BULLDOGS coach Steve Folkes says he had no option but to bench superstar forward Sonny Bill Williams for Friday night's blockbuster with St George Illawarra.
PARRAMATTA forward Nathan Hindmarsh says the Eels are not even talking about finals football despite last year's minor premiers moving to within four points of the NRL top eight.
WITH Melbourne leading the competition, suspended Storm back-rower Michael Crocker believes he will have to earn his first-grade spot back with a stint in reserve grade.
WE?VE had some cracking football over the past few weeks and Round 18 was no exception. Friday night?s absorbing contest at Olympic Park was a mere precursor for the remainder of the week, and there were some great moments. A good old-fashioned stoush between Manly and Easts, Parra springing an upset over Newcastle and the return to form of the Premiers were all taken in by the selectors first hand as we roll out the Round 18 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
SOUTHS Second Rower Mark Minichiello and Eels Centre Brett Delaney have become the 20th and 21st signings for the Gold Coast Titans as the fledgling clubs recruitment drive nears its? final stages.
DRAGONS Supporters, Round 18 of the NRL season saw the Dragons take outright second on the table with a 38-28 victory over the Rabbitoh's at Oki Jubilee stadium. The Dragons started the game with all guns blazing and 2 kicks from Matthew Head saw Brett Morris and Mark Gasnier both post tries in the first 10 minutes. From there the match turned into an arm wrestle of sorts with both sides looking good in patches, but neither side really doing a great deal to impress their coaches. The Dragons were able to hold on and take a 10 point victory, but will have to improve their attitude markedly if they are to compete with this week's opponents, the Bulldogs. The MBDS screening of this blockbuster will be back at Crown Casino in the SteakOut Sports Bar from 8:30pm onwards. This is the first Dragons v Bulldogs encounter held at Oki Jubilee for many years so expect a full house off the field and plenty of fireworks on the field as these 2 local rivals try to gain an edge over one another in the back half of the season. WHAT: Dragons v BulldogsWHEN: Friday 14th July, 8:30pmWHERE: SteakOut Sports Bar, Level 1 Crown Casino GO THE DRAGONS!!
PENRITH halfback Craig Gower will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. Gower limped off the field in last Saturday night's win over Canberra and has not been named in the Panthers team to play North Queensland this Saturday night.
CANBERRA has offered Clinton Schifcofske a post-football career opportunity in a desperate last-ditch attempt to prevent him from leaving the club.
THE New Zealand Warriors' rugby league ground has had a name change, reverting from Ericsson Stadium to Mt Smart Stadium. The venue, which will also be used by Counties-Manukau in the Air New Zealand Cup provincial rugby competition, went back to its original name today.
CASTLEFORD winger Waine Pryce will not play again this season after it was confirmed he broke both his tibia and fibula during the defeat by Harlequins.
