NRL clubs are set to introduce a uniform illicit drugs policy similar to the AFL's.
GREG Bourke has pulled down the curtains on a record-breaking career, announcing he will retire after winning this year?s Queensland Wizard Cup premiership with Redcliffe.
LEAGUE sensation Sonny Bill Williams has not ruled out moving to England as early as 2008, as soon as his $400,000-a-year deal with the Bulldogs expires.
G?DAY everybody isn?t it good having the tri nations on TV it gives us footy tragics a bit shorter off season. And if you are like me you don?t mind a bit of biffo and a few big hits, you?d be really enjoying this season. And as we sit back and enjoy a few cold beers watching the footy and cricket after work, spare a thought for the players. It just seems like a few weeks ago the boys were playing in the grand final. You?d think they?d be having a well earned rest but no they are out slogging it out on the training paddock under the watchful eye of Sergeant Major Tony Guilfoyle.
During the season I was lucky enough to attend a luncheon at the club and the guest speaker was mountaineer Michael Groom, he is a truly inspirational speaker. Well some of that must have rubbed off onto Dolphins assistant coach Gary O?Brien. Gary a teacher took a group of kids climbing and of course he was there to look after them but led me to think, who was going to look after Gary. As it happened Sounda had a little accident on the way down the hill he describes as Everest like and injured his ankle leaving him laid up at home for a few weeks. I don?t know about his students but I used to dream of something like that happening to my teachers.
I know some people think front rowers are dumb and well some of them have given plenty of good reasons to think that over the years as well. Now you?d think after just playing a winning grand final side and retiring after 15 years of senior footy you would be kicking back and relaxing having a few beers with your mates telling lies about how good you were (That?s what I done anyway) but not Adam Starr, Starry has been seen in the gym at Dolphin Oval 3 days a week working harder than anyone. I have only one question why Starry. Or will this be the shortest retirement in history.
I remember as kid in Mackay watching the Sunday night BRL match of round on TV and whenever Norths played and Campbell Dews would get the ball you would the crowd chant Zuuuuuuuuluuuuuuuuu and since then the nearest cheer I?ve heard to that was the Toooooookey cheer everytime he carted the ball up. Hopefully I?ll be hearing a few of those cheers coming from the pig pen next when Mark Tookey is carting it up for the Dolphins.
One of Dolphin Ovals favourite sons made a comeback to sporting field a few weeks back. The girls from the retirement home were there lending support to our hero, the familiar cough was heard and the song Wild Thing blared out over the PA system the crowd erupted as Wayne Krusty Miller ran out in the local 35?s soccer comp the white boots were on, the bike shorts were on, he warmed up with a few sprints down the grand stand touchline in front of the laughing spectators. Then 30 seconds into the game Miller went looking for space and took off only to fall to the ground like he?d been shot but it was his hammy that shot.
THE Redcliffe Keystar juniors will wear a new design in jersey next season.
The distinctive look will bring the 800 plus Dolphin juniors into line with the senior grades.
Club junior development officer Grant Cleal said more than 700 jerseys had been ordered.
"Our juniors will be completely identifiable with our seniors in not only their jerseys but also shorts and socks," he said.
"The only difference will be in the sponsors' badges. The jerseys are even made of the same material."
The unique red and white design has been a hit with the senior Dolphins with many critics rating their jersey the most eye-catching in televised Queensland Cup matches.
The junior jersey will feature the logo of sponsor Keystar Motors, who next season begin the second year of their backing for the club.
The club's juniors this year completed another successful season with close to a record participation in the finals series.
Sign-on for next season will be held at Dolphin Oval on Sunday, February 11.
THE Emerald Group Dolphins have replaced one big man with another just as impressive.
Giant prop Adam Starr retired after the Dolphins' Queensland Cup grand final victory. Weeks later former NRL forward Mark Tookey was on the club's books.
