LIKELY squad Anthony Minichello, Lelea Paea, Ryan Cross, Isolia Soliola, Amos Roberts, Braith Anasta, Brett Finch, Craig Fitzgibbon, John Doyle, Adrian Morley, Chris Flannery, Anthony Tupou, Ashley HarrisonInterchange: David Shillington, Mark Edmondson, Lopeni Paea, Craig WingStrengths:The Roosters have one of the better backlines in the competition. While it may not be the best, they have a tremendous amount of skill. Amos Roberts and Anthony Minichello spearhead the backline and if both men fire on their day, the Roosters will run riot over anyone.The starting forward pack is also very strong. Despite the losses of Jason Cayless, Luke Ricketson and Michael Crocker the Roosters still field a very strong starting pack. Tupou and Morley are intimidating figures in the side while new recruit Ashley Harrison will prove to be what many believe as the buy of the season. The rangy lock is one of the best in the game and will finally get a chance to prove that he is Origin standard.The use of Craig Wing off the bench will be vital for the Roosters. His impact can break a game wide open and set up wins for the Roosters. If he isn?t on his game when he is put into the attack it could spell dramas for the Roosters.Weaknesses:The Roosters? bench is not the strongest in the competition and apart from Craig Wing, none of the other players would be the type of player to strike fear into the hearts of opposition teams. While the three guys have potential, they do not have that ?fear factor? in order to give a team an edge when the game is in the balance after 20-30 minutes. This is a problem for the Roosters.The Roosters? depth seems a bit shaky at the moment. While they have quality players in Premier League, they neglect to have the adequate first grade experience to be an instant success and compare to the depths of the likes of the Tigers or Eels. This could be a problem for the Roosters should the inevitable injuries occur.Brett Finch is a weakness to this team. He would possibly have to be the most one-dimensional halfback in the competition. He lacks the adequate creativity to win the competition for the Roosters. Last year showed why the Roosters were so reliant on Brad Fittler and this season they will be relying on Anasta. The Roosters have the better solution in Jamie Soward in Reserve Grade, but that would mean the administration would have to swallow their pride and put a form player in, instead of someone who they pay big dollars.One to Watch:Adam Schubert is the player to watch for the Roosters this season. The 94kg, 182cm workhorse second row has built up reputation as being a damaging and tenacious defender. He got a real taste of First Grade in 2005 when the Roosters had injury dramas and Origin duties and he didn?t disappoint.In his debut against Manly in an epic battle which eventually Manly won, Adam was one of the best on field making crucial tackles and much needed metres. His best assets are of course his defence and also his working ethic. With the Roosters losing many forwards in the off-season, you?d have to think Adam would be foremost in the mind of Ricky Stuart and rightly so. He definitely has a future in the game.Gains and Losses:Gains: Ashley Harrison, Braith Anasta, John Doyle, Charlie Tonga, Mitchell Pearce, Glen Hall, Mark Edmonson.Losses: Michael Crocker, Luke Ricketson, Chris Walker, Jason Cayless, Ben Hannant, Stuart Webb, George Rose, Ned Catic, Grant Rovelli, James Aubusson, Jack Rampling. Richard Fa?osoAssessment:The Roosters have the team to make the top 8 if they can keep the same 17 on the park every week. If they get injuries however, particularly in the forwards, they will struggle to remain consistent enough to threaten for any title. They have lost aggression and inspiration in the off-season along with valuable depth, something that hasn?t been adequately replaced. I see the Roosters finishing between 7th and 10th.
HUDDERSFIELD Giants Steve Snitch is going back to Wakefield with a point to prove...The 23 year old makes a first return to Belle Vue in Saturday's engage Super League clash. It will be the first time the 23-year-old has faced the club he served for five seasons.Snitch's main concern though is about helping his new club to gain two points in front the Sky TV cameras."The key on Saturday is for the Giants to show that the defeat at Wigan was a one-off. This match is the chance to prove to everyone that Huddersfield are better than the Wigan result suggests. As a squad, that defeat last Friday hit us hard. We just didn't do ourselves justice at all. The only positive we can take is the way we responded after the nightmare start and if we can reproduce the form we showed in the second half against Wigan, we'll give ourselves a great chance." Yet even though Snitch knows Saturday is all about the Giants, he admits the game will be extra-special for him."Obviously this first visit back to Belle Vue is special and I want to do well. We are expecting that the game itself will be a close one, but I'm really looking forward to it."The first thing I did when the fixtures came out was to look when we played Wakefield. I obviously haven't had to wait long and am really looking forward to going back on Saturday as I have had some really good times there. It will be good to see and catch up with all of my old teammates, but again, the important thing is the two points."
THURSDAY 2 March 2006 Ericsson Stadium No.2, Auckland NZ Maori vs TokelauNZ Maori 64Tries: D. Laulu, W. Heta, J. Trott, H. Raihe, S. Kuru, S. Skinnon, S. Hunter (2), J. Paikea (2), P. Atkins (2)Goals: W. Heta (1), J. Trott (2), C. Motu (5) Player Of The Day: Paul Atkins (No.15) Tokelau 4Tries: S. ManuPlayer Of The Day: Bobei Tuifelaei (No.11) Halftime Score: 30 ? 4 To NZ Maori Samoa vs Cook IslandsCook Islands 42Tries: N. Nga?a, J. Tou, T. Raela, J. Burgess, P. Russell (2), J. Taurarii (2), S. Mataora (2)Goals: S. Mataora (1), W. Vaea?u (1)Player Of The Day: Terry Taia (No. 8) Samoa 0Player Of The Day: Luka Iosefo (No. 7) Rugby League International Federation ? Pacific Cup Finals Fixtures 2006 Sunday 5 March 2006 Waitemata Park, Henderson, Auckland Tokelau vs Samoa 12.00 noon Kick Off NZ Maori vs Cook Islands 1.30 pm Kick Off Fiji vs Tonga 3.00 pm Kick Off
WIGAN have announced that former Great Britain full-back Kris Radlinski is retiring from Rugby League with immediate effect.Wigan chairman, Maurice Lindsay, said: "This is dreadful news for both Kris and the club and indeed for the whole of the Rugby League.?Kris has been battling against one injury after another since the time he was injured against Australia in Sydney in 2002. The final straw arrived when he could not make sufficient recovery from his long standing knee injury.?We fully understand his right to give up the struggle particularly as he has been such a great servant to the club and the game itself. Kris only managed to play in 15 games in the 2005 season and has only played one game since July."The retirement of Kris Radlinski probably marks the end of a remarkable phase in the Wigan club's history.?Kris played alongside the likes of Andy Farrell, Jason Robinson, Gary Connolly, Terry Newton, Mick Cassidy, Martin Offiah, Denis Betts, Adrian Lam and many others, but we now have a new team which will hopefully produce new stars.?If the current players show the same character and courage that Kris Radlinski showed us, we will be more than successful."Radlinski himself added: "I am so disappointed that I have to give up the game I love so much. To be honest I think the day has been coming for a little while and I need to be fair to the club as well as myself.?I want Wigan to be successful. The club has been great to me over the years and now that I have made this decision they can start planning. I've talked it over at length with Maurice Lindsay and we both agree this is the best way forward.?Maurice has suggested to me that I consider getting involved with the clubs youth division, that is something I will consider in the future. I want to thank everyone at the club and especially the fans who have been great to me over the years.?I have so many memories to treasure with possibly none more so than winning the Lance Todd Trophy at Murrayfield in the Challenge Cup Final of 2002. I will always remain a Wigan fan which is where I started."Head Coach, Ian Millward, stated: "It is a sad loss for the club and I am personally sorry that I never got a chance to work with Kris. He was a player I much admired
FOUR games on Friday night make it a big night for Superleague in Round Four! The televised game will be Warrington hosting undefeated St Helens, although the Saints will be without captain Paul Sculthorpe and young forward James Graham who were both suspended last week. Warrington played themselves into form with a comback against Hull last week, and will be looking to consolidate in front of a home crowd. Michael Sullivan can't buy any game time for the Wolves at the moment, so on the day they've got talent. Could be a close one?Also on Friday, Harlequins hope to regiater their first win of the year, but are travelling to Hull who will be desperate to make amends for their poor showing last week. Harlequins almost beat Bradford in their last road trip, so anything's possible. Salford host Wigan, and after coming back to earth against Bradford last week the Reds will be hoping to show their early season form was no fluke. Wigan are fresh off their first win of the year, and will be looking to make it two in a row. And Castleford will hope to test Leeds at Headingley, to follow on from their win against Les Catalans last week. But having lost in a tough encounter against St Helens the Rhinos will be banking on getting back to the winning list here.Saturday's televised game is Wakefield v Huddersfield, a win for either team will keep them with the pack vying for a top six spot. Both teams have shown they have the talent to win games, but consistency is the issue. And finally, Bradford make the trip to the south of France to face Les Catalans, who will be hoping to make the Bulls their next home ground victim...
LIKELY squad: Rhys Wesser, Nick Youngquest, Luke Lewis, Danny Galea, Luke Rooney, Preston Campbell, Craig Gower, Joel Clinton, Luke Priddis, Bryan Norrie, Trent Waterhouse, Tony Puletua, Shane RodneyInterchange: Frank Puletua, Matthew Cross, Frank Pritchard, Junior MoorsStrengths:The Penrith forward pack once again remains intimidating. They have purchased young prop Bryan Norrie from the Dragons and he comes to the club with big raps from many. Trent Waterhouse will hopefully go back to his best position in the second row to reap havoc at the fringes with his brilliant running and offloading ability, while 80 minute player Shane Rodney will be in his destined position.The Penrith bench is once again strong. Frank Puletua really reached his potential as a player last season, while Matthew Cross?s emergence in the closing part of the season really showed what potential he has as a player. Frank Pritchard is back on the bench and will provide that valuable impact boost the Panthers craved last season while youngster Junior Moors will hopefully get a shot to show he is First Grade material.The halves at Penrith would have to rate amongst the best in the competition. The toughness of Craig Gower with the creative genius and elusiveness of Preston Campbell is a vital combination for Penrith to succeed in the competition this year.Penrith, like South Sydney, have purchased in numbers and potential rather than names for the upcoming season. Penrith signed journeymen Craig Stapleton and David Thompson to play reserve grade and bolster their forward depth. They also signed a plethora of outside backs to cover the shortfall that existed all last season. This will only aid in the Penrith rebuilding phase.Weaknesses:The Penrith backline is once again going to be their downfall this season. Unless new purchases really kick into gear, then there will be grave fears for Penrith fans as we will once again be the butt of all jokes. While Rhys Wesser, Luke Lewis and Luke Rooney will provide great resistance, it is really up to the younger guys who will fill the 2 and 4 to get the team to a position of respect once again.The whole Craig Gower ?will he or won?t he? saga has to be affecting the players. While Gower?s first indiscretion was enough to harm the reputation of Penrith, the turmoil surrounding whether he wants to stay at the club or not has to be affecting the playing group.One to Watch:Junior Moors would have to rate amongst the best second row prospects in the game today. The parochial talent has a great bloodline as well. His cousin is New Zealand representative and Panther Tony Puletua and when you watch Junior play, you can definitely see the similarity.A NSW Under 19?s representative, he was the only shining light in a team that got belted by Queensland. He is a hard ball runner and has a handy offload. While he still has work to do on his defence he has been known to cream a few players and they know they?ve been hit. At 19 years of age, he still has some growing to do, which makes his 108kg, 192cm frame all the more impressive.Junior will look to feature on the bench this season for Penrith as the club rebuilds and losing the likes of Joe Galuvao and Ben Ross has paved the way for some young forwards to be given a shot. I have no doubt John Lang will be thinking of the name Junior Moors by the end of the season.Gains and Losses:Gains: Bryan Norrie, Nick Youngquet, Mark O'Halloran, Bob Blair, Matt Bell, Wayne Bond, Liam Georgetown, Chris NewtonLosses: Ben Ross, Joe Galuvao, Ben Rogers, Ben Pomeroy, Garrett Crossman, Shannon Donato, Trent Clayton, Paul FranzeAssessment:If Penrith can manage to get it together as a team before the season starts then I believe they have the potential to make the top 8. If this whole Gower saga affects the mental status of the team then they could be looking at the wooden spoon. Also with the recent change in coach and the way the management handled it with regards to John Lang, it may affect the team?s attitude on the field. Many people have tipped Penrith for the spoon this season, but the reality is that there are just too many good players in this team to finish with the spoon. I think Penrith will finish mid table, as high as 6th and as low as 11th.
FOLLOWING a hearing of the RFL Disciplinary Committee in Leeds on Tuesday, Paul Sculthorpe of St Helens was found guilty of striking in last Friday?s engage Super League fixture against Leeds Rhinos, resulting in a one-game suspension and a ?350 fine.Sculthorpe was charged by the Rugby Football League following an incident involving Ryan Bailey in last week?s win over Leeds.Saints will also be without James Graham after the prop was banned for two games for a similar offence.Graham was summoned to Tuesday?s disciplinary hearing in Leeds after a late challenge on Rhinos? Rob Burrow. He will also sit out next week?s game against Huddersfield.Both players were fined ?350 but Saints have indicated their intention to appeal against the verdicts.Wakefield half-back Sam Obst was also banned for one game and fined ?350 for a dangerous throw in his side?s win at Harlequins. He will miss Saturday?s encounter with Huddersfield.- - - - -Paul Sculthorpe and James Graham of St Helens have both withdrawn their appeals with the RFL against suspensions imposed by the Disciplinary Committee in Leeds on Tuesday night.Sculthorpe was suspended for one game and Graham for two games after being found guilty of striking in last Friday evening?s engage Super League encounter with Leeds Rhinos.Both players were also fined ?350 and lodged appeals over their punishment, but these have now been withdrawn.
CASTLEFORD enjoyed their first taste of success on their return to the engage Super League, overcoming Catalans Dragons 34-28 in a gripping encounter at the Jungle.Having suffered the pain of relegation at the end of the 2004 season, Castleford have found life hard since their return to the top flight, suffering heavy defeats at the hands of both Hull and St Helens.However this win, their first Super League victory since the September 11 2004, offers coach Terry Matterson hope they can avoid the relegation trapdoor this time around, although they will need to learn how to close a game out if they are to achieve that goal.After leading 26-10 at one stage in the second half, the Tigers slipped to being 28-26 behind, before Michael Shenton?s 74th-minute charge to the line finally secured the points.Matterson?s cause was helped considerably by the loss of Stacey Jones, the Catalans? playmaker, to a broken arm in their defeat at Salford last weekend.After looking void of any creativity for almost an hour, the visitors eventually clicked into gear and produced a devastating spell of rugby, reminiscent of their opening weekend win over Wigan.Vital to the Tigers victory were centre Gray Viane and stand-off Ryan McGoldrick.The former has been impeccable since arriving from Widnes and increased his tally of tries this season to six with a hat-trick, whilst the latter produced an all-round performance that justified why Castleford fought so hard to secure his release from Wests Tigers.Having been left out of the side so far this campaign, it was Waine Pryce, one of just three survivors from the class of 2004, who opened the scoring in the third minute with his first touch of the season.His 60-metre burst to the line and Craig Huby?s subsequent goal built the platform for what followed.Catalans fought back with interest but were all too guilty of trying to force an extra pass and they were made to pay on 13 minutes when the impressive Danny Sculthorpe found Viane in space on the left-hand side, the centre making no mistake in finding the line.Having been rejected by St Helens and relegated at Widnes, Viane is now showing his full potential.His try, backed up by a brace after the break, leaves him second on the embryonic try scorers chart.It appeared a walkover might be on the cards when McGoldrick fed Huby to open a 16-0 lead, more so when Mark Hughes was sent to the sin-bin for holding Ben Roarty.Jamil Fakir made light of the full-back?s absence though to barge over from close range and open the visitors? account.Castleford hit back with an effort from Richard Fletcher, again set up by Huby, although Thomas Bosc?s scramble touchdown brought the scores closer together at the interval, Castleford leading 22-10.Viane opened the second period with his second try, grounding Sculthorpe?s deft kick to the corner, although when Chris Beattie plundered a further French response following on from a sin-binning for Pryce, a fightback looked likely.With just 20 minutes remaining, the prospect looked all the more ominous, when Renaud Guigue capitalised on Andy Kain?s failure to deal with Sean Rudder?s high kick to score to the left of the posts.Luarent Frayssinous kept his cool to reduce the arrears to 26-22 with the conversion.The visitors then produced what had previously seemed unthinkable by taking the lead on 63 minutes, when John Wilson collected Hughes? pass to crash over in the corner.Frayssinous then kicked his fourth conversion to draw a chorus of boos from the home crowd as Castleford bordered on throwing away all their early hard work.But the crowd of 5825 need not have worried for too long, as first Shenton collected a pass from Roarty to score in the right hand corner, and then Viane rounded things off with the last touch of the game.Castleford: Platt, Pryce, Viane, Shenton, Dyer, McGoldrick, Kain, Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Fletcher, Huby, Roarty.Replacements: Mason, Bird, Haughey, Handforth.Catalans Dragons: Hughes, Murphy, Wilson, Guigue, Verges, Rudder, Frayssinous, Beattie, Rinaldi, Fellous, Fakir, Guisset, Hindmarsh.Replacements: Bosc, Chan, Touxagas, Mounis.Castleford (22) 34.Tries: Pryce, Viane 3, Huby, Fletcher, Shenton. Goals: Huby 2, Kain.Catalans Dragons (10) 28.Tries: Fakir, Bosc, Beattie, Guigue, Wilson. Goals: Frayssinous 4.Att: 5,852Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)
KIWI winger Henry Fa?afili scored a hat-trick of tries as Warrington staged a tremendous fightback to claim their first win of the engage Super League season 46-24.The Wolves were staring at a third successive defeat when they conceded two tries in the first 14 minutes and found themselves trailing 24-12 after a spectacular 90-metre try from Great Britain winger Gareth Raynor five minutes before half-time.But the Wolves suddenly found their touch and, inspired by captain Lee Briers, ran in 34 points without reply to condemn Hull to their first defeat of the season, a result that leaves St Helens with the only 100% record after three rounds.Former Hull winger Richie Barnett helped sink his old club as he got among the feast of tries which warmed a 9,539 crowd on a bitterly cold night at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.But Hull coach John Kear must wonder how it all went wrong after his side made a dream start.Beaten in both their opening games, the Wolves? gloom deepened in the early stages when they conceded quickfire tries to Danny Brough and Kirk Yeaman, who went on to add a second before half-time to take his tally to seven in just three matches.Warrington went into the game without four players, including New Zealand Test second rower Logan Swann, who succumbed to a virus sweeping through the club.And the home side were under the weather from the start as Hull quickly became the first team to reach 100 points in Super League XI.Their calamitous start was epitomised by full-back Brent Grose, whose fumble enabled scrum-half Brough to touch down for the first try after only six minutes.The crucial kick had come from loose forward Paul Cooke, who set up Yeaman for the second just three minutes later after former Hull centre Toa Kohe-Love had knocked on in his own half.The quick-thinking Cooke spotted Grose up in the line at the scrum and Yeaman easily won the race to his kick.Brought converted both tries and added a 17th-minute penalty to make it 14-0 but it could have been much worse for Warrington, with Hull winger Motu Tony failing to make anything of a clear overlap and Grose getting a hand to what would have been Brough?s tryscoring pass to Richard Horne.The Wolves made the most of the let-offs, with hooker Jon Clarke beating his opposite number Richard Swain from dummy half to claim a much-needed try midway through the first half.Briers also scored a solo try, jinking his way over from close range, and he kicked both conversions, but by then Yeaman had taken full-back Shaun Briscoe?s pass to score his second try.There looked to be no way back once Raynor diffused Chris Bridge?s ?bomb? and raced 90 metres to score, turning his former team-mate Richie Barnett inside out in the process.But tries either side of half-time from Fa?afili breathed new life into Warrington?s cause.Fa?afili timed his jump perfectly just before the break to gather Briers? high kick and then finished off a sweeping move involving Clarke and Martin Gleeson to add a second seven minutes into the second half.A handling error by Hull?s substitute winger Nathan Blacklock enabled the home side to pile on the pressure and it paid off on 54 minutes when Briers and Clarke combined to get second rower Michael Wainwright over for the try which put his side in front for the first time.Hull visibly crumbled as Barnett finished off a classic cross-field move in decisive fashion and Bridge added try number seven from close range.Briers, who could do no wrong in a one-sided second half, added a drop goal and then intercepted a pass from former Warrington favourite Sid Domic to send Fa?afili over for his hat-trick try.Briers kicked his sixth goal from eight attempts and fittingly completed the scoring with a second drop goal, this time from 40 metres, to cap off a magnificent display.Warrington: Grose, Fa'afili, M. Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Barnett, Briers, Bridge, Leikvoll, Clarke, Wood, Noone, Wainwright, Westwood.Replacements: Sullivan, M. Gleeson, Hilton, Lima.Hull: Briscoe, Tony, Whiting, Yeaman, Raynor, R. Horne, Brough, Thackray, Swain, King, Radford, Domic, Cooke.Replacements: Blacklock, McMenemy, Higgins, Carvell.Warrington: (18) 46.Tries: Clarke, Briers, Fa'afili 3, Wainwright, Barnett, Bridge.Goals: Briers 6.Drop Goals: Briers 2.Hull: (24) 24.Tries: Brough, Yeaman 2, Raynor.Goals: Brough 4.Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)Att: 9,359
HARLEQUINS are still without a win after Fijian winger Semi Tadulala?s hat-trick inspired Wakefield to their first success of the new season following a 26-6 victory.The Wildcats had lost their first two matches to Bradford and Hull, but were always too strong for Quins once Tadulala went over twice in the first 10 minutes.The flying Fijian took just two minutes to open his account.Quins had not even handled the ball when quick Wakefield hands down the left gave Tadulala the simple task of finishing from five yards.Seven minutes later he added his second when he got on the end of David March?s grubber kick to touch down in the same corner.Quins? New Zealand scrum-half Thomas Leuluai should have reduced the arrears in the 15th minute, but he lost possession with the try line beckoning.Wakefield stretched their lead in the 27th minute when Tony Clubb dropped the ball two yards from his own line and Sam Obst gleefully accepted the gift.March slotted over the conversion after missing his first two attempts from the touchline.Quins ? again without influential skipper Mark McLinden ? improved before the break with returning centre Tyrone Smith and Lee Hopkins being held up on the line.The Wildcats lost John Whittle early in the second period after he fell awkwardly under a tackle, but Colum Halpenney sealed the win with the fourth try of the afternoon for the visitors.After another slick passing move, Halpenny was put clear and, despite juggling the ball, he regained his composure to touch down.March missed his third conversion from the touchline, but Ben Jeffries added a close-range penalty to make it 20-0.Tadulala completed his haul six minutes from time after David Solomona offloaded in the tackle before Quins finally got on the scoresheet.Mark Tookey evaded two tackles in the 77th minute and touched down under the posts with Paul Sykes adding the conversion, but it was no more than a consolation.Wakefield had the final say when Jeffries added a last-gasp penalty.Harlequins RL: Lucky Luisi, Clubb, Purdham, Sykes, Bradley-Qalilawa, Gafa, Leuluai, Temata, Weisner, Heckenberg, Haumono, Hopkins, Mbu.Replacements: Williams, Mills, Smith, Tookey.Wakefield: Halpenny, White, Demetriou, Whittle, Tadulala, Obst, Jeffries, Catic, March, MacGillivray, Solomona, Elima, Betham.Replacements: Applegarth, Griffin, Korkidas, SaxtonHarlequins RL: (0) 6Tries:TookeyGoals: SykesWakefield: (14) 26Tries: Tadulala (3), Obst, HalpennyGoals: March, Jeffries (2)Referee: I Smith (Oldham)Att: 3,554
CHAMPIONS Bradford ended Salford?s winning start to the engage Super League season with an emphatic 34-4 victory at Odsal on Friday night.The Bulls ran in six tries but the contest was effectively settled in the first 40 minutes as they opened up a 24-4 half-time lead.Iestyn Harris touched down twice for the dominant Bulls with Brad Meyers, Stuart Fielden, Shontayne Hape and Stanley Gene also crossing. Paul Deacon kicked four goals.Salford had gone into the game with the best defensive record in the competition having conceded just one try in their opening wins over Warrington and Catalans Dragons.Bradford soon set about changing that and opened the Reds up to claim the first score of a chilly evening after just two minutes.Hape knocked back a Iestyn Harris kick and Meyers made easy work of the finish by the posts.Deacon converted and Salford were fortunate to escape further damage as the Bulls scrum-half lost the ball trying to touch down. Ben Harris also seemed set to score when he knocked on under pressure from Karl Fitzpatrick.Another try seemed inevitable and it duly arrived after 16 minutes when Fielden found space on the left and powered his way to the line.It was beginning to look too easy for the Bulls as Deacon broke from halfway to pass inside for half-back partner Iestyn Harris to score the third try.Salford did at least manage to stem the flow as they mounted a rare attack and pulled a try back through David Hodgson after 24 minutes.The Reds opted to run a penalty deep in the Bulls half and