The South Sydney Rabbitohs were too good for the Newcastle Knights as they pulled off a 46-20 win in an NRL elimination final on Sunday.

The Rabbitohs fell 14-0 behind early at ANZ Stadium before recovering in dominant style to keep their season alive.

Alex Johnston and Tevita Tatola each crossed for two tries for South Sydney in what was their first meeting with the Knights in the finals.

All four of the higher-ranked teams won in week one of the NRL finals, with the Rabbitohs advancing to a meeting with the Parramatta Eels.

The Knights made a flying start and led 14-0 after just 11 minutes.

Hymel Hunt dived over on the right after a Kalyn Ponga pass before Bradman Best scored after Lachlan Fitzgibbon broke the line. Ponga also booted a penalty.

But the end of the half belonged to the Rabbitohs, who scored 20 answered points before the break.

Corey Allan broke through some soft defence before Cody Walker went over.

Johnston then dived over down the left as the Rabbitohs drew level, before Damien Cook sped away down the middle to set up Cameron Murray to give South Sydney a 20-14 half-time lead.

Newcastle made an error-riddled start to the second half and Adam Reynolds' penalty extended the Rabbitohs' lead.

A mistake from Ponga gave South Sydney another opportunity and Tatola reached over to score.

The Rabbitohs added some gloss to the scoreline as Johnston and Tatola crossed to complete their doubles and Cook raced away 80 metres for the sealer, before Hunt scored for the Knights on the siren.

Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson was left feeling "embarrassed" after watching his side thrashed 60-8 by Alex Johnston-inspired arch-rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs in Friday's NRL action, while the Gold Coast Titans swept aside the Newcastle Knights 36-6.

The Roosters went into the match third and four places ahead of the Rabbitohs in the table for the final round of the regular season, but they found themselves on the end of a historic battering.

The Bunnies claimed their biggest-ever win over the Roosters to make sure of a home match in the elimination finals, while the omens are not great for the latter – no side has ever won the Grand Final having conceded 50 points or more in a single game that season.

Robinson's side actually began the stronger, getting the match's first try after just three minutes, but they were soon pegged back and ultimately blown away – Johnston was the star of the show as he tapped down five times, including three in the final eight minutes.

"It hurts a lot. It's very embarrassing for us, there's not much more to say to that really," Robinson summarised.

"To go out and perform like that – it was really disappointing, I can imagine you can't feel much worse."

The Knights produced a similarly limp display against the Titans, who were in charge practically from start to finish – Ashley Taylor getting try number one in the second minute in what was a sign of things to come.

He later completed a hat-trick and also kicked three goals, as the Knights head into their finals meeting with the buoyant Rabbitohs in shaky form.

 

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.

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.

Melbourne Storm finished strongly to overpower the South Sydney Rabbitohs 22-16 in a high-quality NRL contest at ANZ Stadium.

With a little over 20 minutes of Friday's contest remaining, Storm trailed 16-10 before Tino Faasuamaleaui finished from close range after fine work from Cameron Smith.

Cameron Munster then showed great skill to go over and put Storm ahead for the first time in the match with 15 minutes remaining, a lead they would not relinquish.

The Bunnies had led by four points at the break with converted efforts from Campbell Graham and Cody Walker answered by Ryan Papenhuyzen and Justin Olam for Storm.

Adam Reynolds kicked eight points, but the Rabbitohs were unable to prevent second-placed Melbourne from reducing Penrith Panthers' lead at the summit to three points. 

In Friday's other contest, Chad Townsend was sent off and three other Cronulla Sharks players were put on report and such a lack of discipline proved costly in a 38-10 thumping at the hands of Newcastle Knights, for who Kalyn Ponga scored a hat-trick.

Townsend saw red for a shoulder charge on Ponga 12 minutes into the second half, while Wade Graham, Toby Rudolf and Braden Hamlin-Uele were cited for lifting tackles.

Starford To'a scored twice, while Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Josh King also dotted down in a resounding seven-try victory Newcastle, who hop ahead of the Bunnies into sixth.

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.

Luke Brooks' field goal secured a thrilling 29-28 NRL win for Wests Tigers over Canterbury Bulldogs after Newcastle Knights rallied to beat Manly Sea Eagles on Sunday.

The Tigers' finals hopes were in danger of taking a big blow at Bankwest Stadium, where bottom side Canterbury were on course for just a fifth win of the season with time running out.

Wests led 22-16 at the break following tries from Moses Mbye, David Nofoaluma and two from Luke Garner, with Nick Meaney, Marcelo Montoya and Matt Doorey dotting down at the other end in a frantic first half.

The Bulldogs grasped the initiative with tries from Aiden Tolman and Kerrod Holland, who converted both of those four-pointers to give his side a six-point advantage.

Yet Joey Leilua's try, converted by Mbye, drew the Tigers level eight minutes from time and Brooks booted the winning point from 32 metres out with three minutes to play to move his side four points behind the eighth-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The Knights fought back from 12-0 down and were also behind in the final 10 minutes before Enari Tuala's second try of the game, converted by Kalyn Ponga, downed Manly 26-24.

Manly also lost Brendan Elliot to what may be a torn anterior cruciate ligament at McDonald Jones Stadium as their finals bid suffered another setback.

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."

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.

Ryan Papenhuyzen scored a wonder try for the high-flying Melbourne Storm in their 26-16 victory over Newcastle Knights.

A blow to captain Cameron Smith, who was forced off with a shoulder injury and could be sidelined for three weeks, took some of the shine off the Storm's success.

But it was another successful day on the pitch for Craig Bellamy's team, who have now won 10 of 12 games in the NRL this season and sit second on the ladder.

Melbourne's Suliasi Vunivalu and Newcastle's Bradman Best traded early tries before Smith suffered his shoulder blow when landing on it while scoring the Storm's second in the 24th minute.

Papenhuyzen produced his masterpiece in the 31st minute, with the 22-year-old full-back collecting a stray ball and racing from his own 10-metre line to score in the right corner.

Tino Faasuamaleaui dotted down for the Storm in the second half, between tries from Newcastle's Aidan Guerra and Enari Tuala.

The Parramatta Eels are third, also with 10 wins from 12, after sneaking home 18-16 against the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Brad Arthur's Eels side looked like streaking away with the win when they raced to an 18-0 lead inside 29 minutes, on the back of two tries from Clinton Gutherson and one from Mitchell Moses, who also booted three goals.

But they almost threw it away, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Jake Averillo and Marcelo Montoya slashing the deficit to two points by early in the second half.

Averillo added the extras to the tries from Faitala-Mariner and Montoya but could not crown his own score with the extras as the Bulldogs' comeback fell agonisingly short.

After the Eels went so close to wasting their early good work, coach Arthur revealed the post-game tradition of bellowing out the team song threatened to become a chore.

According to the NRL website, Arthur said "It was like a morgue in the dressing sheds. I had to ask them did they really want to sing the team song?

"But that's good because we're setting high expectations and we know we can be better. I don't want to take any credit away from the Dogs, either, because they rolled their sleeves up and threw plenty at us."

The ladder-leading Penrith Panthers extended their winning streak to six games with a resilient 22-14 victory over Gold Coast Titans on Sunday.

Three tries in the opening 30 minutes and a second-half sealer from Malakai Watene-Zelezniak secured another valuable result for the undermanned and inexperienced Panthers, who were without four players from the team that beat North Queensland Cowboys last weekend.

Ivan Cleary's side have now notched nine wins, a draw and a solitary defeat after 11 rounds, the club's best ever record at this stage of an NRL season.

Josh Mansour and teenager Stephen Crichton both went over inside the opening 15 minutes to set up the victory, which restores Penrith's one-point lead over Melbourne Storm and Parramatta Eels.

The impressive Isaah Yeo added his side's third following Jamal Fogarty's long-range try before the Titans hit back forcefully through Brian Kelly and Anthony Don.

That burst cut the difference to two points at half-time but Watene-Zelezniak's effort in the 60th minute and Nathan Cleary's three conversions helped the Panthers withstand the challenge.

Newcastle Knights endured a miserable 80 minutes in the early match, losing Andrew McCullough and Connor Watson to season-ending injuries en route to a shock 18-12 loss to Canterbury Bulldogs at a wet McDonald Jones Stadium.

McCullough and Watson were forced from the field with serious hamstring and Achilles injuries respectively within the first 30 minutes and Knights coach Adam O'Brien later declared neither would return in 2020.

The bottom-placed Bulldogs took full advantage of their wounded opponents, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Jake Averillo adding second-half tries to Aiden Tolman's 11th-minute opener.

Hymel Hunt and Sione Mata'utia eventually brought the Knights back into the contest, but the fightback came too late to deny the visitors their second win of the season.

Manly Sea Eagles shocked NRL leaders Parramatta Eels with a 22-18 victory on Saturday despite the threat of a late comeback.

Brad Arthur's men trailed 22-4 at half-time after a careless start saw them concede three tries in the opening 16 minutes.

Martin Taupau capitalised on a mistake just two minutes in before Daly Cherry-Evans and Daniel Levi made the most of some slack defending.

Michael Jennings got the visitors on the scoreboard 30 minutes in, but Joel Thompson's try a minute before the break put the Sea Eagles firmly in control.

