PANTHERS PIP BUNNIES | More misery for South Sydney Rabbitohs as the Penrith Panthers scraped home d...
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Manly veteran Steve Menzies is so inspired and reinvigorated by the Sea Eagles premiership charge he may play on for not just one, but two more seasons.
Menzies remains in negotiations with the Sea Eagles over a contract extension for a 16th season, but has not ruled out running around again in 2009. The Sea Eagles playing roster for next season has been boosted with winger Michael Robertson agreeing to terms for another two years at the club.
Interchange forward Glenn Hall also received good news with his shoulder injury downgraded from season ending to a two-three week diagnosis.
In other player news, Kiwi international Jake Webster has claimed he let the Gold Coast Titans down during his debut season after today joining the exodus from the NRL to the English Super League with Warriors rake George Gatis.
The 23-year-old Webster has been released by the Titans with two years left on his contract and will play his final game against former club Melbourne at Olympic Park on Sunday. But Titans fullback Chris Walker is in doubt for the Melbourne clash after injuring his knee at training today.
The Titans did not reveal where Webster was headed but admitted that the damaging back had received a huge offer from an English Super League club. Gatis, 29, links with Huddersfield next season after signing a two year deal.
Webster hoped to leave the Gold Coast a winner after describing his inaugural Titans season as disappointing despite missing just six games to date this season.
Meanwhile, Sydney is facing an NRL finals lockout with the success of interstate teams threatening to rob NSW of most of the finals action.
With the top three positions on the NRL table secure ahead of this weekend's final round it is becoming increasingly possible Sydney could host just three, and as few as two, NRL finals games over four weeks and leave NSW with a rugby league free weekend in September.
It would be the first time in the history of the NRL that Sydney has not hosted at least one finals game on a week of the four-week playoffs. New Zealand Warriors can secure fourth place on the NRL table with a victory over Penrith this Saturday, resulting in Manly hosting the only Sydney game at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night in week one of the finals.
If the favourites (top four ranked sides) then all succeed in week one of the finals, Sydney will only host one more NRL final prior to the September 30 grand final at Telstra Stadium.
Elsewhere up north, the Cowboys has renamed their best and fairest player award in honour of retiring veteran Paul Bowman.
The Paul Bowman Medal will be presented from this year, honouring one of the great defensive centres who will mark his 200th game against the Bulldogs on Friday night - fittingly at Townsville home ground Dairy Farmers Stadium.
North Queensland hailed the 31-year-old at a 300-strong testimonial luncheon at Townsville's Jupiters Casino yesterday. He is the only remaining player from North Queensland's 1995 inaugural season and is the first to break the 200 game barrier at the club.
Key Cowboys such as skipper Johnathan Thurston knocked back a chance to miss the Bulldogs game and freshen up for the upcoming finals just so they could run out alongside Bowman.
The Cowboys are guaranteed a third place finish no matter what the result against the Bulldogs.