3 days ago
St Helens hooker Keiron Cunningham has been given the honour of leading the trophy holders out at Wembley in Saturday's Challenge Cup final against Catalans Dragons.
Apart from Paul Clough and Bryn Hargreaves, Australian centre Matt Gidley is the only St Helens player without Challenge Cup final experience but he played for Newcastle Knights in the 2001 NRL Grand Final.
Meanwhile back onshore, three players are expected to face the NRL Judiciary tonight in an attempt to beat grapple tackle charges.
Wests Tigers forward Liam Fulton and St George Illawarra captain Jason Ryles have both pleaded not guilty to grade one contrary conduct charges for grapple tackles and will fight to clear their names.
South Sydney's Dean Widders has until midday to enter his plea, but is expected to fight a grade two grapple on manly's Jamie Lyon.
Widders can accept a two-game ban with an early plea, and hope Souths make the finals to play again in 2007, but if he is found guilty at the judiciary he will be ousted for three matches.
Fulton has forfeited no suspension by fighting the charge and could be banned for one match tonight. And due to loading and carryover points Ryles faces a two-game ban if found guilty which would end his NRL season.
Up in the Hunter, Newcastle senior executive officer Steve Burraston has slammed Kirk Reynoldson and his management for an orchestrated campaign to destabilise the struggling NRL club.
Burraston says he will respond to a letter of legal intent from Reynoldson's lawyers today but does not want the ongoing saga played out in the media. The Knights boss is upset Reynoldson's camp leaked the letter to the media and that the player's agent Les Ross has made no attempt to talk directly to the club.
Reynoldson needs one more NRL game to automatically trigger a $196,000 deal next year, but coach Brian Smith has told him he is unwanted in 2008 and has not selected him to play again this Friday.
Burraston fully supports Smith's selection and says this week's forward pack is Newcastle's best in a number of weeks.
And out east, Sydney Roosters supremo Nick Politis says Brad Fittler is the man to deliver the club their next NRL premiership. Politis has signed Fittler as coach for the next two NRL seasons and says the former premiership-winning captain can be just as successful at coaching as he was at playing.
The club chairman knows sacking the club legend would be the worst situation the Roosters could face and has promised to help support him by providing everything he can over the next two seasons to ensure success.