Rebels break Brumbies

Sunday Herald Sun - - Racing -

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.

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