BURLEIGH v REDCLIFFEPizzey Park, Saturday July 1, 2.00pm *Live on ABC TVReferee: Justin EastwoodTHE STORY: Redcliffe will field one of its most inexperienced sides ever in the Wizard Cup, with four players ? Ryan Cullen, Michael Roberts, Troy Lindsay and Adam Starr ? missing due to Queensland Residents commitments. Furthermore centre Nick Emmett will miss his second game due to a tripping charge, while Pat Gardner has a knee injury. Burleigh could possibly jump into the top five if results go its way.THE STAT: Defying the common Wizard Cup trend, Burleigh holds a significant head-to-head advantage over Redcliffe, winning 15 of 24 encounters. The Bears also knocked the Dolphins out of last year?s finals.THE STAR: Just 17, Matt Gillett will debut for the Dolphins on the wing. Originally from Bribie Island, the young fencer scored four tries in a recent Colts match.CHANGES: BURLEIGH ? In: Wayne Phillis, James Griffiths, Aseri Laing, Adam Hayden. Out: Dimitri Pelo, Clay Harris, Shane O?Flanagan, Jordan Atkins. REDCLIFFE ? In: Pat McGill, Matt Gillett, Dominic Fallini, Nick Walker, Danny Green, Chris Jelich. Out: Ryan Cullen, Nick Emmett, Pat Gardner, Michael Roberts, Troy Lindsay, Adam Starr.CHARGES: None.Burleigh Bears Players: 1. Reggie CRESSBROOK 2. Trent PURDON 3. Chris BARNES 4. Jamie RUSSO 5. Aseri LAING 6. Adam HAYDEN 7. Ryan GUNDRY13. Robert APANUI12. Adam HUTCHISON11. Martin GRIESE10. Josh BLATCH 9. Matthew DOEG 8. Ali BROWNInterchange: 14. James GRIFFITHS15. Travis SIMPSON16. Wayne PHILLIS17. Marty MITCHELLCoach: Jimmy LENIHANRedcliffe Dolphins Players: 1. Kaine MANIHERA 2. Tim YEE 3. Pat McGILL 4. Greg BOURKE 5. Matt GILLETT 6. Rory BROMLEY 7. Chris FOX13. Gerard PARLE12. Danny BURKE11. Grant FLUGGE10. Dominic FALLINI 9. Shannon FISH 8. Damian JENTZInterchange: 14. Nick WALKER15. Richie RUSSELL16. Danny GREEN17. Chris JELICHCoach: Anthony GRIFFIN EASTS v WYNNUM MANLYLanglands Park, Saturday July 1, 3.00pm.Referee: Gavin MorrisTHE STORY: Easts has delivered big news this week, appointing Des Morris as its new chief executive and formalising ties with South Sydney. The Rabbitohs will not have a reserve grade side in 2006 and will dual register players with Easts and Norths Sydney. In a record 224 first grade games for Easts, Morris captained the Tigers to three premierships. Significantly, he later coached Wynnum to two titles.THE STAT: Easts halfback Brett McPherson becomes just the second player to record 200 Wizard Cup games this weekend. The agile veteran has played the bulk of his games with the Tigers, but also spent time with Wynnum. Redcliffe?s Troy Lindsay is the only other player to have reached the milestone.THE STAR: Despite seven tries in the last three weeks in FOGS Cup, Aaron Barba has still been overlooked for Wizard Cup duties. Even with Simon Phillips away on Residents duty, Wynnum coach Neil Wharton has opted for Aaron?s older brother Rodney out wide.CHANGES: EASTS ? In: Mike Hobbs, Cameron Durnford, Damian Durnford. Out: Matt Lockyer, Luke Branighan, Alec Fata. WYNNUM MANLY ? In: Chris Currie, Sam Crabb, Zac Chisholm. Out: Justin Loewe, Simon Phillips, Bart Masters.CHARGES: NoneEasts Tigers Players: 1. Kevin STEPHENSEN 2. John TAMANIKA 3. Shane NEUMANN 4. Donald MALONE 5. David TYRRELL 6. Mike HOBBS 7. Brett McPHERSON13. Mark CANTONI12. Steele RETCHLESS11. Marty ALLEN10. Trevor EXTON 9. Jamie TOMLINSON 8. Scott SIPPLEInterchange: 14. Cameron DURNFORD15. Damian PETRIE16. Steve GOODHEW17. Damian DURNFORDCoach: Michael BOOTH Wynnum Manly Seagulls Players: 1. Bill