THE St George Illawarra Dragons have continued to develop and reward their junior talents with 10 players from the Club's 2005 Premiership winning Jersey Flegg team joining the full-time training squad for 2006.Jersey Flegg "Player of the Year" Tom Haberecht, Tom Hewitt, Chris Houston, Jason Klimis, Charlie Leaeno, Daryl Millard, George Ndaira, Danny Wicks and the Morris twins Brett and Josh have all earned the opportunity to train alongside their NRL heroes.New recruits to the Dragons for 2006 include:Damon Alley-Tovio (Canberra)Matt Bickerstaff (France)Bryson Goodwin (Cronulla)Sam Isemonger (Cronulla)Andrew Price (Newcastle)Lagi Setu (Rugby Union)Richard Williams (South Sydney)."Our priority has always been with the development of our local juniors and we are fortunate to have such a talent base," said Coach Nathan Brown. "Our young guys have earned their place in our full-time squad and will be pushing for a place in the top grade."We have a number of representative players in our squad and it was important to ensure we have depth and strength with "value for money", first grade players to help cope with our ongoing representative requirements".Dragons Full-Time Squad for 2006 Damon Alley-TovioLuke BaileyTrent BarrettColin BestMatt BickerstaffReece BlayneyMatt CooperBen CreaghMark GasnierBryson GoodwinClint GreenshieldsTom HaberechtMathew HeadMichael HendersonTom HewittBen HornbyChris HoustonSam IsemongerJason KlimisCharlie LeaneoDaryl MillardBrett MorrisJosh MorrisWes NaiqamaCorey PayneJustin PooreAndrew PriceJason RylesLagi SetuChris Sheppard Reece SimmondsAshton SimsShaun Timmins Willie TupouAaron Wheatley Danny Wicks Richard Williams Dean Young
AUSTRALIA'S coaching and playing staff will face no serious ramifications despite the group?s disastrous end to the Tri-Nations series, ARL chief executive Geoff Carr said last night.The Kangaroos produced one of their worst performances in recent decades to crash 24-0 at the hands of a passionate and well-coached New Zealand side in Sunday morning?s decider at Elland Road. It was the nations? first series loss since a 2-0 defeat to France in 1978 and the first time in 52 years they have conceded a series to the Kiwis.The result was also the first time since 1985 an Australian side has been held scoreless in a Test match.But despite the enormity of the green-and-gold?s loss, Carr said there will be no major overhaul within the Kangaroos set-up.Carr has already confirmed Broncos? Wayne Bennett will continue as head coach if he wants it and last night said the players should not expect to be axed after one bad performance.?Good players don't become bad players overnight. They're all proven at this level and at Origin level,? he said in The Daily Telegraph today.?We had the final where we expected a lot of players to stand up and get us out of a hole but that didn't happen.Carr admitted a post-tour review would be conducted, as normal, but dismissed there would be an analysis of the selection process and policies.The on-tour selection method however is one aspect that may be looked at and changed. Currently, four selectors pick the preliminary squad for tours but Bennett is the only selector on tour, a practice that has drawn plenty of criticism from league personnel in Sydney because of the team?s the Queenslander picks.The question of having another selector on tour was put to Carr yesterday.?I can't see it going that way. On this tour there is not only Wayne Bennett but (NSW?s) Craig Bellamy, his assistant, who are two experienced NRL coaches,? he said. ?You have a strength and conditioning coach who knows how to ensure players peak for a game and you have a person providing video analysis of each match. ?So the level of expertise is there for the selection process.? Carr yesterday refused to accept the Kiwis were now the world?s premier league nation after their history breaking win.?They've got the right to be called Tri-Nations champions and May 5 (next year) could tell the story, if they can beat Australia again (in the Anzac Test),? the ARL boss said.?It was two games all in 2005, so 2006 might decide it.?The first group of Kangaroos players arrived back home last night with the remainder expected to be touching down from England tonight.Bennett and his Broncos Test skipper Darren Lockyer seemed to have not landed home last night.They are expected to emerge from the plane this evening to a barrage of media questions over the side?s lack-luster performance in last weekend?s final.
