THE headlines have been everywhere all week. Jamie Lyon, retired at the ripe old age of 22. A man with so much potential, such a great future that some say he could have gone on to be one of the best centres the game has ever produced. Yet he has apparently given it all away to return to his childhood home town of Wee Waa, seeking a return to the country lifestyle he grew up with.
I don?t think any sports analysis or Rugby League fan would disagree come October last year the 2004 Rugby League season was looking like it could be the best ever. The news only just continued to get better, Carlton and United and Gatorade came on board to support the lower levels of the game, AAMI linked up with the bush, and the each club was recording increased level of sponsors and members for the new competition.
DRAGONS 26 (Tries: B Creagh 3; A Frew 1; M Gasnier 1. Goals: A Gorrell 2; L Russell 1.)
SYDNEY AIRPORT JETS 14 (Tries: N Leon 1; T Barnes 1; A Duncan 1. Goals: T Barnes 1)
EELS 26 (Tries: W McKinnon 1; M Lantry 1; C Thorman 1; S Muspratt 1. Goals: M Witt 5)
KNIGHTS 26 (Tries: J Smith 1; R Brown 2; B Tighe 1; N McLoughlin 1. Goals: B Tighe 3)
THE Pepsi Dolphins award winners for round 3 are
Searles Garden Products Man of the Match
Keystar Motors Players Player
Hogs Breath Cafe Man of the Match
Leading Edge Sports Man of the Match
THE A grade 'Match of the Day' at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday 28th March between the Eels Rugby League Club and South Adelaide was a great contest decided in the final 40 seconds of the game with a 35m field goal.
SUCH is the state London's injury crisis, that on Tony Rea's substitutes' bench on Sunday, there was just one player with senior rugby league experience this season.
And that was Joe Mbu, a Londoner who only made his Super League bow last season, and who has just entered double figures in the appearance column for London.
So with a squad of just 24 players, and with more than half a dozen regular starters sidelined through injury, that left Tony Rea with just 15 fit players available for the Super League clash with Salford.
Currently on the injured list are Mat Toshack, Rob Purdham, John Kirpatrick, Nigel Roy, Jon Wells, Rob Jackson, Francis Stephenson and Lee Sanderson.
And it was a game of paramount importance for the Broncos who had yet to taste success in this new Super League campaign.
Just three days before the game Rea called on the services of Leeds' rookie Scott Murrell, who ultimately answered the call with a match winning try on debut.
And just one day before the game, Rea brought in junior academy star, Jonnie Williams - a speedy winger from London's southeast, to occupy the other vacant seat on the bench.
When asked after the win on Sunday about the increasing pressure his team was under, and whether that pressure was intensified by the lack of fit bodies, Rea refused to call for sympathy.
He said: "What pressure? We had seventeen players out there all ready to a job and they did just that."
Every one of them wears that shirt with pride and as a team they showed great character to come away with the win."
We knew we had to bounce back from a disappointing performance the week before and I thought we started the match with very good intensity, and we were then patient to grind out the win."
But surely it must have been difficult having so many rookies on your bench?
"I wouldn't say that. I would say that we have players who accept the job that is given to them, whether it be as a sub, or as captain, or whoever...and our job on Sunday was to play well as a team and improve in a number of areas."
So what about this Sunday when London face the Cup semi final bound Warrington Wolves? Will Rea have any players back on deck?
The answer is likely to be no. And if that IS the case, Rea is more than happy with the seventeen he's got.
Kick off is at 3pm at Griffin Park against Warrington Wolves. It is the fourth round of the 28 round Tetley's Super League competition.
Book tickets in advance and save - 0871 222 1567
THE Parramatta Eels have today warned that fans who cause trouble at their home matches will face harsh punishment and life bans.
STATE of Origin star Shaun Berrigan has been recalled to the Broncos side for this Sunday's clash with the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm).
NEW Bulldogs CEO Malcolm Noad says the club?s code of conduct has been broken by players and action will be taken against them as soon as Police investigations into the alleged sexual assault of a young woman in Coffs Harbour last month have completed.
THE Bulldogs have taken steps towards getting themselves under control by appointing Malcolm Noad as their new Chief Executive Officer.
THE availability of the Sharks' star off-season recruit Nigel Vagana for Saturday night's NRL clash with South Sydney will be determined sometime today.
HOT on the heels of re-signing coach John Lang to an extended contract, Penrith have this morning announced that three of their key players have agreed to stay with the club beyond this season.
FRIDAY 2nd April 2004
FIVE Bulldogs players have been re-interviewed by detectives seeking to clarify and gather more evidence in the inquiry into the alleged gang rape of a 20-year-old Coffs Harbour woman.