NRL

Leilua injured by firework

Leilua returned to the changing room for treatment at AAMI Park after suffering a freak injury moments before kick-off on Saturday.

The centre was running through an arch which was firing out steam and sparklers when the damage was done.

Leilua was unable to start the match and his late replacement, Bailey Simonsson, scored the opening try after only three minutes.

Former Newcastle Knights man Leilua recovered to join the action midway through the first half, replacing Nick Cotric, with Canberra leading 6-2 at the break.

Mitchell's heroics sink Warriors' slim NRL hopes

Needing to win to stay in finals contention, the Warriors led 6-0 early on Sunday afternoon but otherwise failed to land a punch as they conceded eight unanswered tries.

They also lost Gerard Beale to a serious knee injury early, while Jazz Tevaga might be suspended for a late shoulder charge on Cronk.

Tevaga was sin-binned for the hit and, while Cronk initially remained grounded, he played on without any real concerns.

Sharks bite back to beat Cowboys

The visiting Cowboys led 8-4 at the interval but were undone by two tries in the space of four minutes, as Shaun Johnson played a key role with hands and boot.

The Sharks had won the previous two meetings with the Cowboys and six of the past eight, but they fell behind three minutes in when Scott Drinkwater sprinted clear to score.

Ronaldo Mulitalo levelled after 36 minutes from Johnson's pass, but Matthew Scott restored the Cowboys' advantage just three minutes later, powering through a defensive blockade to spin and dot down just before the interval.

Jazz Tevaga sticking with Warriors for another two years

The 23-year-old hooker turned down down reported interest from other national rugby club to remain in Auckland until the end of the 2021 season.

Named the NRL's best interchange player last year, Tevaga has thrived in a starting role and is averaging 125 metres in his four starts while his 61 tackles in last week's draw with Brisbane was 18 more than anyone else.

Possibly the smallest middle forward in the NRL, coach Stephen Kearney lauded Tevaga for his courage.

"He isn't the biggest forward going around by a long way but that doesn't bother him," Kearney said.

NRL appoints first female referee for Broncos v Bulldogs clash

Belinda Sharpe will on Tuesday be confirmed as the first woman to take control of an NRL match, assigned as the assistant referee for Thursday night's Broncos and Bulldogs clash at Suncorp Stadium.

The Queensland-raised Sharpe and Kasey Badger were earlier this year elevated to the NRL's full-time referees squad, paving the way for the former to take the whistle in round 18.

She has been a constant as an NRL touch judge in recent times, as has Badger, but it won't be until this week that one of the pair has been given the task of refereeing an NRL fixture.

Penrith Panthers sink Warriors with long range late try and James Maloney field goal

The Warriors looked to have the match in the bag through 60 minutes of play, before the under-manned Panthers exposed shaky tackling to score with three minutes left, then former Warriors pivot Maloney delivered a field goal killer blow.

Even a stunning second half try by a flying David Fusitu'a - a contender for try of the season - couldn't get the home side the win.

Warriors centre Patrick Herbert kicked a 40 metre penalty goal to send the match into extra time, but that turned the game into the Maloney show, as the Warriors slumped to another loss in Auckland.

Dragons back on track at Bulldogs

 

The Dragons had slipped down the ladder with a string of defeats since their last win in April, but they were back on track thanks to a one-sided triumph on the road.

The visitors had Corey Norman back from a fractured cheekbone and both he and Queensland Maroons star Ben Hunt scored in inspiring performances.

It started badly for the Dragons as Raymond Faitala-Mariner crossed for the Bulldogs inside two minutes, but the Dragons were soon on top.

Panthers upset Roosters

The Panthers racked up a third straight win by downing the defending premiers at Panthers Stadium, with Maloney providing three try assists and a field goal in an impressive showing to enhance his claims for a State of Origin recall.

Nathan Cleary came in for criticism following the Blues' State of Origin I defeat to Queensland in midweek, but he also put in a strong showing against the high-flying Roosters.

Whitbread ready for the Taumalolo challenge

With Jai Arrow named to play for the Maroons in Origin I, Jai Whitbread is likely to start at lock for the Titans on Sunday where he will go up against Cowboys colossus Jason Taumalolo.

The 21-year-old was called into the run-on side late last week when Arrow went down with a quadriceps injury during the captain's run and ran for 102 metres in 35 minutes.

More importantly, he limited the impact of Manly giant Martin Taupau.

Maroons Origin team: Emotional Walters names new faces, declares 'war'

The Maroons coach said debutants Moses Mbye, Joe Ofahengaue and David Fifita had earned their jerseys and would do the state proud as his eyes glazed over with the passion and emotion that has defined his tenure in charge of the Maroons.

Broncos forwards Ofahengaue and Fifita will come off the bench, as will Mbye with the Wests Tigers skipper beating Anthony Milford to the vital utility spot.

“I'm ready, we are ready. This is war,” Walters said.