ROUND 11 Manly Sea Eagles 34 v Melbourne Storm 12at Brookvale OvalReferee: Gavin BadgerMatch Summary:The Manly Sea Eagles have won a gutsy victory over the Melbourne Storm at Brookvale over early tonight, the home side leading from start to finish for a 34-12 victory.The first half was marred with dropped ball from both sides but it was the Sea Eagles who took their chances scoring three tries to two in that half. The Storm had the dominant amount of possession but were unable to capitilise.Manly opened the scoring in just the fifth minute of play when a short side move resulted in a good short ball from Monaghan onto Glenn Stewart to score in the corner.Things then went from bad to worse for the visitors as they had a try disallowed only minutes later when Nathan Friend was correctly ruled to have performed a double movement.The game was in the balance when Matty Orford showed NSW Origin selectors what they're missing out on, the half back setting up play for centre Steve Matai who crashed over to give Manly a 10-0 lead.To rub salt into the wounds the Sea Eagles scored again only moments later as winger Matt Geyer dropped fumbled in his in-goal and Chris Hicks was there to grab one of the easiest tries he will ever score.Just after halftime, the Storm were looking down the barrel of a major defeat as Orford threaded a grubber through and prop Mark Bryant was there to score under the posts for a 22-0 lead.There was still a glimmer of hope for Melbourne as they scored a Storm special with a back line play down the right hand flank inside their own half, eventually finished off by veteran Matt Geyer.Moments later a great inside ball from Cooper Cronk onto Steve Turner and the Storm were back within 10 with 20 minutes remaining.However the Storm lacked their defensive power that they have enforced over the past month in the NRL eventually going down 34-12 with late tries to wingers Hicks and Stephenson for the Sea Eagles.This is a real confidence booster for the Sea Eagles who without three of their starting forward pack members. Not to be outdone, the Storm were also without Smith, Inglis and King.Scorers:Manly Sea Eagles: 34Tries: Mark Bryant, Chris Hicks(2), Paul Stephenson, Glenn Stewart, Steve MataiGoals: Matt Orford 5/6Melbourne Storm: 12Tries: Matt Geyer, Steve TurnerGoals: Matt Geyer 2/2Crowd: 9,338By the Clock:Two understrength sides as the Origin period begins but both are in blistering form.There has been light rain all afternoon but no rain to speak of at the time being.Matty Orford leads out the Eagles against his former club.5 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesGood cut out pass by Monaghan who hits Glenn Stewart to score in the corner for the home side.Orford from the sideline hooks it wide Sea Eagles 4-09 min: NEWS A good break by Steve Turner,but a try is bombed out wide with a forward pass thrown.11 min: NEWS Nathan Friend has a try disallowed as a double movement occurred.14 min: NEWS A great break by Cooper Cronk and in the next play,the Storm force a goal line dropout.15 min: NEWS Going to the video for a possible Storm try...15 min: NEWS NO TRY - Chris Hicks is ruled to have forced the ball ingoal for a goalline dropout.29 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesShort pass close to the line by Orford and Matai is too hard to stop from there.Orford kicks a beauty from the sideline. Sea Eagles 10-033 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesMatt Geyer makes a meal of a cross field kick into the ingoal and Chris Hicks pounces to score an important try before the break.Orford kicks another ripper from the sideline! Sea Eagles 16-040 min: NEWS Halftime - A solid effort from the Eagles in a pretty scrappy affair at Brookie.Back Underway at Brookie.49 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesA short grubber by Matt Orford close to the line and big Mark Bryant crashes over!Orford converts. Sea Eagles 22-052 min: TRY Melbourne StormMatty Geyer makes up for his mistake in the first half as the Storm go the length of the field for their try down the right hand flank.In Injury news Matai has gone off clutching at his wrist,perhaps a broken wrist for the rising star.Geyer converts his own try.Sea Eagles 22-660 min: TRY Melbourne StormMelbourne