WELCOME ABOARD MR JOHN GROOM The Fiji A Rugby League are pleased to announce a new treasurer for season 2006, Mr. John Groom. John was a member of the Fiji A Rugby League tour party to Fiji last October and is the father of rising Manly Sea Eagles star, Aaron. Fiji A Rugby League believe John will do a great job as treasurer and his passion for Fiji and Rugby League are evident. On behalf of all the board members, players, parents and supporters, Welcome aboard!NI SA BULAThe 14 man touring Fiji Bati squad will be arriving into Sydney, Monday 23rd of January. The squad consists of 12 players and 2 officials. They are: Semesa Cadrikilagi, Iowane Divavesi, Marika Korovue, Neori Kurumalawai, Aminiasi Marau, Apisai Masikerei, Epi Naioko, Asaeli Saravaki, Josaia Tadulala, Semisi Tora, Meli Vosuqa, Jone Wesele, Jo Rabele (Coach) and Rusi Ratakele (Manager). The Fiji A Rugby League will be billeting the Fiji Bati until both squads depart for Coffs Harbour, Wednesday 25th of January. BIG MONTH AHEAD February will be a very busy month for the Fiji A side. Fresh from competing at the Orara Valley 7?s, Fiji A will also be competing at the St.Mary?s and Wollongong 7?s. The St.Mary?s 7?s will be held at Western Weekender Stadium, St.Mary?s on the 11th of February with $3000 AUD up for grabs. The Wollongong 7?s will be held a week later on the 18th of February with also $3000 AUD first prize. Good luck boys!FIJI TOUR MOST LIKELY TO GO AHEAD Fiji A have discussed the possibility of committing to another 2 match tour of Fiji, following the success of the 2005 tour. The 2005 tour which departed in October saw Fiji A defeat a Fiji Chairman?s XIII 18-0 in Suva and narrowly lose to the Fiji residents 14-22 in Nausori. All officials, players and parents who toured had a ball of a time, with everyone bonding closer as the tour went on. Those who hardly knew each other at the start of the tour walked away best mates by the end. That?s what sports all about and it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves. Everyone behaved admirably and did a great job of promoting Rugby League in Fiji.ST.MARY?S 7?S Fiji A have drawn a tough pool at the 2006 Carlton Mid Strength (St.Mary?s 7?s). Fiji A have drawn Pool 4 alongside American Samoa and the NZ Maori?s. Fiji A will be playing American Samoa at 1.20pm and against NZ Maori at 4pm with finals starting at 5.10pm. The 7?s will be played at Western Weekender Stadium, St.Mary?s on February 11th.FIJI BATI VS NZ MAORI Fiji Bati will face tough opposition when they come up against the NZ Maori, Thursday 26th of January. The match will be played at 7.30pm at Coffs Harbour International Stadium as part of the Orara Valley Axemen Big Week of League. Other matches on the day include: 1.30pm Coast & Valley All Stars U/19?s Vs Cook Islands U/19?s2.45pm Japan Vs USA4.30pm Coast & Valley All Stars Vs Cook Islands6.50pm (Exhibition 7?s) North Sydney Bears Old Boys Vs St.George Dragons Old Boys7.30pm Fiji Bati Vs NZ Maori It is only $10 entry to watch all 4 Australia Day fixtures. Very good value! The makeup of the Fiji Bati side will see 9 Fiji based player?s partner up with 8 Australian based Fijians in what will be a very competitive outfit.ORARA VALLEY 7?S Fiji A have drawn a tough pool in the 2006 Orara Valley 7?s. Fiji A will join Lebanon (2005 winners), Guyra Superspuds and Leichhardt Wanderers in pool D of the competition. Fiji A management has no complaints with the draw. ?Doesn?t matter who we play against, we have the team to beat anyone? said Ken Koroi the Fiji A president. Fiji Bati has been drawn into pool B. They will join Hoey Moey, Sydney Renown United and the Sawtell Panthers. 3 Australian based players will get drafted into the Bati side as 15 players can be utilized throughout the tournament. The 2006 Orara Valley 7?s which will feature 36 teams will be held at Coramba Sportsground, 28th & 29th of January. Coramba Sportsground is located 25 minutes inland from Coffs Harbour. The winner of the 7?s will take home a handsome $10,000 AUD.PLAYER WATCH This month?s player to watch is Namila Davui. Namila has joined the Canterbury Bulldogs for season 2006 after having previously spent time at the North Sydney Bears and the Parramatta Eels. The Lautoka born and Ra native moved to Rockhampton in North Queensland as a youngster and 2006 will hopefully be the year Namila cracks into first grade with the Bulldogs. Namila represented Fiji A against Malta and also at the Oceanic Pacifica Tournament in 2004. Remember this name as he is definitely a star of the future!SPONSORS Fiji A would like to thank our major sponsor PB Sports Management and associate sponsor Pacifika Lounge. Without sponsors Fiji A would not be able to operate as effectively. We take this opportunity to thank our 2006 sponsors. If you would like to sponsor Fiji A please email us at [email protected] SPREAD THE WORD We hope you enjoyed the first Fiji A monthly newsletter. Please spread the word and let all your friends and relatives who may be interested in receiving this free monthly newsletter to email [email protected] with subscribe as the subject.Regards,Phill Browne, Fiji A.Pic: Frank Waqa gets tackled by 2 Fiji Chairman?s XIII defenders in Suva. Photo: Fiji Times

Barla Great Britain Squad Named

BARLA Great Britain Manager Mick Turner has named a 22 man squad to face the British police at Stanningley ARLFC on Wednesday 22nd February Kick off 7.30pm.There will be one training session before the game on Sunday 12th February at Shaw Cross Sharks ARLFC.The full squad is as follows:1 Dave Critchley - Eccles & Salford JNRS2 Chris Lee - West Hull3 Gavin Corfield - Wigan St Judes4 Andy Dobson - Blackbrook5 John Waldon - York Acorn6 Martin Ridyard - Leigh Miners7 Dave Patterson - Leigh Miners8 Danny Kilshaw - Leigh East9 Gary Lumb - Cutsyke10 Andy Sands - Oldham St Annes11 Jimmy Rogers - Saddleworth Rangers12 Simon Kilby - Skirlaugh13 Antony Broadhead - Thornhill Trojans14 Kevin Brown - Eastmoor15 Matthew Myers - Shaw Cross Sharks16 John Rourke - Shaw Cross Sharks17 Joe Elliot - Barrow Island18 Trevor Penrose - Cottingham Tigers19 Ian Madely - East Hull20 Mel Alker - Wigan St Patricks21 Paul Davidson - Wath Brow22 Scott Tear - Wath Brow

Will the slain become the slayer?

