Warriors line-up for clash with Tigers

BRENT Webb Todd Byrne Tony Martin Clinton Toopi Manu Vatuvei Jerome Ropati Nathan Fien Ruben Wiki (vc) George Gatis Steve Price (c) Awen Guttenbeil Wairangi Koopu Louis Anderson

Knights team to play Bulldogs

1. Milton Thaiday 2. Brian Carney 3. Matthew Gidley 4. George Carmont 5. Anthony Quinn 6. Kurt Gidley 7. Andrew Johns (c) 8. Craig Smith 9. Danny Buderus 10. Josh Perry 11. Steve Simpson 12. Kirk Reynoldson 13. Reegan Tanner

Roosters team to play Raiders

1. ANTHONY Minichiello 2. Sam Perrett 3. Iosia Soliola 4. Ryan Cross 5. Amos Roberts 6. Braith Anasta 7. Jamie Soward 8. Shane Shackleton 9. Brett Finch 10. Craig Fitzgibbon 11. Nigel Plum 12. Chris Flannery 13. Ashley Harrison

Tigers name team for Round 3

ISAAC De Gois and Stuart Flanagan will make their first grade debut for the Wests Tigers this weekend against the New Zealand Warriors.

Schifcofske named in side to play Roosters

CANBERRA Raiders captain Clinton Schifcofske has been named in the side to take on the Roosters at Aussie Stadium this Sunday. Schifcofske missed last week's loss to Newcastle with a sprained ankle.

Manly to decide on Leuluai charge

MANLY will have until midday today to decide whether to contest a grade one contrary conduct charge levelled against prop Kylie Leuluai. The Sea Eagles forward was accused of kneeing in his side's 20-16 NRL loss to North Queensland and faces a two-match ban if he enters an early guilty plea and three games if he unsuccessfully contests the charge.

Barrett, Cooper likely to return for Dragons

TRENT Barrett and Matt Cooper are expected to make their return for St George Illawarra when the Dragons name their team for Sunday's NRL clash against South Sydney today.

Round 2 Team of the Week

AFTER a topsy-turvy round of NRL action including some big hits, big scores as well as a few tight games, we?ve put our heads together for the Round 2 League Unlimited Team of the Week and it?s another cracker.Fullback: Wade McKinnon (Eels) ? Stood out for Parra on Saturday night, showing he?s a classy attacking and defensive fullback. Always backs up and has a great turn of pace.Wing: Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs) ? This guys just keeps turning up every week and putting in. Hazem was everywhere in the Round 2 Opener v Wests Tigers, scoring four fabulous tries and booting 9/10. What a champ!Centre: George Carmont (Knights) ? Georgie-boy had a wow of a match and seems to have taken on a new lease of life after getting a haircut. But I kinda liked the ponytail. Carmont relishes the opportunities he?s given outside Johns and did well to bag a double this week.Centre: Ben Smith (Eels) ? Big Ben is back and he gave the Warriors nightmares on Saturday with several strong runs, one resulting in a powerful try. He?s started the season a little slowly but methinks he?s just warming up.Wing: Matt Sing (Cowboys) ? Ageless in his attacking flair, Sing was up to his old tricks against a determined Sea Eagles outfit. He scored a treble and bought up his 100th first grade try in the process. Two thumbs up for Matt.Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) ? The reigning Dally M Player of the Year once again turned in a good performance, although it?s hard comparing it against his first round tirade. Thurston had a good night at home and came out on top.Halfback: Andrew Johns (Knights) ? The master sure knows how to turn things on. Once again Joey joins Thurston as the halves combo of the LU Team of the Week and with good cause. He tore Canberra apart with skill and precision, scoring 30 points in total, although Newcastle?s defence left a little to be desired.Lock: Regan Tanner (Knights) ? A surprise selection here but well earned. Tanner isn?t a household name just yet but he put in a solid display in the Nation?s Capital and kept the scorers on their feet with a handy try.Second-row: Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels) ? Hindy looks to have shrugged off the knee complaint (injury if you will) that dogged him towards the end of last year and is now back in the thick of things. It?s great to see as he?s one of the game?s genuine talents and he kept his legion of fans happy with a two-try effort.Second-row: Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys) ? The burly second-rower put in a gritty effort against one of the harder backrow?s going around in the comp. He had Beaver, BK and Watmough to contend with and showed he loves a good scrap.Prop: Shane Webcke (Broncos) ? Whilst everyone thought the Broncos were gone after one game, someone forgot to tell Shane Webcke. He?s an animal and again proved a handful for the Sharks, keeping their defence busy all night and even bustling his way to score a great try.Hooker: Cameron Smith (Storm) ? Cam Smith is going to be hard to keep out of this spot each week if he keeps playing the way he did on Sunday. He?s got an old head on young shoulders, gives great dummy half service, knows when to run and makes a truckload of tackles each week.Prop: Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs) ? Shrek was clearly an angry man with a point to prove on Friday night. The running battle between he and Bryce Gibbs was some great niggle and it?s no surprise to see him come out on top. Gibbs could learn plenty from an experience campaigner like O?Meley.Interchange: Brad Thorn (Broncos), Todd Lowrie (Knights), Dean Widders (Eels), Kurt Gidley (Knights) ? A well balanced bench here with hard-heads Thorn and Lowrie ready to come on and mix it up with the big boys, whilst junior Gidley and Widders know a thing or two about explosion from the bench.Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: The New Zealand Warriors get a team discount for the most prized award in rugby league this week. Unbelievably, they still cannot win a game in their native land outside Auckland, the closest being a draw with Canterbury in round 8, 2001 at Westpac Trust Stadium. It could be a long season boys ? you?re still minus 4 and not getting anywhere in a real hurry.

Jets stave off Magpies

THE Newtown Jets won this second round VB Premier League match against Western Suburbs on Saturday by 46-28, but gave Henson Park regulars some anxious moments in the action-packed second half.In a game in which 15 tries were scored, the Jets looked to be set for a runaway victory when they led by 30-4 early in the second half. No-one anticipated Wests? dominance with the football for the next 15 minutes and their 12 consecutive sets of possession, as the Magpies piled on 4 tries and 20 points to get right back into the game at 30-24. Newtown?s forward power and individual class enabled the Jets to wrest back control of the game, as they added three tries towards their eventual comfortable winning margin.Newtown coach Paul Young said he was pleased with his team?s 9 tries and improved attacking cohesion, but he admitted that the concession of 6 tries and 28 points to a team that may well be one of the Premier League?s lesser lights pointed towards defensive problems that needed urgent attention. The Henson Park crowd would have probably drawn the same conclusion, but no doubt were impressed by the genuine quality and precision of several of Newtown?s tries.Former Dragons Jersey Flegg captain Josh Lewis was Newtown?s best player on the day, with his expansive passing game, intelligent strategic kicking and obvious organisational skills. Big forwards Glenn Hall, Charles Tonga and Mark Edmondson would have appreciated the cooler playing conditions on Saturday and their mid-field control was a decisive factor in the second half. Talented lock forward Setaimata Sa made some classy offloads and John Doyle showed his versatility as both a five-eighth and hooker. Young winger Troy Savage, promoted from the Roosters Jersey Flegg side due to injury to Aidan Kirk, claimed three important tries, and centres Lelea Paea and Vince Mellars gave strong performances.The Jets might have gone down by 38-10 to Asquith in the Jim Beam Cup trial game curtain-raiser, but this result should be re-assessed in the light of coach Greg Matterson?s sound managerial decision to pitch his fringe triallists in against full-strength opposition. Matterson noted that this action was taken with a view to making his gradings list this week and that it was critical to his final selection decisions. Newtown is back at Henson Park this Saturday (March 25th) against one of the Jets? repeated nemesis opponents in the VB Premier League, the Canberra Raiders. There certainly is a full program of Rugby League at Henson Park on Saturday, with the important Premier League match between the Jets and the Raiders kicking off at 4:15pm. This match will be preceded by a Jim Beam Cup trial game between Newtown and Wentworthville at 3:00pm, and Roosters versus Magpies SG Ball and Harold Matthews junior representative fixtures at 1:15pm and 12:00 noon respectively. The day?s football commences with a Sydney Women?s Rugby League trial match between the Newtown Jetettes and Guildford at 11:00am.Photo caption:Newtown Jets second-rower Daniel Dumas does some heavy defensive work in Saturday?s match against Western Suburbs at Henson Park.Photo courtesy of Hugh Martel.

Dragons P.L. miss opportunity

THE St George Illawarra Dragons Premier League side has missed the chance to hit the top of the table after going down to the Penrith St Mary?s Cougars 26-12 at WIN Stadium today.Despite arguably looking a more dangerous outfit with the ball in hand, the Dragons bombed multiple opportunities at key stages and were made to pay the price.Best for the home side was Chris Sheppard, who consistently took the Cougars line on. Sam Isemonger (pictured) had a blinder in his first match for the Dragons. The former Shark crossed for two tries and tackled his heart out in a strong performance.In a stark contrast to last week, the Dragons found themselves behind after four minutes. Cougars winger Michael Gordon managed to outjump Tom Hewitt on the eastern flank to claim a pin point bomb and score.Gordon made no mistakes in converting his own try from the sideline.The next ten minutes were dominated by referee Steve Lyons whistle. The former first grade mediator blew no less than six penalties.With the crowd size building, so was the Dragons attacking pressure. Lock Aaron Wheatley was unlucky to not provide his sides first points after his final pass to an unmarked Brett Morris went astray.The blunder was soon forgotten however when Sam Isemonger crossed for his first try in a red and white strip after 20 minutes. Attacking 30 metres out Sheppard put a precision pass on the chest of a rampaging Beau Ryan. The centre-three quarter busted the first line of Cougars defence then offloaded smartly to Isemonger who was backing up on the inside. Reece Blayney made no mistakes in converting from adjacent to the posts to bring the scores level.The Dragons attack began to resemble the same fluency and class of last week. The likes of Sheppard and Wheatley were causing the visitors all sorts of headaches. With 12 minutes till the break, Danny Wicks was denied a four pointer after he was adjudged to have committed a double movement. The set back didn?t prove costly as Isemonger crossed for his second try in the home sides very next set. Once again it was Sheppard taking the ball to the line and finding a team mate running an angled line. The backrower hit the line with precision and speed, scoring untouched.With Blayney?s conversion, the Dragons kicked six points clear.With only five left till the break, the Cougars clawed back to within two points after centre Chris Newton crashed over from close range. Gordon was unsuccessful with his conversion attempt, keeping the Dragons noses infront heading into the break.Nine minutes into the second stanza, the Cougars levelled the scores through a penalty goal from Gordon.The red and whites received a setback just ten minutes later when rookie flyer Josh Morris was helped from the field with what looked to be a leg injury. His speed was sorely missed during the next set of six when the Dragons bombed yet another try.Sheppard chipped and regathered on his own 40, but with no nearby support, the halfback was forced to throw a long speculator pass to Hewitt. The pass was ruled to be forward.With 20 minutes to go, the Cougars hit the lead with thanks to some luck.A pin point grubber from half Wayne Boyd, ricochetd off the uprights and straight into the hands of Wallace who dived over.Down by six, the Dragons continued to make errors in trying tp press the issue.There was a glimmer of hope for the home side when Cougars prop Dave Thompson was sin binned, but a penalty goal from Gordon with just five to go, sealed the win for the visitors.The Cougars made the result certain with two minutes left with thanks to a try from hooker Paul Aiton.PENRITH - ST MARYS COUGARS 26 ( M GORDON, C NEWTON, P WALLACE, P AITON TRIES; M GORDON 5 GOALS) d. ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 12 (S ISEMONGER 2 TRIES; R BLAYNEY 2 GOALS)In Jersey Flegg, the Dragons found themselves in the winners circle with a tough 30-20 win over the Panthers.ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 30 (J NIGHTINGALE, B DUREAU, L MC PHAIL, L SETU, S SABLOWSKI TRIES; B DUREAU 3, N WYNN 2 GOALS)

Roosters JF rip in for a win

THE Sydney Roosters? Jersey Flegg outfit overcame a dogged Central Coast to tough out a 30-16 round-two win at Aussie Stadium this afternoon.Heavy favourites heading into the match ? against a club that racked up a litany of unwanted defensive records in 2005 ? the Roosters were made to earn the two points against a vastly improved Rip outfit in stifling heat.The Rip made the Roosters ? who blew an early try in the left corner ? pay after eight minutes when some swift ball movement fed speedy winger Nick Briggs a four pointer. Abed Attalah converted to give the visitors a surprise 6-0 lead. But a decisive bust up field from Roosters hooker Lewis Brown paved the way for Anthony Watts (pictured) to send Jeremy Gordon over out wide. Gordon converted his own try from the sideline to level the match at 6-all.With both sides struggling to complete their sets, lightning-fast Rip fullback Nick Brown busted the match wide open 10 minutes before half-time after splitting the Roosters? defence from a scrum feed to race 50 metres and score under the posts. With Attalah?s second conversion the Rip ? who infamously had 100 points put on them by the Dragons last year ? looked primed for a major upset.The home side fumbled their way through the remainder of the half ? but a deft offload from first grade hopeful Grant Millington helped powerful winger Pierce Sapsford get the match back on an even keel 90 seconds from the interval.With some words of wisdom from coach Jim Dymock ringing in their ears, the Roosters came out fired up after the break ? forcing a Central Coast turnover that allowed uncompromising winger Shaun Kenny-Dowall to score in the left corner. Another sideline goal from Sapsford speared the Roosters to an 18-12 lead after 40 minutes.However, Central Coast refused to back off ? after a misread in defence allowed Briggs to score an embarrassingly easy try out wide to reduce the deficit to two.But young half Mitchell Pearce gave the Roosters some breathing space after breaking through to race 70 metres from a scrum and score under the posts.A pinpoint cross-field chip from Watts that gifted Gordon his second four pointer sealed the match with eight minutes remaining ? ensuring the Roosters will stay inside the top four after two roundsSYDNEY ROOSTERS 30 (Jeremy Gordon 2, Mitchell Pearce, Pierce Sapsford, Shaun Kenny-Dowall tries; Jeremy Gordon 5/5 goals) defeated CENTRAL COAST RIP 16 (Nick Briggs 2, Nick Brown tries; Abed Attalah 2/3 goals) at Aussie Stadium; Sunday, March 19th, 2006; Referee: Luke Potter.

Fans rush for Origin tickets

FANS have rushed tickets for rugby league's second State of Origin game at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.Only 3,500 of the 52,500 tickets remain after 14,000 were snapped up in the first 90 minutes this morning. QRL officials held back 500 tickets for north Queensland fans whose lives were disrupted by Cyclone Larry today. The first game of the series will be played at Sydney's Telstra Stadium on May 24 with the return game in Brisbane on June 14. The third game is booked for Melbourne's Telstra Dome on July 5.

