TITANS BELY INEPT EELS
|WELCOMING party ... a Parramatta player is met by a wall of Titans defenders at Carrara Stadium today. Picture: Patrick Hamilton
WE knew they were gritty, but the Gold Coast Titans proved they are a lot more than that.
With dynamic halfback Scott Prince calling the tune, the Titans produced the best attacking display of their short history.
In front of a packed house at Carrara Oval the home side went on a point-scoring rampage to belt an off-colour Parramatta 38-12.
"Across the board that was our best performance of the year," Gold Coast coach John Cartwright said.
"I thought our forwards were really good. That is the most they have dominated as a pack and when they get that sort of momentum we have plenty of players who can play off the back of it.
"We are getting better every week, the more we play together, the better the understanding is. Some things that happened out there look like they are practised, but they're not, they're instinct, that's the kind of players they are."
No try illustrated that instinct better than the Titans' third. Working down the left fringe, Prince sensed livewire fullback Preston Campbell looming on his right shoulder.
He chanced a deft chip-kick over the top of the Eels defensive line. Campbell shot through and collected the ball on the full and then looked outside to send free-running backrower Josh Graham over for the try.
"We are getting to a stage where we just have to look at each other and we know what we're doing," Prince said.
"We play to a basic structure, but if we see something, Carty gives us the licence to take it on. The exciting thing is we still have a heap of improvement in us.".. Learn More
MERRITT LEFT WONDERING
| Left out...Rabbitohs winger Nathan Merritt. / The Daily Telegraph
IT was shaping as the greatest day in winger Nathan Merritt's career.
He had scored a try in what looked to be another South Sydney win over the Warriors, and selection in the City team seemed a sure thing.
But then it all went horribly wrong.
Souths were heartbreakingly beaten in the final 30 seconds of the Telstra Stadium match when Warriors wing Todd Byrne scored down Merritt's side.
Then the flyer was amazingly snubbed by City selectors for Thursday night's clash against Country in Coffs Harbour – despite scoring 29 tries in his past 31 matches for Souths.
"It is absolutely farcical," Shane Richardson said. "His form has been outstanding this year and I think he is second on the tryscoring list."
Rabbitohs coach Jason Taylor was just as shocked that his winger had missed out – all but killing off a NSW State of Origin appearance.
City selectors yesterday opted for Jarryd Hayne and Hazem El Masri as their wingers. El Masri's amazing goalkicking gave him the edge over Merritt.
"Goalkicking was something we had to address – it was an issue," said City coach Tim Sheens.
STORM AVENGE GRAND FINAL DEFEAT
|No way through ... Israel Folau is met by the Broncos defence
Melbourne extracted a degree of revenge for last year's grand final loss, with a 28-18 victory over Brisbane in their round seven NRL encounter at Lang Park on Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Wests Tigers scored just their second triumph of the season with a 34-18 result against the Bulldogs at Sydney's Olympic stadium.
The Storm's win keeps their unbeaten run intact, the visitors running in tries via Billy Slater (2), Ryan Hoffman, Steve Turner and Israel Folau.
Cameron Smith slotted four goals.
The Broncos, who have now slumped to their fifth defeat of the season, crossed for tries through Greg Eastwood, Ben Hannant and David Stagg, all of which were converted by Darren Lockyer.
Aside from Eastwood's converted try in the eight minute which levelled the score at 6-6, the Storm kept themselves ahead of the Broncos throughout the encounter.
They led 16-12 at half-time before extending their advantage to 16 points midway through the period, before the home side launched a late charge when Stagg touched down in the 75th minute.
Melbourne 28 (B Slater (2), R Hoffman, I Falou, S Turner tries; C Smith 4 conversions)
Wests Tigers 34 (D Collis (2), J Morris, B Marshall, D Fitzhenry, C Heighington tries; Marshall 5 conversions)
Brisbane 18 (G Eastwood, B Hannant, D Stagg tries; D Lockyer 3 conversions)
Bulldogs 18 (W Mason, S Williams, H El Masri tries; El Masri 3 conversions)
FOUR NAMED IN NORTHERN ZONE
|RIGHT STUFF: (Above) Bryce Neely, Luke Gardiner and Chad Solman team up for the senior Northern Division side while (left) Josh Desmond is the sole player to be selected in the Under 18s division
Chad Solman, Luke Gardiner and Bryce Neely will play in the Northern Division senior team while Josh Desmond has been chosen to play for the Under 18s.
The four boys were picked last weekend while playing for Group 21 rugby league at the Northern Division Championships in Tamworth..
The Northern division team is made up of players from group 21, 4, and 19 teams which will compete against other teams for across regional New South Wales as part of the Country Championships.
Chad Solman will steer the campaign from five-eighth for the senior team with Luke Gardiner picked as centre and Bryce Neely on the wing while Josh Desmond will act as frontrower for the Under 18s team.
The Singleton connection will also be present amongst coaches with local coach, Gary Gardiner leading the Under 18s northern division team, a title he has held for a number of years.
Singleton first grade coach, Mark Newman said it was the biggest representation the club had had in many years in the northern division jumper.
"It's the best we've had in a few years.
"Chad and Luke have played in the past but we haven't had this many picked at one time," he said.
"I think they're all very excited and looking forward to the game against the Central Coast."
Newman said the Central Coast team was a dark horse due to many clubs going through changes in the area.
"They could either have a really super hot team or a team that's been depleted," he said of the competition the boys will face.
The Red Dog's quartet will play their first match for northern division in May against the Central Coast in Aberdeen.
On a home front, the boys will be apart Singleton's squad in the final of the Scanlon Shield to be played at Aberdeen this weekend.
The red dogs will take on Scone with kick off at 6.00pm.
Greta/Branxton versus Aberdeen will be the first game of the day in the NBN Just Fruit Trophy.
|COMO-JANNALI TO LAUNCH CROCODILES
COMO-JANNALI, one of Sutherland Shire's most successful junior rugby league clubs, will be re-named Como-Jannali Crocodiles from this Saturday when the club hosts supporters and friends at the Scylla Bay clubhouse.
The club's committee meeting decided on a mascot to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year and adopted the Crocodile.
The area was named when the Italian railway workers from the 1890's likened it to Lake Como in Italy. The old Como Hotel was built on the hill in the 1890s, the only federation hotel in the Sutherland Shire.
Early in 1947 a meeting was held at the Como School of Arts to consider forming a rugby league club.
In the 1950s the tennis courts, picnic grounds and football field were built, with a cycling and walking track connecting Como to Oatley.
On Saturday there will be rides for children and a barbecue starting from 1pm, with Como-Jannali Crocodile players, coaches and officials hoping to meet supporters, new and old, as well as any prospective new players.
Later in 2007 the club will hold a Golden Oldies game to raise money for motor neurone disease.
OLD RIVALS SQUARE OFF IN FOLEY SHIELD CLASH
|Building up: Ivanhoes' Joe Sansbury (ball) will be keen to run in Cairns’s under-17 Foley Shield side against Townsville. Picture: NELLIE PRATT
CAIRNS District Rugby League president Nigel Tillett has called on fans to support this weekend's Foley Shield round at Innisfail.
Cairns plays traditional rival Townsville at Callendar Park tomorrow and Tillett implored spectators to get out and support the Foley Shield – one of the game’s oldest representative contests.
"Townsville and Cairns are traditional foes on the rugby league field and that won’t change this Saturday," Tillett said.
"There won’t be any love lost out there at all."
Both sides won their first-round encounters against Mackay, taking maximum points for the victories and the team gaining the upper hand tomorrow can almost ensure a Grand Final berth.
While the Arch Foley Memorial Shield is one of the oldest pieces of silverware in regional rugby league, its popularity has diminished severely in recent times, something Tillett admitted.
"We’d certainly ask people to turn up," he said.
"One of the problems Foley Shield has had over the past few years is (with) people turning up."
But Tillett said the Shield was about more than just senior football, with the under-17 and under-19 levels acting as a stepping stone to "bigger and better things" for several players.
"In all three levels I could rattle off a number of names of current NRL players that would have played Foley Shield," he said.
And with the NRL adopting an under-20 competition from next year, more opportunities than ever are available.
"We do know that there’s going to be recruiting staff there from a number of NRL clubs including the (North Queensland) Cowboys," Tillett said.
"The NRL clubs have got their people all over the place. A lot of people are under scrutiny when they don’t think they are."
Meanwhile, under-17 coach Dean Barnard has made just one change to the Cairns Marlins team that beat Mackay over Easter.
Cairns Brothers back Danny Coles comes into the squad after Ivanhoes centre Jarra Kay was forced out after being concussed in club football last week.
Barnard has also made a couple of positional changes, shifting Jack Cooper from the centres into the second row and moving Daniel Squillari into the starting side after his outstanding showing off the bench in the opening clash.
"We think we’re a much stronger side across the paddock and have a much stronger bench," Barnard said. Games kick off at 4pm on Saturday, with A grade from 7pm.. FOLEY SHIELD _ LEARN MORE
|NSWRL AFFILIATE BODIES CONFIRM SUPPORT
The New South Wales Rugby League today held a presentation to acknowledge the work of the NSWRL Affiliate bodies at the NSWRL Leagues Club in Sydney.
NSWRL General Manager Geoff Carr thanked all the groups for their continued support of the game, and welcomed their participation in Rugby League’s Centenary year celebrations in 2008.
Mr Carr encouraged the bodies to submit expressions of interest to the Australian Rugby League in order to become more involved in what shapes as the game’s most important period since its establishment in Australia in 1908.
“The Affiliate bodies keep grass roots rugby league running,” Mr Carr said today.. Learn More
|LION STEELS THE SHOW WITH LATE TRY
WESTS Lions fullback Will Jerrard turned on the magic at Scully Park yesterday to sink the Aussies in their Bundy Bush Legends of League Test clash with New Zealand.
In the company of some of the game's legendary figures, Jerrard dived onto a Garry Freeman grubber kick to give the Kiwis a match-winning 20-16 lead after scores had been locked at 16-all at the final break.
The try was his second for the match after pulling off an earlier intercept and received a huge ovation from the thousands who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the likes of Brett Kenny, Paul Sironen, Tim Brasher, Cliff Lyons, Ben Ikin, Martin Vella and Benny Elias.
And that was just in the Aussie side.
"It was a lot of fun to catch up with all the old fellas and we've had great support from the community," Elias said.
The former Balmain hooker hasn't been too active on the rugby league field but said through a slightly ragged voice "that it was just like riding a bike".
It was like that for many of the players, who had come out of "retirement" to help support the worthy cause of the Bundy Bush Fund.
The Fund was established in 2003 with an aim to assist regional communities to "rebuild and sustain landscapes affected by drought" and, while carrying a serious undertone, there was a real festive feel to yesterday's Test.
Not that the traditional rivalry was absent, the Aussie scoring getting a kick-start from an unusual source with referee Bill Harrigan forgoing his whistle for a couple of moments to lay on their first try.
Jerrard's Lions team-mate Nathan Hamlin also got on the scoreboard, crossing for the Aussies' third try.
Lions players Geoff Sharpe and Jeremy Eather also got to rub shoulders with the legends, along with Mark Camilleri, after the bench positions were auctioned off.
Hamlin and Camilleri both donned the green and gold, while the remaining three joined the Kiwi assault.
But the local interest levelled out in that respect with former North Tamworth and Balmain backrower David Brooks lining up for the Aussies.
"It was good to play with some old team-mates and play with a couple of the legends of the game – Brett Kenny, Martin Vella and the like. I'm very grateful to be afforded the opportunity," he said.
"And my mum got to watch me play for Australia at 44 years of age."
As for Jerrard, his try-double may have received a bit of a frosty reception from the Aussie camp but will be hard to top.
"It sure was (a surprise), I wasn't even expecting a try."
CARROLL RULED OUT
| STORM moon a'rising ... young Bronco Joel Moon has been selected to take on Melbourne Storm.
LOCK Tonie Carroll has been ruled out of a reshuffled Broncos side for the NRL grand final re-match with Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night.
Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has named New Zealand international Greg Eastwood, who was not included in Brisbane's initial 20-man squad, at lock for Carroll who damaged his knee cap in the gutsy last round win at Newcastle.
David Stagg moves from the centres to the backrow with Queensland Origin forward Sam Thaiday relegated to the bench.
Last round's two-try star Darius Boyd moves from the bench to the centres alongside Justin Hodges.
Bennett has also moved hooker Michael Ennis to the bench and slotted Ian Lacey into the No.9 jersey.
In a worrying sign for premiership halfback Shane Perry, Bennett has cut the No.7 from the seven-man bench along with Nick Emmett and forward Nick Kenny.
Shaun Berrigan has been named at halfback but Bennett is again expected to use Test five-eighth Darren Lockyer at first receiver in attack. Perry has been relegated to Queensland Cup this weekend.
Bennett has named exciting youngster Joel Moon, prop Ben Hannant, Thaiday and Ennis on his bench.
|ST JOHN’S 16S CONTINUE WINNING RUN
St John's under 16s have continued their unbeaten run with a 46-24 win over a plucky Narromine Jets at Apex Oval in round three of Dubbo and District competition.
Early on the visitors caught the home side napping with two quick tries, both from well executed kicks.
It wasn't until the 10th minute that Saints hit back with a try to winger James Pomfret. The conversion by Trent Gavenlock had Saints behind by four.
The fightback was short lived however as Narromine dominated for much of the half with fullback Jessie Brown and centre Ricky McKean scoring doubles.
In front by 18-6, Narromine appeared to be heading for an upset win, pulling off some impressive manouvres that have been well rehearsed on the training paddock.
Saints lock forward and the game's best player Nick Evans was always causing problems for the Narromine defence and was rewarded with a try in the 20th minute.
The lock forward was instrumental in turning the tide of the match when he scored two more tries in the shadows of half-time.
The conversions by Trent Gavenlock had Saints in the sheds 22 to 18 in front.
Saints five-eighth Lionel O'Malley was at his scheming best and it was fitting that he scored the first of Saints five second half tries.
Big centre Travis Wheatley scored the second, followed by a Pomfret touchdown in the 10th minute.
At 36-18 Saints were on a roll, but Narromine were not about to concede. A magical four pointer by the Jets second rower Blake McIntosh, who finished off some good work when Narromine capitalised on a Saints mistake, had them behind 36-24.
However, Saints wrapped up the match with two fine tries in the final 10 minutes with Lionel O'Malley playing a part in both. One he scored himself and the second he engineered for halfback Trent Gavenlock.
This was a fine match highlighted by some big tackles and some fabulous tries from both sides.
There was no more imposing player on the field then Saints giant prop Anthony Egan who placed his own imprint on the match with some impressive hits and ball carries.
Narromine centre Ricky McKean was also dangerous with some penetrating open field running.
St John's 46 (N Evans 3, J Pomfret 2, L O'Malley 2, T Wheatley, T Gavenlock tries, T Gavenlock 5 goals d Narromine 24 (J Brown 2, R McKean 2, B McInitosh tries, B McInitosh 2 goals).
|COMBINED CATHOLIC COLLEGES TRIALS
Following a very successful trial between Wollongong and Western the NSW CCC Southern Country Teams have been announced.
Thanks to the following staff for making the day run so smoothly, John Hogan (Sacred Heart, Cootamundra), Darren Culnane John Emms Wes Gibson (La Salle, Lithgow), Scott Ashcroft (St Patrick’s, Campbelltown), Clint Giddings (St Josephs, Oberon), Chris Levy (Mt Carmel, Varroville), and Mr Wade Judd (C.R.L. Development Officer).
