An inexperienced Melbourne Storm were downed by a resurgent St George Illawarra Dragons, while Adam Blair said farewell in a classy win for the New Zealand Warriors in Sunday's NRL action.

The Storm had just 547 NRL appearances within the team, the second least in the competition's history, but Paul Momirovski, Sandor Earl, Chris Lewis and Isaac Lumelume all crossed as they led 16-12 at the break at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

However, Zac Lomax, who kicked all five conversions, started the comeback just before the hour with Matthew Dufty quickly going over as well.

Nicho Hynes converted his own score to bring the Storm back into the game, only for Tyson Frizell's late try to earn a 30-22 win for the Dragons.

The defeat does not alter Melbourne's place on the ladder or their Finals fate, but Max King and Tui Kamikamica face potential disciplinary action - the former for a 'hip-drop' tackle on Blake Lawrie and the latter for a late hit on Jayden Sullivan.

The Warriors finish their campaign in 10th after defeating the Manly Sea Eagles 40-28 in Blair's final appearance after 331 NRL matches.

In a high-scoring affair, Adam Keighran finished with a hat-trick, while Patrick Herbert and Eliesa Katoa also scored for the Warriors, who saw Kodi Nikorima put them on the board after they had fallen behind 10-0 after seven minutes at Central Coast Stadium.

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.

Toby Rudolf's barnstorming late try dramatically helped to seal an NRL Finals berth for Cronulla Sharks and ended New Zealand Warriors' own chances in a Sunday thriller.

The Warriors had confounded the critics to challenge for a top-eight finish this season, and converted tries from Jack Murchie and Adam Pompey had seen them into a 14-12 lead with seven minutes remaining.

But with the clock ticking down, Rudolf barrelled through the Warriors defence to end their resistance, and Ronaldo Mulitalo's score in the corner in the closing stages completed a 22-14 triumph.

Consequently, the eighth-placed Sharks – thrashed 38-10 by the Newcastle Knights last week – are six points clear of a trio of teams with only two regular-season matches remaining.

The Warriors had responded to tries from Sione Katoa and Mulitalo in the opening half-hour, with Chanel Harris-Tavita's accurate boot aiding their cause, but Cronulla ultimately found a way at the Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

Melbourne Storm all but booked a crucial top-two finish as Cameron Munster celebrated his 26th birthday with two tries in a 36-20 triumph over the North Queensland Cowboys.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Tino Faasuamaleaui, Josh Addo-Carr and Jahrome Hughes also scored in a six-try showing as the Storm made it 11 straight wins over the Cowboys.

The Storm would have to lose each of their remaining two regular-season games to miss out on the top-two slot that would allow them to play two finals at Suncorp Stadium.

North Queensland Cowboys' Valentine Holmes scored a golden point as his side edged out St George Illawarra Dragons 23-22 to all but end the visitors' NRL Finals hopes.

Having come into Saturday's clash on the back of a nine-game losing streak, the Cowboys lifted themselves two points clear of the foot of the table in dramatic fashion.

Francis Molo had put the hosts ahead in Townsville, but tries from Euan Aitken and Mikaele Ravalawa turned things around by half-time.

Jake Clifford and the Dragons' Jacob Host exchanged tries early in the second half, before Holmes and Kyle Feldt swung the momentum back in the Cowboys' favour.

Zac Lomax's penalty levelled things up, with Corey Norman then sending a drop-goal attempt wide in added time, setting the stage for Holmes to clinch the victory.

The defeat leaves the Dragons in 11th place, six points behind the top eight.

In Sunday's earlier clash, Chanel Harris-Tavita's fine individual display was not enough for New Zealand Warriors as they went down 24-18 to Parramatta Eels.

It was a gritty performance from the Eels, who responded well to a 38-0 defeat to South Syndey Rabbitohs last time out.

Harris-Tavita scored two tries and converted six points, yet a late penalty from Mitchell Moses ensured a six-point win for the third-placed Eels.

Penrith Panthers made it 11 wins in a row at the top of the NRL standings as they eased to a commanding 30-6 defeat of Wests Tigers on Saturday.

