Steve Little

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Recent Articles by Steve Little

Bears fired up for 100th season

NORTH Sydney Bears General Manager Greg Florimo says the spirit at the club remains as strong as ever as it prepares to celebrate its 99th birthday next Wednesday night

Bears sign top local talent

THE North Sydney Bears have moved to sign three talented players from their under 17s development squad who have a long and successful history in the District and are full of the passion needed in the NSW Rugby League S. G. Ball Competition.Berowra under 17s Grand Finalist Curtis Johnston and North Sydney Brothers under 16s Premiership winner Josh Nicholls have both signed two year contacts while Ashley Calvert-Evers also a Berowra Grand Finalist, has signed for one year with an option for 2008.Despite only signing initially for the 2007 season, talented Berowra half back Ashley Calvert-Evers is ready to commit to one of the toughest junior competitions in the World. Reserved off the field Ash's outstanding performance in a recent trial against the Sharks is believed to have cemented his spot in 2007. "My plan is to have a good season in Ball and hopefully get a run in Jersey Flegg. I hope to get the call up to play in Premier League in 2008" said Ash who has played for Berowra since seven years and represented the Bears in Harold Matts in 2005. "Norths is my local area. I've been with Berowra for a while, playing for the Bears is very important to me".Curtis Johnston's passion for the Bears is unmistakable beginning in 1996 at North Sydney Brothers garnering best player awards four years running before moving into the North Sydney Development ranks and dual representation in Union and league for St Leos College and Asquith Boys High. "All my life I've wanted to play for the Bears. I've supported them since I was 2 or 3". North Sydney Team of the Century centre Greg Florimo believes "He has a great football brain and he's become very strong and has a good frame for a centre". Curtis claims "I plan to perform to the best of my ability while showing loyalty and give 110% to have a winning team on the field in 2007".2006 Harold Matthews captain and lock Josh Nicholls comes to the under 18s fresh from a grand final win for North Sydney Brothers in the U16s against Belrose and the competition winning North Shore Marist Catholic College side who defeated the Kogarah team. "It's a big deal to play for Norths. I've been in and around the Club most of my life and to run out in the Red and Black is a big deal". Josh admits to not being that interested in sport in his early years but was guided by his parents in to the sport of rugby league and never looked back. "My plan is to get a starting position in the S G Ball team and make the NSW under 17s representative team. Second to play Jersey Flegg and move on up from there".The Bears will hold further trials possibly against Penrith and Western District after the New Year.PICTURED: Signed and ready to deliver! From left Josh Nicholls, Coach Jamie Papa, Ashley Calvert-Evers and kneeling Curtis Johnston.PHOTO: Steve Little.

Bears 07 junior coaches

NORTH Sydney CEO Greg Florimo has moved to instil continuity in the junior representational coaching ranks with the re-appointment of 2006 Harold Matthews Coach Kevin Nichols and the appointment of Jamie Papa as S. G. Ball Coach for 2007.In his initial speech to the Harold Matthews training squad Kevin Nichols has reiterated his call to get behind the passion of the Bears. Kevin Nichols experience in junior rugby league at both the professional and local level will no doubt be an effective asset as he returns with the full 2006 support staff. The Willoughby Roos' Gary Armstrong returns as Assistant Coach while ex first grader Simon Brockwell and Steve Thompson will throw their wealth of experience once again behind the Bears under 16s team.Last years Assistant Ball Coach Jamie Papa will take over as Coach in 2007. Jamie's extensive strength and conditioning background, including a stint with the premiership winning Roosters in 2004 under Ron Palmer, Jamie brings science and professionalism to the 9 round under 18s comp.Having coached the Bears under 17s development Squad 'Paps' will take 11 of that team into a preseason squad that will trail Cronulla, Penrith and the new Western District training squads."I have gone for size yes, but mainly I have gone for the enthusiasm that the boys showed during the trials" claimed Jamie.Jamie will have support from former first graders Michael Pobjie (as Assistant Coach) and Darren Allard and will be joined by Kyle Noche and Berowra's Mel Starr for 2007 in support.A North Sydney junior himself Greg Florimo feels these appointments will continue the momentum of last and pre-season and bring much needed continuity to the junior rep levels. "Kevin Nichols appointment brings a wealth of development experience and knowledge of our local juniors. If he can carry over the same spread of locals this year he will maintain the strength of local representation in the under 16s team.Jamie Papa's strength and conditioning background brings a positive, reliable and well disciplined approach. From his role in this years Ball and his coaching of the development squad he has shown he has the will to win, and will instil a strong work ethic as the boys vie for promotion to the NRL."PICTURED: Simon Brockwell played 101 games for Norths between 1981 and 1987. Now he's passing on his wealth of experience to the Bears Juniors.PHOTO: Steve Little.To see photos of the North Sydney Harold Matthews Training Squad - see photos of the North Sydney S.G. Ball Training Squad against the Sharks -

