IT has been a long season for the Referee?s in season 2006, and here at LeagueUnlimited and Referee?s Report, we have made a list of awards for what has been an up and down season. Referee of the Year Award: Steve Clark ? While sometimes being inconsistent and sometimes making the wrong calls, he has been the standout for this season. Two origins show this and leading in to the semi finals he is in line to take out his first ever Grand Final.The What Happened Award: Paul Simpkins ? While Paul has been up there as one of the best this season, we can expect more of him. Although he was out for a couple of months after a calf strain in round six, he made a slow comeback from injury. When returning for the Tigers and Souths match in round 12, he took too long to return to his normal good performances. However he is now well positioned to hit form at the right time of the season.The Most Improved Award: Shayne Hayne ? Just a year and a half ago, Shayne Hayne was doing Premier League and some NRL touchlines. Now in September of 2006, Shayne has been given his first ever Finals fixture. It has been a great season for Shayne, which has involved a fair few Friday night matches. Next year he should be hoping for a top two finish.The Rookie of the Year Award: Ben Cummins ? There have been a fair few referees blooded in to First Grade this season. Last year Ben was awarded the SG Ball Grand Final and now the Canberra Junior has a handful of First Grade matches to go with it. He is one to watch in the future.The One to Look Out For Award: Tony De Las Heras ? He has had two proper First Grade matches and one half a match as a replacement, but Dapto junior Tony De Las Heras is one of the referees to watch in 2007 and beyond.Now on to the appointments for the first week of the 2006 playoffs:Sean Hampstead receives his first start in a semi final since 2004 when he did the First Qualifying Final between the Panthers and Dragons. Hampstead has been given the match of the round at Energy Australia Stadium between the Knights and Sea Eagles which, last time these two sides met in round 23, was amid controversy when Knights captain Andrew Johns lashed out at touch judge Matt Cecchin with a number of four letter words. The touch judges will be Steve Carrall and Rod Lawrence.Paul Simpkins receives yet another semi final when the Broncos are at home to the Dragons on Saturday night. In 2004 Simpkins had first and eighth placed in week one of the playoffs between the Roosters and Raiders, while in 2005 he had the Tigers and Cowboys? week one clash being the fourth and fifth placed teams. The touch judges will be Paul Holland and Matt Cecchin.It is a memorable moment for Shayne Hayne who has been given his first start in an NRL Finals match. He will be at the helm of the Bulldogs and Raiders match at Telstra Stadium on Saturday night. Hayne just beat fellow referee Tony Archer to the fourth and final refereeing position in the upcoming finals series. Shayne?s touch judges will be David Abood and Steve Chiddy. The last man to be named is number one referee Steve Clark, who will be down in Melbourne as the minor premiers take on the eighth placed Parramatta Eels. The last time Clark did an Eels match was when Parramatta heavily defeated the Dragons back in round 22, while the last time he officiated in a Storm match was in round 20 as Melbourne were too strong for the visiting Sharks. The touch judges will be Russell Turner and Michael Jones.
THERE will be no sign of Johnathon Thurston for the North Queensland Cowboys in their final hit out of season 2006 at home to the Parramatta Eels on Friday night. Club captain Travis Norton has been named on a five man bench as the Cowboys look to end their season on a high.
SHAYNE Hayne returns to the semi finals fray on Friday in Townsville for the Cowboys and Eels clash. With five people (Sean Hampstead, Paul Simpkins, Steve Clark, Tony Archer and Hayne) vying for just four Finals position, Shayne can ill-afford to slip up as he hopes to gain his first ever semi final appointment as a referee. Shayne has received good reports over the last three weeks with solid performances in the Broncos/Storm match, Dragons/Tigers and now the Raiders/Storm matches.
THE Bulldogs will be without representative stars Roy Asotasi, Willie Mason and Willie Tonga for this weekend?s Friday night blockbuster with the Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval. Chris Armit moves from the bench to the front rower with Nate Myles going in to the backrow, who was under an injury cloud for this match after their loss to the Broncos on Friday.
