ST George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown believes his playmakers have finally come to grips with their on-field roles ahead of their blockbuster NRL clash against Parramatta tonight.
IT?S weeks like last week that make me question why I punt on Rugby League, but in hindsight there was some great value out there. Form reversals dominated the round?s results with the Tigers, Chooks and Bunnies turning around their collective ineptitude to surprise most people, aside from their die-hard fans of course.
FULL preview notes and teams for Round 20 of the Queensland Wizard Cup.Three of these games in particular will go a long way to deciding the finals make-up:Toowoomba v NorthsNorth Queensland v RedcliffeTweed Heads v Burleigh.TOOWOOMBA v NORTHS Clive Berghofer Stadium, Saturday August 5, 2pm *Live on ABC TV Referee: Michael WiseTHE STORY: Toowoomba?s quest for the minor premiership receives a boost with NRL youngsters Joel Moon and Fraser Anderson back. In threatening form of late, Norths has lost the big quartet of Chris Walker, Jamie Feeney, Aaron Bulow and Scott Anderson. Walker has been released, Feeney will be rested, while both Bulow (knee) and Anderson (foot) are injured.THE STAT: In head-to-head clashes Norths leads Toowoomba 11-8, with one draw. These matches are always keenly contested, with many junior representative teammates and future NRL players doing battle.THE STAR: Phil Wuersching has been named to play his first Wizard Cup game since recording 7 games in the 2004 season alongside the likes of Ryan Hoffman, Antonio Kaufusi and Dallas Johnson. Wuersching was captain of the Queensland Rangers team which toured NZ this year. CHANGES: TOOWOOMBA ? In: Jason Moon, Joel Moon, Fraser Anderson. Out: Pat Dall, Ben Green, Ian Lacey. NORTHS ? In: Jackson Nicolau, Brenton Stonier, Phil Wuersching, Matthew Bartlett. Out: Chris Walker, Jamie Feeney, Aaron Bulow, Scott Anderson.CHARGES: NORTHS ? Will Scanlon (Grade 2 Dangerous Throw, Early Plea, 2wks + 43pts)Toowoomba Clydesdales Players: 1. Todd PARNELL 2. Denan KEMP 3. Steve MICHAELS 4. Jason MOON 5. Gideon MZEMBE 6. Joel MOON 7. Brett SEYMOUR13. Derricke WATKINS12. Ben VAEAU11. Fraser ANDERSON10. Ben HANNANT 9. John TE REO 8. Nick KENNY (c)Interchange: 14. David TAYLOR15. Lynden MURPHY16. Lachlan MORGAN17. Jamie SIMPSONCoach: Mark GEE Norths Devils Players: 1. Smith SAMAU 2. Chad LEACH 3. Jackson NICOLAU 4. Ryan SHORTLAND 5. Steve FRANCISCUS 6. Michael BOND 7. Isaac KAUFMANN13. Trent HENRICK12. Sam TAGATAESE11. Matthew BARTLETT10. Jeff LIMA 9. James AUBUSSON 8. Troy HANSENInterchange: 14. Brenton STONIER15. Brendan AFITU16. Phil WUERSCHING17. Aaron MORGANCoach: Wayne TRELEAVEN SOUTHS LOGAN v WYNNUM MANLYBrandon Park, Saturday August 5, 3pmReferee: Justin EastwoodTHE STORY: Plenty of pride will be at stake in the ?Battle of the Birds?, a fierce clash ever since the two sides contested grand finals in 1982, 1984 and 1985. Both teams will be looking to climb a few rungs before the end of the season and build some momentum