PARRAMATTA utility John Morris has agreed to a three-year contract to join Wests Tigers at the end of the NRL season.
QUEENSLAND selectors have responded with a few changes to their line-up today, drafting Canberra fullback Clinton Schifcofske into the starting side ahead of other candidates in Matt Bowen, Rhys Wesser and Billy Slater.Cowboys Josh Hannay has been recalled to cover the loss of Steve Bell and although Justin Hodges has been named to partner him, he?s in serious doubt.Jacob Lillyman has been left out with the availability of Tonie Carroll seeing Nate Myles join the run-on side. The side is otherwise unchanged.The full squad is:Clinton Schifcofske, Brent Tate, Justin Hodges, Josh Hannay, Adam Mogg, Darren Lockyer (c), Johnathan Thurston, Steve Price, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, Nate Myles, Carl Webb, Dallas JohnsonInterchange: Shaun Berrigan, Chris Flannery, Sam Thaiday, Tonie Carroll--------The NSW selectors have dropped a few bombshells for Game III at Melbourne?s Telstra Dome on July 5th.Both halves, Braith Anasta and Brett Finch, have been dropped with Mark Gasnier shifting to five-eighth and Craig Gower assuming the reigns at no 7. Matt Cooper has been drafted into the centres with the rest of the backline unchanged.There?s been a few shake-ups in the forwards as well, with Andrew Ryan and Brent Kite excluded from the team altogether with Luke O?Donnell and Luke Bailey their replacements. Paul Gallen (on debut) has been included on the bench, with Ben Hornby taking over the utility role from Craig Wing who has also been spurned.The full squad is:Brett Hodgson, Eric Grothe, Matt King, Matt Cooper, Timana Tahu, Mark Gasnier, Craig Gower, Willie Mason, Danny Buderus (c), Luke Bailey, Steve Simpson, Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'DonnellInterchange: Paul Gallen, Ben Hornby, Mark O'Meley, Steve Menzies
QUEENSLAND'S State Of Origin preparations have hit a snag with damaging centre Justin Hodges unavailable for Wednesday week's series decider in Melbourne.
ROUND 16 of the National Rugby League kicked off in Melbourne on Friday night with the Storm outlasting the Canterbury Bulldogs by 16-12. The result places Melbourne on 26 points with a four point buffer at the top of the NRL ladder. The Bulldogs are running fifth on 20 points.On Saturday afternoon we travelled to Newcastle to see the Knights go down 26-16 to the Sharks. The Knights slip to sixth spot and 18 competition points while the Sharks are riding high on 22 points and in equal second position. On Saturday night we headed out west to Penrith to watch the Panthers down Wests Tigers 24-20. Both teams are on 16 points and outside of the top eight. Meanwhile, the St George Illawarra Dragons won their sixth game on the trot in defeating the North Queensland Cowboys 34-14 in Wollongong. The Dragons join the Sharks on 22 points while the Cowboys have slumped to 16 points and are now on the outside, looking in.Sunday football took us to Canberra with the Raiders easily accounting for the Sydney Roosters 42-10. The result puts the Raiders in the top eight on 18 points but the news isn?t so hot for the Roosters who are struggling on 12 points and in 13th position. Meanwhile the Brisbane Broncos bounced back with a 16-10 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale. The Broncos join southerners St George and Cronulla on 22 competition points while Manly maintain their top eight position on 18 points.The weekend wrapped up with the New Zealand Warriors delivering a 66-0 hiding to the hapless South Sydney Rabbitohs at Telstra Stadium in Sydney. As we come into the final 10 premiership rounds of the year, the Warriors are on 12 points and in 12th position but appear to have some momentum building. The same can?t be said for Souths who are well adrift of the field on four points and short odds for the wooden spoon.All match results and details are listed below.LeagueUnlimited.com Player AwardsWe have a new leader in this year?s LeagueUnlimited.com Player Awards with Raiders full back Clinton Schifcofske grabbing top spot in 21 points. Melbourne?s Greg Inglis is in second place on 20 points. Not far away are Cameron Smith (Storm) and Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) on 17 points while Matt Orford (Sea Eagles) is still well in contention on 16 points.The full leader board is below.The Leagueunlimited.com players of the match are decided by our live score updaters and tallied here each week on Monday?s Expert League wrap.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.League Wrap: Round 16, 23-25 June 2006MATCH RESULTS:Melbourne Storm: 16Tries: Antonio Kaufusi, Jake Webster(2)Goals: Cameron Smith 2/3Canterbury Bulldogs: 12Tries: Trent Cutler, Sonny Bill WilliamsGoals: Hazem El Masri 2/3Half time: Bulldogs 4-0Venue: Olympic Park, MelbourneCrowd: 10,373Referee: Sean HampsteadLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Ryan Hoffman (Storm)2 - Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)1 - Cameron Smith (Storm)Newcastle Knights: 16Tries: Anthony Quinn(2), Craig SmithGoals: Andrew Johns 2/3Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 26Tries: Beau Scott, Nigel Vagana(2), Brett KearneyGoals: Luke Covell 5/5Half time: Knights 10-0Venue: EnergyAustralia StadiumCrowd: 18,212Referee: Ben CumminsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Brett Kimmorley (Sharks)2 - David Simmons (Sharks)1 - Brett Kearney (Sharks)Penrith Panthers: 24Tries: Preston Campbell, Danny Galea, Luke Lewis, Michael GordonGoals: Preston Campbell 4/5Wests Tigers: 20Tries: Ben Galea, Chris Heighington, Shannon McDonnell(2)Goals: Brett Hodgson 2/4Half time: Panthers 18-8Venue: CUA Stadium, PenrithCrowd: 16,120Referee: Russell SmithLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Preston Campbell (Panthers)2 - Luke Lewis (Panthers)1 - Shannon McDonnell (Tigers)St George Illawarra Dragons: 34Tries: Colin Best, Matt Cooper(3), Mark Gasnier, Aaron GorrellGoals: Aaron Gorrell 5/7North Queensland Cowboys: 14Tries: Josh Hannay, Matt Sing, Neil SweeneyGoals: Johnathan Thurston 1/4Half time: Dragons 10-8Venue: WIN StadiumCrowd: 13,289Referee: Paul SimpkinsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Cooper (Dragons)2 - Ben Hornby (Dragons)1 - Mark Gasnier (Dragons)Canberra Raiders: 42Tries: Todd Carney, Marshall Chalk, Jason Croker, Adam Mogg, Clinton Schifcofske, Lincoln Withers, Dane TilseGoals: Clinton Schifcofske 7/7Sydney Roosters: 10Tries: Ryan Cross, Brett FinchGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 1/2Half time: Raiders 18-4Venue: Canberra StadiumCrowd: 11,876Referee: Jason RobinsonLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)2 - Jason Smith (Raiders)1 - Lincoln Withers (Raiders)Manly Sea Eagles: 10Tries: Brett Stewart, Steve MataiGoals: Travis Burns 1/2Brisbane Broncos: 16Tries: Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Darius BoydGoals: Corey Parker 2/4Half time: Broncos 10-0Venue: Brookvale OvalCrowd: 16,084Referee: Shayne HayneLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)2 - Petero Civoniceva (Broncos)1 - Brent Tate (Broncos)South Sydney Rabbitohs: 0 New Zealand Warriors: 66Tries: Lance Hohaia(3), Simon Mannering, Tony Martin, Steve Price, Jerome Ropati(2), Evarn Tuimavave, Brent Webb(2), Patrick Ah VanGoals: Tony Martin 9/12Half time: Warriors 32-0Venue: Telstra StadiumCrowd: 6,597Referee: Gavin BadgerLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Steve Price (Warriors)2 - Grant Rovelli (Warriors)1 - Nathan Fien (Warriors)Parramatta Eels ? ByeFULL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HEREUpcoming matches:GB vs NZ Test Match Great Britain Lions v New Zealand KiwisTue 27 Jun 8.00pm (GMT), Wed 28 Jun 7:00am (NZ), 5:00am (AEST) - Knowsley Road, St HelensNRL Round 17, 30 June ? 2 July 2006Fri 7:30 SEA EAGLES v KNIGHTS - Brookvale OvalSat 7:30 (NZ) 5:30 (AEST) WARRIORS v PANTHERS Ericsson Stadium Sat 7:30 RAIDERS v EELS - Canberra StadiumSat 7:30 COWBOYS v RABBITOHS - Dairy Farmers StadiumSun 2:30 BRONCOS v SHARKS - Suncorp StadiumSun 3:00 TIGERS v BULLDOGS - Telstra Stadium ROOSTERS v BYE DRAGONS v BYE STORM v BYE State of Origin III - 5 July 2005Wed 8:00 NSW BLUES v QLD MAROONS - Telstra Dome, Melbourne FOR LATEST CENTREBET ODDSCLICK HERELEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM PLAYER AWARDS 2006LEADER BOARDThe Leagueunlimited.com players awards are decided by our live score updaters.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.21 pointsClinton Schifcofske (Raiders)20 pointsGreg Inglis (Storm)17 pointsCameron Smith (Storm), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)16 pointsMatt Orford (Sea Eagles)15 pointsAndrew Johns (Knights), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)14 pointsNathan Hindmarsh (Eels)13 pointsAdam Dykes (Sharks), Darren Lockyer (Broncos)12 pointsHazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Willie Mason (Bulldogs)11 pointsCooper Cronk (Storm), Danny Buderus (Knights), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)10 pointsMatthew Bowen (Cowboys), Preston Campbell (Panthers), Petero Civoniceva (Broncos)9 pointsRobert Farah (Tigers), Paul Gallen (Sharks)8 pointsBrett Kimmorley (Sharks), Corey Parker (Broncos), Steve Price (Warriors), Dean Young (Dragons)7 pointsRoy Asotasi (Bulldogs), Steve Bell (Sea Eagles), Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs), Scott Prince (Tigers), Amos Roberts (Roosters), Jason Smith (Raiders), Ruben Wiki (Warriors)6 pointsCraig Gower (Panthers), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Mathew Head (Dragons), Brett Hodgson (Tigers), Luke Lewis (Panthers), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Grant Rovelli (Warriors), Lance Thompson (Sharks), Alan Tongue (Raiders)5 pointsTrent Barrett (Dragons), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Brent Webb (Warriors), Rhys Wesser (Panthers)4 pointsDarren Albert (Sharks), Brian Carney (Knights), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Sione Faumuina (Warriors), David Kidwell (Storm), Ben Hornby (Dragons), Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers), Adam MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Luke Priddis (Panthers), David Simmons (Sharks), Steve Simpson (Knights), Jamie Soward (Roosters), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Paul Whatuira (Tigers), Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs), Lincoln Withers (Raiders)3 pointsLuke Bailey (Dragons), Greg Bird (Sharks), Dean Collis (Tigers), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Luke Covell (Sharks), Michael Crocker (Storm), Greg Eastwood (Broncos), Brett Finch (Roosters), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Phillip Graham (Raiders), Clint Greenshields (Dragons), Ryan Hoffman (Storm), Brett Kearney (Sharks), Luke MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Reni Maitua (Bulldogs), Fuifui Moimoi (Eels), David Peachey (Rabbitohs), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Tame Tupou (Broncos), Matthew Utai (Bulldogs), Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles)2 pointsBrenton Bowen (Cowboys), George Carmont (Knights), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors), Ashley Harrison (Roosters), Scott Hill (Storm), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Raiders), Tony Martin (Warriors), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Benji Marshall (Tigers), Luke Patten (Bulldogs), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), Josh Perry (Knights), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Rooney (Panthers), John Skandalis (Tigers), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Craig Smith (Knights), Iosia Soliola (Roosters), Steven Southern (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Timana Tahu (Eels), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Evarn Tuimavave (Warriors), Trent Waterhouse (Panthers), Michael Weyman (Raiders), Craig Wing (Roosters)1 pointPaul Bowman (Cowboys), Nathan Cayless (Eels), Ben Creagh (Dragons), Shayne Dunley (Sea Eagles), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Nathan Friend (Storm), Matt Geyer (Storm), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Tony Grimaldi (Bulldogs), Daniel Holdsworth (Bulldogs), Lee Hookey (Panthers), Matt King (Storm), Daryl Millard (Dragons), Ryan O'Hara (Tigers), Shannon McDonnell (Tigers), Mark Riddell (Eels), Shane Rodney (Panthers), Jerome Ropati (Warriors), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Billy Slater (Storm), Tim Smith (Eels), Brent Tate (Broncos), Shane Tronc (Cowboys), Ben Walker (Rabbitohs), Simon Woolford (Raiders), William Zillman (Raiders)
WESTS Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall will see his club doctor this morning to plan surgery on his again-injured right shoulder, likely to sideline him for six months.
NEW South Wales and Queensland rugby league selectors name their line-ups today for the State of Origin decider in Melbourne on Wednesday week.
BRADFORD Bulls 42 (Vainikolo 2, Ferres 2, B Harris 2, Meyers tries; Deacon 7 goals) def. Huddersfield Giants 16 (Snitch, Nero tries; Thorman 4 goals). Att: 10,655.
ST Helens roared back to the top of Super League on Saturday after grinding down a gritty, injury-hit Salford to win 28-6 at Knowsley Road. Saints had frittered away a six-point lead after back-to-back defeats by Hull and Bradford but centre Jamie Lyon scored a brace of tries to help them get back to winning ways. Star of the show was hooker Keiron Cunningham, one of 12 Saints players in line to play in Tuesday?s XXXX Test between Great Britain and New Zealand at Knowsley Road. Salford simply had no answer to Cunningham?s darting runs from dummy half which set up tries for Lyon and Jon Wilkin. The visitors trailed only 10-6 at half-time but there was never any serious doubt over the outcome. Saints opened the scoring when stand-off Leon Pryce took Sean Long?s pass and sliced between defenders Andrew Brocklehurst and Stephen Myler for a seventh-minute try. Salford, without five first-choice backs through injury, gave debuts to 18-year-old winger Daley Williams and Samoan prop Danny Lima, who has joined them on loan from Warrington, and both men figured prominently in the early stages. But it was Saints who bossed the show, without being fully able to turn their obvious superiority into points. Wingers Francis Meli and Ade Gardner both missed clear-cut chances close to the line and full-back Paul Wellens also lost the ball in attempting to touch down. St Helens? pressure eventually told when a weaving run by Cunningham set up the position for centre Lyon to cross for a second try to make it 10-0 after 24 minutes. Salford threatened early in the match when second rower Ian Sibbit broke clear only for Lee Gilmour to pull off a timely interception and they got on the scoreboard nine minutes before the interval when heavyweight substitute Gareth Haggerty charged over from 10 metres, taking three defenders over the line with him. Myler?s successful conversion closed the cap to just four points, which somewhat flattered the visitors. But normal service was resumed when Cunningham re-entered the fray early in the second half after a well-deserved rest. His determined run from dummy half set alarm bells ringing in the Reds defence and second rower Jon Wilkin ran onto his perfectly-judged pass to score Saints? third try. Three minutes later skipper Paul Sculthorpe got the decisive touch after a Long high kick had caused mayhem in the Salford defence. Lyon kicked his second goal and also scored his second try, taking Long?s pass and fending off the challenge of Luke Robinson to touch down. Leading tryscorer Gardner then finished off the scoring, pouncing on Wilkin?s high kick to the corner to claim his 19th try of the season. The game was held up near the end to allow Meli to have treatment for a leg injury which looks certain to deny him the chance of a Test comeback with the Kiwis, while Vinnie Anderson also handed New Zealand coach Brian McClennan an injury headache.St Helens (10) 28.Tries: Pryce, Lyon 2, Wilkin, Sculthorpe, Gardner. Goals: Lyon 2. Salford (6) 6.Tries: Haggerty. Goals: Myler. St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, P. Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Sculthorpe, Hooper.Replacements: Graham, Fozzard, Wilkin, V. Anderson.Salford: Hodgson, Langi, Littler, Moule, Williams, Myler, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Sibbit, Brocklehurst, Finnigan.Replacements: Charles, Haggerty, Lima, Highton. Referee: P Bentham (Warrington) Att: 8,307Source: www.superleague.co.uk
JUSTIN Murphy scored two tries and Stacey Jones kicked 14 points as Catalans Dragons recovered from 12-0 down to claim an emphatic 38-18 victory over Harlequins at Stade Aime Giral.The hosts were looking to avoid their third consecutive defeat and started the game second bottom of engage Super League while Quins were aiming to put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone.But it was the visitors who took control from the start, easing into a 12-0 lead with only 11 minutes on the clock.Nick Bradley-Qalilawa scored the first try after just two minutes which Henry Paul converted before Karl Temata went over nine minutes later with Paul again supplying the conversion.However, the Dragons hit back with three quickfire tries in the space of seven minutes through Murphy, Gregory Mounis and Bruno Verges - all successfully converted by Jones - to take an 18-12 lead.Jones then scored a penalty goal as the hosts went in at half-time 20-12 to the good.Murphy claimed his second try with Jones again successfully converting, before Quins pair Mark McLinden and Daniel Williams were sin-binned in the 60th and 63rd minute.With the visitors down to 11 men, Catalans scored