THE Australian Rugby League has set itself a significant challenge with the tri-nations series to get under way in Auckland on Saturday week.
The ARL will have to hope that interest in international league has been strengthened by the fact it is no longer a one country affair. Because the series is being played at a time when there is ample opposition to take up the interest of spectators and viewers alike.
The six games in the series will take place between 14 October and 18 November, with the final a week later. Matches will be played in New Zealand, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.
The cricket season proper does not start for a few weeks, but the Poms play their first game against the PM?s 11 on 10 November. In the meantime, Australia will be taking part in the one tournament it has never won ? the ICC Chairman?s Trophy in India?.and it will be covered live on Fox.
The A League national soccer competition is now well under way ? and drawing good crowds, especially in Melbourne.
The other ?competition? ? if you could call it that ? is the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne. The Kangaroos v Kiwis game at Telstra Dome in Melbourne will be played a few hours after one of racing?s premier events ? the Caulfield Cup ? is run a few kilometres away.
Now it will be argued, with some validity, that the rugby league ?market? is a different one
from that of cricket, racing, and even soccer.
The challenge for the ARL is to get respectable crowds at all tri nations matches in Australia. The NZRL ought to be able to get good crowds at the matches in NZ, given that the Kiwis are the reigning champions???.but the ?crowds? this year at Warriors home games were dreadful.
It will be interesting to see what television and radio coverage the series gets. Nine was happy to televise tests from the UK (often on delay) when it was in the early hours of Sunday morning last year??but will Nine televise the tri nations matches live in peak Saturday evening viewing time?
The other challenge the ARL is going to have to meet is to maximise media coverage generally for the tri nations series. In the traditional off season, that will be no easy task.
The tri nations series is a ?must? for the survival, and growth, of the game internationally.
But it must also be successful ? and that will be a real challenge for the game?s administrators in every respect!
WHILE both the AFL and the NRL have put their own "spin" on the television ratings for the weekend grand finals, both codes need to take a reality check when it comes to the nation?s biggest market, Sydney.
OUTSTANDING young hooker Robbie Farah has won the Wests Tigers player of the year award for 2006.
EXCITING young centre Dean Collis has extended his contract with the Wests Tigers for a further two years.
GOLD Coast boss Michael Searle will meet with Shaun Timmins in Wollongong today to discuss the former St George Illawarra lock joining the Titans on a one-year deal.
THE October 2006 edition of Rugby League Review has hit the stands and here's what's in store this month:
QUALIFYING semi final
THE feeling is unanimous among league circles that when two clubs face off in a grand final ? the players should decide the outcome. Sadly, last night, the outcome was prevaricated by a sub-standard refereeing performance from a sub-standard referee.
JOHN Skandalis will make his long awaited international debut when he pulls on the Greek jersey for the Greece v Fiji A match at Oki Jubilee Oval on Saturday, October 7.
LEBANON NAMES SQUAD TO TAKE ON MALTALebanon coach Darren Maroon has named a 17 man squad for the Cedars? international friendly against Malta to be played on October 8.Lebanon: Jai AyoubGeorge AzziNathan BarakatDaniel ChihaSarkis DaherKhalid DeebAnthony FarahFred KhouissAli KouroucheLee MalkounTommy MansourCharlie NohraChris SalemAdam SarkisAllen SoultanPhil TakchiMassoud TaoukThe Phoenician Cup is proudly supported by Fosters Australia.
MELBOURNE coach Craig Bellamy says he is disappointed several contentious refereeing decisions went against his side in last night's 15-8 loss to Brisbane in the NRL grand final.
AUSTRALIAN squad named today for the Tri Nations rugby league series:
THE Newtown Jets have retained their unenviable record of not having won a major NSW Rugby League finals match against Parramatta since 1981, having lost 20-19 to the Eels in extra time in the 2006 VB Premier League Grand Final at Telstra Stadium on Sunday. The Jets led 18-16 at half-time and neither side scored a try in the tense second half. Newtown missed three field goal attempts in Golden Point extra time but the Eels grabbed the premiership with a well-taken field goal eight minutes into extra time, after the teams had been tied up at 19-all at the completion of eighty minutes of play.To make use of the often-used Rugby League clich?, this was the definitive game of inches. Very little separated the sides and only marginal errors, the choice of options under pressure and a modicum of luck were likely to decide the final outcome. The Jets went desperately close to scoring twice in the last twelve minutes of the second half and had their chances in Golden Point extra time. Parramatta was more methodical over the entirety of the match and made more ground through the rucks in those desperate final minutes. This was a match where every Newtown player gave his all but forwards Mickey Paea, Charles Tonga, Adam Schubert, Heath L?Estrange and Lopini Paea and backs Josh Lewis, Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Troy Malcolm all deserve special commendation. The enforced absence of fullback Aidan Kirk from the field with a serious knee injury after only five minutes in the first half was a dreadful blow to the Jets victory prospects. One definite winner yesterday was the rationale for the partnership between the Newtown Jets and the Sydney Roosters. The association really clicked into gear with an important win over Balmain at Henson Park way back on Easter Saturday, and the Jets stayed in second position on the competition table for most of the remainder of the season. Coach Paul Young has done a marvellous job with the team in his first year with the club and has taken the side to be as close to a premiership win as is mathematically possible.Newtown?s annual Presentation Night will be held at the Jets Sports Club on Monday, October 9th commencing at 7.00pm. There are still some tickets available for friends and supporters so call 1300 36 36 90 from Tuesday morning to reserve a place.Photo:Aidan Kirk scores in the VB Premier League Grand Final against Parramatta.Photo courtesy of Gary Sutherland Photography.
