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.

Former Australia head coach Michael Cheika has switched codes to take on a short-term advisory role with Sydney Roosters.

Cheika resigned as Wallabies boss after a Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to England last October.

The 52-year-old has been linked with Top 14 giants Montpellier, but for now he will work with the NRL champions' coaches and pass on his attacking skills expertise to the players.

Roosters head coach Trent Robinson told Sydney's Daily Telegraph: "He is helping push myself and the assistant coaches to improve and challenging our ideas and helping push us again in 2020.

"He is also a really skilful attacking style of coach as well. We are taking anything we can learn from his style of coaching and his attacking mindset.

"Cheiks loves the footy environment. He is a rugby union coach but he grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and he just loves footy, whether it’s union or league."

Cheika, a longtime friend of Robinson's, said: "Trent asked me to do some very specific stuff with a couple of the coaches and specific areas.

"He has got me on a few projects. I've loved it. I was really honoured that they thought I could contribute. I want to make sure the stuff I’m doing is contributing the way Trent wants me to.

"I've really enjoyed being involved with the lads. The coaches are fine men and the players are good lads."

 

The South Sydney Rabbitohs confirmed the signing of Australia and New South Wales representative Latrell Mitchell on a one-year deal.

Mitchell, 22, left the Sydney Roosters after four seasons with the NRL club and his move to the Rabbitohs was announced on Monday.

A four-time Kangaroos and Blues representative, centre Mitchell has signed for 2020 and the Rabbitohs hold an option to extend his deal for a further year.

"He has the ability to be one of the best players in the world and from our discussions with him he understands that it's going to take a lot of hard work and effort for him to be at his best consistently and to reach his full potential," Rabbitohs general manager of football Shane Richardson said in a statement.

"He will get that opportunity at the Rabbitohs, working with some wonderful mentors here in Wayne [Bennett], Jason [Demetriou], Ben [Hornby], Greg [Inglis], John [Sutton] and Sam [Burgess], and we're really looking forward to seeing Latrell at his peak wearing the famous cardinal and myrtle jersey that so many greats of the game have worn before him.

"He understands 'The Rabbitoh Way' and what it means to represent the Rabbitohs. He has a family connection to our club with his father Matt having played here, his family are South Sydney supporters, and we're looking forward to welcoming him and his young family to the Rabbitohs this year.

"He is a very proud Indigenous man, a young leader in the Indigenous community and we know that he will be of great support to Souths Cares and its programs in the Indigenous community.

"Things in the player market changed recently which saw us move into a position to be able to bring him to our club, and for him to make us his club of choice.

"We're very excited that this opportunity has come to fruition and our members should be equally as enthusiastic about having a player of Latrell's ability joining our ranks."

Mitchell helped the Roosters win the NRL premiership in 2018 and 2019, while the Rabbitohs fell in the Preliminary Finals last year.

Latrell Mitchell announced his departure from Sydney Roosters ahead of a rumoured switch to NRL rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Mitchell confirmed his exit in an Instagram post on Friday, with the New South Wales and Australia star reportedly poised to join the Rabbitohs for the 2020 season.

The Roosters withdrew a new contract offer to Mitchell – whose existing deal covers the upcoming season – in November, while the NRL champions on Sunday granted the centre a leave of absence ahead of their return to pre-season training.

Mitchell played 96 NRL games and won back-to-back premierships with the Roosters in 2018 and 2019 after debuting in 2016.

"Firstly I want to thank @sydneyroosters for everything they have done for me and my family," the 22-year-old wrote. "I cannot describe the way I feel right now but just wanted to let everyone know involved in my career through my stint here, I am so very grateful for you all.

"To the fans, thanks you! Wouldn't be a game without you. Humbled to be able to play with such a rich history club didn't think as a country boy I'd be able to transition to the city but Roosters made that possible.

"To the boys!! I love yas. Playing alongside of you all was something I'll hold close to my heart.

"Nothing has been made official as of yet. But my stay at the Roosters has come to an end. On to the next chapter where ever that may be [heart emojis]."

Latrell Mitchell has seemingly moved closer to an exit from Sydney Roosters after the club granted him a leave of absence ahead of their return to pre-season training.

One of the most highly rated players in the NRL, Mitchell has been the subject of persistent speculation linking him with a transfer away from the reigning premiers, with South Sydney Rabbitohs now reported to be his most likely destination.

In November, the Roosters confirmed they had withdrawn a new contract offer to the centre, whose existing deal covers the upcoming season, after he "expressed that he would like to explore his options for season 2021".

A fresh club statement on Sunday read: "In lead-up to the club's return to pre-season, Sydney Roosters player Latrell Mitchell has been granted a leave of absence, excusing him from all training commitments.

"The club will be making no further comment at this time."

While a host of NRL sides have been linked with Mitchell, the Rabbitohs have emerged as the leading contenders to sign the 22-year-old Australia international, despite coach Wayne Bennett stating last week: "We won't be signing Latrell." 

Wests Tigers are prepared to reignite their interest in Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell.

The Tigers withdrew an offer for the Australia star last month after the Roosters took a contract offer for the 22-year-old off the table.

Mitchell.did not rule out remaining in Sydney with the premiers but has reportedly been told by the Roosters he will be unable to stay on due to salary-cap restrictions.

Wests chairman Lee Hagipantelis revealed Roosters counterpart Nick Politis has been in touch to notify him of Mitchell's availability.

"We are actively in the market considering a number of options that are available to us and if Latrell is to be one of those options he is more than welcome to reach out to us," Hagipantelis said.

"At the moment I don't think we are under any particular pressure, we have got a really talented and healthy roster, but it is an active player market at the moment and we want to make sure we are a competitor in that market."

He added, quoted on nrl.com: "Nick has been incredibly transparent throughout this process. He has called me chairman to chairman as a professional courtesy, which I am very appreciative of, and kept us informed.

"Nick has not involved himself in any sort of discussions or negotiations or anything of that kind. It was simply as a professional courtesy to inform me of what the Roosters' position was."

Wests Tigers have withdrawn their offer for disgruntled Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell, the NRL side revealed on Thursday.

The Tigers were interested in luring Mitchell from NRL champions the Roosters, who pulled their contract offer for the centre earlier this month.

Mitchell – contracted to the Roosters for another season – has also been linked to Canterbury Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans.

But the 22-year-old Australia international will not be making the move to Wests Tigers as his future remains in limbo.

"We've withdrawn the offer," Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe told foxsports.com.au.

"It's an active market and we have a responsibility to our members, fans and the club.

"We're focused on securing talent but in relation to Latrell, we've moved on."

It comes as the Tigers reportedly set their sights on Melbourne Storm star Josh Addo-Carr.

A Grand Final winner with the Storm in 2017, New South Wales representative Addo-Carr is believed to be eyeing a return home.

The 24-year-old speedster moved to the Storm from the Tigers ahead of the 2017 season.

 

Sydney Roosters will get the opportunity to secure back-to-back World Club Challenge titles when they travel to take on St Helens on February 22.

The Roosters beat Wigan Warriors to be crowned champions this year and will return to Lancashire for a showdown with Saints 12 months later.

Trent Robinson's side retained the NRL title last month and will be out to maintain their 100 per cent World Club Challenge record when they lock horns with the Super League champions.

Robinson said: "This is an important fixture on the rugby league calendar and we're looking forward to heading to England to compete against St Helens for the 2020 World Club Challenge title."

New head coach Kristian Woolf is looking forward to what will be Saints' first appearance in the fixture since 2015, when they lost to South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Woolf said: "We are really excited about the opportunity to face the Roosters in such a prestigious fixture.

"It will be a great challenge for us to test ourselves against the current World Club champions and we are aiming to stand up and represent Super League and this part of the world in what will be a huge game."

He may be heading over 15,000 kilometres from home, but Sonny Bill Williams is back where it all began.

The 34-year-old has returned to rugby league after signing a lucrative two-year deal with Super League newcomers Toronto Wolfpack.

It is another fascinating move for the New Zealander, who has represented his country in both codes, holds a 7-0 record in professional boxing and was Googled more often than Kim Kardashian by Kiwis in 2010.

Here, we take a look at Williams' career so far.

BULLDOGS BEGINNINGS

Fifteen years ago Williams, then 18, burst onto the scene with a brilliant display in his NRL debut as Canterbury Bulldogs thrashed Parramatta Eels 48-14.

The teenager scored a try and made 184 metres that night and, one month later, he became New Zealand's youngest ever Test player.

Canterbury went on to win the 2004 NRL Grand Final, with Williams coming off the bench in the victory. A star was born.

TO TOULON

After four seasons with the Bulldogs, Williams controversially switched codes, and countries, joining Top 14 side Toulon, despite having five years left to run on his deal with Canterbury.

A bitter court case followed, and Williams only spent two years in France before turning down an extension that would have reportedly made him the highest-paid player in union.

Williams had other ideas. He wanted to become an All Black.

WORLD CUP WINNER

Williams signed a contract with the New Zealand Rugby Union in 2010 and returned to Canterbury, this time with the region's union team, while representing the Crusaders in Super Rugby.

He made his much-anticipated All Blacks debut in November 2010, starting at outside centre against England, becoming the first man in almost a century to represent the country in both league and union.

New Zealand would end their long wait for a second World Cup title in 2011, with Williams scoring a World Cup record three tries as a substitute.

A HIT AT HEAVYWEIGHT

In 2009, Williams traded passes for punches when he made his debut as a professional boxer, stopping Gary Gurr in the second round.

That was thought to be a one-off but Williams clearly had a taste for the sweet science and he fought four more fights - winning them all - before taking on a title shot against Francois Botha in 2013.

Williams would walk away with the WBA International Heavyweight belt with a points win over a man who had fought Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis previously.

However, there was an element of farce to the bout as it was cut short by two rounds, with the Kiwi clearly struggling by the end of the 10th.

RULING THE ROOST

Five years after his last NRL appearance - and after a stint in Japan - Williams returned to league with the Sydney Roosters, scoring a try on his debut in front of a record crowd.

He would be named the Roosters' player of the year that season and won a second NRL title.

Already a World Cup winner in union, he came close to claiming league's most coveted international prize too but was part of the New Zealand side beaten by Australia in the 2013 final.

Another return to union followed, though, and Williams added another World Cup winners' medal to his collection with the All Blacks in 2015.

Latrell Mitchell could have played his last game for Sydney Roosters after the NRL champions withdrew the offer of a new contract for the centre.

Australia international Mitchell, linked with the Canterbury Bulldogs, has another season left on his current deal and was given the option of an extension by the premiers.

The Roosters on Tuesday revealed a new deal is no longer on the table after the 22-year-old refused to commit beyond 2020.

A club statement said: "The Sydney Roosters have today advised the management of Latrell Mitchell that the club's offer for 2021 and beyond has been withdrawn following discussions with Latrell today.

"Latrell has expressed that he would like to explore his options for season 2021, however he remains under contract with the Roosters for season 2020."

Mitchell said earlier in the day: "I'll do what's right for my family and I. No one has any influence on my decisions.

"I've moved out of home at age 15 to give myself a life. Now I have the responsibility of giving my kids a life I didn't have."

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.