LEEDS Rhinos? rising star Lee Smith has become the 11th member of the club?s successful academy to be promoted to the first-team squad after he was awarded the number five jersey for the new season.The 19-year-old Smith, who scored eight tries in just 10 appearances in his first season in 2005, takes over the squad number vacated by Marcus Bai, now at Bradford.The elevation of Smith completes the Rhinos? senior 20-man squad.?I?m very pleased and, with the quality of the squad we?ve got, a bit shocked,? he said. ?As far as I?m concerned, it is only a squad number and nothing changes.?My goal is to play wing or full-back regularly for Leeds? first team this season.?- - - - -Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this news.
LEEDS Rhinos have decided to brave the snow and frost of an English winter as they finalise their preparations for the start of the second decade of Super League.While the other 10 British clubs are escaping the freezing temperatures for the warmer climes of Europe, the Rhinos will spend four days youth-hostelling in the Lake District.Instead of pounding the beaches of Torremolinos and Lanzarote, Leeds have opted for mountain biking and boating around Coniston.?It?s a change of scenery and there are various activities planned,? said a Rhinos spokesman. ?We didn?t go away last year.?Newly-promoted Castleford on Thursday began the great escape, flying out to Lanzarote where coach Terry Matterson will finalise the club?s preparations for their return to the top flight.The Tigers will enjoy a temperature increase of around 21 degrees on the famous holiday island and that, according to chief executive Richard Wright, will provide ideal training conditions.?Gym work and conditioning are not a problem but conditions in this country at this time of year are far from ideal for skills work,? he said.?In Lanzarote, you can guarantee at least half-decent weather and dry tracks.?It also acts as a useful bonding session so it?s a vital part of every club?s pre-season preparations.?Bradford and Warrington are also going to Lanzarote later this month, while Portugal is the favoured destination for Huddersfield, Wigan and Wakefield.St Helens and Hull are both off to the Spanish mainland while Salford are making a third successive visit to Florida and Harlequins (formerly London Broncos) are going to the south of France for the second year in a row. Super League?s other new boys, Perpignan-based Catalans Dragons, of course, enjoy warmer temperatures throughout the year.After enduring two months of a dismal British winter, Super League players generally welcome the chance to get some warm sun on their backs but the clubs insist it?s a working trip.?It?s definitely no holiday,? said Wright. ?You get through an enormous amount of work. The sessions are intense and you are at it every day.?- - - - -Meanwhile the funeral of former Great Britain international and Doncaster Lakers coach St John Ellis, who passed away following a training session on New Year?s Eve, will take place at York Minster on Tuesday, January 10, at 1.30pm, followed by a private family burial. - - - - -Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this news.
HULL have offered a one-year contract extension to influential hooker and captain Richard Swain.Swain?s contract runs out at the end of the new season but the Powergen Challenge Cup winners have already opened talks with the former New Zealand international about extending his stay at the KC Stadium to the end of 2007.The 30-year-old Swain has made a big impact since joining the club from Australian outfit Melbourne Storm in 2004.?Getting Richard on board would be a real bonus for us and hopefully we can tie something up in the near future,? chief executive David Plummer told the Hull Daily Mail.Plummer also revealed the club were close to finalising a new deal with 29-year-old Australian back-row forward Shayne McMenemy, whose current deal runs out at the end of this year.Both Swain and McMenemy will sit out Sunday?s Clive Sullivan Memorial Trophy clash with Hull Kingston Rovers at the KC Stadium but Hull?s Great Britain prop Jamie Thackray will play.Thackray was not due to return to training until Wednesday after his Tri-Nations commitments but came back three weeks early in order to play in his first Humberside derby.Thackray, along with Hull?s two close-season signings Lee Radford and Sid Domic, have been included in coach Jon Kear?s 20-man squad.Front row pair Paul King and Garreth Carvell are sidelined after wrist operations but hope to be fit for the start of the engage Super League season on February 10.Rovers give a debut to former Leeds half-back Scott Murrell and, in the absence of skipper James Webster, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, will be led by another new signing, ex-London Broncos prop Francis Stephenson.The clubs have already sold more than 9,000 tickets for the pre-season friendly. - - - - -Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this news.