for 2007. Past players from the Magpies and Seagulls have dominated the 4BC Brisbane Rugby League Team of the 80s. THE STAT: Souths has not won more than five games in a season since the year 2000, when they claimed eight victories. That year the Magpies fielded Paul Whatuira, Francis Meli, Awen Guttenbeil, Monty Betham, Henry Faafili, Clinton Toopi and Ali Lauti?iti.THE STAR: Colourful ball-playing forward Jim Baira keeps his spot in the Wynnum Manly side after impressing against Toowoomba last week. Another Queensland Rangers representative from 2006, he played 10 games for Souths Logan last year and has played Foley Shield.CHANGES: SOUTHS LOGAN ? In: Damian Willis, Stan Fau. Out: Chris Sandow, Mase Laulu-Togagae. WYNNUM MANLY ? In: Bill Wyatt, Daniel Evans. Out: Chris Currie, Gary Winter.CHARGES: NoneSouths Logan Magpies Players: 1. Quentin LAULU-TOGAGAE 2. Tyrone COPPEDGE 3. Michael ANSCHAU 4. Damian WILLIS 5. Derek FLETCHER 6. Brandon COSTIN 7. Phil DENNIS13. Jason MITCHELL12. Tanu WULF11. Jerry AHERN10. Josh GRIFFITH 9. Cameron JOYCE 8. Angus MARTINInterchange: 14. Stanley FAU15. Chris McGURK16. Shaun NIPPERESS17. Tim CANNARDCoach: Mark GLIDDON Wynnum Manly Seagulls Players: 1. Tangi ROPATI 2. Rodney BARBA 3. Brian JELLICK 4. Steve IRWIN 5. Bill WYATT 6. Jim AHMAT 7. Albert TALIPEAU13. Luke DALZIEL-DON12. Darren BAIN11. John BRUCE10. Sam CRABB 9. Zac CHISHOLM 8. Fili SOFAInterchange: 14. Josh ROVELLI15. Jim BAIRA16. Daniel EVANS17. Kerry SMITHCoach: Neil WHARTON NORTH QLD v REDCLIFFEDairy Farmers Stadium, Saturday August 5, 5.30pmReferee: Gavin MorrisTHE STORY: Those who get to the ground early for Saturday?s Cowboys v Bulldogs clash at Dairy Farmers Stadium will be treated to a fine double-header. North Queensland and Redcliffe were tipped at the start of the season as likely Wizard Cup grand finalists ? and they have done little to change that line of thought. Earlier this year the Dolphins got up 16-14 in an absolute ripper of a clash.THE STAT: Out of the 10 Queensland Wizard Cup seasons until now, there has only been one occasion when a team has lost more than five games in the regular season and gone on to win the premiership. As it stands Redcliffe has lost five games and North Queensland has lost three.THE STAR: Rory Bromley has been recalled to the Redcliffe team in place of winger Chris Giumelli. In Round 10 against the Young Guns Bromley scored a match-equalling try with 20 seconds remaining, before Greg Bourke slotted the conversion for the win. The Baralaba speedster played for North Queensland in the 2005 grand final.CHANGES: NORTH QLD ? In: Neil Sweeney, Josh Hannay, Shane Muspratt, Daniel Strickland, Rod Jensen. Out: Ty Williams, Dean Payne, Ben Lowe, Greg Byrnes, Scott Smith. REDCLIFFE ? In: Rory Bromley. Out: Chris Giumelli.CHARGES: NoneNorth Qld Young Guns Players: 1. Jason BARSLEY 2. Neil SWEENEY 3. Josh HANNAY 4. Jamie FRIZZO 5. Brenton BOWEN 6. Shane MUSPRATT 7. Brent McCONNELL13. Rod JENSEN12. Scott BOLTON11. Daniel STRICKLAND (c)10. Sam FAUST 9. Clint AMOS 8. Ray CASHMEREInterchange: 14. Brett FIRMAN15. Leigh COGHILL16. Jim ANDERSEN17. Mark DALLE CORTCoach: Mick CRAWLEY Redcliffe Dolphins Players: 1. Ryan CULLEN 2. Kaine MANIHERA 3. Greg BOURKE 4. Nick EMMETT 5. Rory BROMLEY 6. Chris FOX 7. Marty TURNER13. Gerard PARLE12. Danny BURKE11. Grant FLUGGE10. Adam STARR 9. Michael ROBERTS 8. Troy LINDSAY (c)Interchange: 14. Nick WALKER15. Mark SHIPWAY16. Danny GREEN17. Pat GARDNERCoach: Anthony GRIFFIN CENTRAL v IPSWICHBrowne Park, Saturday August 5, 7.30pmReferee: Clayton SharpeTHE STORY: With the finals of the Rockhampton and Gladstone leagues kicking off this Sunday, the people of Central Queensland are bracing themselves for a bumper weekend of football. The Wizard Cup game on Saturday night presents an interesting clash between a Central team which has improved greatly this season and an Ipswich team finding some form.THE STAT: Central?s last three games will be at home and if the Comets can beat the Jets, Norths and Easts, they could potentially finish as high as equal-sixth. Ipswich could finish equal-eighth if it wins all its games.THE STAR: Former Australian Universities representative Marty Hatfield seems to have won favour with Comets coach Matt Parish, named for his third Wizard Cup game in a row. Last week during the bye he starred for Rockhampton Brothers as they upset local league heavyweight CQU Norths 44-16. Brothers coach Steve Parle labelled Hatfield ?just outstanding? in the Morning Bulletin.CHANGES: CENTRAL ? In: Tyron Haynes, Aaron Sweeney. Out: Jade Wogand, Callum Wilson. IPSWICH ? In: Brendon Marshall. Out: Josh Costello.CHARGES: NoneCentral Comets Players: 1. Jimmy McCONACHY 2. Marty HATFIELD 3. Guy WILLIAMS 4. Misi TAULAPAPA 5. McConkie TAUASA 6. Scott PORTER 7. Cheyenne MOTU13. Matt RUA12. Wayne BARNETT (c)11. Tyron HAYNES10. Peter PENAIA 9. Herewini RANGI 8. Aaron SWEENEYInterchange: 14. Mark SINIULA15. Kristian MENE16. Michael ESDALE17. Marty OBORNCoach: Matt PARISH Ipswich Jets Players: 1. Brendon MARSHALL 2. Ben McFADGEAN 3. Rickie DODD 4. Chris SCANLAN 5. Jonathon MUIR 6. Travis BAKER 7. Ricky BIRD13. Danny COBURN (c)12. Joel REITHMULLER11. Daniel FULLARTON10. Isaak AH MAU 9. McKenna GIBSON 8. Cameron MULCAHYInterchange: 14. Matt McPHEE15. Mathew CAMERON16. Tyson LOFIPO17. Aaron WERTHCoach: Trevor GILLMEISTER TWEED HEADS v BURLEIGHPiggabeen Complex, Sunday August 6, 3pmReferee: Brett SuttorTHE STORY: One of the biggest games of the season. Perhaps the most emotive local derby in the Wizard Cup and a game which could alter both teams? finals hopes. Burleigh is desperately trying to scrape into the top five, while Tweed Heads could finish as high as third or as low as seventh. With the Gold Coast Titans arriving in the NRL next year, plenty of players are out to impress.THE STAT: Burleigh leads Tweed Heads 4-3 in head-to-head clashes since the Seagulls were admitted to the competition in 2003. Burleigh has missed the finals just once since entering the Cup, while Tweed has made the finals only once before.THE STAR: There are some