BRISBANE Bronco forward Brad Thorn hasn't played a State of Origin rugby league game for more than four years.
LEEDS Rhinos boss Tony Smith is confident his team will be ready to face Australian champions Canterbury Bulldogs in next month's Carnegie World Club Challenge ? despite just one full scale warm-up game.
HALIFAX RLFC prop forward Chris Birchall has been named Scotland?s Rugby League player of the year.
HULL FC entertains local rivals Hull KR this Sunday 9 January at the KC Stadium, 3:15pm kick-off. Please let me know if you are reporting on this game and I will add you to the press list. If you have already applied please ignore this message.
7,500 tickets have been sold for the game so far compared to 6,500 tickets this time last year. Last season?s friendly attracted a bumper crowd of over 15,000 and the club?s officials are hoping to beat that figure at Sunday?s game.
AUSTRALIAN Test centre Michael De Vere, Huddersfield's high-profile close-season signing from Brisbane Broncos, is on course to make his comeback from a knee re-construction in March.
IT was just another a day at the office for the representative-acclaimed centre. After playing a prominent role in his side?s fifth round victory, his evening appearance at a popular nightspot was never in question. There, he could relive his fleeting moments of glory with coarse-grained admirers and have his manly constitution validated by the nearest blonde scrubber. After hours of beer-fuelled revelry with his representative teammates, the player?s night was crudely interrupted by security staff?s belated action to eject him.
DRAGONS captain Trent Barrett today ruled himself out of Origin 2 this week on medical advice after having played his first game in eight weeks on Friday night.
Barrett was today approached to play in Origin 2 this Wednesday after Brett Kimmorley tore his hamstring at NSW training this morning, but said he had to make one of toughest decisions of his career by declining.
ROOSTERS halfback Brett Finch has been selected for New South Wales for next Wednesday's State of Origin II match at Suncorp Stadium.
THE Parramatta Eels have beaten the Manly Sea Eagles 52-12 in a fiery clash at Parramatta Stadium.
THE Wests Tigers proved today what an exciting football side they can be by thrashing the New Zealand Warriors 50-4 today on a freezing day at Jade Stadium in Christchurch.
BARLA Great Britain Lions are to make three changes due to injuries from the side that beat the New Zealand Defence Forces..
QUEEN'S Park Rangers' Loftus Road home will stage the opening British match of the Tri-Nations series when Australia face New Zealand on 23 October.
It has previously hosted an Australian soccer international, which was a factor in choosing the venue.
THE Redcliffe Pepsi Dolphins bounced back from a loss to the Toowoomba Clydesdales with an impressive 34-8 win over the Jets. In the lower grades the A Grade side won a scrappy encounter 20-10 while the Colts defeated a determined Ipswich Side 20-18.
The award winners were:
Searle?s Garden Products Player of the Match
Keystar Motors Player?s Player of the Match
Hogs Breath Caf? Player of the Match
Leading Edge Sports Player of the Match
Old Boys Play of the Day
The monthly award winners were
Redcliffe Leagues Team of the Month
Belvedere Hotel Player of the Month
Attacking Player of the Month
Defensive Player of the Month
AFTER eight rounds of the 2004 Queensland Cup the race for final five spots is intense with only three clubs precariously placed outside what might be termed the ?semi-final zone.??
Ipswich, Souths Logan and Brothers Valleys are at the foot of the Queensland Cup ladder and all three clubs need to turn their seasons around soon or they will playing for little more than pride.
Easts are in fifth spot on 10 points, seven clear of Ipswich, eight clear of Souths Logan and nine clear of Brothers Valleys.
That is a lot of ground to make up and only a supreme optimist would tip any of those three clubs to feature in the finals, particularly as they all face tough assignments this weekend.
Ipswich play Easts at Langlands Park on Saturday; Souths Logan host North Queensland Young Guns at Davies Park on Sunday and Brothers Valleys are at home to Wynnum at O?Callaghan Park, Zillmere, also on Sunday.
North Queensland are one win outside the top five while Wynnum is fourth on 11 points, trailing the Burleigh Bears on percentages.
The Dolphins and Toowoomba head the competition table on 14 points with Redcliffe hosting Central Comets at Dolphin Oval on Sunday.
The Comets, like North Queensland, are one win outside the top five.
Toowoomba and Burleigh kick off the weekend at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night in the curtain-raiser to the Broncos ? Newcastle NRL clash.
Toowoomba is coming off a hard fought 36-28 win over the Comets in Rockhampton while Burleigh also had to work overtime to beat Brothers Valleys 28-18 last Sunday.
In the other match of round nine Norths host Tweed Heads at Bishop Park on Saturday in the ABC Television clash with both teams coming off disappointing losses.
After winning their first three matches the Tweed boys have lost each subsequent clash and they are in danger of joining Ipswich, Souths Logan and Brothers Valleys in the Queensland Cup cellar.
State of Origin fever will take a grip on Queensland this week with the XXXX Maroons team to be named at the Castlemaine lunch at Brisbane City Hall on Monday.
For comprehensive coverage of rugby league in Queensland go to http://www.qrl.com.au
WIGAN Warriors have named their team for Saturday's Powergen Challenge Cup Final against St Helens, and confirmed that centre Martin Aspinwall will miss the clash after failing a fitness test.