TONY de Las Heras makes his official refereeing debut on Sunday when the Rabbitohs are at home to the Cowboys. Tony came on late in the first half in Round five as a replacement for the then injured Paul Simpkins. He replaces Jason Robinson who was in charge of the Sharks and Panthers match last Saturday night.Sean Hampstead will control the Sea Eagles? important clash with the Dogs on Friday night at Brookvale Oval. A win for Manly will secure them a home semi final, so this match will have the quality of a Finals fixture. Just what Sean needs as the build up to September football continues.Shayne Hayne was again impressive in the Dragons home win against the Tigers on Sunday and has been rewarded with the Raiders important clash against the Storm on Saturday night. Shayne could be a dark horse for a final this year, while the Raiders need to win to confirm their place in September.Referee Paul Simpkins will have the local derby between the Dragons and Sharks in Wollongong on Saturday night. Paul was criticised for blowing too many inefficient penalties in the Eels? big victory over the Roosters on Sunday.Steve Clark has been given the important match of the round between Newcastle and Penrith. It has been rated the number one match as the equation is simple for the Panthers, they must win to keep their finals hopes alive. The equation is simple for Clark, keep refereeing at the good standard he has to ensure his first Grand Final appearance of his career.Russell Smith will have his second game back in first grade since spending along time in Premier League. Russell, who came over from England in 2005, was to just spend nine weeks in Australia refereeing, but has joined the Canterbury Refereeing District since then and looks to be a full timer when it comes to refereeing. Russell will be over in New Zealand this weekend when the Warriors are at home to the Roosters.Tony Archer, who made his first appearance in a finals fixture last year in the Sharks and Dragons clash, looks to be on the road to another one this year if he keeps up the good standard that he has over the past couple of months. Tony has the important match at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday where the Eels are at home to the Broncos. The game could be one of the matches in the first week of the finals which kicks off in the second weekend of September.
THE race for refereeing positions in this year?s Finals Series has heated up with referee Gavin Badger being relegated back to Premier League this weekend. Gavin, who refereed in the Warriors? victory over the Cowboys on Saturday, has been told that he made the right decision in sending off North Queensland?s Luke O?Donnell off. He however did make some costly errors throughout the match, which was the reason for his demotion.
THE Bulldogs will be at full strength this Friday night for their clash with the sixth placed Broncos. Matt Utai returns from suspension after being sent off against the Tigers for a reckless high tackle on Stuart Flanagan. A win for the Belmore boys could be their seventh straight as they look to consolidate second place on the ladder.
ROUND 23 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 14 v Parramatta Eels 34at Toyota ParkReferee: Tony ArcherMatch Summary:The Eels have continued the woes of the Cronulla Sharks in the back end of season 2006. Leading 12-8 at halftime, the home side was run down by Parramatta, losing by 34 points to 14 at Toyota Park.The Sharks started the game off well before going back to their old selves by letting in hooker Mark Riddell for a soft try from dummy half in the 17th minute.The Sharks hit back well with a good try to former Panther Ben Pomeroy, before David Simmons latched on to a Brett Kimmorley kick following a Luke Burt penalty goal, taking the scoreline out to 12-8 at the break.The Eels must have put something in their Gatorades at halftime as they came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half. Jarryd Hayne scored just two minutes in to the second half as backrower Nathan Hindmarsh somehow got a freakish offload away on tackle five that eventually found its way to Hayne to score in the corner.The Sharks edged back in front through a long range penalty goal to winger Luke Covell. However that was their last points for the night as the Eels ran in a further four tries to oust the Sharks out of the top eight for the time being.The Eels now sit in fourth position although wins to the Broncos and Dragons tomorrow could put them back down to sixth position.Parramatta have won eight games straight while the Sharks have seven in a row on the negative side of the equation.Scorers:Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 