THE NRL and the rugby league players' association have emerged from their meeting today at loggerheads over proposed increases to the salary cap. Rugby League Players' Association boss Matthew Rodwell met with NRL chief executive David Gallop in Sydney today to continue negotiations towards a new collective bargaining agreement, but Rodwell has described the parties as "miles apart" on the cap issue.
INCOMING South Sydney executive chairman Peter Holmes A Court will meet with the Souths Leagues Club board today in a bid to overturn his banning from the club.
THE Dolphins prevailed in 2 of the 3 games on offer last weekend with the Colts and Premiers Grade running out winners while an out of sorts A Grade went down in their match against the Western District Panthers.Craig Ingebrigsten?s Colts outfit were comfortable winners in the end with a margin of 42-16. The halftime scores were locked at 16 all however the Dolphins were able to pile on 26 unanswered points on the back of a heavy penalty count in their favour. David Hala was outstanding in his first outing for the Dolphins receiving the LEADING EDGE SPORTS Player of the Match award. Others to impress were Foisa Peni and Asher Elemani who has started the year in solid form. Today presents a good test for the side when they meet undefeated competition leaders Easts on their home turf.A disappointing first half performance by A Grade saw the side go to the sheds at half time trailing 22 nil. A much improved second half allowed the Dolphins to add some respectability to the scoreboard however to Wests credit they hung onto to their lead and were eventual 28-20 winners. James Douglas was tireless for the Dolphins receiving the HOGS BREATH CAFE Man of the Match award and received good support from Mark Christensen at fullback who is progressing well from a knee reconstruction. Today should see an improved showing from the side starting from kick off.The Comets began last weeks Premier Grade game in a blur accelerating to a 24 nil lead by the 20 minute mark. To their credit the Dolphins dragged themselves off the matt and registered 38 unanswered points before conceding a late converted try for a final scoreline of 38 points to 30. A confusing trend in the penalty count must be mentioned with the Dolphins being heavily adjudicated in the opening exchanges before seeing the penalties swing in their favour throughout the second half which may go a little way to explaining the large fluctuation in scores. That said Coach Anthony Griffin was impressed with the way his charges kept their composure chasing a large deficit despite not being overly convincing in their execution. Best for the Dolphins was Grant Flugge who had a whale of game receiving the SEARLES GARDEN PRODUCTS Player of the Match while Captain Shane Perry delivered some crucial blows to the Comets when it counted and was voted KEYSTAR AUTOWORLD Players Player. Today shapes as a tight contest with Easts registering 2 wins and a draw in the opening rounds to sit 1 point ahead of the Dolphins on the competition ladder. The side will welcome back Pat Gardner after suspension and veteran Troy Lindsay is also an outside chance of playing.Round 5 action sees the Dolphins return home to Dolphin Oval in what should be a great days footy with the Burleigh Bears travelling north to the Peninsula. The Bears are sure to provide strong opposition and we expect a good crowd on hand to witness the action. This weeks teamsQueensland Wizard Cup1. Ryan Cullen 2. Alwyn Simpson 3. Greg Bourke 4. Nick Emmett 5. Adam Fletcher 6. Marty Turner 7. Shane Perry (c) 8. Adam Starr 9. Mick Roberts 10. Pat Gardner 11. Grant Flugge 12. Danny Burke 13. Shannon Fish Interchange 14. Chris Fox 15. Duane O'Grady 16. Damian Jentz 17. Gerard Parle Coach Anthony GriffinFOGS A Grade 1. Mark Christensen 2. Kaine Manihera 3. Pat McGill 4. Rory Bromley 5. Lucas Dearden 6. Matt Anderton 7. Chris Jelich 8. Darren Glase 9. Scott Gillis 10. Dominic Fallini 11. Richard Russell 12. James Douglas 13. Matt Mannion Interchange 14. Brad Massey 15. Mick Pares 16. Dan Jones 17. Mitchell SimpsonCoach Grant ClealFOGS Colts Challenge 1. Phil Daisy 2. Jordan Brown 3. Matt Gillett 4. Michael Wilson 5. James Derbyshire 6. Bob Jones 7. Asher Elemani 8. Greg Malenstein 9. Joel Romelo 10. David Hala 11. Foisa Peni 12. Logan Sullivan 13. Tim Benson (c) Interchange 14. Angus Cameron 15. Dane Hogan 16. Stuart May 17. Anthony TonkinCoach Craig Ingebrigtsen
DRAGONS Supporters,Round 3 saw the Dragons return to form with a convincing 44-14 victory overthe Rabbitohs to notch up their first win of the 2006 season. The return ofTrent Barrett made a big difference to the structure in attack and MarkGasnier crossed for 3 tries to continue his good form of recent weeks. Thisweek will be a tough match as the Dragons take on the Brisbane Broncos in aSunday Blockbuster at WIN Stadium. This week's event for the MBDS will beheld at The Pub at Crown Casino, with coverage and audio kicking off at 4pm.With both sides starting to show glimpses of the potential expected of themin the 2006 season this will undoubtedly be a spirited game. Saints welcomeback Ben Creagh and Matt Cooper and will give a good account of themselveson their home ground. Dragons by 10 is the early tip.What: Dragons v BroncosWhen: Sunday 2 April, 4pmWhere: The Pub, Level 1 Crown CasinoSee you there!
AFTER just three rounds of the National Rugby League, I think I?ve been forced to review my pre-season predicted favourites.While the Dragons showed signs of the form we?ve come to expect from them in recent years on the weekend against South Sydney, let?s face it, they weren?t outstanding and Souths were much worse. The Dragons are becoming renowned as the team similar to the good movie your mates tell you to see that turns out to be a stinker. At least on the weekend, the movie got three stars.I think it was Bob Fulton who said that the Dragons played a 6 out of 10 game, but still won by 30. After watching the game I?d have to agree, it was certainly more of a reflection of Souths? inept play than the Dragons? brilliance. They were my favourites at the beginning of the season, while I haven?t written them or anyone else off for the title this year, I would have to go with the North Queensland Cowboys at this stage.I think the notion that they are the only club who don?t rely solely on one player is a little off the mark though, without Johnathan Thurston I think they?d struggle a bit. But having said that, they have more depth this year and even though they do rely on Thurston, he has a near perfect record with injuries so he should get the best part, if not all, of the season played out. Although you can never be too sure, freak accidents do happen on the football field. But it must not be ignored that sides with players who are prone to injury are generally harder hit than those who aren?t.Pundits were willing to throw Newcastle up the top as premiership favourites after their tremendous win over the Bulldogs. I tend to disagree, I think they?re going off a bit early. Didn?t they win the wooden spoon last season? Yes, yes, yes, I know, they didn?t have Andrew Johns. But doesn?t that tell you anything in itself? Johns hasn?t played a full NRL season since 2001, and let me tell you, the older you get, the harder it gets. So Newcastle - with Johns, premiership contenders; without Johns, spoon contenders. At least we know where they stand. I think that in itself is enough of a reason to suggest why they shouldn?t be favourites.I?m really trying to think of sides that don?t rely solely on one player, and to be honest, the only one that springs to mind is the Melbourne Storm.Take the following players out of the following teams and they wouldn?t be the same:Broncos: LockyerBulldogs: Sherwin or El MasriKnights: JohnsPanthers: GowerSharks: KimmorleyCowboys: ThurstonStorm: (have a number of quality players)Sea Eagles: Kennedy or OrfordTigers: MarshallRaiders: Smith (Even with him they are ordinary!)Roosters: Anasta or MorleyDragons: GasnierEels: HindmarshAs for the leftovers, the Rabbitohs and the Warriors, they really don?t have any players worth noting, but I think you get my drift.The Storm are number one in terms of relying on a number of players, and while the Cowboys rely heavily on Thurston, they?d be able to get through without him for short periods here and there, particularly during origin.So back to the premiership favourites, those two would be my two picks at this stage, the Cowboys and the Storm. But it is only round three, a lot can change. Just on Penrith, I tipped them to win the wooden spoon at the start of the year, I think I have eaten my words there, they are top four contenders for sure.I went off a bit early on the Bulldogs last week as well, while they can pull out the big performance here and there, they just don?t seem to be able to do it as consistently as they used to. Where they finish this season is a mystery to me, but I really can?t see them making the top four. They need to put Mark O?Meley back on the bench. He?s much more effective that way, a lot of his bite is taken away when he starts the game. They had it right against the Tigers but for some reason they wanted to change things.I think I?d have to put the Roosters in the same boat. While they are probably more consistent than the Bulldogs, they don?t have the Bulldogs? tendency to win the big games. They can?t even do it occasionally any more. The 2004 grand finalists probably won?t be playing a part in that match this year.The Warriors proved me wrong last week, they?ll finish above zero points this season. And the wooden spoon is not a foregone conclusion as thought also, watching the Raiders concede 126 points in their last two matches, the race is far from over.The men from the nation?s capital should be rebuilding for the future. The Raiders should pay out his contract, get someone in for the long term and let Elliot prepare for his Penrith stint next season.So all in all round three sprung up a few surprises, leaving this writer eating a bit of humble pie.
