Aidan Sezer kicked an extra-time field goal as Canberra Raiders completed a brilliant turnaround to beat Cronulla Sharks 15-14 and secure a top-four finish.

On Paul Gallen's final home match of the regular campaign before retirement, his farewell to the Sharks' faithful looked to be going swimmingly when the home side took a 12-0 lead into half-time.

Ronaldo Mulitalo had charged over either side of Jayden Brailey's effort, but Kyle Flanagan – who will sign for the Sydney Roosters ahead of next season – could not add any extras.

Flanagan's profligacy proved costly after the break, with the Raiders mounting a wonderful comeback through Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Nick Cotric before Sezer kicked the first of three field goals to nudge the visitors ahead.

Chad Townsend delivered an immediate response with a field goal of his own two minutes later, and a second in point in quick succession looked to have sealed a vital win in the Sharks' push for a finals place.

But Sezer had other ideas and, after restoring parity in the penultimate minute to force extra time, he completed his hat-trick of field goals to clinch the golden point and ensure the Raiders' place in the top four.

The Sharks' position in the top eight is now under real threat heading into the final game of the regular season, and a showdown to make the finals will take place when they face Wests Tigers next time out.

Paul Momirovski scored a hat-trick in a 42-14 hammering of St George-Illawarra Dragons as the Tigers moved onto 24 points – level with Cronulla.

Momirovski was in inspired form, opening the scoring three minutes in before kicking the first of seven successful conversions.

Luke Garner got in on the act just after the half-hour, with Momirovski helping himself to two tries in quick succession following the interval.

Gareth Widdop pulled one back, but Benji Marshall, Luke Brooks and Elijah Taylor added gloss to a convincing victory which sets up a grandstand finish to the regular season.

High-flying Melbourne Storm look set for a test as they travel to Manly Sea Eagles in the latest round of NRL fixtures.

The Storm sit at the top of the ladder and have a good record at Manly, but the Sea Eagles are fourth themselves and have pushed Melbourne close in previous meetings.

We take a look at that match and more – including a Sydney Cricket Ground double-header – with these Opta facts.

 

Thursday

North Queensland Cowboys (8-14) v Canterbury Bulldogs (9-13)

- The Bulldogs have won four of their past six NRL games against the Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium, including a 27-10 victory in their most recent game there.

- Canterbury have conceded 19 penalties for stealing the ball in NRL 2019, more than any other team in the competition.

Friday

New Zealand Warriors (8-1-13) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (14-8)

- The Rabbitohs have won eight of their past nine NRL games against the Warriors, including their last two on the bounce.

- The New Zealand outfit have conceded 40 or more points in a game on four occasions in NRL 2019 – including three times in their past four games – while the last time they did so more in a single season was 2004 (seven times).

Brisbane Broncos (10-1-11) v Parramatta Eels (13-9)

- Each of the past eight NRL games between the Broncos and the Eels at Suncorp Stadium has been won by the team holding the half-time lead on the day, with each side winning four times in that span.

- Mitchell Moses has made 82 kicks in play that have been retained by a team-mate in this NRL campaign, more than any other player in the competition.

Saturday

Newcastle Knights (9-13) v Gold Coast Titans (4-18)

- The Titans have won five of their last seven NRL games against the Newcastle Knights; however, their two defeats in that span have come in their most recent two clashes at McDonald Jones Stadium.

- Gold Coast have been awarded 168 penalties in NRL 2019, more than any other team in the competition and 16 more than the Newcastle Knights.

Manly Sea Eagles (14-8) v Melbourne Storm (18-4)

- The Storm have won four of their past five NRL games against the Sea Eagles at Lottoland; two of those wins coming by a margin of just one point on the day.

- Martin Taupau (350 carries, 620 tackles) is the only player thus far in NRL 2019 to have made 350 carries and 350 tackles.

Sydney Roosters (16-6) v Penrith Panthers (10-12)

- This will be the Panthers' first NRL game at the Sydney Cricket Ground since a 2010 loss to the Wests Tigers; it is a venue where the Roosters have won their past seven NRL games in a row by an average margin of 32 points.

- The Panthers are one of only three teams (also Sea Eagles, Storm) to have had more than one forward start in every one of their 22 games so far this season (James Fisher-Harris, James Tamou).

