Hazem El Masri, the Lebanese goal-kicker, added 10 points to his record NRL tally yesterday as the Bulldogs moved to within one win of a grand final berth, after coming from behind to beat a gallant Newcastle, 26-12, at ANZ Stadium in the qualifying final. Four conversions and a penalty from El Masri sealed the four-tries-to-two win, which eliminated the Knights from the finals.
The Bulldogs showed they could get the job done without their injured halfback Brett Kimmorley, but will no doubt welcome the week off, with the veteran playmaker in with chance of returning in a fortnight in what would no doubt be a massive boost to the blue and whites' premiership hopes. Israel Folau scored three tries to inspire Brisbane defeat Gold Coast Titans, 40-32, in their NRL qualifying final at Skilled Park yesterday..
The Titans trailed 30-10 early in the second half before scoring four of the next five tries to cut the deficit to just two points with eight minutes remaining. But an intercept try to Dave Taylor in the 76th minute sealed the thriller, giving the Broncos their sixth consecutive win. Celtic Crusaders final Super League match of the season against Castleford this afternoon will be John Dixon last in charge.
The Crusaders announced yesterday that they are releasing Dixon from his role of head coach, paving the way for the expected appointment of former Great Britain coach Brian Noble, who is out of contract with the Wigan Warriors at the end of the season and has not been offered a new deal. Dixon, who turns 58 in December, joined the Crusaders at their inception in 2006 after 10 years Brisbane Broncos.
* With agencies