Referee's report - Semi-finals

AS we draw ever closer to Grand Final day on October 1, the number of referees for week two drops from four in week one to just two now in the second week of the finals. Unfortunately, it is an early end to season 2006 for Shayne Hayne and Sean Hampstead. Although all is not lost, if you cast your minds back to season 2005, Steve Clark was not around in week two of the Finals but came back in week three for Paul Simpkins who was dropped.On Friday night at Aussie Stadium, it will be Paul Simpkins who gets first shot at this week?s Finals Series as St George Illawarra take on Manly. Last week it was Paul who controlled the Dragons? 16 point victory over the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. Although winning the match quite convincingly in the end, it was the Dragons on the wrong end of a 6-2 penalty count. The Dragons, with five games as Simpkins being the referee in 2006, have had three victories with two losses. Manly with Simpkins in charge have had four matches with an even share of two wins and two losses. The touch judges for this encounter are Russell Turner and Rod Lawrence while in the video referee?s box will be Tim Mander and Chris Ward.Steve Clark maintains his position in the NRL Finals Series, as he will be in charge of the Knights and Broncos match at Aussie Stadium on Saturday evening. Steve did not officiate in either of these two sides? matches last weekend, as he was at the helm of Melbourne?s home victory, which knocked out last season?s Minor Premiers the Parramatta Eels. On paper, Clark is the number one referee, with two State of Origins and the New Zealand vs. Great Britain Test Match all in 2006. However the gap has closed between himself and fellow referee Paul Simpkins.The Knights have had Clark just twice this season with victories in round three against the Bulldogs and in round 25 against the Panthers. The Broncos are quite similar to the Knights, as they have had Clark just three times this season, coming away with three victories. The touch judges for this match are Steve Carrall and Steve Chiddy.Incidentally, last year?s Grand Final touch judge, Matt Cecchin, has missed out on selection this weekend on the line.

Buderus suspended for six weeks

NEWCASTLE Knights hooker Danny Buderus tonight had his bid to have a dangerous throw charge downgraded rejected by the NRL judiciary. He was suspended for six weeks and will miss the rest of the NRL finals series.Buderus was seeking to have the ban reduced to only one match and have a grade three dangerous throw charge reduced to a grade one.The Newcastle rake was charged after being placed on report for a lifting tackle on Manly winger Michael Robertson in the latter stages of Friday night's Newcastle v Manly qualifying final at EnergyAustralia Stadium. The match saw the Knights turnaround a 12-0 half time deficit to run out 25-18 winners. "I went in to make an effective tackle, I didn't realise the position of Michael Robertson in relation to the tackle," Buderus told the three man panel of former internationals Bob Lindner, Jason Stevens and Darrell Williams. "If I had a chance to change that I would have. "It's just a split second thing. All I could control was what I wanted to do." The hearing lasted more than two hours as the judiciary deliberated over Buderus' favourable record throughout his 10-year career. But judiciary counsel Peter Kite argued that Buderus had breached duty of care and advised the panel not to be swayed by the impact of the suspension and that Buderus would miss the finals series. "The objective is to achieve consistency for the offence," Kite said. "You can't put a player's future at risk to make a tackle."

Origin double bunger up for grabs!

GIVE yourself a chance at snaffling the ?Origin Double Bunger? ? premium double passes to Games I & III of next year?s Harvey Norman State of Origin series ? by reserving your seats to the 2006 QLD Wizard Cup grand final through Ticketek.

Judiciary credibility on the line again

NOT for the first time, the credibility of the NRL judiciary will be on the line tonight when the Newcastle Knights' Danny Buderus tries to have a level three "dangerous throw" charge downgraded.

