ROUND 25 Manly Sea Eagles 21 v Canterbury Bulldogs 20at Brookvale OvalReferee: Sean HampsteadMatch Summary:The Manly Sea Eagles have claimed a thoroughly exciting 21-20 win over the Canterbury Bulldogs at Brookvale Oval tonight. The Sea Eagles led 18-12 at half time.Manly opened the scoring inside two minutes off a fairly lucky bounce. Monaghan put in a clearing kick, El Masri let the ball bounce allowing Orford to recover the ball and race away to score. The lead was extended to 12-0 after seven minutes after winger Michael Robertson out jumped Bulldogs defenders to dot down out wide.The Bulldogs came storming back however, with Nate Myles crashing over from close range. Andrew Ryan tied the game up with another close range try after 25 minutes. Matt Orford landed a penalty goal near the end of the half, while Shayne Dunley scored a contentious try just on half time.The try scoring for the night was completed just after half time, with Emelio running through a large gap to score. On 65 minutes Andrew Ryan was denied a try by the video referee, despite it being quite similar to the Dunley try in the first half.Manly retook the lead with 12 minutes to go after the Bulldogs were found offside after a Patten error. An El Masri penalty goal meant that the 20,163 crowd would get their moneys worth. After Brett Stewart was denied a try from dummy half, Orford was able to set easily for a field goal, and with two minutes to go he slotted him the winning point.Next week Manly make the tough road trip south to Melbourne to face the Storm, while the Bulldogs travel west to face the Panthers.Scorers:Manly Sea Eagles: 21Tries: Shayne Dunley, Matt Orford, Michael RobertsonGoals: Matt Orford 4/5Field Goals: Matt OrfordCanterbury Bulldogs: 20Tries: Nate Myles, Andrew Ryan, Andrew EmelioGoals: Hazem El Masri 4/4By the Clock:Good evening from Brookvale Oval. Tonight we have the Sea Eagles hosting a depleted Bulldogs team.Last week Manly dealt to Souths 38-16, while the Bulldogs were hammered 30-0 by the Broncos.Earlier in the year the Sea Eagles destroyed the Dogs 40-14.The Bulldogs will play 1-17. Rose is on the bench for Manly.1 min: We're underway at Brookvale. There is the possibility of thunderstorms tonight.2 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesThe Sea Eagles put in a clearing kick, El Masri lets it bounce, Orford recovers the ball and darts away to score. Orford converts. Sea Eagles 6-05 min: The Bulldogs have a kick partially blocked, it is ruled not to have been played at and Utai gets tackled on the last.7 min: Watmough and Miles have a bit of a push and shove in backplay.7 min: VIDEO REF - For a Manly try...7 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesOrford puts up a cross field kick, Robertson outjumps El Masri and dots down out wide. Orford converts from touch. Sea Eagles 12-09 min: Maitua penalised for a high tackle on the try scorer.10 min: Manly have the Bulldogs overawed at the moment.14 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsAfter a magnificent Patten kick return the Bulldogs get a penalty. Myles gets a short ball to crash over next to the posts. El Masri converts. Sea Eagles 12-618 min: During a great hitup by Kite, Sonny Bill knocks the ball out of his grasp.20 min: The Bulldogs get a lucky six-again call off a non-existant charge down, the Bulldogs get a dud call on a knock on a play later. Orford makes a break from the scrum base.21 min: While Manly are hot on attack, Burns is penalised in possession for an improper play the ball despite Sherwin knocking him off his feet.22 min: The Bulldogs go very close on the last tackle.23 min: INJURY - Matai looking very groggy after being tackled. Manly are running through the Bulldogs like a good curry. The Manly defence isn't much better.25 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsRyan gets across in similar fashion to Myles. This time it is a long pass from dummy half that had Ryan inside his defender and he crashed over. El Masri converts. 