back in this one as young halfback Cooper Cronk goes straight through,finds Steve Turner to score under the posts.Geyer converts this one. Sea Eagles 22-1267 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesA bomb by Orford to the corner and the young Storm winger Samau drops the ball and Stephenson is there to seal the game for the home side. Orford kicks it from out wide. Sea Eagles 28-1272 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesHicks scores his second as this game turns into a try feast.Orford stabbed a grubber through and Hicks was there to ground it just before the deadball line.Orford kicks another from the sideline. Sea Eagles 34-1280 min: NEWS Fulltime here at Brookie.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)2 - Cooper Cronk (Storm)1 - Shayne Dunley (Sea Eagles)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 11 New Zealand Warriors 34 v Wests Tigers 12at Ericsson StadiumReferee: Jarred MaxwellMatch Summary:The New Zealand Warriors have comprehensively defeated the Wests Tigers this evening in Auckland ? the home side winning 34-12.The Warriors were off to a dream start when Sione Faumuina crashed over the line from close range after just two minutes ? the result of an ill-disciplined early penalty against the Tigers. The Warriors led 6-0 after the Tony Martin conversion.The Tigers looked as though they had the momentum, but successive tries to the Warriors? Brent Webb and Simon Mannering made life very difficult for the Tigers. The Warriors held a 16-0 advantage with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.Then a piece of Benji Marshall brilliance, reminiscent of his freakish flick pass in last year?s grand final, created the Tigers? first try and the first in the career of debutant Taniela Tuiaki. The Tigers hit back for what looked like the final points of the first half at 16-6 with the Marshall conversion successful.But the dagger was forced into the Tigers? heart just seconds before halftime, with another breakaway try, this time it was halfback Grant Rovelli. The conversion ensured a tough road ahead for the Tigers if they were to force their way back into this one, the score 22-6 at halftime. The Auckland-based outfit pressed their foot onto the accelerator after the break, with successive tries to Louis Anderson and Evarn Tuimavave ? both converted by Tony Martin. The Warriors led 34-6 with 25 minutes on the clock and at that stage, any scoreline looked possible.But the Tigers managed to hold the Warriors out for the remainder of the half and Tuiaki crossed for a consolation double late in the match to save face for the premiers.The Warriors meet the Sharks next Saturday evening at Toyota Park, whilst the Tigers travel across town to meet the struggling Rabbitohs at Aussie Stadium.Scorers:New Zealand Warriors: 34Tries: Louis Anderson, Sione Faumuina, Grant Rovelli, Simon Mannering, Evarn Tuimavave, Brent WebbGoals: Tony Martin 5/6Wests Tigers: 12Tries: Taniela Tuiaki(2)Goals: Benji Marshall 2/2Crowd: 8,210By the Clock:The second match in Round 11 sees the hapless New Zealand Warriors playing host to premiers the Wests Tigers. Both sides will be slightly affected by origin representation, with Steven Price and Brett Hodgson the two absentees from this match.0 min: NEWS KICKOFF! Match underway at Ericsson Stadium2 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsThe Warriors fulfill the benefits of an early penalty and Sione Faumuina crashes over the line from close range. The decision was referred to video referee Phil Cooley for a possible lost ball but the try was awarded on benefit of the doubt. Warriors 6-08 min: NEWS The Warriors bomb a certain try after a mid-field break from fullback Brent Webb. They moved the ball through the hands but centre Tony Martin was unable to control it.20 min: NEWS The Warriors bomb another try after another Webb break. Evarn Tuimavave had support on his left but elected to hold back the pass and go with the offload, which culminated with Jamaal Lolesi coming up with the ball for the Tigers. 25 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsThird time lucky for Brent Webb who capitalises on a freak offload from Faumuina to dart through the Tigers' defensive line and stand up fullback Daniel Fitzhenry - who in-turn scored the try. Warriors 12-030 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsSimon Mannering crosses for a simple try in the corner after a poor attempt at tackle from Dene Halatau. Warriors 16-034 min: TRY Wests TigersA grand-final-like flick pass from Benji Marshall has generated the Tigers' first of the night and debutant Taneila Tuiaki has scored under the posts. Absolute magic from the Kiwi international. Warriors 16-640 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsGrant Rovelli crosses after a last-minute raid from the Warriors, a stinging blow to the Tigers' chances just on the break. That signals halftime and the Tigers had a look-in for a moment there but after that late try to the Warriors it's a long way back for the Tigers now. Warriors 22-6Second half underway in Auckland50 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsLouis Anderson gathers up a loose ball after a Nathan Fien bomb to score in the corner. Manu Vatuvei batted the ball down to Anderson. Ominous signs for the Tigers here. Warriors 28-656 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsTuimavave barges over from dummy half. Pathetic defence from the Tigers and the scoreline is getting embarrassing. Warriors 34-661 min: TRY Wests TigersTuiaki crosses for his second on debut but it's nothing more than a consolation for the Tigers. Warriors 34-1268 min: NEWS Still 34-12 here. Both sides just playing out time now.Fulltime min: NEWS The Warriors have defeated the Wests Tigers by 34 points to 12 in a comprehensive victory. Match report to come...-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Brent Webb (Warriors)2 - Evarn Tuimavave (Warriors)1 - Tony Martin (Warriors)-----------------------------------------
THIS weekend the Bears travel to Brookvale for a classic local Derby against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to be played prior to the first grade match between Manly and the Melbourne Storm on Saturday 20th May.Jersey Flegg will play at 3:45 p.m. followed by the the Premier League match at 5:15 p.m. The first grade match between Melbourne and Manly will begin at 7:30 p.m.PICTURED: Norths forward Mick Morris in action. The Bears will take on Manly on Saturday in Flegg and Premier League. Photo: Steve LittleTHIS WEEKENDS TEAMSNorth Sydney Premier League v Manly-Warringah1. Andrew Moodie2. Daniel Watkins3. Ryan Shortland4. Filinga Filiga5. Karl Johnson6. Daniel Russell (c)7. James Maloney8. Aaron Trinder9. Ben Ellis10. Ben Cross11. Scott Perrin12. Chris Saab13. Luke Fatnowna14. Ryan Russell15. Bede Tuohy16. Michael Harper17. Richard Retimana18. Brad Domek19. Anthony Beare22. Eddie SuaCoach - Josh WhiteNorth Sydney Jersey Flegg v Manly-Warringah1. Daniel Phillips2. Matt McDougall3. Chris Heasman4. Jason Saliba5. Ryan Wilson6. Bladen Baird7. Liam Foran8. Tupo Peaua9. Chris Dears10. Pio Rokomaqisa11. Mick Morris12. Arnold Mano13. Blayne Davis14. Tala Ah-Fa15. James Vainakolo16. Michael Jones17. Sean Bovis18. Gavin Duncan19. Tim McDonald20. Mafi Lolohea21. Paddy KilmurrayCoach - Steve Carter
IT'S on again! NSW V QLD in one of the most passionately contested sporting events in the World - 'STATE OF ORIGIN'.Here's your chance to rub shoulders with some of the very players that forged that passion and your chance to help the Bears.The North Sydney Club is holding it's annual 'ORIGIN LEGENDS NIGHT' fund raiser on the 14th June 2006. State of Origin 2 will be displayed on the big screens in the Celebrity Room at the NORTHS Club, Miller street, Cammeray and selected tickets will be available on tables hosted by former Origin and North Sydney greats including -LES KISS, MICHAEL BUETTNER, ADAM MUIR, GREG FLORIMO, STAN JURD, JASON TAYLOR, DAVID HALL, DON MCKINNON, MATT SEERS, JOSH STUART AND GAVIN JONES.The night will include guest speakers, silent and open auctions and of course the BIG GAME on the BIG SCREENS to round out the night.Legend tables will be $80 a head and all other seats $55 a head. The night will start at 6:30pm with pre game drinks for an 8:00pm kick off. Dinner and drinks are included in the price. Dress in blue, black & red or maroon. All bookings to be made through NORTHS on (02) 9466 8888.To download the official ORIGIN LEGENDS NIGHT Flyer - CLICK HERE.
THIS Saturday?s double-header of first class Rugby League action at Henson Park is proudly sponsored by: The Ramrod Group Pty Ltd, Pagewood.Saturday, 20th May 2006Henson ParkVB Premier LeagueNewtown v South SydneyKick-Off: 3.00pmThe Jets will be keen to make amends for their first round defeat at Telstra Stadium at the hands of the Rabbitohs.Jets fans should turn up in big numbers to take the opportunity of seeing the brilliant Jamie Soward and Josh Lewis playing together as the five-eighth/half-back combination for Newtown. You?ll have bragging rights for the rest of your life in being able to say you saw Soward and Lewis playing together for Newtown at Henson Park. The chance to see class acts like this duo going around in the royal blue colours won?t happen very often!Saturday?s curtain-raiser:Jim Beam CupNewtown v AsquithKick-Off: 1.15pm.The Jets need to find form again after the disappointing showing against Wentworthville. There was a general bye in the Jim Beam Cup competition last weekend so neither of these sides is disadvantaged by the lay-off.The Sydney Roosters NRL squad will be at the Jets Sports Club on Sunday evening, 28th May.Note this one in your diaries. The Sydney Roosters NRL squad and coaching staff will be at the Jets Sports Club at 6.30pm, Sunday, 28th May, following their NRL match against Parramatta at Parramatta Stadium earlier that afternoon. All the Roosters players will be available for autograph signing, signing jerseys and memorabilia. Every child in attendance will receive a free gift.Spread the word to all your friends and neighbours for them to bring their kids along to meet the mighty Roosters live at the Jets Sports Club on Sunday, 28th May. (The Jets Sports Club is located in Holbeach Avenue, Tempe. Phone: 1300 36 36 90).
STAY a little longer
I grew up watching rugby league. As a young boy, it was the only sport I really paid a lot of attention to, although I was a keen follower of cricket. However, there was something about rugby league which caught my eye. I have been following the sport for almost 14 years now, and I enjoy it just as much as I did when I was younger. The sport has given me a lot of things: excitement, enjoyment, pleasure and satisfaction. It has given me so much, and I feel now that I should try and give something back to the sport which has given me so much. I am in a position to do so, so why not?I am a 24 year old male currently living and working in Norway. I am currently working at a primary school not so far away from where I live. I don?t teach a specific class; I teach mainly years 5-6-7, the elder group of kids at the primary school. Since I was employed at the school after working at other schools, I have run a special project with years 6 and 7. This is a special project because it is voluntary, no children have to be apart of it if they don?t wish. The project has been about teaching the children about the wonderful sport of rugby league. Since February, I have been teaching these children about the sport. Every week, the children who want to can come to the school library where they can watch rugby league tapes from my own collection. This method of teaching them the sport has proved effective. Learning the sport through watching it has made it easy for the kids to get a feel of what it is all about.When I started the project, I had no problems convincing the children to come along and watch games. They were really enthusiastic and excited about the whole concept. It was something totally new for them, although they had heard the word ?rugby? before. Although they had heard it, most of them confused it with American football, which I might add is totally different to rugby league. This confusion is no more amongst the children who now understand the sport.Teaching the children about the sport was, quite simply, easy. I had no problems teaching them the rules. Learning the sport is much easier if you are motivated for learning about it. It took the children just a few weeks to understand the basics of the sport, something which gob-smacked me. I had not thought that they could have learnt and understood the sport so quickly.After a few weeks, I could see that the number of kids who were coming to the library to watch games was decreasing. I was a bit upset; however, there were still a lot of children coming to watch games. Interest was still high. Through the Last Tackle forum, I got into touch with Tim Karlov, a male from Tasmania who also is very keen on developing the sport. He gave me a few pointers, i.e. who to contact if I wanted to develop the game. He set me up with the ARL, Oztag and the RFL. Without Tim, I don?t think I would have thought about contacting these federations at all. I would like to thank you Tim for setting me up with these federations, and for supporting me throughout this whole development stage.As interest for RL was high, I thought it might be a good idea to let the children have a feel of what it is like to play the game, not just watch it. I got in touch with these federations, and have so far received some balls and coaching programmes from the RFL. I am greatly grateful for this. I am also awaiting a package from Oztag, where I have been promised tag belts and much more. I don?t want the kids playing tackle just yet; they are too young and inexperienced. With all this equipment, it will be possible for me to teach these kids how to play the game.From next week on until the summer break, which starts in five weeks, I will be taking the children out and teaching them the basics of the sport. Every child in years 6 and 7 know about this. Again, this is voluntary. However, I have had lots of positive feedback from the children, and the teachers/administration about this idea, so that?s good. With the little amount of weeks remaining, there won?t be time to organise any games for the kids to play in. There will be a lot of time for that next year though.Well, that?s the state of Norwegian RL at the current moment. It is still in its infancy, but I have big plans for the sport in this country, although I will be focussing on the local region for a while. I am committed to developing the sport in this country, and I hope I will succeed. Let's see what happens!More info >> www.freewebs.com/norwayrl
THE Dutch rugby league has announced a squad of predominantly locally based players for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Georgia on Friday, 26 May.Twelve of the seventeen traveling to Tbilisi play their football locally, with three players ? back rowers Vincent Grimbergen and Bernard van Holstein, and Alex Hoogenzand - set to win their first international caps. Grimbergen will be joined by a fellow 18-year old, Benjamin Blom, who gets the nod at halfback following an impressive debut off the bench in the Netherlands' opening 40-14 defeat to Russia earlier this month.Blom's promotion comes in the wake of a series of disruptive injuries, notably to half Jorik Moree (cracked ribs), with skipper Aaron de Jagger moving wider to stand-off. Nottingham Outlaws three-quarter Kees Foxon shifts to the problem position of fullback to replace Joel Barrett (broken shoulder), himself a stop-gap replacement for first choice custodian Rudy Stanford Smyth, who has failed to recover from an injury sustained in training two weeks ago.Georgia sits on top of the four-nation pre-qualifying group, which sees the top two progressing to the second round in October. With the match taking place on a public holiday and covered by national television, a five figure crowd is expected. Netherlands team versus Georgia.1.Kees Foxon Nottingham Outlaws2.Jamie Groeneweg Hoek van Holland3.Ronald van den Broek Haagsche4.Duncan Taylor Worthing5.Roelof Haar Leeuwarden6.Aaron de Jagger Huddersfield Underbank Rangers (Captain)7.Benjamin Blom Sassenheim8.Phil Parkinson Nottingham Outlaws.9.Chris Hodgetts Hemel Stags10.Bevan Williamson Rotterdam11.Raymond den Engelsman Hoek van Holland12.Bernie van Holstein Hoek van Holland13.Jason Bruygoms Rotterdam14.Alex Hoogenzand Sasseneheim15.Johnny Qua Rotterdam16.Vincent Grimbergen Sassenehim17.Sjoerd Nieboer WRC Haaglanden
RUGBY League Deutschland has announced that the groundbreaking Germany versus Austria match will be played at the Nonner Stadion, Bad Reichenhall, on Sunday 25th June. The match will be sponsored by Alpenstoff Bier.The inaugural match between the two central European neighbours will coincide with an RLEF-sponsored match officials training course, targeting candidates from both sides of the border. "This is a great boost for us," said German official Simon Cooper. "We are aiming for 150 people for the Germany v Austria game as rugby of either code is unknown here in this part of Germany.""Uwe Jansen will be soon going into Schools in the Heidelberg and Heilbronn area to get youngsters playing the game. We also have a school near Stuttgart wanting to play as well." Cooper, who revealed that Germany is hoping to host a rugby league youth festival next year, has managed to provide the school with Rugby League World magazine each month as well as a rule book, rugby balls, DVDs and coaching aids. Rugby League Deutschland polo shirts and T-shirts are now available from www.forty-twenty.co.uk, with the organisation's commission reinvested into the further development of the sport in Germany."In August we celebrate our second year," continued Cooper, "and we feel we have made reasonable progress although there is a lot more we need to do. We would like to thank all those that have helped us in some way whether it be sending DVDs of games to me to pass on or by sending money, buying our products or wishing us the best. It can be very hard sometimes and often you feel 'why am I bothering' but we stick at it and we hope to reap the rewards."
