NRL

Raiders not chasing Shaun Johnson

The halfback is off contract at the end of next season and the Warriors have told Johnson he is free to explore offers from other clubs.

Canberra chief executive Don Furner said the club has not made any approaches to Johnson.

News Corp Australia reported earlier this month that the Raiders had been making discreet moves to bring Johnson to Canberra for next season.

"What happens is the manager rings you up and says would you like Shaun Johnson and 'do you think he would be a good player at your club?' and you don't say no," Furner said.

Holmes uses app footage to plot Slater's demise

Holmes' sparkling form to end 2018 sees him on track to become one of the Telstra Premiership's elite No.1s, just as Slater wraps up a storied career that has helped redefine fullback play in the modern era.

The Sharks custodian has been as keen a student of Slater as any, with Cronulla's coaching staff preparing specific tutorial footage of the Melbourne maestro for Holmes to pore over.

"We have an analyser app the coaches show us that they cut up some videos for me to look at," Holmes said.

Sharks survive Penrith comeback

 

Down 18-0 after 30 minutes on Friday night, the Panthers mounted a memorable fightback but fell agonisingly short in front of 19,211 at Allianz Stadium.

A 75th-minute field goal to Sharks halfback Chad Townsend proved decisive as rival playmaker Nathan Cleary hooked his attempt to level the contest soon after.

The Sharks now meet arch-rivals Melbourne at AAMI Park next Friday night in what shapes as a mouth-watering preliminary final.

NRL final six confirmed

Not only will it be the first time the Dragons face the foundation club in a finals match since their merger with Illawarra in 1999, but Penrith also have a first finals date with Cronulla in the other semi.

The Panthers and Sharks entered the competition at the same time in 1967.

The Dragons will have to do so without skipper Gareth Widdop, who re-injured his shoulder in Sunday's elimination final win over Brisbane and is likely out for the rest of the finals.

Warriors on song ahead of finals

Blaring music and simulated crowd noise was the backdrop on Tuesday as the Warriors prepared for the atmosphere they expect against Penrith at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

Fit-again five-eighth Green introduced the idea, believing the Warriors need a reminder of what awaits in the play-offs, seven years after their last post- season experience.

"It's just a lot louder when you play finals footy. It was just something I thought would be of benefit," he said.

Warriors end playoff drought

A hat-trick to David Fusitu'a and masterful display from Shaun Johnson laid the foundations of a memorable win which ensures the Kiwi club enters the post- season for the first time since 2011.

Hot and cold performances over the last two months left the Warriors' fate on tenterhooks for an extended period but the Panthers never threatened to halt the party for 17,195 supporters.

A second successive loss under caretaker coach Cameron Ciraldo drops the Panthers from fifth to sixth and drives a dagger through their top-four hopes.

Warriors leaving it late to lock in NRL play-off spot

Relief will descend on Mt Smart Stadium if the eight-placed Kiwi outfit can see off Penrith Friday night, booking their first post-season campaign since 2011.

Lose and they could face a nerve-wracking final-round match against Canberra, presuming the ninth-placed Wests Tigers have kept themselves in contention by beating Manly on Thursday.

A run of yo-yo performances have stopped the Warriors from sealing the deal, including last week's dramatic 27-26 loss to Canterbury.

Canberra upset Roosters in NRL thriller

The Roosters could have gone a game clear on top of the ladder with a win at GIO Stadium.

Instead, their poor record in the nation's capital continued, where they haven't won since 2010.

The Roosters are locked in a three-way battle at the top of the table for the minor premiership with Melbourne and South Sydney.

The Storm are ahead because of their superior points difference.

Focused Warriors primed for NRL charge

Red-hot fullback Tuivasa-Sheck is pointing to last month's embarrassing 36-12 loss to the Gold Coast Titans as the wake-up he and his team needed.

The seventh-placed Kiwi club have since outplayed St George Illawarra and Newcastle to all-but book a finals berth.

At the forefront has been Tuivasa-Sheck, returning the football in devastating fashion.

Every defender beaten and metre chewed up is based on a more narrowed approach, he says, with the 25-year-old now realising he had spent too much energy on what he thought a captain should be doing.

NRL referee opens up on vile abuse after World Cup semi

Cecchin, who disallowed a try that would have given Tonga an upset win, has told The Sydney Morning Herald he was in an Auckland bar when police rang to tell him they had contacted him and several family members that had been targeted.

He was advised not the leave the hotel and told he would be picked up and taken to the airport.

On his return to Australia, he was picked up by the Australian Federal Police.

He also flicked through his phone to discover more than a thousand "vile" attacks, the likes of which he had never encountered across his entire career.