WAKEFIELD captain Monty Betham has retired from rugby league to take up a career in boxing.
THE Maltese Rugby League Association (MRLA) is opening its doors to the 2005/2006 Annual MRLA Presentation, being held at the Hamrun Club in Sydney.
FOLLOWING the NZRL?s recent discussions with its members in Wellington, the NZRL Board of Directors met on Thursday 30 November, to discuss the member?s five recommendations for co-opting to the two vacant board positions.
IF a week is a long time in politics it can be an eternity in the struggle between rugby league and rugby union over key players.When the Wallabies returned from a rather ordinary European tour early this week, the focus was on recruiting rugby league players to boost union?s ranks.But today the boot is very much on the other foot with at least one Wallaby star wanting to switch to rugby league BEFORE next year?s Rugby World Cup, and another rumoured to be keen to do so as soon as possible.Mat Rogers, who switched codes to rugby union in 2001 after seven league Test appearances and a very successful playing career with the Cronulla Sharks, apparently wants to join NRL newcomers, the Gold Coast Titans, for the 2007 season. He has already signed a contract to join the club in 2008.Dissatisfaction with coach John Connolly?s team selections on the recent Wallabies tour has caused Rogers to rethink his plans for 2007.If he decides to seek an early release, the Titans and the NRL will fall over backwards to facilitate what would be a significant PR coup for rugby league in view of the posturing by the ARU about "raiding" rugby league?s player ranks.It will present the ARU with a real quandary. Releasing Rogers would set a precedent, but does union really want in its World Cup team next year a player who would rather be playing in another code?But an even more successful ex-league player is also thinking about a return to the 13-a-side game. Lote Tuqiri left the Broncos in 2001 and has been the best performing former league player in the Wallabies ever since.A host of NRL clubs is already lining up to talk to Lote if he decides to switch codes. That will force the ARU to offer him a contract after the World Cup worth a lot more than it had in mind a week ago.But if he wants to return to rugby league ? and senior league officials are very confident he does ? he will have to take a substantial pay cut, or the NRL will have to ease its salary cap restrictions. And it will be under enormous pressure to do so.The news this week has come as a relief to David Gallop and the NRL. Instead of worrying about how to prevent NRL players being poached by the ARU, rugby league officialdom can sit back and enjoy the position in which Rogers and possibly Tuqiri have put the ARU ? and John Connolly.
THE tug-of-war over Melbourne Storm winger Steve Turner looks set to continue with Storm chief executive Brian Waldron denying reports a player swap deal has been struck with the Gold Coast Titans.
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 Rockhampton Central Queensland Comets are heading into the 2005 Queensland Cup season in the best condition of the club's history.