STATE OF ORIGIN II
New South Wales Blues 32 v Queensland Maroons 22
THIS Saturday is a special day for the Melbourne Storm. Not only are the boys taking on the 2003 Premiers, the Penrith Panthers at Olympic Park. But two of the Storm?s star players are celebrating their 22nd birthdays, Queensland State-Of-Origin pair Billy Slater and Cameron Smith.
WEDNESDAY night will mark the second act of the Origin masterpiece played out within the sanitary confines of Homebush Bay where the NSW Blues trail the QLD Maroons by an intercept try in extra time.
TONIGHT'S second Origin may be a promoter's dream, but Queensland captain Darren Lockyer says his latest battle with champion Blues half Andrew Johns is not a "world title".
THE chips are down. Backs are to the wall. Blood is being spilt. Rules and bones are being broken. Legs are like cement blocks. The gas tank is down to the last droplet. OHHHHHHHHHH YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH. (Insert Tim ?The Tool-man? Taylor grunt here. Well, we are talking about Origin, so insert 5 grunts.) I can?t imagine watching a better scenario for any side. Nothing beats it.
THE Manly supporters are out in force this year, and why wouldn?t they be? Written off as wooden spoon contenders before the season started, they have come out as a surprise packet, firmly entrenched in the top 4. I was lucky enough to catch up with some of the Sea Eagle?s hardcore faithful, and this is what they?ve had to say about the rise and rise of the Silvertails in 2005: ?Un-****ing-believable! They really stuck it to us in the pre-season, but we?ve shown them. Carn the Mighty Sea Eagles!!!?
IT was a similar game to the Premier League in the Flegg, the Roosters team highlighted by a number of players with Premier League experience. As in the seniors match there were some notable performances. Coach Gavin Catanach made special mention of Captain Blake McLean, Lock Jessie Meleto, second rower Ryan Verlinden and Anthony Beare playing at half back.
GREAT Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe will return for St Helens? engage Super League home game against London Broncos on Friday.
LEEDS Rhinos have revealed that England winger Mark Calderwood will leave the club at the end of the season after the club and player failed to agree a new contract.
SYDNEY Rooster and Kiwi Test prop Jason Cayless could be a Saints' player next season.
WARRINGTON have clinched the signature of North Queensland prop Paul Rauhihi on a two-year deal starting next season.
IT?S every Rugby League lover?s dream to meet his favourite player. But the opportunity to have a BBQ and a nice cold VB with him ? well, that?s something money just can?t buy.
A corked thigh will keep Luke Rooney out action for at least one week.
BRAITH Anasta's manager Greg Willett says the Origin five-eighth will reject any proposed deadline to re-sign with the Bulldogs when contract negotiations are reopened on Thursday.
NORTH Queensland Toyota Cowboys Captain Travis Norton will return to the playing field this Saturday in the Queensland Wizard Cup when he lines up for the Toyota Young Guns against Burleigh at Pizzey Park Brisbane.