Tigers keen for Matterson to stay

CASTLEFORD are hoping to persuade Terry Matterson to remain as coach despite their relegation from Super League.

Cas bid for Superleague reprieve

CASTLEFORD are pushing for Super League to be expanded to 13 clubs for the 2007 season so they can avoid the drop.

Superleague 2006 Dream Team announced

SEVEN different engage Super League clubs are represented in the 2006 engage Super League Dream Team.

Superleague sets attendance record

THE 2006 engage Super League has generated the highest weekly average attendance in the 11-year history of the competition.The average weekly attendance at the conclusion of the 28 rounds of the regular season stands at 9,026, generated by an aggregate attendance of 1,516,342 supporters. Those figures are an increase on the previous season, which generated an average of 8,887.This is also the first time the competition has attracted an aggregate of over one-and-a-half million supporters in the space of one campaign.This season?s engage Super League competition has also generated the highest weekly average attendance for an elite League since the introduction of multiple divisions to the sport in 1973.Also during 2006 the following milestones have been achieved:There have been a record number of five figure attendances at matches ? 71 in engage Super League XI (previous best was 68 in 2005).Leeds Rhinos are the best supported club in engage Super League with an average attendance of 15,683. Wigan Warriors are the next best with an average of 14,464.Seven clubs have shown an increase in average attendances during 2006.The Catalans Dragons club generated an average attendance of 6,542 during their debut season in the competition.The average weekly attendance for the engage Super League competition has risen every season since 2001. Commenting on the figures, the Executive Chairman of the Rugby Football League Richard Lewis said: "The excitement and competitiveness we have seen in engage Super League during 2006 has been unprecedented."The season has contained so many memorable matches and these record attendances show that supporters are responding to the unique sporting spectacle on offer."The consistent increase in crowds experienced by the competition since 2001 demonstrates that engage Super League is continuing to grow and develop positively. We believe this trend will continue in future seasons."Now that the regular season is complete, the attention rightly turns to the engage Super League Play-Offs and battle to reach the Grand Final at Old Trafford."We can look forward to more excitement in the coming weeks as the remaining six clubs battle it out for the engage Super League Championship". Source: superleague.co.uk

Play off details confirmed

SUPERLEAGUE Play OffsFri 22 SepLeeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolvesko: 8.00, Venue: HeadingleyThird place v sixth place. Loser eliminated, winner continues next week.Sat 23 SepBradford Bulls v Salford City Redsko: 6.00, Venue: Grattan StadiumFourth place v fifth place. Loser eliminated, winner continues next week.St Helens and Hull have earnt the week off.National League 1 Play OffsSun 24 SepHull Kingston Rovers V Widnes Vikingsko: 3.00, Venue: Craven ParkFirst place v second place. Winner gets week off and spot in the grand final, loser continues next week.Sun 24 SepWhitehaven V Batley Bulldogsko: 3.00, Venue: Recreation GroundFourth place v sixth place. Loser eliminated, winner continues next week. National League 2 Play OffsFri 22 SepSheffield Eagles V Celtic Crusadersko: 8.00, Venue: Don Valley StadiumSecond place v third place. Winner gets week off and spot in grand final, loser continues next week.Sun 24 SepFeatherstone Rovers V Swinton Lionsko: 3.00, Venue: Lionheart StadiumFourth place v fifth place. Loser eliminated, winner continues next week.Dewsbury Rams finished competition leaders and qualified for automatic promotion.National League 3 Play OffsSun 24 SepBramley Buffaloes V Hemel Hempstead Stagsko: 2.30, Venue: tbcFirst place v second place. Winner gets week off and spot in grand final, loser continues next week.Sun 24 SepWarrington Wizards V St Albans Centurionsko: 2.30, Venue: tbcThird place v fourth place. Loser eliminated, winner continues next week.

National League play-off results

LHF National League 1 - Sun 17 SepLeigh 22 lost to Batley 23at The Coliseum (Att: 1,815)LeighT: D Gaskell, L Greenwood, D Wilson, R RobertsG: C Forber 3BatleyT: C Lingard, J Stokes, C Langley, A LindsayG: J Duffy 3DG: ? Half-time: Leigh 16 Batley 10Third placed Leigh are eliminated from the National League One play-offs.Whitehaven 38 defeated Rochdale 10at the Recreation Ground (Att: 1,461)Whitehaven (26)T: C Calvert, D Seeds, R Jackson 3, J Duffy, A Smith, S MillerG: C Rudd 3Rochdale (4)T: K King, L PattersonG: K KingHalf-time: Whitehaven 26 Rochdale 4Fifth placed Rochdale are eliminated from the National League One play-offs.LHF National League 2 - Sun 17 SepSwinton 26 defeated Barrow 20at Sedgely Park (Att: 511)SwintonT: D Woods 2, M Billy, S McCurrieG: C Hough 5BarrowT: K Ganley, J Marshall, B McDermottG: D Holt 4Half-time: Swinton 12 Barrow 8Seventh placed Barrow are eliminated from the National League Two play-offsFeatherstone 46 defeated Gateshead 18at Post Office Road (Att: 914)FeatherstoneT: D Kirmond 3, W McHugh, C Hughes 2, P Hughes, J I'AnsonG: J Benn 3, S Dickens 4GatesheadT: W Liddell, N Thorman, J McKayG: W Liddell 3Half-time: Featherstone 22 Gateshead 12Sixth placed Gateshead are eliminated from the National League Two play-offsSource: www.therfl.co.uk

R28: Late rally earns Bulls victory

IN a tense action-packed end-of-the-season clash Bradford Bulls made it three successive wins with a late rally against courageous Huddersfield Giants in a 42-30 engage Super League victory.The Giants staged a remarkable second-half comeback with a try-scoring flurry and actually took the lead with eight minutes to go, but in the end the Bulls' power, pace and determination proved conclusive.Huddersfield mounted a furious onslaught on the Bulls' line early on and second-rower Andy Raleigh rode a high tackle before twisting over the line for a try which Michael De Vere goaled.The Giants enjoyed a brief spell of supremacy before the visitors? attacking machine clicked into top gear.They drew level in the 12th minute when loose forward Brett Ferres broke through and sent full-back Michael Withers over with Paul Deacon landing the goal.The Giants, looking for a win to lift them into seventh place hit back, but met solid Bulls defence.And some appalling cover let the Bulls in for two simple tries.Both came from former Giants winger Marcus St Hilaire, who was left with a simple run to the line with no opposition within reach - Deacon added the extras on each occasion.The Bulls' 12-point lead was increased when Withers went over for another try with Deacon again on target with the goal-kick.Winger Martin Aspinwall started the home revival with a breakaway run to the line, Wayne McDonald barging over for the Giants in his last game before loose forward Stephen Wild showed sizzling pace in outpacing the opposition in a race to the line. De Vere landed both goals to level the scores.And the Giants had not finished. They continued to put the Bulls defence under pressure and went into the lead when winger Stuart Donlan went over in the corner. De Vere added the goal.Bradford fought back well and levelled when winger Marcus Bai blasted over in the corner with Deacon slotting the goal over from the touchline.And as the home defence became more weary Bradford snatched victory when Shontayne Hape charged over in the corner with Deacon landing the goal.Sam Burgess sealed the win for the Bulls with a try on the hooter, with the reliable Deacon once again adding the goal points.Huddersfield: 30 (6).Tries: Raleigh, Aspinwall, McDonald, Wild, Donlan.Goals: De Vere 5.Bradford: 42 (18).Tries: Withers 2, St Hilaire 2, Bai, Hape, Burgess.Goals: Deacon 7.Huddersfield: Reilly, Aspinwall, Nero, De Vere, Donlan, Brown, Paul, Jackson, Drew, Gannon, Smith, Raleigh, Wild.Replacements: Thorman, Crabtree, Jones, McDonald.Bradford: Withers, Bai, B. Harris, Hape, St Hilaire, I. Harris, Deacon, Vagana, Newton, Lynch, Meyers, McKenna, Ferres.Replacements: Pryce, Johnson, Henderson, Burgess.Referee: Phil Benson (Bolton)Att: 7,002 Source: superleague.co.uk

R28: St Helens secure win over Wolves

ST Helens produced a breathtaking 21-minute first-half masterclass to secure a thrilling 38-30 victory and condemn Warrington Wolves to a sixth-placed finish in the engage Super League.

R28: Wildcats win survival decider

WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats pulled off the great escape with a dramatic 29-17 win to condemn neighbours Castleford Tigers to relegation for the second time in three years.

R28: Dorn devastates future teammates

HARLEQUINS RL half-back Luke Dorn gave play-off bound Salford City Reds a taste of things to come with a stunning hat-trick as the Londoners wrapped up their engage Super League season with a 40-18 win.

R28: Leeds run riot over Dragons

FULL-BACK Jordan Tansey grabbed a first-half hat-trick of tries as the rampant Leeds Rhinos handed Catalans Dragons the worst defeat of their inaugural engage Super League season in a one-sided 60-12 win at Headingley.

R28: Dobson kicks Wigan to victory

AN imperious kicking display from Michael Dobson helped Wigan Warriors to a commanding 38-16 victory over title-chasing Hull FC on a night of high emotion at the JJB Stadium.

Buckingham leads Lions to BC Glory

THE Auckland Lions are the 2006 Bartercard Cup champions.The Brian McClennan coached side picked up a hard fought 25-18 win over the Canterbury Bulls at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Monday night.Auckland skipper Steve Buckingham ? who made history this season becoming the first player in the Bartercard Cup to score over 1000 points ? collected the first points of the game with a close range penalty in the 10th minute.The penalty was the result of a high tackle that also cost the Bulls the services of veteran prop Vince Whare who was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.The Lions looked like they were in for their next points moments later when Buckingham burrowed his way over the try-line but referee Craig Pascoe ruled a Bulls player had been taken out of the play and the try was disallowed.But they weren?t going to be denied in the 18th minute when halfback Kelvin Wright picked up a chip kick and ran 70 metres to score in the corner.With the ever-reliable Buckingham on target with the boot, Auckland were up 8-0 midway through the first half.But despite being down one man the Phil Prescott coached Bulls charged back into contention.A mistake from the kick-off gifted Canterbury possession well inside the Lions? territory.And they made them pay full price when Clinton Fraser got his hands on a well-weighted kick to open Canterbury?s account.Scott Hurrell?s conversion reduced the gap to two points.But it wasn?t long before Auckland struck back.This time it was hooker Regan Wigg who crashed his way over the Bulls? line.With the Canterbury defence back-pedalling Wigg showed plenty of skill to drive his way over.With Buckingham continuing to add the extras the Lions extended their lead to 14-6.Showing plenty of persistence and experience the Bulls quickly brought the advantage back to two points.Again it was their kicking game that proved to be the key.Halfback Duane Wineti put up a good bomb that the Lions couldn?t defuse and as the ball came loose it was Louis Fanene who managed to ground it.The Lions mounted a number of attacks late in the first half but they couldn?t add any more points going to the sheds at halftime 14-12 ahead.Another penalty from directly in front of the posts gave Buckingham his fourth goal of the game and the Lions an extra two points inside the first five minutes of the second half.Auckland pounded the Canterbury defence over the next 10 minutes and it finally paid dividends in the 55th minute when young centre Miguel Start tore through a small hole to crash his way over.Again Wright ? who was named the man-of-the-match - was in the middle of the action directing the play with the composure of a seasoned veteran.The talented halfback showed plenty of skill to open up a gap for Start to power his way over.Buckingham?s conversion and then a subsequent penalty took the Lions out to a 24-12 advantage and gave Canterbury an extremely hard job to do in the final 20 minutes.But that was the red rag the Bulls needed.With Lions second rower Sala Fa?alogo in the sin bin for a high tackle the Canterbury attack ignited.A stunning kick return from Lusi Sione opened the Lions? defence and it wasn?t long before Hurrell shot through to add a try to his personal tally for the night.Auckland looked to be in trouble as the fitness of the Bulls started to show through.But with five minutes to run Buckingham again stepped up to the plate to add an extra point to the Lions? score with a beautifully struck field goal which sealed the victory. BARTERCARD CUP COMPETITION ? GRAND FINAL RESULTSMain GameAuckland Lions vs Canterbury Bulls Mt Smart Stadium, AucklandAuckland Lions 25Tries: K. Wright, R. Wigg, M. Start Goals: S. Buckingham (6)Field Goal: S. Buckingham Canterbury Bulls 18 Tries: C. Fraser, L. Fanene, S. HurrellGoals: S. Hurrell (3) Halftime Score: 14 ? 12 To Auckland Lions Curtain RaiserBartercard Cup All Stars vs Warriors Development SquadBartercard Cup All Stars 24Tries: L. Faleono, T. Tuifelasai, B. Matulino, C. Beverley, A. TauaiGoals: M. Tuipulotu (1), A. Tauai (1) Warriors Development Squad 18Tries: S. Fa?i, C. Mika, I. JohnGoals: S. Jones (3) Halftime Score: 14 ? 12 To Bartercard Cup All Stars

