DUMPED South Sydney coach Shaun McRae has accepted an offer to become the club's director of coaching and football operations for the next two seasons.
AND then there were two. Two teams left to contest the Lion Red Fox Memorial on Sunday at Mt Smart Stadium No 2. The Mt Albert lions, fresh from their weekend off, and the Papakura Sea Eagles, hot off their win over the Northcote Tigers last weekend.
NSWRL Jim Beam Cup Preliminary Final
Saturday, September 16th 2006
Newtown v Cabramatta
BRONCOS chief executive Bruno Cullen tonight confirmed Wayne Bennett would stay on as head coach until the end of the 2009 NRL season, scotching rumours that the long-time Brisbane mentor was heading for NRL rivals the Sydney Roosters.
VICHEALTH boss Rob Moodie has been appointed chairman of National Rugby League club Melbourne Storm.
NEWCASTLE'S Test second rower Steve Simpson has been ruled out of tomorrow's NRL semi-final against Brisbane at Aussie Stadium.
THIS weekend sees the final round of Superleague XI, and two pressing issues remain unsettled ? the order of fifth and sixth place for Salford and Warrington will determine first week play-off opponents, and of course the result of Wakefield v Castleford will determine which team is subject to relegation. Other teams will be hoping for either a good hit-out ahead of the important play-off games to follow, or for a positive end to a long season. Game on!Friday ? Wigan v Hull at JJB Stadium (televised)With Wigan successfully clear of the relegation tussle, home fans will be looking for a win against second placed Hull to give them some positives to take into the off-season. This will be the last game in Wigan colours for halfback Michael Dobson, Brett Dallas, Scott Logan and Wayne Godwin who are all joining other clubs next season, while the club will also acknowledge recently retired Kris Radlinski. Wigan lost against Harlequins last week by a point while Hull lost to Warrington and will be hoping to return to form before the play-offs. Hull are not resting any players from the squad, knowing that they have earned a week off and will play their next game in the Qualifying Semi-Final against St Helens. Tip: Could easily go either way? maybe Wigan?Friday ? Leeds v Catalans at HeadingleyThird placed Leeds host last placed Catalans as the French club aim to finish their debut season on a high note. The team has won eight games and mirrored the performance of many teams having previously made their first step into the elite division. However their Superleague future is secure only because of the exemption from relegation granted to them as an expansion club. Dragons winger Justin Murphy currently heads the try scoring table on 24 and will be hoping to add to his tally here. Catalans were beaten at home by Huddersfield last start, while Leeds were outclassed by competition leaders St Helens. Hoping to hit some form ahead of next week?s Elimination Play-Off against either Warrington or Salford, Leeds are without injured centre Chev Walker, with Danny McGuire again listed to make his comeback from shin injury. Tip: Leeds.Saturday ? Harlequins v Salford at Twickenham StoopSalford can make certain of fifth place and an Elimination Play-Off against Bradford next week with a win here in London. A loss opens up the chance that they might face Leeds next week instead. Either way it is the first time Salford have qualified for the Superleague Play-Offs, with their win last week over Castleford. Andy Coley, David Hodgson and Stuart Littler were the winners at the Salford awards night mid-week. Meanwhile Harlequins, fresh off their one point win over Wigan, take the field this week in the wake of the news that their CEO since 2002 Nic Cartwright is calling it a day, and prop Danny Williams is also retiring. Luke Dorn is Salford-bound next year, and with eight players yet to be re-signed a surprise win could be in the works here if the players want to impress and pitch in to send each other off in style.Tip: Could easily go either way, but you?d think Salford...Saturday ? Wakefield v Castleford at Atlantic Solutions Stadium (televised) This game is the focus of this weekend?s round and the result could influence the future of both clubs. Castleford have been there before, losing