Justin Holbrook is leaving St Helens to join NRL side Gold Coast Titans at the end of the Super League season, a move that Alex Walmsley has no doubt will be a success.

Holbrook has enjoyed a terrific spell at Saints since taking over from Kieron Cunningham in April 2017, guiding the club to successive League Leaders' Shield triumphs in 2018 and 2019.

Saints clinched that second success at the start of August, ultimately finishing 16 points clear of second-place Wigan Warriors, who they face on Friday for a spot in this season's grand final at Old Trafford.

The form of Saints under Holbrook drew the attention of the Titans, who have failed to make the NRL finals in the last three seasons, finishing bottom of the table in 2019.

England prop Walmsley has been a regular under Holbrook, who he has credited with rejuvenating Saints over the course of his tenure and backed to succeed in the NRL.

"You only get so many opportunities to coach in the NRL," Walmsley told Omnisport. "For a Super League coach to be given an NRL job, very rarely do they look outside of Australia for a coach.

"It probably says a lot about Justin not only as a coach but as a person to be given that opportunity. He's obviously going to a tough gig, they've had a couple of tough seasons and it's a different job to what he's had at Saints.

"But I think it's going to be great and he can be as much of a success as he has here.

"Justin has been brilliant, not just for what he's done for the team, but he's changed the town. There was a divide between the players and the town and it was quite bad really.

"What Justin's done has brought the community back together with the squad and made it a good place to play again, our fans are right behind us and it's made it a really happy place.

"A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter and he's got the camp enjoying training, enjoying playing and it's put us in a good place.

"Ultimately he wants everyone to be positive and wants us to back ourselves as players and coming off that encouragement from a head coach who's got such a positive outlook has really improved us all as individuals."

Holbrook has come up short in finals at Saints, and although Walmsley does not believe winning a major trophy is needed to validate the club's success over recent seasons, he feels it would be a just reward for their consistency.

"I don't think we need to win it, I think it would be a justifiable result at the end of the season if we do it," Walmsley added.

"But we've got an unbelievable opposition coming up in Wigan, it's more than just a semi-final, it's Wigan versus Saints, with all the drama and pressure that comes with those derby matches thrown into a game for the grand final."

 

Alex Walmsley is working with Dacia on their We Make Heroes campaign, celebrating understated heroes throughout Rugby League. To find out more, visit Dacia.com.

Canberra Raiders will face minor premiers Melbourne Storm in the NRL finals after a shock loss to New Zealand Warriors, while Gareth Widdop and Jeremy Latimore bid a triumphant farewell to St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Raiders were unable to regain third position from South Sydney Rabbitohs – who will face rivals Sydney Roosters in the qualifying finals – as they went down 24-20 at GIO Stadium on Saturday.

Ahead of their meeting with the Storm, Canberra will have concerns over Michael Oldfield after the wing went off with a shoulder injury sustained while touching down in the corner and making it 20-12 in the 53rd minute.

There could also be trouble for Hudson Young, who appeared to make contact with Adam Pompey's eye while attempting to stop him score a try in the 30th minute. Young served a five-match suspension for a similar offence against Canterbury Bulldogs in June. Addressing the latest incident, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said: "I know he didn't gouge the kid."

The Warriors rallied late on to secure a win, as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck polished off an incredible move after the visitors did superbly to keep the ball alive on the last tackle in the 69th minute and Blake Green ran in to complete a surprise turnaround.

Widdop converted four tries and assisted one in his final match before departing for Super League side Warrington Wolves as the Dragons defeated the Titans 24-16.

Half-back Widdop - who became the first Englishman to score 1,000 NRL points - released Ben Hunt for his second try in the space of six minutes, with Latimore coming on for the final two minutes to help Paul McGregor's side close their season with victory in his final match before retirement.

Brisbane Broncos were unable to guarantee their place in the finals as they fell to a humbling 30-14 loss at the Bulldogs.

Nick Meaney scored a hat-trick and had 22 points as the Bulldogs ended the season with another upset that means the Broncos must hope Wests Tigers and Cronulla Sharks do not draw on Sunday – an unlikely result that would send both teams through at Brisbane's expense.