HARLEQUINS Rugby League have announced the signing of Australian centre Matt Gafa from Canberra Raiders.The 27-year-old Gafa, who has played at Canberra since his professional debut in 1997, is a close friend of Quins captain Mark McLinden, with whom he played his junior rugby league.?Matt is a great addition to the squad,? said coach Tony Rea. ?We have been keen to sign him for quite some time and I have been very impressed with his abilities in the short time that he has been with us.?Mark McLinden spoke very highly about his abilities and we are looking forward to seeing Matt run out at the Twickenham Stoop.?Gafa becomes the eighth new recruit for the former London Broncos club, who kick off the 2006 engage Super League season against St Helens at the Twickenham Stoop on February 11.?There is a real buzz about the place,? said Gafa. ?I have been shown round the ground and the facilities and I have to say I am really impressed, it looks awesome.?- - - - -Quins have also added to their squad Michael Worrincy, who is a product of the London development system but spent last season on loan to Hull. Worrincy, a second-row forward has played for the London Broncos Academy since the age of 16 and also represented the BARLA Great Britain Young Lions.The second-rower played with three other London development players last season at Hull in the forms of Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, who has joined the Harlequins senior squad, while Ade Adebisi has been loaned back to Hull FC for the 2006 Season, and Ian Lane who has committed himself to Harlequins Under 21 side for 2006.Worrincy will be one of four London-born players, lining up in 2006, alongside Joe Mbu, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Ian Lane. Harlequins Coach Tony Rea said: ?Michael went well last year at Hull, and we are looking forward to working with him.?We have been impressed with the effort and commitment that all our young players have put in to fight their way to becoming rugby league players, and I am sure Michael will be the same.?The re-introduction of our Under 21 side will enable us to monitor our younger payers more closely. Whilst we were very happy with the work Hull (amongst others) have done, we now that we need to be looking after our own.?Worrincy started his career at the Greenwich Admirals, before going on to captain the Broncos Academy side in 2004 and was selected to go on the BARLA U18 tour of Australia that same year.Phil Jones, Harlequins Academy coach added: ?Michael is a great athlete who is strong and quick. We are very happy that two of the lads who went to Hull will be training with the first team in 2006.?- - - - -Thanks to www.superleague.co.uk for this news.
GIANTS new signing Albert Torrens has promised the Giants fans that he will do everything in his power to get his new club into the engage Super League play-offs for the first time. Torrens jetted into Huddersfield last week after arriving from Australia to take up a one-year contract and the 29 year old feels he has seen enough to convince him that the Giants can finish in the top six at the end of the year. ?I came to Huddersfield not knowing quite what to expect" said Torrens, who signed from St George. ?But I?ve been blown away with what this club and this town has to offer. ?I obviously did a fair amount of homework before committing myself to the Giants. That in itself was enough to convince me that moving here was the right choice to make at this stage of my career. Now I?ve got here, I know for sure I?ve done the right thing. "Everyone has made me really welcome and all my teammates are really good blokes. The team spirit is absolutely fantastic and this looks like a team that can make the semis, and I intend to do what I can to make sure that goal is reached."Next Giants home game at The Galpharm is a Pre Season Friendly against Bradford Bulls on Sunday 22nd January, kick off 3pm.
