Civoniceva, Crocker & Inglis

THE Grand Final hopes of Brisbane enforcer Petero Civoniceva go on the line today with the match review committee to hand down its charge sheet from the preliminary finals.

Bulls end Reds' season

NEW Zealand Test centre Shontayne Hape scored four tries as defending Super League champions Bradford Bulls hammered play-off debutants Salford City Reds 52-6 in their elimination play-off at the Grattan Stadium.

Wolves knock out Rhinos

WARRINGTON Wolves skipper Lee Briers snatched a dramatic 18-17 victory for the outsiders with a long-range drop goal two minutes from the end of their engage Super League elimination play-off against Leeds Rhinos.

Melbourne Storm into GF as Dragons bow out

FINALS 2006 Week 3 Melbourne Storm 24 v St George Illawarra Dragons 10at Telstra StadiumReferee: Steven ClarkMatch Summary:The Melbourne Storm have set the stage for an all 'interstate' grand final following a polished 24-10 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons tonight. With the Brisbane Broncos defeating Canterbury Bulldogs last night, Sunday week's premiership decider will be the first between two non-Sydney teams in NSWRL-NRL history.Greeted by a hostile Telstra Stadium bathed in red-and-white, the Storm ran in two tries to one in the first half to post a 12-6 lead at the break.Following close calls for both sides, the first try came with rookie sensation Greg Inglis crossing in the 14th minute. The Dragons struck back in the 25th minute with centre Matt Cooper running onto a tremendous offload from backrower Ashton Sims. Less than two minutes later, Storm centre Matt King pull down a precision kick from half back Cooper Cronk to put Melbourne ahead by six points.The second half developed into an arm wrestle as the stakes in the sudden-death clash were raised. The Storm however, were on the ascendancy, with quick play-the-balls and mounting pressure on the back of a solid defensive effort.The turning point was delivered in the 61st minute when Melbourne winger Steve Turner scored out wide courtesy of an overlap.Saints were still in the contest when winger Brett Morris scored out wide with 10 minutes remaining. But the conversion attempt was waved away and the Dragons found themselves eight points behind with as many minutes remaining. With four minutes remaining, Storm forward Antonio Kaufusi scored under the posts to confirm victory and end the Dragons' season.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 24Tries: Greg Inglis, Antonio Kaufusi, Matt King, Steve TurnerGoals: Matt Geyer 1/1, Cameron Smith 3/3St George Illawarra Dragons: 10Tries: Matt Cooper, Brett MorrisGoals: Aaron Gorrell 1/1, Mathew Head 0/1NEXT WEEK:2006 NRL Grand FinalMelbourne Storm v Brisbane BroncosSunday 1st October 2006 - 7:45pm at Telstra StadiumBy the Clock:Fantastic night in Sydney for this grand final qualifier between The Storm and the Dragons, the winner taking on the Broncos in next week's premiership decider.Curtain raiser results: Newtown Jets defeated Dragons 38-28 in the Premier League preliminary final;Sydney Bulls defeated Newtown 56-22 in the Jim Beam Cup grand final.Dragons and Melbourne players are on the field. Referee Clark blows time on... and the match is underway!4 min: NEWS Dragons hooker Aaron Gorrell looks to have copped a heavy knock while tackling and there's a stoppage while he is being attended to.5 min: Possible TRY to Storm. Video ref looking...VERDICT: NO TRY. Storm denied after Greg Inglis was unable to properly ground the all. A close call.6 min: NEWS Dragons with opportunity after fullback Clint Greenshields comes with the ball while tackling his opposite Billy Slater. Dragons on the attack from 10m out but knock on and are unable to capitalise.10 min: Posssible TRY to Dragons. Video ref looking...VERDICT: NO TRY. Gorrell not able to properly ground the ball. And as with the Storm no try, a close call.14 min: Possible TRY to Storm. Video ref looking...VERDICT:14 min: TRY Melbourne StormInglis runs through gap from 10m out following an excellent set move from the scrum. Video ref checks for double movement but there was never any doubt. Follows a repeat set at the