THE NSW and Queensland State of Origin sides will wrap up their preparations for tomorrow night's series decider with a final run at Melbourne's Telstra Dome this afternoon.
TWENTY-FOUR points in 15 minutes either side of half-time was enough to give tabletoppers St Helens a 52-36 victory over struggling Wakefield in a high-scoring engage Super League clash at Belle Vue.
LEEDS? tireless pursuit of engage Super League leaders St Helens continued at the Galpharm Stadium on Sunday afternoon as they eventually overcame a dogged Huddersfield side 36-14.
CASTLEFORD took a huge stride towards engage Super League safety with a nine-try, 52-26 destruction of ailing Warrington at The Jungle on Sunday afternoon.
THE July 2006 edition of Rugby League Review has hit the stands and here's what's in store this month:Nothing like home for the StormWhen it comes to home ground advantage, Melbourne's Olympic Park is by far the hardest ground for the visitors side to come away with the two competition points.Since the NRL was formed in 1998, the same year that Melbourne Storm entered the competition, there have been 105 matches played in Melbourne (including Melbourne Cricket Ground and Colonial Stadium), with the Storm winning 73 matches.Cronulla's Secret SuccessThe Cronulla Sharks' incredible season has been attributed to their discipline which is the best in the NRL. The Sharks have conceded only 70 penalties in the opening 16 rounds for an average of five penalties per game.After a slow start to the season, the Sharks have crept up on the other sides and have become a genuine contender for the premiership.Jim Beam Cup to be TelevisedThe Jim Beam Cup competition has been given a huge boost with the news that the competition will be shown on Fox Sports from next month.Power Productions will be putting the one hour show together with the first screening to be aired on August 9.Trans-Tasman Rugby League CupNSW Country went down 32-18 to a fired-up New Zealand Residents side in the final of the competition held at the impressive Rotorua International Stadium. Rugby League Review was over in Kiwi land to bring you all the latest from the tournament.
SOUTH Sydney has signed Bulldogs prop Roy Asotasi to a five-year deal.
TOUGH Raiders forward Trevor Thurling has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2006 season, after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament in the Raiders 26-24 win in Premier League on Saturday.
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THE Sydney Roosters round 22 game against the Newcastle Knights has been transferred from Aussie Stadium to the Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium in Gosford.
MANLY?S talented 22 year old 5/8 Travis Burns has agreed to terms to remain with the Sea Eagles. Burns rejected bigger offers from other clubs to remain with Manly.
MELBOURNE'S weather will determine whether Queensland or NSW can train under the Telstra Dome roof ahead of Wednesday night's Origin decider.
BULLDOGS winger Matt Utai is facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines after being charged with a grade-two careless high ackle.
EPALAHAME Lauaki is the latest off-contract player to be re-signed by the Vodafone Warriors. The club today confirmed the 22-year-old back rower has a new deal for the 2007 National Rugby League season with an option for 2008. Vodafone Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary was especially pleased Lauaki had received some good news in a challenging season that has seen him sidelined for more than three months with injury. ?This is a huge positive for Hame in what?s been a tough year for him,? said Cleary. ?He put in plenty of work in the off-season and in our pre-season trials and was showing real improvement early in our NRL campaign. ?His injury was a big setback but his attitude has been outstanding since then. He has done everything asked of him in his recovery and rehabilitation.? Lauaki?s plans to establish himself as a regular in 2006 were disrupted after appearing in each of the Vodafone Warriors? first three matches of the season. He needed surgery after tearing pectoral muscles in his right shoulder during the win over Wests Tigers in Christchurch on March 25. ?Hame?s on schedule to be available again soon,? said Cleary. ?He has plenty to offer us and now he?s in a position to be able to start again and put pressure on others in the squad, which is just what we need.? Lauaki burst onto the NRL scene in the Vodafone Warriors? opening match of the 2004 season against Brisbane, going on to make 16 appearances and score four tries in his rookie year. Born in Tonga and younger brother of All Black loose forward Sione, he was used in only five matches last season. Apart from Lauaki, other players who have signed new contracts or extensions with the Vodafone Warriors in recent weeks include Ruben Wiki, Simon Mannering, Tony Martin, Grant Rovelli, Evarn Tuimavave and Manu Vatuvei plus Aidan Kirk from the Sydney Roosters and Central Falcons brothers Russell and Paora Packer.EPALAHAME LAUAKI Born: January 27, 1984 Birthplace: Tonga Position: Second row Height: 184cm Weight: 110kg Junior Club: Glenora (Auckland) NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Brisbane, Suncorp Stadium, March 14, 2004 NRL Career: Vodafone Warriors ? 24 games NRL Points: 16 (4 tries) Educated: Kelston Boys? High School
THE Newtown Jets host Manly-Warringah in a critical VB Premier League match at Henson Park this coming Saturday (July 8th). The Jets were well beaten by the Sea Eagles back in early April and Manly-Warringah was the only team to lower Newtown?s colours at Henson Park last year. With the Jets unbeaten at home in 2006, Saturday?s match takes on real blockbuster status. Giant Newtown and NSW front-rower Steve Bowden, who was very much the central figure in the famous Newtown versus Manly semi-final confrontation at the SCG 25 years ago, will be the guest of honour at Saturday?s game.The Newtown club invites all Jets supporters to wear as much blue as possible in their chosen outfits when they attend Henson Park next Saturday, and to spread the word to all their friends to come along and help the Jets defend their unbeaten record in the VB Premier League at home this season. A suitable prize will be awarded to the Newtown supporter who ?gets into the Big Blue? at Henson Park with the most flamboyance and enthusiasm.With no VB Premier League fixture last weekend, the Newtown Jets Jim Beam Cup team held centre-stage on Saturday when they met Erina at the Narellan Sports Ground in south-western Sydney. Narellan of course is at the epicentre of the south-western region?s wildfire economic and population growth, yet there are vestiges of the area?s former rural industry base still in evidence. Last Saturday?s match may well have been the first Newtown ?home game? in history where dairy cattle contentedly watched the Rugby League action from a nearby hillside!Despite the bucolic setting the Jets had to dig deep to ?take the cash? in this match, winning 26-18 after trailing 18-12 well into the second half. The Jets fielded a very much recast side due to injuries and representative team commitments. Newtown coach Greg Matterson observed that this was still a somewhat disjointed and lacklustre performance from his team and that he was very glad the boys salvaged the two competition points. Lock Darren Lang and front-rower Ritchie Parker were Newtown?s best forwards while young half-back Charlie Herekotukutuku did his utmost to spark the Jets backline.In the Sydney Metro Women?s Rugby League competition, the Newtown Jetettes had a runaway 64-18 win over the Guildford Owls. In Group 11 Rugby League action, the Parkes Spacemen trailed Dubbo CYMS 32-4 at half-time, but regained some degree of respectability in eventually going down to CYMS by 38-28.Newtown has another bye in the Jim Beam Cup competition next weekend. The Jets take on Manly-Warringah at Henson Park on Saturday (July 8th) with this important VB Premier League match kicking off at 3.00pm. Come along and get stuck into the Big Blue and help cheer the Jets home against the Sea-Eagles!
QUEENSLAND captain Darren Lockyer says Blues halfback Craig Gower can expect to come in for a lot of attention in Wednesday night's Origin decider in Melbourne. With Gower the only recognised kicker in the NSW side, Queensland plan to pressure his clearances whenever possible. Lockyer says it's one area where Queensland can attack NSW.