fantastic clashes across the park. Nat Barnes v Trent Purdon was a scintillating duel back in Round 10, while strong centres Josh Vaughan and Jordan Atkins are keen to do battle again. Up front you have team leaders Ryan Gundry and Matt King at hooker, with no-nonsense men Ali Brown and Andrew Moroney by their sides.CHANGES: TWEED HEADS ? In: Matt Briggs. Out: Matt Austin.BURLEIGH ? In: Brett O?Farrell. Out: Josh BlatchCHARGES: TWEED HEADS ? Matt Austin (Grade 1 Dangerous Throw + 30% + 68pts, Early Plea, 1 wk + 89pts)Tweed Heads Players: 1. Ryan MILLIGAN 2. Nat BARNES 3. James WOOD 4. Josh VAUGHAN 5. Ryan O'CONNELL 6. Brad DAVIS 7. Paul ROLLS13. Matt POW12. Dean ALLEN11. Tom PRICHARD10. Roy FRIEND 9. Matt KING 8. Andrew MORONEYInterchange: 14. Matt BRIGGS15. Selasi BERDIE16. Cory BOND17. Josh PEACOCKCoach: Steve MURPHY Burleigh Bears Players: 1. Reggie CRESSBROOK 2. Trent PURDON 3. Trent LEIS 4. Jordan ATKINS 5. Aseri LAING 6. Jamie RUSSO 7. Clay HARRIS13. Robert APANUI12. Adam HUTCHISON11. Martin GRIESE10. Shane O'FLANAGAN 9. Ryan GUNDRY 8. Ali BROWNInterchange: 14. James GRIFFITHS15. Brett O?FARRELL16. Luke MERCER17. Marty MITCHELLCoach: Jimmy LENIHAN Easts ? ByeCHARGES: Damien Durnford (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Easrly Plea, 0wks + 56pts)
WESTS Tigers coach Tim Sheens says captain Brett Hodgson and lock Liam Fulton may play again this season if the Tigers reach the finals. Hodgson was expected to miss the rest of the year with a knee injury but is recovering strongly and could make a comeback if the reigning premiers venture deep into this year's finals series.
WITH the Nine Network set to present an extra Friday night game as of next year and Fox Sports recently announcing plans to broadcast Monday night fixtures, I feel it?s timely to look at the quality of Rugby League broadcasts throughout the nation.
DRAGONS Supporters, After the disappointment of the last few weeks, the Dragons will be looking to make amends this Friday night against traditional rivals, the Parramatta Eels. The Eels having won their last 6 matches will be looking to add the scalp of one of the Premiership favourites to their record, but St George Illawarra have it all to play for in a match that could setup their run to the finals. The MBDS screening this week will be back at SteakOut at Crown - the only venue in Melbourne which can show the NRL at 8:30pm Friday from Channel Nine Sydney. It's been great the last few weeks seeing people wearing their MBDS shirts and other Dragons merchandise so make sure you don the Red and White for this clash. Look forward to seeing you all there. WHAT: Dragons v EelsWHEN: Friday 4th August, 8:30pmWHERE: SteakOut Sports Bar, Level 1, Crown Casino GO THE DRAGONS!!
NORTH Queensland winger Ty Williams may be back in action by the first round of the Finals despite undergoing knee surgery this week.
SYDNEY Roosters winger Amos Roberts is free to play in Sunday's clash against Newcastle after beating a grade one dangerous throw charge at the NRL judiciary tonight.
BARTERCARD CUP COMPETITION - ROUND 15 RESULTS (Week 2 Of Split Round)Monday 31 July 2006 Auckland Lions vs Counties Manukau JetzNorth Harbour Stadium, AlbanyAuckland Lions 28Tries: M. Solomona, M. Start, S. Fa'alogo (3)Goals: S. Buckingham (4)Counties Manukau Jetz 20Tries: M. Filipo, J. Ioapo, E. Uasi, L. MoalaGoals: D. Heketoa (2)Halftime: 18 - 10 To Auckland Lions
GOD had been thinking. Armageddon was close now, and he knew he?d have to start sorting out the saints from the sinners. It wasn?t easy being omnipotent, and even all-powerful beings have to work through tough patches from eon to eon. ?I?m pretty rusty. I really need to get a bit of smiting practice in.? He?d taken to talking to himself in his old age.In order to catch up, he sat back in his newly-created recliner, and skimmed the paper. He chuckled, and a golfer in Kansas was struck by lightning. ?Shane Warne really cracks me up. When will he ever learn?? He chuckled again. ?In about three weeks.? God never tired of ?end-of-the-world? jokes.After reading the sports section he had an epiphany. There certainly seemed to be a lot of controversy in rugby league. It would be the perfect place to start.He took out 'The Ten Commandments ? God?s Version and other stories' from his white robe. It had served him well in the past and he should be able to pass judgment on league like he had in days of yore. ?Just like riding a bike.? After looking the commandments over, he decided to only use some.He started writing.?Okay. I?m God, worship me first.? Phil Gould was an obvious front-runner here, given his God-complex, as was Alan Jones. Allah would never forgive him if he included the Bulldogs supporters, and he enjoyed discussing the subtleties of stoning with someone.?I am not a profanity.? Raudonikis and Finch were the first added, and they kept on coming. Blaspheming sure had gained in popularity. ?I might need a new book?. ?Kick back on Sundays.? He thought for a while. ?Hmm, I?ll amend that one.? In these modern times there was always room for 24-7 worship.?Honour your Mum and Dad.? The original marketing plan didn?t allow for future amendments, or additions, but after assessing the parental abilities of the world this really needed to be waived. He was feeling a little depressed now.This used to be so much easier. Sipping on a cup of his favourite coffee, he pondered the apocalypse. The black phone rang. A row of six phones - all different colours - lay side by side. Rastafarian God Jah rang on the green phone; Hindu God Ganesh on the blue; Allah had red; Jesus (busy putting his image on a burrito in Mexico) chose yellow; The Pope was white, and black was for?the other one.?Hello Luc,? he said.?Whassup G???You know I don?t like being called that,? God said.?Yeah,? Lucifer sighed. ?Look G. You must be getting ready for the big clean-out shortly. I need to budget for extra space, or storage fees will come into it. Should I reserve the seventh circle of hell???Yes. That?s a good idea Luc. Expect some guests late next week. But keep a table in the third circle for Riddell.??Speaking of gluttony, still up for dinner on Saturday???Wouldn?t miss it,? God replied, ?and bring your son.??Sure thing, and I?ll get Hitler onto the reservations.?God put the receiver down. He was glad he disposed of the pink phone. Answer George Bush?s call once and all hell breaks loose.?Don?t kill.? After striking out in his last two attempts, God was not happy. Nothing constituted killing. Prior loading would have to be enough. Yes, that?ll do: Morley, Crocker, and Ryles were all starters. He couldn?t bring himself to include Reuben Wiki. ?He?s always been hard done by.??Don?t cheat.? His mind wandered to the AFL. God muttered, ?Wayne Carey will keep.? He?d worry about the NRL offenders another time.?Don?t steal.? The NRL had got in first on this one. Maybe Gallop is paying attention? He noted Gould was the greatest opponent of the stripping law. ?That?s two.? An extra mark went in the book.?Don?t make things up and say it?s true.? As much as he enjoyed The Daily Telegraph and Danny Weidler, he knew when someone was pulling the other one as much as the next God. A number of other media personnel were included, and he rounded it off with everyone from 2GB and Ray Hadley.Satisfied, he put the pen down, and glanced over at his framed Queensland jersey; signed by Allan Langer. Jesus got extra brownie points for that. Walking over to the window, he looked down at the Earth and beamed. ?Things are coming together nicely.?
OFFENSIVE conduct has been defined as "behaviour calculated to wound the feelings, arouse anger or resentment or disgust or outrage in the mind of a reasonable person."So what defines a ?reasonable? person? If press reports are to be believed, it is a Bulldogs supporter roughing up a comedian.A couple of Fridays ago, satirist Chas Licciardello was arrested for staging a prank in Jubilee Avenue, adjacent to Kogarah Oval. St George Illawarra Dragons were playing the Canterbury Bulldogs and given Canterbury?s chequered history regarding crowd issues, there were over 100 police on duty looking for troublemakers.In arresting Licciardello, officers apparently confiscated a number of fake weapons which they say had the potential to stir up the crowd. Licciardello was dressed in full Bulldogs gear and was allegedly carrying a number of items including a plastic knife, plastic knuckle dusters and fake flares. In putting together his piece for ABC TV's The Chaser's War on Everything, Licciardello reportedly ?angered? Bulldogs fans when he hawked the items while posing as a street vendor. After having a look at the skit, I have to say I was surprised that anyone would get sucked into the routine. In any case, Acting Deputy Commissioner Denis Clifford was not amused and in an almost surreal moment, declared that he was "thoroughly disgusted.""This was clearly an act of mindless stupidity,? said the Acting Deputy Commissioner."This fellow will be appearing in Sutherland Court at a later date charged with offensive conduct.?The Acting Deputy Commissioner concluded with his own brand of humour: "We'll see how funny he thinks all this is then.?So let?s put aside the keystone capers for a moment and assume that police have a sense of humour too. The Acting Deputy Commissioner may have been upset by the prank but, by accident or design, he was engaging in a bit of theatre himself. He delivered a worthy response, a poetic blend of drama and subtlety which the great Victor Mature would have been proud of. Was our law enforcer trying to go one better than the Chaser guy? With that in mind, here's hoping the Acting Deputy Commissioner doesn't get a stand up gig abroad where real trouble, not imagined, is actually taking place.Even NSW premier Morris Iemma became part of the show in condemning the joke as ?grossly irresponsible behaviour.? To top it off, Bulldogs CEO Malcolm Noad lobbed in to play the race card, declaring that Licciardello was trying to inflame ?Lebanese supporters in particular."Meanwhile, the press tracked down Chas?s father, Charles, who appeared to have an air of resignation in saying, "Why couldn't he get a conventional job like everyone else??By now, some of you may be thinking I?m making all this up. But sadly, that's not the case? this is serious media we?re talking about here.The police reportedly received a complaint from Bulldogs supporters. But as the TV footage later showed, the same Bulldogs fans who were captioned as being ?angered? were in fact laughing. So who complained? Well obviously someone did or the police couldn?t have acted.Licciardello himself was reported in the media as saying, "Most of the people took it pretty light heartedly but a couple of the supporters got a bit angry and then the police stepped in."Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see how many outraged footy fans the police can produce, if or when this matter ever makes it to court.Is it possible that a few hotheads came along to the circus and didn?t like being the butt of someone else?s humour? Clearly some folk have their own anger management issues to deal with. But in the interest of protecting the public, let?s arrest the clown. At is turned out; there was no real crowd trouble. But at least the police were seen to be doing their job.So I ask again, what is offensive conduct? Perhaps it's the sight of someone wearing a Bulldogs jersey. More likely it was the fake knife and other paraphernalia which caused offence. But I?ve seen similar plastic weaponry available for purchase at ?Crazy Clarks?, my local discount toy store and the venue of choice for psychopaths everywhere? and here you thinking they call Clark ?crazy? for his low, low prices. Alas, I am no closer to answering the question. I guess more will be revealed in the next gripping episode.Oh, and for those who are interested, the Bulldogs beat St George 22-16.
A classic round of footy action left the selectors a little boondoggled as they made their way around the table late Sunday afternoon. A couple of quality games throughout the round saw most positions remaining fairly contentious as the evening wore on and the boys put away Mrs Mac?s entire lemon meringue pie before settling on the final line-up. So strap yourselves in and have a good hard look at the Round 21 League Unlimited Team of the Week - by gee there?s some points in them.
BRISBANE Broncos player Brett Seymour is alleged to have head-butted a woman while trying to kiss her on a Brisbane hotel dance floor in the early hours of Monday morning.
PARRAMATTA will move back rower Chad Robinson in to the front row to replace the suspended Fuifui Moimoi for their clash with the Dragons on Friday night. Centre Brett Delaney makes a return from injury on the bench while the match marks the first match between the two clubs since the outrageous 8-1 victory by the Dragons at OKI Jubilee Stadium in round 13.