HUDDERSFIELD Giants Head Coach Jon Sharp has named a strong squad to travel to the Jungle on Sunday to face the Tigers (KO 3-30pm).Sharp commented 'This is another key part of our build up to the season's opening Super League game and I am sure that will be reflected in the performance. I was very pleased with the improvements we showed as the game wore on last week versus the Bulls which ultimately led to us winning the second half.'We have 7 new players in the squad and it naturally takes time for the training field work to take effect on matchdays but overall I was very pleased and am looking forward to seeing further improvements at the weekend.'We have got another good weeks work under our belts and everyone here is looking forward to the game'Missing out versus the Bulls but added to Sunday's squad is new signing Andrew Raleigh who admits he is itching to make his claret and gold debut 'Yes I'm very keen to play' said locally born Raleigh.
TWELVE former Aberavon Fighting Irish players are in the 20-man squad for Celtic Crusaders? first ever match, a friendly against Harlequins RL Academy this Sunday 29 January (kick-off 2pm).None of the club?s big name Australian imports have been selected for the match against the club formerly known as London Broncos as assistant coach, Anthony Siebold, has decided to use this game to showcase the local rugby talent.Out of the 12, Sean O?Brien, Geraint Davies, Scott O?Kelly, Andy Llewellyn, Dean Scully and Mark Burke are all Wales A internationals. O?Brien has also turned out for Cardiff Blues? under-20 side, while Llewellyn and Scully have played Welsh Premiership rugby union, for Neath and Aberavon respectively.Two more of the former Fighting Irish stars have also played professional rugby union. They are Gareth Lewis who is a signing from Llanharan, while skipper Lee Jones is a former Corus RFC player.Completing the Aberavon contingent is Lee Williams, Gareth Moore, Gareth Owen and Phil Cushion.Williams, Moore and Owen are all products of the Fighting Irish?s award winning youth set-up and have all played for the Wales under-18 side. Owen has had trials with St Helens while Williams, still aged only 18, has also won four Great Britain under 18 caps. Crusaders? Chief Executive Chris O?Callaghan has often described his as one of the most exciting rugby league prospects in years.Phil Cushion played for the Fighting Irish last season after being released by Swinton Lions last year. He is one of two experienced National League Two players in the squad after making over 100 appearances for the Manchester-based side in his six years with the club.John Breakingbury joins the Crusaders from Sheffield Eagles, making 45 appearances and scoring 15 tries in four years following his move from Cardiff Demons. However, his final season was plagued by injury and the Abercynon-born second-row played out the 2005 season with Valley Cougars.There will be a couple overseas imports in the Crusaders side, both of whom start on the bench. Tylan Mafi stems from Tonga. An under-24 international for his country, he is the nephew of the great Mateaki Mafi, the Tongan dual code international who was in the Tongan squad for the 1995 Centenary World Cup and also played for Bridgend RFC during his union days.Andre Boon starts the match on the bench. New Zealand born, he is the second of three former Cardiff Demons players in the squad. Boon has also played Division One rugby union in New Zealand for Northland Taniwha while also having trials for the New Zealand Maoris.Completing the squad are Oliver Hughes, Chris Vitalini, Dave Evans, Lloyd O?Connor and David Simm.Hughes is the third Demons player and is a product of their Academy side, making his breakthrough into the first team in 2005. He has also won caps for Great Britain under-18s.Vitalini has been selected for the Crusaders? first ever match at full-back