IT might be the off-season but there is plenty going on at Dolphins headquarters. Coach Anthony Griffin is making preparations for the new season that begins with player orientation in only 11 days. The office is in full swing and an enormous amount of preparation is underway for Season 2007 that kicks off in just over four months.The Dolphins will be looking to defend their Queensland Wizard Cup Crown in 2007. "There is a lot of hard work to be done between now and when the season starts" said Dolphin Captain Troy Lindsay. "What we done this year is great but won't count for much once we take the field next season, All the other sides lift to play Redcliffe normally but with being Premiers they will be really gunning for us" added fullback Ryan Cullen.The majority of the 2006 Premiership squad have re-signed the most noticable absentees from the Premiership winning side will be front rower Adam Starr who has retired and winger Chris Giumelli who has returned to his home town of Mackay. Also returning to Mackay is A grade hooker Scott Gillis whilst Matt Anderton has retired.The Dolphins squad should be boosted by the return to Dolphin Oval of two time premiership winning back Trent Leis who returns after two seasons with the Burleigh Bears."It's good to be back, I can't wait to get back and see the boys" Leis said.Also no stranger to Dolphins supporters is hooker Jamie Tomlinson who makes his way back to Dolphin Oval after several seasons away with Easts and Ipswich. Tomlinson last played for the Dolphins in 1999 and was the Carbine Colt of the Year in 1998.Also joining the Dolphins in 2007 will be former NRL fan favourite Mark Tookey. Hailing from Sydney, Mark originally played for the Logan Brothers and Springwood junior clubs. Upon turning professional Mark signed for the ill-fated South Queensland Crushers, playing in the same team alongside former Dolphins Clinton O'Brien, Aaron Moule, Danny Nutley and Ben Roedder under the coaching of former Dolphin Steve Bleakley. After a two year spell with Parramatta in Sydney, Mark crossed the Tasman Sea to join the New Zealand Warriors. It was at the Auckland based club that Mark fully confirmed his reputation as a tough, rampaging forward. Stocky and relatively short of stature, Mark is an immensely powerful runner and from short range can a lethal finisher. After a successful 2002 season in Auckland, culminating in a NRL Grand Final appearance, Mark's opportunities at the Warriors became limited and in July 2004 he signed for Castleford Tigers in their ultimately unsuccessful bid to remain in Super League. During 2005, Mark's explosive running and big tackling has made him a huge favourite of the London fans; and nobody present at the seasons final home game will ever forget his 40 metre try-scoring charge to the line, much to the acclaim of those present. Place of Birth: Sydney, Australia Position: Prop Weight: 110Kg Height: 180cm Date of Birth: 09/03/1977 Former Clubs: South Queensland (1996-1997) 18 games, Parramatta Eels (1998 - 1999) 40 games, New Zealand Warriors (2002-2004) 67 games Castleford Tigers (2004) 10 games, London Broncos (2005-2006)55 games.Official training for all contracted players commences on Monday November 20.
FOR the first time in its history, the Peter Leis Medal has been shared.Club stalwarts Michael Roberts and Danny Burke shared the 2006 version, finishing well clear of the field on August 29 in the count on the Dolphins presentation of trophies evening.Durable second-rower Burke also created history by becoming the first player to take out two medals in a row.Burke and Roberts also shared the major award of $1000 each thanks to Con Searle of Searles Garden Products."The grand final was the best day of my life," Roberts said. "And this is not far behind it. It's an honour to share the award with the blokes who have won it before. There's far too many people to thank."Burke paid testimony to his teammates and thanked Searles for their sponsoring the player of the year award.Lock Grant Flugge finished third in the medal counting after surging to an early lead.Flugge polled 17 votes in the opening five rounds to lead from prop Pat Gardner (10).Gardner overtook the lead in rounds six to 16 to have 24 points, three ahead of Flugge and half Marty Turner (16).Roberts came into his own in rounds 11 to 15 and sat on 29 points, still six behind Flugge and two ahead of Burke (27).In rounds 16 to 22, Burke polled 17 votes and Roberts 15 to finish tied while veteran Adam Starr gained 15 to finish fourth.The medal is decided by coach Anthony Griffin and two guest judges, who register their votes each week.Griffin paid tribute to retiring forward Starr. "It's been a privilege to be involved with Adam over the past two season," he said."He is a coach's dream, and we won't realise how much we miss him until he's not there."In other major awards, Logan Sullivan collected best forward in Colts, Matt Gillett best back Asher Elemani best and fairest.Tim Yee won Dick Turner's Patron's Colt of the Year prize.In A grade, Scott Gillis was judged best forward, Mitchell Simpson best back and Dominic Fallini best and fairest.The Clubman of the Year award, sponsored by Redcliffe Travel, was presented to Henry Holder, along with a trip for two to Hawaii.The Ian 'Bunny' Pearce Chaps Menswear Perpetual Trophy winner for most points scored during the season was presented by Michelle Feron to top grade centre Greg Bourke.Medal CountMICHAEL ROBERTS 44DANNY BURKE 44GRANT FLUGGE 35ADAM STARR 32GREG BOURKE 29PAT GARDNER 28NICK EMMETT 27MARTY TURNER 26