were rewarded as the ball was worked wide for Hodgson to sneak over in the corner.Normal service was resumed four minutes before the interval, however, as Chris McKenna found Ben Harris with a clever pass behind his back and the centre sent Iestyn Harris over for his second.The Bulls continued to apply the pressure after the break and, despite a stronger defensive effort from Salford, it only seemed a matter of time before they increased their lead.The fifth try arrived as they attacked down the right and Lesley Vainikolo, on his return to the side from injury, fed Hape in the corner.Salford almost responded immediately as Andy Coley drove to the line but he was stopped short and Junior Langi was held up as he tried to force his way over from dummy half.The game was well beyond the Reds, however, and the second half was a largely scrappy affair. Salford?s frustration began to show and, with Bradford easing up, there were a few niggly incidents and ugly tackles.Yet it was still a satisfactory night for the Bulls and Gene put the seal on their first home win of the season when he broke through for a fine individual try 11 minutes from time.With Deacon off the field, Iestyn Harris completed formalities with the conversion, taking his tally for the night to 10 points.Bradford: Withers, Bai, B. Harris, Hape, Vainikolo, I. Harris, Deacon, Fielden, Henderson, Lynch, McKenna, Meyers, Langley.Replacements: Vagana, Johnson, Gene, Ferres.Salford: Hodgson, Stewart, Littler, Moule, Langi, Dunemann, Fitzpatrick, Coley, Alker, Highton, Brocklehurst, Finnigan, Charles.Replacements: Clough, Haggerty, Rutgerson, Baldwin.Bradford: (24) 34.Tries: Meyers, Fielden, I. Harris 2, Hape, Gene.Goals: Deacon 4, I. Harris.Salford: (4) 4.Tries: Hodgson.Referee: R Laughton (Barnsley)Att: 10,062
ST Helens underlined their status as engage Super League title favourites with a hard-fought 13-4 victory over Leeds to maintain their 100% start to the season.Leeds' teenager Danny Williams enjoyed a fairytale debut by scoring the first try of the match but it was not enough to prevent the Rhinos? first defeat.Saints trailed until second row Lee Gilmour struck in first-half stoppage time while winger Francis Meli scored the only try of the second half.Leeds, 19-16 winners on their last visit to Knowsley Road in October, had the encouragement of an early break by second row Jamie Jones-Buchanan, a late replacement for Great Britain international Gareth Ellis.And they thought they had scored on eight minutes when 19-year-old Williams collected a kick from Kevin Sinfield only for video referee Steve Presley to rule he was in front of the kicker.Both defences were on top but Saints had difficulty coping with Leeds' clever kicking game.Stand-off Danny McGuire, pinpointed by St Helens coach Daniel Anderson as a major threat, knocked on in a great position after Ali Lauitiiti had intercepted a Saints pass.Some delightful passing from Saints' internationals Leon Pryce and Jamie Lyon promised much and the home side had a try disallowed on 17 minutes when winger Ade Gardner was denied by a forward pass.The breakthrough came on 23 minutes when Williams showed great pace to reach full-back Richie Mathers' grubber kick to the line and this time referee Ashley Klein had no reason to refer the decision.Sinfield missed the difficult conversion and the Rhinos went behind just before half time when Gilmour took a short pass from prop Paul Anderson to crash through for a crucial try.Lyon added the simple goal to edge his side 6-4 ahead by the break.It was just as tense in the second half as both sides sought to gain the upper hand and handling errors ruined many a promising move.Both teams had ignored chances to kick penalty goals in the first half but the temptation proved too great for Saints on 50 minutes after Shane Millard was pulled up for interference at the play-the-ball.Captain Paul Sculthorpe asked Lyon to go for the two points and the Australian duly obliged, edging his side into an 8-4 lead.That was just the encouragement St Helens needed as they began to pile on the pressure, which paid off almost immediately.Man of the match Pryce sent out a long pass to the wing where Meli stepped inside Rob Burrow to touch down and extend his side's lead.That was the signal for Sculthorpe to take a breather but vice-captain Sean Long strengthened his side's hold on the game by adding a drop goal to complete the scoring.St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, P. Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Sculthorpe, HooperReplacements: Roby, Wilkin, Graham, Fa'asavalu.Leeds: Mathers, Donald, Walker, Senior, Williams, McGuire, Burrow, Bailey, Diskin, Peacock, Lauitiiti, Jones-Buchanan, SinfieldReplacements: Millard, Poching, Feather, Scruton.St Helens: (6) 13.Tries: Gilmour, Meli.Goals: Lyon 2.Drop Goals: Long.Leeds: (4) 4.Tries: Williams.Referee: A Klein (London)Att: 13,433
WIGAN swept away any talk of crisis after two successive defeats by recording a 36-20 victory over Huddersfield at the JJB Stadium that was far more emphatic than the scoreline suggests.Much had been made of the Warriors being a defeat away from their worst start to a season in 21 years, but first-half tries by Chris Ashton, Kevin Brown, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Harrison Hansen and Brett Dallas had all but killed the game by the break.The Giants, who were on the back foot for virtually the entire first half, made a contest of it with a couple of scores either side of the break, but had left themselves with far too much to do to repeat last season?s come from behind win here despite adding another two tries in the last 10 minutes.Wigan had got off to the perfect start by running in three tries inside the opening 10 minutes to greatly ease the pressure on themselves and coach Ian Millward.The first saw young full back Ashton burst through down the right-hand side and outpace the cover to touch down, and the second owed everything to a superb break down the centre of the field by Dennis Moran.As the scrum half drew Huddersfield full back Paul Reilly, the supporting David Vaealiki was held back in play, and the chance looked to have gone.Moran, though, had another trick up his sleeve, and he kicked ahead towards the left-hand corner for Brown to ground the ball over the line.Two minutes later a fine break from Mark Calderwood down the left set up good field position and, following a penalty for holding down in the tackle, Hansen crashed over through some weak tackling for the third try.Danny Tickle kicked all three conversions and the Giants were staring down the barrels of a heavy defeat, having barely had the ball in their hands.The Warriors added their fourth score after just 17 minutes, as Paleaaesina took a short ball from close range and just bulldozed his way through two would-be tacklers.The home side should have extended the lead after 26 minutes when a super passing move involving Brown, Moran and Ashton saw Calderwood fail to take the final ball with the line at his mercy.The Giants had their first real attack with half an hour on the clock but massive defensive hits from Sean O?Loughlin and Vaealiki denied Eorl Crabtree and Paul March respectively, and Wigan broke away to bring up the 30-point mark with just 33 minutes on the clock.Dallas finished off a flowing move in the left-hand corner to present Tickle with his most difficult conversion yet, but the second rower was up to it to maintain his 100% record.Huddersfield hit back on the stroke of half time when, after Brad Drew had been held up just short by Ashton and Brown, Chris Nero took Pat Richards and Calderwood over the line with him to put the visitors on the scoreboard.The Giants then came out first up for the second half and centre James Evans scored their second try just two minutes after the interval to give the visiting support something to cheer at long last.They nearly cut the gap further on 50 minutes after Albert Torrens was put through by Chris Thorman, but the Giants man was bundled into touch by Ashton a yard short.Huddersfield's hopes of an unlikely comeback were hit on the hour, though, when Paul March was sent to the sin bin for holding down in the tackle.And the Warriors took immediate advantage by crossing for their sixth try of the night when Wayne Godwin touched down by the side of the posts, although Torrens and De Vere replied for Huddersfield in the closing stages to give the scoreline a more than flattering look.Wigan: Ashton, Calderwood, Richards, Vaealiki, Dallas, Brown, Moran, Seu Seu, Godwin, Paleaaesina, Hansen, Tickle, O'Loughlin.Replacements: Logan, Hargreaves, Higham, Tomkins.Huddersfield: Reilly, Aspinwall, Evans, Torrens, De Vere, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, March, McDonald, Smith, Jones, Wild.Replacements: Drew, Nero, Snitch, Jackson.Wigan: (30) 36.Tries: Ashton, Brown, Hansen, Paleaaesina, Dallas, Godwin.Goals: Tickle 6.Huddersfield: (4) 20.Tries: Nero, Evans, Torrens, De Vere.Goals: De Vere, Thorman.Referee: P Bentham (Warrington)Att: 11,623
A Rockhampton Leagues Club Comets White side made up of QLD Cup squad players and QR Development Squad players were too strong for Mackay South?s Sharks A-grade defeating them 34-18 at Browne Park on Saturday, February 12 in round two of the Minniecon & Burke Comets Pre-Season Challenge.
LAST Friday night the Classic Sportswear Redcliffe Dolphins Development squad travelled down to Pizzey Park to take on the Burleigh Bears.