after impressive performances with Newport Titans last season. Chris has also turned out for Wales Students and has played rugby union for Newport-Gwent Dragons under-20s.New to rugby league, Evans is a signing from Neath RFC, while O?Connor, a former Bridgend Blue Bulls star, has played for Maesteg RFC. He is the son of Maesteg coach, Leighton.Finally, David Simm, who starts the match in the second row, is a Scotland international. Formerly with Edinburgh Eagles, Simm is now studying part-time at Bristol University and was spotted while playing for his university side. Harlequins Academy have already played one game this season, beating Cambridge University 46?12 last week after being 12-0 down in the early stages of the game. Included in their squad for Sunday is Australian first team regular, Mark Tookey. Formerly of Parramatta Eels, New Zealand Warriors and Castleford Tigers, Tookey is a strong prop who is well known for his charging runs through Super League defences. He is certain to be the danger man for the Crusaders in their first outing.Harlequins? coach, Stuart Singleton was the Welsh Development Officer for six years and founded Cardiff Demons rugby league club. He is looking forward to returning to south Wales.?I spent many happy years down in Wales,? said Singleton. ?It was a great honour to help develop rugby league in the area and it?s been fun watching the country?s development since I?ve been in London. I wish Crusaders and Wales rugby league all the best this season but expect no mercy on Sunday.? Sunday 29th January ? Celtic Crusaders v Harlequins RL Academy ? Brewery Field, Bridgend, kick off 2pm.Crusaders: Chris Vitalani, Sean O?Brien, Geraint Davies, Lee Williams, Dave Evans, Gareth Lewis, Scott O?Kelly, Andy Llewellyn, Lloyd O?Connor, Phil Cushion, David Simm, Dean Scully, Lee Jones (captain). Subs: Andre Boon, Gareth Moore, Oliver Hughes, Mark Burke, John Breakingbury, Tylan Mafi, Gareth Owen.Harlequins: Peter Hodgkinson, Olly Bloom, Jamie Boston, Joe Price (captain), Dennis Tufour, Tim Hartley, Steve Owen, Louey McCarthy, John Sullivan, Mark Tookey, Dave Williams, Michael Worrincy, Ian Lane, George Coogan, Graeme Spencer, Tristan Roberts, Tom Bold, Ken Dowdy, Lamont Bryan, Tas Kushnirenko.
RUGBY league has its best chance yet to establish itself in south Wales, according to former Warrington forward Mike Nicholas.
PRE SEASON trials for 2006 involving Queensland Wizard Cup, Fogs Cup, FOGS Colts Challenge and National Rugby League clubs (QLD-held games only).JAN 27 ? Gladstone v Central Comets at Marley Brown Oval, GladstoneJAN 28 ? Central Highlands v Central Comets at SpringsureFEB 4 ? Mid West v NQ Cowboys at RichmondFEB 4 - Central Comets v Manly at Browne Park, RockhamptonFEB 4 ? Ipswich v Souths Logan at Centenary (FOGS Cup)FEB 4 ? Wide Bay v Brisbane Broncos at Childers FEB 11 ? Norths v Western Districts at Albany Creek Juniors (FOGS grades)FEB 11 ? Cudgen v Ipswich at CudgenFEB 11 - Wynnum v Toowoomba/Aspley at Kougari OvalFEB 11 - Easts v Souths Logan at Langlands ParkFEB 11 ? Tweed Heads v Easts at BallinaFEB 11 - NQ Cowboys vs Brisbane at Browne Park, RockhamptonFEB 17 ? Burleigh v Norths at Pizzey Park (FOGS Colts Challenge)FEB 17 ? Burleigh v Wests Newcastle at Pizzey ParkFEB 18 ? Burleigh v Norths at Pizzey ParkFEB 18 - Central Comets v Cronulla at Browne Park, RockhamptonFEB 18 - NQ Cowboys v NZ Warriors at Barlow ParkFEB 18 - Ipswich v Wynnum at QLD Group StadiumFEB 18 ? Sunshine Coast v Easts at Quad Park (FOGS grades)FEB 18 ? Tweed Heads v Tugun at Piggabeen Complex (FOGS grades)FEB 18 ? Tweed Heads v North Sydney at Boyd St Oval, TugunFEB 18 ? Western Districts v Souths Logan at Kev McKell Oval (FOGS grades)FEB 18 - Brisbane v Canberra at Port MacquarieFEB 18 - Redcliffe v Brisbane/Toowoomba/Aspley at Dolphin OvalFEB 18 ? NQ Young Guns v PNG Development at Barlow ParkFEB 21 ? Ipswich v NZ Warriors at QLD Group StadiumFEB 24 ? Aspley v Western Districts at Kirby RdFEB 25 ? Burleigh v Tweed Heads at Carrara StadiumFEB 25 ? Bulldogs v NZ Warriors at Carrara StadiumFEB 25 ? NQ Young Guns v Central Comets at Mackay JuniorsFEB 25 ? Toowoomba v Norths at Clive Berghofer StadiumFEB 25 ? Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm at Clive Berghofer StaiumFEB 25 - Easts v Ipswich at Langlands ParkFEB 25 - NQ Cowboys v South Sydney at Mackay JuniorsFEB 25 - Wynnum v Redcliffe at Kougari OvalFEB 26 ? Burleigh v Tweed Heads at Pizzey Park (FOGS grades)FEB 26 ? Sunshine Coast v Norths at Quad Park (FOGS grades)MAR 4 ? Sunshine Coast v Tweed Heads at Quad Park (FOGS grades)MAR 4 ? Souths Logan v Redcliffe at Brandon Park
AS a Raiders fan, our golden era is a time not likely to be repeated any time soon and this has become evident as Raiders management are set to offer current coach Matt Elliott a one year extension on his deal that expires at the end of the 2006 season long before the first round of the 2006 season.Sound absurd to you? Thought so! Glad I'm not alone.Long before a ball has been kicked in anger for season 2006, the Raiders are planning to offer an extension to a coach that led the team to 14th place on the premiership ladder after regressing from fourth in 2003, to eighth in 2004 to a whisker off the wooden spoon in 2005.Like any job, your tenure and value should be evaluated upon your performance and be results driven. So why would a club sign a coach for next season when they have no inclination as to how the side will perform this season? It sure is a remarkable leap of faith and one that would have Matt Elliott grinning from ear to ear. If only we could all secure a job under those circumstancesI think re-signing Elliott so early can only be a bad thing for the team as there is no pressure to perform and get the best out of the coach if the comfort zone has been established well before the start of the season.It is no surprise to see the captain come out and applaud the potential appointment but you would expect any captain of any team to put a positive spin to give the perception of stability within the ranks. By the way, I am in no way suggesting there is disharmony in Canberra, merely pointing out Clinton Schifcofske is doing what all captains do, and that is not rock the proverbial boat.If Raiders management were fair dinkum and I have my doubts if they are, they would keep their cards close to their chest and wait until at least mid season to see how the results have gone and if any new talent has emerged to replace the aging veterans who are the band aid solution for the Raiders to keep themselves out of the premiership cellar.This move has to be questioned by the fans and one wonders if the club really has the success of the football team as its main priority or are they interested in acquiring more leagues clubs to keep the poker machine cash cow ticking over?The Raiders are equal favourites with South Sydney for the wooden spoon and have a bare cupboard when it comes to depth and elite talent with many players looking for the door over the past three seasons and yet we are continually told we are close to the limit on our salary cap and we are the only club willing to offer misfits from other clubs (Willie Manu, Jamie Lyon, Lance Thompson) a contract but yet none are yet to put pen to paper and likely never will.The moves to re-sign Elliott so early in the piece reeks of desparation and part of this can be put down to the Raiders geographical disadvantage of not being close to Sydney, a small town and a place that is bitterly cold in winter. This is the perception among players and it rings true when you consider Canberra rarely receive a free to air match on television and viewed by all fans as boring and unimaginative with a negative style of play.When you consider