twice more through Aurelien Cologni and Mark Hughes while Jones maintained his 100% kicking record to give the Dragons a 38-12 lead.Quins pulled one back seven minutes from time through Tyrone Smith with Paul converting to reduce the deficit to 38-18.The victory saw the Dragons pull level on points with Wakefield Wildcats, although the Yorkshire side remain ahead on points difference, and just one point behind Castleford and visitors Harlequins.The London side have now won just one of their last four fixtures adding extra significance to their next two fixtures against rock-bottom Wigan and Castleford.Catalans Dragons (20) 38.Tries: Murphy 2, Mounis, Verges, Cologni, Hughes. Goals: Jones 7. Harlequins RL (12) 18.Tries: Bradley-Qalilawa, Temata, Smith. Goals: Paul 3. Catalans Dragons: Guigue, Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges, Rudder, Jones, Beattie, Cologni, Fellous, Guisset, Fakir, Mounis.Replacements: Berthezene, Frayssinous, Chan, Casty.Harlequins RL: McLinden, Wells, Lucky Luisi, Smith, Bradley-Qalilawa, Paul, Dorn, Tookey, Randall, Temata, Haumono, Purdham, Williams.Replacements: Budworth, Mills, Heckenberg, Weisner.Referee: S Clark (Australia)Att: 4,197Source: www.superleague.co.uk
STUART Fielden got off to a winning start in a Wigan shirt as the Warriors enjoyed a 30-12 victory over Warrington at the JJB Stadium. All the pre-match talk had centred around Fielden, and the former Bradford Bulls prop was thrown straight into the front row for his debut alongside Iafeta Paleaaesina, with Scott Logan rested. And his side got off to the perfect start with two tries inside the opening 15 minutes through Paleaaesina and Nathan McAvoy, before Lee Briers created scores for Simon Grix and Toa Kohe-Love. Only Michael Dobson?s penalty goal separating the sides at the break but the second half belonged to Wigan, as further scores by Brett Dallas, Sean O?Loughlin and Bryan Fletcher sealed the points and closed the gap between Wigan and safety to just four points.Australian winger Pat Richards missed out for Wigan, with Mark Calderwood making a welcome return after several weeks out through injury. Wolves were missing Great Britain star Martin Gleeson due to a finger injury, with his brother Mark also sidelined with a broken thumb. The crowd were right behind the Warriors from the outset and Fielden, Paleaaesina and Fletcher made big yards in the early exchanges. Warrington, in contrast were struggling to stamp their authority on the game, and an uncharacteristic kick out on the full by Lee Briers conceded the field position that led to the opening Wigan try. Paleaaesina drove onto a neat short ball from Dobson and took two defenders over the line with him, with Dobson making no mistake with the conversion. Five minutes later it was 12-0 after a quite breathtaking score that covered 70 metres of the field. Calderwood made the break and, via the hands of Dobson, Chris Ashton, Danny Orr and Calderwood again, McAvoy took the final pass to touch down. Dobson again converted, but McAvoy went from hero to villain three minutes later when he made a clean break but ignored Dallas on his inside only to fall at Stuart Reardon?s feet. The mistake was to prove costly at the other end when, after a repeat set, great hands left saw Briers put Simon Grix over through Fletcher?s weak defence, with Briers closing the gap to six points. That was immediately extended to eight points via the boot of Dobson after Paul Noone had gone high on Fielden. Eight minutes before the break the Wolves again won a repeat set when Calderwood could not take Briers? towering kick to hand Warrington a scrum 10 metres out. From the restart, Kohe-Love took a Briers pass to to step out of Dobson?s challenge and score under the sticks, with Briers? successful kick leaving it tantalisingly poised at 14-12. The Warriors extended their lead 10 minutes into the second half, and it was a play right out of the Briers textbook. Dobson forced the drop out when his kick pinned Richie Barnett behind his own posts and, three tackles later, Ashton?s long ball put Dallas in at the corner. Dobson?s touchline goal made it 20-12 and, with the rampaging Paleaaesina back off the bench and taking three men to stop him every time, they were in the ascendancy. Only a marginal forward pass denied Calderwood in the right-hand corner, but it did not matter as the Warriors were in again on the hour. Another barnstorming run from Paaleaaesina, enjoying easily his best game in a Wigan shirt, set up the attacking position for Higham to put captain Sean O?Loughlin over, with Dobson?s boot pushing the score out to 26-12. Fletcher?s last-minute score, from O?Loughlin?s kick, was the icing on the cake for the majority of the 16,103 crowd. Wigan (14) 30.Tries: Paleaaesina, McAvoy, Dallas, O'Loughlin, Fletcher. Goals: Dobson 5. Warrington (12) 12.Tries: Grix, Kohe-Love. Goals: Briers 2. Wigan: Ashton, Calderwood, McAvoy, Vaealiki, Dallas, Orr, Dobson, Paleaaesina, Higham, Fielden, Hock, Fletcher, O?Loughlin.Replacements: Seu Seu, Brown, Hansen, Tickle.Warrington: Reardon, Grose, Grix, Kohe-Love, Barnett, Bridge, Briers, Leikvoll, Clarke, Wood, Westwood, Wainwright, Noone.Replacements: Sullivan, Parker, Bracek, Pickersgill.Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)Att: 16,103Source: www.superleague.co.uk
