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State of Origin: NSW's silent destroyers evoke memories of '85

Quiet achievers: You could have heard a pin drop in the NSW dressing room before the game.

Quiet achievers: You could have heard a pin drop in the NSW dressing room before the game. Photo: Getty Images

"It ends here tonight!"

That's what NSW players kept shouting at each other after Darius Boyd scored his second try to bring Queensland within four points. It says as much as anything about why NSW are on the verge of ending eight years of Queensland dominance.

The Blues after the breakthrough win in 1985.

The Blues after the breakthrough win in 1985. Photo: Peter Morris

Footballers know footballers best, so that’s why Benny Elias knew NSW would win Origin I when he visited the dressing room half an hour before kick-off on Wednesday night.

“It was dead quiet,” the former NSW hooker recalled to this column at Brisbane Airport the morning after one of his state’s greatest victories. “Nobody was speaking. I went back upstairs to the official function and sat down next to [NRL chief executive] Dave Smith just before kick-off and said, ‘They’ll win tonight.'”

Now, it would be easy to dismiss this sort of talk as typical league hyperbole, issued in the warm and fuzzy haze of the morning after Origin ecstasy.

Blood, sweat and tears: A bloodied Benny Elias with mum Barbara after the epic win in 1992.

Blood, sweat and tears: A bloodied Benny Elias with mum Barbara after the epic win in 1992.

But the silence in the rooms reminded Elias of a similar night in 1985 when the NSW team bus snaked its way down Caxton Street towards Lang Park and captain Steve Mortimer made an impromptu stop outside the Caxton Hotel.

"Look at these bastards, they hate us,” said Turvey as the Queenslanders hurled beer cans with as much abuse. “They're here to see us get beaten. Well, we're gonna disappoint them, tonight is the turning point."

Recalled Elias: "Nobody said a word from the moment Turvey delivered his speech to the moment we ran out onto Lang Park."

Tops Turvey: Steve Mortimer after game two in 1985.

Tops Turvey: Steve Mortimer after game two in 1985. Photo: Peter Morris

NSW won the match 18-2. They won the second match of the series 21-14. Mortimer fell to his knees and cried with relief, in one of Origin’s most enduring images.

Is history repeating?

“Last night, in the NSW dressing room, it felt like ’85 all over again,” Elias said.

Whether this NSW side can perform the same heroics as their forefathers from 1985 remains to be seen.

They head to Sydney in three weeks as favourites to do so. But, as Jarryd Hayne said after the match: “We’ve woken up the beast”.

Tale of two Haynes

Epic Origin and all that - but we could've been so easily talking about the wrong Hayne. Shayne instead of Jarryd.

Take it as fact that the Blues were filthy about having to defend three sets on their own line in the last three minutes, not least the last throw of the dice after the men in the middle made the inexplicable call that halfback Trent Hodkinson had knocked the ball on, when a kick through had come off his shoulder AND gone backwards. That howler came from Ben Cummins.

Queensland don't need any help when it comes to comebacks, let alone being gifted repeat sets, in the final minutes, on their home turf, in the 100th game of State of Bloody Origin.

The Blues are also filthy with Queensland counterpart Brent Tate, who went on the offensive first thing on Thursday morning over Josh Reynolds' dangerous throw tackle, evoking the name of Alex McKinnon

Having suffered several serious neck injuries, Tate is more than entitled to have his say. But the NSW players this column spoke to reckon he was clearly trying to influence the outcome of Thursday night's judiciary hearing.

Stirring memories

Just back to Benny for a second.

The on-field tribute to mark the 100th Origin match played out on Suncorp Stadium before the match was first class.

The sight of Elias and his 79-year-old mother Barbara embracing as vision flashed on the screen from a match from 1992 was particularly heart-wrenching.

That’s when Barbara famously jumped the fence and stormed the field, hugging her bloodied son, wiping his blood on her cheeks, just after full-time.

Barbara now suffers from dementia, but at the rehearsal on Tuesday night her mind flickered when she saw that snapshot in time.

“That’s my son,” Barbara said to Benny, before starting to cry.

Yes, you are all permitted to cuddle the person sitting next to you right now.

I’m not sure this large, bearded man on Flight QF517 from Brisbane to Sydney will be entirely happy, though.

More Blues on the horizon 

The whisper in the Legends Room before the Socceroos’ farewell match against South Africa at ANZ Stadium was English Premier League giants Chelsea could be coming to Australia next year to take on the A-League All-Stars.

“They’re in the frame,” is how it was described.

It’s a very long shot, we’re told, but don’t be stunned if new Melbourne Heart owners Manchester City do make the trip in August 2015.

While the Socceroos are already being consigned to failure in Brazil, a speech from FFA boss Frank Lowy on Monday night highlighted how far Australian football has come in the past decade during his tenure.

As the 83-year-old Westfield boss pointed out, when the FFA came to be, who’d have envisaged the Socceroos making their third appearance in the World Cup finals?

Lowy deserves as much of the credit as anyone.

Red alert

We’re hearing some of Sydney - nay Australia’s - sporting types are sweating bullets right now following a story from Sun-Herald colleague Eamonn Duff at the weekend about the clientele at high-class brothels Liaisons in Edgecliff and the Golden Apple in Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross.

Duff reported that documents he had obtained revealed sporting personalities - including NRL stars and two prominent horseracing identities - had been visiting the establishments.

This column is privy to the sporting names involved, and let’s just say some will be ducking for cover - or be more than happy to watch Sex and the City reruns with their other halves from now on.

