Crocker fined over pub brawl

MELBOURNE Storm forward and former Sydney Rooster Michael Crocker has been fined $700 in a Sydney court over a pub brawl.The 25-year-old Queensland and Australian representative rugby league player was arrested on March 20 last year after a drunken brawl outside the Beach Palace Hotel at Coogee, in Sydney's eastern suburbs.Police had to subdue Crocker and three other men involved in the fracas. Crocker, who already had been fined $10,000 by his former club, the Sydney Roosters, had apologised to fans for the brawl, which occurred in a hotel off limits to players.The back rower had pleaded guilty to affray and was today fined $700 in Waverley Local Court."You have pleaded guilty to the charge and I will take that into account," Magistrate Deborah Sweeney told the court. "It shows that you have taken responsibility for your conduct that night."Outside the court Crocker said he wanted to put the incident behind him. "I'm happy to get it over and done with, and now I can get on with footy," he told reporters. "It is an unfortunate incident, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

New era for Headingley Carnegie Stadium

PLANS were today revealed for a historic redevelopment of the newly named Headingley Carnegie Stadium encompassing both the rugby and cricket stadia that will usher in a new and exciting future for one of the most famous stadiums in world sport.The new name of Headingley Carnegie Stadium will come in with immediate effect after a significant financial investment by Leeds Metropolitan University. The plans can now come to fruition following the successful purchase of the freehold of the cricket stadium and business by Yorkshire CCC from the owners since 1890, Leeds CF&A Co Ltd.The plans include a new North/South Stand to replace the existing structure which was built after fire destroyed the original stand in March 1932 and a new Pavilion and Media Centre for cricket at the stadium.The partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University continues a successful relationship between them and Headingley Stadium. The new stand at the Eastern end of the Rugby Stadium has been built in conjunction with Leeds Met and will be named the Carnegie Stand.However, even before recent times there has been a strong link with both cricket and rugby and the Carnegie faculty of Leeds Metropolitan University including such great names as Eric Harris, Brendan Foster and Lewis Jones.The purchase of Headingley by Yorkshire CCC brings to a highly successful conclusion a long period of negotiations between both parties, with the partnership with Leeds Metropolitan University being a key factor.Commenting at the unveiling, Robin Smith, Chairman of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club said, "The Headingley vision, once realised, will mean that Headingley will have become one of the finest sports complexes in the Country, providing cricket, rugby and educational facilities to world class standards."Paul Caddick, Chairman of Leeds CF&A and owner of both rugby codes at Headingley, added, "We are proud to have played our part in helping Yorkshire CCC achieve their dream of owning the cricket freehold and business and the support of Leeds Met has been very important. We can all look forward to a very bright and exciting future together."Professor Simon Lee, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University, was present at Headingley along with Chancellor Brendan Foster MBE to reveal the new name and he added, "In the best pioneering traditions of our first hundred years in Headingley, this unique partnership takes the relationship between sport, community and university life beyond all boundaries."The deal to purchase Headingley by the Yorkshire County Cricket Club also ensures Test and international cricket at Headingley with a 15-year international staging agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board now in place.England captain Michael Vaughan OBE commented, "As both a Yorkshire player and captain of England, I am delighted that the future of cricket, and in particular international cricket has been secured at Headingley. Our famous old ground has witnessed some of the finest moments and battles in world cricket and now supporters of the future can become part of our heritage."For the first time in their 142-year history, Yorkshire CCC now own their own ground. Chief Executive of The Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Colin Graves, commented, "It has been a dream of many a Yorkshireman that the most famous cricket club in the world should be in charge of its own destiny. After a long and gruelling journey, I am honoured to have been part of the team who have been able to secure the future of our great club and international cricket at Headingley."Gary Hetherington, Leeds CF&A Co Ltd Chief Executive, concluded, "The support of Leeds Met was a factor in achieving the Leeds CF&A/Yorkshire CCC deal and this partnership will bring significant benefits to Headingley Carnegie Stadium and the Rhinos, Tykes and Yorkshire CCC teams. It is great news for everyone concerned."