Ricky Stuart, Tim Sheens, Brian Smith and John Lang are all off contract at the conclusion of this season and as all coaches have either won a premiership or at the very least, appeared in a grand final in the past five years, you would think it prudent of Raiders management to at least speak with other potential candidates, especially hometown coach Ricky Stuart who knows the club an what it takes to return the Raiders to the winners circle.Personally, I think Stuart would relish the challenge of moulding the Raiders into a cohesive football side with skill on both sides of the ball and get them to play with the high intensity and ferocity the Roosters defence has been renowned for over the past four seasons under Stuart.Even though Brian Smith has an unenviable record in grand finals, he has the wherewithal to mould players into quality footballers and have them produce consistent, high quality football for 26 weeks at least. We saw the results with Tim Smith and Ben Smith last season and apart from the melt down against the Cowboys, he had the Eels finish the regular season as minor premiers with a team that was not expected by many to challenge for the top eight, let alone the premiership.Tim Sheens has already left his legacy in Canberra and would be at long odds to return to the club considering he has nothing to prove in Canberra.I doubt John Lang would come and is still riding the high on his success from 2003 and may view Newcastle as a more attractive option should the opportunity arise.I have nothing against Matt Elliott and if he has the Raiders firing on all cylinders and are in the finals mix come mid-season, then a contract renewal/upgrade is in order and I will be the first to congratulate the club for its shrewd business acumen in securing one of the best coaches in the NRL.While we wait for a decision, I'm going to go and ask my employer for a raise on projects I am yet to start and hope they see their way clear to offer me a significant pay rise regardless of my performance.I'll let you know how I go!
ST George Illawarra Dragons captain Trent Barrett has been given permission to negotiate with English clubs, a decision being likely before the end of February. Today's development paves the way for Barrett to leave the NRL at the end of 2006.Dragons chief executive Peter Doust and Barrett's manager Wayne Beavis met today following earlier speculation which linked Barrett to Wigan in the UK."I've got no comment on the likely outcome of today's talks. I wouldn't have a clue," Doust said yesterday.Beavis was equally guarded and insisted that linking Barrett's name to Wigan was "purely market speculation". "There's nothing to the story," Beavis said yesterday.But this afternoon, Doust announced that the Dragons five-eighth wanted to see what interest he could attract from Super League clubs in England."He's going to contemplate a move overseas for 2007 and beyond," Mr Doust said."That doesn't mean that he's decided to go. He's just going to consider the offers and see what comes of it."I think that's the way things are going over there these days - they're looking to attract players of that calibre and so I think they'll be interested, no doubt."
AS part of the Australia Day Celebrations the New Zealand Maori team played Fiji at Coffs Harbour International Stadium on Thursday 26 January 2006. A very close and low scoring game, which was controlled extremely well by NRL referee, Shane Hayne in very wet conditions, saw the NZ Maori clock up a win over their Pacific Island counterparts, Fiji. Stand out players for the NZ Maori side were hooker, Cheyenne Motu with outstanding dummy half running which gained his team some good yards and Jason Paikea who was great under the high ball in the fullback position and could not be faulted for his strong running. This being the first hit out for many of the players this season the coaching staff were happy with the win for the start of their tour to Australia. They are now focusing on the Orara Sevens Tournament where they will play at Coffs Harbour on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2006. RESULT NZ Maori 12Tries: J. Cassidy, A. TuaraGoals: N. Hohaia, J. Cassidy Fiji 6Tries: A. DulagamaGoals: F. Caucauba
UNDERDOGS Hopwood Hall College triumphed 18-14 over favourites St Helens College, who were unbeaten going into the final and had defeated Hopwood earlier in the season 17-10.But St Helens made them sweat when all looked lost, trailing 18-6 with seven minutes remaining, as they scored two tries in the closing minutes and were pushing for a match winner. Hopwood held on in a pulsating finale in which man of the match David Chrimes scored a brace and substitute Jack Burns scooted over for the decisive score on 73 minutes.Chrimes just edged out his stand off Jordan Turner who was a superb link for his forwards and backs with his passing and kicking game and made the two opening tries for his side.For St Helens it appeared to be a case of stage fright and they have now lost their second major final in the last twelve months. They found difficulty in completing sets of six, lost possession in good field position and on three occasions also failed to find touch when awarded. Although they gave there all it was only in the last five minutes of each half they came to life and posted points on the board.Hopwood opened the scoring on three minutes on their first set of six when on the last tackle Turner put a bouncing grubber into the in goal and Chrimes was first to the ball to touch down, with Turner adding the extras. On Hopwood?s next attack Chrimes made another barnstorming run but was stopped by a shell shocked St Helens. They slowly got back into the game and levelled the game up five minutes from the break following a Hopwood drop out, when winger Andrew Bethell scooted in from the play the ball in the corner. Ryan Rogers converted a magnificent touchline kick, but on the stroke of half time missed a relatively easy penalty which would have given them an 8-6 lead.The second half was a carbon copy of the first and Hopwood went 12-6 ahead on 43 minutes. Turner put a high bomb up on the last tackle, St Helens let the ball bounce and Hopwood regained possession and Chrimes in support scored his second try.Turner missed a penalty attempt seven minutes later and on 70 minutes his last tackle drop goal attempt was disallowed.On their next set Hopwood scored then continued to turn the screw, not giving St Helens any space. On 73 minutes they scored a third converted try as Burns drove through defenders close to the line from the play the ball.With five minutes remaining St Helens counter-attacked and kept the ball alive and winger Ian Lenton went in at the corner, but skipper and loose forward Craig Wilson missed the conversion. This breathed new life into the side and with a minute remaining Wilson went over the whitewash and hit the upright with the conversion to make it 18-14.St Helens stormed up field looking for the match winner but the referee's whistle brought to an end a dramatic final which was a credit to the student game.A name to remember for the future Jordan Turner who appears to have all the elements a stand off should have.HOPWOOD HALL COLLEGE 18 defeated ST HELENS COLLEGE 14Hopwood Hall College : 1. Fletcher, 2. M. Howley, 3. Chrimes, 4. Dewhirst, 5. Foy, 6. Turner, 7. Clough, 8. Cookson, 9. Whitmore, 10. Hopkins, 11. Duerden, 12. Gray, 13. McGriffin. Subs: 14. Burns, 15. Brandford, 16. Blackmore, 17. Moore, 18 P. HowleySt Helens College : 1. Quinn, 2. Bethell, 3. Smith, 4. Walsh, 5. Lenton, 6. Haggerty, 7. Rogers, 8. Mannion, 9. Forber, 10. Holland, 11. Taylor, 12. Manchester, 13. Wilson. Subs : 14. Gregory, 15. Leyland, 16. Appleton, 17. Harper, 18. Key.
