Competition starts to hot up in the lead-up to the finals.
Manly Sea Eagles claimed their sixth straight victory with a win over the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday as the Sydney Roosters went into the outright lead in Australia’s National Rugby League.
Manly downed the Warriors 27-12 but their win was soured by a knee injury for Test forward Anthony Watmough that is likely to keep him out of action for a couple of weeks.
The loss denied the Warriors a chance to climb into the top eight and was their second defeat in successive weeks.
The Roosters edged out Canberra 28-22 to become the sole competition leaders for the first time since the Brad Fittler-led golden era of almost a decade ago.
With standoff James Maloney starring, the Roosters ran in five tries to four to close in on finishing the regular season on top of the table following South Sydney’s slip up against Melbourne on Friday.
The Roosters haven’t won the minor premiership since 2004 in Fittler’s last season.
Melbourne marked their turf as defending champions by seeing off fellow competition heavyweights South Sydney 26-8 in Melbourne.
A few minutes of Melbourne magic, which produced two tries early in the first half, set up the victory.
Souths superstar and former Storm boy Greg Inglis didn’t play, still troubled by his knee injury, and the Rabbitohs were also missing injured playmaker John Sutton.
A Dane Gagai try with less than two minutes left kept Newcastle’s finals hopes alive as the Knights edged out Cronulla 18-14 on Saturday.
The Sharks looked to have sealed a deserved victory when Todd Carney kicked a penalty five minutes from full-time, but Gagai sealed the win with his second try after Jarrod Mullen produced a pinpoint kick for the former Brisbane flyer to leap high and power his way over the try-line.
The game marked the 250th appearance for Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus, breaking the joint club record he shared with Andrew Johns.
The Brisbane Broncos held out St George Illawarra Dragons 26-24 in Brisbane to maintain a chance of the finals, but the season is over for Test centre Justin Hodges, who ruptured his Achilles in the first half and will be out of action until mid-2014.