The French Connection

AT the end of May, 2004 the Rugby Football League finally ended months of speculation and agreed that from 2006 a French side, Union Treiziste Catalane (UTC), should be invited to join the Tetley?s Super League. The decision has been widely welcomed amongst RL fans as a means to ensure the immediate survival, and eventual expansion, of the game in France. However, despite this general enthusiasm, the RL press described the vote to admit UTC as ?close?. No official figures appear to have been released , but given that Huddersfield argued openly against UTC?s admission, with occasional public murmurings of support from Salford, Wakefield, Warrington and, Widnes, it is likely that ?close? means that the vote was 7-5 in favour of UTC?s admission . This post examines why some clubs were opposed to UTC?s admission. It suggests that unless UTC prove competitive the RFL has created some potentially serious future problems.

A man walks into a bar ...

THE air stale with the smell of smoke and spilt beer, salted peanuts and stained oak. The dim lights cloak much of the scene in shadow ? save for the fluorescent green of a pool table which stands out like a neon light towards the back of the room. A row of cubicles lines the wall to the left, each impenetrable with darkness, opposite the bar itself, where a lone bartender wipes down dirty schooner glasses with a greasy old rag. Occupying the cubicle furthest from the door, the man notices two shady figures seated side by side, smoking. Save for the bartender and the man himself, they are the only people inside the ragged, rickety old bar. Naturally, the man at the door ? let?s call him X ? lights himself a cigarette and moseys over and plants himself on the cushioned seat opposite the two shadowy gentlemen. No pleasantries are exchanged. Smoke wanders aimlessly from a cigarette butt left to burn in an ashtray.

Newtown and Cronulla - Clearing the air

YESTERDAY'S announcement of an in principle agreement between the Newtown RLFC and Cronulla-Sutherland RLFC has caused a lot of confusion among fans of both clubs and fans of Rugby League in general.

North Sydney Bears V Parramatta

THIS Saturday the North Sydney Bears return home to the world's most beautiful sporting ground, North Sydney Oval. The North Sydney Bears play the Parramatta Eels in Jersey Flegg and Premier League. There will also be other attractions including an appearance by the Honey Bears, The North Sydney Cheer Girl Squad. Also Bears Merchandise and Food and drink will be on sale.

Wigan recall Luke Robinson

WIGAN today recalled Luke Robinson who had been on loan to Castleford Tigers.

Sims ruled out of Sunday's game

DRAGONS prop Ashton Sims failed a fitness test today and has been ruled out of Sunday's clash with the Sharks at Oki Jubilee Stadium.

Peachey still a Shark in 2005

SHARKS star fullback David Peachey has signed off on a new contract that will see him remain at the Cronulla club in 2005.

Raiders nab Jermaine Ale

THE Fone Zone Canberra Raiders have announced the signing of promising nineteen-year-old Sydney Roosters centre, Jermaine Ale.

El Masri Bulldog for life

THE Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs have re-signed Hazem El Masri to a new three year deal, ending several weeks of negotiations. Both Bulldogs Chairman George Peponis and Bulldogs CEO Malcolm Noad are delighted to have secured the long serving Winger?s signature.

Billy Smith book signing, this Sunday at Kogarah

ST George Dragons legend, Billy Smith will be just inside the General Admission Entrance of Oki Jubilee Stadium this Sunday (25th July) from 2:00pm to 3:00pm to sign copies of his book, A SAINT FROM HEAD TO TOE.

Panthers let Ross ban ride

PENRITH has decided against appealing the nine-week NRL suspension of Ben Ross.

NRL TEAMS & FIXTURES - ROUND 20

NRL TEAMS & FIXTURES - ROUND 20 (Teams subject to change) 23 July ? 25 July 2004 (AEST time) Fri 7:30: WESTS TIGERS V BULLDOGS Sat 5:30: BRONCOS V SEA EAGLES Sat 7:30: RABBITOHS V ROOSTERS Sat 7:30: STORM V EELS Sun 2:30: KNIGHTS V COWBOYS Sun 3:00: DRAGONS V SHARKS Sun 3:00: RAIDERS V WARRIORS FOR LIVE SCORE UPDATES, CLICK ON LINKS=>

De Vere heads North

ENGLISH Super League Club the Huddersfield Giants, have assured Broncos centre Michael De Vere his two-year deal with them is not in jeopardy despite the goalkicking ace facing six months on the sidelines after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Howell brothers head to Canberra

THE Canberra Raiders have signed Michael and David Howell from the Dragons as the Raiders continue their buildup to season 2005. Both Michael and David have signed two year deals with the Raiders with Michael making 14 first grade appearances and David six, all for the Dragons.

Ross suspended for 9 weeks

BEN Ross has been found guilty on charges of a dangerous throw and striking at the NRL judiciary and as a result has been suspended for nine matches.

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