SOMETIMES I wonder why I?m a rugby league fan. Well, that?s a lie; rugby league runs in my family, and my journey to become a full-blown footy fan was mapped out ahead of me from birth (well, maybe I was supposed to stop along the way and actually be a decent player at some point- but let?s ignore that for a minute). We all stumble across hobbies, past-times, and passions in many different ways, in our piteous attempts to spend the interminable hours of our meaningless existences doing something not merely enjoyable, but also personally consequential. Or something like that. It?s not my intention to get metaphysical but sometimes I can?t help myself. As an avowed pessimist, a manic-depressive cynic, and so on and so forth, the fact that I am a compulsive sports fan in general is a constant source of fascination to me. We all know the taunts of non-sports fans, the predictable yet almost indomitable force of their mockeries of the bizarre games that we watch, the absurd rituals we go through every weekend (at least). Why do we do it? What is the meaning? Is there a God?
"I wonder how many knife-wielding maniacs are sitting behind us?"
An innocent question from the girlfriend - she was only being half serious - but still a question worth thinking about. After all, we had managed to get ourselves seats at Aussie Stadium for the Panthers vs Bulldogs qualifying final match surrounded by the infamous 'Bulldogs Army'. According to everything I had read, as an "outsider" I was pretty much guaranteed a beating at some stage of the match ... and possibly a firecracker or two as well. The fact we were planning to cheer for the Panthers was the final nail in this imaginary coffin of mine.
WHEN discussion comes up about the fitness of modern sportspeople, we often think of our own footballers. But it?s hard to imagine many of today's Rugby League players matching it with the great Herb Narvo.
"SO, you're a footy fan hey? Love your Broncos? Travel to Suncorp every fortnight? Excellent, you're halfway there. All you have to do is keep this Sunday afternoon free, I'm coming to pick you up and we're going to watch a game of footy!"
THE Dolphins are back on the paddock training under the watchful eye of new Coach Anthony Griffin and Strength and Conditioning Coach Tony Guilfoyle. Now in their second week back training each session has had about 60-70 players in attendance. The players are going through their paces with gym, skills and fitness sessions.With a number of players deciding to move on and a new coaching staff it shapes up as an exciting season in 2005 for the Dolphins.
Nathan Herbener Prop. Nathan previously had a stint at the Dolphins from 1997 to 2000 before returning to his hometown of Roma. A Qld Rangers Rep in 2004.
Matt Morice Prop. A man mountain from Tully in North Queensland who tops the scales at 118kg should add some depth to the front row. Played for Souths-Logan in 2004.
Greg Bourke Centre. Bourke makes his way across the bay from Wynnum. A very experienced centre that is expected to replace the departing Brian Jellick.
Nick Emmett Centre. A Mossman Sharks junior who played Colts with the Dolphins in 1999 before heading down and playing with Parramatta for 4 years.
Daniel Irvine Hooker. An Australian Schoolboys rep in 1999 with former Dolphins Shane Tronc, Brent Tate and Trent Clayton. He has played NRL for Parramatta.
Shannon Fish Utility. A Canterbury junior who spent three years with St.George before playing for the Central Comets in 2004. Can play hooker, back row and 5/8.
Gerard Parle Back Rower. Voted the Comets best forward for 2004. He is also a goal kicker and with several back rowers leaving the club is a more than handy pick up.
Ryan Cullen Fullback. The Mt.Isa junior who won the Comets Queensland Cup Player of the year award in 2004. He also played lower grades for St.George-Illawarra.
Matt Mapes Back Rower. Signed from the Nambour Crushers. The ex Bronco colt will add depth to the back row.
Clint Frazer. Prop who has come across from Norths. He will be looking to put pressure on the established pair of Lindsay and Starr for a Qld Cup starting spot.
