WE?VE scoured every game this week to come up with another robust mob that?s ready to run out bearing the standards of League Unlimited. The funny thing about the Round 4 League Unlimited Team of the Week is the number of senior players it contains. It adds up though, with most games this round tighter than Gary Larson?s vocal chords.
HERE?S what?s in store for this month?s feature stories in Rugby League Review:Who has the best Junior Nursery in the comp?Rugby League Review researched all the 375 players that are part of the 25-man squad for every one of the 25 NRL clubs, determining which club leads the way with the highest number of players from any Sydney Junior League playing in the elite competition.Who is the most successful side in the NRL?Rugby League Review assessed the winning performance ratio?s of all clubs since 1998 and can definitively answer the question of which club has been the most successful during that period of time.Canberra duo have the longest memoriesJason Smith and Jason Croker are the longest serving players still running around in the 2006 NRL premiership.Rugby League Review does a feature story on these two great veterans.World Cup 2008The road to the 2008 World Cup will commence later this month when Holland, Russia, Serbia and Georgia aim to win the European World Cup qualifying rounds.The top two sides will advance to the next stage where they will meet Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Lebanon. Those matches will commence in October 2006. Rugby League Review looks at all four sides, how they have developed and what is in store for them. The April issue of RUGBY LEAGUE REVIEW will be out on Tuesday, April 4 at all good newsagents for $3.50.The best way to guarantee your copy is to take out a subscription. It costs $35 for 10 issues or $65 for 20 issues to have RUGBY LEAGUE REVIEW sent out to your address. Check out www.rugbyleaguereview.com for more details.
THE much anticipated NRL return of Bulldogs superstar Sonny Bill Williams is likely to be delayed another week, with coach Steve Folkes unwilling to take any risks with the injury-prone Kiwi international.
MELBOURNE Storm five-eighth Scott Hill is facing at least a three-match ban for making contact with referee Jason Robinson during Sunday's NRL loss to Wests Tigers. And team mate Billy Slater is facing up to seven weeks on the sidelines after receiving a grade-five kicking charge for lashing out against Tigers forward John Skandalis during a tackle at Leichhardt Oval.
WITH Wembley not available, Twickenham will host this year?s Powergen Challenge Cup in August. This weekend the fourth round got underway with the 12 Super League clubs entering the fray. Widnes Vikings, led by influential ex-Cronulla Sharks fullback David Peachey produced the shock of the round when they disposed of the Castleford Tigers. Elsewhere Bradford Bulls overcame holders Hull FC at a muddy Odsal and the Wigan Warriors came back from 22-6 down to beat fellow strugglers Wakefield Wildcats at a wet Belle Vue. Leeds Rhinos disposed of a gritty Leigh Centurions at The Coliseum on a quagmire of a pitch.The rest of Super League big guns all made their way through to Tuesday night?s draw, which could possibly turn up some very interesting ties.Results:Barrow 40 v Oldham 8Batley 16 v Whitehaven 28Bradford 23 v Hull FC 12Featherstone 44 v Keighley 10Halifax 8 v Huddersfield 40Harlequins RL 48 v Toulouse 6Hunslet 0 v Hull KR 22Leigh 12 v Leeds 36Les Catalans 66 v Thornhill 0Rochdale 32 v Celtic Crusaders 8St Helens 56 v Doncaster 6Salford 32 v Dewsbury 4Swinton 18 v York 20Wakefield 22 v Wigan 32Warrington 52 v London Skolars 0Widnes 14 v Castleford 4