BEST to say farewell Mr Gasnier
SOUTH Sydney has signed Kane Cleal to a one-year deal after the young backrower was released by NRL rivals Manly.
RUGBY league superstar Andrew Johns wants to play for Australia in the Kangaroos' Test against New Zealand in May, but says that match will be his final representative appearance.
THE NRL and the Rugby League Professionals Association will meet today to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, with the salary cap to be the hot topic of discussion.
HUDDERSFIELD held off a spirited fightback from Castleford to claim the points with an extraordinary 36-22 engage Super League win at the Jungle.
WARRINGTON scrum half Chris Bridge inspired the Wolves to a thrilling second-half fightback at Belle Vue to pip Wakefield 22-21 and earn a morale-boosting victory.
SALFORD enhanced their glowing reputation by seeing off spirited French resistance on the continent with a 28-22 victory.
LEEDS Rhinos stand-off Danny McGuire ran riot against lowly Harlequins and moved Tony Smith?s men into second place in engage Super League following a 60-0 win.
WIGAN sank to the foot of the table for the first time for more than a century as Bradford overcame farcical conditions to cut loose 34-12 at a fog-bound Odsal.
ST Helens ended their winless run at the KC Stadium in impeccable style, easily overcoming Hull 46-0 to extend their perfect start to engage Super League XI.Daniel Anderson?s side have failed to win on their previous four visits to the KC Stadium, amassing just 36 points in the process.However, they had little trouble with travel sickness this time around, making light work of a below-par Hull outfit to subject them to a crushing defeat.The star of the show for Saints was reigning Man of Steel Jamie Lyon who tormented Hull throughout, whilst Leon Pryce and Francis Meli both chimed in with a brace of tries.The Saints bagged eight tries in total, although their dominance ran much deeper than the scoreline might suggest.For Hull, coach John Kear now has the tough job of raising his troops ahead of next week?s clash at Bradford where they begin their defence of the Powergen Challenge Cup.His side were poor throughout and have now lost four of their last five league games.Kear was handed a boost just before kick-off when Saints skipper Paul Sculthorpe was ruled out with an undisclosed injury.However, despite a tense opening 10 minutes, the game was over by the interval as Saints opened up a 30-0 lead.The visitors posted five tries to deflate any Hull hopes, although their first impression on the scoreboard came from a Lyon penalty.The centre followed that up with a touchdown after good work from Ade Gardner, who later scored himself after out-jumping Gareth Raynor to collect Sean Long?s kick.Meli then got in on the act, collecting Willie Talau?s ball to score in the corner, whilst Pryce joined Jason Hooper on the scoresheet just before the break, side-stepping his way through a dormant Hull defence.Hull did little to suggest they were capable of posting any type of response and were saved two further tries in the against column by the video referee.First Lyon?s effort was ruled out following an early indiscretion by Wellens, before Meli was deemed to have illegally stripped the ball from Nathan Blacklock before scoring.It was not long before Saints were soon troubling the scoreboard again though, with Pryce adding his second on the hour mark.Saints kept the ball alive for a number of passes, before working an opening for the stand-off, who breezed past a stranded Shaun Briscoe to score.Despite Lyon?s missed conversion, the Hull crowd offered their visitors a standing ovation as they retreated to their own half to restart, a fair reflection of their performance.With Hull playing only for a semblance of pride their misery was compounded further when Vinnie Anderson seized on Paul King?s error to canter to the line.Meli?s second try, a close-range effort, added further gloss to the win with minutes remaining.Hull: Briscoe, Blacklock, Domic, Whiting, Raynor, Cooke, R. Horne, Thackray, Brough, Carvell, Chester, Radford, Lupton.Replacements: Dowes, Hill, King, Tony.St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, P. Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Bennett, Wilkin, Hooper.Replacements: Roby, V. Anderson, Graham, Fa?asavalu.Hull: (0) 0.St Helens: (30) 46.Tries: Lyon, Meli 2, Gardner, Hooper, Pryce 2, V. Anderson.Goals: Lyon 5, Hooper 2.Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington)Att: 11,277