RugbyL: Big three lift Storm over Knights

Melbourne's big three Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith once again stepped up as the defending National Rugby League champions downed Newcastle 23-10 on Sunday.

Second-half tries from skipper Smith and Test fullback Slater helped the Storm claim the two points to move to third behind the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney.

A pinpoint chip-kick from Test scrum-half Cronk set up Slater to score and give his side a lead they never relinquished. Cronk's drop goal seven minutes from time extended the advantage before prop Bryan Norrie dived over in the final minute to give the Storm a comfortable win.

South Sydney joined the Roosters on level points at the top of the standings with a strong second-half display to down Manly Sea Eagles 22-10 in Gosford on Friday.

Adam Reynolds and Greg Inglis breathed new life into South Sydney's hopes of finishing top after the regular rounds with a brilliant second-half display after Manly had led 10-6 at halftime and dominated the opening 15 minutes of the second period as they chased their seventh successive win.

The Roosters get the chance to snatch back their two-point competition lead against Wests Tigers in the final match of the 23rd round on Monday.

Canterbury Bulldogs winger Sam Perrett scored a hat-trick of tries to sink Canberra 28-16 at Canberra Stadium on Saturday for the Bulldogs to move into fifth place.

The Bulldogs' Josh Morris was brilliant at fullback for the injured Ben Barba, scoring the first try of the match and assisting Perrett in his triple.

NSW State of Origin prop Andrew Fifita completed a thrilling Cronulla fightback with a last-minute try delivering the Sharks their first win in Wollongong since 1989 with a 22-18 defeat of St George Illawarra on Saturday.

Seemingly down and out Fifita followed up a Todd Carney kick to score the clinching try with 54 seconds left.

Gold Coast Titans were beaten 22-10 by North Queensland at Townsville and fullback Josh Hoffman inspired Brisbane to a 22-12 win over lowly Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.

The New Zealand Warriors were beaten 28-24 by Penrith in Auckland on Sunday to drop to 12th, two points outside the top eight, with three rounds to the playoffs.