SHE worked in the canteen underneath the Cronin Stand at Parramatta Stadium. I used to see her every fortnight, as my dad and I had Eels season tickets. It was my job to go downstairs and buy the snacks every game, and she would always serve up our two pies, hot chips, one coke, and one cup of white tea (no sugar) with a laugh and a lively smile. It was 1990, I was in year twelve doing the HSC, and had never had a girlfriend or even been on a date.I'd always go downstairs during the first half of reserve grade, when the queues would be shortest. While she gathered up our order she'd always have time for a chat. Ends up that she too was doing the HSC, and so was working part-time at the stadium until school was over. Around May we swapped names as she was handing me the change. She just threw out a casual "By the way, what's your name?" and added "My name's Belinda-Jayne - with a y - and don't forget it!" One day in June, as Belinda-Jayne (with a y) was getting my hot chips out of the fryer, she said "Can I ask you a question?" I said "Sure" and then she asked "Would you like to spend my break with me? It's just that I get a bit lonely here, and I don't really like football." So I took dad's pie and white tea back to him upstairs, and explained that I'd bumped into someone I knew, and was going to go and chat with them for a while.We sat out in the shade behind the grandstand, carefully away from the canteen so that Belinda-Jayne's middle-aged supervisors couldn't see us. It was a really, really good getting-to-know-you chat - one of those rare times when new people find so much in common! Her break was only half an hour, but we'd chatted for 45 minutes. She went back to work, and I went back to my seat just in time to watch first grade. I was a nervous kid in some ways, not blessed with the confidence or immunity to risk to make it easy for me to ever ask anyone out. So the season wore on and Belinda-Jayne and I continued our ritual of, flirting in the canteen and then chatting during her breaks each game, no longer constrained by the stainless-steel counter that had once stood between us. I really enjoyed her company, and was beginning to wonder about what would happen when we reached the end of the season?Belinda-Jayne made a point of checking that I'd definitely be at the final home game, which (for those days) would be a rare night game. I was a ball of nerves as that day approached.... I knew what I felt, but I had no idea what to do. There was a big crowd in that night, and as I went downstairs to get our regular order for once the queues were quite long. When I got to the front, Belinda-Jayne explained that it was too busy for her to have a break tonight, but could I possibly meet her quickly after the game? Now I just had to think of some way to make dad go back to the car ahead of me, to give us some privacy? Parramatta lost to Manly, ending our slim semi-final chances. As the crowd made its way out of the ground after the game I frantically looked around for Belinda-Jayne. finally spotting her sitting down near the gate. She was holding something in her hand, something small and white? We smiled as our eyes met and we headed towards each other. She said "Sorry about tonight, it was so busy. Here?" and she handed me something, kissed me on the cheek, and disappeared into the night. I'd been too nervous to say anything at all. I'd just hoped that she had been feeling that same spark between us, and that her confidence had somehow transformed a way for us to keep seeing each other into the thing I now held in my hand. I nervously looked down. It was a folded over hotdog wrapper from the canteen. Inside she'd written: "In case you want to keep in touch, 686-4392, x". Perfect! My team may have missed the semis, but that night I walked away happy, and about to try and arrange my first ever date?(Phone numbers have been changed to protect the innocent)Posted in the 'The Front Row' Forum Sevens Competition. To view the full competition,
WITH the Newtown Rugby League Football Club?s Centenary rapidly approaching in January 2008, all former Newtown Jets and Bluebags players and officials are invited to make contact with the club to ensure that their name, address and other contact details can be added to the club?s data base of ex-players and officials.The Newtown RLFC can be contacted as follows ? Phone: 1300 36 36 90 or 95500999; Email: [email protected]; Fax: 95500244; Postal: 40 George Street, Leichhardt. NSW. 2040.The club?s official website is at: www.newtownjets.com
WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats have announced the signing of Australian utility man Ned Catic.The 27-year-old has moved to the Super League club from Sydney Roosters after signing a two-year contract.Catic, who can play prop or second row, takes Wakefield's last overseas quota place alongside half-backs Ben Jeffries and Sam Obst."We are delighted to have signed a player of Ned's experience and quality," said coach Tony Smith."He is exactly the sort of player we have been looking for to complete the picture for 2006."He is a tough, robust prop who can play 80 minutes, and has been in two NRL Grand Finals so brings bags of experience with him."- - - - -Thanks to www.skysports.com (UK) for this news.
ENTERING one of Melbourne?s busy metropolitan hospitals on a crisp winters morning at 0640hrs, rugged up in a woolen coat, gloves, beanie and scarf, I was horrified to see a man sitting on the steps of the main entrance with a young girl in a pushchair. The man had a sign in front of him, ?please help feed my daughter?. The child, wearing a light summer dress, her blond curls matted under a Richmond Tigers beanie, had the biggest blue eyes, a feature that stood out on her dirt stained face. I paused; my thoughts briefly back in India, but only long enough to see security coming to move them along and went on my way to order my ritualistic pre-work cappuccino. The image soon left as I set about dealing with the latest intake of homeless, drug affected admissions to my unit. Ahh Melbourne?.the city of great food, better coffee and the AFL.
SOUTH Sydney Rabbitohs' players John Sutton and Stuart Webb have fined by the club following unruly behaviour at Erskineville Bowling Club last week.
COUNTRY rugby league supporters in Gunnedah will get the opportunity to see the 2005 NRL Premiers Wests Tigers in action in late January.Wests Tigers will play a combined Group 4 representative side at Kitchener Park, Gunnedah, on Friday, January 27, at 7pm in their first game for 2006.The match will give Wests Tigers players a chance to warm-up before the World Club Challenge against Super League champions Bradford Bulls at Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield, on Friday, February 3.Kevin Sheridan, President of Gunnedah Rugby League Football Club, said the community was excited about seeing the Wests Tigers up close."This is a great opportunity for young bush footballers to match their talents against some of the best players in the NRL,'' Sheridan said.With the Australia Day holiday on the Thursday prior to the match, Wests Tigers will also take part in the Australia Day celebrations in Gunnedah, giving the community a chance to meet the players beforehand.Following the World Club Challenge match, Wests Tigers will play Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in a trial at Brookvale Oval on Saturday, February 25, in their final hit-out before kicking off the NRL season against St George-Illawarra at Telstra Stadium on Friday, March 10.Due to the World Club Challenge and the schedule of the trial against Manly, Wests Tigers will not play a charity shield match at Campbelltown Stadium in February.On February 11, Balmain Ryde-Eastwood Tigers and Western Suburbs Magpies will both play Premier League trials against Parramatta at Campbelltown Stadium.Balmain and Western Suburbs will also play each other in a lower grade Jersey Flegg (U20) trial.
FOLLOWING the resignations of Chris Mawdsley, Chair and Bernie Senior, Treasurer of the Women?s Rugby League Association the WRLA Committee met at Brighouse Rangers ARLFC on Monday 28th November and John Cobb was elected as Acting Chair and Doreen Metcalf Acting Treasurer until the next AGM of the Association.It was also decided that at the end of the Qualifying Competition which concludes in January next year there will be a five team Premiership and First Division.Pendle Panthers and Sheffield Hawks, who currently have young inexperienced personnel in their squads have moved into the Development League and there results will be expunged forthwith from the Qualifying Competition.The draw was also made for the 2nd Round of the Challenge Cup:Keighley Cats v Castleford PanthersEast Hull v Hillside HawksBradford Thunderbirds v WarringtonWakefield Panthers ByeThe ties to be played in January 2006.
