NINETEEN ninety seven was quite a big time for me - I was in Year 12, and quietly stressing out about the impending exams that would only determine my immediate to long term future.
"I wonder how many knife-wielding maniacs are sitting behind us?"
An innocent question from the girlfriend - she was only being half serious - but still a question worth thinking about. After all, we had managed to get ourselves seats at Aussie Stadium for the Panthers vs Bulldogs qualifying final match surrounded by the infamous 'Bulldogs Army'. According to everything I had read, as an "outsider" I was pretty much guaranteed a beating at some stage of the match ... and possibly a firecracker or two as well. The fact we were planning to cheer for the Panthers was the final nail in this imaginary coffin of mine.
"SO, you're a footy fan hey? Love your Broncos? Travel to Suncorp every fortnight? Excellent, you're halfway there. All you have to do is keep this Sunday afternoon free, I'm coming to pick you up and we're going to watch a game of footy!"
THE Dolphins are back on the paddock training under the watchful eye of new Coach Anthony Griffin and Strength and Conditioning Coach Tony Guilfoyle. Now in their second week back training each session has had about 60-70 players in attendance. The players are going through their paces with gym, skills and fitness sessions.With a number of players deciding to move on and a new coaching staff it shapes up as an exciting season in 2005 for the Dolphins.
Nathan Herbener Prop. Nathan previously had a stint at the Dolphins from 1997 to 2000 before returning to his hometown of Roma. A Qld Rangers Rep in 2004.
Matt Morice Prop. A man mountain from Tully in North Queensland who tops the scales at 118kg should add some depth to the front row. Played for Souths-Logan in 2004.
Greg Bourke Centre. Bourke makes his way across the bay from Wynnum. A very experienced centre that is expected to replace the departing Brian Jellick.
Nick Emmett Centre. A Mossman Sharks junior who played Colts with the Dolphins in 1999 before heading down and playing with Parramatta for 4 years.
Daniel Irvine Hooker. An Australian Schoolboys rep in 1999 with former Dolphins Shane Tronc, Brent Tate and Trent Clayton. He has played NRL for Parramatta.
Shannon Fish Utility. A Canterbury junior who spent three years with St.George before playing for the Central Comets in 2004. Can play hooker, back row and 5/8.
Gerard Parle Back Rower. Voted the Comets best forward for 2004. He is also a goal kicker and with several back rowers leaving the club is a more than handy pick up.
Ryan Cullen Fullback. The Mt.Isa junior who won the Comets Queensland Cup Player of the year award in 2004. He also played lower grades for St.George-Illawarra.
Matt Mapes Back Rower. Signed from the Nambour Crushers. The ex Bronco colt will add depth to the back row.
Clint Frazer. Prop who has come across from Norths. He will be looking to put pressure on the established pair of Lindsay and Starr for a Qld Cup starting spot.
Brian Jellick. Limoux Grizzlies France
Ben Jones. Canberra Raiders
Gavin Cooper. North Queensland Cowboys
Charles Vis. North Queensland Cowboys
Justin McKay. Wynnum
Andrew Wynyard. Retired
Nathan Sologinkin. Retired
Joel Barnes. Gateshead Thunder
Joe Burley. Gateshead Thunder
Nathan Morris. Brothers-Valleys
Liam Georgetown. Brothers-Valleys
Trent Leis. Burleigh
Sam Fillery. Brothers-Valleys
Chris Bond. Brothers-Valleys
Ron Poll. Brothers-Valleys
Scott Kelly. Brothers-Valleys
Chris Torrington. Parramatta
Luke Bishop. Brothers-Valleys
Damien Richters. Retired
MCLINDEN departs, New skipper at Easts, Souths well served at top, NRL season too long.
ADRIAN Lam is returning from Australia in two weeks time when he will join the Wigan Coaching team. He will have responsibility for the Under 21's side but will also assist Denis Betts on a daily basis to help first team preparations.
LONDON Broncos have continued to strengthen the 2005 playing squad with the signing of exciting young Sydney Roosters? centre, Tyrone Smith.
THE Newtown Festival for 2004 is on this Sunday, November 14th, from 10.00am to 5.00pm in the Camperdown Memorial Rest Park.
THE Kiwis will play a one-off test against France at Stade Albert Domec Avenue du General Sarrail in Carcassonne on Friday morning (NZ time).
THE Kiwis' detour to the south of France for a one-off rugby league test has proved timely in taking their minds off their Tri-Nations fate, coach Daniel Anderson says.
BRADFORD Bulls skipper Robbie Paul will make his first start for New Zealand since April in Thursday's Test against France in Carcassonne.
Paul takes over at scrum-half from the injured Thomas Leuluai.
WITH most of the senior list due to start training on Monday (November 15), their fitness focus will be geared towards two pre-season games before the season proper.
DENE Halatau has become the third Wests Tigers player to be named in a Test side.
2005 sees the Dragons reintroduce a Jersey Flegg (under 20 years of age) team, through the combination of the St George and Steelers sides of 2004.
THE NRL have today released the 2005 Telstra Premiership NRL Draw.