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Friday Footy Wrap
INGLIS BACK FOR AUSTRALIA
G.I. is back! Rabbitohs, Maroons and Australian star centre is finally fit to take on England in this weekend's Wembley double header. Inglis isn't the only player added to the Australian squad for the clash, with the omission of David Shillington making way for the inclusion of Beau Scott. Shillington is still struggling after the notorious Issac Luke "cannonball" tackle which forced him from the field in Australia's 26-12 win over the Kiwis. Willie Tonga is the other major omission due to injury.
The sides for the England v Australia clash, which kicks off at 2:30am AEDST Sunday morning (1:30am QLD) at Wembley Stadium in London:
England: Sam Tomkins, Ryan Hall, Jack Reed, Kirk Yeaman, Tom Briscoe, Kevin Sinfield, Rangi Chase, James Graham, James Roby, Jamie Peacock (c), Gareth Ellis, Ben Westwood, Chris Heighington
Interchange: Gareth Widdop, Adrian Morley, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jon Wilkin, Danny McGuire, Garreth Carvell
Australia: Billy Slater, Akuila Uate, Chris Lawrence, Greg Inglis, Darius Boyd, Darren Lockyer (c), Johnathan Thurston, Paul Gallen, Cameron Smith, Matt Scott, Luke Lewis, Sam Thaiday, Anthony Watmough
Interchange: Cooper Cronk, Keith Galloway, Corey Parker, Tony Williams, Beau Scott, Robbie Farah
Click here to follow this game LIVE on Sunday morning!
BLAIR RETURNS FOR KIWIS
Inglis isn't the only former Melbourne Storm star to return in Test footy this weekend. Kiwi forward Adam Blair, like Inglis, hasn't played a game since Round 25 of the NRL, after copping a 5 weeks suspension for his involvement in the infamous "brawl of Brookvale". In addition to the return of Blair, Elijah Taylor will make his international debut, and Nathan Fien has earned a recall.
The New Zealand side takes on Wales at 12:30am AEDST Sunday (11:30pm Sat QLD time) at Wembley Stadium prior to the England v Australia clash. The lineups are:
Wales (squad): Chris Beasley, Andy Bracek, Lee Briers, Neil Budworth, Ross Divorty, Gil Dudson, Ben Flower, Tyson Frizell, Jordan James, Danny Jones, Craig Kopzcak, Elliot Kear, Peter Lupton, Christiaan Roets, Matt Seamark, Ian Watson, Ian Webster, Lloyd White, Rhys Williams
New Zealand: Kevin Locke, Gerard Beale, Lewis Brown, Alex Glenn, Jason Nightingale, Benji Marshall, Kieran Foran, Sam McKendry, Thomas Leuluai, Ben Matulino, Sika Manu, Adam Blair, Jeremy Smith
Interchange: Nathan Fien, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Fuifui Moimoi, Elijah Taylor
Click here to follow the Wembley "curtain raiser" on Sunday morning!
TIM MOLTZEN SAGA FINALLY OVER
Well... not quite. The drama surrounding the contract of Tim Moltzen and the conjecture between the Dragons and Tigers clubs is over for now, with the Dragons advising they will no longer pursue the contract. The NRL has confirmed they will investigate the conduct of Moltzen's manager Martin Tauber and his dealings with this particular issue. The Dragons were scathing in their assessment of the situation in a press release yesterday, and advised they are likely to pursue the Wests Tigers club for damages relating to this matter.
You can read the full press releases from the St George Illawarra and Wests Tigers clubs.
NRL DRAW - TO BE RELEASED SATURDAY
After weeks of waiting, the National Rugby League is set to release the 2012 Season Draw on Saturday night around 8:00pm. With plenty of reports over certain fixtures and the confirmation of the Thursday night season opener on March 1 between the Knights and Dragons, plenty of fans are anticipating this moment. We'll do our best to bring you the details and the full draw as it's released, plus reaction from the clubs where possible.
BACK TO TRAINING
With the calendar hitting November, players are now at their new clubs and for some, training has already begun. The Rabbitohs, Eels, Bulldogs and Raiders are already back to work as of this week, with many more to get back to the paddock next week.
SLATER WORLD'S BEST
The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) held it's awards night this week, and it was Storm fullback Billy Slater who took out the prestigous International Player of the year award. It was a night where Australians scooped the pool. The full list of winners:
Player of the Year: Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
Spirit of Rugby League Award: David Oxley CBE
Rookie of the Year: Jharal Yow Yeh (Brisbane Broncos)
Coach of the Year: Des Hasler (Manly Sea Eagles)
Referee of the Year: Tony Archer (Australia)
Team of the year
Full-back: Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
Winger: Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights)
Centre: Jamie Lyon (Manley Sea Eagles)
Stand-off: Benji Marshall (West Tigers)
Scrumhalf: Daly Cherry-Evans (Manley Sea Eagles)
Prop: Matt Scott (North Queensland Cowboys)
Hooker: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)
Second Row: Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)
Loose Forward: Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks)
Nations' Players of the Year
Canada: Matt Wyles
Cook Islands: Tinirau Arona
Czech Republic: Jan Buben
Fiji: Wes Naiqama