round 18

Round 18 Match Report: SP PNG Hunters v Townsville Blackhawks

It was the visitors who would adapt quickest to the dreary conditions, getting through their opening sets and slowly winning the territory battle thanks to their fifth tackle options and the Hunters’ own ill-discipline. 

The Blackhawks persisted with shifting it right through Robert Lui in good ball but the Hunters defence held up to repeatedly turn them away in the opening stages.

Mitchell, Johnston fire late to get Rabbitohs home

Latrell Mitchell starred for the Rabbitohs and provided the game-breaking moment when he sent Alex Johnston over for his second on the left edge with scores locked at 28-28 close to fulltime. 

Johnston crossed for a third two minutes later to ensure the Rabbitohs snatched a win that throughout the evening looked as though the Bulldogs were on their way to causing an upset. 

Both sides traded three tries each in the second half to set up a tied ball game before Johnston crossed for the third hat-trick of his season and 10th of his career.

Papenhuyzen injured as Raiders hand Storm third-straight loss

A potential season-ending injury to Ryan Papenhuyzen compounded the Storm's loss on a day they were poised to threaten with their spine back together for the first time since Round 9.

A frantic finish, which saw the Raiders cross through a superb solo effort from James Schiller, set up a four-point lead with 14 minutes remaining before a try-saving effort from Xavier Savage denied Jahrome Hughes late. 

It was a see-sawing match that the Raiders took advantage of once the Storm lost Papenhuyzen to a serious knee issue. 

Fisher-Harris scores late to give Panthers courageous win

On an afternoon where both clubs played for the inaugural Royce Simmons Cup, the former Panthers and Wests Tigers legend was in attendance with future Tigers coach Tim Sheens to show off the new silverware. 

The new trophy appeared to be going into the hands of the joint venture after they grabbed the lead through Ken Maumalo with 12 minutes remaining before a Scott Sorensen line break late set the defending premiers up to score late.

Bulldogs v Rabbitohs: Casey replaces Schoupp; Cook, Murray out

After giving the Panthers a run for their money in round 13 the Bulldogs stunned the Eels in round 14 and beat the Tigers the following week before going toe to toe with the Sharks in atrocious conditions at CommBank Stadium in a creditable 12-point loss.

The Rabbitohs sit seventh after overcoming the loss of a number of key players to down Newcastle, but with games against the Storm, Sharks, Eels, Panthers and Cowboys to come, they can't afford any slip-ups against lower ranked opponents.

Storm v Raiders: Munster, Kaufusi return; Raiders lose Whitehead, Cotric

The Storm have been in out of sorts in attack with Cameron Munster missing and their defence will be causing headaches for coach Craig Bellamy with 64 points conceded in the past two weeks.

Canberra had a chance to recharge the batteries with a bye and they remain very much in the finals hunt with games against the Warriors, Titans, Knights and Tigers still to come.

The Raiders' star five-eighth Jack Wighton may have been unlucky to miss out on Origin selection but the flip side is he'll be fresh and ready to fire against the Storm.

Wests Tigers v Panthers: Doueihi to five-eighth; Cleary rests Origin stars

No fewer than seven of Ivan Cleary's men are part of the Blues squad for the series decider, so the Panthers mentor could be weighing up the possibility of resting players with eight rounds to go in the regular season.

No such luxury for the Tigers who need all hands on deck and firing at the same time if they are to turn CommBank Stadium into their field of dreams for the third time in 2022 after upsetting the Eels and Rabbitohs there in the space of five days in April.

Broncos snatch gripping derby win against Titans

The Titans led 12-10 until midway through the second half when Brisbane captain Adam Reynolds scored and the home side had a late try disallowed as they fell agonisingly short.

For the Broncos, the win almost guarantees them a finals berth and hope of finishing in the top four after joining the Storm and Eels on 24 points.

The Titans try line was virtually impenetrable in the first half - until the final tackle before the break when Adam Reynolds fired a long pass to put winger Delouise Hoeter over in the corner.

DCE stars as Manly win big over Knights

Three days after helping Queensland win the Origin decider, Cherry-Evans was in fine touch at 4 Pines Park, helping Manly to score five unanswered tries in the final half hour and win for the sixth time in seven games at home this season. 

The two sides traded converted tries through the opening 20 minutes, but Manly pulled away in the final 10 minutes of the half thanks to a Saab try and Cherry-Evans penalty. 

Anthony Milford was sent to the bin just before the break for taking Reuben Garrick out off the ball. 

Tedesco, Manu supreme as Roosters blitz Dragons

With Joey Manu enjoying a day out in the No.6 jersey and James Tedesco doing  what James Tedesco does, the Roosters turned a 14-12 half-time deficit into their eighth win of the season, breaking a four-game losing streak in the process.

The Roosters were first to hit the scoreboard in the 14th minute when Manu showcased his speed and skill, busting the defensive line and delivering a superb flick pass for Victor Radley to race away and touch down under the posts.