TINGHA has a population of just 850 people. Nestled 25 kilometres from Inverell and 689 kilometres from Sydney, Tingha is remote enough. A trip to the beach means an all day drive just to get there. Tingha may be small but they have a Rugby League field and in recent times, have produced some great players including Preston ?Presto? Campbell and Owen ?Owie? Craigie.
NO, no, I?m not about to start another piece about how much the Burrow owns other supporter groups ? I have however quoted the South Sydney chant to as an insight into the mentality which opposition fans have adopted towards the Roosters over recent years.
IT is practically impossible to read, watch or listen to the news without hearing something about the North Queensland Cowboys and their sudden rise to be one of the top teams in the NRL. Clich?s and catchphrases like ?feel good story of the year? and ?surprise packet? have been dusted off and brought out.
WHEN I was a little country fellah, half-time entertainment at grand finals was usually a march past, around the showground (footy field), by the junior teams closely followed by the local brownies.
THE fact that the Raiders qualified for the finals for the third consecutive season shouldn?t disguise the reality that season 2004 was a failure for the ?Green Machine?.
THE Tigers were one of the big improvers in 2004 but it still wasn?t enough to secure a first finals berth for the joint venture club.
THE Gold Coast District Junior Rugby League in conjunction with the Queensland Rugby league (QRL) and the QRL Southern Division are pleased to advise that applications are called for the position of the Coaching Development Officer ? Gold Coast.
THE experienced Taranaki Sharks have beaten the young Otago Storm 38-10 in the final of the revamped New Zealand Rugby League provincial competition yesterday.
THE Jim Beam Cup team has scraped past an Auckland Selection team 46-30 tonight at Ericsson Stadium number 2. With no promotion of the game, it was a little surprise only 120 people turned up to watch what turned out to be a very entertaining match.
THE International Rugby League Federation Pacific Rim Development Tournament will run from Sunday 17 October through to Saturday 23 October.
THE NZRL Selectors and coach Daniel Anderson have announced the following 17-man squad to play the Kangaroos at North Harbour Stadium on October 16 in the opening match of the Gillette Tri-Nations:
FUTURE Welsh stars of Rugby's Super League may be on show this Sunday when Wales take on Ireland in their European Nations Cup opener at Aberavon RFC (kick-off 2.30pm) writes Ian Golden.
This is because Wales will have its own professional Rugby League side by 2006 and will compete in Rugby League's National League Two.
The team will be known as the "Welsh Warriors" and will play their home matches at Bridgend RFC's Brewery Field, which was the site of a professional Bridgend Rugby League Club in the early 1950s.
But Chris O'Callaghan, who has recently resigned from Aberavon Rugby Union Club to set up this new Welsh initiative explains that the Warriors may start playing as early as next year. He comments, "The financial backing is there and we are ready to go in 2006 when National League Two expands. However one of the current NL2 clubs, Chorley Lynx, are in some financial trouble and should they not be able to continue as a club in 2005, we may be ready to step in."
Welsh Development Officer, Wayne Williams, adds, "For the very first time, we have a solid infrastructure to support a professional side. We have seven established amateur clubs who are winning trophies on a regular basis, a successful Welsh amateur side who have won the Home Nations title three years in a row, two university sides, a national students side who won this year's Student Home Nations as well as over 40 schools sides. All these teams will support and provide players to the Warriors and with the quality of talent that I and thousands of others have seen this year, I see no reason why this new side can't compete in Super League within a few years."
With the Warriors starting off in National League Two, it will only take two promotion seasons for the likes of Wigan, St Helens, Bradford and Leeds to be visiting South Wales on a regular basis but for now, Welsh sports fans can see Super League talent as well as the best of South Wales' young rising stars at Aberavon on Sunday. The Welsh Rugby League have named a squad of 23 for the matches against Ireland and Scotland, which contains a healthy mixture of youth and experience that will hopefully lead the Dragons into the final in Warrington on Sunday 7 November.
