THE record of the biographies of sportsmen, and women, in recent years is not a particularly inspiring one. That is why many end up in the $5 dollar, or even $2 dollar, display stand much sooner than most.
KARL JOHNSON AND CHRIS DEARS TAKE OUT TOP HONOURS AT BEARS AWARDS NIGHTNew North Queensland recruit Karl Johnson and Jersey Flegg captain Chris Dears have been named '2006 North Sydney Player of the Year' in Premier League and Jersey Flegg respectively.Held on the night of Friday 15th September the North Sydney Bears 2006 Player Awards held a night of passion, humour and sadness for the hard working crew of the North Sydney Club.General Manager Greg Florimo opened the proceedings with a thank you to the Club's major Sponsors the Norths Leagues Club and J.J. Lawson and the Board of Directors of the Football Club.Next a big thank you to the hardcore of supporters some of whom attended the night and received a small trophy of appreciation for their big effort in supporting the Bears over 26 massive rounds in 2006.A minutes silence was held for Jim Brannigan who only passed away recently. Together with his wife Molly he manned the gate at home matches over the last two seasons.Then a thank you from Flo to the people behind the players, the friends and family who supported them over a long and tough season. Then the focus of the night turned to the men who played for the Bears in 2006.Jersey Flegg Coach Steve Carter was reflective of his stint at Norths, "I think we all learnt a lot this year. Highlights included wins against Wests and Parramatta at home and we had 6 players make Premier League. Steve thanked trainers Trevor Perrin and John Peaua for their dedication and invited them up to the stage to help present the awards.Tupou Peaua received the 'Most Consistent Player' award. A great achievement for a player who missed all but one match for the season. Alternating between centre, prop and second row Greg Florimo praised his 'versatility off the bench".Top try scorer Bladen Baird (11 tries for the season) won 'Best Back' for 2006. His lengthy runs to the try line not only garnered points but lifted his team to some of their best victories.Respected second rower Arnold Mano won 'Best Forward' of the year for Jersey Flegg. Arnold received kudos from both coaches for leading by example.Finally Chris Dears who played all 24 matches in 2006 received the coveted 'Player of the Year' award. "He's a gentleman. He impressed with his attitude both on and off the field and has the ability to be a success both in football and life" commented Greg Florimo. 2006 Premier League Coach Josh White was then called up to the dais. His often humorous and always entertaining commentary on the season reflected the great friendships that had come out of a relatively tough season."It's been a roller coaster year. We all tried hard and had fun which is important [I believe if you've not having fun you should not be playing football]. Thank you for the hard work this season. Kudos to all of you having to work all day [some hard physical work] while some opposition players are taking a taxi to have a massage" said Josh White!Josh congratulated the young Jersey Flegg players who made the grade in Premier League in 2006, Liam Foran, James Maloney, Arnold Mano, Bladen Baird and Chris Dears was "outstanding". Josh thanked his coaching staff; Michael Pobjie "great Bloke and a good friend", Jamie Papa "great knowledge of training, knows how to prepare for a match", Mick Tonello "a great statistician and always ready with a comment", Trent Rosa "Has a great knowledge of the game" and Brendan Travers "A great bloke to have around".Missing only one match this season right centre Karl Johnson garnered both the Player of the Year and Players' Player awards. Karl's in your face and aggressive attack has not only impressed his club but also North Queensland coach Graham Murray where KJ is headed in 2007.Coming into his own in the second half of the season left centre Daniel Watkins was awarded 'Best Back'. Despite only playing 16 matches Dan's scoots and metres gained for the year were comparable to a full season of footy.Contributed by sponsor mightybears.com the Supporters' Player of the Year award includes a cash prize of $500. Bears Hooker Ben Ellis received the dual honours of 'Best Forward' and 'Supporters' Player of the Year' awards. Accomplished in attack and outstanding in defence his 1066 tackles for the season and similar work in 2005 leaves an outstanding legacy at the North Sydney Club.PICTURED: Forward Chris Dears receives his 'Player of the Year' award.From left: Trevor Perrin, Chris Dears, John Peaua, Steve Carter.PHOTO: Steve Little.
