WHILE most of us were tossing up whether or not to make an extra long weekend of it, the National Rugby League got underway with a number of score blow outs and over 50 tries for League fans to enjoy.The round kicked off with Friday Night Football at Parramatta Stadium. Leading 14-6 at half time, the Eels withstood a second half revival from Wests Tigers to run away with a 28-16 victory. It was a much needed win for the 2005 minor premiers and another clanger for the reigning premiers. Both sides are looking shaky in the wrong half of the NRL ladder.On Saturday, the Warriors made short work of the hapless Rabbitohs in Auckland. In what might well be the battle of the wooden spooners, the New Zealand side got some running practice to trounce Souths by 46-14. The win sees the Warriors get into the positives on the ladder. Meanwhile Souths have yet to post a win in 2006 and are now officially listed as the competition bottom feeders.On Saturday evening, the Melbourne Storm ripped into a Joey-less Knights, thrashing the fourth-placed Newcastle side by 52-6. It was a tremendous victory for the Storm who now sit in second position on the ladder. The Knights however, were a shadow of the side that clobbered Saints just two weeks earlier. It?s abundantly clear that this well-drilled Novocastrian outfit can quickly turn into rabble as soon there?s no Joey Johns at the helm.Meanwhile over at Shark Park, a boilover was happening with Cronulla Sharks pulling off a narrow 24-22 victory over competition favourites the Cowboys. After leading 22-10 at half time, the North Queenslanders were kept scoreless in the second half as Cronulla rallied home in front of woefully small crowd. Sitting in 11th position on the ladder, the victory comes after a tough week for the Sharks, and especially for coach Stuart Raper who was on the receiving end of an internet campaign to have him ousted. For the Cowboys, it was their first loss of the year but they?re looking quite solid at the top of the ladder.Sunday Football booted off with a victory to the Manly Sea Eagles as they thumped a disappointing Canterbury Bulldogs 40-14 at Telstra Stadium. Now in fifth position, Manly were impressive in posting their fourth win of the year and dominated their opposites from the outset. The Bulldogs lacked spark or imagination, especially in the halves. Now in sixth position, Canterbury have next week to bounce back and will need to lift or they?ll soon be heading south on the NRL ladder.Sunday afternoon saw a win to the Brisbane Broncos as they beat up a lacklustre Penrith Panthers by 30-6. Played in front 25,000 at old Lang Park, the Broncos took full advantage of an inept performance from Penrith. Described as a disorganised rabble, dropping balls, missing tackles and squandering possession throughout the contest, the Panthers obviously have some work to do. Like the Bulldogs, the Panthers have a number of teams breathing down their neck on the NRL ladder and will need to get a wriggle-on if they want to be serious contenders in 2006. The Broncos are sitting pretty in third spot and well placed as the representative season looms closer. Round Seven of Monday?s Expert League Wrap rounds up with Tuesday's Anzac day clash between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters. The Dragons led 14-12 at half time before a second half slog saw Saints get the points in downing the Roosters by 22-12. Heavy rain didn't dampen the spirits at Aussie Stadium with a crowd of over 31,000 on hand.All match results and details are listed below.LeagueUnlimited.com Player AwardsThe LeagueUnlimited.com Player Awards still has Johnathan Thurston at the head of the leader board. The Cowboys five-eighth didn?t score any points over the weekend but is looking good on 16 points and maintains a four-point buffer over his nearest rival. Knights half back Andrew Johns is in second position on 12 points and is expected back from injury in the next week or two.Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith is making his move after scoring two points last Saturday and he advances to outright third position on 10 points. Not far away are Adam Dykes (Sharks), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), and Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders), all are well in contention on eight points.The full leader board is below.The Leagueunlimited.com players of the match are decided by our live score updaters and tallied here each week on Monday?s Expert League wrap.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.League Wrap: Round 7, 21 ? 25 April 2006MATCH RESULTS:Parramatta Eels: 28Tries: Glenn Morrison, Chad Robinson, Tim Smith , Timana TahuGoals: Brett Delaney 6/6Wests Tigers: 16Tries: Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Shannon McDonnellGoals: Scott Prince 2/3Half time: Eels 14-6Venue: Parramatta StadiumCrowd: 21,141Referee: Tony ArcherLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)2 - Robert Farah (Tigers)1 - Nathan Cayless (Eels)New Zealand Warriors: 46Tries: Todd Byrne, Tony Martin, Steve Price, Brent Webb, Ruben Wiki(2), George GatisGoals: Tony Martin 9/9South Sydney Rabbitohs: 14Tries: John Sutton, Paul Mellor, Ben RogersGoals: Nathan Merritt 1/3Half time: Warriors 26-4Venue: Ericsson StadiumCrowd: 8,015Referee: Jason RobinsonLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Ruben Wiki (Warriors)2 - Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors)1 - Steve Price (Warriors)Melbourne Storm: 52Tries: Matt Geyer, Greg Inglis(2), Antonio Kaufusi, David Kidwell, Matt King, Steve Turner(2), Jake WebsterGoals: Cameron Smith 8/10Newcastle Knights: 6Tries: Kurt GidleyGoals: Kurt Gidley 1/1Half time: Storm 24-6Venue: Olympic Park MelbourneCrowd: 9,084Referee: Russell SmithLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Michael Crocker (Storm)2 - Cameron Smith (Storm)1 - Greg Inglis (Storm)Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 24Tries: Phil Bailey, Adam Dykes, Nigel Vagana, Lance ThompsonGoals: Luke Covell 4/5North Queensland Cowboys: 22Tries: Rod Jensen, Luke O'Donnell(2), Matt SingGoals: Johnathan Thurston 3/4Half time: Cowboys 22-10Venue: Toyota ParkCrowd: 9,025Referee: Gavin BadgerLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)2 - Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys)1 - Darren Albert (Sharks)Canterbury Bulldogs: 14Tries: Willie Tonga, Matthew Utai, Sonny Bill WilliamsGoals: Hazem El Masri 1/3Manly Sea Eagles: 40Tries: Ben Kennedy, Paul Stephenson(2), Matt Orford(2), Steve Matai, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 6/8Half time: Sea Eagles 28-6Venue: Telstra StadiumCrowd: 13,621Referee: Sean HampsteadLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)2 - Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)1 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)Brisbane Broncos: 30Tries: Shaun Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, Darren Lockyer, Tame Tupou(2)Goals: Corey Parker 5/6Penrith Panthers: 6Tries: Frank PritchardGoals: Preston Campbell 1/1Half time: Broncos 12-0Venue: Suncorp StadiumCrowd: 25,123Referee: Shayne HayneLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Petero Civoniceva (Broncos)2 - Tame Tupou (Broncos)1 - Justin Hodges (Broncos)St George Illawarra Dragons: 22Tries: Mark Gasnier, Wes Naiqama(2), Matthew BickerstaffGoals: Mathew Head 3/5Sydney Roosters: 12Tries: Amos Roberts, David ShillingtonGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 2/2Half time: Dragons 14-12Venue: Aussie StadiumCrowd: 31,105Referee: Steven ClarkLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Mathew Head (Dragons)2 - Luke Bailey (Dragons)1 - Craig Wing (Roosters)Canberra Raiders - ByeFULL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HERENext weekend?s matches:Round 8, 28-30 April 2006Fri 7:30 PANTHERS v SHARKS - CUA Stadium Sat 5:30 COWBOYS v ROOSTERS - Dairy FarmersSat 7:30 BRONCOS v RAIDERS - Suncorp Stadium Sat 7:30 STORM v DRAGONS - Olympic ParkSun 2:00(NZ) 12:00(AEST) WARRIORS v BULLDOGS - Ericsson StadiumSun 2:30 RABBITOHS v KNIGHTS - Telstra StadiumSun 3:00 SEA EAGLES v EELS - Sydney Cricket Ground WESTS TIGERS - BYEFOR LATEST CENTREBET ODDSCLICK HERELEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM PLAYER AWARDS 2006LEADER BOARDThe Leagueunlimited.com players awards are decided by our live score updaters.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.16 pointsJohnathan Thurston (Cowboys)12 pointsAndrew Johns (Knights)10 pointsCameron Smith (Storm)8 pointsAdam Dykes (Sharks), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)7 pointsSteve Bell (Sea Eagles), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)6 pointsKarmichael Hunt (Broncos), Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Craig Gower (Panthers), Mathew Head (Dragons), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Greg Inglis (Storm), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), Ruben Wiki (Warriors)5 pointsMatthew Bowen (Cowboys), Danny Buderus (Knights), Petero Civoniceva (Broncos), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Amos Roberts (Roosters)4 pointsPreston Campbell (Panthers), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs), Steve Price (Warriors), Jamie Soward (Roosters), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Paul Whatuira (Tigers)3 pointsMichael Crocker (Storm), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Brett Hodgson (Tigers), Corey Parker (Broncos), Scott Prince (Tigers), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Alan Tongue (Raiders), Tame Tupou (Broncos)2 pointsLuke Bailey (Dragons), George Carmont (Knights), Luke Covell (Sharks), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Robert Farah (Tigers), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors), Josh Perry (Knights), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Priddis (Panthers), John Skandalis (Tigers), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Jason Smith (Raiders), Steven Southern (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Lincoln Withers (Raiders), Dean Young (Dragons)1 pointsDarren Albert (Sharks), Trent Barrett (Dragons), Paul Bowman (Cowboys), Nathan Cayless (Eels), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Ashley Harrison (Roosters), Lee Hookey (Panthers), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Tony Martin (Warriors), Luke Patten (Bulldogs), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Billy Slater (Storm), Tim Smith (Eels), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Shane Tronc (Cowboys), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Trent Waterhouse (Panthers), Simon Woolford (Raiders), Craig Wing (Roosters), William Zillman (Raiders)
NORTH Queensland remains on top of the NRL ladder after a weekend when three of the top four sides lost. Brisbane bucked the trend to be in third place after the 30-6 win over Penrith and Melbourne is second after thrashing the Knights 52-6.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS TO PLAY GREAT BRITAIN LIONSThe Great Britain Rugby League team will play a match against New Zealand on Tuesday 27th June 2006 in the UK.The fixture will be staged at Knowsley Road Stadium, home of engage Super League side St Helens RLFC, and has been awarded full Test status by the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF).All participating players will be awarded international caps by their respective governing bodies. The match will be Great Britain's first during a domestic season since the one off Test against Australia in Sydney in June 2002. New Zealand Rugby League has confirmed their intention to select the strongest possible team with an obvious consideration being the impact of travel and time zone differences on NRL players.New Zealand officials indicate that this is nothing new as they have always faced the same issue with regard to mid-season games played in the Southern Hemisphere.The only difference with the New Zealand side to face Great Britain in June is likely to be the relative proportion of Northern and Southern Hemisphere based players.This Test will be "business as usual for the Kiwis" according to Coach Brian McClennan, who points to the number and quality of New Zealanders playing on both sides of the globe.Commenting on the news, the RFL's Executive Chairman Richard Lewis said: "This Test match against New Zealand will be an exciting and highly competitive event. "It will provide the Great Britain team with a tremendously importantand meaningful fixture which will greatly assist them in their preparations for the 2006 Gillette Tri-Nations tournament. It will also provide supporters with the ONLY opportunity to see the Lions in action in the UK during the current domestic season". Lewis added: "The match will further enhance Rugby League's international portfolio of events".Sean McGuire Chief Executive of the St Helens club added: ""This will be the first Test Match at Knowsley Road since the 2000 World Cup and we are delighted to host a full Great Britain Test against the current Gillette Tri Nations champions. "We also look forward to working closely with the RFL and the management of the Great Britain team to ensure that this Test is a memorable occasion for the supporters of both teams and the wider Merseyside sporting public." Chairman of the NZRL Selwyn Bennett said: "We are delighted that the Kiwis will be playing this mid-season Test against Great Britain and the match is sure to provide our players a fantastic opportunity to represent their country and play themselves into contention for the Gillette Tri Nations"."The immediate focus is firmly on the match against Australia on the 5th of May but this is a very exciting initiative that we hope will develop into an annual fixture" says Bennett.
LION Foundation National Junior Championship Grand Final Results
ROUND 7 Canterbury Bulldogs 14 v Manly Sea Eagles 40at Telstra StadiumReferees: Sean HampsteadMatch Summary:An impressive Manly Sea Eagles have thumped a disappointing Canterbury Bulldogs 40-14 at Telstra Stadium. The Bulldogs were dominated in the first half and never recovered as a Ben Kennedy and Matt Orford led Manly side stormed home with the 2 points. The first half started superbly for the Manly Sea Eagles with halfback Matt Orford scoring an early try thanks to some nice lead up work from young pivot Travis Burns. Orford got his second try not that long after when Matt Utai made a critical mistake in his in goal. The Dogs hit back in short time when former Queensland centre Willie Tonga scored out wide. However, that was all the glory that the Dogs would have in the first half with centre Steve Matai and winger Paul Stephenson scoring tries in the first half to make the score line 28-6 going in the halftime break. Second half started off with a lot of errors from both teams which resulted in some sloppy football. The Dogs scored the first try through Matt Utai and one soon after to Sonny Bill Williams, but that was all the joy the Bulldogs will have in the second half with Manly scoring two tries to Ben Kennedy and Steven Bell for a 40-14 victory.Ben Kennedy and Matt Orford were excellent for the away team, with both being inspirational in their team?s victory. Kennedy made plenty of meters and a heap of tackles while Matt Orford created many opportunities for his players and scored a couple of early tries himself. The Bulldogs were disappointing and never looked like being in the match. They made too many errors early at the start of their sets and hence couldn?t apply any pressure to the Manly defence. The halves combination of Reni Maitua and Daniel Holdsworth struggled by lacking direction and lacking any creative spark.Next week the Dogs tackle the Warriors at Erricson Stadium on Sunday afternoon, while the Eagles take on the Eels at the Sydney Cricket Ground in what is sure to be a terrific match.Scorers:Canterbury Bulldogs: 14Tries: Willie Tonga, Matthew Utai, Sonny Bill WilliamsGoals: Hazem El Masri 1/3Manly Sea Eagles: 40Tries: Ben Kennedy, Paul Stephenson(2), Matt Orford(2), Steve Matai, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 6/8By the Clock:Welcome to Telstra Stadium for the much anticipated contest between the Bulldogs and the Manly Sea Eagles. Both teams have been in decent form coming into today?s contest, with the Bulldogs having a solid win over the Bunnies whilst the Eagles battled hard for 80 minutes against the Dragons. The Dogs definitely have the advantage in the forward pack with the likes of O'Meley, Mason, Asotasi and Sonny Bill Williams in the team. However the Eagles have the advantage in the creativity apartment with Matt Orford and Travis Burns forming a solid halves combination. Great conditions here at Home bush with what looks like a fairly disappointing crowd considering the weather, the form of the teams and the fact this is the only Sydney game today.The changes:Manly speedster Brett Stewart is out with a hand injury. Winger Chris Hicks moves to fullback and Paul Stephenson comes in on the wing.The Bulldogs have a huge boost coming into the game with Kiwi winger Matt Utai being cleared of a rib injury and coming in on the wing at the expense of Trent Cutler. Brad Morrin has also come on to the interchange bench to replace suspended forward Nate Myles.0 min: KICK OFF at Telstra Stadium for this Round 7 clash between the Dogs and the Eagles!2 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesThe Eagles have got off to the best start possible with Monaghan, Orford and Burns heavily involved. Monaghan offloads to Orford, who gives it off to Burns then throws it back to Orford who scores under the posts. Orford converts from an easy position. Sea Eagles 6-08 min: VIDEO REF - Orford looking for a second try. Video Referee looking to see if the Manly halfback has grounded the football correctly. The video ref awards the try to the Manly Sea Eagles.8 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesA lovely placed kick from former Manly captain Michael Monaghan forced Matt Utai to attempt to return the ball from the in goal only to be met in a great tackle which forces the ball loose and Matt Orford pounces on the loose ball to get his second try. A great start from the Eagles here at Telstra Stadium. Orford converts his own try. Sea Eagles 12-011 min: NEWS Manly are dominating the Bulldogs at the moment. Brent Kite and Ben Kennedy have had a solid starts to the game and the Dogs forward pack is not getting that roll on we are used to seeing.13 min: NEWS The Dogs have their first real attacking opportunity and need to take advantage of the possession. 14 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsThe Dogs do take advantage of the good field possession with Willie Tonga scoring out wide after some nice offloading Willie Mason. This is shaping up to be a fantastic game of rugby league. Hazem kicks it from the sideline. Sea Eagles 12-617 min: NEWS Watmough makes a break down field then is stripped of the ball in a 2 man tackle. The Eagles kick for touch and are applying pressure to the Dogs defencive line.19 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesPaul Stephenson scores untouched after some great lead up work from Steve Menzies. The Beaver throws a beaut pass to Steve Bell who draws and passes to send the winger in to score.Orford converts for a 12 point lead. Sea Eagles 18-627 min: NEWS Exciting stuff from the Eagles who nearly score on last tackle. Sonny Bill Williams has come in to the game and immediately makes an impact with a nice shoulder charge. The momentum is starting to swing back in the way of the Doggies. 