Roo's and Kiwi's primed for contest

AUSTRALIAN captain Darren Lockyer says he can't remember more interest in a rugby league Test than what the Kangaroos are dealing with in the lead-up to Friday night's showdown with New Zealand in Brisbane.

Roosters won't take Finch comments any further

SYDNEY Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan says the NRL club won't be taking any action over halfback Brett Finch's comments that Roosters critics and fans could "kiss our arse" after their win over North Queensland.

Thaiday & Head out

MILTON Thaiday's Queensland Origin dream is all-but over for 2006 with the Newcastle fullback likely facing six weeks on the NRL sidelines with an ankle injury.

Cowboys fume at Bowen's omission

MATT Bowen's controversial omission from the Australian side for the Anzac Test has stunned North Queensland, with CEO Peter Parr saying he was "surprised and disappointed" the Cowboys flyer was snubbed.

Storm backs Bears with win over Bulldogs

THE inclusion of no less than seven Melbourne Storm players in the Bears line up has helped Norths defeat the Bulldogs at North Sydney Oval on Saturday. Scott Hill, Jamie Feeney, Ryan Shortland, Chris Walker, Adam Blair, Ben Scott and Mathew Bartlett all made an appearance in the famous red and black.

Soward?s Virtuoso Performance Sets Up Jet's Win

THE Newtown Jets registered good wins in both grades on the weekend, setting the scene for a big crowd at the first home games double-header for the season at Henson Park next Saturday (May 6th).In the VB Premier League match played at Campbelltown on Friday night, the Jets were too strong for last-placed Western Suburbs, winning this match 42-6 after leading by 22-0 at half-time. The Magpies offered plenty of resistance in the first half, with Newtown asserting their ascendancy in the ten minutes prior to the break.Jets half-back Jamie Soward turned in the game?s standout performance, with five of Newtown?s nine tries coming directly from his broad repertoire of accurate kicking options. Newtown?s forward pack, spearheaded by Glenn Hall, Danny Williams, Mickey Paea and Lopini Paea took control early in the match and laid the basis for the Jets? nine tries to one victory. Fullback Aidan Kirk and winger Troy Malcolm collected two tries apiece, as did five-eighth Josh Lewis, prior to his leaving the field midway through the second half after being on the receiving end of a dangerous head-high tackle.In the third round of the Jim Beam Cup competition on Saturday, the Jets completed their Central Coast travelling requirements with an away game to The Entrance and would have reason to be pleased with the quality and character of their 34-18 win. Newtown had led by 16-14 at the break, but things looked ominous when The Entrance grabbed the lead early in the second half. Newtown Director John Lynch reports that superior fitness, physical strength and team spirit saw the Jets surge home for a very useful win. Ritchie Parker, Billy Baleilomaloma, Khalid Deeb and Rimini Reweti were Newtown?s best forwards, with Toufic Nicolas and Anton La Vin giving strong performances in the backline. The Parkes Spacemen disappointed their Pioneer Oval home crowd when they crashed out badly in the Group 11 first grade match against Dubbo CYMS to the tune of 42-12. The Newtown Jets return to Henson Park next Saturday (May 6th) for the first competition games double-header for this season. Action gets underway at 12 noon when the Newtown Jetettes face off with the Windsor She-Wolves in the Sydney Women?s Rugby League. The Jets clash with Wentworthville in the Jim Beam Cup at 1.15pm, while in the VB Premier League main game, Newtown take on the Bulldogs at 3.00pm.[Pic: Newtown winger Troy Malcolm has been a prolific try-scorer for the Jets this season. Photo courtesy of Gary Sutherland Photography.]

Saints vs Parramatta under lights at OKI Jubilee Stadium

NIGHT football will make its much-anticipated return to the Dragons' spiritual home following the NRL's announcement that the St.George Bank Dragons will play the Parramatta Eels at OKI Jubilee Stadium on Friday, 2 June. Kick-off has been scheduled for 7:30pm and the match will be televised on Channel Nine.

