MANLY utility Michael Witt is joining the Vodafone Warriors on a one-year deal for the 2007 season while rookies Patrick Ah Van and Sam Rapira have signed new upgraded three-year contracts.
In announcing the trio of signings today, Vodafone Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary said the club?s first-grade roster for next season was now almost completed.
?They?re signings that really help us to build depth in our squad,? he said.
?In Michael we have a player who has the ability to play in both positions in the halves as well as being a quality goal kicker.
?And with Patrick and Sam it?s clear we have players with great futures in the game.
?As rookies they?ve both impressed in first-grade football, Patrick mainly on the wing but also at fullback as we saw last weekend, and Sam coming into the side as an interchange prop.
?They?ve looked comfortable at this level from the moment they first came into the side.?
Born on New Year?s day, 1984, Witt (22) has had a lean season at NRL level this year with just one appearance for the Sea Eagles after being used 19 times in 2005.
?With Matt Orford arriving at Manly this year it hasn?t been one of my best seasons,? he said from Sydney.
?I?ve been in premier league all year but believe I can still make a contribution at first-grade level. That?s why I?m coming to the Vodafone Warriors. I want to have a chance of playing in the NRL again.?
CAPTAIN Trent Barrett will make his return from suspension in a re-shuffled Dragons side for their clash against the Raiders at Canberra Football Stadium on Sunday. Barrett, 28, who has played ten matches this year will replace Mark Gasnier at five-eighth who has been ruled out of the match with a calf strain. Also returning to the side after injury is Jason Ryles (back), Dean Young (ankle) and Clint Greenshields (calf), whilst an injury to Daryl Millard shifts Ben Hornby into the centres. Unavailable Dragons are:Mark Gasnier (Calf), Ben Creagh (Quad), Corey Payne (Concussion), Shaun Timmins (Quad), Wes Naiqama (Ankle). NRL DRAGONS TEAMv Canberra Raiders 3.00pm Sunday 23 July Canberra Stadium Coach: Nathan Brown 1. Clint GREENSHIELDS 2. Colin BEST 3. Ben HORNBY 4. Matt COOPER 5. Brett MORRIS 6. Trent BARRETT (c) 7. Mathew HEAD 8. Luke BAILEY 9. Aaron GORRELL 10. Justin POORE 11. Sam ISEMONGER 12. Dean YOUNG 13. Matt BICKERSTAFF 14. Michael HENDERSON 15. Jason RYLES 16. Danny WICKS 17. Ashton SIMS LOWER GRADE TEAMSPremier League v Canberra Raiders 1.00pm Sunday 23 July Canberra Stadium Coach: Steven Price 1. Reece SIMMONDS 2. Josh MORRIS 3. Beau RYAN 4. Keith LULIA 5. Tom HEWITT 6. Reece BLAYNEY 7. Jamie KEITH 8. Charlie LEAENO 9. George NDAIRA 10. Chris HOUSTON (c) 11. Tom HABERECHT 12. Lee TE MAARI 13. James JIMENEZ 14. Dan HUNT 15. Willie TUPOU 16. Lagi SETU 17. Bryson GOODWIN Jersey Flegg v Canberra Raiders 11.20am Sunday 23 July Canberra Stadium Coach: Corey Pearson 1. Rota SETU 2. Ian CATANIA 3. Ryan MILLARD 4. Junior SEUMANUTAFA 5. Luke IRWIN 6. Matt SEAMARK 7. Blake DUREAU 8. Chris FARRELL 9. Brad DAVIDSON (c) 10. Jhi TANNER 11. Matt PRIOR 12. James KEELAN 13. James GREHAN 14. Luke YOUNG 15. Francis LANGIFISI 16. Luke MUTTDON 17. Lewis McPHAIL 18. Matt MUNDINE 19. Daniel JARVIS 20. Nathan WYNN
CRONULLA is facing a $10,000 fine for failing to register Leon Bott prior to last Sunday's 38-32 NRL loss to Sydney Roosters.
EMERGING NRL player Daniel Conn this afternoon became the latest signing for the Gold Coast Titans.
1. Luke Patten
2. Hazem El Masri
3. Sonny Bill Williams
4. Willie Tonga
5. Andrew Emelio
6. Daniel Holdsworth
7. Brent Sherwin
8. Mark O'Meley
9. Tony Grimaldi
10. Roy Asotasi
11. Willie Mason
12. Andrew Ryan (c)
13. Reni Maitua
BEAURACRACY appears to have stymied disgraced Kiwi international Tevita Latu's rugby league comeback.
