Melbourne Storm booked a place in the NRL Grand Final for the fourth time in five years with a resounding 30-10 victory over Canberra Raiders on Friday.

A three-try blitz inside the opening 10 minutes put the Storm en route to a showdown with Penrith Panthers or South Sydney Rabbitohs, as the Raiders missed out on an immediate return to the showpiece following their 2019 defeat to the Sydney Roosters.

Jesse Bromwich powered in for the first score of the game for Craig Bellamy's side, and Ryan Papenhuyzen followed it up by finishing off a wonderful team move ahead of an excellent solo effort from Suliasi Vunivalu.

Cameron Smith, who is expected to retire following his Grand Final outing next weekend, added a penalty before converting Justin Olam's try, which was scored after Nick Cotric failed to bat Papenhuyzen's grubber out of the in-goal area, to put the Storm 24-0 up after 25 minutes.

Cotric got the Raiders on the board before half-time but they were unable to significantly build on that and Dale Finucane marked his 200th NRL appearance by effectively ending the contest when he span over after the hour mark.

Smith produced an excellent tackle to stop Cotric short of the try line, but the Canberra wing doubled his tally with eight minutes remaining, yet there was no hope of keeping their season alive.

Sydney Roosters' hopes of winning three NRL titles in a row are over after Canberra Raiders held on for a 22-18 victory in the semi-finals on Friday. 

Trent Robinson's team were bidding to become the first to three-peat since the Parramatta Eels did so between 1981 and 1983, but they were rocked by the Raiders' rapid start at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Josh Papalii, George Williams and Joseph Tapine all went over inside the opening 22 minutes as Canberra raced into a 16-0 lead. 

James Tedesco scored two tries for the Roosters but the Raiders held on, avenging their 2019 Grand Final loss to book a preliminary final against Melbourne Storm next week.

Papalii powered over for the visitors' first try and was then heavily involved as Williams crossed, with Tapine's fine solo effort giving Canberra a comfortable cushion. 

Tedesco finally got the Roosters on the board before the interval and Joseph Manu's converted try then brought them within four. 

However, Tedesco somehow failed to deal with Williams' kick, allowing Jack Wighton to score a fourth Canberra try and that proved pivotal, despite Sydney's full-back going over again.

Melbourne Storm marked their 50th NRL finals match with an impressive 36-24 defeat of Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium.

With a 61 per cent win rate from their previous 49 such games, Melbourne were firm favourites to triumph on Saturday as they became the first team to reach a half-century of finals games in the NRL era.

They were made to work by the Eels, though, the visitors scoring two tries in the first 22 minutes through Nathan Brown and Clint Gutherson.

Storm had 61 per cent of the ball in the first half but did not get points on the board until the half-hour mark, when Suliasi Vunivalu went over.

The excellent Ryan Papenhuyzen struck before the interval to level the scores at 12-12, before Josh Addo-Carr's try put them ahead.

Blake Ferguson made it 18 each, touching down from a clever Reed Mahoney kick, but Melbourne promptly seized control as Jesse Bromwich, Brenko Lee and Papenhuyzen all scored in the space of seven minutes to secure a sixth-straight preliminary final.

Shaun Lane got a late consolation as each side now look for good news on the injury front, with Cameron Munster hurting his right knee and the Eels, who face an elimination game next week, losing Ferguson and Maika Sivo.

Canberra Raiders survived a real scare against Cronulla Sharks before surging back to win 32-20 and avoid a shock elimination.

Canberra were firm favourites after dispatching the Sharks 38-28 a week ago but were second best in the first 40 minutes.

The Sharks, the first team in 25 years to reach the finals without a win over a top-eight opponent, were 14-10 to the good at half-time and could have had a more comfortable lead.

Tries from Ronaldo Mulitano and Blayke Brailey, combined with two penalties and a conversion from the boot of Chad Townsend, had Cronulla in a commanding position only for George Williams to intercept and sprint for the line with just two minutes of the half left.

Apparently galvanised, the Raiders assumed control in the second half, Jack Wighton scoring twice in three minutes before further tries from Williams and Elliott Whitehead, whose earlier fumble had allowed Brailey to touch down, ended the contest and set up a rematch with last year's Grand Final victors Sydney Roosters next week.