League Player Ratings ? Elimination Semi Finals

AND then there were four. After two one-sided semi finals over the weekend, the Newcastle Knights and Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles are no longer in the running for the 2006 Telstra Premiership. With their comprehensive victories the St.George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos live to fight another day in the Preliminary Finals this weekend. League Player Ratings is the only non-newspaper affiliated Ratings service covering the NRL and after completing the regular season for subscribers, NSC is covering the Finals for League Unlimited. The LPR is a ranking out of 10, as a guide 3 is the lowest score and for a very early injury, 4 is for an mid-game injury if nothing significant was done or a player has a very poor performance, 5 is a poor performance below standard, 6 is a standard performance, 7 is a very good performance, 8 is an excellent performance, 9 is an outstanding performance and 10 is an unbelievable performance. Here is the LPR for every player in Week Two of the Finals, and for those who like the 3-2-1 method it is included after each Team List incorporating the LPR. 1st Elimination Semi FinalST.GEORGE-ILLAWARRA 28 def MANLY-WARRINGAH 0 Man of the Match ? Luke BAILEY, STIAnd you thought Bailey had a superb game last weekend. This was the best performance from a front rower this season and even though his stats don?t have the gaudiness you?d think would accompany a statement like that ? just re-watch the game tape and see how the front row position should be played. Every hit-up had vigour in it, every hit-up had interest metres tacked on the end, every hit-up was a statement that Bailey was not prepared to end his career at the Dragons just yet. If the Dragons are to get by the Storm and into the Grand Final, they need Bailey (and his partners in crime ? Justin Poore and Jason Ryles) to reproduce another sterling effort like this. POS DRAGONS LPRFB GREENSHIELDS, Clint 7 WI NAIQAMA, Wes 7 CE MILLARD, Daryl 6 CE COOPER, Matt 7 WI MORRIS, Brett 8 FE BARRETT, Trent ? 7 HB HORNBY, Ben 7 PR BAILEY, Luke 9 HK GORRELL, Aaron 6 PR RYLES, Jason 7 SR BICKERSTAFF, Matt 7 SR SIMS, Ashton 7 LK TIMMINS, Shaun 6 BN CREAGH, Ben 7 BN WICKS, Danny 6 BN POORE, Justin 8 BN HEAD, Mathew 6 TEAM TOTALS 118 POS SEA EAGLES LPRFB STEWART, Brett 5 WI ROBERTSON, Michael 6 CE HICKS, Chris 6 CE MATAI, Steve 6 WI STEPHENSON, Paul 5 FE BURNS, Travis 5 HB ORFORD, Matt 6 PR KING, Jason 6 HK MONAGHAN, Michael 5 PR KITE, Brent 7 SR MENZIES, Steven 7 SR WATMOUGH, Anthony 5 LK KENNEDY, Ben ? 