South Sydney Rabbitohs inflicted more pain on the beleaguered Brisbane Broncos despite the absence of Wayne Bennett with an emphatic 28-10 victory in the rain at ANZ Stadium.

Broncos coach Bennett was forced into isolation for two weeks on Thursday after breaching the NRL's biosecurity protocol with a trip to a restaurant.

The Bunnies were clearly not affected by Bennett not being present for the clash with his former club on Friday as they moved up to sixth place, with Jason Demetriou filling in as coach.

Dane Gagai finished off a well-worked move to put the Rabbitohs in front and although the Broncos responded with a score from Herbie Farnworth, Adam Reynolds and Mark Nicholls crossed to give the home side a 20-6 half-time lead.

The fit-again David Fifita marked his return from injury with a try to give the second-bottom Broncos hope, but Tom Burgess finished at the other end and Reynolds made it four conversions out of four to complete the scoring.

It was another day to forget for Brisbane, with club legend Allan Langer earlier among three staff members to be stood down for breaching COVID-19 protocols.

New Zealand Warriors earlier ruined Manly Sea Eagles boss Des Hasler's 400th game as an NRL coach with a 26-22 victory at Lottoland.

Patrick Herbert grabbed a double as the Warriors got off to a storming start, leading 16-0 after 18 minutes, before withstanding a Manly fightback to move up to 11th.

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett and St George Illawarra Dragons prop Paul Vaughan will go into self-isolation amid coronavirus concerns.

Bennett and Vaughan breached NRL biosecurity protocols by dining separately at restaurants.

The pair have been placed in a 14-day "COVID Hold" and they will isolate for two weeks and must test negative for coronavirus before returning.

"We are living in extraordinary times and we must do everything in our power to ensure the health and safety of our players, staff and the general community," NRL acting chief executive Andrew Abdo said.

"This is a regrettable decision but today's actions will operate as an important reminder to our players and staff about the importance of strict adherence to the protocols.

"Our players and staff have made significant sacrifices to ensure the season can proceed. I have sympathy for the liberties they have had to give up and I am proud of how well the overwhelming majority have complied with our protocols.

"We have worked closely with governments, biosecurity experts and our clubs to ensure a successful and entertaining season and today's enforcement of protocols will ensure no risk to the playing groups or the general community."

The Rabbitohs and Dragons are battling to finish in the top eight and face the Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters respectively in round 13.

Alex Johnston scored a hat-trick as South Sydney Rabbitohs overcame a 16-point deficit to defeat St George-Illawarra Dragons 32-24 in Thursday's NRL clash.

The Rabbitohs were 16-0 down when Matthew Dufty ran in his second try of the game after 16 minutes either side of Euan Aitken's score at the Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, but Wayne Bennett's side came back in style.

Four unanswered tries from Cody Walker, Johnston and Latrell Mitchell levelled the scores by half-time.

Johnston's second score continued the Rabbitohs' momentum after the restart, though Tyson Frizell latched onto a grubber to restore parity with 25 minutes remaining.

Yet the Rabbitohs had the bit between their teeth – Walker helping himself to a second before Johnston raced over to complete his hat-trick after intercepting Tristan Sailor's sloppy pass.

Mikaele Ravalawa snatched a late consolation for the Dragons, but the visitors ultimately won with ease as they moved into the top eight.

Canberra Raiders rallied impressively to beat South Sydney Rabbitohs on Saturday, while there were also wins for Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters.

The Rabbitohs led 12-10 midway through the contest at a rain-soaked GIO Stadium, Dane Gagai and Adam Reynolds crossing for tries that the latter also converted.

However, the depleted Raiders - who lost Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad to a finger injury - shut out their opponents in the second half, allowing them to overturn the narrow deficit and claim an 18-12 victory.

After Nick Cotric and Jarrod Croker had grabbed tries in the opening half, Semi Valemei touched down in the NRL for the first time just before the hour mark. Ricky Stuart's side then stood firm in difficult conditions to prevail, meaning they move to fifth in the standings.

The Roosters are just above them after they triumphed 18-10 against the New Zealand Warriors, though the reigning champions made hard work of it at Central Coast Stadium.

Ken Maumalo and Eliesa Katoa scored tries as the Warriors led 10-6 at the break. However, Luke Keary and Joseph Manu went over to help the Roosters rally.

Cronulla sit seventh in the ladder after Shaun Johnson inspired the Sharks to a 28-24 triumph over the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The New Zealand half-back scored a try and kicked four conversions as the Sharks overcame injuries to Jesse Ramien and Chad Townsend, while Zac Lomax had 16 points for the beaten Dragons.

