Cowboys hold out defiant Sea Eagles

ROUND 2 North Queensland Cowboys 20 def. Manly Sea Eagles 16 Match summary:The North Queensland Cowboys have held on to defeat Manly Sea Eagles 20-16 in Townsville tonight.The Cowboys opened the scoring after nine minutes when winger Matt Sing crossed for the first of his three tries.The Sea Eagles struck back in the 17th minute through winger Steve Bell.But two more tries to the Cowboys, including a decisive blow from halfback Brett Firman, gave the North Queenslanders a handy 16-4 lead at half time.The second half stated disastrously for Cowboys forward Aaron Payne who went down after a head knock. He was assisted from the field in a neck brace but was reportedly regaining movement later that evening.The Cowboys went up another gear through Matt Bowen, the fullback kicking the first 40/20 of season in the 44th minute and putting the home side on the attack. A minute later Manly veteran Steve Menzies was sin binned for dissent and a minute after that, Sing posted his hat trick to give the Cowboys a commanding 20-4 lead.Nevertheless, despite enjoying the bulk of possession and field position, the Cowboys were unable to put their opponents away. Manly produced an outstanding defensive effort and on this foundation, launched their comeback.Tries to fullback Brett Stewart in the 51st and 62nd minutes got the Sea Eagles within four points and with over 15 minutes to go, the visitors had the momentum going their way. The Cowboys responded with repeat sets but were unable to breach the Manly line.With time running out, the Sea Eagles launched one final assault - the Cowboys holding on and taking the points in a nail-biting finish.Scorers:North Queensland Cowboys: 20Tries: Matt Sing (3), Brett FirmanGoals: Johnathan Thurston 2/6Manly Sea Eagles: 16Tries: Brett Stewart (2), Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 2/3Dairy Farmers StadiumReferee: Paul Simpkins Live Commentary:Big crowd in Townsville for tonight's clash. Kick off soon...Players coming onto the field. A number of changes for both sides including Manly's Steve Menzies who has been moved to the centres.Kick off!9 min: NEWS Video ref checking possible Cowboys try.9 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysMatt Sing gets the nod from the video ref after getting benefit of the doubt on a possible offside call. Cowboys having the early momentum. Try scored out wide and the conversion from Johnathan Thurston is a ripper. Cowboys 6-014 min: NEWS Video ref checking possible Manly try.VERDICT: NO TRY.Knock on and scrum.15 min: NEWS At the other end of the field as the Cowboys counter attack. Video ref checking possible Cowboys try.VERDICT: NO TRY.Knock on against Ty Williams.17 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesWinger Steve Bell scores out wide after Manly cuts through the defence down the left side. In the next movement, they have an overlap on the right and Bell is on hand to score. Orford's conversion attempt hits the upright and is waved away. Cowboys 6-423 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysSing gets a double out wide. Follows an intercept and 50m run from Justin Smith, putting the Manly defence on the back foot. Conversion attempt hits the upright and is unsuccessful. Cowboys 10-428 min: NEWS Injury to Cowboys forward Aaron Payne, copping a knock in the head. He is taken off on a medicab in a neck brace.29 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL North Queensland CowboysThurston unsuccessful with penalty goal attempt. Cowboys 10-437 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysHalfback Brett Firman steps through and then forces his way over next to the posts. Thurston converts. A killer blow for the Sea Eagles just before half time. Cowboys 16-439 min: NEWS Manly forward Shane Dunley on report after a lifting tackle on Steve Southern. Southern's momentum carrying his legs northwards.HALF TIME: Cowboys 16-4Cowboys with more possession, more completions and less errors. Manly with all the work to do.Second half underway...43 min: NEWS Aaron Payne reportedly taken to hospital with a bit of numbness in the neck. However he does have movement.44 min: NEWS Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen kicks a 40/20, the first one of 2006.45 min: NEWS Manly centre Steve Menzies SIN BINNED for back chatting the referee.46 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysSing gets a hat trick. His 150th career try. Simple catch and pass and the Cowboys have the numbers. Sing crosses and improves the position for Thurston who hooks it away. Cowboys 20-451 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesBrett Stewart takes the final pass to score after a classy 60m movement from Manly beginning with Steve Bell who found Chris Hicks in support. Orford conversion is OK. Cowboys 20-1058 min: NEWS Cowboys pressing after receiving a penalty following a bit of a dust-up. In other news Matt Sing has apparently left the field after receiving a knock.61 min: NEWS Video Ref looking at possible Manly try.62 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesBrett Stewart gets benefit of the doubt, scoring in the corner just before going into touch. Follows Cowboys error which put Manly on the attack. Tremendous kick from Orford and conversion is successful. Cowboys 20-1665 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL North Queensland CowboysManly penalised for play-the-ball infringement. Kick is from 15m out and 15m in from touch, and Thurston misses. Cowboys 20-1675 min: NEWS Cowboys forward Shane Tronc HELD UP. Great defence from Manly holding out Cowboys for two sets after Menzies knocks on in front of the sticks. Outstanding effort but time is running out for the Sea Eagles.In other news, Manly's Brett Stewart is limping badly.76 min: NEWS Cowboys get the ball back and Ty Wlliams is HELD UP - Manly defend in tremendous fashion once again.80 min: NEWS Cowboys get the points, hanging on to win 20-16. Manly had one last throw of the dice with a set at the Cowboys line. Manly played approximately 65% of the game in the own half and had around 40% of possession. But despite this, they put in a good showing in the latter stages. players of the match:3 - Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)2 - Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys)1 - Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)-----------------------------------------

Preview: Warrington v Les Catalans (Round 6)

NEW Catalans Dragons head coach Mick Potter is confident his side can lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

Broncos come from behind against Sharks

ROUND 2Brisbane Broncos 16 def. Cronulla Sharks 12Match summary:The Brisbane Broncos have come from behind late in the match to defeat the Cronulla Sharks 16-12 at Toyota Park this evening.Cronulla should have run away with this game and how theThe Brisbane Broncos have come from behind late in the match to defeat the Cronulla Sharks 16-12 at Toyota Park this evening.Cronulla should have run away with this game and how they lost it is beyond me but their completion rate for the entire game was below 50% and if you can?t complete your sets at least half the time, then you are going to struggle to win football games. Stuart Raper will be bitterly disappointed losing their opening game at home to a team flogged by 32 points the previous week.The Broncos did well to hang in when they should have been down by at least 18 points midway through the first half if Luke Covell had shown some brains and passed the ball to an unmarked player on his outside to seal the match and go up by 18 points.The win was vital for the Broncos after last weekends capitulation at the hands of the Cowboys and it was a chance for the Broncos to prove the naysayers wrong (me included) and that they are not a dads army or a spent force in 2006.The Sharks scored a fantastic 100 metre try after the Broncos put up the bomb and David Simmons caught it in his own in goal, set off down filed and tore the Broncos defence to shreds and eventually offloaded to Darren Albert to score the try of the season so far and a try that will no doubt be one of the highlights of the season.Brett Kimmorley was rusty in his first game for the year but Adam Dykes played a fine game for the Sharks while for the Broncos the experienced men led the way superbly with Darren Lockyer, Shane Webcke and Brad Thorn all having strong games for the visiting team.ScorersCronulla Sutherland Sharks: 12Tries: Adam Dykes, Darren AlbertGoals: Luke Covell 2/3Brisbane Broncos: 16Tries: Casey McGuire, Brad Thorn, Shane WebckeGoals: Michael Ennis 2/3Toyota ParkCrowd: 14,221Referee: Russell Smith 1 min: NEWS We are underway at Toyota Park for the Sharks first game of the year.1 min: NEWS We are currently observing a minutes silence to honour the great Steve Rogers who passed away earlier this year.3 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksBrett Kimmorely drifts across field and picks up Adam Dykes running through a gaping hole in the Broncos defence to score the Sharks first try of the year. Conversion successful. Sharks 6-015 min: NEWS Cronulla looking stronger and more skillful this year with a new looking side. Brisbane are playing well but the Sharks look comfortable so far.21 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksDavid Simmons catches a Broncos bomb in his own in goal and then runs 90 metres before offloading to Darren Albert to score under the posts untouched. A 100 metre try to shred the Broncos defence and open up a 12 point lead midway through the first half. Outstanding try from the Sharks. Sharks 12-028 min: NEWS Darren Lockyer gets the Broncos a repeate set of six as they begin to mount some pressure on the Sharks defensive line.33 min: NEWS Luke Covell makes a 80 metre break and fails to pass to the man unmarked on his outside to butcher another Sharks try leading into half time. Had the Sharks scored and converted, there was no coming back for the Broncos from an 18 point deficit.39 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland SharksMissed penalty goal from Luke Covell a minute out from half time. Sharks 12-040 min: NEWS The Broncos are down by a dozen at the break and if they don't fix their defensive line in the next 40 minutes, the Sharks will eat them alive.41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half.45 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThorn scores off a great break made by Michael Ennis to get the Broncos back into the match. Conversion unsuccessful. Sharks 12-451 min: NEWS video ref to check on a possible try to Broncos winger Darius Boyd but the try is not awarded as Boyd put a foot into touch and failed to ground the ball.65 min: NEWS The game is getting scrappy but the Broncos are on the attack and if they score off this set of six, they are right back in the match. The handling and execution in th second half has been ordinary at best.66 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosShane Webcke crosses for a rare four pointer to close the gap as we enter the final stage of a disappointing game of football. Conversion successful. Sharks 12-1069 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosMcGuire scores off a Lockyer grubber to give the Broncos the lead for the first time in the match. Can the Sharks hit back or will the Broncos score again and put the issue beyond doubt? How the Sharks are behind in this match is beyond me. Broncos 16-1278 min: NEWS Luke Covell kills off any chance of a Sharks comeback by stickig his mits where they did not belong. He has cost them twice this evening and his stature as some sort of eclectic cult heror is seriously under threat after a very poor performance. players of the match:3 - Darren Lockyer (Broncos)2 - Brad Thorn (Broncos)1 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)-----------------------------------------

Eels prevail against disappointing Warriors

ROUND 2Parramatta Eels 22 def. New Zealand Warriors 14Match summary:The Parramatta Eels have run out 22-14 winners over the New Zealand Warriors at Waikato Stadium this evening.The Eels took the lead early and never relinquished it as the Warriors fought in vain to get back into the match but it was never going to be.Nathan Hindmarsh had a mighty game for the Eels with two tries and over 40 tackles while for the Warriors Steve Price and Nathan Fien tried hard but they are lacking the class of Stacey Jones to steer them around the park in tight situations.Hindmarsh was well supported by Tim Smith and Wade McKinnon with both players having a good game directing the Eels around the park.With the Warriors already on ?4 points, back to back losses makes it a very hard road ahead and no doubt deflating for their fans when you consider we are only halfway through round two and they are potentially eight points off the competition lead.Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has a lot on his plate if he is going to turn around the listing ship that is the Warriors in his maiden season as a first grade coach in the NRL.The Eels looked a lot sharper than what they did against the Knights and when you consider they lost Timana Tahu and Eric Grothe to injuries hours before kickoff, the Eels did well to come away with the two points in the home away from home match. However, the Eels will not be getting carried away with tonight?s performance as any team can beat the other if you don?t turn up ready to play.Scorers:Parramatta Eels: 22Tries: Nathan Hindmarsh(2), Ben Smith , Dean WiddersGoals: Luke Burt 3/4New Zealand Warriors: 14Tries: Evarn Tuimavave, Manu VatuveiGoals: Tony Martin 3/3Waikato Stadium NZCrowd: 16,089Referee: Sean Hampstead Live Commentary:1 min: NEWS We are underway at Waikato Stadium this evening!4 min: TRY Parramatta EelsBen Smith crosses out wide in the 4th minute and it was all too easy after some sustained pressure in the Warriors half. Conversion unsuccessful. Eels 4-010 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand WarriorsTony Martin gets the Warriors on the board after P J Marsh gave away a penalty for the Eels. Eels 4-213 min: NEWS Possible try to Luke Burt denied by the video ref as Burt looks to have knocked on over the line.20 min: NEWS Video ref rules no try to the Warriors after Matt Petersen from the Eels grounded the ball on his own line then lost the ball. From the ensuing goal line drop out, the Eels went shallow and recovered the ball and proceeded 40 metres up field with ease.21 min: TRY Parramatta EelsNathan Hindmarh surges onto a superb cutout pass from Tim Smith to cross the line without being touched. This all came about from the short goal line drop out from the Eels at the other end. Conversion successful Eels 10-226 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsStrange try to the Warriors with the ball coming off Steve Price's shoulder as he backed into the tackle, propelling the ball forward, but not off his hands with Tuimavave there to dive on the loose ball. Conversion successful. Eels 10-840 min: NEWS The Warriors had the Eels on the rack for the latter stages of the first half but couldn't get across the line to take the lead. The game is starting to open up and we shoudl be in for an expansive second half based on the last ten minutes of the first half.41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half!48 min: NEWS No change in the score as both teams look to break the shackles and blow the game wide open. A real arm wrestle in the opening ten minutes of the second half.55 min: TRY Parramatta EelsHindy crosses for try number two as the Eels take control of the match midway through the second half. Conversion successful. Eels 16-863 min: NEWS Mark Riddell throws a forward pass from dummy half deep inside his own half to give the Warriors possession and a chance to get back into the match.64 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsNathan Fien hoists the ball high and Vatuvei comes down with the ball and charges over to get the Warriors back into the match. Conversion successful. Eels 16-1469 min: TRY Parramatta EelsThe Magic Pudding (Dean Widders) scores off his own grubber kick to extend the Eels lead as we enter the closing stages of a forgettable match for both sides. Conversion successful. Eels 22-1480 min: NEWS Full time: The Eels have run out winners over the Warriors in a flat game of footy where neither side rose to any great heights. Things get all the more difficult for the Warriors with two losses to start the season when you consider they are already on -4 points. players of the match:3 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)2 - Wade Mckinnon (Eels)1 - Nathan Fien (Warriors)-----------------------------------------

Preview: St Helens v Bradford (Round 6)

ST Helens youngster James Roby is hoping to prove his fitness for the top-of-the-table engage Super League clash with Bradford.

Preview: Leeds v Salford (Round 6)

SURPRISE package Salford will be out to show their lofty position is no fluke when they take on third-placed Leeds.

El Masri shatters records in Dogs victory

ROUND 2Canterbury Bulldogs 47 def. Wests Tigers 12Match summary:Hazem El Masri scored 34 points in the form of four tries and nine goals in the Bulldogs 47-12 runaway win over the Wests Tigers at Telstra Stadium tonight.The Bulldogs dominated the lacklustre Tigers in the first half as they raced away to a 24-0 lead with tries to Willie Mason, and El Masri?s first two. This was accompanied by El Masri?s three first half penalty goals. With just under ten minutes in the first half remaining, Mark O?Meley and Bryce Gibbs were sin binned for fighting.The Tigers got a quick start to the second half, scoring care of Daniel Fitzhenry and Brett Hodgson. Mark O?Meley settled the mini-feud he had going with Bryce Gibbs when he utterly smashed Gibbs in a hit up, knocking him out cold. Sherwin kicked a long range field goal, and then the floodgates opened, with El Masri scoring in the 63rd minute, Maitua scoring in the 66th and El Masri crossing for his fourth try in the 70th minute. The rout was topped off by a Patten try with two minutes to go, however El Masri missed the conversion and was forced to settle with only 34 points in the match.Scorers:Canterbury Bulldogs: 47Tries: Hazem El Masri(4), Reni Maitua, Willie Mason, Luke PattenGoals: Hazem El Masri 9/10Field Goals: Brent SherwinWests Tigers: 12Tries: Daniel Fitzhenry, Brett HodgsonGoals: Brett Hodgson 2/2Venue: Telstra StadiumCrowd: 32,587Referee: Steve ClarkHalf time: Bulldogs 24-0Live commentary:1 min: NEWS The Bulldogs kick off!2 min: NEWS Both teams have received early penalties, the Tigers with the better of field position early.5 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsThe Tigers are penalised for holding down, El Masri slots the goal from right in front. Bulldogs 2-010 min: NEWS The Tigers play some expansive football, but manage to cross the line on a forward pass.13 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsMason barges across on the last tackle, try awarded by the video referee. El Masri converts from an easy angle. Bulldogs 8-017 min: NEWS The Tigers get a chance to have a whole set inside the Bulldogs 10, but a wild pass squanders the chance.18 min: NEWS Mason is placed on report for a high tackle on Lolesi, that making his third high tackle in the match.19 min: NEWS Bulldogs giving away a string of penalties, count already 6-2 in the Tigers favour. The Tigers are unable to take any advantage of the count with plenty of sloppy play.25 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsThe Tigers give away another penalty and El Masri converts the goal from 25 metres out. Bulldogs 10-028 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsEl Masri somehow gets through several tacklers and gets the ball down on the last tackle. He converts his own try for a commanding lead. Bulldogs 16-030 min: NEWS O'Meley and Gibbs get into a punch up, Gibbs gets a spell in the sin bin, and so does O'Meley.34 min: NEWS Bulldogs play some top notch football and get a penalty 10 out from the Tigers line, to create real pressure on the Tigers.36 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsAs the penalty count goes to 8-6 in the Bulldogs favour, El Masri hits another penalty goal from right in front. Bulldogs 18-038 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsSherwin intercepts the pass from the scrum base, he races away and El Masri finishes next to the posts. He adds the conversion and already has 20 points tonight! Bulldogs 24-040 min: NEWS Todd Payten is placed on report for a high tackle.Half time in a very scrappy match. The match is filled with numerous needless penalties. The Tigers were very average, while the Bulldogs were quite impressive in the first half.40 min: NEWS The second half kicks off!42 min: NEWS O'Meley and Gibbs return to action.46 min: TRY Wests TigersFitzhenry finds a gap and scores easily from 10 out. Hodgson converts. Bulldogs 24-650 min: NEWS A great kick and chase by the Bulldogs trap Hodgson resulting in a goal line drop out.50 min: NEWS O'Meley wins his battle with Gibbs as he runs right over him, knocking him out cold. Gibbs is in a neck brace and taken off the field on the golf cart.52 min: TRY Wests TigersThe Tigers run the ball on the last tackle, they break down the right and Hodgson scores next to the posts. Patten also placed on report for a late charge on Collis. Bulldogs 24-1259 min: FIELD GOAL Canterbury BulldogsSherwin kicks a long range field goal to make something out of a nothing situation. Bulldogs 25-1263 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsA kick to the corner sees the ball come to El Masri who gets the third Friday night hat-trick of 2006. From the sideline, El Masri converts. 26 points so far! Bulldogs 31-1266 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsTries in two successive sets to the Bulldogs, as slick passing has Reni Maitua scoring beside the posts. El Masris conversion equals the Bulldogs club record for points in a match. Bulldogs 37-1270 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsA break up the middle sees El Masri score his fourth! He converts. 34 points! Bulldogs 43-1272 min: NEWS 32,578 Crowd78 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsPatten scores in the left corner. El Masri misses the conversion! Bulldogs 47-1280 min: NEWS Full time in a very one sided match. The Tigers pulled back to 24-12 before the Bulldogs ran away players of the match:3 - Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs)2 - Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs)1 - Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs)-----------------------------------------

Dragons and Trust reach agreement

THE Wollongong Sportsground Trust and the St George Illawarra Dragons today announced an extension to the Venue Hiring Agreement for WIN Stadium.The Dragons and the Trust had formally only completed a one year agreement for 2006 due to a number of critical issues some of which include:- the ongoing viability of the Illawarra Steelers- the possibility of further development of WIN Stadium, in particular the Western Grandstand- the determination of the full impact of the NSW Government?s Poker Machine Tax on both St George and the Illawarra Steelers Licensed Clubs.With the recent announcement of the significant financial commitment of WIN Corporation, the Dragons have now been able to confirm a longer term Venue Hire Agreement with the Wollongong Sportsground Trust.In essence, the one year deal for 2006 was formulated so as to provide a sound commercial basis for the future, this agreement has now been extended for a further five years, with a commitment to play six or on average 50 per cent of the Dragons home games plus a NRL Trial at WIN Stadium each year.The Wollongong Sportsground Trust and the Dragons were both very pleased to be able to communicate with Dragons supporters and the community generally about elite rugby league having a long-term future at WIN Stadium.Chairman of the Wollongong Sportsground Trust Mr Chris Christodolou welcomed the confirmation of the extension of the agreement with the Dragons.?I am really happy for Dragons fans and the people of Wollongong and the Illawarra generally,? saidChristodolou.?I am very also pleased for the Wollongong Trust and the NSW Government as thisoutstanding community asset, WIN Stadium, can be confirmed as the long-term home of a national sporting icon ? the mighty Dragons?.Chief Executive Officer of the St George Illawarra Dragons Mr Peter Doust reinforced how the Dragonsregional presence, at both Oki Jubilee and WIN Stadium was a very important business strategy of theDragons.?The commercial terms of this five year extension are sound however, the Trust and the Dragons have also agreed that it is imperative ongoing improvements to Corporate, Media and Player facilities occur over time,? said Doust.?The Dragons need to continue to grow their revenue yield and keep pace with appropriate standards of facilities going forward?.

