Tony Puletua (c)
BRISBANE fullback Karmichael Hunt won't be playing for New Zealand in the Anzac rugby league Test in Brisbane next month. Hunt says his dream of playing Origin for Queensland hasn't changed which means he won't be available for Test selection for his native New Zealand.
PARRAMATTA utility Mark Riddell has accepted a one-match suspension for striking Penrith hooker Luke Priddis in Sunday's NRL match.
THE Sydney Roosters have been ravaged by injury for Friday night's match against Brisbane with forwards Craig Fitzgibbon and Adrian Morley both ruled out.
THE Guru had his work cut out for him this week with North Queensland and Newcastle again putting in splendid performances, dominating talk at the selection table like most previous weeks. Again our halves combination of Thurston and Johns come together, forming the most potent attack known to mankind. Will it come to an end in on Sunday when the two wily playmakers, each brilliant in their own way, lock horns at Marathon Stadium for what is without doubt the most anticipated clash of the season? We?ll just have to wait and see. For now, let me present the Round 5 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
ROUND 3 Results - Bartercard CupCounties Manukau Jetz vs Tamaki LeopardsEricsson Stadium, AucklandCounties Manukau Jetz 24Tries: M. Ah Voa, G. Eliki, E. Uasi, S. Foketi, L. FaleonoGoals: E. Uasi (2)Tamaki Leopards 24Tries: T. Leaunoa, C. Vuna, W. Heta, T. BecroftGoals: W. Heta (4)Halftime: 12-4 Tamaki Leopards.Northern Storm vs Harbour LeagueJubilee Park, WhangareiHarbour League 54Tries: P. Tafea, J. Vaifale, H. Fisher, J. Kamareira, T. Samoa (3),S. Heslop (3)Goals: J. Trott (7)Northern Storm 18Tries: J. Fagavo, I. Taufa (2)Goals: D. Were (3)Halftime: 28 - 2 Harbour League.Wellington Orcas vs Canterbury BullsHutt Recreation Ground, WellingtonWellington Orcas 20Tries: D. Buchanan, L. Boyd, D. RennieGoals: L. Boyd (4)Canterbury Bulls 16Tries: L. Fidow, D. Metcalf, D. Aitken, L. TamakahaHalftime: 12-8 Wellington OrcasCentral Falcons vs Waicoa Bay StallionsArena Manawatu, Palmerston NorthCentral Falcons 42Tries: V. Tia, P. Packer, K. Savage, B. Tupou, R. Packer, T. Cahill(2)Goals: H. Robson (7)Waicoa Bay Stallions 30Tries: H. Samson, M. Rayner, H. Karena, P. Prime, S. BealeGoals: H. Karena (5)Halftime: 24-10 Waicoa Bay StallionsMonday Night FootballAuckland Lions vs Waitakere RangersEricsson Stadium, AucklandAuckland Lions 46Tries: M. Taulapapa, M. Solomona, R. Baxter, D. Fisi'iahi (2), P. Ale(2)Goals: S. Buckingham (9)Waitakere Rangers 18Tries: B. Nelson, B. Perenara, D. Shepherd, B. TamatoaGoals: B. NelsonHalftime: 24-6 Auckland LionsStandings - Round 31. Auckland Lions P3 W3 L0 D0 +54 6 Points2. Waicoa Bay Stallions P3 W2 L1 D0 +46 4 Points3. Harbour League P3 W2 L1 D0 +36 4 Points4. Central Falcons P3 W2 L1 D0 +11 4 Points5. Tamaki Leopards P3 W1 L1 D1 +8 3 Points6. Counties Manukau Jets P3 W1 L1 D1 -36 3 Points7. Canterbury Bulls P3 W1 L2 D0 +28 2 Points8. Wellington Orcas P3 W1 L2 D0 -13 2 Points9. Waitakere Rangers P3 W1 L2 D0 -32 2 Points10. Northern Storm P3 W0 L3 D0 -102 0 Points
ENGLISH rugby league club Hull has hired Australian Peter Sharp as new head coach.Head coach of NRL sides the Northern Eagles and Manly from 1999-2003, Sharp is currently assistant to former Hull boss Brian Smith at Parramatta. The 51-year-old is expected to be able to take up the position immediately, subject to obtaining a work permit.He takes over from John Kear, who left the last week after a string of poor results in Super League.
WESTS Tigers have exploited the NRL judiciary rules to make it harder for injured five-eighth Benji Marshall to be suspended as a result of future charges.
PENRITH halfback Craig Gower will be released from Hills Private hospital later today after tests cleared him of any serious chest damage.
CANBERRA has announced that Neil Henry will take over from Matthew Elliott as head coach at the NRL club from next season. Henry, currently the assistant to head coach Graham Murray at North Queensland, has agreed to a three-year term.
