THE Manly Sea Eagles have given their fans plenty of hope for season 2005 with a nail biting 30-28 victory over the finals bound Melbourne Storm at Brookvale Oval this afternoon.
IF you follow rugby league, you could be forgiven to thinking it was 1992 all over again.
NEW Zealand A took on NSW Country yesterday afternoon at Albany in Auckland and showed the value of the Bartercard Cup competition when they defeated the visiting Australian side by 36-18.
LANDMARKS are leaping out of the record books at Damian Richters.
The durable Dolphins centre last month racked up 100 first grade fixtures for the club, joining an elite group of players to make three figures.
"I never expected to make 100 games when I joined the club,'' he said. "It's not something you think about really. It's not a bad achievement as it's not a really big group who have made the hundred.
"I'm not really a player who looks at records and sets his mind on breaking them.''
With that in mind, Richters should not have too many worries as he zeroes in on 1000 points in the Queensland Cup.
He already has passed 900 points and an injury-free run for the remainder of the season should see become the first player in Cup history to reach the magical mark.
Richters played his 100th match for the red and whites against Souths at Dolphin Oval last month, a fixture also significant for the Dolphins breaking their losing run emphatically.
"Making a thousand points will be one of those things that happen,'' he said. "I know that I passed 900 points in my career against Easts, so to make 1000 will be great.''
Richters also holds the record for most points scored in an individual Queensland Cup fixture.
In a 88-0 belting of Logan in 2002, he nailed 40 points with five tries and 10 goals.
"These records tend to take care of themselves,'' he said. "The points just keep tallying up.''
Richters was keener to talk up the Dolphins chances this year than concentrate on his personal achievements.
"We might have lost four on the trot, but you always have to lose some time during a season,'' he said.
"But apart from the first two matches in that string, we have been competitive and the efforts against Burleigh and Wynnum were good.''
Richters is a firm believer in the theory that the Cup competition is hotting up. He said that after his side's victory over Souths, only two points separated the top spot from seventh-placed Redcliffe.
"It's certainly not a crisis as we are going alright,'' he said. "We've had a few injuries, but we're not in a dire situation. We could have been in a worse situation.''
Richters' form this season has been consistent enough for him to be selected in the City side to tackle Barcaldine, although he pulled out of the squad.
"It was a mix of things, including work, which saw me drop out," he said. "At least it means I get a week off."
Injuries have not dogged Richters this season after missing a large slice of the action last season with a torn quad muscle.
"I've been kicking alright too," he said. "Even though I missed four against Souths, my kicking's been good.
"I normally practise at our last session of the week and how long depends on how I'm striking them. It could be 15 minutes or 30 minutes."
In his seventh season with the club, Richters played only one fixture in his first season at Dolphin Oval while a broken bone in his leg ruined his second year, but since then he has accumulated a fine record, including multiple wins of the Ian "Bunny" Pearce Perpetual Trophy as highest points scorer in the club for a season.
As for the future, Richters is quite content to take the "one game at a time" philosophy.
"I've had a good run recently so it will be week by week," he said.
MR Football Brian Winney
Brian was born and raised in the St George district, he started his football career with one of the oldest clubs in Sydney, Arncliffe Scots. As a youngster Brian also had a few years playing that other game Rugby Union as well as Rugby League.
Brian joined the St.George Dragons as a 16 year old and spent the next two years playing in the Jersey Flegg and Presidents Cup competitions learning his trade. In 1966 after the Presidents Cup season had finished Brian was promoted to third grade and played in the winning St. George third grade premiership. In the next year Brian was again promoted this time to reserve grade and the next step was naturally first grade. The 18 year old Brian Winney was aspiring to play first grade with the Dragons when they were the Club everybody wanted to play for they had just won eleven first grade titles in a row but standing in his way was the current Australian test half back Billy Smith. Still Brian went on to play four first grade games with St.George while Smith was away playing with the New South Wales and Australian sides, which wasn?t too bad for an 18 year old.
At the end of the season Brian could see the writing on the wall with the current test half at his club standing in his way, he reluctantly asked for a transfer and was refused. But he appealed to the New South Wales Rugby League and won.
Brian then transferred to the Parramatta club to a side that looked good on paper but just couldn?t click on the field. Brian played three years in first grade with the Eels and then thought he was ready for another change and thought about a move to Queensland but business kept him in Sydney.
