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?
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.
LONDON Broncos have signed Manly's former international forward Soloman Haumono on a two year deal.
AN international video review panel will decide on Monday whether Australian second rower Craig Fitzgibbon and prop Mark O'Meley have cases to answer over an incident which sparked a wild brawl in Sunday's Tri-Nations rugby league test.
FRANCE has promised to play 'rugby gagne' - winning rugby - in an attempt to pull off one of the biggest upsets in rugby league history against Australia in Toulouse this weekend.
NATIONAL Rugby League (NRL) clubs worried about their star players burning out have questioned the wisdom of staging another Tri-Nations tournament at the end of next season.
NEXT year's National Rugby League (NRL) season will again run for 30 weeks, with NRL chief executive David Gallop saying clubs can't afford to play a shorter season, despite complaints of player burnout.
CANBERRA Raiders centre Jason Bulgarelli has been sacked by the National Rugby League club and is the subject of an Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation.
DESPITE not being accepted as members of the ERLF last month, Georgia, the newest League playing nation look set to play their first International match on May 7th 2005.
SCOTLAND HONOUR WORLD CUP DUO
GREAT BRITAIN 24
FLU-HIT Great Britain can book their place in the Gillette Tri-Nations final by beating Australia, a feat they have not managed for three years.
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.
THE NRL has released the draw for season 2005. The 12 St.George Bank Dragons' home games are: