IN an early season boost to their State of Origin campaign, Queensland have received the welcome news that Broncos stalwart Shane Webcke will make himself available to the Maroons this year.
I think I wrote a headline on Saturday that said the Auckland Crowns were "rampant" over the First National Northland team in the Foundation Cup. I think I used that word a little early, Ericcson Stadium on Sunday saw the Auckland Crowns absolutely annihilate Northland in the Kiwi Cup game by 70 points to 4
I expected more, I expected a lot more, from the Northland side. They started well, scored shortly after kick off, through dummy half, Sam Moli. That was about the point where they ceased to take any further part in the game. The Auckland side replied to the visitors try, fairly quickly through Five Eight, Darin Kingi. Paki Ormsby converted and the Crowns took over. Five further tries to the Crowns, including a second to Kingi, saw the scoreboard at the break reading 36/4 to the Auckland side.
The Northland side had their heads down when it got to 20 odd to 4 and things were not going to get any better at all.
The Auckland Crowns came out after the spell and went up a gear. At a point, about half way through the second half, they were scoring off every set. Northland simply had no answers. A couple of individual breaks showed some promise, but nothing eventuated. The Crowns just kept going. It was with some relief, for the First National Northland team (and for most of us in the crowd) when the the final hooter blew.
For the Crowns, Paki Ormsby, a Warrior Development player, had a huge game. A hat trick and a heap of goals saw him pick up 24 points for the game. Darin Kingi, a player involved in the Manly Kiwi connection, scored a brace in front of the Manly bosses at Ericcson for the NRL game. Winger, Nui Talau, had another big game. Pona Jack, off the bench, scored a couple. Props, Alistair Taua'a and Alex Tafili played extremely well in setting the platform and Second Rower, Tyler Cassidy worked all day.
Round 1, 11-13 March 2005
FORMER Manly centre Albert Torrens will make his debut for the Dragons this Saturday night in their round 2 Telstra Premiership clash with Melbourne Storm at WIN Stadium.
PENRITH Panthers coach John Lang has named his team to face the Sydney Roosters at Penrith Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Despite their first round loss to the Sharks last weekend the Panthers emerged relatively unscathed on the injury front and coach Lang will be happy about second rower Tony Puletua's early guilty plea and his subsequent inclusion in the Panthers squad.
The Panthers team is;
MITSUBISHI Electric Bulldogs coach has named new recruit Ben Czislowski (former Bronco) as the replacement for the injured Mark O'Meley in the front row for this Friday night's clash with the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville. Czislowski came off the Bulldogs interchange last Friday to perform strongly and has now been rewarded with a starting position.
FORMER St George Illawarra and Kiwi Test prop Craig Smith will make a return to the NRL after signing a one-year deal with Newcastle. Smith will most likely lace on the boots in Round 4, when the Knights take on the Cowboys at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
SHARKS half back Brett Kimmorley will miss this weekend's clash against Manly after pleading guilty to a grade one careless high tackle, his first suspension ever in the NRL.
JEROME Ropati has been promoted to the starting line-up while Sione Faumuina and Tevita Latu both return from off-season operations for the Vodafone Warriors? second round NRL clash in Brisbane on Saturday night.
FULLBACK - Billy Slater (Storm) Bagged a hat trick of tries and led the way for the Storm as they trounced the hapless Knights. Boy he's got some pace about him!
CAN we please try that again? Last Friday was not the start to the season that Dragons fans wanted. The team played below our expectations & there wasn?t enough Red & White in the stands for a game against one of our traditional rivals.
MELBOURNE Storm, which demolished the Newcastle Knights in Sunday's NRL season-opener, has named an unchanged line-up for this weekend's road game against the Dragons in Wollongong.
SHARKS coach Stuart Raper has selected his team for this Sunday's game against the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. With Brett Kimmorley sidelined with suspension, Adam Dykes slots into halfback with Greg Bird moving into a familiar five eighth position.
IN form prop Jason King has a chest injury and will miss Sunday's blockbuster against the Cronulla Sharks at Brookvale Oval.
PARRAMATTA Eels coach Brian Smith has named his team to play the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Aussie Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Coach Smiths team is;