NRL round 13: Key takeouts

North Queensland Cowboys 32 bt Gold Coast Titans 6

Ripping Valentine Holmes, Reuben Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai and Tom Dearden out of the North Queensland Cowboys line-up was supposed to be something of a leveller. Instead, those who came in delivered to hold their side’s place in the top four, while the Titans remain just one win clear of 16th place as an underwhelming season continues. Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo ran for 184 metres and made 24 tackles in his return from a knee injury. As for the Gold Coast? No Titans forward ran for more than 121 metres, while Cowboys fullback Scott Drinkwater had 193 run metres and three line-break assists. To make matters worse for the Titans, Jayden Campbell limped off the park with a hamstring injury.

Penrith Panthers 30 bt Canterbury Bulldogs 18

The Penrith Panthers had almost $4 million worth of State of Origin talent sitting on the sideline, while back-rower Viliame Kikau stepped up to show Canterbury what a reported $3.2 million will get them. Bulldogs-bound Kikau terrorised his future teammates as the Panthers held off threats of a Canterbury comeback to continue their scintillating start to the season. Spurned speedster Josh Addo-Carr scored two tries to send a message after being left out of the NSW squad for game one of the Origin series. Panthers five-eighth Kurt Falls impressed in his NRL debut while Bulldog Matt Burton was a standout for the visitors in his return to Penrith.

Manly Sea Eagles 44 bt New Zealand Warriors 12

Pressure is mounting on Warriors coach Nathan Brown, who is adamant he is “not out of ideas” after his side was battered by Manly. The Sea Eagles, missing Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic dominated every facet of the game as they raced to a 24-0 half-time lead. Manly second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu registered 10 tackle breaks and 182 running metres, notching up a try, a line break assist and a line break along the way in a strong showing. Warriors fullback Reece Walsh was left gutted by the forgettable performance, urging his teammates to take a look at themselves as they fight to win back some respectability after sliding to 12th on the competition table.

Canberra Raiders 22 bt Sydney Roosters 16

You could hardly blame Raiders fans for making September plans six weeks ago. But that was before Corey Horsburgh was charging down kicks and scooping the ball up in open space, before Zac Woolford had got a taste of the top grade, before Jamal Fogarty had pulled on a lime green jersey in an NRL game. Canberra have now won four of their past five games to give themselves a sniff of finals football, moving to the cusp of the top eight after beating the Sydney Roosters on a chilly Canberra day. The Roosters’ attempt to stage a second-half comeback was held off by the Raiders’ dogged defence.

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