The last spot in the NRL finals will be determined on Sunday when Cronulla Sharks visit Wests Tigers hoping to hang on to a top-eight berth.

Both the Tigers and the Sharks have 24 points each after 23 rounds, but the latter's greater points differential means they are in pole position to reach the finals.

The sixth-placed Parramatta Eels will look to leapfrog Manly Sea Eagles into fifth while Melbourne Storm, already confirmed as the minor premiership champions, will hope to round off the regular season in style when they host the North Queensland Cowboys.

We take a look at the Opta facts for the last round of NRL fixtures.

 

Thursday

South Sydney Rabbitohs (15-8) v Sydney Roosters (17-6)

- Souths are bidding to beat Sydney twice in the regular season for the first time in a decade following their triumph earlier in the campaign.

- Cody Walker (14 tries, 16 try assists) leads the way with the most try involvements in the NRL and Roosters team-mate Latrell Mitchell will also hope to reach the 30 mark, having crossed 18 times and provided 11 assists so far.

Friday

Parramatta Eels (13-10) v Manly Sea Eagles (14-9)

- This fixture has been a one-sided affair in recent years, with the Eels winning their past four home games in a row against the Eagles by an average margin of 19 points per contest.

- Kane Evans will bring up a landmark 100th appearance for Parramatta.

 

Melbourne Storm (19-4) v North Queensland Cowboys (9-14)

- Though Melbourne have won their past nine successive games against the Cowboys, six of those wins have come by a margin of eight points or fewer.

- The Storm have missed just 27 tackles per game in this year's NRL, fewer than any other team in the competition.

Saturday

Canberra Raiders (15-8) v New Zealand Warriors (8-1-14)

- Canberra beat the Warriors 46-12 earlier in the season and have been victorious in five of their previous seven meetings.

- The Warriors have conceded 40-plus points in three of their past five NRL games having done so only once in their previous 35 games. 

 

Canterbury Bulldogs (9-14) v Brisbane Broncos (11-1-11)

- The home team has won the past seven times the Bulldogs have met the Broncos.

- Brisbane players have made 901 tackle breaks this season, 83 more than any other team and 287 more than the Bulldogs.

Gold Coast Titans (4-19) v St George-Illawarra Dragons (7-16)

- Dragons star Gareth Widdop needs just five more points to reach 1,000 in the NRL.

- Each of the past three meetings between these two have been won by the Dragons, who have outscored the Titans 136-52 in that time.

 

Sunday

Wests Tigers (11-12) v Cronulla Sharks (11-12)

- The Sharks are on a five-match winning streak against the Tigers, their longest run of victories against them.

- Benji Marshall is one of just three players to average more than one assist per game having set up 19 tries in 18 appearances.

 

Penrith Panthers (10-13) v Newcastle Knights (10-13)

- Though they have only led in four of their past 10 NRL games against the Knights, the Panthers have won on eight occasions.

- However, Newcastle have scored 12 tries in the opening 10 minutes of NRL games this season, the second-most of any team in the competition (behind the Sydney Roosters).

Craig Bellamy hailed Melbourne Storm's third minor premiership in the space of four years as their best yet.

Storm romped to a 36-6 victory over Many Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Saturday, with Justin Olam scoring a hat-trick.

The triumph meant they were crowned minor premiers for ending the regular season as table-toppers, an achievement they also managed in 2016 and 2017.

Bellamy, though, believes his side's consistency makes this success stand out from the rest.

"I reckon this one [minor premiership] is a little more special than the others we have won," said Bellamy.

"We have only been beaten four times this year and the biggest [losing margin] is four points. That's pretty consistent and I'm really proud of this group because of that."

Storm will hope history is on their side going into the finals. In each of the last two seasons, the minor premiers have gone on to win the NRL Grand Final - Sydney Roosters achieving the feat last term after Melbourne in 2017.

It was a miserable day for the Sea Eagles, who are battling to remain inside the top four. As well as being outscored six tries to one, they believe full-back Tom Trbojevic will not be able to play again this season after suffering a pectoral injury in the defeat.

