Melbourne Storm star Cameron Munster will miss at least three weeks due to a knee injury.

Munster suffered the injury during the Storm's 50-6 thrashing of the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL on Friday.

The Storm confirmed on Tuesday that the Australia and Queensland representative would be sidelined for at least three weeks.

"Scans have confirmed Cameron Munster suffered a grade-two medial tear during Friday night's round-seven win over the Warriors," a statement read.

"He will be sidelined for the next 3-4 weeks, making his likely return our round 12 clash with the Knights."

Fourth on the ladder, the Storm face the Sydney Roosters on Thursday before matches against the Canberra Raiders, Gold Coast Titans and Brisbane Broncos.

John Bateman will leave the Canberra Raiders at the end of the NRL season after being released from the final year of his contract.

The England international, 26, has been linked with the likes of the Canterbury Bulldogs and Wigan Warriors, the latter the club he left for the Raiders ahead of the 2019 season.

Bateman, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, thanked the Raiders, who said the forward was seeking other opportunities.

"The Raiders gave me an opportunity to come to Australia and play in the NRL and I've loved every moment playing for the club," he said.

"I'm doing everything I can to make sure I get back on the field as soon as possible and finish my last season with the Raiders on a high."

Raiders chief executive Don Furner paid tribute to Bateman for his contribution to the club.

"The club made the difficult decision to allow John to pursue other long-term options and as a result, 2020 will be his final season with the Raiders," he said.

"We're looking forward to John returning from his shoulder injury soon and finishing his time by helping us make the semi-finals again.

"John was fantastic in 2019, featuring in our first Grand Final appearance since 1994 and winning the Dally M for second rower of the year."

Ahead of facing the St George Illawarra Dragons on Friday, the Raiders are seventh on the ladder.

Bankwest Stadium will host three games in round eight of the NRL season after an inspection was carried out in response to concerns raised over the state of the field.

Sydney Roosters duo Victor Radley and Sam Verrills both suffered serious knee injuries during the first half of their team's 26-12 victory over St George-Illawarra Dragons last Friday.

However, following an independent examination of the playing surface, the venue has been cleared for use.

"We had two really unfortunate season-ending injuries there and no one ever wants to see that," NRL head of football Graham Annesley said.

"The fact they happened so close together did raise questions and the NRL acted quickly. By close of business that night we had organised an independent inspection of the field the next morning.

"That took place and the detailed report we received was an assessment across the field in many different points.

"They took readings for traction, firmness and any other gauge to determine the quality of a professional sporting field.

"All of those readings came back to an acceptable range. The Rugby League Players Association were in attendance for that and they were satisfied."

Annesley also confirmed that plans to replace the field have been moved forward, adding: "They started that process late last night. By the time we get to round eight this week it will effectively be a brand new surface."

Parramatta Eels against North Queensland Cowboys will kick off the action at the ground on Friday. 

Wests Tigers will then take on table-topping Penrith Panthers the following day, while the trio of fixtures at Bankwest Stadium will be completed on Sunday when the Canterbury Bulldogs meet the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Meanwhile, a number of clubs have been granted permission to play at their respective homes again.

Canberra Raiders are to host the Dragons at GIO Stadium, Gold Coast Titans will be back at Cbus Super Stadium for their clash with Cronulla Sharks and Manly Sea Eagles return to Lottoland to take on Newcastle Knights.

Wests Tigers piled on the misery for Canterbury Bulldogs as Cronulla Sharks continued their upward curve in Sunday's NRL action. 

Reimis Smith's try saw the struggling Bulldogs open the scoring at Bankwest Stadium but they failed to muster any further points following Jake Averillo's successful conversion.

The Tigers roared back to run out convincing 34-6 winners and move into the top eight. The final margin of victory would have been even greater had they not missed four kicks at goal during the rout.

Still, Tommy Talau and David Nofoaluma both crossed twice - the former had never previously registered a try in the competition - to make sure Michael Maguire's side recorded back-to-back wins for the first time in 2020.

In the early game, Cronulla Sharks made it three wins out of four outings in June by crushing Manly Sea Eagles. 

Shaun Johnson was influential in the 40-22 victory, setting up two of his side's seven tries as well as kicking six goals. Sione Katoa crossed twice for the Sharks, who were winless at the start of the month. 

