QUEENSLAND coach Wayne Bennett believes a golden point in next Wednesday night's State of Origin game is pointless. He also says it's potentially an unwanted burden on the rugby league's best players.
THE Ipswich Jets have defeated the North Qld Young Guns 32-16 in their Qld Cup fixture at Bendigo Bank Oval on Saturday. Under bleak skies & showers sweeping across the ground it was the northern visitors that started the game the best with tries to centre Wallace Solomona & five-eighth Michael Meigan & a conversion to Nat Bowman had the Young Guns leading 10-0 after only ten mintes. After a long period of being under pressure & making silly mistakes the Jets finally got their act together with a smart try from dummy half by Jamie Tomlinson which was converted by Steve West to reduce the margin to 10-6 & then in the next set a big kick down field by Brendan Lindsay was met with a great Ipswich chase which forced the error from North Qld winger Simon Phillips who dropped the ball straight to Marcus Jensen who put Jermaine Alberts in for his first ever Qld Cup try, Steve West then kicked a great sideline conversion & after being outplayed for the majority of the half Ipswich led at half time 12-10. The second half started brilliantly for the home side with a try in the 5th minute by Ricky Bird & after the conversion Ipswich held an 18-10 advantage. The visitors then reduced the margin to two after Nat Bowman picked up a bouncing ball & then bamboozled the Ipswich defence with amazing footwork to go in adjacent to the post & duly converted & with 25 minutes remaining Ipswich led 18-16. The Jets then lifted a gear & scored tries to Ricky Bird & Brendan Lindsay & a conversion to West gave the Jets a commanding 28-16 lead with 8 minutes to play before West finished the game with a try in the corner after a good backline move & with the kick missing Ipswich had a hard fought 32-16 win to move up to 23 competition points. Ipswich travel to Davies Park next week to play Souths-Logan while the Young Guns play host to defending champions Redcliffe.
ROUND 11 of New Zealand's Bartercard Cup starts off with the first game on Saturday afternoon between the Hibiscus Coast Riders hosting the visiting Wellington side. With the Raiders suffering their first loss of the competition in last week's round, they will be out to show their home crowd that it won't happen again and unfortunately for the Wellington side I feel they will be getting a thrashing.
Hibiscus Coast Raiders vs. Wellington 12 July 2003, Stanmore Bay. Kick off at 2.30pm.
IN this week's Bulls Eye, Brian Noble and Joe Vagana look ahead to Friday's Tetley's Super League Round 18 clash at the New Shay when the Bulls take on Halifax.
THE depleted Brisbane Broncos host the Bulldogs tonight when round 18 of the National Rugby League season kicks off at Suncorp Stadium.
THE Melbourne Storn have run out winners over the North Queensland Cowboys by 22-16 at Olympic Park tonight.
THE West Tigers have thrashed the Cronulla Sharks by 44-12 at Leichhardt Oval this afternoon.
THE Penrith Panthers have run out winners here tonight by 30 points to 24 over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Penrith Stadium in front of a good Rugby League crowd of 15,300.
A late change to the Warriors for Saturday night's NRL match against Manly at Ericsson Stadium.
NSW State of Origin forward Robbie Kearns is still awaiting a reasonable approach from Melbourne after receiving only a modest offer to stay with the National Rugby League club.
THE Canberra Raiders travelled to OKI Jubilee Stadium and came away with a hard fought 19-18 win over St George-Illawarra Dragons.
AFTER a tough yet mistake-ridden first half resulting in a 0-all halftime score-line, the New Zealand Warriors have overcome the Manly Sea Eagles by 20-12 at Ericsson Stadium in Auckland.
THE Bulldogs travelled to Suncorp in Brisbane tonight and dealt the home side a harsh blow, beating them by 40-4.
THE North Queensland Cowboys have continued their impressive buildup for season 2004 with the signing of Wests Tigers back rower Luke O'Donnell for the 2004-05 seasons.
ORIGIN has again robbed of us one of the season's great highlights. The understrength Bulldogs play the very much under strength Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. Had this match been played outside the Origin series, a massive crowd would have been on hand to see two of the NRL's high intensity sides go head to head. I do realise Brisbane will be relying youngsters to get them home but the four Bulldogs players missing from tonight's game leave a gaping hole in their side, one which Wayne Bennett will capitalise on. Brisbane by 8.