EVER seen that movie called ?Goodbye Lenin? about an East German family whose mother, a social activist, lapses into a coma a few weeks before the Berlin Wall is torn down? When she wakes up, her two children think it?s best to break the news to her slowly as they wouldn?t want to add any further stress or anxiety to her precarious state of health.So they continue to behave as though nothing has happened since she went into the coma until the inevitable day when she is well enough to leave her apartment only to be confronted with a unified Germany and the disintegration of her socialist ideals.I?m sure a few St George fans suffered the same fate as they watched their team implode against the Tigers in last year?s Qualifying Final. With that in mind, how would you explain to an ardent Dragons supporter just emerging from a four month slumber that Lance Thompson will be playing for the Cronulla Sharks in 2006?Would it be too much for them to handle? It?s going to be quite a shock watching Thommo run around in a Sharks jersey. His past two seasons have been pretty solid and I think amongst his best form ever. He?s going to a club that have rebuilt a little and he?s going to be expected to do plenty of work. Jason Stevens and Danny Nutley, two very experienced forwards, have left Cronulla and Ben Ross comes in to complement Hutch Maiva, but there has been talk of Thompson at prop also.So, is the best yet to come from Lance Thompson?I think Lance himself would admit he hasn?t quite lived up to expectations. Although playing over 200 first grade games is a huge achievement, he was touted for rep honours from a young age and has never really delivered on that promise. He twice captained the Junior Kangaroos and cut a swathe through rugby league as a youngster, demanding attention. As I?ve grown up our paths briefly crossed a few times. Being a standout junior in the region, Thompson was sent to Kingsgrove High, along will all those other footballing students like Anthony Mundine and Adam Peek plus a few others that almost got there like Tere Glassie and Jason Asplet.Playing for Sydney Tech (that fortress of sporting prowess) in the under 16?s St George knockout, we were 2 points ahead of Kingsgrove with barely seconds to play before Thompson barrelled our winger and raked the ball back to regain possession (you could do that back then, *sigh*). He proceeded to carry most of us over the try line and score to stage a remarkable victory.Two years later I watched from the sidelines at Kogarah Oval as we were once again pitted against Kingsgrove in the divisional final of the Commonwealth Bank Cup. After all, this was a big game, the winner got to play in a TV match!From the kick-off we worked the ball up to 40 metres out from their line and received a penalty. Our halfback took a shot at goal and missed. That was our last scoring opportunity for the afternoon. The final result of 68-nil flattered us and four of our players were taken to hospital.That day, despite the sickening sight of the scoreboard and several pools of blood around our bench, I was a little bit excited. Thommo had already made his first grade debut for Saints (ironically against the Sharks) and after watching him meticulously trample most of my mates on the field, I felt confident he would one day do the same in the Red V.But I don?t think he has. I?ll be the first to admit he was unlucky to get injured against Souths at the SCG in 2004 when it appeared as though he was a certainty for NSW after being included in the 30-man squad. Apart from that he has represented City three times (once as captain) but otherwise his name has been as scarce as hen?s teeth at the selection table.And over the years he has attracted a bit of unwanted attention for himself- Sent off two weeks in a row (Rounds 7 & 8 in 1998)- The fight with Andrew Hart at St George Leagues club- Turning up to training drunkAnd now he has left amid a very public fallout with the club, coach and CEO. So he does come with a fair amount of baggage. But perhaps he?ll leave all that behind when he starts playing at Cronulla, where a new coach and team mates await.One of the theories going around when players are coached by people they played with is that the player has an embedded lack of respect for the coach. Did Thompson suffer from this under Nathan Brown? It?s possible he did and perhaps that contributed to the falling out.So where does this leave him for 2006?I think he?s in for a big year. At Cronulla he won?t be the proud local junior that has graced the dressing sheds since he was 16. He won?t be walking around like he owns the joint and he won?t be treated as royalty by the supporters.At 28, he will have to prove himself to players, fans and the coach that he is worthy of selection in the team each week. The coach will not be afraid to drop him if he?s not playing well enough. It remains to be seen what sort of impact being placed outside his comfort zone will have on him, but I think it will remind him how much he loves playing footy.And as a player who wears his heart on his sleeve and is an emotional kind of guy, I think it will bring out the best in him. Round 9 at Toyota Park just got a whole lot more interesting?

Walters resumes with Brisbane, Berrigan still in doubt

FORMER rugby league international Kevin Walters has shown there are no hard feelings over his sacking as Brisbane assistant, renewing ties with the Broncos today.Walters' long association with the NRL club was extended at Bundaberg today when Brisbane unveiled a 12-month sponsorship deal with Bundaberg Rum. Walters happily rubbed shoulders with Brisbane players and Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen while the ex-Test half was named the first Bundaberg Rum rugby league ambassador as part of the new deal.Walters has also applied for the Newcastle head coach job that will be vacated by Parramatta-bound mentor Michael Hagan in 2007.Meanwhile Brisbane hooker Barry Berrigan's rugby league career is in the balance due to constant neck pain.The Broncos workaholic is receiving ongoing treatment on his neck after waking up with the pain three weeks ago. Berrigan consulted a spinal surgeon last night but Broncos medical staff are still trying to diagnose the best treatment for the 30-year-old.Broncos team doctor Peter Friis has confirmed the pain is unrelated to Berrigan's surgery in 2004 when he had two vertebrae fused. Berrigan opted to miss the NRL club's bus trip to Bundaberg today. The Broncos contingent featured Berrigan's likely replacement Michael Ennis as well as Brad Thorn, Nick Parfitt, Brett Seymour and David Stagg also visited Childers today as part of the NRL Community Carnival.

Malta moves in on Sevens

MALTA?S rugby league talent was on firing display at the 2006 Orara Valley Sevens, completed over the recent weekend at Coramba Sportsground, near Coffs Harbour on Australia?s east coast.With supporters travelling en masse to the Australia?s premier rugby league sevens tournament, Malta dazzled its opponents throughout both days, kicking off the tournament in convincing fashion with a 28-22 win over 2007 NRL newcomers, the Gold Coast Titans. Brad Clews opened the weekend?s try scoring displays with a stepping charge, beating Titan?s John Dean to put on the first scoring play. Parramatta Eels Simon Micallef and Penrith Panthers Jarrod Sammut opening their try scoring accounts, both crossing for a double. Completing the opening day, Malta scored an aggregate of 32 points positive, in pushing aside local A grade outfit Crescent Head Roos and then an under strength Australian Maoris.Orara Valley Axemen Rugby League Club chairman Glen Soper revealed that more than 15,000 spectators had contributed to the city?s big week of league, with Malta continuing its successful march into the Sunday finals.Malta out muscled the Sydney Bulls to qualify for the quarter final, the Jim Beam Cup outfit falling to the might of the Malta Knights by 34-26, after the days preceding saw Malta take centre stage with the naming of three players in the tournaments international team of the tournament. Malta skipper Ben Sammut joined Simon Micallef and Jarrod Sammut in taking the honours.After a convincing round of results, Narwan Eels were provided a 30-8 rugby league sevens lesson by one of the tournament?s Mediterranean heavyweights.Malta then met Lebanon for the ultimate sevens match up between the Mediterranean nations, the match delayed for 45 minutes as former NRL livewire Wes Patten led a protest to dispute a previous refereeing decision. Hollywood actor Russell Crowe became a mediator in settling the disagreement, which posed a threat to tarnishing the magnificent tournament in the final hours.Malta and Lebanon later returned to the field for the eagerly awaited semi final contest. Wests Magpies? Pat Galea also taking the field, albeit with a broken hand suffered in the opening match of the tournament.Lebanon played the perfect game of sevens rugby league and with all credit due, edged out Malta by 32-26.Malta placed third, a marked improvement from the fourth place finish of 2005.Lebanon went on defeat Fiji and become back-to-back champions of the Orara Valley Sevens.Further to the haul of awards, Malta?s newest debutant Jarrod Sammut took out the tournament?s top point scorer award with a tally of 38 points.Despite the class shown throughout the finals, the hosts awarded Malta?s Daniel Spiteri with the tournament?s player of the finals, capping off another triumphant appearance and further promoting the thriving energies of Maltese rugby league.Ex NRL and Super League star Ben Sammut, skipper of the Malta Knights received the highest of accolades when presented as the overall player of the tournament by the host club, for the second year in succession.Ubeeco?s Joe Borg presented the Maltese Rugby League Association?s internal player of the tournament award to Simon Micallef and praised the MRLA?s efforts towards the prosperous weekend.In scoring 38 points over the weekend, Jarrod Sammut also received the MRLA?s top point scorer award.2006 Orara Valley Sevens Player of the TournamentBen Sammut (Mlt)2006 Orara Valley Sevens Player of the Finals Daniel Spiteri (Mlt)2006 Orara Valley Sevens Top Point scorerJarrod Sammut (Mlt) 38 Points2006 Orara Valley Sevens International team of the TournamentBen Sammut (Mlt)Jarrod Sammut (Mlt)Simon Micallef (Mlt)2006 MRLA Orara Valley Sevens Player of the TournamentSimon Micallef (Mlt)2006 MRLA Orara Valley Sevens Top Point scorerJarrod Sammut (Mlt) 38 PointsDAY OneGroup AGame 1Malta 28 (S. Micallef 2, J. Sammut 2, J. Micallef, Clews tries; J. Sammut, Clews goals)defeated Gold Coast Titans 22Game 2Malta 30 (J. Sammut 2, D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, B. Sammut, B. Russell tries; J. Sammut 2, B. Sammut goals) defeated Crescent Head 16Game 3Malta 26 (S. Borg, S. Micallef, D. Spiteri, P. Marzella, P. Galea tries; S. Borg, S. Micallef, P Marzella goals)defeated Australian Maoris 8Day TwoRound of 16Malta 34 (D. Spiteri 2, S. Borg, S. Micallef, P. Marzella, J. Sammut tries; S. Borg, S. Micallef, P Marzella, J. Sammut 2 goals)defeated Sydney Bulls 26Quarter FinalsMalta 30 (J. Micallef 2, S. Micallef, D. Spiteri, J. Sammut, N. Attard tries; D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, J. Sammut goals)defeated Narwan 8Semi FinalsMalta 26 (S. Micallef, D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, J. Sammut, W. Grech tries; D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, W. Grech goals)lost to Lebanon 323v4 PlayoffMalta won on forfeit vs Auburn Warriors

