Preview: Wigan v Salford (R21)

STUART Fielden is warning his Wigan team-mates to prepare for the biggest test yet of their resurgence when Salford visit the JJB Stadium.The Warriors are on a roll as they seek to pull off the great escape and a fifth successive win would lift them out of the relegation zone for the first time in four months.Catalans, Warrington, Harlequins and Wakefield have all been dispatched in consecutive weeks by Brian Noble?s rejuvenated side but play-off chasing Salford will pose a different challenge, according to Fielden.?No disrespect to the other teams but Salford are a bit better,? said the former Bradford prop, who has yet to experience defeat as a Wigan player. ?They stick in there.?We?re not sitting back and lighting up the cigars. Confidence is there and training is getting better each week but we are taking it a game at a time.?The Reds have never won at the JJB Stadium but they have already beaten Wigan twice at home this season and, despite three defeats in their last four matches, they remain handily placed in the top six.?We?ve worked so hard to be in the top six since round one and we intend to stay there,? said coach Karl Harrison.Wigan Warriors v Salford City Reds, JJB Stadium, Friday July 14 2006Wigan 18-man squad: Ashton, Calderwood, Dallas, Dobson, Fielden, Fletcher, Godwin, Hansen, Higham, Hock, Logan, McAvoy, O'Carroll, O'Loughlin, Orr, Paleaaesina, Radlinski, Tickle.Salford 18-man squad: Hodgson, McGuinness, Moule, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Charles, Highton, Langi, Wilshere, Haggerty, Littler, Myler, Clayton, Adamson, Lima, Williams.Referee: R SilverwoodSource:

