Bennett explodes: ‘Most ridiculous I’ve seen’

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett is not a happy man.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett is not a happy man.

Wayne Bennett has teed off at the NRL over the handling of the Dylan Napa incident against Brisbane Broncos star Korbin Sims.

Napa was sent to the sin bin for appearing to use his head to tackle the towering forward, a blow which left Sims with a broken jaw.

The Courier Mail revealed the veteran Broncos coach had contacted the NRL in complaint over its reaction to the incident.

"Why hasn't the game made Napa accountable," Bennett fumed. "I know there will be a sh**fight coming my way but I'm not backing away from it.

"I am not going to watch my players get broken jaws and remain silent.

"When you go before the judiciary, they will ask the player, 'What was your duty of care?'

"Well ... where is Napa's duty of care?

"Korbin has had to have surgery for a broken jaw because of Napa's actions ... is this the look we want for our game?

"Napa could have been charged with a number of things. At its worst, it was reckless.

"This is the most ridiculous situation I have seen."


NRL to conduct review on timekeeping scandal

Who is actually responsible for timekeeping?
Who is actually responsible for timekeeping?

An overburdened NRL ground official was central to a time-keeping blunder that resulted in two Manly players returning early from the sin bin on Saturday night.

Fallout from Manly's 24-4 win over Melbourne at AAMI Park continued on Sunday, with the Storm ruling out a protest and the Sea Eagles' two competition points from the match appearing safe.

But the NRL will continue a review into the incident that saw Apisai Koroisau and Matt Wright returning from the bin one minute and 41 seconds earlier than they should have during the second half.

Under NRL rules, time-keeping duties for sin-bins fall on a designated member of each team's staff, with the ground manager only overseeing the process. Ordinarily, clubs use the match clock as a guide, and only use a stop watch as a back up in case there is an outage.

However away teams - as was the case on Saturday night when no Manly official was present - can pass that job onto the home team's official to look after both teams if required.

Saturday night's scenario was then complicated when Melbourne's official became unavailable late. It was at that point the NRL's ground official added the job to his list of match-day duties.

That all created the perfect storm when Melbourne's Curtis Scott was sent off and Manly's Koroisau and Dylan Walker were sin-binned following a brawl in the second half.

Walker was required to undergo a head injury assessment as a result of the Scott punch that gave him a fractured eye socket.

Questions were asked of the NRL's ground manager on whether Wright could replace him at the end of the time period with a free interchange, as is part of the official's regular duties.

During that time it's believed he missed pausing his stopwatch during a stoppage for a Manly try, leading to him instructing Wright and Koroisau to return almost two minutes early.

It was at that point a furious Melbourne football manager Frank Ponissi argued the case with the NRL official, pointing to the match clock that time had not elapsed regardless of the 10 minutes showing on the watch.

"The NRL ground manager was required to deal with an interchange issue requiring urgent clarification and a timekeeping error regarding the sin bin period was made," an NRL spokesman said.

"The mistake is unfortunate and it is regretted.

"The NRL will conduct a review of the process and will discuss measures to ensure the circumstances are not repeated."

With Manly leading 10-4 at the time, they held out a Melbourne raid with 13 men rather than 11 as the Storm went the length of the field in the ensuing set. Clubs have previously been fined or docked points for having too many players on the field at once, but it's understood the NRL won't penalise Manly over the matter as it reviews the process.

- with AAP


Sharks go five on the trot

Cronulla have extended their NRL winning streak to five matches with a gutsy yet scrappy 22-16 defeat of Canterbury, leaping into fifth spot. After a slow start and a difficult month marred by injuries, Shane Flanagan's men are now have a 7-4 win-loss record and warming into the season. With skipper Paul Gallen (knee) and Josh Dugan (foot) making their returns from injury, the Sharks weren't always pretty but got the job done in front of 14,004 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

The Dogs only led once, after Josh Morris' opening try, but came back to earth after last-week's win over Parramatta, falling to a 3-8 record. Sharks prop Andrew Fifita continued his stellar form, running for 171 metres and making 33 tackles.

