John Hopoate faces a judicial hearing that could be career-ending, Andrew Johns is going for scans on his hip and back - which means he is no test candidate - and the Kiwi selection opportunities are looking good after round two of the NRL.

Penrith went down 28-16 to the Roosters yesterday, the Cowboys proved they will be in the playoffs with a 24-12 defeat of reigning champs the Bulldogs and the Warriors' win in Brisbane suggests they are capable finals contenders.

The Storm lead the competition thanks to points differential after they backed up the round-one demolition job on the Knights with an even better effort to crush the Dragons 46-12 at Wollongong.

The Panthers went down 28-16 to the Roosters in a thriller at Penrith yesterday with Kiwi contenders Tony Puletua, Joe Galuvao and Frank Pritchard from the Panthers and Roosters prop Jason Cayless all strong and former Junior Kiwi Iosia Soliola not out of place in his second NRL match.

It was intercept tries that killed the Panthers, the winger they trained, Amos Roberts, grabbing the first off a pass from Luke Priddis and Ryan Cross taking a second off Rhys Wesser.

Panthers prop Ben Ross pulled off one of the cover tackles of the year - already - when he caught up with Roosters centre Cross after a third intercept, a finger-tip to an ankle preventing another runaway.

The intensity and speed were reminiscent of game one when the Bulldogs took it to St George.

Manly were 24-0 up over the Sharks at Brookvale Oval yesterday when Hopoate flew out of the line to collar Cronulla prop Keith Galloway in the head, while airborne.

Galloway is the tallest Shark at 196cm and was carried off on a stretcher, bleeding from an ear cut, and Hopoate will go to the judiciary this week.

The Sharks scored quickly to make it 24-16 at the break but then did their own self-destruction show with David Peachey then Ryan McGoldrick sin-binned, Sea Eagles captain Michael Monaghan scoring three tries as they won 46-20.

The Newcastle Knights are in serious injury trouble just two weeks into the season with their star halfback, Andrew Johns, requiring scans for a lower back-hip flexor injury that marred his game during a 39-14 hiding at Canberra on Saturday. Johns had felt twinges in mid-week training and was noticeably limping during Saturday's game but had to play on - the Knights have 11 others already out through injury.

The problem is not thought to be related to the neck drama that threatened to end his career. But after a 48-10 opening round loss to Melbourne, the Knights were more than keen to get the bye next weekend in the hope some players will return, including half Kurt Gidley.

His older brother Matt played at five-eighth on Saturday, suffered a groin injury and is also on report for a high shot on Raiders skipper Simon Woolford. Wing Anthony Quinn revived an old shoulder injury.

Raiders fullback Clinton Schifcofske opened and closed the scoring with tries, five-eighth Jason Smith running a smart game for the backs and scoring himself.

The Storm continued their high-scoring ways to thump the Dragons 46-12 at Wollongong. The 9000-odd fans booed their side from the field at half and fulltime.

Halfback Matt Orford and fullback Billy Slater were in awesome form for the Storm, scoring two and three tries respectively.

Orford's second just before halftime involved nine runners and was an early season-highlight.

North Queensland emphasised their turnaround by dumping the Bulldogs, as they did in finals last year. Taking confidence from that game, the Cowboys targeted Kiwi wing Matt Utai with high kicks and took advantage of his off-night. Their five-eighth, Johnathan Thurston, forced an error from Utai in kick-return near the Dogs line and they led 12-6 at halftime.

The tail end of a cyclone lashed Townsville in the second half but high winds and bucketing rain did not detract from an intense game, the Cowboys holding onto the ball better and wing Ty Williams scoring off a flick-pass from Paul Bowman to seal the result.

Former Broncos prop Carl Webb and Kiwi sure-thing Paul Rauhihi provided good ground-gain while Thurston was outstanding at steering the game.

The upsets continued with Souths, last season's wooden-spooners, beating the Eels 49-26.

Luke MacDougall set Aussie Stadium alight as he ran in three first-half tries as Souths took a 28-16 halftime lead. Captain Brian Fletcher maintained the momentum in scoring twice.