Round 11: Hull take thriller in France

CENTRE Kirk Yeaman scored his second successive hat-trick as Hull completed their third Super League victory on the bounce, by 34-28 over Catalans Dragons, under caretaker coach Richard Agar.

Round 11: Noble inspires Wigan win over Giants

BRIAN Noble?s first outing as Wigan coach could scarcely have gone better as the rock-bottom Warriors hammered Huddersfield 46-14 at the Galpharm Stadium.

Round 11: Leeds blast past Cas

DANNY McGuire scored his 100th Leeds try as the Rhinos inflicted Castleford?s third defeat in a week by 42-6.McGuire has scored in every game he has played against the Tigers and he maintained that remarkable record with a superb solo effort midway through the second half.The dazzling 23-year-old, back to his best after last season was blighted by injury problems, raced over after collecting his own chip kick to leave the visitors floundering.It was his 15th try of the season and he looks a strong bet to finish the year as engage Super League?s top try-scorer.Former Leeds prop Danny Ward, making his first return to Headingley since being sacked in January, had to endure a miserable night.The 25-year-old was a Grand Final winner in 2004 but is now battling to beat the drop with lowly Castleford.And his ex-team-mates showed no mercy, racking up nine tries in a comprehensive win.Matt Diskin and Keith Senior both crossed twice while Australian star Mark O?Neill finally made his Leeds debut after recovering from a shoulder injury picked up in pre-season.The Tigers raced into a shock lead early on when full-back Michael Platt crossed from Ryan McGoldrick?s well-timed pass.But Leeds responded quickly when Gareth Ellis crashed over for his fourth try in five games and then Senior stormed through to put Leeds in front midway through the first half.Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Richard Fa?aoso were dispatched to the sin-bin by referee Ronnie Laughton following an ugly flare-up during a first half in which Laughton awarded 14 penalties.But Leeds kept their composure and extended their lead when Jamie Peacock barged over despite the attentions of three attempted tacklers.Diskin?s second-half double, alongside further efforts from Senior, Scott Donald and Ashley Gibson wrapped up the win.Leeds: Mathers, Donald, Gibson, Senior, Williams, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Jones-Buchanan, Lauitiiti, Ellis.Replacements: Kirke, O'Neill, Scruton, Tansey.Castleford: Platt, Pryce, Bird, Franze, Dyer, McGoldrick, Davis, Ward, Henderson, Nutley, Manu, Whitaker, Roarty.Replacements: Kain, Huby, Fa'aoso, Haughey.Leeds (16) 42.Tries: Ellis, Senior 2, Peacock, Diskin 2, Donald, McGuire, Gibson. Goals: Gibson 3.Castleford (6) 6.Tries: Platt. Goals: McGoldrick.Referee: R Laughton (Barnsley)Att: 14,054

Round 11: Saints squeeze past Salford

ST Helens withstood a second-half bombardment to extend their outstanding unbeaten away record in the engage Super League to 14 games after edging past spirited Salford 12-10.

Who The Hell Is Jay Jay?