Thanks also to Mr Warren McDonnell (Recruitment Manager Wests Tigers) and Mr Dave Hamilton (Canberra Raiders Development Officer) for their help with the selection of the two teams to attend the NSW CCC State Trails, in May.
Further information can be found at will be available this afternoon.
|G21 BROTHERS HAD CHAMPIONSHIP RIVALS SEEING TRIPLE
JAKE, Sam and Ben Russell were doing what the triplets do best at Scully Park on Saturday.
The three 17-year-old brothers, who are playing for Greta-Branxton Colts in this season's Group 21 Under 18 competition, were representing Group 21 in the annual Northern Division Rugby League Championships.
All three made their mark with some enthusiastic efforts.
Group 21 lost both games to Group 4 (22-18) and Group 19 (40-24) but the triplets were amongst the best for G21 with Sam scoring a determined try in the second-half fightback against Group 19.
Group 21 coach Darryl Rando said the Russell boys might lack size but are real goers.
"I thought they played real well," he said
"We beat ourselves in the first game against Group 4 and the second game is always tough and you start slow.
"But we did play very well in the second half, just ball control let us down on both games.
"But the triplets are good players and run good lines. They know their football."
Playing representative football is nothing new for them either.
They have played in Maitland representative sides before.
They have been playing since 12 years of age with the Branxton junior club and celebrated premiership wins in the 13 and 14 year divisions with Branxton.
Ben, who plays in the centres, said the trio also trialled with the Newcastle Knights.
"We didn't get in but it was a good day," Ben said.
Jake is a hooker while Sam plays centre or second row.
The trio believe they are part of a good side at Greta-Branxton and confident they can win a Group 21 Under 18 premiership.
"They will take some beating," Rando agreed.
Sam Russell was later named in the Northern Division side and will train with the team at Scully Park this Saturday morning before running out against Central Coast in a first-round Country Championship match at Aberdeen on May 5.
|EAGLES SPREAD WINGS
EAST Campbelltown Eagles took on a whole new ball game when they kicked off in the Canterbury rugby league competition on Saturday.
After years in the Western Districts league, the Eagles have spread their wings in the A-grade and under-21s.
Both teams got off to flying starts. The 21s led until the final minute, when a last-gasp effort from Chester Hill saw them score and steal victory.
Coach Darrell Bennett was impressed with his team's effort.
Eagles A-grade then kicked off against Regents Park and signalled that they had arrived in Canterbury with a decisive 42-8 win. Players' player went to Ravi Prakash and Troy Gibbs with Ebrahim Saleh winning the Campbelltown Tennis man of the match award.
ROOSTERS ACHIEVE WIN NUMBER 1000
|Milestone win ... The Roosters posted their first win of the season and the 1000th in the history of the club against the Dragons on Anzac Day (Getty Images)
The Sydney Roosters have achieved win number 1000 with a comprehensive 18-4 win over the Dragons here at Aussie Stadium on Anzac Day.
18,240 fans were on hand to witness the Roosters become the first club to achieve the remarkable feat since the game’s inception in 1908.
Nathan Brown’s men were never in the hunt as a pumped up Roosters’ side wrote their names into the history books with what was without doubt their best performance of the season.
The Roosters’ season is back on track after an emotional win that will long live in the memories of all Tricolour fans lucky enough to be at Aussie Stadium.
The home side went close to scoring first points in the 16th minute when Soliola was denied by an awkward ricochet off the posts from a Pearce kick.
Pearce went close to scoring himself just a minute later only to lose his footing just as he seemed destined to pounce on an Anasta grubber.
It was all the Roosters as the Dragons continued to cough up possession in the slippery conditions and Kenny-Dowall finally made them pay with 19 minutes left in the half when he caught a towering Pearce bomb to score in the left corner.
Fitzgibbon missed the sideline conversion and the Roosters led 4-0 with all the momentum.
Perrett extended their lead just minutes later when he leapt over the top of McDougall to take an Anasta bomb and score next to the posts.
It was now the Roosters leading 10-0 with 13 minutes remaining in the half.. Learn More
NRL STARS JOIN FIGHT AGAINST OBESITY
|Message from Greg Inglis
I’ve won my share of battles on the playing field. But now, as a Healthy Active Ambassador, I’ve just joined an even bigger battle – helping Australia win the fight against overweight and obesity.
Rugby League stars Nathan Hindmarsh and Greg Inglis have been chosen to lead the fight against child obesity by encouraging Australia’s youth to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle.
The Federal Government today selected Eels champion forward Hindmarsh and Storm five-eighth sensation Inglis to be ambassadors for its Healthy Active program, enlisting them to promote the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating.
The duo join a select group of ambassadors for the program, including world champion surfer Layne Beachley, Socceroos star Harry Kewell and cricketers Brett Lee and Michael Clarke.
|Nathan Hindmarsh plays rugby league for the Parramatta Eels. He is considered by most to be their best player, which is probably why he is contracted with them until 2010!
“Keeping a healthy and active lifestyle has always been a big part of my life. It’s part of who I am and that’s why being a Healthy Active Ambassador is something very close to my heart,” Mr Hindmarsh said.
“Australia is one of the leaders in the world when it comes to sports. But at the same time, we are also one of the leaders when it comes to being overweight and obese.
“In fact, almost one in four Aussie kids are either overweight or obese. That just doesn’t add up.’’
Mr Inglis added: “I’ve won my share of battles on the playing field. But now, as a Healthy Active Ambassador, I’ve just joined an even bigger battle – helping Australians win the fight against obesity.”
The involvement of two of Rugby League’s highest profile players in the Healthy Active initiative reflects the game’s focus on making a positive difference to the lives of young people through Rugby League’s One Community Program.
Ambassadors will work closely with the media and in schools to help spread messages about good nutrition and physical activity.
The Healthy Active Ambassador program is an initiative of the Commonwealth Government, funded under the Australian Better Health Initiative.
More information on the ambassador program is at www.healthyactive.gov.au
|NORTH SYDNEY WINS THE DAY FOR JUNIOR BEARS
The Spirit and pride of the North Sydney district has lead the Bears under 16s to victory over semi final bound Illawarra Steelers, with a winning field goal from Captain Jayson Lambardo in the dying minutes.. Learn More
LEAGUE HEAVYWEIGHTS CLASH
|Chastyn Bowen will play halfback on Saturday
TOWNSVILLE under-17s rugby league coach Glenn Morgan says his side is ready for a tough match against Cairns in Innisfail this Saturday.
Man-of-the-match Chastyn Bowen will start the game at halfback following his impressive display against Mackay while Chris Faust will move from five-eighth to lock.
Bowen will be partnered in the halves by Matt Monaghan while forwards Jarl Penna and Kristian Pearson have earned run-on spots.
Players from both teams will be looking for big games following the news that several National Rugby League club talent scouts will be heading to Cairns for the match.
"We've had a good training run," Morgan said.. Learn More
KICKING HIS WAY TO THE TOP
|Jeremy Safi's long list of sports achievements include a Junior Sports Star nomination.
LOOK out Brad Fittler - Jeremy Safi is on track to achieve his sporting dreams of playing halfback for the Sydney Roosters first grade side.
And if that doesn't work out for the youngster, he's got plenty of other options up his sleeve.
At just 11 years of age and already playing over five sports at a representative level, Jeremy, from Milperra, is this week's Canterbury-Bankstown Express Junior Sports Star nominee.
With an obvious love and desire to succeed in both team and individual sports, Jeremy said his favourite sport was rugby league because he thrived on the challenge it presented each week.. Learn More
|2007 METRO CATHOLIC SCHOOLS RUGBY LEAGUE
The 2007 MCS Rugby League Season is about to start with kick-off this Thursday 25th April ' 07.
The Under 15's 1st Division we see Blacktown take on Campbelltown & Terra Sancta College (College grounds) will play Pat's Penrith. (Nirimba Campus)
In the Year 10 Opens Division 1, there a 2 'A' grade matches, we see Blacktown take on Campbelltown and Holy Cross Ryde will get it on with Pat's Pentrith.
The year 10 (2nd grade) & the mighty Under 13's ('B" grade) kick off next week on the 03rd May '07
Visit ourfooty MCS locker room for all the Draws, results, stories and action photos of the competition | HERE
BEARS COME UP TRUMPS AT NEWCASTLE
|PICTURED: A match to remember – Isaac Luke celebrates his match winning try. Photo: Steve Little.
The Bears have beaten the undefeated Newcastle Knights in an impressive victory in front of a massive Newcastle crowd on Saturday.
The experience of Scott Geddes & Joe Galuvao and the youth of Fetuli Talanoa & Isaac Luke have lead an outstanding defensive performance from the Bears, snatching a win from the Knights in the dying minutes of the match.
“Now they’re the type of wins you remember” cried Bears GM Greg Florimo as NRL CEO David Gallop offered his congratulations on the side line after the exciting finish at Energy Australia Stadium.. Learn More
|GOOD NEWS FOR WEYMAN
Canberra Raiders prop Michael Weyman had some good news this afternoon, with the ankle injury he suffered against the Sharks on Saturday night set to keep him out of the game for only two weeks.
Weyman met with Raiders medical staff today after having scans on his injured ankle, and the diagnosis of ligament damage and bone bruising should see him back on the paddock within a fortnight.
This means Weyman may be eligible for the Raiders next home match on May 6 against Manly, but more likely it will be the away fixture on May 12 against the Rabbitohs.
Weyman said he is happy that some luck has gone his way, and he will now focus on getting back on the paddock as soon as possible.
“It’s good to hear that it’s not as bad as we first thought,” he said. “I can now start preparing for a return sooner than expected which is good news for me.”
GUTSY RABBITOHS UPSET COWBOYS
|Dean Widders fends off Johnathan Thurston during the upset win in Townsville (Getty Images)
South Sydney put in a brilliant defensive display to notch an upset 10-6 win over North Queensland in their round six NRL match-up at Dairy Farmers stadium in Townsville tonight.
Rabbitohs coach Jason Taylor put the side through an intense defensive training session on Friday and the tactic paid handsome dividends as the visitors kept the Cowboys scoreless in the second half.
Souths had just 47 per cent of possession during the match but did enough to snap a two-game losing streak after opening the season with three consecutive wins.
The victory means the Rabbitohs leapfrog the Cowboys into third spot on the competition ladder with four wins from six starts.
North Queensland took a narrow 6-4 lead into half-time but could not breach the Rabbitohs defence in the second stanza despite the best efforts of Kangaroos half-back Johnathan Thurston and full-back Matt Bowen.
After a hotly contested opening half hour, the Cowboys posted first points when Thurston delivered a perfectly-timed ball for centre Paul Bowman to crash over from 10 metres out.
The Cowboys led by six points until the final minute of the half, when Shannon Hegarty crossed for his first try since 2005 after Jeremy Smith put him in space down the left wing.
The visitors hit the front for the first time 16 minutes into the second half when winger Nathan Merritt scored his sixth try of the season for a 10-6 lead.
Merritt showed why he is such a prodigious finisher of tries, bursting pass his opposite number Neil Sweeney to collect a Joe Williams grubber kick just inches from the dead ball line.
The Rabbitohs defended grimly in the final 15 minutes when the Cowboys had repeated sets near the tryline, and in the end the home side's error count contributed to their second loss in a row.
In a further blow to the Cowboys, David Faiumu was stretchered off late in the second half with what looked to be a knee injury.
South Sydney 10 (S Hegarty, N Merritt tries; J Williams conversion)
North Queensland 6 (P Bowman try; J Thurston conversion)
|REFEREE TAKES MERCY ON WOOPI
ORARA VALLEY 40 d WOOLGOOLGA 18
CONCERN for player safety forced referee Nathan Grace to abandon yesterday's Carlton Mid Group 2 contest at Woolgoolga Sports Reserve with 13 minutes remaining.
Orara Valley were leading the Seahorses 40-18 when Grace made his fateful decision, effectively awarding the match by default to the Axemen.
A thunderstorm began as players returned after the half-time break and with light fading and the rain and lightning becoming more violent, Orara coach Darryl Fisher made tentative enquiries from home club officials as to the procedure if conditions became untenable.. Learn More
|SHARKS TAKE UNBEATEN BULLDOGS TO THE WIRE
NSWRL Harold Matthew's Cup : The young Sharks took the still undefeated minor Premiers the Bulldogs, all the way to the final siren where the Doggies sneakied home by a try. A tight 6 - 12 was the final score.
NSWRL S.G. Ball Cup : In a torrid affair that saw lots of square up's, speed, passion, the Bulldogs managed to get ahead in the final minutes to beat a good Sharks outfit today at Sharks Park 22 - 26.
QLD WIZARD CUP : Competition leaders North Queensland Young Guns continued their great seaon with a convincing 26 - 10 victory over the SeaGulls after North QLD responded from 10-8 halftime deficit in physical battle against Tweed which featured a try each to last years Australian Schoolboys members Obe Geia & Shannon Walker.. Learn More
QLD WIZARD COLTS CHALLENGE : ASSRL winger Cameron White scores another great try for his Titans feeder club Tweed Heads beating Wests 30 -16.
Luke Capewell was amoung the points again, but this time East wents down to Broncos Feeder Aspley 36 - 10.
Ryan Gilbert from last years AIS squad was as deadly as ever kicking his team to victory with five goals in Norths cliffhanger against a hot Redcliffe.
CRONULLA JUNIORS : 2006 Coca Cola Cup semi finalists & 2006 runners-up De La Salle Caringbah Under 14A(1)'s wrought havoc on the Gymea Gorilla's defence in Saturday's season opener to record a strong 50 - 6 win.. Learn More
|SHARKS JUNIOR REP SEASON OVER
Story By :
The season came to an end for the 2007 season for the Cronulla Sharks SG Ball & Harold Matthews Cup squads with both teams ending the season strongly against the highly rated Canterbury Bulldogs.
After the SG Ball match at Shark Park, the Cronulla Junior League & the Cronulla Sharks put on a BBQ for the players and their families, which was also supported by most of the Sharks NRL and Premier League sides.
Cronulla Juniors President Mr. Wayne Madden thanked the 2 teams and their parents for a great year.
Sharks club captain Brett Kimorley spoke to the players and the crowd of opportunities that these boys have. "Now that you blokes are getting older, you'll be wanting to go out, party with your mates and of course there is girls. If you want to play football, it's all the extra things you do that will count"
Kimorley also reminded the gathered players of club loyality, team loyality and told the boys that the " are the future of the club"
Sharks players presented players from both teams season awards and encouraged the boys to continue with their footy careers.
|BRONCOS SPOIL JOEY'S FAREWELL
Story By :
IT WAS the night when the Knights farewelled a legend but it was another great who steered Brisbane to a 20-16 victory over Newcastle at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
In a high-quality match befitting the occasion of Andrew Johns's emotional farewell, Darren Lockyer was superb in leading the defending premiers to a much-needed victory - only their second of the season.
Lockyer and Johns have long been considered players on another plane. The Broncos captain showed last night why he stands there alone now that Johns has retired.
Simply put, he controlled the game in a manner that only he can and Johns could.
Yet afterwards, the Australian skipper and his Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett were adamant that this victory was not created by the internationals in their side - Lockyer included.
While Kangaroos centre Justin Hodges and Kiwi forward Greg Eastwood did not play, Karmichael Hunt, Shaun Berrigan, Brent Tate, Petero Civoniceva and Lockyer were all backing up from Friday night's Test.
"The other players took some ownership," said Bennett. "We don't rely on one or two guys out there. That's been part of our problem. The other guys have been turning up and doing their tackles and doing their runs but not doing the other things that they have to do. Things that you don't see as journalists, or the fans don't notice. They did that tonight.
"It wasn't up to the Australian [representative] players. I said to the [other] guys during the week that I want them to lead today."