Ironically, Tookey had played against Starr during Starr's time with the Wests Tigers and in the Super Leagues against Deon Bird, another expat to be joining the Dolphins this season.
Tookey arrived back in Australia in late September after "a two and a bit season" stint with the London Harlequins in the Super League.
He and his wife are both from Brisbane and after signing a two-year deal with the Dolphin, he now just needs to decide on where to live with their two young daughters, Sarah, 3, and Chloe, 1.
"We are staying with the in-laws at the moment in Logan City, but my wife will be working as a nurse at the Prince Charles Hospital so we have to look at our options," he said.
"We are still sussing out whether to buy on the northside near the hospital or near our families. We are weighing up the pros and cons.
"It was certainly different living in London but a bit tough with young kids. If you were single it would be great as it's the gateway to Europe."
Tookey enjoyed his time on the field, although he believes the Super League is a two-tiered competition with the top four or five sides a mile beyond the lower ranked clubs.
"The top- sides are going great guns but the others are pushing a bit uphill," he said.
Tookey arrives at Dolphin Oval with a wealth of NRL experience behind him after stints at the South Queensland Crushers, Parramatta and Auckland Warriors.
"But funnily enough I have never played in the Queensland Cup," he said.
"I went straight from Springwood to the Crushers, although there was a lot of Redcliffe influence at the Crushers with Steve Bleakley, Paul Bunn, Tosser Turner, Peter Murphy all there as well as a heap of former Redcliffe players such as Paul Woodward, Danny Nutley and Clinton O'Brien.
"Gary O'Brien, who is assistant coach at Redcliffe, also was one of the coaches at the Crushers.
"I played against Redcliffe sides in the juniors but I've always watched the Queensland Cup and am quite familiar with a lot of the players such as Troy Lindsay and Michael Roberts. I do know Mark Shipway from his time in Britain."
Tookey, 29, had told his manager at the end of the latest Super League season that he wanted to return to Australia and matters went from there.
There was quite a bit of interest from Queensland Cup consortiums, however his desire to be in Brisbane narrowed down options.
"I was not ready to finish my footy," he said. "The decision on which club to join was up to me and my family.
"But the chance to win a premiership helped sway things as the Dolphins certainly have been the best team in the comp over the past 10 years. At the end of the two seasons we'll see where we are at."
A cult figure during his time with the Crushers, Tookey has deceptive speed for such a big unit and also has developed his offloading skills over the seasons.
Weighing in at more than 115 kilograms, he will provide muscle against opposition teams keen to test Redcliffe's premiership pack.
"I'm really looking forward to the season," Tookey said. "It's going to be good. I've got the training schedule and attended a team meeting where everything was outlined for the season ahead. It's only a month until Christmas and we will be getting stuck into the work."
GOLD Coast coach John Cartwright says the Titans are giving former Queensland Origin centre Chris Walker his last chance to play in the NRL.
NRL Clubs gear up for Season 2007The teams have hit the training fields, the new signings have arrived, and nearly half the teams have new coaches, but which NRL teams have best prepared for the 2007 season? Rugby League Review looks at how each team is travelling and what we can expect from them in 2007.Australia Wins Tri-Nations FinalAustralia regained the Tri-Nations Cup with a 16-12 triumph after a sensational golden point try in the 87th minute from Darren Lockyer thanks to a superb 40-metre break by Johnathan Thurston, who stepped inside Frank Pritchard and David Kidwell.The only losers were the Sydney public that failed to show up to one of the most memorable matches seen this season. In the end, more than 27,000 turned up for the final but it was a game that should have easily had the ?full-house? sign up.Greece is the WordNot many would have believed that Rugby League would be played in Greece, especially after they had no organised Rugby Union. In all, eight local players were part of the first Greek side to play an International in Greece while Serbian-based Haris Djac also pulled on the Greek jersey also.Jim Beam Cup to have 12 teams in 2007The 2007 Jim Beam Cup will conduct a 12-team competition with Mounties, Chester Hill, Seven Hills and Shellharbour all making their debuts next season.The only side missing that participated in the 2006 premiership will be the Newtown Jets, who pulled out due to financial reasons.Available for $3.95 at your newsagency or guarantee your copy by subscribing. For more details, check out www.rugbyleaguereview.comIF IT'S RUGBY LEAGUE, WE?VE GOT IT COVERED
GOLD Coast coach John Cartwright says New Zealand Test forward Frank Puletua would've retired from the NRL if the Titans hadn't granted him a release on compassionate grounds.