31 min: NEWS The Dogs attacking in the Eagles 20m zone. The Dogs looking very dangerous at the moment but let the Eagles of the hook with a mistake to Sonny Bill Williams. 34 min: NEWS VIDEO REF - Possible Steve Matai try. Video Ref looking to see weather Matai grounded the ball before Bulldogs winger Hazem El Masri. The Video Ref awards the try.34 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesA grubber kick from Matt Orford is not cleaned up by Luke Patten and Steve Matai pounces on the ball and grounds the ball at the same time as El Masri and the try is awarded.Orford converts and notches up 1000 Career points. Sea Eagles 24-639 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesMatt Orford puts the ball in the air and Paul Stephenson takes a great catch looking into the sun. Manly have possibly just blown the game out of reach of the Bulldogs.Orford misses the conversion from out wide. Sea Eagles 28-640 min: Halftime here at Telstra Stadium. Manly Sea Eagles 28 Canterbury Bulldogs 6A half that has been dominated by the Manly Sea Eagles. Ben Kennedy has been leading from the front by making 99 meters. Matt Orford is playing excellent and in the process scored his 1000th point in the NRL. Paul Stephenson has been impressive out on his wing and Michael Monaghan and Shane Dunley have been giving good service from dummy half. For the Dogs, Willie Mason has been great. Always looking dangerous with the ball in hand. Sonny Bill Williams needs to be on the field for most of the second half for the Dogs to have a chance of winning. Willie Tonga needs to see more ball in the second fourty minutes as he always looks like making something happen on that left hand side. 40 min: SECOND HALF IF UNDERWAY and from the kick off Anthony Watmough knocks on. Exactly the start the Dogs need. 40 min: NEWS From the scrum Sonny Bill Williams stands at pivot and looses the ball in the tackle.46 min: NEWS Andrew Emelio attempts to step and looks to have suffered a knee injury. Willie Mason back into the game as the Eagles make another mistake in this second half.48 min: NEWS Errors galore at the moment! The Dogs are in great a attacking position but Sonny Bill Williams is controversy ruled to have knocked on.50 min: NEWS Great defence from the Eagles holds the Dogs of yet again. The Eagles have only completed one set so far this half.53 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Sea EaglesOrford is taken out late after putting in a kick and recieves a penalty. Orford slots the penalty goal over from an easy position. Sea Eagles 30-655 min: NEWS Orford puts in a great chip, regathers and passes to Brent Kite who throws a speculator to Travis Burns who looses the ball. Entertaining stuff from the Manly Sea Eagles.58 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsThe Bulldogs relise they need to start throwing the ball around and they get rewarded for their efforts. Roy Asotasi makes a great break and is finished of by Willie Tonga who gets a great ball to Matt Utai to score.Hazem misses the kick from the sideline. Sea Eagles 30-1063 min: NEWS VIDEO REF - Possible try to Sonny Bill Williams. Looking to see if he grounded the ball correctly. Video ref awards the try. 63 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsSonny Bill Williams some how gets the ball over the line with 4 Eagles players attempting to stop him. The Dogs are starting to get back into this match. Hazem misses another goal. Sea Eagles 30-1467 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesThe Dogs gift the Eagles with another try when Daniel Holdsworth throws the ball up straight into the hands of the Manly captain Ben Kennedy who has a free run to the try line.Orford converts from under the posts. Sea Eagles 36-1470 min: NEWS Fill in fullback Chris Hicks seems to have suffered an injury and has come off the field.72 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesTravis Burns throws a long pass to centre Steven Bell who continues his great run of scoring tries for his new club.Orford misses the conversion to the left. Sea Eagles 40-1479 min: NEWS The Eagles fighting till the death with another try nearly going to winger Michael Robertson.80 min: NEWS FULLTIME - Manly Sea Eagles 40 Canterbury Bulldogs 14-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford2 - Ben Kennedy1 - Steve Menzies-----------------------------------------
STEVE McNamara admits he faces a tough baptism as Bradford coach as he takes the side left by Brian Noble to Warrington on Sunday.The engage Super League champions begin life without Noble against a side that beat them at Odsal just a fortnight ago.McNamara has taken charge following Noble?s defection to Wigan this week and is relishing the challenge of following in his highly successful predecessor?s footsteps.The former Bulls loose forward said: ?They are all tricky games but Warrington do have a great record against us. Over history they have been a tough side to beat.?There is pressure in every job, and there is high pressure following a high-profile coach like Brian but I am ready for it.?I know we won the Grand Final but our consistency has not always been there.?Everyone?s perception at the moment is St Helens are the best side in terms of consistency of performance.?As a coach that is what I am striving to achieve here to take us to the next level.?Warrington Wolves v Bradford Bulls, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Sunday April 23 2006Warrington 20-man: Grose, Fa?afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Reardon, Briers, Sullivan, Leikvoll, Clarke, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, Noone, Westwood, Wood, Lima, Parker, Rauhihi, Grix, Bridge.Bradford squad: To be confirmed.Referee: P Taberner
HARLEQUINS hope to maintain their recent form following successive wins over Catalans Dragons and Wigan as they travel to Wakefield.
ROUND 7 Cronulla Sutherland Sharks 24 v North Queensland Cowboys 22at Toyota ParkReferees: Gavin BadgerMatch Summary:Following a week of turmoil, the Cronulla Sharks have responded with a 24-22 victory over competition front-runners North Queensland Cowboys tonight.An email campaign from disgruntled fans had coach Stuart Raper fuming during the week. With many supporters calling for his sacking, an angry Raper responded in the media by describing those behind the emails as "idiots".With a crowd of just over 9,000 on hand, the Toyota Park faithful were treated to a spirited comeback as the Sharks scored 14 unanswered points in the second half. The Cowboys were first to score when backrower Luke O'Donnell backed up after just five minutes. The Sharks struck back through Phil Bailey in the 14th minute to make it 6-4 in favour of the visitors. Five minutes later forward Lance Thompson burst onto a pass from half back Adam Dykes to put the Sharks in front by 10-6 imidway through the first half.With five-eighth Johnathan Thurston setting up play, the North Queenslanders then lifted with sharp tries to Rod Jensen in the 34th minute, and another to O'Donnell to take the Cowboys to a 22-10 half time lead.With Adam Dykes at the helm, the Sharks started the second half in tremendous fashion. A try to Dykes in the 54th minute narrowed the Cowboys lead to six. Dykes then inspired the next try with a fabulous grubber kick for himself before finding Nigel Vagana in support. With 20 minutes to go, the score was locked up at 22-all.With 15 minutes to go, Winger Luke Covell slotted a penalty goal, putting the Sharks two points in front and setting up a nail-biting finish.The Cowboys lifted an effort to keep their unbeaten run intact but the Sharks were equal to the task, holding out their more fancied rivals and pulling off what could be the upset of the season.Scorers:Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 24Tries: Phil Bailey, Adam Dykes, Nigel Vagana, Lance ThompsonGoals: Luke Covell 4/5North Queensland Cowboys: 22Tries: Rod Jensen, Luke O'Donnell(2), Matt SingGoals: Johnathan Thurston 3/4By the Clock:Beaut night at Toyota Park.Calm conditions and no real wind. But a poor crowd just before kickoff.The Sharks desperate for a win and take on competition leaders the Cowboys.Kickoff!5 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysO'Donnell scores. The Cowboys punching 95m upfield following an intercept from Ashley Graham. Conversion from Johnathan Thurston. Cowboys 6-014 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksPhil Bailey crashes over after pushing past some ordinary defence. Follows video ref scrutiny over the put down. Luke Covell unable to convert. Cowboys 6-419 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksLance Thompson on the burst from an Adam Dykes pass, and gets past two defenders to score. Covell converts from right in front. Sharks 10-623 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysMatt Sing scores after the Cowboys get around the defence and have the numbers. Beautifully engineered by Thurston and then Sing who still had plenty of work to do out wide. Thurston conversion attempt just misses. 10 all.28 min: NEWS Sharks looking good in attack. A poor play-the-ball from Thompson sees them lose possession and a good chance goes begging. But the home side are applying the bulk of the pressure.34 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysRod Jensen scores for the visitors. Sharks unable to get a kick away on the last tackle of the previous set and Cowboys capitalise. Thurston converts. Cowboys 16-1037 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysO'Donnell gets a double after Thurston makes a 50m break with Matt Bowen in support. In the next play O'Donnell scores as the defence is trying to regroup. Conversion from Thurston successful. Cowboys 22-10Half time: Cowboys 22-10The Cowboys and Jonnathan Thurston have stamped their authority on the match in the backend of the first half.The Sharks looked good up until 10 minutes ago with Dykes and Thompson the best of the home side. But they were simply unable to keep focussed as the Cowboys stepped up a gear.Still plenty in this match for the Sharks but the Cowboys' converted try just before the break might have been the killer.Second half underway, Sharks defending the southern end...NEWS - Sharks winger Darren Albert noticeably playing more at fullback with David Simmons on the right wing.48 min: NEWS Great start to the second half from the Sharks. Now getting repeat sets at the Cowboys line.52 min: NEWS Sharks get another opportunity when Albert does a terrific job in getting the ball back into the field of play. Then Tevita Latu makes a bust. But they follow it up with handling errors and the Cowboys are off the hook.54 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksAdam Dykes scores next to the posts after Sharks get a penalty and then a roll on. Covell adds the extras. Cowboys 22-1661 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksNigel Vagana scores a great try with a Dykes grubber kick setting up play beautifully. Covell converts 10m from the posts and its all locked up! 22 all.65 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland SharksFrom about 30m out and right in front, Covell puts the Sharks in front. Sharks 24-2268 min: NEWS Cowboys now getting some possession and a repeat set at the Sharks line.70 min: NEWS Sharks' line holds firm and Covell returns the ball with a good run. Dykes putting in a top class kick at the end of the set.73 min: NEWS Sharks still on the attack as Brett Kelly gets his first touch of the ball in first grade. Paul Gallen loses the ball and the Cowboys now counter-attack.77 min: NEWS Aaron Payne now lifting for the Cowboys but the Sharks hold firm and have the ball with just three minutes remaining.78 min: NEWS Tremendous attacking raid from the Cowboys ends with a kick going dead.Full time: Sharks 24-22Sharks put together a great second half to deliver the upset of the year. The Cowboys suffering their first loss of 2006.Following a week of turmoil and harsh criticism from their fans, the Sharks players and coach Stuart Raper have responded in the best possible way, on the football field.Top notch effort from Sharks half Adam Dykes who gets our man of the match. Dykes was the difference in the sides and was able to outshine Thurston who was one of the Cowboys' best. Cowboys backrower Luke O'Donnell made a lot of strong runs, backed up, and was rewarded with two tries. Sharks Winger and part time fullback Darren Albert made some nice breaks and supported his forwards well.Crowd: 9025-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)2 - Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys)1 - Darren Albert (Sharks)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 7 Melbourne Storm 52 v Newcastle Knights 6at Olympic Park MelbourneReferees: Russell SmithMatch Summary:The Melbourne Storm has thrashed the Newcastle Knights 52-6 at Olympic Park this evening in front of a healthy first up home crowd for the Storm.Melbourne came out ready to play footy and with Newcastle missing one A Johns, the task was going to become so much harder as the Knights winning record without Johns would suggest.The game played to script with the Storm running away with the game, which was effectively over by half time with Melbourne holding a commanding 24-6 lead through first half doubles to Greg Inglis and Steve Turner. Inglis left the field midway through the second half with a minor leg injury, which is not believed to be serious.The second half picked up where the first half left off with Melbourne applying the blow torch to the Newcastle defence and they came up trumps more often than not, with Mick Crocker leading the way with some punishing defence and Cameron Smith providing the spark in attack.Newcastle, to put it simply, had no answer for the speed of the Melbourne Storm, who were fast and ruthless in everything they did. Melbourne?s little men in Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Nathan Friend all proved to be a handful for the Knights defence and apart from Danny Buderus, the rest of the Knights could not keep pace with their southern opponents.As the game wore on, the tensions between the two sides started to boil over with some cheap shots from the Knights and some punishing legal and not so legal defence from the Storm with Jake Webster put on report for a dangerous throw while Daniel Tolar for the Knights was replaced after getting smashed in a perfectly legal Mick Crocker tackle.History has shown that no side has ever won the competition after having 50 points scored against them and Newcastle join Canberra and St George Illawarra, two teams they ironically scored 50 against as the only teams in the NRL to date to concede 50 points in a match.On tonight?s form, the Storm are very much in the premiership hunt for 2006. Newcastle are obviously still a threat but without Johns, they are a completely different side, one devoid of leadership and confidence.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 52Tries: Matt Geyer, Greg Inglis(2), Antonio Kaufusi, David Kidwell, Matt King, Steve Turner(2), Jake WebsterGoals: Cameron Smith 8/10Newcastle Knights: 6Tries: Kurt GidleyGoals: Kurt Gidley 1/1By the Clock: 1 min: NEWS We are underway for the first time in 2006 at Olympic Park in Melbourne.1 min: TRY Melbourne StormThe Melbourne Storm are off to a flying start with a try in the first minute to teen sensation Greg Inglis. A true superstar in the making. Storm 6-09 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormGreg Inglis was taken high by Kurt Gidley in front of his own posts and Cameron Smith wastes no time in extending the Storms lead. Storm 8-011 min: NEWS Melbourne look very sharp tonight and are making plenty of metres up the middle and are looking good on the fringes as well. Andrew Johns is not playing for the Knights in case anyone was wondering.14 min: NEWS No try to the Knights after video ref Bill Harrigan rules Josh Perry passed the ball from the ground. It was the correct call.15 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsJarred Mulle drops in a nice kick behind the Storm defensive line for Kurt Gidley to punce on the ball to score the Knights first try. Gidley copped a cork to the hip in the process. Storm 8-620 min: TRY Melbourne StormSteve Turner scores a great try in the corner off a well place brubber in behind the Knights defensive line. Touchline conversion successful. Storm 14-629 min: NEWS Possible try to Mick Crocker from the Storm. He is having a very good game so far. Damaging on both attack and defence.29 min: NEWS No try to the Storm. Changeover to the Knights.30 min: TRY Melbourne StormGreg Inglis scores another sizzling try to take his season tally to 8 and his name will almost certainly be read out when the Qld team is announced for Origin 1. Storm 20-636 min: TRY Melbourne StormCameron Smith kicks the ball downfiled and the Storm players race down after the ball and with a lucky bounce, Steve Turner beats David Seage to the ball on the Knights line, spins and scores an absolute ripper just before half time. Turner and Inglis have two tries each so far and the Knights are a long way off the pace now. Storm 24-640 min: NEWS Melbourne hold a commanding 18 point lead over the Knights at half time and the Storm are doing it in style with two tries to both Greg Inglis and Steve Turner. Mick Crocker is making his presence felt in both attack and defence while Cameron Smith is having a blinder out of dummy half. Newcastle aren't playing that bad but the enthusiasm levels and skill from the Storm is proving too much for the Knights at this stage.43 min: TRY Melbourne StormKidwell scores without a finger being placed on him to make it virtually impossible for the Knights to comeback from here without Andrew Johns. Storm 30-651 min: NEWS Greg Inglis leaves the field with a leg injury while Mick Crocker has been mistakenly put on report for a dangerous throw. The player in question was Jake Webster.53 min: TRY Melbourne StormJake Webster scores for the Storm as the game starts to become embarrassing for the Knights. With still over 25 minutes to play, the Storm look set to run riot. Storm 36-661 min: NEWS Possible try to Matt Knig for the Storm and thematch all of a sudden has become very feiry with Melbourne coming up with some ferocious defence, led superbly by Mick Crocker.61 min: TRY Melbourne StormTry awarded to Matt King who had been relatively quiet up until half time. He has had an excellent second half and the Knights have well and truly put the cue in the rack. Storm 42-667 min: NEWS Melbourne get a repeat set of six and the fifty point mark is certainly not out of the question with the mood the Storm are in.71 min: TRY Melbourne StormAnother try to the Storm as the 50 point marks looms large on the horizon. This time Antonio Kaufusi was the beneficiary. Storm 46-677 min: TRY Melbourne StormMelboure hit 50 and the Knights now join Canberra and St George Illawarra as the only teams to have 50 scored against them this year. Storm 52-6-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Michael Crocker2 - Cameron Smith1 - Greg Inglis-----------------------------------------