LAST year?s grand finalists the Cowboys are outright competition leaders after coming back to defeat the Eels 26-18 at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night. Five-eighth Johnathan Thurston again led the way as the North Queenslanders remain undefeated in season 2006.In a round of close score lines, the Sharks got their first win of the year on Saturday when they downed the hapless Rabbitohs 24-22. Even closer were the Raiders who came back in extra time to pip the Panthers 21-20. Saturday night also saw Manly looking impressive when they overcame the Roosters 30-22 at Brookvale.On Sunday the reigning premiers Wests Tigers held out the Melbourne Storm to post a narrow 30-28 victory. Meanwhile a young St George Illawarra Dragons pack got the better of Brisbane to down the Broncos 26-12 in Wollongong.But the Monday?s Expert pick of the round goes to the New Zealand Warriors who travelled across the Tasman with the hope of stopping Newcastle?s winning run and advancing to zero points on the competition ladder. With no Andrew Johns to worry about, Warriors halfback Nathan Fien directed his troops across the park to defeat the second-placed Knights 26-22. Newcastle grabbed an early 10-0 lead but fell away to trail 14-10 at half time, the Warriors eventually coming out on top to win.The big news for the Warriors is they have now wiped the slate clean on the competition ladder. After starting on -4 points, the New Zealand side have posted two wins. Although still in last position, the NZ lads look to have plenty of victories left in them for the season ahead.All match results and details are listed below.After four rounds, the LeagueUnlimited.com Player Awards sees Cowboys five-eighth Johnathan Thurston holding outright lead on 12 points, three points ahead of Newcastle halfback Andrew Johns and four points ahead of St George Illawarra centre Mark Gasnier.Not far away on six points are Craig Gower (Panthers), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders) and Cameron Smith (Storm). Meanwhile Adam Dykes (Sharks) and Amos Roberts (Roosters) are well in contention on five points.The full leader board is below.The Leagueunlimited.com players of the match are decided by our live score updaters and tallied here each week on Monday?s Expert League wrap.League Wrap: Round 4, 31 March ? 2 April 2006MATCH RESULTS:Parramatta Eels: 18Tries: Eric Grothe, Wade McKinnon (2)Goals: Mark Riddell 2/3, Brett Delaney 1/1North Queensland Cowboys: 26Tries: David Fauiumu, Matthew Scott, Matt Sing (2)Goals: Johnathan Thurston 5/6Half time: Eels 14-6Venue: Parramatta StadiumCrowd: 15,131Referee: Paul SimpkinsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)2 - Matt Sing (Cowboys)1 - Tim Smith (Eels)Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 24Tries: Phil Bailey, Beau Scott, Lance Thompson, Luke Douglas, Tevita LatuGoals: Luke Covell 2/5South Sydney Rabbitohs: 22Tries: Todd Polglase, John Sutton, Nathan Merritt, Paul MellorGoals: Joe Williams 2/2, Nathan Merritt 1/2Half time: Sharks 20-6Venue: Toyota ParkCrowd: 12,274Referee: Shayne HayneLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)2 - Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs)1 - John Sutton (Rabbitohs)Manly Sea Eagles: 30Tries: Travis Burns, Brett Stewart, Matt Orford, Steve Matai, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 5/5Sydney Roosters: 22Tries: Anthony Minichiello, Adrian Morley, Jamie SowardGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 3/3, Amos Roberts 2/2Half time: Roosters 20-12Venue: Brookvale OvalCrowd: 17,117Referee: Tony ArcherLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)2 - Steve Bell (Sea Eagles)1 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)Canberra Raiders: 21Tries: Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, David Howell, Adam Mogg (2)Goals: Clinton Shifcofske 2/4Field Goals: Clinton ShifcofskePenrith Panthers: 20Tries: Luke Lewis, Frank Pritchard, Rhys Wesser, Lee HookeyGoals: Preston Campbell 2/5Half time: Raiders 10-8Venue: Canberra StadiumCrowd: 9,399Referee: Gavin BadgerLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)2 - Luke Priddis (Panthers)1 - Simon Woolford (Raiders)Wests Tigers: 30Tries: Shane Elford (2), Daniel Fitzhenry (3), Anthony Laffranchi, Paul WhatuiraGoals: Brett Hodgson 1/7Melbourne Storm: 28Tries: Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, Greg Inglis, Billy Slater (2)Goals: Cameron Smith 4/5Half time: Tigers 18-4Venue: Leichhardt OvalCrowd: 17,803Referee: Jason RobinsonLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Paul