The Eels then got the benefit of a contentious call, Waqa Blake running nearly the length of the field to score after a reprieve from the bunker, which seemed to put the Lottoland crowd on edge.

Michael Jennings burst through to score his side's third and George Jennings dotted down in the corner after an excellent offload, but there was not enough time for the league leaders to prevent just a second loss of the season.

St George-Illawarra Dragons produced an impressive comeback to beat Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 28-22 and deny interim coach Steve Georgallis a winning start.

Georgallis, who replaced Dean Pay this week, saw his side respond to a try from Matt Dufty 58 seconds in to lead 20-10 at half-time.

Euan Aitken finished from a good move involving Adam Clune and Dufty to extend the Dragons' early advantage, but Jason Marshall-King, Nick Meaney and Raymond Faitala-Mariner all went over to give the visitors the lead.

Jason Saab dragged the Dragons back into the contest after fumbling an earlier chance for a try, and Clune set up Dufty for his second to level the scores before Zac Lomax converted.

Corey Norman got the Dragons' fifth try with two minutes remaining and Lomax added the extras, leaving the Bulldogs four points adrift at the foot of the ladder.

Newcastle Knights survived a late fightback from South Sydney Rabbitohs to claim a 20-18 win at Bankwest Stadium.

The away side led 14-0 at the interval thanks to first-half tries from Enari Tuala, Kurt Mann and Kalyn Ponga, who had come in for criticism for his recent form.

Bradman Best touched down after a clever Ponga kick three minutes into the second half, but the full-back's third missed conversion appeared to give the Rabbitohs some hope.

Mark Nicholls and Damien Cook went over in the space of two minutes and Cook got his second from debutant Jaxson Paulo's kick, but the Knights held firm in the closing stages.

Parramatta Eels reclaimed top spot in the NRL with a tight 10-4 win over Newcastle Knights, though one of their players may have committed a breach of the league's COVID-19 protocols.

The Eels held on for victory at McDonald Jones Stadium, where the Knights were playing for the first time since round one in March.

Maika Sivo's 64th-minute try proved the difference, with Tex Hoy's try that looked set to force golden-point extra time ruled out for offside.

However, there is scrutiny on the actions of prop Stefano Utoikamanu, who hugged relatives after making his debut, with players not permitted to touch members of the public at games or training sessions.

The Eels said they are waiting to hear from the league regarding the potential breach of protocols.

In Sunday's later game, St. George-Illawarra Dragons claimed only their third win of the campaign, thumping Manly Sea Eagles 34-4.

The Dragons fell behind to Joel Thompson's eighth-minute try but ran in six tries thereafter at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

A searing long-range effort from Matthew Dufty and an interception from Zac Lomax were the pick of the bunch. Josh Kerr and the impressive Mikaele Ravalawa also went over, with Corey Norman and Euan Aitken completing the rout.

Addin Fonua-Blake was sent off for dissent as Manly Sea Eagles succumbed to a controversial 14-12 loss to Newcastle Knights, while Braidon Burns appeared to suffer a serious knee injury for South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

Prop Fonua-Blake was given his marching orders for verbally abusing referee Grant Atkins after video official Jared Maxwell reviewed the final play and found no infringements, prompting a furious reaction from the Sea Eagles. 

Tevita Funa had put a grubber kick in behind and was taken out by Bradman Best and Tex Hoy as he chased it down, with Andrew McCullough grounding the loose ball in the in-goal area. 

Fonua-Blake could be facing a suspension despite coach Des Hasler saying he apologised to Atkins. 

Despite the early loss of Edrick Lee to a wrist injury, Newcastle led 14-6 at half-time with McCullough and Kurt Mann crossing either side of Daly Cherry-Evans' score upon returning from the sin bin for a professional foul. 

Manly dominated the second half and thought they had taken the lead when Cherry-Evans dotted down after Cade Cust went over. However, the captain's try was chalked off due to a knock-on by Danny Levi. 

The Sea Eagles felt they deserved a penalty try on the last tackle and were incensed after being consigned to a second successive defeat that leaves them outside the top eight. 

In Sunday's other game, the Rabbitohs defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 26-10 in a game that saw Burns sustain a gruesome-looking right knee injury. 

Alex Johnston and Marcelo Montoya traded tries in the first half, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Jaydn Su'a going over as the second half remained tight. 

Cody Walker helped make it a two-score game, before Dane Gagai intercepted a Montoya pass and raced the length of the pitch to clinch the victory in the final minute. 

Burns landed awkwardly in a tackle as he tried to put the match beyond doubt beforehand and required medical attention. He was able to get back to his feet and left the field on a cart. 

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