THE Guru was faced with his toughest assignment so far this season, as he sat down to dissect the form of teams in a couple of blow-out scorelines, compared with some close fought contests. A few selections and positions are certainly out there for debate in the Round 6 League Unlimited Team of the Week. But you can?t deny one thing - this is an exciting footy team.
FRIDAY, 16th April 2006Parramatta v Wests at Parramatta Stadium, 7.30pmEels: 1. Wade McKinnon, 2. Matt Petersen, 3. Brett Delaney, 4. Timana Tahu, 5. Eric Grothe, 6. Jeremy Smith, 7. Tim Smith, 8. Nathan Cayless (c), 9. John Morris, 10. Justin Tsoulos, 11. Nathan Hindmarsh, 12. Chad Robinson, 13. Glenn MorrisonInterchange: 14. Zeb Taia, 15. Dean Widders, 16. Fuifui Moimoi, 17. Paul Stringer, 20. Michael Vella, 21. Adam PeekTigers: 1. Shannon McDonnell, 2. Michael Crockett, 3. Dean Collis, 4. Paul Whatuira, 5. Shane Elford, 6. Daniel Fitzhenry, 7. Scott Prince (c), 8. Todd Payten, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. John Skandalis, 11. Chris Heighington, 12. Ben Galea (c), 13. Jamaal LolesiInterchange: 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 15. Bryce Gibbs, 16. Keith Galloway, 17. Ryan O'Hara, 18. Isaac De GoisSaturday, 17th April 2006New Zealand v South Sydney at Ericsson Stadium, Sat 5.30 pm (AEST)Warriors: 1. Brent Webb, 2. Todd Byrne, 3. Tony Martin, 4. Clinton Toopi, 5. Misi Taulapapa, 6. Grant Rovelli, 7. Nathan Fien, 8. Ruben Wiki, 9. George Gatis, 10. Steve Price (c), 11. Awen Guttenbeil, 12. Wairangi Koopu, 13. Louis AndersonInterchange: 14. Sione Faumuina, 15. Evarn Tuimavave, 16. Richard Villasanti, 17. Micheal Luck, 18. Lance Hohaia, 20. Sam RapiraRabbitohs: 1. Todd Polglase, 2. Nathan Merritt, 3. Yileen Gordon, 4. Adam MacDougall, 5. Shannon Hegarty, 6. John Sutton, 7. Ben Walker, 8. Peter Cusack (c), 9. Shane Walker, 10. Jaiman Lowe, 11. David Fa'alogo, 12. Joe Galuvao, 13. Shane RigonInterchange: 14. Michael Greenfield, 15. Stuart Webb, 16. Ben Rogers, 17. Mark Minichiello, 18. Paul Mellor, 19. Shannan McPhersonMelbourne v Newcastle at Olympic Park, 7.30pmStorm: 1. Greg Inglis, 2. Jake Webster, 3. Matt King, 4. Chris Walker, 5. Steve Turner, 6. Matt Geyer, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Garrett Crossman, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Brett White, 11. David Kidwell, 12. Michael Crocker, 13. Dallas JohnsonInterchange: 14. Ian Donnelly, 15. Ryan Hoffman, 16. Jeremy Smith, 17. Adam Blair, 18. Nathan Friend, 19. Matthew BartlettKnights 1. Milton Thaiday, 2. Brian Carney, 3. Matthew Gidley, 4. George Carmont, 5. Anthony Quinn, 6. Kurt Gidley, 7. Jarrod Mullen, 8. Craig Smith, 9. Danny Buderus (c), 10. Josh Perry, 11. Steve Simpson, 12. Clint Newton, 13. Reegan TannerInterchange: 14. Adam Woolnough, 15. Daniel Tolar, 16. Riley Brown, 17. Todd LowrieCronulla v North Queensland at Toyota Park, 7.30pmSharks: 1. David Simmons, 2. Darren