UNASSUMING Dolphins centre Nick Emmett has gone from the depths of despair to the heights of ecstasy.
In the space of a week last month, Emmett tasted the sour bite of a suspension for tripping in a Queensland Cup fixture as well as the delight of a National Rugby League debut for the Broncos.
As coach Anthony Griffin revealed in his Redcliffe Leagues News column last month, Emmett was outed for two matches for tripping Easts skipper Matt Lockyer at Dolphin Oval.
The two-match sentence eventually proved beneficial as the Broncos and the Queensland Rugby League unravelled some paperwork for the 24-year-old Dolphin to run on for the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium against Cronulla.
It was decided the Hervey Bay product had served his time by missing the City-Country fixture (for which he had been selected) and then the Dolphins' loss to Burleigh Bears.
So Emmett found himself on the park against the Sharks for an upset 26-12 victory by an under-manned Brisbane side dubbed the Baby Broncos.
"I was surprised at the speed of the game," Emmett said after his NRL introduction. "It was really quick and a lot more structured than I'm used to.
"I was told that I just had to worry about myself. I wanted to get a feel for the stadium so I went out and warmed up and that got the nerves out of the way."
Emmett said it had been a big surprise to be called up by the Broncos even though he had spent a week plus training with them and realised their stocks were bare due to their State of Origin commitments.
"There was a different build-up for me because I didn't know if I would get a start for Broncos with the suspension," he said.
"I was waiting around all week to hear what had happened. I was supposed to know Tuesday morning so from then on every time the phone rang I thought it was the Broncos ringing to say what had happened."
As it was, he still had time to organise for his girlfriend to come from Sydney for the match and his family from the Gold Coast.
"My brother Tyson is a soldier serving in East Timor and he's a passionate supporter so I sent him a message saying I would be getting a run," he said.
The match went without a hiccup for Emmett, who played for the entire 80 minutes and did not record a single mistake.
"I didn't do anything too spectacular. I just did my job and everyone seemed happy with that," Emmett said.
"Wayne Bennett told me to just play my usual game and the whole team emphasis was on a 85% completion rate and don't make unforced errors. We played a very direct game and worked on their edges. The Sharks only scored two tries and they were from kicks so our defence did its job.
"We just worked to our strengths and that was enough for us to win a match not many people expected us to. A couple of times I thought I might even get a try as I was calling for it close to the line but we went over anyway."
Emmett said winger Scott Minto had proved extremely helpful during the match.
"Scott talked to me all the time and really looked after me," he said. "He was the first one to come over at training and introduce himself and he really looked after me.
"As it was, I had the full week with the side but I didn't train with the starting team until the Saturday morning before the match.
"Shane Perry has been with the Broncos all year and he also looked after me. He trains really hard and is a great organiser on the field for them."
Emmett's contribution was noted in the after-match press conference by Bennett, who also included him as 18th man for the away match against Melbourne Storm two days after Origin III.
``Nick defended great and carried the ball well,'' Bennett said. "The players welcomed him in there as well and he felt a part of it."
Redcliffe team-mates Pat Gardner and Ryan Cullen also were called up for Broncos training.
"If the opportunity comes up there are a few Redcliffe players who could take the step up," Emmett said. "Pat might have been close to playing for the Broncos but he did his knee in the City-Country match. Ryan also went close.
"Wayne Bennett wished me good luck with Redcliffe and said to come along to training anytime I had a free day. He said I was part of the time and who knows what opportunities might come up down the track.
"I want to win the Queensland Cup with Redcliffe and then just go on from there with whatever comes up."
FORMER Redcliffe Dolphin Ben Jones has re-signed with the Canberra Raiders after agreeing to a two-year deal with the NRL surprise packets.
The tough second-rower has been a solid performer for the Raiders so far in 2006 and the club says he is looking to continue his first grade career with the Raiders until at least the end of 2008.
Sidelined for the past month with a thumb injury, Jones was set to make his comeback in the Raiders' home match against Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium.
Although a Queensland Cup premiership player with the Dolphins, Jones is somewhat of a late bloomer, making his NRL debut this year for the Raiders at the age of 25.
MELBOURNE fullback Billy Slater will serve his third suspension of the season after copping a two game ban for striking.
TEEN Tim Yee has experienced a meteoric rise to fame.
The 18-year-old, a member of Redcliffe's Development Squad, was in the Dolphins Colts side until called up by Anthony Griffin for the Queensland Cup.
Injuries to outside backs Greg Bourke and Ryan Cullen and Nick Emmett's elevation to the Broncos meant a spot for Yee.
"My first match was from the bench and I played stints at hooker and five-eighth," Yee said. "The next match was the TV one against Burleigh Bears when our rep players were away for the match against Country.
"I played wing then and won the players' player award and have been there since. It's an awesome experience playing in the top team and everyone gives you confidence."
A Redcliffe junior since under sevens, Yee dabbled in martial arts as a youngster but league has always had his attention.
