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. 

Bankwest Stadium will host three games in round eight of the NRL season after an inspection was carried out in response to concerns raised over the state of the field.

Sydney Roosters duo Victor Radley and Sam Verrills both suffered serious knee injuries during the first half of their team's 26-12 victory over St George-Illawarra Dragons last Friday.

However, following an independent examination of the playing surface, the venue has been cleared for use.

"We had two really unfortunate season-ending injuries there and no one ever wants to see that," NRL head of football Graham Annesley said.

"The fact they happened so close together did raise questions and the NRL acted quickly. By close of business that night we had organised an independent inspection of the field the next morning.

"That took place and the detailed report we received was an assessment across the field in many different points.

"They took readings for traction, firmness and any other gauge to determine the quality of a professional sporting field.

"All of those readings came back to an acceptable range. The Rugby League Players Association were in attendance for that and they were satisfied."

Annesley also confirmed that plans to replace the field have been moved forward, adding: "They started that process late last night. By the time we get to round eight this week it will effectively be a brand new surface."

Parramatta Eels against North Queensland Cowboys will kick off the action at the ground on Friday. 

Wests Tigers will then take on table-topping Penrith Panthers the following day, while the trio of fixtures at Bankwest Stadium will be completed on Sunday when the Canterbury Bulldogs meet the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Meanwhile, a number of clubs have been granted permission to play at their respective homes again.

Canberra Raiders are to host the Dragons at GIO Stadium, Gold Coast Titans will be back at Cbus Super Stadium for their clash with Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles return to Lottoland to take on Newcastle Knights.

Nathan Cleary did not let a facial infection prevent him from helping Penrith Panthers go top of the NRL standings as they defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-12.

Half-back Cleary spent six hours in hospital on Thursday being treated for cellulitis and he wore a bandage between his eyes at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

It appeared to be affecting his goal-kicking as he missed the conversions for all four of Penrith's tries.

However, having scored one of those four-pointers himself, Cleary showed his value to a Panthers side that made it five wins from seven and moved above Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels in the standings.

Brent Naden was the first to go over, following a Cleary kick, before Stephen Crichton touched down to give Penrith an 8-0 advantage at the break.

Bayley Sironen burst through after the interval for Souths' first points but a patient Dylan Edwards found a through for the Panthers, before Cleary contributed a penalty and a late try.

By that point, James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell - who had an off night - were both in the sin bin, and Alex Johnston's score with just over a minute to go only made the margin of defeat smaller for the Rabbitohs.

Wayne Bennett refused to reveal why Latrell Mitchell was so emotional after South Sydney Rabbitohs dismantled New Zealand Warriors on Friday, while Penrith Panthers beat Melbourne Storm. 

Mitchell was outstanding as the Bunnies thrashed the Warriors 40-12 to secure back-to-back victories in the NRL. 

The full-back set up tries from Campbell Graham and Alex Johnston, with Adam Reynolds and Braidon Burns also crossing in the first half at Bankwest Stadium. 

Cody Walker, Damien Cook and Alex Johnston dotted down in the second half of a one-sided encounter, which saw David Fusitu'a and Agnatius Paasi score for the Warriors. 

Mitchell, who looked fortunate to get away with a high shot on Fusitu'a, was emotional on the field after the final whistle and was seen in tears in the dressing room, but Bennett was in no mood to explain the reason. 

The Rabbitohs coach told reporters: "No I'm not going to tell you why. It's got nothing to do with you, to be honest with you.

"He may well have been [upset] but it's got nothing to do with you. The changing room for me has always been a sacred place and unfortunately the game gave away a lot of our rights to those places, but in my mind and in my head, it's a place where we can go and be who we want to be and not have to answer anyone."

Penrith later moved above the Storm to go third with a 21-14 victory at Campbelltown Stadium.

Stephen Crichton, Brian To'o and Viliame Kikau touched down, while Nathan Cleary scored nine points with the boot in an influential display for the Panthers.

 

Melbourne Storm handed Newcastle Knights their first loss of the 2020 NRL season, while Latrell Mitchell's fine first half led South Sydney Rabbitohs to victory against Gold Coast Titans.

The Storm's 26-12 success against the Knights at Central Coast Stadium means leaders Parramatta Eels are the only remaining undefeated team in NRL this year.