Albert, 3. Nigel Vagana, 4. Phil Bailey, 5. Luke Covell, 6. Brett Kearney, 7. Adam Dykes, 8. Ben Ross, 9. Kevin Kingston, 10. Luke Douglas, 11. Reece Williams, 12. Lance Thompson, 13. Paul GallenInterchange: 14. Hutch Maiava, 15. Brett Kelly, 16. Greg Bird, 17. Tevita Latu, 18. James Stosic, 19. Matt HilderCowboys: 1. Matt Bowen, 2. Neil Sweeney, 3. Gavin Cooper, 4. Paul Bowman, 5. Matt Sing, 6. Justin Smith, 7. Johnathan Thurston, 8. Carl Webb, 9. Aaron Payne, 10. Shane Tronc, 11. Steve Southern, 12. Luke O'Donnell, 13. Travis Norton (c)Interchange: 14. Rod Jensen, 15. David Faiumu, 16. Matt Scott, 17. Mitchell SargentSunday, 18th April 2006Canterbury v Manly at Telstra Stadium, 2.30pmBulldogs: 1. Luke Patten, 2. Hazem El Masri, 3. Andrew Emelio, 4. Willie Tonga, 5. Trent Cutler, 6. Reni Maitua, 7. Daniel Holdsworth, 8. Chris Armit, 9. Corey Hughes, 10. Roy Asotasi, 11. Willie Mason, 12. Andrew Ryan (c), 13. Tony GrimaldiInterchange: 14. Adam Perry, 15. Mark O'Meley, 16. Nate Myles, 17. Sonny Bill WilliamsSea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart, 2. Michael Robertson, 3. Steve Bell, 4. Steve Matai, 5. Chris Hicks, 6. Travis Burns, 7. Matt Orford, 8. Jason King, 9. Michael Monaghan, 10. Brent Kite, 11. Steve Menzies, 12. Anthony Watmough, 13. Ben Kennedy (c)Interchange: 14. Shayne Dunley, 15. Luke Williamson, 16. George Rose, 17. Mark Bryant, 18. Adam Cuthbertson, 19. Paul StephensonBrisbane v Penrith at Suncorp Stadium, 3.00pmBroncos: 1. Karmichael Hunt, 2. Tame Tupou, 3. Justin Hodges, 4. Shaun Berrigan, 5. Darius Boyd, 6. Darren Lockyer (c), 7. Shane Perry, 8. Shane Webcke, 9. Casey McGuire, 10. Petero Civoniceva, 11. David Stagg, 12. Corey Parker, 13. Tonie CarrollInterchange: 14. Brad Thorn, 15. Ben Hannant, 16. Sam Thaiday, 17. Greg Eastwood, 18. Ian Lacey, 19. Brent TatePanthers: 1. Rhys Wesser, 2. Lee Hookey, 3. Danny Galea, 4. Luke Lewis, 5. Luke Rooney, 6. Preston Campbell, 7. Craig Gower, 8. Joel Clinton, 9. Luke Priddis, 10. Matthew Cross, 11. Shane Rodney, 12. Tony Puletua (c), 13. Trent WaterhouseInterchange: 14. Frank Puletua, 15. Craig Stapleton, 16. Frank Pritchard,17. Luke Swain, 18. David McLeanSt George Illawarra v Sydney at Aussie Stadium, 3.00pmDragons: 1. Ben Hornby, 2. Wes Naiqama, 3. Mark Gasnier, 4. Matt Cooper, 5. Colin Best, 6. Trent Barrett (c), 7. Mathew Head, 8. Justin Poore, 9. Dean Young, 10. Jason Ryles, 11. Ben Creagh, 12. Ashton Sims, 13. Shaun TimminsInterchange: 14. Michael Henderson, 15. Matt Bickerstaff, 16. Lee Te Maari, 17. Aaron GorrellRoosters: 1. Anthony Minichiello, 2. Amos Roberts, 3. Chris Flannery, 4. Lelea Paea, ,5. Vince Mellars, 6. Braith Anasta, 7. Brett Finch, 8. Adrian Morley, 9. Craig Wing, 10. David Shillington, 11. Anthony Tupou, 12. Craig Fitzgibbon (c), 13. Ashley HarrisonInterchange: 14. Heath L'Estrange, 15. Mark Edmondson, 16. Lopini Paea, 17. Charles TongaThe Canberra Raiders have the bye in Round 7.