ROUND 7 New Zealand Warriors 46 v South Sydney Rabbitohs 14at Ericsson StadiumReferees: Jason RobinsonMatch Summary:Warriors Move in to the Positive The New Zealand Warriors are off the mark in 2006 following a 46-14 hammering of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Auckland tonight. The forwards led from the front from the first whistle with inspirational leaders, Ruben Wiki and Steven Price standing up and taking control. Tony Martin kicked 9 from 9 and scored a try for a 22 point tally for the former Melbourne Storm star. This was a record for the most amount of points scored by a Warriors against a Rabbitoh in their short history as an NRL club. The Warriors led 26-4 at the break after a point scoring spree in the last fifteen minutes before halftime. The game was left wide open after a tight open quarter but the game sprung to life after a try to Tony Martin against the run of play. The Rabbitohs were able to get one try back before the break through former Panther Ben Rogers but a penalty goal and a long range try to Brent Webb opened the game right up before the break. The Rabbitohs lost Todd Polglase to a hamstring injury late in the first half but that didn?t stop them from coming out fired up for the second half. They ran in two quick tries just after the break to give themselves a sniff at 28-14. However, with the great goforward of the Warriors forwards, they were able to run away with the game. The Warriors now move in to positive territory on two points following their four point deduction as a result of a salary cap breach. They move off the bottom of the ladder which now means Souths sit in last place without a win. It won?t get any easier for the Bunnies as they take on Newcastle next weekend.Scorers:New Zealand Warriors: 46Tries: Todd Byrne, Tony Martin, Steve Price, Brent Webb, Ruben Wiki(2), George GatisGoals: Tony Martin 9/9South Sydney Rabbitohs: 14Tries: John Sutton, Paul Mellor, Ben RogersGoals: Nathan Merritt 1/3By the Clock:There is 1 change for the Warriors tonight.Jerome Ropati moves to five-eight,Grant Rovelli goes back to the bench with Richard Villasanti dropping off the bench.Guttenbiel will go back to the bench with Luck promoted to the starting side.For Souths,Germaine Paulson comes in for Adam Macdougall,Paul Mellor for Shannon Hegarty.Shannan McPherson drops off the bench.A very small crowd in here,but that won't darken each sides efforts to take the 2 points out of this one.1 min: NEWS Kickoff!5 min: NEWS Michael Luck is hit in a bellringer from Shane Walker5 min: NEWS Clinton Toopi is held up ingoal and it will be a play the ball on 0 tackle following a lead up play touched by Souths.6 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsSome poor goal line defence and Ruben Wiki from a standing start crashes over next to the posts.Martin converts the try. Warriors 6-013 min: NEWS Souths are deep on the attack but Ben Walker lets his team down on the last tackle as his bomb sails well over the dead ball line.16 min: NEWS Fien puts a kick down field and Merritt takes off with the ball.He finds Paulson who races down field,tries to find Merritt on his outside but the ball goes in to touch 30 metres out from the tryline.17 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsRuben Wiki takes the tap from a penalty 30 metres out.He charges past the first line of defence before barging over the top of Polglase to score under the posts for his second try!Martin converts the Wiki try.Warriors 12-022 min: NEWS Brent Webb is denied a try after Ropati throws a forward pass to him on the inside.25 min: NEWS Going to the video for a possible Warriors try ...25 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsTony Martin scoops up a grubber that rebounded off a player next to him.He picks it up and runs 50 metres to score under the posts.A question on whether he was offside.Martin converts his own try. Warriors 18-028 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsRogers gets one back for the Rabbits as he scores in the corner off a swift second man play.Merritt from the touchline hooks it wide. Warriors 18-429 min: NEWS Faalogo drops the ball from the kickoff giving the Warriors a chance to hit back.32 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand WarriorsMartin shoots over a penalty goal from right infront following a hold down penalty from Souths. Warriors 20-433 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsA break by Gutenbiel on half way,he links up with Brent Webb who runs 40 metres to score under the posts.Martin slots another one over from right infront. Warriors 26-435 min: NEWS After a mistake from the kickoff from the Warriors,Lowe tries to pop a pass on the first tackle for the Bunnies but the ball goes straight to Guttenbiel.40 min: NEWS Halftime.South Sydney have been horrible in defence in the first half.They have already missed 20 tackles and things like they will go from bad to worse.They have no respect for the football as they have had 8 errors in the first half.The Warriors however,despite not being flashy in the first half,they have got the job done so far with only 6 mistackles and 6 errors.Warriors 61% - Rabbitohs 49 % Possession41 min: NEWS Second Half underway and the Warriors kick out on the full from the kickoff!42 min: NEWS With a gap opening,Merritt finds Walker who puts it down releasing all the pressure they had gained.43 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand WarriorsMartin slots a penalty goal from right in front after an obstruction when a Fien bomb hit the turf. Warriors 28-446 min: NEWS Going upstairs for a possible Souths try.46 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsBen Walker,with nothing on puts a cross field grubber in for Paul Mellor who does extremely well to stay in as he scores in the corner.Merritt's conversion is way off the mark. Warriors 28-851 min: NEWS The Bunnies deep on the attack from back to back penalties.53 min: TRY South Sydney RabbitohsJohn Sutton barges over under the posts on tackle 5 following sustained pressure on the back of repeat sets of 6 from penalties.Merritt converts his first of the night. Warriors 28-1463 min: NEWS Souths have kept the Warriors out in attack very well in the 2nd half,thus giving themselves a slight chance of a comeback.66 min: NEWS The Warriors get six more tackles on the Rabbitohs line.67 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsGeorge Gatis dives over from dummy half to seal the game for the Warriors.Martin keeps his good record in tact. Warriors 34-1471 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsSteve Price dives over from out wide off an offload close to the line.Martin slots another one over. Warriors 40-1478 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsA great offload by Faumuina on the left hand side and Todd Byrne dives over to score which caps off a great night for the Warriors.Martin's conversion from the sideline is a ripper. Warriors 46-1480 min: NEWS Fulltime here in Auckland!-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Ruben Wiki2 - Awen Guttenbeil1 - Steve Price-----------------------------------------
HULL?S caretaker coach Richard Agar admits he is looking forward to relinquishing control of first-team affairs after Saturday?s trip to Catalans Dragons.
