NZ Residents beat Qld Country

THE New Zealand Residents rugby league team produced strength on defence and flair on attack to take Queensland Country right out of the game at Rotorua's International Stadium last night.The opening round of the inaugural transtasman tournament saw the Kiwis accelerate out of the starting blocks, posting a point a minute for the first 20 minutes, before speeding to a 52-4 win over the visitors.On a chilly winter night the Cane Toads were reptilian in nature and failed to get the blood pumping until the closing moves when prop Janes Baira crashed over with three minutes to go. The Maroons threatened the Kiwi line at different stages during the game but were unable to deliver the ball safely over.Conversely, the Kiwis put on a solid team effort with the forwards carrying the ball upfield and the backs crossing the line.And while Residents captain Steve Buckingham was pleased with the win, he said there was still plenty to work on before Saturday's game against the Jim Beam Cup side from Sydney."We need to tighten up on our defence around the rucks but overall I think we all put our hands up for this game and it was a good team effort."Buckingham was expecting more of a challenge from the Queenslanders and said the win was an excellent way to blood new players and build a positive platform. "There was plenty of pride and passion out there and this is a real boost," he said.Playing at standoff, Buckingham was in fine form, booting eight goals, with just two kicks missing their target.The New Zealand centre duo of David Fisi' iahi and Miguel Start had an outstanding game with both bagging a hat trick.A Junior Kiwi last year, 18-year-old Miguel Start made a big impression in his first senior representative game.His three tries came in the second stanza, with two of them in quick succession after the half time whistle blew."It was just the environment with the team eh ... I was just getting amped up and went out there to score."But following the sublime start to his senior career the teenager is keeping his feet on the ground."I have to be consistent and prepare well this week and stick to the basics."Other Kiwi try scorers were Sala Fa'alogo, Paletasala Ale and Tui Samoa.Used to temperatures between 25C and 30C year round Queensland captain Philip Wuersching said while it wasn't an excuse, the cold Rotorua weather was taking some getting used to."We're starting to acclimatise but geez it's cold."Wuersching said the New Zealanders were too big and strong, and were a well drilled side.He was confident his side would bounce back for their next game as they had only trained three times together prior to last night's game. "We could have stood up to them a bit better but hopefully we will get another crack at them in the final."In the other match NSW Country beat The Jim Beam cup, formerly the Metropolitan Cup- Sydney, by 28-10. The second round of the competition kicks off on Saturday at 6pm with Queensland playing NSW Country followed by NZ Residents against Jim Beam Cup at 7.30pm.SCORERS: NZ Residents 52, tries David Fisi'iahi x 3, Miguel Start x 3, Tui Samoa, Sala Fa'alogo, Paletasala Ale, goals Steve Buckingham x 8; Queensland Country 4, try, Janes Baira.

Betham drafted into NZ qquad

WAKEFIELD captain Monty Betham is poised to make a return to the test arena after being called into New Zealand's rugby league squad to face Great Britain.The 28-year-old former Warriors hooker and former test captain hasn't played for his country for three years, but has joined the 19-man squad as a replacement for injured Warrington back-rower Logan Swann.From the original 22, uncapped NRL players Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta), Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters), and Greg Eastwood (Brisbane Broncos) did not travel. Moimoi and Soliola were not released by their clubs, and Eastwood was initially cleared by the Broncos but suffered a hamstring tear last Friday night. Although Swann, with 29 test appearances, was the most experienced of the forwards and Fa'afili is the only Kiwi to score three tries against Great Britain during 99 years of test rivalry, they were no certainties to make the starting line-up. David Kidwell, Ali Lauitiiti, David Solomona, and Vinnie Anderson might all have rated ahead of Swann for back-row positions. Fa'afili was competing for wing selection with Lesley Vainikolo and Francis Meli. Veteran utility back Robbie Paul holds the key to the final team selection. Paul and Clinton Toopi are options for the fullback position, while Paul and Canterbury Bulldogs reserve grader Ben Roberts are vying to partner Stacey Jones in the halves. Brian McClennan has also placed Hull KR's former Castleford prop or second rower Michael Smith, who won his only cap against France in 2004, on standby.Possible line-up: Clinton Toopi, Francis Meli, Willie Talau, Shontayne Hape, Lesley Vainikolo, Ben Roberts, Stacey Jones (c), Iafeta Paleaaesina, Motu Tony, Jason Cayless, David Kidwell, Ali Lauitiiti, Vinnie Anderson. Interchange: Robbie Paul, David Solomona, Alex Chan, Monty Betham. 18th man: Harrison Hansen.

Melbourne Supporters Info - Dragons v Cowboys

DRAGONS Supporters, Last Friday night saw a remarkable victory for the mighty Red and Whites, with the Dragons stealing victory from the Bronco's with a converted try in the final minutes of the match. With a less than impressive performance that saw the Dragons complete roughly1/3 of their sets, they were lucky to hang in there until the death when a soaring Brett Morris took a Matthew Head bomb to score out wide. After some confusion over who would take the kick Aaron Gorrell stepped up and nailed the conversion to put the Dragons 2 points up. After Mark Riddells effort a few years back the Bronco's will be happy they don't have to face us up there again until next year...... This week we take on the Cowboys at WIN stadium on Saturday night. The Cowboys form of late hasn't been up to the standard they have set in the past few years, and I would expect them to come out firing hoping to turn their slump around. Hopefully the Dragons will continue their winning ways and notch up another win before we enjoy the bye next round. We will once again be at the Grosvenor Hotel this week, always a great venue for the Saturday night clashes. Why not enjoy dinner in the restaurant before the match, and/or stick around for a few celebratory drinks afterwards? WHAT: Dragons v CowboysWHEN: Saturday 24th June, 7:30pmWHERE: Grosvenor Hotel, 10 Brighton Road, East St Kilda PS: No street sweeper parking is available at the venue.......

Minichiello won't be rushed back

SYDNEY Roosters coach Ricky Stuart says he won't rush injured fullback Anthony Minichiello back into the NRL in a bid to help save the club's struggling season.

Archer sacked from First Grade

REFEREE Tony Archer and touch judge Steve Carrall have been sacked after failing to pick up a blatant forward pass in the Ergon Energy Broncos' 18-16 loss to St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night.

Dragons fundraiser for Women in League

THE Dragons Crystal Bears Women in League are calling all Origin supporters to the Steelers Club in Wollongong on Wednesday, July 5 to cheer on our Dragons players in Melbourne as they face the Maroons in the Origin decider.You can watch the game on the big screen in an exciting and entertaining atmosphere that will include footy food, beer, wine, soft drink, games and entertainment. Proceeds from the evening will go towards the Joanne Mackay Breast Cancer Foundation.?Everybody loves State of Origin and our Women In League functions are always fun events to attend,? said Women In League Chairperson Elizabeth Kingston.?This is a great way for men, women and children to enjoy the footy with a group of friends and it is a worthy cause to donate some money towards?.The Dragons Crystal Bears Women in League Program now in its third year was the first established by any NRL Club and is dedicated to raising the profile of female involvement in rugby league and raising money for charity.A commendation at the 2006 NSW Sports Awards has spurred the committee of volunteers on to increase membership and awareness and double the $30,000 that has been raised over the past two years for the Joanne Mackay Breast Cancer Foundation and other charities.Tickets are $50 per adult and $25 per U/18. Bookings can be made by phoning (02) 4225 8299.Details:Wednesday, July 57.00pm for 7.30pmSteelers Club Wollongong ? Eastern Terrace RoomFor further information please visit or email [email protected]

Player movements: Bulldogs, Cowboys

BULLDOGS prop Nate Myles is set to become one of the hottest properties on the open market, with seven NRL clubs chasing the Queensland enforcer's signature.

Free Entry to Telstra for NZ Passport holders

CALLING all New Zealand passport holders living in Sydney or those travelling there this weekend - you can watch the Vodafone Warriors take on South Sydney for free this Sunday (June 25). Telstra Stadium has a special offer of free entry to New Zealand passport holders to the match against the Rabbitohs. All you have to do is turn up at a Telstra Stadium box office on match day with your New Zealand passport to redeem your ticket for a seat in the Vodafone Warriors' supporter area (aisles 111-114). Gates open at 1pm with the main game kicking off at 3pm. This offer can be redeemed only at a Telstra Stadium ticket box office on game day and is strictly set at one free ticket per New Zealand passport.

Odsal Stadium gets a name change

BRADFORD Bulls and world leading home shopping company, Otto, have announced that they have entered into a partnership that sees the Odsal Stadium renamed as The Grattan Stadium, Odsal.