Rugby League Review May 2006 - Out now

MINICHIELLO fails medical test

Thaiday & Quigley injured, Scott retires

NEWCASTLE has suffered a blow to its NRL campaign with livewire fullback Milton Thaiday expected to spend up to six weeks on the sidelines nursing an ankle injury.

Vagana charged, but will escape punishment

NIGEL Vagana will be free to play for New Zealand in Friday's Anzac Test despite being charged by the NRL match review committee for a grade one careless high tackle.

Minichiello out, Hunt to play for Australia

NEW Zealand-born Karmichael Hunt will make his rugby league Test debut for Australia this Friday after Kangaroos fullback Anthony Minichiello was ruled out of the Anzac Test against New Zealand through injury. Minichiello passed a fitness test on his injured hamstring on Sunday, but has been rubbed out with a lower back concern. The withdrawal has opened the way for 19-year-old Brisbane custodian HUNT to make his international debut.

Monday?s Expert League Wrap - Round 8, 2006

ANOTHER big weekend of football began on Friday night with the Cronulla Sharks surging back into contention following their 40-12 victory over the Panthers in Penrith. The Sharks join a number of teams, including the Panthers, in the middle of the competition ladder on eight points.Saturday footy saw the Sydney Roosters bounce back with a victory over competition front runners the North Queensland Cowboys. After leading 10-6 at half time, the Roosters held on to win by 22-18. The result sees the Roosters join the log jam on eight points while the Cowboys share a chunk of the top spot on 12 points.Meanwhile in Melbourne, the Storm played excellent wet weather football to outclass the St George IIlawarra Dragons by 24-12. Saints are battling for form on eight points while the win elevates the Storm into 12 points and equal with the competition leaders.The Brisbane Broncos are also on 12 points after they came from behind to defeat the Canberra Raiders at old Lang Park. Amazingly, the 12th-placed Raiders led 18-0 at half time, only to be chased down in the second half.Sunday Rugby League kicked off with the Canterbury Bulldogs proving too good for the New Zealand Warriors with a 30-16 victory in Auckland. The Bulldogs are now firming into the top eight on 10 points while the Warriors are still trying to kick clear of the last-placed Souths.Talking of which, the South Sydney Rabbitohs continue their run of losses going down 24-18 to the fourth-placed Newcastle Knights at Telstra Stadium. The round wrapped up at the SCG with a thrilling 23-22 win to the Manly Sea Eagles over the Parramatta Eels. A field goal in 78th minute snatched victory, elevating Manly to 10 points and into fifth spot on the ladder. The luckless Eels continue to stumble in 2006 and remain in 13th position.All match results and details are listed below.LeagueUnlimited.com Player AwardsThe LeagueUnlimited.com Player Awards still has Cowboys five-eighth Johnathan Thurston leading on 16 points and Knights half back Andrew Johns is still in second place on 12 points. But the challenge is being thrown down by half back Matt Orford (Sea Eagles) and hooker Cameron Smith (Storm) who have both moved into third position on 11 points.Meanwhile Adam Dykes (Sharks) is on 10 points while Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles) and Greg Inglis (Storm) are not far away on nine 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 8, 28 ? 30 April 2006MATCH RESULTS:Penrith Panthers: 12Tries: Rhys Wesser, Matthew CrossGoals: Preston Campbell 2/2Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 40Tries: Luke Covell (2), Adam Dykes, Paul Gallen, Darren Albert (2), Luke DouglasGoals: Luke Covell 6/7Half time: Sharks 22-12Venue: CUA Stadium PenrithCrowd: 16,268Referee: Sean HampsteadLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Lance Thompson (Sharks)2 - Adam Dykes (Sharks)1 - Luke Covell (Sharks)North Queensland Cowboys: 18Tries: Aaron Payne, Johnathan Thurston, Neil SweeneyGoals: Johnathan Thurston 3/3Sydney Roosters: 22Tries: Sam Perrett, Amos Roberts, Anthony Tupou, Vince MellarsGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 3/4Half time: Roosters 10-6Venue: Dairy Farmers StadiumCrowd: 21,175Referee: Shayne HayneLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Brett Finch (Roosters)2 - Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)1 - Ashley Harrison (Roosters)Melbourne Storm: 24Tries: Ian Donnelly, Steve Turner, Jake Webster (2)Goals: Cameron Smith 4/6St George Illawarra Dragons: 10Tries: Colin Best, Reece SimmondsGoals: Aaron Gorrell 1/1, Mathew Head 0/1Half time: Storm 14-4Venue: Olympic Park MelbourneCrowd: 8,694Referee: Tony ArcherLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Greg Inglis (Storm)2 - Cooper Cronk (Storm)1 - Cameron Smith (Storm)Brisbane Broncos: 30Tries: Justin