12 all.30 min: Orford puts in a banana kick, Ryan takes it on the full and returns in with great strength.31 min: 40/20 - Sherwin kicks fromm just inside the 40, finds touch just inside the 10.32 min: Utai spills the ball with the line begging.33 min: Matai breaks and kicks ahead. Penalty Manly as he was taken out after kicking.34 min: Stewart attempts to dive over from dummy half, but he loses the ball in the process.36 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Sea EaglesThe Bulldogs are penalised for slowing down the play the ball. Orford nails the penalty goal. Sea Eagles 14-1237 min: Holdsworth penalised for a high tackle on Dunley.38 min: VIDEO REF - For a Manly try...38 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesDunley runs right through the Bulldogs defence and score. Very questionable call. Orford misses. Sea Eagles 18-12Halftime: The Bulldogs did well to recover from trailing by 12 very early, but faltered late in the half and trail 18-12.40 min: Back underway at Brookie, and the rain comes down.42 min: Another clearing kick bounces brilliantly for Manly, but they get penalised for being offside.43 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsWith Orford down injured, the Bulldogs find a gap in the defensive line and Emelio strolls across the tryline. Yet again very similar to the first two Bulldogs tries. El Masri converts. 18 all.45 min: Menzies forces a Bulldogs error right in front of the posts just after the restart.47 min: INJURY - Orford off the field after picking up a knee injury.49 min: INJURY - Brad Morrin (Bulldogs) out for the night with a partial dislocation of his kneecap.51 min: INJURY UPDATE - Orford getting his knee strapped. He may be able to return tonight.53 min: It is really hosing down at the moment.57 min: Plenty of errors in the game, not helped by the rain. McIlwain smashed by Matai.59 min: 40/20 - Monaghan picks up a 40/20 for Manly. Manly waste the attacking chance by knocking on on tackle two.60 min: NEWS - Orford back on the field.64 min: Bulldogs starting to play their normal game, trying to force the error.65 min: VIDEO REF - For a Bulldogs try...65 min: NO TRY - BulldogsRyan ruled to have knocked on over the goal line. Odd decision given the Dunley try earlier tonight.68 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Sea EaglesPatten loses the ball and it is recovered by an offside player. Orford slots the two from 25 out, right in front. Sea Eagles 20-1870 min: CROWD - 20,16372 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsThe Bulldogs catch the Sea Eagles offside. El Masri nails the penalty goal. 20 all.74 min: Bulldogs lose the ball 40 out from their own line.76 min: Manly look to score a try instead of the field goal, the ball goes dead.78 min: FIELD GOAL Manly Sea EaglesOrford lands a field goal. Sea Eagles 21-20-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)2 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)1 - Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs)-----------------------------------------
NORTH Queensland coach Graham Murray has thrown his support behind the club's decision to tear up the contract of disgraced prop Mitchell Sargent.
DRAGONS veteran Shaun Timmins has today been cleared by medical staff to play in tomorrow night?s clash with the Sharks at WIN Stadium.
SO here we are, well and truly at the business end of the Auckland Rugby League Lion Red Fox Memorial competition. The final five has sorted itself out and a closer finish has rarely been seen in the long history of this competition.