Bulldogs win entertaining contest

ROUND 19 St George Illawarra Dragons 16 v Canterbury Bulldogs 22at OKI Jubilee Stadium, KogarahCrowd: 18,223Referee: Steve ClarkMatch Summary:The Canterbury Bulldogs have defeated the St George Illawarra Dragons 22-16 in an entertaining clash at OKI Jubilee Stadium in Sydney tonight.The Dragons showed their intention to attack from the first minute where they came up with a chip kick in their own half that didn?t come off. After five minutes they opened the scoring with a long range try to Ben Creagh. Matt Cooper broke through some weak tackles and offloaded to a support player who found Creagh back on the inside instantly, and he raced 50 metres to score. In the ninth minute the Bulldogs lost winger Cameron Phelps for the evening with a shoulder injury. On the 19th minute Aaron Gorrell missed a penalty attempt from 30 metres out following a high tackle from Willie Mason. The Bulldogs opened the scoring only two minutes later with a try to Brent Sherwin, who raced through a gap to score under the posts. The try was awarded by the video referee, and had a small hint of obstruction in it. The Bulldogs took their lead to 10-4 five minutes before half time when Sonny Bill carried three defenders over the line to score out wide, and the score remained 10-4 at the break.Only two minutes into the second half the Dragons tied the game up at 10-all with a great breakaway try to Mark Gasnier. When he looked all but wrapped up by the defence he stepped away from them all and scored near the posts. Seven minutes into the half Corey Payne was carried from the field after being on the wrong end of a Mark O?Meley hit up. In the 54th minute the Bulldogs hit the lead again, Asotasi breaking up the middle before offloading to Holdsworth who claimed the first of his two tries in the match. Three minutes after that, Sonny Bill and Reni Maitua were put on report for a dangerous throw that looked rather innocuous. The Dragons drew level again through Mark Gasnier when he took a cross field kick and dotted it down. The Bulldogs scored the decisive try 11 minutes out from fulltime when Holdsworth was on the end of a Sonny Bill offload. The Dragons never really threatened in the final 10 minutes, the Bulldogs defence causing them the same headaches that held them out for most of the match.Next week the Dragons travel to Canberra, while the Bulldogs host the Roosters.Scorers:St George Illawarra Dragons: 16Tries: Ben Creagh, Mark Gasnier(2)Goals: Aaron Gorrell 2/4Canterbury Bulldogs: 22Tries: Brent Sherwin, Sonny Bill Williams, Daniel Holdsworth(2)Goals: Hazem El Masri 3/4Half time: Bulldogs 10-4By the Clock:Good evening from Oki Jubilee Stadium in Sydney for tonights blockbuster clash featuring the Dragons vs the Bulldogs. This match stands as a battle for 2nd place.Last week both teams got the points, the Bulldogs winning the match of the season vs the Warriors 22-18 in extra time, coming back from trailing 16-0. The Dragons defeated Souths 38-28, and never put them away fully.Adam Perry is in for the Bulldogs, Grimaldi injured his leg in training. Otherwise they are 1-17. The Dragons Sims in for Ryles.It's raining again at Kogarah.1 min: The Bulldogs kick off!3 min: Interesting start from the Dragons, they open with a chip kick deep in their own half after 37 seconds. It doesn't come off but the Bulldogs knock on. Dragons then make solid inroads in attack after a penalty.5 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsMatt Cooper makes a bust inside his own half, passes inside to a support player who instantly passes to Creagh who races 40 metres to score. Gorrell just misses from out wide. Dragons 4-09 min: The Bulldogs spin the ball wide and catch retreating defence, but get wrapped up in the end.9 min: INJURY - Cameron Phelps on the ground with a shoulder problem, and he gets interchanged, leading to an early introduction for Sonny Bill.10 min: The Bulldogs come up with some very nice offloads and ball movement, and Maitua knocks on in a burst down the right side.12 min: A very good kick from Sherwin is cleaned up by Morris to save a try, and concedes a drop out.13 min: Sonny Bill knocks on attempting a pass as he goes over the sideline. Very poor completion rate for the Bulldogs so far, 2/6.15 min: Head puts in a dreadful kick off the side of his boot, it nearly comes good for the Dragons but they knock on recovering it.19 min: ATTEMPTED PENALTY GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsWillie Mason is penalised for a high tackle. Gorrell misses the penaly from 32 out, right in front. Dragons 4-021 min: The Bulldogs get a penalty, 10 out and right in front. They take the tap.21 min: VIDEO REF - For a Bulldogs try...21 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsSherwins darts through a gap 10 out and scores under the posts. It looked like an obstruction from O'Meley. El Masri converts. Bulldogs 6-428 min: A LOT of errors so far, some that can be blamed on the conditions, some that can't.30 min: Another error from Sonny Bull with the Bulldogs hot on attack. Fairly messy game so far.32 min: Dragons get a scrum feed 10 out from the Bulldogs line after a Bulldogs error.33 min: El Masri comes up with an important intercept on a 2 on 1 overlap situation.35 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsOff the back of a penalty the Bulldogs get the ball wide to Sonny Bill who carries three defenders over the line to score out wide. El Masri comes up with a rare miss. Bulldogs 10-440 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL St George Illawarra DragonsStraight off a goal line drop out Hornby attempts a field goal that is low and wide left. Bulldogs 10-4And we go to halftime at 10-4.The match has been quite even in a half punctuated by errors. A lot of strong defence and big hits.40 min: The second half begins.42 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsGasnier gets put into a gap right up the middle, he speeds away and steps the last line of defence consisting of a bunch of Bulldogs players. Gorrell converts. 10 all.47 min: INJURY - Corey Payne is out cold after an O'Meley hitup, and is getting strechered off.50 min: An Andrew Ryan kick picks up the Bulldogs a drop out.51 min: Brett Morris makes a great defensive play coming down with a Bulldogs bomb.52 min: The Dragons kicking game struggling, a charge down earlier and now Head kicks the ball right up the rear of a team mate.54 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsAsotasi breaks up the middle and offloads to Holdsworth who scores to the left of the posts. El Masri converts. Bulldogs 16-1057 min: The Bulldogs totally dominating territory.57 min: ON REPORT - Sonny Bill and Reni Maitua are penalised for a dangerous throw. The Bulldogs are really turning up their defence and they force an error.61 min: The Dragons force a line drop out from a great kick.62 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsHead puts up a cross kick to Gasnier who juggles the ball and dots it down to the right of the posts. Gorrell converts. 16 all.66 min: El Masri is ruled to have not played at a pass on the last tackle that he appeared to knock into touch.67 min: Head knocks the ball down going for an intercept.69 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsThe Bulldogs spin the ball wide, Sonny Bill gets through several defenders and offloads to Holdsworth who scores out wide. El Masri converts. Bulldogs 22-1671 min: Luke Bailey is heading up the tunnel.75 min: Bailey returning to the field.76 min: The Bulldogs make a break that gets saved by Millard.77 min: Patten chases a nice Dragons kick and combines with El Masri to avoid going over the sideline.79 min: A kick by Millard is cleaned up by Patten, the match could be all but over.80 min: 40 seconds to go, last throw of the dice for the Dragons. The Dragons throw a forward pass and the Bulldogs players of the match:3 - Roy Asotasi2 - Willie Mason1 - Brent Sherwin-----------------------------------------