Bulls set for Wests Tigers challenge

BY all reports Super League Champions Bradford Bulls will have the backing of the entire City of Bradford when they take on Wests Tigers in the World Club Challenge this weekend.The annual clash between the English Super League champions and Australia's National Rugby League Premiers and kicks off this Friday night in Huddersfield.Home country advantage should see Bradford go in as favourites, the Bulls having beaten both Penrith and Newcastle in previous challenge matches over the last four years.Wests Tigers will be playing in their first ever World Club Challenge.Bradford Bulls squad:Michael Withers, Marcus Bai, Shontayne Hape, Ben Harris, Dave Halley, Andy Smith, Karl Pryce, Iestyn Harris, Joe Vagana, Ian Henderson, Stuart Fielden, Brad Meyers, Chris McKenna, Paul Johnson, Adam Watene, Andy Lynch, Janie Langley, Brett Ferres, Matt Cook, Matty Brooks, Ryan Atkins.Coach: Brian NobleWests Tigers squad:Brett Hodgson, Shannon McDonnell, Paul Whatuira, Dean Collis, Jamaal Lolesi, Daniel Fitzhenry, Scott Prince (c), Bryce Gibbs, Robbie Farah, John Skandalis, Chris Heighington, Anthony Laffranchi, Ben Galea, Liam Fulton, Bronson Harrison, Sam Harris, Ryan O'Hara, Keith Galloway.Coach: Tim SheensKick off:The 2006 World Club Challenge kicks off 8:00pm (GMT) this Friday, 3 February (7:00am Saturday, 4 February Sydney time) at Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield.Ticketing and travel:Bradford Bulls website - click hereLive match updates:www.leagueunlimited.comPREVIOUS WCC RESULTS2005 Leeds d Bulldogs 39-322004 Bradford d Penrith 22-4 2003 Sydney Roosters d St Helens 38-02002 Bradford d Newcastle 41-262001 St Helens d Brisbane 20-182000 Melbourne d St Helens 44-61997 Brisbane d Hunter Mariners 36-12*1993 Wigan d Brisbane 20-141992 Brisbane d Wigan 22-81991 Wigan d Penrith 21-41989 Widnes d Canberra 30-181987 Wigan d Manly 8-21976 Easts d St Helens 25-2* run as a separate competition rather than as a challenge game between competition premiers.Source: ARL

Drew denies Tigers victory

A last-minute try from Huddersfield hooker Brad Drew denied newly promoted Castleford victory in their final pre-season game before their engage Super League opener against Hull on February 10.

Hull see off spirited Dragons

HULL continued their preparations for the new season with a 24-10 win over Catalans Dragons, although John Kear?s men were made to work hard for the victory by the Super League newcomers.

