THE Guru had his work cut out for him this week with North Queensland and Newcastle again putting in splendid performances, dominating talk at the selection table like most previous weeks. Again our halves combination of Thurston and Johns come together, forming the most potent attack known to mankind. Will it come to an end in on Sunday when the two wily playmakers, each brilliant in their own way, lock horns at Marathon Stadium for what is without doubt the most anticipated clash of the season? We?ll just have to wait and see. For now, let me present the Round 5 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
ROUND 3 Results - Bartercard CupCounties Manukau Jetz vs Tamaki LeopardsEricsson Stadium, AucklandCounties Manukau Jetz 24Tries: M. Ah Voa, G. Eliki, E. Uasi, S. Foketi, L. FaleonoGoals: E. Uasi (2)Tamaki Leopards 24Tries: T. Leaunoa, C. Vuna, W. Heta, T. BecroftGoals: W. Heta (4)Halftime: 12-4 Tamaki Leopards.Northern Storm vs Harbour LeagueJubilee Park, WhangareiHarbour League 54Tries: P. Tafea, J. Vaifale, H. Fisher, J. Kamareira, T. Samoa (3),S. Heslop (3)Goals: J. Trott (7)Northern Storm 18Tries: J. Fagavo, I. Taufa (2)Goals: D. Were (3)Halftime: 28 - 2 Harbour League.Wellington Orcas vs Canterbury BullsHutt Recreation Ground, WellingtonWellington Orcas 20Tries: D. Buchanan, L. Boyd, D. RennieGoals: L. Boyd (4)Canterbury Bulls 16Tries: L. Fidow, D. Metcalf, D. Aitken, L. TamakahaHalftime: 12-8 Wellington OrcasCentral Falcons vs Waicoa Bay StallionsArena Manawatu, Palmerston NorthCentral Falcons 42Tries: V. Tia, P. Packer, K. Savage, B. Tupou, R. Packer, T. Cahill(2)Goals: H. Robson (7)Waicoa Bay Stallions 30Tries: H. Samson, M. Rayner, H. Karena, P. Prime, S. BealeGoals: H. Karena (5)Halftime: 24-10 Waicoa Bay StallionsMonday Night FootballAuckland Lions vs Waitakere RangersEricsson Stadium, AucklandAuckland Lions 46Tries: M. Taulapapa, M. Solomona, R. Baxter, D. Fisi'iahi (2), P. Ale(2)Goals: S. Buckingham (9)Waitakere Rangers 18Tries: B. Nelson, B. Perenara, D. Shepherd, B. TamatoaGoals: B. NelsonHalftime: 24-6 Auckland LionsStandings - Round 31. Auckland Lions P3 W3 L0 D0 +54 6 Points2. Waicoa Bay Stallions P3 W2 L1 D0 +46 4 Points3. Harbour League P3 W2 L1 D0 +36 4 Points4. Central Falcons P3 W2 L1 D0 +11 4 Points5. Tamaki Leopards P3 W1 L1 D1 +8 3 Points6. Counties Manukau Jets P3 W1 L1 D1 -36 3 Points7. Canterbury Bulls P3 W1 L2 D0 +28 2 Points8. Wellington Orcas P3 W1 L2 D0 -13 2 Points9. Waitakere Rangers P3 W1 L2 D0 -32 2 Points10. Northern Storm P3 W0 L3 D0 -102 0 Points
ENGLISH rugby league club Hull has hired Australian Peter Sharp as new head coach.Head coach of NRL sides the Northern Eagles and Manly from 1999-2003, Sharp is currently assistant to former Hull boss Brian Smith at Parramatta. The 51-year-old is expected to be able to take up the position immediately, subject to obtaining a work permit.He takes over from John Kear, who left the last week after a string of poor results in Super League.
WESTS Tigers have exploited the NRL judiciary rules to make it harder for injured five-eighth Benji Marshall to be suspended as a result of future charges.
PENRITH halfback Craig Gower will be released from Hills Private hospital later today after tests cleared him of any serious chest damage.
CANBERRA has announced that Neil Henry will take over from Matthew Elliott as head coach at the NRL club from next season. Henry, currently the assistant to head coach Graham Murray at North Queensland, has agreed to a three-year term.
WESTS Tigers halfback Scott Prince and injured five-eighth Benji Marshall have both been cited by the NRL judiciary for grade two careless high tackles.
