MAJOR injuries to some big name NRL stars threaten to cast a shadow over the start of the 2004 season. Test players Jason Ryles (Dragons) and Brent Tate (Broncos) have serious doubts over their immediate playing futures after what can only be described as preventable damage to their injured shoulders. Both players were hurt mid-way through the season and opinion at the time was they risked very little long-term injury even if they played on in discomfort. Only a freakish landing on the joint of the shoulder would risk more damage and low and behold, that occurred. Ryles and Tate have serious nerve damage in their shoulders as a result, and while the players made the decision to continue competing, they also put their careers on the line. Now the game may be robbed of two fantastic careers because of the ?professionalism tag? our athletes now perform under. No player likes to be seen as soft, but there must also be genuine consideration given to the long-term health of individuals over the importance of few games of rugby league.
NRL Notebook has learned that 255-game veteran Michael Buettner is on the verge of announcing his retirement from Rugby League after failing to overcome a crippling knee injury. The 30-year-old Wests Tigers utility back was in great form for the club early last year before his knee complications and has been rehabilitating the injury ever since.
NRL Notebook: February 15, 2004
By Warrick Nicolson, Nicolson Sports Consultancy
THE following NRL teams have been announced for this weekend?s trials, LU has collated them for your convenience:
FROM the repecharge game to the final, League Unlimited has all the scorers for you.
WITH the 2004 Cougar Bourbon World Sevens just around the corner, Five teams have named their 11 man squads for the two day tournament.
POWERHOUSE lock Tonie Carroll is out indefinitely after a training collision with centre Brent Tate, according to the Brisbane Broncos Official Site.
Carroll twisted his knee resulting in a grade-two medial ligament tear and looks set to miss Brisbane's World Sevens campaign on the Australia Day Weekend.
YESTERDAY the NRL released the television schedule for the first five rounds of competition and the 2003 Premiers feature heavily on our free-to-air screens. Under the current NRL-television agreement, Channel Nine will show two games per week, both delayed replays, with the match of the round on Friday Night and the runner-up on Sunday afternoon. For those fortunate enough to have Foxtel, then you get live access to at least two Saturday games and one Sunday game, with Fox Sports also having delayed telecasts of the remaining two games of the round the same day.
That?s a motza of Rugby League whichever way you slice it.
However, despite outcry at apparent team bias for the free-to-air games last year, Channel Nine have stuck to their policy of showing the best games as they see it. In the first five rounds this year, Penrith is Friday Night Footballing it three times (vs. Newcastle, Canberra and Sydney), and if you don?t see them on Friday you get them featured in the Sunday match (vs. New Zealand and Melbourne).
So all you Panther fans rejoice, but remember you can?t beat being at the game.
For the rest of you sorry folk still trying to come to terms with a failed 2003 campaign, here?s who you?ll see on Free to Air early in 2003.
Newcastle (R1 vs. Penrith, Fri; Rd4 vs. St.George-Illawarra, Sun;)
Brisbane (Rd1 vs. New Zealand, Sun; Rd2 vs. Parramatta, Sun; Rd5 vs. Sydney, Fri)
New Zealand (Rd1 vs. Brisbane, Sun; Rd3 vs. Penrith, Sun;)
Canberra (Rd2 vs. Penrith, Fri;)
Parramatta (Rd2 vs. Brisbane, Sun;)
Sydney (Rd3 vs. Bulldogs, Fri; Rd4 vs. Penrith, Fri; Rd5 vs. Brisbane, Fri;)
Bulldogs (Rd3 vs. Sydney, Fri;)
St.George-Illawarra (Rd4 vs. Newcastle, Fri;)
Melbourne (Rd5 vs. Penrith, Sun;)
CHRIS Thorman signed with the Parramatta Eels in the hope of emulating the impact of many English players before him. Kevin Ward with Manly, Ellery Hanley with Balmain and currently Adrian Morley with the Roosters have made their names known in the game here in Australia, and the 23 year old goalkicking five-eighth/halfback from the London Broncos looks set to join them.