THE Tri-Nations final on Saturday night attracted one of the worst turnouts I?ve ever seen. For such a high profile match you'd expect a full house - which equates to around 42,000 at Aussie Stadium - but it was not the case, as only 27,325 flocked to the ground.
IT took 26 rounds of the premiership, four weeks of finals, and now six weeks of Tri-Nations to achieve it, but it was well worth the wait. Saturday night?s Tri-Nations final between the Kangaroos and the Kiwis may well go down as the best ever rugby league Test match played in Australia.
FRANK Puletua has been released from his playing contract at the Gold Coast Titans.
THE Board of the Newtown Rugby League Football Club has announced that the club will not be fielding a team in the 2007 NSWRL Jim Beam Cup competition.
WELSH National League Two club the Celtic Crusaders have secured the coup of the British off-season by gaining a friendly clash with the Brisbane Broncos.
TRI-NATIONS 2006 Final Australia 16 v New Zealand 12at Aussie StadiumReferee: Ashley KleinMatch Summary:Pass me the oxygen please! The lungs are struggling and the mouth is dry but the heart is still beating and we have a victor!When it comes to international footy, it simply does not get any better than this! You may think it sounds like hyperbole, but believe me, it's not.Australia defeated a gallant New Zealand in Golden Point 16-12 to win back the Tri Nations trophy but it was done through momentous effort against a side that refused to quit under the most adverse conditions imaginable. The Kiwis lost three players to injury but at no stage did they throw in the towel. Bloodied and bruised, they continued to pick themselves up off the canvass to go the extra round. In the end, it was the brilliance of Johnathan Thurston and Darren Lockyer that provided the knockout blow in the 87th minute of play.87 minutes is how long it took to separate the two sides and at the end of the day, it was only goal kicking that made the difference.I honestly thought New Zealand had this game won and were finishing over the top of Australia in a game that is near impossible to describe. There was blood flowing from both sides but no one quit and when I watch international footy, this is how I love it. I love it rough, tough and brave. Kudos to the Kiwis and they have played their part in seeing the international game continue to prosper through a team that is the equal of Australia. Players such as David Kidwell, Simon Mannering, Iosia Soliola and Frank Pritchard showed the commitment and passion for the Kiwi jersey that have long been held sacred by the elder statesmen such as Ruben Wiki and Stacey Jones.Tonight we got it all in abundance and if you are an Australian, you are smiling, but spare a thought for our brothers across the ditch, they are feeling the pain right now in losing a game no one deserves to lose.My one hope is the international game won a lot of new supporters tonight because we saw the greatest sporting team in Australia do battle and unlike the sick and sorry Wallabies, the mighty Kangaroos have the killer instinct and pride in the jersey to fight until the death and not meekly surrender when the going gets tough.Moreso than the Australian win, I am happy that international footy is back on the map and we have three teams who are showing why Rugby League is the greatest game of all.Tri-Nations web site - news, results, teams and history > click here Scorers:Australia: 16Tries: Darren Lockyer, Brent TateGoals: Johnathan Thurston 4/4New Zealand: 12Tries: Frank Pritchard, Iosia SoliolaGoals: Stacey Jones 2/4By the Clock:0 min: NEWS Both teams enter the field side by side for the Tri-Nations final.A good but not great crowd in attendance as we prepare for the national anthems of both teams and then the mighty Haka from the Kiwis.1 min: NEWS We are underway in the final of the tri-nations. I hope it turns out to be a