Titans Juniors win Australian honours!

TITANS Elite Academy Members Will Matthews(Front Row) Chris Sandow (Halfback) and Shannon Walker (Fullback) have been selected in the Australian Schoolboys team following their performances at the Australian Schoolboys Championships in Port Macquarie. All three represented Queensland which won the final against New South Wales Combined Catholic Colleges 24 - 14. Titans Junior Recruitment Manager Tom Searle ?I am over the moon about this. To have three of our Titans academy boys make the side is amazing. The fact that 2 of them are from country New South Wales and have come across to play for Queensland is just something out of the box. And Chris Sandow who has already played 2 Queensland Cup games has proved to John Cartwright, me and Scott Sattler how valuable they will be for the future of the Titans.? Matthews hails from Kyogle in Northern New South Wales and plays for the Seagulls Colts and is part of the Rugby League Excellence program at Palm Beach High School. He played consistently well throughout the championships and was rewarded with the Most Valuable Player of the final and his selection in the Australian Team. Walker also from Kyogle continues to play in his home town but lives on the Gold Coast through the week where he attends the Palm Beach High program. He commutes home on weekends to play club fixtures. Searle said, ?He was electrifying ? he did something in every game that made him a standout. He has shear speed and brilliance and was also on fire in the final.? Chris Sandow goes to Marsden High and plays for Logan City colts was also a standout all week. ?He was outstanding?, said Searle. ?He was the form Halfback of the tournament and definitely the most talked about player. He like Will and Shannon will gain enormously from the selection?Titans Head Coach John Cartwright was overwhelmed that 3 of his junior charges were selected. Cartwright said, ?To get one would have been a great achievement. It?s just one of the positives of having an NRL team in this area. If the Titans hadn?t been admitted to the NRL, who knows what these boys would be doing with their Rugby League. They might still be playing for their respective clubs and not had this opportunity. I think it just speaks volumes for the decision the NRL have made to put a team into the area. It?s given so many kids a chance to progress their careers.?The Australian Team will tour Great Britain in November and Titans confirmed they will pay for the trip and expenses.

Warrior's coach slams golden point

WARRIORS coach Ivan Cleary says the NRL would be better off without the golden point rule and should allow drawn matches.

Sharks look to get season back on track.

THE Sharks will be attempting to get their 2006 premiership campaign back on track after two successive losses when they take on the Sydney Roosters in a round 19 clash this Sunday. After an outstanding run of form which saw them win eight games from nine starts, the Sharks have slipped slightly in going down to the Broncos and Tigers in their previous two matches.

Raiders signings

TALENTED young centre Junior Sau will remain with the Raiders next year, after agreeing to a new one year deal for 2007.

Lion Red Fox Memorial

AFTER a bye weekend last weekend, tomorrow sees the resumption of the Lion Red Fox Memorial competition.

Carting it up with Stevo

SOUTHS give their halves a go

Hannay ruled out with virus

NORTH Queensland centre Josh Hannay has been ruled out of the Cowboys' clash against Penrith tomorrow night. Hannay is yet to recover from a mystery virus that threatened his involvement in Queensland's State of Origin series win over New South Wales last week.

