SYDNEY (AP) Teenage halfback Brodie Croft kicked a field goal in extra time to give first-place Melbourne a 23-22 win over North Queensland in the National Rugby League on Saturday.
Playing in his first game of the season, the 19-year Croft helped give Melbourne a four-point edge over the Sydney Roosters, who were among eight teams with weekend byes.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Croft spent a lot of time at training this week practicing his field goals.
”He worked hard and he got rewarded for that tonight, and we got rewarded for it,” Bellamy said.
In the other Saturday match, the defending champion Cronulla Sharks overcame a 12-4 halftime deficit and scored a late try to beat the Wests Tigers 24-22, moving into third place, level on 22 points with the Roosters but behind on points-scored differential.
On Friday, Angus Crichton scored three tries and Alex Johnston added two as South Sydney recovered from 14 points down to overpower a depleted Gold Coast, ending a three-game losing streak.
The Rabbitohs trailed 20-10 at halftime but crossed for five unanswered tries in the second half to hand the Titans their fourth straight defeat.
The Gold Coast was missing 11 first-grade players due to injury and because of Wednesday’s second State of Origin game between Queensland and New South Wales in Sydney.
”Obviously, for the first 20 minutes, that was definitely not our style,” Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said. ”But they stuck at it, worked hard together and were able to dig their way out of it.”
Parramatta plays St. George Illawarra on Sunday to conclude an abbreviated 15th round due to the Origin match. New South Wales leads the three-match series 1-0.
Brisbane, Canterbury, Newcastle, Penrith, Canberra, Manly and the New Zealand Warriors joined the Roosters with weekend byes.