Brisbane Broncos beat South Sydney Rabbitohs 11-4, Canberra pips Cronulla 24-19 in NRL’s opening round

A rejuvenated Pat Carrigan and an opportunistic Kurt Capewell has shot Brisbane to a season-opening 11-4 win over a disappointing South Sydney at Lang Park.

In Friday night’s earlier match, the Raiders snuck past Cronulla 24-19 in a thrilling finish at Canberra Stadium.

In Brisbane, the Broncos triumphed despite the absence of star recruit and former Rabbitohs captain Adam Reynolds due to COVID-19.

The hosts led 6-4 at half-time, before Corey Oates’s diving effort in the corner in the 50th minute created a buffer, ahead of captain and back rower Capewell slotting a field goal from broken play in the final five minutes of his club debut .

Back from a 2021 ACL tear, Carrigan (145 run meters) showed extra pace, footwork and an offload to complement his proven work rate to set the platform alongside Payne Haas (168m).

Nineteen-year-old winger Selwyn Cobbo was electric down the right flank, while Capewell — who moved to the Broncos after winning last year’s premiership with Penrith — steadied the defense of a side that has struggled to protect their own line in the past two seasons .

Albert Kelly scored an 80-meter intercept try and was lively in the halves alongside coach Kevin Walters’s son Billy.

The Rabbitohs, who lost the grand final in their last trip to Brisbane, were poor as they began life without Reynolds, Dane Gagai and coach Wayne Bennett.

Reynolds’ replacement Lachlan Elias struggled to have an impact, barely running the ball in the first half and watching passes hit the deck or find Brisbane hands in the second.

Five-eighth Cody Walker threw the intercept for Kelly’s try and the Rabbitohs’ usually incisive edges could not penetrate despite many opportunities to score.

Raiders edge Sharks

Three Canberra Raiders NRL players celebrate a try against Cronulla.
The Raiders crossed for four tries in their victory over the Sharks.(AAP: Mick Tsikas)

A late Hudson Young try netted the Raiders a win to start their season in a topsy-turvy encounter with Cronulla at Canberra Stadium.

Matt Moylan had put his side ahead 19-18 with six minutes to play via a drop goal, but just when the contest looked like it was slipping for the Raiders, Young burst through multiple Sharks defenders in the 76th minute to find the match-winning try.

The Sharks came within inches of a last-minute try but Matt Ikuvalu was judged to have been held up as he lunged for the line in the left-hand corner.

The win is Canberra’s seventh straight against Cronulla.

The home side started brightly and forced four repeat sets. Semi Valemei had their first chance goal lost the ball reaching for the line.

Jack Wighton got things going on nine minutes, starting a break with a beautiful pick-up and effecting a one-two with Nick Cotric to score.

The rampant Raiders surged to 12-0 in the 17th minute with powerful Corey Harawira-Naera bouncing off defenders and flicking a pass for Valemei to lunge and find the line.

The Sharks got on the board as hooker Blayke Brailey dummied following a scrum win and broke through the Raiders line.

On the stroke of half-time, a Tom Starling grubber bounced for the sharp hands of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to restore the Raiders’ 12-point advantage.

Desperately needing to lift, the Sharks looked energized to start the second half and were denied a Siona Katoa try by a Cotric strip, but Will Kennedy scored on 50 minutes to cut the Raiders’ lead back to 18-12.

And they were level three minutes later when Teig Wilton was the beneficiary of a delightful ball from star recruit Nicho Hynes, who then slotted the conversion from the sideline.

The Sharks controlled the second half with Hynes instrumental but could not make their dominance count, with a number of errors in attacking positions costing them the win.

Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson left the field in the seventh minute holding the outside of his right knee and failed to return.

AAP/ABC

.

Leave a Comment