GREAT Britain coach Brian Noble takes charge of Wigan for the first time at Huddersfield.
SALFORD coach Karl Harrison believes his in-form players are helping create a bright new future for the club.
FORMER Leeds prop Danny Ward insists he has no axe to grind as he prepares for his first return to Headingley since his sacking.
BARTERCARD CUP COMPETITION - ROUND 5 FIXTURES (Split Round) Saturday 22 April 2006 Waitakere Rangers vs Canterbury BullsEricsson Stadium, Auckland 5:30pm Kick OffWarriors/Rabbitohs Curtain RaiserWaitakere RangersROBINSON GODFREY (Wearing Number 18)JOHN TAVAGABOYCIE NELSONLEE TAMATOANANA TUIPULOTUGAVIN BAILEY (CO-C)BERNARD PERENARAHAMISH BARCLAYJUNIOR FIUCHARLIE WAIDEHENRY TURUA (CO-C)KARL EDMONDSONMATTHEW RUABENCHDEAN SHEPHERDMARK TOELAUBLEU TAMATOATANGATA RAELACoach: Bernie PerenaraCanterbury BullsLEE FIDOWDANIEL METCALFDONOVAN AITKENROSS MARTINLUCAS TAMAKAHAJOSH RUEBENDUANE WINETIVINCE WHARE(C) SHANE BEYERS ALEX TIMOJONNY LIMMERCLINTON FRASERCOREY LAWRIEBENCHROSS TURIBLAKE MILNERJOSEPH POMBOJOHN LENECoach: Philip PrescottReferee: Craig PascoeTouch Judges: Raima Koti and Aaron KeshaWaicoa Bay Stallions vs Northern Storm Resthills Park, Hamilton 2.30pm Kick OffWaicoa Bay StallionsJUNIOR AURUANARU GRANTMATT STOWERSDANEY RAYNERMICHAEL MOOREHEREMAIA SAMSONHAYDEN KARENATHOMAS UFI (C)PETER PRIMESHANE TEKURUNOAH RUTENESIMON BEALEMICHAEL STEVENSBENCHSHEA BRODRICKJOSHUA DAVIDJOSHUA ADAMSMARRIN HAGGIECoach: Hiki RuteneNorthern StormDYLAN WEREINOKE TAUFASIONE MOALAJACK WALKERARNIE KANEJOEL FREEMANANTHONY CLYDESTEVE RAUHENRY GODINETPUHI TOABLAKE EWEADAM DONALDSON(C) JOE RAUBENCHKAHU HENAREJOHNEEN FAGAVAOJOE IOANEVINCENT MAFICoach: Geoff MortonReferee: Phil CrumpeTouch Judges: TBAMonday 24 April 2006Live And Free-To-Air On Maori TelevisionTamaki Leopards vs Wellington OrcasNorth Harbour Stadium, Albany 8.00pm Kick OffFREE ENTRYTamaki LeopardsCOOPER VUNATAAVILI LEAUNOAAIROE BOAZAKOTISI FAKALATATUKI JACKSONWILLIE HETAMANA ASHFORDSINAVE FAITALE (C)TROY BECROFT (GENE VAAFUSUAGA)GEORGE TUAKURAISAAC LIAVAARITCHIE JOHNSONPAUL ATKINSBENCHFRED TURUWHENUASIONE NIUILADARIN KINGIGEOFFREY RUAPOROPELE PELETELESECoach: Dean ClarkWellington OrcasDION LAULUDESTA BUCHANANMATT WANOATOLLY AUVAAOMPALUS KUABEN TARAEKALEON BOYD(C) TAYLOR PELENISEJUSTIN CARNEGIEPAUL RUDMANDALLAS RENNIESIMON MANNERINGHAYDEN DAVISBENCHASHLEY PARKERWESLEY HENRYDANIEL MISAMOSE MASOECoach: Paul BergmanReferee: Dave PakietoTouch Judges: TBA