WIGAN Warriors resume their battle against relegation on Friday hoping to lift themselves after the shock of being sent back to the bottom of the engage Super League.
FULL-BACK Karl Fitzpatrick retains his place in the Salford City Reds side after a successful comeback from injury and forwards Simon Finnigan and Andrew Brocklehurst are back in contention after spells out.Ian Sibbit (shoulder) is the Reds? only long-term absentee.Salford - above the Wolves on points difference - enter the clash at The Willows in better heart after crushing Harlequins RL last week, while Warrington went down heavily at Bradford Bulls.Wolves coach Paul Cullen said: ?Our aim now is to simply focus all our efforts into securing a top-six finish and then our assault into the finals."Our targets start at Salford and then we reassess.?Forward Rob Parker is the latest addition to the Wolves injury list with a torn knee cartilage that has required an operation. They hope he can play again next month.Steve Pickersgill (calf) is still out while Jon Clarke and Simon Grix (both shoulder) are ruled out long term.Salford City Reds: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Moule, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Finnigan, Charles, Highton, Langi, Wilshere, Haggerty, Littler, Myler, Brocklehurst, Adamson, Lima, Gower.Warrington Wolves: Grose, Fa?afili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Reardon, Briers, Sullivan, Leikvoll, Hilton, Swann, Wainwright, M. Gleeson, Westwood, Wood, Barnett, Rauhihi, Bracek, Riley, Bridge, Harrison.Referee: N PriceSource: superleague.co.uk
IT was a pleasure watching the footy over the weekend with some of the true heavyweights of the competition standing up in Melbourne and Canterbury. The Storm blew Wests off the field before the Doggies ran out in FNQ and went one-up on them against the Cowboys. A resurgent Parra outfit showed off their wares and Newcastle put in a claim as the dark horse of the comp as the selectors put together the Round 22 League Unlimited Team of the Week which is dripping with speed, plenty of skill and a lot of grunt up front.
REDCLIFFE v TWEED HEADSDolphin Oval, Saturday August 12, 2pm *Live on ABC TV Referee: Justin EastwoodTHE STORY: REDCLIFFE winger Kaine Manihera is unlikely to appear again this season after being hit with a three-match ban for a dangerous throw. This match against Tweed Heads will be the club?s last of the regular season. A win by Tweed will assure the Seagulls of a spot in the top five.THE STAT: Redcliffe leads Tweed Heads by just nine points on the Spotless Club Championship ladder, with all three grades set to be tight tussles this weekend. The Dolphins (242pts) can score a maximum 20 points before the end of the regular season, while Tweed Heads (233pts) can score 40 before the champion club is decided.THE STAR: Forward Danny Burke will join the famous row of etchings inside the Dolphins Leagues Club when he brings up 150 first grade games for Redcliffe on Saturday. Originally from Mitchell, the former Broncos colt lied about being a centre so he could gain a start at the club.CHANGES: REDCLIFFE ? In: Chris Giumelli. Out: Kaine Manihera TWEED HEADS ? In: Matt Austin. Out: Matt Briggs.CHARGES: REDCLIFFE ? Kaine Manihera (Grade 3 Dangerous Throw, Early Plea, 3wks + 93pts).Redcliffe Dolphins Players: 1. Ryan CULLEN 2. Chris GIUMELLI 3. Greg BOURKE 4. Nick EMMETT 5. Rory BROMLEY 6. Chris FOX 7. Marty TURNER13. Gerard PARLE12. Danny BURKE 11. Grant FLUGGE10. Adam STARR 9. Michael ROBERTS 8. Troy LINDSAY (c)Interchange: 14. Nick WALKER15. Mark SHIPWAY16. Danny GREEN17. Pat GARDNERCoach: Anthony GRIFFIN Tweed Heads Players: 1. Ryan MILLIGAN 2. Nathanael BARNES 3. James WOOD 4. Josh VAUGHAN 5. Ryan O'CONNELL 6. Brad DAVIS 7. Paul ROLLS13. Matt POW12. Dean ALLEN11. Tom PRICHARD10. Roy FRIEND 9. Matt KING 8. Matt AUSTINInterchange: 14. Andrew MORONEY15. Selasi BERDIE16. Cory BOND17. Josh PEACOCKCoach: Steve MURPHY EASTS v IPSWICHLanglands Park, Saturday August 12, 3pmReferee: Gavin MorrisTHE STORY: Looking to consolidate its top five position, Easts takes on last-placed Ipswich. The Tigers beat the Jets 38-24 earlier this year, but will be mindful of an upset as Trevor Gillmeister?s men look to finish the year on a high. These sides annually contest the Luxury Paints Cup. THE STAT: Ipswich has not beaten a top five team this season. The Jets? three wins have come against Wynnum Manly (twice) and Norths. However the most recent clash between Ipswich and Easts (Rd 14, 2005) at Langlands Park resulted in a 30-24 win by the Jets.THE STAR: After what coach Michael Booth described as a ?grease and oil change?, Easts forward Marcus Jensen will make his second comeback from jaw injury this season. Jensen broke his jaw early in the year and feared he had fractured it again in a recent match. However subsequent test showed he had merely loosened the screws on the plate which had been inserted to stabilise the area.CHANGES: EASTS ? In: Steele Retchless, Brett McPherson, Marcus Jensen. Out: Mike Hobbs, Scott Young, David Georgiou. IPSWICH ? In: Luke Walker, Steven West. Out: Josh Costello, Ricky Bird.CHARGES: NoneEasts Tigers Players: 1. Kevin STEPHENSEN 2. John TAMANIKA 3. Matt LOCKYER (c) 4. Mark McKENZIE 5. David TYRRELL 6. Luke BRANIGHAN 7. Brett McPHERSON13. Steele RETCHLESS12. Marty ALLEN11. Mark CANTONI10. Trevor EXTON 9. Jamie TOMLINSON 8. Scott SIPPLEInterchange: 14. Cameron DURNFORD15. Damian DURNFORD16. Steve GOODHEW17. Marcus JENSENCoach: Michael BOOTH Ipswich JetsPlayers: 1. Luke WALKER 2. Ben McFADGEAN 3. Rickie DODD 4. Chris SCANLAN 5. Jonathon MUIR 6. Travis BAKER 7. Steven WEST13. Danny COBURN12. Joel REITHMULLER11. Daniel FULLARTON10. Isaak AH MAU 9. McKenna GIBSON 8. Cameron MULCAHYInterchange: 14. Matt McPHEE15. Mat CAMERON16. Tyson LOFIPO17. Aaron WERTHCoach: Trevor GILLMEISTER TOOWOOMBA v SOUTHS LOGANClive Berghofer Stadium, Saturday August 12, 3.00pmReferee: Clayton SharpeTHE STORY: A win here is vital for Toowoomba if it wants to make the August 19 clash against North Queensland a true battle for the minor premiership. The Clydesdales have been hit hard by Brett Seymour?s sacking from the Brisbane Broncos, but will be used to the chopping and changing on match eve which has occurred all year.THE STAT: Souths Logan has still not beaten the Clydesdales in a Wizard Cup match since June 30, 1996. Over that time the Magpies have conceded an average of roughly 50 points per game against Toowoomba. Still if they can recapture their early season form, an upset is not entirely outside the realms of possibility.THE STAR: Pat Dall has been named to fill Seymour?s jersey this weekend. It?s fair to say the two share markedly different profiles. Two seasons ago Dall was a member of the Brothers Valleys team which did not win a game, while Seymour was a rising star of the NRL. Nevertheless Dall has played a part in some wonderful tries in recent weeks.CHANGES: TOOWOOMBA ? In: Gideon Mzembe, Jason Moon, Chris Muckert, Ben Green. Out: Todd Parnell, Brett Seymour, David Stagg, Joel Moon . SOUTHS LOGAN ? No announced changes.CHARGES: NoneToowoomba Clydesdales Players: 1. Scott MINTO 2. Denan KEMP 3. Steve MICHAELS 4. Jamie SIMPSON 5. Gideon MZEMBE 6. Pat DALL 7. Ben GREEN13. Lachlan MORGAN12. Ben VAEAU11. Chris MUCKERT10. Dave TAYLOR 9. John TE REO 8. Dane CARLAWInterchange: 14. Luke BROSNAN15. Lynden MURPHY16. Simona VAVEGA17. Jason MOONCoach: Mark GEE Souths Logan MagpiesPlayers: 1. Quentin LAULU-TOGAGAE 2. Tyrone COPPEDGE 3. Michael ANSCHAU 4. Damian WILLIS 5. Derek FLETCHER 6. Brandon COSTIN 7. Phil DENNIS13. Jason MITCHELL12. Tanu WULF11. Jerry AHERN10. Josh GRIFFITH 9. Cameron JOYCE 8. Angus MARTINInterchange: 14. Stanley FAU15. Chris McGURK16. Shaun NIPPERESS17. Tim CANNARDCoach: Mark GLIDDON CENTRAL v NORTHSBrowne Park, Saturday August 12, 7.30pmReferee: Brett SuttorTHE STORY: Imagine if last year?s wooden spooners could finish the season higher than the feeder club for the NRL?s most dominant team. That could well be the case if Central finishes the year with wins against Norths and Easts in Rockhampton.THE STAT: It?s not quite in the Greg Inglis category, but for a forward it?s not bad going. Sam Tagataese has scored nine tries in 11 games for Norths this year, including a hat-trick against Toowoomba last week. It continues a prolific record which he carried all the way through junior grades. THE STAR: Between them Matt Rua and Jamie Feeney boast nearly 200 games at NRL level. It will be interesting to see how the younger backrowers such as Tagataese, Matthew Bartlett and Tyron Haynes perform in their midst. Norths boss Mark Murray admitted earlier this year he would have been interested in Rua, had he known he was available.CHANGES: CENTRAL ? In: Marty Hatfield. Out: Brendon Gibb. NORTHS ? In: Jamie Feeney. Out: James Aubusson.CHARGES: NORTHS ? James Aubusson (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Early Plea + 93pts, 1wk + 49pts). Jeffery Lima (Grade 1 Careless High tackle, Early Plea, 0wks + 56pts).Central Comets Players: 1. Jimmy McCONACHY 2. Christian DAVIES 3. Marty HATFIELD 4. Misi TAULAPAPA 5. McConkie TAUASA 6. Scott PORTER 7. Guy WILLIAMS13. Matt RUA12. Wayne BARNETT11. Tyron HAYNES10. Peter PENAIA 9. Herewini RANGI 8. Aaron SWEENEYInterchange: 14. Kristian MENE15. Mark SINIULA16. Marty OBORN17. Cheyenne MOTUCoach: Matt PARISH Norths Devils Players: 1. Smith SAMAU 2. Chad LEACH 3. Jackson NICOLAU 4. Ryan SHORTLAND 5. Steve FRANCISCUS 6. Michael BOND 7. Isaac KAUFMANN13. Trent HENRICK12. Jamie FEENEY11. Matthew BARTLETT10. Jeffery LIMA 9. Brenton STONIER 8. Troy HANSENInterchange: 14. Brendan AFITU15. Aaron MORGAN16. Sam TAGATAESE17. Phil WUERSCHINGCoach: Wayne TRELEAVEN WYNNUM MANLY v NORTH QLDBMD Kougari Oval, Sunday August 13, 3pm * Live on Bay FM 100.3Referee: Michael WiseTHE STORY: Wynnum Manly considered itself unlucky to lose 18-14 to the Young Guns earlier this year and will be keen for another good showing. A big crowd should be on hand to cheer the Seagulls home, given it is the club?s last home game of the year and the Australian Primary Schools titles kick-off at Kougari straight after this match.THE STAT: Last year Scott Smith tallied 25 points in the QANTAS Player of the Year award to be among the leading contenders. With reduced opportunities at North Queensland he has not earned a single vote this year. However he has earned considerable respect playing for the Herbert River Crushers in the Townsville league. Although forced to travel three-hour round trips to play ?home? games in Ingham, he has displayed great passion for his adopted club.THE STAR: Schoolboy speedster Obe Geia sizzled with two second half tries for the Young Guns against Redcliffe last week. Between Geia, Brenton Bowen and Rodney Barba, there should be some eye-catching tries from this game. CHANGES: WYNNUM MANLY ? No announced changes.NORTH QLD ? In: Brenton Bowen, Scott Smith, Dean Payne. Out: Neil Sweeney, Clint Amos, Rod Jensen.CHARGES: None.Wynnum Manly Seagulls Players: 1. Tangi ROPATI 2. Rodney BARBA 3. Brian JELLICK 4. Steve IRWIN 5. Chris CURRIE 6. Jim AHMAT 7. Albert TALIPEAU13. Luke DALZIEL-DON12. Darren BAIN11. John BRUCE10. Sam CRABB 9. Zac CHISHOLM 8. Fili SOFAInterchange: 14. Josh ROVELLI15. MicHael COOREY16. Daniel EVANS17. Kerry SMITHCoach: Neil WHARTON North Qld Young GunsPlayers: 1. Jason BARSLEY 2. Brenton BOWEN 3. Mark DALLE CORT 4. Jamie FRIZZO 5. Obe GEIA 6. Brett FIRMAN 7. Brent McCONNELL13. Shane MUSPRATT12. Scott BOLTON11. Daniel STRICKLAND10. Sam FAUST 9. Scott SMITH 8. Ray CASHMEREInterchange: 14. Dean PAYNE15. Leigh COGHILL16. Jim ANDERSEN17. Greg BYRNESCoach: Mick CRAWLEY BURLEIGH ? ByeCHARGES: None.
FIVE rounds to go in Superleague, and big news mid-week over here is that Wigan have been deducted two competition points for a 2005 salary cap breach. Bradford?s hearing is yet to be scheduled but it is expected the league will seek a similar penalty in return for their alleged breach, while Hull, St Helens and Castleford have faced fines. Interesting times, and six interesting matches this weekend. Game on!