David Nofoaluma's try gave the Tigers an early lead, but Jarome Luai and Liam Martin crossed and Nathan Cleary kicked a penalty to give the hosts a 14-6 half-time advantage.

The Tigers lost Adam Doueihi to a sin bin just before the break and any lingering momentum was lost once Brian To'o marked his return from injury with a try 52 minutes in.

Further scores from Stephen Crichton and Josh Mansour sealed a win that keeps the Panthers firmly at the top, with the Tigers now down in 11th.

New Zealand Warriors are up to ninth after a similarly authoritative 36-6 win over the Newcastle Knights at Scully Park.

An even first 50 minutes, in which Adam Pompey and Gehamat Shibasaki scored first-half tries, swung the Warriors' way after Roger Tuivasa-Sheck went over for his third try in as many matches.

The home side crossed the whitewash a further four times in 17 minutes, Pompey and Tuivasa-Sheck each getting their second and George Jennings and Jazz Tevaga also touching down as David Klemmer's 150th NRL match ended with a sin bin.

Cronulla Sharks made light of injury troubles with a 28-12 defeat of North Queensland Cowboys.

Braydon Trindall, playing in only his third NRL match, kicked four out of five conversions as the Sharks ran in tries through Briton Nikora, Sione Katoa, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Siosifa Talakai and Connor Tracey.

Kyle Feldt opened and concluded the scoring for the Cowboys, who are 14th.

Newcastle Knights enjoyed a third straight NRL win against North Queensland Cowboys but lost veteran Blake Green to a potentially career-threatening injury.

The Knights were 12-0 victors against the Cowboys, stringing together three consecutive successes for the first time this year, yet Green's blow dampened the celebrations.

The 33-year-old journeyman - playing just his third Newcastle game and only under contract until the end of 2020 - was feared to have suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Five-eighth Green went down after just 18 minutes following a tackle from Jordan McLean and Justin O'Neill, and he left the field after failing in a bid to play on.

Newcastle at least made sure to claim the points and climb to sixth, as Enari Tuala's late try added to a score from Hymel Hunt that came just prior to Green's injury.

The earlier game saw New Zealand Warriors recover from a slow start to beat Canterbury Bulldogs 20-14.

The Warriors were 10-0 down midway through the first half and Canterbury added a third try just after the interval.

But Adam Pompey and Jack Murchie soon scored in quick succession to turn the game on its head and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck then crossed to seal victory.

Penrith Panthers set a new club record with a ninth successive NRL win, though their 18-12 triumph over New Zealand Warriors was overshadowed by alleged racial abuse of Brent Naden. 

Panthers winger Naden, who is an indigenous Australian, reported comments made from a section of the crowd that led to a small group of supporters being escorted from Central Coast Stadium. 

The NRL are investigating the incident; acting CEO Andrew Abdo said in a statement that "decisive action" will be taken against anyone found guilty, while the governing body will offer support to those players involved. 

Naden scored the opening try as Penrith maintained their impressive streak, Apisai Koroisau and Dylan Edwards also touching down as the leaders opened up a 16-6 advantage by half-time. 

Patrick Herbert converted his own try as the Warriors fought hard in the second half, though the table-topping Panthers held on to make it nine in a row. 

In Friday's other game, outgoing coach Paul McGregor enjoyed a successful farewell as St George Illawarra Dragons prevailed 14-12 against Parramatta Eels. 

The Dragons announced this week that McGregor would be stepping down after the game at Bankwest Stadium, despite having over a year left to run on his contract. Dean Young is to take over on an interim basis.  

His final outing in charge saw a victory secured thanks to a brace of tries from Mikaele Ravalawa, as well as six points from the boot of Zac Lomax.  

Clinton Gutherson and Kane Evans touched down for the Eels, who missed the chance to go level on points with the second-placed Melbourne Storm in the ladder.

Penrith Panthers winger Brent Naden was allegedly the subject of racial abuse from members of the crowd during his side's 18-12 victory over New Zealand Warriors at Central Coast Stadium.  

An Indigenous Australian, Naden reported comments made by a small section of fans to a member of Penrith's training staff, who then passed on the information to police.  

Footage broadcast by Fox Sports showed a group being spoken to by officials before they were escorted from the venue.  