MANLY will be without skipper Ben Kennedy for tomorrow night's NRL clash with Melbourne after the Test lock failed a fitness test on his injured calf.
NEW South Wales coach Graham Murray says he's surprised how quickly halves Braith Anasta and Craig Gower have gelled in the lead-up to the opening State Of Origin rugby league match against Queensland.
GREAT Britain star Kevin Sinfield will return to the Rhinos starting line up on Friday night in the Powergen Challenge Cup clash with Rochdale at Headingley Carnegie, kick off 8pm.
SUPER League strugglers Wigan have the opportunity to cast aside their relegation worries when they take on Salford in the fifth round of the Powergen Challenge Cup at The Willows on Friday night.
LEGS eleven rolls around amid some uncertainty as rep players are stood down over the weekend for the opening State of Origin match. This often proves to be a fatal cocktail for tipping aspirants as key players are removed from clubs and all of a sudden myriad possibilities come into calculations.I?ll be honest though, I?m not tipping real well at the moment and I was paid a visit last week by some guys in white coats after selecting the Bunnies for the second time this season. The Cowboys are a frustrating team as are the Raiders with consistency a thing of the past.Another Saturday meatloaf saw me carry 3 from 4 into Sunday where I carded a bogey and ended up three under par for the round. I?m sitting on 43/70 (61%) and it?s not as pretty as it could be.Panthers v EelsFriday night starts with an awkward clash out at the foot of the mountains between the Eels and the Panthers. This game is a tough one to pick with both sides missing regular first graders for a variety of reasons.The Panthers? linchpin Craig Gower is on rep duty for the Blues with Luke Lewis taking the field after Mark Gasnier was passed fit. He?ll form an unlikely halves combination with regular dynamo Preston Campbell but the backline isn?t what it used to be. The forwards shape up pretty well though with Clinton, Priddis, Pritchard and Puletua and it is a home game for the Mountain Men.Beware the sacked coach hoodoo however. With Brian Smith gone and caretaker coach Jason Taylor assuming the reigns at the club, the players generally turn around their underlying poor form for at least one week. But there are extenuating circumstances. Taylor isn?t a permanent solution and with Tim Smith and Mark Riddell in reggies, plus Hindmarsh, Tahu and Grothe out for the Blues, it?s not as cut and dry as you?d think.I?m going to stick with the theory and tip the Eels, but they will struggle to have any serious penetration in the comp going forward.Warriors v TigersSuper Saturday kicks off in Auckland as the Tigers visit the Warriors with a view to collecting two points after they were arguably robbed last week at home.The Tigers have lost Brett Hodgson to the NSW camp but that?s all at this stage with McDonnell deputising for the enigmatic custodian as he has done several times before. I thought the Tigers were pretty good last week and showed that they will still be a force come semi-finals time.The Warriors are pretty disappointing of late but each week they don?t lose by big margins. Against the Dragons they took an early lead only to get pegged back in a fairly ugly struggle and they will do it tough without captain and chief yard-maker Steve Price.I have to stick with form here and I?m tipping a Tigers victory.Sea Eagles v StormNext we head back across the Tasman to where two under-strength side go head to head at Fortress Brookvale.Manly are without the reliable Steve Bell plus prop Brent Kite and gun lock Ben Kennedy is still missing in action. Normally that would be enough reason to pick against the Sea Eagles but they are playing at home and they face a club who are fielding a side with a few holes.Melbourne have Mick Crocker and Billy Slater suspended. They?ve also lost their best player in Greg Inglis to QLD along with hooker Cameron Smith and let?s not forget big centre Matt King. All these players have been in form for the Storm and will prove vital in the teams chances this week.I?m backing Manly after a disappointing performance against Brisbane with Orford to send a message to the NSW selectors. Stewart is back as well and he goes pretty well.Knights v RaidersOur final Saturday stoush is up in Newcastle where the Knights play host to Canberra at what?s sure to be a packed EnergyAustralia Stadium. There?s