Leeds secure early Toopi release

KIWI Test centre Clinton Toopi has been granted an early release from his New Zealand Warriors contract to join Leeds for the rest of the season.

Round 19 Team of the Week

WHAT a ripping round of footy we?ve chewed our way through with some real top quality games in the mix ? all matches were decided by no more than 9 points. Competition for spots this week was hotter than a two-peckered bill goat in heat with the selectors having to mull over the decisions until the wee hours this morning. So, here are the 17 to wear the proud colours of the Round 19 League Unlimited Team of the Week.

Castleford down Leeds

CASTLEFORD gave their engage Super League survival chances another huge boost by winning a thrilling derby 31-30 over Leeds at The Jungle.

Giants take the points

WINGER Martin Aspinwall scored two tries in three second-half minutes to help complete Huddersfield?s stunning fightback and end their run of four straight defeats with a 26-20 win.The Giants were 20-0 down after 43 minutes but Aspinwall?s quick double on 62 and 65 minutes tied the scores after Stuart Donlan and Michael De Vere started the revival with converted touchdowns.Substitute Steve Snitch piled on the misery for relegation-threatened Wakefield by finishing off a fine move created by Robbie Paul?s break to put the home side ahead for the first time.De Vere sealed victory by converting to complete a comeback which saw Huddersfield score 26 unanswered points in just 18 minutes to ease their own engage Super League relegation worries.Wakefield seemed to be on course to register only their third away win of the season after an impressive first-half display.Tempers on both sides came close to over-heating in the searing temperatures early on - Huddersfield?s Brad Drew had a punch-up with Wakefield?s Monty Betham, while Donlan was lucky not to be sin-binned for elbowing a Wildcats player.But once the visitors went ahead in the 10th minute through David Solomona?s try there seemed to be no way back into the game for a lethargic looking Huddersfield side.Former Giants winger Paul White scored a touchdown against his old club on 14 minutes after taking on Jamie Rooney?s final pass.Scrum-half Rooney then further increased Wakefield?s lead on 33 minutes by finishing off a move which was started by Jason Demetriou?s break from deep.Rooney converted all three tries to give the visitors an 18-0 interval lead and Rooney stretched the cushion early in the second half by kicking over a penalty awarded for a high tackle.Wakefield seemed to have the game sewn up - but the visitors have made a habit of throwing away healthy 20-point advantages this season.And once Huddersfield got on the scoresheet in the 50th minute with Donlan?s try the Wildcats just seemed to collapse.Huddersfield (0) 26.Tries: Donlan, De Vere, Aspinwall 2, Snitch. Goals: De Vere 3.Wakefield (18) 20.Tries: Solomona, White, Rooney. Goals: Rooney 4.Huddersfield: Reilly, Aspinwall, Brown, De Vere, Donlan, Thorman, Paul, Jackson, Drew, Gannon, Nero, Jones, Wild.Replacements: Crabtree, Snitch, Smith, Raleigh.Wakefield: Halpenny, Tadulala, Demetriou, Atkins, White, Rooney, Jeffries, Watene, March, Korkidas, Solomona, J. Field, Betham.Replacements: Elima, Obst, MacGillivray, Griffin.Att: 4,848Referee: S GansonSource: www.superleague.co.uk

Hull extend winning run

HULL extended their winning run to 13 games with a 36-24 win over Warrington at the KC Stadium, although they were never allowed to settle by a gritty Wolves outfit.