His opposite David Klemmer sent a reminder to NSW Origin selectors with 233 metres off the bench.

After scores were level at 10-10 at halftime, Jesse Ramien sliced through four defenders to give the Sharks a six-point advantage.

The Bulldogs' got their third try in the left-hand corner when Brett Morris finished off a sharp movement made possible by some quick hands from Kerrod Holland to get back within two points.

From the 43rd to the 67th minute the Bulldogs had a run of five penalties and the pressure eventually told when Matt Prior crashed over the top of Jeremy Marshall-King for what proved the match-clinching try.

Kieran Foran had a chance to set up a grandstand finish but grounded the ball inches short of the line.

Earlier, the Bulldogs struck first when Josh Morris left Ramien grasping at air to bring up his 100th try for Canterbury.

But an Edrick Lee response five minutes later and a deft Matt Moylan chip for Valentine Holmes soon gave the home side the lead.

Scores were locked at 10-10 at the break after Moses Mbye produced a brilliant tap-on for Brett Morris before the Bulldogs No.1 knocked over a penalty conversion.

The Sharks' enjoyed the ascendancy in the second-half but a Mbye penalty goal got the Dogs back within six, however couldn't find a way to send it into golden point.

- with AAP


Dragons prove they're the best

An electric 50-metre try from St George Illawarra fullback Matt Dufty has edged the Dragons to a tense seven-point win over Canberra as they consolidated top spot on the NRL ladder.

Scores were locked at 18-all with ten minutes to go on Sunday when Dufty burnt four defenders on a scything run that brought the Mudgee crowd of 8,962 to their feet.

Dufty's game-winner came after being involved in two incidents in the first half that twice resulted in Dragons' penalty goals and a Raiders player reported on both occasions.

Canberra had a couple of shots on the Dragons line to force golden point, however Dragons captain Gareth Widdop sealed a 25-18 win with a 77th-minute field goal.

Dufty's try also came after two more long-range efforts at Glen Willow Oval destined for highlight reels.

The Raiders were leading 12-10 when Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes scooted out of dummy half and hit a surging Jack de Belin, who found a supporting Dufty before kicking ahead for Widdop to dive over the tryline.

Canberra winger Jordan Rapana hit back with a 50-metre run off a quick tap, only to be sin-binned five minutes later for a professional foul that resulted in Widdop's penalty that equalled the scores soon after.

The win means the Dragons remain two points clear of Penrith and the Warriors in top spot, while the Raiders remain four points outside the top eight. The Raiders got over the line three times inside the opening 13 minutes but were denied twice, with Nick Cotric's corner finish providing the opening points of the contest.

The Dragons responded through a soft de Belin four-pointer under the posts, before gifting one back to Joseph Leilua by bizarrely giving up on a play on their own tryline.

However some ill-discipline from the Raiders cost them a halftime lead, with a high tackle by Josh Papalii and shoulder charge by Joseph Tapine - both on Dufty - landing them on report.

Widdop nailed penalty goals on both occasions, resulting in a 10-all scoreline at the break.

Tapine was also involved in a sickening head clash midway through the first half that resulted in play being stopped, but was cleared by medical staff of any concussion.

- with AAP


Raiders proving to be a pest for Dragons

The Raiders capitalised on an early penalty after halftime to scrape ahead by two, but the top-placed Dragons pulled a rabbit out of their hat shortly after to send Gareth Widdop over the line via a stunning play in the 50th minute.

Matt Dufty found the ball in his hands after a break from Cameron McInnes opened up the Raiders' defensive half. Dufty chipped over the final line of defence and had luck on his side with the bounce finding itself perfectly in the hands of Widdop to plonk the ball down under the posts.

Star winger Jordan Rapana put the Raiders ahead again with a try six minutes later, scooping up the ball after a penalty and going over the line. Rapana was then sin binned for a professional foul.


Raiders rewarded in odd passage of play

Teenage winger Nick Cotric gave Canberra an early advantage when a shift to the left edge in the Dragons' red zone gave him enough space to muscle his way past Jason Nightingale for the opening try of the match after just three minutes.


