THE first field goal of Michael Roberts' rugby league career turned out to be a match-breaker.With the Queensland Cup on a knife edge at 12-6 to the Dolphins, hooker Roberts nailed a one-pointer from close range to put his side two scoring opportunities ahead."I thought the field goal was the turning point and not because I kicked it," Roberts said. "We had been down their end for five or six sets and had not broken through. I thought if we did that again and failed we might get a bit down."There was 10 minutes or so to go and the conditions were in our favour if we could get further ahead. There had been only three tries scored so far in the match so I reckoned it was the way to go."Roberts had an explanation for him never landing a field goal before. In past seasons he has had senior players such as Tony Gould and Shane Perry to take the responsibility."I planned the field goal as soon as packed the scrum," he said. "I placed myself at first receiver and it never looked like missing."But that doesn't take it away from our defence, which won us the game. It was just a bit of turning point."This season Roberts, playing in his fifth Queensland Cup grand final, has assumed the role of a senior player with the Dolphins.He was playing in his fifth decider and the victory gave him a three-from-five record."It was funny that after the field goal things started going our way," he said. "They were in front of a kick-off and started dropping the ball a bit."Roberts rated the premiership "a pretty special one". "No one away from the Peninsula gave us a chance," he said."It was very quick out early on and 20 minutes into the game the coach gave me a break. I was starting to blow a bit but was always the plan."The match was a direct contest of their speed and athleticism and our experience and composure. We have a lot of grand final experience and it counts for a lot."I mentioned in my speech about the core group of players and everyone knows who they are. There's Troy Lindsay, Adam Starr, Grant Flugge, Danny Burke and myself, all of whom have played together for five or six years while Shane Perry also would have been there."
JETSTAR Gold Coast Titans Managing Director Michael Searle this afternoon congratulated Shaun Timmins on an outstanding NRL and representative career and wished him well for the future, following a mutual decision by the pair to end negotiations that could have seen the former State or Origin and Test star playing for the Jetstar Gold Coast Titans next year.After consulting a knee surgeon Timmins has been advised to end his playing career.?I am very disappointed obviously from a Jetstar Gold Coast Titans point of view, but more so for Shaun that the surgeon?s prognosis on his injured knee wasn?t more encouraging, however I do want to thank Shaun for his honesty and understanding during our preliminary talks.?? Shaun has been a tremendous player for St George, New South Wales and Australia over many years and would have been a fantastic inclusion to Coach John Cartwright?s squad, but at the end of the day there is nothing more important than your health and we would like to wish Shaun the very best in his recovery and for the future.? Said Searle.
GAME 1, 14th October 2006: New Zealand v Australia, Mt Smart Stadium Auckland
RETIRING rugby league star Shane Webcke has revealed he tested positive for a banned drug but escaped punishment.Webcke's admission is contained in his new biography Warhorse: Life, Football and Other Battles which is due to be released today.In an extract revealed by the Daily Telegraph, Webcke confirms how he tested positive to the banned substance probenecid after the Brisbane Broncos' opening match of the 2001 season against North Queensland. Webcke, who is one of the game's most respected figures and an anti-drug campaigner, escaped suspension after it was accepted he had been prescribed the drug to recover from a serious knee infection.Webcke said the matter had been dealt with in-house by ASDA and the NRL with the doctor's failure to register the probenecid prescription as an innocent mistake. The former Test prop retired from rugby league a winner after the Broncos beat the Storm 15-8 in the 2006 grand final on Sunday at Telstra Stadium.
THE World Club Challenge between Brisbane and the English club champion threatens to degenerate into a farce with most of the Broncos premiership-winning side set to miss the match.
HOOKER Cameron Smith has capped a remarkable season by winning Melbourne's player of the year at the Storm's awards dinner at the Crown Palladium.
THE Australian Rugby League has set itself a significant challenge with the tri-nations series to get under way in Auckland on Saturday week.
The ARL will have to hope that interest in international league has been strengthened by the fact it is no longer a one country affair. Because the series is being played at a time when there is ample opposition to take up the interest of spectators and viewers alike.
The six games in the series will take place between 14 October and 18 November, with the final a week later. Matches will be played in New Zealand, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
The cricket season proper does not start for a few weeks, but the Poms play their first game against the PM?s 11 on 10 November. In the meantime, Australia will be taking part in the one tournament it has never won ? the ICC Chairman?s Trophy in India?.and it will be covered live on Fox.
The A League national soccer competition is now well under way ? and drawing good crowds, especially in Melbourne.
The other ?competition? ? if you could call it that ? is the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne. The Kangaroos v Kiwis game at Telstra Dome in Melbourne will be played a few hours after one of racing?s premier events ? the Caulfield Cup ? is run a few kilometres away.
Now it will be argued, with some validity, that the rugby league ?market? is a different one
from that of cricket, racing, and even soccer.
The challenge for the ARL is to get respectable crowds at all tri nations matches in Australia. The NZRL ought to be able to get good crowds at the matches in NZ, given that the Kiwis are the reigning champions???.but the ?crowds? this year at Warriors home games were dreadful.
It will be interesting to see what television and radio coverage the series gets. Nine was happy to televise tests from the UK (often on delay) when it was in the early hours of Sunday morning last year??but will Nine televise the tri nations matches live in peak Saturday evening viewing time?
The other challenge the ARL is going to have to meet is to maximise media coverage generally for the tri nations series. In the traditional off season, that will be no easy task.
The tri nations series is a ?must? for the survival, and growth, of the game internationally.
But it must also be successful ? and that will be a real challenge for the game?s administrators in every respect!
WHILE both the AFL and the NRL have put their own "spin" on the television ratings for the weekend grand finals, both codes need to take a reality check when it comes to the nation?s biggest market, Sydney.
OUTSTANDING young hooker Robbie Farah has won the Wests Tigers player of the year award for 2006.
EXCITING young centre Dean Collis has extended his contract with the Wests Tigers for a further two years.
GOLD Coast boss Michael Searle will meet with Shaun Timmins in Wollongong today to discuss the former St George Illawarra lock joining the Titans on a one-year deal.
THE October 2006 edition of Rugby League Review has hit the stands and here's what's in store this month:
QUALIFYING semi final
THE feeling is unanimous among league circles that when two clubs face off in a grand final ? the players should decide the outcome. Sadly, last night, the outcome was prevaricated by a sub-standard refereeing performance from a sub-standard referee.
JOHN Skandalis will make his long awaited international debut when he pulls on the Greek jersey for the Greece v Fiji A match at Oki Jubilee Oval on Saturday, October 7.