WYATT 2. Rodney BARBA 3. Chris CURRIE 4. Steve IRWIN 5. Tangi ROPATI 6. Jimmy AHMAT 7. Daniel EVANS13. Luke DALZIEL DON12. Darren BAIN11. John BRUCE10. Josh ROVELLI 9. Albert TALIPEAU 8. Fili SOFAInterchange: 14. Sam CRABB15. Gary WINTER16. Zac CHISHOLM17. Kerry SMITHCoach: Neil WHARTON CENTRAL v TOOWOOMBABrowne Park, Saturday July 1, 7.30pm.Referee: Justin DavisTHE STORY: The Toowoomba team which took apart Ipswich 70-10 a fornight ago has been dismantled itself, with five players out due to conflicting commitments. Central isn?t resting on its laurels after beating Wynnum last-up. The Comets have called Anthony Toby, McConkie Tauasa and Michael Esdale back into the side, aiming to keep pace with the finals contenders.THE STAT: Sixteen games in the Queensland Wizard Cup. That?s all Ben Vaeau has had to endue to convince Brisbane Broncos staff he is ready for the step up to NRL. The Kiwi junior has featured in five games this year since returning from a badly shattered kneecap.THE STAR: Debutant Brynjar Ragnarsson has one of the more unusual backgrounds in rugby league, coming from Icelandic stock. Just a teenager, the young prop played for South East at the QRL Open Age Championships at Kawana earlier this year.CHANGES: CENTRAL ? In: Anthony Toby, McConkie Tauasa, Michael Esdale. Out: Marty Hatfield, Dallas Williams, Mark Siniula. TOOWOOMBA ? In: Charlie Fetoai, Brynjar Ragnarsson, Jason Moon, Lachlan Morgan, Todd Parnell. Out: Joel Moon, Brett Seymour, David Taylor, Neville Costigan, Ben Vaeau.CHARGES: NoneCentral Comets Players: 1. Jimmy McCONACHY 2. Anthony TOBY 3. Shannon STITT 4. Misi TUALAPAPA 5. McConkie TAUASA 6. Scott PORTER 7. Denny LAMBERT13. Matt RUA12. Wayne BARNETT11. Tyron HAYNES10. Pete PENAIA 9. Jade WOGAND 8. Aaron SWEENEYInterchange: 14. Kristian MENE15. Mick ESDALE16. Andrew DALE17. Herewini RANGICoach: Matt PARISHToowoomba Clydesdales Players: 1. Nick PARFITT 2. Gideon MZEMBE 3. Charlie FETOAI 4. Leon BOTT 5. Denan KEMP 6. Jamie SIMPSON 7. Ben GREEN13. John TE REO12. Joe CLARKE11. Derricke WATKINS10. Lynden MURPHY 9. Michael GREEN 8. Chris MUCKERTInterchange: 14. Brynjar RAGNARSSON15. Jason MOON16. Lachlan MORGAN17. Todd PARNELLCoach: Mark GEE NORTHS v TWEED HEADSBishop Park, Sunday July 2, 3.00pmReferee: Clayton SharpeTHE STORY: You don?t get many bigger drawcards in rugby league than speed sensation Billy Slater. A State of Origin hero in 2004, Slater will be back where his NRL dream began, at Bishop Park. From Innisfail Slater drove for 20 hours so he could trial with Norths as a teenager, recommended by Mark Murray?s good friend Greg Bandiera.THE STAT: Tweed?s Dean Allen needs just eight more games to reach 150 in the Wizard Cup. Last week he escaped suspension for a careless high tackle charge, entering an early plea. Teammate Josh Vaughan is welcomed back from a two-week stint for a similar offence.THE STAR: Aside from Slater, Norths welcomes back another old boy in Glen Turner. Turner has played 56 NRL games since debuting in season 2000.CHANGES: NORTHS ? In: Billy Slater, Ryan Shortland, Sam Tagataese, Matthew Bartlett, Glen Turner, Troy Hansen. Out: Will Chambers, Jackson Nicolau, Anthony Boyd, Adam Blair, Nathan Turner, Scott Anderson. TWEED HEADS ? In: Ryan Milligan, Ryan O?Connell, Josh Vaughan, Daniel Molenaar. Out: Nathan Small, Chris Enahoro, Luke Kelly, Jay McDermott.CHARGES: None.Norths Devils Players: 1. Billy SLATER 2. Aaron MORGAN 3. Smith SAMAU 4. Ryan SHORTLAND 5. Chad LEACH 6. James AUBUSSON 7. Isaac KAUFMANN13. Sam TAGATAESE12. Matthew BARTLETT11. Aaron