FRIDAY, 14th April 2006
THE Guru had his work cut out for him this week with North Queensland and Newcastle again putting in splendid performances, dominating talk at the selection table like most previous weeks. Again our halves combination of Thurston and Johns come together, forming the most potent attack known to mankind. Will it come to an end in on Sunday when the two wily playmakers, each brilliant in their own way, lock horns at Marathon Stadium for what is without doubt the most anticipated clash of the season? We?ll just have to wait and see. For now, let me present the Round 5 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
FRIDAY, 7th April 2006
WE?VE scoured every game this week to come up with another robust mob that?s ready to run out bearing the standards of League Unlimited. The funny thing about the Round 4 League Unlimited Team of the Week is the number of senior players it contains. It adds up though, with most games this round tighter than Gary Larson?s vocal chords.
FRIDAY, 31st March 2006 Parramatta v North Queensland at Parramatta Stadium, 7.30pmEels: Wade Mckinnon, Luke Burt, Ben Smith, Brett Delaney, Eric Grothe, John Morris, Tim Smith, Justin Tsoulos, Mark Riddell, Paul Stringer, Nathan Hindmarsh, Chad Robinson, Luke O'Dwyer, Interchange: PJ Marsh, Dean Widders, Nathan Cayless, Peter Lewis, Matt Petersen, Timana Tahu, Henry Perenara (three to be omitted).Cowboys: Matt Bowen, Neil Sweeney, Josh Hannay, Paul Bowman, Matt Sing, Johnathan Thurston, Brett Firman, Shane Tronc, Clint Amos, Mitchell Sargent, Steve Southern, Luke O'Donnell, Travis Norton. Interchange: Rod Jensen, Justin Smith, Matthew Scott, Carl Webb, Gavin Cooper (one to be omitted).Referee: Paul Simpkins.Saturday, 1st April 2006 Cronulla v South Sydney at Toyota Park, 5.30pmSharks: David Simmons, Darren Albert, Beau Scott, Phil Bailey, Luke Covell, Adam Dykes, Brett Kimmorley (c), Ben Ross, Kevin Kingston, Hutch Maiava, Reece Williams, Lance Thompson, Greg Bird. Interchange: Cameron Ciraldo, Luke Douglas, Matt Hilder, Tevita Latu.Rabbitohs: Todd Polglase, Nathan Merritt, Paul Mellor, Adam MacDougall, Shannon Hegarty, John Sutton, Joe Williams, Peter Cusack, Shane Walker, Jaiman Lowe, David Fa'alogo, Luke Stuart, Ben Rogers.Interchange: Joe Galuvao, Manase Manuokafoa, Shane Rigon, Shannan McPherson.Referee: Shayne Hayne.Manly v Sydney at Brookvale Oval, 7.30pmSea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Steve Bell, Steve Matai, Chris Hicks, Travis Burns, Matt Orford, Jason King, Michael Monaghan, Brent Kite, Steve Menzies, Anthony Watmough, Ben Kennedy (c). Interchange: Shane Dunley, Luke Williamson, Adam Cuthbertson, Mark Bryant, Paul Stephenson (one to be omitted).Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Amos Roberts, Ryan Cross, Iosia Soliola, Sam Perrett, Braith Anasta, Jamie Soward, Shane Shackleton, Brett Finch, Craig Fitzgibbon (c), Nigel Plum, Chris Flannery, Ashley Harrison.Interchange: Craig Wing, Anthony Tupou, David Shillington, Adrian Morley, Lopini Paea (one to be omitted).Referee: Tony Archer.Canberra V Penrith at Canberra Stadium, 7.30pmRaiders: Clinton Schifcofske (c), Adrian Purtell, Adam Mogg, David Howell, Craig Frawley, Jason Smith, Lincoln Withers, Andrew Lomu, Simon Woolford, Michael Hodgson, Thom Learoyd-Lahrs, Jason Croker, Alan Tongue. Interchange: William Zillman, Ben Jones, Troy