ENERGYAUSTRALIA Stadium on beautiful Sunday afternoon provided the setting for FTC?s first road trip of the year as Newcastle hosted Canberra in their Round 8 clash. As a football specific stadium it has few rivals with the surface rising slightly out of the bowels of the two stands and the grassed hills at either end. The Western Stand throws a gradually increasing shadow over the field and creates a setting perfect for Sunday afternoon football.
"THERE are some defeats more triumphant than victories."
---Michel de Montaigne
IMAGINE- you?re out pounding the pavement, jogging with Prefontaine-esque zeal, when suddenly a muscular 110kg powerhouse launches himself at you and crashes venomously into your chest. The force leaves you winded and bruised. As you hit the ground, the behemoth leaps on you, crushing your ribs under his weight, and then proceeds to lever himself off you by planting his palm on your face and informing you that you are the world?s biggest loser, before calmly jogging back 10 metres, to do the same to the next unfortunate jogger.
SUNDAY 8th May
GILLETTE to sponsor both Great Britain and England Rugby League teams
One of the world?s biggest consumer products companies, Gillette, will sponsor the Great Britain Rugby League team for 2005 and 2006.
SOUTH London Storm completed their pre-season trial campaign on Saturday at Storm Park with a win over Paris National 1 side Montgeron XIII in an open match with some fantastic tries.
NORTH Queensland?s excitement machine Matt Bowen has stayed loyal to the club that has made him and signed a new three year deal with the Cowboys and shunning his back on the open market.
Bowen's contract was set to expire at the end of season 2005 and stated he may test his worth at other clubs prior to the announcement today. He has scored seven tries in eight games for the table=topping Cowboys.
PANTHERS live-wire Preston Campbell has signed a one-year deal with the club which may see him pick up sticks and head to the Gold Coast if they gain admission to the NRL in 2007.
THIS Saturday (7th May 2005) 2SER FM?s ?A View from the Hill? will be taking calls from listeners on a range of topics in Rugby League.
NORTH Queensland pocket dynamo Matt Bowen has put pen to paper and signed on with the Cowboys for another three seasons. The three year deal was believed to be worth $400,000 per year and takes Bowen into the upper echelon of elite players who command big dollars on the open market.
THE St George Illawarra Dragons have today announced that it will not be possible for Anthony Mundine to play rugby league with the Dragons in 2005.
WHO can stop Redcliffe?
When will Ipswich and Brothers Valleys post their first wins?
Can North Queensland win at home?
These are some of the big questions confronting Queensland Cup followers as the competition enters its sixth week.
Premiers Redcliffe are the competition pace setters and they should be too strong for Tweed Heads Seagulls in Saturday?s ABC televised clash at Dolphin Oval.
In fact there are many good judges who believe Redcliffe, expertly coached by Neil Wharton, will go through the season undefeated.
Tweed has won three of its five matches, all on the road, so there is a warning there for the Dolphins.
But Tweed were out muscled by North Queensland last Sunday and Redcliffe?s pack will be looking to do the same.
Ipswich and Brothers Valleys drew in round one and they have not gained another competition point since, an unexpected scenario in Ipswich?s case given the talent in the club which last year featured in the finals.
Things do not get any easier this Saturday night with the Jets playing North Queensland in Townsville, and the Young Guns full of confidence after a big win over Tweed.
But North Queensland has lost both matches at home this year, both in the dying stages, so it appears there is no real home ground advantage for Adrian Thomson?s men.
Brothers Valleys face a daunting task against Toowoomba in Toowoomba on Saturday with the Clydesdales coming off a 50-6 win over Souths Logan, after the Magpies beat Brothers Valleys 52-16 the week before.
Souths Logan travel to Rockhampton to play the Central Comets on Saturday night with Central coming off a loss to Norths.
On Sunday there are two high quality matches in south east Queensland both deserving of big crowds with no NRL action in the area.
On the Gold Coast the Burleigh Bears host Norths Devils at Pizzey Park, Miami while in Brisbane Wynnum Seagulls host neighbours, Easts Tigers.
Both matches could feature internationals with Darren Smith set to lead Easts and Rodney Howe due back from the Melbourne Storm to play for feeder club, Norths.
Next Friday night in Newcastle Australia plays New Zealand in the Anzac Test with both teams to be named this Sunday night.
The curtain-raiser to the Test will feature aboriginal teams from Queensland and New South Wales.
Next weekend there is another full round of Queensland Cup action (see draw at back of the programme) but the following weekend the competition will be suspended because of the QRL?s under 19 and under 17 divisional carnival at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast.
THE latest news from the West Indies Rugby League as it continues to try and take steps to establish a serious international calendar.
MELBOURNE Storm young guns Cameron Smith and Billy Slater have a lot in common.
IN what seems to be a recurring pattern, firebrand Rooster Adrian Morley and Parramatta forward Adam Peek are facing potentially lengthy suspensions after being charged by the National Rugby League following incidents at the weekend.