Sunday

Cronulla Sharks (11-11) v Canberra Raiders (14-8)

- Ten of the past 12 NRL games between the Sharks and the Raiders have been won by the away team on the day.

- Josh Morris has scored seven tries in his past seven NRL games and has a season tally of 13 – his most in a season since 2012 (17).

St George Illawarra Dragons (7-15) v Wests Tigers (10-12)

- The Dragons have won three of their past four NRL games against Wests, as well as having won the only previous meeting between the two teams at the Sydney Cricket Ground (13-12 in 2013).

- St George have made 40 or more tackle breaks in each of their past two NRL games against the Tigers, a mark they have managed to hit just three times so far in NRL 2019.

Joey Leilua had a moment of madness as the injury-hit Manly Sea Eagles beat Canberra Raiders 18-14 to move into the top four after NRL leaders Melbourne Storm's defeat of Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

Canberra pulled off a stunning fightback to beat the Storm last weekend, but they were brought back down to earth at GIO Stadium eight days later.

Jarrod Croker scored a try and four points with the boot before a couple of Reuben Garrick penalties reduced the Raiders' lead to 8-4 at the end of a first half in which Jack Wighton had a try contentiously ruled out.

A third successful shot at goal from Croker increased his side's advantage, but Manly hit the front for the first time with an eight-point try 10 minutes into the second half.

Jack Gosiewski intercepted a stray pass deep in the Manly half and fed Garrick, who raced away to score and was struck in the back by the knee of a sliding Leilua as he grounded the ball.

Leilua was put on a report and Garrick picked himself up to slot over the conversion and penalty, then added the extras after Jake Trbojevic scored Manly's second try.

Croker claimed a double nine minutes from time but missed the conversion and Manly held on to move level on points with the Raiders despite losing Joel Thompson (wrist) and Moses Suli (ankle).

Melbourne moved four points clear of Sydney Roosters at the summit with a 24-8 win over the Titans at AAMI Park.

The Storm closed in on the minor premiership, raising their game in the second half with tries from Ryan Papenhuyzen, Dale Finucane and Josh Addo-Carr after Kenny Bromwich went over prior to the interval.

elbourne Storm can seal the minor premiership this week as the NRL season heads towards its conclusion.

The Storm are four points clear with three games to play and face bottom side Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

A win in that game and defeat for Sydney Roosters at St George Illawarra Dragons will see Melbourne clinch top spot, while third-placed Canberra Raiders take on fourth-placed Manly Sea Eagles in a crucial clash between two teams out to ensure they cannot be eliminated in the first round of the Finals.

Here we look at the best Opta facts for this round of fixtures.

Thursday

Parramatta Eels (13-8) v Canterbury Bulldogs (8-13)

- The Bulldogs have made the most offloads (287) of any NRL team this year, 21 more than the Eels (266).

- Mitchell Moses (Parramatta Eels) has made the most try assists (20) of any half-back this season.

Friday

North Queensland Cowboys (7-14) v Penrith Panthers (10-11)

- The Panthers have retained the most kicks (145) of any team, 29 more than the Cowboys (116).

- Michael Morgan has had six try involvements (two tries, four assists) from his last four NRL matches against the Panthers.

Brisbane Broncos (10-1-10) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (13-8)   

- The Broncos have made the most tackle breaks (822) of any team this season, 146 more than the Rabbitohs (676).

- South Sydney are one of two teams – along with the Storm – to have more than one player inside the top 13 for try assists this season (Damien Cook on 22 and Cody Walker on 14).

Saturday

Cronulla Sharks (10-11) v New Zealand Warriors (8-1-12)   

- Six of the last seven NRL games between Cronulla and the Warriors have been decided by a margin of four points or fewer, including a 19-18 win for the New Zealanders in their last meeting.

- The Sharks have won six of their last eight NRL matches on home soil (L2), despite leading at half time only three times in that span.

Wests Tigers (9-12) v Newcastle Knights (9-12)  

- The Knights have scored 37 tries through the middle-third of the field, only the Storm (45) have got more through that corridor this term. 

- Luke Brooks (Tigers) has had eight try involvements (three tries, five try assists) from his last six NRL matches against the Knights. 