Dragons' line. Cameron Smith converts from almost in front. Storm 6-023 min: NEWS NO TRY - Dragons denied after last pass to winger Wes Naiqama is called back by the ref as going forward. Naiqama diving over in the corner but no dice.25 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsCentre Matt Cooper runs through after backing up second rower Ashton Sims from close range. The Dragons attacking down their left side and getting some ball. Gorrell converts from wide out. 6 all.26 min: Possible TRY to Storm. Video ref looking....VERDICT:26 min: TRY Melbourne StormCentre Matt King pulls down cross field kick from half back Cooper Cronk. Video ref checks for grounding but its OK. Follows Dragons error after restart. Smith 15m in from touch successful with the conversion. Storm 12-633 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Melbourne StormCronk misses field goal attempt from 40m out after they were getting a roll on. Storm 12-6Half time: Storm in front 12-6.Saints have had their opportunities and field position but have only managed the one try and are being met by some solid defence from the Storm. Support play up the middle of the ruck is a feature of Melbourne's play and they have two tries to show for their efforts. They are out-muscling their opposites in the middle and up front.Storm applying the pressure and have the momentum, but there's only six points in it and this match is far from over.Second half underway...41 min: NEWS ON REPORT - Dragons prop Justin Poore on report for a lifting tackle on Storm winger Matt Geyer.42 min: NEWS Storm come within a whisker of scoring after Inglis leaps up to a cross field kick. The ball spills out on the way down.50 min: Still no change to the score as both sides are lifting the tempo.52 min: Storm with the best opporunity since the break. Quick play-the-balls and they have the numbers. A huge hit on forward Ben Cross from Naiqama saves a try.53 min: NEWS Inglis comes off with an injury. Forward Mick Crocker also coming off for the Storm with a knee injury.56 min: NEWS A hurt Greenshields comes off for the Dragons. Meanwhile referee is cautioning Storm players for a bit of niggle.58 min: NEWS INJURY UPDATE. Shoulder injury for Inglis but he should be back. Crocker trying to get right with work on the kne. Greenshields has ankle injury and probably 50/50.61 min: TRY Melbourne StormAn overlap develops and winger Steve Turner gets a try in the corner following sustained pressure. This could be a killer blow as we approach the latter stages. Smith conversion is a ripper. Storm 18-664 min: NEWS INJURY UPDATE - Both teams lose a player each. Greenshields will take no further part. Crocker will take no further part. But Inglis coming back on.68 min: Possible TRY to Dragons - video ref looking...VERDICT: HELD UP! Naiqama very close as Saints keep the pressure on with one more play.69 min: Possible TRY to Dragons - video ref looking...VERDICT:69 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsWinger Brett Morris scores in the corner as Saints run it on the last tackle. Mathew Head misses an important conversion but its game on! Storm 18-1074 min: ATTEMPTED FIELD GOAL Melbourne StormA Storm attempt at one-pointer hits the upright and is waved away. Storm 18-1076 min: TRY Melbourne StormForward Antonio Kaufusi busts through some ordinary defence to score under the posts and put the match beyond doubt. Coverted successfully by Matt Geyer. Storm 24-1078 min: NEWS FIGHT - Not much in it, a minor dust up in the scrum.79 min: NEWS Dragons make a late charge but Naiqama is nailed by the Melbourne cover defence in the corner.FULL TIME: The Storm win 24-10.The minor premiers Melbourne Storm have posted a well deserved victory with a polished performance. The St George Illawarra Dragons gave it a solid shot but were simply beaten on the day by a well drilled Melbourne outfit.The season is over for Saints, but possible glory awaits Melbourne as they go on the meet Brisbane Broncos on Sunday 1st October in the 2006 NRL grand final.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt King (Storm)2 - Cameron Smith (Storm)1 - Greg Inglis (Storm)-----------------------------------------

