St George beats Manly to keep NRL playoffs bid on track

SYDNEY — St. George Illawarra withstood a Manly fightback to win a thrilling National Rugby League match 52-22 on Sunday to keep the team in contention for the playoffs.

St. George opened a 30-0 lead before Manly rallied by scoring 22 points in a 12-minute spell at the start of the second half to cut the lead to eight points. But St. George then scored 22 points of its own to win convincingly.

The team remained eighth in the last playoff place, two points behind Parramatta, which edged Wests 18-17 in Sunday's other match.

With six regular season rounds remaining, Melbourne leads the NRL after overcoming injuries to stars Cameron Smith and Billy Slater to beat Canberra 20-14 on Saturday.

Canberra's loss was a major setback to its playoffs hopes, dropping it back to 10th place, two matches outside the top eight.

The Roosters' 28-4 win over Newcastle left it in second place, two points behind Melbourne and two points ahead of Brisbane, who beat the Bulldogs 42-12. Brisbane took charge of the match when it scored 18 points in a seven-minute spell spanning halftime.

Cronulla beat Souths 26-12, and North Queensland beat the New Zealand Warriors 24-12 to join the Broncos in fourth and fifth places respectively, separated by points differential.

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