union

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/jun/20/rugby-warrington-super-league-grand-final

Jun 19

‘So much bigger than everything else’: the religion that is State of Origin in Queensland | Joe Gorman

No other sporting event will ever be able to galvanise and reflect the state quite like Origin, an annual event that even non-rugby league followers pay heed to

By midday a crowd of thousands had formed at Southbank, on the edge of the Brisbane River, for the inaugural Maroon Festival. Fierce young men with neck tattoos and wraparound sunglasses. Blonde women in white skirts or shorts. Murris in loud football jerseys sponsored by Deadly Choices. Elderly couples with lanyards and Sunday Mail show-bags. One man dressed in North Queensland Cowboys shorts, a Queensland jumper and a broad bushman’s hat. A Kiwi woman sported a maroon t-shirt with a gold rather than silver fern, emblazoned with the slogan MarooNZ. As proud parents snapped photos, three young children stood in front of an inflatable State of Origin gladiator and yelled, “Go Queensland!”

Related: Queensland in radical shakeup in bid to hit back in State of Origin Game II

Related: A new generation of Blues come of age in fast and furious win over Maroons | Nick Tedeschi

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/20/so-much-bigger-than-everything-else-the-religion-that-is-state-of-origin-in-queensland

Jun 19

Super League could expand to 13 or 14 teams under new proposals

• Relegated Hull KR could benefit from mooted expansion from 2018 season
• Odd number of teams would raise questions on Magic Weekend’s future

A proposal which involves increasing the number of teams in Super League to 13, or even 14, is being considered by the Rugby Football League as discussions begin on the format of the sport’s league structure for 2018 and beyond.

Related: Hull make wilting Castleford pay to set up semi-final against Leeds

Related: Sam Tomkins’s drop goal sends Wigan past Warrington in Challenge Cup

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/19/super-league-could-expand-13-14-teams-proposals-rugby-league

Jun 18

Hull make wilting Castleford pay to set up semi-final against Leeds

• Hull FC 32-24 Castleford
• Hull coach Lee Radford on all-Yorkshire semi-final: ‘It’ll be a cracker’

Hull have given warning that they are not ready to loosen their grip on the Challenge Cup any time soon, after booking their place in the semi-finals with victory here against Castleford Tigers.

Few teams have found the formula to beat the Super League leaders, Castleford, this season. Yet of the four games Daryl Powell’s side have lost in all competitions this year two have been against Hull: their coach, Lee Radford, has the Tigers’ number.

Related: Sam Tomkins’s drop goal sends Wigan past Warrington in Challenge Cup

Related: Salford see off Wakefield to reach first Challenge Cup semi-final since 1998

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/18/hull-fc-castleford-challenge-cup-quarter-final-match-report

Jun 18

Demons and Eels the winners, Bulldogs season in the balance – as it happened.

9.33am BST

If we learned anything in 2016, it is that we can’t rule out a team like Melbourne winning it all in 2017. They certainly issued a statement at the Docklands, thrashing last year’s premiers. The pressure they generate, the polish they show with ball in hand, the accuracy in execution… it’s a good time to be a Demon. The Dogs, on the other hand, have a rubbish week ahead of them, their season now really in the balance. To say the least.

In Sydney, the Eels did the double over the fourth-placed Dragons, emphasising their own September credentials. A way to go yet, but not for nothing that they have been able to again beat a team inside the eight.

9.26am BST

AFL Match report – Dees 113 – Dogs 56

MELBOURNE, June 18 AAP – Melbourne have stamped their AFL premiership credentials, smashing reigning premiers Western Bulldogs by 57 points in a spiteful Etihad Stadium encounter.
Jack Watts booted three goals in a dominant performance as the Demons climbed to fifth on the AFL ladder with a 17.11 (113) to 8.8 (56) victory on Sunday afternoon.
The Dees could hardly have been more impressive, beating the Dogs at their own hard-running, transition offence game and repelling everything thrown at them on the defensive end.
It was a dire loss for the Bulldogs, who remain stranded in ninth place, made worse by a serious and potentially season-ending knee injury to key midfielder Lin Jong.
Jong went straight to the rooms and was later in tears on the interchange bench, having crumpled to the ground when his kick was smothered by Nathan Jones early in the first quarter.
The Dees had injury concerns of their own, with Watts, Jones, Neville Jetta and Jayden Hunt all spending extended time on the bench.
Tensions between the two sides were stoked before the game, with Melbourne enforcer Tomas Bugg using social media to taunt Bulldogs speedster Jason Johannisen.
The Norm Smith medallist had a shocker during their loss to Sydney, courtesy of a hard tag from George Hewett, and Bugg took to Instagram to make it clear he could expect the same treatment.
The Dogs made a beeline for Bugg before the opening bounce but it was one of the few shots they fired in an otherwise meek performance.
Luke Beveridge’s men were held goalless in the opening quarter for the first time this season as Melbourne’s phenomenal pressure proved far too much for them to handle.
Marcus Bontempelli and Lachie Hunter racked up plenty of touches but to little effect as the physical Demons tackled, smothered and muscled their way to a four-goal lead at quarter-time.
The Dogs looked to fight back during a fiery, old-school second term, with the umpires kept busy by spotfires across the ground.
But it was Melbourne who came out on top, extending their lead with consecutive goals after Bugg – again the chief provocateur – was laid out by a frustrated Easton Wood.
It was all one-way traffic after halftime, with Jordan Lewis (31 touches), Oscar McDonald (23 disposals, 12 marks) and Christian Salem (23 touches) among the standout performers for the Dees.

9.24am BST

NRL Match report – Eels 24 – Dragons 10.

SYDNEY, June 18 AAP – Brad Arthur shifted Clinton Gutherson to fullback with immediate success for Parramatta, as the Eels beat St George Illawarra 24-10 on Sunday.
The Eels’ Mr. Fix-it for the first half of the NRL season, Gutherson finally found a spot of his own at the back and celebrated with two first-half tries and 207 metres at ANZ Stadium.
But the win is likely to have come at a cost, with Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard taken to hospital in an ambulance with a serious knee injury, while Beau Scott suffered an elbow complaint.
But after 14 weeks of injury reshuffles and the wait for Mitchell Moses’ arrival, Arthur looked to have finally found the Eels’ most potent backline combination.
Gutherson was faultless at the back, scoring the first try from a fortuitous rebound before blocking and scooping up a grubber to run 80 metres and score their second.
It helped built a 12-4 half-time lead that never looked in danger of being chased down.
His move to the back came after former NSW State of Origin centre Michael Jennings returned from a quad injury, while regular fullback Bevan French shifted to the right wing.
Jennings crossed for a try from a 55-metre break after a Dragons dropped ball and French scored after a perfectly placed cross-field chip kick from halfback Moses, as the hosts sealed the result in the second half.
French was also outstanding in defence, as he regularly pressured the Dragons’ attack with his speed and produced an intercept to save a try in his new-found position.
Moses had his best game for the Eels as he partnered Corey Norman in the halves for just the second time.
The pair forced four dropouts, as the Eels controlled the momentum of the match, despite only receiving their first penalty in the 71st minute.
Meanwhile, Nene Macdonald and Paul Vaughan scored tries for the Dragons, but they never looked in the hunt as their attack stuttered without Origin stars Josh Dugan and Tyson Frizell.
Coach Paul McGregor took halfback Josh McCrone from the field with 13 minutes to play.

9.15am BST

NRL ladder afer round 15.

LADDER AFTER Rd 15
P W D L B PF PA PD Pts
1 Melbourne 14 12 0 2 1 319 212 107 26
2 Sydney Roosters 14 10 0 4 1 310 228 82 22
3 Cronulla 14 10 0 4 1 264 194 70 22
4 Brisbane 14 9 0 5 1 301 225 76 20
5 Manly 13 8 0 5 2 299 237 62 20
6 St George Illawarra 14 8 0 6 1 297 235 62 18
7 North Queensland 14 8 0 6 1 287 259 28 18
8 Penrith 13 6 0 7 2 284 253 31 16
9 Parramatta 15 8 0 7 0 282 318 -36 16
10 Canberra 14 6 0 8 1 316 270 46 14
11 NZ Warriors 14 6 0 8 1 274 303 -29 14
12 Canterbury 14 6 0 8 1 194 247 -53 14
13 South Sydney 14 5 0 9 1 258 313 -55 12
14 Gold Coast 14 4 0 10 1 298 382 -84 10
15 Newcastle 13 2 0 11 2 210 351 -141 8
16 Wests Tigers 14 3 0 11 1 204 370 -166 8

9.12am BST

The AFL ladder after round 13.

LADDER AFTER ROUND 13
P W L D For Agst PC Pts
Adelaide 12 9 3 – 1426 1006 141.8 36
Greater Western Sydney 12 9 3 – 1202 1033 116.4 36
Geelong 12 8 4 – 1234 1075 114.8 32
Port Adelaide 12 7 5 – 1262 939 134.4 28
Melbourne 12 7 5 – 1221 1055 115.7 28
Richmond 12 7 5 – 1051 958 109.7 28
West Coast 12 7 5 – 1066 1039 102.6 28
Essendon 12 6 6 – 1143 1111 102.9 24
Western Bulldogs 12 6 6 – 977 1012 96.5 24
St Kilda 12 6 6 – 1035 1090 95.0 24
Fremantle 12 6 6 – 919 1171 78.5 24
Sydney 12 5 7 – 1070 1014 105.5 20
Collingwood 12 5 7 – 1069 1051 101.7 20
Gold Coast 12 5 7 – 1078 1223 88.1 20
Carlton 12 5 7 – 882 1066 82.7 20
North Melbourne 12 4 8 – 1104 1189 92.8 16
Hawthorn 12 4 8 – 947 1231 76.9 16
Brisbane Lions 12 2 10 – 984 1407 69.9 8

9.06am BST

They can consult me, for a fee.

Dog fans can seek guidance from Hawk fans with how to deal with rubbish ‘flag was a fluke’ Barbs. #AFLDogsDees

9.03am BST

PARRAMATTA 24 (C Gutherson 2 B French M Jennings tries C Gutherson 3 M Moses goals) bt ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 10 (N MacDonald P Vaughan tries G Widdop goal) at ANZ Stadium. Referee: Chris Sutton, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 13,559. (via AAP).

Brad Arthur shifted Clinton Gutherson to fullback with immediate success for Parramatta, as the Eels beat St George Illawarra 24-10 on Sunday.
The Eels’ Mr. Fix-it for the first half of the NRL season, Gutherson finally found a spot of his own at the back and celebrated with two first-half tries and 207 metres at ANZ Stadium.
But the win is likely to have come at a cost, with Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard taken to hospital in an ambulance with a serious knee injury, while Beau Scott suffered an elbow complaint.
But after 14 weeks of injury reshuffles and the wait for Mitchell Moses’ arrival, Arthur looked to have finally found the Eels’ most potent backline combination.
Gutherson was faultless at the back, scoring the first try from a fortuitous rebound before blocking and scooping up a grubber to run 80 metres and score their second.

9.02am BST

You love singing the song after a win like that. The Melbourne faithful have copped it for a decade, a true laughing stock of the competition. But they are laughing now, all their way to September. It was a win built on the back of a relentless opening ten minutes, never letting the Dogs settle. Once they found their rhythm in front of goal, they came consistently – and disproportionately so from turnovers. That’ll will unsettle the Sons of the Scray as much as anything, just how loose they were. Premiership hangover or otherwise, the headaches are considerable at the kennel.

8.58am BST

NRL: The Dragons got a try back, but smooth sailing for the Eels who have got over the line 24-10 at the Olympic Stadium. Will have the full report with you shortly.

8.56am BST

AFL: Q4 3:30 remaining. Dogs 8.6.54 v Dees 17.11.113. Toooooo easy. Bugg an uncontested mark inside 50. Then finds Alex Neal-Bullen, also in there without opponent. A shot to the Doggie’s box, Luke Beveridge is understandably livid. Melbourne have been magnificent.

