NRL 1 year ago

Five best NRL games of 2016

  • Five best NRL games of 2016

    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Jordan Rapana of the Raiders celebrates after scoring a golden point try during the round 17 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Newcastle Knights at GIO Stadium on July 3, 2016 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Throughout every NRL season there are plenty of fantastic matches, and some that are just music to the ears of neutral rugby league fans.

With just four rounds remaining before this season's finals series, we take a look back at the five best NRL games so far this season.

Round 4: Brisbane Broncos 21-20 North Queensland Cowboys

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It was the grand final replay everyone was waiting for, and boy did it deliver.

After the heartache of losing last season's grand final to the Cowboys courtesy of a Johnathan Thurston field goal, the Broncos got some redemption in this clash as Anthony Milford was the hero.

Milford's field goal in the 84th minute capped off a brilliant game, with this rivalry quickly becoming one of the most closely fought in the league.

The Broncos lead at half time 12-6, but the Cowboys snatched the lead for the first time in the 71st minute after second half tries to Michael Morgan and Ethan Lowe.

James Roberts hit back for the Broncos five minutes from time and Corey Parker was on hand to nail the conversion and wrestle back the advantage.

Thurston sent the game into the extra period with a penalty goal in the final minute, but Milford's 40-metre field goal will go down as the match winning play after an enthralling 85 minutes.

Round 10: Melbourne Storm 15-14 North Queensland Cowboys

After selling a home game up to Suncorp Stadium to facilitate an NRL double header at the famous rugby league ground, the Storm kicked the night off in style with this close win over the Cowboys.

 With injuries beginning to get on top of the Storm at this point of the season, Craig Bellamy' men pulled out a stunning victory, with the veteran coach labeling it the best performance he's seen in recent memory.

An early try to Gavin Cooper gave the Cowboys the lead, before Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor found the line to send the Storm in on top at the main break.

Michael Morgan scored in the 54th minute, and when Johnathan Thurston converted the try the scores were locked at 14-14.

Intensity lifted and both defences cracked down in search of forcing an error, and when Smith was in range with 10 minutes to go, he put the ball over the black dot to give the Storm a one-point lead.

Melbourne would hold out North Queensland to record their sixth straight win at Suncorp Stadium, in a game that at the time had all the makings of a potential grand final match.

Round 14: Cronulla Sharks 13-10 North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys make this list for the third time, but unfortunately for North Queensland supporters it doesn't get any better, as they lost yet another thriller.

This clash at the time was touted as one of the games of the season, and both sides lived up to the billing during this fiery clash.

Antonio Winterstein opened the scoring early and Johnathan Thurston extended the lead to eight after the conversion and a penalty goal, but it was then time for Valentine Holmes to work his magic.

Holmes intercepted a Michael Morgan pass and ran the length of the field, turning Cowboys fullback Lachlan Coote inside out on his way to the try line.

Thurston added a penalty goal in between two from James Maloney, and the scores were locked at 10-10 with 14 minutes to go.

Maloney gave the Sharks the lead with a field goal six minutes from time, and sealed Cronulla's ninth win in a row with a penalty goal in the dying seconds.

Round 17: Canberra Raiders 29-25 Newcastle Knights

These two sides played out the season's first draw way back in Round 3, yet somehow this was their most exciting game of the season.

Newcastle jumped out to an early 22-0 lead inside 25 minutes, and were on track for just their second win of the season.

Blake Austin scored on the stroke of half-time to put the home side on the board, and they would pick up from there after the main break.

Tries to Jack Wighton and a double to Jarrod Croker leveled the scores, before a Blake Austin field goal in the 79th minute looked to have won the Raiders the game.

The Knights successfully worked a short kick-off to get the ball back, and seconds later Trent Hodkinson scored a field goal of his own to send the game into Golden Point.

Austin's 85th minute field goal attempt fell wide, but Jordan Rapana was on hand to judge the bounce of the ball and speed between Nathan Ross and Dane Gagai to plant the ball down to complete the Canberra comeback.

Round 21: Gold Coast Titans 18-18 Cronulla Sharks

It's amazing to think that a team that had won 15 in a row was being doubted as much as they were before this game, as the Titans hosted the Sharks to finish off Round 21.

Gold Coast themselves had been a surprise packet this season, and were sitting inside the top eight at the time of this contest.

The Titans were playing attractive football and were picked to trouble the Sharks, but very few would have predicted 90 minutes would have been played without a result.

Cronulla scored the opening two tries through Valentine Holmes and Jack Bird, before Chris McQueen got the home side on the board in the final minutes of the first half.

David Mead and Anthony Don found the line to swing the momentum in the Titans' favour, but the Sharks weren't about to give up their win streak so easily.

Andrew Fifita barged his way over the line with seven minutes remaining and James Maloney converted, with neither side scoring again in regular time and the game was set for an extra 10 minutes.

Maloney's field goal attempt in the 84th hit the left post, but that was the closest both sides would come, as the game ended in the season's second draw, and the Sharks dropped their first point since Round 3.

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