James Tedesco scored a brilliant solo try as Sydney Roosters beat South Sydney Rabbitohs 28-12, while North Queensland Cowboys also resumed the NRL season with a derby win on Friday.

The Roosters lost their first two games before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus in March, but they were too good for their city rivals behind closed doors at Bankwest Stadium.

Daniel Tupou dotted down after rising to take a kick from Luke Keary just three minutes in and Kyle Flanagan went under the posts to round off a slick move as the Roosters turned on the style.

Cameron Murray got the Rabbitohs on the board with a try five minutes before the break, but Tedesco showed great power and pace to go on his own for a score just after the interval.

Boyd Cordner crashed over to give the two-time defending champions further breathing space before Tom Burgess forced his way over to give the Bunnies hope on the hour mark.

Trent Robinson's side had the final say, though, Jake Friend racing onto his own kick to finish and Flanagan converting to take his tally to 12 points in a second loss of the season for Souths.

It does not appear the break did Gold Coast Titans any good as they were thrashed 36-6 by the rampant Cowboys.

The Titans have now lost 14 in a row after they were blown away at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the lively Valentine Holmes laying on three of six tries.

Reece Robson and Ben Hampton scored doubles in a second victory out of three for North Queensland.

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys feels the NRL should not have stopped as the league prepares to return following the coronavirus outbreak.

Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels will restart the 2020 season behind closed doors on May 28 after the competition was postponed through two rounds on March 23 due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world, bringing sport to a standstill, but Australia has managed to control the spread.

And V'landys claims Australia's premier rugby league competition should have continued amid the crisis.

"Racing has proven that you can continue on and if I had my time again, quite frankly, we wouldn't have stopped the rugby league," V'landys told News Corp.

"I don't think we were any risk playing on. If we had implemented the biosecurity measures we have in place now … there was really zero risk to the players or the community.

"There were the challenges in relation to the closure of the borders, but I think we could have got around all that. If there is one regret, maybe we acted too quickly. Maybe we should have waited another week to see the infection rates."

V'landys added: "We're not a very big risk. I think the governments would let us see it through now if there was a second wave, especially with the very harsh biosecurity measures we have implemented.

"We've proven it in racing and not only in NSW but right around Australia. If you have proper biosecurity measures, and participants do the right thing and abide by them, the risk is minimal."

State of Origin will be played in November as the NRL released its full revised draw on Thursday.

The NRL is set to resume its season next week amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the marquee series between Queensland and New South Wales moved.

Origin will be played on November 4, 11 and 18, with venues yet to be finalised, it was announced on Thursday.

"The changes to the schedule this year have allowed Origin to be played after the grand final – which is a first for the game, 40 years after the birth of the country's biggest sporting rivalry," NRL interim chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

The NRL Grand Final is set to be held on October 25, with the season already reduced to a 20-round schedule.

The season restarts on May 28, when Brisbane Broncos will host Parramatta Eels.

 

Best round three Opta facts:

- Broncos v Eels: Parramatta have won four of their past six games against Brisbane.
- Cowboys v Titans: North Queensland are on a nine-match winning streak against Gold Coast.
- Roosters v Rabbitohs: South Sydney's Campbell Graham has crossed for a try in each of his past three NRL games.
- Warriors v Dragons: New Zealand have lost five of their past six NRL games played in Australia, with the defeats coming by an average margin of 20 points.
- Sharks v Tigers: Wests have lost their past six games against Cronulla.
- Storm v Raiders: These two teams are the only sides yet to concede a try in the first half of a game this season.
- Panthers v Knights: Penrith have won nine of their 12 games without Nathan Cleary, who is suspended, since his debut.
- Sea Eagles v Bulldogs: Canterbury have made 30 errors across their opening two NRL games of the season.

State of Origin will be played in November as the NRL released its full revised draw on Thursday.

The NRL is set to resume its season next week amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the marquee series between Queensland and New South Wales moved.

Origin will be played on November 4, 11 and 18, with venues yet to be finalised, it was announced on Thursday.

"The changes to the schedule this year have allowed Origin to be played after the grand final – which is a first for the game, 40 years after the birth of the country's biggest sporting rivalry," NRL interim chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

The NRL Grand Final is set to be held on October 25, with the season already reduced to a 20-round schedule.

The season restarts on May 28, when Brisbane Broncos will host Parramatta Eels.

 

Best round three Opta facts:

- Broncos v Eels: Parramatta have won four of their past six games against Brisbane.
- Cowboys v Titans: North Queensland are on a nine-match winning streak against Gold Coast.
- Roosters v Rabbitohs: South Sydney's Campbell Graham has crossed for a try in each of his past three NRL games.
- Warriors v Dragons: New Zealand have lost five of their past six NRL games played in Australia, with the defeats coming by an average margin of 20 points.
- Sharks v Tigers: Wests have lost their past six games against Cronulla.
- Storm v Raiders: These two teams are the only sides yet to concede a try in the first half of a game this season.
- Panthers v Knights: Penrith have won nine of their 12 games without Nathan Cleary, who is suspended, since his debut.
- Sea Eagles v Bulldogs: Canterbury have made 30 errors across their opening two NRL games of the season.

The NRL has announced the six venues that will stage fixtures when the 2020 season resumes at the end of May.

Bankwest Stadium, Campbelltown Stadium and Central Coast Stadium will host fixtures, as well as Suncorp Stadium, Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville and AAMI Park.

The locations have been chosen to host games until at least the end of round nine as the competition prepares to return to action, starting with Brisbane Broncos against Parramatta Eels on May 28.

Action was suspended after two rounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The competition will begin with a consolidated approach to venues," acting NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

"Each venue requires customised infrastructure to meet our strict biosecurity requirements. We've adopted a phased approach for venues should restrictions be eased in the future.

"We've chosen three consolidated venues for clubs in and around Sydney to ensure there are no double headers at venues and in different parts of the region to meet the geographical challenges we face."

The Eels will be sharing Bankwest Stadium with Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters.

Campbelltown is the location for St George Illawarra Dragons, Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders, while Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles will play out of Central Coast Stadium, along with the Gosford-based New Zealand Warriors.

Suncorp Stadium will house the Broncos as per usual, as well as Gold Coast Titans. As for North Queensland Cowboys and Melbourne Storm, they will be in the familiar surroundings of Queensland Country Bank Stadium and AAMI Park respectively.

The draw for the remainder of the season will be revealed on Thursday, though home venues will only be allocated until round nine.

Sydney Roosters' Angus Crichton does not feel the NRL's new "six again" rule will change the way his side play, while the second-row forward expressed sympathy with officials after the Australian Rugby League's (ARL) move to a one-referee format.

The ARL announced significant changes to the sport in Australia on Wednesday, with chairman Peter V'landys confirming Project Apollo's implementation to save money and cut stoppages in matches.

There will no longer be two referees on the pitch, returning to a solitary decision-maker system, with two touch judges.

And the "six again" rule will allow attacking teams another full set instead of halting play for a penalty, a move that is hoped will improve the flow of contests.

NRL is set to resume on May 28, a little more than two months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, and although Crichton sympathised with the referees who will be impacted, he believes sacrifices were necessary to get the sport moving again.

"For me, personally, anything we can do to get the sport up and running again is good for us as players," he told a news conference on Thursday.

"I feel for everyone affected through losing jobs or not being able to go into work at the moment, and I feel for referees out of a job, but us as a game we need to pull together to get it back on the road."

With regards to the "six again" rule, he said: "To be honest, if you're on your line and tired, you're just going play your regular footy.

"A rule change like this, there's a lot of speculation a lot of media talk and a lot for players to think about, but if you're defending your line, you're just going to be doing what we have since 1908, trying to stop people scoring tries and protecting the line, that's what it'll come down to for us.

"You never want to concede points. As a defensive side we want to hold teams to zero, we never want to concede points.

"Even for a penalty goal, that's two points we don't want to concede, so for us it doesn't change anything. We'll be doing what we've been doing for years."

Three players for the South Sydney Rabbitohs have tested negative for coronavirus, the NRL side announced.

The trio were tested for COVID-19 after presenting mild symptoms on Monday, however, they have been cleared of the virus.