The team will be captained by Castleford's Damien Gibson while other Super League players in the squad are Hefin O'Hare, Adam Hughes, Bryn Powell and Steve Thomas, who is the grandson of the legendary JBG 'Bryn' Thomas former principal of sports writer for the Western Mail newspaper.
The squad also contains six players who are currently playing or have played for Welsh Rugby League clubs. Former Cardiff Demons players, Aled James and John Breakingbury will both be challenging for a starting role with Torfaen Tigers' Damien Hudd, Bridgend Blue Bulls' Kevin Ellis, Nathan Strong and Lenny Woodard and Aberavon Fighting Irish's Neil Davies and Mark Burke all in the 23.
O'Callaghan is especially delighted to see 19-year old Burke making a big impact so quickly commenting, "Mark is an outstanding talent and this was recognised by former Great Britain coach David Waite two years ago whilst playing for the Wales schools against England. Since then he has won Man of the Match Awards for Wales under 19s, for West Wales in the Origin Match and for the Wales A v England in their Home Nations Championship win at Coventry on September 12th. It's players like him that are the future of Welsh Rugby League."
Law student Burke is relinquishing his studies for one year to play on trial with Perpignan in the French Rugby League, prior to returning to England for trials with both Leeds Rhinos and St Helens in the new year.
Sunday's match will be preceded by a Welsh Presidents XIII v Combined Services XIII (kick-off 12.30pm). Expected to playing are 17-year olds Gareth Owen, Daniel Phillips and 16-year old Lee Williams. All three Aberavon Fighting Irish players have been on trial with St Helens this year with Gareth already contracted to the Saints Junior Academy Squad for 2005.
Wales (from): Damien Gibson (Castleford Tigers), Hefin O?Hare (Huddersfield Giants), Kris Tassell (Unattached), Adam Hughes (Widnes Vikings), Bryn Powell (Salford City Reds), Mark Lennon (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), Ian Watson (Oldham), Damien Hudd (Torfaen Tigers), Dave Clarke (Barrow Raiders), Anthony Farrell (Halifax), Gareth Dean (Workington), Jordan James (Sheffield Eagles), Barry Pugh (Barrow Raiders), Aled James (Sheffield Eagles), Steve Thomas (London Broncos), Nathan Strong (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Tom Brown (Coventry RFC), Lewis Taylor (Leeds Rhinos), Neil Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish), Kevin Ellis (Bridgend Blue Bulls), Mark Burke (Aberavon Fighting Irish), John Breakingbury (Sheffield Eagles), Lenny Woodard (Bridgend Blue Bulls).
IRELAND have revealed their squad for the forthcoming Rugby League European Nations Cup and the 20 man squad will include four players from the domestic Rugby League Ireland competition.
The squad includes eight players with Super League experience and ten players from last season's squad in the inaugural competition. Barrie McDermott is unavailable to play in this Sunday's opening fixture against Wales at Aberavon because of club commitments with Leeds Rhinos whilst Francis Cummins, Dean Gaskell, Terry O'Connor, James King, Tim Jonkers and Paul Handforth have all been ruled out through injury.
Commenting on the squad Head Coach Daryl Powell said, "It is unfortunate for the players who have missed out but we are confident with the players that we have that we can build on last season's effort and have a real attempt to reach the Final this season.
"It is important for the development of the game in Ireland that we have the players from the amateur side included and they will benefit from their involvement with us. They are making great strides in Ireland, including a first ever win over England this season, and these players can now take the step up to the next level."
Ireland begin their campaign this Sunday 17th October against Wales in Aberavon (kick-off 2.30pm) before taking on Scotland in Navan on Friday 29th October.
The squad in full is:
ENGLISHMAN Russell Smith was agreed upon as the referee for the Kiwis-Kangaroos match at North Harbour Stadium on Saturday despite Australia's refusal to accept him in the past.
FOUR Australian players are set to make their debuts for their country in the opening Tri Nations rugby league Test against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.