Jets snatch last minute Win

THE Newtown Jets maintained their unbeaten record in VB Premier League games at Henson Park this season, but had to use their ultimate ?get out of jail card? with a thrilling last minute 16-12 win over Cronulla-Sutherland on Saturday. The Jets had trailed 12-0 with fifteen minutes remaining but pulled back to 12-all with only five minutes left to play. Newtown lock Mitch Aubusson plunged over for the match-winning try in the last thirty seconds to seize an amazing comeback victory for the Jets.Saturday?s match was played in cold, wet conditions, complete with a huge midfield mud patch and blazing floodlights to round off the bleak wintry setting. The Sharks gave the better wet weather display for most of the game. They employed a better directed kicking game, used their big pack to good advantage and trapped Newtown ball-carriers in their own in-goal zone on several occasions. Cronulla seemingly had answers for every challenge mounted by the Jets and looked to be set to inflict Newtown?s first defeat at home this season.Not surprisingly tempers eventually frayed in the slippery, gruelling conditions and an old-fashioned all-in melee ensued about eighteen minutes from fulltime. The fracas seemed to spark a Jets revival, along with driving charges by their big forwards Glenn Hall, Charles Tonga and Mickey Paea. Newtown winger Aaron Lai scored in the southern left-hand corner with fourteen minutes to play, and his try was improved on with a high pressure sideline conversion from halfback Jamie Soward. Opposite winger Troy Malcolm claimed the Jets? second try five minutes from time with the ice-cool Soward converting from wide out once again to tie the scores up at 12-all. Both teams then exchanged long distance field goal attempts and in virtually the last play of the day, another field goal attempt by Soward was baulked by onrushing Sharks defenders; the ball was quickly shifted to the right hand side, with the impressive Aubusson crashing over in the corner amidst wild jubilation from Newtown supporters.Jets utility player John Doyle was Newtown?s standout performer with his clever ball distribution, darting dummy-half runs, crunching defence and fearless, inspiring leadership. Newtown fans can count themselves blessed to see a player of this exceptional calibre wearing their team?s colours. Hall, Tonga, Mickey Paea and Aubusson were among the best Newtown forwards while centre Lelea Paea and fullback Aidan Kirk were the best of the backs. The Newtown Jim Beam Cup team turned on their best first half performance of the season as they ran up a match-winning 32-0 half-time lead over The Entrance. The Jets played right to their game plan with accurate kicking, a high completion rate and sustained pressure on their opponents in their own quarter. While the second half was a more even contest, the Jets could be well pleased with the final 44-18 result in their favour.The young Jets now have the opportunity to consolidate and aim for the best possible placing in the semi-finals. Saturday?s first half can be used as a performance benchmark for the remaining competition games and there are no more byes to disrupt the team?s momentum. The Jets best forwards on Saturday were Ritchie Parker and Matt Habojan, along with good backline contributions from Luke Millwood, Toufic Nicolas and Will Ingram. The two home game wins made it a great occasion for generous match-day sponsor Anthony Tuite from the Royal Exchange Hotel in Marrickville.The Parkes Spacemen suffered a 32-12 defeat on Sunday at the hands of unbeaten competition leaders the Wellington Cowboys and are now precariously placed in the battle for the fifth place on the Group 11 competition table.Both Newtown Jets teams play away for the next two weekends. In the Jim Beam Cup, Newtown plays second-placed Wentworthville at Ringrose Park on Sunday (July 23rd) at 3.00pm. In the VB Premier League, Newtown ventures to Telstra Stadium to take on the Bulldogs on Saturday (July 22nd) at 3.30pm. This match is the main curtain-raiser to the Bulldogs-Roosters NRL match at Telstra at 5.30pm. Photo:Glenn Hall, Newtown Jets front-rower, rips through the Sharks defence on Saturday.Photo courtesy of Gary Sutherland Photography.

Cowboys sign Nicolau

THE North Queensland Toyota Cowboys announced today that Jackson Nicolau had been signed to the club for the next 3 years.

Bailey stays at Newcastle

KNIGHTS Utility, Chris Bailey, has agreed to terms for a further two years, re-signing with Newcastle until at least the end of the 2008 season.

Knights appoint PL coach

THE Newcastle Knights are proud to announce the appointment of Trent Robinson as Premier League Coach for season 2007.Robinson, 29, is the current Head Coach of French Club Toulouse Olympique XIII, and a former strength coach for the Hull Kingston Rovers. Trent holds a Bachelor of Human Movement Sport Science degree.?Trent has been recommended to us with glowing accolades and we are extremely confident about his appointment,? said Knights CEO, Ken Conway.?His qualifications and attitude to coaching indicated to us he was the right person for the job.?A St Gregory?s junior, Robinson?s playing career included the Sydney Roosters (1995-1998), Balmain Tigers, (1999-2001) where he was Club and Premier League Captain, and the Parramatta Eels, (2002) before relocating to France. ?The experience I?ve gained as a player and coach during my time abroad has been invaluable, but to join an NRL Club such as Newcastle in this capacity is a career highlight for me.? Robinson said.?I?m excited about the thought of coming home to Australia joining the Newcastle Knights players and staff and the opportunity to further my coaching career under Brian Smith.??The fact he was made Tigers Club Captain at the age of 23 says plenty about his character, leadership and football knowledge,? said Mr Conway.?The Club is confident Trent will prove to be a valuable asset to the Knights and a very popular, well respected member of the Newcastle community.?