Broncos submit astonishing second half to dismantle Bulldogs

FINALS 2006 Week 3 Canterbury Bulldogs 20 v Brisbane Broncos 37at Aussie StadiumReferee: Paul SimpkinsMatch Summary:The Brisbane Broncos have become the first team to qualify for the 2006 Grand Final after staging a remarkable second-half comeback to defeat Canterbury Bulldogs by 37-20.They now face the winner of Melbourne and St George-Illawarra after piling on six tries in the second half to bash the usually dominant Bulldogs forward pack and complete a trifecta of victories over the Belmore club this season.Opening the scoring in the ninth minute, Brisbane survived an obstruction challenge by the video referee to plant the ball next to the posts. This only seemed to incite the Bulldogs, who went on a 20-point rampage to assert their dominance over the game.Asotasi opened up the Broncos defence in the 12th minute hitting a gap and offering the ball to Holdsworth who was swamped by Broncos defenders but still managed to ground the ball over the line.Not long after, Holdsworth left the field with an injured ankle and didn?t return with initial reports suggesting he?d injured his ligaments. It had no affect on them as Maitua entered the fray in the centres and Roberts went to five-eighth, providing instant results with Sherwin scoring under the posts following a brilliant off-load from Mason close to the line.El Masri knocked over a penalty goal in the 26th minute before Utai barged his way over the top of Boyd two minutes later to open up a 14-point lead. In a great open move the Bulldogs pushed the ball wide and the nuggetty Kiwi winger hit Boyd one-on-one to score - a scenario most wingers would fail to contain and as it was the Brisbane flanker did a reasonable job trying to defend his line.The scores remained at 20-6 into the break with the Broncos looking out on their feet and Canterbury cruising towards victory.But unbeknown to the Doggies, they wouldn?t score another point as whatever Wayne Bennett said at halftime had a profound effect on the Broncos. Firstly, Hodges replaced Hunt at fullback in what proved to be a masterstroke. Five minutes into the second half Hodges fielded a kick in his own in-goal area and took off, beating 3 Canterbury defenders and found Berrigan on his outside screaming down the western wing. Hodges gave the ball to Berrigan who tore off downfield, staving off two attempted tackles before scoring in the corner whilst being harassed by Mason towards the sideline. It was an astounding try and one of the most memorable in recent finals games, bringing the crowd of almost 30,000 to their feet.Whilst still trailing by 20-12, this try was clearly the turning point of the match as Brisbane began to mount an unanswered 31-point second half haul that embarrassed the Bulldogs in the finalFurther tries to Carlaw (49th minute), Boyd (60th minute) and Lockyer (67h minute) took the game away from Canterbury as they struggled to find options late in the tackle count and began to play one-out footy.A rugged effort by Brent Tate from close range put the game in Brisbane?s keeping as they lead 32-20 with just under 10 minutes to play. Lockyer snapped a field goal in the 78th minute while Parker rubbed salt into the wounds with a late try to wrap-up the game by 37-20.Some concern will go through the Broncos camp after Petero Civoniceva was placed on report by the referee for a high shot on Sonny Bill Williams. But it emerged that he would survive a Grade 2 careless high tackle with an early guilty plea.Other than that, Lockyer was brilliant as was Hodges and the Broncos march on towards their sixth Grand Final in their 19th season since entering the NSWRL.Canterbury will be left disappointed after failing to qualify for their second Grand Final in 3 years during an otherwise successful year.Scorers:Canterbury Bulldogs: 20Tries: Brent Sherwin, Matthew Utai, Daniel HoldsworthGoals: Hazem El Masri 4/4Brisbane Broncos: 37Tries: Shaun Berrigan(2), Dane Carlaw, Darren Lockyer, Corey Parker, Brent Tate, Darius BoydGoals: Darren Lockyer 1/1, Corey Parker 3/6Field Goals: Darren LockyerBy the Clock:Welcome to the first Qualifying Final of 2006 where the winner of tonight's game between Canterbury and Brisbane will advance to this year's Grand Final.We've had an absolutely cracking day in Sydney. It's a bit hot, a bit humid and you can smell the sweet September air.The ground is filling up nicely and this was the stage of the 1998 Grand Final, the last one played at the SFS, and these two teams took the field.Changes:Asotasi is into the starting side, so is Roberts who comes into the centres. Maitua back to the bench with Myles as well. Perry and Armit make up the rest of the bench. Some big changes in there. Brisbane are sure to test Roberts but the bench no longer carries as much impact with SBW and big Roy starting.For the Broncos, Hunt goes to fullback as he suggested with Hodges into the centres. Tate moves to the wing and the rest of the team is unchanged.This is going to be an absolute bell-ringer.Canterbury kick-off and we're underway here at the Footy Stadium!2 min: NEWS Both teams shaping up right now. No mistakes as they've both come to play.5 min: NEWS There's been some ridiculous off-loads. Civoniceva, Thaiday, SBW and Mason all in on the act.6 min: NEWS Hughes knocks-on in his own territory and the Broncos have a good opportunity here 40m out.8 min: NEWS Bulldogs muscling up here. Very strong defence.9 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosFirst try of the night goes to Shaun Berrigan who scored from a bit of broken play close to the Bulldogs line. Thorn for Brisbane was examined by the video ref for an obstruction but the try was awarded. Lockyer converts and the Broncos take an early lead. Broncos 6-012 min: NEWS Bulldogs responding here with some strong runs, good metres being made.12 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsHuge try here as Asotasi makes a break about 30m out, pumps downfield, Holdsworth in support scores after being tackled a few metres out and being carried over the line. El Masri converts and we're back on an even kiel. 6 all.14 min: NEWS Sherwin kicks out on the full in an apparent 40-20 attempt.16 min: NEWS Broncos on the charge here.16 min: NEWS Tate denied a try as a textbook shephard from Lockyer gets pulled up.17 min: NEWS Holdsworth just limped off. Maitua has come on into the centres with Roberts moving to 5/8. Left ankle injury from the collision with Carroll in the aforementioned obstruction.19 min: NEWS An attacking raid by the Bulldogs is shut down, goal line drop-out by Brisbane goes 60m.21 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsSherwin in under the sticks after Mason off-loads under intense traffic. Try awarded by the video ref after Simpkins wanted to check for a knock-on. El Masri converts and the Bulldogs have hit the lead for the first time tonight. Bulldogs 12-623 min: NEWS Looks like Holdsworth might be out for the rest of the game with this ankle injury.26 min: PENALTY GOAL Canterbury BulldogsEl Masri knocks over a penalty goal as Berrigan gets warned for holding down Emelio. Handy 8-point lead. Bulldogs 14-627 min: NEWS Penalties starting to flow for Canterbuy.28 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsUtai scores out wide after receiving a great cut-out pass from Sherwin. The nuggetty winger runs over Boyd, but it was almost impossible to stop. El Masri knocks over the conversion from the sideline and the Bulldogs are looking good. Bulldogs 20-631 min: NEWS Roberts hits a 40-20 and the Bulldogs are on the attack again.33 min: NEWS Consecutive penalties to Brisbane gives them a god attacking opportunity.34 min: NEWS Tate muffs a good chance and Canterbury have the ball again.35 min: NEWS The Bulldogs have all the momentum right now.39 min: NEWS Brisbane just hanging on here, looking forward to halftime.40 min: NEWS Halftime here at the SFS where the Bulldogs are looking very good. They are in control of the contest and are displaying all the signs of a Grand Final side.Brisbane dropped their bundle late in the second half and Utai's try really hurt them. They can come back but need to start playing more enthusiastically and perhaps try something different. Hodges to fullback?The second half presents an intriguing contest as the Broncos fight to continue their season against a dominant Canterbury team.Brisbane have made 62 more tackles and are in desperate need of possession. If it evens out, they could come home.41 min: NEWS Brisbane restart proceedings...42 min: NEWS Hodges back to fullback, Hunt to the wing.43 min: NEWS Some bruising play here with the Broncos hurting Canterbury.45 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosA 100 metre try from the Broncos! Hodges fields the ball in his own in-goal and runs about 40m breaking 3 tackles before giving a ball to Berrigan who goes the rest of the length, fending off challenges from two players before carrying Mason over the line almost upside down. What an beauty! Parker boots it from the sideline and it's game on. Bulldogs 20-1248 min: NEWS Hodges has spiders on him at the moment...49 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosAfter a turnover from the Bulldogs, Brisbane pressure the line and Dane Carlaw powers over out wide to score with several defenders hanging off him. The Broncos aren't going to die wondering tonight. Canterbury have fallen asleep. Parker converts from almost the exact same spot and we have a ball-tearer here at the SFS. Bulldogs 20-1854 min: NEWS Rubbish option from Lockyer who lets the Dogs off the hook with a poorly directed bomb.57 min: NEWS SBW a little ginger after being monstered by Civoniceva. The Brisbane prop is on report and it doesn't look real good. Swinging arm to the head of SBW.58 min: NEWS Tate knocks-on. He is having an absolute shocker, the guy can't hold the ball at all.60 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are in again after spinning it wide on the eastern flank. Lockyer gives it to Tate who runs about 30m before offloading to Boyd who beats Patten and brings it around under the sticks. Tate redeems himself well after a string of mistakes. But Parker misses his easiest attempt of the night. Broncos 22-2067 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are in again and I think they've got this one. Lockyer steps through in the middle of the park before giving it to Carroll. He runs 20m, beating Utai before holding off Patten and giving it back to Lockyer to score next to the posts. The Broncos are on fire! Amazingly Parker misses again from an easy position. Broncos 26-2069 min: NEWS Canterbury take a short kick and Sherwin recovers.70 min: NEWS Terrible call by the ref there after McGuire charges down a kick and the Bulldogs are refused an extra set of six.71 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncos are in again this time through Tate. Lockyer junks and weaves before finding Tate who beats Maitua and Patten to the line. The video ref checks for a double movement and awards the try. Parker kicks it this time and Brisbane open up a 12-point lead. Broncos 32-2076 min: NEWS Crowd: 29,51178 min: FIELD GOAL Brisbane BroncosLockyer puts the icing on the cake with a nifty field goal to wrap things up with 2 1/2 minutes left. Broncos 33-2079 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosBrisbane are just destroying them now with Parker crossing out wide to make the score embarrassing. Parker misses from the sideline and the Broncos run out very handsome winners. Broncos 37-2080 min: NEWS All over here at the SFS. An amazing comeback from Brisbane and they qualify for their sixth Grand Final.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Darren Lockyer2 - Justin Hodges1 - Tonie Carroll-----------------------------------------