The NRL is investigating the incident, with acting CEO Andrew Abdo declaring the governing body will take "decisive action" against anyone found guilty, as well as offering support to those players involved.  

"Racism and vilification will not be tolerated in our game," he said.  

"Bringing communities and cultures together is part of rugby league. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and taking a leadership role in driving social change.   

"Any fan found to have racially abused a player or another fan will not be welcome at our games.   

"We have shown in the past that we will take the strongest possible action to ensure fans guilty of racial abuse are banned from attending the Telstra Premiership.  

"We will work closely with NSW Police, stadium authorities and the clubs to determine the facts and take decisive action against anyone guilty of racial abuse." 

Naden scored the opening try as table-topping Penrith set a new club record by securing a ninth successive victory. 

"He's okay, it's not the first time he's heard that in his life - but I think in this forum it has been," Penrith coach Ivan Cleary told the media after the game.

"He certainly took offence to it at the time but he's okay now.

"It's one of those situations that you can only react how you feel at the time. Whatever was said, it definitely affected him."

Apisai Koroisau and Dylan Edwards also crossed in the first half for the in-form Panthers, while Nathan Cleary kicked six points to help see off the Warriors.

New Zealand Warriors have appointed Nathan Brown as their new head coach.

Brown joins on a deal until the end of the 2023 NRL season after Stephen Kearney was relieved of his duties last month.

The Warriors, who have played the entire season in Australia because of restrictions in New Zealand enforced to combat coronavirus, have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes in recent weeks, claiming successive wins over Wests Tigers and Manly Sea Eagles under interim coach Todd Payten.

"I'm a career coach. I just love coaching and this job with the Warriors is a fantastic opportunity," Brown told the Warriors' official website.

"I spent time in Auckland during the pre-season and was really impressed with the whole set-up, the players and the staff throughout the organisation.

"The Warriors are hugely important to the competition. We've seen that this year with the sacrifices they've made to keep the NRL going. I can't wait to get stuck in."

Meanwhile, Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is to self-isolate for 14 days.

Following the Broncos loss to South Sydney Rabbitohs on Friday, Seibold remained in Sydney for personal reasons.

Broncos CEO Paul White said: "Anthony is dealing with a serious family matter and could not fly back to Brisbane with the team after the Rabbitohs game last night.

"He expects to be able to return to Brisbane within 48 hours but in line with COVID regulations he will need to self-isolate for 14 days once he is back in Queensland.

"Anthony will return to the Broncos after that. Assistant Coach Peter Gentle will coach the team in Anthony's absence."

The Broncos are enduring a dismal season and have just six points from 13 games.

South Sydney Rabbitohs inflicted more pain on the beleaguered Brisbane Broncos despite the absence of Wayne Bennett with an emphatic 28-10 victory in the rain at ANZ Stadium.

Broncos coach Bennett was forced into isolation for two weeks on Thursday after breaching the NRL's biosecurity protocol with a trip to a restaurant.

The Bunnies were clearly not affected by Bennett not being present for the clash with his former club on Friday as they moved up to sixth place, with Jason Demetriou filling in as coach.

Dane Gagai finished off a well-worked move to put the Rabbitohs in front and although the Broncos responded with a score from Herbie Farnworth, Adam Reynolds and Mark Nicholls crossed to give the home side a 20-6 half-time lead.

The fit-again David Fifita marked his return from injury with a try to give the second-bottom Broncos hope, but Tom Burgess finished at the other end and Reynolds made it four conversions out of four to complete the scoring.

It was another day to forget for Brisbane, with club legend Allan Langer earlier among three staff members to be stood down for breaching COVID-19 protocols.

New Zealand Warriors earlier ruined Manly Sea Eagles boss Des Hasler's 400th game as an NRL coach with a 26-22 victory at Lottoland.

Patrick Herbert grabbed a double as the Warriors got off to a storming start, leading 16-0 after 18 minutes, before withstanding a Manly fightback to move up to 11th.

Blake Green has joined the injury-hit Newcastle Knights for the rest of the NRL season.

The 33-year-old playmaker's move to the seventh-placed Knights was confirmed on Tuesday after he was granted a release from his New Zealand Warriors contract.

Newcastle will be the much-travelled Green's seventh NRL club and he has also spent spells with Super League clubs Hull KR and Wigan Warriors.

The addition of Green is a big boost for Knights coach Adam O'Brien, who is without Connor Watson, Andrew McCullough and Jayden Brailey due to injury.

A miserable NRL season for Brisbane Broncos continued with a dramatic 36-26 defeat to Cronulla Sharks, while Wests Tigers saw their Finals hopes suffer a blow as New Zealand Warriors recorded a surprise victory.

Brisbane have now lost nine of their past 10 games as the pressure grows on coach Anthony Seibold, while Cronulla are up to fifth in the ladder after claiming a sixth win in seven despite being without a host of stars including Josh Dugan.

In a back-and-forth contest featuring 11 tries, Sharks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with three scores in the final 10 minutes.

Sione Katoa, Connor Tracey and Braden Hamlin-Uele went over in the closing stages at Suncorp Stadium to follow up on first-half efforts from Ronaldo Mulitalo, Siosifa Talakai and Jackson Ferris.

Richard Kennar dotted down twice for the Broncos, who fell to defeat despite scoring five times. They scored 12 unanswered points to overturn a half-time deficit but were unable to hold on.

In Friday's other contest, the Warriors came from behind to triumph 26-20 and win for first time in four games, as interim coach Todd Payten got one over his former team.

An inspired second-half double from Peta Hiku and what proved to be a match-winning try from Tohu Harris turned the tables at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Tigers have now lost four of their last five NRL matches but that scenario did not look likely when captain Moses Mbye and David Nofoaluma crossed inside the opening 12 minutes, with 14-8 the eventual half-time lead.

Hiku made the difference with two superb tries on the left wing, before Adam Pompey set up the pivotal score from Harris.

Tommy Talau got one back for Wests late on to put them within six points, but the Warriors were not to be denied.

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 Warriors chief executive Cameron George says the NRL club would be "mad" not to try to sign Sonny Bill Williams.

Williams could be available on a short-term deal after Toronto Wolfpack withdrew from the rest of the Super League season on Monday due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Former New Zealand centre Williams signed a two-year deal with Toronto last November and the Wolfpack are planning to return to action next year.

George revealed the Warriors will ask about the cross-code star's availability for the remainder of the NRL campaign.

"We're in a position where obviously we're going to require players and if Sonny Bill Williams becomes available, of course, we're going to look at how it could happen," he told NRL.com.

"We'll reach out for sure to try and understand the situation, we're already looking for loan players so imagine if it came off.

"The stars would have to be aligned, and I don't know if and when Sonny could even get to Australia. But we'd be mad not to ask the question."

Sydney Roosters have also been linked with a move for the 34-year-old Williams.

Penrith Panthers went top of the NRL standings with a 22-10 win over the depleted North Queensland Cowboys on Sunday.

Nathan Cleary's decisive display at Panthers Stadium helped the hosts see off a Cowboys side granted an exemption on Friday to replace injured props Jordan McLean and John Asista.

Cowboys fans may have feared the worst when Jarome Luai scored just five minutes in, but a superb solo try from teenager Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow levelled the scores before half-time.

Another rookie, 19-year-old Daejarn Asi, put the visitors ahead early in the second half before the Panthers, led by Cleary, began to assume control.

Brent Naden's try helped restore parity and Stephen Crichton went over 10 minutes later to ease the Panthers into the lead, with Cleary adding the extras.

Cleary had the final say, a couple of dummies creating a gap for him to drive through before converting with the last kick.

In the earlier match, Cronulla Sharks put on a ruthless display as they beat New Zealand Warriors 46-10 at Central Coast Stadium.

Three tries in the first 15 minutes from Braden Hamlin-Uele, William Kennedy and Ronaldo Mulitalo set the Sharks on course for victory.

The excellent Shaun Johnson got a fourth against his former team after Ken Maumalo had put the Warriors on the board, before a brilliant Sione Katoa double and a Jesse Ramien try pushed Cronulla further ahead.

Ramien added a second of his own before Wayde Egan grabbed a consolation, as the Sharks moved into ninth, level on points with Wests Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

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