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Highlights from Round 18 of the 2020 National Rugby League Premiership Season (September 10 – September 13)

Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Thursday 10 September 2020

A couple of individual pieces of brilliance from Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall wasn’t quite enough to drag his side over the line as they went down 26-24 to South Sydney on Thursday night in a game marred by three sin bins and one all-in brawl.

Alex Twal was sin binned for a professional foul in the 49th minute and was quickly followed by Luke Brooks and Dane Gagai for their roles in starting a brawl.

Either side of that, Marshall and Harry Grant showed just what the club will be missing next year with exceptional performances to help the team recover from a very early 20-0 deficit to almost force an unlikely comeback win for the second week running.

Canterbury Bulldogs v Manly Sea Eagles
Friday 11 September 2020

Morgan Harper earned high praise after carving up his old team in Manly’s 32-20 win over the Bulldogs but the excitement was offset by more injuries.

Five-eighth Cade Cust (high ankle sprain) is expected to miss the final two rounds while prop Addin Fonua-Blake (PCL aggravation) will race the clock to play next week after the pair were forced off late.

Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels
Friday 11 September 2020

Penrith coach Ivan Cleary said securing the minor premiership was the next step on his young side’s remarkable 2020 journey after they officially booked a qualifying home final with a 20-2 win over the Eels on Friday night.

The Panthers are assured of a top-two finish with two rounds remaining and could seal the JJ Giltinan Shield as early as next week with victory over the Cowboys.

St George-Illawarra Dragons v Canberra Raiders
Saturday 12 September 2020

Canberra forward Hudson Young admitted the NRL’s 10-week shutdown due to COVID-19 may have been a blessing for him after turning in a career-best performance to help the Raiders power to a 37-8 defeat of St George Illawarra on Saturday at WIN Stadium.

After missing last year’s grand final due to an eight-match suspension for eye-gouging that carried over into the opening four rounds of 2020, Young suffered a knee injury in a pre-season training mishap that would have sidelined him for another 14 weeks.

Instead, he was able to return in Canberra’s round six match against Manly on June 21 and has established himself as a valuable member of the Ricky Stuart’s squad by playing on the left edge as well as the middle.

Gold Coast Titans v Brisbane Broncos
Saturday 12 September 2020

Ash Taylor ignited the Titans to an emphatic and historic 18-6 win over the bumbling Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium to consign their near neighbours to a club-record ninth consecutive defeat.

It was the first time in Titans, or any previous Gold Coast side’s, history that they had beaten the Broncos twice in a season after winning the round seven clash 30-12 at Suncorp Stadium.

Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights
Saturday 12 September 2020

Roosters coach Trent Robinson says the toll of Boyd Cordner’s emotional week, rather than concern over a possible concussion, saw him kept off the paddock as his teammates carved up Newcastle 42-12 at the SCG on Saturday night.

Cordner endured the toughest of pre-game lead-ins after his cousin Joel Dark passed away on Friday, having undergone emergency brain surgery following his own head knock playing local first grade in Newcastle.

Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
Sunday 13 September 2020

Cameron Munster celebrated his 26th birthday with a try-scoring double as the Storm beat the Cowboys 36-20 and all but wrapped up a vital top-two position.

It was Melbourne’s 11th consecutive win over North Queensland with their last loss back in the 2015 preliminary final.

Cronulla Sharks v Warriors
Sunday 13 September 2020

The player that the Warriors wanted to sign for next year, Toby Rudolph, ended the Auckland club’s campaign this season when he barged over for the Sharks to snatch a 22-14 win at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

With six minutes left on the clock and trailing by two, it was not only an opportune time for Rudolph to score his maiden NRL try it was a season-saving one for the Sharks.

A few minutes later, winger Ronaldo Mulitalo scored his second four-pointer of the night and the flame burning inside the Warriors had been doused.