QUEENSLAND captain Darren Lockyer says Blues halfback Craig Gower can expect to come in for a lot of attention in Wednesday night's Origin decider in Melbourne. With Gower the only recognised kicker in the NSW side, Queensland plan to pressure his clearances whenever possible. Lockyer says it's one area where Queensland can attack NSW.
THERE was no mistaking who the fans came to see at Bishop Park on Sunday. Women screamed his name on his first touch of the ball, both sexes cheered loudly when he scored the first try of the match, even Norths boss Mark Murray was prompted to muse it was ?Billy Slater Day?.
MARK Gee has credited a ?welcoming? atmosphere in this year?s Toowoomba camp as the reason for the Clydesdales? unwavering consistency in the face of wholesale changes week-to-week.
EASTS has won three games in a row for the first time in over a year, secured with a 34-30 victory against neighbouring rival Wynnum Manly on Saturday.
THE Burleigh Bears are monitoring injuries to prop Ali Brown and winger Trent Purdon, following a passionate 24-7 win against Redcliffe at Pizzey Park on Saturday.Both Brown and Purdon have hamstring woes and are uncertain propositions to face last-placed Wynnum Manly in Round 16. The match is a must-win if Burleigh is to consolidate a spot in the top five, with a bye for Tweed Heads presenting a wonderful opportunity.In a positive for the Bears, centres Chris Barnes and Jamie Russo are expected to play, despite also appearing to be hurt in the final stages of the clash versus the Dolphins.Contestants in the last three grand finals, the Bears pushed their post-season claims with a whole-hearted display after trailing 7-6 at halftime.Burleigh scored four tries to none in the second half to seal the result, although under-strength Redcliffe was far from disgraced in a tough and entertaining encounter.Indeed, Redcliffe was without at least six top-line players due to representative commitments, injury and suspension, and spent much of the game defending in its own half.The tide effectively turned Burleigh?s way three minutes after halftime when wingers Purdon and Alwyn Simpson contested a cross-field kick from Ryan Gundry.Leaping, the pair collided, with the ball rebounding into the arms of the trailing Robert Apanui. Following a head clash in the first half with Dolphins forward Danny Green, Reggie Cressbrook missed the subsequent conversion , leaving the score 10-7.Helping to fill the void left by Shane O?Flanagan (QLD Residents) and Brett O?Farrell (pneumonia), interchange forward James Griffiths then went on a one-man rampage for the Bears.In the 54th minute he surged through the middle of the park, flicking off two defenders to score underneath the posts, extending Burleigh?s lead. On the resultant kick-off, he again broke the line with powerful leg drive.Coming out of their own end and suffering an unfavourable string of penalties, Redcliffe had its own valued performers, with young winger Tim Yee highly impressive and Nick Walker strong up front.The Dolphins competitive spirit was doused however, when Aseri Laing and Adam Hutchison crossed in quick succession with roughly 20 remaining minutes in the match.Hutchison?s try was a stunner, coming after fill-in five-eighth Clay Harris showed nimble footwork to penetrate some stretched defence and then threaded a gap between defenders with a pin-point pass to his left.The loss for Redcliffe means the Dolphins are now third on the ladder, trailing North Queensland and Toowoomba. Burleigh has won 16 of the last 25 games between the two heavyweight clubs.BURLEIGH 24 (Adam Hutchison 2, Robert Apanui, James Griffiths, Aseri Laing tries; Reggie Cressbrook 2 goals) d REDCLIFFE 7 (Greg Bourke try; Gerard Parle goal; Gerard Parle field goal) at Pizzey Park.Source: qrl.com.au
PETER Holmes A Court and Russell Crowe have struck another blow against South Sydney patriarch George Piggins, claiming they now have the biggest say with the embattled leagues club's administrators.
WESTS Tigers coach Tim Sheens has refused to concede his team can't defend its NRL premiership without Benji Marshall after yet another loss without the star playmaker.
NSW Origin coach Graham Murray remains confident utility Ben Hornby will be fit to take on Queensland despite Blues selectors adding his St George Illawarra team mate Dean Young to the squad as a precaution.
SALFORD City Reds 17 (Langi 2, Robinson tries; Hodgson, Myler goals; Dunemann field goal) def. Bradford Bulls 16 (Pryce, B Harris, Ferres tries; Deacon 2 goals). Att: 4,203.
ROUND 17 of the NRL was preceded by the Great Britain v New Zealand Rugby League Test match in the UK. The Lions proved too good in downing the Kiwis 46-14 at Knowsley Road, St Helens.
LUCKLESS Newcastle hooker Luke Quigley will be sidelined for a month after dislocating his elbow in Friday's morale-boosting win over Manly. Quigley was returning from a broken jaw suffered in a pub incident in Newcastle in April which sidelined him for two months.
WIGAN Warriors' battle to avoid relegation from the engage Super League took another huge step forward with a narrow victory by 26-24 over fellow strugglers Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.Both teams scored four converted tries, but the difference was the penalty goal kicked by Michael Dobson three minutes into the second half.But the Warriors would have had grounds for complaint had the result gone against them, because both of Quins? first-half tries were highly controversial.After 18 minutes, Solomon Haumono appeared to be stopped short of the line, but attempted to ground the ball over the whitewash. Referee Karl Kirkpatrick went to the video referee, who took an age to give the Samoan the benefit of the doubt and the try. Henry Paul converted.Wigan hit back with two tries in seven minutes to take the lead approaching the half-time hooter.First, Chris Ashton took Danny Orr?s pass to cross near to the posts. Then, in the 32nd minute, Brett Dallas picked off a pass from Mark McLinden, intended for Nick Bradley-Qalilawa and he returned it 50 metres for a try behind the posts.On the stroke of half-time, Pat Weisner tried to go over but lost the ball on the line. The hooter went, but referee Karl Kirkpatrick went to the video referee, who ruled a penalty try, the tackle by Dobson being ruled illegal and stopping a score.Having fallen behind to Dobson?s second-half penalty, Quins regained the lead when Joe Mbu ran onto Karl Temata's short pass and blasted his way to the line. Paul's conversion gave Quins a four-point lead, but they could not hold onto it.After 54 minutes, Mark Calderwood raced onto a grubber kick, dribbled forward and dived on the ball in the in-goal area. Six minutes later, Calderwood turned provider for Ashton to score his second try.Harlequins cut the deficit to two points when McLinden picked up a ball dropped backwards by Zeb Luisi as he was being forced into touch and ran past two startled Warriors to touch down. The video referee had his easiest call of the night to give the try.But it was not enough for Quins. They did not really pressure the Wigan line and it was the Warriors who looked more likely to score.Harlequins RL: Lucky Luisi, Wells, Gafa, Smith, Bradley-Qalilawa, Paul, McLinden, Temata, Randall, Tookey, Haumono, Purdham, Mbu.Replacements: Weisner, Williams, Leuluai, Heckenberg.Wigan: Ashton, Calderwood, Radlinski, McAvoy, Dallas, Orr, Dobson, Fielden, Higham, Paleaaesina, Hock, Fletcher, O'Loughlin.Replacements: Logan, O'Carroll, Hansen, Tickle.Harlequins RL (12) 24.Tries: Haumono, Mbu, McLinden. Goals: Paul 4.Wigan (12) 26.Tries: Ashton 2, Dallas, Calderwood. Goals: Dobson 5.Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington)Att: 4,115Source: www.superleague.co.uk
HULL clinched their second win in the south of France, by 24-16, to extend their winning run in the engage Super League to 11 matches and move to within two points of leaders St Helens.
JUNIOR Langi touched down twice as Salford ended their two-match losing streak by edging out Bradford 17-16 to climb to fifth in the engage Super League.Salford had lost their previous two games at The Willows by last-gasp drop goals but this time they held on as Bulls scrum-half Paul Deacon missed a late one-pointer to level the scores.Yet the Reds had fallen behind early as Andrew Dunemann's speculative pass was intercepted by Karl Pryce, who raced away to score.Bradford, bidding to stretch their three-match unbeaten run, came close to extending their lead moments later but Simon Finnigan intervened to prevent Deacon getting his pass away.Salford withstood the early pressure and bounced back after Brett Ferres was sinbinned midway through the first half for interference.The Reds made it count with their first try created by Luke Robinson's clever kick, from which Aaron Moule sent Langi over for his fourth try of the season. David Hodgson landed a touchline conversion to give the home side a 6-4 lead.Salford grabbed a second try moments later with Robinson again the provider, the stand-off sending Langi crashing over. Dunemann then notched a drop goal just before half-time to give Salford an 11-4 interval lead.Bradford, without Kiwi winger Lesley Vainikolo because of a knee injury sustained during the XXXX Test against Great Britain on Tuesday, hit back after the restart with Ferres crossing after clever work from Deacon.Salford, who were thrashed 58-0 by the Bulls last year, welcomed back Aussies Kevin McGuinness and Dunemann after they had missed the trip to St Helens last week.And the Reds had a lucky break early in the second half when Terry Newton's try was disallowed for offside as the visitors began to mount serious pressure.Bradford lost substitute Andy Smith, who left the field with concussion, but rallied to retake the lead with Ben Harris scoring to set up a nail-biting finale.Salford though, who had only won one out of 18 previous Super League meetings against Bradford, replied with Robinson jinking over for a fine solo effort and Stephen Myler added the conversion to give the Reds a 17-16 lead.Deacon failed to land a drop goal with two minutes remaining and Salford hung on to record a memorable victory.Salford: Hodgson, Langi, Moule, Littler, McGuinness, Dunemann, Robinson, Lima, Alker, Rutgerson, Sibbit, Coley, Finnigan.Replacements: Adamson, Highton, Haggerty, Myler.Bradford: Withers, St Hilaire, Hape, B. Harris, Pryce, I. Harris, Deacon, Lynch, Newton, Meyers, McKenna, Ferres, Langley.Replacements: Vagana, Henderson, James, Smith.Salford: (11) 17.Tries: Langi 2, Robinson.Goals: Hodgson, Myler.Drop Goals: Dunemann.Bradford: (4) 16.Tries: Pryce, Ferres, B. Harris.Goals: Deacon 2.Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)Att: 4,203Source: www.superleague.co.uk
ST Helens? latest star James Graham admits he has had little time to dwell on his superb Great Britain debut this week.