"It doesn't look good for Tom - it looks like it's a ruptured pec," coach Des Hasler said of the problem, which was sustained as Trbojevic attempted to tackle Josh Addo-Carr.

"You'd think that kind of injury would be season [ending] given the time we've got left. We'll go through the usual procedures but it's a ruptured pec.

"Given the time of the year it's disappointing, he's such a classy player. It's been one of those years for him."

Trbojevic's team-mate Morgan Boyle (shoulder) could also be out for the rest of the campaign.

There were two other games on Saturday, with the second-placed Roosters easing to a 22-6 win at the SCG that all but ended Penrith Panthers' hopes of reaching the finals, even without Cooper Cronk.

Viliame Kikau scored early on for the visitors but they did not strike again as four tries from Sydney, including one from Latrell Mitchell – who scored 10 points – settled the contest.

Newcastle Knights thumped Gold Coast Titans 38-4 to keep their faint finals hopes alive under Kristian Woolf, who has replaced Nathan Brown on an interim basis.

The Titans, who are bottom of the table, scored after three minutes through Ryley Jacks but suffered their 10th consecutive loss as they had no answer to the Knights, who ran in seven unanswered tries in impressive fashion.

Despite the win, Newcastle still need to beat Penrith next week and may even be out of contention before that match as they need other results to go their way to stand any chance of progression.

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.

Brisbane Broncos secured a vital win over Penrith Panthers in the battle for an NRL finals berth, while Parramatta Eels remained in the mix for the top four.

The Broncos and the Panthers lie seventh and eighth in the ladder having traded places on Friday with Brisbane's 24-12 win moving them three points clear of the ninth-placed Cronulla Sharks, who have a game in hand.

The hosts had to recover from a dismal start at Suncorp Stadium as Jake Turpin was sent to the sin bin just seven minutes in for swinging an arm at Dylan Edwards.

But Kotoni Staggs crossed on the quarter-hour mark and the Broncos remained in front at the break despite Nathan Cleary's response, with Jamayne Isaako's penalty goal the difference between the sides.

Isaako would prove the key man for Brisbane following the restart, quickly grabbing a try and then scoring again 10 minutes later before Brian To'o hit back.

An extended scoreless stretch played into the Broncos' hands and Payne Haas went over in stunning fashion to stretch the advantage and set up a comfortable finale, even with Tevita Pangai binned for a high challenge on James Maloney.

Ahead of Brisbane, the Eels are still sixth but now level on points with the teams third, fourth and fifth after hammering strugglers Gold Coast Titans.

Waqa Blake got his first tries for the club as they eased to a 36-12 win, dealing the Titans an eighth straight defeat.

Daniel Alvaro and Manu Ma'u had Parramatta in the clear, although the lead was cut to six points at the interval as Brian Kelly crossed.

However, in a ruthless spell, Shaun Lane went through and Blake followed twice in succession. Marata Niukore scored with 10 minutes remaining meaning Jesse Arthars' consolation counted for little.

The SCG has proven to be a happy hunting ground for Sydney Roosters.

The reigning champions will face a team that has caused them problems though, with New Zealand Warriors their opponents.

Melbourne Storm, six points clear of the Roosters at the top of the table, could potentially wrap up the minor premiership this weekend and they face Canberra Raiders.

We take a look at the key statistics, courtesy of Opta, ahead of round 22.

Thursday

Manly Sea Eagles (12-8) v Wests Tigers (9-11)

- Wests are on a four-game winning streak against Manly, even though they have only led once at half-time across those victories.

- Manly have missed just 27 tackles per game in this season's NRL, the fewest of any team in the competition.

Friday

Gold Coast Titans (4-16) v Parramatta Eels (12-8)

- The Titans have not lost a home game to the Eels since 2014, with each of the past half a dozen matches between the two won by the team hosting the fixture.

- No team has gained more metres per restart than the Eels, who have accrued 12.3m.