FOUR-TIME premiership winning forward Shane Webcke believes he could have died had he not taken a banned drug for a serious knee infection in 2001.A staunch anti-drugs campaigner, Webcke's revelation in his autobiography "Warhorse: Life, Football and Other Battles" released today that he tested positive to the drug probenecid and escaped penalty, has shocked the rugby league world.Apart from probenecid's ability to fight and kill infection, it can also be used to mask the use of steroids. But Webcke, who retired after Brisbane's grand final win last Sunday, says he was given the drug to ward off infection.He included the positive test finding in his book because he believed people should get the true story of his life - warts and all.
MELBOURNE centre Matt King has been slugged with a $5,000 fine for publicly ridiculing Grand Final referee Paul Simpkins.
LEADING player agent George Mimis has escaped having his accreditation revoked over his involvement in the NRL salary cap scandal which engulfed the New Zealand Warriors earlier this year.
WESTS Tigers hooker Robbie Farah has today signed a new three-year deal that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2010 season.
IT?S not often I am lost for words but how good was that win. Unfortunately I was in Mackay and missed possibly the greatest grand final win our club has ever seen although I am a tad biased towards 1997 myself. But I was yelling as loud as anyone down the TV, I can tell you those around me thought I was MAD ?.. And I know many people who would agree.I must congratulate Hook and all his staff, Gilly, Sounda, Whitey for a great job, as well as all the trainers Foo, Silent, Pecker, Jezza, Patrolman Pain all the boys who never get the wraps but work as hard behind the scenes as anyone in the Club and of course the man who bought it all together the boss Punchy. Since my last column the Colts got knocked out one game short, it just wasn?t your day against Wynnum also well done to everyone involved with that side during the year you can all hold your head high. I reckon a few of these guys can go a long way in the game David Hala is off to the Roosters, Tim Yee has already played Queensland Cup, Matt Gillett, Matt Handcock, Logan Sullivan, Tim Benson just to name a few will who will push onto bigger and better things.All the reports I got was that the boys are training well and will not lose. On the Wednesday night session the boys had some special guests drop into training Patron Dick ?Tosser? Turner addressed the troops, Tony Obst, Greg Conescu, Trevor Benson, Bob Jones, Dessy and Terry Webb were all there to lend their support and wish them the best. And game day there were a stack of ex players at Lang Park willing the boys onto victory in the crowd was Wally Fullerton-Smith, Bryan Niebling, Shawn Rubesaame, Festa Clanchy, Johnny Boxsell, Dennis Clarke, Jimmy Cowell, Greg Oliphant, Jason Campbell, Trent Leis just to name a few and the first player in the sheds after the game to say g?day and congratulate everyone was a bloke who had a bit of success at Lang Park earlier this year Adam Mogg. A phone call was placed to former captain Luke Scott from the sheds. They say being part of the Dolphins is very special and I?d say they are right. Now one more time for Starry everybody sing alongWho are, who are, who are weWe are, we are the RFCWhere do we come from rah, rah, rahRedcliffe, Redcliffe rah, rah, rahCheers boys here we are from RedcliffeEvery time we play, we play to win, play to winWe?ll show them one and allWith our backs against the wallYou cannot beat the good Reddy boysHip Rah, Hip Rah, Hip RahRedcliffe Dolphins 2006 Premiers sounds just rightUntil next month Cheers Robbo
ANTHONY Griffin was a contented man after his side's Queensland Cup win.
Never a boisterous or cocky character, Griffin nevertheless did not lose his faith in his charges after their record loss to Toowoomba in the major semi-final.
He put the aberration down to a one-off poor outing on the Downs, preferring to concentrate his efforts straight away on the task of eliminating Easts Tigers.
That completed, he turned his attention to the Clydesdales, who were raging favourites to claim another title.
He smiled contentedly as his side soaked up the pressure of the grand final, gradually strangling the hopes of the young Broncos offshoots.
"It was a top team effort by our boys," he said. "It was a real relentless display, even if we had a few things go against us early."
Griffin would not say it, but he was obviously pointing out the pass to a try line-bound Grant Flugge which was ruled forward.
"Defensively that was the best we played all year," Griffin said. "To get your lowest score against you all year in the grand final is superb.
"It was a sign of belief that the side had in itself, especially against a side like that. We didn't allow Toowoomba to play well, but in saying that, the opposition's completion rate was very good and it wasn't until very late in the match that they started turning the ball over."
Griffin said those mistakes came from Redcliffe's untiring defence, which kept on turning up despite giving away years in younger legs among the forwards.
"Our composure and our relentless defence were what stood out for me," he said. "It was a very physical match but there were not many stoppages."
Griffin will line up for the 2007 season with the Dolphins after agreeing earlier in the year to a two-season deal.
THERE was a special significance attached to Adam Starr carting up the last ruck of the 2006 Queensland Cup.
The towering front-rower went down to the ground, not so much under the weight of Clydesdales defenders but more the backslapping of Dolphin team-mates as they congratulated the 33-year-old warhorse.
Starr played his last game of rugby league at Suncorp Stadium, bring a fitting end to a career that took in the ARL, NRL, France and Redcliffe.
A Dolphins junior, he returned to the club to finish off his career and succeeded with four stars.
"It was the final hit-up and all the guys were saying to pass it to me," Starr said. "They all knew it was on and that the game was over."
Starr now has no regrets about bowing out.
"I'd still like to have a connection to footy and Redcliffe but I will stay away next season," he said.
"I have a three-year-old daughter and another child due in January so it will be all good.''
Along with captain Troy Lindsay, Starr led the way from the front, breaking his usual strong-running game up with a couple of early passes which took the Toowoomba defence by surprise.
"I think the turning point was when we held them out for six sets of tackles in a row in the first half. That seemed to frustrate them,'' he said.
"It was a good hard game in the first half as both sides were into each other. They just made a few more mistakes than we did."
Starr, who has worked at Foster's brewery at Yatala for the past three years, said he would stay away from the game for a while to ensure he had no itchy feet about a premature return.
"That game was one of the highlights of my career and not too bad a way to finish up,'' he said. ""No one expected us to get up and those expectation seemed to come true after the first couple of minutes when they scored."
Starr is the only top-line Dolphin to announce his retirement with Lindsay indicating he would return in 2007.
HE was the forgotten Dolphin.
Shane Perry started the season as Redcliffe's captain and ended it in the Broncos side contesting the NRL finals series.
He missed the Dolphins' Queensland Cup triumph as he was in Sydney for the Broncos' showdown with the Newcastle Knights.
"The ABC in New South Wales doesn't show the Queensland Cup so I kept up to date with the score via text messages," he said.
"I spoke to a few of the guys before the match and wished them all the best."
Perry welcomed the news that red-hot Redcliffe centre Nick Emmett had signed with the Broncos for the 2007 season.
"It's good that Nick will do the entire pre-season with us and then see what happens," he said.
Of course, Perry had his own grand final dreams to contend with. The Broncos forced their way into the season decider with a thumping comeback against the Bulldogs for a showdown against the Melbourne Storm.
THE day before a grand final and everyone was on edge.
Object of the Redcliffe camp's concern was diminutive halfback Marty Turner.
The playmaker was in doubt for the entire week leading up to the Queensland Cup grand final after straining his right hamstring in the preliminary final against Easts Tigers.
"I was 50/50 all week and it was not until the night before the grand final that I was declared fit to play," Turner said.
"I had a slight strain against Easts and I knew I hadn't torn it. I could have stayed on but it was decided for me to come off.
"I had a tough session on the Friday night and I came through it.
"I had a couple of niggle during the big match but it was not too bad."
Turner was one of Redcliffe's best in the upset against Toowoomba, scoring a vital first half try and continually threatening the opposition line with his darting runs.
The former Melbourne Storm signing enjoyed his first senior premiership after winning the Colts title with Norths.