SINCE Mick Cronin and Ray Price last donned the blue and gold in 1986, Eels fans have had little to crow about. Perpetual failure to achieve the major prize has left a burning hole in our bellies. It?s reaching the point where the younger Parramatta supporters are almost able to sympathise with Sharks fans. Thankfully it hasn?t been all doom and gloom though. A procession of club championships, world sevens trophies, lower grade victories and a couple of minor premierships has helped to alleviate the hunger pains a little. Whilst nothing to get vocal about, we can now share a collective inward smile and somewhat lame ?yea team?. We currently hold a trifecta of league?s ?best and fairest?, ?most improved? and ?encouragement? awards. The trophy cabinet is sitting pretty with the minor premiership, club championship and premier league cup, but there?s one big empty spot waiting to be filled. It?s a bit like spending several years planning an extravagant wedding, getting all dressed up on the big day and turning up to find three beautiful bridesmaids in position, only to be told that the bride is spending the day driving between churches in Balmain, Campbelltown and Ashfield.NRL Minor Premiership - The JJ Giltinan ShieldWith another year to sit and stare at this lopsided trophy cabinet, the mind starts to wander. The prize for the minor premiership is a big arse shield (and as The Colonel can attest, heavy). Despite being emblazoned with the words ?The J.J. Giltinan Shield?, the number of people that remember the shield?s name may be even less than the number of people who care about the minor premiership which it represents, ie. almost negligible. Whilst some of the older crowd may recall that it was introduced in 1951 and represented the major prize for a long time, only a handful of diehard extremists could tell you that it is covered by the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986, requiring a temporary permit in 2002 for it to leave Australia and cross the ditch to Warriors HQ. Despite the suggestion that nobody cares about the NRL Minor Premiership and by extension, the shield that it represents, it is a heritage item and was introduced to honour the memory of one J.J.Giltinan who died the previous year. This left me with one question: Who the hell is Jay Jay?JJ GiltinanAn initial Google search brings up pages and pages on the man in question. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the articles are about his second love, sailing. Fortunately for league fans however, I can begin to answer the question by stating that James Joseph Giltinan was a guy with a bit of cash, a ship-load of guts and a rebellious streak stretching from Sydney Harbour, half way across the globe. Often referred to as the father of Australian Rugby League, he was the inaugural secretary of the NSWRL. Giltinan was an entrepreneur that ponied up the cash: for the first Kangaroo tour in 1908; and to establish the first professional football code in Australia with the Sydney based competition, breaking away from rugby union. There was a fine line in terms of JJ?s progressive nature and where exactly it would leave the game of league. His vision was for a single professional code, amalgamated with Aussie rules. Fortunately for league traditionalists who have fallen in love with the game in the decades since, he dropped the ball so to speak. The Kangaroo tour was a financial disaster, rendering his suggestion of a combined code in ruins. His legacy however is the game that is now the pinnacle of domestic sport in Australia and has had a huge influence on the game internationally as well. For most of his lifetime, Great Britain had a stranglehold on the international game, enjoying the kind of success that Australia has had in the last few decades. In fact, it was only several weeks before JJ?s death in 1950 that Australia finally broke through for its first Ashes series victory in 30 years. Aged 84, James died a happy man, this much is definitely known. He said so himself. Giltinan seems to have had a happy life which has left its mark on the generations which followed and those to come, but unfortunately, I?m not sure that I?m all that much closer to really knowing who the hell was Jay Jay.

Minichiello out of Anzac Day clash

SYDNEY Roosters fullback Anthony Minichiello is out of tomorrow's Anzac Day NRL clash against St George Illawarra due to a hamstring injury.

Will The Sharks Ever Win A Comp?

OF all the clubs in the National Rugby League, the Cronulla Sharks have the greatest history of disappointment and abject failure. For thirty nine years they have worked towards their maiden premiership, only to fall short each and every season with remarkable consistency.

Die Hard Too

THE sun is setting on a glorious Canberra day. My mates and I are standing around the Mal Meninga lounge knocking back a few beers, trying to put off our inevitable separation, where we all disappear back to the beginning of another working week, not seeing each other until next weekend.

Round 7 charges so far

NEWCASTLE prop Josh Perry is facing a three week suspension after being charged over two incidents following Saturday night's NRL clash against Melbourne.

Engage Super League Rd 11 Review

LEEDS Rhinos 42 (Senior 2, Diskin 2, McGuire, Peacock, Gibson, Donald, Ellis tries; Gibson 3 goals) def. Castleford Tigers 6 (Platt try; McGoldrick goal). Att: 14,054.

League, Death and Woodworking

PIP died recently. He wasn?t my Granddad by birth but he was the only one I knew, the only one that cared and I miss him. I miss him although I never saw him in the years after Nana left him. After all the enduring family squabbles - after the battle with alcohol robbed him of his family. When he was gone I realised what he meant to me, and I realised it too late. I don?t think I?m alone in that.