No side this year has played as well as Melbourne have played today. #AFLDogsDees

8.52am BST

AFL: Q4 7:00 remaining. Dogs 8.6.54 v Dees 16.10.106. Tom McDonald gets lucky, the bouncing into his arms as he strolls into goal. He’s had a big game. “Is there a chance the Dogs will miss the finals?” is the question on TV. A lot of Hawthorn 2009 about their campaign so far. What a brutal season that was.

8.47am BST

AFL: Q4 9:00 remaining. Dogs 8.6.54 v Dees 15.9.99. Loose ball gather by Tory Dickson allows him to kick his first of a very quiet day. Has plenty of friends who can say that, not least Tom Boyd. Mitch Honeychurch missed an earlier a set shot, which will set twitter off. An unpopular man today after a couple of bad blunders. “I think the Bulldogs have dropped off with their handball efficiency,” says Jonathan Brown. Brad Johnson agrees.

Looking forward to Melbourne knocking Richmond out of the finals #AFLDogsDees

8.40am BST

AFL: Q4 14:30 remaining. Dogs 7.5.47 v Dees 15.7.97. Cleeeever. Great grab from Pedersen, who looks up and sees Hannan, gives off the handball and he strolls into an open goal. Some tired boys out there now, a lot of arc-to-arc footy as the minutes drain from the clock. Not that the Dogs have any realistic hope at this stage. Jack Watts down the race, some ‘hamstring tightness’ the report from the boundary. Interesting debate about to begin about the Dogs. Getting beat in Sydney is one thing, but this will bring the back pages.

We all say Dogs premiership hangover. But they were 7th in 2016 + a great September, this year within their margin of error? #AFLDogsDees

8.33am BST

NRL: Another bad knee injury this Sunday. via AAP. Parra lead 24-4 after a Bevan French try, about 20 minutes to go at the Olympic Stadium.

Parramatta hooker Kaysa Pritchard has been taken to hospital in an ambulance with a serious knee injury.
Pritchard was stretchered off ANZ Stadium in a medicab for the Eels after he was hurt in a tackle midway through the first half of the Eels’ NRL clash with St George Illawarra on Sunday.
The Eels dummy-half has endured a horrid run with injuries in his five-year NRL career, including twin pectoral injuries in 2015.

In the blink of an eye, French was there!#NRLEelsDragons 24-4 after 58 minutes.#NRL pic.twitter.com/06lgYg60T3

8.32am BST

AFL: Q4 18:30 remaining. Dogs 7.5.47 v Dees 14.7.91. Picken nearly has his head taken off in a marking contest inside 50. Rightly gets the free, and kicks truly for the first of the final quarter. Margin back to 44, for what it is worth.

A comment from… my brother, Ben, who predicts a Melbourne flag inside three years. “From the decade of chaos, they have built one of the most balanced and talented lists in the AFL.” Sounds about right. Good on ‘em. It’s been a terrible ten or more years for them.

8.26am BST

NRL: Ten minutes into the second half, Parra 18-4 over St George. Michael Jennings with the Eels third try, converted by Gutherson. Evidently a fair bit of excitement on TV about a kiss on the cheek.

Must have been a great tackle!#NRLEelsDragons #NRL pic.twitter.com/oI5Go7J0gZ

8.24am BST

AFL: Three Quater Time. Dogs 6.5.41 v Dees 14.7.91. Tom McDonald does exactly as Jack Watts did at half-time, draining a set shot after the hooter from long-range. That puts the lead out to 50 points. What a performance.

8.21am BST

AFL: Q3 2:00 remaining. Dogs 6.5.41 v Dees 13.7.85. The man who fired this game up, Tomas Bugg, gets another in the book from close range. Too easy.

8.17am BST

AFL: Q3 5:00 remaining. Dogs 6.5.41 v Dees 12.7.79. Roughead runs into what should have been a relatively simple open goal, but Jetta nearly chased him down. “That’s just the mindset of Melbourne today,” says Brad Johnson. Dogs’ first goal from a turnover today the TV tells me – Melbourne have six.

8.13am BST

AFL: Q3 7:00 remaining. Dogs 5.5.35 v Dees 12.7.79. Dees respond straight away! Margin straight back to 44 points. Jack Watts penetrates with his inside 50, a clever handball slips out to Jake Melksham who pops it on the boot and through the big sticks from 15m.

8.11am BST

AFL: Q3 7:00 remaining. Dogs 5.5.35 v Dees 11.7.73. Coast to coast from Melbourne through a string of precise handballs and short kicks, landing in the arms of Jazzy Jeff who bangs it home from the goalsquare. The Dogs in real strife, on the cusp of losing their first game at the Docklands this year. One more goal and they’re gone. Oh, and as I’m about to hit send, the Dogs do go and get one back. Libba is taken high from a hard ball get, converts the free kick from 30m.

Well done Dees. Too polished. We’re a mess.

8.08am BST

AFL: Q3 10:00 remaining. Dogs 4.4.28 v Dees 10.7.67. Melbourne, brilliant! Salem receives the handball at 55, steadies and drills it home, with Garlett shepherding it over the line. Again via a Dogs turnover, a long option taken and missed. “Time becoming an issue for them now,” says Huddo on the TV. 39 points the lead. Interesting from David King too, asking why Melbourne couldn’t legitimately challenge for the flag this year. Wouldn’t that be something.

8.04am BST

NRL: Half-time. Parramatta 12 v St George 4. Dragons get one back before the half, via Neve Macdonald.

The flick pass! Nailed it.

The @NRL_Dragons are on the board. #NRLEelsDragons 12-4 after 37 minutes.#NRL pic.twitter.com/vtXs1vWyCJ

7.58am BST

AFL: Q3 15:30 remaining. Dogs 4.4.28 v Dees 9.6.60. Tom Boyd has been nowhere today, but with his second kick of the encounter has his first goal from a 40m set shot. Cordy did well to chip with his non-referred left foot, Boyd getting into position nicely.

shocked about just how ragged @westernbulldogs use of the footy has been so far today. #afldogsdees

7.54am BST

AFL: Q3 19:00 remaining. Dogs 3.3.21 v Dees 9.6.60. What a deflating start for the Dogs. Jack Watts works his behind off to get into the hotspot, down from the wing. In the end, it is a relatively uncontested 2-on-1 grab that he takes in the square and bangs it home. Lead out to 39 points.

7.46am BST

NRL: Try time again for Parramatta (12-0). How about Gutherson’s wheels here? Wooot. His second try, converted. He has all 12 points in the game to his name so far.

King Clint scoots away! #NRLEelsDragons #NRL pic.twitter.com/RV4zQ63E3P

7.40am BST

Below the line. “I’m at that stage of the year when I start barracking for teams based on how it affects my team’s position in the eight,” says MostlyGrey. “So GO Melbourne.”

As I mentioned earlier, it’s a proper eight point game this with both sides fighting for an elimination final spot in a couple of months from now.

STATS | The numbers at half-time #AFLDogsDees pic.twitter.com/OT0M9oUvxL

7.35am BST

NRL: The Eels get the first try, Clinton Gutherson over the line then converting. At the midway point of the first half at the Olympic Stadium. Parra 6-0 ahead of St George.

7.33am BST

AFL: Half Time. Dogs 3.3.21 v Dees 8.6.54. Jack Watts! A shot after the siren from the car park, tucked up against the boundary needing to go right to left. Threads it through to get their fourth of the quarter; a nice little steadier to push the margin back beyond five goals at the long break. Predictably, a little push and shove before they walk off. Eight goals in the final ten minutes of that quarter. Margin a fraction deceptive relative to the flow of play and the Dogs will take something from that while sipping on an energy drink.

7.27am BST

AFL: Q2 1:00 remaining. Dogs 3.3.21 v Dees 7.6.48. Dogs bang, bang! Just as they looked on the cusp of being blown away the Dogs have slammed home two goals in a minute as the tempo of this game lifts dramatically. Bomtompelli utter class, a left foot snap from 50 moments after Daulhaus kicked his first of the afternoon. Back inside five goals. Expect more goals before the break, the game has opened up considerably in the last ten minutes. Could have came too through Mitch Honeychurch, who just misses to the near side are a frenetic passage of play through the middle.