Mat Rogers coming home to NRL as a Titan

RUGBY League and Union dual international Mat Rogers has agreed to a 3 year deal with the Gold Coast Titans.The former Cronulla Sharks and current Australian Wallabies star will finalise his contract with the Australian Rugby Union in 2007 before returning to the NRL and the Gold Coast Titans along with his family, model and TV presenter Chloe Maxwell and their son Max. Gold Coast Titans Managing Director Michael Searle says the signing of Rogers is a massive coup, not only for the Gold Coast Titans, but for the NRL and the entire Gold Coast Community. ?Having that star factor plays an enormous role, not only in attracting new sponsors but in generating huge excitement throughout the community.??Mat Rogers will be a huge drawcard for the Titans during our first season at Robina Stadium in 2008 and I look forward to his arrival.??This club is determined to compete on all levels be that commercial or on the playing field and Mat will provide international star attraction to our team and add another dimension to our backline.?Equally as comfortable as an outside back or in the halves, Rogers has been signed as a running back for the Titans in 2008. ?To his credit he could have secured a far greater financial contract by staying in rugby union but he firmly believes he has outstanding business in our game that he wants to resolve and we have no doubt that he will once again prove to be a potent strike weapon when he returns to the NRL.?We look forward to welcoming Mat his partner Chloe Maxwell and their son Jack, Skyla and Max to the Gold Coast and our club in 2008. This is another announcement that should excite our fans and the whole of the rugby league community as we work towards kick off in 2007. ??Having a rugby league and union dual international of Mat Rogers calibre playing in the National Rugby League again is a coup not only for the Gold Coast Titans but for the National Rugby League.? While he won?t see Mat until the 2008 season, Coach John Cartwright says securing the signature of a player like Mat Rogers will be a huge boost to the entire squad. ?Mat is an exceptional talent and I am thrilled that we have continued to attract some of the sports biggest names north to the Titans. Wherever Mat slots into the backline in 2008, one thing is for sure, he will create more than a few head aches for his rivals and plenty of scoring opportunities for his team mates, it will be a pleasure to have him on board.? NRL CEO David Gallop congratulated the Titans on their efforts assisting a great rugby league name to return to the National Rugby League. ?The Titans have already shown they are out to make an impact in 2007 and the fact they are planning beyond that even now, underlines just how committed they are.??Certainly this is a signing that will make everyone sit up and take notice of the Gold Coast and it will be fantastic to see Mat resume his National Rugby League career in our Centenary year.? Mat Rogers Fact File Mat Rogers and his family have a long association with the Gold Coast.Mat attended TSS, The Southport School and his late and legendary father, Steve Rogers played for the Southport Tigers where he won a Premiership in 1972. He was also Captain Coach at Nerang for a short period before moving to play with Cronulla in 1972.Name: Mat RogersBorn: February 1 1976 Place of Birth: SydneySchool: TSS, The Southport School, Gold Coast Playing History: Australian Schoolboy Rugby Union International. Cronulla Sharks 1995-2001 5 Games Queensland State of Origin team 11 Tests Australian Kangaroos Rugby League Team New South Wales Waratahs Super 14 side 2002 Australian Wallabies Rugby Union team, debut 2002 v France, 41 caps for the Wallabies, Points 158 (13t, 27c, 13p) 2008 Gold Coast Titans

Updated: Rogers signs with Titans

FORMER Cronulla winger and dual International Mat Rogers has announced he will quit rugby union after next year's World Cup in France and return to rugby league.

Kiwis & New Zealand 'A' Squad Additions

KIWIS Coach Brian McClennan and the NZRL selectors have confirmed the addition of the following players to the New Zealand train-on squad.

Around the Grounds with Rosso

THE Dragons have named a side without Australian centre Mark Gasnier. Gasnier was ruled out on Monday morning with a hip flexor injury, after a cork to his hip in the side?s big victory over the Broncos last weekend. Former ball boy for the Dragons in 1996 Daryl Millard has been named as his replacement in what could be his last game at the club before moving to the Bulldogs next year. Despite not being named in the side for Friday night?s clash with the Sea Eagles, Manly coach Des Hasler today said that his side would train as if the champion centre was playing. Just a couple of months back, the Dragons had ruled out Gasnier with an injury in the lead up to their clash with the Raiders in Canberra, despite this, on that Sunday afternoon, Mark Gasnier was a late inclusion.

League Finale only on Maori TV

MAORI Television caps off a spectacular season of local rugby league with live and exclusive free-to-air coverage of the Bartercard Cup grand final on MONDAY NIGHT LEAGUE (Monday September 18 at 8.00 PM).The two top teams in the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) national premiership ? Brian McClennan?s Auckland Lions and the Canterbury Bulls coached by Phil Prescott ? will battle it out for first place honours at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.As well as live commentary from Maori Television presenters Tawera Nikau, Ritchie Barnett, Dale Husband and Te Arahi Maipi, the sporting extravaganza will feature massive pre-match and half-time entertainment.Gates open at 5pm and admission is free. After the curtain-raiser between the Warriors Development squad and the Bartercard Cup All Stars invitational side, musician Che Fu will perform the theme tune for MONDAY NIGHT LEAGUE as well as his rendition of the national anthem before a fireworks display marks the grand final kick-off.At half-time, spectators will have the chance to win great prizes including lunch with the Kiwi rugby league team as they prepare to defend their Tri-Nations title next month (October) as well as Tri-Nations tickets and jerseys from each of the 10 regional teams in the Bartercard Cup. Plus top Australasian cheerleading squad, the All Star Cheerleaders, will entertain the fans.The home of New Zealand rugby league, Maori Television presents the grand final of the Bartercard Cup only on MONDAY NIGHT LEAGUE ? Monday September 18 at 8.00 PM.

Mat Rogers rumoured to sign with Titans

THE Gold Coast Titans will be making a massive announcement at Jupiters Casino tomorrow and the announcement is believed to be the signing of Wallaby and former Cronulla Shark Mat Rogers to a deal for 2008 and 2009.Once we have confirmation, we will post the news immediately but the deal is rumoured to be in the vicinity of $600,000.Rogers has had an injury plagued career in Rugby and is the son of late Cronulla Sharks legend Steve Rogers.If Rogers does sign, this may impact the impasse surrounding Melbourne Storm winger Steve Turner, who signed with the Gold Coast and later pledged his allegiance to the Storm. The controversy surrounding Turner led to the NRL siding with the Gold Coast claiming the verbal agreement from Turner was binding.

Teams and fixtures NRL finals week 2

FINALS week two: NRL preliminary semi-finals.Friday 15 September 2006ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS v MANLY SEA EAGLES7:45pm at Aussie StadiumLower grade semi-finals curtain raisers:5:35pm: Dragons v Raiders (Premier League)3:45pm: Dragons v Sea Eagles (Jersey Flegg)NRL TEAMSDRAGONS: Clint Greenshields; Wes Naiqama, Daryl Millard, Matt Cooper, Brett Morris; Trent Barrett (c), Ben Hornby; Ben Creagh, Ashton Sims, Matt Bickerstaff, Jason Ryles, Aaron Gorrell, Luke Bailey. Res: Danny Wicks, Michael Henderson, Sam Isemonger, Justin Poore, Shaun Timmins, Mathew Head (two to be omitted)SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart; Michael Robertson, Steve Bell, Steve Matai, Chris Hicks; Travis Burns, Matt Orford; Ben Kennedy (c), Anthony Watmough, Steve Menzies, Brent Kite, Michael Monaghan, Jason King. Res: George Rose, Mark Bryant, Kylie Leuluai, Shayne Dunley, Luke Williamson (one to be omitted)Referee: Paul Simpkins. Saturday 16 September 2006NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v BRISBANE BRONCOS7:45pm at Aussie StadiumLower grade semi-finals curtain raisers:5:35pm: Sea Eagles v Tigers (Premier League)3:45pm: Bulldogs v Roosters (Jersey Flegg)NRL TEAMSKNIGHTS: Kurt Gidley; Brian Carney, Matt Gidley, George Carmont, Anthony Quinn; Jarrod Mullen, Andrew Johns (c); Reegan Tanner, Clint Newton, Steve Simpson, Josh Perry, Luke Quigley, Adam Woolnough. Res: Luke Davico, Todd Lowrie, Craig Smith, Riley Brown, Kirk Reynoldson, Daniel Abraham (two to be omitted).BRONCOS: Justin Hodges; Darius Boyd, Brent Tate, David Stagg, Karmichael Hunt; Darren Lockyer (c), Shane Perry; Tonie Carroll, Brad Thorn, Sam Thaiday, Petero Civoniceva, Shaun Berrigan, Shane Webcke. Res: Corey Parker, Casey McGuire, Ben Hannant, Dane Carlaw, Tame Tupou (one to be omitted).Referee: Steve Clark.Losers eliminated. Winners advance to play in week three. Melbourne Storm and Canterbury Bulldogs have already advanced to week three of the NRL finals.