Money Well Spent

THE Australian national psyche is one of the oddest in the world. Where else would one cheer for the underdog, believe in a fair go for all, show restrained signs of tribalism, and cut down those who rise above the pack? This is something we are all very proud of, yet when we do the very opposite of this, not a word may be uttered; for who would dare go against the grain?

The Big Top

ROLL up! Roll up! You will be amazed! You will be dumb-founded!

The Question

MY young son came home from school last month with an important question. You know the type I mean? that father-son discussion and a moment of dread for dads the world over.

Fire Starter

COMBUSTION relies on three things; fuel, oxygen, and most importantly, an ignition source. Without the ignition source, the spark, no fire will ever eventuate. Analogy can be drawn to rugby league ? the forwards the fuel, the backs the oxygen. But no matter the quality or quantity of the fuel and oxygen, the chemistry is incomplete without the halves ? the spark.Few appreciate that the most intense fire and the slowest rusting have the same reaction at their core. The NRL?s premier halves all operate at different speeds, controlling the tempo of their side in different ways. No bigger contrast can be seen than that between the explosive Benji Marshall and the evergreen Jason Smith.Benji Marshall needs no introduction; he is an NRL superstar. Plagued by shoulder injuries early in his career, 2005 marked Benji?s arrival as one of the game?s dominant playmakers. Free of the injuries that had previously restricted his appearances for the Tigers, his presence led the joint venture to not only their maiden finals appearance, but their maiden premiership. Marshall was undoubtedly the player of the finals series, with his impact ranging from try-saving tackles against Brisbane to ?that pass? in the Grand Final to Pat Richards. Massive plays aside, his pace and step made him a continual handful for opposition defences. When Benji plays, the Tigers are equivalent to a raging inferno.Jason Smith is in many ways the antithesis of Benji Marshall. At opposite ends of their careers, Smith plays a brand of football few others can match; rather than speeding the game up, he slows the game down. Many saw his return to the NRL for the Raiders in 2005 after 4 years in England as an impending disaster ? after a string of injuries that kept him sidelined at Hull, how was his ageing body going to handle the rigours of the NRL?What Jason Smith lacks in pace, however, he makes up for in football smarts. His debut season for Canberra was a revelation; despite the side finishing fourteenth, he regularly beat opposition defences with delayed passes and clever decoys. At full strength the Smith-led Raiders were a threat to even the top teams in the competition, and as a long-suffering Canberra fan it was a delight to see a world-class playmaker at the Raiders once again. Jason Smith might move as quickly as rust develops, but his contribution to a young Raiders side was immense. Similar to Benji, in Smith?s absence, his side was a rudderless ship. The spark was no longer there.Only days ago, during the Grand Final rematch against the Cowboys, the Tigers? premiership defence suffered a massive blow as Marshall dislocated his shoulder ? again. The fifth time he has suffered such an injury at only 21, questions were raised as to the longevity of Benji?s potentially brilliant career. Surgery seems to be likely at the conclusion of the NRL season, while his team-mates have to struggle on without him for the next six weeks. After an already shaky start to the season, can his side survive without the spark he provides?Signing on for another season with the Raiders, Jason Smith has started 2006 slowly ? although it would not be in his nature to start the year with a bang. Many have said Smith has hung around one season too many, that age is catching up with him. Yet to rubbish his contribution is to not appreciate how significant Smith is to an inexperienced Raiders outfit. In the opening round success at Manly and the golden-point victory against Penrith in Canberra, it was invariably Smith who threw the final pass for a Raiders try. It was Smith who continually provided attacking opportunities for the Raiders, and it will be Smith who will assist the development of the talented young halves the Raiders have on their books. One of the most astute purchases by the club in recent memory, ?Mr Rust? will continue to be the most crucial player in the Raiders side throughout 2006. The explosive young halves will have to wait.After purchasing land near the Queensland border, Smith will depart the national capital