ST. Patrick?s day is the ideal date to kick off the new 2004 season with a dinner to be held at the hotel where Rugby League was formed on the 29 of August 1895.
DOLPHIN second-rower Danny Green describes his signing with Redcliffe as ``going from the lowest low in his life to a high''.
Midway through last season the fiery forward had been dumped by National Rugby League club Eels following an altercation at the Parramatta Leagues Club.
THE Sydney Airport Jets take on the might of the Melbourne Storm next Saturday (March 6) at Henson Park, with the action getting underway at 5pm. This will be Newtown's first encounter with a full-strength First Grade opposition team since the Jets' final season in the former NSWRL Premiership competition back in 1983.
Newtown coach Colin Murphy, who played with the Jets from 1975-1983, admits this Saturday's game will be a big ask for his Premier League players, but says "it will be the pinnacle of my blokes' Rugby League careers and the time of their lives. I hope thousands of Newtown supporters flock back to Henson Park next Saturday to cheer us on. This will be a really emotional occasion, and a huge moment in the history of this famous old club".
In trial match action at Henson Park over the weekend, the Sydney Airport Jets Premier League team snatched victory in the final minute of play over quality Newcastle club side Western Suburbs by 32-28. The Jets had trailed 24-12 at half-time, and had to dig deep to scramble home in the game's dying seconds. Best for Newtown was newly-arrived French representative player and second rower Mathieu Julia, on loan from the Pia club and recommended to the Jets by half-back ace Craig Field. Others to fire on the day were Ben Tickle, Alf Duncan (two tries), James Stozic, Andrew Le Breton and Cliff Manu. Newtown's Jim Beam Cup triallists turned on a very indifferent performance in the early match in going down to Asquith by 38-20.
All roads lead to historic Henson Park next Saturday (March 6), when the Sydney Airport Jets host 2003 NRL semi-finalists the Melbourne Storm in a competition-match conditions Rugby League trial, with the kick-off timed for 5pm.
ST Albans Centurions got their season off to a flying start with a 72-0 annihilation of St Ives in the RLC Cup at Woollams.
CASTLEFORD Tigers moved into the Fifth Round of the Powergen Challenge Cup with a 32-20 defeat of French club UTC on Saturday.
At The Jungle, Castleford gained their first win of 2004 with a solid, yet unspectacular, display against the French League leaders.
THE Knights Mathews and Ball teams (U16 and U18) began their season with wins over a spirited and much improved Central Coast RIP yesterday.
NSWRL VB Premier League trial match.
Newtown 32 d. Western Suburbs (Newcastle) 28.
NSWRL Jim Beam Cup trial match.
Asquith 38 d. Newtown 20.
Next Saturday at Henson Park:
Newtown v. Melbourne Storm,
5pm, Saturday, March 6, 2004.
PENRITH fans have reacted angrily to the decision to move the club's round four clash with the Sydney Roosters to Telstra Stadium.
INTERNATIONALS Jason Stevens and Phil Bailey emerged from their first game back from injury unscathed last night, as Cronulla ran in twenty tries to score a big win in an extended trial game in Port Maquarie. Split into three thirty-five minute matches, Cronulla easily dealt with Coffs Harbour (44-0) and Wingham (46-0) before scraping home against the home team Port Maquarie (12-10). The total combined score over the 105 minute game was 102-10.
CANBERRA Raiders playmaker Brad Drew is expected to be fit for the club's season opening game against the St George-Illawarra Dragons despite suffering a sternum injury in a weekend trial match.
AT times, watching the Cronulla Sharks in 2003 was more painful than inserting shards of glass under your eyelids. When they weren't throwing away victory in the dying moments with an ill-timed pass or sloppy tackle, they were being trampled by record margins by such premiership heavyweights as the Tigers and the Eels. Every so often they'd craft a performance decent enough to keep a steady trickle of fans coming through the turnstiles, but at almost no stage did they appear ready to tackle the top teams.
HOT tip on how to get a budget rate at a motel in Port Macquarie: pick the same motel as the team you?ve come to see and stay there.
IT is with baited breath that I await the culmination of an emotionally barren off-season and anticipate the explosion of the Canberra Raiders as a fully- fledged premiership threat. I was distraught after our heartbreaking loss to the Warriors in week two of the finals and to go out of the premiership race by a solitary point was like someone reaching into my chest, ripping out my heart and tossing it in a blender. So, I'm now kept alive by one of the battery- operated hearts which has little margin for error. Don't let me down boys and the blender doesn't take favourably to mechanical objects.
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.
THE Bulldogs could face expulsion from the National Rugby League competition if misconduct is proven and is serious enough, according to NRL boss David Gallop.