Bennett said it was "ridiculous" to think that those players backing up could instigate a return to form for the Broncos last night.
Newcastle led 10-6 midway through the first half but allowed the Broncos back in the game when winger Todd Polglase gifted them a try in the 32nd minute.
With the Knights working the ball off their own line, Polglase knocked on from dummy half and handed centre Brent Tate the simplest of tries to level the scores.
The Broncos took the lead with a try to winger Darius Boyd - who scored a double on the night - just before half-time, but surrendered it shortly after the break when Polglase scored a cracking try in which the ball passed through seven set of hands, including a miracle inside pass from back-rower Cory Paterson.
Just as the Broncos big men were fading - and with Knights halfback Jarrod Mullen off the field with cramp - second-rower David Stagg batted on a Lockyer pass to Tate, who sent Boyd over for what proved to be the match-winning four-pointer.. | Visit ourfooty's Andrew John's Tribute page |
|TROST BITES FOR WESTS
A SENSATIONAL two-try effort by Joe Trost was not enough to seal victory for Brothers under-15s in their match against Wests on Sunday.
The match finished in an 18-all draw, with only quality kicking from Matthew Craven keeping Brothers from winning the match, despite a four tries to three advantage.
Meanwhile, neither Wests nor Brothers could break the 18-all deadlock in their under-16 junior rugby league match.
With three tries apiece and just minutes remaining, the game was anyone’s - only to finish as a tie.
Easts under-15s had a hard-fought win over Childers, the Bundaberg side scoring six tries to four to win 30-20.
Easts’ D Giles and W Brockhurst each finished with two tries.
Wests were too good for Brothers in the under-14 clash, with a 42-6 win.
A Karl Sibley hat-trick one of many highlights.
Wests under-13 defeated Childers 52-0, while ATW under-13s defeated Brothers 36-22.
|TULLY SHS KICK FIELD GOAL WITH 1 MINUTE TO GO
The Under 18's semi final was almost over with only one minute to go when Tully SHS went on the attack and had a successful long range shot at a drop goal, the only problem was that Tully were 30 Nil down at the time.. Full Story & Results
|KOORIES SMASH JUNIOR KIWI'S
A FIRST half double to Biloela centre Lynden Law set the stage as Australian Indigenous Under 16 pipped their New Zealand Maori counterparts 24-18 at Suncorp Stadium.
While the Indigenous stars led from start to finish, an errant pass and a missed penalty kick were realistically the only things keeping the Maoris from victory.
To heighten the drama, play continued three minutes after fulltime, with a dangerous tackle on the hooter resulting in a 42m attempt at goal by the ambitious Tyrone Roberts.. Learn More
|ARMY USES STINGER MISSLE ON AIR FORCE
CLASSY centre Neil Feather proved the difference for Army, scoring 16 points and throwing the final pass for another try as the Diggers outlasted Air Force 24-22 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday.
In the main curtain-raiser to the Bundaberg Rum Trans Tasman Test, Feather looked a step ahead of everyone as he out- paced and out-witted the opposition.
Army’s 2006 CASRL inter-service team
Cpl C. Nicholls, 10FSB
LCpl K. Bryant, 1 Mp Bn
Cpl R.H. Dietz, 3RAR
Sgt W. Ratcliffe, AASPO
Pte T. Johnson, 4RAR (Cdo)
Cpl N. Matthews, 4RAR (Cdo)
Sgt B. Jones, ALTC Bandiana
Cpl M. Green, 10FSB
Tpr A. McGregor, 5 Avn Regt
Cpl A. Oliver, 1RAR
Cfn D. Tattersall, 1RAR
Capt I. McCallum, 2HSB
Cpl B. Gleeson, 1RAR
Spr H. Waller, IRR
Tpr C. Hiette, 5 Avn Regt
Pte L. Abdul Rahman, 1RAR
LCpl A. Bourke, 3RAR
Capt J. Driscoll, HQ AAVNTC
Pte P. Inskip, 4RAR (Cdo)
Pte D. Burgess, 3RAR
Pte C. Elliot, 4 AR (Cdo)
Pte J. Jonkers, 10FSB
Pte B. Leach 10FSB
Pte S. Degelder 10FSB
J. McClennan 7CSSB
Pte B.P. Turner 3RAR
Cfn L. Balcomb Aseame ALTC
Lt N. Ellis SOI
Lt R. Kinsella (Trainer) 1HSB
Capt G. Liebich (Trainer) 2HSB
Cpl J. Salter (Medic) 1HSB
WO2 J. Griffiths (Asst Coach) 3CER
Capt A. Lynch (Coach) 1RAR
Capt J. CampbellL (Team Mngr) 10FSB
Sgt P. Rogash ( Asst Team Mngr) 10FSB
Pte G. Robertson (PR) 1RAR
Sgt K. Sullivan (Coordinator) 1RAR
The Townsville Foley Shield representative sprinted into wide space in just the seventh minute for his first try, then broke a 6-all deadlock by setting up outside man Tim Johnson seconds before halftime.
|Legend: Gary Larsen holds up the Army rugby league jumper with help from Maj Allan Smith.
When play resumed in the often heated encounter, Feather was again on fire, going across with a run up the centre of the park in the 49th minute.
His faultless display was furthered by a 100 per cent success rate with the boot, slotting over four goals for the evening.
In the wash-up it was only goal-kicks which separated the two sides, although realistically Air Force was consigned to chasing all night.
Replacement Jeremy Barnes added interest to the contest by scoring two tries of his own.
His second effort, with four minutes remaining, put the score at 24-16 before former Toowoomba Clydesdale Michael Green hit the upright with his conversion attempt.
It was not a befitting fate for Green, who otherwise gave superb service to the Air Force. He proved so by scoring the final try of the game with 25 seconds left, then converting it for a narrow two-point loss.
On a losing side forwards Anthony Hopkin and Jason Akarana tried hard until the very end, while aside from Feather, five-eighth Mick Green was the other standout for Army. Brawling pair Joel Foster (Army) and Matthew Griffiths (Air Force) both spent time in the sin bin, with Griffiths involved in several other skirmishes over the course of the match.
||24 - 22
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE
|TRIES : Neil Feather 2, Tim Johnson, Mick Green
GOALS : Neil Feather 4
|TRIES : Jeremy Barnes 2, Michael Green, Darryl West
GOALS : Michael Green 3
RAMPANT KANGAROOS CLAIM ANZAC HONOURS
|Big victory... Justin Hodges recieves attention from Benji Marshall during the Anzac Test (Getty Images)
Australia ran hot as they put on five tries to one to give New Zealand a 24-point lesson in their annual one-off Anzac Test match at Lang Park on Friday night.
Leading 6-0 at the break, the Kangaroos came out firing in the second period as halves combination Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer engineered a lively attacking display to finish off the tiring Kiwis 30-6.
Melbourne Storm centre, playing out on the Kangaroos wing, scooped up the football after Kiwis number seven Ben Roberts spilt a high bomb from Lockyer to score seven minutes into the second half, before Brent Tate (52nd minute), and Karmichael Hunt (76) shot the Kangaroos out to an unassailable 24-6 lead.
Tate, close to best on ground, then finished off the evening with a brilliant break on the right-hand edge before putting in a cheeky in-field kick to find skipper and Broncos team-mate Lockyer at the try-line as the champion five-eighth put the finishing touches on a dominant performance from Australia.
New Zealand managed to score a consolation try when Manu Vatuvei pounced on a grubber from Simon Mannering on the left-hand edge in the 68th minute, but it was little more than academic as the Kangaroos coasted to victory.
Earlier, Tireless back rower Nathan Hindmarsh burst onto a sublimely-timed short-ball from Thurston in the 19th minute to score the only try of the half, with Thurston's conversion making it 6-0.
|Grandstand's Quentin Hull caught up with Cameron Smith, Roy Asotasi, Andrew Ryan, and Johnathan Thurston after the Anzac Test at Lang Park.
[MP3] - [RealMedia28k+]
[WinMedia 28k+] (21/04/2007)
Thurston took the ball to the line on the fifth play and passed selectively from a host of options to pick up Hindmarsh running back towards the ruck on a dangerous angle, before the Parramatta Eels big man crashed over to score close to the goal-posts.
The Kiwis muscled up early with a hammering tackle to flatten Broncos full-back Hunt on his first ball-carry, with Penrith back rower Tony Puletua in the thick of the action in the opening sets.
Man-of-the-match Hunt starred for the Kangaroos with a crafty all-round performance combining strength and footwork from the back with his sharp playmaking ability in combination with Lockyer threatening the New Zealand defence on numerous occasions.
Hunt's opposite, one-game Parramatta custodian Krisnan Inu, was tested heavily by Australia's kicking raids but stood up to the challenge consistently and demonstrated plenty of courage, taking a horrendous high ball from Lockyer under pressure with aplomb.
Bulldogs team-mates Willie Mason and Sonny Bill Williams were involved in a minor scuffle as tempers flared in the opening period but the incident was nothing more than a friendly exchange.
New Zealand were imposing in defence and drove the ball forward with plenty of purpose and passion, but were ultimately outclassed by Australia's superior attacking ability.
The Kiwis had numerous opportunities to hit back with dynamic five-eighth Benji Marshall an ever-present for his side, but poor handling cost them dearly close to the try-line as they were stymied time and time again by the Kangaroos.
Thurston shot at goal in the final minute of the half after Australia were awarded a penalty for a high shot on Lockyer, but his effort drifted short and wide of the goal-posts. SCORES AND MATCH DETAILS
CAN BENJI AND SONNY-BILL MATCH LOCKY?
FIFTY YEARS ON: WORLD CUP HEROES REMEMBERED
Australia’s 1957 captain-coach Dick Poole will join team-mates Keith Barnes, George Hawick, Keith Holman, Ken McCaffery, Kel O’Shea, Ray Ritchie, Tom Tyquin and Harry Wells in a tribute celebrating 50 years since the team’s World Cup triumph.. Learn More
THE AUSTRALIAN Rugby League will pay tribute to Australia’s first victorious World Cup team when it parades members of the 1957 Kangaroos before the crowd at tonight’s Bundaberg Test between Australia and New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
GET a taste of the World Cup early, when Australia takes on New Zealand tonight at Suncorp Stadium in a clash Kangaroos coach Ricky Stuart has labelled an 'appetiser'. Book tickets now.
Speaking at yesterday's launch of the 2008 World Cup, where the final was confirmed for Suncorp Stadium, Stuart anticipated a testing encounter for his reigning Gillette Tri Nation outfit.
"New Zealand I think is a team with a lot of flair. They're a better attacking team than they were in the 2006 Tri Series," he said.
"Sonny-Bill Williams and Benji Marshall are playing together for the first time in a while and that's something we've had to think about.
"The stage has been set. I really think this Test and the one at the end of the year are appetisers for the World Cup."
Tonight's match will be of special significance for hometown hero Darren Lockyer, who will equal Reg Gasnier's mark of 36 Tests for Australia.
Lockyer will also captain his country for the 20th time, closing on Clive Churchill's all-time record of 24 times skippering his country.
Tickets to the Test are available online at www.ticketek.com.au , by phoning 132 849 or by visiting your nearest Ticketek outlet.
|THURSTON TO STAMP IMPRINT
AUSTRALIAN halfback Johnathan Thurston finally feels he has the respect of his teammates.
It's a factor which has the Kangaroos No. 7 poised to stamp his indelible imprint on the international stage.
Thurston goes into tomorrow night's Anzac Test against New Zealand fit in mind and body after a strong effort at training in Brisbane yesterday.
The in-form playmaker had been troubled by knee soreness which reduced him to the role of spectator during parts of Tuesday's session, but Thurston said there was no doubt over his availability for the Suncorp Stadium clash.
"(The knee) is fine, it was more precautionary," he said.
"It's exciting to be coming into this game in form, I feel I'm playing well. I'm really happy with my preparations for games at club level and how I've been playing (as a result)."
It's the sort of attitude which has Thurston entering the Test as the hottest player in the game, his blistering form the catalyst behind North Queensland's stunning 4-1 start to the year.
It's a far cry from his previous experiences in the green and gold, when the 23-year-old didn't have it all his own way.
"I feel I have the respect of the players which is pretty tough to get when you first come into the team," Thurston said.
"I feel as though I've earned it over the last year or so, I'm pretty happy with the way I've been going. I wouldn't say I'm comfortable, there are a lot of good halfbacks running around in the comp _ I don't want to get too comfortable."
The Kangaroos wind up preparations today with a late afternoon run at Suncorp Stadium.
Coach Ricky Stuart is expected to stick with the run-on side selected on Sunday night despite rumours he would move second-rower Willie Mason to the interchange bench.
|BROTHERS READY FOR BATTLE
Brothers Ben and Jake Josephs live and breathe rugby league and this Saturday afternoon they will be striving for new heights together.
It will be the biggest test to date for both players as they line up for the Group 11 under-18s and press for Western Division selection in the trial against Group 10 at Apex Oval.
Jake, 16 and in his first season of under-18s, will start in the front row while Ben, 17, will come off the bench.
The younger of the two, Jake recently returned from a rugby league training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport. He revealed a competitive rivalry that exists between he and Ben.
"There has always been a bit of stiff competition between us in the backyard," he said.
"I am constantly trying to get the edge over him."
He was also quick to stick up for his brother and indicated that they both had something to prove on Saturday.
"Ben was unlucky not to be picked in the Group 11 side last year and I know that's motivation for him to have a big game," Jake said.
"My aim is to make it to the next level and fingers crossed I can do that against Group 10.".. Learn More
|TROST BITES FOR WESTS
A SENSATIONAL two-try effort by Joe Trost was not enough to seal victory for Brothers under-15s in their match against Wests on Sunday.
The match finished in an 18-all draw, with only quality kicking from Matthew Craven keeping Brothers from winning the match, despite a four tries to three advantage.
Meanwhile, neither Wests nor Brothers could break the 18-all deadlock in their under-16 junior rugby league match.
With three tries apiece and just minutes remaining, the game was anyone’s - only to finish as a tie.
Easts under-15s had a hard-fought win over Childers, the Bundaberg side scoring six tries to four to win 30-20.
|KANGAROO CALL UP FOR RYAN HOFFMAN
Dynamic Melbourne Storm Second Rower Ryan Hoffman has been called into the Australian Kangaroos squad as 18th man for tomorrow night’s Bundaberg Rum Test Match against New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium.
Hoffman made his Representative debut for City Origin last year.
His call up to the Kangaroos squad caps off a tremendous start to the 2007 Telstra Premiership season.
Hoffman will join the squad in camp this afternoon.. Learn More
|U16 THUNDERBOLTS RARING TO GO IN JUNIOR LEAGUE
Story By :
TAMWORTH begins its Northern Junior League campaign in Grafton this weekend and one of the local sides expected to be in the mix come finals time is the Thunderbolts boys' under 16s.
The 16s have plenty of tall timber and have been together for the past few years.
"This is the second year I've had most of them," coach Jonathon Willis said.
"They should go well.
"I'm pretty confident they'll be one of the better teams in their age division."
The team has been preparing for the NJL for months.
"We won two of our pre-season tournaments," Willis said.
"We had one in Tamworth in late February or early March and we had one at Gosford two weeks before that.
"It's a good start but there's a long way to go.
"But we've been training since the end of last year."
Tamworth has the one thing that offers a natural advantage and that's height.
But the big players are mobile too.
"We're a fairly big side, which helps," Willis said.
"My expectations are probably always higher than we produce but we are certainly a big side and they're fairly quick too.
"They don't mind running the floor."
Willis has identified two areas the team needs to work on though.