How good is some genuine feeling in a game of footy?!

7.23am BST

AFL: Q2 5:00 remaining. Dogs 1.2.8 v Dees 7.6.48. Double goal! Oh what a mess for the Dogs, and no one to blame but premiership captain Easton Wood. To begin, Hannan snaps truly from a contest 20m from the big sticks. Nice finish. Man of the moment Tomas Bugg tells Wood. He returns the favour with a hit that The Pest wasn’t expecting. To ground he goes, a free kick given, a second goal kicked before the ball has returned to the middle.

7.19am BST

Rugby: the fall out from the Wallabies shocker last night. An AAP report from Will Genia’s press conference.

Putting his hand up for his own shocker, Will Genia admits the Wallabies need some serious soul searching if they’re to challenge the All Blacks in 2017.
Exasperated coach Michael Cheika is expected to wield the axe after the Wallabies slumped to a demoralising 24-19 loss to Scotland in Sydney on Saturday.
Accusing his team of being physically and mentally off the pace, Cheika singled out captain Michael Hooper, fullback Israel Folau and rookie inside centre Karmichael Hunt as among the few to have performed to Test standard.
The rest of the squad is on notice ahead of Saturday’s final Test of the June series, a seemingly easier assignment against Italy in Brisbane.
Cheika said physical intent would be the No.1 selection criteria for Australia’s last Test before back-to-back Bledisloe Cup battles in August with the world No.1 All Blacks, who thumped Samoa 78-0 on Friday.

7.17am BST

AFL: Q2 7:51 remaining. Dogs 1.2.8 v Dees 5.5.35. At last! Caleb Daniel gets on the end of a fast break, turns and slots it through from 40m. Only took the Dogs 23 entrances inside 50 to get a six pointer. 27 points now the margin. Meanwhile, the Tomas Bugg tweet generating plenty of chat on the world wide web. Thoughts?

How is that anything more than a bit of fun? It’s nothing more. Not a sledge, not disrespectful, not fuel on a fire. #AFLDogsDees pic.twitter.com/L1OCfEzYXM

7.14am BST

AFL: Q2 8:55 remaining. Dogs 0.2.2 v Dees 5.5.35. Blimey, what’s going on there? Easton Wood is absolutely convinced he has got a finger on the Harmes snap, they prepare accordingly. But the TV umpire doesn’t agree and the goal is confirmed. “That will be a talking point during the week,” says Jonathan Brown. Not wrong. The lead could be a lot bigger, too. Moments earlier, Jazzy Jeff Garlett hits his low-percentage snap nicely, but it hits the post. That came after Jack Watts failed to score from a set shot 35m out. All Melbourne.

The McDonald brothers’ most productive day since the invention of the quarter pounder with cheese. #AFLDogsDees

7.07am BST

AFL: Q2 12:20 remaining. Dogs 0.2.2 v Dees 4.3.27. Plenty of unhappy Dogs fans. Unhappy at umpiring decisions. Unhappy with the opposition. Mostly unhappy that we’re nearly half way through the second quarter and they’re yet to kick a goal. A goalless half, anyone? In the NRL, we’re away at the Olympic Stadium, the Eels and the Dragons. I’ll keep an eye on it.

STAT | Inside 50s:
Dogs 18
Demons 13

But Melbourne leads 26 to 2. #AFLDogsDees

7.00am BST

AFL: Q2 17:44 remaining. Dogs 0.2.2 v Dees 4.2.26. We’re upstairs for a score review. Long snap from Daulhaus. It looks to be straight, but it has clipped the post according to the goal umpire and that can’t be overturned by the third umpire without conclusive proof. A behind registered, the Dogs still yet to put one through.

“We can put a man on the moon, surely we can get some camera’s that can actually a tell if a ball has hit the post” Nick Dal Santo

6.57am BST

The Jong injury. David King on TV saying that ACL is the talk on the boundary line. Let’s hope not.