BARTERCARD CUP PREVIEWRound 18 Deferred Games and Finals Week OneDEFERRED MATCHESSunday, 27 AugustWAICOA BAY STALLIONS vs AUCKLAND LIONSResthills Park, Hamilton2:30PM Kick offThe Stallions will be looking out to finish their season on a high in this deferred fixture against the Lions in Hamilton. If the Stallions can win the match they will jump the Falcons into 7th place. The Lions can't be touched at the top of the table, and if they lose they will have to handle finishing three points clear of their nearest challenger, Canterbury.WAICOA BAY STALLIONSTUHOEA WATENEMICHAEL MOOREJUNIOR AURUSAULA FIFITADREW FLETCHERISAAC JOHNHAYDEN KARENA (C)SIMON BEALEPETER PRIMELINDSAY WILSONMARRIN HAGGIEGEORGE KINGINICHOLAS STANDENBENCHTANGATA MOEAKIANARU GRANTTROY WATERSMOKONUIARANGI McGRATHCoach: Hiki RuteneAUCKLAND LIONSPAUL FISI?IAHIMALOFOU SOLOMONAMIGUEL STARTANTHONY SWANNWILLIAM SORENSON(C) STEVE BUCKINGHAMKELVIN WRIGHTSIONE PUHAREGAN WIGGDYLAN DAVISEDDIE PURCELLFABIAN SOUTERWAYNE McDADEBENCHLUI TOIMOANASAM McKEDNRYPALETASALA ALEPAUL CAMPBELLCoach: Brian McClennanWELLINGTON ORCAS vs NORTHERN STORMWhakatikai Park, Wellington3:00pm KickoffThe second deferred match sees the wooden spooner Northern Storm travel to the national captial to take on the Orcas, who are only a spot ahead of them on the ladder. If the Orcas claim a win, they can jump right up into seventh.WELLINGTON ORCASALEHANA MARAJACK LOPAMELI KOLIAVUOMPALUS KUADESTA BUCHANANASHLEY PARKERBEN TARAEKAMATTHEW FITZGERALDLEON BOYDDALLAS RENNIE (C)HAYDEN DAVISJAMES MOALABEN MATULINOBENCHNATHAN McNAMARAPATRICK MATULINODANIEL MISADESMOND MITICoach: Paul BergmanNORTHERN STORMBRENDAN HIKAKARAYMON WALLACEHENRY TEOFILAMASON PUREINOKE TAUFADALEY JOHNSONTORY McKAYVINCENT MAFILINTON PRICESTEVE RAUADAM DONALDSONVICTOR TUTUILAJOE RAUBENCHHENRY GODINETDYLAN WEREERIC ABRAHAMJOE TOOTU-IOANECoach: Geoff MortonWEEK ONE PLAYOFFSSaturday, 26 August2nd vs 3rdCANTERBURY BULLS vs WAITAKERE RANGERSRugby League Park, Christchurch6:00pm KickoffThe first game of the playoffs looms as an interesting clash. The last time the sides clashed in Christchurch, the Rangers claimed a 30-18 victory. Since then however, the Bulls have been in a good vein of form, including running up 60 points at the Central Falcons in their final regular season game. A potential upset looms, however Canterbury are unlikely to slip up at home twice against the same team.CANTERBURY BULLSLUSI SIONESCOTT HURRELLDONAVAN AITKENLEE FIDOWLUCAS TAMAKAHAJOSH REUBENDUANE WINETIVINCE WHARESHANE BEYERSALEX TIMOJONNY LIMMERDANIEL METCALFCOREY LAWRIEBENCHGARETH COOKCLINTON FRASERROSS TURILOUIS FANENECoach: Philip PrescottWAITAKERE RANGERSCLIFFORD BEVERLEYBILLY CLARKENLEE TAMATOAROBINSON GODFREYMANA TUIPULOTU(CO-C) GAVIN BAILEYBERNARD PERENARAKARL EDMONDSONDEAN SHEPHERDHAMISH BARCLAY(CO-C) HENRY TURUAKARL GUTTENBEILSCOTT JONESBENCHJUNIOR FIUMARK TOE?LAUJAYE PUKEPUKEROB SEUALACoach: Bernie PerenaraMonday, 28 August4th vs 5thTAMAKI LEOPARDS vs COUNTIES MANUKAU JETZMt Smart Stadium, Auckland8.00pm Kick Off An interesting clash between two Auckland sides come up here. The Leopards have been flying under the radar the last few weeks, while the form of the Jetz has been inconsistent to say the least. TAMAKI LEOPARDSPAUL ATKINSTAAVILI LEAUNOAAIROE BOAZACONSTANTINE MIKAISAAKO HAGAITOAWILLIAM HETA (CO-C)MANA ASHFORDGEORGE TUAKURATROY BECROFTSINAVE FAITALE (CO-C)LEESON AH MAUISAAC LIAVAAGEOFFREY RUAPORODARIN KINGIBENCHRICHARD JOHNSON(KOTISI FAKALATA)SIONE NIUILAFRED TURUWHENUACOOPER VUNACoach: Dean ClarkCOUNTIES MANUKAU JETZDAVE HEKETOAJUNIOR TAVAGALIU FALEONOMARVIN FILIPOTALIVAKAOLA TUIFUA(C) ANDREW WHARTONELIAKIM UASIANDREW TAUAILEIMONI MOALATALIPOPE TUIFELASAIROMAN HIFOJAMES TAVAGASONNY FA?IBENCHJEFFREY MATAI(MAURICE AH VOA)WILLIAM WOLFGRAMMIRO TEARIKIJOHN VAIMAUGACoach: Gary Kemble
MANLY coach Des Hasler is the latest mentor to call on the NRL to employ a second referee during matches.
HUDDERSFIELD captain Chris Thorman is "extremely doubtful" for the Challenge Cup final with a hamstring injury and is undergoing acupuncture to get fit.
TWO weeks left and last round proved a rare commodity with five away teams coming away victories in a round of upsets, particularly in the northern end of the ladder.I?m pretty proud this week as I picked five winners from last round including the upset of the year with the Warriors toppling the Storm at home. It takes me to 102/166 (61%) and I?ve finally cracked the century for the year. And not before time either!This round poses a few threats and also very little value unless you?re a Sharks fan. But still, they are well overpriced at $4.50 for the win even with last week taken into consideration.Sea Eagles v BulldogsThe weekend kicks off in fine fashion up at Fortress Brooky in probably the most important game of the round.Canterbury are out to restore some faith in their legion of fans and themselves after last week?s humiliating 30-nil loss to Brisbane. They had a few excuses like injuries to Tonga, Asotasi and Myles, but unfortunately two of those guys appear gone for the season. Mason has been suspended as well, compounding the damage, and whilst Myles is starting this week he is sure to be a little ginger from his knock last week. I like SBW in the backs but whereas earlier he was able to float on the fringes and become the extra forward, this no longer applies. Grimaldi?s absence is also a worry as his value cannot be underscored. He?s a real worker and will be sorely missed in this pack.Strangely, Manly have not defeated Canterbury at Brookvale since 1996, the year Manly last won the comp. They did enough to beat Souths last week whilst playing within themselves for the first half. They can really turn it on when they want to, but can they beat the Doggies here? They will need put in a clinical display if they are to stand any chance as Canterbury?s discipline will be the key. But I?m tipping Manly will go to the air as their wingers have a significant height advantage and overall they have a much faster team. The Manly backrow should stand-up even without BK and the bench looks healthier than Canterbury?s.I?m going to tip the Sea Eagles here but it will be a close one. Orford should shine, and if he can?t then I think all this talk of him in Green and Gold can be laid to rest. Manly also got them earlier in the year by 40-14.Raiders v StormSuper Saturday kicks-off in our Nation?s capital as the Storm head up the Hume looking to bounce back after their first loss in 11 games and only fourth all year.The Storm were a bit ordinary last week and I think the signs were there in their match against Brisbane. They got rolled by the Warriors forwards and out-enthused in the backs which is surprising considering that?s usually the Storm?s caper. They welcome back Slater into the custodial role, pushing Inglis to centre and Webster to the bench, which I find a little strange. I?m sure it?s all part of Bellamy?s master plan though, but with Crocker still out their forwards lack some firepower even with White?s return. Melbourne overwhelmingly have the wood on Canberra after winning their past eight matches against one another.Canberra head into this game with a slightly uncertain future. They are more likely than not to make the top 8 but they could miss it if they lose both their remaining games. This game will be good practise for the semi?s because given their shabby for-and-against they could face off against the Storm in a fortnight down at Olympic Park. They?re fielding a pretty strong and under-rated side with biggish forwards that won?t take a backward step against Melbourne. I?ve been impressed with Carney of late and again the team are playing to their potential.Whilst I proved last week that I?m not afraid to pick against the Storm, it?s pretty hard to take the Raiders here. Whilst the visitors give away a bit in the forwards, I think they?ll hit back in style and with Canberra coming off the bye they might struggle a bit.Dragons v SharksHeading north and a little closer to the coast, the Sharkies descend upon Wollongong Showground to play the Dragons in a local derby away from home. I would have thought they?d get a better crowd at Kogarah.Cronulla undid 65 minutes of solid work last week to come tumbling down like a house of cards to Penrith. When you lead by that much you should never lose but Raper hasn?t made as many changes as you?d expect. Cronulla?s backs will struggle to keep up here I think with Gasnier and Cooper facing off against Pomeroy and Bailey. Gaz made a mess of a few Tigers last week and if he plays anything like that again the Sharks could be in for a bath. In the forwards, Scott in the second row is a bit unusual. He does have some size and it worked with Bird, but I can?t see this causing the Dragons any problems. The bench is reasonable though, with