Success on the court will ultimately come down to teamwork and the ability to go the distance in a long
"At the moment we just need to get the team chemistry going so that everyone understands their role on the team so that they can play as a team," Willis said.
"And fitness, they need to work on fitness too.
"The finals are in August so that's four or five months we have to play."
Tamworth has eight teams heading to Grafton for first round NJL games, Division 1 men's and women's sides in under 14, 16 and 18 as well as Division 2 Under 14 and 16 women's sides, who have to play in Division 1.
|DUO THRIVES ON RIVALRY
FIRST it was the legendary Johns brothers. Now the Khoury brothers are poised to explode on to the rugby league scene.
Jamesray and Joshua Khoury of Punchbowl are this week's Canterbury-Bankstown Express Junior Sports Star nominees.
Both play in the under-13s A-squad for the Bankstown Bulls rugby league team, Jamesray at fullback and Joshua at five-eighth and halfback.
Jamesray, 13, won a grand final two years ago with the Bankstown Bulls and has played in the school and regional representative squads for Lewisham and St George.
A fan of Sydney Roosters star Anthony Minichello, Jamesray tried to emulate his hero with 14 tries, three goals and 68 tackles in just 18 games.
In the first game of the season, he scored and incredible six tries.. Learn More
|Chris Sandow too clever for the Wales U19's on last years ASSRL tour (Photo : ourfooty media)
TWEED CONTINUES COMETS' ROCKY START
DAVID met Goliath in Rockhampton on Saturday night, as Tweed’s smaller men ran rampant in a 34-0 victory against the monstrous Central Comets.
Making amends for his send-off in an upset loss at the same ground a year earlier, Seagulls halfback Tim Maccan left Browne Park with two tries to his name.
He and diminutive teammates Matt King, Brad Davis and Chris Sandow hit the ground running from the kick-off, testing the likes of 125kg Pete Penaia and stand-in Comets skipper, 119kg Geoff Black.
Tweed Heads led 20-0 at halftime and then went on with the job to secure back-to-back victories for the first time this season.
At just 168cm and 74kg, the fleet-footed Sandow resembled a pinball dodging the uprights at Stonehenge, causing problems for even his fellow Seagulls.
“Our support guys couldn’t keep up with him,” coach Troy McCarthy said of the Titans-contracted youngster.
“He made a few little breaks and exposed some weaknesses, but he was just too bloody quick.
“We knew Central would play the power game, so we worked on our scooting rucks and right from the start I felt that was working. I thought it was a very clinical and impressive performance.”
While the little men did much of the damage, former Bulldog Daniel Conn stepped up with a big workload and was named Players’ Player as the Seagulls kept the opposition scoreless.
In the same contest a year earlier, Central sprang a 29-16 upset after playmaker Maccan was dismissed from the field for a dangerous throw in the 16th minute.
This time though it was the Comets caught short, with captain Wayne Barnett and five-eighth Steve Farrelly still suspended, leaving inexperienced Yoren Major to fill the pivot role.
While Comets mentor Steve Anderson has displayed dedication to a youth policy, he will no doubt be eager for a win after five straight losses to begin the year.
Central’s next opportunity to strike a blow is against Wynnum Manly at BMD Kougari Oval on Sunday, kicking off at 3pm.
Tweed Heads meanwhile, will face the might of North Queensland, Redcliffe and Aspley in succession, beginning the gauntlet against the Young Guns at the Piggabeen Complex at 2.30pm on Sunday.
TWEED HEADS 34 (Tim Maccan 2, Nathanael Barnes, Matt Pow, Josh Vaughan, Brad Davis tries; Brad Davis 5 goals) d CENTRAL 0 at Browne Park.
CRONULLA PERFECT WAVE FOR SCHOOL HOLIDAYS
|Leader Chief photographer John Veage captured Mick Fanning as he ripped the big swell.
AUSTRALIAN and current world No. 1 surfer, Mick Fanning, stopped in at Cronulla on the weekend to surf the almost perfect conditions.
Fanning, from the Gold Coast, had come up to Sydney after competing in the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Melbourne to watch his beloved Penrith take on Parramatta in the NRL.
While the Panthers went down to the Eels in the Friday night clash, his stopover was well worth it, as the Cronulla Reef break was stunning on Saturday. OH no, all the Queensland kids are back at school, what a shame.
WHITE DOES AN ALFIE LANGER
QUEENSLAND Women’s Rugby League secretary Veronica White has shunned retirement to resume her playing career at age 35.
Also the president of the Australian Women’s Rugby League, White has been named in the Brisbane representative squad to contest the May 5-6 State Titles in Cairns.
The popular women’s pioneer is already a life member of the QWRL and has a trophy named in her honour.
However in a turn of events not too dissimilar to the famed Allan Langer affair, White has received an SOS to steady the Brisbane side following a serious injury to star player Karyn Murphy.
This year’s State Titles are looming as Brisbane’s toughest challenge ever, with host city Cairns now boasting the largest number of female players in Queensland.. Learn More
YOUNG KIWIS FORMER AUSSIE STARS
|Former Australian Schoolboys...Benji Marshall & Ben Roberts / The Daily Telegraph (ani : o f m)
NEW Zealand halves Benji Marshall and Ben Roberts will this week renew a partnership forged five seasons ago when they both wore the green and gold of Australia.
Wests Tigers superstar Marshall yesterday told how he and Bulldogs half Roberts took on the junior Kiwis playing for Australian Schoolboys back in 2003.
Marshall said he also had fond memories of playing two trial matches alongside Roberts for Wests Tigers the same season.
On Friday at Suncorp Stadium, they'll be facing up to Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston – two players they could have challenged for the Australian six and seven jerseys had they not chosen to be Kiwis.
"We played schoolboys together – Australian Schoolboys," Marshall said at the New Zealand team medical.
"He was halfback I was five-eighth.
"Benny used to be at the Tigers when I first got there. We've done a lot of stuff together before.
"Most of the boys in this room, we all know each other pretty well.
"It's like a family here.
"You come here, you feel like you're home again."
Playing alongside Roberts and Marshall in the 14-4 win over the junior Kiwis back in '03 was current Australian fullback Karmichael Hunt.
And in the beaten line-up was current Kiwis Iosia Soliola and Manu Vatuvei.
Marshall and Roberts were also winners during the 2003 pre-season, with Wests Tigers out-pointing London 18-12 at Central Coast Stadium and enjoying romps of 36-4 and 68-4 in 40-minute trials against Raymond Terrace and Nelson Bay respectively.
"He's a pretty confident sort of player and he's been playing good football," Marshall said of his halves partner, who made his debut against Great Britain last year.
Marshall said Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens' criticism of his form following Sunday's golden-point win over Cronulla was justified.
|EDITORS NOTE : To qualify to play for the Australian Schoolboys (ASSRL) the player must be a student in an Australian School.
But he said he was trying to put the last month behind him this week.
"He was right," said Marshall.
"I didn't have the best game. Not what would have been ideal leading up the the Test.
"But you come in for the Test and pump up another level so I'm just keen for this week."
"I'll forget about what happened yesterday and just worry about this week
"It's going to be a tough game but you've just got to back yourself and I think everyone in the room's going to do that'.
KIDS HIT BULLSEYE AT CAMP
|Louis Brayle takes his arrow from the target after a game at the Lake Burrendong Sport and Recreation Centre on Friday
From galloping on horseback to swinging on the high ropes, kids from across the State are having a ball these school holidays at the Lake Burrendong Sport and Recreation Centre.
Last week, the focus was on 8-12 year-olds who participated in the Horsing Around and Bushland Adventure activities.
The 55 children were divided into four groups and did something different each day including archery, grass skiing, high ropes and games in the recreation hall.
According to the kids, horseriding was the most favoured pastime, although how many bullseyes were scored in archery was also a big topic of conversation.
This week, the focus is on 12-16 year-olds who will participate in Trailblazers and Teen Mission.
They will do outdoor rock climbing, a paint balloon challenge and an overnight bivouac.
Instructor Craig Higham said the holiday activities had been extremely popular with the children.
"All school holidays are the same - the kids love it," he said.
"It gives them a break from home and they are meeting and interacting with kids from different places."
"They face different challenges and the benefits are both physical and social."
Among the mostly 10-year-olds enjoying their last day on Friday, there were no skinned knees or tears but there was a lot of bragging, excitement and new friendships.
Not one of them had been homesick and everyone was keen to experience the adventures all over again at the end of next term.
FALCONS LEAVE COACH FUMING
|A muffed Seagull pass saw young Falcon five-eighth Chris Chaisty score a runaway try from an intercept at Quad Park.
SUNSHINE Coast Falcons coach Des Allen vented his frustration at his side’s continuing problems with ball control during their 32-12 FOGS Cup loss to Tweed Heads at Quad Park yesterday.
A clearly annoyed Allen took aim at his players after several errors at untimely stages cost them any victory after trailing just 14-12 with 10 minutes to play.
“We’re our own worst enemies and I’m actually quite sick of talking about it,” he fumed.
“Actions have gotta speak louder than words and it’s gotta happen all across the club and all across the park. We talk and talk about it and we talk about it too much.
“It’s time players took responsibility for their actions and start playing better and controlling the football.”
Trailing 14-4 at halftime, the Falcons’ second half was far more intense. However, the Falcon’s pack, almost dwarfed by some of the giants in the visitor’s pack, eventually succumbed to their size.
After battling manfully to get themselves back into the match, Allen and his troops were left ruing several missed opportunities in the final 10 minutes.
The most deflating moment, perhaps, came when the Falcons knocked on from a scrum feed 30 metres from the Tweed line when trailing 20-12.
“That was quite pleasing, the first 20 minutes of that second half,” Allen said.
“Ten minutes in a game doesn’t seem like much time to people on the sideline, but it’s a bloody eternity in a game of football, because it’s 10 sets of six. If you give the ball to the opposition and they have seven (sets) and you have three, you’re going to struggle.
“They talk about it at every level of rugby league, ball retention and ball control. If you can hang onto it for 75% of the game, nine times out of 10 you’ll probably win that game.
“We have been nowhere near that in the last three games.”
A positive for the Falcons was the performance on young five-eighth Chris Chaisty. Chaisty continually troubled the visitors with his expansive passing game, laying on a superb cut-out pass for Murray Goldsworthy to score his second try.
He also intercepted an errant Tweed Heads pass to score the opening try of the game.
Sporting a freshly-shaven head yesterday, Falcons captain Clint Broomham may also be sporting a scar on his melon after he had a gash stapled up, suffered when cleaning up a loose ball, during the halftime break.
SEAGULLS BATTER RAMS
|Seagulls Brenten Cochran takes advantage of an opening in the Rams’ defence.
WHEN Ballina’s Eddie Killingbeck knocked the ball on from kick-off against Marist Brothers in the side’s Retravision Northern League clash at Kingsford Smith Park yesterday, he set a precedent both teams appeared eager to follow.
Ballina ran out eventual winners of the derby clash 20-12, but the match was a veritable error-athon.
Killingbeck’s knock-on from the first play of the game was followed shortly after by a Ballina penalty, then a Ballina knock-on, then a Marist Brothers error, then a penalty, then another Ballina knock-on — all in the space of a few minutes.
In fact there were so many mistakes it took the Seagulls eight minutes before they completed a set of six.
Killingbeck was in the thick of the action for the Seagulls, involved in just about every important first half moment.
After the early knock-on he redeemed himself by scoring the Seagulls first try before his missed tackle led to the Rams first score.
By the time Brothers registered their first points, with a try to Brett Spears on the last play of the first half, the Seagulls had already posted 14 points through tries to Killingbeck and Dylan Montgomery and the boot of Andrew Battese.
While the Rams had the bulk of the first half possession, Ballina’s defence was the standout.
The Rams threw everything they could at the Seagulls but their scrambling defence and Brothers error rate kept the ’Gulls flying.
Ballina started the second half the better of the two sides and looked the most likely to score.
Five-eighth Brenton Cochrane and halfback Willy Hammond were dangerous every time they touched the ball, but it was Brothers who posted the first try of the half to fullback Mark Sivewright, who capitalised on some brilliant lead up work by Spears.
Spears converted the try and with 33 minutes to play, Ballina only led by two points.
Brothers began to make metres up the middle and down the right hand side of Ballina’s defence and with constant mistakes and penalties they built momentum and looked likely to score next.
But after they dropped the ball on attack, then gave away a penalty before another knock-on, Hammond scored for Ballina, and with another Battese conversion the score was 20-12.
With 20 minutes remaining there was plenty of time for Brothers, but they couldn’t convert their half-chances and the ’Gulls were never headed.
Ballina coach Chris Binge said he was pleased with the way his side toughed out the result.
"In the first half we did a lot of defending because of our mistakes," he said.
"Full credit to the boys because they stuck to their guns and when we did get down to the right end of the park we came away with points and that’s what you’ve got to do.
"We didn’t want to get into a battle with these guys were you go try for try because these guys can put you away if you do that.
"We’ve worked hard to fix that area of our game and today it showed we can defend but in the next few games we don’t want to do that much defending."
Binge praised the likes of Alwyn Roberts, Killingbeck and Battese for their efforts, but reiterated it was an all-round performance.
"We had 16 guys who played well for us today and you need to do that against a side like Brothers," he said.
Rams coach David Krause said his side had made too many errors to win.
"We made a lot of costly errors and got punished on every one of them and when you play against good sides you can’t afford to do that," he said.
BALLINA SEAGULLS 20 (Eddie Killingbeck, Willie Hammond, Dylan Montgomery tries; Andrew Battese 4 goals) d MARIST BROTHERS 12 (Brett Spears, Mark Sivewright tries; Spears 2 goals).
| YOUNGSTERS LEADING THE WAY
One of the greatest Rugby League player of the last 10 years Andrew Johns has retired. Johns' brillance will be missed, but the game goes on.
With the natural retirement of the older blokes the young players out there waiting for their chance to play in the NRL.
Israel Falou from the Melbourne Storm was sitting school at Wavell SHS 6 months ago, today he is the NRL leading try scorer.
In Queensland Luke Capewell is the skipper of the Easts Tigers and playing like he is already playing for the Rabbitohs.
Luke is a versitile player with a golden boot who is knocking on the door of 1st grade and we could see him in the Rabbitihs colours before Christmas.
We all know Mitchell Pearce is the Roosters half back and is going through a huge learning curve, the Roosters have shown faith in Mitchell by signing him for 3 more years.
This is a continuing story and we will update Autralia's best young players every couple days.
FOUR NEW KIWI CAPS
|Krisnan Inu - Kiwi Debut
PARRAMATTA fullback Krisnan Inu is one of four uncapped players named in a youthful New Zealand rugby league squad for the Anzac Test with Australia in Brisbane on Friday.
Inu, 20, joins Brisbane utility Greg Eastwood and Warriors props Sam Rapira and Evarn Tuimavave - all part of the New Zealand A side which comfortably beat Australia in Melbourne last year - in the 19-man squad named by coach Brian McClennan this morning.
Injuries and unavailabilities played havoc with McClennan's selections.
Inu, who has shone for Parramatta's reserve grade side, was a late inclusion after regular fullback Brent Webb could not make the trip from his Leeds base in England due to the birth of his first child.
|The New Zealand squad for Friday's Anzac Test
Backs: Krisnan Inu (Parramatta), Manu Vatuvei (NZ Warriors), Paul Whaturia (Wests Tigers), Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters), Jake Webster (Gold Coast), Benji Marshall (Tigers), Ben Roberts (Canterbury Bulldogs). Forwards: Roy Asotasi (South Sydney), Dene Halatau (Tigers), David Faiumu (North Queensland), Nathan Cayless (Parramatta), Sam Rapira (Warriors), Evarn Tuimavave (Warriors), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Tony Puletua (Penrith), David Fa'alogo (Souths), Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs), Frank Pritchard (Penrith), Greg Eastwood (Brisbane).