Lin Jong was helped from the field after this incident. #AFLDogsDees pic.twitter.com/WdGa1ylX3r

6.56am BST

I missed this before. About an hour before the game Tomas Bugg having a pop at JJ. Good from him, I think. Less good: Lin Jong. Nothing formal as yet, but all the boundary line reporting suggests he’s in real strife.

Luke Beveridge, says Jonathan Brown on the TV, spent the whole 1/4 time break addressing the players rather than them splitting off to line coaches. In other words, he’s probably given them a huge spray. Always have time for this.

Dees coach responds to Tomas Bugg’s Instagram post aimed at an opponent –> https://t.co/SW7IsDjZcb pic.twitter.com/UNnDu8aqbP

6.53am BST

AFL: Quarter Time. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 4.2.26. The defending champs are in all sorts. They needed to bounce back badly urgently after their thrashing last week, but instead have registered their first goalless term for 15 months. Ouch. Not to take anything away from Melbourne, who are playing with the vigour of a side who know that they aren’t far away from a finals berth. Illustrated nicely by the fact that three of their four goals came from direct turnovers through excellent tackles.

Best Demons 1st quarter for 20+ years. #AFLDogsDees

6.47am BST

AFL: Q 2:08 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 4.2.26. And another! Bugg set up the previous goal, and does again here with a timely tackle on Matt Suckling, it’s boomed into the Melbourne 50 and last week’s hero Jack Watts takes the grab. Well, is paid the mark in any case. From 35m right in front, he kicks truly. Three goals in about 90 seconds. Boom.

Christian Petracca’s pressure sets the tone. #AFLDogsDees pic.twitter.com/OgYWkSO0Gb

6.45am BST

AFL: Q 3:00 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 3.2.20. Brilliant forward 50 pressure from Christian Petracca, stripping Shane Biggs of possession deep in the pocket and having the composure to collect the ball and bang it home from point blank range. On their way to a deserved handy lead at the quarter time break. Nearing a goalless quarter for the Dogs for the first time since Rd 3 last year. And another for Melbourne! From the clearance, Pedersen getting on the end of turnover inside 50, kicking over the top to Garlett in the squad, who gets Melbourne’s third of the quarter. Great footy.

6.40am BST

Bad news – Lin Jong. Helped off by the trainers with a knee injury. First signs: not good.

Mick Warner: “Lin Jong is in the back row of the bench. He appears to be in tears.” #AFLDogsDees

6.39am BST

AFL: Q 6:00 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 1.1.7. Turnovers, turnovers, turnoevers. Almost all going one way, Melbourne well on top here as the quarter ticks away with only three scoring shots so far. In turn, a post to denote a behind: James Harmes tried to thread a drop punt through from the pocket, but missed to the near side. At the other end, Bontempelli’s snap nearly gets over the line but bounces back the other way. Paul Roos on the TV: “What Melbourne have been able to do is taken the sting out of the Bulldog’s counter attack.”

Melbourne’s pressure has been superb in this first quarter. Dogs can’t catch a breath. #AFLDogsDees

6.31am BST

AFL: Q1 13:36 remaining. Dogs 0.1.1 v Dees 1.0.6. Opening major of the game after both sides took a while to settle with plenty of possessions around both 50m arcs, some big tackles made to prevent shots on goal. But Jeff Garlett weights an inside 50 perfectly to find Dom Tyson 30 out. He turns around and makes no mistake from the set shot.

“It’s a frantic pace early, they are almost going to quick for themselves though” Nick Dal Santo

6.21am BST

A lot of chat. Before this game about Norm Smith Medallist Jason Johannisen. Had nine touches against Sydney last night bringing loads of scrutiny. “The footy world watches JJ for his response,” former Dogs great Brad Johnson’s assessment. Nice little montage with all this on the telly as the siren sounds. We’re away at the Docklands.

6.06am BST

Welcome to a truncated version of sportwatch this midwinter Sunday. Only on the basis that we’ve reached that part of the season where the footy codes get a breather via bye rounds and the like, and the netball has wrapped up with yesterday’s Grand Final.