Feca to shine for Wigan

IT may be something of a tongue-twister now but the name of Iafeta (Feca) Palea'aesina is likely to be as familiar as that of Paul Sculthorpe in 2006.The 23-year-old giant from New Zealand Warriors is set to take Super League by storm after joining new-look Wigan on a three-year contract.The 6ft, 17st 4lb prop, who made his Test debut for the Kiwis against Australia in October, has been playing in Australia's crack National Rugby League (NRL) since he was 19 and has made 83 appearances for the Warriors.Wigan coach Ian Millward said of his exciting acquisition: "This is a great signing for us. He will add size and pace to our pack for next year and he is only 23 years of age."Initially targeted by the Wigan boss while he was still at St Helens, Palea'aesina's interest in a switch to England only became serious when Millward moved to the JJB Stadium.The player has nothing against Saints, it is simply that Wigan were always going to be the only English club for him."I didn't want to go to St Helens so I was going to stay at the New Zealand Warriors but then Ian Millward made the move to Wigan," he said. "I'm glad I held off."As a kid growing up, I used to think Wigan were the Brisbane Broncos of the English league. They were well respected and a lot of great players came out of there, people like Denis Betts, Martin Offiah, Va'aiga Tuigamala, the list goes on."I'm just honoured to play for the top Super League club in the world. To get the opportunity to play for Wigan is definitely a dream come true."Palea'aesina vividly recalls watching Betts play for his Auckland club in the late 1990s but it was a recent Warriors team-mate who helped Wigan clinch their prized capture."I played alongside Jerry Seuseu at the Warriors and he was another big reason I came over," he said. "He's a good friend and he had nothing but great things to say about the club."There are definitely big things planned for next year. They've got some good signings and I'm just happy to be a part of it."

Pat Richards settling in well

PAT Richards joined up with the Warriors last week and is already looking forward to the new season."There are a few new players at the club and that has made things a bit easier, all the boys are really welcoming.I have done the hills run with Steve Walsh, I only had to do it four times, it is great fun" Richards said after his first week with the Club.Looking back on his time at Wests, Pat finished the campaign with a Grand Final win over the Cowboys and admitted it was a great way to end his time with the club,"It was fabulous to end with the Premiership and I have come over here to try and do something similar. I wasn't really sure if I would make that game because I picked an ankle and knee injury the week before, I was just glad I got on the field and was able to play my part.""We were the underdogs and everyone had written us off but we all had the self belief we could win it."On deciding to sign for Wigan Pat added,"Wigan are such a great club and when I heard of their interest I decided I wanted to come here. I was just excited about the whole experience to play in another country. I spoke to a number of players back home about the move and that made my decision easier, they had nothing but good things to say about England and about the Wigan club."Pat came through the ranks at Parramatta before joing Wests where he spent two years. In the past has primarily played on the wing or at full back but is likely to figure mainly in the Centres for the Warriors."Tim Sheens always said that I would end up playing in the Centres and it is a position I am looking forward to."Pat has Irish ancestory and admits he will be making a visit to Dublin and is hoping some of his relatives will be making the short trip across the Irish Sea to watch him once the season gets underway. After the end of the NRL campaign Pat underwent a minor operation on his knee but is now back fully fit and looking forward to the pre-season fixtures and the big engage Super League kick off on 11th February at Les Catalans Dragons

Puletua new Panthers skipper

KIWI international Tony Puletua has been appointed Penrith skipper for the 2006 NRL season following the sacking of former captain Craig Gower earlier this month.

Puletua to lead Panthers in 2006

TONY Puletua is the new First Grade and club captain of the Penrith Panthers.The appointment was announced last evening by General Manager Michael Leary and Coach John Lang. Although born in Auckland, the towering second rower came up through Penrith?s junior ranks. He made his first grade debut in 1997 against the Western Reds in Perth. Since then he has played a major role for the club both on and off the field. His partnership with fellow Kiwi, Joe Galuvao, was a major factor in the club winning the 2003 minor and major premierships and finishing third in 2004.Tony is signed with Penrith until 2009.?Tony is a natural leader, not only on the field, but off it,? John Lang said tonight. ?He?ll have everyone?s support.??He does a lot for our community as well,? Leary said. ?I think the team and the club are in good hands.?Tony said he was really excited by the opportunity. "I'm looking forward to it - it's every first grader's dream. "I see it as a challenge and all I can do is my best."He doesn't believe that being a 60 or 70 minute player is a problem - "it's worked when I've captained the team in the past."Courtesy of:

Jones named Dragons captain

NEW Zealand Test star Stacey Jones has been appointed captain of engage Super League newcomers Catalans Dragons for their inaugural season. The 29-year-old scrum-half, who is the Perpignan club?s highest-profile recruit, was chosen ahead of a host of French internationals to lead the side out in their historic opening match against Wigan at Stade Aime Giral on February 11. Jones, who has joined the French club on a two-year deal, was unveiled in front of fans at an open day. He has previous experience of captaincy both with his former club New Zealand Warriors and the Kiwi national team. ?It was an easy decision and has been received very well,? said Grant Mayor, the club?s chief executive.?When the players were told pre-training they all applauded. ?Stacey is one of the world?s best players and has captained his country. He has had so much success in the game and commands so much respect. ?When you look at the big challenge which faces us we need the right leader and Stacey will be an excellent mentor for the kids.?Jones was the last player to link up with the Dragons a week ago after enjoying a well-earned break. He made a memorable return to the international scene in the autumn, playing a key role in all five of his country?s Gillette Tri-Nations matches as the Kiwis lifted the trophy. Jones, a former Golden Boot award winner as the world?s leading player, was the tournament?s leading scorer and won his 40th cap in New Zealand?s stunning 24-0 win over Australia in the final at Elland Road.He will lead the Catalans for the first time in the pre-season friendly against Harlequins on Saturday week, and said: ?As a player you never expect this honour but now I have had some time to think about what this means, I am extremely proud to lead the team into the first season of Super League. ?They are all a great bunch of guys and with so much experience around me, I am sure that this team will develop into a very competitive team.?Thanks to: for another excellent article.

Top weightlifting coach joins Wests Tigers

WESTS Tigers have engaged on a consultancy basis Australian weightlifting coach Luke Borreggine to increase the players strength and power in 2006.Borreggine (pictured) is the current head coach of the NSWIS Weightlifting Program and spends three days a week with the NRL premiers under the guidance of Wests Tigers performance co-ordinator Ciriaco Mescia.Based at Burwood Police and Citizen?s Youth Club, Borreggine applies a combination of Russian and Bulgarian training methodology within the nationally focused NSWIS weightlifting program. A national and international coach for the Australian Weightlifting Federation since 1993, Luke has coached Australia at 14 World Weightlifting Championships during his career. He was also the Head Coach for the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Australian Olympic Weightlifting teams, and the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games teams. In December 2003, Luke was appointed Head Coach of the Australian weightlifting team for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Luke is a life member of the NSW and Australian Weightlifting Federation. He is also a life member of the Police and Community Youth Club and the Australian Weightlifting Federation. In 2000, he was judged as the NSW Coach of the Year. Weightlifting isn?t the only sport that Borreggine has been associated with. He spent 10 years working in rugby league and was associated with the Penrith Panthers club from 1990-93.?After having a long break from rugby league, it is great to be involved in the game again,?? Borreggine said.?I?m really enjoying working with the Wests Tigers.??

The Carnegie World Club Challenge ? When two worlds collide!

IT is less than a month until reigning engage Super League Champions Bradford Bulls do battle with Australian Premiers, Wests Tigers, for the right to be called the best Rugby League club in the world.The venue is Huddersfield?s magnificent Galpharm Stadium and the ground will shake when these two mighty clubs clash.The Bulls clinched their title with some breath-taking play and they boast a host of international players in their squad including Great Britain hero Stuart Fielden and new signing?s Chris McKenna and Marcus Bai.Wests Tigers produced an amazing performance to win the NRL Grand Final Down Under. They are lead by Kiwi wonder-kid Benji Marshall and also boast Australian half back Scott Prince.With playing line-ups like these, nobody should miss this awesome contest between the world?s best two club sides.The Carnegie World Club Challenge takes place on Friday 3rd February 2006 at the Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield (ko 8.00 pm).Tickets are already selling fast but are still available from Rugby League Events on (0870) 990 1313. Or you can get more information and book online at are also on sale direct from Bradford Bulls at Odsal Stadium.Be there when two worlds collide!Tickets are available 24-hours on 0870 990 1313 or online at now to guarantee the best seats!Thanks to: for this article.

Giants land in Portugal for pre-season training

THE Huddersfield Giants have arrived and held their first training session at their state-of-art training venue in Portugal which will be their base for the next week. Brown's Sports and Leisure Club, situated in the Algarve, will house the Giants squad as they continue their preparations for engage Super League XI. The Giants have taken the full 24 player 1st team squad with the only absentee been prop Jim Gannon who has recently had appendicitis. Any illusions of an easy week in the sun for the players were quickly quashed as the team began their tough week of training.Giants Football Manager Stuart Sheard commented "The facilities at Browns are superb and this is the second year that we have returned to the complex. Some of the top teams in the world have used this as their base and it is easy to see why. With the issues regarding weather in the UK at this time of the year, it's great for the players to head away and also have a change of scenery. Trips such as this also allow time for the new boys to settle in and meet the lads, but training is just as hard, if not harder than it is at home, so it certainly isn't a holiday for the players." High resolution photos are available of the players completing their first training session at Brown's. If any media would like these in electronic format, please contact Jonathan Wilkinson at the club on [email protected] For any further media information, please contact Jonathan Wilkinson at the Giants on 0870 4444 677 ext 114.

Storm's first GB squad member, Tom Bold

SOUTH London Storm have received a boost this week with the announcement that they have their first Great Britain international squad player. Tom Bold has been playing for South London Storm RLFC Juniors (now named the Croydon Hurricanes) and South London Schools sides since he was 11. He also represented London & The South at U13, U14, & U15 ages inter-regional games against Wales, Cumbria, North West Counties, North East Counties and Yorkshire. He has now been called into the Great Britain Amateurs U18 squad to face the French. He has also just been offered a professional contract with Super League side Harlequins RL for whom he has been playing U18 Academy rugby last year. Tom is currently playing winter rugby for the South London Storm U21s side and is in the training squad for Harlequins Under 21s Senior Academy side. Storm have had internationals come through the ranks in the past, Iain Lane (Scotland Students), Adam Janokowski (England U16) and at senior level Corey Simms, Rickey Davey and Gavin Calloo (West Indies) and Louis Neethling, Louis Boschoff and Guisbert Huismenn (South Africa) but have never had a GB International.?This is the highest honour for any Under 18 player in the country and is absolute proof that we are approaching the way we bring youngsters into the game in the correct way. Tom has been a great asset to the club both on the field and off and this is a well deserved call up.? Commented club Chairman Paul Brown.?We are all very proud of Tom and wish him all the best in the Squad training and hope for him to be in the 17 and get a GB shirt. It would be a great honour for him and the club to be this close to an international cap.??I just hope I can play well enough in the trials and training to get the chance to pull on the shirt, it would be an amazing honour to do this, if not then this experience will help me grow in to a better player.? Tom commented on in his initial selection.Great Britain?s first game is on Tuesday 21st of February against France 'Espoirs' (U18s) - Great Britain also play Holland as a warm up game before playing France in the return away fixture. The team will also host Australian touring sides during the year (was Penrith Panthers U18s and AIS - Australia Institute of Sport - last year).

