2024 NRL: Round 18 Recap and Key Stats

Check out what happened in round 18 of the National Rugby League competition.

Final Scores

RABBITOHS 32 d EELS 16
TITANS 20 d SHARKS 16
PANTHERS 14 d BRONCOS 6
BULLDOGS 13 d WARRIORS 12 (Golden Point)
STORM 40 d TIGERS 28
SEA EAGLES 21 d COWBOYS 20 (Golden Point)
ROOSTERS 42 d DRAGONS 12
KNIGHTS 16 d RAIDERS 12

Current Ladder

Melbourne Storm (Position: 1) 30 pts (125), Penrith Panthers (Position: 2) 26 pts (116), Sydney Roosters (Position: 3) 24 pts (225), Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (Position: 4) 24 pts (73), Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (Position: 5) 22 pts (65), Dolphins (Position: 6) 22 pts (40), Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (Position: 7) 21 pts (29), North Queensland Cowboys (Position: 8) 20 pts (1), Newcastle Knights (Position: 9) 20 pts (-43), St George-Illawarra Dragons (Position: 10) 20 pts (-60), Brisbane Broncos (Position: 11) 18 pts (13), Canberra Raiders (Position: 12) 18 pts (-93), South Sydney Rabbitohs (Position: 13) 18 pts (-96), New Zealand Warriors (Position: 14) 17 pts (-32), Gold Coast Titans (Position: 15) 16 pts (-67), Parramatta Eels (Position: 16) 12 pts (-145), Wests Tigers (Position: 17) 12 pts (-151).

Review

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Melbourne are still top of the ladder after Round 18, with a four-point lead over Penrith and a six-point lead over the Sydney Roosters and Cronulla-Sutherland.

The Storm overcame a tenacious Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval. The game turned early in the second half: with Melbourne up 16-12, Jahrome Hughes kicked for Will Warbrick’s wing, but Solomona Faataape was ruled to have impeded Warbrick and was sin binned. Grant Anderson and Sualauvi Faalogo scored with the Tigers down to 12, pushing the lead to 28-12. Faalogo’s second try was a beautiful 40-metre solo run off a scrum win, giving Melbourne a 40-22 lead.

Penrith beat Brisbane in a tight battle at Suncorp Stadium. The game lived up to the prime-time Friday night billing, with Brian To’o and Mitch Kenny giving Penrith enough breathing space after Brisbane led 6-4 at half-time. It’s Penrith’s fourth straight win over the Broncos and their fifth straight win against them at Suncorp Stadium.

The Sydney Roosters are third after a big win over St George Illawarra at Allianz Stadium. While Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ 307th game (the most in Eastern Suburbs/Sydney City/Sydney Roosters history) was marred by a sin bin, the Roosters still scored seven tries (Victor Radley, Dominic Young, Lindsay Collins, Angus Crichton, James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Sitili Tupouniua), scoring 28 unanswered points in the final 30 minutes. Sam Walker kicked seven goals from eight attempts.

There were two Golden Point thrillers on Saturday: Canterbury-Bankstown beating the NZ Warriors at Accor Stadium and Manly Warringah beating North Queensland at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Both games were decided by one-point field goals: Matt Burton for Canterbury (his second Golden Point field goal in two weeks) and Daly Cherry-Evans for Manly. Jason Saab scored a hat-trick as Manly led 18-6 early in the second half, while Scott Drinkwater kicked a two-point field goal for the Cowboys to send it into Golden Point. In Sydney, the Warriors led 12-6 (tries to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Marcelo Montoya) before Viliame Kikau tied the scores with 25 minutes left.

Newcastle stayed in touch with the top eight, beating Canberra at GIO Stadium. After three big home losses (40-0 vs Cronulla, 44-16 vs Sydney Roosters, 34-16 vs North Queensland), the Raiders were far more competitive against Newcastle. The Knights led 16-6 early in the second half (a double to Dane Gagai), but a brilliant solo try from Kaeo Weekes kept Canberra in the game. There were no points in the final 25 minutes as both sides made errors. But Canberra nearly stole the game in the final minutes through Xavier Saver – until the Bunker ruled that he’d knocked on.

The Gold Coast continued their mid-season revival, beating Cronulla at C.ex Coffs International Stadium, Coffs Harbour. While it’s probably too late to make finals in 2024, the Titans are building for 2025, leading 20-4 after 51 minutes (tries to Kieran Foran, Chris Randall, and Keenan Palasia) before surviving a Sharks comeback (tries to Daniel Atkinson and Nicholas Hynes).

Souths kept their faint finals hopes alive, beating Parramatta at CommBank Stadium. Jacob Gagai and Jack Wighton scored doubles for Souths: Wighton’s second try, a wonderful solo run from 15 metres out, would have excited Souths fans and given Raiders fans bittersweet flashbacks.

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Players Making Their NRL Debut

Jake Tago (Eels) vs Rabbitohs, 4/7/24 (25 years, 4 months, 24 days)
Charlie Guymer (Eels) vs Rabbitohs, 4/7/24
Leka Halasima (Warriors) vs Bulldogs, 6/7/27
Ethan King (Roosters) vs Dragons, 7/7/24

Key Stats

  • South Sydney Rabbitohs have won their past four matches against the Parramatta Eels at CommBank Stadium.
  • Blaize Talagi has scored in each of his past four matches for the Parramatta Eels.
  • Jack Wighton scored his 11th career double in moving to 78 career tries.
  • Jacob Gagai scored his 2nd career double.
  • The Gold Coast Titans ended a nine game losing streak against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks which dated back to July 15, 2017 when they won under Neil Henry 30-10 at CBUS Super Stadium.
  • Penrith Panthers have won their last four against the Brisbane Broncos, and their last five games against them at Suncorp Stadium.
  • Brian To’o has become the Penrith Panthers outright 5th leading try scorer with 75. Only Luke Lewis (89), Greg Alexander (100), Ryan Girdler (101) and Rhys Wesser (113) are ahead of him.
  • Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have won all three golden point matches since Cameron Ciraldo took the helm. All wins have come at Accor Stadium against the Warriors (6/7/24), Sharks (28/6/24) and Cowboys (2/4/23), with Matt Burton kicking the winning field goal on each occasion.
  • Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs recorded their first victory against the Bulldogs since August 19, 2018 when they won 27-26 at Accor Stadium.
  • Melbourne Storm have won their last seven matches against the Wests Tigers, including their last six by an average winning margin of 22.3 points.
  • Tryan Wishart’s 16 point haul against the Wests Tigers was his highest tally in his NRL career.
  • Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have won all three of their matches against North Queensland Cowboys at QLD Country Bank Stadium.
  • Scott Drinkwater kicked his first NRL career 2-point field goal, becoming the eighth player to do so.
  • Jason Saab completed his fourth NRL career hat-trick, his first since August 18, 2023 against the New Zealand Warriors.
  • Jared Waerea-Hargreaves became the Sydney Roosters’ most capped played with 307 games, passing Mitchell Aubusson’s 306 games (2007-2020).
  • Sydney Roosters scored 102 points against the St George-Illawarra Dragons in the 2024 regular season, conceding 30 points in total (60-18 ANZAC Day, 42-12 on 7/7/24)

Upcoming Milestones

  • Jamayne Isaako is 43 points away from 1,000 NRL career points.
  • Nathan Cleary is 51 points away from 1,500 NRL career points.
  • The following player is 1 try away from 50 NRL career tries: David Fifita.
  • The following players are 3 tries away from 50 NRL career tries: Luke Keary, Luke Brooks, Marcelo Montoya
  • The following players are 4 tries away from 50 NRL career tries: Kurt Mann, Mitchell Moses, Zac Lomax, Kotoni Staggs.
  • The following player is 5 tries away from 50 NRL career tries: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.
  • The following player is 2 tries away from 100 NRL career tries: Maika Sivo.
  • The following players are 5 tries away from 100 NRL career tries: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Tom Trbojevic, Cody Walker.
  • The following player is 9 tries away from 200 NRL career tries: Alex Johnston.

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