FORMER Wakefield skipper Gareth Ellis grabbed a brace of tries as Leeds returned to the engage Super League summit for the first time in 11 months with a 36-20 win over the Wildcats.The Rhinos required victory by 10 points or more to move above St Helens on points difference and Ellis? first-half brace proved a key contribution to their success. The Great Britain international enjoyed the tussle against his erstwhile employers while Rhinos full-back Lee Smith claimed a double of his own after the restart. But it was skipper Kevin Sinfield, who was surprisingly omitted by Great Britain coach Brian Noble for next Tuesday?s Test against New Zealand, who took centre stage, claiming six goals and orchestrating much of his side?s attacking play. St Helens, who have suffered defeat in their previous two games, will reclaim top spot if they avoid defeat at home to Salford tomorrow, but may now just begin to feel the pressure with Leeds breathing down their necks.The Wildcats, who caused a storm last season when they claimed a shock 44-28 success at Headingley, fell behind after six minutes when Ellis punished some poor defence. Sinfield?s offload 20 metres out found Ellis and the former Belle Vue favourite showed some neat footwork to weave his way through and cross the line. Wakefield believed they had scored after 10 minutes when Semi Tadulala?s touchdown in the left corner was ruled out by the referee following a knock-on by the Wildcats wing. And the visitors suffered further misery nine minutes later when some meticulous dummy running from Sinfield saw him orchestrate Leeds? second try. The Rhinos skipper engineered a move which saw the ball pass through Ellis and Danny McGuire?s hands before the latter sent Keith Senior in at the left corner. Wakefield?s defence was again dreadful as Senior brushed aside their attempts to halt his progress before squeezing over for a try converted superbly by Sinfield. The Rhinos were firmly in command at 12-0 but Wakefield showed outstanding spirit and no little skill to draw level with two tries in as many minutes. Their first score came after 26 minutes when hooker David March found Ben Jeffries from the play-the-ball and the Wildcats scrum half scampered over the line from 10 metres. They crossed the line shortly after when David Solomona sent Ryan Atkins embarking on a lung-bursting 50-metre run which saw him outpace three Rhinos players and cross the line for a magnificent solo effort. Jamie Rooney converted both tries but Ellis forced his way over the line two minutes before the break, and with Sinfield converting, Leeds were 18-12 ahead. However, Leeds began to batter the visitors? line immediately after the restart and their efforts were soon rewarded as two quick tries put them firmly in command of the match. The first score came when McGuire played a delightful one-two with Chris Feather and crossed before Ellis and Sinfield combined to send Smith over for a simple score. And on the hour mark McGuire?s brilliant surge and check inside put Smith over for his brace but Sinfield failed to maintain his 100% record with the boot. Wakefield?s response was again impressive and tries from Jamie Field and Tadulala, neither of which Rooney could convert, rocked Leeds momentarily before Sinfield added a late penalty to ensure, fittingly, that he had the final say. Leeds (18) 36.Tries: Ellis 2, Senior, McGuire, Smith 2. Goals: Sinfield 6. Wakefield (12) 20.Tries: Jeffries, Atkins, J. Field, Tadulala. Goals: Rooney 2. Leeds: Smith, Donald, Walker, Senior, Williams, McGuire, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan, Millard, Bailey, Poching, Ellis, Sinfield.Replacements: Lauitiiti, O?Neill, Feather, Ablett.Wakefield: Saxton, Halpenny, Demetriou, Atkins, Tadulala, Rooney, Jeffries, MacGillivray, March, Korkidas, Solomona,Catic, Betham.Replacements: Griffin, J. Field, Watene, White.Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington)Att: 13,597Source: www.superleague.co.uk
HULL chalked up a club record 10th successive win as they overcame an appalling start and a gritty Castleford side by 28-10 in the engage Super League.The Tigers sensationally scored after just 16 seconds at the KC Stadium through Andy Henderson but Hull hit back with a quickfire double from former Castleford back Motu Tony and Richard Horne.Sid Domic added another just before the break and Hull held firm despite a second-half reply from Richard Fa?aoso.Tommy Lee made sure of the win with a fourth Hull try 12 minutes from time and Nathan Blacklock added a fifth from a late interception.The game ? and Castleford ? could hardly have got off to a better start. Danny Brough ? Hull?s match-winner in last season?s Challenge Cup final ? was determined to make a point against the club that released him just last week and did so from the very kick-off.The scrum-half?s deep kick was spilled by his former partner Paul Cooke and Tigers skipper Danny Nutley quickly gathered and charged to the line.He was stopped short but Henderson dived over from the resulting play-the-ball to claim one of the fastest tries in Super League history, just outside Tim Jonkers? 14-second effort for St Helens.Brough converted but Cas immediately switched off and conceded four penalties in the opening 10 minutes to allow Hull straight back into the game.New Zealander Tony, who could be lining up against Great Britain next week, stretched over by the posts and then Richard Horne scored a superb solo try after a 20-metre run.Cooke added both conversions and the game settled down for a spell with Castleford dominating possession until Hull claimed their third try through Domic eight minutes before the break.Cooke was the creator on the left and then curled over a brilliant goal to give the hosts a handy 18-6 half-time advantage.The half ended scrappily with both sides reduced to 12 men. First Cas had Nutley and substitute Fa?aoso placed on report following a challenge on Scott Wheeldon.Fa?aoso failed to calm down and was sin-binned just before the hooter along with Cooke after the pair sparked a melee.Hull looked to press home their advantage when the game resumed but fierce Cas defence kept them at bay.Tony went close with a powerful run and then Michael Platt produced a superb tackle to deny Graeme Horne as he looked set to finish a slick move in the corner.The Tigers were struggling to assert themselves but did manage to get back into contention when they finally pieced together a strong set and Fa?aoso, back on the field, found a gap to go over.Yet Hull were not to be beaten and raised the tempo to kill off the game when the outstanding Tony kicked through and Danny Ward failed to gather.Lee was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and touch down and Cooke?s fourth goal put the game beyond reach.Winger Blacklock intercepted to run in the final try in the last minute.Hull (18) 28.Tries: Tony, R. Horne, Domic, Lee, Blacklock. Goals: Cooke 4. Castleford (6) 10.Tries: Henderson, Fa?aoso. Goals: Brough. Hull: Tony, Blacklock, Domic, Whiting, Raynor, Cooke, R. Horne, Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook.Replacements: G. Horne, King, Wheeldon, Lee.Castleford: Platt, Pryce, Viane, McGoldrick, Shenton, Lupton, Brough, Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Ward, Manu, Roarty.Replacements: Handforth, Huby, Fa?aoso, A. Fletcher.Referee: A Klein (London)Att: 11,360Source: www.superleague.co.uk
PAUL Deacon smashed Bradford?s points-scoring record to lift the engage Super League champions? spirits with a 42-16 win over Huddersfield following the shock sale of Stuart Fielden. The Bulls began life after Fielden in confident fashion, easing their way to a comfortable victory, with Deacon converting all seven tries to set a new scoring record of 1,834, eclipsing the previous best set by Keith Mumby in 1993. Bradford led only 12-10 after 52 minutes but ran away with the game after hitting a purple patch in which they ran in three tries in a decisive nine-minute spell at the re-named Grattan Stadium. Lesley Vainikolo, Ben Harris and Brett Ferres all touched down twice while Australian forward Brad Meyers scored the Bulls? other try, fine reward for his efforts as a makeshift prop. There was no obvious sign of protest over the sale of Fielden to Wigan and the Bulls looked competent enough without their Great Britain prop. After an attritional opening, Vainikolo broke the deadlock after 19 minutes when Bradford worked the ball out to the right and the visitors? defence stood off the big man, allowing him to cut inside and touch down. Huddersfield briefly threatened