Scotland Name Players of the Year

HULL Kingston Rovers winger Jon Steel has been voted Scotland?s Player of the Year 2005 by the national team's coaching staff and management. The former Glasgow and Borders rugby union star, who won the last of his five Scotland RU caps marking New Zealand?s Jonah Lomu, impressed on his Scotland Rugby League debut against Wales in the European Nations Cup and backed that up with a solid display against Ireland. He will receive the Dave Valentine Award before an upcoming Hull KR match.Other winners:David Rose Award for Scotland A Team Player of the Year 2005 ? Barry Edgar (Glasgow Bulls)Roy Kinnear Award - Scotland Students ? Dave Simm (Napier University)Alan Tait Award ? Scotland Under-19s ? Kieran Seeds (Edge Hill College)Nathan Graham Award ? Scotland Under-16s ? Craig Owenson (Edinburgh)Each award will be individually presented at the start of the League season over the next few weeks.For more information call Scotland RL media officer Gavin Willacy on 07796 442041 or email [email protected]

Malta's welcome return

WHETHER it was the welcoming nature of the Coffs Harbour locals or that of the helpful committee of the Orara Valley Axemen Rugby League Club. Hollywood celebrity Russell Crowe?s pose in the ?Malta? rugby league jersey prior to their quarter final clash against the Sydney Metro Aboriginal All-stars, or the unanticipated fourth placing in their inaugural Sevens tournament, the fledgling governing body for Maltese Rugby League will return to the Coramba Sportsground for the 2006 Orara Valley Sevens tournament with only one main concern.One year stronger, on the back of a successful groundbreaking tour to the Maltese Islands where locals took in the novelty of a sport previously unknown to the Mediterranean island nation and with the addition of a number of fresh and upcoming faces to their impressive playing roster; the Malta Knights return to Orara Valley primed to put up an admirable challenge for the $10,000 first prize.Maltese Rugby League Association (MRLA) chairman Michael Borg is adamant the snowball effect of success in the MRLA?s historic first years within Australia is a major lever in controlling the future of rugby league on the Maltese islands.?It is the major factor??Due to mass migration from the 1950's onwards, there are thousands of Maltese or people with Maltese descent living in Australia, thus as a result practically every Maltese has a relative living in Australia and has strong connections with Australia? explains Borg.?? the success of the Australian-based MRLA made up of Maltese-Australians passionate about the game of Rugby League and keen to promote the game in Malta itself is vital to the establishment of Rugby League in Malta?Last year, the Malta Knights commenced their ?sevens? proceedings by gaining maximum points on the first day, before knocking out one of the tournament favourites, Fiji.Parramatta Eels SG Ball head coach and Malta Knights mentor Joe Grima describes the win as a major boost in belief for the Maltese team.?It was important. All the talk was about the Fijians and when we (Malta) put our hearts into it, we came out trumps. The Fijians were really disappointed and we used that?MRLA chairman Michael Borg attests it?s not only the players that rate Joe Grima as a passionate and innovative coach and backs the Malta Knights instructor to take them all the way in 2006, which would be a welcome monetary boost to the rugby league body on the Maltese islands itself.?absoloutely!...Joe is one of the most passionate people you will ever come across. He's developed a good rapport with the players and as a result the squad that went to last year's sevens had good camaraderie and simply went to enjoy themselves in a carnival atmosphere that is the Orara Valley Sevens??A non-profit and voluntary organisation such as ours would use the much-needed funds to direct towards development of the game in Malta? Borg confirmed.Malta eventually bowed out of the race for last year?s first prize after a golden point second half try which saw Malta go down 36-32, after Malta led 32-18 a minute into the second half of normal time. Nevertheless, the new boys on the block gained a whole lot of support from their inaugural appearance at the tournament, as well as experience that will see them return to Australia?s richest ?sevens? tournament with their eyes on nothing but the silverware and prize money on up for grabs on the Sunday afternoon, but coach Joe Grima is reserved in his expectations.?the competition is going to be much stronger this year than last, I?m not going into the tournament expecting to qualify for the Sunday(finals) games??We?ve got plenty of speed and enthusiasm in what is a youthful side yet we?re going up there with a lot of supporters. In having some fun, we?re going to display the skills and sportsmanship of the Malta Knights (MRLA)? tells Grima.The Maltese side won?t be led by Grima all weekend however, with Grima handing over the Saturday duties to assistant coach Tony Farr, due to Grima?s commitments with Parramatta Eels.Farr has been on the coaching panel from day one of the MRLA?s venture and recently added to his already sparkling resume, a pioneering tour to Malta where Malta defeated the England Lionhearts 36-6 at the Marsa Stadium in Malta.A well-respected figure within rugby league circles up to the highest level for the past twenty-five years, Farr will guide the young Maltese chargers through their day one pool matches.Equal top point scorer from last year?s tournament, Parramatta Eels' Simon Micallef will return again to represent Malta; as will 2005 Player of the Tournament and ex NRL star, Malta Knights skipper Ben Sammut.While the Eastern Australian state of NSW is well represented with Maltese talent, QLD doesn?t go unnamed with Mackay Brothers? Brendan Russell and Burleigh Bears? Paul Marzella forming part of the backbone in Malta?s back line that boasts an array of youth and speed that will key up with a wise but mobile pack of forwards that includes Wests Magpies premier league forward Pat Galea.Debutants in the red and white kit of the Malta Knights are Nathan Attard and Jarrod Sammut, both products of the Penrith Panthers junior rugby league nursery.Related

Bulls warm up for World Club Challenge

ENGAGE Super League Champions, Bradford Bulls, jet out on Thursday to begin their final preparations for the Carnegie World Club Challenge game against NRL Champions Wests Tigers on February 3rd.The Bulls will spend a week at the prestigious Club La Santa in Lanzarote where they will be able to spend valuable time outside on firm pitches and will be put through their paces ahead of the WCC at the Galpharm Stadium. The Bulls will take a fully fit squad to the Canaries and Coach Brian Noble is looking forward to being able to plan ahead without recourse to the weather.?The World Club Challenge is a very prestigious game and gets the Super League season off to a very positive start. It is not too often that you get the opportunity to be a World Champion in any sport and we are determined to overcome what will be a tough challenge from West Tigers. Going out to Lanzarote will enable us to plan our training sessions knowing we will be able to up the intensity without the weather disrupting our plans. The squad are looking forward to the trip and to the game with relish.?Tickets for the Carnegie World Club Challenge at the Galpharm Stadium Huddersfield game on February 3rd are available from the Bradford Bulls Ticket Office on 08701 202040 or by logging further information contact:Stuart Duffy Tel: 01274 762315M 07966 171991

Young Bears Join First Grade Storm Stars In Melbourne

THE Bears feeder club agreement with NRL club Melbourne Storm has given a chance for some of Norths talented young stars to join other young players from around the Eastern states, in an intensive week of training at Storm headquarters down south.Premier League and Kiwi junior rep Reihana Peters has joined Jersey Flegg recruit James Maloney, S.G. Ball?s Liam Foran and Bears head coach Josh White in Melbourne for 5 days of skills, conditioning sessions and sports related forums on leadership and sports science.?It?s very exciting. There are 26 young players here from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, even the Northern Territory! Today [Wednesday] we had a skills session with coaching staff Craig Bellamy & Michael Maguire and former first grade player Steve Kearney? said former Magpies first grader Josh White.Local Junior and SG Ball star Liam Foran said, ?It?s very exciting and a great experience!?The Norths crew fly back to Sydney on Saturday afternoon and ready themselves for what promises to be a huge season for the Bears.PHOTO: Bears under 20s halfback James Maloney and Premier League Coach Josh White at training prior to heading for Melbourne. Photo: Steve LittleThe North Sydney Rugby League Football Club can be contacted on 9466 8860, by e-mail [email protected], or check out the website at

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