Addin Fonua-Blake scored two of Manly's four tries but the Sea Eagles struggled without absent trio Tom Trbojevic, Dylan Walker and Moses Suli.

Kevin Walters has signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him as head coach of Queensland through the 2021 State of Origin series.

Having initially won his first two series against New South Wales with the Maroons, Walters has overseen back to back defeats in 2018 and 2019.

However, the Maroons have opted to go with stability rather than change direction under a new coach.

Walters said: "I believe that the Maroons are in a position of strength and I am excited about the future of our Origin team.

"While I am pleased to get the contract talks finalised for next year, my focus is on the 2020 series in November."

The 2020 State of Origin series was originally scheduled to begin on June 3 with the opening game at Adelaide Oval.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the NRL season, the series was rescheduled and the three matches will be held on consecutive weekends from November 4.

 

Clinton Gutherson stepped up in the absence of the injured Mitchell Moses for Parramatta Eels, sealing a 25-24 victory over Canberra Raiders in a thrilling golden-point finale. 

After Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad's late double forced extra time, Parramatta full-back Gutherson succeeded in slotting through a one-pointer with his third opportunity after Jack Wighton was penalised for a knock-on. 

The responsibility fell to Gutherson after Moses sustained a lower leg injury in the first half on Saturday, a day after Sydney Roosters duo Victor Radley and Sam Verrills suffered ACL damage while playing at the same ground. 

Canberra came from behind to lead into half-time, with Elliott Whitehead touching down after a blatant forward pass from Jarrod Croker in the build-up was missed. 

Ray Stone and Michael Jennings crossed before Maika Sivo scored his 26th NRL try in his 32nd appearance to seemingly put the Eels out of reach, but Nicoll-Klokstad went over twice in as many minutes to keep the Raiders alive. 

However, Gutherson's golden point drop goal ensured Parramatta got the win that sent them back to the top of the standings. 

Brisbane Broncos' dismal form continued as they succumbed to a fifth straight defeat, going down 30-12 to Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp Stadium. 

Brisbane were booed off when they went into the break 22-0 down, with Ash Taylor and Anthony Don, whose second try came after intercepting Tesi Niu's pass while Moeaki Fotuaika was in the sin bin for a professional foul, impressing for the Titans. 

The Broncos lost Matt Lodge to an apparent knee injury and saw Corey Oates yellow carded for verbal dissent in the closing stages, but coach Anthony Seibold insisted he remains the right man for the job. 

Seibold told a post-match news conference: "I'm trying to stay in the present, I've got a five-year deal. I think I'm the right person to bring this group through but if the board think otherwise, or Paul White as CEO thinks otherwise, they'll tell me. 

"I'm not looking over my shoulder. I'll get up and go again in the morning. It's frustrating." 

North Queensland Cowboys ended a three-game losing streak by overcoming Newcastle Knights 32-20 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. 

Justin O'Neill, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Jake Clifford and Kyle Feldt crossed as the Cowboys scored 26 points without response in the first half. 

Coen Hess responded after Tex Hoy crossed for the Knights, who were unable to get close despite running in a further three tries in the second period. 

Super League will return for a shortened season on August 2, though games will be played behind closed doors at a small group of neutral venues.

No matches have been played in the competition since March 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with teams having played between four and seven games in the season.

There will be a further 15 rounds of fixtures - seven less than initially planned - with the top four heading into semi-finals ahead of Grand Final that it is hoped will take place in late November. The 2021 season will consequently start later than the traditional opening weekend of February.

Hull KR will take on Toronto Wolfpack in the first game following a 140-day hiatus, with St Helens against Catalans Dragons following before Huddersfield Giants meet Leeds Rhinos. All three fixtures will take place at the same, as yet unconfirmed, venue.

All other clubs will return to action the following weekend.

Super League executive chairman Robert Elstone said: "We are in the final stages of confirming where the games will be played, and we continue to work closely with [rights holders] Sky Sports to deliver the best possible broadcast schedule for our fans. Further details of this will be confirmed over the coming weeks.

"Above all we know that fans want to get back into grounds to support their teams. We will continue to follow government advice and work alongside the RFL [Rugby Football League], clinical advisors and ground safety personnel to ensure that when that time comes, Super League is ready to welcome back its fans at the first opportunity.