SOME of them have hit 50 or are very close to it and only a few are under 40 but on Saturday night a band of former Kiwi internationals will try to wind the clock back a decade or two. With 1983-86 Kiwi coach Graham Lowe there to turn them around at halftime, a team called the Kiwi All Stars will take on an Invitational side in the curtain raiser to the Vodafone Warriors-Parramatta NRL clash at Ericsson Stadium. A squad stacked with test experience has been assembled including legendary Kiwi second rower Kurt Sorensen ? 50 in a few months ? who?s coming home from Australia especially for the match. And he?ll be joined by a number of former test colleagues from his era including James Leuluai, Gary Kemble, Duane Mann, Joe Ropati, Clayton Friend and Owen Wright. The Invitational side boasts no such star quality in comparison but, for chief organiser Noel Wyatt, that?s just how he wanted it to be. ?The game came about through purely selfish reasons,? said the 43-year-old Auckland taxi driver and long-time Ellerslie player. ?I broke my arm in my last competitive game in July 2000 and I just wanted one more run. I couldn?t think of a better way to finish it off.? Sorensen was the first of the big names he asked to be involved. He accepted and so too did ex-Kiwi captain Gary Freeman although his television commentary commitments with Fox Sports have now prevented him form making the trip. Also included in the Kiwi All Stars is Vodafone Warriors welfare and development manager Tony Iro, who runs the club?s Allied Work Force elite development squad, and his younger brother Kevin is also set to play. The three Ropati brothers who played for New Zealand ? Joe, Tea and Iva ? are all involved while their brother Peter, an ex-Auckland hooker, is due to line up for the opposition. Of the players in Kiwi All Stars, Mark Bourneville, equally well-known for his Fight for Life exploits, is the only player not to have appeared in a test for the Kiwis, although he did play for France against New Zealand. The Invitation side, coached by former Auckland and Ellerslie prop Jeff Grainger, features several players who turned out for Auckland during their playing careers including Kiwi coach Brian McClennan. Also involved are McClennan?s assistant coach Graeme Norton, Steve Kemble ? Gary?s brother ? Ken Andersson and brothers Ricky and Darrel Williams (the latter not to be confused with 1980s Kiwi fullback Darrell Williams). Wyatt said the match had been made possible through the support of a number of sponsors such as Lion Red, Great Western Steakhouse (New Lynn), Trak Electrical and Air Conditioning, Regency Cabs and Greenlane Manor Motel. The match will played over two 30-minute halves.KIWI ALL STARS V INVITATIONAL TEAMEricsson Stadium, Auckland5.30pm, Saturday, July 15, 2006Referee: Bill Shrimpton KIWI ALL STARSGARY KEMBLETONY IROJAMES LEULUAITEA ROPATIJOE ROPATISHANE COOPERCLAYTON FRIENDFRANCIS LEOTADUANE MANNJASON LOWRIEOWEN WRIGHTKURT SORENSENSAM PANAPA INTERCHANGE; MARK BOURNEVILLERICHARD BLACKMORETONY TATUPUIVA ROPATIDEAN CLARKKEVIN IRO INVITATIONAL TEAM WAYNETRAINORKEN ANDERSSONHEREME SIOSTEVE KEMBLEDARREL WILLIAMSBRYCE TOWNSENDARTHUR CLARKNOEL WYATTGRAEME NORTONGREG HILEYCHRISTIAN FA?AVEAREECE GUYRICKY WILLIAMS INTERCHANGE; GREGORY MOLLOYPIRI ENUA PETER ROPATIRAY HANNAYPETER O?ROURKE BRIAN McCLENNANPETER SIMONS
ST Helens and Harlequins have named their 20-man squads for the engage Super League clash at Knowsley Road.
FRIDAY, 14th July 2006
ST George Illawarra Dragons teams for this Friday's Premier League and Jersey Flegg matches.Premier Leaguev Canterbury Bulldogs5:30pm Friday 14 JulyOki Jubilee StadiumCoach: Steven Price 1. Clint GREENSHIELDS2. Reece SIMMONDS3. Beau RYAN4. Josh MORRIS5. Tom HEWITT6. Reece BLAYNEY7. Jamie KEITH8. Charlie LEAENO9. George NDAIRA10. Chris HOUSTON (c)11. Jess CAINE12. Lee TE MAARI13. James JIMENEZ14. Jamie DUNNING15. Ben COUCHMAN16. Bryson GOODWIN17. Lagi SETU18. Tom HABERECHTJersey Fleggv Canterbury Bulldogs3:50pm Friday 14 JulyOki Jubilee StadiumCoach: Corey Pearson1. Jason NIGHTINGALE2. Rota SETU3. Ryan MILLARD4. Junior SEUMANUTAFA5. Luke IRWIN6. Matt SEAMARK7. Blake DUREAU8. Dan HUNT9. Brad DAVIDSON (c)10. Peter WAKLEY11. Matt PRIOR12. James GREHAN13. James KEELAN14. Luke YOUNG15. Francis LANGIFISI16. Jhi TANNER17. Matt MUNDINE18. Chris FARRELL
ST George Illawarra Dragons Winger Colin Best and forwards Danny Wicks and Luke Bailey will return from injury for this Friday night's clash against the Canterbury Bulldogs. The match is scheduled for a 7:30pm kick off under lights at Kogarah's newly refurbished OKI Jubilee Stadium. It is the first clash between the two clubs at Kogarah since 1999 when the Bulldogs won by 24-18. In 1998, the Dragons and the Bulldogs played in a controversial semi-final when referee Steven Clark made numerous contentious decisions in the Bulldogs' 20-12 defeat of St George.By coincidence, Steven Clark is also the referee for this Friday night's encounter.Sitting in outright second position on the NRL ladder, the Dragons have won their last seven encounters, defeating the Rabbitohs 38-28 last Sunday. The fourth-placed Bulldogs are coming off a nailbiting 22-18 win in extra time over the Warriors.The Dragons will have a number of players unavailable including Dean Young (ankle), Ashton Sims (Wrist), Wes Naiqama (Ankle), Shaun Timmins (Quad) and Trent Barrett (Suspension).Meanwhile the Bulldogs have named Brent Sherwin at halfback despite a foot injury that kept him out last weekend. In form backrower Sonny Bill Williams has been named on the bench while rookie Jarrad Hickey returns from suspension.NRL TeamsSt George Illawarra Dragons v Canterbury Bulldogs7.30pm Friday 14 July - Oki Jubilee StadiumDragons1. Ben HORNBY (c)2. Colin BEST 3. Daryl MILLARD4. Matt COOPER5. Brett MORRIS6. Mark GASNIER7. Mathew HEAD8. Luke BAILEY 9. Aaron GORRELL10. Justin POORE 11. Sam ISEMONGER12. Ben CREAGH 13. Matt BICKERSTAFF 14. Michael HENDERSON 15. Jason RYLES 16. Danny WICKS 17. Corey PAYNE Coach: Nathan Brown Bulldogs1. Luke Patten2. Hazem El Masri3. Andrew Emelio 4. Willie Tonga 5. Cameron Phelps 6. Daniel Holdsworth 7. Brent Sherwin8. Mark O'Meley 9. Tony Grimaldi 10. Roy Asotasi11. Willie Mason12. Andrew Ryan (c)13. Reni Maitua14. Sonny Bill Williams15. Corey Hughes16. Nate Myles17. Jarrad HickeyCoach: Steve FolkesWith a rivalry that goes back for generations, Dragons v Bulldogs clashes at Kogarah have always come with the expectation of providing an entertaining spectacle.In 34 matches at Kogarah, the Bulldogs have lost 21 matches, won 12 and drawn 1.1999 Bulldogs 24 d Saints 18 1998 Bulldogs 20 d St George 12 (minor preliminary semi) 1998 Bulldogs 28 d St.George 16 1995 St George 22 d Bulldogs 18 1992 St George 16 d Canterbury 6 1990 St George 9 d Canterbury 8 1989 St George 34 d Canterbury 2 1983 Canterbury 9 d St.George 2 1982 Saints 10 drew with Canterbury 10 1981 St George 18 d Canterbury12 1980 Canterbury 15 d St.George 7 1979 Saints 20 d Canterbury 12 1978 Canterbury 19 d Saints 15 1977 Canterbury 17 d St.George 7 1976 Canterbury 10 d St.George 8 1975 Canterbury 3 d St.George 2 1974 St George 16 d Canterbury 5 1972 Canterbury 18 d Saints 14 1971 Canterbury 16 d Saints 11 1965 St George 46 d Canterbury 2 1964 Saints 23 d Canterbury 16 1963 Saints 54 d Canterbury 5 1962 St George 28 d Canterbury 7 1961 St George 27 d Canterbury 8 1960 St George 38 d Canterbury 5 1959 Saints 63 d Canterbury 12 1958 Saints 22 d Canterbury 11 1957 Saints 45 d Canterbury 8 1956 Saints 40 d Canterbury 14 1955 St George 24 d Canterbury 6 1954 Saints 41 d Canterbury 14 1953 Canterbury 17 d St.George 9 1952 Saints 28 d Canterbury 11 1951 St George 47 d Canterbury 4Source: R2KThe St George Illawarra Club advises that limited reserve seating and general admission tickets are still available and fans are encouraged to prepurchase tickets.