St George looked like it was destined for the stripe before Cotric when fullback Matt Dufty burst into open space then flick passed back on his inside 10m out from the line, but some desperate Raiders defence kept the Dragons at bay.

The Green Machine went in again in bizarre fashion on the back of some adlib play. A series of offloads kept the ball alive and Joey Leilua strolled over from close range.

Tariq Sims appealed for obstruction and even Leilua appeared to believe him as he slowed down just metres shy of the paint. The Dragons' defenders also looked to give up, putting barely any effort into stopping the centre.

But the video referee found nothing wrong with the play and the try stood, giving the Raiders a 10-6 lead.

"That's one of the strangest tries we've seen this season," Fox League commentator Matt Russell said.


Dragons five-eighth Gareth Widdop kicked a penalty goal late in the half as the Raiders led 10-8 at the break.


Scott, Koroisau charged for melee

Melbourne's Curtis Scott and Manly's Api Koroisau have been charged following an ugly brawl in the Sea Eagles' win over the Storm on Saturday night.

If Scott takes the early guilty plea for punching Dylan Walker he will miss two weeks of footy. Should he fight the charge and lose, the centre will be rubbed out for three weeks.

Walker will be out of action for six weeks with a fractured eye socket.

Koroisau faced one week on the sideline if he pleads guilty to his striking charge.


Smith's 'borderline unforgivable' sin

Former Wallaby turned sportswriter Peter FitzSimons has questioned why Cameron Smith left Queensland in the lurch by announcing his representative retirement just a few weeks before Origin I on June 6.

Smith retired from Maroons and Kangaroos duty during the week, taking everyone in rugby league land by surprise. The class hooker said the time was right to give his added duties away so he could be a better family man.

But FitzSimons said Queensland had the right to be peeved with the timing of his announcement.

"I still don't understand why he left it until three weeks before showtime. That's borderline unforgivable," FitzSimons said on Channel 9's Sports Sunday.

"If you're going to do this, do it when there's time to scramble.

"Don't you find it extraordinarily odd three weeks before showtime?

"You've been Mr Queensland for 11 years, you're the star of the show, you're the next Immortal and you don't comport yourself in a manner that will help the team transition from you? It is a problem."

Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall disagreed, saying Smith calling his rep career quits when he did may actually help Queensland because it still has enough time to find a replacement, likely to be Andrew McCullough (Broncos) or Jake Friend (Roosters).

"It might help the team because what he's done is given them the opportunity to replace someone now and build towards the future and not leave it too late," Marshall said.


Walker whack does serious damage


Curtis Scott used Dylan Walker as a punching bag.
Curtis Scott used Dylan Walker as a punching bag.

Manly star Dylan Walker has been ruled out for six weeks with a fractured eye socket.

The star Sea Eagles player was injured when he was punched by Melbourne centre Curtis Scott in Manly's controversial 24-4 NRL win over the Storm at AAMI Park. The injury is a massive blow to Manly, who had likely planned on shifting Walker back to the centres after the signing of Trent Hodkinson last week.




Star Eel's season over


Beau Scott is out for the year.
Beau Scott is out for the year.

Beau Scott's NRL season is over and his career remains in doubt after scans confirmed the Parramatta forward had suffered a serious knee injury. The off-contract veteran limped from the field in the Eels' 10-point loss to the Warriors at ANZ Stadium on Friday night.

Scans over the weekend confirmed that Scott had ruptured his left anterior cruciate ligament, ruling him out for the remainder of the season. The 34-year-old has played 243 NRL games but has battled a number of injuries in recent years.

He overcame an originally season-ending bicep injury to play in last year's finals.

He was returning from a shoulder problem on Friday night.

"Beau has been an integral part of the Parramatta Eels Club and we will fully support him in his recovery," the Eels said in a statement on Sunday. Renowned as one of the toughest players in the competition, Scott won a premiership with the Dragons in 2010 and has also played for Cronulla and Newcastle.

The second-rower played a pivotal role in NSW's 2014 State of Origin series win and played three Tests for Australia.