BULOW10. Will SCANLON 9. Brenton STONIER 8. Glen TURNERInterchange: 14. Trent HENRICK15. Brendan AFITU16. Troy HANSEN17. Steve FRANCISCUSCoach: Wayne TRELEAVENTweed Heads Players: 1. Ryan MILLIGAN 2. Ryan O'CONNELL 3. David STRACHAN 4. Josh VAUGHAN 5. Nat BARNES 6. Brad DAVIS 7. Tim MACCAN13. Matt POW12. Dean ALLEN11. Selasi BERDIE10. Roy FRIEND 9. Matt KING 8. Tom PRICHARDInterchange: 14. Cory BOND15. James WOOD16. Josh PEACOCK17. Daniel MOLENAARCoach: Steve MURPHY NORTH QLD ? ByeCHARGES: None.ROUND 15 (Wk 1) ResultSOUTHS LOGAN 44 (Chris Sandow 2, Tyrone Coppedge 2, Tanu Wulf 2, Mase Laulu Togagae, Stanley Fau tries; Mase Laulu-Togagae 6 goals) d IPSWICH 34 (Joel Reithmuller, Geoff Holcombe, Daniel Fullarton, Travis Baker, Ben McFadgean, Matthew Cameron tries; Travis Baker 5 goals) at QLD Group Stadium.
QUINS and Wigan have announced their squads for Saturday?s clash in the engage Super League.
SALFORD City Reds and Bradford Bulls have named their 20-man squads for the engage Super League match at The Willows.Salford City Reds v Bradford Bulls, The Willows, Fri June 30Salford 20-man squad: Hodgson, McGuinness, Moule, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Finnigan, Sibbit, Charles, Highton, Langi, Haggerty, Littler, Myler, Clayton, Adamson, Lima, Williams.Bradford 20-man squad: Vainikolo, Smith, Meyers, Kopczak, I. Harris, Withers, Pryce, St Hilaire, B. Harris, Burgess, Newton, Ferres, Deacon, Vagana, Langley, Hape, McKenna, James, Lynch, Henderson.Ref : B Robinson
THE NRL have today advised of changes to ticketing for all 2006 Finals Series matches. Week 1 of the Finals Series will remain the same as 2005, with each of the top four teams earning a home final. Season Ticket Holders from each participating Club will be able to purchase tickets on Monday 4th September, 2006 during an exclusive priority period, with tickets available to the general public from Tuesday 5th September, 2006Week 2 is provisionally scheduled for Aussie Stadium on Friday and Saturday night. However, the venues for these games are subject to change at the option of the NRL if two non-NSW teams are participating. Season ticket holders of each participating club will be allocated specific bays to purchase into on Monday 11th September 2006. Any unsold tickets in these bays will be made available for general sale on Tuesday 12th September, 2006. Week 3 games are provisionally scheduled for Aussie Stadium on Friday night and Telstra Stadium on Saturday night. The venues for these games are also subject to change at the option of the NRL if two non-NSW teams are participating. The NRL will decide which game is played in which Stadium at the completion of the Week 2 matches. Week 3 will operate as for Week 2 with specific bays available for season ticket holders of the participating teams to purchase into on Monday 18th September 2006. Any unsold tickets in these bays will be made available for general sale on Tuesday 12th September 2006. Season ticket holders will be limited to 4 tickets per season pass with a transaction limit of 8 (must have 2 season passes). The general public will be limited to 8 tickets per transaction. Ticket limits are subject to venue capacity in Week 1 and at alternate venues in weeks 2 and 3.It is a condition of sale that tickets may not, without the prior consent of the NRL, be resold at a premium or used for advertising, promotion or other commercial purposes. If any ticket is sold or used in breach of this condition, the bearer of the ticket will be denied admission.