St George Illawarra Dragons (7-14) v Sydney Roosters (15-6)   

- The Dragons have made the most tackles per game (369) of any team in NRL this year, 30 more than the Roosters (339).

- The Roosters' trio of James Tedesco (11), Latrell Mitchell (8) and Victor Radley (7) have made the most supported breaks of all players this season.

Sunday

Melbourne Storm (17-4) v Gold Coast Titans (4-17)  

- The Titans have scored the joint-most tries (five, also Manly Sea Eagles) on the zero tackle in a set of any NRL team in 2019.

- Cameron Munster (Storm) has had 10 try involvements (six tries, four assists) from his six NRL matches against the Titans.


Canberra Raiders (14-7) v Manly Sea Eagles (13-8)   

- The Raiders have scored the joint-most tries (21, also the Roosters) in the first 20 minutes of matches of any team this season.

- Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly) has had 12 try involvements (five tries, seven assists) from his last eight NRL matches against Canberra.

Canberra Raiders pulled off a stunning comeback to beat NRL leaders Melbourne Storm 22-18, while Newcastle Knights hammered North Queensland Cowboys 42-6 to emphatically end a six-match losing streak.

The Storm could have wrapped up the minor premiership with a win and a Sydney Roosters defeat on Monday, but Raiders battled back from 18-0 down to significantly boost their top-four hopes.

Melbourne were in complete control after 30 minutes, helped the by the early sin-binning of Jack Wighton for a tackle from an offside position, before Joe Tapine was also yellow-carded for a scrap with Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Justin Olam, Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu all crossed but the Raiders rebounded with 22 unanswered points.

Joe Croker led the way with a brace and he also added the extras to tries from Jordan Rapana and Josh Papalii. The Raiders are third, six points behind leaders Storm.

The Knights will have been similarly elated with their showing, as they demolished the Cowboys.

A woeful slump had seen the Knights beaten by New Zealand Warriors, Canterbury Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters, Wests Tigers, Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and Parramatta Eels since last winning against Brisbane Broncos on June 29.

But they found their groove once again to keep finals hopes alive, with Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce getting two tries apiece.

The result leaves them two points behind eighth-placed Penrith Panthers.

In the day's late kick-off, South Sydney Rabbitohs suffered a surprise 14-6 defeat at home to the struggling Bulldogs.

Wayne Bennett's men had been hoping to remain level with the Raiders and the Roosters, but they stay in fifth place as a result.

 

Melbourne Storm took another step towards the NRL minor premiership and dented South Sydney Rabbitohs' top-four hopes with a 26-16 win despite a hat-trick from Campbell Graham.

The Souths winger accounted for all of their tries in a contest played north of Sydney at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford, but the Rabbitohs were always playing catch up as the Storm cemented their grip on top spot.

Jesse Bromwich and Justin Olam crossed for the Storm inside the first 11 minutes, Cameron Smith converting one of those tries and adding a penalty as the visitors opened up a 12-0 lead.

Kyle Turner's offload set Graham up for his first and Adam Reynolds' penalty made it 12-6 at the break.

The Rabbitohs were level four minutes after the restart when Graham latched on to a wonderful pass from Cody Walker moments after the stand-off had been knocked into the post by Felise Kaufusi, who was sin-binned.

But Cameron Munster jinked his way through the Souths defence to restore Melbourne's advantage on the hour and Smith made it an eight-point game with the boot.

Graham cut the gap to four with his third after Suliasi Vunivalu had a try chalked off by the video referee at the other end but Brodie Croft secured the points five minutes from time.

Melbourne hold a six-point lead over Sydney Roosters at the top while the Rabbitohs are just two points clear of fifth-placed Manly Sea Eagles after a second straight defeat.

The Roosters took command in the battle for second as they defeated third-placed Canberra Raiders 22-18 to go two points ahead of the capital club.

Five tries were scored in the first half, Latrell Mitchell and Daniel Tupou giving the Roosters an 18-12 lead at the break after Jordan Rapana and Jarrod Croker had turned things around for the Raiders following Sydney loose forward Victor Radley's opening score.

Tupou spectacularly collected a high kick for his first try and powered on to a sensational cut-out pass from James Tedesco 12 minutes into the second half to make it 22-12 with what proved the decisive blow.

Elliott Whitehead gave Canberra hope and Croker converted his try but the Canberra captain went off injured late into his 250th NRL game as the Roosters held firm.

An exciting week of NRL action sees the top four teams face off on Sunday.

Round 21 concludes with Melbourne Storm travelling to South Sydney Rabbitohs, who sit in fourth, with their clash following on from third-placed Canberra Raiders taking on second-placed Sydney Roosters.

The Storm may face a tricky test but history weighs heavily in their favour.

We bring you all the best Opta facts from those two fixtures and the rest of the NRL games coming up.

Thursday

North Queensland Cowboys (7-12) v Brisbane Broncos (8-1-10)

- The Broncos have won their past three NRL matches against the Cowboys, their best run in this fixture since a seven-match streak from July 2007 to August 2010.

- The Cowboys have scored 12 tries in the final 10 minutes of the first half of NRL matches in 2019, the most of any team.

Friday

New Zealand Warriors (7-1-11) v Manly Sea Eagles (12-7)

- Six of the Warriors' past seven matches have been decided by four points or fewer, though they have recorded three victories in those close encounters.

- Manly have scored six tries starting from a kick-off in 2019, the most of any team. They also have the forward with the most carries in the competition, with Martin Taupau registering 299 so far.

Penrith Panthers (9-10) v Cronulla Sharks (9-10)

- The Sharks have won 12 of their past 14 NRL matches against the Penrith Panthers, including the previous seven on the bounce.

- Penrith's Nathan Cleary has scored two tries, provided an assist and not missed a single goal attempt (nine from nine) in his past three NRL matches against the Sharks.

Saturday

St George Illawarra Dragons (6-13) v Gold Coast Titans (4-15)

- The Titans have scored 16 tries in NRL 2019 after the opposition has made an error, the second most of any team in this campaign when starting a set in the same fashion.

- Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes has made the most tackles (932) of any player in 2019.

Parramatta Eels (11-8) v Newcastle Knights (8-11)

- The Knights have won 11 of their past 13 NRL matches against the Eels, including the most recent four games in that span.

- Parramatta have scored 13 tries in 2019 from their own half of the field, the second most of all teams this term from that range. Sydney Roosters top the list with 14.

Canterbury Bulldogs (6-13) v Wests Tigers (9-10)

- The Bulldogs have kept Wests scoreless in the first half of their past two meetings, winning on both occasions. Canterbury have triumphed in four of their past six clashes.

- The Tigers have scored 21 tries on the sixth tackle, the most of any team this year.

Sunday

Canberra Raiders (13-6) v Sydney Roosters (13-6)

- The Roosters have scored the most tries (84) of any team in 2019, 11 more than the Raiders (73) who have scored the third most.

- Canberra’s Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (1193) and James Tedesco of the Roosters (975) have made the most metres from kick returns of all players.

South Sydney Rabbitohs (13-6) v Melbourne Storm (16-3)

- The Storm have won 20 of their past 23 NRL matches against the Rabbitohs, including their most recent encounter last September by a single point (29-28).

- The Rabbitohs' Damien Cook has made the most try assists (22) of any player, seven more than Cameron Munster for Melbourne.

Cameron Smith was in scintillating form as Melbourne Storm thrashed Brisbane Broncos 40-4 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.

Veteran hooker Smith played a role in three tries and added one of his own as NRL leaders Melbourne surged to their seventh straight win over the Broncos.

Josh Addo-Carr got the Storm off the mark before Smith produced a magical reverse pass out of dummy half to send Christian Welch through in the 29th minute.

The Melbourne captain forced a goal-line drop-out with a brilliant 40-metre kick and Kenny Bromwich found the corner from the following set to give the visitors an 18-0 half-time lead.

There was no let-up after the restart as Smith converted Jahrome Hughes' try and added a penalty, before Justin Olam's incredible offload preceded Bromwich exchanging passes with Addo-Carr for the prop's second.

Smith touched down after a phenomenal dummy from Olam and the 36-year-old combined with Cameron Munster to send Ryan Papenhuyzen through as the Storm ran riot.

Kotoni Staggs powered through for the Broncos' consolation try after an impressive run from James Segeyaro.

