NRL 2016

Melbourne Storm thump Brisbane Broncos 48-6 as Wayne Bennett's concerns grow

Only days out from Queensland's State of Origin III team being named, Oates lasted barely 20 minutes of Friday night's Storm try-scoring blitz which included a Suliasi Vunivalu hat-trick.

Centre Cheyse Blair bagged a double as Melbourne inflicted Brisbane's biggest home loss in front of 44,519 fans.

Oates came off second best with try-bound centre Ryan Morgan in the 18th minute and was soon escorted from the field in a concern for Queensland selectors.

The Maroons name their Origin III team on Monday.

Tigers buoyed by new Mr Fix-It

Named at lock, Taylor shifted to hooker in the second half when Matt Ballin (concussion) was ruled out of the game and certainly made an impact.

Taylor set up two of the Tigers' three tries including Luke Brooks' match-winner in the 69th minute – earning the team's Players' Player as a result in just his second game with the club. 

As veteran utility Dene Halatau reaches the twilight of his career – a player who the Tigers have depended on for the most part since 2003 – they will certainly find comfort in Taylor's arrival following his show-stealing performance.

Johnston wants Rabbitohs' No.1 long-term

Johnston – after a two-month absence – made his return at fullback for South Sydney in their last-start win over the Eels with usual custodian Greg Inglis shifting to five-eighth.

Inglis, who earlier in the week expressed his comfort in the halves, was rather impressed with the 21-year-old's return but wasn't sure what the future holds for either man. 

"He played well. I've always said he had the talent to do it and he's a future fullback for sure," Inglis said.

Ballin eyes off Tigers' No.9 jumper

Ballin said it was only natural for him to vie for the club's top hooker billing after nine NRL seasons at the Sea Eagles but was ultimately happy to do what's best for the Tigers.

With Robbie Farah (concussion) unavailable to face the Knights, Ballin has been named on the bench for the Tigers just one Intrust Super Premiership game back from a knee injury following an almost nine-month lay-off. 

Norman's new Eels deal imminent

Despite massive recent upheaval at the club – including the likely stripping of 12 competition points as part of the NRL's penalty for repeated salary cap breaches which also led to the departure of key man Nathan Peats – Norman said he didn't even test the open market, so keen was he to remain at Parramatta.

With a bit of clear air in front of the Eels now the departure of Peats has freed up some cap space and the cap situation is clearer, Norman said he hoped to have a deal done this week.

Parramatta Eels deducted 12 points, fined $1m for NRL salary cap breaches

The NRL delivered its preliminary findings into its salary cap investigation on Tuesday morning, with the club also handed the maximum financial penalty of $1m and stripped of their 2016 Auckland Nines title.

The punishment will send the Eels straight to the bottom of the ladder when the competition resumes in round 10, following this weekend’s break for representative games.

Teammates full of praise for returning Pearce

Pearce missed the first eight games of the season after being suspended for his Australia Day actions and his inclusion will be welcome relief for the three-time defending minor premiers who have struggled in his absence so far in 2016.

Teammate Aidan Guerra said it was great to have the experienced playmaker back on the park and praised Pearce for turning his life off the field as well.

"He's been excited to come back to football since the start of the season," Guerra said.

Battered Eels claim gutsy win over Dogs

With plenty of headlines in the lead-up surrounding the absence of skipper Kieran Foran due to personal issues, the Eels faced a further pre-game reshuffle with Tepai Moeroa ruled out and Daniel Alvaro replaced by the returning Tim Mannah.

Their right edge became unrecognisable with centre Brad Takairangi moved to the halves and right edge defender Beau Scott to the middle in place of Moeroa and early attack down that edge looked like it could cost them the game.

Cowboys finish fast to down Eels

Controversy struck in the 66th minute when Eels five-eighth Corey Norman was sin-binned for obstructing Cowboys opposite Michael Morgan in an attempt to score off a Johnathan Thurston grubber kick.

It was an untimely exit for Norman, as his side had a slender and unlikely 16-14 lead at the time.

Johanthan Thurston levelled the game off an ensuing penalty goal, while the Eels were left to rue playing with 12 men as North Queensland ran away with a huge win in the end.

Liu, McKendry face suspensions

Liu was hit with a grade two charge of making dangerous contact with the head/neck of Lelani Latu, and will miss one match with an early guilty plea or risks a two-game ban if he challenges the charge at the judiciary and loses.

McKendry faces a week out whether or not he takes an early guilty plea for making contact with referee Jared Maxwell late in the contest.