Hodges, Karmichael Hunt(2), Darren Lockyer, David StaggGoals: Darren Lockyer 1/1, Corey Parker 4/4Canberra Raiders: 28Tries: Jason Croker, Adam Mogg(2), Clinton Schifcofske, Alan TongueGoals: Clinton Schifcofske 4/5Half time: Raiders 18-0Venue: Suncorp StadiumCrowd: 23,582Referee: Russell SmithLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Corey Parker (Broncos)2 - Alan Tongue (Raiders)1 - Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)New Zealand Warriors: 16Tries: Sione Faumuina, Wairangi KoopuGoals: Tony Martin 4/4Canterbury Bulldogs: 30Tries: Roy Asotasi, Hazem El Masri(2), Willie Tonga, Daniel HoldsworthGoals: Hazem El Masri 5/6Half time: Bulldogs 16-8Venue: Ericsson StadiumCrowd: 11,604Referee: Gavin BadgerLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Roy Asotasi (Bulldogs)2 - Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs)1 - Nathan Fien (Warriors)South Sydney Rabbitohs: 18Tries: David Fa'alogo, Adam MacDougall, Joe GaluvaoGoals: Nathan Merritt 3/3Newcastle Knights: 24Tries: Danny Buderus(2), George Carmont, Milton ThaidayGoals: Andrew Johns 4/4Half time: Knights 12-6Venue: Telstra StadiumCrowd: 8,649Referee: Jason RobinsonLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Adam MacDougall (Rabbitohs)2 - Danny Buderus (Knights)1 - Steve Simpson (Knights)Manly Sea Eagles: 23Tries: Chris Hicks, Brent Kite, Brett Stewart, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 3/4Field Goals: Matt OrfordParramatta Eels: 22Tries: Glenn Morrison, Matthew Petersen, Brett DelaneyGoals: Brett Delaney 5/5Half time: Eels 16-12Venue: Sydney Cricket GroundCrowd: 19,208Referee: Steven ClarkLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)2 - Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles)1 - Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles)Wests Tigers - ByeFULL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HERENext weekend?s matches:Fri 7:30, 5 May 2006 ? AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND TEST MATCH ? Suncorp StadiumRound 9, 6-7 May 2006Sat 5:30 EELS v RAIDERS - Parramatta StadiumSat 7:30 COWBOYS v PANTHERS - Dairy Farmers StadiumSat 7:30 RABBITOHS v STORM - Telstra StadiumSun 2:30 KNIGHTS v BRONCOS - EnergyAustralia StadiumSun 3:00 TIGERS v SEA EAGLES - Leichhardt OvalSun 3:00 ROOSTERS v BULLDOGS - Aussie StadiumSun 3:00 SHARKS v DRAGONS - Toyota ParkWARRIORS v BYEFOR 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.16 pointsJohnathan Thurston (Cowboys)12 pointsAndrew Johns (Knights)11 pointsMatt Orford (Sea Eagles), Cameron Smith (Storm)10 pointsAdam Dykes (Sharks)9 pointsBen Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Greg Inglis (Storm)8 pointsHazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)7 pointsSteve Bell (Sea Eagles), Matthew Bowen (Cowboys), Danny Buderus (Knights), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)6 pointsCraig Gower (Panthers), Mathew Head (Dragons), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), Corey Parker (Broncos), Ruben Wiki (Warriors)5 pointsPetero Civoniceva (Broncos), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Amos Roberts (Roosters), Alan Tongue (Raiders)4 pointsPreston Campbell (Panthers), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs), Steve Price (Warriors), Jamie Soward (Roosters), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Paul Whatuira (Tigers)3 pointsRoy Asotasi (Bulldogs), Luke Covell (Sharks), Michael Crocker (Storm), Brett Finch (Roosters), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Brett Hodgson (Tigers), Adam MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Scott Prince (Tigers), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Lance Thompson (Sharks), Tame Tupou (Broncos)2 pointsLuke Bailey (Dragons), George Carmont (Knights), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Robert Farah (Tigers), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors), Ashley Harrison (Roosters), Josh Perry (Knights), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Priddis (Panthers), John Skandalis (Tigers), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Jason Smith (Raiders), Steven Southern (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Lincoln Withers (Raiders), Dean Young (Dragons)1 pointsDarren Albert (Sharks), Trent Barrett (Dragons), Paul Bowman (Cowboys), Nathan Cayless (Eels), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Lee Hookey (Panthers), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Tony Martin (Warriors), Luke Patten (Bulldogs), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Steve Simpson (Knights), Billy Slater (Storm), Tim Smith (Eels), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Shane Tronc (Cowboys), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Trent Waterhouse (Panthers), Simon Woolford (Raiders), Craig Wing (Roosters), William Zillman (Raiders)