Thompson, Jason Williams, Trevor Thurling (one to be omitted).Panthers: Rhys Wesser, Lee Hookey, Danny Galea, Luke Lewis, Luke Rooney, Preston Campbell, Craig Gower, Joel Clinton, Luke Priddis, Matthew Cross, Shane Rodney, Tony Puletua (c), Trent Waterhouse. Interchange: Frank Puletua, Craig Stapleton, Frank Pritchard, Luke Swain. Referee: Gavin Badger.Sunday, 2nd April 2006 Wests v Melbourne at Leichhardt Oval, 2.30pmTigers: Brett Hodgson (c), Daniel Fitzhenry, Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Shane Elford, Benji Marshall, Scott Prince, Bryce Gibbs, Stuart Flanagan, Todd Payten, Anthony Laffranchi, Ben Galea, Jamaal Lolesi. Interchange: Isaac De Gois, Chris Heighington, John Skandalis, Ryan O'Hara, Ben Reynolds (one to be omitted). Storm: Billy Slater, Matt Geyer, Matt King, Greg Inglis, Steve Turner, Scott Hill, Cooper Cronk, Garret Crossman, Cameron Smith, Brett White, David Kidwell (c), Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Ian Donnelly, Jamie Feeney, Jeremy Smith, Chris Walker, Adam Blair, Nathan Friend (one to be omitted).Referee: Jason Robinson.St George Illawarra v Brisbane at WIN Stadium, 3.00pmDragons: Clint Greenshields, Reece Simmonds, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Colin Best, Trent Barrett (c), Ben Hornby, Justin Poore, Dean Young, Michael Henderson, Corey Payne, Ashton Sims, Matt Bickerstaff.Interchange: Andrew Price, Ben Creagh, Sam Isemonger, Aaron Gorrell.
AN electrifying week 3 of NRL has seen some new faces and some all too familiar ones etch their names into the Round 3 League Unlimited Team of the Week. In an unprecedented turn of events we have seen Johnathan Thurston and Andrew Johns team up in the halves for a third straight week, with both players delivering breathtaking, yet consistent, performances over the past three matches. Wouldn?t it be great to see these two guys in action for Australia in the Anzac Day Test match?
FRIDAY, 24th March 2006Newcastle v Canterbury at EnergyAustralia Stadium, 7:30pmKnights: Milton Thaiday, Brian Carney, Matthew Gidley, George Carmont, Anthony Quinn, Kurt Gidley, Andrew Johns (c), Craig Smith, Danny Buderus, Josh Perry, Steve Simpson, Kirk Reynoldson, Reegan TannerInterchange: Adam Woolnough, Daniel Tolar, Riley Brown, Todd LowrieBulldogs: Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Andrew Emelio, Willie Tonga, Matt Utai, Daniel Holdsworth, Brent Sherwin, Chris Armit, Corey Hughes, Roy Asotasi, Willie Mason, Andrew Ryan (c), Tony GrimaldiInterchange: Reni Maitua, Mark O'Meley, Adam Perry, Nate MylesReferee: Steve Clark.Saturday, 25th March 2006Wests v New Zealand at Jade Stadium (Christchurch) 5:30pm AEDTTigers: Brett Hodgson (c), Daniel Fitzhenry, Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Michael Crockett, Scott Prince, Ben Reynolds, Ryan O'Hara, Isaac De Gois, Todd Payten, Anthony Laffranchi, Ben Galea, Jamaal LolesiInterchange: Stuart Flanagan, Keith Galloway, John Skandalis, Sam Harris, Bronson Harrison, Tevita Metuisela (two to be omitted)Warriors: Brent Webb, Todd Byrne, Tony Martin, Clinton Toopi, Manu Vatuvei, Jerome Ropati, Nathan Fien, Ruben Wiki, George Gatis, Steve Price (c), Awen Guttenbeil, Wairangi Koopu, Louis AndersonInterchange: Grant Rovelli, Evarn Tuimavave, Epalahame Lauaki, Micheal Luck, Patrick Ah Van (one to be omitted)Referee: Paul Simpkins.Manly v Cronulla at Brookvale Oval, 