Northern Rail Cup Final: HKR v Leigh

HULL KR v Leigh Centurions

Superleague Round 21 Preview

A gap seems to have opened up between the top six teams and those below who remain desperate to squeeze their way into the play-offs ? or avoid relegation at all costs. Either way teams at the top and bottom of the ladder will be desperate for wins this week to sort out the Superleague pecking order. Game on!

Brown confident in young tyros

ST George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown says his young forwards are more than capable of overpowering a Bulldogs pack containing five Test representatives in tonight's NRL blockbuster at Oki Jubilee Stadium.

Richards could be a Tiger again

GRAND final hero Pat Richards could make a surprise NRL return for Wests Tigers next season after falling out of favour at English club Wigan.

Round 19 NRL Preview

WE?RE now eight games shy of the finals and there are some very important matches this round and in the coming weeks. This makes the job of the punter just that bit harder as you try to factor desperation into the tipping equation each Friday afternoon.I didn?t have a lot of fun last week, leaving three on the table for a grand total of 79/124 (64%) for the year. I?m baffled by the Raiders, but that shouldn?t surprise me as they?ve been doing it all year to me. Perhaps Schifcofske?s move has damaged them a little. Why on earth would you want to play that other stupid game?If anyone other than an Eels fan picked them last week then you?re a genius and at the end of the day I laboured over the Tigers and still didn?t put my slippers next to their bed. Anyhow, that serves to create another layer of complexity for this round?s tips and the only two teams who can?t be dislodged from their respective ladder positions are the Storm and the Rabbitohs. Dragons v BulldogsThe boys down at Channel 9 keep coming up trumps with this week?s Friday night Football again a highly anticipated match. Both clubs had wins over the weekend, but in very different circumstances, and they meet at Kogarah Oval for the first time since 1999, the year the Dragons and Steelers merged. The boys in blue (and white) got up that day and apparently there?ll be a few extra people watching from the stands in similar colours.Canterbury let the Warriors get out of the box very quickly last week and were gravely exposed on El Masri?s wing. Vatuvei is a big, strong boy and you can probably excuse Hazem to a degree, but I doubt Folkesy will let that happen again. This week he?s up against Morris, who?s made jumping into a bit of an art form lately but isn?t as blessed in the flesh as Manu. Moving on from that, I thought the Bulldogs were impressive in the way they came back at the Warriors to claim victory in extra time. New Zealand has been in tear-away form lately and the Doggies didn?t crack under pressure. Plenty of eyes will be on Sherwin after his understudy Roberts put on a bit of a show last week, and the rest of the squad is pretty strong in particular the forwards, with Sonny Bill and Myles set to add some impact from the bench.The Dragons are a much different story with this their first real test for three weeks, having a bye in between and games against the Bunnies and Cowboys doing little to prepare them for a genuine heavyweight of the comp. They do boast a good list however, but Ryles has been ruled out with Sims making a return. Gasnier goes back to five-eighth, meaning the three-quarters more or less cancel each other out. Hornby?s return to fullback will make for interesting viewing as he?s been in the halves for so long I fear he may have forgotten how to play back there. But I?m tipping he?ll spend a fair bit of time in the mix moving the ball about and that?s where he?s been dangerous of late.Unfortunately I can?t see the Dragons walking away victorious from this one. The strength of the Bulldogs forward pack is where the game will be won I think, and whilst the Dragons are well served in that department, Canterbury have a production line happening at the moment and they mean business. Plus, I think the Dragons are just due for a loss.Warriors v EelsA very Super Saturday gets underway across the ditch in the newly re-named Warriors home ground ? Mt Smart Stadium. This grand old lady reverts to her maiden name and I reckon it?s a beautiful thing.Parramatta might not think so, enduring a 3 from 8 record there, but they did come away victorious in their last encounter. The big loss for the Eels is the injury to halfback Tim Smith who was starting to find some of his best form and has been partly responsible for Parra?s resurgence. They break another Smith out of the mould in the form of Jeremy, who?s heading over to Souths next season. He hasn?t been in the top grade since he pushed a ref at Kogarah and will be looking to make an impact at halfback as he seems to have that position locked up for the rest of the year. The loss of Tim could also be partly offset by the return of Ben to the centres, especially with Tahu still missing.It won?t really phase the Warriors right now though. They?re cracking walnuts with sledgehammers in a desperate effort to make the semi?s, falling just short of their fifth straight victory last week. Looking at both teams they are evenly matched in a lot of areas, with the clash of Vatuvei and Hayne sure to be worth a look. Starting Anderson is a good ploy with Faumuina, a man who has no respect for his own body, free to come off the bench and run riot. The smarts of Gatis will also assist this week and perhaps that?s what they needed against the Dogs when they were up 16-0. Still, I?m going to stick with the home team in this one, they?ve got enough petrol in the tank and playing at home should give them an edge over Parra.Panthers v CowboysAnother vital clash here as the Cowboys travel down south to Penrith and book out the east wing of Panthers nightclub. The Panthers will join their rivals on 20 points if they win and have seemingly resurrected their finals hopes if they do. If not, the Cowboys push further into the top 8.North Queensland has endured an unwelcome week hosing down speculation that some people have been up to naughty things. This is a bit make or break for them; it could galvanise them into the robust team they were earlier in the year, or they could fall apart even more. I guess we?ll find out on Saturday when they trot out onto Panther Park. Their backline is looking smarter and young McConnell handles himself well in the top grade. In the forwards, Scott, Webb and O?Donnell will be raring and with Smith and Southern on the bench they have good impact.The home side are again missing their leader and halfback Gower in a cruel blow to their finals fortunes. It will place more pressure on Campbell and they have resisted opting for Lewis at five-eighth on his return from a dislocated finger, instead recalling Trindall from the wilderness to have a crack. His selection could provide the Panthers with an ?unknown quantity? advantage, but if his kicking game isn?t up to scratch they could struggle. Penrith have been a bit of a bogey team for me recently, I thought they?d go down to the Raiders last week but instead they were quite good.But I?m going to tempt fate again this week and tip the Cowboys to ride off with the chocolates in this one. Murray is back with his mind on the job and if they don?t win, you?ll hear the alarm bells ringing all the way from FNQ.Rabbitohs v Sea EaglesWe continue the recent trend of Sydney games on a Saturday with a potentially entertaining affair between old rivals Souths and Manly out at headquarters in Homebush.Manly snapped a three-game losing streak against the slapstick comedy of the Roosters last week in what I thought was going to turn into a war out at the SFS. Morley was punishing and if Easts had of got behind him more they might have won, instead Manly stepped up and got back in the winners circle. They?re going to miss Menzies and Watmough with their generally sparkling backrow now reduced pretty much to BK. They would have taken plenty of confidence out of the victory last week and I think that will be a telling factor for them this time around. Plus, the Bunnies bashed them 44-6 in their last clash and that might have been brought up once or twice down at the gym this week.Following last week?s effort against the Dragons, I don?t think you can write the Rabbitohs off here. They played some very entertaining footy and had a dig but still never looked like winning. Have they forgotten how to win? Maybe, or perhaps they only feel like they?re a chance when a team is understrength e.g. the win against the Broncos and the near miss in Townsville. If so, then they have every right to consider themselves a chance here. Their team is looking good on paper with Champion going ok and Sutton being used relatively well at lock. Peachey has been worth every cent and the MacDougall?s have a go every week. I?m going to tip the Sea Eagles because it?s hard to tip a side like Souths, but I won?t be choking on my cornflakes come Sunday morning if they Bunnies get the two points.Knights v StormSunday kicks-off up in the Hunter with a very important game for the Knights in the context of the competition. Whilst Melbourne could afford to drop this one, Newcastle are occupying 8th spot with little more than a truncheon to repel the advances of Wests, Penrith, Canberra and the Eels.Melbourne played smart footy against the Broncos last week and the return of Billy Slater was welcomed down south. The try he laid on for Turner was something else and it just goes to show what they can produce when they?re on their game. The backrow are in fine touch, dictating terms on the fringes of the ruck to their opponents. But they?re not at Olympic Park this week and things will be a bit different.Newcastle are obviously hurting after their thumping at the hands of Parra last week, and rightly so, they were a rabble. But I think they could get home here and the bookies have priced the game only slightly in favour of the Storm, so I think they?re onto something. As I said earlier, desperation will count this week and the Knights need to win, their season depends upon it. Plus, the past three games Melbourne have won have been very tight and could have gone either way, so I think their hiding a few of their faults.Marathon Stadium is always a hard road trip and Joey won?t like losing up there. The Knight?s team is very robust and I think they will try to blow the Storm off the field through the middle of the park. I?m tipping a narrow Newcastle victory. Like the Dragons, I also think the Storm are due for a loss and have only won at Marathon once in eight attempts.Raiders v TigersWests hop on the highway down to the Nation?s Capital to meet the Raiders in a very important match for both sides. The winner will break away from the loser?s sights for at least a week and it could be enough to decide their season?s fate.The Tigers were pretty good last week, throwing in a commanding performance away from home and they?ll be hoping they can replicate something similar down in Canberra this time around. I think their three-quarter line is looking much better at the moment and although Fitzhenry isn?t as dangerous as Benji, he certainly proved he can run last week. Galloway also stood up and he needed to against his old club. If he has another go like that this week it?ll certainly help things along. The rest of the pack is pretty strong, good to see Halatau backing up and look for O?Hara and Payten to have big games against their former colours.For Canberra, well they?ve fallen into a bit of a hole. After making everyone believe they could jag a win from just about any situation, they?ve gone a long way in the past two weeks to prove otherwise. It might also say a bit more about their opposition (Parra and Penrith) than it says about them. They still have a good team and although the Schif and Mogg were backing up last week, you?d have to think that wasn?t the main cause for the loss. I get the feeling that the Raiders may have peaked, but I?m careful not to go too far with this statement as they tend to bite you when you least expect it. Their forwards are still capable, as is the backline, and the confrontation in the middle of the park is going to be a ripper.The home side are the favourites with the bookies, again not by much. Looking at the two teams all I can think is that the Tigers bench does look stronger. Right now if I had to say which one of these teams would make the top 8 I would pick the Tigers. Based off that I think they?ll win on Sunday and continue their quest towards the finals.Roosters v SharksUgh, this one could go anywhere?Cronulla get the express to Bondi where they will meet a very bare stadium for the game against the Tri-Colours. The Sharks were underwhelming last week and we can assume that the past two weeks are a manifestation of poor form as opposed to a mere aberration. Kimmorley and co pulled every trick they had last week and couldn?t find a way out of losing to the Tigers, who prior to that were rather pedestrian. But they bring back a few players to the forward pack this week, with the backrow in particular looking good, and the rest of the team is more or less unchanged. I think Simmons at the back is proving himself to be a very big loss to cover.The Roosters, well, what can you say about them? They had a great excuse to get behind Morley and run over the Sea Eagles last week but retreated into their shells and decided it was too cold to fight. We?ve still got players out of position (Wing, Finch, Cross) and players in the team who are badly out of form (Anasta, Harrison) being slapped together and they don?t really know what to do. They do have the crux of a reasonable forward pack with Morley, Fitzgibbon and Shillington playing hard, but with little or no support from the rest of the side they can?t dominate their opponents. Injuries to the likes of Tupou aren?t helping, but their bench may as well not even bother. Paea had a bit of a go last week but the other three are wouldn?t know if they were on fire.I?m tipping the Sharks here, but more by default. I don?t think the Roosters can put up a decent fight and if they do it will probably be amongst themselves.The Broncos have the bye in Round 19 after falling victim to the Graveyard in Melbourne. These boys need a rest and that?s fair enough, they?ve been plugging away pretty hard throughout the Origin series and I?m expecting them to be fresh when they take on the Cowboys up in Townsville next week in an all-Queensland affair. Should be a cracker!

Desperate Dolphins Come To Play

REDCLIFFE coach Anthony Griffin has paid tribute to warhorses Troy Lindsay and Adam Starr, after the veteran pair went above the call of duty in Sunday?s 48-30 win against Norths at Dolphin Oval.

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