"Whilst the recent government announcements underline increasing optimism, the pandemic remains unpredictable. Our final fixture schedule needs to respond to opportunities that will unfold over the coming weeks and accordingly, full details of fixtures, venues and season structure will be confirmed as they become known.

"Finally, I would like to thank the fans and players for their patience, positivity and desire to see Super League back up and running post-COVID-19."

Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters overcame injuries to star players to record NRL wins over New Zealand Warriors and St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Storm ran in nine tries - three of which were scored by Suliasi Vunivalu - in a 50-6 thrashing of the Warriors.

However, they lost Cameron Munster to a knee ligament injury that is expected to keep him out for at least the next four weeks.

Meanwhile, the Roosters, who were already without James Tedesco and Josh Morris, had Victor Radley and Sam Verrills go off with suspected anterior cruciate ligament injuries in a battling 26-12 triumph over the Dragons.

Munster sustained his knee injury four minutes into the Storm's contest but continued until half-time before calling it a night, with Melbourne already 22-0 up.

As well as Vunivalu's treble, Paul Momirovski and Ryan Papenhuyzen both crossed twice while Brandon Smith and Josh Addo-Carr scored late tries to go along with Cameron Smith's 14 points from the boot.

Melbourne face the Roosters next, and they could meet a Sydney team depleted by injuries after Radley and Verrills both suffered possibly serious knee problems in the first half against the Dragons.

Sydney went 10-0 up through tries from Brett Morris and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves - the second coming after Tedesco's stand-in Joey Manu had collected his own kick and flicked a brilliant no-look pass to the try-scorer.

The Dragons fought back, though, courtesy of scores from Mikaele Ravalawa and Zac Lomax, who then slotted over a 46th-minute penalty to put them ahead.

Yet Brett Morris - the brother of Josh - completed a second-half hat-trick either side of a score from Luke Keary to move the Roosters up to second.

Nathan Cleary did not let a facial infection prevent him from helping Penrith Panthers go top of the NRL standings as they defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 18-12.

Half-back Cleary spent six hours in hospital on Thursday being treated for cellulitis and he wore a bandage between his eyes at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

It appeared to be affecting his goal-kicking as he missed the conversions for all four of Penrith's tries.

However, having scored one of those four-pointers himself, Cleary showed his value to a Panthers side that made it five wins from seven and moved above Newcastle Knights and Parramatta Eels in the standings.

Brent Naden was the first to go over, following a Cleary kick, before Stephen Crichton touched down to give Penrith an 8-0 advantage at the break.

Bayley Sironen burst through after the interval for Souths' first points but a patient Dylan Edwards found a through for the Panthers, before Cleary contributed a penalty and a late try.

By that point, James Roberts and Latrell Mitchell - who had an off night - were both in the sin bin, and Alex Johnston's score with just over a minute to go only made the margin of defeat smaller for the Rabbitohs.

The All Blacks are in talks with rugby league world champions Australia over a cross-code match later this year, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed.

December 5 has been mooted as the potential date for a 14-a-side meeting between rugby union powerhouse New Zealand and the Kangaroos.

Both codes are keen to generate as much revenue as possible, having been shut down for three months during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We've had an approach. We'll work that through and go through the proper process... if we feel it has merit to take further," NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

"It's one of the many different options ... we are considering.

"It's not new. The last time NZR had an approach was in 2017."

However, Robinson did state the "priority" for the All Blacks remains competing in international rugby union.

Australia coach Mal Meninga is keen for the game to be agreed to help the Kangaroos achieve "global recognition".

"I'm keen to make this happen. We want to play the All Blacks, hopefully, we can get the concept off the ground," he told the Courier Mail.

"This would take the Kangaroos to the world. There will be global recognition.

"We are still in talks but obviously news of this has got out.

"The best from our game versus the best from the New Zealand game … let's do it."

New South Wales coach Brad Fittler has extended his deal at the helm of the Blues to 2021.

Fittler has been in charge of the Blues since 2018 and last year led them to back-to-back State of Origin series wins for the first time since 2005.

The 48-year-old was pleased to extend his deal, with this year's Origin series set to be played in November.

"I am really grateful for the NSWRL [New South Wales Rugby League] board's strong show of faith in me and our Origin and pathways program," Fittler said.

