THE Australian selectors have chosen Brisbane Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt as the standby player for Anthony Minichiello as Minichiello races the clock to overcome a hamstring injury. Hunt has been rushed to Sydney to train with the Kangaroos ahead of Friday night's test match against the Kiwis at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.Is the selection of Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt a belated April Fool?s day joke and the Australian selectors have merely got the months wrong?This issue could really turn into a Pandora?s box with the number of angles this ?interesting? selection can be taken from.Hunt is nowhere near the second best fullback in the NRL and without wanting to be disrespectful to Karmichael Hunt, his selection reeks of tokenism to douse the flames on the war of words between Australian coach Ricky Stuart and Wayne Bennett, Hunt?s club coach in Brisbane and the former Australian coach.What more does Matt Bowen have to do to get an Australian jersey? On form, he is streets ahead of Hunt and when you consider Hunt should really be playing for New Zealand regardless of his desire to play Origin for the Maroons, his selection is all the more puzzling.There is also the fact only three out of the 17 players selected are Queenslanders in the Australian side and that has left more than a few fans north of the border seeing red over the dominance of New South Wales players in the Australian team. Being a New South Welshman, I can empathise with their frustrations but truth be known, I think the selectors essentially chose the right 17 players.When you browse the 15 Australian based NRL teams, I?m not sure where Karmichael Hunt ranks in your list but in mine, he is outside the top five. Taking Billy Slater?s suspension and Brett Hodgson?s injury into account, Matt Bowen, Brett Stewart, Milton Thaiday and Ben Hornby all had stronger claims to the role of understudy to Anthony Minichiello. Even Melbourne Storm sensation Greg Inglis would be in front of Hunt as his form has been nothing short of superb and with the Australian team being no stranger to playing quality players out of position, players such as Amos Roberts would also have claims.At the end of the day, I don?t want the selection of Hunt to detract from the aura of the Test match, which should be a cracking game played in front of a full house but I can?t help but feel politics more so than form played the major part in the selection of Karmichael Hunt as the 18th man for the Kangaroos.
BRISBANE fullback Karmichael Hunt has been flown to Sydney to join the Australian rugby league Test squad on standby for the injured Anthony Minichiello.
THE final members of Australia's rugby league team will arrive in camp today, with Bulldogs forwards Willie Mason and Mark O'Meley and North Queensland pair Jonathan Thurston and Luke O'Donnell joining their team mates in Sydney this morning.
THE availability of Australian hooker Danny Buderus and Kiwi internationals Nigel Vagana and Louis Anderson for Friday night's rugby league Test remains in doubt, with the trio sure to come under scrutiny from the NRL match review committee today.
WARRINGTON winger Henry Fa?afili has revealed how he developed his trademark leap to avoid missiles being hurled by his angry mother.
AUSTRALIAN and New Zealand selectors have named their teams for the Anzac Test match to be played at 7.30pm this Friday, 5th May 2006, at Suncorp Stadium.The game is sure to be a blockbuster with plenty of scores to be settled following last year's victory in the Tri-Nations final by New Zealand over Australia.Cowboys five-eighth Johnathan Thurston makes his debut for the Kangaroos after being named on the bench. Most of the rest of the team is as expected, with Willie Mason joining forces with Petero Civoniceva for the first time in the front row following the omission of Dragons prop Luke Bailey. Dragons centre pairing of Mark Gasnier and Matt Cooper have held their positions in the face of some stiff competition. And bench spots have been awarded to in-form forwards Steve Menzies and Steve Simpson.The Kiwis have named a 19-man squad to be trimmed down one hour before kick-off. Tame Tupou (Broncos), Steve Matai (Sea Eagles) and David Fa'ologo (Rabbitohs) haven't yet represented their nation, with at least one set to make their debut.Australia KangaroosAnthony Minichiello (Roosters)Matt King (Storm)Mark Gasnier (Dragons)Matt Cooper (Dragons)Timana Tahu (Eels)Darren Lockyer (Broncos) (c)Andrew Johns (Knights)Willie Mason (Bulldogs)Danny Buderus (Knights)Petero Civoniceva (Broncos)Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys)Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)Interchange:Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs)Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)Steve Simpson (Knights)New Zealand Kiwis 19-man SquadBrent Webb (Warriors)Clinton Toopi (Warriors)Steve Matai (Manly)Tame Tupou (Brisbane), Nigel Vagana (Cronulla),Jake Webster (Melbourne)Paul Whatuira (Wests Tigers)Thomas Leuluai (London Harlequins)Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers)Louis Anderson (New Zealand Warriors)Roy Asotasi (Bulldogs)Jason Cayless (St Helens)Nathan Cayless (Parramatta)David Fa'alogo (South Sydney)David Faiumu (North Queensland)David Kidwell (Melbourne)Frank Pritchard (Penrith)Ruben Wiki (Warriors)Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)(Two to be omitted)
ROUND 8 South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 v Newcastle Knights 24at Telstra StadiumReferees: Jason RobinsonMatch Summary:A gallant South Sydney Rabbitohs outfit has again gone down this afternoon, but not without a few heart palpitations from Newcastle coach Michael Hagan and Knights fans alike as Newcastle held on for a hard-fought 24-18 victory at Telstra Stadium.The Rabbitohs started the stronger of the two sides; with Joe Galuvao running off a nice inside pass from half Ben Walker to cross for an early four-pointer, giving his side a 6-0 lead after just seven minutes of play.The Knights hit back in fashion with tries to Milton Thaiday and George Carmont in the space of 10 minutes to snatch a 12-6 lead. They maintained the lead until halftime and even though the margin was just six, the Knights still looked in control to a certain degree.Newcastle continued the momentum which they took to the break; and Danny Buderus crossed for a try right next to the uprights just 10 minutes into the second half. At that stage, you could have been forgiven for expecting a customary blowout score on the Rabbitohs.But with six losses to open the 2006 season, Souths weren?t throwing this one away effortlessly and their best was yet to come.David Fa?alogo started the surge 22 minutes from time, running onto a ball which may have resulted in a ruling of obstruction. Newcastle captain Andrew Johns was premature in thinking that the video referee?s decision was a foregone conclusion, and he decided not to attempt a tackle on Fa?alogo. Souths were back in the match at 18-12 with 20 minutes remaining.Matthew Gidley was sent to the sin bin at the 64th minute, and Andrew Johns missed a relatively easy attempted field goal. The Knights looked shaky.Their worst fears were confirmed when Adam MacDougall planted the ball down out wide to bring his side within two; and the pending conversion to Merritt was successful. The Rabbitohs leveled things up at 18-all with six minutes remaining.A costly mistake from the kickoff cost Souths victory in the end, with Buderus crossing for his second try which appeared to seal the deal for the Knights.There was another twist to come though; Souths were from 10 metres out from their own line with two minutes remaining, and came within a metre of forcing this game into golden point.A reprieve for Newcastle but one can?t help but feel sorry for South Sydney, with yet another match gone begging.Adam MacDougall was outstanding for the Rabbitohs, looking dangerous every time he touched the ball and creating havoc for the Knights? right-hand defence.No reports to come out of this match but Milton Thaiday may have an ankle problem which will come under closer examination this week.South Sydney host Melbourne next Saturday night at Telstra Stadium, while Newcastle host Brisbane next Sunday afternoon ? a match which will no doubt be hampered somewhat by the test match which takes place next Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.Scorers:South Sydney Rabbitohs: 18Tries: David Fa'alogo, Adam MacDougall, Joe GaluvaoGoals: Nathan Merritt 3/3Newcastle Knights: 24Tries: Danny Buderus(2), George Carmont, Milton ThaidayGoals: Andrew Johns 4/4By the Clock:Cool and cloudy day here at Telstra Stadium as the teams prepare to take the field.Changes: Knights: in: Andrew Johns, Jarrod Mullen to the bench.out: Dustin Cooper (omitted) The Rabbitohs are as-per-programAnd we're underway in the first half!5 min: NEWS Rabbitohs enjoying a good share of the possession early on.7 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsJoe Galuvao crosses for the first try of the match, running off a nice inside ball from halfback Ben Walker. Rabbitohs 6-015 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThe Johns/Thaiday combination is in force yet again here at Telstra, with the Australian halfback putting the dynamic fullback in for the Knights' first of the afternoon. 6 all.25 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsGeorge Carmont gets across the stripe after some excellent lead-up work from Andrew Johns and Clint Newton. Knights 12-629 min: NEWS Newcastle haven't been outstanding so far in this contest but they appear to be in control of things at this stage. Andrew Johns has again improved the direction of their attack upon return, as always.33 min: NEWS No Try ruled against Souths after it was ruled that Nathan Merritt had lost the ball after a pass from Mark Minichiello, with the video referee delivering the bad news. Still 12-6 the Knights lead.Halftime: min: NEWS The Newcastle Knights lead the South Sydney Rabbitohs 12-6 at halftime in this round 8 clash at Telstra Stadium. The Knights looked in control for the most part of the half, apart from the early try to Souths and a late surge for points which came