WESTS Tigers halfback Scott Prince and injured five-eighth Benji Marshall have both been cited by the NRL judiciary for grade two careless high tackles.
ON Saturday afternoon down in Wollongong, the Newcastle Pepsi Knights took on the St George Illawarra Dragons in Round 5 action of the Jersey Flegg competition. Both teams went into the match undefeated and only one could come away from the match with their perfect record intact. That team was the Newcastle Knights after a comfortable 34-18 victory.The Knights started the match with a softening up period, where 4 fights broke out in the opening 15 minutes. This was to be expected as both teams had turned up to play and weren't willing to give an inch. Knights forward Tim Natusch left 3 Dragons players reeling out of tackles as he went on a one-man rampage. He was replaced after 15 minutes, much to the delight of the Dragons players.In the fifth minute, Knights second rower Cory Patterson steamed onto a flat Luke Walsh pass to crash over beside the posts and give the Knights an early 6-0 advantage. The Dragons opened their account in the 20th minute when Lewis McPhail crossed out wide. He failed to add the conversion from the sideline and 3 minutes later Rota Setu crossed to put the Dragons in front after the Knights invited the home side back into the contest with some dropped ball early in their tackle counts. Knights five-eight Scott Dureau put his side back in front in the 27th minute for good as he buried his way through some lazy Dragons defence from dummy half. Five minutes from halftime Knights centre Matt Cooper scored the first of his hat-trick and after the Luke Walsh conversion, followed by a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time the Knights led 18-8.Early in the second half, Dragons centre Keith Lulia threatened to get the home crowd going when he gave his side a sniff of victory as they trailed 18-12. Cooper crossed in the 50th minute to give the Knights some more breathing space and when the Dragons replied again through Jason Nightingale just 60 seconds later, it was back to game on. With the Knights struggling to get out of their own half, it was going to take something special for them to get down the Dragons end of the field. Luke Walsh provided that with a booming 40-20 with 7 minutes remaining and when Sam Wooden crossed from the ensuing scrum, the Knights ensured they would remain undefeated after five rounds. Cooper completed the scoring with just four minutes remaining and Walsh's conversion from near touch gave the final scoreline of Knights 34 Dragons 18.For the Knights, second rower Cory Patterson was outstanding, making metres up the middle every time he touched the ball. Tim Natusch was also brutal and halves Scott Dureau and Luke Walsh steered the Knights well.Next week the Knights take on the Balmain Tigers.
THE Newcastle Knights travelled to the south coast on Saturday night as they took on the St George Illawarra Dragons. The Knights were looking to bounce back from their 48-18 shellacking by the Tigers last week, where they trailed 38-0 at halftime.Returning to the Knights side were halfback Jarrod Mullen and centre David Seage, who were both in First Grade last week, while the Dragons welcomed back halfback Matthew Head from injury.Both sides started promisingly before the Knights scored the first points of the match courtesy of Brad Tighe as he crossed out wide to give the Knights an early 4-0 advantage. Dragons five-eight Chris Sheppard, formerly from the Cowboys scored his sides first try of the night in the 14th minute and Head's conversion put the Dragons in front 6-4. As the half wore on, it looked like going down to the wire. Both sides tested each other out for the next twenty minutes but it all came to no points. In the 33rd minute the Dragons extended their lead to 10-4 through winger Tom Hewitt and the Dragons appeared destined to go to the break leading 10-4. With just 60 seconds remaining, Mullen launched a towering bomb which was allowed to bounce by the Dragons fullback and winger and Brad Tighe was only too willing to oblige and score the Knights second try on the stroke of halftime. After the conversion, both sides went to the break at 10-10.The second half was much the same as the first, with both sides completing their sets of six and getting to their kicks. In the 48th minute the Knights went back in front when Kade Snowden delivered a perfect around-the-corner pass as he was falling to put Nathan Hinton in under the posts. Tighe converted and the Knights appeared to be looking good at 16-10. Unfortunately the Knights were to remain on 16 as Matthew Head took control of the match. He scored an individual try in the 58th minute to level the scores before firing two perfect cut-out passes to Brett Morris in the 65th minute to extend his sides lead to 8, before putting the final nail in the coffin with a repeat of the dose, this time putting Beau Ryan over with 11 minutes remaining. This gave the final scoreline of Dragons 30 Knights 16 and left the Knights languishing towards the bottom of the table.
COMPETITION favourites, the North Queensland Cowboys have continued their unbeaten run in defeating Wests Tigers 32-12 in Friday night?s ?grand final replay?. It was an emphatic victory over last year?s premiers as the Cowboys posted a club record five match winning streak to see them on top of the NRL ladder.