Ryley Jacks went over after just three minutes before Cameron Smith set up first-half tries for Suliasi Vunivalu and Tino Faasuamaleaui - his first in the competition - to send Melbourne into the interval with a commanding 18-2 lead, but the Knights responded well with Bradman Best and Edrick Lee making it a one-score game.

However, Cameron Smith slotted through a penalty after David Klemmer was pinged for an early tackle and Brandon Smith somehow barrelled through three defenders with three minutes remaining to clinch the victory.

In Saturday's first game, the Rabbitohs were 32-12 winners over the Titans at Bankwest Stadium thanks in large part to Mitchell.

The former Sydney Roosters full-back caught the ball and dotted down in the third minute after Damien Cook's pass bounced off his chest to get Souths up and running.

Phillip Sami briefly restored parity before Alex Johnston crossed to restore the Rabbitohs' lead. Mitchell then tipped a pass to Dane Gagai to race in at the corner and saw Anthony Don's failure to gather his grubber kick enable Braidon Burns to put the Bunnies well on top.

The Titans were unable to gain momentum despite Bryce Cartwright's 44th-minute score, with Gagai's second try followed by a conversion from Adam Reynolds, who finished the game with 12 points.

Canberra Raiders got back to winning ways by coming from behind to defeat Wests Tigers 14-6 in Ricky Stuart's 400th game as an NRL coach.

The Raiders were trailing to Luke Brooks' uncovered first-half score, but Jack Wighton's try five minutes following the restart was converted by Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric dived over after Russell Packer was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on Jordan Rapana just five minutes after coming on.

Moses Mbye reduced the deficit from the tee but, after Packer was placed on report for a high tackle upon his return, Croker restored Canberra's eight-point cushion as they moved up to second.

South Sydney Rabbitohs will have a crowd for their round five and six NRL matches at Bankwest Stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rabbitohs are offering ticketed members access to their clashes with Gold Coast Titans (Saturday) and New Zealand Warriors (June 19).

However, only 500 people are allowed inside the stadium, including members, corporate partners and VIPs, venue associates and the NRL.

"Government regulations regarding social distancing and event capacities are still in play," part of a club statement read.

"For this reason, spots at the games at Bankwest Stadium are extremely limited."

Australia has successfully flattened the coronavirus curve, with more than 7,200 confirmed cases and 102 deaths.

The Rabbitohs have lost three of their opening four games of the NRL season.

Penrith Panthers have made their best start to a season since 1997 after beating New Zealand Warriors 26-0 on Friday to go top of the NRL ladder.

The inexperienced half-back pairing of Matt Burton and Jarome Luai shone in the absence of the suspended Nathan Cleary to ensure the Panthers remain unbeaten after four rounds.

Burton touched down twice in the opening 22 minutes at Campbelltown Stadium, scooping up a loose ball following a high kick for his first try before profiting again after blocking Blake Green's kick.

Luai collected his own kick to add a third try and second-half scores from Josh Mansour and Billy Burns completed the rout.

While Penrith have enjoyed a fine start to the season that has included three wins and a draw, South Sydney Rabbitohs' disappointing 2020 continued as they were beaten 22-8 by Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.

In the battle of the full-backs, Ryan Papenhuyzen's try put Melbourne on the board before Latrell Mitchell, playing his 100th NRL game, responded with a tremendous pass that enabled Alex Johnston to go in.

Suliasi Vunivalu restored the Storm's lead after brilliant work from Cameron Munster, though, and after Adam Reynolds and Cameron Smith traded penalties, Josh Addo-Carr collected Munster's kick to increase the home side's lead.

Justin Olam's try three minutes from time completed the scoring as the Bunnies, who remain without a victory in Melbourne in 16 attempts, slipped to a third straight loss.

James Tedesco scored a brilliant solo try as Sydney Roosters beat South Sydney Rabbitohs 28-12, while North Queensland Cowboys also resumed the NRL season with a derby win on Friday.

The Roosters lost their first two games before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus in March, but they were too good for their city rivals behind closed doors at Bankwest Stadium.

Daniel Tupou dotted down after rising to take a kick from Luke Keary just three minutes in and Kyle Flanagan went under the posts to round off a slick move as the Roosters turned on the style.

Cameron Murray got the Rabbitohs on the board with a try five minutes before the break, but Tedesco showed great power and pace to go on his own for a score just after the interval.

Boyd Cordner crashed over to give the two-time defending champions further breathing space before Tom Burgess forced his way over to give the Bunnies hope on the hour mark.

Trent Robinson's side had the final say, though, Jake Friend racing onto his own kick to finish and Flanagan converting to take his tally to 12 points in a second loss of the season for Souths.

It does not appear the break did Gold Coast Titans any good as they were thrashed 36-6 by the rampant Cowboys.

The Titans have now lost 14 in a row after they were blown away at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the lively Valentine Holmes laying on three of six tries.

Reece Robson and Ben Hampton scored doubles in a second victory out of three for North Queensland.

Australia and New South Wales representative Cameron Murray has extended his contract with the South Sydney Rabbitohs until at least the end of 2025.

Murray has played 62 NRL games for the Rabbitohs since making his debut in 2017, while he featured for the Blues three times last year and made his first appearance for the Kangaroos.

The 22-year-old lock extended his deal with South Sydney for another four seasons, it was announced on Wednesday.

"It's very exciting for me and a great relief to have a large chunk of my future sorted now, and to know it will be at this club that I love is very special for me and my family," Murray said.

"I count my lucky stars at how everything has fallen into place and I have no intention of letting this go or slackening off. It means way too much to me, to play for this club and to represent it every day.

"For almost the next six years at least I will be a Rabbitoh and the journey is really only just starting for me.

"It's very exciting and I can't wait to represent our members on the field once again, starting this Friday night against the Roosters."

The Rabbitohs, who won one of their opening two games of the NRL season, will resume their campaign against the Sydney Roosters on Friday.

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V'landys feels the NRL should not have stopped as the league prepares to return following the coronavirus outbreak.

Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels will restart the 2020 season behind closed doors on May 28 after the competition was postponed through two rounds on March 23 due to COVID-19.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc across the world, bringing sport to a standstill, but Australia has managed to control the spread.

And V'landys claims Australia's premier rugby league competition should have continued amid the crisis.

"Racing has proven that you can continue on and if I had my time again, quite frankly, we wouldn't have stopped the rugby league," V'landys told News Corp.

"I don't think we were any risk playing on. If we had implemented the biosecurity measures we have in place now … there was really zero risk to the players or the community.

"There were the challenges in relation to the closure of the borders, but I think we could have got around all that. If there is one regret, maybe we acted too quickly. Maybe we should have waited another week to see the infection rates."

V'landys added: "We're not a very big risk. I think the governments would let us see it through now if there was a second wave, especially with the very harsh biosecurity measures we have implemented.

"We've proven it in racing and not only in NSW but right around Australia. If you have proper biosecurity measures, and participants do the right thing and abide by them, the risk is minimal."

State of Origin will be played in November as the NRL released its full revised draw on Thursday.

The NRL is set to resume its season next week amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the marquee series between Queensland and New South Wales moved.

Origin will be played on November 4, 11 and 18, with venues yet to be finalised, it was announced on Thursday.

"The changes to the schedule this year have allowed Origin to be played after the grand final – which is a first for the game, 40 years after the birth of the country's biggest sporting rivalry," NRL interim chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

The NRL Grand Final is set to be held on October 25, with the season already reduced to a 20-round schedule.

The season restarts on May 28, when Brisbane Broncos will host Parramatta Eels.

 

Best round three Opta facts:

- Broncos v Eels: Parramatta have won four of their past six games against Brisbane.
- Cowboys v Titans: North Queensland are on a nine-match winning streak against Gold Coast.
- Roosters v Rabbitohs: South Sydney's Campbell Graham has crossed for a try in each of his past three NRL games.
- Warriors v Dragons: New Zealand have lost five of their past six NRL games played in Australia, with the defeats coming by an average margin of 20 points.
- Sharks v Tigers: Wests have lost their past six games against Cronulla.
- Storm v Raiders: These two teams are the only sides yet to concede a try in the first half of a game this season.
- Panthers v Knights: Penrith have won nine of their 12 games without Nathan Cleary, who is suspended, since his debut.
- Sea Eagles v Bulldogs: Canterbury have made 30 errors across their opening two NRL games of the season.

State of Origin will be played in November as the NRL released its full revised draw on Thursday.