Brisbane Broncos (9-1-10) v Penrith Panthers (10-10)

- Brisbane wing Corey Oates has made five successful interceptions in 2019, two more than any other player.

- The Broncos have only suffered only two regular-time defeats to Penrith in their previous 13 meetings.

Saturday

Newcastle Knights (8-12) v North Queensland Cowboys (7-13)

- The Cowboys are on their longest winning streak against the Knights having won four in a row.

- They will need to be mindful of Shaun Kenny-Dowall, though, given he has scored five tries in his past seven NRL appearances.

Melbourne Storm (17-3) v Canberra Raiders (13-7)

- Melbourne will win the minor premiership if they beat Canberra and the Roosters lose to the Warriors on Sunday.

- The Storm have won their last five successive NRL games against the Raiders, conceding an average of just 10 points per match in that span.

South Sydney Rabbitohs (13-7) v Canterbury Bulldogs (7-13)

- Souths are on a four-game winning streak against the Bulldogs, their longest sequence since an eight-match run between 1967 and 1969.

- After scoring a hat-trick for the Rabbitohs last time out, Campbell Graham took his tally to six scores in his previous five appearances.

Sunday

Sydney Roosters (14-6) v New Zealand Warriors (8-1-11)

- The Warriors have lost only three of their past 10 NRL games against the Roosters in New South Wales, yet they have lost nine of their previous 10 contests played on a Sunday.

- Trent Robinson's Roosters have won six on the bounce at the SCG, scoring an average of 40 points per game in that span.

Cronulla Sharks (9-11) v St George-Illawarra Dragons (7-13)

- Only the Raiders (16) have scored more tries from kicks this year than the Sharks (14).

- Cronulla's Shaun Johnson needs 11 more points to reach 1,000 in NRL, a milestone that only six active players have reached.

Clint Gutherson scored twice as Parramatta Eels won a see-saw encounter against Newcastle Knights 20-14 to seal their place in the NRL finals and significantly damage their opponents' hopes.

A double from Gutherson had the Eels in an 8-2 half-time lead, and although the Knights – who have now lost six straight games – fought back through converted tries from Mitchell Barnett and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, the hosts ultimately prevailed at Bankwest Stadium.

Reed Mahoney's try in the 55th minute was swiftly followed up by another from in-form Maika Sivo to build a four-point lead, and Mitch Moses' late penalty sealed the victory.

The Eels move up to joint-fifth in the NRL ladder, while the Knights are 12th, three points adrift of the top eight with four regular season games to play. 

Elsewhere, Wests Tigers' finals hopes took a dent as they relinquished an eight-point lead at the interval in a dramatic 18-16 defeat to Canterbury Bulldogs that leaves them a point outside the top half.

Josh Jackson, Jeremy Marshall-King and Nick Meaney all crossed in an 11-minute blitz just after the restart to turn the game in the Bulldogs' favour at ANZ Stadium.

The Tigers' Paul Momirovski, who earlier scored two tries, then missed a crucial conversion in the final seconds after Luke Garner's score a minute from time appeared to have set the stage for a golden point battle.

There was more woe for the visitors with Robbie Farah leaving the field in the first half due to a suspected medial ligament injury that could bring a premature end to his final season, while captain Moses Mbye sustained a quad problem that ended his involvement.

In Saturday's other game, Gareth Widdop shone by laying on three tries and kicking six conversions as St George Illawarra Dragons won an entertaining 12-try encounter 40-28 against Gold Coast Titans.

The match – which all but sealed the wooden spoon for the Titans - was James Graham's 400th first-grade appearance and the prop was emotional after a surprise visit from members of his family who travelled to watch the occasion from England.

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.

Sydney Roosters moved into second place in the NRL with a comprehensive 58-6 thrashing of bottom club Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

With South Sydney Rabbitohs having slipped up against Cronulla Sharks on Saturday, the Roosters made light work of the Titans, who offered few positives for incoming coach Justin Holbrook.

After James Tedesco's early try, Brett Morris - now the 12th player to surpass 150 NRL career tries - helped himself to a 12-minute hat-trick before Daniel Tupou went over, with Latrell Mitchell adding the extras to make it 28-0 at half-time.

Any hopes of the Titans restoring some pride in the second half were ended when Tedesco doubled his tally, with Cooper Cronk racing over four minutes later for his 100th NRL try.

Ryley Jacks snatched a consolation for the Titans in between a pair of Mitchell scores, and the Roosters' Sam Verrills had the final say by touching down for the first time in his NRL career.

In Sunday's other match, Parramatta Eels consolidated their place in the top eight with a battling 12-4 victory away at St George Illawarra Dragons.

The visitors were 10-0 up by the 22nd minute and kept their lead intact heading into the break.

Mikaele Ravalawa's try seven minutes after the restart put the pressure on the Eels' defence, though, and they had to rely on a 70th-minute penalty from Mitchell Moses to halt the Dragons' momentum and hold on for what could prove a vital win in their bid to qualify for 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.

Gold Coast Titans have turned to St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook to lead their revival from 2020.

The Titans prop up the NRL ladder but will hope for a brighter future under a coach who could sign off from the Saints with a league and cup double.

Holbrook, who took over an ailing Saints side in May 2017, looks primed to secure a second successive League Leaders' Shield, while a Challenge Cup final also awaits.

The 43-year-old, who conceded it had been an "extremely tough decision" to leave his Super League employers, is excited for the challenge ahead.

"The ingredients for a truly great club already exist at the Titans, and I am looking forward to moving to the Gold Coast to play my part in turning that vision into a reality," the Australian told the Titans' official website.

"The Titans are a very strong club backed by a strong rugby league community, with a fantastic junior nursery that feeds an exceptional development and pathway system.

"I can't wait to begin working with the excellent people already within the organisation to help the club reach its true potential."

The Titans, under the caretaker charge of Craig Hodges and Luke Burt following Garth Brennan's departure this month, have struggled since their last Finals appearance in 2016.

Finishes of 15th and 14th preceded this below-par campaign and Titans executive chairman Dennis Watt expects bigger and better things with Holbrook at the helm.

"I think everyone in rugby league would be aware of the tremendous success that Justin has enjoyed in Super League, rebuilding St Helens to the top of Super League and taking them to the Challenge Cup final," he said.

"Justin is very highly regarded, and it is a tremendous vote of confidence in the future of the Titans and the work that is already being done at the club that he has chosen the Gold Coast to begin his NRL career."

NRL leaders Melbourne Storm saw their winning streak come to an end in dramatic fashion on Saturday, while there were contrasting victories for Parramatta Eels and Brisbane Broncos.

Daly Cherry-Evans kicked a golden-point winner for Manly Sea Eagles as Melbourne were beaten for the first time since a 20-18 reverse to Cronulla Sharks on May 3.

Joel Thompson's try and six points from Reuben Garrick's boot put Manly 10-0 up at the break, only for Melbourne - looking for a 10th victory in a row - to hit back, aided by tries from Will Chambers and Brandon Smith.

Both teams saw drop-goal attempts kept out by the posts in the additional period, but Cherry-Evans landed the crucial kick in the 89th minute.

Heartbreaking.

But always #MelbourneProud pic.twitter.com/jHZyiIpsG1

— Melbourne Storm (@storm) July 27, 2019

Manly had beaten Parramatta in the previous round, but the Eels bounced back against New Zealand Warriors, albeit only after surviving a late scare at Bankwest Stadium.

Both teams scored four tries and kicked three conversions, with the ultimate difference a 53rd-minute penalty by Mitchell Moses.

The Warriors had the opportunity to snatch victory when awarded a penalty deep in Parramatta territory in the closing stages, yet the Eels held on to record a 24-22 triumph, their fourth in five outings.

Brisbane, meanwhile, moved into the top eight in the standings with a 34-12 thrashing of Gold Coast Titans. Kotoni Staggs crossed for two of Brisbane's four first-half tries, helping open up a 28-6 advantage.

It was an eventful game for Michael Gordon, who spent 10 minutes in the sin bin before scoring a try and kicking two conversions for the struggling Titans.

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