Peacock impresses on Rhinos debut

GREAT Britain captain Jamie Peacock made a tryscoring debut for Leeds as the Rhinos overcame a lively Harlequins 28-18 in front of a 4,029 crowd at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Berrigan escapes surgery

THE Brisbane Broncos say hooker Barry Berrigan is unlikely to have further surgery on his neck before the upcoming NRL season. Berrigan has been cleared by team medicos of any damage to the area where two vertebrae were fused during surgery in late 2004. He will visit his spinal surgeon in Brisbane this evening after complaining of pain in the area for the past few weeks.

Zillman signs on until 2009

THE Canberra Raiders have re-signed promising junior William Zillman until 2009.Zillman is seen as a future star by the club and securing his services for a further three seasons allows the Raiders to maintain and develop their up and coming stars as they try and rebuild the club into a successful franchise, one to return the Raiders to the upper echelon of NRL clubs.Zillman was voted by his peers to the Raiders leadership group and last week attended the NRL rookie camp in Sydney so he is seen by the club as a lynch pin to their future prospects.The Raiders are looking to secure the services of current players Phil Graham, Jermaine Ale and David Howell before the start of the 2006 NRL season.

Redcliffe Dolphins News

THE Redcliffe Dolphins have just returned from a weekend training camp in Gympie where the whole club were put their paces with conditioning sessions, defensive sessions, attacking sessions as well as a video session and a lecture on club policy and procedures. Head coach Anthony Griffin was very pleased with how all the players went on the camp. "We will probably tinker with the format a little bit, but I think it was a success." he said. "Not only the players,I think some of us coaches got a bit of it as well, I think we (Coaches) realised we weren't as fit as we thought" he added.As the Dolphins prepare for their first hit out against Broncos/Toowoomba squad on February 18 there is a spring in everybodies step because they know a game is just around the corner. Griffin is expected to name his squad this week.The Broncos and Dolphins affiliation although only in it's infancy is proving to be winner with several members of the Dolphins senior squad being invited to train with the NRL squad Shane Perry, Nick Emmett, Pat Gardner and Danny Green (pictured) have been some of the Dolphins who have participated in the sessions.It will be a new look Dolphins that take the field in the opening trial and I don't just mean the new signings. The club has turned back the clock and will be wearing a new strip this season.

Prince free to negotiate

WESTS Tigers have given half-back and captain Scott Prince permission to speak to three NRL Clubs before June 30, 2006.Steve Robinson, Prince?s manager, and the Wests Tigers club reached an agreement last week whereby Prince is only allowed to talk to the Queensland Clubs.Both parties will then meet at the end of February to enable Wests Tigers to conduct final negotiations with Prince. The matter is hoped to be resolved before the start of the season on March 10.

