NEW Zealand-born rugby league player John Taituha can lay claim to playing his part in a quirky piece of Australian rugby league history.
LONDON Broncos will return home to Griffin Park on Sunday after almost two months on the road, to face Tetley's Super League leaders, Leeds Rhinos. And the good news for London fans does not end there; Tony Rea will welcome back three key players for the homecoming and will name the final seventeen on match day.Russell Bawden has arrived back at the club and will look to make his 132nd top-flight appearance for London, in what will be his third stint in the capital. Also set to make his first appearance for the Broncos this season is England 'A' International Rob Purdham after missing the first eighteen rounds following knee surgery, and Andrew Hart will return after a seven-week absence through injury. Tony Rea, who will be assisted by Rohan Smith - nephew of Leeds coach Tony Smith, is delighted to be heading back to Brentford: "It's a great feeling playing before your own people and I can already sense the excitement in the squad." It's a reward for a lot of hard work for the players returning from injury and they will add a timely boost to our unit." It should be a great event on Sunday. The leaders are coming to town, London supporters will get to see their own team on their home pitch, and I know there is a load of activity surrounding the game itself on the day." Rob Purdham added: "It's been a real tough battle to getback but I have always known that it would be well worth the effort. I can't wait to get out there and finally be able to help my mates."
Before the game Broncos CEO Nic Cartwright will host a special London Broncos Fans' Form which will start at 1pm. All London fans are welcome to attend but must have a valid match ticket to do so. The Broncos will also donate part proceeds from match day ticket sales to Sport Relief. Simply turn upon the day wearing a red sock (similar to that worn by the team on their private parts last week) on your foot, and the club will donate a portion from every premium adult ticket bought on the day. Kick off is 3pm. Gates open at 1pm. Discounted tickets can be bought before 5pm Friday 16th July - 0871 2221657. Team as follows: Sykes, Wells, Roy, Jackson, Greenwood, O'Halloran, Moran, Moore, Budworth, Trindall, Brocklehurst, Botham, Retchless: Stringer, Highton, Stephenson, Kirkpatrick, Purdham, Hart, Bawden (three to be omitted) London Broncos Junior Academy will play Featherstone at new home venue Ruislip RUFC at 2.30 on Saturday. Directions to the ground can be found atwww.londonbroncos.co.uk
In other news:
As London Broncos prepare to return home to Brentford this Sunday, after six long weeks on the road, Chief Executive Nic Cartwright has today hit out at comments made during the week by leading BBC presenter John Inverdale, and rugby league journeyman, Bobby Goulding. The programme 'Any Sporting Questions' on Radio 5 Live, raised the issue of rugby league expansion, and more specifically, rugby league in London. Cartwright has no problem with broadcasters expressing opinion but he does object to the presentation of clearly inaccurate facts. The pair made comments to the effect that rugby league should be more interested in protecting the game in its northern heartlands rather than looking at expansion. Saying that the London Broncos 'experiment' has been a flop, proving that there is no market for rugby league in the capital, has certainly infuriated many London fans, and Cartwright himself. "They can say what they like as long as they are intelligent enough to back up those statements with fact." Telling people that our average crowd is 1500, that our support is only drawn from expatriate Australians, and that all our players are Australian, is a clear case of ignorance." If John cares to look at the 'facts' here they are. Our research tells us that our Australian match day audience is less than 15%, and this season of the 23 man squad, just eight are Aussies." I don't like people talking our club or the game in London down. And I particularly don't like people shooting their mouth off from a position of ignorance." If John would like to come and be our guest at Griffin Park on Sunday, it might be a good opportunity for him to see just how much hard work goes into helping our game grow outside of the heartlands." Rugby League is a cracking game and deserves a much wider audience in the UK and on an International scale, and attitudes like this certainly don't help our cause." In no way is this a criticism of the BBC which is a terrific partner for our game, but I am disappointed at the comments which were made."If John, and others who haven't been to a Broncos game this season, do turn up, here's what you can expect: Nic Cartwright will host a London Fans' Forum pre-match from 1pm. This is open to all rugby league fans in London and a valid match ticket will be needed to attend. London Broncos Junior Academy, who play against Featherstone at Ruislip on Saturday, will undertake a bucket collection for their injured teammate Matt King. The Broncos will donate part proceeds from premium adult ticket sales on the day to Sport Relief. To contribute, simply wear a red sock and show it to the turnstile staff. We are not interested in socks worn on any other part of the anatomy - for more details visit www.londonbroncos.co.uk
More than 200 children who recently participated in the five week Hounslow & Ealing Summer Festival of League will be at the game. Forty budding Cowgirls will represent their respective Cheer-Dance Clubs on the pitch pre-match and at half time. For the first time we'll meet the Brook Road Broncos, with the club agreeing to open a third stand for the match. The 'I'm A League Fan...Get Me In There!' competition will be launched with one fan at the game selected to WIN the �1500 10th Birthday Party Pack. Our Half Time Heroes representing the county of Kent will strut their stuff.And last but certainly not least the gorgeous high kicking Cowgirls will dazzle those in attendance. Kick off is 3pm. Gates open at 1pm. Discounted tickets can be bought before 5pm Friday 16th July - 0871 2221657.
