NRL: Tom Trbojevic stars for Manly while Panthers and Knights draw
Last Updated: 31/05/20 1:19pm
Tom Trbojevic finished with two tries and three assists as Manley Sea Eagles saw off the Bulldogs, while Newcastle and Penrith drew.
Manly Sea Eagles 32-6 Canterbury Bulldogs
Tom Trbojevic highlighted on Sunday what Australia's sports-starved fans had been missing as the NRL's gamble to become the first professional code to return following the COVID-19 shutdown appeared to pay off.
Manly full-back Trbojevic crossed twice and had a hand in three other tries as the Sea Eagles thrashed the Canterbury Bulldogs 32-6 at an empty Central Coast Stadium to end the first round of matches in the resumed season.
Manly's victory set up an enticing contest next Saturday when they face the Parramatta Eels, who secured a 34-6 victory over the Brisbane Broncos on Thursday and are undefeated after three games.
Trbojevic went over for his first try after three minutes after good work from Moses Suli. Twenty-two minutes later and Trbojevic accepted a sublime short-pass from elder brother Jake to cross for his second.
The Manly star was not done yet as he set up Brad Parker twice and Jorge Taufua for their tries.
The Bulldogs battled to finish their sets in the first half and went into the break scoreless, however, they managed a try in the 70th minute when Jake Averillo went over. However, it will be no consolation as they fell to their third straight defeat leaving them winless for 2020.
Penrith Panthers 14-14 Newcastle
An injury-ravaged Newcastle Knights fought back from 14-0 down to force their clash with the Penrith Panthers into extra time.
Viliame Kikau put the Panthers ahead before they were awarded an eight-point try after Luke Capewell was kicked in the face by Edrick Lee touching down their second try.
The Knights showed plenty of character though and gave themselves a fighting chance when Jacob Saifiti went over on the hooter for half-time.
A double from Bradman Best made it 14-14 with 12 minutes remaining but neither team could find the winning score before full-time or after 10 minutes of extra time.