"The most noticeable difference from playing Colts to first grade is the speed of the game," he said. "It moves along so quickly and everyone knows what to do."
The 88-kilogram Yee played centre and five-eighth in Colts this season after breaking into that squad late last season.
He has settled into the winger's role, however five-eighth and centre still remain his favourite positions.
CENTRE Mark Gasnier will make a return this week from injury when the Dragons meet the Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In other changes to the side Luke Bailey joins Jason Ryles in the front row. Ben Creagh and Justin Poore form the second row with Sam Isemonger starting at lock. Clint Greenshields retains his spot on the interchange bench with Aaron Gorrell being ruled out due to a rib injury. The two sides last met at Oki Jubilee Stadium in Round 19 where the Dragons went down in a tightly contested match 22-16 Unavailable Dragons are: Aaron Gorrell (rib), Shaun Timmins (quad), Corey Payne (concussion), Wes Naiqama (ankle) NRL Dragonsv Bulldogs 3.00pm Sunday 13 August Telstra Stadium Coach: Nathan Brown 1. Ben HORNBY 2. Colin BEST 3. Mark GASNIER 4. Matt COOPER 5. Brett MORRIS 6. Trent BARRETT (c) 7. Mathew HEAD 8. Luke BAILEY 9. Dean YOUNG 10. Jason RYLES 11. Justin POORE 12. Ben CREAGH 13. Sam ISEMONGER 14. Danny WICKS 15. Ashton SIMS 16. Matt BICKERSTAFF 17. Clint GREENSHIELDS Premier League Dragonsv Bulldogs 1.00pm Sunday 13 August Telstra Stadium Coach: Steven Price 1. Jason NIGHTINGALE 2. Reece SIMMONDS 3. Beau RYAN 4. Josh MORRIS 5. Tom HEWITT 6. Richard WILLIAMS 7. Reece BLAYNEY 8. Michael HENDERSON 9. George NDAIRA 10. Chris HOUSTON (c) 11. Tom HABERECHT 12. Lee TE MAARI 13. Willie TUPOU 14. Dan HUNT 15. Andrew PRICE 16. James JIMENEZ 17. Bryson GOODWIN 20. Jamie KEITH Jersey Flegg Dragonsv Bulldogs 12 noon Saturday 12 August Belmore Oval Coach: Corey Pearson 1. Rota SETU 2. Junior SEUMANUTAFA 3. Ryan MILLARD 4. Chase STANLEY 5. Luke IRWIN 6. Brad DAVIDSON (c) 7. Matt SEAMARK 8. Chris FARRELL 9. Daniel JARVIS 10. Jhi TANNER 11. Matt PRIOR 12. James KEELAN 13. James GREHAN 14. Peter WAKLEY 15. Francis LANGIFISI 16. Scott SABLOWSKI 17. Blake DUREAU 18. Jason WHITE 19. Brian WEST
TEENAGE winger Tim Yee has given the Redcliffe Dolphins Development Squad another burst of credibility.
It's not that the 16-year-old format needs much introduction to rugby league fans after producing a string of State of Origin and Australian players over the years.
In one year alone, squad graduates Petero Civoniceva, Brent Tate, Michael Crocker and Dane Carlaw turned out for the Maroons as well as donning national jerseys.
A dig through match reports revealed that development squad members who played first grade at the same time include Brent Tate (1999), Trent Clayton (1998), Petero Civoniceva (1994), Charles Vis (2003) and Val Fa'amoe (2003) so Yee is in illustrious company.
Squad co-ordinator Brian O'Brien has been there since day one and rates this year's squad as talented as any the club has boasted.
"This is a pretty talented squad and I would not be surprised if quite a few don't go on to attain the very highest honours," he said. "This squad is equal to the best we've had."
Electrifying winger Yee, a second year squad member, is only 17 and already has notched a handful of Queensland Cup appearances for the Dolphins as well as a players' player of the match award.
Red-haired centre Ben Jones, another squad member, has caught the eye of the Sydney Roosters with the club flying the 16-year-old to Sydney for the statewide Jersey Flegg competition.
"Ben has impressed the Roosters as he was man of the match twice in four weeks," O'Brien said. "I would not be surprised if the Roosters signed Ben as they have a high opinion of him.
"Ben not only made the Queensland Schoolboys side but also the state under 17s side with David Hala and Joel Romelo with the trio playing the curtain-raiser to Origin II.
"We ask our squad members to sign a BRL contract, but under no circumstances would we prevent a players from moving on to a higher level in the code."
This season's 20-strong development squad, made up of teens aged from 16 to 18 and sponsored for the second year by Classic Sportswear, undergoes skills training once a month as well as dinner every two months to which selected speakers are invited.
Topics can include financial advice, diet and public speaking. The squad is divided into three teams which compete against each other for an end-of-season trophy.
