ANDREW Johns declined to weigh into the Australian test captaincy debate but he did say incumbent test skipper Darren Lockyer, had elevated his game since taking on the role.
THE Canterbury Bulldogs could be forced to name former Leeds player Bradley Clyde in their team lineup for Friday's Carnegie World Club Challenge against the Rhinos.
UK giants Wigan have welcomed back former centre Andrew Farrar, but this time to the coaching ranks for the coming season. Farrar's most recent assignment was the first grade post at St George Illawarra, but he has been out of the picture for two years now.
LEEDS coach Tony Smith is confident Great Britain international Danny McGuire will be fit for Friday?s Carnegie World Club Challenge against Canterbury Bulldogs at Elland Road.
THE world's oldest rugby league knockout competition, the Challenge Cup, dates back to 1897. This weekend brings the first round games of the 2005 Powergen Challenge Cup, with the undoubted highlight being the derby between South London Storm and West London Sharks.
FORMER Leeds Akademiks winger Neil Ayres got his new career with London Skolars off to a flying start when he scored on his debut for the LHF National League Two side in a trial game against England Lionhearts on Sunday.
The Nottingham-born flyer has been training with the Skolars since relocating to the capital in October, following a sensational first season in rugby league with the Akademiks. He started on the wing as the Skolars defeated the Lionhearts - the representative side made up of the best players from the Rugby League Conference - 64-16 at New River Stadium.
Ironically, Ayres was overlooked by Lionhearts selectors last season, despite his prolific try-scoring record for the Akademiks. However, his try-scoring debut could have netted him a place in the Skolars' squad for this Saturday's eagerly anticipated derby fixture against his new club's Super League neighbours London Broncos.
Akademiks chairman Jez Shires commented: "It was clear Neil had huge potential when he first arrived at the club from Old Modernians RUFC last May. He has absolutely blinding pace, and is possibly the quickest player I have seen at this level, but he's also extremely tough and committed.
"It's great to see him working hard to develop his rugby league career and I'm sure he will do well."
LONDON Broncos CEO Nic Cartwright is not your average Super League administrator. And that's an understatement.
SHARKS coach Stuart Raper has named a relatively young and inexperienced team for their first trial match of 2005 against Parramatta this Saturday.
THE Bulldogs have been forced to name a depleted side to take on Leeds in the World Club Challenge match in England on Friday night.
NEWCASTLE Knights halfback Andrew Johns has tipped his understudy Kurt Gidley to crack the representative scene this year.
KOGARAH Council has approved the construction of a new entrance booth and turnstiles in English Street to Oki Jubilee Oval.
THE North Queensland Cowboys today assured itself some forward muscle until 2007 with aggressive second-rower Luke O'Donnell agreeing to extend his contract for another two seasons.
THE Warriors are seen as long shots to win the 2005 National Rugby League (NRL) although Australian bookmaker Centrebet rates them a decent chance to make the playoffs.
THE Bulldogs first trial match is against the Canberra Raiders at Express Advocate Stadium, Gosford on Sunday, February 19. The second trial match is against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Members Equity Stadium, Perth on Friday, February 25.