Super League fans down under rejoice! Last night it was confirmed we'll be seeing Wigan Warriors and...
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Round 13 kicked off with a depleted Roosters side going down to Braith Anasta's Bulldogs. It was a tremendous win for Canterbury but afterwards, it was Easts' coach Ricky Stuart who stole the lime-light with some hoo-har about being robbed. I've always been a big fan of coaches whinging after matches. I know some people think we follow the game to watch the players but don't be fooled. After referees, coaches run a close second as the most watched people in the game. Mind you, Ricky needs to sharpen up his act a little... I watched the entire press conference and not once did he use an expletive - hardly entertaining.
The next day we saw the Warriors walloping the Sharks. It was a great win for the Kiwis who look like they may have their season back on track.
I'm not sure what it is with the Sharks. They've had successive coaches trying to instill a winning culture into the place but they still can't take a trick. To put it bluntly, the Sharks are dead in the water this year. And it's not going to get any easier with news that 2004 is a make-or-break year for the pride of the Shire. Rumours abound that the word 'Cronulla' may be but a distant memory come 2005.
1967 was a watershed year when the mighty Panthers came into the competition and Cronulla-Sutherland sort of came along for the ride - the difference is that the Sharks have nothing to show for their years of effort.
Talking of the mighties, the Chocolate Soldiers have done it again, winning their eighth game on the trot. And they did it in style knocking over the Cowboys in FNQ and in extra time. Looking at the table, the Panthers are now in third position and just two points behind the Raiders.
The Raiders too are looking the goods after piling on 50 against an inept Parramatta side who now have a season in tatters. It was real thrashing for the Eels and I'm not just talking about the scoreline, they also got hammered by the ref. But Parra became mere spectators as the Raiders continue to show the other contenders that they are the team to watch in 2003.
The upset of the round belongs to Souths who clobbered the Melbourne Storm by 41-14. This was a timely win for the Rabbitohs who have a bye next round and have given their fans something to smile about for the next fortnight. On the other side of the coin, Melbourne folk were miserable to start with so its very unlikely that anyone will notice the difference.
Without a doubt, Round 13 was make-or-break for a number of teams and Wests Tigers were one of them. A spirited second half performance from Manly put paid to any hope the Tigers had of making a go of it this year. With the worst for-and-against ratio in the competition, the Tigers are no chance for 2003.
And on final note... Monday's Expert tip for Origin I: NSW by 8. Carn the Blues!
Next week (round 14, 13-15 June): Knights v Dragons in Newcastle Sharks v Tigers at Toyota Eels v Warriors at Parramatta* Panthers v Storm in Penrith Raiders v Broncos in Canberra Bulldogs v Sea Eagles at the Showground Roosters v Cowboys at Aussie Souths - Bye *Mondays Expert match of the round
Round 13 results at a glance home team listed first
ROOSTERS 18 Tries: Fittler, Finch, Grothe Goals: Crocker (3/4) BULLDOGS 28 Tries: Sherwin, Feeney, Vagana, Anasta, Mason Goals: El Masri (4/6) Friday 6 June 2003 Aussie Stadium Referee: Paul Simpkins Crowd: 17,136 League Unlimited's Player of the Year Points: 3 - B Anasta (Bulldogs) 2 - J Feeney (Bulldogs) 1 - T Byrne (Roosters)
RAIDERS 50 Tries: 3 Graham, 2 Lolesi, Woolford, Smith, Monaghan, Crocker Goals: Schifcofske 7/9 EELS 14 Tries: 2 Petersen, Hopkins Goals: Witt 1/3 Saturday 7 June 2003 Canberra Stadium Referee: Stephen Clark Crowd: 12,698 League Unlimited's Player of the Year Points: 3 - B Drew (Raiders) 2 - P Graham (Raiders) 1 - T Smith (Raiders)