Junior development officer Grant Cleal takes the on-field training sessions with help from Dolphins premiership players Barry Denduck and Ian Graham and junior coach Steve Peoples.
The squad plays two matches against the equivalent Burleigh Bears squad as well as fielding a side in the annual country invitation trial at Dolphin Oval.
In another boost for the squad, Southern Cross student Hala has been named in the Australian Schoolboys side to tour Great Britain at the end of this season. A 2005 squad member, Redcliffe High's Luke Capewell, also made the touring party.
THE jockeying is on this month by quite a few sides for a top three place in the Queensland Cup.
The Emerald Group Dolphins are right in the mix and thankfully we have our destiny in our own hands.
Naturally our preference would be to nail down a one, two or three spot to give us more opportunities to advance in the finals series.
Our victory over the Toowoomba Clydesdales late last month certainly advanced our cause, but we do have the bye in the final round, which we do not gain any points for.
Our upcoming matches are against Souths Logan (Dolphin Oval), North Queensland (Townsville) and Tweed Seagulls (Redcliffe).
Obviously the NQ Young Guns fixture shapes as a crunch showdown with the home side in great form and constantly near the top of the ladder.
Our run in is no worse or better than the other contenders and I'm confident that if we play to our potential and injuries stay away we will give a good account of ourselves.
AARON Payne will take over the captaincy of the North Queensland Cowoys this week with regular captain Travis Norton and regular vice captain Jonathon Thurston injured. Justin Smith moves into the number 6 jersey with Norton missing while Neil Sweeney replaces Brenton Bowen on the wing.1 Matt Bowen2 Neil Sweeney3 Mark Henry 4 Ashley Graham5 Matt Sing6 Justin Smith7 Aaron Payne (c)8 Carl Webb9 David Faiumu10 Shane Tronc11 Steve Southern12 Luke O'Donnell13 Jacob Lillyman14 Rod Jensen15 Gavin Cooper16 Matthew Scott17 Mitchell Sargent18 Clint Amos(one to be omitted)Coach: Graham Murray
THE Sydney Roosters have named an unchanged team for the contest against the Penrith Panthers this week at CUA stadium.
THE Parramatta Eels have named a strong 17 man line up for the cruicial Saturday night game against the Sharks at Toyota Park. There is only one change to the team that defeated the Dragons last Friday night and that change comes on the bench. Regular fullback Wade McKinnon makes a most welcome comeback to first grade and he replaces Brett Delaney. Eels team:1 ? Luke Burt2 ? Jarryd Hayne3 ? Luke O?Dwyer4 ? Ben Smith5 ? Eric Grothe6 ? John Morris7 ? Jeremy Smith8 ? Nathan Cayless ?9 ? Mark Riddell10 ? Chad Robinson11 ? Nathan Hindmarsh12 ? Daniel Wagon13 ? Glenn Morrison14 ? PJ Marsh15 - Dean Widders16 ? Wade McKinnon17 ? Josh CordobaCoach: Jason Taylor
THE Newcastle Knights have named a strong team to tackle the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night at Energy Australia Stadium. Missing from the team this week is veteran prop Craig Smith, who will be out for 4 weeks with a broken jaw. The Knights however do welcome back Kirk Reynoldson, Todd Lowrie and Kurt Gidley for the vital clash against the Eagles.Knights team:1. Milton Thaiday2. Brian Carney3. Matthew Gidley4. George Carmont5. Anthony Quinn6. Jarrod Mullen7. Andrew Johns (C)8. Josh Perry9. Danny Buderus10. Adam Woolnough11. Steve Simpson12. Clint Newton13. Kirk Reynoldson14. Luke Davico15. Reegan Tanner16. Todd Lowrie17. Kurt Gidley18. Daniel AbrahamCoach: Michael Hagan
ST George Illawarra coach Nathan Brown has been fined $15,000 by the NRL for claiming his team is being unfairly treated by referees.
MELBOURNE is hoping to unearth a TV angle that will allow star fullback Billy Slater to escape a third suspension this year.
AT a meeting of the RFL independent judiciary panel, the Wigan Warriors club has been found guilty of breaching the 2005 Super League Salary Cap.The panel found that the Wigan club had a Salary Cap of between 52 and 55 per cent (of relevant club income) at the end of 2005 and therefore, in accordance with the RFL?s Operational Rules (which set a limit on spending of no more than 50% of relevant club income), has suffered a penalty of the deduction of two competition points.The panel also found that in the course of the breach, the Wigan club was guilty of conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game. They have been fined ?50,000 plus costs in respect of this.The Wigan club pleaded guilty to both charges in the course of the hearing.Both penalties take immediate effect and thus the deduction of competition points applies to the current 2006 engage Super League competition table.An officially revised table will be published in due course. A date for the hearing regarding Bradford's case is yet to be disclosed.Source: www.therfl.co.uk
THE independent audit of the 2005 Salary Cap returns for both the engage Super League and the LHF National League One has been completed.