Raiders re-sign Purtell for two years

CANBERRA has re-signed rookie winger Adrian Purtell for two more NRL seasons - less than a week on from his NRL debut against Manly.The 21-year-old caught Raiders coach Matt Elliott's eye after an outstanding 2005 season in the reserves and was given a first-grade run out after an impressive pre-season. Purtell's signing is the second of the week for the Raiders, who also re-signed promising centre David Howell for two more seasons.

I'll move Lockyer if I have to ? Bennett

WAYNE Bennett says he'll remove Brisbane five-eighth Darren Lockyer from the defensive firing line if he has to this NRL season.Lockyer missed 11 tackles against North Queensland last weekend, raising further concerns the Australian captain is being targeted by forwards continually running at him. Bennett says Lockyer is staying where he is for now but if the problem persists he'll have the courage to return him to his former position at fullback.Brisbane takes on Cronulla tomorrow with Bennett looking for his players to turn around their abysmal completion and handling rates from the 36-4 first-round loss to the Cowboys. Centre Justin Hodges has withdrawn with a side strain with utility Casey McGuire shifting from lock into the backline.

2006 Rugby League Almanac

NICOLSON Sports Consultancy is pleased to offer 2006 Rugby League Players Alamanc for download through Legends World of Sport on League Unlimited this weekend. After launching the Almanac last season, the 2006 edition is a cleaner crisper version featuring the most comprehensive playing rosters of all 15 NRL clubs.The Almanac, featuring over 700 players and the two new inductees to the NSC Rugby League Honour Roll, will cost you $22.00 AUD to download this year. But for your hard earned you not only get the 2006 Almanac but NSC will be delivering weekly League Player Ratings (LPR) directly to your inbox throughout the season.LPR will analyse the performance of every single NRL player each weekend and give them a objective rating out of 10. Only subscribers will have access to the full list of LPR each week. That means 238 exclusive individual ratings in PDF format will be sent directly to your inbox allowing you to track your favourite player and team?s performance.These ratings will not be available freely online. Only a weekly leader board will be listed in NSC?s League Unlimited Column every Thursday morning.The 2006 NSC Almanac and 2006 League Player Ratings are available only through Legends World of Sport on League Unlimited for much less than you will pay for a subscription to the print magazines on the market. the footy in 2006.Regards,Warrick NicolsonNicolson Sports [email protected]: 0402 851 485 Fax: 02 9653 1483

Hodges out of Sharks clash

BRISBANE centre Justin Hodges has pulled out of tomorrow night's NRL clash with Cronulla in Sydney with a side strain.Hodges, Brisbane's best in their 36-4 loss to the Cowboys last weekend, has been replaced in the centres by utility Casey McGuire (pictured). Neville Costigan comes off the bench to fill McGuire's lock role with big Tame Tupou the new interchange player.Coach Wayne Bennett says he's just looking to his side to improve on some abysmal ball control.