14Tries: David Simmons, Ben PomeroyGoals: Luke Covell 3/3Parramatta Eels: 34Tries: Luke Burt(2), Wade McKinnon, Glenn Morrison, Mark Riddell, Jarryd HayneGoals: Luke Burt 5/7By the Clock:Both the Sharks and the Eels are as per the program for this vital clash for the all important top eight.The Sharks have lost six straight while the Eels haven't lost a match since round 14 at home to the Storm.Conditions are perfect for rugby league not a cloud in the sky all day.Not a bad crowd in, could have been expecting more though.Tony Archer is your referee,both teams are out on the paddock with the fireworks smoke covering the field.Kickoff!4 min: The Sharks go down field from a penalty but Villasanti drops the ball cold on tackle two.7 min: A crossfield grubber from Adam Dykes finds Covell right in the corner but trying to knock the ball backwards before going out,he knocks on as Pomeroy grounds the ball for a disallowed try.12 min: A swift backline movement from the Sharks finds Pomeroy five metres out from the line with Covell on his outside but he knocks on.17 min: TRY Parramatta EelsMark Riddell scores from dummy half through some poor marker defence on the back of some good field position for the Eels.Burt from the sideline slots the kick superbly. Eels 6-022 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksA long pass by Kingston is taped on beautifally by Covell on to Pomeroy who steps past Hayne then gets around Burt easily to score past some ordinary defence.Covell converts. 6 all.28 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta EelsA penalty in the play the ball against the Sharks gifts Luke Burt with two points. Eels 8-635 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksWelcome back from injury David Simmons!A great crossfield kick from Kimmorley to the corner and a race to the ball between Burt and Simmons and wouldn't Houdini love that,Simmons came out of the clouds and snatched the ball out of Burt's grasp.Covell converts. Sharks 12-837 min: The Eels attack the line but the inside ball goes to ground and the Sharks have it.Now they are 20 out from the Eels line on tackle two.38 min: A line dropout to the Sharks and the Eels go for a short grubber to restart and it is dived on by Hindmarsh!Halftime - An even game so far which has seen end to end football.David Simmons won't be back for the Sharks after dislocating his shoulder when scoring the Sharks' second try.Second half underway!42 min: Checking for an Eels try...43 min: TRY Parramatta EelsYet another try for Jarryd Hayne as Nathan Hindmarsh dives for the line on tackle 5,somehow with five men on him gets an offload away that looks to be fumbled by Luke Burt before he grubbers for Hayne who scores in the corner.Burt can't convert. 12 all.49 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland SharksFrom 35 odd metres out,Covell lands two points from an offside penalty to put the Sharks back in front. Sharks 14-1253 min: TRY Parramatta EelsThe Eels are back in front after a great offload by Cordoba who finds McKinnon on half way who runs around Vagana who has come on as a fullback to score in the corner.Burt converts from the sideline off the upright. Eels 18-1464 min: Checking for an Eels try...65 min: TRY Parramatta EelsLuke Burt bags another try for the season as a kick down field is taken by Kearney who in a tackle in goal by Burt, knocks on and Burt dives on it to score.Burt can't convert his own try. Eels 22-1467 min: TRY Parramatta EelsAnother loss for the Sharks coming up as Burt scores his second try in as many matches as a short chip over the top is taken superbly by Burt who goes around Vagana to score out wide.Burt converts. Eels 28-1474 min: TRY Parramatta EelsThe Sharks have capitulated as a long ball from Jeremy Smith with numbers on his outside finds Glenn Morrison who scores outwide to rub salt in to the wounds of the Sharks.Burt converts as the Sharks fans head for the exit signs. Eels 34-1478 min: Jeremy Smith goes on a 70m run down field before being tackled ten out from the goal line.From dummy half Luke Burt kicks cross field for an unmarked Hayne but it goes over his head.Fulltime - The Eels continue the Sharks' woes in the backend of 2006.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Luke Burt2 - Nathan Hindmarsh1 - Paul Gallen-----------------------------------------
SHAYNE Hayne returns to First Grade after just one week on the sidelines following his costly error when officiating in the Sharks and Knights clash two weeks ago. The Central Coast born referee will be in charge of the important fixture between the Broncos and Storm up in Brisbane on Sunday afternoon.