North Sydney Jersey Flegg trials postponed

DUE to the extremely hot conditions forecast for this Saturday the Jersey Flegg trials have been postponed. The trials will now be held on Saturday 21st October at TG Milner Field with an 8:30am start.Players to be invited back for further trial matches on Saturday 14th and 21st of October are listed on the Norths website: all of those players who attended North Sydney's open trials in the Harold Matthews, SG Ball and Jersey Flegg age groups - thankyou. Players can be proud of their efforts and the spirit in which the games were played.We return to TG Milner Field this Saturday 14th October to further refine the squads, with Harold Matthews and SG Ball players required at 8.30am, and the following Saturday 21st October for the Jersey Flegg with players required at 8.30am. If you do not find your name in the squad, once again thankyou for your efforts and good luck for season 2007. To those players who are required, please ensure you arrive on time.For any further inquiries, please call Greg Florimo on 0421695594.Players are asked once again to print the indemnity form [on the Norths website above], sign it and bring the form with you on the day.

Johnson & Dears take honours

KARL JOHNSON AND CHRIS DEARS TAKE OUT TOP HONOURS AT BEARS AWARDS NIGHTNew North Queensland recruit Karl Johnson and Jersey Flegg captain Chris Dears have been named '2006 North Sydney Player of the Year' in Premier League and Jersey Flegg respectively.Held on the night of Friday 15th September the North Sydney Bears 2006 Player Awards held a night of passion, humour and sadness for the hard working crew of the North Sydney Club.General Manager Greg Florimo opened the proceedings with a thank you to the Club's major Sponsors the Norths Leagues Club and J.J. Lawson and the Board of Directors of the Football Club.Next a big thank you to the hardcore of supporters some of whom attended the night and received a small trophy of appreciation for their big effort in supporting the Bears over 26 massive rounds in 2006.A minutes silence was held for Jim Brannigan who only passed away recently. Together with his wife Molly he manned the gate at home matches over the last two seasons.Then a thank you from Flo to the people behind the players, the friends and family who supported them over a long and tough season. Then the focus of the night turned to the men who played for the Bears in 2006.Jersey Flegg Coach Steve Carter was reflective of his stint at Norths, "I think we all learnt a lot this year. Highlights included wins against Wests and Parramatta at home and we had 6 players make Premier League. Steve thanked trainers Trevor Perrin and John Peaua for their dedication and invited them up to the stage to help present the awards.Tupou Peaua received the 'Most Consistent Player' award. A great achievement for a player who missed all but one match for the season. Alternating between centre, prop and second row Greg Florimo praised his 'versatility off the bench".Top try scorer Bladen Baird (11 tries for the season) won 'Best Back' for 2006. His lengthy runs to the try line not only garnered points but lifted his team to some of their best victories.Respected second rower Arnold Mano won 'Best Forward' of the year for Jersey Flegg. Arnold received kudos from both coaches for leading by example.Finally Chris Dears who played all 24 matches in 2006 received the coveted 'Player of the Year' award. "He's a gentleman. He impressed with his attitude both on and off the field and has the ability to be a success both in football and life" commented Greg Florimo. 2006 Premier League Coach Josh White was then called up to the dais. His often humorous and always entertaining commentary on the season reflected the great friendships that had come out of a relatively tough season."It's been a roller coaster year. We all tried hard and had fun which is important [I believe if you've not having fun you should not be playing football]. Thank you for the hard work this season. Kudos to all of you having to work all day [some hard physical work] while some opposition players are taking a taxi to have a massage" said Josh White!Josh congratulated the young Jersey Flegg players who made the grade in Premier League in 2006, Liam Foran, James Maloney, Arnold Mano, Bladen Baird and Chris Dears was "outstanding". Josh thanked his coaching staff; Michael Pobjie "great Bloke and a good friend", Jamie Papa "great knowledge of training, knows how to prepare for a match", Mick Tonello "a great statistician and always ready with a comment", Trent Rosa "Has a great knowledge of the game" and Brendan Travers "A great bloke to have around".Missing only one match this season right centre Karl Johnson garnered both the Player of the Year and Players' Player awards. Karl's in your face and aggressive attack has not only impressed his club but also North Queensland coach Graham Murray where KJ is headed in 2007.Coming into his own in the second half of the season left centre Daniel Watkins was awarded 'Best Back'. Despite only playing 16 matches Dan's scoots and metres gained for the year were comparable to a full season of footy.Contributed by sponsor the Supporters' Player of the Year award includes a cash prize of $500. Bears Hooker Ben Ellis received the dual honours of 'Best Forward' and 'Supporters' Player of the Year' awards. Accomplished in attack and outstanding in defence his 1066 tackles for the season and similar work in 2005 leaves an outstanding legacy at the North Sydney Club.PICTURED: Forward Chris Dears receives his 'Player of the Year' award.From left: Trevor Perrin, Chris Dears, John Peaua, Steve Carter.PHOTO: Steve Little.