The Broncos sit ninth and their hopes of reaching the Finals were helped by Canberra Raiders defeating New Zealand Warriors 46-12.

Iosia Soliola, Josh Papalii, Michael Oldfield, Bailey Simonsson and Joseph Tapine all crossed for Canberra in a one-sided first half.

Chanel Harris-Tavita's double after the restart was not enough to get the Warriors back in it, with Simonsson touching down again before Josh Hodgson – making his 100th NRL appearance – and Jack Wighton got in on the act.

The Raiders move up to second in the standings, temporarily at least, while the Warriors will need a rapid improvement if they are to advance to the Finals.

Josh Hodgson is set to make a landmark NRL appearance when Canberra Raiders take on New Zealand Warriors on Friday.

The former Hull KR and Hull FC man has played for the Raiders since 2015 and will be looking to propel his side to victory on his 100th league outing in Australia.

A win for the Raiders would see them - temporarily at least - move level with second-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs on 28 points.

We take a look at round 20's key statistics, courtesy of Opta.

Thursday

West Tigers (8-10) v North Queensland Cowboys (7-11)

- The Tigers have won their last six NRL games on the bounce against North Queensland at Leichhardt Oval, including a 20-12 victory when they last met at the venue in 2018.

- The Cowboys have made 12 or more errors in each of their last five NRL matches against the Tigers.

Friday

New Zealand Warriors (7-1-10) v Canberra Raiders (12-6)

- Including a 20-16 win in their last meeting in Auckland, the Warriors have won 10 of their last 13 NRL games against the Raiders on home turf.

- Jarrod Croker has scored 17 tries in 17 games against the Warriors – including five in his last five – making it his best tally against any single opponent in the NRL.

Brisbane Broncos (8-1-9) v Melbourne Storm (15-3)

- Andrew McCullough of the Broncos has played the most minutes (1,068) of any player to have made one error or fewer in the NRL this year.

- The Storm have won 16 of their last 18 NRL meetings with Brisbane and the last six in a row.

Saturday

Manly Sea Eagles (11-7) v Newcastle Knights (8-10)

- The last time Manly conceded 20 points or more in an NRL match against Newcastle was in 2012. They have won seven of the nine games since then.

- Tom Trbojevic has been directly involved in 1.7 tries per game in the NRL this season, the most of any player to have played more than one match.

Canterbury Bulldogs (5-13) v Penrith Panthers (9-9)

- Reimis Smith of the Bulldogs has made 66 quick play-the-balls this NRL season, 12 more than any other player and 23 more than the Panthers' Josh Mansour (43).

- The Panthers have won four of their last five clashes with the Bulldogs, despite having led at half-time only once in that run.

Cronulla Sharks (8-10) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (13-5)

- Only the Storm (9) have scored more tries after forcing a line drop-out in this season than the Sharks (8).

- The Rabbitohs' Damien Cook has made a league-high 21 try assists this year.

Sunday

Sydney Roosters (12-6) v Gold Coast Titans (4-14)

- The Roosters have won their last four straight games - and six of their last seven - against the Titans.

- Michael Gordon may be key if the NRL's bottom club - who have announced Justin Holbrook as their coach for 2020 - are to get anything against the Roosters. He has a goal-kicking success rate of 88 per cent this campaign.

St George Illawarra Dragons (6-12) v Parramatta Eels (10-8)

- The Eels have won eight of their previous nine NRL matches against the Dragons.

- The Dragons are the NRL's top tacklers this season, having made 371 per game, 30 more than the Eels.

Canberra Raiders put an end to Penrith Panthers' winning streak in the NRL on Sunday, while Sydney Roosters continued their recent dominance over Canterbury Bulldogs.

Penrith had won seven on the spin going into the game but found the Raiders too hot to handle at Panthers Stadium, though their cause was not helped by Dean Whare spending 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Canberra capitalised quickly on the numerical advantage with Elliott Whitehead crashing over, helping open up a 12-6 half-time lead.

The contest remained close in the second half and it was not until John Bateman finished off a breakaway try in the 74th minute that the Raiders were certain of victory on their travels.

They sit level on 26 points with the Roosters, who recorded a sixth straight win over the Bulldogs. James Tedesco, Joseph Manu and Brett Morris all scored tries in what was a comfortable victory despite the final 20-12 scoreline.

