THERE'S still everything to play for in this, the final weekend of the regular Total RL.com Welsh Rugby League Conference season.
Newport Titans will have to re-write the record books if they are to keep third place and qualify for the Play-Offs in their first season as unbeaten Bridgend Blue Bulls will make the trip to Pill Harriers on Saturday.
Should Newport fail to beat the Champions, local rivals Torfaen Tigers can replace them in the top three if they beat Swansea Valley Miners at Ystalyfera RFC. Torfaen go into the match as favourites despite a 14-26 defeat at the hands of Bridgend on Wednesday.
Tigers coach, Kevin Weaver comments "We shook Bridgend up at the end at that game and came back well. Unfortunately through our own in-indiscipline, we lost the game in first 20 minutes. This Saturday is a must win for us and I'm confident that we have the team to do it. The main worry is I think we've loosened Bridgend up a bit. There's a lot of sore bodies in the Blue Bulls camp after coming up against our lads and we may have done Newport a bit favour in that way. Bridgend are a top class team though and I hope they can keep up their winning run for just one more game as we'd love to meet them again in the final."
The Miners also need to win if they are to hang onto fifth place and a home tie in the Shield Play-Offs next week. If they lose, they will go down to sixth and have to travel to the winners of the basement battle clash at Taffs Well, Cardiff Demons v Valley Cougars.
Despite Cardiff's superior points difference record, the Cougars go into the match as the form side with recent wins over Aberavon and Swansea. Because of this, Cardiff coach Wayne Williams is not counting any chickens but is looking forward to the game.
Williams comments, "We had an excellent training session at Taffs Well on Wednesday night. The lads know the situation and more fired up for this game than any other this season. They are treating it as the most important match in our history so far as no-one wants to finish bottom of the league. Cougars have some strong players as they've shown in recent weeks. We know the job that we have to do."
All games kick-off at 2.30pm while Cardiff Demons and Valley Cougars also meet at under 15 level, that game kicking off at 11.30pm.
THE Sydney Airport Jets are back at Henson Park this Saturday (July 24) and so are several of our injured forwards. Head Coach Col Murphy now has the quality troops back on deck to really give it to the Sea Eagles. Get down to Henson to see the maroon and white feathers fly!
NSWRL VB Premier League
Newtown v Manly-Warringah
Saturday, July 24
Contrary to previous advice, the postponed Jim Beam Cup fixture against The Entrance is in fact being played this Saturday.
NSWRL Jim Beam Cup
Newtown plays away to The Entrance
Saturday, July 24
THE New Zealand Women's Rugby League annual National Tournament 2004 is due to take place at Walter Massey Park (Mangere East Rugby League Park) in Mangere, Auckland from Friday 30 July through to Sunday 1 August 2004.
This will be the 10th annual Rugby League Nationals for the women, and with 5 very strong teams taking part in 2004, with representation from Canterbury, Wellington, Waicoa Bay, and Auckland (2 Teams), looks to be another extremely competitive and entertaining 3 days of football. A tournament draw is attached for your information.
The ladies work very hard throughout the season in their club football and alongside this train for approximately 6 weeks with their provinces in preparation for the Nationals. The Nationals then provides the women with the opportunity to showcase their Rugby League skills and talent in contention for a spot in the World Champion "Kiwi Ferns" squad.
A "Kiwi Ferns" team will be selected at the end of the National tournament on Sunday 1 August 2004. A squad of 19 will then travel to Brisbane on the 12 August 2004 where they will take on the Australian's in a 2 test series.
Test matches are as follows:
1st Test - Saturday 14 August Bendigo Bank Oval, Ipswich 7.30pm Kick Off
2nd Test - Saturday 21 August Davies Park South, Brisbane 4.00pm Kick Off
Presentation Dinner Saturday 21 August South Sydney Leagues Club
EASTERN Tornadoes and Otahuhu Ellerslie have already played their Round 12 match so will not be playing this weekend.
WIGAN Second Row Forward Danny Tickle has today put pen to paper on a new two year contract which will keep him at the JJB until the end of 2006.
TIME to separate the men from the boys. Round 20 starts tonight with the Bulldogs traveling to Campbelltown to take on the Wests Tigers, who are playing for their season tonight. The Bulldogs are sitting pretty in second spot whilst the Tigers are languishing in eleventh position on 18 competition points.
THE National Rugby League Referees Coach, Robert Finch, has sought a ruling from both the ARL and RFL in the UK after his referees' exposed an anomaly in the existing laws of the game.
ST.GEORGE Bank Ltd have installed some additional seating for their
staff and customers for Sunday's clash against the Sharks at OKI Jubilee Stadium.
THE Canterbury Bulldogs have beaten the Wests Tigers 24-20 in one of the most absorbing and entertaining matches of the season at Campbelltown Stadium.
WESTS vs Helensburgh. 3pm Saturday July 24 - Parrish Park
MELBOURNE Storm has begun bolstering its forward pack in readiness for next season following the signings of Bulldogs prop/second-rower Dennis Scott and young Manly prop Ian Donnelly, both on two-year deals.
ST George Dragons legend, Billy Smith will be just inside the General Admission Entrance of Oki Jubilee Stadium this Sunday (25th July) from 2:00pm to 3:00pm to sign copies of his book, A SAINT FROM HEAD TO TOE.
PENRITH has decided against appealing the nine-week NRL suspension of Ben Ross.
THERE are only around 3,000 general admission tickets left for the Saints vs Sharks match this Sunday at Oki Jubilee Stadium. To guarantee entry, supporters should attempt to pre-purchase tickets today (24/07/04).
THE Canberra Raiders have signed Michael and David Howell from the Dragons as the Raiders continue their buildup to season 2005. Both Michael and David have signed two year deals with the Raiders with Michael making 14 first grade appearances and David six, all for the Dragons.