7.30pmSea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Steve Bell Steve Matai, Chris Hicks, Travis Burns, Matt Orford, Jason King Michael Monaghan, Brent Kite, Steve Menzies, Anthony Watmough, Ben Kennedy (c)Interchange: Shane Dunley, Luke Williamson, Adam Cuthbertson, Mark Bryant, Paul Stephenson (one to be omitted)Sharks: David Simmons, Darren Albert, Beau Scott, Phil Bailey, Luke Covell, Adam Dykes, Brett Kimmorley (c), Ben Ross, Kevin Kingston, Hutch Maiava, Reece Williams, Lance Thompson, Greg BirdInterchange: Cameron Ciraldo, Luke Douglas, Luke Harlen, Tevita LatuReferee: Sean Hampstead.North Queensland v Melbourne at Dairy Farmers Stadium, 9:30pm AEDTCowboys: Matt Bowen, Neil Sweeney, Ty Williams, Paul Bowman, Matt Sing, Johnathan Thurston, Brett Firman, Shane Tronc, Aaron Payne, Matthew Scott, Jacob Lillyman, Luke O'Donnell, Travis Norton (c)Interchange: David Faiumu, Steve Southern, Justin Smith, Mitchell Sargent, Clint Amos, Carl Webb (two to be omitted)Storm: Billy Slater, Matt Geyer, Matt King, Greg Inglis, Jake Webster, Scott Hill, Cooper Cronk, Garret Crossman, Cameron Smith, Antonio Kaufusi, David Kidwell (c), Ryan Hoffman, Dallas JohnsonInterchange: Brett White, Jamie Feeney, Ian Donnelly, Steve Turner, Jeremy Smith, Chris Walker (two to be omitted)Referee: Russell Smith.Sunday, 26th March 2006Souths v St George-Illawarra at Telstra Stadium, 2.35pmRabbitohs: Todd Polglase, Nathan Merritt, Shannon Hegarty, Yileen Gordon, Paul Mellor, John Sutton, Beau Champion, Peter Cusack (c), Stuart Webb, Luke Stuart, David Fa'alogo, Joe Gulavao, Ben RogersInterchange: Jaiman Lowe, Manase Manuokafoa, Shane Rigon, Shannan McPhersonDragons: Clint Greenshields, Reece Simmonds, Mark Gasnier, Daryl Millard, Colin Best, Trent Barrett (c), Ben Hornby, Justin Poore, Dean Young, Jason Ryles, Corey Payne, Ashton Sims, Matt BickerstaffInterchange: Aaron Wheatley, Michael Henderson, Sam Isemonger, Aaron Gorrell, Lee Te Maari (one to be omitted)Referee: Jason Robinson.Brisbane v Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium, 3.00pmBroncos: Karmichael Hunt, Tame Tupou, Justin Hodges, Shaun Berrigan, Darius Boyd, Darren Lockyer (c), Brett Seymour, Shane Webcke, Michael Ennis, Petero Civoniceva, Dane Carlaw, David Stagg, Casey McGuireInterchange: Brad Thorn, Ben Hannant, Corey Parker, Greg EastwoodEels: Wade McKinnon, Luke Burt, Ben Smith, Ashley Graham, Matt Petersen, John Morris, Tim Smith, Nathan Cayless (c), Mark Riddell, Paul Stringer, Nathan Hindmarsh, Chad Robinson, Glenn MorrisonInterchange: P.J. Marsh, Dean Widders, Luke O'Dwyer, Michael Vella, Brett Delaney, Timana Tahu, Eric Grothe, Daniel Wagon (four to be omitted)Referee: Tony Archer.Sydney v Canberra at Aussie Stadium, 3.00pmRoosters: Anthony Minichiello, Amos Roberts, Ryan Cross, Iosia Soliola, Sam Perrett, Braith Anasta, Jamie Soward, Snane Shackleton, Brett Finch, Craig Fitzgibbon (c), Nigel Plum, Chris Flannery, Ashley HarrisonInterchange: Craig Wing, Anthony Tupou, David Shillington, Lopini PaeaRaiders: Clinton Schifcofske (c), Adrian Purtell, Phil Graham, David Howell, Adam Mogg, Jason Smith, Lincoln Withers, Andrew Lomu, Simon Woolford, Troy Thompson, Ben Jones, Jason Croker, Alan TongueInterchange: Todd Carney, Terry Martin, Tom Learoyd-Lars, Willie Raston, William Zillman (one to be omitted)Referee: Shayne Hayne.The Penrith Panthers have the bye in round 3.