Queensland state-wide wrap

XXXX STATEWIDE SCORE WRAP

All they needed was a coach

SALFORD City Red's coach, Karl Harrison, has paid tribute to his former boss, Brian Noble, for turning around the fortunes of sleeping giants Wigan. The Warriors beat Harrison's men 20-12 at the JJB Stadium on Friday night to make it five wins in a row and continue their remarkable climb away from the bottom of the English Super League table.

Kiwi Legends serve up great game

AS curtain raisers go, this was about as good as it gets. Graham Lowe, the 1983-86 Kiwi coach, was back in harness bringing together a collection of former Kiwi internationals to face an Invitational team at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night. The crowd came early as well, several thousand attracted to see the likes of Kurt Sorensen, Fred Ah Kuoi, James Leuluai, Gary Kemble, Tony Iro, Clayton Friend and many more wind back the clock in a match organised by the Invitational team's Noel Wyatt, an Ellerslie stalwart. At the age of 43 he wanted one last match and he had his wish.What unfolded was a display of some wonderful ball skills from players of yesteryear. The evening hadn't started well for one of their number. Joe Ropati, a blockbusting winger in his Kiwi days, suffered the embarrassment of straining a calf muscle as he ran - or even walked - onto the field. He went straight off. It so happened that another Kiwi great was in attendance and willing to step into the breach, none other than the absolute warrior Kevin Tamati. He emerged on the sideline wearing the jersey intended for Ropati but with no shorts! On the field, the ex-Kiwis settled into their work and everyone there plus a television audience witnessed some great touches all over the field. Winger Mark Bourneville, a 1985 Kiwi tourist and later a French test player, streaked close to 50 metres for the opening try. Throughout Ah Kuoi, Friend and Shane Cooper were displaying all their old ball skills. Duane Mann jinked out of dummy half and paved the way for Sam Panapa to score a nice try. Then early in the second half Panapa showed he had lost little of his toe despite the advancing years, skipping away for his second try. The Invitational players, just possibly helped a little by referee Bill Shrimpton, wanted some glory, though, and found it as first Gregory Molloy and then Reece Guy scored converted tries. They weren't going to go away but the Kiwi legends weren't about to allow a later winner either. The result was never going to be academic for them, not when the competitive juices kicked in. Match details:KIWI ALL STARS 14 (Sam Panapa 2, Mark Bourneville tries; Tea Ropati conversion). INVITATIONAL TEAM 12 (Gregory Molloy, Reece Guy tries; Gregory Molloy conversion; Reece Guy conversion). Halftime: 8-0 Kiwi All Stars.

Warriors grant Toopi early release

THE New Zealand Warriors have granted centre Clinton Toopi an early release from the NRL club to enable him to immediately join English club Leeds.

Round 19 Charges

THE NRL match review committee have decided no action will be taken against players following round 19.

European WC Qualifying matches

THE European Qualifying stages for the Rugby League World Cup will begin in October and November this year, and continue in October 2007.Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Lebanon, Georgia and Russia will be competing in a home and away series within two groups. The highest ranked team in each group will then qualify for the World Cup Finals to be held in late 2008. The second placed team in each group will also have the chance to take a place in the World Cup finals through a repocharge round to be held in November 2007.The fixtures have been announced by the RLEF as follows.October 21st/22ndQualifier 2 v LebanonOctober 21st/22ndScotland v Qualifier 1October 28th /29thLebanon v IrelandOctober 28th /29thWales v ScotlandNovember 4th/5thIreland v Qualifier 2November 4th/5thQualifier 1 v Wales Please note that venues are to be confirmed, and that Georgia and Russia have qualified for this stage by finishing as the top two teams from the recent European Preliminary WC Qualification Group.The 2nd ranked teams from the two European qualifying groups will play off as part of the Repecharge Round in November 2007. The winner will then play the winner of the 3rd ranked Pacific qualifying team and highest placed Atlantic team to become one of the ten teams to compete in the World Cup finals.Details of qualifications and other World Cup news can be found at http://worldcup.leagueunlimited.com, or via the 'World Cup 2008' link in the sidebar near the top left of the screen.

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