THROW a blanket over them, from one to seven in the Lion Red Fox Memorial. Unbelievably, with two games left until the semi-finals, seven teams in an eight team competition are in contention for the play-offs.Whilst I did hint at some upsets last week, I did not really believe that Marist would have beaten the Mangere East Hawkes, particularly by 34 points to 16, or indeed that the Otahuhu Leopards would roll the Te Atatu Roosters, pushing them out of the five (on for and against).Two games out and the Lions are in front by four points. They cannot yet be proclaimed winners of the Rukutai Shield as, technically, the Papakura Sea Eagles could still overhaul them but, it has to said, that is a fairly remote possibility. By 4.00pmish tomorrow, I would imagine the Lions would be declared both Minor Premiers and 2006 Roope Rooster winners, as their game against East Coast Bays is the last Roope challenge of the season.Papakura, on sixteen points, are the only other team completely assured of a spot in the semis. Two points separate Northcote, Otahuhu, Mangere, Te Atatu and Marist. Let the battle begin.Walter Massey Park at Mangere plays host to the game between the Hawkes and the Roosters. Mangere will be severely smarting after their beating last week. Lets cut to the chase here, I?m tipping a big win to the Hawkes on their home ground with their partisan crowd behind them.Papakura Sea Eagles play the Otahuhu Leopards out at Prince Edward Park. The Sea Eagles still have a technical crack at the Minor Premiership and they will be going hard out with that in mind. There will be no upset this week for the Leopards. The Sea Eagles will win this one and win big.Marist versus Northcote at Halberg Park. This one is much more difficult to pick. The Tigers look like really struggling to hang on in third spot but they are not going to lie down. Marist, on the other hand, now have a real sniff at the semis and I think will go the distance tomorrow on their home ground. Saints by four points.The Lions, at home, against East Coast Bays. Not much to say about this one. I?d love to say the Barracudas will give them a fright but it?s just not going to happen. Mt Albert will win this one by a lot.All games commence at 2.30pm.
BULLDOGS enforcer Willie Mason says the embarrassment of missing the finals last year is a key motivator for their charge towards a second NRL title in three years.
LEEDS have signed Manly prop Kylie Leuluai on a three-year deal from the start of next season.
CATALANS Dragons have signed Canberra Raiders star and former Australia international Jason Croker on a two-year deal.
WITH four games remaining in the regular season the race for top 8 spots is tighter than a pair of Chief Wiggum?s pants. The Storm and the Bulldogs had a point-scoring competition on Saturday night with the round going more or less to form and the odd surprise.
CANBERRA utility Terry Campese has agreed to a new two-year deal with the Raiders after turning is back on a mooted switch to rugby union.
RENI Maitua today failed to attend a Sydney court where he was to be sentenced for high-range drink driving.
NRL chief executive David Gallop says the league will wait until the end of a police investigation surrounding sacked Brisbane halfback Brett Seymour before deciding whether to take further action against the player.
OVER the past few seasons the results in Rugby League are getting closer and closer. While there are the occasional blow out scores, and sometimes even a couple per round (like last weekend), the ?flogging? seems to be an endangered species.
THIS weekend in the ABC televised game against Tweed Heads hard working back rower Danny Burke will play his 150th first grade game for the Redcliffe Dolphins.Burke, who was signed by the Broncos straight out of high school and was on South Sydney?s books when they were thrown out of the competition in 1999, has been a regular in the uncompromising Dolphins packs of the last several years.But Burke actually joined the Dolphins as a centre. "I was 20 and thought my football in the City was all over, I was out at Mitchell when my best mate from school Luke Bishop, who was playing at Redcliffe called and said the club was looking for centres, so I gave them a call," he said.?They had dozens of back rowers. So I told them I could play centre. But I reckon it only took them a few games to realise I wasn?t a centre?s bootlace? he laughed.Three Queensland Wizard Cup premierships later, Burke remains one of the unsung heroes of the Dolphins side. Coach Anthony Griffin describes the Q-Build carpenter as ?a coach?s dream?.?Danny turns up every week ready to play and he really rips into his work,? said Griffin.Burke won the Peter Leis Medal for the Dolphins Player of the Year in 2005 is well and truly in the hunt again this year but said ? I don?t think I?m a chance, Patty (Gardner), Nick Emmett and Micky (Roberts) have all had great years?.?I'm not sure if I'll get another Peter Leis Medal, another Premiership is my main goal? he added.When Burke finally retires his image will be etched onto the windows of the club house with current team-mates Troy Lindsay and Michael Roberts as well as other Dolphins Legends from by gone eras like Ian "Bunny" Pearce, Vic Tighe, Steve Cherry, Trevor Benson, Ian Thinee, Tony Obst, Peter Leis, Col Weier and Bevan Bleakley who have all racked up 150 games for the Dolphins. Danny Burke StatsDOB: 10/04/79Height: 180cmWeight: 98kgPosition: Second RowRep Honours: Qld Juniors, City, Qld ResidentsFirst Grade Debut: 2000 vs Wests Purtell ParkCareer Games: 149 Tries: 16Points: 64