Sione Katoa's late interception and 90-metre sprint for the line reduced the deficit, but the Sharks' season is over.

Parramatta Eels fought back to beat Wests Tigers and seal a top-four finish as Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders claimed contrasting victories in Saturday's NRL action. 

Will Smith and Reed Mahoney scored tries in the last 15 minutes at Bankwest Stadium as the Eels rallied for a thrilling 28-24 triumph, lifting them into third place in the ladder to book a qualifying final against Melbourne Storm.

The defeat meant a disappointing end for Tigers duo Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence in their farewell appearances for the club, with the former's outing painfully cut short by injuries suffered in the first half. 

The Raiders had briefly moved into the top four in the ladder thanks to a 38-28 win over the Cronulla Sharks, aided by 14 points from captain Sam Williams. 

However, there was a setback for much-changed Canberra as prop Ryan Sutton suffered a knee injury that is set to rule him out of the play-offs. 

Meanwhile, minor premiers Penrith made it 15 straight victories as they thrashed Canterbury Bulldogs 42-0 at ANZ Stadium, Kurt Capewell and Brent Naden both crossing twice in the rout. 

Bulldogs prop Luke Thompson was placed on report for a possible eye gouge on James Tamou, though the Panthers captain revealed the pair had discussed the incident after the game. 

"He [Thompson] said after he was just trying to get something to try and get me down, which was fair enough," Tamou said. "In the scheme of things, you're trying your best just to do your job and try and win the tackle. 

"He said there was nothing in it. I've been keeping my eye on Luke and I don't think he's done anything like that throughout the year. From my point of view, I don't think there was much in it." 

Newcastle Knights are closing in on a home finals game after storming to a 42-18 win against a poor St. George Illawarra Dragons side.

With their seven-year playoff drought already sure to end, the Knights moved up to sixth in the NRL standings ahead of the final week of the regular season.

They now sit a point ahead of South Sydney Rabbitohs and are in pole position to finish sixth, meaning they would host a finals game for the first time since 2006.

The Knights play Gold Coast Titans next while the Rabbitohs meet the Sydney Roosters.

"It would certainly be great," coach Adam O'Brien said about the prospect of earning a home playoff game.

"We love playing here in front of our home, our supporters, our sponsors, our community.

"I know capacity may only be at 50% but I've been here when the place was rocking. I know how difficult it is coming up the highway to play here.

"So it would be huge. It would be great for everyone but we are not there yet." 

Five of the Knights' seven tries - all of which were converted by Mason Lino - came in the first half at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

Centre Enari Tuala dotted down twice for the home team, while Zac Lomax ended up with 14 of the Dragons' 18 points.

In the day's other game, Canberra Raiders kept their hopes of a top-four finish alive by scoring 20 unanswered points to come from behind and beat New Zealand Warriors 26-14.

Coach Ricky Stuart fumed at a sin binning for Jack Wighton while halfback George Williams exited the game early with a head injury as the Raiders trailed 14-6 at home, Peta Hiku having scored twice for the Warriors.

But Elliott Whitehead shone in an unfamiliar position of stand-off and winger Semi Valemei crossed in both halves as Stuart's side ultimately prevailed.

The Raiders can still finish fourth but to do so they must defeat Cronulla Sharks next week and hope Parramatta Eels lose to Wests Tigers.

The Canberra Raiders have re-signed star forward Josh Papalii until at least the end of 2024.

Papalii, 28, is an Australia and Queensland representative and has played 215 NRL games for the Raiders.

Already contracted until the end of 2022, Papalii has re-signed through until 2024, with an option for 2025.

"I love this club and I love Canberra," said Papalii, a three-time winner of the Mal Meninga Medal as the Raiders' player of the year.

"This is my home now and my family and I are very happy to be remaining with the Raiders and in Canberra.

"I came here as a junior player, made my debut here and played my 200th NRL game here and there's no other club I want to play for."

Raiders chief executive Don Furner said Papalii was among the club's greatest ever players.

"There’s no doubt Josh has developed into one of the all-time greats of our club and he is now recognised among the game's elite superstars," he said.

"His commitment to the club and the city of Canberra is wonderful to see and we know we have a player who we can continue to be a big part of our club for years to come."

The Raiders are fifth in the NRL ahead of facing the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday, and they will play finals in 2020.

Daniel Tupou scored his 100th NRL try as Sydney Roosters ended Newcastle Knights' top-four hopes with a 42-12 victory at the SCG on Saturday.

Roosters wing Tupou's second of the game early in the second half saw him hit the milestone in his 171st appearance, helping his team move ahead of Parramatta Eels on points difference and into third.

Josh Morris, Tupou, Luke Keary, Joseph Manu and James Tedesco all crossed in a rampant first half for the hosts, who lost Boyd Cordner to a head injury after 26 minutes, though tries from Enari Tuala and Gehamat Shibasaki ensured the Knights were not completely out of the game.

The Roosters moved the ball magnificently for Tupou to touch down for the 100th time in the left corner three minutes after the restart, and Jake Friend's excellent pass preceded Keary completing his double in the 70th minute.

Brett Morris and Joseph Manu held up Lee to keep Newcastle, who were without full-back Kalyn Pogna, scoreless in the second half, with Sonny Bill Williams playing over half an hour after managing 14 minutes on his debut last week.

The Roosters' success meant Canberra Raiders remain two points adrift of the top four despite a big 37-8 win over St George Illawarra Dragons.

Jack Wighton touched down twice for the visitors at WIN Stadium, while Hudson Young, who missed last year's Grand Final due to an eight-game ban for eye gouging and suffered a serious knee injury in pre-season, scored a try and set one up for John Bateman.

Young's display enabled Josh Papalii to rest for the entire second half, with the only consolation for the Dragons being Cody Ramsey scoring with his first touch in NRL and adding a second before half-time.

Brisbane Broncos took the lead against Gold Coast Titans but ended up succumbing to a club-record ninth straight defeat.

Darius Boyd put the struggling Broncos ahead at Cbus Super Stadium but after Ash Taylor's line break initiated a length-of-the-field move that was finished off by Young Tonumaipea, the Titans held firm for an 18-6 triumph.

An emphatic NRL victory for Melbourne Storm was marred by a suspected ACL rupture for centre Marion Seve.

Melbourne cruised to a 30-6 triumph over Manly Sea Eagles at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Sunday, scoring six tries and 24 unanswered points to all but end their opponents' finals hopes.

But the joy of victory was tempered as Seve was pummelled by Tevita Funa after an early line break, with his team later confirming that his knee injury was thought to be to his ACL.

Prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona also suffered a calf problem in a contest that saw Justin Olam score a hat-trick for Storm.

Josh Addo-Carr added a double and Asofa-Solomona dotted down for the side sitting second in the NRL ladder, with fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen providing three assists and Jesse Bromwich impressing at prop.

Addin Fonua-Blake scored the Sea Eagles' only try after 14 minutes but they were unable to add to that and now sit six points behind Cronulla Sharks in eighth with just four rounds remaining.

In the other game, Canberra Raiders overcame a scare to boost their hopes of a top-four finish by wiping out an eight-point half-time deficit against Canterbury Bulldogs in an entertaining encounter that produced 10 tries.

A 34-20 home success saw Jack Wighton and Tom Starling score two tries apiece, with the Bulldogs, who remain bottom of the standings, held scoreless in the second half.

Wighton produced two superb runs to finish from close range early in the second half after Starling had been sin-binned, turning the match and giving his side a sixth win from seven.

Shaun Johnson ruled out giving evidence against Kevin Proctor after the Gold Coast Titans captain was sent off for allegedly biting him during a 30-18 win for Cronulla Sharks.

Proctor's 250th NRL appearance will not be remembered for the right reasons, as the forward was given his marching orders following an incident in the second half at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on Saturday.

It was deemed after referee Henry Perenara asked the Bunker to examine footage that Proctor sunk his teeth into the arm of his New Zealand team-mate, so the 31-year-old was the first NRL player to be dismissed for biting.

Johnson, who came off with a groin injury later in the game, told Fox Sports: "Nothing happened, let's just leave it at that. We were both heated in the middle of the game and I was a bit high on him and whatever happened, happened, but we're still mates.

"It's his 250th [NRL match] and I don't want this to dampen this at all. He's been a great player for so long at Melbourne [Storm] and now Gold Coast, and he's led with his actions his whole career.

"I don't think it's appropriate and I guess this doesn't do Kevvie justice to talk about this. He's a great player and I've loved playing with him at Kiwi level and I've got nothing but respect for him."

Asked if he would testify against Proctor, Johnson replied: "No, not at all. I don't see the value of taking it any further than what's happened here today. I love him as a player and person, and I've got nothing more to say about it."

Three tries in the space of six minutes from Sione Katoa, Wade Graham and Jack Williams following Proctor's exit put the Sharks well on their way to a seventh win in nine matches.

Adam Reynolds was on target with a late penalty and a field goal after Alex Johnston grabbed a double in a dramatic 31-30 win for South Sydney Rabbitohs over North Queensland Cowboys.

Canberra Raiders put the sorry Brisbane Broncos to the sword in the final match of the day, Nick Cotric touching down twice in a 36-8 rout at GIO Stadium.

The Penrith Panthers matched a club record with an eighth straight win as they showed why they belong at the top of the NRL table.

A 28-12 win over the Canberra Raiders on Saturday came thanks to tries from Viliame Kikau, Liam Martin, the prolific Stephen Crichton and Brent Naden that all arrived before half-time.

Canberra trailed 24-0 at the break but cut their deficit after the break thanks to a double from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad; however, Nathan Cleary's kicking for the Panthers kept them at arm's length.

The Panthers first won eight in a row in the 2003 season, when they went on to win the Grand Final.

The Melbourne Storm had briefly nudged ahead of the Panthers with a 41-10 success against the Canterbury Bulldogs earlier in the day, with Josh Addo-Carr and Kenneath Bromwich both dotting down twice.

Nicho Hynes, Justin Olam and Suliasi Vunivalu also poached tries, with the Storm having posted 22 points in their onslaught before the Bulldogs, who sit at the foot of the ladder, troubled the scoreboard.

The only setback for the Storm was a knee injury sustained by Cameron Munster that could see him miss several weeks of action.

The Storm were not the day's biggest winners, with that honour going to the Newcastle Knights who thumped Wests Tigers 44-4 to climb to sixth place.

Kalyn Ponga grabbed two tries and booted 12 points in a lively display, with Hymel Hunt, Starford To'a, Jacob Saifiti, Herman Ese'ese, Gehamat Shibasaki and Phoenix Crossland also scoring.

Veteran Blake Green made a bright Knights debut after joining in midweek from the New Zealand Warriors, feeding Ponga for the opening try in the ninth minute and winning praise from half-back partner and captain Mitchell Pearce.

"What a super player Greenie is and what a great pick-up for us," Pearce said, quoted on the NRL website. "In the short time I've met him you can tell what a good guy he is.

"I've heard such good raps on him from other players at other clubs and he is really calm, really smart."

Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine have been cleared to face North Queensland Cowboys on Saturday after the Canberra Raiders pair, who refused flu vaccines, were given medical exemptions.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young said in May that NRL players who chose to skip the vaccination drive would not be allowed to play in the state.

The NRL had called on all players in the competition to be vaccinated, in line with efforts to bolster its biosecurity measures during the coronavirus crisis.

Papalii said in May that the decision not to be vaccinated was "a personal thing for me and my family".

However, both he and Tapine have received the go-ahead to take part in this weekend's game.

The Raiders said in a statement: "Canberra Raiders Josh Papalii and Joe Tapine have been cleared by the Queensland Government to travel and play matches in Queensland.

"They have both received exemptions on medical grounds.

"The club will be making no further comment on this matter due to the privacy regarding the medical exemptions."

Canberra Raiders rallied impressively to beat South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday, while there were also wins for Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters.

