NSWRL VB Premier League team to play Parramatta in the 2005 Preliminary Final.
ENGLAND have organised home internationals against France and New Zealand this autumn.
Karl Harrison's team will play France at Headingley on 23 October and then take on New Zealand at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium on 6 November.
WIDNES Vikings' Adam Hughes (pictured)is facing a battle against time to be fit for Wales' crucial opening fixture in this year's Rugby League European Nations Cup writes Ian Golden.
Wales open their campaign on Sunday 16 October against Scotland at the Brewery Field (kick-off 3pm). Scotland v Ireland is in Edinburgh on Sunday 23 October before Wales face Ireland at Terenure University RFC in Dublin on Saturday 29 October. The winners of this group will then play the winners of the European group between France, Georgia and Russia in the final in France on Sunday 6 November.
Hughes, who is due to have an operation on his hand,?played his final match for relegated Widnes Vikings on Sunday at London Broncos losing 10-68. The centre is bound to be disappointed to leave the club in such a fashion but is now looking forward to the future.
"I'm finished with the Vikings so I?m a free agent now," commented Hughes at Griffin Park last Sunday. "I'm looking out for a new club for 2006 and I'm just waiting to see who comes in for me."
Hughes has not ruled out a move to Wales. Celtic Crusaders RLC, the new primary tenants of the home of Welsh Rugby League, Bridgend's Brewery Field, start life in the LHF Healthplan National League Two next season and part of their policy is to aim to recruit a 24-strong playing staff containing at least 18 Welshmen. Crusaders' Chief Executive Chris O'Callaghan is known to want players with Super League experience in his side to aim to get promotion to National League One at the first attempt so acquiring Hughes for the side could be a positive move for the ambitious new Welsh club.
But in the meantime, it is the Wales international side and the European Nations Cup that Hughes is aiming for.
Hughes has played in every senior Wales rugby league international since 2002 and was?man of the tournament for Wales in the 2003 European?Nations Cup?so?does not?want to miss out on European Rugby League's premier annual international tournament this year.
"I'm going to be having the operation on my hand very soon," said Hughes. "If this is a success then I?hope to?be there. I don't like missing out on playing for Wales."
Wales have a poor record in the European Nations Cup since the competition was re-introduced two years ago winning just one out of four matches. However, the success of?the Wales A side, who have won four consecutive Home Nations titles and have only lost two matches in 12 in the last four years, may prove an inspiration for the senior side's hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time in ten years.
For information on ticket prices and availability for the European Nations Cup tie against Scotland on Sunday 16 October, please contact Celtic Crusaders RLC on 01656 651515 or email [email protected]
HUDDERSFIELD Giants have beaten off competition from three top six Super League clubs and an NRL club to sign highly rated Wakefield back row forward Steve Snitch.
LONDON Broncos trounced relegated Widnes Vikings 68-10 to secure the win they needed to book only their second appearance in the engage Super League play-offs.
THE National Rugby League advises all fans wishing to buy tickets to the Telstra Premiership Grand Final that the last 7,000 seats will go on sale from 9.00am on Monday morning.
PARRAMATTA Eels captain Nathan Cayless has stood on the edge of NRL grand final glory but knows only too well the bitter aftertaste of finals defeat.
AS the pressure intensifies on St George Illawarra, senior Dragons players are confident a lack of fitness won't be a factor in Saturday night's preliminary final against Wests Tigers.
AFTER lengthy negotiations St George Illawarra fullback Clint Greenshields has today agreed to terms for a further twelve months with the Dragons.
ALTHOUGH he was once banned from playing first-grade rugby league because he was too young, Cowboys star Josh Hannay is hoping to beat yet another hurdle to play in the most important match in the club's short history this weekend.
WESTS Tigers coach Tim Sheens says he is more than confident his players are focused on this week's preliminary final against St George Illawarra and not a possible grand final appearance the following Sunday.
FOLLOWING on from last week?s conflict which saw North Queensland stumble past the Storm and Wests Tigers brutalise the Broncos, we line up for the penultimate week of Rugby League in the 2005 Premiership race.
DEAN Widders admits he has finally matured as a rugby league player.
IT is the penultimate week of the NRL season and after 26 grueling competition rounds and a pair of explosive playoff weekends, we have arrived at the Preliminary Finals.
HOW times have changed for the St George Illawarra coach, who on Saturday night will take his Dragons side into an NRL preliminary final against Wests Tigers, with the winner to play in next weekend's grand final at Telstra Stadium.