Toowoomba name Qld Cup team

TOOWOOMBA has named 11 players with NRL experience in a 20-man squad to contest Saturday?s QLD Wizard Cup grand final against Redcliffe at Suncorp Stadium.While the youthful Toowoomba side boasts no experience in Wizard Cup finals, it has been bolstered by the inclusion of the likes of Greg Eastwood and Scott Minto.The squad also includes others such as Joel Moon and Dave Taylor, both of whom have only recently debuted in the NRL but seem destined for long and rewarding careers.Among those yet to be seen in the NRL, but full of promise are Denan Kemp, Joe Clarke, John Te Reo and Jamie Simpson.Wearing jersey 17, Lachlan Morgan is the son of Brisbane Broncos patriarch Paul ?Porky Morgan?.Forward Chris Muckert is the son of Toowoomba chairman Noel Muckert, while halfback Ben Green is a cousin of former State of Origin playmaker Paul Green.A fortnight ago the Clydesdales thrashed Redcliffe 56-22 in the major semi final at Clive Berghofer Stadium.Yet they will be mindful of eerie contrasts to the 2000 season when they also beat Redcliffe by a 34-point margin in the major semi, the Dolphins recovered to beat Easts in the preliminary final and then caused a major upset in the grand final.On that occasion Toowoomba also had a team with no Queensland Cup grand finals experience, but stacked with players such as Justin Hodges, Carl Webb, Corey Parker, Brent Tate and Chris Walker.Toowoomba Clydesdales COACH: Mark GeeDATE: September 16, 2006 OPPONENT: RedcliffeGROUND: Suncorp StadiumKICK-OFF: 2.00pm 1 Nick Parfitt2 Denan Kemp3 Jason Moon4 Jamie Simpson5 Steve Michaels6 Joel Moon7 Ben Green8 Nick Kenny (c)9 John TeReo 10 Ben Vaeau11 Chris Muckert12 Derrick Watkins13 Greg EastwoodINTERCHANGE14 Dave Taylor15 Joe Clarke16 Lynden Murphy17 Lachlan Morgan18 Gideon Mzembe19 Scott Minto20 Fraser Anderson