The news comes as the NRL prepares to relaunch the coronavirus-hit 2020 season on May 28.

"Results have shown that all players have been cleared of COVID-19 infection," the Rabbitohs said in a statement.

"The Rabbitohs are taking the NRL's health protocols very seriously, hence why these three players were sent for testing today."

After an educational workshop among all 16 clubs to discuss strict biosecurity protocols on Monday, active training will resume on Wednesday.

The NRL was postponed on March 23 through just two rounds due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

South Sydney had triumphed in one of their opening two games prior to the suspension.

There have been over 3.6 million confirmed cases globally, with more than 251,700 deaths.

In Australia, 95 people have succumbed to the virus as cases exceed 6,800.

Sydney Roosters head coach Trent Robinson insisted he was "fine" after being tested for coronavirus.

NRL players returned to their clubs on Monday as preparations continue for the season to restart on May 28.

Robinson, though, was tested for COVID-19 and expects to find out the result later on Monday.

"It's not serious, but I had to do the right thing and get it checked out," he told The Daily Telegraph.

"I went to the doctor this morning to have a test. I'm fine. I should get the result this evening.

"You can't expect everyone else at the club to take all the precautions unless I do it myself."

While there have been more than 248,000 deaths due to coronavirus worldwide, Australia has done well in containing COVID-19.

It has seen more than 6,800 confirmed cases of the virus, including 96 deaths.

The Roosters lost their opening two games of the NRL season, which was suspended in March.

Melbourne Storm head coach Craig Bellamy slammed the "unfair" demand from Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis to scrap competition points when the NRL resumes following the coronavirus outbreak.

The NRL is planning to restart the coronavirus-hit season on May 28 after the 2020 campaign was suspended following just two rounds on March 23 due to COVID-19.

Politis told The Daily Telegraph that if existing points were not wiped, the competition would become "meaningless".

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has already aborted the concept of a radical proposal to scrap the opening two rounds of competition points, but Bellamy still hit out at Politis.

"Our season was postponed after the first two rounds, it wasn't scrapped," Bellamy, whose Storm were among six teams to have won their first two fixtures prior to the postponement, told the Herald Sun.

"I'm thinking if it's postponed then we continue on as we did before. I think [Nick's demand] is unfair. You're going to be upsetting a lot of fans.

"The determination was our competition was postponed …. we didn't say that we are ending this competition and starting another one later on, it was we are postponing our season."

Bellamy added: "Nick coming out and saying that, obviously he’s just trying to look after his own club.

"At the end of the day, the six clubs that have won their first two games, and obviously there is some clubs that have won one game as well, have fought pretty hard to win those games and I know we did."

 

Defending NRL champions Sydney Roosters succumbed to a second straight defeat to start the season as Daly Cherry-Evans' late drop-goal gave Manly Sea Eagles a 9-8 win.

Cherry-Evans split the uprights with a one-pointer in the 76th minute to settle a tight encounter played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier, Tom Trbojevic and Daniel Tupou traded tries and Reuben Garrick and Kyle Flanagan a pair of penalties each before Cherry-Evans landed the decisive blow.

Melbourne Storm staged a late fightback to see off Cronulla Sharks 12-10 in a rematch of the 2016 Grand Final.

The Sharks led 10-4 going into the final 10 minutes. However, Cameron Smith converted Tui Kamikamica's try to level the scores and the veteran hooker slotted over a penalty four minutes from time to make it two wins from two for The Storm.

Canberra Raiders also have a 100 per cent record through two games after easing past New Zealand Warriors 20-6.

Despite events having to take place behind closed doors and restrictions on travel outside the country, Australia's major sporting leagues continue to plough on manfully amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Football, rugby league and Australian rules football are all vying for centre stage this weekend.

A look further afield means we've also got all you cricket and boxing fans covered.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC – A-League

Normally one of the feistiest fixtures on the A-League calendar, the empty stands of Bankwest Stadium will feel particularly incongruous for the latest instalment of this local argument.