7 BN DUNLEY, Shayne 6 BN WILLIAMSON, Luke 4 BN LEULUAI, Kylie 6 BN BRYANT, Mark 5 TEAM TOTALS 97 3 ? L Bailey (9/STI) 2 ? B Morris (8/STI) 1 ? J Poore (8/STI) 2nd Elimination Semi FinalBRISBANE BRONCOS 50 def NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS 6 Man of the Match ? Darren LOCKYER, BRIIn a game when the Broncos were ruthless after withstanding Newcastle?s opening 15 minutes, Lockyer was only one of six players who had excellent games. Just edged Shaun Berrigan for the award on the back of a strong kicking game and his constant movement to get into position for possession on both sides of the field. This is Lockyer?s greatest strength since moving to five-eighth. He lost an element of his support play shifting from fullback but he has evolved into a playmaker who touches the ball regularly on both sides of the field. His Try Involvement Ratio (Tries+Primary Assists+Secondary Assists/Total Team Tries) was an impressive 62.5% (from 1 Try, 2 Primary Assists and 2 Secondary Assists) ahead of Berrigan at 50% (2PA+2SA). We told you he was in great form entering the Finals and that the Dragons game may have been an aberration and Lockyer proved that correct. POS KNIGHTS LPRFB GIDLEY, Kurt 8 WI CARNEY, Brian 5 CE GIDLEY, Matthew 5 CE CARMONT, George 5 WI QUINN, Anthony 5 FE MULLEN, Jarrod 5 HB JOHNS, Andrew ? 6 PR PERRY, Josh 4 HK QUIGLEY, Luke 6 PR WOOLNOUGH, Adam 6 SR REYNOLDSON, Kirk 5 SR NEWTON, Clint 5 LK TANNER, Reegan 5 BN DAVICO, Luke 5 BN SMITH, Craig 6 BN BROWN, Riley 5 BN LOWRIE, Todd 5 TEAM TOTALS 91 POS BRONCOS LPRFB HODGES, Justin 8 WI BOYD, Darius 7 CE TATE, Brent 7 CE STAGG, David 7 WI HUNT, Karmichael 8 FE LOCKYER, Darren ? 8 HB PERRY, Shane 6 PR WEBCKE, Shane 7 HK BERRIGAN, Shaun 8 PR CIVONICEVA, Petero 8 SR THAIDAY, Sam 5 SR THORN, Brad 7 LK CARROLL, Tonie 8 BN PARKER, Corey 7 BN CARLAW, Dane 6 BN HANNANT, Ben 5 BN McGUIRE, Casey 6 TEAM TOTALS 118 3 ? D Lockyer (8/BRI) 2 ? S Berrigan (8/BRI) 1 ? P Civoniceva (8/BRI) CENTREBET PREMIERSHIP MARKET ? September 18, 2006$3.20 Dragons (Last Week: $4.65)$3.25 Bulldogs (LW: $3.00)$3.75 Broncos (LW: $6.00)$4.25 Storm (LW: $3.40) The Player of the Finals [must play in 3 games (incl. Grand Final) to qualify and sorted on Average LPR]After 2 Games Minium8.5 - L Bailey (STI)7.5 - P Civoniceva, S Webcke, J Hodges (BRI), C Greenshields, B Morris (STI) League Player Ratings will return following the completion of next weekend?s Preliminary Finals.

What?s the point of an NRL contract?

AFTER a weekend in which two NRL teams ? the Dragons and the Broncos ? stamped themselves as serious premiership contenders the focus has switched to an issue that needs to be addressed by football codes generally: the validity of "contracts" entered into by players, and even coaches.

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