VETERAN forward Jason Croker will lead the Raiders into battle on Saturday night, after he was named as Captain for the Raiders important match against the Eels at Canberra Stadium.The 308 match veteran will lead the Raiders in regular skipper Clinton Schifcofske's absence, after Schifcofske joined teammate Adam Mogg in Melbourne this week for Queensland?s State of Origin team.Croker has proven his durability again this season with an unbroken run of matches for the Raiders, playing in all 16 of the clubs NRL fixtures so far this season.Leading the side is something Croker is not unfamiliar with, after taking the Raiders out several times in the past, including a significant stretch last season when Simon Woolford was out with suspension.Croker said although it is always an honour to lead the Raiders out onto Canberra Stadium, a win against the Eels is still the most important part of the day.?I was captain a few times last year and I?m looking forward to it,? Croker said. ?Hopefully we can get the two points in what is an important game for us.?With Schifcofske and Mogg missing from the line-up the Raiders have turned to Marshall Chalk and Craig Frawley to fill in for the missing pair, but Croker said experience will not be an issue for the Raiders on Saturday.?We?ve got a fair bit of experience there still so we won?t change things much,? he said. ?Jason Smith, Alan Tongue and I have all played a lot of footy so it won?t be an issue.?Raiders Coach Matt Elliott said the decision to make Croker captain in Schifcofske?s absence was not a hard one, and said he knows the amount of respect Croker demands within the team.?Jason was the logical choice to lead the side and has done a great job in the past,? Elliott said. ?The boys love playing for Toots and I?m sure Saturday will be no exception.?
TOYOTA Young Guns half Brent McConnell will make his debut in the NRL for the Cowboys this Saturday night when they take on South Sydney at Dairy farmers Stadium.
THE Ergon Energy Broncos today announced that 19-year-old fullback, Karmichael Hunt, had agreed to a new three-year deal with the club.
A fitness test tomorrow morning will determine the availability of NSW interchange utility Ben Hornby for Wednesday night's State of Origin decider.
WE are just past the halfway mark of the NRL season and it is time to announce the inaugural TV Commentator Awards for 2006.
THE Sharks are celebrating the news that in-form winger, Luke Covell, has signed a new two year contract to remain at the club. While goalkicking is what he is best known for, Covell has developed into a top class winger while at the Sharks.
SOME big scorelines from the week gone by has seen us put out a team with a penchant for attacking footy. The Warriors, Raiders and Dragons all racked up a few points against their opponents leaving us with some hard-fought contests where the Storm, Sharks and Broncos all played outstanding Rugby League. Penrith also got the money at home against the Tigers, with their season looking a bit gloomy these days. But not so for the Round 16 League Unlimited Team of the Week who just keep going from strength to strength.
