The ladders’ bottom side, St George Illawarra Dragon looked to get their first win of the 2020 season as they took on thirteenth places Cronulla Sutherland Sharks who themselves were struggling with just one win in this year’s competition, recorded last round against the Cowboys.
The most notable change was the inclusion of Andrew Fifita in the Cronulla line-up but both sides made three squad changes and various positional switches from the sides.
It was another crucial game at the bottom of the table.
Two sides who’ve made a terrible start to their 2020 NRL campaigns were brought together at the Bankstown Stadium in Paramatta as the South Sydney Rabbitohs took on the Gold Coast Titans in a crucial match at the wrong end of the table.
Sitting fourteenth and fifteenth in the ladder and propped up only by a pointless St George Illawarra Dragons, a win was vital for both sides to get their campaign moving and hopefully gain some momentum.
History was on the Rabbitohs side and they were massive favourites with the bookies to seal the win.
Friday’s first game pitted the New Zealand Warriors against the North Queensland Cowboys. The Warriors continue to struggle, despite their triumphant return to rugby in round three, and suffered a defeat last time out which keeps them towards the bottom of the ladder. The Cowboys have fared little better with two wins from their four outings so far, a win and a loss since the restart.
New Zealand welcomed back Peta Hiku and Lachlan Burr while the Cowboys have Coen Hess and Reuban Cotter in their side as well as giving a debut to Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on the wing.
A win for North Queensland could lift them as high as fourth, while the Warriors could make it to tenth spot if they could secure the points.
‘Some socially-distancing fans were allowed to return to the Central Coast Stadium to replace the cardboard cut-outs’, is about the most 2020 think that I think I’ve written all season.
Brisbane Broncos, still smarting from their 59-0 loss to the Roosters last weekend, were the opponents for the Manly Sea Eagles who lost narrowly to the Paramatta Eels. Both sides came into the game on four points with one eye on achieving fourth spot on the ladder by the end of the eighty minutes.
The pundits and bookies, however, couldn’t see past a Manly win.
Two of the four unbeaten sides in the 2020 NRL competition were thrown together at the Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney as the Canberra Raiders took on the Newcastle Knights. A big win for the Raiders would lift them to the top of the pile but the Knights knew that a win would see them into second.
Mitchell Pearce was selected for the Knights despite being concussed last time out and Kalyn Ponga was back from suspension for his first game since the restart. The Raiders were unchanged in the seventeen, just Bailey Simonsson and Jordan Rapana swapping positions.
The pre-match billing was that this would be a blood and thunder nail-biter.
After being knocked off their lofty perch yesterday, by a devastating Penrith Panthers, the Paramatta Eels were looking for a swift return to their table topping opposition as they took on the eighth placed Manly Sea Eagles.
Paramatta made just once change, Oregon Kaufusi on the bench in the place of Ray Stone, while the Manly side were unchanged from the side which put the Brisbane Broncos to the sword last time out.
Two sides, both showing good form in the opening Project Apollo round, set the scene for a classic encounter.
After keeping the Dragons pointless last weekend the New Zealand Warriors, all Australians second team, had a tough game against the Penrith Panthers to navigate. The Panthers had a nail-biting draw against the Newcastle Knights last weekend and knew that a win today would lift them from fourth spot to the top of the table.
The teams last met in Round 15 in late June last year when the Panthers won by a golden point, but despite being narrow favourites to continue their unbeaten start to the season there was very little to choose between the two sides in the odds.
Ninth took on tenth in the NRL league ladder met as the Brisbane Broncos took on the Sydney Roosters at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in the crucial opening round four match.
Both sides made changes, the most notable being the loss of James Tedesco who awoke this morning with a temperature. He was replaced by Englishman Ryan Hall with Brett Morris moving to the full back position.
Both sides needed a win to stop them from falling further adrift of the top of the table.
Canterbury Bulldogs, without a win in 2020, took on the Manly Sea Eagles in the final game of the restart weekend in the NRL. The venue was the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, the site of yesterday’s game between the Warriors and the Dragons.
It was a breathless night in the Stadium with both sides relieved that darkness offered some relief from the heat.
With both sides needing a win it should have been a competitive game but one side got on a roll and dominated proceedings.
Two pointless sides were first up on Saturday in the NRL as New Zealand Warriors faced St George Illawarra Dragons at the Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, an hour’s drive north of Sydney.
Much has been written about the personal sacrifices made by the Warriors, who have relocated away from their families and friends to New South Wales, to allow them to compete in the competition despite coronavirus restrictions. This move has enabled the competition to restart and made them most Australians new ‘second team’.
Both sides needed a win to kick-start their 2020 season after a disappointing opening two pre-Covid-19 games.