But never fear: we still have a couple of feature games coming up for you this afternoon. It’s Adam Collins to steer you through the action before I hotfoot it to The Oval in London for the India v Pakistan Champions Trophy Final.

5.33am BST

Adam will be with you shortly. While you’re waiting, here’s a reminder of what happened on a busy day yesterday:

Related: Lightning crowned Super Netball champions, Wallabies fall to Scotland – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/jun/17/western-bulldogs-v-melbourne-afl-and-more-australian-sport-live

Jun 17

Wigan hold off Warrington and advance to Challenge Cup semi-final

Warrington Wolves 26-27 Wigan Warriors

It was almost inevitable that Sam Tomkins would have the decisive say on the day his nine-month injury nightmare came to an end. After all, the England full-back has made a habit of producing big plays at big moments – even if the past 18 months since his return to Super League have been somewhat frustrating.

Tomkins will undoubtedly take some time to get up to full speed following the troublesome foot injury that has robbed him of almost a year of his career, but when the ball came to him in the 73rd minute of this engrossing and dramatic Challenge Cup tie, there was never any doubt as to what would happen next.

Related: Salford see off Wakefield to reach first Challenge Cup semi-final since 1998

Related: Castleford and Sale reach £200,000 settlement over Denny Solomona

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/17/warrington-wolves-wigan-warriors-challenge-cup-quarter-final-match-report

Jun 16

Castleford and Sale reach £200,000 settlement over Denny Solomona

• Winger walked away from Tigers contract and rugby league last year
• Solomona scored try on England rugby union debut last week

Castleford and Sale have agreed a settlement over the dispute surrounding the England international Denny Solomona and his switch to rugby union last year.

Related: Denny Solomona’s late try secures thrilling win for England over Argentina

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/16/castleford-sale-settlement-denny-solomona

Jun 15

Salford see off Wakefield to reach first Challenge Cup semi-final since 1998

• Salford Red Devils 30-6 Wakefield Trinity
• Salford one win from first Challenge Cup final since 1969

That it would take a Salford fan of a certain age to recall the last time their club walked out at Wembley in the Challenge Cup final perhaps best underlines the extraordinary journey one of Super League’s traditional strugglers currently find themselves on.

Eight months removed from that dramatic day in Hull when they preserved their Super League status in the Million Pound Game, Ian Watson’s side, who sit second in Super League, now find themselves within one victory of a first Wembley appearance since 1969 after this serene progression through the quarter-finals.

Related: RFL contemplates moving Challenge Cup final away from Wembley Stadium

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/15/salford-red-devils-wakefield-trinity-challenge-cup-quater-final-match-report

Jun 12

Queensland in radical shakeup in bid to hit back in State of Origin Game II

  • Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston return for Sydney clash
  • Seven changes to Maroons team after Game I defeat to NSW

Queensland have wielded the axe, making seven changes for next week’s must-win State of Origin game two in Sydney. Veterans Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles, Jacob Lillyman and Aidan Guerra have been dumped along with unlucky winger Corey Oates and centre Justin O’Neill, while five-eighth Anthony Milford has a shoulder injury.

Related: A new generation of Blues come of age in fast and furious win over Maroons | Nick Tedeschi

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/12/queensland-in-radical-shakeup-in-bid-to-hit-back-in-state-of-origin-game-ii

Jun 11

Greg Eden runs in five tries in crushing Castleford win over Warrington

• Castleford 36-16 Warrington
• Winger’s dazzling display helps Super League leaders move six points clear

Greg Eden continued the remarkable revival of his career when he ran in five tries as Castleford took another important step towards ending their 91-year wait to win the championship with a resounding victory over Warrington which left them six points clear at the top of Super League.

On this form the 26-year-old winger looks capable of eclipsing the 40 tries scored by Denny Solomona last season to set the competition’s record before he departed for rugby union. This was Eden’s fifth hat-trick in six games – including a Challenge Cup treble against St Helens – taking his season’s tally to 30 in 18 league games.

Related: Castleford’s Andy Lynch joins Super League 500 club and sets sights on silverware

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/11/castleford-warrington-super-league-match-report

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