It was another big Friday of NRL action with North Queensland scoring three tries in four minutes late in the match to blow Manly away before Melbourne handed Brisbane their first defeat in almost three months.
Check out all the news, scores and stats below.
North Queensland Cowboys 28 def Manly Sea Eagles 26
A second-half collapse from Manly has handed North Queensland a 28-26 win at Brookvale Oval, but the Cowboys were left counting the cost of a mounting injury toll.
Leading 26-12 with seven minutes to go on Friday night, the Sea Eagles imploded as tries from Connelly Lemuelu, Reece Robson and an 85-metre effort from Valentine Holmes in the space of four minutes flipped the script to ensure Todd Payten’s men return to Townsville with two competition points.
They will do so heavily scarred, however, with Queensland State of Origin hopefuls Reuben Cotter and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow going down with injury.
Cotter, who made his Maroons debut with a sterling performance in Origin I, pulled out of the warm-up with a hamstring complaint.
Tabuai-Fidow, who had been vying with teammate Murray Taualgi to take Xavier Caotes’ spot on the wing, failed a HIA.
The 20-year-old flyer copped a bang to the head when Manly center Morgan Harper slid in with his knees while the Cowboys winger was picking up a loose ball.
Without the talismanic Cotter the Cowboys were slow out of the blocks, with Christian Tuipolotu and Morgan Harper putting the Sea Eagles ahead 10-0 after 24 minutes.
Coen Hess batted back a Chad Townsend aerial bomb with Townsend regathering and kicking a speculative cross-field kick out to Holmes.
The Cowboys center tiptoed down the sideline and then dotted down to get North Queensland’s first of the night and cut Manly’s halftime lead to just four.
Jeremiah Nanai and Tuipolotu traded tries and with a narrow lead, and having lost Kieran Foran to a HIA, Manly needed a moment of inspiration.
It came in the shape of a 40/20 kick from workmanlike hooker Lachlan Croker, who pounced on an in-goal grubber from Daly Cherry-Evans on the next to push Manly ahead.
Croker soon doubled his tally to push the Sea Eagles out to 26-12 with 15 minutes to go.
But with good field position the Cowboys were able to chip away at the hosts’ advantage.
Robson dived over from close range after a Nanai offload before Lemulemu backed up a Taulagi break.
With five minutes left on the clock, Cherry-Evans had the ball dislodged from his grasp after a scrum and Holmes picked it up to run the length of the field.
Cherry-Evans had a crack at a 50-metre field goal on the last play of the game but his effort faded away to the right of the sticks.
Melbourne Storm 32 def Brisbane Broncos 20
Melbourne have shown Brisbane who is boss, winning their NRL top-four clash 32-20 in an arm-wrestle on Friday night.
The Broncos hadn’t won in Melbourne since 2016 but arrived with high hopes of breaking that drought and banking an eighth successive win.
The teams were locked at 16-16 at halftime, with Brisbane winger Corey Oates crossing twice to put his hand up to replace injured Xavier Coates in the Queensland State of Origin line-up.
Storm winger Dean Ieremia then took his turn to shine, collecting his own double in the second half as the home side got back on top.
Both times Melbourne felt the ball wide with center Justin Olam finding the youngster on the fly.
Melbourne dominated the early exchanges and came up with the first try of the night with Tui Kamikamika running on to a Harry Grant pass and crashing over line.
But the Broncos got their motors started and scored three times in nine minutes to hit the front.
As well as Oates’ haul, Maroons flyer Selwyn Cobbo touched down on the other wing.
With skipper Adam Reynolds out with a rib injury, Tyrone Roberts stood up in the No.7 jersey with his kicking and passing game en pointe.
In the Cobbo try he took on hard-hitting Storm center Justin Olam and then fired a cut-out pass for the 20-year-old to dive across in the corner.
Kotoni Staggs’ sideline conversion opened up a 16-6 lead for Brisbane after 28 minutes but they let Melbourne back into the game as halftime closed.
Cobbo spilled a Jahrome Hughes’ kick that was pounced on for Cameron Munster to score and then Hughes and fullback Nick Meaney combined before the halfback showed his speed to race to the line to level.
After six tries in the opening stanza they proved harder to come by in the second half with Ieremia coming up with the goods in the 56th and 63rd minutes.
Hughes capped a starring performance with a clever grubberkick into the in-goal which he followed up to put the result out of doubt.
Ezra Mam scored a consolation try with three minutes on the clock after a Billy Walters’ break but it was the second-placed Storm’s night.
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