Brian then moved on to the Western Suburbs club and formed a very successful combination with another up and coming youngster who would go onto bigger things in the game. The combination of Brian Winney at half back and Tommy Raudonikis at five-eighth spearheaded the Magpies to a successful 1971 season. All started well again in 1972 but then Raudonikis was selected for Australia ??.. at half back. When Raudonikis returned to his club side he immediately went back to five-eighth but by the end of the season Tommy was at half back and Brian was out of a job.
Once again Brian cast his eye to Queensland and this time made the move he stopped off at Lang Park and left his card and shortly after Redcliffe came a calling and the then Football Club manager Don McLennan made possibly his most valuable signing for the Redcliffe club. One of the things that drew Brian to Redcliffe was the chance to be coached by one of his idols Barry Muir. Brian played for the Dolphins from 1973 until1976. In that time he played in two first grade grand finals for Redcliffe in 1973 against Valleys and 1975 vs Wests unfortunately losing both. In total he played in over fifty first grade games. That was an achievement in itself with the number of quality half backs Redcliffe had on its books at the time with the likes of Chris Anderson, Ernie Edwards, Eddie Roberts (Michael?s dad), Geoff Russell and the Henrick brothers Allan and Ross.
Despite an impressive playing CV I think Brian?s biggest contribution to our club was off the field. In 1976 Brian started his first stint working at the Club when he was the fulltime assistant to Football Club manager Don McLennan, some of Brian?s duties included running bingo sessions for the club and helping Barry Muir conduct coaching courses for people in the Redcliffe area which included Caboolture, Kilcoy and Woodford.
Up until 1976 the QRL had no coaching accreditation courses available, so to become qualified one would have to do it by correspondence with the New South Wales Rugby League. The Redcliffe club aware of its growth at the senior and junior level and the lack of qualified coaches they got permission from the QRL to deal directly with the New South Wales League. Two people in Queensland were qualified immediately Queensland coach Barry Muir and Brian Winney. In the first year 80 coaches acquired their certificates in that group was the first female school teacher to qualify Elaine McWha and some guy who went on to do a bit of coaching named Wayne Bennett.
In 1977 Brian coached the clubs third grade side but I think it?s fair to say his biggest contribution to the club has been in the junior ranks where for the last 25 years he has coached and refereed more junior games than I can count. In that time he has also been the Zone Chairman, our clubs referee co-ordinator, Coaching co-ordinator, junior representative coach and selector. And as well as all that for many years he has been a senior selector for the Brisbane side, Queensland Rangers and Queensland Residents sides. In 1994 Brian was awarded the highest honour the club can give when it gave him life membership to the football club.
Brian isn?t the only good judge of football in his family, his wife Lorraine has won the Redcliffe Herald weekly tipping competition several times. Brian and Lorraine live at Kippa-Ring and have two sons Ryan and Troy who were both handy sportsman as kids and a daughter Sharon who is a nationally renowned dancer.
NSWRL VB Premier League
Penrith-St.Marys Cougars 42
defeated Sydney Airport Jets 10: Clifford Manua, Troy Barnes tries; David Hall 1 goal
Half-time: Cougars led 18-4.
NSWRL Jim Beam Cup
Sydney Airport Jets 22: Tevita Jurgensen, Rick Lyons, Todd Fisher, Callan Myles tries; Hamilton Hughes 3 goals
defeated Erina 20.
Saturday, July 10
NSWRL Jim Beam Cup
Sydney Airport Jets v Wentworthville
Sunday, July 11
NSWRL VB Premier League
Sydney Airport Jets are away to the Bulldogs
ONE solitary game was played over the weekend in New Zealand's Bartercard Cup competition as the teams had a rest for the New Zealand A side and the Wellington U18 side to be ready to take on their respective NSW Country sides on Sunday.
CASTLEFORD 12-60 Bradford
THE NRL's leading try scorer, Amos Roberts, today agreed to join the Sydney Roosters.
THE Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs will be hosting a gala event ?Berries to Bulldogs? - 70 Year Anniversary Dinner to celebrate 70 Years of Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs history, tradition and pride on Wednesday evening the 28th July in the Ballroom at The Westin Sydney, 1 Martin Place, Sydney.
CRONULLA five-eighth Greg Bird, suspended for 10 matches earlier this season for kneeing, is in trouble with the NRL judiciary again.
WIGAN could be at full strength for the Powergen Challenge Cup final on Saturday week, with their trio of injured three-quarters nearing fitness.
BRISBANE prop Shane Webcke's relief was evident on his battle-scarred face as he confirmed his rugby league career was alive and kicking.
FAMILY and friends will farewell veteran journalist Peter Frilingos at a private funeral service in Sydney on Monday morning.
THE Warriors have suffered another major setback.