to no avail. Plenty of work to do for both sides in the second half to secure the victory.40 min: NEWS Second half underway at Telstra Stadium45 min: NEWS The intensity of this match has lifted somewhat early in the second half, both sides look threatening with the ball in hand.50 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsRazzle dazzle play from the Knights, throwing passes from pillar to post which has resulted in a Danny Buderus try close to the uprights. Knights 18-658 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsControversial try awarded to Souths by the video referee after obstruction seemed like a more sensible ruling. Bad play by Andrew Johns who could have tackled David Fa'alogo but decided that an obstruction ruling was a foregone conclusion. Knights 18-1264 min: NEWS SIN BIN: Matthew Gidley sent to the bin after impeding Luke MacDougall, who was attempting to chase through for a kick from brother Adam. Still Newcastle 18-12 but the Rabbitohs are in with a real chance here.69 min: NEWS Johns misses an attempted field goal from right in front, a long way out from fulltime. The Knights look rushed in attack and judging by their early intent for a field goal, may be panicking with this sudden Souths surge. Gidley in the bin for 5 more minutes. Still 18-12 with the Bunnies on the march.74 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsAdam MacDougall scores out wide and Merritt converts! Souths level things up at 18-all and an elusive first victory may well be coming their way. 18 all.76 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsBuderus snuffs out any opportunity for a Souths victory with a try close-in to the ruck area. A Souths mistake from the kickoff brought about the opportunity and it looks like they'll come up short again this afternoon. Johns converts. Knights 24-18Fulltime min: NEWS Newcastle have finished with the points but South Sydney have finished with the admirers this afternoon at Telstra Stadium. The Bunnies were gallant in every department and Newcastle were granted the assistance of the referee on a few occasions also, which in-turn came of great assistance to them. The Knights will be relieved with the 24-18 win but they have significant improvement which needs to be made if they are to be a force in this year's premiership.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Adam MacDougall2 - Danny Buderus1 - Steve Simpson-----------------------------------------
ROUND 8 Manly Sea Eagles 23 v Parramatta Eels 22at Sydney Cricket GroundReferees: Steven ClarkMatch Summary:The Manly Sea Eagles scored a memorable 23-22 win over the Parramatta Eels at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a match befitting of the anniversary of the 1976 decider. The Eels led 16-0 at one stage in the first half, but only led 16-12 at halftime. The match was played in front of only 19,200 spectators.Brett Delaney scored after just five minutes when a kick bounced wildly, causing headaches for the Manly defence. The score remained 6-0 until the 26th minute when Delaney kicked a penalty goal. Almost off the kickoff the Eels headed back downfield for a spectacular try to Matt Petersen and a 14-0 Eels lead. Delaney put another penalty goal over after 34 minutes, and then the match changed. Brett Stewart scored after 36 minutes, and Chris Hicks won the race to a loose ball right on halftime, for a 16-12 halftime deficit.Nine minutes into the second half Glenn Morrison dotted down out wide for a 22-12 lead. The Sea Eagles struck back very quickly with a try to Steve Bell. Six minutes later Brent Kite fought his way over the line to level the match a 22-all. Both teams had plenty of scoring chances and errors to capitalise on. Tim Smith missed a field goal in the 74th minute, and four minutes later Matt Orford kicked the winning field goal in a lot of traffic. Tim Smith had a chance to level the match at 23-all, but he put his last minute field goal shot wide right.Following this result the Sea Eagles continue to fly high, while Brian Smiths last season at Parramatta is starting to look less than memorable.Scorers:Manly Sea Eagles: 23Tries: Chris Hicks, Brent Kite, Brett Stewart, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 3/4Field Goals: Matt OrfordParramatta Eels: 22Tries: Glenn Morrison, Matthew Petersen, Brett DelaneyGoals: Brett Delaney 5/5By the Clock:The Eels have won the toss and have elected to bat.The match today is being played under grey skies with a very small crowd.5 min: TRY Parramatta EelsSmith kicks across field, the ball bounces at right angles and Delaney fights his way across the line. He converts the try. Eels 6-010 min: NEWS The Eels put a bomb up and nearly recover, but McKinnon drops the catch at short mid-wicket.12 min: NEWS The Eels enforce a goal line drop out.13 min: NEWS Tahu goes very close to scoring, and the Eagles defend the kick superbly.16 min: NEWS Manly are ruled to have been held up in the ingoal.18 min: NEWS McKinnon is pushed into touch in a poorly judged kick return.20 min: NEWS Orford is being dealt with in the blood bin, Glenn Morrison has a head/neck injury - he is