RUGBY League returns to its spiritual home, Lang Park (aka Suncorp Stadium) this weekend and the Queensland Cup will be there with the Toowoomba Clydesdales and Burleigh Bears playing the main curtain-raiser to the Broncos ? Knights NRL clash. There is a lot riding on this clash with Toowoomba in fifth spot ? on percentages from ? you guessed it ? Burleigh.
Burleigh are coming off a good win over Easts in last weekend?s ABC televised clash while Toowoomba hope to rebound after a narrow loss to Tweed Seagulls.
The weekend of Queensland Cup action kicks off with the ABC televised clash between Ipswich and Easts at Bendigo Bank Oval at 2pm on Saturday with Ipswich dropping back to third spot courtesy of their loss to Wynnum last weekend.
Easts are experiencing their worst Queensland Cup on record and they will struggle to win at the home of the Jets, but of course there is the ABC match curse ? no home team has won in front of the television cameras this year.
Wests play Norths at 3pm on Saturday at Purtell Park in a battle of two of the code?s traditional Brisbane clubs with Wests chasing their first win and Norths having lost seven in a row, prompting a call to arms from Norths coach, Gary Grienke ? a former Wests coach ? in the Northside press this week.
North Queensland Young Guns will continue their policy of taking games outside Townsville by playing the Central Comets at Moranbah.
This could be considered a home game by both sides with Moranbah playing in a North Queensland competition (Mackay and District) while the town itself is located in Central Queensland.
Both teams are coming off wins and North Queensland are only three points outside the top five. Both sides are feeder clubs for the Cowboys.
On Sunday there are two matches in opposition to the Suncorp Stadium clash ? Souths-Logan host Tweed Seagulls just across the river at Davies Park and from there the fans will be able to hear the roar from Suncorp Stadium.
Tweed will be looking for a win to maintain a share of the competition lead with Wynnum.
Down at Redcliffe in the battle of the bayside the Dolphins host Wynnum Seagulls with premiers, Redcliffe looking to leapfrog Wynnum on the premiership ladder with a home ground win. Both clubs are also leading contenders for the Spotless Services Club Championship.
THE 2004 Powergen Challenge Cup Final will be held at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on Saturday 15 May, returning to Wales following the success of this year's event.
The showpiece game was held in Wales for the first time when Bradford Bulls met Leeds Rhinos a month ago, and was seen as a resounding success.
EELS fullback Brett Hodgson has been given permission to negotiate with rival clubs after his manager Darryl Mather approached the Eels with his client?s request. Hodgson?s manager has been in contact with the Wests Tigers who have $1 million to spend on recruitment this year and the Tigers are very interested in securing the services of Hodgson, a former Western Suburbs junior.
IN front of an enormous 20,280 screaming fans, the Penrith Panthers have extended their winning streak to seven matches, by defeating the New Zealand Warriors by 34 points to 12. In an awesome display of strength and skill, Penrith gave the Warriors no latitude to play expansive football and took full advantage of the high error rate from the visitors.
THE Parramatta Eels have accounted for the South Sydney Rabbitohs 28-4 at Parramatta Stadium tonight.
THE Sydney Roosters have beaten the Melbourne Storm 27-20 in a hard fought contest at Olympic Park this afternoon. The Storm led the Roosters 12-8 at the halftime break but tries to Craig Fitzgibbon and Craig Wing ensured the Roosters would not be denied.
THE Wests Tigers have beaten the Bulldogs 20-14 in one of the upsets of year.
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THE Newcastle Knights have spoiled the Broncos home coming party with a comprehensive 32-22 victory at the newly renovated Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos opened ANZ Stadium in similar fashion back in 1993 when they lost their opening game to the lowly Parramatta Eels.
THE North Queensland Cowboys have comprehensively beaten the St George-Illawarra Dragons, downing them 36-16 at the Oki Jubilee Stadium this afternooon.
Leeds Rhinos bounced back from their defeat to Bradford Bulls and returned to the top of Super League - for 48 hours at least - with a 30-20 win at Wigan in a scintillating clash on Friday night.
Wigan eased into a 14-0 lead early on before Leeds cut the lead to two points at the break, but a nip-and-tuck second half saw tries to Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow and ex-Warrior Gary Connolly take the Rhinos home.
Widnes Vikings moved closer to the top six of Tetley's Rugby Super League with a comfortable 34-6 defeat of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at The Halton Stadium on Saturday.
Wakefield have never defeated Widnes in five meetings since the Vikings were promoted to Super League last season, and that run never seriously looked like being ended.
FOR New Zealand Warrior Henry Fa'afili, creator of some of the most entertaining post-try celebrations in the National Rugby League (NRL), the time has to be right before he struts his stuff.
THE Vodafone Warriors announced today the club is assisting police investigating an assault complaint against a Warriors? player.
Club management joined police in a meeting with second row forward Logan Swann and his lawyer on Wednesday. Police have since indicated Swann is likely to be summonsed to appear in court next week on a charge of assault.
The police inquiry relates to a late night incident in central Auckland four weeks ago.
Warriors? chief executive officer Mick Watson says Police called Wednesday?s meeting to detail new information about a complaint from a man who says he was assaulted outside a Queen Street bar.
Police have indicated two other men were involved in the alleged assault.
They say no other member of the Warriors? squad was present during the incident.
Mr Watson says the club maintains strict guidelines on player behaviour.
?We treat every incident seriously and have offered police our full co-operation.?
?We launched our own investigation four weeks ago, but late last week police were able to bring forward information that had not been available to us previously.
?We are keen to see this matter resolved but this is very much an issue for the courts. The rights of all parties must be respected.
?We are determined to help in any way we can but are unable to make any further comment until the matter is resolved in the courts.?
THE Canberra Raiders are on track to finish in the top four and secure a coveted home semi final after another grinding win over the Sharks at Toyota Park last night. The Raiders haven?t won at Shark Park in ten years. It wasn?t pretty but it doesn?t need to be. Two points is two points and Raiders coach Matt Elliott conceded as much at the post match press conference. I?m sure any coach in the NRL would have taken last night?s ugly win in preference to a flashy loss.