AS Wigan prepare to enter the last-chance saloon coach, Brian Noble has called for a big effort from his relegation-threatened side.
ROUND 10 Melbourne Storm 18 v North Queensland Cowboys 6at Olympic Park, MelbourneReferee: Steven ClarkMatch Summary: The Melbourne Storm are our new competition leaders after an 18-6 victory over the North Queensland Cowboys. In what was a fantastic game of rugby league with only three penalties being awarded throughout the match, the Storm were strong in every area of the game and put on a near perfect performance in front of a strong crowd at Olympic Park.The game started off horrible for the home side with an error being made before a tackle was made in the match. The Storm defence held strong in the first set and that set the tone for the rest of the match. Another chance went begging when Origin centre Paul Bowman went extremely close to posting the first points on the board in the 12th minute, but again the Storm defence held strong from the home side. The first try came in superb fashion, with Cooper Cronk starting it off by putting in a cross field kick inside his own half which found winger Matt Geyer. On the next play Cameron Smith put up a massive torpedo bomb which was collected by the Storm and from that the ball went wide and Kiwi international David Kidwell scored. 15 minutes later the Storm were in again through Australian winger Matt King and that set up a handy 12-0 lead for the Storm going into the half time break.The second half didnt start well for Storm five eighth Scott Hill, with a head clash with Dallas Johnson busting open the former international. Cameron Smith slotted over a penalty goal in the 47th minute after Greg Inglis made a line break from a kick return. The Cowboys couldnt transform their opportunities into points which frustrated them straight out of the game. The free-flowing game continued throughout the second half with many breaks and expansive football being on show. The Storm then put the game out of reach of the Cowboys with Cameron Smith finishing of a fantastic performance and scoring out of dummy half. The Cowboys did everything possible to get on the board in the final stages of the match and were successful through Brenton Bowen and Jonathon Thurston adding the extras out wide.For the Storm, Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis were tremendous. Smith tackled his heart out and scored a nice try and proved why he is one of the games great hookers. Smith's likely Origin team mate Greg Inglis was also superb with him making constant breaks and always causing trouble for the Cowboys.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 18Tries: David Kidwell, Matt King, Cameron SmithGoals: Cameron Smith 3/4North Queensland Cowboys: 6Tries: Brenton BowenGoals: Johnathan Thurston 1/1By the ClockWelcome ladies and gentleman to Olympic park for a top of the table contest between the hard-hitting Melbourne Storm and the high-flying North Queensland Cowboys. The Cowboys are coming of a solid win against the Penrith Panthers are looking for an even better performance after a couple of weeks of being below their best. The Storm on their other hand have won their past 4 in a row but face a tough task with out International back Jake Webster, Queensland back-rower Michael Crocker and Country Origin prop Brett White. Cameron Smith and Greg Inglis have been in scintillating form for the Storm and will look to continue that sort of form just before the Origin series starts. Matt Bowen is another player who is looking to push his claim for the Queensland number 1 jersey, so expect a big performance from the electrifying fullback.These two teams clashed earlier this year at Dairy Farmers stadium in Townsville, where the Cowboys put the Storm to the sword with an impressive 40-8 victory.The Changes:The Melbourne Storm have lost Kiwi winger Jake Webster Craig Bellemy has brought in Adam Blair as the replacement.The North Queensland Cowboys have lost Australian forward Luke O?Donnell and Country forward Mitch Sargent. They call in big Gavin Cooper to move into the centres and that pushes Paul Bowman into the back row. Rob Tanielu comes on to the bench as we are ready to get under way here in Melbourne.KICK OFF here at Olympic Park! 2 min: NEWS The Storms goal line defence holds out the Cowboys off in the first attacking set of the game. The crowd here at Olympic park is very vocal.6 min: NEWS A kick gets put up by Cameron Smith that Bowen fumbles and a goal line drop out is awarded to the home team. 10 min: NEWS A fast paced game in the early going here. Both defences have been tested and both have held strong. 12 min: NEWS Paul Bowman goes extremley close in putting the first points on the board. A short ball from Thurston hits Bowman on the chest who hits the hole but just tackled short of the line. Great stuff!18 min: NEWS Lost ball from Kiwi forward David Kidwell and the Cowboys have the scrum in good field position.However, from the scrum Travis Norton knocks on and the Storm now have the ball. 21 min: TRY Melbourne StormA great try from the Melbourne Storm! A cross field kick from Cooper Cronk deep in their own territory finds Matt Geyer and from the next play Cameron Smith puts the ball high in the air, taken by the Storm who spread it out and find David Kidwell who scores a fantastic rugby league try. Smith converts the try.Storm 6-025 min: NEWS Matty Bowen on a kick return steps his way through the defence and runs a nice 45 meters to get some momentum back for the Cowboys.32 min: NEWS The Storm defence is excellent at the moment. The Cowboys playing razzle dazzle but scrambling defence from the Storm has been fantastic. Incredibly, there has not been one penalty yet in the game. Just adds to what has been a fast free flowing game of rugby league.37 min: TRY Melbourne StormAnother great try from the Storm! Winger Steve Turner goes down the sideline but Matty Bowen puts on a big hit that stops the play. In the next play origin winger Matt King barges over and the Storm now have a two try lead here at Olympic Park.Cameron Smith adds the extras. Storm 12-0HALFTIME here at Olympic Park!What a half of football! The Melbourne Storm have been terrific in all areas of the game, especially in their defence. Some great tries from the home team, both of which have both come from in their own half. Thurston and Bowen have been looking dangerous but havn't been able to put that into points as of yet.A nice fast game of football, thanks to the fact that referee Steven Clarke has not given one single penalty. It's added to what has so far been a great spectacle and the good news for all of us fans is that it's only half way in being complete.Halftime stats: Possession: Melbourne Storm 51% North Queensland Cowboys 49Penalties: Melbourne Storm 0 North Queensland Cowboys 0Completion Rate: Melbourne Storm 11/21 North Queensland Cowboys 10/17Line Breaks: Melbourne Storm 4 North Queensland Cowboys 2Cameron Smith gets us under way here in the Second half of this top of the table clash! 45 min: NEWS Scott Hill coming of the field with blood pouring out of his head. The Cowboys have a repeat set after a nicley weighted kick from Jonathon Thurston. 46 min: NEWS Greg Inglis from a kick return breaks the Cowboys line and makes a 50 metre run but was pulled down by Ashley Graham! Thurston then strips the ball of Matt Geyer later on in the set to give the Storm the first penalty of the game. 47 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormCameron Smith converts the penalty conceded by Jonathon Thurston from right in front. Storm 14-052 min: NEWS Ian Donnelly offloads to Greg Inglis who makes another break, puts a chip over the head of Bowen but cleaned up by Thurston but the Cowboys halfback is trapped in goal. Repeat set to the Storm! 57 min: NEWS Again Inglis from a kick return makes another 40 metres. This kid is an absolute freak! The kick chase from the Cowboys must improve dramatically. 60 min: NEWS An error from Jonathon Thurston puts the Storm right back on the attack and now have a chance to wrap this game up.61 min: NEWS The Cowboys recieve their first penalty after an hour of football. They must score soon to have a chance of winning this match. 68 min: NEWS The Storm recieve their second penalty of the game and look to have this won. Looking for a try to put it out of reach from the Cowboys. 70 min: TRY Melbourne StormCameron Smith on last tackle throws a dummy out of the dummy half position and scores the Storms third try. Smith can't convert his own try and the scoreline remainds the same. Storm 18-075 min: NEWS Matty Bowen makes a 60 metre break down the touch line only to be pulled down by Greg Inglis. 76 min: NEWS The Cowboys get a repeat set after forcing five eight Scott Hill back into the in goal line. 78 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysIt has taken the Cowboys 78 minutes but they finally go over through Brenton Bowen. Thurston passes to Bowman on last tackle who offloads to Bowen who scores the try.Thurston nails the conversion from the sideline. Storm 18-6FULLTIME here at Olympic park! Melbourne Storm 18 defeats the North Queensland Cowboys 6.A great game of football has come to a close. These two teams showed why they are on the top of the table with both teams putting in some good performances. For the Storm, Greg Inglis was excellent. Always looked dangerous with the ball and made a couple of nice line braeks. Cameron Smith was also fantastic making 40+ tackles, scoring a try and kicking 3 goals. The Cowboys tried hard all night but just couldn't break the Storm defence. Matty Bowen always looked dangerous with ball in hand, but not even Matty Bowen and Jonathon