Eastwood, 20, is included after strong early season form for the Broncos.
He was set to make his Test debut against Great Britain last June but was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
The squad include no British-based players. McClennan said the Kiwi selectors faced the usual challenges assembling a squad at this time of the year.
"It's not easy for us but this is very much the beginning of a project," he said.
"We're moving into a new era with Ruben (Wiki) and Nigel (Vagana) now off the Test scene. We have picked some young players as we look ahead to next year's World Cup."
Other features of the side are the return of stars Benji Marshall and Sonny Bill Williams, who both missed last year's Tri-Nations tournament due to shoulder and knee injuries respectively.
Williams' Bulldogs teammate, Ben Roberts, who debuted last year against Great Britain, will don France-based Stacey Jones' No.7 jersey.
Those missing from the side which lost narrowly to the Kangaroos in the Tri-Nations final last November, are retired duo Wiki and Vagana, the unavailable Jones and Webb, injured players Shontayne Hape (knee), Steve Matai (ankle), David Kidwell (knee) and Adam Blair (foot), and Hull's Motu Tony, who wasn't included.
Veteran forward Tony Puletua, centre Paul Whatuira, centre-wing Jake Webster and hooker David Faiumu all return to the squad.
New Zealand Warriors utility Lance Hohaia was also ruled out after sustaining a nasty gash to his ear during yesterday's NRL win over North Queensland.
McClennan will name his starting 13 and captain, widely tipped to be South Sydney prop Roy Asotasi, tomorrow. The team assemble in Brisbane tomorrow.
|INVERELL HAWKS VOW TO RETURN TO GROUP 19 LEAGUE
INVERELL has vowed to return to the rugby league field in 2008 after succumbing to a massive player shortage on Thursday night.
The Hawks will not play in this year's Group 19 competition after their crisis meeting failed to find a solution to their woes but will work hard to make a return next season.
"It's shattering," first grade coach David Koch said.
"But I think it's the best decision for the players and the club.
"We just have to be pro-active in recruiting players for next year.
"It was pretty positive at the end of the night and the players were unanimous in their support to come back next year."
Koch said the club tried right up until this week to find players ahead of tomorrow's scheduled trip to Glen Innes.
The Magpies may now become home to those left without a club.
"We battled for as long as we could," Koch said.
"We went to training on Tuesday night, hoping that players might turn up for a game.
"We had five seniors and eight juniors.
"We just want to find a place for these juniors to play.
"Glen Innes is struggling for juniors and some of them indicated they'd play there.
"John Foulcher and his committee have been sensational and the Inverell community as always has supported us with raising money, but we just haven't got the players."
Group 19 president Peter Brissett said it was a disappointing situation but the commitment from the club to return was positive.
The Country Rugby League may also step in to assist the club as it did with Muswellbrook in Group 21.
"From the group's point of view, there's not a lot positive to come out of it but the group was prepared to let Inverell continue going for a few weeks to see what might come along," Brissett said.
"The CRL has indicated it is more than prepared to help Inverell in any way it can, providing a mentor and so forth for the 2008 season, and hopefully that will happen."
Group 19 is now left with five clubs, meaning only two fixtures each week and a bye.
"It's certainly not ideal," Brissett said.
"But groups have to go through these things from time to time to rebuild."
The first game of the season certainly promises to provide some good football when Armidale hosts Warialda today.
In the other game of the round, Tingha travels to Guyra.
SUPPORT FOR HAZEM
|Hazem El Masri speaks about his 250th game and being confronted by police at a Sydney cafe.
[MP3][RealMedia 28k+][WinMedia 28k+] (15/04/2007)
I think the NRL should show it's support to Hazem El MAsri, in relation to the jackboots & all attitude of the NSW police.
I know they have a job to do, but they displayed a dismal attitude towards a member of the public, diverting several police cars & personnel on a stupid venture of typical "I AM IN CHARGE" police attitude.
They seem to forget they are public servants. A gun & a pair of handcuffs on their belts does not make them public masters. (Name & Address supplied)
STORM TOO GOOD FOR THE DRAGONS
|Try time ... Steve Turner touches down for a four-pointer (Getty Images)
The Melbourne Storm remain unbeaten after a solid 24-10 victory over St George Illawarra in their round five NRL clash at Kogarah Oval onn Saturday evening.
Teenaged winger Israel Falou continued the amazing start to his career, scoring his eighth try in five matches when he ran onto a Billy Slater grubber after half-time.
His fellow Storm winger Steve Turner made a good return after injury, scoring a first-half double.
The Dragons led 4-0 after a try to winger Wes Naiqama but Turner's double and one sideline conversion by Cameron Smith saw the Storm in front 10-4 at the break.
Turner was the subject of a tug-of-war between the Storm and the Gold Coast Titans, who had signed him during the latter part of last season.
But after a protracted dispute, the Gold Coast relented and Turner was allowed to stay in Melbourne.
Falou's try was the first in the second half but the Dragons were back in it when impressive full-back Josh Morris ran onto a delayed Ben Hornby pass and outsprinted Slater to score.
The Storm reacted with tries to centres Matt King and Anthony Quinn to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact.
The Dragons showed much more fight than in their 40-4 capitulation to Cronulla on Monday night, but despite taking the early lead they never looked likely winners.
The game was a scrappy affair with sporadic outbreaks of good football interrupting the pattern of dropped ball by both sides.
Both the Storm and Dragons went into the match without key personnel.
The Storm were missing boom youngster Greg Inglis and fellow international Mick Crocker while the Dragons were without Brett Morris, Luke MacDougall and Jason Ryles.
(S Turner 2 I Falou
, M King, A Quinn tries ; C Smith 1, S Turner conversions)
St George Illawarra 10
(W Naiqama, J Morris tries; W Naiqama conversion)
|INVERELL HAWKS CRISIS MEETING TO STOP LEAGUE CLUB FOLDING
INVERELL Hawks held a crisis meeting last night in a last- ditch effort to save the club from folding just two days out from its Group 19 opener against Glen Innes.
The Hawks have struggled to get players to the club this season and without more, the club may be forced out of the competition.
Group president Peter Brissett said yesterday the Group had met with Inverell officials and the Group was working hard to help the club.
The Group 19 season kicks off tomorrow with Armidale hosting Warialda and Glen Innes at home to the Hawks.
On Sunday, Tingha returns to the field against Guyra at Guyra.
And tomorrow's Wests Knockout couldn't come at a worse time of year for the Wee Waa Panthers.
However it won't stop the Group 4 side from giving the annual KO their best shot.
With the cotton harvest in full swing, the club battles to get players on board and some injuries and other misfortune are making it tougher still.
Wee Waa coach Matt Hogan said he's "probably going to be without five or six of my regular first graders".
"I've got a bunch of juniors filling in for me," Hogan said.
"They make this Knockout compulsory and you get the four points for it but they really need to come out here and see how small this town is and how hard it is to get players.. Learn More
MAGIC MONAGHAN BONES DOGS
|Arm wrestle ... Thanks to some Michael Monaghan magic, Manly scored a late four-point win over the Bulldogs last night. / The Sunday Telegraph
THE halfback Manly didn't want last night inspired the club to a gutsy victory over the Bulldogs and maintain the Sea Eagles' unbeaten start to the season.
Michael Monaghan was shunted to hooker to accommodate the signing of Matt Orford.
With the high-priced No.7 sidelined with a knee injury, the former Raider has been a revelation.
Last night against the Bulldogs, Monaghan came up with the play of his life.
He chipped ahead, regathered on the full and sent centre Steve Bell racing away for the match-winning try.
Jamie Lyon's conversion made it 16-14.
Manly had a poor start with second-rower Anthony Watmough penalised for an incorrect play-the-ball in the second minute.
However, the Sea Eagles crossed first.
Sonny Bill Williams turned over the ball in his own quarter, and a couple of tackles later Monaghan sent the ball to Michael Robertson on the left wing.
Bulldogs halfback Ben Roberts tried an intercept, but he only managed to deflect the ball into Roberts' arms.
Lyon missed the conversion but at 4-0 the unbeaten Sea Eagles were playing all over their opponents.
Centre Steve Bell almost scored a few minutes after the restart, stumbling just short of the line before throwing a desperate pass.
For the most part, the first 40 minutes was a tale of missed opportunities.. Learn More
FALCONS ENFORCER HAS A LEANER LOOK
|A trimmed down Sunshine Coast Falcon Jason Wardrop is looking forward to the match against the Seagulls
BY his own admission, Sunshine Coast Falcons enforcer Jason Wardrop did anything but go above and beyond the call of duty when it came to his fitness last season.
That was the 2006 version of the teenage prop. The 2007 edition is just a little different.
Tipping the scales around 105kg during the Christmas break, the 19-year-old has shed so much weight, he’s actually hoping to put a couple of kilos back on.
“I’m about 98kg now, but I’d like to get back up to 100kg or so,” Wardrop said.
“My fitness is definitely a level above last year. I guess last year I was a bit lazy and didn’t do much fitness, but even in the two months we had off I’ve been playing touch footy and surfing, and that has really helped.
“I’ve started going to the gym too and I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I’m playing thanks to that.”
Wardrop gives plenty of kudos to the Falcon’s new physical conditioner Ben Hudson for his leaner look.
“Last year with (former trainer) Kev Cook it was basically just sprints, but this year there’s a bit more variety which is good,” he said.
“With that extra fitness I can keep my concentration levels up for longer, too.”
Wardrop has been a vital cog in the Falcon’s forward set-up in their campaign thus far, with coach Des Allen lauding the overall contribution of his pack, including his bench players.
Wardrop says that fact ensures he isn’t taking his starting spot for granted.
“Everyone, especially last weekend (30-22 win over Norths) really stepped up,” he said.
“The reserves played well and as soon as the reserves came on, everyone lifted.
“That keeps a little bit of pressure on you, and gives you a reason to want to play well anyway.”
While pleased the team registered their first victory of the season last week, Allen is aware their home match tomorrow against Tweed Heads poses a far greater test.
The Seagulls won the minor premiership in a canter last season.
We’ve still got a big improvement to make with our ball retention. We’re at about 60% and we need to get that to 75 to get anywhere near where we want to be,” Wardop said.
TITANS TROUNCE BIG BROTHER AT `THE CAULDRON'
|Titan Brett Delaney scores a second-half try in Friday night's 28-16 demolition of the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium in front of a 47,686-strong crowd.
HISTORY repeated itself at Suncorp Stadium last night as the Gold Coast Titans handed their `big brother' a lesson in rugby league in front of a packed house in Brisbane.
In a performance reminiscent of the Gold Coast Giants debut in 1988 who with a team of relative unknowns upstaged the mighty Broncos 25-22 the Titans toppled defending premiers Brisbane 28-16 as 47,686 fans watched on.
It was the first time the two sides had met since the Gold Coast returned from seven years in the rugby league wilderness.
``It doesn't get much better than coming to the premiers at their home ground and beating them,'' said Titans coach John Cartwright.
``To come out and put that performance on only four or five days after the win at Penrith is very satisfying.
``The fans were great. They really got behind us.''
Almost 20 years ago Brisbane had a side overflowing with some of the game's biggest names including Wally Lewis, Gene Miles, Colin Scott, Greg Dowling, Chris Johns, Allan Langer and Terry Matterson.
The modern day Broncos boasted eight current Kangaroos in their starting side including captain Darren Lockyer, centres Justin Hodges and Tonie Carroll, hooker Shaun Berrigan, prop Petero Civoniceva, backrower Sam Thaiday, fullback Karmichael Hunt and winger Brent Tate.
The only current International in the Titans line up was Tongan winger Lelea Paea.
The only other time a Gold Coast side knocked off the Broncos was when the Seagulls triumphed at Carrara 25-12 in 1994.
The two clubs have played each other 14 times in the past.
The Broncos were considered unbackable favourites to trounce the Titans.
``We had the confidence and the self belief that we could win the match,'' said Prince.
His performance cemented his status as the centre of the Titans' universe with both of the Gold Coast's first-half tries stemming from the star halfback.
He put Mark Minichiello through a gap to score in the 26th minute before backing up two minutes later to set up centre Brett Delaney with a sensational cut-out ball.
Karmichael Hunt hit back for the Broncos eight minutes out from half-time.
Prince combined with fellow playmakers Preston Campbell and Matt Hilder to send Delaney crashing over for his second try 13 minutes after the break, taking the Coast to a 16-6 lead.
The Titans co-captain combined with Campbell again six minutes later to wrap up a gift try for prop Michael Henderson, who strolled over unopposed from 5m out.
Hodges crossed in the corner after the Titans fell short on the left-hand side in the 65th minute.
Titans backrower Anthony Laffranchi put the final nail in the coffin with five minutes remaining when he barged over from dummy half.
A late try to Hodges, three minutes from the final siren was little more than a consolation.
The match finished with the Titans making a massive 304 to Brisbane's 269.
Despite their lower workload in defence, the Broncos missed 26 tackles compared to the Titans' 18 and made 17 errors to the Gold Coast's 12.
Uncharacteristically sloppy ball control let the Broncos down throughout the match.
Titans co-captain Luke Bailey put in another phenomenal performance.
LEAGUE STAR TRAVIS IS ON HIS WAY TO THE TOP
|Travis Marshall didn’t miss out on training on his return to Rockhampton for a holiday break.
FORMER Rockhampton junior rugby league star Travis Marshall is well on his way to becoming a household name. The former Emmaus College student’s talent on the rugby league field was recognised at an early age, earning him a contract with the Penrith Panthers at just 14.
Four years later, Marshall is living the dream in the big city, after moving to Penrith late last year at the end of school.
Marshall returned home earlier this week to visit family and friends, taking a break from his gruelling training schedule.
|NATIONAL UNDER 20's COMPETITION EXPLAINED
The New South Wales Rugby League will use the emergence of the National Under-20s competition (Toyota Cup) as an opportunity to create an independent open-aged competition focusing on returning top level Rugby League to suburban grounds.
In the months that the National Under-20s has been in planning, the NSWRL has canvassed a range of options for its competitions structure, ranging from new opportunities at the Under-16 and Under-18 level, and an open-aged competition that will recapture the spirit of traditional clubs battling it out on a weekly basis.
Clubs such as Wests, Balmain, Newtown, Auckland and Norths have indicated their desire to be involved in this standalone competition – which will replace the VB Premier League – and a majority of NSW National Rugby League clubs have indicated their involvement through a joint venture method or otherwise.
The advent of the new open-aged competition, the expansion of the junior representatives and the niche-filling Jim Beam Cup competition will see the NSWRL provide opportunities for every level of footballer;
· The best Under-16s Harold Matthews and Under-18s SG Ball teams to compete with their Queensland counterparts for “National champion” status from 2008 onwards, with the added incentive of potential selection in Australian U16 and U18 sides to play New Zealand each year.
· The open-aged competition to provide the best players outside NRL level, playing at local and traditional venues which will often be vacated due to NRL away games.
· A semi-professional Jim Beam Cup competition that gives players an opportunity to play at the best of their abilities without the requirement of full-time commitment.
“We’ve been given a chance to streamline our competitions and further improve the pathways we already have for kids wanting to progress through to elite level football,” NSWRL General Manager Geoff Carr said.
“We had feedback from many clubs that a credible open-aged competition is very important, and with the Toyota Cup, in most cases, providing the only fixture prior to an NRL clash, there is a real opportunity to develop this competition through playing stand-alone fixtures and double-headers.