ONGOING re-development works at Oki Jubilee Stadium will see the St George Illawarra Dragons play their first three home games of the 2006 season at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.The NRL released the 2006 schedule two weeks ago, leaving the Dragons to determine their home game venue split, which includes an even split of seven games in both key communities, Wollongong and Sydney.Dragons Chief Executive Officer Peter Doust said there were a number of issues to consider in making the decision but believes the appropriate balance has been reached.?We are very fortunate to have two communities in which to play rugby league and part of our ongoing strategy is to spread the opposition teams across both regions,? said Doust.?While it may not be the optimal situation, appropriate time for building works to be completed at Oki Jubilee Stadium and venue clashes at WIN Stadium needed to be taken into consideration during this process.?We believe the 2006 venue allocation provides for a number of high quality matches in both of our community markets and given the number of occasions that venue capacity was reached in 2005, we anticipate an even greater demand this season,? added Doust.In 2006, the Dragons will host the Panthers in their first home game at WIN Stadium in Round 2 followed by the Broncos (Rnd 4), Knights (Rnd 5), Warriors (Rnd 10), Cowboys (Rnd16) and Sharks (Rnd 25) at the same venue.Round 13 will see the first game at Oki Jubilee Stadium against the Eels followed by the Rabbitohs (Rnd18), Bulldogs (Rnd 19), Storm (Rnd 21) and Tigers (Rnd 24).It will be the first time the Dragons will play the Rabbitohs, Bulldogs and Storm at Oki Jubilee Stadium since the return to Kogarah in 2003. It will also be the first time the Dragons will host the local derby with the Sharks at WIN Stadium during the regular season.The Dragons also plan to continue to honor their traditions in both communities throughout the season with the Illawarra Heritage match planned for Round 4 against the Broncos and the St George Heritage match will Round 24 against the Tigers in line with the NRL?s 60s week promotion.The Dragons will play two pre-season matches, one in each community, the first against the Rabbitohs on February 18 in the traditional Charity Shield match at Telstra Stadium and the second on Sunday, February 26 at WIN Stadium against the Roosters.ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS 2006 ROUND DRAWPre-season MatchesFebruary 18 Charity Shield v Rabbitohs Telstra StadiumFebruary 26 Dragons v Roosters WIN StadiumRound Team Day Date Time Venue1 Tigers Friday 10th March 7.30pm Telstra Stadium2 Panthers Sunday 19th March 3.00pm WIN Stadium3 Rabbitohs Sunday 26th March 2.30pm Telstra Stadium4 Broncos Sunday 2nd April 3.00pm WIN Stadium5 Knights Saturday 8th April 7.30pm WIN Stadium6 Sea Eagles 14-17 April Brookvale Oval7 Roosters 25th April Aussie Stadium8 Storm 28-30 April Olympic Park9 Sharks 6-7 May Toyota Park10 Warriors 13-14 May WIN Stadium11 BYE12 Knights 27-29 May Energy Australia Stadium13 Eels 2-4 June Oki Jubilee Stadium14 Panthers 9-11 June Penrith Football Stadium15 Broncos 16-18 June Suncorp Stadium16 Cowboys 24-26 June WIN Stadium17 BYE18 Rabbitohs 7-9 July Oki Jubilee Stadium19 Bulldogs 14-16 July Oki Jubilee Stadium20 Raiders 21-23 July Canberra Football Stadium21 Storm 28-30 July Oki Jubilee Stadium22 Eels 4-6 August Parramatta Stadium23 Bulldogs 11-13 August Telstra Stadium24 Tigers 18-20 August Oki Jubilee Stadium25 Sharks 25-27 August WIN Stadium26 Roosters 1-3 September Aussie Stadium
THE annual NSWRL City v Country clash heads back across the Great Divide in 2006 with the western NSW city of Dubbo selected to host the May 12 match.It will be the first time in four years City v Country has been played west of the ?mountains?. Lismore and the NSW Central Coast hosted the last three clashes, with Wagga the venue for 2002 and Bathurst hosting the 2001 clash.Country Rugby League General Manager, Mr Terry Quinn, was pleased to see the game return to a regional area. ?The people in the bush love their football and they deserve to see quality Rugby League,? he said.?There?s always plenty of passion when the country boys take on the Sydney players and we expect the people of Dubbo will get right behind the clash.?The match is open to all eligible NRL players not selected for the Australia v New Zealand Test.
