Mad Dog dumped and fined

POWERHOUSE South Sydney centre Adam MacDougall has been fined and dumped for Saturday's NRL match against Canberra after publicly criticising his team mates on the weekend.

Judiciary update - Barrett, Donnelly

THE NRL has granted St George Illawarra an extension until 3pm this afternoon as to how they will plead in regards to skipper Trent Barrett's grade 5 striking charge.

Morrison released from Eels

PARRAMATTA back-rower Glen Morrison will quit the Eels at the end of this season after agreeing to join English Super League champions, the Bradford Bulls.

Bears JF hit their straps

THE North Sydney under 20s team has again improved on their previous form to play a competitive match against the Raiders who won 30-22. ?We are beginning to put opposition teams under a bit more pressure? Claimed Ex-Penrith stalwart and now Bears Jersey Flegg coach Steve Carter.With an improved completion rate the boys hit the Raiders with more metres gained and more effective hits in defence. On a number of occasions the Bears defence forced errors in the Raiders attack. The Bears were unlucky in the second half when Canberra scored an intercept try against the runof play.There was a solid and vocal performance from Jason Saliba playing in the centres, good work from five-eighth Bladen Baird (who scored the Bears first try) and great work from forwards Pio Rokomaqisa, Michael Jones, Arnold Mano and Michael Morris. Arnold and Mick Morris were rewarded with promotion to the Premier League bench. Winger Ryan Wilson was terrific in attack including the scoring of two tries in the left and right corners of the Canberra in goal.But Coach Carter reserved his praise for today?s fullback. ?It?s hard to single out anyone they all played well however, Matt McDougall who has been moved from winger to centre to fullback had an outstanding game?. Matt scored a fantastic try running 90 metres down the left wing to score, possibly inspired by the sight of one of the Honey Bears Cheer Girls having her picture taken at the score board end of the field.?It?s definitely a performance to build on again for next week? said the Coach.In a penalty stricken match the Premier League suffered a defeat to the Raiders 54-10. Without regular Storm players Ben Cross and Matt Bartlett, injuries to Jamie Feeney and Ryan Shortland and the continued loss of back John Russell the Bears were unable to repeat their enthusiastic performance against Manly.PICTURED: Winger Ryan Wilson scored 2 tries against the Raiders for his steadily improving Flegg team. PHOTO: Steve Little

Engage Super League Rd 15 review

LEEDS Rhinos 30 (Burrow, Poching, Walker, Senior, Bailey tries; Sinfield 5 goal) def. Bradford Bulls 0. Att: 16,603.

Souths sign Peachey

SOUTH Sydney has revived the NRL career of David Peachey, signing the former Cronulla fullback for the remainder of the 2006 season.

Impressive Georgia defeat Dutch

SATURDAY 27 May 2006TZAMETI KARTVELI (13 GEORGIANS) 57 ? 16 NETHERLANDSGeorgia displayed striking Rugby skills in the burning atmosphere of the Locomotive Stadium, Tbilissi with a comprehensive 10 try victory over combative Dutch on Independence Day (May 26th).A crowd of 10,935 frantic fans braved the unbelievable heat of the Georgian sun, and it is believed that this figure could be higher since more fans got into the ?Gladiator? style Arena after the kick off.The Dutch set the tone of what was to be a rather ferocious contest braving the famous Georgian Haka Perkhuli. Facing tough defense from both teams in the opening minutes, only the forwards could express their talents, noticeably through Kiwi born Prop Bev Williamson for the Dutch side and David Gasviani for the locals.Georgia opened the score with a drop kick from stand off Merab Kvirikashvili (7?). The Dutch responded immediately with a penalty kick from Huddersfield Underbank Rangers Aaron de Jager (10?).It was Georgia?s George Asatani who found the way first (13?) and then the sparkling locals began to break the Dutch defense, converting every opportunity with 3 well taken tries by Revaz Gigauri, Lexo Gugava and Merab Kvirikashvili (23?, 31?, 37?). The Dutch managed to reduce the score just before Half time through NZ born Duncan Taylor. (23-10).The contest resumed as fierce as it was in the first half. But it only took 10 minutes for the Georgians to open their festival of tries. Local Prop Tornike Ashvetia powered through the Nederland defense (50?) followed by second row Nika Mkheideidze (58?). Winger Zviad Koberidze outpaced his Dutch opponent (60?) and hooker Beqa Kurashvili scored between the posts (64?), while Ducan Taylor followed a high kick from Aaron de Jager to reduce the score (68?) for the Dutch. The Georgians completed their outstanding performance with two well constructed tries by Zviad Koberidze (78?) and second row Shalva Sutiashvili (79?), in a constant frenzy from the local crowd.?I am absolutely impressed with the quality of Rugby Skills displayed today by the Georgians? said delighted RFL Coach Advisor Vincent Webb, ?I believe many of them could make some professional teams in UK very happy? he added.?The Standard of the Georgian Organisation was simply outstanding? said equally impressed RLEF Match commissioner Benjamin Araud. ?The quality of match officials provided to assist Andrew Smith was very good, and to see such an enthusiastic and numerous crowd is unbelievable. The potential for Rugby League development is immense in Georgia?After the match Tzameti Kartuli received an exceptional ovation in front of several tens of thousands people massed in the Streets of the Georgian Capital when they went on the stage set up for the National Celebrations in Freedom Square.Friday 26th MayLocomotive Stadium, Tbilissi, GeorgiaTZAMETI KARTVELI 57 ? 16 NETHERLANDSGeorgia:Tries: George Asatiani (13?), Revaz Gigauri (23?) Lexo Gugava (31?) Merab Kvirikashvili (37?),Tornike Ashvetia (50?), Shalva Sutiashvili (58?, 79?), Zviad Koberidze (60?, 78?), Beqa Kurashvili (64?)Drop Kick: Merab Kirikashvili (7?)Goals: Merab Kirikashvili 8Netherlands:Tries: Ducan Taylo (39? 58?)Goals: Aaron de Jager 4TD Sport and Travel Men of the Match:Revaz Gigauri (Georgia)Bev Williamson (Netherlands)Att: 10 935Referee: Andrew Smith (England)TZAMETI KARTULIGeorge Asatiani Lexo Gugava Revaz Gigauri Alexander Gilauri Zviad Koberidze Merab Kvirikashvili George Sordia Tornike Ashvetia Beqa Kurashvili Davis Gasviani Nika Mkheidze Shalva Sutiashvili Kakhaber Kobakhidze ? Grigol Nishnianidze George Nemsadze Irakli Natriashvili Manuchar NamchevadzeCoach: Kakhaber AlaniaNETHERLANDSKees Foxton Roelof Haar Duncan Taylor Ronald Van Der Broek Jamie Groeneweg Aaron De Jager Benjamin Blom Phil Parkinson Chris Hodgetts Bevan Williamson Raymond Den Engelsam Bernard Van Holstein Alex Hoogezand Vincent Grimbergen Johnny Qua Sjoerd Nieboer Jason BruygomsCoach Ian Thompson

Round 12 Team of the Week

ROUND 12 proved to be one of the closest on record with the State of Origin decided by a field goal in the dying stages, two club games split by one point in extra time and the Eels v Roosters game going right down to the wire as well. The cream has risen to the top, that?s for sure, making the Round 12 League Unlimited Team of the Week a difficult proposition and one that threatens to put a few noses out of joint.