a good mix, but I?d drop Vagana as he has added very little lately.The Dragons finally hit back last week after sustaining five consecutive losses and dropping to seventh on the ladder. But it was against a depleted Tigers outfit who have struggled for consistency recently. I think it?s enough for them to turn a mental corner now, and the Dragons have a good opportunity to get back into the mid-section of the top 8 and stake a claim for the premiership. Head is still out leaving the team unchanged from last week and I think they have the right mix of forwards on the bench. Hornby has been doing well in the playmaker?s absence and it begs the question of how badly they need him.Cronulla haven?t won at WIN since defeating Illawarra 26-6 in Round 7 1989. I can?t see any reason why that would change this week given the circumstances each team finds themselves in.Knights v PanthersOur final game of the satellite city Super Saturday bonanza kicks off in the Hunter where the Knights do battle with Penrith in an interesting little contest.If they?re any chance at all, the Panthers need to win, and win big. It could happen with Joey out but the home ground advantage up at Marathon is always hard to overcome. It doesn?t seem to worry Penrith too much travelling up there. They made a remarkable comeback against the Sharkies last week which will give them plenty of confidence heading into this game. Their team is unchanged and not a bad line-up to be honest. They do what they can with the ball and the forwards are tough yet unexplosive. I thought Stapleton went well last week. Campbell is the key here ? his freakish darts around the rucks could prove Newcastle?s undoing if they fail to wrap him up.The Knights need to be careful here and I think they might pay for not doing so. If they win then they?re happy as they take a week off with the bye next week and then welcome Joey back for the semi?s. but their record without Joey is very poor and although they beat the Cowboys at home, well who hasn?t? They only won by 7 points and their penetration of the line was a bit pedestrian. They really do need to win here as they stand some chance of a home final if they do. Then they can spend the last round watching other bash each other whilst preparing to face off against them.But I smell a bit of an upset here. I think the Panthers might jag a win here even if it?s arguable who has more to play for. The forwards look stronger and whilst Mullen did well last week I think his ribs might get a bit of a workout this time around - Panthers in a close one.*Craig Gower has been ruled out, but I'll stick with the Panthers in any case.Warriors v RoostersWe cross the Tasman next for the early Sunday game where the Chooks are up against the Warriors in a bit of a dead rubber, but I expect there to be some feeling between the clubs.Easts have been unimpressive recently and tend to drop their bundle a bit. After leading against Parra early on the failed to pressure them for most of the rest of the game, but admittedly there were a few dodgy ref?s calls. The Roosters are fielding the same team as last week minus Harrison who?s gone with a serious knee injury. Finch and Lewis are working well at the scrumbase and Soliola an Cross are going strongly in the centres. This is probably one area where the hold an advantage over the Warriors, with Hohaia likely to be targeted whilst Mannering goes pretty well. Easts would also be stupid not to kick-off in Vatuvei?s direction after he spilt three over the sideline against Melbourne.Hopefully Cleary has worked on that with the big cougar throughout the week because when he gets into some space he?s an exciting player, laying on the winning try against the Storm. The Warriors have proved they are capable of taking the best in the business and the Roosters are a long way short of that. At home I think they are a pretty good thing here with their forwards likely to lay the platform for victory. They are fearless up front with Wiki, Anderson, Guttenbiel, Tuimavave and Rapira off the bench with the steadying influence of Price invaluable. Cleary might have the 2002 GF in the back of his mind and as such will work the boys into a frenzy in the sheds.Even with Easts? solid record across the ditch I think the home side are playing much better and should win the contest.Rabbitohs v CowboysAnother dead rubber as the Cowboys fly to Sydney to take on the Rabbitohs out at League Headquarters in homebush.The Cows have recorded three wins in their last 16 outings and have faded dismally in the premiership reckoning. And now one of their fellas has been caught sniffing the white powder. Well, can it get any worse for them? Probably not is the answer. I expect the Cowboys to turn up and at leat have a crack but that might be a bit over the top for them. With hindsight one can only assume that the victory against Brisbane was an aberration and