NEWCASTLE has lost one favourite son but regained another after signing disgruntled South Sydney winger Adam MacDougall and granting veteran centre Matthew Gidley a release to join Super League club St Helens.
THE Auckland Rugby League Lion Red Fox Memorial competition is rapidly approaching the sharp end of the season, with five rounds left before the Top Five play-offs commence. A hazy Top Five is beginning to take shape, but with ten points still up for grabs, anything can (and probably will) happen.
THIS week is shaping as very important as the Superleague play offs draw ever closer, and most clubs will have a week off next weekend while the Challenge Cup Semi Finals take place. So there?s nothing to lose, and a win you can gloat about for two weeks can be double the fun. Game on! Wakefield v Bradford ? Friday (televised)This game is interesting because it could go a long way to deciding Wakefield?s potential relegation fate. The Wildcats need to get off the bottom of the table and fast, and the only way to do that is to start to win some games. Things are so desperate that Wakefield have parted ways mid-week with coach Tony Smith (not to be confused with his Aussie namesake), and their assistant coach has defected to Bradford. So the trainer has been left to run the show, and the chief executive will be picking the side. It?s a time for senior Wakefield players to stand up and be counted, but it?s also a time where a strong team like Bradford is more likely to exploit the current vulnerabilities. Harlequins v Hull ? SaturdayThe Hull winning streak rolls on, and having now reached equal second place it?s destination London, where the Harlequins are not quite in the top six, and not quite safe from potential relegation either. Hull seems to have achieved a sense of purpose and consistency under coach Peter Sharp, who took over mid-season. Harlequins have their own coaching changes to get used to, with Brian McDermott recently taking change of the side as Tony Rea moving to a Board of Directors role. If this goes to form Hull could be breathing down the neck of the leaders, and Harlequins still looking over their shoulder. Leeds v St Helens ? Saturday (televised)A clash between equal Second and First place, with both teams still alive in next week?s Challenge Cup semi-finals. After going down to Cas last weekend this is a great chance for Leeds to try and peg back the front-runners, but will either team have an eye on next week knock-out game and will it affect their performance in this game? They?d be silly to not give this clash the respect it deserves first, not only to get the psychological advantage should both sides win their Semi Finals and be destined to meet in the Challenge Cup Final at Twickenham on 26th August. But in the meantime this clash is where all eyes should be.Catalans v Salford ? SaturdayCatalans don?t have to worry about relegation just yet, but will want to get off the bottom of the ladder anyway when they host Salford in Narbonne. Salford?s coach Karl Harrison is probably out of action this week, recovering from an injury sustained while playing soccer for captain Malcolm Alker?s testimonial that will leave him on crutches for eight weeks. His absence this week will have made some difference to Salford?s chances and this could be an ideal opportunity for the Catalans to recoup some points at the expense of the equal fifth placed team ? or for Salford to show their strength in the face of adversity.Warrington v Wigan ? SundayWigan?s great escape is well and truly in progress now, with the Warriors having climbed out of last place for the first time this season. Winning five games on the run has given this bits and pieces side a new confidence and if they continue their current form they won?t finish anywhere near the relegation spot. Warrington on the other hand are coming off a lost at the hands of Hull and need to make sure they compete for the points here, so that they will not be the team the drops out of the play-offs for Castleford, Huddersfield ? or perhaps Wigan themselves ? to take their top six place. There?s no Joey on the horizon for the Wolves this season. Would be surpised to see Wigan falter here.Huddersfield v Castleford ? SundayA classic mid-table clash here, with the winner getting the jump on their rivals to be the team closest to the top six on the road to the playoffs. There?s six more rounds left after this one, so getting the jump here might form the foundation for one final tilt at breaking into the big time. It would also be handy to be two points further away from last spot, as only five points separate these two very different fates. Huddersfield have been successful in winning their way through to next week?s Challenge Cup Semi Finals, and it remains to be seen if that has any bearing on this match. Castleford come into this match with a win over Leeds ? the last team to beat Huddersfield and the team that due to play in next week?s knockout. Could go either way.
