Olam Eager to Return Home to PNG Before NRL Finals Reprieve

Key points:

  • Justin Olam was dropped from the Storm in round 21 after they lost to Newcastle
  • The centre says he was looking forward to heading home to PNG thinking his season was done
  • Melbourne brought him back for the semi-final against the Roosters, which they won 18-13

The Papua New Guinea star struggled to find his explosive best this year after a series of injury setbacks curtailed his pre-season.

Olam's axing after the Storm's round 21 defeat to Newcastle seemed to spell the end for him in first grade 2023.

Party like it's 2011: Warriors down Knights to reach prelim final

After finishing last season in 15th place the Warriors have produced a remarkable turnaround in 2023 and are now just 80 minutes away from a first grand final appearance since 2011.

A mistake by Knights winger Greg Marzhew in the opening set of the game opened the door for Shaun Johnson to lay on a try for Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who left Bradman Best in his wake to make it 4-0.

Melbourne march on after last gasp win over Roosters

The Roosters led 13-12 with less than two minutes to play but the Storm stole the final moments when a Cameron Munster crossfield kick ended in the hands of a leaping Warbrick, bringing 19,000 fans to their feet in Melbourne.

The victory booked the Storm a spot in their eighth preliminary final in the past nine seasons, setting up a 2020 grand final rematch against reigning premiers Panthers at Accor Stadium.

Australian Prime Minister’s XIII squads named

The match is set to take place at the Santos National Football Stadium in Port Moresby, on Saturday, September 23.

The Men’s Prime Minister’s XIII will include eight representatives from the 2022 World Cup-winning Kangaroos squad, for the first Prime Minister’s XIII encounter in PNG since 2018.

The Women’s Prime Minister’s XIII has been selected with a view to giving some of the best up-and-coming players in the NRLW an opportunity alongside a number of established representative players including Kennedy Cherrington, Botille Vette-Welsh and Tallisha Harden.

PM’s XIII is back

The last time the PM’s XIII matches were held in PNG was back in 2018 for both the men and women. The Papua New Guinea Rugby Football League (PNGRFL) on Tuesday 12th September, 2023 announced the PM’s XIII annual rugby league fixture to be held at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby this month. 
PNGRFL chief executive officer, Stanley Hondina in making the announcement said the PNGRFL was delighted to see the game back in PNG after five years; and fans will be treated to a massive weekend of rugby league from the 23rd and 24th of September. 

Warriors v Knights: Johnson named to return; Clune in for Hastings

A win over the Warriors would see the Knights equal the club record of 11 in a row, set back in 2001-02 when an Immortal named Johns was the hottest ticket in town.

After sending the Knights faithful home happy on Sunday, Adam O'Brien's men now need to find a way to win in a hostile environment in Auckland against a Warriors outfit that showed plenty of grit in its loss to the Panthers.

Knights beat Raiders in extra-time thriller to stay alive in 2023

After extra time was required to separate the two sides, who were tied at 28-28 at the end of normal time, it was a Hudson Young penalty for offside which presented Ponga with the chance to kick his side to a 10th straight victory and confirm a showdown with the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday.

It was a finals game without precedent, marred by an allegation of biting made by Tyson Gamble against Jack Wighton, but which will be defined by so much more.  

Walker field goal sees Roosters advance over Sharks

Across an 80 minutes in which they had to overcome the second-half sin-binning of captain James Tedesco and the loss of backline stars Joseph Manu and Joseph-Aukuso Suaali'i to injuries, the Roosters charged down two field goals in the dying minutes which would likely have sent the game to golden point, after Walker had put them in front with a clutch drop goal. 

Making it all the more impressive, Walker was playing through an ankle injury which earlier in the game had him in visible discomfort. 

Panthers one step closer to history after powering past Warriors

With James Fisher-Harris laying the line for superstar Nathan Cleary to take control of proceedings, the Panthers had the match well in hand when they led 20-0 at half-time.

Penrith struck the first blow in the fifth minute when Cleary went to the line and found prop Moses Leota who sent a perfectly timed long pass out to Brian To'o for his 18th try of the season. Cleary converted for a 6-0 lead.

Sharks v Roosters: Tracey good to go; Manu returns for Robbo

The Tricolours simultaneously kept their own season alive and ended the premiership hopes of arch-rivals the Rabbitohs last week with a 26-12 win, and heading into Finals Week One only the Knights are riding a better run of form than Trent Robinson’s men.

Cronulla too have enjoyed a strong final month to the regular season, winning four of their last six, and will be battle-hardened after emerging 24-6 winners over the Raiders in a match which for the opening hour had the intensity of finals football.