Ellis breaks tackling record

NORTH Sydney 2006 Premier League hooker Ben Ellis, has impressed the rugby league community by making a record 1066 tackles for season 2006 despite not playing a full compliment of matches.The massive effort tops the number of tackles made by Canberra's NRL lock Alan Tongue who this year has made 1040 to set the NRL record, overtaking former Melbourne hooker Richard Swain's tackle count of 1004 tackles set in 2001.In what must surely be a new tackling record for rugby league over the home and away season, Ben Ellis has made his tackles in only 22 matches after missing 2 games with suspension. This means his average tackles per match sits at 48.45. While Alan Tongue has made his tackles over 24 matches.While many believe a Premier League record is not up to the standard of the NRL, 2006 Bears coach Josh White believes Ben's efforts prove beyond a doubt his commitment as a player, "He was outstanding, it's an enormous effort. It's not even technique it's his ability to put in again and again. Some players have just got the talent to keep going and Ben Ellis has got it big time!".But the mild mannered family man who last year was voted both Player of the Year and Players' Player for the North Sydney club and in 2006 Best Forward and Supporters' Player of the Year, has shown he is not just a defensive specialist by scoring 10 tries for the season to be the Bears leading try scorer. "When I'm in a position to make a tackle I do it. As the opportunities come my way I do my best. It's my role in the team" Said Ben.PICTURED: New Zealand born Ben Ellis runs up the ball against the Sharks in round 1. Who would have guessed this would be a record breaking year for the hooker. PHOTO: Steve Little.