AN historic day for the NRL?s newest club the Gold Coast Titans when coach John Cartwright this afternoon named the side which will play in the Orara Valley Axemen Seven?s competition this weekend.Cartwright said, ?It?s basically an opportunity to get some of our good juniors together and see how they perform against more experienced opposition. It?s great to be representing the Titans for the first time particularly in one of our catchment areas. We hope to develop a great relationship with the Coffs Harbour area in the future.?The team is made up of members of the Titans Elite Academy and Queensland Cup players from Titans Feeder clubs - Burleigh Bears, Ipswich Jets and Tweed Heads Seagulls. Cartwright named former Penrith Panthers back rower Matt Pow as Captain of the Inaugural Sevens side and will be looking to the current Seagulls Queensland Cup player to lead the younger team members from the very first clash, when they take on Malta on Saturday morning. As far as results go, Cartwright is not expecting miracles but is more focused on looking at the individual to see how competitive they are and what sort of attitude is displayed. He said, ?It?s very hard to go into a 7s tournament expecting to win. That?s the appeal of the game, it?s fast, open and gives all sides a chance.Regardless of the result this weekend the enormity of the Titans becoming a reality also holds great significance. ?There is enormous excitement from within the Titans club about this 7s tournament. I think it?s a realization from all the people who have worked so hard on making the club a reality of how close we are to 2007.We have also had a lot of local media coverage which suggests a high level of interest from our supporters?, said CartwrightThe Titans will play Malta, the Australian Maoris and Crescent Head in the first round of competition on Saturday.If you require any further information please call Ian Buchanan on 0407 242156Gold Coast Titans 7?s Team? John Dean- Ipswich Jets ? Chris Sandow ? Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad? Shannon Walker - Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad? Matthew Pow (C) - Tweed Seagulls? Matt Austin-Tweed Seagulls? Dimitri Pelo- Burleigh Bears? Nat Barnes-Tweed Seagulls ? Michael Walker - Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad? Dennis Gordon Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad ? Bo Dene Thompson Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad ? Mitchell Herlihy Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad ? Matthew Lindsey-Tweed Heads Seagulls ? Matthew Francis - Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad ? Ben Thomas - Gold Coast Titans Elite Squad? STAFF? John Cartwright - Coach? Scott Sattler ? Football Manager
DRAGONS coach Nathan Brown believes the Charity Shield is an essential component of the Dragons preparation for the 2006 season when they take on the Rabbitohs at Telstra Stadium on February 18 in their first match of the year.The Dragons have vivid memories of their start to the 2005 season and their 30-6 loss in the annual clash last year."The Charity Shield is always a tough match and we will definitely be looking to turn the tables on last years result and start the season well," said Brown. "It is great opportunity for us to put into practice what we have been working on in the pre-season in front of a big crowd at Telstra Stadium, replicating the environment we will face in our first NRL Premiership match.Captain Trent Barrett and new re-cruit Sam Isemonger are also looking forward to the clash and recognise the importance of the match. The first match of the year is something we all look forward too and it is a good indicator for where we are at," said Barrett. "We are lucky to always have such a tough match against the Rabbitohs and the atmosphere always adds that something extra"."The Charity Shield is something that I have always watched, it is not your average trial game and it is something that I am very much looking forward to being involved with," added Isemonger.The Charity Shield has always been an exciting and tough encounter for both Clubs and when the concept was established in 1982 the tradition began to support local charities and causes. In 2006 proceeds from the Charity Shield will be committed to the St George and Wollongong Public Hospitals in the Dragons' communities."There are many worthwhile charities in need of help however, along with South Sydney, we felt that it was important to stick with the traditions of the Charity Shield and support causes in our local communities," said Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust.The