Latrell Mitchell landed all three of his conversion attempts as well as a first-half penalty as Sydney triumphed at ANZ Stadium, despite Reimis Smith crossing twice after the interval for the Bulldogs.

However, victory may have come at a cost for the reigning champions. Both Siosiua Taukeiaho and Boyd Cordner were forced off with calf injuries, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was placed on report for a high shot in the closing stages.

Robbie Farah is expected to join the NRL's 300-appearances club when Wests Tigers face Newcastle Knights this weekend.

The 35-year-old will become the 39th player to reach the milestone if he features for Wests at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday.

Newcastle start the 19th round in eighth place, but they will be hoping to get back on track after losing three in a row.

We take a look at the week's key statistics, courtesy of Opta.

Thursday

Cronulla Sharks (7-10) v North Queensland Cowboys (7-10)

- The Sharks have won six of their last eight NRL games against the Cowboys and are bidding for a third successive success after scoring 70 points in the past two victories.

- No other forward has made more line breaks than Cronulla's Briton Nikora, who has managed 11 this season.

Friday

Newcastle Knights (8-9) v Wests Tigers (7-10)

- Farah scored a try and provided an assist in his last game against the Knights.

- His team-mate Luke Brooks has been in fine form against the Knights having been directly involved in 10 tries (four tries and six assists) in his previous eight appearances.

South Sydney Rabbitohs (12-5) v St George Illawarra Dragons (6-11)

- After a run of just three wins in 17 against the Dragons, the Rabbitohs have now won 12 of their last 15 meetings.

- South Sydney's Cameron Murray has scored the opening try on four occasions in 2019, the joint-most of any player along with Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell.


Saturday

Parramatta Eels (9-8) v New Zealand Warriors (7-1-9)

- The Warriors are bidding to avoid defeat for a fifth straight game away from home, a sequence they last managed in 2002.

- However, the Eels have won five of their six NRL matches at Bankwest Stadium by an average margin of 22 points per game.

Gold Coast Titans (4-13) v Brisbane Broncos (7-1-9)

- Bryce Cartwright is set to play his 100th NRL game for Gold Coast, who have won two of their last three games against the Broncos.

- Brisbane's Tevita Pangai Junior has made 48 offloads this season, five more than any other player.

Melbourne Storm (15-2) v Manly Sea Eagles (10-7)

- Melbourne claimed a thrilling one-point victory in the last clash between the two in 2018, the fourth time in the past five matches they have been victorious.

- The Storm's back three have made only 36 errors in 2019, five fewer than the back three of any other team in the NRL.


Sunday

Canterbury Bulldogs (5-12) v Sydney Roosters (11-6)

- While the Roosters have scored 11 opening tries this season, the Bulldogs (five) have the fewest in the NRL.

- Sydney are on a five-game winning sequence against the Bulldogs and have won nine of the last 11.

Penrith Panthers (9-8) v Canberra Raiders (11-6)

- Penrith will equal a club record set in 2003 if they can beat Canberra and record an eighth straight win.

- Brent Naden has scored six tries in as many games since making his NRL debut in round 12. Only Josh Dugan and Ken Maumalo (seven each) have touched down more often in that time.

South Sydney Rabbitohs produced a late onslaught to beat North Queensland Cowboys 30-18 after Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders had also secured NRL wins on Saturday.

The Bunnies looked to be heading for a fifth defeat in six matches after stopping the rot against Manly Sea Eagles last weekend, but scored three tries in the last nine minutes to down the Cowboys.

Ethan Lowe's first-half double - either side of scores from Tom Opacic and Kyle Feldt - gave Wayne Bennett's men a 12-10 lead at the break, only for Scott Drinkwater's converted try and a Jake Clifford to put the Cowboys six points in front.

It was the Rabbitohs who finished with a flourish to take the points, though, Dane Gagai, Tevita Tatola and Cameron Murray touching down late on at 1300SMILES Stadium.

Adam Reynolds was on target with all five conversion attempts as Souths moved above the Roosters into second spot - four points adrift of leaders Melbourne Storm.

The Roosters demolished Newcastle Knights in the second half at the SCG, easing to a 48-10 victory which came at a cost as the unfortunate Jake Friend damaged his right forearm and could be out for another month.

Trent Robinson's side scored seven tries after the break, Daniel Tupou going over in his 150th NRL game for the Roosters.

Latrell Mitchell slotted over all eight kicks and grabbed a try, while James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner were among the other Roosters scorers in a rout.

The Raiders have now won five of their last six matches after fending off Wests Tigers 20-12 at GIO Stadium, Dunamis Lui, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Jordan Rapana all scoring in the opening 20 minutes.

Cronulla Sharks were the victims as Cameron Smith marked his landmark 400th NRL appearance in style last week.

And the Sharks are now in desperate need of a win as they approach a fixture with New Zealand Warriors, who they have a good record against.

Josh Mansour and Penrith Panthers are also facing favourable opponents, while Smith and Melbourne Storm might be able to further improve an outstanding season.

We take a look at the week's key statistics, courtesy of Opta.

 

Thursday

Brisbane Broncos (6-9-1) v Canterbury Bulldogs (5-11)

- Each of the past six NRL games between the Broncos and the Bulldogs have been won by the home team on the day.

- Anthony Milford has had four try involvements (one try, three assists) in his past four NRL matches against the Bulldogs.

Friday

New Zealand Warriors (6-9-1) v Cronulla Sharks (7-9)

- The Sharks have won nine of their past 11 NRL games against the Warriors, including four on the bounce.

- However, Cronulla are on a four-match losing run. The last time they endured more consecutive losses was a 10-match span across the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Penrith Panthers (8-8) v St George Illawarra Dragons (6-10)

- The Panthers have won four of their past five NRL games against the Dragons at Panthers Stadium, conceding an average of just 11 points per game in that time.

- Mansour has scored a try and produced at least two tackle breaks in each of his previous three NRL matches against the Dragons.

Saturday

Sydney Roosters (10-6) v Newcastle Knights (8-8)

- The Knights are looking to defeat the Roosters twice in a single campaign for the first time in premiership history.

- Kalyn Ponga has had three try involvements (two tries, one assist) in his past two NRL matches against the Roosters.

Canberra Raiders (10-6) v Wests Tigers (7-9)

- The Raiders have won five of their past six NRL matches against Wests, with those victories coming by an average margin of 40 points per game.

- Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has gained 999 metres returning kicks in NRL 2019, the most of any player this season.

North Queensland Cowboys (7-9) v South Sydney Rabbitohs (11-5)

- The Rabbitohs have won their past three NRL games in succession against the Cowboys – twice by a margin of just one point – after having won only one of their nine prior meetings.

- Cowboys have scored the joint-most tries (11, also Parramatta Eels) in the final 10 minutes of the first half of games this season.

Sunday

Gold Coast Titans (4-12) v Melbourne Storm (14-2)

- The Storm have won six of their previous seven NRL games against the Titans, keeping them scoreless in the second halves of three of their past four meetings.

- Smith has successfully kicked 13 of his past 14 shots at goal against the Titans in the NRL.

Manly Sea Eagles (9-7) v Parramatta Eels (9-7)

- The Eels have won seven of their past eight NRL games against the Sea Eagles, but they were defeated 54-0 when these teams last met at Lottoland.

- The Sea Eagles and the Eels have scored the joint-most tries (10, also Melbourne Storm) from their own half of the field of all the sides in the NRL this year.

Canberra Raiders roared up to third place in the NRL with a seven-try demolition of St George Illawarra Dragons, despite having Nick Cotric sent off.

Ricky Stuart's side powered to a 36-14 victory in Wollongong, where captain Jarrod Croker scored his 121st career try for Canberra to establish a new team record.

The Raiders bolted to a 26-0 lead in just 46 minutes with tries from Cotric, Croker, Joseph Tapine, Bailey Simonsson and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.

Korbin Sims and Luciano Leilua trimmed the lead before Cotric was red-carded in the 58th minute by referee Ashley Klein for a dangerous tackle on Tim Lafai.

Siliva Havili nudged the Raiders further ahead moments later and Nicoll-Klokstad grabbed his second of the game before Matthew Dufty pulled back four points in the dying moments for the Dragons.

Jake Clifford booted a match-winning drop goal as North Queensland Cowboys came from behind to score a surprise 15-12 victory over Sydney Roosters, who slipped to fourth.