Thurston could lead the Cowboys to a victory here at Olympic park. -----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Greg Inglis (Storm)2 - Cameron Smith (Storm)1 - Matt King (Storm)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 10 Brisbane Broncos 32 v Manly Sea Eagles 10at Suncorp StadiumReferees: Jason RobinsonMatch Summary:The Brisbane Broncos have defeated the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 32-10 at Suncorp Stadium this evening.With the dreaded Origin period looming, both sides need the two points to stay in touch with the leaders but the Broncos traditionally struggle post Origin, so they need to horde all the points they can get in the leadup to Origin as they usually supply half a dozen players to the Queensland side and to stay within the top four, a win would be vital for their premiership hopes in 2006.Tonight, Manly were first out of the blocks with a try to the forgotten man of the NRL in Anthony Watmough.That was as good as it got for Manly with the Broncos taking control and never looked threatened from then on. The Broncos raced away to a match winning lead early in the second half and Manly just didn?t have it in them to run the powerful Broncos side down.The Broncos are now entrenched in the top four while Manly sit in the back half of the top eight and with four games to be played tomorrow, if results go against Manly they could find themselves outside the top eight.Scorers:Brisbane Broncos: 32Tries: Justin Hodges, Karmichael Hunt(2), Darren Lockyer, Corey Parker, Brett SeymourGoals: Darren Lockyer 1/1, Corey Parker 3/5Manly Sea Eagles: 10Tries: Chris Hicks, Anthony WatmoughGoals: Matt Orford 1/2By the Clock: 1 min: NEWS We are underway at suncorp Stadium for the clash between the Broncos and Manly. A vital game for both sides leading into the Origin series and the two points will be vital.5 min: NEWS Both sides still working each other out. No scores to report.11 min: NEWS Still no points in the match in what has been an evenly contested game so far.14 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesAnthony Watmough opens the scoring for Manly with a good try. Sea Eagles 6-022 min: NEWS Brisbane looking much better with the ball in hand now but are still yet to register their first points for the night.23 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are on the board through a try to Karmichael Hunt. Sea Eagles 6-425 min: NEWS Shane Webcke has left the field with an injury and will not be returning tonight.29 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosBrisbane are in again, this time Brett Seymour is the scorer. Conversion unsuccessful. Broncos 8-637 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosCorey Parker barges over to score a vital try just before the half time break. Broncos 14-641 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half.48 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are in again and they'll be hard to run down from this position. Darren Lockyer has scored under the posts to extends the Broncos lead beyond two coverted tries. Broncos 20-650 min: NEWS Video ref asked to adjudicate on a possible try to the Broncos but the result came back negative. No change to the scoreline.56 min: NEWS Still no change in the scores.56 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThat just about wraps it up. Justin Hodges has scored to give the Broncos a 20 point lead with just over twenty minutes to play and at ahome, that is too big an ask for any side. Conversion successful. Broncos 26-666 min: NEWS No change in the scores and with Manly 20 behind, they can look to next week now.74 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesConsolation try to Manly to give the scoreline some respectability. Conversion missed. Broncos 26-1079 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncs rub a little salt into Manly's wound with a late try to Karmichael Hunt with some good lead up work from Justin Hodges. Broncos 32-10-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)2 - Justin Hodges (Broncos)1 - Darren Lockyer (Broncos)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 10 St George Illawarra Dragons 22 v New Zealand Warriors 16at WIN StadiumReferee: Gavin BadgerMatch Summary:Today's NRL clash will be a day to remember for St George Illawarra Dragons forward Danny Wicks, the rookie scoring a try on debut and helping his side to defeat the New Zealand Warriors 22-16 in Wollongong this afternoon.Hailing from Grafton NSW, the 20-year-old second rower put his side in front when he crashed over in the 28th minute. A member of the 2005 Dragons Jersey Flegg premiership-winning side, Wicks was called up into the NRL following injuries and a suspension which saw no less than eight players sidelined.Fielding close to a full strength side, the Warriors got off to a flying start