NEWCASTLE will welcome back last year?s Australian schoolboys five-eighth Jarrod Mullen, after he was injured two weeks ago against Cronulla. The Knights will head in to the match with Manly stern favourites and won the last meeting between the two clubs, 26-12, at Brookvale Oval in round 17.Manly will be at full strength for the clash as they welcome back New South Wales prop, Brent Kite, after he was concussed heavily two weeks ago at Parramatta Stadium in the side?s loss to the Eels. The match will be a case of teacher vs. student when Matt Orford confronts his childhood hero in Andrew Johns.The Warriors have named the same side for the Cowboys, which continued the Sharks? woes last Saturday night at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland. When these two sides met in 2004, former captain Monty Betham gave away a head high tackle right in front of the posts in golden point, that handed the Cowboys victory.The Cowboys have named hooker come halfback Aaron Payne as captain for the match as former captain Travis Norton succumbed to a shoulder injury after the Bulldogs match on Saturday. Payne is the third choice captain as vice-captain Johnathan Thurston is also sidelined with a knee injury.Sharks coach Stuart Raper has wielded an axe to his out of form team for this weekend?s clash with the Eels. Former Knight Darren Albert has been dropped to Premier League while Kiwi International Nigel Vagana has been dropped to the bench as well as Luke Douglas and New South Wales representative Paul Gallen.The Eels have named the same starting line-up that disposed of the Dragons last Friday night. However, outgoing coach Jason Taylor has replaced Brett Delaney with former fullback Wade McKinnon on the bench with Luke Burt staying in the fullback spot.Penrith have selected Papua New Guinean Paul Aiton back in First Grade for the first time since the side defeated the Cowboys at CUA Stadium back in Round 19, for the club?s clash with the Roosters on Saturday. Although it is round 23, it will be the first meeting of the club?s this year.Although suffering a heavy defeat to the Knights last weekend, Roosters? coach Ricky Stuart has named an unchanged line-up for the clash with the Panthers. Just two more wins for the tricolours will see them surpass 1000 wins as a club since 1908.The Tigers have dropped youngster Keith Eshman back to reserve grade but have brought back up another superstar Ben Jeffery for his second NRL appearance. The last time the Tigers met the Raiders was in round 19 in Canberra when the Tigers were controversially defeated in golden point.Canberra has named former Bronco Craig Frawley on a five-man bench for the match at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday. The two sides met at the same ground last year in round 11 where the Tigers ran out convincing winners. However, out of the five tries scored, three came from players who are currently unavailable, which includes the likes of Marshall, Whatuira and Hodgson. The Bulldogs have kept the same side that demolished the Cowboys last Saturday for their clash with the Dragons on Sunday. Five-eighth Daniel Holdsworth will play his first game against childhood hero Trent Barrett since moving to Belmore.St George Illawarra have recalled star Mark Gasnier for the match. Gasnier was rested last weekend against Parramatta and took a weekend off up in Townsville. These two clubs met just a month ago at OKI Jubilee where the Bulldogs came away with the match by just a try in what could be described as the match of the season to date.Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has dropped look-a-like Scott Minto for their do or die clash with the Storm on Sunday. He has also named a six-man bench that includes Queensland Origin stars Casey McGuire, David Stagg and Sam Thaiday.Melbourne has recalled representatives Matt King and Dallas Johnson after the two were rested last weekend. After another suspension to Billy Slater, super kid Greg Inglis drops back to fullback. Melbourne has been a sort of hoodoo team for the Broncos especially in September, as the two clubs have faced off in the second Qualifying Final in Brisbane for the past two years. Both times the Storm has been victorious.South Sydney have the bye this weekend which will be six points in three weeks for the club which is on the back of two successive victories against the Raiders and Panthers.