THE Georgian National Rugby League side, Tsameti Kartveli, celebrated their country?s Independence Day in style last Saturday as they downed the Netherlands 57-16 in front of 10,935 wildly enthusiastic fans at Vake Stadium , Tblisi. The match, which was broadcast live on Georgian national television, was the second step for each team on the road to the 2008 World Cup in Sydney.
THE Cronulla Sutherland Supporters Club (CSSC) is pleased to announce that it will be launching its website this Sunday.
CANBERRA and Penrith doing themselves proud
BRISBANE Broncos prop Shane Webcke has had to quit training early after suffering back spasms this morning. But the former Test and Origin forward is not considered in any doubt for Sunday's NRL clash with Warriors in Auckland.
SYDNEY Roosters enforcer Adrian Morley is on the brink of walking out on the NRL after receiving only a one-year offer to extend his stay at the Bondi Junction club.
PENRITH halfback Craig Gower will give his surgically-repaired knee its first real test later today when he runs for the first time since last week's Origin-eve mishap. Gower, who was ruled out the day before Origin one following a training injury, is desperate to play in Sunday's clash against the Manly, with the NSW side for Origin two to be selected on Monday.
THE South Sydney Rabbitohs have started the 2006 NRL Season with 11 straight losses and the club with the most Premierships in the history of the game looks odds on to collect their third Wooden Spoon (could be a 4th had it not been for the Bulldogs) since returning to the competition in 2002.
LEEDS have signed New Zealand Test centre Clinton Toopi on a three-year contract from next season.
BRADFORD Bulls have today announced the capture of Parramatta Eels Back Row Forward Glenn Morrison on a two year contract for the 2007 and 2008 Super League seasons. Morrison, who weighs 98 kgs and stands at 188 centimetres, has played 194 games in the NRL scoring 58 tries and kicking 20 goals in a career that has seen him represent Balmain Tigers, North Sydney and the North Queensland Cowboys before joining his present club at the start of the 2005 season. Speaking today Glenn Morrison said of the move:?I?m very excited to be coming over to Bradford and playing in the English Super League. It?s a great club; World Champions and you can?t get much better than that! My family are really looking forward to it as well and as far as I am concerned it just can?t come around quick enough.? Bulls Coach Steve McNamara is delighted with his first signing for the club. ?Glenn is a fantastic acquisition for the Bulls and we have fought off a lot of clubs to secure his signature. I think he will quickly establish himself as a real favourite with both the players and the supporters.? The Bulls have also announced that former Brisbane Broncos Back Row Forward Brad Meyers has asked to be released from the last year of his contract and will return home to Australia at the end of the season.Meyers, who joined the club at the start of the 2005 season, has decided to leave for what he describes as ?personal reasons.? Meyers said: ?I have some responsibilities back home that I have to start taking but I have really enjoyed my stay at Bradford. I am really glad I came over and it?s been a part of my life I?ll never forget. It has also given me back my love of football and I wish the club every success in the future. Commenting on Meyers? departure, Steve McNamara said: ?Brad has made a huge contribution to the club over the past eighteen months and we are all sad to see home go. He has his personal reasons for wishing to return to Australia and we fully understand them. He has been a great servant to the Bulls and he leaves with all our best wishes for the future.?
LIKE most fans of the game, the circumstances surrounding the citing and eventual suspension of Trent Barrett has me confused and even a little disturbed.For once, it seems, I can also speak from first hand knowledge as I attended the game in question between the Dragons and Knights up at Marathon Stadium. And before we wade into the murky waters of the judiciary, I?d like to tip my hat to Brian Carney.Here?s a player who asks for nothing from the game but gives everything he has each week. The hit he copped from Barrett was pretty nasty and he didn?t get up whinging, or in some cases, stay down to milk a penalty. Instead of gesticulating with the referee he got on with the game. It?s comforting to know that the Good Lord still builds Rugby League players of his ilk.Now, onto the judiciary?where doth that mysterious beast lurk?There would be few fans, if any, that haven?t had a gripe with the judiciary system over the years. But of late it seems that the inconsistencies within the process have widened to such a gulf that rational and reasonable discussion and comparisons can no longer be drawn.Two weeks ago when Canterbury took on Cronulla at Telstra Stadium a fight broke out between Sonny Bill Williams and Phil Bailey. Both players were sin-binned and the match review committee suspended Bulldogs winger Matt Utai for a fortnight after he became the third man in and proceeded to throw punches in Bailey?s direction. A precedent was set for this penalty in 2004 when Brett Finch was also suspended for the same violation when playing for the Roosters.So, what does this have to do with anything I hear you ask?Four days later during State of Origin I, again at Telstra, Justin Hodges and Eric Grothe stood toe-to-toe before Grothe unleashed a couple a punches which found their mark. As the fight broke out Queensland forward Matthew Scott rushes in to aid his fellow cane toad, who at that stage was in desperate need of some assistance.Scott flayed off a few temple teasers in exactly the same circumstances as Utai, yet he was not the subject of a citing or suspension. In this case it was hard to miss ? there was a fight and many people became involved. Clearly this would have come to the attention of the match review committee.Are we to conclude that State of Origin matches are on a different plane than club games? Surely not.The original non-citing of Barrett at least goes some way to explaining the failings of the judiciary given the hit was very subtle in comparison to a fight which stopped the match.But I just can?t understand how the process of a match review can take place, without charges laid, then the match review itself can be reviewed based off ?new? footage that was either previously unavailable or simply disregarded by the match reviewer.If you?re buying the line that some ?junior Channel Nine employee? discovered the footage then you probably still believe in Santa Clause. To begin with the very suggestion that this person can set in motion a chain of events which results in Barrett?s citing is utterly ridiculous. The referees within the NRL make themselves about as available to the outside world as the Loch Ness Monster.There is something more sinister at work here but at the end of the day I believe justice was served. Barrett was punished according to his crime.But at what price? It would appear that we have taken the whole process out of the hands of an appointed official and given it to anyone with a copy of a game that picks up on something that the officials don?t. Apparently not! Our good mate Warrick Nicolson highlighted the aforementioned ?Scott Incident? to David Gallop, Greg McCallum and at least five media outlets including Channel 9 and the Daily Telegraph the morning after it happened.He received no response from the powers that be, shooting holes in the suggestion that any ?new? acts of foul play would be looked at seriously if there was a case to answer. Thankfully Rugby League Week had the sense to print it in this week?s letters but that hardly affords Matt Utai the same level of justice considering Scott is running around this week.The icing on the cake comes from Channel Nine director of sport Steve Crawley who has according to the Sydney Morning Herald phoned Dragons CEO Peter Doust on several occasions to apologise because he was ?uncomfortable with Nine policing rugby league?.I wonder if Doust?s side of that conversation was suitable only for the 9.30pm timeslot?As I sit here lamenting the course of events that have taken shape over the past few days I find myself asking the question ?How did we let things come to this??The NRL judiciary will try on anything they like these days. So what?s worse: the inconsistencies that are rife throughout our game, or the fact that many of us have accepted their inconsistencies as a part of our game?
AFTER serving a seven-match NRL suspension, Billy Slater wants to cement his place back in the in-form Melbourne Storm line up before pondering the chance of a recall to the Queensland Origin team.
NEWCASTLE second-rower Clint Newton says St George Illawarra skipper Trent Barrett got off lightly with a six-match suspension for his hit on Knights teammate Brian Carney.
WOLVES too strong for Cas
WIDNES have completed the signing of former Wigan scrum-half Dennis Moran.
COURTESY of the Fraser Coast Chronicle
By Richard Harvey