at season?s end, most likely to retire. Yet his services have already been sounded out by the entering Gold Coast side, proof that no matter how slow the reaction is, rust will keep on going. Sadly, for both the Tigers and the league community, the explosion that is Benji Marshall may be extinguished too soon.Combustion relies on three things; fuel, oxygen, and most importantly, an ignition source. Without the ignition source, the spark, no fire will ever eventuate. Analogy can be drawn to rugby league ? the forwards the fuel, the backs the oxygen. But no matter the quality or quantity of the fuel and oxygen, the chemistry is incomplete without the halves ? the spark.Few appreciate that the most intense fire and the slowest rusting have the same reaction at their core. The NRL?s premier halves all operate at different speeds, controlling the tempo of their side in different ways. No bigger contrast can be seen than that between the explosive Benji Marshall and the evergreen Jason Smith.Benji Marshall needs no introduction; he is an NRL superstar. Plagued by shoulder injuries early in his career, 2005 marked Benji?s arrival as one of the game?s dominant playmakers. Free of the injuries that had previously restricted his appearances for the Tigers, his presence led the joint venture to not only their maiden finals appearance, but their maiden premiership. Marshall was undoubtedly the player of the finals series, with his impact ranging from try-saving tackles against Brisbane to ?that pass? in the Grand Final to Pat Richards. Massive plays aside, his pace and step made him a continual handful for opposition defences. When Benji plays, the Tigers are equivalent to a raging inferno.Jason Smith is in many ways the antithesis of Benji Marshall. At opposite ends of their careers, Smith plays a brand of football few others can match; rather than speeding the game up, he slows the game down. Many saw his return to the NRL for the Raiders in 2005 after 4 years in England as an impending disaster ? after a string of injuries that kept him sidelined at Hull, how was his ageing body going to handle the rigours of the NRL?What Jason Smith lacks in pace, however, he makes up for in football smarts. His debut season for Canberra was a revelation; despite the side finishing fourteenth, he regularly beat opposition defences with delayed passes and clever decoys. At full strength the Smith-led Raiders were a threat to even the top teams in the competition, and as a long-suffering Canberra fan it was a delight to see a world-class playmaker at the Raiders once again. Jason Smith might move as quickly as rust develops, but his contribution to a young Raiders side was immense. Similar to Benji, in Smith?s absence, his side was a rudderless ship. The spark was no longer there.Only days ago, during the Grand Final rematch against the Cowboys, the Tigers? premiership defence suffered a massive blow as Marshall dislocated his shoulder ? again. The fifth time he has suffered such an injury at only 21, questions were raised as to the longevity of Benji?s potentially brilliant career. Surgery seems to be likely at the conclusion of the NRL season, while his team-mates have to struggle on without him for the next six weeks. After an already shaky start to the season, can his side survive without the spark he provides?Signing on for another season with the Raiders, Jason Smith has started 2006 slowly ? although it would not be in his nature to start the year with a bang. Many have said Smith has hung around one season too many, that age is catching up with him. Yet to rubbish his contribution is to not appreciate how significant Smith is to an inexperienced Raiders outfit. In the opening round success at Manly and the golden-point victory against Penrith in Canberra, it was invariably Smith who threw the final pass for a Raiders try. It was Smith who continually provided attacking opportunities for the Raiders, and it will be Smith who will assist the development of the talented young halves the Raiders have on their books. One of the most astute purchases by the club in recent memory, ?Mr Rust? will continue to be the most crucial player in the Raiders side throughout 2006. The explosive young halves will have to wait.After purchasing land near the Queensland border, Smith will depart the national capital at season?s end, most likely to retire. Yet his services have already been sounded out by the entering Gold Coast side, proof that no matter how slow the reaction is, rust will keep on going. Sadly, for both the Tigers and the league community, the explosion that is Benji Marshall may be extinguished too soon.

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