Brian Jellick. Limoux Grizzlies France
Ben Jones. Canberra Raiders
Gavin Cooper. North Queensland Cowboys
Charles Vis. North Queensland Cowboys
Justin McKay. Wynnum
Andrew Wynyard. Retired
Nathan Sologinkin. Retired
Joel Barnes. Gateshead Thunder
Joe Burley. Gateshead Thunder
Nathan Morris. Brothers-Valleys
Liam Georgetown. Brothers-Valleys
Trent Leis. Burleigh
Sam Fillery. Brothers-Valleys
Chris Bond. Brothers-Valleys
Ron Poll. Brothers-Valleys
Scott Kelly. Brothers-Valleys
Chris Torrington. Parramatta
Luke Bishop. Brothers-Valleys
Damien Richters. Retired
MCLINDEN departs, New skipper at Easts, Souths well served at top, NRL season too long.
ADRIAN Lam is returning from Australia in two weeks time when he will join the Wigan Coaching team. He will have responsibility for the Under 21's side but will also assist Denis Betts on a daily basis to help first team preparations.
LONDON Broncos have continued to strengthen the 2005 playing squad with the signing of exciting young Sydney Roosters? centre, Tyrone Smith.
THE Newtown Festival for 2004 is on this Sunday, November 14th, from 10.00am to 5.00pm in the Camperdown Memorial Rest Park.
THE Kiwis' detour to the south of France for a one-off rugby league test has proved timely in taking their minds off their Tri-Nations fate, coach Daniel Anderson says.
GREAT Britain coach Brian Noble has named his latest 19-man Gillette Tri-Nations squad ahead of Saturday?s clash with Australia and there are call-ups for Micky Higham and Sean O?Loughlin.
O?Loughlin was set to play in the Lions? opening game in Manchester a fortnight ago but fell victim to the virus that is still plaguing the British camp.
So much so that Noble admits several of his squad might not be fully fit to face the world champions in a game that Great Britain need to win to be guaranteed a place in the Elland Road final.
Iestyn Harris is already ruled out of this weekend?s encounter at Wigan?s JJB Stadium and Noble admitted:
"It?s been harder this week than ever before. There are a few who might not be ready.
"But anyone who knows me and knows this team would be aware that we are ready to play.
"We?re a confident team. We know we?re playing the best side in the world but we?ve improved and we?re looking forward to it. We are excited, ready to play and want to beat Australia."
Skipper Andrew Farrell confirmed that he has now completely recovered from his own personal battle with the virus.
"It?s the first day, today, that I feel 100%," he revealed. "I?ve had it for eight days. Some people have had it for longer.
"It?s not even about treating it with antibiotics, we?ve just been hammering it with carbohydrates and vitamins."
Along with the introduction of the uncapped Higham and O?Loughlin, Leeds Rhinos utility player Chev Walker will return to the squad to replace Harris.
And Noble had a word of praise for the players, such as Leeds forward Danny Ward, who have not figured in the tournament so far.
"It must be disappointing for them not to get picked," he said. "They have all been tremendous in practice and have been the life and soul of the place, really."
Squad: Paul Wellens (St Helens), Paul Johnson (Bradford), Stuart Reardon (Bradford), Brian Carney (Wigan), Chev Walker (Leeds), Keith Senior (Leeds), Martin Gleeson (Warrington), Danny McGuire (Leeds), Sean Long (St Helens), Ryan Bailey (Leeds), Andrew Farrell (capt - Wigan), Stuart Fielden (Bradford), Adrian Morley (Sydney Roosters), Gareth Ellis (Wakefield), Jamie Peacock (Bradford), Sean O?Loughlin (Wigan), Paul Sculthorpe (St Helens), Micky Higham (St Helens), Terry Newton (Wigan).
THE Kiwis just managed to retain their five out of five win record at Carcassonne this morning (NZ time) when Ali Lauitiiti showed some handy footwork and crossed the line in the 77th minute of the game to come out on top 24-20.
WITH most of the senior list due to start training on Monday (November 15), their fitness focus will be geared towards two pre-season games before the season proper.
THE NRL has released the draw for season 2005. The 12 St.George Bank Dragons' home games are:
THE NRL have today released the 2005 Telstra Premiership NRL Draw.