Injuries subdue City and Country teams

FIVE players have already been ruled out of Friday night's Annual City v Country match to be played in the NSW country town of Lismore.

The NRL Cinema

THE NRL Big Screen Plaza Cinema House Pty Ltd, which is located in one extremely inconvenient location in Humula, in Southern NSW, has released this list of movies to hit Australia this winter.

Manly

HATING Manly is ingrained in me. I was born in 1958, a Manly-hater. I don?t know how, I just was. I popped out from where new people pop-out from and I hated Manly immediately, I guess it saved time later on. I was upside down, hanging from the doctor?s hands and I was crying just because Manly existed in the world I had just entered.

Jamie comes home

AFTER eight years on the National Rugby League treadmill, Jamie Russo is back home on the Sunshine Coast. He's also stamping his class on the Queensland Cup with the Pepsi Dolphins. The 24-year-old utility joined Redcliffe soon after the 2005 season started, but did not take long to make an impression. After one match in A grade, he forced his way into the Premier League set-up and has not been away since. "I came home to live at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast to take it easy and get away from Sydney for a year," Russo said. "I still wanted to play football but I knew I needed a higher level than the Sunshine Coast comp. "I approached Redcliffe and soon spoke to coach Anthony Griffin, whom I knew after he coached my brother Michael at Norths." Russo finds himself in the forwards at Redcliffe, although he has played a lot of five-eighth. "I played in the centres at Canberra last year, although I prefer lock or second-row," he said. "I didn't know what to expect as I have been at NRL clubs since I was a teenager, but the set-up at Redcliffe is good." At 98 kilograms, he is well built to take care of himself, although he knows competition in the Dolphins backrow is red-hot, especially with firebrand Daniel Green back from his off-season shoulder operation. Russo makes no secret of the fact that he wants to return to the NRL next season, but for now is content to bide his time in the nation's second-best competition. He joined the Sydney Roosters virtually from school in 1997 before linking with Parramatta in 2002 ,then skipping to Souths for 2003 and 2004, although he spent the second half of last year at the Canberra Raiders. "I was going to be at Canberra this year again when I decided to come home to the Sunshine Coast," he said. "They were pretty good to give me a release." Russo gained an early insight of Redcliffe's potential at the Raiders from friend Adam Mogg (another former Sunshine Coast product) and winger Phil Graham. "I've known Moggy a while and we were also together at Parramatta," he said. "He was always going on that I would be playing at Redcliffe and that's what has happened. "Adam is well regarded at Canberra and has signed on again for them, but he says he will finish up his career with the Dolphins. "Phil Graham spent a bit of time in reserve grade last year, but he's back fit again and has a ton of pace. He's very quick." Russo has been quick to make an assessment of the Queensland Cup. "It's a pretty good comp, but a completely different game to the NRL and NSW Premier League,'' he said. "The fitness levels are not as high, but that is to be expected as the players are not fulltime and some of the little things are not as well executed. "But it's certainly as physical as the other comps and the games I've played against Souths and Wynnum have been tough. I was hoping to celebrate on the Saturday after the North Queensland Young Guns game as that was my birthday, but I've never won in Townsville in any visit there with an NRL club. "Any clubs with NRL feeders can be expected to be hard clashes, so that takes in Norths, Toowoomba and North Queensland."

Marking Mark at the Dolphins

A BUSINESS idea has helped land the Redcliffe Dolphins one of their former Colts. Mark Christensen, 22, returns to the club after three seasons with National Rugby League outfits St George Illawarra and Souths. The quicksilver back, a member of the 2001 premiership Colts side at Dolphin Oval, arrives with a plan to start a personal training business on the Peninsula. "I have applied for a business name and am organising my insurance so I'm hoping to get the go-ahead soon. I did some courses last year and I have played sports all my life,'' Christensen said. "It is pretty quiet in that area on the Peninsula and I have been studying up on training, circuits and weights." Recruited at 17 from Brothers club at Mackay in 2000, Christensen was signed by St George at the end of 2001 after playing a pivotal role in the Colts premiership. Stints in that club's Jersey Flegg and Premier League sides followed with his pinpoint goal-kicking a feature. His best effort was 10 out of 11 while he enjoyed an 80 percent success rate in one season down south. His kicking has not been needed yet as veteran centre Greg Bourke has been looking after that aspect. "The main feature of playing at NRL clubs was the difference in training," he said. "They are all very professional and I certainly did enjoy it." A winger for a lot of his career, Christensen is also competent at fullback or the centres. "I have not made my mind up about my football future," he said. "I will see what happens with the business and go from there. I want to get it set up and take it from there." Christensen said he had relished his return to the Dolphins. "I'm going all right on the field and they are a good bunch of blokes," he said. "I know quite a few of them from earlier days such as Starry and Micky Roberts." Christensen had been playing on the wing in Premier League for the first few matches before dropping back to A grade against Tugun last month. "The Queensland Cup standard is pretty good," he said. "The intensity is not there for the entire 80 minutes, but it depends on which side you are playing. "The Queensland Cup is a lot tougher than Premier League in NSW although it might not be as skilful." Christensen said his biggest surprise on his return had been the development of Redcliffe as a city. "There is certainly a lot more development in the town," he said. "That's good and it's certainly good to be back in Queensland." For now, Christensen is hoping to launch his personal training career and will be relying on word of mouth around the club for clients. Members interested in availing themselves of his services can contact Mark on 0421 706448 in coming weeks.

Round 8 Team of the Week

AN interesting line-up here acknowledges the work some players put in each week with plenty of regular first graders that don't always get the wraps they deserve. You could put this week's League Unlimited Team of the Week on the field against anyone and they wouldn't disappoint.

Bulldogs team list for Broncos' clash

MAY 3, 2005: The Mitsubishi Electric Bulldogs team to take on the Broncos in Round 9 of the Telstra NRL Premiership is:

Slater and Crocker suspended

MAROON selectors can breath a sigh of relief after Billy Slater and Michael Crocker both took early guilty pleas, ensuring they are available for the opening State of Origin match.

Rugby League Review May 2005 - Out Now!

THE May issue of Rugby League Review hits the newsstands on Tuesday, May 3 filled with anything you need to know about Rugby League.

Round 9 Teams and Fixtures

SATURDAY, 7th May 2005

Rugby League Festival of the Red and Whites

COASTAL WIN Stadium will be a sea of ?Red and White? on Saturday as the St George District Rugby League Football Club, Illawarra Steelers and St George Illawarra Football Clubs compete in festival of rugby league from U16 through to NRL level.

Re-Shuffled Dragons Ready for Rabbitohs

DRAGONS coach Nathan Brown has made numerous changes to his side for the Dragons Round 9 clash with the Rabbitohs that is the culmination of the Red & White Festival of Football at WIN Stadium this Saturday.

Sharks maul Raiders in form turnaround

THE Cronulla Sharks have returned to form with a comprehensive 38-24 victory over the Canberra Raiders at Toyota Park tonight.

Adam MacDougall out for the season

SOUTH Sydney back Adam MacDougall has been ruled out for the season after he snapped his Achilles tendon at Melbourne's Olympic Park tonight.

Storm Post 50 As Souths Crash

MELBOURNE Storm have romped in nine tries to thrash the South Sydney Rabbitohs 50-4 at Olympic Park tonight.

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