“If games are programmed correctly, we can take advantage of situations where, for instance, Wests Tigers might be playing away, so a Wests versus Balmain clash could be scheduled at Leichhardt Oval – to provide credible suburban football to Sydney rugby league fans.”
“The Jim Beam Cup was never intended to breach the gap between an Under-20s and open-aged competition – it is a unique competition with a $150,000 salary cap that is designed to ensure teams are not stacked.”
In conclusion, the NSWRL will now allow a period of time for clubs to complete negotiations for joint ventures, before finalising its competition structures.
MITCHELL PEARCE SIGNS FOR 3 MORE YEARS
|Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce with another deadly accurate pass
How many people can say they spent the day before their 18th birthday getting bashed up by the best footy team on the planet?
Sydney Roosters half back Mitchell Pearce can because last Friday night the Roosters played the Premiers at Aussies stadium and the next day Mitchell turned 18. Happy Birthday Mitch'.
The Roosters have gotten ahead of the pack by signing young Mitchell for 3 more years at the famous 100 year old club.
"It's a really big coupe for the club" said Sean Miller, the Roosters media manager, "we are really happy Mitchell has agreed to stay with the club, the signing of Pearce is a continuation of the Club’s youth policy having recently re-signed utility backs Mitchell Aubusson and Shaun Kenny-Dowall."
We were lucky enough to speak with Mitchell on Thursday night to ask him what it means to him to have extended his contact by 3 years?
"It's pretty good hey, we have a pretty good team and the club has a great future"
So now your contract is out of the way, did they give you enough to buy a Ferrari? "Nah, nothing like that mate"
Happy Birthday for the other day Mitchell, what did ya get? "Thanks mate, Not much really, i got stuff off my sisters and stuff, we are having a party in a few weeks, that will be big."
"We went to Randwick races on my Birthday, now that I'm 18 I can have a bet (I only learned how to fill in a TAB ticket on Saturday)" Yeah right Mitch', what at the races, that's what ya call 'on the job training' good one.
|100TH YEAR FAN DAY
Sunday, April 22, 2007, 11:00AM
Location: Henson Park
The Sydney Roosters want to celebrate our 100th season with you at a Fan Day at Henson Park on Sunday 22 April from 11am to 1pm.
The Fan Day will be a celebration of the 100 years of History of the Roosters and will include the Newtown Jets, historically linked to the Roosters through their first Rugby League game and their continuing relationship through the current Premier League competition.
The highlight of the day will be a reenactment of the inaugural Roosters game against the Newtown Jets, with a touch football game between the greats of both teams.
The Roosters players will be in attendance and running skills clinics and signing autographs.
Join in the carnival atmosphere with jumping castles, fairy floss and many other activities at the Roosters 100th Season fan day!
|Read more about MITCHELL PEARCE
and his capers on tour with the Aussie schoolboys with Poms throwin' rabbit punches, cheatin' ref's & more
Last time we spoke Mitchell we were talking about a race between you and Anthony Minichiello, so have you had the race and who is the fastest? "heh, that's right, nah we haven't got it on for a race, but he (Mini) is pretty quick though"
So now that your a successful professional footy player, what are you driving? "heh, I've still my old Hyundai, I think I will get a new car soon"
All your mates from last years Schoolboys tour are playing footy all over the place, what about Israel, "Yeah, he is awesome, what is it, 7 tries so far this year. Chrissy Sandow is rippin' 'em up up there for Tweed Heads, hows Obe (Geia) goin'?"
He (Obe Geia) is playing with the Nth QLD Young Guns, he is actually the fastest bloke in the Cowboys squad. "yeah, he is quick too"
Chris Sandow scored his 1st try for Tweed Heads on the weekend. "Yeah Chrissy's a freak"
Good luck this year Mitchell, and we all can't wait for you blokes go and win that elusive 1,000 th game, & we all hope that you score that winning try. "thanks mate, no worries" LEARN MORE ABOUT MITCHELL PEARCE
SCHOOL FRIENDS SHARE WIN
|‘SPECIAL WIN’: School chums (from left) Abbey Lloyd (captain), Caitlin Mills and Kate Mullaly with their Oztag trophies.
15 April, 2007
Kate Mullaly, Abbey Lloyd and Caitlin Mills, Year 11 students at De La Salle College, Cronulla, were members of the Cronulla girls’ under-16 State representative side which took out the State Oztag Cup competition.
The team won seven matches to go through the tournament undefeated, beating competition favourite St George 5–4 in extra time in the final.
Kate says playing alongside her good friends Abbey and Caitlin made the achievement “even more special”.
“We have been great mates for a long time; we hang out together in and out of school,” she said.
“The tournament was played over one day so by the end of it we were tired but overjoyed.
“Our fitness levels held us in good stead as most of the girls play other sports as well.
“We are looking forward to defending our title next year.”
YOUNG STINGRAYS OUT TO MAKE THEIR MARK
|GETTING IT STRAIGHT: Nic Cauchi-Gera practises his line-out throws last night at Stingrays Colts training at Quad Park.
OLD footy cliches have no place in the Sunshine Coast Stingrays under-19 team as they approach their maiden season in the Premier Rugby colts competition.
After dominating the South Queensland Country under-19 competition for years, the Sunshine Coast will compete in the strongest under-19 competition in Queensland this year, playing before the Stingrays Premier Rugby outfit.
They¡¦re not taking things one week at a time. They won¡¦t be happy just to be competitive. And 2007 isn't just a learning curve. They want to win from the word go, setting a goal of making the semi-finals in their debut season, which begins against Wests at Noosa tomorrow.
Sure, they realise this earn a few new tricks playing in the faster and more brutal Premier competition this season, they want to win as they do it.
The side has set a goal of reaching the semi-finals in their debut season.
It¡¦s a lofty goal, but coach Stu Beakey believes they can achieve it.
"After seeing them in the trials, I think they should do alright," Beakey said.
"Our goal is to make the semis then we will re-set them from there.
"The boys came up with the goal of making the semi-finals. I asked them what they wanted to achieve at training one night and that was what they said."
The 2007 squad contains about half of the all- conquering Sunshine Coast under-19 side that was undefeated in Queensland Country matches last year ¡V that would explain their supreme confidence.
It would be easy to write off the Stingrays colts as cocky young up-starts from the Bush League who are getting a bit ahead of themselves, but those in the know say this team has the necessary skill to achieve its goals.
They have talent all over the park, from prop Haydn Hirsimaki and lock Matt McLean to flankers Kingsley Lang and Jason Hardie, flyhalf Kyle Beakey and flying winger Josh McPherson.
"We have about seven or eight standouts and the rest aren¡¦t far behind," Beakey said.
Further proof that this team has the goods to mix it in the toughest comp in the state is the fact that none of the 2007 Stingrays Country under-19s side, which won the South Queensland Country championships, could crack the starting line-up for tomorrows clash against Wests.
But the best thing about this young squad is that they all have a work ethic to match their ability.
"They train very hard," Beakey said. "They do what they're told, they don't whinge and bitch, they know what has to be done to get to their goal and they just get in and do it.
"On Easter Monday I had 29 of my squad of 30 at training. But every other club in the competition would have that same commitment."
Beakey says the main thing his side needs to come to terms with is the pace and physicality of the Premier Rugby game.
"Our last trial (against Gold Coast last weekend) was our first real hit-out and all the boys came off saying it was faster than anything they had played before," Beakey said.
"We still managed to win, mainly because of a few individual tries, but they all saw we couldn't do what we normally do because the game was so quick. I think they'll get used to that pretty quick.
"The hardest part is going to be them getting all the knocks every Saturday. Each time we have played a top side in the trials, we've come off and the boys have been battered.
"Usually when we've played those hard sides, we have had the next week off. Whether they can take these knocks every Saturday and back up the following Saturday is the big thing."
STORM STRUGGLES TO SIGN PROPS
|Offer on the table: Melbourne Storm prop Brett White is considering a contract that would see him at Olympic Park beyond 2007. Picture: Darrin Braybrook
MELBOURNE Storm officials are more hopeful than confident that all three of the club's non-contracted props will be on the books next season.
Hulking trio Brett White, Garret Crossman and Ben Cross are the only out-of-contract players remaining at the club.
Salary cap restrictions could force Storm to off-load one or more of the props, with White -- on the verge of making his State-of-Origin debut this season -- the only member of the trio to receive an offer to date.
The unbeaten Storm has a staggering 10 contracted front-rowers this season.
Melbourne faces St George Illawarra at Oki-Jubilee Stadium tomorrow, minus second-rower Michael Crocker, who has been ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Storm recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan said the salary cap, set at $4 million, made re-signing players a juggling act.
When asked if Storm was resigned to losing one or more of the props, O'Sullivan said: "We hope not, but the salary cap is going to be our main concern." .. Learn More
| NATIONAL UNDER 20's COMPETITION IN 2008
Toyota is partnering the NRL in revolutionising the way young players balance off field career options with the lure of a professional sporting contract.
Toyota and the NRL have today officially launched the 2008 Toyota Cup, a National Under 20s competition that will showcase the elite young talent of Rugby League like never before.
The Toyota Cup is being heralded as a magnet for the country’s best junior sporting talent with every NRL team showcasing its best young players each week through the competition.
While the draw will mirror that of the Telstra Premiership, the Toyota Cup teams will operate separately as a semi professional competition.
Toyota Cup squads will be required to schedule training sessions that promote off field education and traineeships, with plans to exclude any team training during business hours on three working days of each week.
Clubs will be encouraged to tailor training sessions around off field education programmes and to ensure all athletes are engaged in either these or work placement programmes.
All players will attend specific Under 20s induction programmes that will outline the opportunities and responsibilities of a semi-professional sporting environment.
A percentage of the competition’s salary cap will be dedicated to education funding.
Every Toyota Cup team will have a designated welfare officer who will accompany the team on all away trips and who will assist the players in planning off field career and education options.
Former International Michael Buettner, the NRL’s current Game Liaison Manager, will move into the role of competition manager and says the focus will be on preparing footballers for every aspect of their career.
“Players accept today that professionalism is about life both on and off the field but most of the older players have had to learn that after making first grade,” he said.
“From the moment a player makes it into the Toyota Cup the message will be loud and clear that the first step will be to start building for life after football.
“Most guys at the elite junior level don’t make it to the Telstra Premiership and we want to make sure that seeing them making the most of their sporting talents doesn’t cost them career opportunities they may have otherwise had.
“We also find that the guys that do make it through are better focused through their football careers if they have a sense of where they are going after football.
“The Toyota Under 20s will give parents and athletes the security of knowing they are playing with the best athletes and playing for the best outcomes in their lives.”
One of the staunchest supporters of the competition and chairman of the Under 20s planning committee, Parramatta Chief Executive, Mr Denis Fitzgerald, said the Toyota Cup was a crucial part of the game’s future.
“The competition for playing talent has never been more intense and the Toyota Cup offers a unique pathway,” he said.
“Rugby League in the past pioneered modified games for juniors, it developed elite training squads and academies ahead of other codes and this competition is every bit as significant.
“No other code can offer an opportunity like this and it will attract not only the best athletes in our game but will also give plenty of others an incentive to look at Rugby League as well.
“I think fans will want to come early and see the stars of the future and I think parents will want to see their children in a competition that develops athletes on and off the field.”
Toyota Executive Director of Sales and Marketing Mr Alan Porich said today that sponsorship was part of a long term commitment to Rugby League:
“The Toyota Cup has many of the features of the American college system, acting as the stepping stone between amateur clubs and the professional sport.
“One of its attractions is the strong focus on education and training, including rookie camps and other initiatives aimed at developing a new breed of NRL player.
“The Toyota Cup adds to our strong links with the game through the Cowboys the Sharks and the Broncos.
“Toyota will also become the official vehicle of the NRL and we will be involved in both the Centenary and Saturday night football.”
NRL Chief Executive Mr David Gallop said the Toyota Cup was an example of the game’s planning for the future.
“It’s fitting that the game’s centenary year will be marked with a new competition aimed at the next generation of stars,” he said.
“It reflects a lot of cooperation from the NSW, Queensland and Australian Rugby Leagues.”
The NSWRL is in the process of finalising both its premier open age competition and its junior competitions for 2008.
| AUSTRALIAN TEST TEAM ANNOUNCED SUNDAY
THE AUSTRALIAN Kangaroos squad for the April 20 Bundaberg Rum Test at Suncorp Stadium will be announced following the Wests Tigers v Cronulla Sharks NRL match at Campbelltown Stadium this Sunday 15th April, 2007.
The squad will then immediately depart for Brisbane.
Any players selected from the Canberra Raiders or Sydney Roosters will join the squad on Tuesday due to their Monday Night Football clash.
The New Zealand team and captain for the April 20 Bundaberg Test is scheduled to be announced on Tuesday 17th April at 12.30pm AEST.
With Games I and III of this year's State of Origin series sold out, the Bundaberg Rum Test is the last remaining opportunity to see.. Learn More
MCCRACKEN SET FOR BULLS DUTY
|Under 17 rugby league player Marty McCracken has been selected in the Wide Bay Bulls
POWERHOUSE prop Marty McCracken has forced his way into the under-17 Wide Bay Bulls squad after a solid performance at the 47th Battalion Rugby League Tournament in the South Burnett.
While an under strength Bundaberg side suffered three defeats from four matches on the weekend, McCracken was a stand-out in the number eight jersey, assuring himself selection through his powerful running, smart off-loads and damaging defence.
The NewsMail was the first to contact McCracken with the news after learning of his selection through QRL Wide Bay, and the 16-year-old was ecstatic to have the rumour confirmed.
“It’s awesome,” McCracken said.
“I’m pretty pleased to hear that - very pleased.
“I was pretty happy with how I played.
“I’m fit and pretty confident (at the moment).”
Standing at 180cm tall, McCracken has impressed many in the rugby league fraternity of late, helping him earn selection in the Wide Bay open schoolboys’ team last Wednesday.. Learn More
JUNIOR BEARS ON SHOW AT BEAR PARK
|Alex Thompson’s hard hitting presence will be on display this Saturday at Bear Park. Photo: Steve Little.
This weekend the Bears will hit the road in three different directions. Premier League will head south to Canberra, Jersey Flegg will go west to Campbelltown and the North Sydney Juniors will again head to Bear Park.
On show at North Sydney Oval will be some of the great talents of the North Shore. Try scoring sensation Mosese Vaka will again feature on the wing in SG Ball while a back line shuffle will feature talented and exciting players such as Ashley Calvert-Evers, Curtis Johnston, Brad Horder, Josh Cass and Casey Faets.
Forwards Brad Lupi, Nick Vescio and Josh Nicholls remain in the starting line up. In the Harold Matts Jason Lombardo returns to captain the team as the Bears look to forward Alex Thompson for another hard hitting performance. No doubt this will be a chance to see some of Rugby Leagues’ stars of the future.. Learn More
LEAVE JARROD ALONE
| Big shoes to fill ... emerging Knights halfback Jarrod Mullen. / The Daily Telegraph
ANDREW Johns yesterday made a passionate plea for young Newcastle Knights star Jarrod Mullen to be given time to leave his own mark on the game, declaring: "Don't crucify him for not being me."
Less than 24 hours after announcing his retirement, Johns anointed Mullen as his heir but said expectations of the young star needed to be realistic.
"He is a great young kid Jarrod, but I hope people give him time to really develop," Johns said.
"Let him make some errors and don't heap pressure on him.
"Don't crucify him for not being me.
"He is his own player with his own game and he needs to be treated like that.
"I just hope people don't go making comparisons."
Johns said in some respects, he feels sorry for the new Knights halfback.
"He is really a five-eighth playing halfback and he has only just turned 20," Johns said.