Following an incident in the game, the NRL announced bunker officials Steve Clark and Ben Galea had been dropped after incorrectly awarding a try to Cronulla's Jack Williams, who was ruled to have touched the ball down despite Matthew Dufty appearing to ground it first.

Manly Sea Eagles shocked NRL leaders Parramatta Eels with a 22-18 victory on Saturday despite the threat of a late comeback.

Brad Arthur's men trailed 22-4 at half-time after a careless start saw them concede three tries in the opening 16 minutes.

Martin Taupau capitalised on a mistake just two minutes in before Daly Cherry-Evans and Daniel Levi made the most of some slack defending.

Michael Jennings got the visitors on the scoreboard 30 minutes in, but Joel Thompson's try a minute before the break put the Sea Eagles firmly in control.

The Eels then got the benefit of a contentious call, Waqa Blake running nearly the length of the field to score after a reprieve from the bunker, which seemed to put the Lottoland crowd on edge.

Michael Jennings burst through to score his side's third and George Jennings dotted down in the corner after an excellent offload, but there was not enough time for the league leaders to prevent just a second loss of the season.

St George-Illawarra Dragons produced an impressive comeback to beat Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 28-22 and deny interim coach Steve Georgallis a winning start.

Georgallis, who replaced Dean Pay this week, saw his side respond to a try from Matt Dufty 58 seconds in to lead 20-10 at half-time.

Euan Aitken finished from a good move involving Adam Clune and Dufty to extend the Dragons' early advantage, but Jason Marshall-King, Nick Meaney and Raymond Faitala-Mariner all went over to give the visitors the lead.

Jason Saab dragged the Dragons back into the contest after fumbling an earlier chance for a try, and Clune set up Dufty for his second to level the scores before Zac Lomax converted.

Corey Norman got the Dragons' fifth try with two minutes remaining and Lomax added the extras, leaving the Bulldogs four points adrift at the foot of the ladder.

Newcastle Knights survived a late fightback from South Sydney Rabbitohs to claim a 20-18 win at Bankwest Stadium.

The away side led 14-0 at the interval thanks to first-half tries from Enari Tuala, Kurt Mann and Kalyn Ponga, who had come in for criticism for his recent form.

Bradman Best touched down after a clever Ponga kick three minutes into the second half, but the full-back's third missed conversion appeared to give the Rabbitohs some hope.

Mark Nicholls and Damien Cook went over in the space of two minutes and Cook got his second from debutant Jaxson Paulo's kick, but the Knights held firm in the closing stages.

Dane Gagai plundered a hat-trick as the Rabbitohs saw off Wests Tigers in the NRL, while the Gold Coast Titans halted a wretched losing streak. 

For each of his three tries in South Sydney's 18-10 win at Bankwest Stadium, Gagai dashed in from close range on the right as the Tigers defence proved powerless to deny him the ball. 

Former Wests target Latrell Mitchell also played a starring role for the Rabbitohs, while James Roberts scored a stunning individual effort, crossing in the same corner where Gagai did all his damage. 

Gagai helped the hosts ease out to a 10-0 half-time lead. Roberts snaked his way through soon after half-time, before his team-mate put the Rabbitohs 18-0 in front just before the hour. 

Wests made a fight of the closing stages, tries from Josh Aloiai and Reece Hoffman helping them to reduce the deficit, but they could not claw their way back sufficiently. The Rabbitohs nudged above both their opponents and the Sharks to climb to seventh place. 

The fiery contest saw Mitchell and Wests rival Josh Reynolds, who were at loggerheads early on after a flash point, put on report. 

The Titans scored a 16-12 home win over the New Zealand Warriors, putting a stop to their 10-game run of defeats at Cbus Super Stadium. 

The game looked to be going the Warriors' way after tries from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Ken Maumalo inside the opening 10 minutes allowed them to open a 12-0 advantage. 

Yet the momentum would turn, Anthony Don soon trimming the Warriors' lead, before Sam Stone and Beau Fermor crossed in the second half, the decisive try from the latter arriving six minutes from time.

Addin Fonua-Blake was sent off for dissent as Manly Sea Eagles succumbed to a controversial 14-12 loss to Newcastle Knights, while Braidon Burns appeared to suffer a serious knee injury for South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

Prop Fonua-Blake was given his marching orders for verbally abusing referee Grant Atkins after video official Jared Maxwell reviewed the final play and found no infringements, prompting a furious reaction from the Sea Eagles. 