BRETT Stewart, Michael Robertson, Chris Hicks, Steve Matai, Paul Stephenson, Travis Burns, Matt Orford, Jason King, Michael Monaghan, Brent Kite, Luke Williamson, Glenn Stewart, Ben Kennedy (c)
1. Darius Boyd
2. Tame Tupou
3. Justin Hodges
4. Brent Tate
5. Scott Minto
6. Darren Lockyer (c)
7. Brett Seymour
8. Shane Webcke
9. Shaun Berrigan
10. Petero Civoniceva
11. David Stagg
12. Brad Thorn
13. Tonie Carroll
1. Amos Roberts
2. Sam Perrett
3. Iosia Soliola
4. Ryan Cross
5. Vince Mellars
6. Braith Anasta
7. Josh Lewis
8. Adrian Morley
9. Craig Wing
10. David Shillington
11. Anthony Tupou
12. Craig Fitzgibbon'
13. Chris Flannery
ST George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown has voiced his support of an NRL initiative to make referees more accountable after his side was found to be on the wrong end of a match-winning decision.The NRL have announced that all contentious refereeing decisions would be scrutinised in a new weekly report to provide greater transparency and accountability by officials.Referees boss Robert Finch released the first report on Monday, which stated the Bulldogs should not have been awarded a crucial try in their thrilling 22-16 NRL win over the Dragons on Friday night.Video referee Bill Harrigan awarded a controversial 21st minute try to Bulldogs halfback Brent Sherwin, who got the benefit of the doubt despite a suggestion of obstruction from Mark O'Meley on Matt Bickerstaff.Brown said the decision had a "huge" bearing on the game, but supported any move to clear up contentious decisions."We all make mistakes," Brown said."Sometimes the referees are ridiculed because sometimes some people don't know the rules."I think this new policy could be a good one because it actually enlightens some people on the rules."It doesn't give us the two points back but it's good they've said they're wrong and put their hands up."We can now get on with life."The Dragons coach said the hardest mistakes to swallow where those made by the video referee."I thought Steve Clark ref'd pretty well and did a good job in a tough, close game," he said."The video referee should get most of them right."We had a chance late in the game but couldn't quite hit the front again but obviously sometimes you get a couple of calls and unfortunately the other day we didn't get one."Maybe somewhere down the track we'll get one that comes back our way."You can't get the perfect players so you can't expect the perfect ref."It's hard for anyone not to expect referees to not make mistakes."As long as you try to be consistent, hopefully everyone learns from it."NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley said the initiative will be trialled for the remainder of the 2006 season."Contentious refereeing decisions often create emotional debate at the time but rarely is there any official announcement clarifying whether the officials were right or wrong," Annesley said."This is another important step in demonstrating transparency and accountability across all parts of our game and where a referee does make a mistake we will continue our policy of acknowledging the error."Conversely, where the officials have made the correct call the NRL has a responsibility to back them up publicly."
1. Rhys Wesser
2. Michael Gordon
3. Danny Galea
4. Luke Lewis
5. Luke Rooney
6. Preston Campbell
7. Craig Gower
8. Joel Clinton
9. Luke Priddis
10. Craig Stapleton
11. Matthew Cross
12. Tony Puletua (c)
13. Frank Pritchard
PENRITH has signed 23-year-old Raiders winger/centre Nathan Smith on a two year deal.
1. Matt Bowen
2. Ashley Graham
3. Mark Henry
4. Josh Hannay
5. Matthew Sing
6. Travis Norton (c)
7. Johnathan Thurston
8. Matthew Scott
9. Aaron Payne
10. Carl Webb
11. Steve Southern
12. Luke O'Donnell
13. Paul Bowman
VETERAN forward Awen Guttenbeil announced on Monday night that he had decided to leave the Vodafone Warriors at the end of the 2006 NRL season to finish his playing career with English Super League club Castleford.
The 30-year-old second rower said he was pleased to have his future secured after signing a two-year contract with the Tigers this evening.
Now in his 11th season with the Vodafone Warriors ? a feat only Stacey Jones has matched ? Guttenbeil was awarded a testimonial by the club this year and marks it with a celebratory lunch this Thursday (July 20).
?The time just feels right for me to go to England with this being my testimonial season,? he said today.
?I?ve got everything to thank the Vodafone Warriors for. This club has helped to make me who I am. I?ve grown up here and I?ve been through all sorts of good times and some not so good with the club.
?It?ll be sad when it?s all over but I?ll leave happy as well because I?m so thankful for the opportunity I?ve had here.?
Guttenbeil, who made his first-grade debut against North Sydney in 1996, played his 164th match when the Vodafone Warriors met Parramatta on Saturday night. No other forward has played more games for the club.
Guttenbeil said he appreciated the club?s co-operation in allowing him to explore options before reaching his decision to leave.
?As I was out of contract and I was looking at finishing my career, I wanted to be able to make the best decision for my family?s future,? he said.
?I approached the club to ask whether I could sound out Super League clubs to see what might be available and I then asked whether I could check out NRL clubs as well. The Vodafone Warriors also made me an offer and, in the end, I was able to make an informed decision.
?While there was a chance to go to another NRL club, I really didn?t want to be in a position where I was playing against the Vodafone Warriors.
?I?ve ended up with the best deal and Tash and I are excited about heading to the English Super League for a couple of seasons.
?That?s ahead of us, though. This year has been hugely rewarding with the Warriors and I want to do all I can to see us finish it the best way possible.
?But when my playing career is over, I?d love to be able to return to help the club in some way.?
Chief executive Wayne Scurrah said the Vodafone Warriors were indebted to Guttenbeil.
?The contribution he has made to the club has been enormous. He represents everything we want players from this club to aspire to,? he said.
?He has always been very open about his plans and all we?ve wanted is whatever is best for him. He asked for permission to investigate other possibilities and has come back to say this option to go to Castleford is best for him and for his family. We?re excited for Awen.
?Now we want to give him the best farewell we can. He deserves it more than anyone.?
Scurrah said the club was keen to have Guttenbeil involved when he finishes his playing days.
?In his case it?s once a Warrior, always a Warrior and it?s our wish that he?ll be back soon and have a role in this club. He has so much to offer.?
After five injury-troubled years, Guttenbeil has been the club?s most durable player in the last six seasons, appearing in more matches during that time than any other player.
He?s set to join a club with a potent Kiwi connection. Castleford has previously been home to a number of New Zealanders including Kiwis Tawera Nikau, Tony Kemp, Richie Blackmore and Frano Botica.
THE Canberra Raiders have named an unchanged line-up for Sunday afternoon?s big clash against the St George Illawarra Dragons, with Coach Matt Elliott sticking with the same 17 who defeated the Tigers 20-18 at Canberra Stadium last weekend.