SOUTH London Storm got their historic tour of Australia's Sunshine Coast underway on Thursday evening with a 48-30 defeat against Beerwah Bulldogs, despite fielding a side that included ex-Queensland Origin stars Kerrod Walters, Dale Shearer and Adrian Brunker.
The Storm are guests of the E-Banc Foundation and have been kept busy during their stay on the Sunshine Coast by their hosts at various charitable functions in aid of Leukemia and the Australian Paralympic team, but they finally got their first hit-out against Australian opposition in front of a sizeable crowd in the small bush town of Beerwah.
The Croydon-based club travelled to Australia without the bulk of their National League Three players but, thanks in part to their trio of former Origin players, still gave a good account of themselves. Man-of-the-match Aaron Russell and Shearer both grabbed a brace of tries each and former London Broncos Academy player Dave Montero also crossed the whitewash for the Storm before Beerwah, who were well led by their player-coach, former New Zealand Test forward Grant Young, ultimately proved too strong.
However, the defeat did not diminish the experience for the Storm, who were treated to an open-air banquet provided by the local community.
Tour organiser Richard Giles commented: "The hospitality we were shown by the people of Beerwah was unbelievable and is something I will never forget.
"It's always been an ambition of mine to bring a touring party to Australia, and having the opportunity of playing on the same field as the likes of Dale Shearer, Kerrod Walters and Grant Young makes the experience all the more memorable.
"We've built up a reputation of being a touring side in the past few years and plan to venture into Europe again at the end of the season, but we would also welcome the opportunity to return Beerwah's hospitality should they ever wish to visit the UK."
Souths will be special guests at a 'Diamonds and Denim' charity ball on Friday evening before concluding their tour with a fixture against Gympie Devils RLFC on Saturday afternoon.
THE competition lead keeps changing.
Five weeks ago Redcliffe were on top of the Queensland Cup ladder then Toowoomba assumed the lead followed by Burleigh the next week.
The Clydesdales got the lead back the next week but now Norths sit on top on percentages from Easts, Toowoomba and Burleigh.
Trying to tip the eventual premiers is an almost impossible task and this year?s finals series promises to be the best in Queensland Cup history.
Round 14 kicks off this weekend with Easts hosting the Central Comets at Langlands Park in the ABC televised clash.
The game has been robbed of one of its drawcards, former Test star, Darren Smith who has been recruited by the Broncos in a ?loan? deal with the Tigers covering this weekend and the next.
The Comets are on 12 points, five points outside the top five and they still have finals ambitions.
In the other Saturday clash North Queensland Young Guns host the Redcliffe Dolphins in Cairns and a big crowd is anticipated.
On Sunday Norths host Toowoomba at Bishop Park in what shapes as the match of the round.
At Bendigo Bank Oval Ipswich play Burleigh while at the Piggabeen Complex at West Tweed Heads the two Seagulls ? Tweed and Wynnum ? clash.
The other round 14 match is between Souths Logan and Brothers Valleys and it will be played next Saturday, June 26 at Davies Park with the match to be televised live by the ABC.
On the same day City will play Country at Barcaldine.
The Country team will assemble in Rockhampton next Wednesday and travel to Barcaldine the following day.
The City side will travel to Barcaldine next Friday and attend a sportsmen?s dinner there that night.
Also next Saturday the Queensland Rangers team chosen from the Divisional Carnival in Mackay last weekend will play New South Wales Country at Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah.
Stan Sercombe Oval is named after one of the NSW Country?s best league administrators and the field would be the envy of many clubs in Brisbane with two grandstands on the western side and terrific amenities.
Next Wednesday night an under 15 Schoolboys ?Test? between New South Wales and Queensland will be played at Kougari Oval with two Arrive Alive Cup secondary school matches as curtain raisers.
The under 15 schools national titles will be played in Adelaide from June 27 to July 2.
The annual Confraternity Shield for independent schools will be held in Townsville from June 28 to July 2 with a number of union playing schools entering sides-among them St Patricks, Shorncliffe whose defence coach is former Brothers? centre, Murray Schultz who played in the 1974 Brisbane grand final.
WITH all teams in New Zealand's Bartercard Cup competition having a week off last week, Round 8 this weekend will sure to be action packed as we head into the second half of the competition.
IN Bulls Eye this week Brian Noble and Logan Swann look ahead to Sunday's Round 15 game at Odsal when the Bulls take on the Giants looking to continue from their success at Salford.
ST Helens' Great Britain internationals Sean Long and Martin Gleeson have paid a heavy price for betting on their team to lose a Super League match at Bradford.
WIGAN acting Coach Denis Betts has named an 18 man squad for Saturday's Tetley's Super League game against the Leeds Rhinos at the JJB Stadium, 6pm kick off.
LONDON Broncos will take on the high flying 'airlie birds' at Welford Road with three 'new' faces coming into the team.
MATTHEW Gidley will miss Newcastle's NRL game against the Sydney Roosters at Aussie Stadium tonight.
MELBOURNE Storm forward, David Kidwell, hopes to cement a new deal next week to keep him at the Melbourne Storm.
VETERAN lock forward Darren Smith will make a return at the back of the Brisbane scrum in this weekend?s clash with Parramatta, saying he is more than happy to help out his former club ?in a time of need?.
FORM halfback and local Dapto junior Mathew Head re-signed with the Dragons today for two years until the end of 2006 then said he hopes to play his entire career with the club.
TO pick a winner this week you’ll have to better than Nostradamus, it’s getting that tough.
THE Sydney Roosters have recorded their biggest ever win over the Newcastle Knights with a crushing 48-4 scoreline at Aussie Stadium.
THE Dragons are giving Lance Thompson the boot.
CRONULLA has acted quickly to re-sign three key members of its forward pack ahead of the National Rugby League's June 30 anti-tampering expiring.