THE Tri-Nation?s bandwagon continues to roll on with more controversy than a toaster road-test on A Current Affair.It?s impossible to ignore the Fien saga which, two years out from the World Cup, has resulted in exactly the sort of publicity the RLIF didn?t want. But if there?s a silver lining to this big grey cloud, I suppose we should all hope that they?ll have their act together by the 2008 Centenary Tournament.Moving on, and today Pryce drew pistols at dawn, with the British winger claiming he prefers Bradford to Manly and pretty much doesn?t like Aussies because all we do is bang on about how Poms whinge. Funny that. But then again when you run around glassing people in pubs it?s unlikely you?ll receive a warm welcome anywhere.On the Aussie front, Mason continues to snipe from the belltower, claiming the Pommies simply aren?t up to it after their performance against New Zealand. This game should hold special significance for the Aussie forward after debuting against Great Britain at this ground in 2002 with his prominent afro. The Kangaroos tore the Lions apart that night with Mason scoring a try and presumably keen to repeat his dominant performance.All this sets the stage for some wonderful theatre on Saturday night so let?s take a look at the teams, with the Poms up first?Great Britain: Paul Wellens, Brian Carney, Keith Senior, Kirk Yeaman, Leon Pryce, Danny McGuire, Sean Long, Stuart Fielden, Terry Newton, Jamie Peacock (c), Gareth Ellis, Gareth Hock, Sean O'LoughlinInterchange: James Roby, Adrian Morley, Lee Gilmour, Jon Wilkin, Gareth Raynor (one to be omitted).Just when we thought Noble had spared us one of the three Gareth?s by dropping Carvell, he pulls another one out of the hat, plonking Raynor on the bench as 18th man. There?s every chance he won?t play though. Gleeson has been dropped with exciting prospect Yeaman coming in and as widely anticipated, Morley moves to the bench with Peacock shifting up to prop and Hock gets a start this time around.The skilful Wilkin looks set to play this week, after being named in the no 14 jumper with the rest of the team unchanged.All these changes probably improve the Great Britain side and I?m sure they?ll be better for playing New Zealand last week. They lacked any real direction and penetration for the first 60-70 minutes before adding a couple of tries late in the game.Now to the Aussies, and here?s how they line-up:Australia: Karmichael Hunt, Brent Tate, Mark Gasnier, Jamie Lyon, Greg Inglis, Darren Lockyer (C), Ben Hornby, Mark O'Meley, Shaun Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, Willie Mason, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'DonnellInterchange: Cameron Smith, Anthony Tupou, Brent Kite, Sam Thaiday.There are a couple of big name omissions who have been rested for this clash with King and Hodges in the backs being allowed to recover from niggling injuries. Tate and prodigal son Lyon take their places whilst Hornby gets a shot at halfback ahead of Thurston.Up front, Ryan has been given a spell with Mason coming back but into the second row. O?Meley starts alongside Civoniceva with Berrigan grabbing a starting berth at hooker ahead of Smith, who?s been benched. The balance of the team is unchanged with Thaiday playing his second game after Kaufusi was ruled out.I think the reshuffle will do the Aussies some good. Hornby is an interesting playmaker and Lyon?s recall will be one of the talking points of the match. Tate, a seasoned campaigner, won?t have any problems out there and again the backline is enormous in stature, very skilled and fast.The DecisionLike last week I can?t see anything other than a loss for Great Britain, but at least we?ll be able to gauge any improvement within their team.Morley off the bench makes sense as he offers some impact, a factor that let them down last week. But this may see them start the game a little skinny with Peacock up front. The man who has to stand up here is Fielden. For a guy who allegedly wants to smash people he was very quiet against the Kiwis. But maybe I?m not paying the New Zealand forwards enough respect as they have been the dominant forward pack so far in the tournament.I?m looking forward to watching Yeaman for the Poms. There?s big wraps on him and an interesting side issue has been the curiosity he?s generating out Redfern way. Obviously Bomber McRae still keeps in touch with the ESL.In the Aussie camp, the change-up by Stuart is a good thing and he?s already used most of his squad, which is a rarity these days. Hunt has been going well at fullback but the forwards just look menacing. Three starting props with two mobile backrowers and more of the same off the bench looks simply unbeatable from a British point of view.Then the size, speed and skill of the Aussie backs will be too hard to contain. Even after replacing King and Hodges the backline is still as ridiculously blessed with talent. I hope the addition of Hornby and his organisational skills will provide a bit more width and depth for Lockyer, Gasnier and Lyon to run amok.Australia should win this one well on home soil and the crowd ought to be a significant one. The past three games have yielded an average of 21,875 people, which for International Rugby League is pretty encouraging considering two matches were hosted in non-traditional surrounds.