The NRL is set to resume its season next week amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the marquee series between Queensland and New South Wales moved.

Origin will be played on November 4, 11 and 18, with venues yet to be finalised, it was announced on Thursday.

"The changes to the schedule this year have allowed Origin to be played after the grand final – which is a first for the game, 40 years after the birth of the country's biggest sporting rivalry," NRL interim chief executive Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

The NRL Grand Final is set to be held on October 25, with the season already reduced to a 20-round schedule.

The season restarts on May 28, when Brisbane Broncos will host Parramatta Eels.

 

Best round three Opta facts:

- Broncos v Eels: Parramatta have won four of their past six games against Brisbane.
- Cowboys v Titans: North Queensland are on a nine-match winning streak against Gold Coast.
- Roosters v Rabbitohs: South Sydney's Campbell Graham has crossed for a try in each of his past three NRL games.
- Warriors v Dragons: New Zealand have lost five of their past six NRL games played in Australia, with the defeats coming by an average margin of 20 points.
- Sharks v Tigers: Wests have lost their past six games against Cronulla.
- Storm v Raiders: These two teams are the only sides yet to concede a try in the first half of a game this season.
- Panthers v Knights: Penrith have won nine of their 12 games without Nathan Cleary, who is suspended, since his debut.
- Sea Eagles v Bulldogs: Canterbury have made 30 errors across their opening two NRL games of the season.

The NRL has announced the six venues that will stage fixtures when the 2020 season resumes at the end of May.

Bankwest Stadium, Campbelltown Stadium and Central Coast Stadium will host fixtures, as well as Suncorp Stadium, Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville and AAMI Park.

The locations have been chosen to host games until at least the end of round nine as the competition prepares to return to action, starting with Brisbane Broncos against Parramatta Eels on May 28.

Action was suspended after two rounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The competition will begin with a consolidated approach to venues," acting NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.

"Each venue requires customised infrastructure to meet our strict biosecurity requirements. We've adopted a phased approach for venues should restrictions be eased in the future.

"We've chosen three consolidated venues for clubs in and around Sydney to ensure there are no double headers at venues and in different parts of the region to meet the geographical challenges we face."

The Eels will be sharing Bankwest Stadium with Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters.

Campbelltown is the location for St George Illawarra Dragons, Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers and Canberra Raiders, while Newcastle Knights and Manly Sea Eagles will play out of Central Coast Stadium, along with the Gosford-based New Zealand Warriors.

Suncorp Stadium will house the Broncos as per usual, as well as Gold Coast Titans. As for North Queensland Cowboys and Melbourne Storm, they will be in the familiar surroundings of Queensland Country Bank Stadium and AAMI Park respectively.

The draw for the remainder of the season will be revealed on Thursday, though home venues will only be allocated until round nine.

Police are probing an incident involving South Sydney Rabbitohs star Cody Walker, which the player himself instigated.

On Sunday, TV station Nine News reported Walker had informed police of an attempt to blackmail him for 20,000 Australian dollars over a video that allegedly shows him kicking another man in the chest.

The Rabbitohs did not refer specifically to any incident, adding Walker himself has not been the subject of a police enquiry and the NRL's Integrity Unit has been informed.

A Souths statement read: "The South Sydney Rabbitohs are aware of an incident involving player Cody Walker which took place in northern New South Wales in October 2019.

"The NRL's Integrity Unit have been informed.

"At no stage has Cody Walker been the subject of a police enquiry in relation to this incident.

"The Rabbitohs will be making no further comment on this matter at this stage as it is part of an ongoing police enquiry instigated by Cody Walker himself."

South Sydney Rabbitohs star James Roberts has entered a facility to get support with his health, the NRL club announced on Tuesday.

Roberts, a former New South Wales representative, joined the Rabbitohs from the Brisbane Broncos last year.

The 27-year-old is getting support for his health as the NRL continues to aim for a May 28 resumption amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Rabbitohs player James Roberts has entered a facility to undergo treatment to assist with and support his health," a statement from the Rabbitohs read.

"On behalf of James and his family, we ask the media and the public to respect their privacy.

"No further comment will be made by the Rabbitohs, James, his management or his family at this time."

South Sydney won one of their opening two games of the NRL season before it was suspended in March due to COVID-19.

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