Preview: Bradford v Salford

SALFORD skipper Malcolm Alker is hoping to avoid more public humiliation at Bradford on Saturday in his side's first-ever Super League play-off tie.

Preview: Leeds v Warrington

LEEDS welcome back Jamie Peacock and Chev Walker as they face Warrington in the first elimination play-off ahead of next month's Grand Final.

Remaining QRL Finals

TOOWOOMBA - one of the oldest and healthiest rugby leagues in Queensland - hosts its finale this weekend, while Kaiwalagal Rugby League in the Torres Strait also reaches its climax.ABC Radio will broadcast the Toowoomba match live.SATURDAYKAIWALAGAL RL (Torres Strait)Grand Final: Roosters v Dragons, Ken Brown Oval, Saturday September 23, 3pm. (Torres Strait cultural festival all weekend).SUNDAYWAGNER?S FIRST GRADE (Toowoomba)Grand Final: Brothers v Valleys, Clive Berghofer Stadium, Sunday September 24, 2.30pm. (Reserves ? Valleys v Oakey, 12.30pm. Under 18 ? Souths v Brothers, 10.45am).** SATURDAY-SUNDAY Sept 30-Oct 1GULF COMMUNITY LEAGUECarnival 5 (Including Grand Final): Burketown, September 30-October 1.

Arrive Alive Cup Final Match Report

KEEBRA Park State High has suffered a heart-breaking end to its Arrive Alive Cup campaign, losing the national schoolboys rugby league final 16-7 to Endeavour Sports High.Two tries in the final eight minutes to Endeavour saw the southern Sydney school collect back-to-back crowns after Keebra Park had previously led 7-6.At halftime at Aussie Stadium the two talent-laden sides were level 6-all.Five-eighth Robert Lui then kicked a field goal for Keebra Park early in the second half, having scored his team?s sole try in the opening stanza.With less than 20 minutes to hold the lead, the Gold Coasters pulled out all stops in defence.Endeavour went mightily close on one occasion, but was held up across the line on the final tackle.Unfortunately the show of strength by Keebra evaporated to nothing as they then surrendered the ball coming off their line.Endeavour converted the opportunity, but missed the conversion attempt to make it a tantalising 10-7 score with time running out.So reliable throughout Keebra?s campaign, fullback Matt Parata then kicked the ball dead on the full, handing over possession again in prime territory.Endeavour made no mistake in closing out the game, scoring a third try and following up on their 20-10 win over Keebra Park in the 2005 national final."If not for a few errors Keebra would have been right in there for the title," said Queensland Arrive Alive Cup co-ordinator Phil Hall.Keebra had won great respect in qualifying for the national final, beating tough opposition in Palm Beach Currumbin, St Brendan's Yeppoon and St Dominic's Penrith.ARRIVE ALIVE CUPNational Final: Keebra Park SHS v Endeavour Sports High, Aussie Stadium, Sydney, Friday September 22, 4.10pmFull time:ENDEAVOUR SPORTS HIGH 16 (Anthony Cherrington 2, Ryan Carr tries; Chase Stanley 2 goals)defeatedKEEBRA PARK STATE HIGH 7 (Robert Lui try; Matt Parata goal; Robert Lui field goal).

NZ's top young talent on show

THE next generation of New Zealand Rugby League talent will face off against their Australian rivals next week.

King passes fitness test

MELBOURNE centre Matt King has passed a searching fitness test on his injured knee at the Storm's final training session ahead of their NRL preliminary final against St George Illawarra tomorrow night.

Tougher to pick than a broken nose

A little birdie told me today that picking a winner in Broncos and Bulldogs game tonight was tougher than picking a broken nose and given his melon resembles that of Dane Carlaw?s last Saturday night, I guess I?ll have to take his word for it.

Is the NRL facing an ?out of town? GF as well?

IF the market framers are right, the NRL this weekend will avoid repeating the AFL experience of an "out of town" grand final ? but you wouldn't want to bet your house on it. The bookies narrowly favour a "home town" grand final on Sunday week between the Bulldogs and the Dragons. For mine both preliminary finals are even money contests. It does not get much better.

Preliminary Finals Preview

WE?VE arrived at the penultimate weekend of rugby league with the best four teams left standing, providing indisputable evidence that every now and then the McIntyre 8 system actually does work.

Raper released from Sharks contract

CRONULLA has confirmed coach Stuart Raper was released from his contract with the Sharks this morning.

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