Joey set to create history

ANDREW Johns needs just 18 points to break the NRL?s all time highest point scoring record, when the Knights host the Sharks this Saturday at EnergyAustralia Stadium.Three converted tries is all that stands between the star half back and Jason Taylor?s long standing record of 2,107 career points, an accomplishment within Johns reach.?We?ve all seen how lethal Joey is when he?s playing at his best and he?s capable of an 18 point haul, especially with a home crowd behind him,? said Knights coach, Michael Hagan.Johns will re-unite with former team mate and 1997 Grand Final try scoring hero, Darren Albert, who returns to his old home ground for the first time in a Cronulla jersey. He?ll lead a Hunter Valley charge featuring Maitland junior, Greg Bird and former Knight, Brett Kimmorley, who is out to impress Origin selectors in his annual duel with Johns.?Noddy always lifts when he?s playing in Newcastle and with possible Origin selection up for grabs, I would expect him and Andrew to reignite their on-field rivalry,? Hagan said.After a week off to recover from the demands of the representative season, Knights Hooker, Danny Buderus rejoined the Newcastle squad today, training at Lambton Pool in preparation for the teams return home.?It was important Danny had the week off to rest but now everyone is back on deck we need to improve to stay in the top eight and keep our finals campaign on track,? said Hagan.After being ruled out of last week?s trip across the Tasman, fullback, David Seage has been cleared of a hamstring injury and will start at fullback while utility forward, Riley Brown will miss at least a week after suffering a shoulder injury at Ericsson Stadium.Kirk Reynoldson has been named on the Interchange bench in an otherwise unchanged 17 man squad.

Brotherly Love

MY little brother Micah tugged my shirt, ?What are those gorillas doing to each other?? Covering his eyes with my hands, we made haste to the next exhibit. There a loud growl hit my ears, but it was just his stomach. ?Can we get something to eat?? I spotted a vending machine ahead and bought Micah a packet of Twisties. An avid fan of Wests since the latter half of last year, he was intent on obtaining a Benji Marshall Tazo. With the last of my change I opted for a Snickers bar ? the peanuts and nougat forming a delectable combination, not unlike Tim Smith and John Morris of 2005. ?Don?t you mean Prince and Benji?? my brother chuffed. I began to worry that with his fair-weather glory hunting attitude, Micah would turn out like Raiders fans my age.

Anti Tampering Laws Scrapped

NATIONAL Rugby League chief executive David Gallop has announced his intention to remove the existing anti-tampering rules after July 1. July?s chief executives? meeting will be used to canvass whether a new regime should be implemented or whether the concept of an anti-tampering date should be dropped entirely. ?In truth I think it would take a compelling argument from the clubs for us to recommend to the board the retention of any sort of anti-tampering system going forward but they will have the opportunity to present that case,? said Gallop. ?The anti-tampering rules were first introduced to protect the clubs at a time when there was not an effective salary cap. ?The arguments were that a player shouldn?t be able to negotiate with another team until he had finished all but the last six months of his existing contract. ?The rule is there to protect clubs. The fact is that tampering can only take place if clubs themselves participate in negotiations. ?Furthermore the rule can only ever be enforced if clubs take the time to make official complaints rather than media accusations. ?Rather than see the same accusations made each year I think we would be better off removing the date for future seasons.?

Spanner in the works for Schifcofske

THE Queensland Reds' plan to sign Canberra rugby league fullback Clinton Schifcofske has hit a hurdle with the Australian Rugby Union failing to come to the party.

Player movements: Tonga

FORMER Test centre Willie Tonga has re-signed with the Bulldogs for two years.

Trans-Tasman RL Cup Fixtures

ROTORUA International Stadium hosts a four team International Rugby League competition in June and July featuring a host of the stars of today and tomorrow from both sides of the Tasman.Each of the four openings feature two games under lights with affordable ticket prices and great family discounts. Join us for the very best Rugby League.ADMISSION PRICESAdults $10Children (5-15)/Pensioners $5Family Pass (2 Adults/2 children) $25FOUR OF THE VERY BEST TEAMS representing:? New Zealand Residents? Queensland? New South Wales Country? The Jim Beam Cup (formerly the Metropolitan Cup-Sydney)FOUR OPENINGS, TWO GREAT GAMES NIGHTLYWednesday June 21st6.00 pm NSW Country v. Jim Beam Cup7.30 pm NZ Residents v. QueenslandSaturday 24th June6.00 pm Queensland v. NSW Country7.30 pm Jim Beam Cup v. NZ ResidentsTuesday 27th June6.00 pm NZ Residents v. NSW Country7.30 pm Queensland v. Jim Beam CupSaturday July 1st4.30 pm NSW Country U18 v. Waicoa Bay U186.00 pm Play off for third and fourth7.40 pm GRAND FINAL

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