Whatuira (Tigers)2 - Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers)1 - Billy Slater (Storm)St George Illawarra Dragons: 26Tries: Aaron Gorrell, Ben Hornby, Sam Isemonger, Andrew PriceGoals: Mark Gasnier 1/1, Aaron Gorrell 4/4Brisbane Broncos: 12Tries: Shane Webcke, Darius BoydGoals: Michael Ennis 2/2Half time: Dragons 14-6Venue: WIN StadiumCrowd: 13,708Referee: Sean HampsteadLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Aaron Gorrell (Dragons)2 - Mark Gasnier (Dragons)1 - Michael Ennis (Broncos)Newcastle Knights: 22Tries: Matthew Gidley(2), Todd Lowrie, Steve SimpsonGoals: Kurt Gidley 3/4New Zealand Warriors: 26Tries: Nathan Fien, Grant Rovelli, Evarn Tuimavave, Manu VatuveiGoals: Tony Martin 5/5Half time: Warriors 14-10Venue: EnergyAustralia StadiumCrowd: 18,359Referee: Russell SmithLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Nathan Fien (Warriors)2 - Steve Price (Warriors)1 - Matthew Gidley (Knights)Canterbury Bulldogs - ByeFULL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HERENext weekend?s matches:Round 5, 7-9 April 2006Fri 7:30 - COWBOYS v TIGERS - Dairy Farmers StadiumSat 5:30 - BRONCOS v RABBITOHS - Suncorp StadiumSat 7:30 - SHARKS v ROOSTERS - Toyota ParkSat 7:30 - DRAGONS v KNIGHTS - WIN StadiumSun 2:00(NZ) 12:00(AEST) - WARRIORS SEA EAGLES - Ericsson StadiumSun 2:30 - BULLDOGS v RAIDERS - Telstra StadiumSun 3:00 - EELS v PANTHERS - Parramatta StadiumSTORM v BYEFOR LATEST CENTREBET ODDSCLICK HERELEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM PLAYER AWARDS 2006LEADER BOARDThe Leagueunlimited.com players awards are decided by our live score updaters.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.12 pointsJohnathan Thurston (Cowboys)9 pointsAndrew Johns (Knights)8 pointsMark Gasnier (Dragons)6 pointsCraig Gower (Panthers), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders), Cameron Smith (Storm)5 pointsAdam Dykes (Sharks), Amos Roberts (Roosters)4 pointsSteve Bell (Sea Eagles), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Jamie Soward (Roosters), Paul Whatuira (Tigers)3 pointsHazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), Steve Price (Warriors), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Ruben Wiki (Warriors)2 pointsPreston Campbell (Panthers), George Carmont (Knights), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos), Greg Inglis (Storm), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), Josh Perry (Knights), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Priddis (Panthers), Scott Prince (Tigers), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Jason Smith (Raiders), Steven Southern (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Dean Young (Dragons)1 pointsTrent Barrett (Dragons), Paul Bowman (Cowboys), Danny Buderus (Knights), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Billy Slater (Storm), Tim Smith (Eels), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Lincoln Withers (Raiders), Simon Woolford (Raiders), William Zillman (Raiders)
LEADING into this week?s Cronulla vs St George Illawarra game, as part of an ongoing preview, I thought it would be best to look at and debunk some of the myths surrounding the St George Illawarra Dragons, when compared to their rivals. After some research, here is what I found out.
THE Canterbury Bulldogs have been fined a maximum of $500,000 by the National Rugby League for bringing the game into disrepute during a pre-season trip to Coffs Harbour.
THE eye injury that forced Penrith forward Joe Galuvao to miss the majority of the club?s game against Brisbane last Sunday won?t keep the test second rower out of Friday?s vital game with the Wests Tigers.
THE classic ?he said, she said? scenario reached its ultimate climax today as Police investigating a young woman?s claims that she was sexually assaulted by a number of Bulldogs players confirmed that there was evidence to back up her story.
MELBOURNE Storm prop Alex Chan has taken an early guilty plea to a grade three careless high tackle charge today, ruling him out of Sunday?s clash with the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland.