Tigers team for Round 2

WESTS Tigers team vs Bulldogs, Telstra Stadium, Fri 17 Mar, 7:30pm:1. Brett Hodgson (c)2. Michael Crockett3. Dean Collis4. Paul Whatuira5. Jamaal Lolesi6. Daniel Fitzhenry7. Scott Prince8. Bryce Gibbs9. Robbie Farah10. John Skandalis11. Anthony Laffranchi12. Todd Payten13. Ben Galea14. Ben Reynolds15. Keith Galloway16. Ryan O'Hara17. Sam Harris

Eels name team for Warriors clash

14 MARCH 2006NRL vs Warriors@ Waikato Stadium on Sat 18 March @ 7:30pm 1 - Wade McKINNON2 - Luke BURT3 ? Ben SMITH4 - Timana TAHU5 - Eric GROTHE6 - John MORRIS7 - Tim SMITH8 ? Nathan CAYLESS?9 ? Mark RIDDELL10 - Paul STRINGER 11 - Nathan HINDMARSH12 - Chad ROBINSON13 - Glenn MORRISON14 ? PJ MARSH 15 - Dean WIDDERS 16 ? Josh CORDOBA17 ? Michael VELLA18 - Daniel WAGONCoach ? Brian Smith

Fulton out for season, Gibbs re-signs

WESTS Tigers' lock Liam Fulton has been ruled out for the rest of the NRL season with a shoulder injury.Coach Tim Sheens says Fulton will try and return in the latter part of the season, but he's more likely to sit out the whole year. Fulton injured his shoulder in the opening minutes of last Friday night's season-opening win against St George Illawarra at Telstra Stadium.Meanwhile, prop Bryce Gibbs has re-signed with the premiers for another three years, tying him to the Tigers until 2009.

Titans sign Johnston

RESPECTED strength and conditioning coach Billy Johnstone has signed a three-year NRL deal with the Gold Coast Titans.The Kangaroos, Queensland Origin and North Queensland conditioner will head to the tourist strip at the end of this season as the Titans prepare to enter the 2007 competition. Johnstone was the Gold Coast Giants' inaugural signing and captained the first NSWRL team in the region.Titans boss Michael Searle says he's delighted Johnstone will join - among other high-profile players - Test and Wests Tigers halfback Scott Prince at the fledgling club.

Judiciary news

THE Sydney Roosters have decided not to contest a grade-three careless high tackle charge against prop Adrian Morley who copped a two week suspension.Morley was charged for his much publicised hit on South Sydney halfback Ben Walker, who will miss four weeks after sustaining a knee injury in the tackle. Had Morley unsuccessfully contested the charge he faced a three week stint on the sideline.In other judiciary news, Bulldogs prop Nate Myles will serve a one-match suspension after also pleading guilty to a dangerous throw, while New Zealand Warriors utility Sione Faumuina is out for two games after pleading guilty to a careless high tackle charge.Wests Tigers forward Anthony Laffranchi escaped suspension after entering an early guilty plea to a dangerous throw charge. Meanwhile, Daniel Fitzhenry will replace the injured Benji Marshall at five-eighth for the West Tigers clash with the Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium on Friday night.Fitzhenry moves in from the wing to take over the number six spot, with rookie Michael Crockett coming onto the flank. Marshall broke his cheekbone in last week's 24-15 win over St George-Illawarra.

Titans to bolster coaching staff

THE Gold Coast Titans are expected to announce a major addition to its NRL coaching staff later today.The club is still a year away from entering the competition but has already put together a strong list of players and coaches. John Cartwright will be the Titans' inaugural coach while the club has secured the services of Preston Campbell, plus internationals Scott Prince, Luke Bailey and Brian Carney.

Miller out for six months

DOCTORS have confirmed that Canberra Raiders star prop Josh Miller will be out of action for at least six months.Miller ruptured the ACL in his left knee during the Raiders 27-14 victory over Manly at Brookvale Oval on Saturday. The news caps a horror run for the joint 2005 player of the year, who missed the last three matches of last season due to a shoulder injury, which later required reconstruction.

Powergen Challenge Cup Round 4 Draw

POWERGEN Challenge Cup holders Hull will begin the defence of their trophy in a blockbuster of a game against Engage Super League champions Bradford Bulls. The clash of the trophy winners is the glamour tie of the fourth-round draw, which was made in Leeds on Monday night. The other all Super League game sees Wakefield Wildcats hosting Wigan Warriors.League leaders St Helens were installed as favourites with after being drawn at home to National League side Doncaster while Leeds are second favourites after being paired with Leigh.The rank outsiders are amateur side Thornhill Trojans, who caused the big upset in the third-round ties, and face a trip to France against the struggling Super League newcomers Catalans Dragons.The prize for the two finalist is a day out in London at the new Wembley Stadium which, hopefully be open for this August's showpiece.Full draw:Featherstone v West Bowling or Keighley Catalans Dragons v Thornhill Trojans Swinton or Sheffield Eagles v Ovenden or York Hunslet v Hull KR Batley v Whitehaven Widnes v Castleford St Helens v Doncaster Warrington v London Skolars Harlequins v Toulouse Widnes St Maries or Barrow v Oldham Rochdale v Celtic Crusaders Kells or Halifax v Huddersfield Wakefield v Wigan Bradford v Hull Leigh v Leeds Salford v Dewsbury Ties to be played on the weekend of April 1-2

Knights J.F Rd 1 Report

THE Newcastle Knights opened their season in style on Saturday afternoon with a comprehensive 34-6 victory over the Parramatta Eels. The opening twenty minutes was spent in the Newcastle half of the field, with Parramatta having plenty of ball. It seemed it was only a matter of time before the Eels opened the scoring, however, a mixture of poor ball control and some impressive Knights goal-line defence held them out. In the 22nd minute, Knights five-eight Scott Dureau, re-signed by the club, after having interest from the Dragons, opened the Knights account with a superb individual effort, leaving Parramatta players grasping at thin air. Promising halfback Luke Walsh converted to give the Knights a 6-0 lead. Four minutes later, the Knights were in again, this time through man-mountain Larry Taufua who ran onto a Luke Walsh pass like a freight train and was never going to be stopped. Again Walsh added the extras to put the Knights up 12-0. That remained the score until the halftime break, with the Knights going close a few times from hungry kick-chase efforts, in particular by Fijian winger Akuila Uate, who showed plenty of speed. The Eels hung on to the break trailing by 12 points.The Knights pushed their lead out further just three minutes into the second half when Jonathon Wright ran a perfect angled run into a space, courtesy of a superb ball from five-eight Dureau. Walsh continued with his perfect goal-kicking record for the day when he converted from wide out. Wright crossed for his second try of the afternoon just four minutes later, finishing off out wide from a perfect cut-out pass from halfback Walsh. Walsh missed his first attempt of the afternoon, but the Knights were well in control at 22-0. Parramatta second rower Trent Waicokacola scored his teams first and only try of the afternoon when he finished off a backline move, which started in their own half. Ben Farrar added the conversion to close the gap to 22-6, but that was as close as the Eels got. 16 minutes from fulltime, Simon Allen, coming off the bench for the Knights scored an opportunistic try for the home side after the ball went around like a pin-ball machine before landing in the Eels in-goal, requiring Allen to just touch down. Walsh added the conversion to extend the Knights lead. Young winger Uate finished the scoring for the Knights, and topped off a good game by crossing with just four minutes left. Again Walsh added the extras to give the Knights their first win of the year, 34-6 over Parramatta.For the Knights, halves Dureau and Walsh were outstanding. They were given the time and space by a dominant forward display. Larry Taufua and Cory Patterson were impressive for the Knights in the forwards, as was Terrence Seu Seu out of dummy half.

Privatisation campaign gathers momentum

MEDIA personalities Andrew Denton and Don Lane will be among a high-profile group of supporters backing Peter Holmes A Court and Russell Crowe's privatisation bid for South Sydney today.Souths members will hold an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday to decide whether to accept the $3 million bid for 75 per cent of the NRL club. A pro-bid function will be held this morning at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney.

No further action on Carney

NEWCASTLE winger Brian Carney won't be facing any further punishment from the NRL club after his run-in with authorities at a hotel in Sydney on Sunday night.Police issued Carney with a $550 breach notice for refusing to leave the Steyne Hotel in Manly after an argument over use of a jukebox. The Great Britain international had been drinking with his former Wigan team-mate Matthew Johns who left without incident.

Walker blasts Stuart as Roosters ponder plea

THE Sydney Roosters have until midday to decide whether to contest Adrian Morley's two-week NRL suspension for a high tackle on Souths halfback Ben Walker.Morley was charged with a grade three careless high tackle by the match review committee which carries a two-week ban with an early guilty plea. The English international will be banned for three weeks should he fight the charge and lose at the NRL judiciary tomorrow night.Three other players were charged by the match review committee though Wests Tigers backrower Anthony Laffranchi will escape punishment with an early guilty plea for his lifting tackle. New Zealand Warriors utility Sione Faumuina is facing a two-week ban for a grade three careless high tackle but that could expand to three weeks if he fails to beat the charge at the judiciary.Bulldogs prop Nate Myles is looking at a one-match suspension for a grade one dangerous throw charge.

Fitzhenry to 5/8, question mark over Tahu

WESTS Tigers utility Daniel Fitzhenry is today expected to be named to replace injured five-eighth Benji Marshall in the No.6 jumper for Friday night's NRL match against the Bulldogs.Marshall will be sidelined for the next six weeks with a fractured cheekbone although he won't need surgery. Fitzhenry is likely to resume the role he filled during the pre-season while Marshall continued his recovery from shoulder surgery. Fitzhenry played on the wing in last Friday night's win over St George Illawarra.Meanwhile Parramatta will be sweating on a the result of a fitness test for Test winger Timana Tahu after he complained of hamstring soreness following Saturday's loss to Newcastle.

Round 1 Team of the Week

AFTER a sensation weekend of NRL action, we?re happy to present the Round 1 League Unlimited Team of the Week. And oh boy, it?s a cracker!Fullback: Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders) ? He looks bigger and fitter this year. His kicking was terrific as usual and beat the first man most times from the kick-return. A great choice as the new captain.Wing: Amos Roberts (Roosters) ? Mossy bagged a double for the Roosters in a controversial game out at Telstra. He a genuine speedster with plenty of ball skills and a favourite with the fans.Centre: Mark Gasnier (Dragons) ? Showed he?s all class with the ball in his hand. The Tigers couldn?t contain Gaz, who scored a treble, and he has begun the season in menacing form.Centre: Paul Whatuira (Tigers) ? The silent hero for Wests on Friday night. He popped up everywhere, bagging a hat-trick and showing why he?s in the Team of the Week. A very under-rated player who manages to slip under the radar and get the work done.Wing: Brian Carney (Knights) ? The Irishman?s first game in the NRL was a good ?un, scoring a try and proving very hard to contain. He looks a very solid purchase for the Knights and should provide good service this year.Five-eighth: Jonathan Thurston (Cowboys) ? What can you say about this kid? Unbelievable match from Thurston who?s going the right way about displacing Darren Lockyer as the Queensland five-eighth. Scored three meat pies, kicked six goals and had a hand in everything.Halfback Andrew Johns (Knights) ? The old stager returned to footy in triumphant circumstances after having an operation on his knee in the off-season. He should steer clear of the fisticuffs though, he?s already proven himself a novice in that arena.Lock: Travis Norton (Cowboys) ? The retiring captain of the Cowboys had a solid game on the weekend against arch-rivals the Broncos, steering the ship when necessary. I?m sure he?s pumped for another big season and a possible premiership.Second-row: Willie Mason (Bulldogs) ? The Doggies may have gone down but Big Willie put up a good fight. He had a superb game and appears to be relishing a more senior role.Second-row: Ben Jones (Raiders) ? Hardly a household name, Jonesy put in for the Raiders as they toppled the more fancied Sea Eagles at ?Fortress? Brooky. He?ll be a mainstay if he continues that sort of form.Prop: John Skandalis (Tigers) ? Another unsung hero of the Tigers. Skando turns up each week and just loves copping it. His work-rate is to be admired for an old guy and he provides a cool head for the forwards when experience is called for.Hooker: Aaron Payne (Cowboys) ? Had a blinder and just edged out Simon Woolford here for Hooker of the Week. Brutality was certainly dished out by the truckload against Brisbane and the stoutly no.9 was carving up all day long.Prop: Craig Smith (Knights) ? Smithy packs in with Skando, proving age is no barrier in this competition. I thought he was great this week and appears to have really settled into a rhythm at Newcastle.Interchange: Benji Marshall (Tigers), Grant Rovelli (Warriors), Steve Southern (Cowboys), Anthony Tupou (Roosters) ? Plenty of impact here and flamboyance here on the bench. Marshall?s freakish feats are welcome, along with Rovelli who was a hit for the Warriors when he came on the field. Southern and Tupou add huge firepower to the interchange bench here.Merkin of the Week Award for Stupidity: Jason Ryles (Dragons) ? Rylesy decided to go on a one-man journey to Planet Brain Explosion, helping out the Tigers forwards and earning himself 10 in the bin. He?s gets the first Merkin of 2006 ? wear it with pride buddy!