BRISBANE Broncos have claimed their sixth champion?s crown, defeating the Melbourne Storm 15-8 in the 2006 NRL Grand Final at Telstra Stadium last night. While Melbourne will ponder the ?what ifs? over the off season, they will come away as a more experienced outfit. Meanwhile Brisbane will celebrate long and hard into the week with the enviable record of having never lost a grand final.It was a fairytale farewell for champion prop Shane Webcke, playing his final match for the Broncos. Born in Toowoomba, Webcke played 21 State of Origin matches for Queensland and made 18 Test appearances for the Australia. He has appeared in no less than four grand final wins including the 2000 victory where he played with a broken arm. Debuting in 1995, Webcke retires on a tremendous high with 254 first grade appearances.It was yet another grand final victory for Wayne Bennett who has surpassed Ken Kearney and Jack Gibson as the game's most successful coach. Kearney, who at 82-years-old passed away last August, captained the St George Dragons to six grand final victories from 1956-61 - five of those victories were as coach. Jack Gibson has coached the Roosters, St George, the Rabbitohs, Newtown, Parramatta and the Sharks from 1967-1990. Now 77-years-old, Gibson has five grand final victories with the Roosters and Parramatta.Bennett?s achievements with the Broncos elevate him to the champion coach of this generation and one of the best in living memory. Not too shabby.The Melbourne Storm will be doing it tough. Runaway minor premiers, the southern franchise fell in the match that mattered most. Storm Coach Craig Bellamy, Bennett?s understudy at the Broncos, will take the lessons from the grand final loss and no doubt build a better football team for 2007.The form team of 2006, Melbourne had dropped only four games all season and were an incredible 12 points ahead of their grand final opponents on the NRL ladder. They came into the decider as deserving favourites, albeit less experienced. On several occasions they were on the raw end of refereeing decisions but at the end of the day, they failed to lift to the occasion and paid for the lack of execution and patience at crucial stages. The old Bronco warhorses took full advantage with experience winning the day.All match results and details are listed below.FULL NRL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HERE MATCH RESULTS - Grand Finals Wrap - 1 October 2006Venue: Telstra StadiumCrowd: 79,609National Rugby LeagueBrisbane Broncos: 15Tries: Justin Hodges, Brent TateGoals: Darren Lockyer 2/2, Corey Parker 1/2Field Goals: Darren Lockyer Melbourne Storm: 8Tries: Matt King, Steve TurnerGoals: Cameron Smith 0/1, Matt Geyer 0/1Half time: Broncos 8-4Referee: Paul SimpkinsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Shaun Berrigan (Broncos)2 - Shane Webcke (Broncos)1 - Darren Lockyer (Broncos)NSWRL Premier LeagueParramatta Eels: 20Tries: Marcus Perenara(2), Henry PerenaraGoals: John Williams 3/4Field Goals: Marcus PerenaraNewtown Jets: 19Tries: Aiden Kirk, Troy Malcolm, Charlie TongaGoals: Josh Lewis 3/4Field Goals: Josh LewisHalf time: Jets 18-16Referee: Shayne HayneLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Marcus Perenara (Eels)2 - Josh Lewis (Jets)1 - John Williams (Eels)NSWRL Jersey FleggPenrith Panthers: 22Tries: Michael Jennings, Liam Campbell, Jaye Martleitner, Wiremu WeepuGoals: Matthew Forwood 3/4Newcastle Knights: 20Tries: Akuila Uate, Callan Richardson, Terence Seu Seu, Scott DureauGoals: Luke Walsh 2/4Half time: Knights 14-12Referee: Steve LyonsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Jarrod Sammut (Panthers)2 - Scott Dureau (Knights)1 - Jaye Martleitner (Panthers)LeagueUnlimited.com players of the match are decided by our live score updaters.COMING UP:2006 RUGBY LEAGUE TRI-NATIONS SERIESGame 1 - Saturday 14th October 2006New Zealand v AustraliaMt Smart Stadium, AucklandThe 2006 Tri-Nations will be run over seven matches culminating in the Tri Nations Final in Sydney on the 25th November. Reigning champs New Zealand will be defending their title against Australia and Great Britain.LeagueUnlimited.com will be covering all the Tri-Nations clashes with up-to-the-minute live scores.We are now looking for live score updaters for the 2007 competitionFor further enquiries, please email usFor comprehensive coverage of the 2006 Tri-Nations, bookmark our Tri-Nations page - click here.MONDAY?S EXPERT WILL RETURN IN 2007
THEY might up being called Redcliffe's own version of "The Three Musketeers".
Ryan Cullen, Shannon Fish and Gerard Parle joined the Dolphins in the off-season from fellow Queensland Cup club Central Comets.