leaving the field under his own power.24 min: NEWS The pitch...the field, not another tired cricket joke...is very hard, and a lot of kicks are bouncing on and on and going dead.26 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta EelsThe Eagles are penalised for markers not being square, they are marched 10 metres and Delaney kicks the penalty goal. Eels 8-028 min: TRY Parramatta EelsJeremy Smith kicks across field, Petersen flies high and takes a great running catch to score out wide. Delaney converts. Eels 14-029 min: NEWS Glenn Morrison has been given the all clear to return to the field.32 min: NEWS Watmough knocks on 20 metres out.34 min: PENALTY GOAL Parramatta EelsMark Bryant is penalised for a high tackle on Fui Fui Moi Moi. Delaney kicks the goal. Eels 16-036 min: NEWS Video referee for a Sea Eagles try...36 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesSome great passing and offloading has Stewart scoring beside the posts. Orford converts. Eels 16-640 min: NEWS Video referee for an Eagles try...40 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesMenzies puts in a grubber kick, and Hicks fights his way to the ball. Orford converts, and we go to halftime. Eels 16-1240 min: NEWS The Eels started very well, but the Sea Eagles have put on two quick tries before halftime.40 min: NEWS Back underway at the SCG!49 min: TRY Parramatta EelsThe Eels break out, and it gets followed up with try to Morrison out wide. Delaney converts. Eels 22-1252 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesThe ball is floated out wide to Bell who cuts the Eels defence and scores out wide. Orford hits the posts and misses. Eels 22-1658 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesAfter some sustained pressure, Kite scores with three tacklers hanging off him. Orford converts. 22 all.62 min: NEWS McKinnon is trapped in the in goal. Manly are going great at the moment.63 min: NEWS The Eels hold out brilliantly. Burns puts in a dreadful kick which takes the pressure off.63 min: CROWD - 19,20065 min: NEWS Tim Smith knocks on as the Eels were putting pressure on Manly.69 min: NEWS McKinnon makes an error at the back, luckily for the Eels the Sea Eagles throw a forward pass.70 min: NEWS McKinnon breaks down the right side, Delaney is on the inside who is taken down and loses the ball 10 out.71 min: NEWS Matai is away, but the pass to him is ruled forward, despite it appearing to go backwards.73 min: NEWS Menzies takes a great catch right in front of the posts to potentially save a try. Both teams are out on their feet.74 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Parramatta EelsTim Smith attempts a field goal, but it stays way too low. 22 all.77 min: NEWS Petersen drops a catch on the goal line, he knocked it backwards and then had to hit it dead. Line drop out.78 min: FIELD GOAL Manly Sea EaglesOrford knocks the field goal over from right in front, under plenty of pressure! Sea Eagles 23-2279 min: NEWS Menzies knocks on right on halfway.80 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Parramatta EelsTim Smith puts the match levelling field goal wide tight. Sea Eagles 23-2280 min: NEWS Manly win an absolute thriller with a field goal minutes out from full time!-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford2 - Ben Kennedy1 - Steve Menzies-----------------------------------------
ROUND 8 New Zealand Warriors 16 v Canterbury Bulldogs 30at Ericsson StadiumReferees: Gavin BadgerMatch Summary:The Canterbury Bulldogs have continued a three-game winning streak at Ericsson Stadium with a 30-16 victory over the New Zealand Warriors today.The quality of the first half was a bit average with New Zealand turning the ball over countless times through poor handling and ridiculous attempts at offloads near their own line. As a result Canterbury were camped in the Warriors territory with the first try coming from a great offload by Mark O?Meley in the 7th minute, giving Daniel Holdsworth and easy four pointer.Ten minutes later Louis Anderson had the ball jolted from his grasp as he was try to dig the Warriors out from their try-line, with Roy Asotasi swooping on the pill and taking the spoils as Canterbury added to their lead.When the Warriors had the ball in good field position they made use of it though, with a try in the 34th minute of play to Wairangi Koopu evidence of just that. Fien got out of dummy half quickly, finding the loping back-rower running a perfect line and he went over untouched to lift the spirits of their fans.The turning point of the match came two minutes later, when a bit of bad luck for the Warriors denied them what would have been a great try after Brent Webb was ruled off-side. Fien was again involved, chipping behind the ruck for Webb who scooted away and gave the ball to Tony Martin out wide to cross. Unfortunately the flying fullback was a metre in front of Fien and it was called back. A try three minutes later to Bulldogs centre Willie Tonga after another error from the Warriors really knocked the wind out of the sails for New Zealand and provided a 12-point turnaround as the teams went to the sheds with Canterbury