Rabbitohs blow-torch Jets

THE Newtown Jets paid dearly for their high error-rate in Sunday?s opening VB Premier League competition match against neighbours South Sydney at Telstra Stadium. The Jets barely completed more than 50% of their sets of possession in either half, putting enormous pressure on themselves in the unseasonable sauna-like playing conditions. Newtown conceded 22 points inside the first twenty minutes and despite a brave fightback went down by 42-28. The Rabbitohs dominance of possession in the first half saw them take a 34-16 lead into the break. A resurgent Newtown kept Souths tryless until the final minute of the second half and fought back gamely to trail by 36-28 with seven minutes remaining. Lack of ball control killed off the Jets? hopes of a last gasp victory as Souths sprung a major upset against a team that had shown such promising trials form. Newtown coach Paul Young was quick to assure Jets fans that there are better days ahead for this side, but they needed to put this forgettable display behind them.Best for the Jets were powerful centre Lelea Paea, who continued his excellent 2006 form with two tries. Former North Queensland Cowboy John Doyle showed some deft touches with the ball, and fullback Aidan Kirk looked dangerous when in possession. Second rower Nigel Plum was outstanding in defence and attack and prop Glenn Hall worked hard in the oppressive conditions. Former British forward Mark Edmondson would have found the searing temperatures a far cry from playing at Knowsley Road, St. Helens.Newtown?s Jim Beam Cup squad turned on their best trial performance when they defeated Cabramatta by 32-18 at the Narellan Sports Ground on Saturday evening. Coach Greg Matterson used 32 players in the trial and would have been pleased with the improved form, the physical toughness and will to win shown in this game. Matterson?s difficulties in deciding upon which players to retain weren?t made any easier with this trial, but he could let Newtown supporters know that the Jets look like having another very competitive Jim Beam Cup team in this year?s premiership competition. The Newtown Jets are back at home this Saturday against Western Suburbs in the VB Premier League. Sunday?s surprise loss to Souths is sure to bring out the best in the Jets in their first home game of the year at Henson Park. The Jets-Magpies VB Premier League match kicks off at 4:00pm, and will be preceded by a Newtown versus Asquith Jim Beam Cup trial match starting at 2:30pm.Photo caption:Classy centre Lelea Paea has been in great form for the Jets in 2006.

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