"It also means my coaching future won't be a distraction throughout our preparation and defence of the Origin shield.

"I am really fortunate to have this job and it gives me great pride in seeing how much it unites the state.

"Given the year that the entire community has endured from droughts and bushfires to the COVID-19 pandemic, I can't think of a better way to end the year and lift community spirits. I can't wait for Origin."

NSWRL chief executive David Trodden said the board was delighted with Fittler's time in charge so far.

"Winning two from two series, the board obviously could not be happier with the way things are going with Origin and they were very pleased to extend Brad's contract when they met today," he said.

"They have every confidence the run of success will continue this year."

St Helens have confirmed they have reached an agreement for James Graham to return to the club when the Super League season resumes.

Graham had announced on Monday he was to return to his boyhood club, having left them to move to the NRL in 2012 after making over 200 appearances for Saints.

He contested two NRL Grand Finals with Canterbury Bulldogs, losing both, before a move to St. George-Illawarra Dragons ahead of the 2018 season.

However, his time with the Dragons is poised to come to an end.

"Given the recent media speculation and interviews conducted in Australia, St. Helens R.F.C. can confirm it has reached an agreement with James Graham to return to his boyhood club for the remainder of the 2020 Betfred Super League season," a St Helens statement read.

"The club hopes to have Graham in the squad in time for the resumption of the 2020 season, however this move is subject to formal paperwork being completed.

"A further announcement will be made in due course."

Melbourne Storm are "closely monitoring" the coronavirus situation in Victoria amid reports they are moving their NRL home game on Friday.

The Storm are due to host New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park in Melbourne, but Fox Sports reported they would move that game to Sydney due to COVID-19.

Victoria has been Australia's most affected state with coronavirus in the past six days, recording 106 new cases.

In a brief statement on Monday, the club said: "The NRL and Melbourne Storm are closely monitoring the situation in Victoria in response to the increase in positive COVID-19 tests in recent days."

Melbourne Storm are due to play their next two games at home, also hosting Sydney Roosters on July 2.

They are sixth in the NRL table after winning four of their opening six games.

Manly Sea Eagles head coach Des Hasler is not very concerned after Australia international Tom Trbojevic suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury.

Trbojevic scored one try and set up another as the Sea Eagles beat Canberra Raiders 14-6 in the NRL on Sunday.

However, he was forced off in the second half with the same injury he suffered twice last season.

Speaking after the win, Manly's fourth in six games, Hasler said: "It's definitely hamstring, and he'll get a scan tonight and we'll know more about it from the outcome.

"[I'm] not too concerned, earlier in the season might have been a bit more drama but there's still time to go. 

"He's just disappointed, he loves playing footy so that will be the hardest part for him. 

"We'll get him back, he'll be okay."

Manly's injury list was already lengthy before a game that also saw them lose stand-off Dylan Walker and centre Brad Parker just a few minutes into the game.

However, Hasler expects an injury boost for next weekend's game with Cronulla Sharks.

"We get a few back next week which is good," Hasler added.

"We're pretty sure we'll get Marty Taupau back and we'll also get Jorge Taufua as well."

Tom Trbojevic inspired Manly Sea Eagles to a 14-6 victory over Canberra Raiders but added to their injury woes.

The full-back opened the scoring after 13 minutes at Campbelltown Stadium and then fed Tevita Funa for the Sea Eagles' second score shortly before half-time.

Elliott Whitehead crossed nine minutes into the second half to halve the deficit before Trbojevic was forced off with a hamstring injury.

Manly entered the game minus prop Martin Taupau, centre Moses Suli and winger Jorge Taufua and lost stand-off Dylan Walker and centre Brad Parker just minutes into the contest.

Reuben Garrick's penalty made it 14-6 and the Sea Eagles succeeded in preserving that advantage but the injuries made it a pyrrhic win for the Sea Eagles, who have won four of their last five since losing their opener to Melbourne Storm.

Sunday's other game saw Cronulla Sharks claim only their second win of the season, defeating Canterbury Bulldogs 20-18.

Sione Katoa went over for a hat-trick for the Sharks, who added a fourth try through Bryson Goodwin, hanging on despite Christian Crichton's interception try for the Bulldogs setting up a grandstand finish.

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