THIS week's Bulls Eye features Brian Noble and Joe Vagana who look ahead to Friday's Round 19 game at the JJB Stadium when the Bulls travel to Wigan to take on the Warriors in one of the games of the season.
THIS HAS GOT TO BE ONE OF THE GAMES OF THE SEASON
It is and it�s also just another game with two points at stake. Wigan are going really well at the JJB, they are unbeaten there this year and they will see it as a big opportunity to continue that record and pick up two points along the way. Everyone in Wigan will have been talking about the game and how we have depleted side but we are going there with a lot of confidence.
Wigan have been playing well and they certainly won�t fear anyone, particularly at home. They have got Carney back and that will lift them and he adds to a very pacy back line. Their half backs are playing well and Craig Smith has been doing the business for them. Newton and Farrell are World Class players who can hurt you if you let them.
I was really pleased with the way we played last week but we know that it gets tougher from herein and we will have to be at the very top of our game to have any chance of defeating a side very much on song.
WIGAN HAVE A VERY TOUGH FRONT ROW.
They are going very well at the moment, Craig Smith has stood up to be counted because they have lost a couple of Front Rowers. It�s lucky for us we have an extra Front Rower on the Wing in Les. He is a little bit faster than the rest of us but he is the same weight and does the same job when he�s needed.
They have also got great pace out wide with Dallas and Carney on the wing and Hodgson in the Centre but we have got pace and size and I am sure our backs will be up to the task that�s placed before them.
We have few players out with injury and suspension but we have some good young players who like to step up and they have shown before they can grab their chance with both hands. I am sure that Iestyn coming into the squad, whether he starts or comes off the bench, will give us all a big lift in what is sure to be a great game.
The Bulls, who will lack Paul Johnson, Tevita Vaikona, Michael Withers, Toa Kohe Love through injury and Karl Pratt through suspension, have added Aaron Smith and Chris Bridge to the squad that defeated Wakefield last week.
Squad: Reardon, Andy Smith, Aaron Smith, Vainikolo, Harris, Vagana, Pryce, Paul, Swann, Radford, Hape, Deacon, Parker, Langley, Fielden, Anderson, Peacock, Bridge
Lesley Vainikolo has scored 63 tries in only 70 appearances for the Bulls
Paul Deacon has kicked 74 goals from 93 attempts for an average of 79.57%
BULLS EYE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MEDIA DEPARTMENT OF BRADFORD BULLS RUGBY CLUB.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT STUART DUFFY OR JAMES BRAMMER ON 01274 762315.
STEPHEN Kearney has signed a two-year deal with Hull and will join the Super League club next season.
LONDON Broncos wish to thank all clubs from the Tetley's Super League for their commitment to the Matt King Appeal. All twelve Super League clubs have pledged their support .
FOLLOWING last weeks brilliant win at Clontarf, Dublin Blues look to stretch their winning sequence to six games when they take on East Coast Eagles at Stradbrook. With points difference increasingly likely to be a factor withthe group stage reaching its closing stages, the Blues would like a repeat of their 54-6 win earlier in the campaign.With leaders Treaty City Titans idle, the onus is on Kilkenny Wildcats and Waterford Vikings to stay in touch at the top in Munster. The Wildcats areseeking revenge when they entertain Kerry Kings following their narrow defeat earlier in the season while the Vikings welcome bottom side Cork Bulls to Dungarvan determined to bounce back from last weeks defeat to Kilkenny.Leinster FixturesDublin City Exiles v Kildare DragonsDublin Blues v East Coast Eagles P W D L F A Diff PtsCLONTARF BULLS 7 6 0 1 262 110 152 12DUBLIN BLUES 7 6 0 1 238 110 128 10KILDARE DRAGONS 7 4 0 3 126 215 -89 8DUBLIN CITY EXILES 7 2 1 4 162 178 -16 5EAST COAST EAGLES 7 2 1 4 132 212 -80 5CHURCHTOWN WARRIORS 7 0 0 7 19 158 -139 0Munster FixturesKilkenny Wildcats v Kerry KingsWaterford Vikings v Cork Bulls P W D L F A Diff PtsTREATY CITY TITANS 5 4 0 1 180 80 100 8WATERFORD VIKINGS 5 3 0 2 153 106 47 6KILKENNY WILDCATS 5 3 0 2 146 119 27 6KERRY KINGS 5 2 0 3 92 144 -52 4CORK BULLS 4 0 0 4 76 186 -110 0
BRITISH international Adrian Morley has scored a sensational match-winning try to see the Sydney Roosters home by 18-14 over a gallant St George Illawarra Dragons outfit tonight.
THE Sydney Roosters are pleased to add another young up and coming back rower to their playing roster for 2005.
THE New Zealand Warriors and Kiwi international winger Henry Fa'afili is to leave the NRL club at the end of the season after signing a three-year deal with Warrington in the English Super League.
THE Bulldogs have received delivery of the special 70 Year Commemorative Jersey. This fantastic jersey is sure to be a popular item and with only a small number produced sales are expected to be busy at the Bulldogs TeamStores over the next couple of days.
A 16th franchise will be forced to field a "reserve grade" side unless the NRL grants it a dispensation to negotiate with off-contract players before next year's proposed October anti-tampering deadline.
IN-FORM Fone Zone Canberra Raiders half Mark McLinden could be ruled out of tomorrow's crunch match against the Penrith Panthers, after coming down with the flu this week.
AFTER overcoming an eleventh hour fitness test today Storm five-eighth Scott Hill will line up for his 150th NRL match tomorrow night when Melbourne takes on the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval.
COLLIES v Dapto 3pm Saturday July 17 - WIN #2 Ground The competition leaders face a desperate Dapto this weekend. The Canaries will fall six points out of the four, making a finals appearance impossible. Any late charge by Dapto this year must start against Collies, who are the form side of the premiership. Collies are in super form and it will take a massive improvement by the Canaries to compete with the Dogs. To make things even worse for Dapto, and every other team for that matter, is that Collies have signed several players mid-season to strengthen their already overflowing talent roster. The Dogs will therefore be odds on to end Dapto's season on Saturday. Uni v Wollongong 3pm Saturday July 17 - University Oval The clash between the depleted Bulls and underperforming Books is of no significance to the finals, with pride the only thing to play for this Saturday. Wollongong back up after an 88-12 humiliation at the hands of the Blacks, which is about the only thing that could make Uni's 56-14 loss to Wests look good. The Bulls have won only one match this season, and that was against Uni in the first round. The Books will be keen to avoid the embarrassment of letting that happen twice. Wollongong's chances will depend on the fitness of their large number of injured first graders. Uni are just about due to have a good game. Port Kembla vs Corrimal. 3pm Sunday July 18 - Noel Mulligan Oval The Corrimal Cougars travel to Noel Mulligan Oval to face Port for their second round clash after being soundly beaten in their deferred Wednesday night clash recently. The Blacks are in dynamic form, running in 15 tries last week against the Bulls. They way they are playing should produce a match with plenty of points and unless Corrimal can lift above their recent form, most of them will be scored against the Cougars. Port put 50 on their opponents last time they met and are likely to repeat this effort, so menacing has been their recent form. The Blacks have far too many stars to name, and all of them seem to be at the top of their game right now. Helensburgh v Thirroul. 3pm Sunday July 18 - Rex Jackson Oval Helensburgh have the unenviable task of facing the Butchers, who are heading towards the finals in a no-nonsense fashion. Helensburgh usually give Thirroul a hard match, but the class of the Butchers should prevail in the end, even at the Tigers' home ground. The Butchers also need the two competition points a lot more than their hosts, as a chance at a top two position will lost if Thirroul lose this match. It is hard seeing the Tigers matching it with Thirroul, but it will be interesting if Matt Tope can score enough points to ultimately gather the 47 needed to overtake the injured Mark Simon as the competition's leading scorer.
Loyalty vs Security
Why players should not be abused for going for the money
First Ruben Wiki, then Luke Davico, now Steven Price. NRL clubs Canberra and the Bulldogs have been rocked with the news that the very heart of their team has decided that the opportunity to secure a financial future for their families outweighs the rewards of staying one-club men over their career. There can be no second guessing the overriding motive for each players decision to uproot from the clubs they have been a part of for a decade and move to more lucrative pastures. They simply cannot justify for-going upwards of $100,000 a season to stay with their original clubs.For many fans this financial incentive comes a distant second to club loyalty, but if the roles were reversed and any fan was offered an extra hundred grand to do the same job as they do now with extra benefits, you would be delusional to knock it back. Sadly this flipside is ignored when it comes to football and the players do not deserve the hammering they receive for their decisions.At the end of the day, the clubs who have had ten plus years of service from these players have had to bite the bullett on the age issue. Each player is over 30, and are undoubtedly entering the twilight of their career in positions that place and awful lot of strain on their bodies week in week out. The extra money that is guaranteed regardless of injury is another huge factor in influencing any decision. That is not to say Wiki, Davico and Price won?t ?go the distance? but the reality is the odds are stacking up against them and their already battered bodies.If you need evidence of that find a rookie picture of any player and compare it to them in their tenth year of grade football, there is a stark contrast in appearance. Football is a tough, uncompromising sport not for the faint hearted (although some could argue that is not the case with some players), and the lifespan of a rugby league career is very short. Players make decisions in the end for their family and themselves and fans need to understand that no amount of praise or rejection will override that factor. Nor should we as fans forget the years of great and loyal service these players have given.
Recent established one-club player defections:
Timana Tahu: Knights to EelsJoel Monaghan: Raiders to RoostersNathan Fien: Cowboys to WarriorsPeter Cusack: Roosters to RabbitohsShannon Hegarty: Roosters to RabbitohsHenry Fa'afili: Warriors to Warrington
By Warrick Nicolson, [email protected]