DRAGONS Supporters Last weeks MBDS event at the Steakout Sports Bar was a great night even though we narrowly lost to the Bulldogs. We were spoilt once again with reserved seating in front of the big screen, and we will be there again this week. This week?s match against Canberra is Sunday?s main game on channel 9. Because of the British Open, channel 9 Melbourne won?t be televising the match until 3am. The Steakout will be televising the match on the main screen at 4pm via a channel 9 Sydney feed. As usual, we have our reserved seating at the front. This is a big game for the dragons and a must win if we are to finish in the top 2 at the end of the season. For those of you who haven?t received your MBDS shirts, you will be able to pick them up at the Steakout on Sunday. See you there WHAT: Dragons v RaidersWHEN: Sunday 23rd July, 4pmWHERE: Steakout Sports Bar, Level 1 Crown Casino
THE NRL will introduce a referees' cadetship in a bid to turn the players of today into the referees of tomorrow.
WHERE to see the Newtown Jets playing this weekend:NSWRL VB Premier LeagueSaturday, July 22ndTelstra StadiumNewtown v BulldogsKick-Off: 3.30pmNSWRL Jim Beam CupSunday, July 23rdRingrose ParkNewtown v WentworthvilleKick-Off: 3.00pmPicture: Big Newtown Jets front-rower Charles Tonga caught in a Shark pack at Henson Park last Saturday. Charles had the honour of being the inaugural Newtown RLFC winner of the Graham Wilson Memorial Medal, while second rower Darren Mapp was the Cronulla-Sutherland club?s recipient of the medal. The Graham Wilson Memorial Medal was inaugurated this year in memory of the very capable second row forward who played with distinction for both the Newtown and Cronulla-Sutherland clubs in the 1960?s, and who toured with the 1963/64 Kangaroos.
THE Kingsgrove Colts will be holding their annual Sportsman?s lunch on Friday 28th July at Kingsgrove RSL, with Canterbury legend Steve Mortimer among the guest speakers.The day, to be hosted by Maroon from radio Station Triple M, is an annual event to help support the Rugby League Club with members from the general public welcome to attend.Tickets to the event cost $75.00 and includes full buffet lunch including fresh seafood unlimited beer, wine & soft drink.Other guest speakers include Melbourne Cup winning jockey Jim Cassidy and former Kingsgrove Colts player and current South Sydney coach Shaun McRae.Renowned funny man Tahir from Fat Pizza will be providing the entertainment for the event.During the day there will be numerous auction items, games and raffles. For tickets please contact club secretary Leba Abhihana on 0418 449 526 or contact Michael Carayannis [email protected] Kingsgrove Colts Junior Rugby League Football Club Sportsman?s LunchFriday 28th July, 200612:30pm - 4.30pmKINGSGROVE RSL4 Brocklehurst Lane, Kingsgrove$75.00Includes Full Buffet Lunch including Fresh SeafoodUnlimited Beer, wine & soft drinkMC: DJ Maroon from MMM radio StationSpecial Guests:Steve Mortimer - "Canterbury LegendJim Cassidy - Melbourne Cup winning jockey, Shaun McRae South Sydney Coach and others.Entertainment: Comedian - Tahir (Fat Pizza)Also: Auction Items, Games & Raffles
OF World Cups and National Pride
TOOWOOMBA v REDCLIFFE
Clive Berghofer Stadium, Saturday July 22, 3pm
Referee: Justin Davis
WE?VE got seven games remaining for the 2006 season and starting this week they are mighty important. There?s been a feeling that this season?s quality has been down somewhat, but I expect that to change this round as clubs face the prospect of making it to the top 8 or missing out.
GOTTA get to the game!
PARRAMATTA has earmarked former Newcastle utility Sean Rudder as a possible playmaking option if they are unsuccessful in luring Brett Finch to the club next season.
THE Roosters have secured its first major signing for the club?s 100th season in 2007.QLD State of Origin and Bulldogs forward Nate Myles has signed with the Roosters for a 3 year term covering seasons 2007 ? 2009, ending months of speculation surrounding his future.Despite a number of strong offers from a variety of NRL clubs, Nate confirmed his decision was based on living in Sydney where he is well established and was enthusiastic to play under Ricky Stuart.Myles says he was tempted to return home to North Queensland but ultimately opted for the Bondi Junction club for lifestyle reasons.The strapping forward was the last big-name player to come off the open market.
THE fallout from Anthony Quinn's grapple tackle claims continues. Newcastle coach Michael Hagan returning fire after Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy's criticism of the winger.
WIGAN winger Brett Dallas could extend his playing career in Australia instead of retiring as planned at the end of this season.
Dallas is having to leave the JJB Stadium due to a lack of space on the overseas rota following the arrivals of Trent Barrett and Phil Bailey for next season.