with a neat left-wing move involving full-back Paul Reilly and centre Chris Nero but the Bulls, fresh from their win over St Helens, were very much in command. The Giants put themselves under pressure when Paul Smith lost the ball inside his own half and, although Nero pulled off a brilliant tackle to deny Vainikolo, the defence could not regroup in time to prevent centre Harris crossing wide out. Deacon landed both conversions to put himself well on the way to beating Mumby?s record of 1,828 points. Huddersfield, who have never beaten Bradford in Super League and crashed to a 52-18 at Odsal two months ago, gave themselves hope when Nero took Reilly?s to score in the final act of the first half, with Chris Thorman adding the conversion to make it 12-6 at the break. Twice the visitors got within range in the first five minutes of the second half and when Matt James and Michael Withers were penalised for separate infringements, Thorman closed the gap to just two points. Bradford, too, were twice awarded penalties in kickable positions but they chose to run the ball and their enterprise paid off handsomely with three quickfire tries. First second-rower Ferres touched down a high kick from Iestyn Harris and then Vainikolo grabbed his second try after Withers supplied the final pass. That enabled Deacon to kick the record-breaking goal and he also converted a solo try from Meyers to stretch his side?s lead to 30-10 going into the final quarter. Substitute Steve Snitch grabbed a consolation try for Huddersfield, with Thorman kicking his fourth goal from as many attempts. But Bradford had the final say when Ben Harris forced his way over from close range and Ferres also grabbed his second following a defensive mix-up. Bradford (12) 42.Tries: Vainikolo 2, B. Harris 2, Ferres 2, Meyers. Goals: Deacon 7. Huddersfield (6) 16.Tries: Nero, Snitch. Goals: Thorman 4. Bradford: Withers, Vainikolo, Hape, B. Harris, St Hilaire, I. Harris, Deacon, Meyers, Henderson, Lynch, McKenna, Ferres, Langley.Replacements: Vagana, Gene, James, Pryce.Huddersfield: Reilly, Aspinwall, Wild, Nero, Donlan, Thorman, Paul, Mason, Drew, Gannon, Crabtree, Smith, Jones.Replacements: Snitch, Jackson, Gardner, McDonald.Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)Att: 10,655Source: www.superleague.co.uk
KIWI'S winger Francis Meli will play no part in this weeks Test against Great Britain after picking up a leg injury playing for ESL club, St Helens. The 27-year-old was injured in the later stages of Saints' victory over Salford and was stretchered the field. "We'll know more when he has a scan and we're hoping we're looking at a few weeks and not the season," said St Helens coach Daniel Anderson. Jason Cayless and Vinnie Anderson are also doubtful starters for New Zealand. The Saint Helens duo also picked up knocks playing this morning, leaving New Zealand coach Brian McClennan with a headache. The Test takes place at St Helens' Knowsley Road home and Saints expected to have as many as 12 players in action. Bradford winger Lesley Vainikolo, who was largely dormant in the early part of the season when Noble was in charge of the Bulls, is running into form just in time to cause trouble for Britain at St Helens in two days time.The powerhouse runner, who topped the Super League scoring chart in 2004 with a record-breaking 36 tries, has been plagued by niggling injuries but he was back to his best against Huddersfield on Friday, scoring two tries in the Bulls' 42-16 win.Vainikolo was a frustrated spectator 12,000 miles away when the Kiwis ended Australia's world domination with a 24-0 humiliation of the Kangaroos at Elland Road last November in the Tri-Nations final, but he hopes to help them defend their crown later this year.
THE New Zealand Residents made it two from two with a 38-10 win over the Jim Beam Cup Selection at the Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday. Among the try-scorers for the Residents were Vodafone Warriors first-grade squad members Cooper Vuna and Sonny Fai. In the other match, New South Wales Country just held out the Queensland Rangers. Match details:NEW SOUTH WALES COUNTRY 34 (Dean Amos 2, Michael Fortier, David Pickvance, Darren Jackson, Daniel Frame, Damien Seers tries; Craig Field 3 goals). QUEENSLAND RANGERS 32 (Nathaniel Bowman 2, Patrick Dall 2, Joshua Schwerin, Jim Baira tries; Patrick Dall 4 goals). Halftime: 20?10 NSW Country.NZ RESIDENTS 38 (Lusi Sione, David Fisi?iahi, Cooper Vuna, Steve Buckingham, Sala Fa?alogo, Sonny Fai tries; Steve Buckingham 7 goals). JIM BEAM CUP SELECTION 10 (David Val, Keiron Herring tries; Aaron Mercer goal). Halftime: 6?4 NZ Residents.