ON Saturday afternoon down in Wollongong, the Newcastle Pepsi Knights took on the St George Illawarra Dragons in Round 5 action of the Jersey Flegg competition. Both teams went into the match undefeated and only one could come away from the match with their perfect record intact. That team was the Newcastle Knights after a comfortable 34-18 victory.The Knights started the match with a softening up period, where 4 fights broke out in the opening 15 minutes. This was to be expected as both teams had turned up to play and weren't willing to give an inch. Knights forward Tim Natusch left 3 Dragons players reeling out of tackles as he went on a one-man rampage. He was replaced after 15 minutes, much to the delight of the Dragons players.In the fifth minute, Knights second rower Cory Patterson steamed onto a flat Luke Walsh pass to crash over beside the posts and give the Knights an early 6-0 advantage. The Dragons opened their account in the 20th minute when Lewis McPhail crossed out wide. He failed to add the conversion from the sideline and 3 minutes later Rota Setu crossed to put the Dragons in front after the Knights invited the home side back into the contest with some dropped ball early in their tackle counts. Knights five-eight Scott Dureau put his side back in front in the 27th minute for good as he buried his way through some lazy Dragons defence from dummy half. Five minutes from halftime Knights centre Matt Cooper scored the first of his hat-trick and after the Luke Walsh conversion, followed by a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time the Knights led 18-8.Early in the second half, Dragons centre Keith Lulia threatened to get the home crowd going when he gave his side a sniff of victory as they trailed 18-12. Cooper crossed in the 50th minute to give the Knights some more breathing space and when the Dragons replied again through Jason Nightingale just 60 seconds later, it was back to game on. With the Knights struggling to get out of their own half, it was going to take something special for them to get down the Dragons end of the field. Luke Walsh provided that with a booming 40-20 with 7 minutes remaining and when Sam Wooden crossed from the ensuing scrum, the Knights ensured they would remain undefeated after five rounds. Cooper completed the scoring with just four minutes remaining and Walsh's conversion from near touch gave the final scoreline of Knights 34 Dragons 18.For the Knights, second rower Cory Patterson was outstanding, making metres up the middle every time he touched the ball. Tim Natusch was also brutal and halves Scott Dureau and Luke Walsh steered the Knights well.Next week the Knights take on the Balmain Tigers.
THE Newcastle Knights travelled to the south coast on Saturday night as they took on the St George Illawarra Dragons. The Knights were looking to bounce back from their 48-18 shellacking by the Tigers last week, where they trailed 38-0 at halftime.Returning to the Knights side were halfback Jarrod Mullen and centre David Seage, who were both in First Grade last week, while the Dragons welcomed back halfback Matthew Head from injury.Both sides started promisingly before the Knights scored the first points of the match courtesy of Brad Tighe as he crossed out wide to give the Knights an early 4-0 advantage. Dragons five-eight Chris Sheppard, formerly from the Cowboys scored his sides first try of the night in the 14th minute and Head's conversion put the Dragons in front 6-4. As the half wore on, it looked like going down to the wire. Both sides tested each other out for the next twenty minutes but it all came to no points. In the 33rd minute the Dragons extended their lead to 10-4 through winger Tom Hewitt and the Dragons appeared destined to go to the break leading 10-4. With just 60 seconds remaining, Mullen launched a towering bomb which was allowed to bounce by the Dragons fullback and winger and Brad Tighe was only too willing to oblige and score the Knights second try on the stroke of halftime. After the conversion, both sides went to the break at 10-10.The second half was much the same as the first, with both sides completing their sets of six and getting to their kicks. In the 48th minute the Knights went back in front when Kade Snowden delivered a perfect around-the-corner pass as he was falling to put Nathan Hinton in under the posts. Tighe converted and the Knights appeared to be looking good at 16-10. Unfortunately the Knights were to remain on 16 as Matthew Head took control of the match. He scored an individual try in the 58th minute to level the scores before firing two perfect cut-out passes to Brett Morris in the 65th minute to extend his sides lead to 8, before putting the final nail in the coffin with a repeat of the dose, this time putting Beau Ryan over with 11 minutes remaining. This gave the final scoreline of Dragons 30 Knights 16 and left the Knights languishing towards the bottom of the table.
COMPETITION favourites, the North Queensland Cowboys have continued their unbeaten run in defeating Wests Tigers 32-12 in Friday night?s ?grand final replay?. It was an emphatic victory over last year?s premiers as the Cowboys posted a club record five match winning streak to see them on top of the NRL ladder.
LEEDS Rhinos 34 (McGuire 2, Poching, Walker, Millard, Lauitiiti tries; Burrow 4, Sinfield goals) def. Hull F.C. 26 (Raynor 2, Domic, Yeaman, R. Horne tries; Cook 2, Brough goals). Att: 10,958.
PENRITH maintained its strong start to the NRL season with a 44-18 win over Parramatta yesterday but halfback Craig Gower spent the night in hospital after coughing blood from a hit to the body. The Panthers sit third on the ladder with three wins from four games.
INJURED rugby league stars Benji Marshall of the Wests Tigers, Craig Gower of Penrith and Ryan Cross from the Sydney Roosters will learn their immediate playing futures after MRI scans in Sydney today.