Lebanon go back to back at Orara Valley Sevens

THE picturesque Orara Valley Axemen?s home ground in Coramba, New South Wales was the scene of an epic 2006 Orara Valley Sevens Final yesterday between defending champions, Lebanon, and the desperately unlucky Fiji Batis.In what was a pulsating encounter of high quality rugby league, Lebanon scored 6 tries (all unconverted) to 5, to win narrowly 24-22. The match ended with a gallant Fiji side, minus injured captain Semesa Cadrakiliagi, attacking relentlessly with magnificent, open rugby league (as they had played all tournament) and Lebanon frustrating each successive wave of attack with superb scrambling defence.In earlier matches, Lebanon had disposed of Fiji A, Guyra, Leichhardt Wonderers, Tigers, Moore Park (controversially) and tournament surprise packets, Malta. Fiji Batis had lost their opening game to Hoey Moey before warming to their form in successive winning matches against Renown, Sawtell, North Ryde Hawks, Gold Coast Titans ? in advance of their debut entry into the NRL competition in 2007 ? and the talented Auburn Warriors.Lebanon?s semi-final with Malta was delayed for approximately 20 minutes with Moore Park formally submitting a protest over their losing result against Lebanon (28-18) in an earlier quarterfinal. The protest, involving former NRL player Wes Patten, seemed to focus on a disallowed Moore Park try at a crucial stage. Hollywood royalty was called in to deal with the dispute with Russell Crowe intervening to ensure the tournament continued without a change of semi-final combatants.The tension before the Final reached a crescendo with the intimidation of the Fijian war dance concluding literally in the faces of the Lebanese players, who reacted with calm indifference as they stood linked arm-in-arm on the halfway line. Fiji?s attitude to proceedings was demonstrated with a chip ahead on the second tackle after Lebanon?s kick-off and they duly took the lead with Marika Korovue crossing for a try after concerted pressure.Lebanon showed good speed with Johnny Geaves scoring yet another in a tournament full of tries for him, to level up the match at 4-4. Fiji?s glorious instinct to move the ball at every occasion saw a 60m penetration involving 6 players nearly bring off another try before Lebanon took the lead for the first time at 8-4 with a try in the corner to Fred Khouiss. Fiji were not assisted by the absence of a key player after NRL referee Shane Hayne dispatched Semisi Tora to the sinbin for a crucial 3 minute stint. Perhaps the turning point in this match (and the tournament) was Cadrakiliagi throwing an intercept and then injuring his knee in quickly rounding up the Lebanese recipient Samer El Masri. The Fijian captain played no further part in the Final ? a factor that may have proved costly judging by his fine early form throughout the tournament. Shortly after, a visibly shaken Fiji, conceded the second of a brace of tries to that man Geaves, resulting in a 12-4 lead to Lebanon. Fortunately for Fiji, the kicking at goal by Lebanon (failing to register a conversion from 6 attempts) was abysmal. Tournament rules prescribed that the try scorer must take a drop-kick attempt at conversion resulting in some interesting interpretations of this difficult art from patently uncomfortable kickers.Lebanon then showed good flair to make heavy inroads into Fijian territory before scoring an intelligent try from a kick to Toufic Nicholas. Fiji, sensing their opportunity slipping, ceaselessly attacked the Lebanese defensive line, resulting in the talented Max Bainivalu responding with a try after Meli Vosuqa and Tora had combined superbly. At halftime ? the Final was comprised of two 12-minute halves - Lebanon stood tall at 16-8.Lebanon started the second half in a flurry with standout player Jason Stanton finishing off clever attacking work from four other players to help the Cedars pull away to a nearly insurmountable 20-8 lead. Clever work by Korovue sent Ioware Divavesi in for an immediate Fijian response with a converted try under the posts, narrowing the gap to just 6 points.A massive tackle by giant Fijian Neori Kurumalawai momentarily halted Lebanon?s momentum before Travis Touma regained it for the defending champions with a try to make the score 24-14.It was at this point that Fiji really threw off the shackles to enthral the crowd with high pace, sevens rugby league. Quick tries to both Korovue and then Bainivalu, helping each to register two for the match, saw Fiji close the gap to 24-22. Bainivalu, in particular, and Tora proved a menace out wide with Fiji striving to keep the ball alive at every juncture with flowing football. Only desperate Lebanon defence, with Mo Chahal especially prominent, saw the final grasping tackle effected on a Fijian attacker before the hooter blasted out its final note.Lebanon?s jubilation at successive tournament victories was all the more vivid when contrasted with the abject disappointment of the Fijians, a fact that made the post-game embraces between the rival players all the more noteworthy. This reflected what was a spirited but sportsmanlike tournament throughout.Best players for Lebanon were Chahal, Stanton and Ahmad El Masri and for Fiji Bainivalu, Tora and Vosuqa.Overall the tournament was a great success with three of the final four places being contested by international sides (nine competed). Malta was officially awarded third place for an all-international top three. The promoters of the tournament could do worse then invite even more international sides next year, although the contribution of country teams in particular was also exceptional.If the World Sevens is not to be revived by the Australian Rugby League in the near future, this tournament itself could be an avenue for much needed international development as Fiji, Lebanon and Malta have demonstrated rugby league has such great potential for.

Rangi Impresses But Cowboys Prove Too Strong

ROCKHAMPTON Leagues Club Central Queensland Comets lock forward Herewini Rangi showed he is going to be a handy recruit but unfortunately the experienced Cowboys were just too good for his side the Comets defeating them 44-nil at Browne Park, Rockhampton on Saturday February 12 in the second round of the Minniecon & Burke Comets Pre-Season Challenge.

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