"It's not going to be easy for him, but he is a great talent and is going to get a lot of support from all the boys.
"I'll be doing whatever I can to help him."
Life without Johns officially started for the Knights yesterday with coach Brian Smith moving to take the heat off Mullen's shoulders my making him off limits to the media.
"I can't talk mate. Brian doesn't want me saying anything," Mullen said.
Experienced winger Adam MacDougall, himself stunned by Johns' retirement, said Mullen had been hit harder than most by the news.
"One of the main reasons I returned to the club was to play alongside Joey again so I'm shattered this has happened," MacDougall said.
"But Jarrod probably took the news the hardest. He and Joey have been really close and he was fairly down yesterday after we found out."
While he said the finality of Johns' retirement probably hadn't completely hit home, Knights captain Danny Buderus said the club had been preparing for it for some time.
"We all knew it was coming even though we didn't expect it to be this soon," Buderus said.
"We have been doing plenty for the past six months to prepare for it.
"Joey has been encouraging everyone to take more of an ownership of the team – to take the initiative more and not to take a back seat because he was running the show.
"We are better prepared to deal with it but it is still a work in progress. You don't lose someone like him and not have it affect you."
Buderus is adamant Mullen will handle the spotlight he is under now that Johns is not there and not coming back.
"I think he is ready for this next part of his career," Buderus said.
"He is just one of those players who is going to be a leader and future captain of this club.
"Hopefully, he'll be spoken about in the future like Andrew is now – that's how highly he is regarded among the players.
"But no-one is expecting him to play like Joey.
"He'll be his own man.
"He has obviously learnt a lot off Joey because he has lived in his back pocket a bit.
"But at the end of the day, he'll play his own game."
|SHEPHERD TO COACH BLUES
BALMAIN Jersey Flegg mentor James Shepherd (pictured) has been appointed coach of the NSW U/17 representative rugby league squad for 2007.
Shepherd will coach the Junior Blues in their annual interstate clash with Queensland on June 13 in a curtain raiser to the second State of Origin fixture at Telstra Stadium.
James has coached the Balmain Flegg Cup side for the past four seasons - guiding the U/20 cubs to the finals on each occasion.
An outstanding junior five eighth, Shepherd was a product of Holy Cross College Ryde where he represented the Australian Schoolboys and Rhinos club in Balmain Junior League.. Learn More
LEAGUE LEGEND ANDREW JOHNS RETIRES
|Unhappy news ... Andrew Johns and his manager John Fordham arrive to meet with neck specialist Dr John Yeo, who informed the league star it was in his best interests to retire. / The Daily Telegraph
Considered by most to be the greatest rugby league player of all time, Andrew Johns has retired from the game he revolutionised, effective immediately.
The Newcastle Captain underwent scans in Newcastle this morning to determine the extent of a neck injury he suffered last Thursday night in a routine training exercise. Following medical advice from leading neck surgeon, Professor John Yeo and Knights specialist Dr Neil Halpin, Andrew has accepted medical recommendations to end his career.
“Andrew has been examined today by Professor John Yeo. He has been advised to retire from playing football forthwith due to the risk of serious spinal chord injury”, said Dr Halpin.
“We do not believe that surgery, injections or physical therapy would improve his neck sufficiently for him to resume football safely.”
Andrew’s decision lowers the curtain on a brilliant career, beginning with his first grade debut against the Gold Coast Seagulls in April 1993.
In his 15 years at the elite level, Johns has achieved every milestone possible with three Dally M awards, two Golden Boots, 23 State of Origin appearances for New South Wales and 21 Tests, including two World Cups and the 2001 Kangaroo Tour.
During his 10 year representative career he captained Australia and New South Wales.
He exits Rugby League as the game’s all time highest point scorer, the second highest goal scorer and the Newcastle Knights most capped player with 249 first grade games.
Speaking at today’s Media Conference, Andrew Johns said he wishes to thank the Newcastle Knights, his team mates and the club’s fans for the outstanding support and encouragement during his 19 year association.
“It’s been a great honour to play for the Knights,” he said.
“I look forward to continuing my relationship with the club and the players.”
“While Andrew’s departure leaves a gap almost impossible to fill, we should remember the years of enjoyment we’ve had watching the player who has become the best in the world and played his talents in such a way his performances have been held in awe,” said Newcastle Knights Chairman, Peter Corcoran OAM.
“It’s important we remember the Joey who has given us so much pleasure instead of the Joey who has been forced to retire while he still has so much to give our great game.
Andrew has singularly been the reason why so many people are now avid fans of rugby league. We thank him for that and our thoughts are with him at this difficult time.”
“Andrew’s symptoms should settle and it is expected that he will be able to live an otherwise normal life,” Dr Halpin said.
|STORM WORKS TO FINETUNE ATTACK
MELBOURNE Storm back-rower Ryan Hoffman believes the Storm must quickly correct its attack that misfired against Newcastle last weekend or again face the wrath of coach Craig Bellamy.
The Storm yesterday named an 18-man squad for its round-five game against St George Illawarra this Saturday at Oki Jubilee Stadium — with performance unit manager Mary Toomey saying Michael Crocker was a good chance of taking his spot in the team. He missed last weekend's 22-12 win over Newcastle because of a right shoulder injury, but was yesterday named as Hoffman's second-row partner.
"He's got a tear in one of his rotator cuffs which is getting significantly better by the day," Toomey said. "We had a non-contact session (yesterday) and he'll train more (today) and we'll make a call on him once we see how he pulls up after that."
Crocker's inclusion into the team means Antonio Kaufusi heads back to his usual front-row position, pushing Garret Crossman to 18th man. Hoffman said Bellamy was less vocal in his assessment of the Storm's victory than he was in its first-round win against Wests Tigers despite the team, who remain undefeated with Manly and North Queensland, again being plagued by handling errors in Newcastle.
|TOUGH DEFENDER BOOST FOR REP SIDE
10.04.2007 FOR coach Bruce Clarendon, it was a perfect opportunity to see exactly what his representative Under 13 side had to offer.
The team of talented youngsters had assembled to take on a Brothers White Under 14 side at Barbour Park as part of its training for the state championships at Cairns in late June.
And the team will be well served with the inclusion of rugged defender Scott Lee, of Cannonvale. The promising fullback has plenty of moves and was not afraid to charge into a tackle full of steam.
"He's a little bit fearless actually," Clarendon said as his team went on another attacking raid.
"But he doesn’t give away too many penalties because when he does go in he usually wins the ball.. Learn More
"He sometimes goes into a tackle not worrying about it.
SHARKS DEMOLISH STRUGGLING DRAGONS
|Sharks David Simmons scores his try at Shark Park, Justin Poore desprate to retain the footy in defence and 3 try hero Brett Kearney on his way to the line again
The Sharks piled on seven tries to one to trounce St George Illawarra 40-4 in Monday night's round four NRL match in Cronulla.
Full-back Brett Kearney recorded the first hat-trick of his career and centre Ben Pomeroy grabbed a double for the Sharks, who went to the break leading 16-4 and were too strong in the second half for the below-par Dragons.
After David Simmons crossed in the sixth minute for the home side, the Dragons hit back minutes later with a try to Josh Morris that levelled the scores at 4-4.
But it was the last time the Dragons would trouble the scorers as the Sharks put on two more tries in the first half and four more in the second.
Pomeroy grabbed his second in the 48th minute to put Cronulla out by 22-4 with Luke Covell's conversion and from there they were never headed as the Dragons repeatedly coughed up the ball in attack.
Kearney crossed again in the 58th minute and sealed his hat-trick six minutes later when Ben Hornby dropped the ball cold in his in-goal area to gift the Sharks the simplest of tries.
St George Illawarra completed less than 60 per cent of their sets of six and missed a whopping 46 tackles in a game they would have been confident of winning.
Nathan Brown's men have now won just one game in the opening four rounds and take on in-form Melbourne in a tough assignment next Saturday.
Cronulla Sharks 40
(B Kearney 3, B Pomeroy 2, D Simmons, F Anderson tries; L Covell 6 conversions)
St George Illawarra Dragons 4
(J Morris try) | NRL LADDER | NRL DRAW | NRL PLAYER STATS |
| AUSSIES RUGBY LEAGUE TOLD TO RESPECT TESTS
|MORE RESPECT: Kiwis coach Brian McClennan says league administrators are guilty of not showing the Anzac test enough respect.
KEVIN STENT/Sunday Star-Times
Kiwis coach Brian McClennan says league administrators are guilty of not showing the Anzac test enough respect.
With the annual test against Australia once again slipped into the schedule on a Friday night between two full rounds of NRL club football, some of McClennan's players could arrive in camp as late as four days before the April 20 game in Brisbane.
He says finding a blank weekend for the fixture is now long overdue.
"I think throwing this game in on a Friday night between (NRL) rounds isn't right," said McClennan. "This is how it is this year, and we will be doing the best we can with it and making no excuses, but in future, I think something needs to be done.
|RICKY STUART and his World Beating Kangaroo's
"The Australians appear to think more about the NRL and Origin and the scheduling needs to be thought through better ... you have got to give a test match the respect it is due."
New Zealand haven't won an Anzac test since the game was restored to the schedule in 2004, but McClennan says he has noted a sharp increase in appetite for test football from the Kangaroos since the Kiwis' Tri-Nations form lifted. "The Australian team and their coaching staff are really enjoying these test matches now they are in for a contest."
McClennan says this year's Anzac test is already being considered as the first step to the world cup.. Learn More
TEEN FALOU IN RECORD BOOKS
|Celebrating after Israel's 1st NRL try- Rnd 1.
MELBOURNE Storm sensation Israel Folau has produced the most devastating debut month in rugby league in more than four decades.
Folau, who turned 18 last week, took his tally to seven tries in four games this season with a double in the Storm's 22-12 win over Newcastle on Saturday night.
Not since dual international Mike Cleary jumped codes in 1962 has a rookie had such an immediate try-scoring impact.
Cleary also scored seven tries in his first four games in rugby league after a distinguished rugby union career provided him with six Wallabies' caps.
The former NSW Sports Minister and champion sprinter won three premierships with the Rabbitohs and scored 88 tries in 140 career games.
Folau and Cleary are only bettered by another former South Sydney winger, Les Brennan, who scored eight tries in the opening month of competition in 1954, statistics that guru David Middleton confirmed last night.. Learn More
MIGHTY MOUSE SCORES 1ST TRY FOR TWEED
|Chris Sandow too clever for the Wales U19's on last years ASSRL tour (Photo : ourfooty media)
THE IPSWICH Jets will be forced to prove themselves again to the doubters, following up an encouraging win against Norths with a meek 34-14 submission to Tweed Heads at the Piggabeen Complex.
Handing the Seagulls their first win of the season, Ipswich started the game by conceding a try in the opening minute and completing just two of its first seven sets in possession.
While Tweed was just as guilty of throwing away the ball early on, the Seagulls grasped their opportunities and attacked the contest with vigour.
A James Wood four-pointer just 39 seconds into the game was evidence of that, coming after vastly underrated prop Roy Friend put Brad Davis in the clear with a clever offload.
At one stage the two sides fumbled their way through 10 incomplete sets back-to-back. They appeared to take their frustrations out in defence, with Jets prop Matt McPhee twice smashing Selasi Berdie from the kick-off and then Seagulls captain Andrew Moroney drilling Smith Samau mercilessly.
Ipswich struck its first blow via Ricky Dodd 17 minutes into the contest, running brilliantly onto a flat pass from fill-in five-eighth Jason Bulgarelli.
Bulgarelli and Dodd combined just four minutes later in an even more spectacular movement, only to see backrower Joel Reithmuller end the play by dropping the ball across the line.
Tweed made the opposition pay, taking a 12-4 advantage with an opportunist try to Wood at the other end of the paddock, coming on the back of a freakish bounce from a Davis grubber.
It was clear Tweed Heads had the upper hand in the arm wrestle, but interchange forward Isaak Ah Mau struck a blow to their hopes when he ducked under a two-man tackle and extended his arm in the shades of halftime. His try, plus the conversion from Gordon Rattler, flattered the Jets at only 12-10 behind.
The second half gave a truer indication of the balance and by the time Ipswich scored again in the 69th minute, Tweed Heads was already out to a 24-14 lead.
Mighty mouse Chris Sandow grabbed his first Wizard Cup try in Seagulls colours, again from lead-up that featured Davis and Wood. Hooker Matt King rubbed salt in the wound by scoring a 70m try through flimsy defence.
Even when Ipswich responded with a Ricky Bird try from a grubber, the ever-present Nat Barnes stamped his mark on the game, crossing twice in three minutes to put the game out of reach.
Last year’s leading try-scorer with 22, Barnes now has four tries in three appearances this season.
Round Five sees Tweed Heads travel to Rockhampton to face Central at 7.30pm on Saturday. Ipswich will host Wynnum Manly at 3pm the following day.
TWEED HEADS 34
(Nathanael Barnes 2, James Wood 2, Chris Sandow
, Matthew King tries; Brad Davis 5 goals) d IPSWICH 14
(Ricky Dodd, Ricky Bird, Isaak Ah Mau tries; Gordon Rattler goal) at the Piggabeen Complex.
LYON IN WAIT AS DOGS LOOM
|Jamie Lyon looks to offload during the Sea Eagles's tight win over the Warriors.
Photo: Tim Clayton
THE last time Jamie Lyon played against the Bulldogs, he was overrun by a young debutant named Sonny Bill Williams and his Parramatta side was smashed in the first round of the 2004 season. The next week, Lyon announced his retirement from first-grade football.
Moments after helping new club Manly to their fourth consecutive win, which continued his undefeated return to the NRL, Lyon was already thinking about the clash against the Bulldogs this Saturday. But it isn't about revenge for Lyon - he just wants to knock over one of the competition favourites.
In reference to the 2004 match, Lyon said: "That was a long time ago. I can't really remember too much about it. [My departure] had nothing to do with the Bulldogs at all. I'm just looking forward to getting out there, and playing well for the rest of the season. We will have to be at our best to even match it with the Bulldogs next week."
A telling sign in the Manly camp was that every other Sea Eagles player, along with coach Des Hasler, also had their minds on the blockbuster clash at Telstra Stadium shortly after recording a courageous victory over the New Zealand Warriors.. Learn More
STORM EXTEND UNBEATEN RUN
|Israel Falou's 1st try, striding past the Wales U19's & doing the hard meters at training.
Melbourne Storm have extended their perfect start to the season with a 10-point victory over the Newcastle Knights in their round four NRL clash in Newcastle this evening.
High-flying youngster Israel Folau scored his third double in the 22-12 win to take his try tally to seven for the season as the Storm left the Knights behind in the second stanza after going into the break level.
Folau, a ring-in for injured winger Steve Turner, has made the right flank his own and has been the pick of a high-profile backline in recent weeks, scoring a try either side of the break as the 2006 minor premiers proved too good for a Knights side without talismanic playmaker Andrew Johns.
Melbourne centre Anthony Quinn scored a brilliant try shortly after half-time in his first match against his former club, while Matt King (34th minute) scored the other try for the visitors.
Steve Simpson (18th minute) and Daniel Abraham (24th minute) were the only try-scorers for the Knights, with Kurt Gidley adding two conversions.
Earlier, the Storm were lucky to go into the break at 12-12 after a try to King late in the first period put them back on level terms with the Knights.
Newcastle enforcer Simpson barged over on 18 minutes courtesy of a poor defensive lapse from the Storm, before Abraham then extended the advantage for the Knights six minutes later to make it 12-6.
The Knights should have taken a lead into the break but for a brilliant try-saving effort from Quinn who showed great determination to hold up Adam McDougall in the 30th minute and force a mistake.