Dragons team for the Charity Shield will be announced at the Dragons Media and Charity Shield Launch on Tuesday, February 15.The Dragons second and final pre-season match is against the Roosters at Wollongong on Sunday, February 26.2006 CHARITY SHIELD FACT SHEETCharitiesThe major beneficiaries of the 2006 Charity Shield will be the St George Public Hospital, Wollongong Public Hospital, Sydney Children's Hospital and Humpty Dumpty Foundation.Charity Shield Program: Saturday, February 184pmGates open4.30pmJersey Flegg (under 19): Dragons v Rabbitohs6pmPremier League: Dragons v Rabbitohs7.30pmFOX telecast preview program8pmFOX live broadcast, NRL trial, Dragons v RabbitohsTicket SalesTickets are on sale for an exclusive priority period to Dragons Red V Members and Rabbitohs Members from 9am Thursday, January 19.Tickets are on sale to the general public on Monday, January 23.Tickets can be purchased from any Ticketek outlet, online at www.ticketek.com.au or by phone on 132 849.Ticket PricesPremier Reserved Seating - Adult $25; Children/Concession $15; Family (2 adults, 2 children under15) $65.General Admission - unreserved seating - Adult $20; Children/Concession $10; Family (2 adults, 2children under 15) $45.ResultsIn the 22 Charity Shield matches contested since 1982, The Dragons have won 13 times; Rabbitohs 6; draws 3.1982 - St George 9-7 at Redfern Oval.1983 - St George 28-10 at Redfern Oval.1984 - South Sydney 24-6 at Redfern Oval.1985 - St George 10-8 at Redfern Oval.1986 - St George 12-0 at Redfern Oval.1987 - St George 28-14 at Redfern Oval.1988 - South Sydney 30-6 at Redfern Oval.1989 - South Sydney 20-16 at SFS.1990 - Drawn 10-all at SFS.1991 - Drawn 16-all at SFS.1992 - South Sydney 21-20 at SFS.1993 - St George 10-8 at SFS.1994 - St George 14-11 at SFS.1995 - St George 18-10 at SFS.1996 - St George 30-6 at SFS.1997 - St George 26-18 at SFS.1998 - St George 14-4 at SFS.1999 - South Sydney 16-14 at SFS.2002 - Drawn 20-all at Aussie Stadium.2003 - St George 28-10 at Aussie Stadium.2004 - St George 34-8 at Aussie Stadium.2005 - Souths 30-6 at Aussie Stadium.
GREG Pierce has been appointed chief executive of NRL club Cronulla after serving in a caretaker role following the death of Sharks legend Steve Rogers earlier this month.Pierce has held a number of positions at the Sharks over the past 12 years, including Development and Operations Manager, Welfare Manager, Football Manager and Football Club administrator. In recent times he worked directly under Rogers.Pierce also served as assistant coach of the Kangaroos from 2001-2003, was the NSW Resident's coach in 2002, the City Firsts coach in 2000-2001 and played first grade for the Sharks in 1984 and 1985.
BRISBANE Broncos hooker Barry Berrigan is anxiously awaiting the results of neck scans that will determine if he can keep playing.The 30-year-old brother of Broncos centre Shaun Berrigan visited a specialist this week to find out why he is still suffering pain after undergoing fusion surgery in late 2004. Berrigan has been suffering pain for the past 10 days.He expects to know his fate next week when he gets the scan results. The Broncos recently recruited former Dragons rake Michael Ennis who will make a suitable replacement if Berrigan is unable to resume his career.
KNIGHTS and Titans will do battle in fourteen dynamic minutes of rugby league action to kick off the 2006 Orara Valley Sevens at Coffs Harbour this weekend, January 28 and 29.With two international fixtures ultimately kicking off the Orara Valley Axemen Big Week of League on January 26, it will be the Malta Knights and the Gold Coast Titans that kick off the two-day Sevens carnival, underwritten by resident local and Hollywood star Russell Crowe.History beckoning, the Titans who will make their entry into the NRL competition in 2007 are fielding a squad jam-packed with players from the Gold Coast?s elite academy as well as QLD Cup talent that includes captain and ex Penrith Panthers back rower Matt Pow leading out the Titans for the first time.Maltese Rugby League will enter the code?s history books for the second time in only three months, as the first up opponents to the newly formed Gold Coast, who are being represented under the ?Titans? banner for the first time. Titans? head coach John Cartwright isn?t denying the excitement leading up to this weekend.?There is enormous excitement from within the Titans club about this Sevens tournament. I think it?s a close realization from all the people who have worked so hard on making this club a reality of how close we are to 2007? said Cartwright.Cartwright