I hate cigarettes. I don?t just dislike them ? I loathe them. You know how much you used to hate Manly? You now how much you personally hate Phil Gould and how much you despise his Roosters at this very minute? Well? that?s how much I loathe cigarettes. Yet amidst these cancerous, cantankerous life sucking cretins called ciggies, I do, somewhere down in the recesses of my heart, have a soft spot for the humble fag. And the reason can be summed up in two words - Rothmans and Winfield.

The Prodigal Son Returns?

THERE was once a young kid who could just about destroy a team by himself. This kid never really needed the help of his other young team-mates to beat the opposition, it was just a great run, or a classy pass that belied his tender age that set up the win. This kid was destined to captain the team he worshipped as a youngster, and if not for forces outside of his control he may well have got his wish.

New Zealand Maori Team announced

THE New Zealand Maori Selectors announced the following team to compete in the 2004 Pacific Cup. In alphabetical order: Player Name - District League/Origin Sam Andrews - Waicoa Bay Kurt Cawdron - Auckland Taite Daniels - Northland Teteira Davis - Wellington Willy Henare - Auckland Aoterangi Herangi - Auckland Charlie Herekotukutuku - Canterbury Nathan Hohaia - Taranaki Shane Hoskin - Taranaki Odell Manuel - Auckland Tukua Matthews - Waicoa Bay Vern Moana-Mason - Waicoa Bay Glen Rota - Auckland Peter Prime - Northland Kererua Savage - Hawkes Bay Barry Tawera - Waicoa Bay Sonny Whakarau - Manawatu Mike Whakatihi - Manawatu Vince Whare - Canterbury Coach: Tawera Nikau Asst Coach / Trainer: Terry Hermansson Business Manager: John Devonshire Football Manager / Strapper: Mel Rutene The selected team is a great spread from around the country, with all players having made at least one appearance in the NZ National Competition, the Bartercard Cup. Sonny Whakarau and Odell Manuel, two former professional Rugby League players will certainly bring experience to the team along with two former Maori Kiwi's, Tawera Nikau and Terry Hermansson in the coaching roles. The Pacific Cup Tournament will be played between North Harbour Stadium and Ericsson Stadium No.2 in Auckland from Sunday 17 - Saturday 23 October 2004. At present, NZ Maori, Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia, Tonga and the Cook Islands will all be taking part in the tournament.

Annual Masters Rugby League Tournament 2004

"THE Masters of Rugby League, New Zealand will create Rugby League history at the St Mary's League Club in Sydney, Australia from 1 - 9 October 2004". St Mary's League Club are hosting the eleventh annual V.B. Masters of Rugby League Tournament, which is the only one of its kind in the world. Fifty Two (52) teams, 1200 players; 31 teams form New Zealand and 21 teams from all around Australia will be participate in the biggest Rugby League International Tournament. The concept of the tournament is based on three age groups which are 35-39 years, 40-49 years, and also 60-70 year old players who play with modified rules to suit their age group. After three days of competing, representative teams will be selected in each age group for a New Zealand vs Australia test match. As well as a number of past state and provincial players there are notable ex-international Rugby League greats putting their boots on in this years tournament including:

3 Kiwis make ESL Dream Team

THREE Kiwis have been named in the English Super League's dream team.

ESL Playoff news

WAKEFIELD - in the play-offs for the first time in club history - are the 150-1 outsiders to reach the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

Vagana commits to Bulls until 2006

THE UK?s most successful Rugby club, Bradford Bulls, have received a major boost ahead of the Play Off?s with the news that Kiwi Prop Forward Joe Vagana has signed a new two year contract and will remain at Odsal until the end of the 2006 Super League season.

Stuarts expects intense struggle against Cowboys

SYDNEY Roosters coach Ricky Stuart is bracing for his side's NRL preliminary final against North Queensland to be played at State of Origin intensity.

Anasta considers chest brace

A chance meeting with Andrew Johns has Bulldogs five-eighth Braith Anasta ready to wear a special brace if and when he returns from a sternum injury.

Michael Crocker - " I'm sweet "

SYDNEY Roosters forward Michael Crocker says there's no way he'd miss the NRL club's preliminary final date with North Queensland on Sunday.

Andrew Walker announces retirement after positive drug test

MANLY star Andrew Walker has announced his immediate retirement from rugby league after the NRL confirmed that he has returned a positive drug test.

Sonny-Bill on the NZRFU buynow list

THE Bulldogs will head into their preliminary final amid speculation teenage superstar Sonny Bill Williams is in the sights of the cashed-up New Zealand Rugby Union.

Slater pulls out of Australian train-on squad

AN ongoing groin injury has forced Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater to withdraw from the Australian Test train-on squad today.

Bulldogs v Panthers Match Preview

THE first NRL Grand Final qualifier for 2004 kicks-off at Aussie Stadium on Saturday night in what should be a real test of credibility for both teams.

Player Profile - Ryan Girdler

RYAN Girdler was telling his Penrith teammates this week how good it would be to sit out most of the NRL season and come back fresh for the finals.

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