ROUND 5 Parramatta Eels 18 v Penrith Panthers 44at Parramatta StadiumReferees: Jason RobinsonMatch Summary:The Penrith Panthers have defeated the Parramatta Eels 44-18 in dramatic circumstances at Parramatta Stadium. The Panthers piled on 30 unanswered points in the second half to recover from trailing 18-14 at half time. The half time deficit was compounded by a sternum injury to halfback Craig Gower that saw him needing to be taken to hospital.The Eels started well but had a try disallowed after eight minutes. The Panthers took the lead a few minutes later with a try to Preston Campbell. Three minutes later Craig Gower doubled the Panthers lead to 12-0. Zeb Taia responded for the Eels a few minutes later, and that was followed up with a try to Dean Widders for the Eels to trail 12-10. Craig Gower was hit after kicking by Marcus Perenara, who was put on report for an innocuous looking hit. This was followed up by a penalty goal to Preston Campbell. Timana Tahu scored a few minutes short of half time, and he then got a second after the half time siren for the Eels 18-14 half time lead.Shane Rodney scored four minutes into the second half after a comedy of errors from both sides, then the poor Eels defence took over as Lee Hookey scored out wide, followed up by Wesser running right through the Eels defensive line. Wesser got his second when he followed up his own kick with nine minutes to go, and Luke Priddis capped off the win when he backed up a Luke Lewis break.It is a very alarming sign for the Eels, who have wilted in the second half of most of their matches this year and have only one win. This second half collapse is made even worse because of the absence of Craig Gower. The Panthers have started the year well, with only a golden point loss, and they are yet to even play a match at home.Scorers:Parramatta Eels: 18Tries: Timana Tahu(2), Dean Widders, Zeb TaiaGoals: Mark Riddell 1/2Penrith Panthers: 44Tries: Preston Campbell, Craig Gower, Luke Priddis, Shane Rodney, Rhys Wesser(2), Lee HookeyGoals: Preston Campbell 8/9By the Clock:Beautiful day here at Parramatta Stadium. Both teams as per the program.And we're underway in the first half!5 min: NEWS The Eels enjoying much of the early possession.8 min: NEWS Video referee for an Eels try...8 min: NEWS NO TRY - Peterson fails to ground the ball in the corner of the in goal.10 min: TRY Penrith PanthersCampbell grubbers into the ingoal, nobody is home and he scores. Successfully converts his own try. Panthers 6-013 min: TRY Penrith PanthersCraig Gower dummies his way over the line. Campbell converts off the uprights. Panthers 12-016 min: TRY Parramatta EelsTaia scores for the Eels. Riddell fails to convert. Eels 14-1223 min: TRY Parramatta EelsTahu grubbers down the sideline, he regathers and passes infield to Widders who scores. Riddell converts. Panthers 12-1030 min: NEWS Gower is down with an apparent sternum injury.30 min: PENALTY GOAL Penrith PanthersGower leaves the field with a sternum injury. Campbell slots the two points from the penalty for the late tackle on Gower. Marcus Perenara is on report for the hit. Panthers 14-1035 min: TRY Parramatta EelsAfter some sustained pressure Tahu runs through the Panthers defence and scores out wide. Delaney misses the conversion. 14 all.36 min: NEWS Craig Gower is being taken to hospital as a precaution.40 min: TRY Parramatta EelsMcKinnon gets the ball after the siren, he returns it to the 20 metre line, throws a fantastic offload when he looks wrapped up, Tahu is ankle tapped short but gets up and scores. Delaney misses the conversion. Eels 18-1440 min: NEWS Halftime in a very enjoyable match. The Panthers took a 12-0 lead, but the Eels hit back to level the match at 14-14 before the after the siren try at halftime. 40 min: NEWS Back underway!Craig Gower has a cracked sternum.44 min: TRY Penrith PanthersPeterson picks up an errant Panthers pass, only to throw his own errant pass, which is picked up by Rodney who scores. Campbell makes it 4/4. Panthers 20-1845 min: NEWS Gower has been coughing up blood and has just been loaded into an ambulance.52 min: NEWS Still a fairly high quality match with the odd error creeping in.54 min: TRY Penrith PanthersThe Panthers bust down the right sideline and Lee Hookey scores a fairly easy try. Campbell converts from the sideline. Panthers 26-1859 min: TRY Penrith PanthersWesser runs right through the Eels line and scores 10 in from the sideline. Very poor Eels defence have led to the last two tries. Campbell converts again. Panthers 32-1864 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL Penrith PanthersTsoulos is penalised for interfering with the play the ball. Campbell misses the goal from about 35 metres on the angle. Panthers 32-1865 min: NEWS After the 20 metres drop out, the Panthers cut the Eels up but Rodney knocks on 10 metres out. The Eels are just self-destructing.68 min: NEWS McKinnon breaks on the last tackle but is hauled down just short of the line.71 min: TRY Penrith PanthersA great attacking lead up has Wesser grubbering into the in goal, he chases through and scores his second. Campbell converts. Panthers 38-1878 min: TRY Penrith PanthersLewis breaks through more feeble Eels defence and passes to Priddis who outpaces the cover and scores under the posts. Campbell converts. Panthers 44-1880 min: NEWS The Panthers have flogged the Eels 44-18, taking home the second half 30-0 without Craig Gower.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Rhys Wesser (Panthers)2 - Preston Campbell (Panthers)1 - Trent Waterhouse (Panthers)-----------------------------------------
REDCLIFFE v BURLEIGH
Dolphin Oval, Sunday April 9, 3.00pm
Referee: Michael Inman