EASTS has thrown a cat among the pigeons with a defiant 28-24 win over Redcliffe, unsettling the Dolphins from top spot and consolidating the Tigers? grip on fifth place.The big surprise of Round 14 was secured by two tries shortly after halftime, following an 18-14 advantage to Redcliffe at the break.Easts could have won by even more, were it not for an uncharacteristic off-day with the boots for goal-kicker Luke Branighan.Seemingly out of the finals equation just a fortnight ago when they lost comprehensively to Norths, the Tigers are now exerting pressure on fourth-placed Tweed Heads.?We?ve got the consistency back in our game and we?re finally playing for 80 minutes,? noted coach Michael Booth.?The boys have been putting in plenty of hard work, we?ve had a lot of setbacks with injuries and been pumped a few times, so it?s a very satisfying result.?Aside from their pre-existing woes, Easts also lost two players in the final 24 hours before the weekend?s clash. Centre Mark McKenzie pulled his hamstring during a light run, while Damian Durnford left the squad at 10am on game day to witness the birth of his child.Shane Neumann and Alec Fata were called in as the replacements and both played well. Neumann scored one of the key second-half tries to give the Tigers their fourth win against the Dolphins from their last six games.?It?s put a spring in the players? steps and the coach is not so cranky,? said Booth.In stark contrast, Redcliffe has been left to look over its shoulder, almost dropping back to third following a big win for Toowoomba against Ipswich.Seven members of the Dolphins squad still gained selection for the XXXX City team, coming in a season where the red-and-whites have lost just three games.Matt Lockyer and Branighan are the only players from Easts picked for City. Both were praised highly for their performance against the Dolphins, along with Steele Retchless and Mark Cantoni.The most surprising person to earn plaudits however was referee Michael Wise; earning a rare compliment from Booth, a coach not averse to taking match officials to task.?I think everyone got a good game of football because of him,? Booth said."I?ve been very critical of referees this season, but to their credit they are starting to interpret the ruck the same way.?Easts will next play against Wynnum Manly at Langlands Park on Saturday, July1. The same day Redcliffe meets Burleigh at Pizzey Park. EASTS 28 (Donald Malone 2, Matt Lockyer 2, Shane Neumann, John Tamanika tries; Luke Branighan 2 goals) d REDCLIFFE 24 (Ryan Cullen, Michael Roberts, Nick Emmett, Alwyn Simpson tries; Gerard Parle 4 goals) at Dolphin Oval.
LEEDS Rhinos hope to secure an early arrival of Kiwi and New Zealand Warriors centre Clinton Toopi so he can join them in time to boost their squad for the Super League title run-in.
Toopi was due to arrive at Headingley on a three-year deal from next season.
ST George Illawarra Backrower Ashton Sims has today agreed to terms with the Club for a further two seasons, until the end of the 2008 season.Sims, 21, began his rugby league career in Gerringong and has played 57 NRL games since making his debut in Round 9 of the 2003 season.This season started well for the local junior when he was named in the Australian Train-On Squad in January, but a wrist injury has sidelined him since Round 10, with his return to the field expected in Round 20.?I am very happy to have my future sorted, especially given that I have missed so many games of late,? said Sims.?I grew-up in this area and am very happy here at the Dragons.?I wanted to remain at the Dragons and am grateful to have this opportunity?.St George Illawarra Coach Nathan Brown said he was happy to know that Sims would be a part of his squad for the next two years.?Ashton is a talented and skillful player who fits well with our team and structure,? said Brown.?We are sure he will continue to improve and I am pleased that he has chosen to remain with us for the next two seasons?.Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust said he was happy to have finalised Sims?s immediate future with the Club.?Ashton is another outstanding local junior that we are delighted to have him remain with our Club,? said Doust. ?We believe he has accepted less money than what he could attract on the open market to remain a Dragon?.
THE Sydney Roosters Chairman, Mr Nick Politis and two legends of the Bondi Junction club Luke Ricketson and Brad Fittler have issued a joint statement to Roosters fans and critics alike.