at home against Wakefield in 2004?s final round to end up relegated to National League One. Meanwhile Wakefield won National League One and promotion in 1998 and have been playing Superleague ever since. Under ex-Hull coach John Kear, Wakefield?s recent performances have improved as their quest to avoid the drop intensifies, and following last week?s surprise win over Bradford it all now comes down to this game. Castleford had a patch of strong form around July, but have recently have slid back down to danger culminating in last week?s loss to Salford. The past two years of effort by the Tigers to climb back and survive in Superleague now comes down to this one game ? will that motivation be enough? May the best team on the day win? Tip: Um, Wakefield?Sunday ? Warrington v St Helens at Halliwell Jones StadiumBy game time on Sunday Warrington will know whether their opponent in next week?s Elimination Play-Off has already been decided, or whether they can influence their post-season path. The Wolves have made the Play-Offs for the third time in four seasons, and having beaten second place Hull last week will be trying for the quinella by knocking off the leaders. They come up against a St Helens squad that has taken all before them this season, winning the Challenge Cup and topping the League ladder to earn next week off. The Saints will be looking to again display their dominance for all to see as we near the important stage of the season. Tip: St Helens.Sunday ? Huddersfield v Bradford at Galpharm StadiumSeventh placed Huddersfield are now safe from relegation following last week?s win over Catalans, but the Challenge Cup Finalists will be hoping to finish the season on a positive note with a final win at home, given that they cannot make the play-offs. Huddersfield will farewell Michael De Vere, Paul March, Jim Gannon, Wayne McDonald and Jon Grayshon, however the Giants are yet to win over fourth placed Bradford in Superleague. The Bulls will be looking to put in a performance worthy of reigning Champions following last week?s defeat at the hands of Wakefield, and Great Britain rep Paul Johnson returns to the squad for the first time since May.Tip: Maybe Bradford. Next week?s games:Friday 22 September 8pm - Elimination Play-Off 1 Leeds Rhinos v Warrington or Salford at Headingley(Third Place v Sixth Place)Saturday 23 September 6pm - Elimination Play Off 2Bradford Bulls v Salford or Warrington at Grattan Stadium(Fourth Place v Fifth Place) (St Helens and Hull FC continue through to the second week.)
THE Canterbury Bulls plan to keep it simple in the Bartercard Cup grand final on Monday night.The Bulls take on the Auckland Lions at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland in a repeat of the 2005 grand final.Last year Brian McClennan?s Lions snatched victory in the dying seconds of the game.But this time the Phil Prescott coached Bulls will be out to take the silverware back to Canterbury.?We?ve got to hold on to the ball,? Bulls second rower Jonny Limmer said.?If we can complete our sets and play the game down their end it?s going to be a good start for us.?Limmer was one of the stars in the Bulls? 30-6 win over the Tamaki Leopards in the elimination semi-final.?I just tried to do my part for the team - making sure I didn?t make any mistakes and hanging on to the ball when I got it,? he said.And he heaped praise on Canterbury?s young halves combination of Josh Reuben and Duane Wineti.?Our halves have been outstanding this year especially in their first year of Bartercard Cup,? he said.?They?ve been tremendous.?The Bulls were in impressive form against the Leopards making nine line breaks and nearly 2000 metres on the run in a clinical display of football.But they will need to bring their best to Mt Smart for Monday?s grand final.The Lions comprehensively beat Canterbury 27-14 in their quarter final clash two weeks ago.And the Auckland side will not be willing to give up the trophy without a fight.Monday night will be a great night for rugby league fans in Auckland and around the country.The game will be beamed into living rooms all over the country live and free-to-air on Maori Television while fans who make it to the ground will be entertained by Kiwi music sensation Che Fu, a fireworks display and the All Star Cheerleaders.And the grand final won?t be the only footy action on show. The Warriors? Allied Work Force elite development squad will be going up against the Bartercard Cup All-Stars in the curtain raiser.Admission to Mt Smart Stadium is free and everyone who comes to the game will be in with the chance to win Tri-Nations spot prizes and a chance to be in to win a lunch with the Kiwis.The curtain raiser kicks off at 6.15pm and the grand final gets under way at 8.20pm.AUCKLAND LIONS vs CANTERBURY BULLSMt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New ZealandMonday 18 September 2006 ? 