NRL

Patience needed as NRL goes through major transition

I used to think they were an acceptable form of chocolate, not the best, but passable. Worst of all, I would willingly choose them over actual treats with taste, especially around Easter.

Then somewhere along the way I changed my mind, my standards were raised.

Flavourless, pretend chocolate was no longer good enough because it was not nearly as delicious as the real thing, and why would I waste time (and calories) on a sub-par substitute? Yes, I’m still coming down from my post-holiday sugar high, but I have a point. I promise.

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Tigers too good for struggling Eels

Having failed to score over 10 points in their previous three games, Ivan Cleary's side cut loose in attack to bounce back from their golden-point loss to Brisbane Broncos last time out.

The Eels opened the scoring when Will Smith caught a high kick by Mitchell Moses before diving over, with the successful conversion making it 6-0 to the visitors.

However, inspired by half-back pairing Luke Brooks and Benji Marshall, the Tigers roared back with 20 unanswered points in the remainder of the first half.

Warriors win again

The Warriors were dealt a massive blow when halfback Shaun Johnson was ruled out with a groin injury on the eve of the Sydney game.

In past years, such a setback would have caused the New Zealand side to put the cue in the rack but they rallied to record an important two points.

Johnson's fill-in, Mason Lino, was superb. However, Green was the chief architect as the Warriors recorded their first win without Johnson since round 22, 2014.

The Warriors are unbeaten after four rounds and look genuine contenders after six years in the finals wilderness.

Round 4: NRL team lists

North Queensland Cowboys v Penrith Panthers, 7.05pm (8.05pm AEDT) Thursday at 1300Smiles Stadium

Cowboys: 1 Ben Hampton, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O'Neill, 4 Javid Bowen, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Jordan McLean, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange: 14 Te Maire Martin, 15 John Asiata, 16 Scott Bolton, 17 Ethan Lowe

Reserves: 18 Corey Jensen, 19 Lachlan Coote 

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NRL hands down heavy sanctions to Manly over salary cap breaches

The club has been fined $750,000 and two officials - chief operating officer Neil Bare and former CEO Joe Kelly, who is now the boss at the Sydney Roosters - receiving 12-month bans.

Manly will also have a $660,000 penalty applied to their salary cap for this season and the 2019 Telstra Premiership.

The breaches involve 13 players over five years, totalling $1.5 million.

Casualty Ward: Round 4 - Benji Marshall cleared of serious injury

Brisbane Broncos 

Broncos pair Corey Oates and Tevita Pangai jnr were the casualties to come out of the 9-7 win over Wests Tigers on Friday night. Sam Thaiday received treatment for a nasty head gash but remained on the field. 

Tevita Pangai jnr (hamstring, scans to confirm extent of damage) 
Andre Savelio (knee, season) 
Jordan Kahu (jaw, round 9-12) 
Corey Oates (hip, scans to confirm extent of damage)

Canberra Raiders

Warriors make injury-enforced change for Canberra Raiders

The 19-year-old Papali'i limped off early in last week's 20-8 win over Gold Coast and has since been ruled out for up to six weeks with a medial knee ligament sprain.

He'll be replaced in the second row by ex-Titan Pulu, who has twice started on the bench this season and will line up alongside Tohu Harris and lock Ligi Sao.

As a result, fellow Warriors recruit Agnatius Paasi comes onto the bench, where he'll join another new face in Jazz Tevaga, who replaces Sam Cook.

Coach Stephen Kearney talked up Pulu's NRL pedigree.

Greenberg apologises to Inglis over racial abuse

The NRL and Penrith Panthers are confident of identifying the culprit from CCTV footage as he was seated in a prominent position near the Panthers Stadium tunnel, with Inglis allegedly abused as he came from the field after full-time on Saturday night.

Greenberg commended the Panthers, who have made an unreserved apology, for "working around the clock" to identify the crowd member.

NRL Fantasy winners & losers: Round 2

Play NRL Fantasy presented by Youi. It’s free, fun and totally addictive

Winners

Warriors superstars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (90) and Shaun Johnson (68) inspired their team to a win over the Ash Taylor-less Titans and grabbed a lot of Fantasy points in the process, sitting at one and two in the points rankings this week.

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Star halves justify their hefty salaries

St George Illawarra Dragons prop James Graham claimed not to "understand the halfback position that well", but he summed up the reason NRL playmakers now command long-term contracts and big money as well as anyone during the opening weekend of the Telstra Premiership.

With record offseason movement of players and 14 of the 16 NRL teams fielding a different halves pairing than they did in last season's first round, the spotlight was always going to be on the performances of the playmakers – and most of them delivered in impressive style.

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