Tevita Funa had put a grubber kick in behind and was taken out by Bradman Best and Tex Hoy as he chased it down, with Andrew McCullough grounding the loose ball in the in-goal area. 

Fonua-Blake could be facing a suspension despite coach Des Hasler saying he apologised to Atkins. 

Despite the early loss of Edrick Lee to a wrist injury, Newcastle led 14-6 at half-time with McCullough and Kurt Mann crossing either side of Daly Cherry-Evans' score upon returning from the sin bin for a professional foul. 

Manly dominated the second half and thought they had taken the lead when Cherry-Evans dotted down after Cade Cust went over. However, the captain's try was chalked off due to a knock-on by Danny Levi. 

The Sea Eagles felt they deserved a penalty try on the last tackle and were incensed after being consigned to a second successive defeat that leaves them outside the top eight. 

In Sunday's other game, the Rabbitohs defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 26-10 in a game that saw Burns sustain a gruesome-looking right knee injury. 

Alex Johnston and Marcelo Montoya traded tries in the first half, with Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Jaydn Su'a going over as the second half remained tight. 

Cody Walker helped make it a two-score game, before Dane Gagai intercepted a Montoya pass and raced the length of the pitch to clinch the victory in the final minute. 

Burns landed awkwardly in a tackle as he tried to put the match beyond doubt beforehand and required medical attention. He was able to get back to his feet and left the field on a cart. 

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.

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.

Wayne Bennett refused to reveal why Latrell Mitchell was so emotional after South Sydney Rabbitohs dismantled New Zealand Warriors on Friday, while Penrith Panthers beat Melbourne Storm. 

Mitchell was outstanding as the Bunnies thrashed the Warriors 40-12 to secure back-to-back victories in the NRL. 

The full-back set up tries from Campbell Graham and Alex Johnston, with Adam Reynolds and Braidon Burns also crossing in the first half at Bankwest Stadium. 

Cody Walker, Damien Cook and Alex Johnston dotted down in the second half of a one-sided encounter, which saw David Fusitu'a and Agnatius Paasi score for the Warriors. 

Mitchell, who looked fortunate to get away with a high shot on Fusitu'a, was emotional on the field after the final whistle and was seen in tears in the dressing room, but Bennett was in no mood to explain the reason. 

The Rabbitohs coach told reporters: "No I'm not going to tell you why. It's got nothing to do with you, to be honest with you.

"He may well have been [upset] but it's got nothing to do with you. The changing room for me has always been a sacred place and unfortunately the game gave away a lot of our rights to those places, but in my mind and in my head, it's a place where we can go and be who we want to be and not have to answer anyone."

Penrith later moved above the Storm to go third with a 21-14 victory at Campbelltown Stadium.

Stephen Crichton, Brian To'o and Viliame Kikau touched down, while Nathan Cleary scored nine points with the boot in an influential display for the Panthers.


Melbourne Storm handed Newcastle Knights their first loss of the 2020 NRL season, while Latrell Mitchell's fine first half led South Sydney Rabbitohs to victory against Gold Coast Titans.

The Storm's 26-12 success against the Knights at Central Coast Stadium means leaders Parramatta Eels are the only remaining undefeated team in NRL this year.

Ryley Jacks went over after just three minutes before Cameron Smith set up first-half tries for Suliasi Vunivalu and Tino Faasuamaleaui - his first in the competition - to send Melbourne into the interval with a commanding 18-2 lead, but the Knights responded well with Bradman Best and Edrick Lee making it a one-score game.

However, Cameron Smith slotted through a penalty after David Klemmer was pinged for an early tackle and Brandon Smith somehow barrelled through three defenders with three minutes remaining to clinch the victory.

In Saturday's first game, the Rabbitohs were 32-12 winners over the Titans at Bankwest Stadium thanks in large part to Mitchell.

The former Sydney Roosters full-back caught the ball and dotted down in the third minute after Damien Cook's pass bounced off his chest to get Souths up and running.

Phillip Sami briefly restored parity before Alex Johnston crossed to restore the Rabbitohs' lead. Mitchell then tipped a pass to Dane Gagai to race in at the corner and saw Anthony Don's failure to gather his grubber kick enable Braidon Burns to put the Bunnies well on top.

The Titans were unable to gain momentum despite Bryce Cartwright's 44th-minute score, with Gagai's second try followed by a conversion from Adam Reynolds, who finished the game with 12 points.

Canberra Raiders got back to winning ways by coming from behind to defeat Wests Tigers 14-6 in Ricky Stuart's 400th game as an NRL coach.