leading 16-8.At this point the Bulldogs were far from impressive though with their attack lacking any genuine direction. They had simply capitalised on errors from the opposition with their fifth tackle options leaving a lot to be desired. The Warriors had problems of their own - namely themselves. Poor discipline, handling errors and offloads at the wrong time were proving costly.The second half was much better from both sides with New Zealand getting straight back into the game with a try to Sione Faumuina in the 42nd minute. At 16-14 things were looking up and the sin-binning of Mark O?Meley in the 49th minute saw Martin add another two points to lock-up the scores.But an injury to Steven Price saw the Warriors drop their bundle, with his on-field leadership very much required after a hamstring injury to Ruben Wiki saw him withdraw on the day. Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri then contributed a brace of tries and a penalty goal to take the game from the home team and hit back after last week?s disappointing effort against the Sea Eagles.Scorers:New Zealand Warriors: 16Tries: Sione Faumuina, Wairangi KoopuGoals: Tony Martin 4/4Canterbury Bulldogs: 30Tries: Roy Asotasi, Hazem El Masri(2), Willie Tonga, Daniel HoldsworthGoals: Hazem El Masri 5/6By the Clock:Sunny day over here in Auckland. A few changes to the teams: Warriors - Wiki out with a hamstring injury. Tuimavave into the starting side with Mannering to the bench.Bulldogs: Matuia dropped, Roberts to five-eighth. Williams into the centres for Emelia and Phelps to the bench.And we're underway in the first half!3 min: NEWS Fien, sporting red hair today, is smashed by Patten whilst chasing a kick through. The Dogs fullback is on report for the suspected use of an elbow and could be in some hot water.4 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand WarriorsMartin takes an easy two points on offer following the penalty from the Fie/Patten incident. Warriors 2-07 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsO'Meley attracts the attention of three or four Warriors close to the line and still manages to pop a ball to Holdsworth, who strolls over for the opening try. El Masri converts and the Dogs take the lead. Bulldogs 6-215 min: NEWS The Warriors' defence is holding up in the face of some questions by the Bulldogs. A few gaps starting to appear on the fringe of the rucks for the Bulldogs.18 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsAsotasi swoops on the pill close to the line as it's jarred loose in a heavy tackle on Loius Anderson. El Masri converts again as the Bulldogs simply capitalise on the Warriors mistakes. Bulldogs 12-226 min: NEWS Hanlding errors costing the Warriors dearly, with the Dogs camped in their territory.30 min: NEWS Hit of the Week: Clinton Toopi on Tony Grimaldi. As the Bulldogs get a roll on the Kiwi centre smashes Grimaldi and jolts the ball loose.34 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsKoopu scores a great try untouched as Fien scoots out of dummy half and picks up the rampaging back-rower running a terrific line. Martin converts and the Warriors are back in the game. Bulldogs 12-836 min: NEWS The Warriors are pulled back for what would have been a great try. Fien grubbered through behind the ruck for Webb who raced thirty metres before finding Martin out wide. Unfortunately Webb was a metre offside and he didn't need to be. 39 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsTonga scores out wide after Toopi has a brain snap and tries to offload in an impossible position. The Dogs spread it to the eastern side of the field and find the stripe. El Masri fails for the first time today right on the buzzer. Bulldogs 16-840 min: NEWS Halftime: I haven't seen anything from the Bulldogs to suggest they've solved their issues in the halves as twice they've scored from Warriors mistakes and the other was a good offload close to the line. But they won't need to worry about creativity if the home team keeps giving them as much of the possession in the second half as they did in the first. New Zealand are an immensely frustrating side and despite their conjuring of good scoring opportunites, they simply can't hold onto the ball. They were unlucky with Martin's no try where Webb was ruled off side, but attempted offloads in their own half and poor handling is ruining their chances here today. Unless they get hit with 40 lashes of the Cat O'Nine tails in the sheds, I can't see them having the discipline to take home the chocolates in this one.And we're underway in the second half!42 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsAn early mistake from the Bulldogs gives possession the Warriors and they take full advantage, posting a try to Faumuina from a good move close to the line. Martin converts and the home team are in it up to their eyeballs. Bulldogs 16-1445 min: NEWS Perry for the Bulldogs has done his medial ligaments, reducing the visitors to 17 men.49 min: NEWS O'Meley in the bin for 10 minutes as the Dogs' constant infringements in the ruck annoy ref Gavin Badger.49 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand WarriorsMartin evens up the contest with the ensuing penalty goal. 16 all.50 min: NEWS Steve Price forced from the field with a left shoulder problem. Unsure if he'll return as yet.54 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsEl Masri puts Canterbury back in front with a good try after Patten created the extra man in the back line. El Masri adds the extras. Bulldogs 22-1659 min: NEWS O'Meley back on the field.62 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsEl Masri takes the lead to 8 points with a penalty goal from a high shot on Grimaldi in Warriors territory. Bulldogs 24-1668 min: NEWS An attacking raid by the Warriors fizzles out after Byrne made a 60m break from a Dogs cross-filed kick.70 min: NEWS Price back on the field, dismissing any long-term injury concerns.75 min: NEWS Willie Tonga on report for a lifting tackle on Grant Rovelli. It looks bad, but caused Tovelli no harm. 77 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsEl Masri finishes off another try after a break by Sonny Bill down the right flank. Canterbury have put New Zealand away here in the final stages. Hazem converts his own try. Bulldogs 30-1680 min: NEWS Fulltime: The Bulldogs have overcome the Warriors here at Ericsson Stadium in a steely encounter, with both clubs showing they are capable of playing top quality football when needed. The Warriors turned around a disappointing first half to be very much in the game for most of the second period. Canterbury just had too much for them in the end though.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Roy Asotasi2 - Hazem El Masri1 - Nathan Fien-----------------------------------------
WITH Friday?s Anzac Test one of the most anticipated in years, we?ve had a dig at each team?s line-up. There are plenty of players to choose from right now with a few making the trip over from the Old Dart.The official teams are named tonight before they head into camp for what should be a ferocious encounter up at Suncorp Stadium in five days time. But for now, sink your teeth into these puppies:Michael Edgar?s picksKangaroos: Anthony Minichiello, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Eric Grothe, Darren Lockyer, Andrew Johns, Luke Bailey, Danny Buderus, Petero Civoniceva, Luke O'Donnell, Nathan Hindmarsh, Ben KennedyInterchange: Willie Mason, Mark O'Meley, Johnathan Thurston, Steve SimpsonKiwis: Brent Webb, Matt Utai, Clinton Toopi, Paul Whatuira, Jake Webster, Nigel Vagana, Jeremy Smith, Roy Asotasi, David Faiumu, Ruben Wiki, David Kidwell, Awen Guttenbiel, Jamaal LolesiInterchange: Nathan Cayless, Frank Pritchard, Sonny Bill Williams, Fuifui MoimoiMatt Starkey?s picksKangaroos: Matt Bowen, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Timana Tahu, Darren Lockyer, Andrew Johns, Luke Bailey, Danny Buderus, Petero Civoniceva, Luke O?Donnell, Nathan Hindmarsh, Ben Kennedy Interchange: Willie Mason, Mark O?Meley, Craig Wing, Craig FitzgibbonKiwis: Brent Webb, Tame Tupou, Clinton Toopi, Paul Whatuira, Lesley Vainikolo, Nigel Vagana, Benji Marshall, Roy Asotasi, David Faiumu, Ruben Wiki, Frank Pritchard, David Kidwell, Shontayne HapeInterchange: Sonny Bill Williams, Jason Cayless, Fuifui Moimoi, Thomas LeuleuiDaniel Ramus?s picksKangaroos: Darren Lockyer, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Eric Grothe, Johnathan Thurston, Andrew Johns, Luke Bailey, Danny Buderus, Petero Civoniceva, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'Donnell, Ben KennedyInterchange: Trent Barrett, Mark O'Meley, Willie Mason, Steve MenziesKiwis: Brent Webb, Tame Tupou, Clinton Toopi, Paul Whaitura, Jake Webster, Nigel Vagana, Jeremy Smith, Ruben Wiki, Lance Hohaia, Roy Asotasi, Frank Pritchard, Tony Puletua, Sonny Bill WilliamsInterchange: David Faiumu, David Kidwell, Nathan Cayless, Benji MarshallSteven Williams's picksKangaroos: Anthony Minichiello, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Justin Hodges, Timana Tahu, Darren Lockyer, Andrew Johns, Luke Bailey, Danny Buderus, Petero Civoniceva, Luke O'Donnell, Nathan Hindmarsh, Ben KennedyInterchange: Willie Mason, Mark O'Meley, Craig Wing, Michael CrockerKiwis: Brent Webb, Tame Tupou, Clinton Toopi, Paul Whatuira, Jake Webster, Nigel Vagana, Thomas Leuluai, Roy Asotasi, Lance Hohaia, Ruben Wiki, Frank Pritchard, David Kidwell, Shontayne HapeInterchange: Benji Marshall, Nathan Cayless, Sonny Bill Williams, Fuifui MoimoiWarrick Nicolson?s picksKangaroos: Anthony Minichiello, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Timana Tahu, Darren Lockyer, Andrew Johns, Luke Bailey, Danny Buderus, Steve Price, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O?Donnell, Ben KennedyInterchange: Petero Civoniceva, Willie Mason, Craig Wing, Craig Fitzgibbon* Should Bailey get suspended, Steve Simpson to replace him. Kiwis: Brent Webb, Lesley Vainikolo, Nigel Vagana, Paul Whatuira, Jake Webster, Benji Marshall, Thomas Leuleui, Roy Asotasi, David Faiumu, Nathan Cayless, Ruben Wiki, Sonny Bill Williams, Shontayne HapeInterchange: Frank Pritchard, Jason Cayless, Sione Faumuina, David Kidwell* Should Vagana get suspended, Clinton Toopi to replace him.
