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Sydney Roosters easy winners while other leaders lose late in National Rugby League season

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SYDNEY - The Sydney Roosters ran in eight tries Sunday to beat the New Zealand Warriors 46-12 and consolidate their place among the top four in the National Rugby League after two of the other leading teams lost their matches.

Playing at Auckland, the Roosters moved into third place, two behind Manly and level on points with South Sydney, with two regular-season rounds remaining.

Kyle Feldt scored two first-half tries as North Queensland beat South Sydney 22-10, while Parramatta produced one of its best second-half performances of the season to come from behind and beat Manly 22-12. Trailing 12-0, the Eels scored four unanswered tries in the second half.

Fifth-place Canterbury won its second consecutive match to all but secure its place in the finals after a 30-10 win over West Tigers and Brisbane has a slim chance of making the playoffs after a 48-6 win over Newcastle. The St. George Illawarra Dragons beat the Gold Coast Titans 34-6 to also keep their playoff hopes alive.

Fourth-place Penrith will have a chance to pull level with Manly on points when the Panthers play Melbourne to conclude the 24th round on Monday.

The weekend matches took the focus off Friday's decision to hand 12 present or past Cronulla Sharks players a one-year backdated ban for illegal supplements use at the club during the 2011 season. The Sharks lost 22-12 to the Canberra Raiders on Sunday and are likely to finish in 16th and last place this season.

Ending an 18-month investigation, Cronulla captain Paul Gallen and 11 others accepted the bans backdated to Nov. 21, 2013, meaning that most will miss only their remaining regular-season matches this season.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) said Cronulla operated a program in 2011 under which players were administered injections, pills and creams which contained banned peptides or growth hormones.

Use of such substances would usually carry a two-year ban under World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) protocols. ASADA instead elected for the more lenient backdated one-year ban because the players said they unaware the supplements were illegal, prompting criticism from athletes in other sport that the bans were too lenient.

ASADA and the NRL both said they were confident the deal would be maintained. The World Anti-Doping Agency said in a statement Sunday it will review the case.

"The World Anti-Doping code allows for flexibility in relation to matters of no significant fault and the commencement date of sanctions," the statement said. "WADA is comfortable with the principles behind these issues being used in cases, and will review the way they have been applied to the facts in due course."

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