Bears masters of their destiny

A rampaging Karl Johnson, a fast footed Saia Makisi, a thunder clashing Eddie Sua, sweeping passes from Liam Foran and a sweet kicking Daniel Russell have helped Norths defeat top 4 placed Balmain at Leichhardt Oval on Friday Night.The Tigers scored first putting Norths under pressure with a bomb collected by the Tigers to give them a 6 pointer.Then Luke Fatnowna preluded his tremendous defensive performance by barging over for the Bears and Daniel Russell converted to even the score early 6-6. An easy penalty kick for Daniel Russell then gave the Bears a lead 8-6.A kick by Schoolboy Rep Liam Foran hit that sweet spot bouncing between Balmain defenders for Luke Fatnowna to gather as the ball spread wide to Saia Makisi who sprinted down the left touchline before offloading to Daniel Watkins for the 4 points and Daniel Russell converted. However Balmain scored two tries including an intercept by Ben Jeffery against the run of play to finish in front at half time 16-14.But Norths put Balmain under pressure via a bomb and the ball found it's way back to Saia Makisi mid air to land in the in-goal and score. Daniel Russell didn't even look like missing his conversion as the Bears hit the lead 20-16. And again a kick from Norths (a grubber) landed in goal as a million hands stretched out for the grounding - Saia Makisi won the race and with the conversion the Bears appeared on fire 26-16.However the Tigers hit back with a 4 pointer via Taniela Tuiaki to bring them within 6 points. The Bears now dominating in attack, gave Daniel Russell the opportunity to score a field goal and extend the Bears lead to 7 points with only 5 minutes remaining.A wayward kick by Balmain was caught by Bears centre Saia Makisi who ran 85 metres before being tackled short of the try line. The ball spread right to the other side of the field and Anthony Beare scored in the final minute. Daniel Russell's conversion from the side line was highly impressive to seal the victory. 33-20.Greg Florimo felt the Bears gained from being masters of their own destiny. "They dominated in every aspect. The loss of the Melbourne players may be the best thing to have happen - they have the self belief and confidence to play outstanding footy".Saia Makisi was named Players' Player and Daniel Russell's kicking was also a highlight kicking 6 from 6 plus a field goal under pressure from the Balmain supporters' 'lolly legs' jibe.No lolly legs tonight!It was a good performance by the Bears Jersey Flegg team also at Leichhardt on Friday night, but they weren't quite able to beat Balmain who won 34-20.The Bears were able to score the first 2 tries of the match when Siaosi Liumaunu barged his way over for a try. And then Dean Hamson created an opportunity for Bladen Baird to score.But Balmain was able to score 4 tries before halftime to lead 18-8.In the second half Michael Morris put in a grubber for Matt McDougall to score. Chris Heasman converted. Balmain scored a try before Jason Saliba was able to find a gap to score after good lead up work by Arnold Mano. Gavin Duncan converted. At this point the Bears were trailing by 4 points at 24-20 and we were looking good.However the Tigers were able to score 2 tries in the last 10 minutes to secure their victory 34-20.The Bears were very determined and persistent. Coach Steve Carter said "It was a simple game plan - complete our sets of six and reduce the 1 on 1 misses in defence. We succeeded in both. In the second half we lapsed in defence and gave away a few penalties which allowed those tries in".There were many good performances by the boys with Steve Carter naming Bladen Baird, Jason Saliba, Arnold Mano, Pio Rokomaqisa, Tupou Peaua and Siaosi Liumaunu.PICTURED: Centre Saia Makisi and North Sydney Junior Liam Foran celebrate one of Saia's three tries.PHOTO: Steve Little.