"It was pretty tight at halftime but our defence really aimed up in the second half," he said.
"We forced mistakes from them late in the match once we got into a real arm wrestle.
"A lot of the boys have been there before and our forward pack knows how to win grand final."
And Turner's future? "I'll be with the Dolphins next year as I'm really enjoying it out there."
MAN of the match Michael Roberts is waiting by the phone.
The vastly talented hooker hopes he is the centre of a National Rugby League bid over the coming month.
"There's been no nibbles so far," he said. "Hopefully I will hear something over the next couple of weeks.
"I would definitely take up an offer, even if it meant leaving Brisbane. It's a chance I could not afford to miss."
He said the 2006 Queensland Cup victory was definitely the sweetest of his career.
"As a senior player I took it a lot more personally than I did earlier in my playing days," he said.
"When Toowoomba scored very early I said to the other players that it was the best thing to happen.
"I said that Toowoomba would think it would all happen like it did in the semi two weeks before. We knew that we would step up and that what happened in Toowoomba wouldn't happen again."
Roberts was confident that the Dolphins would field a strong side again in 2007 even if he left. He said the retirement of Adam Starr would leave a gap but the club's Colts were a young but talented group.
He also said Redcliffe never had any problems attracting senior players who wanted to gain attention of NRL clubs or have the opportunity to win a premiership in their closing years.
THE first field goal of Michael Roberts' rugby league career turned out to be a match-breaker.With the Queensland Cup on a knife edge at 12-6 to the Dolphins, hooker Roberts nailed a one-pointer from close range to put his side two scoring opportunities ahead."I thought the field goal was the turning point and not because I kicked it," Roberts said. "We had been down their end for five or six sets and had not broken through. I thought if we did that again and failed we might get a bit down."There was 10 minutes or so to go and the conditions were in our favour if we could get further ahead. There had been only three tries scored so far in the match so I reckoned it was the way to go."Roberts had an explanation for him never landing a field goal before. In past seasons he has had senior players such as Tony Gould and Shane Perry to take the responsibility."I planned the field goal as soon as packed the scrum," he said. "I placed myself at first receiver and it never looked like missing."But that doesn't take it away from our defence, which won us the game. It was just a bit of turning point."This season Roberts, playing in his fifth Queensland Cup grand final, has assumed the role of a senior player with the Dolphins.He was playing in his fifth decider and the victory gave him a three-from-five record."It was funny that after the field goal things started going our way," he said. "They were in front of a kick-off and started dropping the ball a bit."Roberts rated the premiership "a pretty special one". "No one away from the Peninsula gave us a chance," he said."It was very quick out early on and 20 minutes into the game the coach gave me a break. I was starting to blow a bit but was always the plan."The match was a direct contest of their speed and athleticism and our experience and composure. We have a lot of grand final experience and it counts for a lot."I mentioned in my speech about the core group of players and everyone knows who they are. There's Troy Lindsay, Adam Starr, Grant Flugge, Danny Burke and myself, all of whom have played together for five or six years while Shane Perry also would have been there."
JETSTAR Gold Coast Titans Managing Director Michael Searle this afternoon congratulated Shaun Timmins on an outstanding NRL and representative career and wished him well for the future, following a mutual decision by the pair to end negotiations that could have seen the former State or Origin and Test star playing for the Jetstar Gold Coast Titans next year.After consulting a knee surgeon Timmins has been advised to end his playing career.?I am very disappointed obviously from a Jetstar Gold Coast Titans point of view, but more so for Shaun that the surgeon?s prognosis on his injured knee wasn?t more encouraging, however I do want to thank Shaun for his honesty and understanding during our preliminary talks.?? Shaun has been a tremendous player for St George, New South Wales and Australia over many years and would have been a fantastic inclusion to Coach John Cartwright?s squad, but at the end of the day there is nothing more important than your health and we would like to wish Shaun the very best in his recovery and for the future.? Said Searle.
GAME 1, 14th October 2006: New Zealand v Australia, Mt Smart Stadium Auckland