SALFORD will be looking to get back to winning ways when they visit struggling Castleford on Sunday.The Reds have lost ground on the leaders after losing back-to-back home games but they are boosted by the decision of skipper Malcolm Alker to commit his future to the club.The popular hooker had agonised over an offer from Australian club St George Illawarra but on Friday finally put pen to a new three-year contract with Salford.?My heart has always been with Salford and I love the city,? he said.?You don?t spend 10 years at one place without some attachment to the place and I am honoured to be extending my stay and now have the chance to lead the club into the new stadium.?Castleford are in freefall after losing their last five matches, conceding 106 points in their last two matches, but coach Terry Matterson is steadfastly refusing to contemplate the prospect of relegation.?There are 17 games to play so there?s still a long way to go,? he said. ?If you keep looking round you, you forget what you are doing yourself.?Matterson gives a debut to 24-year-old Peter Lupton, the former Leeds and London Broncos half-back who has joined the Tigers on loan from Hull.?Peter is just the type of player that we have been looking for to get us around the park,? he said. ?He has a strong defence and a good kicking game.?He is someone who we have been monitoring for some time and I believe that he will slot in and do a good job for us.?Castleford v Salford, Sunday April 30, The JungleCastleford 18-man: Platt, Pryce, Shenton, Dyer, Blanch, Henderson, Nutley, Roarty, Bird, Huby, Whitaker, Viane, Fa'aoso, Manu, McGoldrick, Ward, Davis, Lupton.Salford 18-man: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, McGuinness, Moule, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Finnigan, Charles, Langi, Wilshere, Haggerty, Littler, Myler, Baldwin, Brocklehurst, Clayton.Ref P Bentham
THE new-coach factor should be cancelled out when Wigan take on Hull at the KC Stadium on Sunday.
HARLEQUINS RL and Huddersfield Giants have announced their respective 18-man squads for the engage Super League clash at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
SALFORD captain Malcolm Alker on Friday ended speculation over his future by signing a new three-year deal.
ROUND 8 Melbourne Storm 24 v St George Illawarra Dragons 10at Olympic Park MelbourneReferees: Tony ArcherMatch Summary:The Melbourne Storm have sent the St George Illawarra Dragons packing with a comprehensive 24-12 victory at a rain-drenched Olympic Park tonight. With fullback Greg Inglis in tremendous form, the home side came back from a 4-0 deficit to run in four tries.The turning point of the match came late in the first half following two tries to winger Jake Webster. With the scores locked up at 4-all, Webster swooped onto a loose ball, running 80 metres to score under the posts. Then on the stroke of half time, Inglis combined with half back Cooper Cronk to send Webster in again.At half time, Melbourne held a handy 14-4 lead.The Dragons resumed the second half without Mathew Head, the star half back reportedly aggravating a knee injury which had kept him out for most of last season. With little direction, the visitors compounded their woes with fundamental errors while conceding a number of penalties.Referee Tony Archer issued several warnings and placed representative prop Luke Bailey on report for a high and late tackle. The resulting penalty goal giving the Storm a 16-4 lead.Archer finally lost patience, sending Dragons forward Justin Poore to the sin bin in the 64th minute, the boot of hooker Cameron Smith extending Melbourne's lead to 18-4.Down to 12 men, the Dragons were unable to hold Melbourne out with forward Ian Donnelly scoring after a kick from Matt Geyer, putting the match beyond doubt.Dragons' winger Reece Simmonds scored a consolation try following a classy backline movement in the 74th minute. But by then, the match had been won and lost.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 24Tries: Ian Donnelly, Steve Turner, Jake Webster(2)Goals: Cameron Smith 4/6St George Illawarra Dragons: 10Tries: Colin Best, Reece SimmondsGoals: Aaron Gorrell 1/1, Mathew Head 0/1By the Clock:Very cold in Melbourne. Players still in the sheds, kickoff only a matter of minutes away...A few line up changes but Greg Inglis is running on for the Storm and Mathew Head is running on for the Dragons.Storm kicking off and we're underway in the first half....1 min: NEWS Huge bust down the left flank with Gasnier and Cooper combining for the Dragons. They come very close before Inglis is on the spot to snatch a fortunate intercept. Cooper attacks the same side a minute later and again Saints come close with Creagh heading for the corner, but again Inglis saves the day, this time with a covering tackle.9 min: NEWS Mat Head HELD UP