WARRIORS 23 Tries: Meli, Mellars, Faumuina, Jones Goals: Jones 3/5, Jones F/G SHARKS 6 Tries: Anderson Goals: Kimmorley 1/2 Saturday 7 June 2003 Ericsson Stadium Referee: Sean Hampstead Crowd: 16,172 League Unlimited's Player of the Year Points: 3 - S Faumuina (Warriors) 2 - D Nutley (Sharks) 1 - S Jones (Warriors)
COWBOYS 24 Tries: Barsley, Williams, Myles, Hannay Goals: Hannay 4/5 PANTHERS 28 Tries: Galuvao 2, Priddis, Lewis, Rooney Goals: Campbell 4/5 Saturday 7 June 2003 Dairy Farmers Stadium Referee: Tim Mander Crowd: 17,102 League Unlimited's player of the Year points: 3 - L Priddis (Panthers) 2 - L McWilliams (Cowboys) 1 - J Galuvao (Panthers)
RABBITOHS 41 Tries: Kativerata 3, Hart 2, Stuart, Merritt, Watts Goals: Craigie 4/8, FG. STORM 14 Tries: Bai, Geyer, Reynoldson Goals: Orford 1/3 Sunday 8 June 2003 Aussie Stadium Referee: Rod Lawrence Crowd: 7,104 League Unlimited's player of the Year points: 3 - O Craigie (Rabbitohs) 2 - B Fletcher (Rabbitohs) 1 - A Hart (Rabbitohs)
TIGERS 30 Tries: O'Halloran, Wilson 2, Withers 2 Goals: Covell (5/5) SEA EAGLES 38 Tries: MacDougall, Hopoate, Lima, Donald, Randall, Williamson Goals: Walker (7/7) Sunday 8 June 2003 Leichhardt Oval Referee: Shayne Hayne Crowd: 13,097 League Unlimited's player of the Year points: 3 - C Randall (Sea Eagles) 2 - B Reeves (Sea Eagles) 1 - L Withers (Tigers)
League Unlimited's Player of the Year Awards Round 13
Tally update: 16 points: D Lockyer (Broncos), C Schicofske (Raiders) 15 points: L Bailey (Dragons) 13 points: P Campbell (Panthers), C Fitzgibbon (Roosters) 12 points: A Johns (Knights), A Minichiello (Roosters), S Price (Bulldogs) 11 points: M Orford (Storm) 10 points: PJ Marsh (Warriors), M Sing (Cowboys) 9 points: B Drew (Raiders), B Kimmorley (Sharks), J Smith (Rabbitohs), R Wesser (Panthers) 8 points: J Ferris (Sea Eagles), G Morrison (Cowboys), D Nutley (Sharks), R Wiki (Raiders), C Wing (Roosters) 7 points: S Berrigan (Broncos), D Buderus (Knights), C Gower (Panthers), L Hohaia (Warriors), S Kearney (Storm), L Priddis (Panthers), B Slater (Storm) 6 points: T Carroll (Broncos), T Hill (Tigers), B Kennedy (Knights), C Pearson (Wests Tigers), B Sherwin (Bulldogs), B Walker (Sea Eagles), A Watmough (Sea Eagles), L Withers (Wests Tigers) 5 points: B Fittler (Roosters), J Morris (Eels), P Stringer (Rabbitohs), G Tallis (Broncos), S Woolford (Raiders) 4 points: D Abraham (Knights), M Bowen (Cowboys), T Byrne (Roosters), K Campion (Cowboys), B Finch (Roosters), B Fletcher (Rabbitohs), B Hodgson (Eels), J Lyon (Eels), L McWilliams (Cowboys), D Peachey (Sharks), T Puletua (Panthers), M Riddell (Dragons), B Tate (Broncos), S Timmins (Dragons), P Whatuira (Panthers) 3 points: B Anasta (Bulldogs), S Bell (Storm), O Craigie (Rabbitohs), H El Masri (Bulldogs), S Faumuina (Warriors), B Firman (Dragons), P Graham (Raiders), A Guttenbeil (Warriors), J Hannay (Cowboys), S Jones (Warriors), J Lowe (Cowboys), W Mason (Bulldogs), M McClinden (Raiders), F Meli (Warriors), D Myles (Cowboys), M O'Meley (Bulldogs), J Perry (Knights), C Randall (Sea Eagles), J Seu Seu (Warriors), S Webcke (Broncos) 2 points: D Byrne (Dragons), D Carlaw (Broncos), J Caine (Wests Tigers), J Feeney (Bulldogs), M Gasnier (Dragons), M Gidley (Knights), A Graham (Eels), B Harris (Bulldogs), S Hill (Storm), R Kearns (Storm), J Lolesi (Raiders), M McLinden (Raiders), N Merritt (Rabbitohs), P Rauhihi (Cowboys), B Reeves (Sea Eagles), S Rudder (Knights), S Sattler (Panthers), J Skandalis (Tigers), D Senter (Wests Tigers), J Seu Seu (Warriors), L Swann (Warriors), S Tadulala (Storm), L Thompson (Dragons), N Vagana (Bulldogs) 1 point: P Bailey (Sharks), T Barrett (Dragons), C Beattie (Sharks), S Donald (Sea Eagles), S Dunley (Eels), H Fa'afili (Warriors), B Galea (Wests Tigers), P Gallen (Sharks), J Galuvao (Panthers), R Girdler (Panthers), A Hart (Rabbitohs), J Hodges (Roosters), S Kelly (Broncos), D Kidwell (Storm), F Meli (Warriors), S Menzies (Sea Eagles), R O'Davis (Knights), A Quinn (Knights), L Ricketson (Roosters), C Sheppard (Cowboys), T Smith (Raiders), R Swain (Broncos), J Thurston (Bulldogs), B Webb (Warriors), D Widders (Eels), M Witt (Eels), A Woolnough (Knights)