Cooper joins Dragons sick list

ST George Illawarra Dragons centre Matt Cooper has been ruled out of this Sunday's game against the Penrith Panthers. Its understood the NSW and Australian centre has suffered a hamstring injury. His replacement Daryl Millard is expected to make his first grade debut.Cooper's omission comes after captain and five-eighth Trent Barrett was also ruled out after being hospitalised early in the week with a virus.In other news utility Shaun Timmins - who will also miss the match - has been cleared of serious injury following knee surgery on Wednesday. The Dragons will also be without winger Wes Naiqama who suffered an ankle injury last weekend and injured second rower Ben Creagh (knee) has yet to play in 2006.Meanwhile half back Mathew Head's recovery continues to remain on hold. Head suffered a season-ending knee injury in June 2005 (round 14). He was scheduled for a return in early April (round 5) but there is speculation this has been put back until round 9.The Dragons will be blooding two rookies in Millard and hooker George Ndaira this Sunday as well as forward Andrew Price who has played just one first grade game.The revised Dragons NRL team for Sunday's match in Wollongong is:1. Clint GREENSHIELDS2. Reece SIMMONDS3. Mark GASNIER4. Darryl MILLARD5. Colin BEST6. Dean YOUNG7. Ben HORNBY (c)8. Luke BAILEY9. Aaron GORRELL10. Jason RYLES11. Corey PAYNE12. Ashton SIMS13. Andrew PRICE14. Justin POORE15. Michael HENDERSON16. Matt BICKERSTAFF17. George NDAIRA

WIN Corp deal secures future of Illawarra

WIN CORPORATION, owner of Australia?s largest and leading regional television network, has covered a substantial amount of the Illawarra Steelers debts to joint venture partner St George, which will enable the Dragons to continue playing home matches in Wollongong.WIN Corporation Executive Chairman, Mr Andrew Gordon made the announcement today saying his media company?s investment of $6.5m in the Steelers would enable the repayment of most of the club?s debt to St George Leagues Club.?WIN Corporation originated in the Illawarra and proudly it is still based here today.WIN has always prided itself on showing strong support for locally based, national sporting teams,? said Mr Gordon. ?We believe the Steelers are a fundamental thread in the fabric of this region and I do not intend for this district to lose hosting NRL matches at WIN Stadium.?The deal is conditional on the Dragons arranging a new license agreement with the NRL until 2011 and negotiating a similar term arrangement with Wollongong Sportsground Trust ? allowing the St George Illawarra Dragons to play half of their home matches at WIN Stadium, plus a NRL pre-season fixture annually.?Mr Gordon said that besides providing the funding, which will be used solely to discharge the majority of the Steelers debt to St George Leagues Club; WIN Corporation will also receive 24 per cent of the Steelers share in the joint venture.?We will also provide business opportunities and management to improve the performance of the Steelers Club and ensure long-term continuation in the NRL by way of the joint venture,? he added.Steelers Chairman, Mr Peter Newell said his directors and members were indebted to Andrew Gordon, WIN Corporation and of course Bruce Gordon for their support of the club and the benefits NRL participation brings to the Illawarra region?s economy. ?The amount of money WIN Corporation has made available is one of the biggest investments that I can recall involving sport in the Illawarra,? said Mr Newell. ?The Steelers will still carry a level of debt, but WIN have given us the chance to not only survive, but will work with us on our future.?Mr Newell said that Andrew Gordon would be appointed to the St George Illawarra Dragons Board as one of the Steelers representatives.?WIN Corporation CEO, Mr George Papadopoulos will also be invited to join the Illawarra Steelers Board in an ex-officio capacity. Both these appointments will add strength and business experience to the respective boards.?The Steelers debts will not only be substantially reduced, but WIN?s involvement will enable the club to continue the propagation and development of the game of rugby league in the Illawarra and South Coast region,? Mr Newell said.St George Leagues Club and Dragons Chairman Warren Lockwood, who welcomed the involvement of WIN Corporation with the Dragons explains its impacts for the Dragons and St George Leagues Club.?A commitment from a corporate partner of the quality of WIN Corporation is a major coup for rugby league across the region and the game itself,? said Mr Lockwood.?In times when there is continuing pressure being mounted on the Licensed Clubs, debt reduction programs are essential.?The St George Leagues Club has always understood and supported the strategy of the St George Illawarra Dragons from the beginning. An essential component of this strategy, was sustaining viability of the Steelers and their contributions to the Dragons.?The repayment of capital and interest on loans extended by the St George Leagues Club will enable the Licensed Club to plan for its next phase of refurbishment and better cope with the pressure from increasing poker machine tax.?

Diskin agrees Rhinos deal

GREAT Britain hooker Matt Diskin has agreed a new four-year contract with Leeds Rhinos which will keep him at Headingley until at least the end of the 2010 engage Super League season.

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