as the Dragons are on the attack from close range.15 min: NEWS Still 0-0 with the game being played mainly in Melbourne's half.Possible try to Dragons - video ref checking....18 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsColin Best does well to score in the corner after being met by a wall of cover defence. Follows weight of possession and field position in Dragons favour. Head unsuccessful with conversion attempt. Rain now falling at Olympic Park. Dragons 4-022 min: NEWS Storm HELD UP over the line on the last tackle.25 min: NEWS Matt King comes within a whisker of scoring for the Storm. Stopped by some desperate cover defence. Storm getting some more ball now and looking good with it.27 min: Possible Storm try - video ref checking....28 min: TRY Melbourne StormREF'S CALL and Steve Turner is awarded the try after some conjecture over the challenge for the ball. Follows cross-field kick from Cronk. Conversion attempt from Storm is waved away.4 all.35 min: Possible Storm try - video ref checking...NO TRY - Cameron Smith penalised for pushing a defender (Dean Young) out of the way. Follows a neat chip from Cooper Cronk but no dice in the end.37 min: TRY Melbourne StormJake Webster runs 80m to score under the posts after a kick charge-down from Cooper Cronk. Smith converts and the Storm hit the front just before the break. Storm 10-440 min: Possible Storm try - video ref checking....40 min: TRY Melbourne StormWebster gets a double following a clever chip kick from Cronk from half way. Inglis regathers and then finds Webster in support. Survives video ref scrutiny over possible offside.Smith conversion attempt 9m in from touch is unsuccessful. A killer blow to the Dragons and the Storm extend their lead in the rain. Storm 14-4Half time: Storm 14-4A couple of late tries has seen the Storm take control of the match. The stats are pretty even now after Saints had the bulk of possession early on. A physical match being played in slippery conditions leading to a number of knock-ons and a few high shots.Storm looking the goods with a handy 10-point lead and should be able to go on with it. But Saints are far from out of it and if they hang onto the ball, may have a few tries in them.Second half underway and the rain is still bucketing down.41 min: NEWS Dragons halfback Mat Head has not returned to the field. News is that he has aggravated his knee injury and unlikely to take any further part.44 min: NEWS Storm come close after fullback Inglis attacks the left flank only to thwarted by a dusty offload which went to ground.49 min: Possible Storm try - video ref looking....NO TRY - Matt Geyer denied. Knock on ruled against David Kidwell who attempted a pass along the ground, and Saints have the ball.55 min: NEWS Still 14-4 in favour of the home side.ON REPORT - Luke Bailey for late and high shot, and it may cost him a green-and-gold jumper.57 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormSmith slots the goal from right in front. Follows another penalty against Bailey for pushing Smith who was a support player. Storm 16-464 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Justin Poore sent off for 10 minutes after the ref ruled a late tackle on Cooper Cronk. It has been coming for a while but a bit of a dodgy decision. Cronk comes from the field.65 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormFrom right in front Smith adds the points from the penalty. Storm 18-469 min: TRY Melbourne StormIan Donnelly scores after a kick from Matt Geyer. Puts the contest beyond doubt. Smith converts from almost in front. Storm 24-474 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsSimmonds scores in the corner after Saints put it through the hands and gain the overlap. Aaron Gorrell converts from out wide and in tricky conditions. Storm 24-10Full time: Storm 24-10Melbourne post a comprehensive victory over a lacklustre Dragons outfit.The Dragons were unable to maintain the early momentum as possession in the end went the way of the Storm.Best on the park was Storm fullback Greg Inglis who defended well when it counted and was electric in attack as his half back Cooper Cronk directed proceedings. He was ably supported by winger Jake Webster while hooker Cameron Smith, backrower David Kidwell and Michael Crocker all played well in a winning pack.For Saints, not too much to write home about. Losing Mathew Head at half time didn?t help their cause but apart an opening foray, they never looked like winning. A number of players tried hard but they looked underdone, possibly from having played the previous Tuesday. But they were outplayed and frustrated into making too many errors and have some work to do.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Greg Inglis (Storm)2 - Cooper Cronk (Storm)1 - Cameron Smith (Storm)-----------------------------------------