NEWCASTLE captain Andrew Johns has formally requested to step down from representative football in a letter penned to the Australian Rugby League.Johns played his farewell Test in Australia's 50-12 victory against New Zealand last Friday, but needed to put in an official written request in order to stand down from representative duty. In a letter to ARL chief executive Geoff Carr, the 31-year-old says his body is no longer up to the rigours of playing for NSW and Australia.Meanwhile, Country lock Craig Fitzgibbon is desperate to force his way into a NSW Origin jumper with a barnstorming performance against City after revealing this could be his last year of representative football.Fitzgibbon, who is likely to play in the traditional clash on Friday night despite battling an ankle injury, said 2006 could be his last chance to wear the sky blue jersey. The veteran of 15 Tests and eight Origin matches says he'll review whether to continue his representative career at the end of the season.
A New Zealand-Great Britain rugby league match to be played in England in June has been stripped of Test status.The New Zealand Rugby League has downgraded the game after facing what it describes as an "uphill battle" to pick its top players from the NRL. British coach Brian Noble is still expected to field his strongest side for the match, to be played at St Helens on June 27.The nucleus of the New Zealand side will be drawn from British Super League clubs with halfback Stacey Jones expected to return from a broken arm. Parramatta five-eighth Jeremy Smith is one player from the southern hemisphere confirmed to play.
IN the NRL every week there are things that go unnoticed by the mainstream media. Perhaps it is because there are politics involved or perhaps they are simply bad judges. Here are three things that are happening in the NRL right now which have either been glossed over or simply missed or for no apparent reason.
WE?VE got a great mix for this week with plenty of deserving candidates grabbing jerseys. There?s pace, stamina, explosiveness, skill and a few sensible types just for good measure. As always our side is picked on form, so take a butcher?s at the Round 9 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
FOLLOWING a meeting of the RFL Disciplinary Committee in Leeds it was confirmed that Jamie Rooney of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats had been found guilty of striking in the engage Super League fixture against Salford City Reds last Friday.
BRIAN Noble insists he would like to coach England in the 2008 World Cup in Australia.
BRADFORD Bulls Captain, Iestyn Harris, has announced his retirement from International Rugby League with Great Britain.
DRAGONS Supporters,Rather than dwell on the past, let's look to the future...BIG Charlie Leano! 2 tries on debut for this future superstar for the Dragons were one of the only highlights in last weeks performance. Let's hope things turn around this week.Our screening this week will be back at the Grosvenor Hotel. Details as follows:WHERE: Grosvenor Hotel, 10 Brighton Rd East St KildaWHEN: Saturday 13th May, 5:30pmWHAT: Dragons v WarriorsGO THE DRAGONS!!
DRAGONS media release: 10 May 2006
Following media speculation over the weekend, The St George Illawarra Dragons wish to advise there has not been any decision on the Round 24 Dragons home game against the Tigers being played at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
LAST Sunday's edition of The Sunday Telegraph has reported that the round 24 St.George-Illawarra home game at OKI Jubilee Stadium against the Tigers has been moved to the SCG.
LORD Mayor of Wollongong, Councillor Alex Darling joined the Board of the Illawarra Steelers and Cleary Bros CEO Mr Bob Elvy today to launch the celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Illawarra Steelers.A cavalcade of Illawarra Steelers Rugby League greats will come together to recognise the occasion with a 25th Anniversary Dinner to be held at the WIN Entertainment Centre (Wollongong) on Tuesday 6th June made possible through the support of Cleary Bros. The night will be a rollcall of the many players and coaches, who, over the years, made their mark on rugby league while playing with and coaching the Illawarra Steelers.To acknowledge the efforts of these players and as part of the evening?s celebrations, the Steelers will name its ?Team of Steel? and induct four (4) inaugural playing Life Members from the Steelers playing ranks.The ?Team of Steel? will consist of 17 players and 1 coach who will be selected from a group of 40 nominees who became icons of the game between 1982 and 1998. The 40 nominees will be released progressively over the next two weeks. The identity of the Team of Steel will be a closely guarded secret until the big night.Host of the event will be Channel Nine and WIN Television Rugby League commentator Andrew Voss with Special Guest Kevin Humphreys, Chairman of the ARL at the time of the Steelers commencement in the ?Big League?.Illawarra Steelers Chairman, Peter Newell said, ?This one-off special event will mark a significant milestone in the Steelers and the region?s Rugby League history. How fitting that Cleary Bros have assisted in providing the rugby league fans in our region with an opportunity to recognise the contribution the Illawarra Steelers made to our sporting history and to the economy of our region over the past 25 years?.Mr Bob Elvy, Cleary Bros CEO said, ?Cleary Bros have been supporters of the Steelers since the beginning and we are delighted to be part of celebrations of the Anniversary of the Steelers admission into the (then) ARL Premiership.??The Steelers through its work in developing rugby league in this district have been able to provideopportunities for countless young people and ensure that our region is represented in rugby league at the highest level. The naming of the ?Team of Steel? is sure to create district-wide interest and speculation,? Mr Elvy said.Cleary Bros Chairman, Mr Denis Cleary said, ?We are thrilled to be able to continue the support the late John Cleary and family gave to the Illawarra Steelers over many years.?25th Anniversary organiser and Illawarra Steelers Director Bob Millward added, ?The selection