with front rower and skipper Steve Price scoring after just five minutes. The visitors extended their lead to 8-0 following a Tony Martin penalty goal in the 13th minute.But the Dragons struck back with captain and five-eighth Trent Barrett reclaiming some lost form to score a dashing try after 15 minutes of play. Wicks crashed over 13 minutes later. Running onto a pass from close range, Wicks attracted a number of defenders to force his way over the line before slamming the ball down.Not to be outdone, the Warriors responded with a try to Simon Mannering, the centre scoring in the corner after coming under video scrutiny for an arm which neared the touchline. Mannering was given benefit of the doubt by the video referee and at half time, the scores were locked up at 12-all.Dragons fullback Clint Greenshields scored the first of his two tries in the 44th minute after Barrett set up play wide of the ruck. Chiming into the backline, Greenshields was in again four minutes later - replays showing he may have put a foot on the touchline. The try was awarded to extend the lead to 20-12, and the Dragons appeared to be well in charge.But with play going from end-to-end, Warriors fullback Brent Webb showed tremendous strength to score in the 64th minute, getting his side within four points and finishing on strong terms.The Warriors however, were unable to crack the Saints line again; Dragons hooker Aaron Gorrell kicking a penalty goal in the 79th minute to see the home side come away with a much needed win.Scorers:St George Illawarra Dragons: 22Tries: Trent Barrett, Clint Greenshields(2), Danny WicksGoals: Aaron Gorrell 3/5New Zealand Warriors: 16Tries: Simon Mannering, Steve Price, Brent WebbGoals: Tony Martin 2/4By the Clock:A fine day in Wollongong. About 19?C, East, North East breeze.Team updatesDragons: Centre Mark Gasnier out. Darryl Millard in.Utilities Ben Hornby and Ben Creagh are in after backing up from the City v Country match.Warriors: Winger Todd Byrne is out, Manu Vatuvei is in.Dragons will be kicking off.Players on the field... kick off!5 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsSteve Price takes a short ball and crashes over next to the posts. Warriors applying the early pressure following a Dragons handling error in their own half, then a repeat set following a grubber into the in-goal. Tony Martin converts. Warriors 6-013 min: PENALTY GOAL New Zealand WarriorsMartin kicks a penalty goal from right in front after the ref rules the ball was stripped by the Dragons. Warriors 8-015 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsTrent Barrett throws a dummy from 40m out and runs through a gap, out-pacing the second line of defence to score.Aaron Gorrell converts from almost in front Warriors 8-625 min: NEWS Dragons survive a period of sustained pressure. Plenty of opportunities for the Warriors as penalties go their way by 4-0 and tremendous break downfield from fullback Brent Webb. Saints survive after Warriors winger Manu Vatuvei fumbles on the last tackle.28 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsDebutante forward Danny Wicks scores in good position, using his bulk to crash over. Follows two penalties to the Dragons who are able to convert the field position into points and take the lead. Gorrell converts. Dragons 12-831 min: NEWS Penalties 5-2 in favour of the Warriors. Warriors on the attack and put on a good move close to the line but Webb is unable to hold onto the ball.Scrum: Warriors win against the feed!32 min: Possible Warriors TRY - video ref looking....BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT given to the try scorer.32 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsSimon Mannering gets the nod from the video ref who rules that he probably got the ball down before being force onto the touchline.Martin from wide out is unable to convert. 12 all.39 min: NEWS Warriors hang on as the Dragons come close to scoring following a 70m break from Matt Cooper.Half time: 12 all.End-to-end footy and a close tussle up front. Entertaining wide of the ruck with both teams showing off their strike power in the backlines.For the Warriors, Steve Price is leading from the front and supported well with Brent Webb the best of the backs. A better kicking game from the halves and the Warriors could well be in front.The Dragons have come back well after being down 8-nil and on the wrong end of a penalty count. The young forwards and working well with the more seasoned players with debutante Danny Wicks reaping the benefits. Some neat inside plays are putting their opposites on the back foot at times and Trent Barrett exploited this well in scoring Saints first try.At this stage the Dragons look to have the mobility up front to go on with it, but there's plenty left in this match and too early to call either way.Second half underway...41 min: NEWS Stoppage with Tony Martin for the Warriors down injured. Looks like he might have broken his nose after a head clash, and he comes from the field. Clinton Toopi comes on.44 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsFullback Clint Greenshields scores after receiving a well timed pass from Barrett from close range. Follows a soft penalty against Price for a high tackle.Gorrell wide conversion attempt hits the uprights and bounces away. Dragons 16-1247 min: NEWS Dragons centre Matt Cooper leaves the field with an injury, possible hamstring.48 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsGreenshields gets a double in the corner. Question mark over whether or not he put a foot on the touchline. Barrett, Morris and Greenshields all instrumental in the lead up to the try.Gorrell unsuccessful with wide conversion attempt. Dragons 20-1251 min: NEWS Dragons come within a whisker of scoring after a Hornby grubber kick. Vatuvei again fumbling, this time behind his own line.54 min: Possible Warriors TRY - video ref checking....NO TRY - ball not grounded. A 20m restart to the Dragons.57 min: NEWS Martin is back on for the Warriors and Toopi is taken off, only to come back on after Vatuvei limps off the field.61 min: NEWS Penalties now favour Dragons 6-5 and they are now enjoying a bulk of the possession at around 70%.64 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsBrent Webb finishes tremendously out wide and is ruled to get the ball down in the corner. Follows repeat sets to the Warriors after a Dragons handling error in their own half.Martin conversion unsuccessful. Dragons 20-1670 min: NEWS Saints still four points in front with 10 minutes to go. Warriors appear to be finishing the stronger.75 min: NEWS Still 20-16 to the Dragons. Warriors making plenty of yards up the middle of the ruck but the Dragons are hanging on.76 min: FIGHT - tempers boilover. Sione Faumuina took off after Dean Young after taking exception to heavy tackle. A number of players join in. All done... no dramas... play on79 min: PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsGorrell kicks a penalty goal after a Warriors player is laying in the play-the-ball area. Dragons 22-1679 min: NEWS Warriors attempt short kick off but don't make the 10m required. Dragons penalty is that's the ball game.Full time: Dragons win 22-16.An exciting finish where the winner couldn't be declared until the final minute of play.With plenty of players sidelined, the Dragons will be relived to come away with the two points against a near full strength Warriors.A good start to the Warriors but they were unable to contain the Dragons at crucial times, and let themselves down at times with some handling errors.Possession pretty even in the end, just favouring the Dragons at 52%. Completions show the Dragons hanging onto the ball more consistently than the Warriors, although part of this was due the Warriors style with numerous offloads working in their favour. Penalties ended up favouring Saints 10-5, after the Warriors got the first four - the home side getting 10 of the next 11 penalties.Our man of the match is fullback Clint Greenshields who defended well, backed up all afternoon, and was lethal in attack. Trent Barrett returned to form and was instrumental in scoring a try and setting up play. Meanwhile front rower Steve Price was the best of the rest in a losing side.The Dragons get a bye next week, while the Warriors have an opportunity to bounce back when they take on Wests Tigers at Ericsson Stadium next Saturday.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Clint Greenshields (Dragons)2 - Trent Barrett (Dragons)1 - Steve Price (Warriors)-----------------------------------------
THE May 4th Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) meeting in Brisbane has brought about increased schedules for The Papua New Guinea Kumuls and the French Chanticleers leading into the 2008 World Cup. PNG have agreed to tour France in October 2007, and the French will reciprocate by visiting PNG on the way to the World Cup in 2008. Speaking to PNG?s The National, the national deputy chairman of the PNGRFL, Albert Veratau, revealed that PNG will follow the lead of the likes of Fiji and the Cook Islands by selecting future national teams after a trial match between local and overseas based stars. Veratau said the PNGRFL had made a request to the RLIF to take on either The British Lions or New Zealand Kiwis as part of their preparation for the 2006 Tri-Nations tournament. Furthermore, Veratau revealed that Tonga and The Cook Islands have both expressed an interest to play against the Kumuls in the lead up to the 2008 show piece of Rugby League. Further news to emerge from the RLIF meeting is that the Australian Rugby League have indicated to extend their support to finance the chief executive officer's salary for another two years. Jeff Wade is currently employed in this position. PNG are automatic qualifiers for the 2008 World Cup. In 2006 they will take on Malta in October and most likely again play a series against the Junior Roos or Kangaroos not involved in the NRL finals series.www.rlcup.com
FULLBACK David Peachey has denied suggestions his rugby league career is over following his sacking from English lower divsion club the Widnes Vikings.The former Cronulla Sharks captain's contract was terminated yesterday after he made a second trip to Dubbo in Australia to visit his ill stepfather.The axing of Peachey comes less than halfway through his two-year contract. The 32-year-old joined the relegated Vikings this year after spending 12 years with the Sharks. Celebrated as the club's highest profile signing, the Widnes club beat off several rival offers to secure Peachey's signature for 2006. Injuries however have hampered Peachey's UK playing career.Vikings chairman Stephen Vaughan announced the fullback's sacking was in the "best interest of the club"."We have terminated David Peachey's contract in full," Vaughan said to Sportinglife."We understand his position with his sick stepfather but I want David Peachey on the field. No one player is bigger than this club."There are going to be a lot of unpopular decisions that are going to happen at this club in the next few months and this may allow us to bring new faces in."Meanwhile Peachey insists his playing career is far from over. He has not ruled out a possible return to Widnes, nor has he ruled possible legal action."I haven't spoken to the club so I really can't comment on that because I don't know where I stand at the moment," Peachey said to AAP."I've got people on that."I'm at the stage where I'm in a bit of a hurdle, a little bit of a brick wall."This is a fence I'm willing to climb, jump, leap or fly over and get back into it."It's unfortunate with what's happened but I'll deal with it once my lawyers and management have gotten back to me."I need to take compassionate leave and do what I need to do in Dubbo then deal with the business side of things."I said at the Sharks I felt I had a couple of good years left and obviously they were heading in another direction."That was why I signed with Widnes, I feel like I still have a few good years to go."Peachey also hasn't ruled out a possible return to the NRL."It's in the back of my mind but I've got far bigger things to attend to now in Dubbo," he said."I've still got a two-year (UK) working Visa so I don't see why I'd throw that away."There's still a lot of football clubs over there and obviously I'd love to be able to get into a Super League club now."Following a Cronulla Sharks board decision not to retain his services after the 2005 season, Peachey signed a two-year deal with Widnes for 2006-2007. After their relegation to division one, the Vikings club claimed it would not be able to afford to sign Peachey. But the club and fans acquired the services of the veteran fullback following several fundraiser events.
CITYVCOUNTRY2006 City 10 v Country 12at Apex Oval, DubboReferee: Tony ArcherMatch Summary:A late Anthony Quinn try has given Country a 12-10 upset win over City in Dubbo tonight. Country dominated the first half of the game almost totally ? helped by City making three errors inside the Country 10 metre line. Country opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a penalty goal. 10 minutes later Country scored the only try of the first half, to Anthony Laffranchi off a Brett Finch offload, and after almost total domination of the first half the Country went to the sheds up only 8-0.City came back strong in the second half, scoring eight minutes into the half after a cross field kick was batted on to Paul Gallen who offloaded to David Simmons who scored out wide. The conversion made the score 8-6. After 61 minutes City capitalised on a Kurt Gidley error, and scored in the opposite corner in the form of Luke Rooney ? after another Gallen offload. There was one more twist left in the match when, with four minutes to go ? Anthony Quinn somehow rebounded from a solid hit and got the ball down on the line inches from the corner post, for the 12-10 win.While the match was close, and needed players to step up to the plate, the New South Wales selectors are probably still more probably none the wiser as to who they will be selecting to fill in the gaps, although players like Paul Gallen, Amos Roberts, Kurt Gidley and Brett Finch certainly pushed their cases.Scorers:City: 10Tries: David Simmons, Luke RooneyGoals: Brett Hodgson 1/2Country: 12Tries: Anthony Quinn, Anthony LaffranchiGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 2/2By the Clock:Not far away from kickoff at the historic Apex Oval in Dubbo.City vs Country, the start of domestic representative season for 2006. Generally speaking, two-fairly star studded teams today. The City boys are favourites tonight, and have won 3 out of the last 4 of these clashes.Very healthy crowd in tonight, and the conditions are dry.1 min: We're underway in Dubbo! Ben Hornby starts us off by kicking out on the full, and City will go on the attack.1 min: Hodgson is thrown into touch early in the count, only a few metres out from the goal line.6 min: Very messy start with a lot of poor passes and a general lack of cohesion.7 min: VIDEO REFEREE for a Country try...8 min: NO TRY - Amos Roberts is ruled to have knocked on in goal trying to ground a bomb.10 min: City turn the ball over, but manage to hold Country out.10 min: Another City turnover. Country dominating territory and possession at this early stage.12 min: Finch is pressured on the last tackle, he gets the ball away and after Country throw it around a bit Amos Roberts picks up a line drop out.13 min: PENALTY GOAL CountryCity are penalised for stripping the ball of Craig Fitzgibbon. He adds the two points from 20 out, right in front. Country 2-015 min: A fantastic kick from Country traps David Simmons in the in goal.17 min: Country get another repeat set. City are under siege.18 min: City finally get the ball back as Gidley kicks a little too deep.19 min: Current Storm player Brett White hits ex-Storm player Matt Orford late after he kicks it.20 min: City are unable to take advantage of the penalty and turn the ball over for the second time in good attacking position.23 min: TRY CountryBrett Finch runs up the middle and offloads to Laffranchi who has a yawning gap to run through and score under the posts. Fitzgibbon converts, and the domination is starting to show on the scoreboard. Country 8-026 min: Finch puts a kick out on the full, fortunately it isn't in the worst position on the field.28 min: Simmons comes very close to scoring after a chip kick, but Quinn shows his soccer skills and City get a goal line drop out.29 min: Gower puts the ball down 10 out from the Country goal line. Three turnovers hot on attack from City.31 min: Country turn the ball over 10 metres out from their own line, City with their best chance, but they blow it as Orford knocks on at the scrum base.40 min: Half time. Country have largely dominated this game, helped by four City mistakes 10 metres out from the Country line. They ought to lead by more than 8 points, but City have managed to hold on and stay within single digits of Country.40 min: Country have 60% possession. City have made 12 errors to Countrys 3 - completion rates are 8/20 for City and 17/21 for Country.40 min: Back underway at Dubbo.45 min: Roberts fails to catch the ball and ends up knocking it into touch - scrum City 10 metres out.46 min: NEWS Craig Gower is injured and is really limping. City get a repeat set.48 min: TRY CityCity finally take advantage of good field position. Orford kicks high across to the posts, Hodgson bats the ball across field, it goes through hands and Simmons scores out wide. Hodgson hits the conversion from out wide. Country 8-652 min: NEWS Gower moving well again.57 min: Country throw the ball around and cross the try line, only to be called back for a forward pass.60 min: Gidley nearly makes a great close range catch on a kick, but he loses the ball, City scrum 10 out.61 min: TRY CityOff the back of the Gidley error, City move the ball from sideline to sideline, Gallen throws an offload to Rooney who scores in the corner, allowing City to take an almost undeserved lead. Hodgson misses the goal. City 10-867 min: Hicks is held up on tackle four. The following kick is taken by Lewis who is trapped in the in goal.69 min: MacDougall held up on tackle four. Finch kicks high to Roberts who knocks on. Still 10-8 to City.71 min: 9 Minutes to go, City somehow holding on.72 min: Quinn can't get out of the in goal, line drop out to City.73 min: Gower kicks on tackle four and doesn't even find the in goal.74 min: Rooney gets trapped in the in goal at the other end of the field. Jason King - possible fractured thumb.76 min: VIDEO REFEREE: Possible Country try...76 min: TRY CountryThe Country boys spread the ball wide and somehow Anthony Quinn grounds the ball inches away from the corner post. Roberts hooks the touchline conversion. Country 12-1080 min: City are forced to come up with a goal line drop out, ensuring the win for Country.80 min: NEWS Country survive a second half City fightback and win the match with a try four minutes from time.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Andrew Ryan2 - Preston Campbell1 - Paul Gallen-----------------------------------------
BARTERCARD CUP ROUND 7 - TEAM LISTS AND FIXTURES
SUPER League Vol 2 - out now
NEW Zealand Rugby League chairman Selwyn Bennett has denied reports that next month's match between the Kiwis and Great Britain will not carry full Test match status.
HALFBACK Shane Perry is out of Brisbane's side for tomorrow night's NRL match against Manly at Suncorp Stadium. Perry has withdrawn with a knee injury with Brett Seymour recalled as his replacement after being dropped a month ago.
ST Helens face a searching examination of their title credentials when they take on one of the competition?s form teams on Friday.
LEEDS were the last team to beat Hull in engage Super League but that 34-26 win at the KC Stadium five weeks ago marked an upturn in the fortunes of the Black and Whites since the sacking of John Kear.
THIS weekend?s games will bring us up to the halfway point for the season in Superleague, and we start with what should be two great games on Friday night.
WHAT a Crock!Well I predicted the New Zealand team would put in a real fight against the Kangaroos last week and I (and many other fans) were proven completely wrong. This of course is a good thing as I have green and gold running through my veins, but I think there was more to it than my mere misjudgement. I?ve been led to believe that the Australian team secretly threw the Tri-Nations final to get like minded fans hopes up of a close contest this year. Of course the Kiwis were in on this too, playing out of their skins last year only to ?allow? the Kangaroos to flog them 50-12 last week.Wait! What am I thinking believing such stupid conspiracy theories. I must be hanging around Michael Crocker too much!Yes Crocker has caused the controversy of the week by reacting to his nine week ban by blaming everyone bar Warnie for the severity of his punishment. He has also done a fair job (alongside Mark Gasnier) of deflecting much needed promotion from the City vs Country clash.There are two things to consider in the Crocker case. Firstly he has put himself in a situation where he committed an illegal act where it was possible he could have seriously hurt another player. Basically you can?t go running onto a freeway and not accept there?s a chance you?ll get hit. Secondly the fact that Shane Rigon was uninjured should be a positive result for Crocker. He can continue his playing career knowing he hasn?t caused serious injury to a fellow player.Crocker?s bleating about his punishment seems to totally overlook these two facts. Sure I?d admit that Crocker?s tackle was definitely an accident, and his punishment is on the harsher side of fair, but whinging won?t do anything about that. Imagine being caught speeding and telling the officer that you didn?t mean to speed and you?d prefer it if you could choose your own punishment. I wouldn?t expect a positive response.But for Crocker to then suggest the whole scenario has been a NSW conspiracy to ensure he doesn?t play in the this year State of Origin series suggests he might be fending off the men in the white coats in the not too distant future. Judiciaries must make decisions based on the well-being of players, and the good of the game. They know being too soft on spear tackles will place Rugby League players in danger. I?m assuming Crocker doesn?t want anyone in the game with a spinal injury, nor would he be satisfied if he or others received ?special treatment? by the judiciary because they were due to play in an upcoming rep series. In his absurd rant this week Crocker laid his cards on the table - he?s willing to blame anyone to mask his disappointment in missing out on this years State of Origin series. It makes you realise how previous offenders such as Luke McDougall and Clint Newton have emerged with dignity by taking responsibility for their actions.While it?s one thing for a hot headed player to carry on about how the world is against him, it?s a genuine concern when his club boss supports his complaints. Brian Waldron should have kept his mouth shut. If he truly believes his club is discriminated against then he is smart enough to know this was not the forum to air his grievances. In fact he has most likely done more damage with his comments than good. Yes in the AFL the Sydney Swans and Brisbane Lions receive salary cap concessions and extra marketing, but they didn?t receive this support through unprofessional comments at press conferences. They have garnered support in what has been a gradual process.The poor choices Waldron and Crocker have made this week have possibly lost more allies then they have gained. I for one support the idea of increased support to teams in non-traditional regions, and have up until this point been impressed with Waldron?s business sense and persistence. However since he has blamed seemingly everyone for the Storm?s shortcomings (being from NSW I assume I?m part of ?the conspiracy?) I can?t help but think that I can find better things to do than worry about the state of the game in Victoria. A real concern south of the border is whether fringe fans, sponsors and political leaders may soon start to feel the same way.