they were lucky to beat Souths a fortnight before. Their team is looking a little shabby and I?m not sure they can even get close.Souths on the other hand have plenty to play for. They?ve finally sorted out who wants to have a go and who doesn?t. Injuries aside they are fielding their top team and it doesn?t look too bad at all. I think the forwards can get stuck in and dislodge their more fancied rivals and there?s plenty to talk about in the backs where the teams are very much different in size and skill. One thing?s for sure though, I bet Merritt scores a try or two!Souths are favourites for the first time in living memory and I?m going to back them here to win at Homebush in front of potentially a new all-time low crowd for Rugby League.Eels v BroncosThe final match of the round sees the irrepressible Broncos travel out to central Sydney to face the Eels in what should be a fabulous game of footy.Brisbane finally bounced back against Canterbury last week after several below par submissions that had their end-of-season ?slumps? under the microscope once more. But in all seriousness, the forwards finally stood up against a good pack, Hodges had a blinder and the rest was academic. A few Doggies went down thanks to some exuberant defence giving rise to the return of the Broncos. Hunt is on the wing and that?s probably a good thing but I?d be tempted to play him at first receiver. I suppose those guys play there most of the time these days anyway. Where Brisbane will win the game is in the forwards though.Parra are a good team and I?ve enjoyed watching them over the past two months. If they can win here I?ll take my hat off to them and award them the premiership. But unfortunately they are missing a few players that are difficult to replace. Props don?t grow on trees these days and the loss of Cayless is significant. They simply don?t have the depth in the front row to combat what Brisbane have up front and I?m not the only one who will point it out. Cordoba goes alright but he?ll need to have a 200% lift to carry Parra. Hindmarsh, Morrison and Riddell are the ones that need to put in that bit more.I?m tipping Brisbane in this one but Parra will make it hard for them. I can?t wait to sit back on the lounge and watch this game following on from the other two earlier live matches on Fox. At $2.08 Brisbane are good odd and you should take them this week even with the likely strong home crowd.The Tigers have the bye in Round 25 as they look to wind down their season. It hasn?t exactly gone to plan for the reigning premiers but the number of injuries they?ve sustained has taken its? toll. They take on the Bunnies at Leichhardt next week and I?m sure a few more youngsters will see first grade.
ENGLAND Rugby League have named a 20-man train-on squad to begin preparations for this autumn?s 2006 Federation Shield tournament.
NORTH Queensland prop Mitchell Sargent has reportedly been sacked from the NRL club after returning a positive test to cocaine.Sargent returned a positive in-house test to the recreational drug earlier this month, according to News Limited. The Country Origin prop's future remains unclear, with the NRL expected to impose the mandatory two-year ban on Sargent.The 27-year-old's positive drug test is the latest drama to engulf the Cowboys, who earlier this year denied a sex scandal and the club and will miss this year's playoffs after contesting last year's grand final.Sargent is the first NRL player since?s Manly?s Andrew Walker in 2004 to test positive to a recreational drug.
THE true value of loyalty
DRAGONS Supporters, After last weeks annihilation of the reigning premiers at Oki Jubilee, this week the Dragons take on local rivals the Sharks in a Saturday night derby at WIN stadium. Using Ben Hornby closer to the ruck and demonstrating more patience with the ball were both critical factors in the win. Clearly we are back in the race. The MBDS were invited to the Melbourne-based West Tigers Fanatics group's screening at the Rising Sun Hotel at Richmond last Sunday . A great afternoon was had by all. Plenty of light hearted banter was flying between both groups, and the Tigers fans certainly felt confident right up until kick off when they realised who they were actually up against and that it was all in vain. Watching the game with another opposing local supporters group added that extra spark to the day and we look forward to the next clash with the Tigers. This week?s screening is at the Grosvenor Hotel on Saturday night against the Sharks. With 2 rounds to go this is another crucial match to boost our run to the semi finals. Get along to the Grosvenor to show your support for the Dragons, and why not enjoy a meal in the restaurant before the game as many of us did last time. See you there! WHAT: Dragons v Sharks WHERE: Grosvenor Hotel, 10 Brighton Road East St Kilda WHEN: Saturday 26th August, 7:30pm LIVE. GO THE DRAGONS!