AFTER a topsy-turvy round of NRL action including some big hits, big scores as well as a few tight games, we?ve put our heads together for the Round 2 League Unlimited Team of the Week and it?s another cracker.Fullback: Wade McKinnon (Eels) ? Stood out for Parra on Saturday night, showing he?s a classy attacking and defensive fullback. Always backs up and has a great turn of pace.Wing: Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs) ? This guys just keeps turning up every week and putting in. Hazem was everywhere in the Round 2 Opener v Wests Tigers, scoring four fabulous tries and booting 9/10. What a champ!Centre: George Carmont (Knights) ? Georgie-boy had a wow of a match and seems to have taken on a new lease of life after getting a haircut. But I kinda liked the ponytail. Carmont relishes the opportunities he?s given outside Johns and did well to bag a double this week.Centre: Ben Smith (Eels) ? Big Ben is back and he gave the Warriors nightmares on Saturday with several strong runs, one resulting in a powerful try. He?s started the season a little slowly but methinks he?s just warming up.Wing: Matt Sing (Cowboys) ? Ageless in his attacking flair, Sing was up to his old tricks against a determined Sea Eagles outfit. He scored a treble and bought up his 100th first grade try in the process. Two thumbs up for Matt.Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) ? The reigning Dally M Player of the Year once again turned in a good performance, although it?s hard comparing it against his first round tirade. Thurston had a good night at home and came out on top.Halfback: Andrew Johns (Knights) ? The master sure knows how to turn things on. Once again Joey joins Thurston as the halves combo of the LU Team of the Week and with good cause. He tore Canberra apart with skill and precision, scoring 30 points in total, although Newcastle?s defence left a little to be desired.Lock: Regan Tanner (Knights) ? A surprise selection here but well earned. Tanner isn?t a household name just yet but he put in a solid display in the Nation?s Capital and kept the scorers on their feet with a handy try.Second-row: Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels) ? Hindy looks to have shrugged off the knee complaint (injury if you will) that dogged him towards the end of last year and is now back in the thick of things. It?s great to see as he?s one of the game?s genuine talents and he kept his legion of fans happy with a two-try effort.Second-row: Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys) ? The burly second-rower put in a gritty effort against one of the harder backrow?s going around in the comp. He had Beaver, BK and Watmough to contend with and showed he loves a good scrap.Prop: Shane Webcke (Broncos) ? Whilst everyone thought the Broncos were gone after one game, someone forgot to tell Shane Webcke. He?s an animal and again proved a handful for the Sharks, keeping their defence busy all night and even bustling his way to score a great try.Hooker: Cameron Smith (Storm) ? Cam Smith is going to be hard to keep out of this spot each week if he keeps playing the way he did on Sunday. He?s got an old head on young shoulders, gives great dummy half service, knows when to run and makes a truckload of tackles each week.Prop: Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs) ? Shrek was clearly an angry man with a point to prove on Friday night. The running battle between he and Bryce Gibbs was some great niggle and it?s no surprise to see him come out on top. Gibbs could learn plenty from an experience campaigner like O?Meley.Interchange: Brad Thorn (Broncos), Todd Lowrie (Knights), Dean Widders (Eels), Kurt Gidley (Knights) ? A well balanced bench here with hard-heads Thorn and Lowrie ready to come on and mix it up with the big boys, whilst junior Gidley and Widders know a thing or two about explosion from the bench.Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: The New Zealand Warriors get a team discount for the most prized award in rugby league this week. Unbelievably, they still cannot win a game in their native land outside Auckland, the closest being a draw with Canterbury in round 8, 2001 at Westpac Trust Stadium. It could be a long season boys ? you?re still minus 4 and not getting anywhere in a real hurry.