Parramatta went down 14-4 to Cronulla, and a hip injury to Jarryd Hayne made a bad night worse for the Eels. (AAP: Daniel Munoz)
Parramatta’s start to the NRL season has slumped to a new low, losing star Jarryd Hayne to a hip injury during a 14-4 defeat to Cronulla.
Eels coach Brad Arthur will also be sweating on the status of his only other key recruit this season in prop Kane Evans, who failed to finish Saturday’s match due to a rib problem.
Parramatta have now lost their third straight match to start the year, ensuring they remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder in a year they were considered a top-four threat.
The last time Parramatta began with three straight defeats, they finished last in 2012.
For the Sharks, their first win of the year comes despite another unconvincing performance, as well as the absence of their own main playmaker in Matt Moylan, who had a hamstring injury.
However, coach Shane Flanagan could have another injury worry, with second-rower Jayson Bukuya coming off with a groin issue at a wet Olympic stadium.
Half-back Chad Townsend scored all 14 of the Sharks’ points courtesy of a try, and five goals from as many attempts.
He has now kicked 12 straight goals to begin the season.
Ill discipline again cost the Eels from the outset, giving away a penalty in a tackle in the 11th minute that allowed Townsend’s first penalty goal for the match’s opening points.
A Paul Gallen offload led to Townsend crossing for the first try five minutes later.
The Eels finally ended a 153-minute scoring drought that stretched back to round one when Kirisome Auva’a finished off a set piece in the 20th minute.
Hayne looked out of sorts not long after, seeking attention from the trainer following a kickoff and attempting to play on for a set before bowing out.
The Eels continued to struggle with a lack of self-control, handing Townsend consecutive penalty goals — the second for backchatting — to be down eight points at halftime.
The only points in a dour second half came from Townsend’s fifth goal in the 72nd minute.
The match was the second of a double-header on Saturday that drew a crowd of 25,106.
Jennings the star as Rabbits smash Manly
Robert Jennings scored a hat-trick for South Sydney in the Rabbitohs thumping win over Manly. (AAP: Daniel Munoz)
Rookie half-back Adam Doueihi has guided South Sydney to their first win of the NRL season with a 34-6 upset of Manly in the wet at the Olympic stadium.
In just his second game of first grade, the 19-year-old played a deft hand in difficult conditions to ignite his side’s season.
Before Saturday, the Rabbitohs had won just five of 20 games missing Adam Reynolds, however the Lebanon international put on a classy display to guide his side around the park.
The Souths wingers dined out with Robert Jennings — who had his best game in first grade — grabbing a hat-trick and Richard Kennar crossing for a double.
The Sea Eagles came back to earth with a thud following their 54-0 defeat of Parramatta just six days earlier as they simply failed to adapt to the conditions and continually turned over the ball while on the attack.
Daly Cherry-Evans had a night to forget, summed up when he was collared by George Burgess on the fifth tackle.
He also had a goalline grubber scooped up by Alex Johnston who ran 100 metres to score.
Meanwhile his opposite number Doueihi stood out as the cardinal and myrtle celebrated coach Anthony Seibold’s first win.
Douehi gave Seibold food for thought about what to do with him when Reynolds returns from a knee injury as early as next week.
After Souths led 14-0 at half-time, Doueihi straightened up the Souths attack before they put it through the hands for Jennings’ second.
And when he bombed high in the 55th minute, Tom Trbojevic came up with an uncharacteristic drop and Kennar scooped up the spoils to make it 24-6 and effectively kill off the game.
Souths prop Sam Burgess was also inspirational — on three occasions in the first-half he came up with a big hit or pounced on a loose ball to give his side possession inside the Manly red zone.
He also ran for 143 metres from 17 carries and made 26 tackles in a typically gutsy display from the Englishman.
Warriors get miracle comeback win over Raiders
Shaun Johnson kicked two field goals in 70 seconds at the death to give the Warriors a win over the Raiders. (AAP: Lukas Coch)
The Warriors have heaped more misery on Canberra, with a stunning final-minute field goal from Shaun Johnson securing a famous 20-19 win.
Down by seven points with four minutes to go at Canberra Stadium on Saturday, Issac Luke crossed for the New Zealand team’s third converted try before Johnson’s kicking heroics broke Raiders hearts.
After being on the losing end of 30-28 scorelines in the first two rounds — to the Titans in round one and to Newcastle last week — the Raiders led for the whole game until Johnson sunk the hopes of the home side with two one-pointers in 70 seconds to win the game without golden point.
The Warriors now go 3-0 for the first time in their history, while Canberra are winless ahead of trip to Manly next Saturday.
It was all the Raiders early, with hooker Siliva Havili crossing for the opening try in the seventh minute shortly after Warriors star Adam Blair was sent to the sin bin.
The home side’s momentum continued when they went up 12-0 as veteran Sia Soliola dished off to Elliot Whitehead for a superb try two minutes later to capitalise on the Warriors being a man down.
But the Raiders’ defensive woes continued when the Warriors scored through Peta Hiku in their first attacking opportunity with Blair still off the field.
Sam Williams ensured the Raiders led 13-6 at half-time when he slotted a field goal only seconds before the break.
Nick Cotric barged his way over in the corner early in the second half to put the Raiders up 17-6 after skipper Jarrod Croker pulled the ensuing kick wide.
Tohu Harris then crossed in the corner for the Warriors after 59 minutes to give them a sniff.