HUDDERSFIELD Giants have announced their 20-man squad ahead of Saturday?s Powergen Challenge Cup final against St Helens at Twickenham.
ST Helens have announced their 20-man squad ahead of Saturday?s Powergen Challenge Cup final against Huddersfield Giants at Twickenham.Coach Daniel Anderson has a clean bill of health, with Australian loose forward Jason Hooper shaking off a leg injury.Anderson has finalised his line-up but will not announce it until nearer kick-off time.Super League Man of Steel Jamie Lyon is gearing himself up for his first Challenge Cup final, anxious to discover what all the fuss is about.Saints' 24-year-old Australian centre has played in Test matches and an NRL Grand Final but he is still coming to terms with mid-season knockout football and will savour the climax to British rugby league?s most prestigious event on Saturday.?A lot of older people in Australia talk of it, but - to tell you the truth - I didn?t know too much about it,? he said.?But as soon as I came over, there was a lot of talk about the 2004 win over Wigan and it was a big disappointment last year when we played so well up until the semis and Hull blew us away.?I?ve never been to Twickenham but I?ve heard quite a bit about it. I?ve got a mate working at Wembley and he said earlier in the year that it wouldn?t be ready so it didn?t come as that big of a shock.?Wembley is a big name, especially to Australians, so it?s a big disappointment that the final is not there, but Twickenham won?t be bad. I?m looking forward to it.?St Helens, who have lifted the trophy four times in the last 10 years, are favourites to complete the league and cup double but the former Parramatta favourite, who is returning to Australia at the end of the season, is taking little notice of the bookmakers? odds.?It would be nice to do the double,? he said. ?It would be a hell of a way to go out. But we?re not looking too far ahead.?We?ve got the Challenge Cup this week and we have a few games of Super League to go after that.?And in big games anything can happen. We were big favourites against Newcastle in 2001 when we got rolled so I don?t think it means too much. You have got to put that stuff to the back of your mind.?It is 44 years since Huddersfield?s last cup final appearance but their impressive semi-final win over Leeds Rhinos will serve to guard Saints against any complacency.Lyon is acutely aware of the potential match-winners in the Giants side, having played both with and against two of his fellow countrymen.He is a former room-mate of former New South Wales centre Michael de Vere, who like Lyon wore the number four jersey for the Kangaroos, and played alongside hooker Brad Drew for his old club Parramatta.?I think Brad Drew is probably their most dangerous player,? said Lyon. ?I played with him at Parramatta in 2001 when he got dummy-half of the year so I know what he?s capable of. He?s a good mate of mine.?And I actually roomed with Mick de Vere in State of Origin so I know him quite well. He?s a class player and we?ll definitely have to watch him.?He?s very under-rated. You forget he?s there because he never makes a mistake and he?s always there or thereabouts in support. We?re going to have to be on on our toes up against that left-hand side.?I think that?s their most dangerous side. But they have got a good team across the park, they have been playing pretty well as a team. There has been talk of injuries but we?re pretty sure they will all be playing.?Huddersfield Giants v St Helens, Twickenham, 26 August 2006St Helens 20-man squad: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Cayless, Cunningham, Fozzard, Gilmour, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Roby, Hooper, P Anderson, V Anderson, Graham, Hardman, Fa?asavalu.Referee: R SilverwoodSource: superleague.co.uk
MANLY captain Ben Kennedy admits he doesn't know when he'll be able to return from a quadriceps injury which has even the NRL club's medical staff stumped.