Cavalier farewell

They’re still raving about the send-off former SCG Trust chairman Rodney Cavalier received last week, with a veritable who’s who from political and sporting circles filling the members’ pavilion to bid farewell.

The sporting types included Steve Waugh, Bob McCarthy, Ron Coote, Marlene Matthews, Stuart MacGill, Brian Booth, Alan Davidson, Geoff Lawson, Frank Misson, Arthur Morris and Gordon Rorke.

Trustee Alan Jones read from Cavalier’s own missives throughout his tenure.

Cavalier then spoke for nearly an hour, praising those in the room and skewering plenty of those who weren’t.

His proudest achievement? Ensuring that the name Victor Trumper wasn’t lost from the precinct, as well as overseeing the new grandstand development.

But what really fired him up was the struggle against Homebush and how it’s a shame ICAC wouldn’t look at the restrictions placed on other venues while ANZ Stadium was being built.

Q&A: Ken Sutcliffe

Let’s get this one out of the way: Were you really a male model while growing up in Mudgee?

Never the male model from Mudgee until Billy Birmingham decided it was a good idea for The 12th Man album. Can’t believe how it stuck. Just about anywhere I go – overseas or in Australia – somebody yells it out. Bill could never take off my voice. He actually had me do a couple of lines on the album. To this day, people actually think it was Billy. It’s a handy fact to know at a trivia night.

Best event you’ve covered?

The 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany was an eye-opener for me. It gave me a real understanding of just why the world game gets people in. The fact that the Socceroos did well added to the whole thing. The South African experience four years later wasn’t a patch on the German experience. Having said that, watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal play five brilliant sets of finals tennis at Wimbledon is something I will never forget.

Funniest off-air incident that we might not know about?

Max Walker having toilet break during Wide Worlds of Sports on a Saturday afternoon. Max was at peace with the world singing, whistling, not realising his mobile microphone was open. We heard everything for a few seconds while I was back-announcing a story. I had all this going on in my earpiece.

Worst mistake while reading sport on the news?

I called Mark Philippoussis ‘‘Mark Phila-poop-is’’. 'Hendo' (Brian Henderson) nearly fell through his chair. It was up there with Ron Casey calling Billie Jean King ‘‘Jellie Bean King’’ after a long lunch.

Worst insult a Queenslander has hurled at you when introducing Origin?

Queenslanders have always been good to me, except the day I walked across Lang Park side by side with big Darryl Eastlake. Abuse was flying everywhere, mostly aimed at ‘‘Big D’’.

Best memory from your days at 2LF Young working beside the great Rabs Warren?

My fondest memory was of the great Rabs doing a disc jockey session on a Saturday night while trying to have a couple of bets with the local SP bookie. Rabbie hated DJ work. He couldn’t stand the music, especially Joe Cocker’s version of the Beatles hit A Little Help From My Friends. Rabbie was also very cunning, and liked the idea of records that went over five minutes. He would play Hey Jude, Like a Rolling Stone, Macarthur Park. That would give him almost 18 minutes to do business with his SP. It was not unusual for him to play those three songs back to back at least three times in a three-hour session.

Ken Sutcliffe's 35 years at Channel Nine will be celebrated with a special knees-up in Sydney next Tuesday.

The Quote

‘‘I went to a place I’ve never been.’’ 

Hungry Jack’s? The State Library? Urunga? We know what you meant, Jarryd Hayne. We just wonder why you weren’t picked at fullback for Origin much, much sooner.

Thumbs up

If Adam Scott was feeling the heat about becoming Australia’s first world No.1 since the Sharkie, he didn’t show it when he won the Crowne Plaza Invitational, beating Jason Dufner in a playoff. ‘‘It’s tough to concentrate,’’ Dufner said. ‘‘He’s so good looking.’’ This column’s colleagues often say the same thing.

Thumbs down

If there is anything crooker (is that even a word?) than the report on Seven’s Sunday Night program showing American boys and girls as young as six years of age participating in UFC-style bouts, choking and wrestling and punching each other, I don’t know what is.

It's a big weekend for ... 

The GWS Giants, who were so bad against Richmond last weekend their chief executive issued a written apology to their fans. They take on – gulp! – Hawthorn.

It's an even bigger weekend for ... 

The Waratahs, who take on the Chiefs across the ditch on Saturday. The Tahs are flying high, baby, but surely they won’t be considered the real deal if they can’t nail their first win in New Zealand since 2010.

 

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
Thu, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
BRI 6vs SOU 36 Report Stats
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
Mon, 09 MarTimes shown AEDT
STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
Mon, 16 MarTimes shown AEDT
WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
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WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
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CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
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Round 8
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CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
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NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
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PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
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Round 9
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BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs MEL 15 Report Stats
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.48)vs SOU ($2.70) 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN ($2.40)vs NEW ($1.60) 15:00Pepp
STG ($1.70)vs WST ($2.20) 17:30ANZ
NQL ($1.22)vs GCT ($4.40) 19:301300
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR ($1.60)vs CBR ($2.40) 14:00Pirtek
CRO ($1.50)vs MAN ($2.65) 16:00Rem
CBY ($1.06)vs NZW ($10.00) 18:30ANZ
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Sydney Roosters 23 17 6 0 38
Brisbane Broncos 24 17 7 0 38
North Queensland Cowboys 23 16 7 0 36
Melbourne Storm 24 14 10 0 32
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 23 14 9 0 32
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 23 13 10 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 23 13 10 0 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 23 11 12 0 26
View all
 

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