Latest betting from CENTREBET

NRL favourite Newcastle $26 to break club recordLast year's National Rugby League Wooden Spoon recipient is this year's Premiership favourite. Newcastle is 6.50 with Centrebet to become the second side to go from last to first in 12 months. The Knights are 26.00 with Centrebet to win a club record-breaking 12 or more matches in a row."Last year, Centrebet punters wanted to bet on Newcastle not winning a game," says Centrebet''s Gerard Daffy. "This year, they want to bet on the Knights setting a club record for straight wins!"NRL Premiership winner6.50 Newcastle7.00 North Queensland8.00 Parramatta8.00 St George Illawarra9.00 Bulldogs9.00 Sydney13.00 Brisbane13.00 Melbourne13.00 Penrith13.00 Wests Tigers16.00 Manly31.00 Cronulla67.00 Canberra101.00 New Zealand101.00 South SydneyNewcastle's winning streak2.70 Two matches9.00 Three matches2.70 Four matches8.00 Five matches8.00 Six matches41.00 Seven matches34.00 Eight matches21.00 Nine matches151.00 Ten matches67.00 Eleven matches26.00 Twelve or more matches*Newcastle''s record winning streak is 11 matches (August 25, 2001 to April 19, 2002)NRL Wooden Spoon winner2.00 New Zealand3.00 South Sydney5.00 Canberra17.00 Cronulla21.00 Manly21.00 Wests Tigers41.00 Brisbane41.00 Bulldogs41.00 Penrith67.00 Melbourne67.00 Newcastle67.00 St George Illawarra67.00 Sydney101.00 Parramatta151.00 North QueenslandLog on to http://www.centrebet.com to view its latest odds.About CentrebetThe southern hemisphere's oldest online bookmaker, Centrebet operates in one of the world's strictest jurisdictions. Australia's Northern Territory Government licenses Centrebet. Its Racing and Gaming Commission monitors transactions for the protection of Centrebet and its clients.

Injury wrap ? Broncos, Cowboys, Dragons, Tigers, Eels

BRISBANE copped a double dose of bad news today with hooker Barry Berrigan's career in the balance and young winger Steve Michaels facing surgery for a broken leg. Berrigan injured his neck at the weekend while playing for the Clydesdales and his playing future will be clearer later in the week. Michaels will have a plate inserted in his lower leg and be sidelined for three months.Cowboys hooker Aaron Payne is rated extremely doubtful for the weekend's clash with the Storm after suffering a heavy head knock against Manly at the weekend, but has been cleared of a serious neck injury.St George Illawarra front rower Luke Bailey has been ruled out for up to six weeks after suffering a knee injury in yesterday's 13-12 golden point loss to Penrith. Scans have confirmed the former Test prop has a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. In brighter news for the Dragons, skipper Trent Barrett is likely to return from a stomach virus for Sunday's match against South Sydney, while centre Matt Cooper is also believed to be some chance of taking on the Rabbitohs after recovering from a hamstring strain.Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah is expected to be out for between four and six weeks after breaking his right hand in Friday night's bruising 47-12 loss to the Bulldogs. Farah underwent surgery today and will be joined on the sidelines by prop Bryce Gibbs after he was heavily concussed against the Bulldogs.And lastly, Parramatta backrower Glenn Morrison will learn the full extent of his knee injury tomorrow.

Round 2 charges

BULLDOGS forward Willie Mason is free to play in Friday night's blockbuster NRL clash against Newcastle despite being charged by the match review committee. Mason was charged with a grade one careless high tackle for his hit on Wests Tigers winger Jamaal Lolesi last Friday night. The Test second-rower doesn't accrue enough points to be rubbed out for a match whether he pleads guilty of fights the charge. Tigers prop Bryce Gibbs has a grade one striking charge for dropping a forearm on Bulldogs forward Mark O'Meley and faces a one-match ban. The Tigers have already indicated Gibbs won't play against the New Zealand Warriors this weekend because of concussion.Manly prop Kylie Leuluai has a grade one contrary conduct charge for a kneeing incident and faces a two-week ban.Newcastle utility Anthony Quinn was charged with a grade one dangerous throw and faces two weeks out.Penrith back-rower Luke Swain will escape suspension with an early guilty plea to a grade one dangerous throw charge, while teammate Frank Puletua will miss one match unless he successfully defends a grade two careless high tackle charge.

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