Dragons v Tigers Remains at Oki Jubilee Stadium

THE Dragons Board and Management have decided against the joint approach by the SCG Trust and NRL to move the Round 24 match against Wests Tigers to the Sydney Cricket Ground as part of the NRL?s ?60s week? promotion.The joint proposal involved a celebration and recognition of the contributions the Dragons and Wests made to rugby league in the 1960s and included a major offfield event to surround this marquee game.There were also financial incentives offered in regards to the movement of the match day event itself.Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust said the Board and Management considered the commercial and heritage based proposal but decided to celebrate the auspicious ?60s Week? in its community heartland.?It is always complex to evaluate viable commercial feasibilities when introducing qualitative elements such as the Dragons history and its association with the game?s history, particularly the 60s period,? said Doust.?However, on this occasion, we believed we should respect the commitment made to five home games at Oki Jubilee in 2006 ? as advertised, particularly in our Membership and Ticketing promotions since late last year.Reasons for declining the proposal included:- Honouring our existing commitment of five home games for our partners and members- The financial incentives were not sufficient- Importance of celebrating this occasion in our heartland- The expectation that the community and members will support and embrace these local events?It was of course disappointing that the confidential proposal found its way into the media and generated so much public debate before the matter could be fully evaluated and communicated, ? added Doust.Dragons Chairman Warren Lockwood highlighted the importance of recognising the Dragons history in the appropriate fashion.?We do have respect for the Dragons place in rugby league history as we do for our supporters and stakeholders,? said Lockwood.?This is not to say that we won?t continue to evaluate commercial options to improve our business modelover time.?Our partners, members and supporters should always be confident that the Board and Management will always consider their perspectives,? added Lockwood.The Dragons will play their first home game of the year at Kogarah under lights against the Parramatta Eels this Friday night at 7.30pm.Five-game membership packages and individual match tickets are still available; please visit www.dragons.com.au for further information.

Hodges does hammy

BRISBANE centre Justin Hodges will spend three to five weeks on the sidelines after scans confirmed a torn hamstring. Hodges is out of the return State of Origin game in Brisbane next month and may not be back for Brisbane until the June 24 clash with Manly.

Eels have too much for Jets

THE Newtown Jets recent winning run in the VB Premier League came to an abrupt end at Parramatta Stadium on Sunday at the hands of competition leaders Parramatta. The Eels won by 41-26 after leading 28-12 at halftime, and are now four points clear at the top of the table as the competition nears the halfway mark.The Eels out-muscled the Jets, with Newtown finding it hard to counter Parramatta?s quick play the balls and close support play. The Jets led 12-6 midway through the first half but the Eels took control from that point onwards. It was a clinical performance by the defending premiers as they remorselessly punished any Jets errors. Newtown added two late tries and can take some credit for fighting gamely right to the final siren. Jets front-rower Glenn Hall scored two tries and lost nothing in comparison to his opponents. Newtown?s classy halfback Josh Lewis set up three of Newtown?s five tries and kicked well in general play. Forwards Daniel Dumas and Charles Tonga and fullback Aidan Kirk also impressed in this tough encounter. The Jets had plenty of walking wounded after the game and now have to regroup to take on traditional rivals North Sydney next Saturday.In other weekend matches the Newtown Jetettes maintained their unbeaten run by comfortably accounting for the Parramatta Junior Eels by 24-10. In Group 11, the Parkes Spacemen gained some badly needed competition points with a 32-20 win over Dubbo Macquarie.The visit by the Sydney Roosters NRL squad to the Jets Sports Club on Sunday evening was an unqualified success. The club was packed to the proverbial rafters with a marvellous roll-up of Jets and Roosters juniors and their parents. Sydney Roosters officials were impressed with the great crowd in attendance and the adulation extended to the Roosters players.The Newtown Jets are back again at Henson Park headquarters this Saturday (June 3rd) when they take on the Melbourne Storm-aligned North Sydney Bears in the first leg of the 2006 Frank Hyde Shield, with this match kicking off at 3.00pm. The Jim Beam Cup competition resumes after a spare weekend, with the Jets travelling to the Lionel Watts Field on Sunday (June 4th) to play the Belrose Eagles at 3.00pm.

Round 12 Charges

ST George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett faces six weeks on the sidelines after being charged by the NRL match review committee today.

Parra break away from pack

ANOTHER week down in the NSWRL Premier League competition and the traffic jam that has been forever present on the ladder continues.This weekend results saw two draws of contrasting proportions. The first was a tough 16-16 draw between the Knights and the Dragons, while the other saw 80 points scored in a try-athon between the Bunnies and the Tigers at Telstra Stadium.At North Sydney Oval the Bears were unable to match it with the class and pace of the Canberra Raiders, going down 54-10 in a disappointing match for the Red and Black.Parramatta?s 41-26 win over the Jets in the ?match of the round? saw the Eels move 4 points clear at the top of the ladder, reaffirming their control of the Premier League competition and delighting Eels fans who witnessed a draw and two wins from the three matches played at Parramatta Stadium. So, how do the teams rate after round 12? Here?s my say:1. +2 Parramatta EelsBack at home for their clash against a quality Jets side, the Eels lifted to record a strong win and in the process re-established themselves as the bench mark of the competition.2. +2 Canberra RaidersHave moved into equal second spot after their thrashing of the Bears. The Raiders Premiership hopes will be more obvious in a few weeks when they face the Dragons, Jets and Eels, in a three week period that will be a true test of their Premiership credentials. 3. +2 Cronulla SharksContinue to go quietly about their business and have moved almost unnoticed into 2nd spot on the ladder. Strong performance against the Cougars on the weekend places Cronulla as a genuine Premiership contender. 4. ?3 Newtown JetsOutclassed by the Eels on the weekend 41-26. The Jets will be there come final time, and if ace halfback Josh Lewis can maintain his top form, the Jets can beat anyone on their day.5. ?3 St Marys Penrith CougarsFollowed up their huge win over the Eels with a loss to the Sharks. Continue to sit in equal 2nd on the ladder and should bounce back against the Eagles at home on the weekend.6. = Balmain Ryde Eastwood TigersPlenty of points exist in this Tigers team, with 90 points in the last two weeks and 363 for the season ? the fourth best in the comp. The Tigers also boast the third best defensive record in the comp and if the traffic jam that exists on the competition ladder continues, the Tigers for and against could prove to be invaluable.7. = Manly Sea EaglesHad the weekend off with the bye. Restart their campaign against the Cougars this weekend in a tough assignment that will certainly provide the Eagles with a chance to assess their positioning within the competition.8. = St George Illawarra DragonsLike in the NRL, the Dragons Premier League side has been less then convincing all year, however they find themselves currently sitting high in equal 2nd. Will make the eight and are a genuine title threat.9. = South Sydney RabbitohsBizarre 40-40 draw with the Tigers on the weekend. Currently sit just 2 points shy of the eight and will challenge for a finals spot for the remainder of the season.10. = Newcastle KnightsMaintained touch with the top eight after a gutsy draw with the Dragons. The Knights will have plenty of teams watching over their shoulder come end of season.11. +1 Canterbury BulldogsBig win over the Magpies gave the Bulldogs their third win of the season. With inclusion in the top eight seemingly out of the equation, the Dogs have nothing to lose. One thing is for certain, the Doggies will be responsible for a few upsets before the seasons end.12. ?1 North Sydney BearsThe Bears 2006 season is hanging by a thread. A big loss to the Raiders on the weekend has the Bears season fading away into oblivion. If anything, the Bears are the perfect example of a competition in desperate need of review and re-structure. 13 = Wests MagpiesContinue to fight in a season that is all but gone. Have a chance to regroup this weekend with the bye, then face up against Manly in round 14.

XXXX Queensland Rangers Go Abroad

FROM the gulf to the minefields, the coast to the cattle plains, Rugby League players from across Queensland will have the chance to represent their state and tour New Zealand in 2006.Offering an opportunity to all players outside the Queensland Wizard Cup and National Rugby League ranks, this year?s XXXX Queensland Rangers team will participate in a four-way tournament in Rotorua in June and July.This will mark the first time the XXXX Rangers have represented overseas.Not only will those selected spend a total of 13 days abroad, they will also have a chance to further ambitions of a career in Rugby League.From the 2005 XXXX Rangers squad a total of 12 players have been contracted by Wizard Cup or NRL clubs this year.The 2006 XXXX Rangers squad has been picked from the QRL Divisional Championships at Kawana on May 27-28, contested by team?s representing Queensland?s Northern, Central, Wide Bay, Southern, South East and South West.Players also have the opportunity to qualify for the side from the Outback Carnival in Winton on June 10-11, including smaller catchments such as Mount Isa, the Mid West, Central West and Far South West. Marshall Colwell of Townsville has been appointed to coach the XXXX Rangers.Teams to face the XXXX Rangers in Rotorua from Wednesday, June 21 to Saturday, July 1 will represent New South Wales Country, New Zealand Residents and the Jim Beam Cup competition. Situated in the Bay of Plenty region, Rotorua is located approximately 230km south-east from Auckland on the New Zealand north island.May 27-28 QRL Divisional Championships, Quad Park, KawanaJun 10-11 QRL Outback Carnival, WintonJun 20 XXXX Queensland Rangers arrive Rotorua, New ZealandJun 21, 24, 29 Tournament MatchesJul 1 Tournament FinalsJul 2 XXXX Queensland Rangers depart Rotorua, New ZealandXXXX QUEENSLAND RANGERS GRADUATES 2005? ATKINS, Jordan (South West Div >> Burleigh Bears)? BRYANT, James (Northern Div >> Ipswich Jets)? DAYLIGHT, Shaun (Wide Bay Div >> Wynnum Manly Seagulls)? FLETCHER, Derek (South East Div >> Sths Logan Magpies & PNG)? GEORGETOWN, Liam (South East Div >> Penrith Panthers)? LEACH, Chad (South East Div >> Norths Devils & PNG)? MARSHALL, Brendon (Outback >> Ipswich Jets)? McKENZIE, Mark (South West Div >> Easts Tigers)? MULCAHY, Cameron (South West Div >> Ipswich Jets)? SMITH, Ben (Wide Bay Div >> Easts Tigers)? WERTH, Aaron (South West Div >> Ipswich Jets)? WUERSCHING, Phil (South East Div >> Norths Devils)2004 ? BOWMAN, Nathaniel (Northern Div >> Sths Logan Magpies)? HERBERNER, Nathan (South West Div >> Redcliffe Dolphins)? HOWARD, Dean (Northern Div >> Easts Tigers)? WALKER, Luke (Northern Div >> Ipswich Jets)Previous XXXX Queensland Rangers Results2005 lost 28-24 v NSW Country Blackwaterwon 50-24 v WA Maroochydore2004 won 50-22 v NSW Country Murwillumbah2003 won 36-30 v NSW Country Roma2002 lost 54-20 v NSW Country NarrabriXXXX QUEENSLAND RANGERS SQUAD FOR QUAD SERIES IN NEW ZEALAND 18 JUNE ? 2 JULYThe 2006 XXXX Queensland Rangers, picked to contest next month's quadrangular series at Rotorua, New Zealand.1. Jim Baira South East 2. Chris Bond South East 3. Nat Bowman Northern 4. Matthew Briggs Southern 5. Pat Dall South East 6. Aaron Farrar Central 7. Chris Giumelli South East 8. Ashley Humble South East 9. Dylan Nash Southern 10. Matt Riddle Southern 11. Michael Rose Northern 12. Joshua Schwerin South West 13. Eugene Seddon South West 14. Craig Snell Northern 15. Kerrod Toby Northern 16. Jamie Wann South West 17. Phil Wuersching South East 18. Brett Woolley Southern Coach - Marshall ColwellAssembly - Sunday 18 June ? Comfort Inn, Robertson GardensN.B. A further 2 players are to be added to the Squad when the Outback Carnival in Barcaldine has concluded on 11 June.

Queensland Cup Match Reports - Round 11

FULL match reports for Round 11 of the Queensland Wizard Cup.TWEED HEADS 22 d REDCLIFFE 8A RAIN-soaked slugfest at the Piggabeen Complex has resulted in a 22-8 win for Tweed Heads against Redcliffe, further condensing an already jam-packed Wizard Cup ladder.Following yet another giant-killing effort on home soil, Tweed has consolidated fourth spot. However coach Steve Murphy is predicting plenty of turbulence to be generated by the bottom half of the table.At the halfway point of the season, all clubs are still capable of participating in the finals, although the minor premiership appears a genuine four-way race between the Seagulls, Dolphins, Young Guns and Clydesdales.?Everyone is good enough to beat everyone in this competition,? noted Murphy.?We?ve got pretty clear goals of where we want to be, but the hardest part ? as it is for every club ? is fighting ourselves.?Not being a really big side, we have to be focused and really on our game each week.?Indeed the southernmost club in the competition displayed plenty of mental intensity as it set about making amends for a disappointing loss to Burleigh the previous week.Prop Matt Austin led the charge as all of Tweed?s forwards ripped in against a Redcliffe team sitting pretty in first place.The Seagulls led 6-0 at halftime; the Dolphins lacking cohesion without halfback Marty Turner and surrendering plenty of cheap ball.Then the second half came and, although Redcliffe experienced greater success, Tweed?s defence restricted the Dolphins to just two tries out wide.?To say I?m pleased is an understatement,? said Murphy.?I was quite critical of our boys for the lack of emotion and atmosphere in their effort the previous week and I thought this time they showed passion in their game.?Saying that, Redcliffe wouldn?t be happy with their amount of ball they dropped?we managed to get them on a good day.?There was also pride at stake outside of the main game at Piggabeen, with Redcliffe and Tweed Heads fighting it out for the Spotless Club Championship.Redcliffe got the jump 48-24 in Colts, while Tweed Heads bounced back from a 12-10 deficit at halftime in the FOGS Cup to win 54-12.The Dolphins still lead the Club Championship tally with 148 points, while Tweed Heads has closed in to be on 120 points. The Seagulls also have outright lead in the FOGS Cup, despite it being their first year in the competition.Next Sunday Redcliffe hosts Ipswich at Dolphin Oval, while Tweed Heads is at home to Toowoomba. Both games are set for a 3pm kick-off.TWEED HEADS 22 (James Wood 2, Jay McDermott, Josh Vaughan tries; Brad Davis 3 goals) d REDCLIFFE 8 (Nick Emmett, Alwyn Simpson tries) at the Piggabeen Complex.TOOWOOMBA 44 d SOUTHS LOGAN 18TOOWOOMBA has shown no mercy to the wounded Magpies, inflicting Souths Logan?s worst defeat of the season with a 44-18 steam-rolling at Brandon Park.Without gaining the same accolades as either Redcliffe or North Queensland, the Clydesdales have now grabbed equal share of the competition lead, losing just once in the past 10 rounds.Their consistency has come despite interruptions from the junior representative calendar and an unimpressive 36-10 flogging by the Young Guns to start season.Toowoomba has also undergone a major changing of the guard, losing long-time campaigners Michael Ryan, Tony Duggan, Stuart Kelly and Neale Wyatt, as well as Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Anthony Seibold.In their absence more emphasis has been placed on the club?s younger contingent to perform and the likes of Greg Eastwood in particular appear to be blossoming.Eastwood notched two tries on the weekend, as did three-quarter Leon Bott, while rookie halfback Jacob Fauid displayed great confidence in the absence of Ben Green.?I thought we contained them well in the middle, but we couldn?t match them on the fringes and that was the real difference,? concluded losing coach Mark Gliddon.?They?re a good team that will attack you from anywhere. They came out all guns blazing and before you know, it?s 28-6 at halftime.?Souths Logan had some success in pegging back the score in the second half, trailing just 28-18 with 20 minutes to go. It was a meritorious effort considering Cameron Joyce, Josh Griffith, Derek Fletcher and John Andrews were all out injured, while Damien Willis was suspended.But again the Clydesdales galloped clear as Souths Logan committed basic errors, including losing a scrum against the feed, eventuating in a try to the visitors.While the result gives Toowoomba top billing, it also dumps the Magpies out of the top five for the first time in over a month. Next week the black-and-whites face North Queensland in the club?s first televised appearance of the season.?The Young Guns are a huge test for us,? said Gliddon.?What we?re aiming at is not letting go of our own promising start to the year. A few weeks back we actually had to reset our goals because we did better than we first thought we would. Now we?re clear on those again.?Returning from a knee injury, back-rower Tim Cannard amassed a mammoth 38 tackles, while youngster Jason Mitchell and fullback Quentin Laulu Togagae again impressed.For Toowoomba, Denan Kemp moved to 10 tries for the season, meaning he is now just two tries behind competition leader Nathanael Barnes.Souths Logan v North Queensland begins 2pm Saturday at Brandon Park, while Toowoomba faces Tweed Heads at 3pm Sunday at the Piggabeen Complex. TOOWOOMBA 44 (Greg Eastwood 2, Leon Bott 2, Todd Parnell, Denan Kemp, John Te Reo, Michael Green tries; Jacob Fauid 6 goals) d SOUTHS LOGAN 18 (Quentin Laulu Togagae 2, Tyrone Coppedge tries; Brandon Costin 3 goals) at Brandon Park. NORTHS 26 d CENTRAL 14A SHOULDER injury to rising star Smith Samau has taken the gloss off Norths? 26-14 win against Central in Bundaberg on Saturday Snapping a worrying five-game losing streak, Norths stormed home in the second half, despite the Comets unveiling former Devil and Kiwi international Matt Rua as their latest signing.Norths potentially could have won the match by more, had it not gifted the Comets a try at the death via an elementary mistake from a kick-off. Marking his return to the Wizard Cup after a stint in the NRL, fullback Samau posted two tries for the Devils and was clearly among the best on ground.However his evening ended in pain, forcing him to endure a four-and-a-half hour bus ride home the next day before undergoing x-rays and tests on his shoulder.?It?s a bit of a worry,? said coach Wayne Treleaven, who expected to know the full severity of the injury on Monday morning.Aside from the nippy custodian, others to impress in Norths? return to form were props Adam Blair and Scott Anderson, half Isaac Kaufmann and skipper Anthony Boyd.The excursion to Bundaberg not only allowed the Devils a chance at returning to the winners? circle, it also proved a rare chance for the squad to bond, given that several members reside in Melbourne.?Without a doubt it helped in that department,? said Treleaven.?We had a nice night out together after the game and that adds to the positives for the weekend. We really needed a win to get some confidence back.?We?re still in this competition, don?t worry about that. This will change our thinking and hopefully we can get a roll on.?The result sees Norths move to seven points on the table, equal with Central and just two points out of the top five.Treleaven said he would not discount taking a leaf out of the Comets? book and bolstering his squad with a number of mid-season recruits.In three of their last four games the Comets have revealed a new signing ? first Mark Siniula, then Michael Fairweather and now noted hitman Rua.Rua was the Melbourne Storm?s Rookie of the Year in 1999, featuring in the club?s maiden grand final win and then playing Test football for New Zealand.He tallied 100 games for the Storm before shifting to the Canberra Raiders and then prematurely cutting short his career for personal reasons. Several clubs have tried to lure him back to Australia in the years since.Next Saturday Norths tackles Easts at Langlands Park and Central battles Burleigh at Pizzey Park.NORTHS 26 (Smith Samau 2, Aaron Morgan, Isaac Kaufmann, Brenton Stonier tries; Jackson Nicolau 3 goals) d CENTRAL 14 (Jimmy McConachy, Herewini Rangi tries; Scott Porter 3 goals) at Salter Oval, Bundaberg.NORTH QLD 18 d WYNNUM MANLY 14ONE of North Queensland?s most patient players, Brent McConnell, has inched closer to an NRL debut after directing the Young Guns to an 18-14 win against Wynnum Manly at Dairy Farmers Stadium.Ironically the match was arguably the Guns? most impatient performance of the year, with pushed passes and over-ambitious play allowing the Seagulls a late chance to steal the game.After leading 18-4 with roughly 10 minutes remaining, the home side conceded two tries in the blink of an eye, putting Wynnum in a position for a major upset.Thankful to survive the scare, Young Guns coach Mick Crawley praised the efforts of fullback Jason Barsley and five-eighth McConnell in particular.Already with a handful of NRL games to his name, Barsley was named Players? Player and again submitted his name for consideration by the Cowboys.?His support play was great and he had to tackle a fair bit?we gave the fullback a bit more work to do than usual tonight,? said Crawley.Yet the main interest surrounds whether teammate McConnell will finally get a chance to press his credentials at a higher level, perhaps as Johnathan Thurston?s replacement during the remaining Origin period.Having won dual premierships with Burleigh and North Queensland and been awarded the QANTAS Player of the Year in 2004, McConnell has been biding his time in Townsville.If he succeeds in being elevated to the Cowboys it will be a testament to his perseverance and consistency, out-lasting the likes of Russell Aitken, Kieran Kerr and Chris Sheppard, while also battling with Brett Firman and Scott Smith.?He?s definitely getting closer,? said Crawley.?The opportunity will come in the weeks ahead for someone to take over the halfback spot, but it?s a matter of whom. ?Brent has been with us a while and he was named the best player in the Wizard Cup before he got here?it will all depend on who has form on the board when the decision is made.?While Wynnum Manly may have come away from the match as the loser, the bayside club could also claim form on the board after a much-improved last month.In a three-tries-all affair, Seagulls backline monster Steve Irwin managed to punch through for two tries. It was at the same ground in 2002 that Irwin scored a double on debut while playing for the Brisbane Broncos.Round 12 will see North Queensland take on Souths Logan in Saturday?s televised match at Brandon Park. Wynnum Manly has the bye.NORTH QUEENSLAND 18 (Neil Sweeney 2, Scott Smith tries; Josh Hannay 3 goals) d WYNNUM MANLY 14 (Steve Irwin 2, Kerry Smith tries; Steve Irwin goal) at Dairy Farmers Stadium.EASTS 38 d IPSWICH 24EASTS has avoided slipping into Wizard Cup oblivion with an encouraging 38-24 win against the Ipswich Jets at QLD Group Stadium.After losing four games in succession, the Tigers snuck back into the top five as results around the league fell their wayWinger Donald Malone grabbed a hat-trick for the Stones Corner mob, feeding off opportunities created by impressive ball-players Luke Branighan and Matt Lockyer.Fellow flanker, 17-year-old David Tyrrell, also continued to shine in his debut season with great support play and nimble footwork along the sidelines.The Tigers scored from their very first attacking opportunity, Malone finding a gaping corridor outside Jets counterpart Jarrod Biggs in just the second minute. Ipswich gave itself little opportunity to compete in the opening period, consistently forfeiting possession in dangerous field position.Lockyer came within a fingertip of adding a second try for Easts in the 12th minute, following a pin-point Brett McPherson kick. The Tigers didn?t have to wait long to return however, with centre Mark McKenzie showing great pace and skill to get outside Matt McPhee in the 14th minute, scooping a pass for Tyrrell to touch down.McKenzie also featured in the Tigers? next four-pointer, sending Tyrell away once more before the teenage flyer found Jamie Tomlinson back on his inside. Cheeky as ever, Tomlinson almost came to a complete halt as he evaded former Jets clubmate Biggs, the last line of defence.When forwards Bevan Heuir and Cameron Mulcahy were injected off the bench Ipswich appeared to lift, some sterner tackling preceding the Jets opening try of the day through hooker Chris Porter.Yet Easts replied straight away, scoring the final two tries of the half to go in 22-6 ahead at the break.Already missing nine top-line players through injury, the Tigers were without Martin Meredith, McKenzie and Damian Durnford in the second stanza, with fears forward Meredith may be lost for the season.Although Ipswich enjoyed a better run for the remainder of the game, it let slip its chance to apply any serious pressure, converting just one of four second half tries. Next Sunday sees the Jets with the difficult task of taking on competition heavyweight Redcliffe, needing a good win to lift them from last spot on the table.Easts meanwhile has an intriguing match-up against Norths at Langlands Park on Saturday. Both clubs have experienced mixed fortunes of late, but have designs on contesting this year?s finals.EASTS 38 (Donald Malone 3, Shane Neumann, David Tyrrell, Jamie Tomlinson, John Tamanika tries; Luke Branighan 5 tries) d IPSWICH 24 (Ben McFadgean, Jarrod Biggs, Brendon Marshall, Chris Porter, Chris Scanlan tries; Geoff Chalk 2 goals) at QLD Group Stadium.

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