Rebels break Brumbies
THE Melbourne Rebels have ended a five-match losing streak with a 27-24 win over the Brumbies in Canberra thanks to a late Reece Hodge penalty goal.
The Brumbies led by 14 points with 20 minutes to go but, with their season on the line, failed to repel the Rebels in front of a dismal GIO Stadium crowd of 5283 last night.
With the scores level at 24-24 with two minutes remaining, Sam Carter was penalised for a high tackle on Billy Meakes, leaving Hodge with a chance to push the Rebels ahead.
He struck the penalty kick cleanly from the left of the field to win the game for the visitors.
Hodge’s matchwinner came about after fullback Jack Maddocks powered over for the Rebels’ third try in the 61st minute and soon after, winger Semisi Tupou crossed out wide.
Both tries were converted to level up the game and produce a tense finale, with both teams spoiling several chances to clinch the advantage before Hodge stepped up to calmly slot the penalty.
The Brumbies were looking dominant during a 15-minute golden patch in the first half where they ran in three converted tries to Tom Cusack, Faalelei Sione and Rob Valetini.
That came about after the Rebels opened the scoring through a stunning try to Tom English, who got on the end of a tackle-shredding run from Angus Cottrell. STORM captain Cameron Smith has hit back at accusations he deliberately injured Titans forward Kevin Proctor as Melbourne escaped with a 28-14 win against a gritty Gold Coast outfit last night.
Storm moved into the top four with victory in the first clash of the Suncorp Stadium double header but it could come at a price following two questionable incidents.
Smith appeared to be involved in a “wishbone” tackle which forced former Storm teammate Proctor off the field with a groin injury. “I didn’t try to pull his leg out,” Smith said.
“Kevvie is a really good friend of mine and everyone at our club. There was no chance I’d be going in to injure the bloke. Whatever happens out of this game with that tackle I’ve got absolutely no control over. All I can say is I’m not in there to try and hurt the bloke.
“I spoke to Kevvie after the game to see how he was going ... He was very grateful for me to come over and say I had no intention.”
Titans skipper Ryan James said Smith should have been penalised for the tackle.
“I thought an injury to a player going off would lead to a penalty,” he said.
A head slam on Titans prop Jarrod Wallace will also be scrutinised by the NRL’s match review committee after the Gold Coast forward needed a concussion test.
The Titans finished the match with one fit player on the bench after forwards Will Matthews and Jack Stockwell suffered concussions in the Gold Coast’s fifth straight loss.
Young Titans forward Keegan Hipgrave played with a suspected broken wrist due to the Gold Coast’s injury woes.
Titans debutant Brenko Lee was caught out in the first three minutes when Storm’s Chris Scott strolled through a gaping hole to score.
But he made amends to get Gold Coast on the board, before Dale Copley outpointed Test centre Will Chambers.
When Michael Gordon slotted a penalty goal, the Titans had a shock 14-8 lead at halftime, but Melbourne turned the screws as the Titans started to drop like flies.
Storm drew level when Felise Kaufusi scored, took the lead with a Smith penalty goal and edged further ahead through in-form five-eighth Cameron Munster.
Storm prop Christian Welch was sin-binned when he illegally stopped Titans debutant Alexander Brimson scoring in the 72nd minute.