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Parramatta beats Cantebury to further tighten race among top teams in National Rugby League

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SYDNEY - The Parramatta Eels beat the Canterbury Bulldogs 22-12 Sunday to help keep the National Rugby League's top eight teams a close-knit group after 14 rounds of the season.

The Bulldogs could have moved from sixth to second place with a win, but instead will remain in sixth.

Penrith is in first place with 20 points, level with idle Manly. There are five teams right behind with 18 points, including the Bulldogs.

The Sydney Roosters also stayed among the leaders with a 29-12 comeback win over the beleaguered Newcastle Knights.

The Knights came into the game on a six-match losing streak and on the same day that the NRL announced it had taken ownership of the club from financially troubled Australian mining magnate Nathan Tinkler's Hunter Sports Group.

Veteran Knights coach Wayne Bennett said his last-place side, missing four key starters, fought harder than the score indicated.

"There hasn't been a game all year we haven't been in. We just keep finding a way to get out of it," Bennett said. "We were doing so well but gifted them two tries and it's gone from 12-6 up to 18-12 down and made it hard after that."

Penrith stayed in first place with an 18-14 win over St. George Illawarra, its fifth win in a row. Dean Whare scored two tries for the Panthers.

South Sydney, led up front by all four Britain-born Burgess brothers, easily beat Wests Tigers 32-10. Sam and George Burgess starred for the Rabbitohs in gaining meters alongside brothers Tom and Luke while winger Alex Johnston and centre Kyle Turner each scores two tries.

Sam Burgess set up the match-sealing try with an offload close to the line for a 54th-minute try to Nathan Merritt that put Souths ahead 24-6 after the Rabbitohs led 12-0 at halftime.

The Gold Coast Titans host Melbourne on Monday to complete the abbreviated 14th round due to Wednesday's second State of Origin match at Sydney. New South Wales won the first match 12-8 as the Blues attempt to prevent Queensland from winning a ninth straight series.

Brisbane, North Queensland, New Zealand Warriors, Canberra and Cronulla joined Manly in having the weekend off.

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