8.20pm Kick Off* LIVE & FREE-TO-AIR ON MAORI TELEVISION *AUCKLAND LIONS:PAUL FISI?IAHIMALOFOU SOLOMONAMIGUEL STARTHARRY AONGAROWAN BAXTERSTEVE BUCKINGHAM (C)KELVIN WRIGHTJULIAN O?NEILLREGAN WIGGSHANNON STOWERSPALETASALA ALEFABIAN SOUTERWAYNE McDADELEE WETHERILLWILLIAM SORENSONSIONE POUHADYLAN DAVISCoach - BRIAN McCLENNANManagement:BRENT GEMMELLPETER LAVEANIGEL RATTRAYMARK DENNISSTEPHANIE MARRCANTERBURY BULLS:LUSI SIONESCOTT HURRELLDONAVAN AITKENLEE FIDOWLUCAS TAMAKAHAJOSH REUBENDUANE WINETIVINCE WHARESHANE BEYERS (C)ALEX TIMOJONNY LIMMERDANIEL METCALFCOREY LAWRIEGARETH COOKBLAKE MILNERROSS TURILOUIS FANENECLINTON FRASERCoach - PHILIP PRESCOTTManagement:DARRYL COADDAVE PERKINSBRUCE MILNEANDY WIHARESTEVE WOODReferee: CRAIG PASCOETouch Judges: ARTHUR CLARK & AARON KESHA
VODAFONE Warriors captain Steve Price edged fullback Brent Webb to become the second prop in successive seasons to win the club?s most coveted annual award last night.
LAST week took me a bit by surprise. The more I think about them the more I?m impressed by the Bulldogs. They beat-up the Raiders without really working up a sweat and in atrocious conditions as well. I actually picked the Raiders figuring that they would turn up and have a real dig. It was looking promising for the first 10 minutes anyway. Canterbury again proved they have the forwards to dominate the comp and it wouldn?t surprise me to see Asotasi line-up next week. I feel for Grimaldi though, that?s a tough break for a fair dinkum toiler of the game.
AUSTRALIAN Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr has confirmed Danny Buderus will not be able to serve any of his six-game suspension during next month's Tri-Nations.Buderus was last month given permission from the ARL to skip the end-of-season series against New Zealand and Great Britain for personal reasons. And Carr says the Newcastle hooker, who would have otherwise been an automatic selection for Australia, would not be able to go back on his decision.Buderus received a six-match ban at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday for a dangerous tackle on Manly's Michael Robertson which ruled him out of the rest of the NRL final series. But he will miss three games at most at the start of the 2007 season, with the NSW Origin skipper able to serve up to two weeks during the pre-season in trials against NRL opposition.Meanwhile, Chief Operating Officer Graham Annesley says the NRL has no plans to review its judicial system in the wake of Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus' six-match suspension.Buderus called for the system to be reviewed last night after he was ruled out for the rest of the final series for a dangerous throw on Manly's Michael Robertson.It was Buderus' first suspension after 10 years in the NRL.But Annesley says the league has no current plans to review the system in the off-season.
MANLY centre Steve Bell has been ruled out of tomorrow night's sudden death NRL semi-final against St George Illawarra with a foot injury.
DEPENDING on who you want to listen to, this week was either a gigantic or an enormous week in Rugby League.
LAST weekend saw the Dolphins Wizard Cup side earn the right to contest its 8th Grand Final in the 11 years the competition has been running. A solid 30 points to 16 victory over Easts assigned the Tigers to their post season celebrations and presents the Dolphins with the opportunity to secure their 5th Qld Cup Premiership. Unfortunately an out of sorts Colts out fit were unable to stop the momentum of the Wynnum Seagulls side going down 42 ? 20.
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