isn?t expecting miracles in the Titans? first outing.?It?s very hard to go into a Sevens tournament expecting to win. That?s the appeal of the game, its fast, open and gives all sides a chance?Opening the tournament against the Malta Knights before taking on Crescent Head and the Australian Maoris, Cartwright is using the budding sevens tournament to test his players who are challenging for roles in the club?s approaching NRL return in 2007.?It?s basically an opportunity to get some of our good juniors together and see how they perform against more experienced opposition? Cartwright said.Ten of the fifteen players selected in Malta?s sevens squad were members of a history making rugby league tour to Malta 12 weeks ago, taking on the England Lionhearts, selected from England?s amateur rugby league conference competitions. Malta defeated England 36 to 6.Newcastle Knights premier league utility Daniel Spiteri was consequently sent off in the third minute of the historic encounter after tensions simmered in the international friendly on a muggy 30-degree plus afternoon.Evenly, Ashley Klein, the Engage Super League 2005 referee of the year dismissed Spiteri and his opposite number Lionhearts? Brendan Lewis as well as placing a further member of each team in the sin bin.Spiteri is adamant that his return for Malta at the Orara Valley Sevens will bring a positive bang.?People insist on bringing up the darkest moment in my footy career. It was very disappointing and won?t happen ever again??Is the pope a catholic? There is more fire in me then the sun itself, controlled though, no send offs this time!? Spiteri assures.Spiteri, who has been granted a release from the Newcastle Knights, is motivated to play to his best at the Orara Valley Sevens, granted there will be scouts from several NRL clubs about.?Huge incentive, all you have do to is look of likes of Benny (Sammut) and Clewsy (Brad) and you see what playing at the top level does for you, to be earning a huge salary and doing it by playing footy which is something you love would be great? said Spiteri.Only weeks before the fateful match, Spiteri was the instrumentalist in a last second try that helped Malta to a 24-22 win over Greece in Sydney, dashing sixty metres to bring the pro Maltese crowd into raptures.?The try itself just proved his evasiveness? ?He was positioned on the left wing and scored on the opposite (right hand side) of the field? Malta coach Joe Grima said.South Sydney Rabbitohs have named flying winger Luke MacDougall as captain in a line-up selected from throughout the foundation club?s grades, jersey flegg to first grade.Drawn into the same group as defending champions Lebanon, Fiji A has listed former Tigers NRL star James Langaloa in their 15-man squad.Malta Knights sevens squad:N Attard, S Azzopardi, S Borg, B Clews, P Galea, A Grech, W Grech, P Harris, P Marzella, J Micallef, S Micallef, B Russell, B Sammut (C), J Sammut, D Spiteri.2006 Orara Valley Sevens TournamentSaturday 28th January (Day One)9:00am MALTA vs GOLD COAST Titans10:40am MALTA vs CRESCENT HEAD Roos11:40am MALTA vs WAIRERE AUSTRALIAN Maoris The Maltese Rugby League Association, a voluntarily run organisation whose main source of income is the retailing of their popular merchandise range which includes replica jerseys, polo shirts, t-shirts, caps and dvd?s. During the Orara Valley Sevens, supporters have the opportunity to purchase the Malta Knights jersey at a special price of only $75.Related links:http://www.malteserugbyleague.comwww.oraravalleyaxemen.com
MATT Seers, Greg Florimo, Josh Stuart and Craig Wilson are some of the North Sydney stars that will be on show at the Orara Valley Sevens held between 27th and 29th of January 2006. Four days of festivities will include demonstration matches by the ?Old Boys? of North Sydney, St George and that mixed bag team ?The Barbarians?, a legends golf day and dinner as well as 2 days of sevens football in the beautiful Orara Valley. And so the North Sydney Bears will battle the St George Old Boys team on the evening of Australia Day at Coffs Coast International Stadium and will play again on Saturday at Coramba Sports Ground against a Coast and Valley Old Boys team. In between the boys will be playing golf and dinning for charity.TEAM LIST:Adam Muir Andrew King Anthony Peredis Brenton Pomery Craig Wilson Greg Florimo Josh Stuart Matt Seers Michael Buettner Peter Phillips Wayne Portlock Willie Leyshon
MATT Seers, Greg Florimo, Josh Stuart and Craig Wilson are some of the North Sydney stars that will be on show at the Orara Valley Sevens held between 27th and 29th of January 2006.