With team-mate Gavin Cooper making a 300th NRL appearance, Clifford made his decisive intervention to break a 12-12 tie, before adding a penalty after the full-time siren.

Sydney were slow starters and trailed 6-0 at the interval after Clifford's 14th-minute try, converted by Jordan Kahu. The hosts, sitting third before the game, found their rhythm early in the second half and surged ahead on the back of tries from Jake Friend and Brett Morris, only to be pegged back level at 12-12 when John Asiata crossed and Clifford added the extras.

Clifford provided the late heroics, bissecting the posts from the 30-metre line with a minute left on the clock, inflicting a fifth defeat in seven on the faltering Roosters.

Brad Takairangi plundered a hat-trick for the Parramatta Eels in their 30-18 win over Wests Tigers at Bankwest Stadium. The powerful centre crossed out wide in the 32nd, 35th and 71st minutes, with his physicality too much for the Tigers to handle.

Blake Ferguson also dotted down for the Eels, with Mitchell Moses booting 14 points. David Nofoaluma scored twice for Wests, Corey Thompson and Robert Jennings also going over.

Just a week after reaching 2,500 NRL points in his illustrious career, Melbourne Storm star Cameron Smith is closing in on yet another milestone.

Cronulla Sharks will be hoping to continue their good form against the Storm – they have won five of their last six NRL meetings – and put a dampener on the celebrations at AAMI Park, though.

Landmarks will also be in the offing for Benji Marshall and Gavin Cooper, respectively, when Wests Tigers take on Parramatta Eels and North Queensland Cowboys face Sydney Roosters.

Ahead of this weekend's NRL action, we look at the stats courtesy of Opta.

 

Friday

Penrith Panthers (7-8) v Gold Coast Titans (4-11)

 - Half of Penrith's NRL tries this season (17 of 34) have been scored by their starting forwards; no other team has a ratio exceeding 35 per cent.

 - The Titans' Anthony Don has scored a try in each of his last four NRL games against the Panthers and has made 12 tackle breaks in his last two meetings with them.

 Newcastle Knights (8-7) v Canterbury Bulldogs (4-11)

 - The Bulldogs have missed fewer than 20 tackles in three of their last five NRL games against the Knights; however, they are yet to miss fewer than 20 against any opponent in 2019.

 - Mitchell Pearce has had four try involvements (two tries, two assists) in his last two NRL games against the Bulldogs, though appearing in State of Origin on Wednesday may stop him being involved heavily.

Saturday

South Sydney Rabbitohs (10-5) v Manly Sea Eagles (9-6)

- The Rabbitohs have scored 24 tries on possession begun with a penalty tap this season, four more than any other team.

- Manly five-eighth Cade Cust has scored three tries and provided three try assists in his last four NRL appearances.

Brisbane Broncos (6-9) v New Zealand Warriors (6-9)

- Corey Oates of the Broncos has made 21 line breaks in NRL this season, three more than any other player despite having played only 13 of a potential 15 games.

- Ken Maumalo has scored seven tries in his last five Warriors games and boasts a tally of 12 in the NRL this season, the joint-most of any player and as many as he had scored in his two previous campaigns combined.

Melbourne Storm (13-2) v Cronulla Sharks (7-8)

- Storm captain Smith is set to become the first player in premiership history to play 400 games.

- The Sharks have scored 13 tries from kicks in NRL this year, more than any other team in the competition.

Sunday

Sydney Roosters (10-5) v North Queensland Cowboys (6-9)

- North Queensland second row Cooper is one appearance away from his 300th in the NRL.

- Jason Taumalolo of the Cowboys has gained 180 metres over the advantage line per game this season, 15m more than any other player.

Wests Tigers (7-8) v Parramatta Eels (8-7)

- Tigers star Marshall is set to play his 300th NRL game.

- The Tigers have missed just 27 tackles per game this season, fewer than any other team in the competition.

St George Illawarra Dragons (6-9) v Canberra Raiders (9-6)

- The Raiders have missed just one shot at goal in their last five NRL games against the Dragons, slotting through 15 of their 16 attempts in that time.

- Mikaele Ravalawa of the Dragons has scored four tries in his last four outings, including one in each of his last two.

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