HASLER GOES "BACK TO SCHOOL"
Des Hasler donned the famous blue and white for the first time today, being sworn in as head coach of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. The appointment follows a whirlwind week which saw the Manly-Warringah club cite the two-time premiership winner for breaches of contract, before his response and eventual dismissal led the Bulldogs to commence his four-year deal twelve months early. Hasler today said it felt like "being back at the first day of school".
The move relegates 2011 interim head coach Jim Dymock to the assistant's role for the next four seasons, although it is understood he has a clause to be released should a head coach role become available at another club.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs released fringe second-rower Grant Millington late last week after he signed a new deal with English Super League club Castleford.
THE TIME IS NIGH FOR LOCKYER
The farewell tour has seemed long but in six days it will finally be over. Darren Lockyer is just 80 minutes away from retirement as the Australian national side prepares for the Four Nations Final against eager hosts England. Lockyer sat the third weekend of the Four Nations tournament out when
Over the weekend, the English side dismissed reigning champions New Zealand with a 28-6 trouncing at Wigan's KC Stadium (read the report here), while Australia overcame a sluggish start to put the cleaners through Wales 56-14 at Wrexham (match report here).
Kiwi hooker Issac Luke also faces a nervous wait after being cited for twisting the legs of an opponent.
EELS BOARD CLEARS OSBORNE
The Board of the Parramatta National Rugby League Club met tonight to receive the report of an inquiry initiated on 6 October, 2011. The inquiry was convened to investigate whether there were any probity issues concerning the administration of the Chief Executive of the Club, Mr Paul Osborne.
The report found that there were no probity issues arising with respect to staff, sponsorship and player contracts. Read the full media statement from the Parramatta Eels here.
CHAMPIONS LEEDS GO DARK FOR 2012
Super League champions in 2011, the Leeds Rhinos have swapped royal blue for dark blue in releasing their official 2012 kit. The official kit can be viewed at http://www.therhinos.co.uk, and will be available to buy next weekend.
2012 NRL PRE-SEASON TRIAL NEWS
With the NRL season draw for 2012 released just over a week ago, clubs are now moving to finalise plans for pre-season trials. Below is a list of confirmed trial matches so far:
Saturday 28 January
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Warrington Wolves @ Australian Technology Park, Redfern
Saturday 4 February
All Stars Match - Indigenous All Stars v NRL All Stars @ Skilled Park, Gold Coast
Warriors v Gold Coast Titans @ North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
St George Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs @ WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys @ Dolphin Oval, Redcliffe
Saturday 11 February
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Warriors @ BCU International Stadium, Coffs Harbour
Gold Coast Titans v Brisbane Broncos @ Pizzey Park, Miami (Gold Coast)
North Queensland Cowboys v St George Illawarra Dragons @ NIB Stadium, Perth
Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers @ Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford (Central Coast)
Sunday 12 February
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Sydney Roosters @ Belmore Sports Ground
Saturday 18 February
South Sydney Rabbitohs v St George Illawarra Dragons @ ANZ Stadium (Charity Shield)
Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels @ Centrebet Stadium, Penrith (Battle of the West)
Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys @ Virgin Australia Stadium, Mackay
Canberra Raiders v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs @ Wagga Wagga
Melbourne Storm v Brisbane Broncos @ North Hobart Oval, Tasmania
Warriors v Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles @ Toll Stadium, Whangarei NZ
Leeds Rhinos v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles @ Venue TBC
Please note: all trial match information is provisional and subject to change. A number of clubs are yet to confirm fixtures - we will add these as they become known.
For the full 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership Draw, click here.