Penrith’s Nathan Cleary suffered a potential injury setback in the 15th minute of Penrith’s clash against St George Illawarra ahead of State of Origin Game II. Cleary was part of the NSW team that lost Game I in Adelaide and his fitness will be critical to the Blues’ chance of saving the series in Brisbane. Penrith is hopeful that the halfback has suffered a low-grade strain, but scans on Monday will make the prognosis clearer. If Cleary is ruled out of the game, Brad Fittler and Greg Alexander will have to consider options, with Nicho Hynes, Mitch Moses, and Adam Reynolds as possible understudies.
Cleary looked sharp in the opening minutes of the game, setting up Brian To’o‘s try with a magnificent cut-out pass in the 11th minute after a Zac Lomax penalty. Mikaele Ravalawa responded for the Dragons just after the halfback limped off, however, with two tries in the first half, keeping the scoreboard ticking for the visitors.
In the second half, Crichton kicked a penalty for Penrith, and it was an end-to-end battle between the two teams. Touch judge Wyatt Raymond flagged for a knock-on by Dragons winger Mat Feagai, which resulted in a Sunia Turuva try. Lomax pegged Penrith back, but a Moses Leota try secured the victory with Crichton converting it and adding a last-minute penalty.
In other NRL games, North Queensland beat the Melbourne Storm as debutant Semi Valemei scored a hat-trick. Meanwhile, James Tedesco bounced back from a lacklustre State of Origin Game I performance to guide the Sydney Roosters to victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs.