FRIDAY, 17th March 2006Wests v Canterbury at Telstra Stadium, 7:30pmTigers: Brett Hodgson (c), Michael Crockett, Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Jamaal Lolesi, Daniel Fitzhenry, Scott Prince, Bryce Gibbs, Robbie Farah, John Skandalis, Anthony Laffranchi, Todd Payten, Ben GaleaInterchange: Ben Reynolds, Keith Galloway, Ryan O'Hara, Sam HarrisBulldogs: Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Andrew Emelio, Willie Tonga, Matt Utai, Daniel Holdsworth, Brent Sherwin, Chris Armit, Corey Hughes, Roy Asotasi, Willie Mason, Andrew Ryan (c), Tony GrimaldiInterchange: Reni Maitua, Mark O'Meley, Adam Perry, Jon Green, Billy NgawiniReferee: Steve ClarkSaturday, 18th March 2006Parramatta v New Zealand at Waikato Stadium (Hamilton), 5:30pmEels: Wade McKinnon, Luke Burt, Ben Smith, Timana Tahu, Eric Grothe, John Morris, Tim Smith, Nathan Cayless (c), Mark Riddell, Paul Stringer, Nathan Hindmarsh, Chad Robinson, Glenn MorrisonInterchange: PJ Marsh, Dean Widders, Josh Cordoba, Michael Vella, Daniel Wagon (one to be omitted)Warriors: Brent Webb, Todd Byrne, Tony Martin, Clinton Toopi, Manu Vatuvei, Jerome Ropati, Nathan Fien, Ruben Wiki, Lance Hohaia, Steve Price (c), Awen Guttenbeil, Michael Luck, Louis AndersonInterchange: Grant Rovelli, Evarn Tuimavave, Epalahame Lauaki, Wairangi KoopuReferee: Sean HampsteadCronulla v Brisbane at Toyota Park, 7.30pmSharks: David Simmons, Darren Albert, Beau Scott, Phil Bailey, Luke Covell, Adam Dykes, Brett Kimmorley, Ben Ross, Kevin Kingston, Hutch Maiava, Reece Williams, Lance Thompson, Greg BirdInterchange: Phil Leuluai, Luke Douglas, Cameron Ciraldo, Tevita Latu, Luke Harlen, Darren Mapp (two to be omitted)Broncos: Karmichael Hunt, Steve Michaels, Justin Hodges, Shaun Berrigan, Darius Boyd, Darren Lockyer (c), Brett Seymour, Shane Webcke, Michael Ennis, Petero Civoniceva, Dane Carlaw, David Stagg, Casey McGuireInterchange: Brad Thorn, Ben Hannant, Neville Costigan, Greg Eastwood, Tame Tupou (one to be omitted)Referee: Russell SmithNorth Queensland v Manly at Dairy Farmers Stadium, 9.30pm (AEDT)Cowboys: Matt Bowen, Neil Sweeney, Ty Williams, Paul Bowman, Matt Sing, Johnathan Thurston, Brett Firman, Mitchell Sargent, Aaron Payne, Shane Tronc, Jacob Lillyman, Luke O'Donnell, Travis Norton (c)Interchange: David Faiumu, Steve Southern, Justin Smith, Matthew ScottSea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Paul Stephenson, Steve Bell, Steve Matai, Chris Hicks, Michael Monaghan, Matt Orford, Jason King, Shane Dunley, Brent Kite, Steve Menzies, Anthony Watmough, Ben Kennedy (c)Interchange: Travis Burns, Luke Williamson, Kylie Leuluai, Mark Bryant, Adam Cuthbertson (one to be omitted)Referee: Paul SimpkinsSunday, 19th March 2006Sydney v Melbourne at Aussie Stadium at 2.30pmRoosters: Anthony Minichiello, Amos Roberts, Ryan Cross, Iosia Soliola, Sam Perrett, Braith Anasta, Jamie Soward, David Shillington, Brett Finch, Craig Fitzgibbon (c), Anthony Tupou, Chris Flannery, Ashley HarrisonInterchange: Craig Wing, Nigel Plum, Shane Shackleton, Lopini PaeaStorm: Billy Slater, Matt Geyer, Matt King, Greg Inglis, Jake Webster, Scott Hill, Cooper Cronk, Garret Crossman, Cameron Smith, Antonio Kaufusi, David Kidwell (c), Michael Crocker, Dallas JohnsonInterchange: Brett White, Ryan Hoffman, Ian Donnelly, Steve Turner, Jamie Feeney (one to be omitted)Referee: Tony ArcherSt George Illawarra v Penrith at WIN Stadium at 3.00pmDragons: Clint Greenshields, Reece Simmonds, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Colin Best, Dean Young, Ben Hornby (c), Luke Bailey, Aaron Gorrell, Jason Ryles, Corey Payne, Ashton Sims, Andrew PriceInterchange: Justin Poore, Michael Henderson, Matt Bickerstaff, George Ndaira.Panthers: Rhys Wesser, Lee Hookey, Danny Galea, Luke Lewis, Nick Youngquest, Preston Campbell, Craig Gower, Joel Clinton, Luke Priddis, Craig Stapleton, Matthew Cross, Tony Puletua (c), Shane RodneyInterchange: Frank Puletua, Bryan Norrie, Frank Pritchard, Luke SwainReferee: Shayne HayneCanberra v Newcastle at Canberra Stadium, 3.00pmRaiders: Clinton Schifcofske (c), Adrian Purtell, Phil Graham, David Howell, Adam Mogg, Jason Smith, Lincoln Withers, Willie Raston, Simon Woolford, Troy Thompson, Ben Jones, Jason Croker, Alan TongueInterchange: Todd Carney, Terry Martin, Tom Learoyd-Lars, Michael HodgsonKnights: Milton Thaiday, Brian Carney, Matthew Gidley, George Carmont, Anthony Quinn, Kurt Gidley, Andrew Johns (c), Craig Smith, Danny Buderus, Josh Perry, Steve Simpson, Kirk Reynoldson, Reegan TannerInterchange: Adam Woolnough, Daniel Tolar, Riley Brown, Todd Lowrie.Referee: Jason Robinson
IN a sensational Woolies Pre-Season semi-final, five players were sent off by referee Bernie Pramberg in a ?needle? match between competition glamour sides Wests and Redcliffe. It was inconsequential that Wests went on to win the match 37-0, given Redcliffe finished the match with only nine players, while the Panthers ended up with twelve. The match was a joke as a contest, and a disgraceful exhibition of over-vigorous and unnecessary violent play by otherwise high-quality star players.There had been a long-standing feud between both clubs following Ron Raper?s decision to leave Redcliffe a year earlier, to coach Wests to a memorable but perhaps controversial premiership, winning the grand final against Barry Muir?s Redcliffe side in debatable circumstances. And given Muir had played and coached all his Brisbane football with the Panthers, emotions were always going to run high when the Dolphins and Panthers played big games against one another. Both coaches, but particularly Muir, fired up their teams for this match before they ran out. One could have actually been forgiven for thinking this was a grand final rather than a pre-season match ! Referee Pramberg though, stunned the big Lang Park crowd when he dismissed Dolphins? hefty prop John Barber after the first tackle of the match, for dropping his knees into Wests ball-carrier Rod Bradshaw, electing not to use the five minute ?sin-bin?. Barber?s send-off seemed to set the pattern for the match, with rugged gang-tackling and plenty of illegal play becoming the norm. Between regular forward clashes, Wests dominated the first half of play. Steve Crear scored a sensational try off a Geoff Richardson break, and three penalty goals by Wayne Stewart leaving the Panthers ahead 9-0 at the break.Another eruption in backplay early in the 2nd half, saw Redcliffe prop Steve Bullow sent to the sin-bin. With a two-man advantage, Richardson and centre Harry Cameron combined to send fullback Gary Thomas over for what surely would be a match-winning lead at 12-0. Another brawl erupted following the try, and appeared to involve up to eight players. This incident saw referee Pramberg dispatch Dolphins hooker Bob Jones to the sheds.Wests now began running away with the match, Thomas scoring again and half Greg Oliphant crossing for a clever try, both in quick succession. But in the 55th minute, a scrum erupted into an almighty brawl in front of the Frank Burke grandstand. Every player was involved as the wildly swinging mass continued brawling for what appeared an eternity. Harry Cameron and Redcliffe forward Bev Bleakley crashed over the advertising signage and fought each other up against the sideline fence. The main fight then scattered around the vicinity into several pairs who continued to throw punches, wrestle and head-butt. Pramberg and his touch-judges Pease and O?Brien, were powerless to stop the fighting, and must have been close to calling the match off. When calm eventually restored itself, Rod Bradshaw from Wests and Steve Bullow were immediately sent from the field, exchanging ?pleasantries? all the way to the sideline. An en-masse caution eventuated into a penalty given to Wests, much to the dissatisfaction of the now raucous Redcliffe fans. But only three tackles later, yet another eruption in play over what appeared to be a high-tackle, and Dolphins? fullback Tony Obst was now sent off. This left Redcliffe with only nine men including no front row, and the Panthers ran away with the match easily.When the match ended, the crowd gave plenty of boos all around ? aimed at both teams and the officials. Senior officials from both clubs were nearly at each other in the grandstand also. Redcliffe coach Barry Muir was fuming over what he believed how someone had eavesdropped on his pre-match players talk and then informed the referee that ?something was on?. Wests coach Ron Raper was unavailable for comment after the match, but was clearly unhappy with the ill-discipline of his players. It was a busy night at the judiciary that week, John Barber, Steve Bullow and Rod Bradshaw were all handed three week suspensions, while Bob Jones and Tony Obst copped two weeks each. Referee Pramberg copped an almighty serve in the press over his handling of the match. But the last laugh was on him, as he went on to easily be top referee in Brisbane, eventually controlling the grand final. As a sidenote, Easts beat Norths 23-9 in the other semi-final that was apparently played on that same night !!!