Sydney are sitting pretty at the top of the standings – seven points clear of Melbourne City and with three games in hand – but their only two A-League defeats this season have come courtesy of a pair of 1-0 defeats to the Wanderers, with Mitchell Duke the matchwinner on both occasions.

Roosters v Sea Eagles, Sharks v Storm – NRL

It's week two in the NRL and correcting false starts will largely be the order of the day on Saturday.

Sydney Roosters were beaten 20-14 by Penrith Panthers and will hope to make amends at home to Manly Sea Eagles, themselves dispatched 18-4 by Melbourne Storm.

It means the Storm travel with a spring in their steps to face Cronulla Sharks, who fell short in a 22-18 thriller against South Sydney Rabbitohs last time out.

New Zealand Warriors, who have remained in Australia due to travel restrictions back home, are also in action against Canberra Raiders.

Melbourne City v Sydney FC – W-League

Melbourne City were the dominant force in the W-League this term, topping the table undefeated, and head into Saturday's Grand Final as strong favourites to win their fourth title in the past five seasons.

City earned the right to host the match by demolishing Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1 in their semi-final, while there was a certain symmetry to Sydney FC progressing via a 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory.

Greater Western Sydney v Geelong - AFL

The first round of action in the AFL sees last season's beaten Grand Finalists Greater Western Sydney host Geelong – the 2019 minor premiers.

Elsewhere Essendon entertain Freemantle, Sydney Swans travel to Adelaide Crows and Gold Coast Suns take on Port Adelaide.

Tibo Monabesa v Toto Landero – WBC International light-flyweight title

The coronavirus outbreak has led to the vast majority of elite boxing action in the United Kingdom and the United States being cancelled, but there is an international contest of some intrigue in Indonesia.

Monabesa (20 wins, one defeat, two draws) is seeking to get back in world title contention having won successive bouts on the back of his sole career loss to Japan's undefeated WBC light-flyweight king Hiroto Kyoguchi.

Jakarta's home favourite will have game Filipino Landero (11-4-2) for company in the squared circle.

Rangers v Mountaineers, Matabeleland Tuskers v Mid West Rhinos – Logan Cup

Mountaineers can draw level with Mashonaland Eagles at the top of Zimbabwe's first-class cricket competition if they can see off a Rangers side languishing in last place and winless in six matches this season.

It's also day one of four when Mid West Rhinos travel to face Matabeleland Tuskers. Rhinos all-rounder Neville Madziva is the top run-scorer in the Logan Cup this season – his total of 361 including a maiden red-ball century.  

Defending NRL premiers Sydney Roosters let an early lead slip to lose their 2020 opener against Penrith Panthers on Saturday.

Penrith produced a fine second-half performance to beat the Roosters 20-14, with Viliame Kikau - battling a shoulder injury - and Api Koroisau particularly impressive.

Sydney - premiers in 2018 and 2019 - had breezed into a 12-0 lead inside 20 minutes, with tries from Mitchell Aubusson and Siosiua Taukeiaho and a penalty from Kyle Flanagan, but Brent Naden went over after 26 minutes to begin the Panthers' fightback.

Stephen Crichton's try helped level the scores at 14-14 with 16 minutes left on the clock, and Nathan Cleary - whose exemplary kicking bolstered Penrith throughout - provided the pass from which Kikau scored a 69th-minute winner.

Elsewhere, Newcastle Knights made a winning start to the season under new coach Adam O'Brien, whose side beat New Zealand Warriors 20-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium.

O'Brien's positive impact on the Knights defence was in evidence throughout a one-sided encounter that saw Daniel Saifiti open the scoring with an eighth-minute try that Kalyn Ponga converted before Edrick Lee went over to make it 10-0 at the interval.

Ponga scored all of the Knights' second-half points, kicking two penalties in six minutes before landing a 54th-minute try that he converted himself to give his side an unassailable lead.

South Sydney Rabbitohs had to scrap harder for their first win of the new campaign at ANZ Stadium, where captain Adam Reynolds' kicking made the difference in a 22-18 victory over Cronulla Sharks.

After the Rabbitohs opened up a 22-8 lead with 20 minutes left to play, courtesy of first-half tries from Reynolds and Campbell Graham along with a pair of Reynolds penalties and Ethan Lowe's second-half score, the Sharks launched a late fightback.

Sione Katoa went over twice in three minutes to narrow the deficit to four points, before Connor Tracey looked to have sent Josh Morris through for a try.

But Tracey's pass was ruled forward to the relief of Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett, whose side took the points.

Cronulla Sharks have agreed to release Josh Morris to join Sydney Roosters after round two of the NRL season.

Morris, 33, had requested a release from the final year of his contract with the Sharks to join brother Brett at the Roosters.

The New South Wales representative and former Australia international will join the Roosters, but only after the Sharks face Melbourne Storm in round two.

"After much internal discussion and following lengthy negotiations with the Sydney Roosters, the release request has been granted ultimately due to circumstances surrounding the Sharks' salary cap, a situation which has been impacted by previous infringements," a statement from Cronulla said on Wednesday.

"Prior to coming to the decision to release Morris, the Sharks explored a myriad of options to ensure they remained salary cap compliant, with the NRL's suspended $500,000 fine from past breaches the determining factor in the decision.

"Sharks coach John Morris reiterated his desire to keep Josh Morris at the Cronulla club, as communicated in previous media statements, however he is understanding of the club's position and has agreed to the release request."

The Sharks will be paid a transfer fee, while they are trying to sign Poasa Faamausili from the Roosters.

Cronulla begin their NRL season against South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday, while they are due to face the Roosters on April 11.

Sydney Roosters have won the World Club Challenge for a record fifth time thanks to a hard-fought 20-12 victory over St Helens.

The back-to-back NRL champions defeated Wigan Warriors in the 2019 one-off fixture and, despite falling behind against Saints on Saturday, once again came out on top against their Super League counterparts.

Luke Thompson – who will head to Australia after the season to join the Canterbury Bulldogs – opened the scoring when he crashed over from Theo Fages' pass for a converted try.

The Dragons roared back, however, with Daniel Tupou hanging on to a low pass by his boots before waltzing over the line on his side's left flank.

Joseph Manu put the visitors in front when he touched down on the opposite side of the field for his first of the game, diving over as Saints were caught short of numbers out wide.

Kyle Flanagan – making his debut for the Roosters – hit the posts with both conversion attempts, making it 8-6 at the half-time interval.

Saints had opportunities to hit back after the break, wing Tommy Makinson ruled to have knocked on as he attempted to score under pressure.

Instead it was the Roosters who crucially scored next, Manu grabbing his second try. Luke Keary then provided the finish following Siosiua Taukeiaho's initial break from inside his own half, putting the game beyond St Helens.

Alex Walmsley did plunge over for a late consolation score, Makinson adding the extras, but Sydney held on to retain the trophy and maintain their 100 per cent record in the annual competition.

Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris insisted Josh Morris would remain with the NRL club despite reportedly asking to join the Sydney Roosters.

Josh Morris, 33, was reported to have requested a move to the Roosters to play alongside his brother Brett.

Sharks coach John Morris confirmed the veteran was considering his options, but ruled out a move for the New South Wales representative.

"There was an enquiry there around Josh's side and I think our fans and members deserve the full truth," he told the NRL website.

"There is an option there for him to take up a deal to play with his brother, but as head coach of the Sharks I have got to make sure I put out a competitive team on the park every week that can win us games and hopefully win the grand final.

"Josh Morris is our most experienced player and he will be here in 2020. We have just lost 1,000 games of experience with Paul Gallen gone, Matt Prior gone, Sosaia Feki gone, Kurt Capewell gone and Jayden Brailey gone.

"Apart from 'Gal', a lot of these are the results of a pretty horrific salary cap fine that was levelled against our club and that happened before I started, but I will do my best to bring the club through it."

Formerly of the St George Illawarra Dragons and Canterbury Bulldogs, Josh Morris arrived at the Sharks for the 2019 season.

The centre scored 15 tries as Cronulla finished seventh before falling in an Elimination Final to the Manly Sea Eagles.

But Josh Morris is reportedly unhappy at the Sharks with a move to the wing likely in 2020 after Jesse Ramien's return to the club from the Newcastle Knights.

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