The Raiders were trailing to Luke Brooks' uncovered first-half score, but Jack Wighton's try five minutes following the restart was converted by Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric dived over after Russell Packer was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul on Jordan Rapana just five minutes after coming on.

Moses Mbye reduced the deficit from the tee but, after Packer was placed on report for a high tackle upon his return, Croker restored Canberra's eight-point cushion as they moved up to second.

South Sydney Rabbitohs will have a crowd for their round five and six NRL matches at Bankwest Stadium amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rabbitohs are offering ticketed members access to their clashes with Gold Coast Titans (Saturday) and New Zealand Warriors (June 19).

However, only 500 people are allowed inside the stadium, including members, corporate partners and VIPs, venue associates and the NRL.

"Government regulations regarding social distancing and event capacities are still in play," part of a club statement read.

"For this reason, spots at the games at Bankwest Stadium are extremely limited."

Australia has successfully flattened the coronavirus curve, with more than 7,200 confirmed cases and 102 deaths.

The Rabbitohs have lost three of their opening four games of the NRL season.

Penrith Panthers have made their best start to a season since 1997 after beating New Zealand Warriors 26-0 on Friday to go top of the NRL ladder.

The inexperienced half-back pairing of Matt Burton and Jarome Luai shone in the absence of the suspended Nathan Cleary to ensure the Panthers remain unbeaten after four rounds.

Burton touched down twice in the opening 22 minutes at Campbelltown Stadium, scooping up a loose ball following a high kick for his first try before profiting again after blocking Blake Green's kick.

Luai collected his own kick to add a third try and second-half scores from Josh Mansour and Billy Burns completed the rout.

While Penrith have enjoyed a fine start to the season that has included three wins and a draw, South Sydney Rabbitohs' disappointing 2020 continued as they were beaten 22-8 by Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park.

In the battle of the full-backs, Ryan Papenhuyzen's try put Melbourne on the board before Latrell Mitchell, playing his 100th NRL game, responded with a tremendous pass that enabled Alex Johnston to go in.

Suliasi Vunivalu restored the Storm's lead after brilliant work from Cameron Munster, though, and after Adam Reynolds and Cameron Smith traded penalties, Josh Addo-Carr collected Munster's kick to increase the home side's lead.

Justin Olam's try three minutes from time completed the scoring as the Bunnies, who remain without a victory in Melbourne in 16 attempts, slipped to a third straight loss.

James Tedesco scored a brilliant solo try as Sydney Roosters beat South Sydney Rabbitohs 28-12, while North Queensland Cowboys also resumed the NRL season with a derby win on Friday.

The Roosters lost their first two games before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus in March, but they were too good for their city rivals behind closed doors at Bankwest Stadium.

Daniel Tupou dotted down after rising to take a kick from Luke Keary just three minutes in and Kyle Flanagan went under the posts to round off a slick move as the Roosters turned on the style.

Cameron Murray got the Rabbitohs on the board with a try five minutes before the break, but Tedesco showed great power and pace to go on his own for a score just after the interval.

Boyd Cordner crashed over to give the two-time defending champions further breathing space before Tom Burgess forced his way over to give the Bunnies hope on the hour mark.

Trent Robinson's side had the final say, though, Jake Friend racing onto his own kick to finish and Flanagan converting to take his tally to 12 points in a second loss of the season for Souths.

It does not appear the break did Gold Coast Titans any good as they were thrashed 36-6 by the rampant Cowboys.

The Titans have now lost 14 in a row after they were blown away at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the lively Valentine Holmes laying on three of six tries.

Reece Robson and Ben Hampton scored doubles in a second victory out of three for North Queensland.

Australia and New South Wales representative Cameron Murray has extended his contract with the South Sydney Rabbitohs until at least the end of 2025.

Murray has played 62 NRL games for the Rabbitohs since making his debut in 2017, while he featured for the Blues three times last year and made his first appearance for the Kangaroos.

The 22-year-old lock extended his deal with South Sydney for another four seasons, it was announced on Wednesday.

"It's very exciting for me and a great relief to have a large chunk of my future sorted now, and to know it will be at this club that I love is very special for me and my family," Murray said.

"I count my lucky stars at how everything has fallen into place and I have no intention of letting this go or slackening off. It means way too much to me, to play for this club and to represent it every day.

"For almost the next six years at least I will be a Rabbitoh and the journey is really only just starting for me.

"It's very exciting and I can't wait to represent our members on the field once again, starting this Friday night against the Roosters."

The Rabbitohs, who won one of their opening two games of the NRL season, will resume their campaign against the Sydney Roosters on Friday.

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