only so many games Joey will play before he retires and if I was a Knights fan I?d be pretty keen to see them.The Raiders jump in the Firefly bus and head up the highway for a difficult game. With Buderus out and Simpson also on rep duty, two of the form Newcastle players are taken out of the equation. Still, Johns is there and they win most of their game with him whilst Carney, Smith, Perry and Davico will all go hard throughout. They won?t be easy-beats.The Raiders slumped to a shattering loss last week and once again reinforced themselves as one of my un-tippable sides. With a full squad and a decent bench you?d think they could get close and with last week?s trouncing at the hands of Cronulla still ringing in their ears, I?d expect them to at least show up. They have the type of game to aggravate Newcastle but it depends how well they do that.As a punter, the Knights are the only tip here, but it wouldn?t shock me if the Raiders jagged a win. Bulldogs v SharksSunday footy kicks off with the first of our each-way bets when the Sharks get their passports out and head up to Homebush for what?s sure to be cracking contest.Straight up you have to go for Canterbury; they?re at home, they?re a traditionally strong club and they disposed of the Eels last week despite only putting 2 penalty goals on the board in the second half. In short, they have the ability to score points and stay in a game regardless of their current circumstances. They do, however, have Willie Mason, Mark O?Meley, Nate Myles and captain Andrew Ryan missing from the team thanks to the Blues. This could be a real issue.The Sharks have been in form lately though and it?s hard to ignore. They travelled to Canberra last week and gave it to the Raiders just for something to do. Kimmorley is on the bench and I haven?t spoken to anyone who thinks that?s actually a bonus given their form of late. And with Villa the Gorilla lining up, their team looks strong.Whilst Cronulla has a mixed record at Telstra Stadium, with Lance Thompson and Paul Gallen playing exceptionally well lately, I have my doubts over whether they can keep it up and I expect the Bulldogs to take the chocolates here. Both benches are lacking in any real impact and I expect Sonny Bill and Hazem to enjoy the return of Brent Sherwin.Roosters v RabbitohsThe final game of the round pits arch rivals Easts and Souths in a good old-fashioned tussle at the Sydney Football Stadium. I?ve picked Souths twice this year for zero return and after last week I?ve vowed to never take them again. But it?s not stopping me from thinking they can win.The Bunnies have a great back line and some tradesman-like forwards who will cart it up all day long. And they always lift against the Roosters as a sign of their eternal hatred for the Bondi Junction club. I even hope they win, but I?m just not willing to bet they will anymore.Easts are without Zoolander, who was plucked from some diabolical form to represent the Blues at pivot, and the versatile Craig Wing who they?ll probably miss more. Strange that Jamie Soward isn?t getting a run this week as well.Again, it wouldn?t surprise me to see the Bunnies jag a win and I hope they do for themselves more than anything, but I can?t give this one away again and I?m sticking with the Roosters as they still have some good personnel in the team.The Cowboys, Broncos and Dragons have the bye this week. Whilst Brisbane and North Queensland have contributed in a large way, the Dragons find themselves in a bit of a lucky situation this week. Only one player is on duty for the Blues and they should be pretty fresh to take on Knights next week. They have been decimated around this time of the season in year?s gone bye though, so it?s probably a bit of payback.
ST George Illawarra Dragons centre Matt Cooper has been ruled out of the NSW Blues lineup for next Wednesday's State of Origin encounter. Parramatta Eels winger Eric Grothe has been confirmed as his replacement with Eels team mate Timana Tahu shifting to the centres.Cooper had been training lightly with the Blues after suffering a hamstring strain in last weekend's Dragons vs Warriors clash. But he was unable to recover from a fitness test yesterday. Meanwhile Dragons centre Mark Gasnier will play in Wednesday night's opening State of Origin match after passing a fitness test on his injured hip this afternoon. Gasnier was also recovering from a virus that prevented him from training on Tuesday.