Junior Kiwis Prepare For 2006 Campaign

THE 2006 Junior Kiwis squad will assemble in camp tomorrow, Saturday 7 October 2006 in Auckland to prepare for a two match campaign.

Gasnier and Ryles share St George Bank Medal

GASNIER AND RYLES SHARE 2006 ST GEORGE BANK MEDAL6th October 2006St George Illawarra Centre Mark Gasnier and Prop Jason Ryles have tonight jointly won the prestigious St George Bank Medal for Player of the Year at the Clubs Medal Award presentation evening at Sydney Town Hall.It is the first time the Club?s highest honour has been jointly awarded, with Ryles also becoming the first player to win the prestigious award twice; having also won the award in 2001.Gasnier, 25 was the Dragons leading try scorer throughout 2006 crossing for 18 tries in the regular season. He was recognised for his efforts by also being awarded the Dally M Centre of the Year, NSW State of Origin selection and Kangaroos Tri-Nations squad selection.Ryles was the Clubs Premier front rower throughout the season and charged home in the closing rounds of the competition to draw level with Gasnier on points. The achievement even more remarkable given the local junior played only 15 of the regular season games season due to injury. The club's highest honour won previously by Luke Bailey (2005), Mathew Head (2004), Ben Hornby (2003), Shaun Timmins (2002), Jason Ryles (2001), Trent Barrett (2000), Jamie Ainscough (1999) - is determined by a complex criteria including a voting system involving the first grade players and coaching staff, and qualitative factors taken into account by the Club.Ben Hornby was another standout throughout 2006 and was the only player to play in every game throughout the season. The versatile Hornby who was rewarded with NSW Origin and Test selection captured the highly sort after St George Bank Immortals Trophy, as selected by the St George Immortals in consultation with the coaching staff and the Red V Members Player of the Year Award.Although his season was unfortunately cut short by injury, Dean Young took out the Geoff Selby Memorial NRL Coaches Award, as chosen by the NRL coaching staff. Young?s attitude and application at training and consistent performances in games prior to his season ending, proved to the coaching staff that he was a worthy recipient of this award.Premier League captain Chris Houston took out the 2006 Mark Coyne Premier League Player of the Year Award. The tireless Prop led the side admirably throughout the season playing in all but one match.Exciting young fullback Jason Nightingale's safety in defence and flair in attack, scoring 18 tries in 19 appearances saw him capture the Paul McGregor Jersey Flegg Player of the Year. 2006 DRAGONS AWARD WINNERSMark Gasnier/Jason Ryles - St George Bank MedalBen Hornby - St George Bank Immortals TrophyDean Young - Geoff Selby Memorial NRL Coaches AwardBen Hornby - Red V Members Player of the YearChris Houston - Mark Coyne Award Premier League Player of the YearJason Nightingale - Paul McGregor Award Jersey Flegg Player of the Year

Timmins retires from rugby league

TIMMINS Announces Retirement from Rugby League October 4, 2006

WC Oceania Qualifiers

FIJI Batis kept their World Cup dream alive when they came back from the dead to edge out Tonga 30-28 in the second round of the Oceania Qualifying Tournament.

I've got no problem with Stuart: Kimmorley

CRONULLA captain Brett Kimmorley has broken his silence over Ricky Stuart's appointment as coach of the club, declaring the two will have no problems working together next season.

The Webcke Biography ? More Substantial than the Headlines

THE record of the biographies of sportsmen, and women, in recent years is not a particularly inspiring one. That is why many end up in the $5 dollar, or even $2 dollar, display stand much sooner than most.

Johnson & Dears take honours

KARL JOHNSON AND CHRIS DEARS TAKE OUT TOP HONOURS AT BEARS AWARDS NIGHTNew North Queensland recruit Karl Johnson and Jersey Flegg captain Chris Dears have been named '2006 North Sydney Player of the Year' in Premier League and Jersey Flegg respectively.Held on the night of Friday 15th September the North Sydney Bears 2006 Player Awards held a night of passion, humour and sadness for the hard working crew of the North Sydney Club.General Manager Greg Florimo opened the proceedings with a thank you to the Club's major Sponsors the Norths Leagues Club and J.J. Lawson and the Board of Directors of the Football Club.Next a big thank you to the hardcore of supporters some of whom attended the night and received a small trophy of appreciation for their big effort in supporting the Bears over 26 massive rounds in 2006.A minutes silence was held for Jim Brannigan who only passed away recently. Together with his wife Molly he manned the gate at home matches over the last two seasons.Then a thank you from Flo to the people behind the players, the friends and family who supported them over a long and tough season. Then the focus of the night turned to the men who played for the Bears in 2006.Jersey Flegg Coach Steve Carter was reflective of his stint at Norths, "I think we all learnt a lot this year. Highlights included wins against Wests and Parramatta at home and we had 6 players make Premier League. Steve thanked trainers Trevor Perrin and John Peaua for their dedication and invited them up to the stage to help present the awards.Tupou Peaua received the 'Most Consistent Player' award. A great achievement for a player who missed all but one match for the season. Alternating between centre, prop and second row Greg Florimo praised his 'versatility off the bench".Top try scorer Bladen Baird (11 tries for the season) won 'Best Back' for 2006. His lengthy runs to the try line not only garnered points but lifted his team to some of their best victories.Respected second rower Arnold Mano won 'Best Forward' of the year for Jersey Flegg. Arnold received kudos from both coaches for leading by example.Finally Chris Dears who played all 24 matches in 2006 received the coveted 'Player of the Year' award. "He's a gentleman. He impressed with his attitude both on and off the field and has the ability to be a success both in football and life" commented Greg Florimo. 2006 Premier League Coach Josh White was then called up to the dais. His often humorous and always entertaining commentary on the season reflected the great friendships that had come out of a relatively tough season."It's been a roller coaster year. We all tried hard and had fun which is important [I believe if you've not having fun you should not be playing football]. Thank you for the hard work this season. Kudos to all of you having to work all day [some hard physical work] while some opposition players are taking a taxi to have a massage" said Josh White!Josh congratulated the young Jersey Flegg players who made the grade in Premier League in 2006, Liam Foran, James Maloney, Arnold Mano, Bladen Baird and Chris Dears was "outstanding". Josh thanked his coaching staff; Michael Pobjie "great Bloke and a good friend", Jamie Papa "great knowledge of training, knows how to prepare for a match", Mick Tonello "a great statistician and always ready with a comment", Trent Rosa "Has a great knowledge of the game" and Brendan Travers "A great bloke to have around".Missing only one match this season right centre Karl Johnson garnered both the Player of the Year and Players' Player awards. Karl's in your face and aggressive attack has not only impressed his club but also North Queensland coach Graham Murray where KJ is headed in 2007.Coming into his own in the second half of the season left centre Daniel Watkins was awarded 'Best Back'. Despite only playing 16 matches Dan's scoots and metres gained for the year were comparable to a full season of footy.Contributed by sponsor mightybears.com the Supporters' Player of the Year award includes a cash prize of $500. Bears Hooker Ben Ellis received the dual honours of 'Best Forward' and 'Supporters' Player of the Year' awards. Accomplished in attack and outstanding in defence his 1066 tackles for the season and similar work in 2005 leaves an outstanding legacy at the North Sydney Club.PICTURED: Forward Chris Dears receives his 'Player of the Year' award.From left: Trevor Perrin, Chris Dears, John Peaua, Steve Carter.PHOTO: Steve Little.

I could have died: Webcke

FOUR-TIME premiership winning forward Shane Webcke believes he could have died had he not taken a banned drug for a serious knee infection in 2001.A staunch anti-drugs campaigner, Webcke's revelation in his autobiography "Warhorse: Life, Football and Other Battles" released today that he tested positive to the drug probenecid and escaped penalty, has shocked the rugby league world.Apart from probenecid's ability to fight and kill infection, it can also be used to mask the use of steroids. But Webcke, who retired after Brisbane's grand final win last Sunday, says he was given the drug to ward off infection.He included the positive test finding in his book because he believed people should get the true story of his life - warts and all.

Storm's King cops $5,000 fine

MELBOURNE centre Matt King has been slugged with a $5,000 fine for publicly ridiculing Grand Final referee Paul Simpkins.

Mimis escapes deregistration

LEADING player agent George Mimis has escaped having his accreditation revoked over his involvement in the NRL salary cap scandal which engulfed the New Zealand Warriors earlier this year.

Farah extends contract with Wests Tigers

WESTS Tigers hooker Robbie Farah has today signed a new three-year deal that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2010 season.

Robbo Reckons

IT?S not often I am lost for words but how good was that win. Unfortunately I was in Mackay and missed possibly the greatest grand final win our club has ever seen although I am a tad biased towards 1997 myself. But I was yelling as loud as anyone down the TV, I can tell you those around me thought I was MAD ?.. And I know many people who would agree.I must congratulate Hook and all his staff, Gilly, Sounda, Whitey for a great job, as well as all the trainers Foo, Silent, Pecker, Jezza, Patrolman Pain all the boys who never get the wraps but work as hard behind the scenes as anyone in the Club and of course the man who bought it all together the boss Punchy. Since my last column the Colts got knocked out one game short, it just wasn?t your day against Wynnum also well done to everyone involved with that side during the year you can all hold your head high. I reckon a few of these guys can go a long way in the game David Hala is off to the Roosters, Tim Yee has already played Queensland Cup, Matt Gillett, Matt Handcock, Logan Sullivan, Tim Benson just to name a few will who will push onto bigger and better things.All the reports I got was that the boys are training well and will not lose. On the Wednesday night session the boys had some special guests drop into training Patron Dick ?Tosser? Turner addressed the troops, Tony Obst, Greg Conescu, Trevor Benson, Bob Jones, Dessy and Terry Webb were all there to lend their support and wish them the best. And game day there were a stack of ex players at Lang Park willing the boys onto victory in the crowd was Wally Fullerton-Smith, Bryan Niebling, Shawn Rubesaame, Festa Clanchy, Johnny Boxsell, Dennis Clarke, Jimmy Cowell, Greg Oliphant, Jason Campbell, Trent Leis just to name a few and the first player in the sheds after the game to say g?day and congratulate everyone was a bloke who had a bit of success at Lang Park earlier this year Adam Mogg. A phone call was placed to former captain Luke Scott from the sheds. They say being part of the Dolphins is very special and I?d say they are right. Now one more time for Starry everybody sing alongWho are, who are, who are weWe are, we are the RFCWhere do we come from rah, rah, rahRedcliffe, Redcliffe rah, rah, rahCheers boys here we are from RedcliffeEvery time we play, we play to win, play to winWe?ll show them one and allWith our backs against the wallYou cannot beat the good Reddy boysHip Rah, Hip Rah, Hip RahRedcliffe Dolphins 2006 Premiers sounds just rightUntil next month Cheers Robbo

Coach kept a cool head

ANTHONY Griffin was a contented man after his side's Queensland Cup win. Never a boisterous or cocky character, Griffin nevertheless did not lose his faith in his charges after their record loss to Toowoomba in the major semi-final. He put the aberration down to a one-off poor outing on the Downs, preferring to concentrate his efforts straight away on the task of eliminating Easts Tigers. That completed, he turned his attention to the Clydesdales, who were raging favourites to claim another title. He smiled contentedly as his side soaked up the pressure of the grand final, gradually strangling the hopes of the young Broncos offshoots. "It was a top team effort by our boys," he said. "It was a real relentless display, even if we had a few things go against us early." Griffin would not say it, but he was obviously pointing out the pass to a try line-bound Grant Flugge which was ruled forward. "Defensively that was the best we played all year," Griffin said. "To get your lowest score against you all year in the grand final is superb. "It was a sign of belief that the side had in itself, especially against a side like that. We didn't allow Toowoomba to play well, but in saying that, the opposition's completion rate was very good and it wasn't until very late in the match that they started turning the ball over." Griffin said those mistakes came from Redcliffe's untiring defence, which kept on turning up despite giving away years in younger legs among the forwards. "Our composure and our relentless defence were what stood out for me," he said. "It was a very physical match but there were not many stoppages." Griffin will line up for the 2007 season with the Dolphins after agreeing earlier in the year to a two-season deal.

Starr in all spheres

THERE was a special significance attached to Adam Starr carting up the last ruck of the 2006 Queensland Cup. The towering front-rower went down to the ground, not so much under the weight of Clydesdales defenders but more the backslapping of Dolphin team-mates as they congratulated the 33-year-old warhorse. Starr played his last game of rugby league at Suncorp Stadium, bring a fitting end to a career that took in the ARL, NRL, France and Redcliffe. A Dolphins junior, he returned to the club to finish off his career and succeeded with four stars. "It was the final hit-up and all the guys were saying to pass it to me," Starr said. "They all knew it was on and that the game was over." Starr now has no regrets about bowing out. "I'd still like to have a connection to footy and Redcliffe but I will stay away next season," he said. "I have a three-year-old daughter and another child due in January so it will be all good.'' Along with captain Troy Lindsay, Starr led the way from the front, breaking his usual strong-running game up with a couple of early passes which took the Toowoomba defence by surprise. "I think the turning point was when we held them out for six sets of tackles in a row in the first half. That seemed to frustrate them,'' he said. "It was a good hard game in the first half as both sides were into each other. They just made a few more mistakes than we did." Starr, who has worked at Foster's brewery at Yatala for the past three years, said he would stay away from the game for a while to ensure he had no itchy feet about a premature return. "That game was one of the highlights of my career and not too bad a way to finish up,'' he said. ""No one expected us to get up and those expectation seemed to come true after the first couple of minutes when they scored." Starr is the only top-line Dolphin to announce his retirement with Lindsay indicating he would return in 2007.

The forgotten Dolphin

HE was the forgotten Dolphin. Shane Perry started the season as Redcliffe's captain and ended it in the Broncos side contesting the NRL finals series. He missed the Dolphins' Queensland Cup triumph as he was in Sydney for the Broncos' showdown with the Newcastle Knights. "The ABC in New South Wales doesn't show the Queensland Cup so I kept up to date with the score via text messages," he said. "I spoke to a few of the guys before the match and wished them all the best." Perry welcomed the news that red-hot Redcliffe centre Nick Emmett had signed with the Broncos for the 2007 season. "It's good that Nick will do the entire pre-season with us and then see what happens," he said. Of course, Perry had his own grand final dreams to contend with. The Broncos forced their way into the season decider with a thumping comeback against the Bulldogs for a showdown against the Melbourne Storm.

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