Preview: Leeds v Warrington

LEEDS welcome back Jamie Peacock and Chev Walker as they face Warrington in the first elimination play-off ahead of next month's Grand Final.

Remaining QRL Finals

TOOWOOMBA - one of the oldest and healthiest rugby leagues in Queensland - hosts its finale this weekend, while Kaiwalagal Rugby League in the Torres Strait also reaches its climax.ABC Radio will broadcast the Toowoomba match live.SATURDAYKAIWALAGAL RL (Torres Strait)Grand Final: Roosters v Dragons, Ken Brown Oval, Saturday September 23, 3pm. (Torres Strait cultural festival all weekend).SUNDAYWAGNER?S FIRST GRADE (Toowoomba)Grand Final: Brothers v Valleys, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Sunday September 24, 2.30pm. (Reserves ? Valleys v Oakey, 12.30pm. Under 18 ? Souths v Brothers, 10.45am).** SATURDAY-SUNDAY Sept 30-Oct 1GULF COMMUNITY LEAGUECarnival 5 (Including Grand Final): Burketown, September 30-October 1.

Arrive Alive Cup Final Match Report

KEEBRA Park State High has suffered a heart-breaking end to its Arrive Alive Cup campaign, losing the national schoolboys rugby league final 16-7 to Endeavour Sports High.Two tries in the final eight minutes to Endeavour saw the southern Sydney school collect back-to-back crowns after Keebra Park had previously led 7-6.At halftime at Aussie Stadium the two talent-laden sides were level 6-all.Five-eighth Robert Lui then kicked a field goal for Keebra Park early in the second half, having scored his team?s sole try in the opening stanza.With less than 20 minutes to hold the lead, the Gold Coasters pulled out all stops in defence.Endeavour went mightily close on one occasion, but was held up across the line on the final tackle.Unfortunately the show of strength by Keebra evaporated to nothing as they then surrendered the ball coming off their line.Endeavour converted the opportunity, but missed the conversion attempt to make it a tantalising 10-7 score with time running out.So reliable throughout Keebra?s campaign, fullback Matt Parata then kicked the ball dead on the full, handing over possession again in prime territory.Endeavour made no mistake in closing out the game, scoring a third try and following up on their 20-10 win over Keebra Park in the 2005 national final."If not for a few errors Keebra would have been right in there for the title," said Queensland Arrive Alive Cup co-ordinator Phil Hall.Keebra had won great respect in qualifying for the national final, beating tough opposition in Palm Beach Currumbin, St Brendan's Yeppoon and St Dominic's Penrith.ARRIVE ALIVE CUPNational Final: Keebra Park SHS v Endeavour Sports High, Aussie Stadium, Sydney, Friday September 22, 4.10pmFull time:ENDEAVOUR SPORTS HIGH 16 (Anthony Cherrington 2, Ryan Carr tries; Chase Stanley 2 goals)defeatedKEEBRA PARK STATE HIGH 7 (Robert Lui try; Matt Parata goal; Robert Lui field goal).

NZ's top young talent on show

THE next generation of New Zealand Rugby League talent will face off against their Australian rivals next week.

King passes fitness test

MELBOURNE centre Matt King has passed a searching fitness test on his injured knee at the Storm's final training session ahead of their NRL preliminary final against St George Illawarra tomorrow night.

Tougher to pick than a broken nose

A little birdie told me today that picking a winner in Broncos and Bulldogs game tonight was tougher than picking a broken nose and given his melon resembles that of Dane Carlaw?s last Saturday night, I guess I?ll have to take his word for it.

Is the NRL facing an ?out of town? GF as well?

IF the market framers are right, the NRL this weekend will avoid repeating the AFL experience of an "out of town" grand final ? but you wouldn't want to bet your house on it. The bookies narrowly favour a "home town" grand final on Sunday week between the Bulldogs and the Dragons. For mine both preliminary finals are even money contests. It does not get much better.

Preliminary Finals Preview

WE?VE arrived at the penultimate weekend of rugby league with the best four teams left standing, providing indisputable evidence that every now and then the McIntyre 8 system actually does work.

Raper released from Sharks contract

CRONULLA has confirmed coach Stuart Raper was released from his contract with the Sharks this morning.

Superleague Preview Play-Offs Wk 1

AND then there were six? welcome to the business end of the season. This weekend sees the opening clashes in the Superleague play-offs with four teams facing the prospect of elimination, while the two highest ranked teams (St Helens and Hull) have earned themselves a weekend of rest. The top six will soon become the final four ? game on!Friday: Leeds Rhinos v Warrington Wolves8pm at Headingley Stadium Third place v sixth place, loser eliminatedThis is the first season since 2002 where Leeds has not finished in the top two on the competition ladder. However they will take hope from the feats of Bradford last season, who from third position ended up Champions. By comparison the Leeds squad looks a little weaker in some places than in previous years, and they enter the finals with injured first choice fullback Richard Mathers, and regular bench forward Willie Poching.Warrington made it through to the second week last season with the talents of Andrew Johns at their disposal, and will be looking to match that achievement with the current squad. Ten of their 20-man squad played alongside Joey in last season?s play-offs, but they too start their finals campaign without injured first choice fullback Brett Grose, hooker or loose forward Jon Clarke and prop Mark Hilton.This should be a fast-paced game owing to the creativity of both sides, but with some good forward clashes as well. Keep an eye out for Dream Team second rower Leeds? Gareth Ellis, but the match-up that may well decide the result is in the halves where Dream Team five-eighth Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow square off against Salford?s Chris Bridge and Lee Briers. Lee Briers has had a mid-week meeting with Great Britain coach Brian Noble, and will be desperate to use this last chance to try and force his way onto the Tri-Nations tour. Leeds Rhinos 20-man squad: Donald, Walker, Senior, Smith, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Ellis, Sinfield, Millard, Jones-Buchanan, Scruton, Kirke, Williams, Tansey, Thackray, Toopi. Coach: Tony Smith (Aus).Warrington Wolves 20-man squad: Fa'afili, Mn. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Reardon, Briers, Sullivan, Leikvoll, Swann, Wainwright, Mk. Gleeson, Westwood, Wood, Barnett, Parker, Rauhihi, Pickersgill, Riley, Bridge, Harrison, Penny. Coach: Paul Cullen.Referee: R SilverwoodLeeds last five games: LWWLWWarrington last five games: LWLWLRound 26: Leeds 54 Warrington 16 at HeadingleyRound 12: Warrington 44 Leeds 16 at Halliwell JonesBart?s tip: Leeds by 12.Saturday: Bradford Bulls v Salford City Reds6pm at Grattan StadiumFourth place v fifth place, loser eliminatedThe reigning Champions won their way through from sudden death last season, so that prospect alone won?t be causing too much concern in the Bulls camp. And at least their topsy-turvy patches of form during the season may have been put right with a confident win last start under pressure against Huddersfield. The Bulls look to be at full strength for their finals campaign with no major injury problems.Salford by contrast are competing in their first ever Superleague play-off, and have achieved a long held ambition under coach Karl Harrison to make the top six. However the Reds won?t want to let things stop there, and having contested a tight match at home against Bradford in June will fancy themselves every chance of winning here. The only regular players missing from the squad for the start of the finals are the injured second rower Ian Sibbit and centre Junior Langi.The hard-working Salford side are likely to look to restrict the creative opportunities of Bradford, and in a close game are more than capable of getting a roll on their opposition. Bradford will be likely to try and dominate the ruck area and then quicken the pace of the game and the score line in their favour. Some key match ups will be hookers Terry Newton and Ian Henderson up against Salford?s Malcolm Auker, Bradford halves Iestyn Harris and Paul Deacon battling with Andrew Dunemann and Luke Robinson, and keep an eye out for danger man and Dream Team winger Salford?s David Hodgson. Bradford Bulls 20-man squad: Johnson, Burgess, Meyers, Cook, I. Harris, Bai, Pryce, St Hilaire, B. Harris, Langley, Newton, Ferres, Deacon, Vagana, Vainikolo, Hape, McKenna, Withers, Lynch, Henderson. Coach: Steve MacNamara.Salford City Reds 20-man squad: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, McGuinness, Moule, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Finnigan, Charles, Highton, Wilshere, Haggerty, Littler, Brocklehurst, Adamson, Lima, Williams, Turner. Coach: Karl Harrison.Referee: A KleinBradford last five games: LWLLWSalford last five games: WLLWLRound 19: Salford 17 Bradford 16 at The WillowsRound 3: Bradford 34 Salford 4 at Odsal (Grattan) StadiumBart?s tip: Bradford by 8.Broadcast detailsBoth games shown live in the UK on Sky Sports 3. Both games shown live in NZ on Sky Sport 2 (Sat 6:50 am) and Sky Sport 1 (Sun 4:50 am).Both games shown delayed in Australia on Friday 29 September (TBC) on Fox Sports.Leeds v Warrington covered live through BBC Radio Leeds: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/leeds.shtml

Community helps out following fraud

LEAGUE COMMUNITY LENDS HANDTHE RUGBY league community continues to come to the aid of families in Queensland?s northwest, disadvantaged this week by an apparent fraud case.In the latest development QRL sponsors Wizard Home Loans have combined with regional airline Macair to ensure the safe return of teenage NRL hopeful Winston Dale Amini to his family home on remote Mornington Island.Winston and his father John had travelled to Mount Isa from their base in the Gulf of Carpentaria last Friday, preparing to trial with the Newcastle Knights.On Monday they discovered the flights and opportunity for which they had paid a ?talent scout?, had not been booked.Since then Winston and John have been stranded in Mount Isa until the point today when they no longer had funds available to cover their costs.Wizard Home Loans have come to the party, covering the Aminis? accommodation for the last three days and allowing them to return home with a few extra dollars.Further to this, Macair generously contacted the QRL on Wednesday evening and indicated they would fly the Aminis free of charge to Mornington Island. They are scheduled to depart Mount Isa on Friday morning.Winston and John are believed to be the last of the individuals stuck in Mount Isa.The generosity of the league community has not been restricted to Queensland. Troy Mara of Cloncurry, has received exceptional hospitality since being stranded alone at Sydney Airport on Monday evening.The Wests Tigers have housed Troy all week and in coming days he will receive trials with both the Sydney Roosters and Bulldogs.NRL Welfare Officer Matt Parish has personally accompanied Troy and has organised for him to attend both NRL finals this weekend and tonight?s filming of The Footy Show.All other boys will receive their opportunity to trial in Sydney in January, when there is an opportunity for them to have an extended stay and receive a more beneficial experience. All NRL clubs in Sydney have agreed to assist with the exercise.The January trials will be organised in partnership with the NRL, ARL and the National Aboriginal Sports Corporation of Australia.In addition to those organisations listed above, thanks are also due to Queensland Police, Member for Mount Isa Betty Kiernan, QRL Northern Division Manager Bob Newsome, Waltons? Motor Court of Mount Isa and Pacific Sports Management.

Carting it up with Stevo

SUNDAY too far away

Bulldogs and Broncos news

BULLDOGS prop Roy Asotasi has passed his final fitness test and is a certain starter for tomorrow night's preliminary final against Brisbane at Aussie Stadium.

Gasnier & Asotasi

ST George Illawarra centre Mark Gasnier will test his abdominal injury for the first time today as he chases a return for the Dragons preliminary final against Melbourne on Saturday.

Tigers give up on League reprieve

AFTER discussions with the RFL, following the Club?s relegation at the weekend, the Tigers have accepted that there will be no reprieve on the basis of Super League expanding to 13 or 14 teams and have agreed to the RFL?s request to accept the current process.The Tigers would like to thank the many Super League clubs that have offered to support the Club's request for a review of the current rules of promotion and relegation. In addition, the Club thanks those clubs that have given their commitment to allow the Tigers to continue to progress the development of the Club?s leading junior players. The Club is appreciative of the wide-reaching and genuine support received and would like to believe that such support is a reflection of the respect for the Tigers from within the Game and the concerns surrounding the current promotion and relegation rules.Everyone acknowledged that the challenge facing the promoted club is incredibly tough. The Club believes that this season it has proved this challenge to be too tough. No other sport lays down such an insurmountable challenge.Only 3 of last year?s National League 1 Grand Final winning team, Andrew Henderson, Michael Platt and Michael Shenton, were in the Tigers? starting line-up against Wakefield. Only 10 of the 17 players selected at Wakefield made it to the Club's pre-season camp in Tenerife, 4 weeks before the Club's opening game against Hull. This limited preparation was the unsatisfactory and unfair foundation for the Tigers entering the most competitive Super League ever. A competition in which one team had exemption from relegation despite having 12 months longer than the Tigers to prepare - although the Tigers? would like to go on record as fully supporting the ?advantages? offered to the Catalan Dragons.The dice are impossibly stacked. The Tigers had, and continue to maintain, a solid financial base. The Club averaged well over 5,000 per game in the National League and attracted the 7th highest average in Super League in 2006. Even with this degree of stability (shaken to its core by a season in National League), the commercial platform of our fan base, an excellent coach and the likes of Nutley, Manu, McGoldrick and Sculthorpe the Club failed. 19 points, but failure. In short, the Club believes that the Game?s promotion and relegation rules are flawed, a view clearly held by the Game at large as evidenced by the introduction of the franchise system in 2009.In conclusion, the Tigers would like to thank, in particular, those Super League clubs that were prepared to accept reduced revenue distributions for the greater good of the Game and also thanks the wider rugby league community for their overwhelming support in fighting for a change in the rules. The Tigers thanks its coach and its playing squad for the marvellous efforts of 2006. Most of all, the Tigers thanks the fans; our Super League journey has been temporarily suspended. We will be back.Source: www.castigers.com

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