ELEVENTH-hour signing Joe Greenwood has scored what many critics Down Under are claiming will be the try of the season in his very first start for Gold Coast Titans.
St Helens’ Greenwood, 23, was involved in a swap with Titan Zeb Taia just days before the start of the NRL season. After starting on the bench in round one against Sydney Roosters, he was elevated to the starting side on Saturday in Newcastle.
And although the side from the tourist strip became the Knights’ first victims in 20 games, the Titans managed a dazzling try in which the ball went through 12 pairs of hands and included two kicks before Greenwood dived over.
It was a high point of the afternoon for the Titans, who lose superstar Jarryd Hayne to an ankle injury and went down 34-26 – giving the Novocastrians their first win in 336 days.
Dan Sarginson missed the game through injury. Fellow Brit Joe Wardle made his first appearance for Newcastle at the weekend – but it was in the lower grades.
The England contingent Down Under bettered their round one effort of captaining three teams in when Sam Burgess – replacing the injured Greg Inglis – made it four for round two. But, as was the case on the opening weekend of the season, only one of the men in the arm bands managed a victory.
Down 12-0 to Manly at the newly named Lottoland – Brookvale Oval to you – Burgess' South Sydney scored a crushing 38-18 win on Saturday night.
“We didn’t give ourselves a great opportunity at the start,” said Sam, whose brothers Tom and George have been on the fringes of the squad for the opening fortnight of the new season.
“But we remained calm. It was only a 12-point ball game. They kept missing the conversions which kept us in the game.
“We scored some points and got ourselves back into the game.”
James Graham’s Canterbury Bulldogs put up a sterling fight before losing 28-24 to Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
Josh Hodgson’s Canberra Raiders were comprehensively flogged, 42-16, by premiers Cronulla at GIO Stadium in the final of three Saturday games.
“When you make error on error and give away too many penalties, it all adds up,” said Hodgson. “It saps energy out of you.
“Then once we lost that, they got a couple of tries on us and I thought they got a bit of a roll-on and we struggled to get it back.
“Ultimately, we just weren’t good enough. There’s no beating around the bush. We were poor. We’re a good team. If we’re on, we’re tough to beat. We weren’t on.”
And after a big win in round one, the Indian Summer may already be over for Gareth Widdop’s St George Illawarra – they were lapped 34-16 by Parramatta at WIN Stadium on Sunday night.
“We gave ourselves no chance whatsoever,” said Widdop. “Completion rate 58 per cent – against an NRL team, it’s going to be hard to beat them.
“We just didn’t want to do the hard things of Rugby League and it hurt. It’s turning up and doing your job and doing it with passion and I don’t think we did that.
“We took the easy option rather than playing tough Rugby League.”
JAMES GRAHAM: 126 metres with the ball in 52 minutes.
JOE GREENWOOD: Played 63 minutes, making 26 tackles.
SAM BURGESS: I71 metres in 61 minutes.
GEORGE BURGESS: 123 metres in just 29 minutes off the bench.
ELLIOTT WHITEHEAD: Filling in out in the centres. Missed a couple of tackles as he was targeted by the Sharks.
JOSH HODGSON: 31 tackles, also a couple missed.
GARETH WIDDOP: Four missed tackles and a try in a badly beaten side.