THE NZRL has been inundated with calls from Rugby League Development personnel throughout the country following a news item on TV One news about the introduction of 'Rippa Rugby' to NZ Schools.
LION FOUNDATION NJC 2004
We are due to kick off the Lion Foundation National Junior Competition (NJC) on Saturday 6 March 2004.
Structured as an off-season high performance programme throughout New Zealand to create another pathway for our elite players, coaches, managers, trainers and match officials in the development to the professional ranks of Rugby League. This has been made possible with the assistance of the Lion Foundation and we are very happy to again have their support in 2004.
This competition has provided the opportunity for our top teen talent to hone their skills as part of structured off-season conditioning/coaching, and then showcase their abilities as part of a high quality competition. This programme has already paid dividends in the previous two seasons of running, with the number of graduates who have been capped with representative honours in the New Zealand 16's and the Junior Kiwi's, and many becoming part of the Warriors Junior Elite Squad.
We are now seeing many graduates also stepping up to Bartercard Cup and being involved in NRL franchises in both New Zealand and Australia. Thomas Leuluai is one example of a success story, starting the season off with the Lion Foundation NJC, then kicking on to play for the Tornadoes in the Bartercard Cup, making a number of appearances for the NZ Vodafone Warriors and also representing both the Junior Kiwi's and the Kiwi's who had a great win over Australia at North Harbour Stadium in October 2003.
The 2004 competition looks to be just as exciting and competitive as the last two, with the likes of Shaun Metcalf, Cooper Vuna, Manu Vatuvei, and Marvin Filipo all taking part. These four players have already made appearances for the NZ Vodafone Warriors in their trial games against both the Dragons and the Penrith Panthers in February of this year, which certainly shows the standard of the competition.
Click below for both the Foundation Cup 16's and the Kiwi Cup 18's draw
SOUTH Africa?s rugby league authorities will look to emulate the success of Australia?s ?Socceroos? by establishing a base for its leading players in the UK, in a joint initiative with 1895 International.
DOLPHIN second-rower Danny Green describes his signing with Redcliffe as ``going from the lowest low in his life to a high''.
Midway through last season the fiery forward had been dumped by National Rugby League club Eels following an altercation at the Parramatta Leagues Club.
THE Sydney Airport Jets take on the might of the Melbourne Storm next Saturday (March 6) at Henson Park, with the action getting underway at 5pm. This will be Newtown's first encounter with a full-strength First Grade opposition team since the Jets' final season in the former NSWRL Premiership competition back in 1983.
Newtown coach Colin Murphy, who played with the Jets from 1975-1983, admits this Saturday's game will be a big ask for his Premier League players, but says "it will be the pinnacle of my blokes' Rugby League careers and the time of their lives. I hope thousands of Newtown supporters flock back to Henson Park next Saturday to cheer us on. This will be a really emotional occasion, and a huge moment in the history of this famous old club".
In trial match action at Henson Park over the weekend, the Sydney Airport Jets Premier League team snatched victory in the final minute of play over quality Newcastle club side Western Suburbs by 32-28. The Jets had trailed 24-12 at half-time, and had to dig deep to scramble home in the game's dying seconds. Best for Newtown was newly-arrived French representative player and second rower Mathieu Julia, on loan from the Pia club and recommended to the Jets by half-back ace Craig Field. Others to fire on the day were Ben Tickle, Alf Duncan (two tries), James Stozic, Andrew Le Breton and Cliff Manu. Newtown's Jim Beam Cup triallists turned on a very indifferent performance in the early match in going down to Asquith by 38-20.
All roads lead to historic Henson Park next Saturday (March 6), when the Sydney Airport Jets host 2003 NRL semi-finalists the Melbourne Storm in a competition-match conditions Rugby League trial, with the kick-off timed for 5pm.
LAST weekend saw our Harold Matthews Cup and S G Ball Cup teams commence their season at Belmore Park against the Canterbury Bulldogs.
THE NSWRL Premier League competition will kick off a week ahead of schedule due to a problem with the 2004 draw.
WIGAN'S Great Britain Winger Brian Carney will have an operation at 5pm today after suffering a broken ankle in two places in Sunday's 38-12 win against Widnes Vikings in the Powergen Challenge Cup.
SALFORD City Reds joined Bradford Bulls and Widnes Vikings in being Tetley's Rugby Super League clubs to exit the Powergen Challenge Cup at the Fourth Round stage on Sunday.
Bradford and Widnes both came unstuck in televised clashes on Sunday, with St Helens winning at Odsal and Wigan coming from 12-0 down to defeat the Vikings at The JJB Stadium.
LONDON Skolars believe they have pulled off a major coup after finalising the capture of one of the rising young stars of South African rugby.
The Wood Green-based club announced the capture of 22-year-old Desi Kadima during the half-time break of Sunday?s Challenge Cup tie at New River Stadium.
THE Bulldogs are facing further problems off the field as police investigations continue into the alleged sexual assault of a young woman by several players at a Coffs Harbour resort last month.
A host of Melbourne and Australian sports stars and celebrities will be among the guests tomorrow at Crown Towers when Melbourne Storm launches its 2004 Telstra Premiership campaign from noon.
R2K is offering its e-mail subscribers an opportunity to win 2 complimentary general admission tickets to the Saints vs Canberra clash at Kogarah on Sunday, 14 March (2:30pm kick-off). One subscriber will win the 2 complimentary tickets by providing R2K with some constructive feedback on its ongoing campaign to ensure the Dragons remain at Oki Jubilee Stadium in the long-term.
NRL Notebook has learned that 255-game veteran Michael Buettner is on the verge of announcing his retirement from Rugby League after failing to overcome a crippling knee injury. The 30-year-old Wests Tigers utility back was in great form for the club early last year before his knee complications and has been rehabilitating the injury ever since.
THE Bulldogs could face expulsion from the National Rugby League competition if misconduct is proven and is serious enough, according to NRL boss David Gallop.