cracker!4 min: PENALTY GOAL AustraliaAustralia take the early lead through a penalty goal to Joanthan Thurston. Australia 2-06 min: NEWS A ew penalties early on and the Kiwis are on the attack. Aussies standing firm at the moment.8 min: PENALTY GOAL New ZealandStacey Jones kicks the Kiwis level through a penalty goal. 2 all. 2 all.10 min: TRY AustraliaBrent Tate scores in the corner after Mark Gasnier made a great break down the right hand side of hte field and ound Tate in support, who crossed untouched. Australia 8-213 min: NEWS Vatuvei knocks on in his own half to give the ball back to the Aussies in great field position.16 min: NEWS New Zealand forced into their second goal line drop out through some sustained pressure from Australia. Can the Kiwis hold on for another six tackles?19 min: NEWS Gasnier and Tate are exploiting the right hand side of the field and it's paying dividends at the moment.21 min: NEWS Big Willie is on! Look out New Zealand and David Kidwell.24 min: PENALTY GOAL AustraliaJonathan Thurston kicks another penalty goal as Australia extend their lead beyond a converted try. Australia 10-228 min: NEWS New Zealand struggling to get out of their own end at the moment and Steve Matai has left the field with an arm/shoulder injury.29 min: TRY New ZealandStacey Jones chips for Brent Webb who then passes the ball onto a flying Frank Pritchard who scores in the corner for a crucial try. Conversion unsuccessful. Australia 10-633 min: NEWS Kiwis lifting their game and on the back of another penalty, are on the attack again.38 min: NEWS Kiwis almost score of a Stacey Jones banana kick but Thurston was there to clean up. Close call for the Aussies.41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half!44 min: NEWS The Kiwis are starting to get on top in this match and the crowd are getting right behind them. AN engrossing contest unfolding at Aussie Stadium!46 min: TRY New ZealandThe Kiws are in again and have Australia on the ropes at the moment. Soliola scores out wide off an inside pass from Nigel Vagana. Conversion unsuccessful. 10 all. 10 all.49 min: PENALTY GOAL AustraliaThurston puts Australia back in the lead with another penalty goal. 12-10 Australia. Australia 12-1060 min: NEWS Australia forced into back to back line drop outs as the Kiwis up the ante as we enter the last quarter of the Tri Nations final.64 min: NEWS Australia can't land the killer blow but the Kiwis are making too many mistakes to put the Aussies away.66 min: NEWS Gasnier heading for the corner is bundled into touch. Great Kiwi defence.68 min: NEWS Berrigan knocks on in his own half. Can the Kiwis make the Aussies pay?71 min: PENALTY GOAL New ZealandJones kicks a penalty goal to lock it all up with under ten to go. Hold on folks, we are in for a wild finish! 12 all.76 min: NEWS Kiwis attacking the Australian line with under five to go. Nailbiting stuff!77 min: NEWS Brent Webb just misses a field goal to give the Kiwis the win. Kiwis are monstering the Aussies at the moment.78 min: NEWS Cameron Smith kicks a 40/20 to give Australia the scrum feed with under three minutes remaining.79 min: NEWS Thurston misses his shot at field goal.80 min: NEWS Jones misses with his shot at field goal.80 min: NEWS Willie Mason makes a break, chips ahead and we are off to the video ref to see of Jonathan Thurston has scored the winning try.80 min: NEWS End of regular time as we move to golden point.85 min: NEWS First period of golden point is over with no side able to score. We now play until someone scores. What an epic decider!87 min: TRY AustraliaDarren Lokcyer scores in the 87th minute to give Australia victory in the Tri Nations final. Absolute epic match and congrats to both sides on a superb contest. Australia 16-12-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Darren Lockyer2 - Simon Mannering1 - Johnathan Thurston-----------------------------------------