Danny Buderus celebrated his long-awaited comeback to football with the Knights and impressed in a showdown with incumbent Test hooker Cameron Smith, who is expected to hold onto his spot for the Anzac Test on Friday week.. MORE ISRAEL FALOU STORIES
COWBOYS GREAT ESCAPE
|SWEET MOMENT: Matt Bowen scores under the posts.
NORTH Queensland maintained its perfect start to the season after producing a miraculous second-half comeback last night to stun the Wests Tigers in Townsville.
But the Cowboys' celebrations at the pulsating 25-24 triumph were tempered by the loss of their second representative forward in a week, with Test back-rower Luke O'Donnell suffering a nasty hamstring tear.
Making a regulation hit-up in the 23rd minute, O'Donnell had his legs pulled in opposite directions before Tigers forward Bronson Harrison's 102kg frame came crashing down on top of him.
A certainty for the trans-Tasman Test, O'Donnell was stretchered off in agony and will almost certainly miss Australia's clash with New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium on April 20.
The latest body blow comes just seven days after Cowboys enforcer Carl Webb smashed his jaw against the Dragons and was ruled out for up to two months.
O'Donnell's setback took the gloss off a magnificent revival by the Cowboys, who fought back from deficits of 18-6 and 24-12 to clinch their fourth successive win.
The hero was diminutive fullback Matthew Bowen, who scored a superb solo try in the 75th minute before snapping a field goal with 53 seconds remaining to break a 24-24 deadlock.. Learn More
|BUNDABERG DUO SET TO TEST SKILLS
FRESH-faced Bundaberg Rugby League players Raymond Zysk and Anthony Broome will test their skills against the country’s best regional players when they represent Central Queensland at the Far West Academy of Sport Inter-State Rugby League Challenge in New South Wales (NSW) during Easter.
Zysk and Broome, who play for Wests and Across The Waves respectively, will take on sides from the Northern Territory, Newcastle and Parramatta at the challenge.
The 17-year-olds will join a Far West New South Wales outfit already primed for the four-day competition, despite not having trained with the squad.
“We’re not too worried (about not having trained with the players), we know them from other carnivals and they’re all good blokes and good players,” Broome said.
“We’re just looking forward to testing ourselves at their level and hopefully to get noticed.”
BRONCOS WIN IN WET
|SETTING sail ... Broncos centre Justin Hodges bullocks his way clear of the defence last night. Picture: Brett Costello
WITH one minute to go in last night's drought-breaking 32-10 win over the Sydney Roosters at Aussie Stadium, Broncos coach Wayne Bennett turned to football manager Andrew Gee and said. "They can't get us now can they?"
Last week Bennett left his position in the grandstand to join his interchange players on the bench as the Broncos were put through golden extra time as the result of an amazing comeback by Penrith which came from 28-20 down to level at 28-28 after 80 minutes.
Penrith five-eighth Peter Wallace kicked the winning field goal in extra time to consign the Broncos to their third loss in a row.
Brisbane led 16-6 at halftime last night and then 20-6 before the Roosters scored a try through centre Joel Monaghan after the Broncos declined an easy shot at penalty goal, an option Bennett later criticised.
From there it was one-way traffic with Broncos skipper Darren Lockyer ably assisted by much maligned halfback Shane Perry and a hardworking pack.
Winger Steve Michaels finished with two tries despite being on the receiving end of some rough-house treatment from the Roosters.
Lockyer scored a try of his own after Perry brilliantly read play by grubber kicking to the right of the goal posts when fullback Anthony Minichiello darted the other way after making a tackle.. Learn More
The group hosted the visiting sides at Tamworth Minor League Park for trials in an early warm-up for the Country Championships that will come to Tamworth for the first time this year.
G4's under 13s, 14s and 15s all took to the field and impressed. The under 15s had a fight on their hands against G19 but went on to win 32-16.
PUPS ARE NO BUNNIES
|HIT UP: Ryan Morgan runs the ball up for Singleton during the home game at Cook Park against Valentine on Saturday.
JUNIOR Rugby League will enter a two-week competition recess for the Easter / School holiday break following the opening round of junior league last weekend.
There were some strong performances from Singleton teams against quality opposition that will give our teams plenty of optimism for the rest of the competition.
Training for most teams will resume on Tuesday April 17 at Cook Park.
With registrations still filtering in, the club will be contacting Group 21 officials during the break to install another Under 8 and 9 teams to the competition.
This will ensure plenty of game time for those boys to develop their game but will also require a commitment from players to stand-by in case teams are short some days.
Dads are encouraged to keep the weekend of April 14 and15 free if you can.
A working bee has been organised to progress the floodlighting as well as mowing, marking and establishing the mini – mod fields. Many hands make light work.
Match reports from last weekend's games will be printed & online during the break.
Have a great Easter everyone.
| LEAGUE CLUBS SHOW INTEREST IN PECKHAM
Rugby league teams are fighting over Wellington player Richard Peckham.
The 15- year-old Wellington High School student last week returned from the under 16 State of Origin, the curtain raiser for the Panthers v Broncos match at Suncorp Stadium.
|Richard Peckham from Wellington HS is in big demand
"I had a great time. It was a huge learning experience," Peckham said.
The success doesn't stop there. His most recent achievement was to be accepted into the Australian Indigenous under 16 side set to play New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium prior to the Anzac Test on April 20.
He has also been approached by both the Cronulla Sharks and the Newcastle Knights for a scholarship position, and is currently weighing up his options before deciding which position to take.
At the moment, Peckham feels that his schooling is just as important as his football and wants to make the right choice. "I want to see who is offering the best education," he said.
Peckham has already signed with a manager at SFX Sports Inc, and is hoping that his football career will go ahead in leaps and bounds from here.
On the local side of things, Peckham has been chosen along with three other Wellington Cowboys to play in the group 11 competition. Selected for the under 16 side is Justin Toomey, Richard Peckham and Kenneth Everson, while Bryce Adamson will be playing in the under 14 side.
|EARLY SIGNS ARE GOOD FOR THE BEARS
|North Sydney player attacks the Sharks
( Photo : Steve Little)
The Bears early season form in all grades has been promising over recent weeks and the club looks set for another improved season.
In Premier League the Bears have shown steady improvement, starting with a 60-0 victory over Windsor and putting in gutsy displays against the Jets and Seagulls over the last couple of weeks.
This season will see the return of Ben Black for the Bears, after Black’s return from the UK.
Jersey Flegg have shown continued improvement and look set to improve on last season, while S.G Ball and Harold Matt’s have impressed early to show signs of a better year for the juniors.
Both Harold Matt’s and S.G Ball will begin their representative season this weekend against the Eels at Cabramatta.. Learn More
|FIVE STINGRAYS MAKE REP SQUAD
|Stingrays Brock gibbon, Sam Hill, Shon Siemonek and Marty Brown have been named in the Ballymore Tornadoes squad.
FORGET the supposed tsunami on Tuesday – the only natural disaster that five Sunshine Coast Stingrays care about at the moment is a Tornado.
The Ballymore Tornadoes, one of Queensland’s two new Australian Rugby Championship teams, yesterday named a preliminary squad of 56 players for pre-selection testing.
Five Stingrays – Charles Wyllie, Sam Hill, Brock Gibbon, Marty Brown and Shon Siemonek – were named in the initial squad and will undergo strength and endurance testing in Brisbane today.
The ARC kicks off in August, but all eight teams (three from NSW, two Queensland and one each from Perth, Canberra and Melbourne) must name their 28-man squads by June 30 The Tornadoes squad of 56 does not include Queensland Reds players, who are likely to command positions in the final squad.
Tornadoes coach Chris Roche regularly consulted Stingrays coach David Clark during the selection process.
Clark said Wylie, the 2006 Stingrays captain and Premier Rugby player of the year, who is currently playing club rugby in Italy, is highly regarded by Roche.
"They have definitely been talking a lot about Charlie," Clark said. "I have just sent him an email saying 'You better get back here quick smart because these people are looking for you'.
"His name came up quite regularly in discussions with Rochey.
"He’s not due back until the second week in May, but I told him it would be in his best interests to get back by the end of this month."
Young backs Gibbon and Brown might be inexperienced, but their class has been clear during the first month of the 2007 Premier Rugby season. Brown has shone at outside centre this year, while Gibbon has proved his utility value by moving seamlessly between inside centre and wing.
"Chris remembers Browny from the time we played Teachers (Norths-QUT), getting on the outside of his players," Clark said.
"Both Marty and Brock are worthy of their selection," Clark said. "They have showed some real adventure that has caught Chris’s eye."
"Brock can play on the wing and also 12 and 13, so he’s a pretty valuable sort of guy, while Browny has been shining at 13."
Giant prop Siemonek has continually impressed Clark since joining the Stingrays from Maroochydore over the off-season.
"Shon has been a revelation for us, he’s been playing extremely well," Clark said.
"He stood out against Norths-QUT and the game he played against Jeeps at Suncorp and then last weekend was very good again."
Former Nambour Toads flanker/No.8 Sam Hill rounds out the Stingrays contingent.
"My god (Hill) gets through some work, which is exactly what you need from a backrower," Clark said.
"He’s highly active, (and is) over the top of the ball all the time.He just needs to pick up a bit on his defence and his range in the game. But he’s certainly caught the eye of the selectors because of his performances."
Stingrays captain Brett Longfield has also been impressive this year but did not put his name down for selection.
|NRL/ Breast cancer
03/04/07 The National Rugby League captains and coaches will be confronted with a stark reminder of the dangers of male breast cancer on Wednesday night (April 4) at the annual Captains’ Table dinner at Telstra Stadium.
The biggest gathering of the Telstra Premiership’s coaches and captains held under an exclusive corporate marquee on Telstra Stadium has raised over $300,000 for the National Breast Cancer foundation since its inception in 2004.
On Wednesday night they will hear first hand how last year’s event directly saved one man’s life.
Glenn Turner was a generous corporate supporter sitting in the audience at last year’s dinner.
A speech by Sarah Murdoch prompted him to investigate a small lump in his own breast, a decision that was to change his world.
Glenn returns to be the guest speaker at Wednesday night’s dinner, which offers just 16 corporate tables and which is one of the highlights of Rugby League’s One Community Programme.
Glenn will be joined again by Sarah Murdoch to promote the importance of breast cancer research and the work of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
ARIA Award winning artist Missy Higgins will show her commitment to the cause taking time out from her hectic album launch schedule to perform at the event.
There’ll be a sense of fun amid the fund-raising as the 16 NRL club surfboards produced as one off items for the Season launch on the Gold Coast are auctioned on line at graysonline.com.au.
In a fund raising first, corporate heavyweights will bid against the general public for the right to own one of the unique boards. The boards have already attracted some significant bids with the highest bid for the Parramatta board currently at $2159.00.
The Captains’ Table is one of a series of events to be undertaken by Rugby League’s One Community in April.
On April 10, One Community will launch a monster raffle to raise funds for Junior Rugby League clubs throughout Australia; while ANZAC Day will see Rugby League legends from Australia and New Zealand lace up their boots one final time in Tamworth to raise money for drought affected regions in New South Wales and Queensland.
Players and coaches will be available to the media during the pre-dinner cocktails, centre field from 6.30-7.00pm.
Parking is available for media on the ramp to Level 0.
|RICKY GIVES CRONULLA DEVELOPMENT THE THUMBS UP
|Australian & Sharks Coach Ricky Stuart talks to the Cronulla Development U13, 15 & U17 Squads (Photo: ourfooty media)
Bullet passing Cronulla Coach Ricky Stuart and his coaching staff put the Cronulla Junior Development Squads through their paces and gave them the thumbs up.
Cronulla's Ricky Stuart, Sam Williams and staff tok control of training or the Cronulla Sharks development u14, 15 & u17 team.
All the boys were excited with the opportunity to be coached be the Australian Rugby League coach.
Ricky spend about 15 - 20 mins with each of the groups of players putting them through various drills and skill routines.
"Wow, he passes like an NRL player", said one 13 year old from the Mighty Gymea Gorilla's.
"They showed us good techniques of how to hold, catch and pass the football properly", was the comment from Andrew, as young player from De La Salle Caringbah.
Ricky Stuart had to leave at about 6:30 to attend the Cronulla Sharks "FAN FORUM" - Now that would have been fun Ricky!
|MASON - I FEAR FOR SOUTHS
|Sonny Bill Williams ready to get it on in '07
BULLDOGS star Willie Mason predicts the return of a fired-up Sonny Bill Williams will bring the rampaging Rabbitohs crashing back down to earth in their blockbuster clash on Good Friday.
Williams returns to action after two weeks out suspended for a high shot on Andrew Johns – and he's primed to make amends in a forward clash featuring up to eight Test stars at Telstra Stadium.
Lining up against Kiwi hardmen Roy Asotasi and David Kidwell, Williams yesterday declared he would not let the Johns incident temper his aggressive style.
And Mason warned the resurgent Rabbitohs to brace themselves.
"I've never seen a bloke more fitter or angrier than what he (Williams) is now," Mason said. "I feel sorry for Souths in a way. Williams adds another dimension to our game and it will be great to have him back.
| AUSTRALIAN INDIGENOUS U/16 TEAM ANNOUNCED
Monday, 2nd April 2007
The following is the 2007 Australian Indigenous Under-16 team that will play against New Zealand on Friday 20th April 2007 at Suncorp Stadium prior to the Anzac Test.
All players will be required to assemble in Brisbane on Tuesday 17th April 2007.. Learn More
STORM SEND WARRIORS PACKING
|Melbourne Storm's Billy Slater runs for the try line & gets smashed.
MELBOURNE Storm maintained their unbeaten start to the 2007 NRL premiership with a commanding 30-12 win over the Warriors in Melbourne today.
Queensland State of Origin hopefuls Billy Slater and Israel Folau notched try doubles as Storm showed off its considerable depth yet again. The Warriors tried hard but were outclassed by a side which has an imposing record at home at Olympic Park.
Determined to make up for last season which was interrupted by suspensions, Slater has been the Storm's standout this year.
And giant 17-year-old Folau posted another two tries to bring his tally to five in the opening three rounds.
The only blight on the Storm's day was an ankle injury to gun five-eighth Greg Inglis, which forced him from the field 13 minutes from fulltime.
While the Storm attack ran red-hot at Olympic Park, their defence was equally impressive against the Warriors, who had chalked up two wins heading into the match.
The Warriors battered the defence for three consecutive sets of six late in the first half but were unable to penetrate.
The Storm got off to a flying start as they raced to a 10-0 lead by the eighth minute thanks to Slater and Folau.
THE FEATHERS ARE FLYING
|Chicken hawks … Sea Eagles defenders stop Braith Anasta
The irony is this - if the Roosters players had put up a fight like Chris Anderson did for as long as he did, he might not have needed to say what he did.
But following a performance the coach described as "diabolical" and individual displays that were "dreadful" and "depressing", Anderson proceeded to give the team a dressing-down no dressing-room talk could ever match.
In a spiel which lasted a little over 10 minutes, Anderson accused the Roosters of "giving up" in their heavy defeat to Manly at Aussie Stadium yesterday. He also said the side had no fight, threw the towel in and admitted they were "as low as we can go now" after a loss which left them winless after the first three rounds.
"We had opportunities to score three or four tries in the first half and when we didn't do it, we just went into our shell," Anderson began. Nothing too bad there, but what followed was nothing short of extraordinary.
"We just put our hands up," he said. "It's not a good thing for a group of players to do. I don't know whether they've done it before. I don't know whether they did it last year. I don't want to go there whether they did. We won't do it again. It was a fairly diabolical capitulation."