Hunt selection has raised more than a few eyebrows

THE Australian selectors have chosen Brisbane Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt as the standby player for Anthony Minichiello as Minichiello races the clock to overcome a hamstring injury. Hunt has been rushed to Sydney to train with the Kangaroos ahead of Friday night's test match against the Kiwis at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.Is the selection of Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt a belated April Fool?s day joke and the Australian selectors have merely got the months wrong?This issue could really turn into a Pandora?s box with the number of angles this ?interesting? selection can be taken from.Hunt is nowhere near the second best fullback in the NRL and without wanting to be disrespectful to Karmichael Hunt, his selection reeks of tokenism to douse the flames on the war of words between Australian coach Ricky Stuart and Wayne Bennett, Hunt?s club coach in Brisbane and the former Australian coach.What more does Matt Bowen have to do to get an Australian jersey? On form, he is streets ahead of Hunt and when you consider Hunt should really be playing for New Zealand regardless of his desire to play Origin for the Maroons, his selection is all the more puzzling.There is also the fact only three out of the 17 players selected are Queenslanders in the Australian side and that has left more than a few fans north of the border seeing red over the dominance of New South Wales players in the Australian team. Being a New South Welshman, I can empathise with their frustrations but truth be known, I think the selectors essentially chose the right 17 players.When you browse the 15 Australian based NRL teams, I?m not sure where Karmichael Hunt ranks in your list but in mine, he is outside the top five. Taking Billy Slater?s suspension and Brett Hodgson?s injury into account, Matt Bowen, Brett Stewart, Milton Thaiday and Ben Hornby all had stronger claims to the role of understudy to Anthony Minichiello. Even Melbourne Storm sensation Greg Inglis would be in front of Hunt as his form has been nothing short of superb and with the Australian team being no stranger to playing quality players out of position, players such as Amos Roberts would also have claims.At the end of the day, I don?t want the selection of Hunt to detract from the aura of the Test match, which should be a cracking game played in front of a full house but I can?t help but feel politics more so than form played the major part in the selection of Karmichael Hunt as the 18th man for the Kangaroos.

Hunt called in as 18th man for Australia

BRISBANE fullback Karmichael Hunt has been flown to Sydney to join the Australian rugby league Test squad on standby for the injured Anthony Minichiello.

Kangaroos into camp

THE final members of Australia's rugby league team will arrive in camp today, with Bulldogs forwards Willie Mason and Mark O'Meley and North Queensland pair Jonathan Thurston and Luke O'Donnell joining their team mates in Sydney this morning.

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