Stroll through history with yesterday's heroes

ON the night of 26th of August 2006 the North Sydney Rugby League Football Club will announce their 'TEAM OF THE CENTURY' at a star studded presentation to be held at the NORTHS Club, 12 Abbott Street, Cammeray.Famous rugby league legends will rub shoulders with fans in one of the most important nights on the 2006 rugby league calendar.PREPARATIONS ARE IN FULL SWINGPreparations are in full swing with the club securing the services of TV and radio personality Andrew Voss who will MC the night. While an expose on all things North Sydney will be provided by ABC personalty Lex Marinos.Many famous North Sydney and Rugby League identities will also be involved in the entertainment. A full range of merchandise is planned with many limited edition collectables to be available. All this in conjunction withthe announcement of the North Sydney Bears team of the century, will ensure this will be a night which will never be forgotten in Bears history and a must for all fans of Rugby League. For up to date information go to SPONSORSHIP PACKAGESCORPORATE SPONSORSHIP: $250-00 plus GST - including a limited edition 'Team Of The Century' print and promotion of your company on the nightCONTACT: Greg Florimo on (02) 9466 8860 or email [email protected] DETAILSVENUE: The Celebrity Room, NORTHS, 12 Abbott Street, CammerayDATE & TIME: Saturday 26th August 2006, 6:30 p.m.DRESS: Semi FormalTICKETS: $175-00 per head, including GST - including three course dinner, drinks and entertainmentBOOKINGS: Contact NORTHS on (02) 9466 8888ANNOUNCEMENT OF NOMINEESAn expert group of rugby league specialists has been appointed to the selection committee to pick the team. They include; John Hayes, Richard Bradley and Ian Heads. They have been sweating hard over their decisions and have finalised the nominees for the 13 postions, 4 reserves and the coach. Go to for more details on the nominees.The Nominees are:Alan Arkey (1951-58)Ben Haslam (1952-54)Billy Moore (1989-99)Billy Wilson (1963-67)Bob Sullivan (1948-55, 1957-59)Brian Carlson (1957-62)Bruce Walker (1971-77)Cec Blinkhorn (1914-18, 1920-23)Cec Waters (1947-55)Chris McKivat (1921-22)Con Sullivan (1910-16)David Fairleigh (1989-99)Don McKinnon (1977-87)Duncan Thompson (1916, 1920-23)Fred Griffiths (1963-66)Gary Larson (1987-1999)George Ambrum (1966-74)Greg Florimo (1986-98)Greg Hawick (1959-60)Harold Horder (1920-23)Herman Peters (1917-25)Jason Taylor (1994-99)Jim Devereaux (1908, 1910, 1912-13, 1922)John Gray (1975-77, 1981-83)Keith Harris (1973-74, 1977-83)Keith Middleton (1948-54)Ken Irvine (b.1940-d.1990)Ken McCaffery (1957-59)Les Kiss (1986-93)Mario Fenech (1991-94)Mark Graham (1981-88)Martin Bella (1986-89)Matt Seers (1993-99)Norm Strong (1947-62)Peter Diversi (1952-55)Peter Louis (1993-99)Rex Harrison (1934-42, 1945-46)Ron Willey (1980-82)Ross McKinnon (1952-53)Ross Warner (1963-74)Roy Thompson (1935-40, 1942)Sid Deane (1908, 1912-14, 1917, 1919)Tim Pickup (1972-74)Tony Rea (1988-94)The North Sydney Rugby League Football Club can be contacted on 9466 8860.

Bears align with Souths

NORTH SYDNEY FORGE ALLIANCE WITH SOUTH SYDNEY28th July 2006The North Sydney Bears have forged an alliance with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, allowing it's junior base a direct pathway to the Rabbittohs' National Rugby League side.The Bears will act as the Rabbitohs' feeder Club in the NSW Rugby League Premier League competition, allowing the Bears access to players contracted to the Rabbitohs who haven't been selected in the NRL side. Both North Sydney and South Sydney will continue to field separate Jersey Flegg (U20s), S G Ball (U18s) and Harold Matthews (U16s) teams however the Bears will replace the Rabbittohs Premier League side.The Rabbitohs have also announced a partnership with Brisbane Easts that will provide a Club for young Queenslanders recruited by the Rabbitohs to play at and develop without having to relocate to Sydney.The Rabbitohs and the Bears are both foundation Clubs, having both been in existence since 1908, with the Bears and Rabbitohs celebrating their 100th season in 2007.North Sydney Bears General Manager Greg Florimo says the changes the Rabbitohs have made recently make the outlook for the two Clubs a bright one indeed."We're very excited to be involved with the Rabbitohs, particularly looking at the moves Souths have made recently," Mr Florimo said."The move to privatisation and the strong recruitment drive that has taken place are very positive moves and we're looking forward to being a part of the future.""The biggest impact will be that it will provide a direct pathway to the NRL for our young kids and will help with our recruitment as they will see this direct link. It will also help with the retention of our quality juniors"Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson said: "We are delighted to have both of these Clubs [North Sydney and Brisbane Easts] aligned with us as it provides us many options for our young players as they will be dual registered with the NSWRL and the QRL."The Bears are a fellow foundation Club and this partnership will allow us to concentrate our efforts on the NRL side and use the Bears' expertise to run the Premier League team."It also gives us a presence on both sides of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, giving North Sydney juniors a pathway into the NRL with a Sydney Club."With the NRL looking at introducing a national under-20s competition in the not-too-distant future, many Clubs will be looking to outsource their Premier League side and we now have an agreement with a fellow foundation Club in the Bears that can see us move forward when this new competition comes to fruition."PICTURED: 'Happy times ahead' Souths Chairman Peter Holmes a Court chats with Bears General Manager Greg Florimo and Norths Chairman Barry Glasgow.PHOTO: Steve Little.

Bears win out west


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