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Origin depleted teams stand tall

Round 13 of the 2023 NRL premiership was a relatively low-key affair with just five matches on the docket, . 

Origin-depleted sides stand tall

The State of Origin disruption arrived in full force over the weekend, but the overwhelming majority of affected teams responded admirably to being stripped of their top players in Round 13.

The Dolphins, without Queensland duo Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Tom Gilbert, plus the suspended-again Felise Kaufusi, comfortably put away St George Illawarra 26-12 after keeping a clean defensive sheet in the second half.

Easily the most disappointing team of the round, the Dragons looked lost without Maroons gun Ben Hunt.

A North Queensland line-up coming off a horrific 66-18 loss to the Tigers and without four Origin trumps reclaimed some respectability in a 24-16 loss to an only modestly-impacted Parramatta. A late surge cut the deficit to two points before Mitchell Moses clinched the result in the dying stages.

Brisbane (see below) navigated the loss of Reece Walsh, Payne Haas, Patrick Carrigan, Thomas Flegler and Selwyn Cobbo brilliantly, carving out a 26-22 win over the 7.5-point favourite Warriors.

Canberra stayed within two points of the premiership front-runners with a gutsy 33-26 win over Souths, reclaiming the lead in the last 10 minutes despite the terrible incident that saw Corey Harawira-Naera taken from the field after a lengthy stoppage. But Souths, without Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray, Jai Arrow and an injured Campbell Graham, lost few admirers in a plucky performance, with Cody Walker laying on four tries.

The absence of Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom and Jake Trbojevic from Manly’s line-up was arguably the biggest obstacle faced by any side.

But there was some encouraging resolve – if not direction, poise and game-breaking class – in their 28-18 defeat to a Newcastle side that did everything possible to keep the Sea Eagles in it.

The NRL ladder remains as tense and tenuous as ever, with four teams tied for first, three teams locked one win back in equal-fifth, and eighth and 14th separated by a mere two points.

Warriors’ home soil hoodoo

The Warriors’ commitment to showing they are truly New Zealand’s team is admirable, but Saturday’s experience in Napier the results throughout their history may encourage them to shelve the travelling roadshow idea.

And it’s nothing to do with the horde of pitch invaders at a sold-out McLean Park.

The club’s record at alternate Kiwi venues – where they universally enjoy vociferous support – is appalling beyond belief or logic. Playing in New Zealand away from Mt Smart, the Warriors boast just nine wins and a draw from 33 matches.

McLean Park became the eighth of nine total grounds in Aotearoa that aren’t Mt Smart where the Warriors have lost the inaugural fixture.

Maybe it’s the pressure of a big occasion with matching expectations and atmosphere, or increased community responsibilities in the lead-up. But on Saturday the rejuvenated Warriors were the least Webster-esque they’ve appeared in 2023: error-prone, inconsistent, un-clinical and lacking defensive intent.

The choice to take a game to a new centre after three years holed up in Australia (and with only three games in Auckland during the first 12 rounds) was a peculiar one. Meanwhile, Wests Tigers are taking their Round 24 home game against the Warriors to Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium…where the Warriors are 0-4.

Statement game of NRL Round 13

It wasn’t exactly the ‘Baby Broncos’ of 2002, but Brisbane’s 26-22 upset of the Warriors in Napier – only the fourth time they’ve left Queensland this season – was dripping with character.

From Tristan Sailor’s stellar club debut at fullback to winger Deine Mariner’s try double and metre-eating efforts, and big performances up front from Keenan Palasia and Corey Jensen, the Broncos’ State of Origin stand-ins were outstanding.

But a scheming, probing Adam Reynolds was the architect of a result where the scoreline flattered the losers after a withering late fight-back.

It’s a win essentially worth more than two points, while it keeps the Broncos in a share of top spot and edged them up to $6.50 in title betting. There’s some tough games coming up days after Origin, but it’s the only time they will be prevented from having their rep stars on deck – their long-awaited first two byes are scheduled before games two and three.

Raiders, Dolphins inch closer

Given seven teams had a bye, unsurprisingly there was minimal movement in the title market. But the Broncos shortened again slightly, the Eels edged ahead of the Roosters into the sixth line of betting, and regular fluctuators the Raiders and Dolphins made up significant ground on the leading pack. The Sea Eagles’ price blew out by more than they shortened by a week earlier, while fellow losers the Warriors and Cowboys also eased off. The Knights had their price slash by a third and the Dragons now occupy the last line in the market.


Penrith Panthers$3.00$3.00
South Sydney Rabbitohs$4.50$4.20
Brisbane Broncos$6.50$7.00
Melbourne Storm$7.00$7.00
Cronulla Sharks$8.50$8.50
Parramatta Eels$19$20
Sydney Roosters$20$19
Canberra Raiders$34$46
The Dolphins$34$41
Manly Sea Eagles$61$34
New Zealand Warriors$61$56
North Queensland Cowboys$91$71
Gold Coast Titans$101$91
Newcastle Knights$101$151
Wests Tigers$151$151
Canterbury Bulldogs$201$251
St George Illawarra Dragons$301$301



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