SYDNEY (AP) St. George Illawarra continued its winning form to remain atop Australia’s National Rugby League on the weekend while the tainted Melbourne Storm won their third of four matches since a salary cap scandal rocked the club.
The Dragons beat the Bulldogs 19-6 in front of 37,773 fans at the former Olympic stadium the biggest rugby league crowd in Sydney this season. The Dragons have eight wins and two losses in 2010 and lead the competition with 16 points, two clear of Penrith and the Gold Coast and four ahead of Manly and South Sydney.
Melbourne center Greg Inglis scored three tries to lead the Storm to a 17-6 win over the Canberra Raiders. Inglis scored all but one of the Storm’s points, converting two of his tries, as more than 12,000 fans booed the Storm at Canberra Stadium throughout the match.
The salary cap scandal Melbourne has exceeded the cap by an estimated $1.6 million in five seasons led to the Storm being stripped of its premierships from 2007 and 2009. The league has also prohibited the Melbourne club from accruing any competition points this season.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy shrugged off the reception from Canberra fans. “We can’t control that.
All we can do is control what we do on the field, and what we do during the week,” he said. “It’s probably not pleasant (for the players) but .
there’s not much use worrying about it.” On Sunday, winger Nathan Merritt scored three of South Sydney’s nine tries as the Rabbitohs beat the Wests Tigers 50-10, handing the Tigers their fourth straight loss.
The win kept the Rabbitohs, co-owned by actor Russell Crowe, in the top five. Penrith moved to equal second with the Gold Coast Titans with a 34-14 win over Cronulla.
Center Michael Jennings scored three tries for the Panthers. Akuila Uate scored three tries as the Newcastle Knights beat the Sydney Roosters 34-18 and the New Zealand Warriors ended a three-match losing streak with a 24-12 win over the North Queensland Cowboys.
Israel Folau, rumored to be heading to rugby union or Australian Rules football, scored two tries as the Brisbane Broncos beat the Gold Coast 28-6 in a local derby before 40,168 fans at Brisbane on Friday night. Manly can move level with the Titans and Penrith if it beats the six-place Parramatta Eels on Monday in the final match of the 10th round.