Dragons teams for finals

THE St George Illawarra Dragons have named their sides for week two of the lower grade finals this weekend. Both sudden death clashes are scheduled as curtain raisers to Friday's Dragons v Sea Eagles NRL match.Premier League Dragonsv Canberra Raiders5.35pm Friday 15 SeptemberAussie StadiumCoach: Steven Price 1. Reece SIMMONDS2. Josh MORRIS3. Beau RYAN4. Bryson GOODWIN5. Tom HEWITT6. Richard WILLIAMS7. Chris SHEPPARD8. Dan HUNT9. George NDAIRA10. Chris HOUSTON (c)11. Tom HABERECHT12. Lee TE MAARI13. James JIMENEZ14. Jamie DUNNING15. Willie TUPOU16. Jamie KEITH17. Reece BLAYNEY18. Andrew PRICEJersey Flegg Dragonsv Manly Sea Eagles3.45pm Friday 15 SeptemberAussie StadiumCoach: Corey Pearson1. Jason NIGHTINGALE2. Rota SETU3. Chase STANLEY4. Keith LULIA5. Luke IRWIN6. Nathan WYNN7. Matt SEAMARK8. Chris FARRELL9. Brad DAVIDSON (c)10. Jhi TANNER11. James KEELAN12. Matt PRIOR13. Brian WEST (c)14. Peter WAKLEY15. James GREHAN16. Scott SABLOWSKI17. Blake DUREAU18. Jason WHITE19. Ryan MILLARD

Millard Only Change For Dragons

ROOKIE Centre Daryl Millard is the only change to the St George Illawarra team for Friday night?s sudden death clash with Manly at Aussie Stadium.Millard, 21, a local junior from Renown United, has been called in to replace the injured Mark Gasnier (hip) who ironically hails from the same junior club.The Dragons will be hoping to replicate the result from their Round 6 match when they defeated the Sea Eagles 26-24 at Brookvale Oval in their only other encounter this year.Unavailable Dragons are: Mark Gasnier (Hip), Dean Young (Knee), Corey Payne (Concussion) and Colin Best (Neck).NRL DRAGONSv Manly Sea Eagles7.45pm Friday 15 SeptemberAussie StadiumCoach: Nathan Brown1. Clint GREENSHIELDS2. Wes NAIQAMA3. Daryl MILLARD4. Matt COOPER5. Brett MORRIS6. Trent BARRETT (c)7. Ben HORNBY8. Luke BAILEY9. Aaron GORRELL10. Jason RYLES11. Matt BICKERSTAFF12. Ashton SIMS13. Ben CREAGH14. Danny WICKS15. Justin POORE16. Sam ISEMONGER17. Shaun TIMMINS18. Michael HENDERSON19. Mathew HEAD

Redcliffe name team for Qld Cup decider

REDCLIFFE has named halfback Marty Turner to play in Saturday's QLD Wizard Cup grand final at Suncorp Stadium, despite chief executive James Hinchey admitting his hamstring was "no good thing".The New Zealand-born playmaker, who survived a near-fatal car accident in season 2002, injured his hamstring in the opening minutes of last weekend's preliminary final win against Easts.If Turner passes fit it will be his first QLD Wizard Cup decider on a team that otherwise boasts 23 State League grand finals' worth of experience to Toowoomba's expected total of none.All up the Dolphins have contested eight of the 11 QLD Wizard Cup grand finals so far. Toowoomba has contested four.Redcliffe captain Troy Lindsay, the longest-serving player in the competition, will play his seventh QLD Wizard Cup grand final.He was on the bench when the Dolphins last contested the grand final in 2003, won 31-18 against Burleigh.Players from both teams will be well in contention for the QANTAS Player of the Year award, to be announced at a VIP luncheon before the match and also at halftime.No players were charged by the judiciary from last weekend.Toowoomba's team for the grand final will be advised later this afternoon.Team REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS Colours RED/WHITEDOLPHINS v TOOWOOMBAVenue SUNCORP STADIUM Date 16.9.06 Time 2.05PM 1. RYAN CULLEN 2. CHRIS GIUMELLI 3. GREG BOURKE 4. NICK EMMETT 5. RORY BROMLEY 6. CHRIS FOX 7. MARTY TURNER 8. TROY LINDSAY? 9. MICK ROBERTS 10. ADAM STARR 11. GRANT FLUGGE 12. DANNY BURKE 13. MARK SHIPWAY Interchange 14. NICK WALKER 15. SHANNON FISH 16. DANNY GREEN 17. GERARD PARLE 18. PAT GARDNER Coach ANTHONY GRIFFIN

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