NEW Zealand has been stripped of its two competition points and Nathan Fien barred from taking any further part in the Tri-Nations after the Rugby League International Federation ruled the Australian-born hooker ineligible to represent the Kiwis.
IN the recently published St.George Leagues Club Journal (Nov 2006-Feb 2007), Club Chairman Warren Lockwood repeats his Board's concern about "overzealous campaigning" during the March 2006 Board election.
UNDOUBTEDLY the biggest name in rugby league to have Maltese ancestry - Michael Vella, has signed a three-year-deal with the UK Super League?s newest team, Hull Kingston Rovers.
UNDOUBTEDLY the biggest name in rugby league to have Maltese ancestry - Michael Vella, has signed a three-year-deal with the UK Super League?s newest team, Hull Kingston Rovers.
A decision on whether to penalise New Zealand for fielding an ineligible player in the Tri-Nations tournament has been adjourned until later today.
THE USA Tomahawks defeated a spirited Japan Samurais 54 to 18 in front of 1,200 fans at the Aston Community Center Field to advance to the next stage of the Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers.In an event which featured Youth Football and Rugby League, the Tomahawks entertained a large hometown crowd with some thrilling tries and big tackles. The Samurais were courageous but in the end size and power were the deciding factor for the USA. Chilly conditions on game night and torrential rain the evening before threatened to spoil the action on game day but the Tomahawks and Samurais were able to play some exciting Rugby League and develop a whole new base of support in the Delaware Valley region of Pennsylvania.Although they were defeated, the Samurais were a big hit with the vocal crowd and made many friends with their determined efforts throughout the match that resulted in a couple of long range tries from their speedy outside backs. Man of the match for the USA was Louis Tulio with great support from Marcus Vassilakopouls and Conway Maraki. The AMNRL, in association with Aston Bandits AA Youth Football, presented an entertaining day with over 2,000 fans enjoying a unique event which featured cheerleaders, t-shirts slingshot into the crowd, and skills challenges. The large crowd was able to purchase and sample some real rugby league treats, including the great Australian Pie, courtesy of sponsors Crikeys Pies based in Toledo, Ohio. The full day of great sports action featured touchdowns, tackles, pies, and tries with fans of both sports admiring the exciting skill and contact of Rugby League with a view to developing youth Rugby League programs in the future with Aston AA and Chichester AA. USA Tomhawks 54 (Louis Tulio 3, Marcus Vassilakopoulos 2, Conway Amraki 2, Cory Sheridan, Justin Zadnik, Phil Shipos, Ric Dortone tries, Marcus Vassilakopoulos 5 goals) defeated Japan Samurais 18 (Konishi Amane, Tainaka Noriyuki, Kazaoka Masanori tries, Oriyama Norihiro 3 goals). Halftime - USA 32 Japan 6. Match played at Aston Community Center Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, October 28 2006. Crowd 2,000+.USA Tomahawks1. Eric Hollingsworth2. Ric Dortone3. Jeff Preston4. Cory Sheridan5. Louis Tulio6. Conway Maraki7. Dave Niu8. Justin Zadnick9. Marcus Vassilakopolous10. Ed Woodbridge11. Chris Craig12. Kevin Deal13. Shayne Mains14. Mike Edwards15. Fred Backhaus16. Ryan Coleman17. Phil ShiposJapan Tour Squad 2006Backs:NAKAI Kazunobu (vice captain) IJUIN Kazunori ITAGAKI Masamichi USHIDA Narihisa INOUE Mitsutaka MIYAZAKI Hiroshi IGUCHI Jin OSHIMA Yasunori Forwards:KONISHI Amane (head coach) TAINAKA Noriyuki (captain) KITA Hirofumi TAKASHINO Mitsuo KAZOAKA Mansanori Benedict PENDER ORIYAMA Norihiro KONDO Ryo TAMURA Shunsuke Coaches: KONISHI Amane, Steve FREEBORNPhysio: UEDA HiroyukiSources: www.amnrl.com, www.geocities.jp/japaneserugbyleague, posters in Front Row Forum International Section
WESTS Tigers prop John Skandalis may be heading for England but the welfare of sick children will see him raise funds at a family movie night in Campbelltown on Wednesday, November 29. In conjunction with Greater Union Campbelltown, Wests Tigers will hold an exclusive advanced screening of new family movie, Open Season, at the cinema with proceeds being donated to Skando's favourite charity, Kids with Cancer Foundation Australia. The evening will include appearances by some Wests Tigers players and mascot, performances by the C91.3 Wests Tigers Kittens, as well as the opportunity to win some fantastic prizes and give-aways. This is your chance to get up close and personal with Campbelltown's favourite son before he departs for Huddersfield. Tickets for this special event are available from Monday, November 6. Ticket Prices: $20 per adult $15 per child* $60 per family** Some treats from the candy bar are also included in the ticket price. Persons aged up to 15 years are classified as a "child". A family consists of two (2) adults and two (2) children or one (1) adult and three (3) children.To purchase tickets, download a booking form from www.weststigers.com.au or visit the box office at Greater Union Campbelltown. Seats are strictly limited, so get in quick. For phone bookings and enquiries, please contact Amy at Wests Tigers office on (02) 8741 3340. Please note that tickets will not be available for purchase on the night.John Skandalis will be meeting with children at Greater Union Cinema, Kellicar Lane, Campbelltown on Wednesday, November 8, at 10am.John will talk to the media about his career and his movie night to raise funds for the Kids with Cancer Foundation.Skando tribute dinnerWests Ashfield will stage a Skando?s Leaving the Nest dinner on Thursday, December 7, to celebrate his career with the Western Suburbs Magpies and Wests Tigers.Details can also be found at www.weststigers.com.au
THE NRL has taken a baby step forward by awarding Monday night football coverage rights to Triple M and two massive steps back by abandoning their heartland areas in the bush.Country folk without pay TV or internet coverage have no way of knowing who won the Monday night game until the next morning. The worst part of this debacle is that I don?t think many people were surprised by the decision of the NRL to once again shoot themselves in the foot.Outside of Sydney, you would need Austar or Foxtel to watch the game or the internet to follow it online via websites such as League Unlimited or via streaming audio on the Triple M website. For those in the bush with no pay tv or internet, well you my friends, you have been left to suck eggs once again as no one wants to know about you when it comes to Rugby League.Strangely at other times, these commercial entities claim to be champions of the battlers in the bush. Only when it suits them it seems!The NRL have again awarded 2GB the exclusive rights to call Rugby League and they treat the rights like a toy they don?t want to share with their friends. They lock it away, play with it when they want and toss it in the corner when boredom strikes knowing full well everyone else wants to play with it. We are left with coverage from a non-commercial station in the ABC while the exclusive rights holder prefers a lifestyle show over the footy.I recall Ray Hadley saying previously they (2GB) would like to open up the rights as they were that confident of their ability to retain their market share in a non-exclusive, competitive environment. Oh how the mighty have fallen! If being insulted and fat jokes are your go, then you?d better look away right about now.I suspect if the rights were non-exclusive Ray and his vaudeville sideshow may have some explaining to do to the shareholders of Macquarie Radio as to why their fortress was turned into a sandcastle in quick time. If people were given the choice I suspect they would switch off in droves to listen to something with a little more substance rather than crude humour and tired old ditties.The NRL are obviously happy with the fact 2GB give us a live call of two games per week with the Sunday game always a Sydney fixture because their head caller, Ray Hadley, now does the morning shift with 2GB and can?t travel interstate to call the game. More often than not we are left with the third choice game being called in Sydney when the match of the round is left to an around the grounds, intermittent update.Again, should we be surprised as Hadley is against a team from Melbourne participating in the NRL for what reason I have no idea. Could it be he feels a team on the Central Coast would be more beneficial to John Singleton, majority shareholder in Macquarie Radio and underwriter of the Central Coast bid for inclusion to the NRL?There is just so much wrong with the latest broadcasting rights deal that if this were a government department a royal commission wouldn?t be out of place.The AFL have set the pace by awarding commercial radio rights to four commercial stations that ensures the people in the bush get the opportunity to listen to the game on a weekly basis. Unless you live Sydney or Brisbane, as a league fan you are stuffed and this unacceptable scenario is in play for three years.The NRL have clearly failed in their duty to the fans regarding radio coverage and while the bottom line of the game is important, the expectations of the fans seem to be at the very bottom of the NRL?s list of responsibilities. Am I surprised? No.I expected nothing more and that is real crime here. Fans expectations of the ruling body are dropping by the day but so long as the powers that be continue to count their money, I doubt they would care if games were played in empty stadiums to sub-standard media broadcasts.
THE Brisbane Broncos have applied the heat to NRL administrators, claiming as premiers they deserve the right to open the 2007 season ahead of competition newcomers the Gold Coast Titans.
BRIAN Noble has named a side with a few changes for his side?s second outing in the 2006 Tri-Nations series.
A new sound has graced Saleyards Park and that is the sound of 1995 Junior Kiwi Rex Gamble barking instructions at his troops.
THE 5th edition of the Bears official Newsletter - The Grizzly is now available. This weeks edition includes reports on recent trials against the Jets, Cessnock and Penrith. Also featured in this weeks edition is a history segment detailing how the Bears mascot was established!