THE Tri-Nations Final will be taken to a stadium of decent size and stature in the British Sporting World, with the RFL believed to be close to signing a deal with the City of Manchester Stadium trust.
Sydney Airport Jets officials were left ruing the massive loss of potential revenue, as Saturday's torrential rains put paid to the big attendance expected at Henson Park for the Newtown - Melbourne Storm match. The Storm powered away to a 54-0 win, displaying all their full-time professional skills and cohesion despite the atrocious playing conditions.
Jets Administrator Terry Rowney remained upbeat, pointing out that the Newtown club had received priceless media coverage in the leadup to the game, far in excess of what any other non-NRL club in Australia could possibly obtain. The trial also gave the opportunity for Newtown's VB Premier League aspirants the chance to test themselves against quality NRL opponents.
Newtown Coach Col Murphy was particularly pleased with the performance of his forward pack, which took it right up to the Storm forwards all afternoon. Former NZ Bartercard Cup prop James Stosic was the standout forward, and he received great support from Thomas Gemmell, Peter Howie, Bill Najjarin and Nelson Lomi. Centre Nelson Leon (recommended to Newtown by Paul Dawson) was the best of the Jets backs, while captain Alf Duncan tried to get involved as much as possible. Utility back Simon Crotty, back from a stint at North Sydney, looked good in possession at times.
The Jets have a bye in Round One of the VB Premier League next weekend before taking on the Newcastle Knights in Round Two of the competition at Henson Park on Saturday, March 20. Kick off time is 4.30pm. The Newtown Jim Beam Cup team play their first competition match also at home on March 20, with a 2.45pm start.
BRAMLEY Buffaloes the first community owned Rugby League Club are celebrating their return to National League competition, with a special brew at the Leeds Beer Festival.
TIM Mander has confirmed his status as the game's new number one referee, today being appointed whistle blower for the season opening clash between defending premiers Penrith and the Newcastle Knights on Friday night.
TWO potential debutantes have been named on the bench for the St George Bank Dragons? 2004 Telstra Premiership opener against the Raiders at Oki Jubilee Stadium this Sunday.
NORTH Queensland Cowboys coach Graham Murray has stuck with his tried and true formula in naming his team to take on the Manly Sea Eagles at Dairy Farmers Stadium.Kick off is at 8-30 pm on Saturday the 13th March.
PENRITH Panthers fullback Rhys Wesser will be out to claim his first State of Origin jumper this year with confirmation that Brisbane's Darren Lockyer is no longer a threat.
NEW Zealand Warriors coach, Daniel Anderson has named his first Warriors team of the season to take on the Brisbane Broncos on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium in Round 1 of the 2004 NRL competition.
MANLY-WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES
THE Canberra Raiders coach, Matthew Elliot, has named a strong lineup to take on the St George Bank Dragons at OKI Jubilee Stadium for their Round 1 game of the 2004 NRL competition.
MELBOURNE Storm halfback Matt Orford is remaining positive despite the uncertainty of his short-term playing career, due to swelling of the brain diagnosed late last week.
NZRL officials have confirmed they will step up their claims for a second team in the National Rugby League even if they are overlooked for the mooted 16th franchise.
SIX Bulldogs players are set to be charged over the alleged sexual assault of a 20-year-old woman in Coffs Harbour last month.