The Rabbitohs led 12-10 midway through the contest at a rain-soaked GIO Stadium, Dane Gagai and Adam Reynolds crossing for tries that the latter also converted.

However, the depleted Raiders - who lost Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to a finger injury - shut out their opponents in the second half, allowing them to overturn the narrow deficit and claim an 18-12 victory.

After Nick Cotric and Jarrod Croker had grabbed tries in the opening half, Semi Valemei touched down in the NRL for the first time just before the hour mark. Ricky Stuart's side then stood firm in difficult conditions to prevail, meaning they move to fifth in the standings.

The Roosters are just above them after they triumphed 18-10 against the New Zealand Warriors, though the reigning champions made hard work of it at Central Coast Stadium.

Ken Maumalo and Eliesa Katoa scored tries as the Warriors led 10-6 at the break. However, Luke Keary and Joseph Manu went over to help the Roosters rally.

Cronulla sit seventh in the ladder after Shaun Johnson inspired the Sharks to a 28-24 triumph over the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The New Zealand half-back scored a try and kicked four conversions as the Sharks overcame injuries to Jesse Ramien and Chad Townsend, while Zac Lomax had 16 points for the beaten Dragons.

Following an incident in the game, the NRL announced bunker officials Steve Clark and Ben Galea had been dropped after incorrectly awarding a try to Cronulla's Jack Williams, who was ruled to have touched the ball down despite Matthew Dufty appearing to ground it first.

New Zealand international Corey Harawira-Naera has signed with Canberra Raiders until the end of 2022.

Harawira-Naera was released by Canterbury Bulldogs and will join the Raiders for the rest of this season.

The 25-year-old and the Bulldogs' Jayden Okunbor had their NRL deregistration's overturned earlier this month and were instead handed suspensions and fines following a schoolgirl sex scandal.

The Raiders confirmed the signing of Harawira-Naera on Friday and chief executive Don Furner praised the forward's talent.

"Corey is a very talented player who's played representative football for New Zealand and we're looking forward to having him join the club for the next two and half years," he said.

"He will join the squad for training once he's been cleared by the Apollo committee and then it's up to the coaching staff to work out when he may play his first game for the club."

Sitting sixth in the NRL, the Raiders face South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday.

The Canterbury Bulldogs have signed Canberra Raiders star Nick Cotric on a three-year deal beginning in 2021.

Cotric, an Australia and New South Wales representative, has scored 37 tries in 80 games for the Raiders since making his NRL debut three years ago.

The 21-year-old helped the Raiders reach the Grand Final last year before they fell to the Sydney Roosters.

He will join the struggling Bulldogs from next year after signing a three-year deal.

"Signing a player of Nick's ability and class is a massive boost for our club moving forward and another step in strengthening our squad to lead us into the future," Bulldogs chief executive Andrew Hill said.

"With Luke Thompson having joined us and Nick now bringing some great strike power to our backline I am confident that we are constructing the quality of squad that can produce the results we are looking for in the coming seasons."

While the Raiders are sixth in the NRL, the Bulldogs are bottom after losing nine of their 10 games this season.

Canberra Raiders defied a lengthy injury list to defeat reigning premiers Sydney Roosters 24-20 in a repeat of the 2019 NRL Grand Final.

Jarrod Croker scored a try and was on target with all four of his conversion attempts as the depleted Raiders gained a modicum of revenge for last year's 14-8 loss to the same opponents in the title decider.

Forward duo Dunamis Lui and Josh Papalii both touched down during impressive individual displays for a pack missing English pairing Josh Hodgson and John Bateman.

There was also a try for George Williams as the Raiders – who handed a debut to Semi Valemei off the bench – turned around a 12-6 half-time deficit to triumph at Sydney Cricket Ground, a result that lifts them up to seventh on the ladder.

Brett Morris crossed twice for the Roosters in the opening 40 minutes, while Matt Ikuvalu's try just before the hour mark was converted by Kyle Flanagan from out wide to make it 20-18 to the hosts.

However, Papalii waltzed through a large hole in the Sydney defensive line soon after to give the visitors a lead they managed to retain through to the final hooter.

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