? THE Newtown RLFC, Australia?s first Rugby League football club, is 98 years old on Sunday, January 8, 2006. ? The club was formed at a public meeting in the Newtown Town Hall on the 8th January, 1908 and has always been known as the definitive battlers club, having experienced the highs and lows of the fortunes of the Rugby League game. ? Newtown played in the NSW Rugby League premiership competition between 1908 and 1983, before succumbing to a long struggle with soaring costs and disadvantageous social and demographic changes in its confined inner-western catchment area. The club won first grade premierships in 1910, 1933 and 1943, and narrowly lost to Parramatta in the memorable Grand Final of 1981. Originally known as the Bluebags from 1908 to 1972, they have been called the Jets since 1973. ? The Jets re-entered senior Rugby League football in the NSW Rugby League Metropolitan Cup in 1991. They dominated this competition, winning first grade premierships in 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1997, and finishing as preliminary finalists in 1994 and 1998. ? The Jets were invited to participate in the NSW Rugby League First Division competition in 2000, and the club is gearing up for its seventh season in the flagship competition of the NSW Rugby League, now known as the NSW Rugby League VB Premier League. The club has recently entered into a strategic partnership with the famous Sydney Roosters DRLFC, whereby the Jets will be the Roosters? official feeder club and the Roosters? entry in the 2006 NSWRL VB Premier League competition. In addition to their VB Premier League commitments, the Jets will also be fielding a team in the 2006 NSWRL Jim Beam Cup competition to serve as their reserve grade squad. ? Famous Bluebags and Jets personalities in the club?s first 98 years have included such famous Rugby League names as the Farnsworth brothers, Charles "Boxer" Russell, Arthur Folwell, Frank Hyde, Herb Narvo, Frank "Bumper" Farrell, Charles "Chicka" Cahill, Len Smith, Noel Mulligan, Dick Poole, Brian Clay, Johnny Raper, Frank Farrington, Jack Gibson, Brian "Chicka" Moore, Lionel Williamson, John Ferguson, Tom Raudonikis, Colin Murphy, Phil Gould and Craig Field. Prominent Sydney business identity John Singleton has been a long-standing benefactor and supporter, and has been the club?s Official Patron since 1995 and a Life Member since 2005. ? Celebrity Jets supporters comprise an eclectic list of names such as actors David Wenham and Tony Barry, Tim Brunero from ?Big Brother?, legendary WSFM DJ Ron E. Sparks, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen, punk rockers Frenzal Rhomb, Tim Freedman from The Whitlams, entertainer Normie Erskine, NSW District Court Judge Stephen Norrish and the NSW Minister for Education and Training, Carmel Tebbutt. ? The Newtown club had a successful season on the field in 2005, with the VB Premier League team reaching the preliminary final and the Jim Beam Cup side making the semi-finals also. Everything points to another big year for the Jets as the oldest club in Australian rugby league moves one year closer to its centenary in 2008. Photo caption: The great Frank Hyde is the Newtown club?s oldest-living former first grade player.
LEEDS' prized import ex-Wests Tigers captain Mark O'Neill is set to sit out the first two months of the 2006 season due to shoulder surgery.He had initially only been ruled out of the English heavyweight's Super League opener on February 12 but will now be sidelined until April. O'Neill, 30, lasted only five minutes on the field before injuring his shoulder on Leeds debut in a Boxing Day friendly against Wakefield.
THE North Queensland Cowboys have defeated the Newcastle Knights 28-24 in a golden point game at EnergyAustralia Stadium.
THE strength shown in New Zealand's Bartercard Cup competition is reflected in the selections this week of a New Zealand 'A' team.
The team will face New South Wales Country at North Harbour Stadium on July 4, at 2.30pm.
WITH the NSW Country side touring next week, some of the players chosen for representative honours may find themselves playing up to three very tough games in one week.
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FRIDAY 25th June 2004:
THE Sydney Roosters have thrashed the Wests Tigers 56-0 at Campbelltown Stadium in a very one sided affair.
NEWCASTLE Knights captain Andrew Johns has ended the battle for his signature by announcing he has re-signed with the National Rugby League club for a further two years.
ANDREW Johns will announce he has re-signed with the Newcastle Knights and rejected an offer from rugby union.