panel have had the difficult task of naming the Steelers best team by position along with one coach. The criteria was to select the players on their performances while playing with the Steelers.While comparing players across eras is problematic, I am sure that the Team of Steel would challenge for an NRL premiership if it was assembled for a game today.??The Steelers as both an organisation and a physical club have had a significant impact on our city, and I'd like to congratulate them for reaching this milestone," said the Lord Mayor, Councillor Alex Darling."In a region that's been a breeding ground for so many sporting champions, we should not underestimate the role of the Illawarra Steelers in the development of rugby league players who have gone on to represent their state and nation. It's also important to acknowledge the part the Steelers have played in bringing our community together as we collectively cheered on the mighty scarlet and white."The Illawarra Steelers was formed in 1981 and participated in Australia?s major Rugby League competition from 1982 until 1998. Players became household names of players throughout the region.The Steelers became the focal point for Illawarra Rugby League fans during the winter and WIN Stadium (as it is now known), became the venue for record crowds and memorable games. The Steelers contribution to world class Rugby League has continued since 1999 through its involvement in the joint venture St George Illawarra Dragons.Who can forget some of those memorable ?Steelers moments?? The early day struggles, victories against the favoured teams, the 1989 Panasonic Cup final, the 4-nil loss to St George in the 1992 final? the list goes on!Team of Steel nominees will be announced each weekday over a two week period from Monday May 15.Tickets to the dinner are $110 each or $1,000 for a table of 10. Bookings can be made bycontacting Julie Nicoll from the Illawarra Steelers on (02) 4224 8718.For more information please contact:Bob MillwardIllawarra Steelers Director/25th Anniversary Organiser0412 320013
THE Australian Rugby Union has withdrawn its offer to rugby league star Mark Gasnier.Gasnier had been given a deadline of 3pm today to accept the ARU's offer to switch codes which was believed to be worth around $450,000 a year plus incentives. An ARU spokesman said the offer had been withdrawn this afternoon.
CONGRATULATIONS to Queenslander Frank Caracoglia who has won the IPOD Nano in LeagueUnlimited's SMS competition.Mr Caracoglia correctly guessed the NRL competition leader and their points on the ladder after eight rounds.At the completion of round eight, the Cowboys led the competition on 12 points.For further queries: [email protected]
THE Melbourne Storm is facing a $15,000 fine over its criticism of the National Rugby League judiciary after suspended second rower Michael Crocker claimed he was victimised because he is a Queensland Origin contender.
ANTHONY Griffin returns to Dolphin Oval older and wiser after five years developing his coaching skills in the National Rugby League hothouse.
A former junior development officer with the Dolphins, Griffin coached the Redcliffe Colts in 1997 before leaving to join the Melbourne Storm umbrella.
With the departure of triple premiership coach Neil Wharton in the off-season, Griffin threw his hat in the ring for the top job at Redcliffe.
"When I heard Neil had resigned, I got in contact with the club and it went from there," Griffin said.
"I knew other guys were putting in for the job, but I fronted for the interview and it went from there.
"It was good to get the job as it's just like coming home. It is that really because Dolphin Oval is where my senior coaching career started. It's great to be back."
In the 2005 Queensland Cup season, Griffin faces the tough task of blending new faces with the core of past campaigners.
Gone are Brian Jellick, Andrew Wynyard, Ben Jones, Trent Leis and Gavin Cooper while the recruiting net has been far and wide to join up and coming youngsters from Colts and A grade.
Griffin also has brought three players from Souths Logan, his previous assignment, in hooker Daniel Irvine, centre Nick Emmett and rookie prop Matt Morice.
Irvine turned out in 30 NRL matches for Parramatta while Emmett, a former Dolphins Colt, also played for the Sydney club.
Griffin said Redcliffe football manager James Hinchey had looked after most of the club's recruiting with the end of the 2004 season.
"We started back training on November 1 and we're looking good," Griffin said. "We are still looking for some outside backs. We have some quality in that spot but not the depth."
Griffin joined the Storm in 1998 with three years at its Brisbane offshoot Norths before going to Melbourne in 2001 as head coach Chris Anderson's assistant.
Anderson left the Storm halfway through the season to be replaced by former Dolphins and Sydney City coach Mark Murray.
Griffin finished his commitments down south at the end of 2002 before joining Souths Logan.
He said many faces were familiar at Dolphin Oval with Hinchey a player during previous stint at the club while Michael Roberts, Grant Flugge and Nathan Herbener members of his Colts squad.
Herbener returned to his hometown of Roma after receiving two sternum fractures at Redcliffe, but has made the most of his time away with selection in the Queensland Rangers side over the past two seasons.
Griffin now runs his own insurance and financial planning business, which although keeping him busy, allows him time for his football commitments.
A resident at The Gap, he also has a family now with two daughters and a son.
"We will be training three days a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday - as well as the players being required to do a weights session on Thursdays," he said.
Griffin believes the Queensland Cup has become stronger over recent seasons.
"The competition has gone ahead in leaps and bounds over the past four to five years," he said.
"I think it's because of the professionalism of the clubs and the quality of their players, as well as players who have come back from the NRL.
"The NSW Premier League might be quicker and the skills better, but it is not played in the same spirit as the intensity is not as high."