FORMER St George Illawarra forward Lance Thompson has agreed to terms and has signed a one-year agreement to play the 2006 season with the Cronulla Sharks.The 27-year-old Thompson formalised his deal with the Sharks by signing a contract at Sharkies Leagues club today, in the company of Sharks General Manager Steve Rogers, coach Stuart Raper and Sharks Chairman Barry Pierce. ?This will be the start of a new chapter for me at the Sharks and I?m going to train hard, play hard and give it my best,? Thompson said.?I?ve always had a lot of respect for the Sharks club and its players, the semi final we played against them last year was one of our toughest games all year, so I?m looking forward to playing alongside some of those guys.? With the departure and retirement of a couple of key forwards, Thompson is being viewed by the Sharks as the perfect addition to a pack which will next year also include Queensland State of Origin prop Ben Ross. Rogers, in announcing the new signing, didn?t rule out the prospect of Thompson moving from his preferred position of back row into the front row as a replacement for the likes of Jason Stevens and Danny Nutley. ?Stuart (Raper) and Lance spoke about the prospect of Lance playing in the front row and neither of them had any doubt he could handle the move,? Rogers said. ?The way he plays I?m sure he could play either position.? Sharks coach Raper was also enthusiastic about the prospect of being able to call on Thompson?s skill and experience next season. ?I thought he was one of St George?s best forwards last year so there?s no doubt Lance has got plenty of good football left in him,? Rogers said. ?I?m sure he?ll fit in very well with us here at the Sharks.? While only signing a one-year deal, Sharks General Manager Steve Rogers explained that the club would review Thompson?s future mid season, with the view to possibly extending his contract beyond 2006. Thompson will train privately during the next two weeks, following a program put together by Sharks strength and conditioning coach Trent Elkin, before formally starting training with the Sharks on December 12. ?I?m going to try to clear my head after all that has gone on recently, I?ll go to Perth to support my good mate Choc (Anthony Mundine) before his next fight and I?ll do some hard training of my own before I start with the Sharks,? Thompson said. The entire Sharks squad will be taking a short break from pre-season preparations
LANCE Thompson's new NRL club Cronulla will give the former St George Illawarra forward time off to clear his head and re-focus before beginning pre-season training.Thompson will head to Perth to support his friend and former team-mate Anthony Mundine, who prepares to take on New Zealand boxer Rico Chong Nee on December 11. The veteran second-rower has signed a one-year deal with the Sharks today.He says he's always respected the club, which has a fierce rivalry with the Dragons.
BOTH the Sydney Roosters and Newtown Jets training squads had a solid joint workout at Wentworth Park on Saturday morning. The pace never slackened as both squads worked together for nearly one and three quarter hours. Newtown Jets coaches Paul Young and Greg Matterson were both pleased with their players training performances and the exceptional level of professionalism of the Roosters training regimen. More than 80 players (including NRL, VB Premier League, Jim Beam Cup and Jersey Flegg aspirants) participated in the session, in what is to be a regular feature of cooperation between the two clubs in their newly-forged partnership. The formal written agreement of association between the two 1908 foundation clubs was signed at Easts Leagues Club last Wednesday. The signatories for the two parties were Michael Conn (Deputy Chairman) and Brian Canavan (Chief Executive) for the Sydney Roosters and Barry Vining (President) and Glen Dwyer (Director) for the Newtown Jets. Newtown?s General Manager Doug Keen was also present as this historic agreement between the two clubs was formalised. The latest addition to the Newtown RLFC community of clubs, the Newtown Jetettes women?s rugby league team, held their inaugural presentation night last Saturday at the Marrickville Anzac Memorial Club. The girls expressed their thanks to the Anzac Club President Darby Boyd for helping to make it a successful evening, and also for his club?s generous assistance to the Jetettes during 2005. The Newtown girls are determined to take their club to further success and progress in the 2006 rugby league season. Photo details:Big Vince Mellars has shown excellent summer training form with the Sydney Roosters full-time training squad.Photo courtesy of Gary Sutherland Photography.