Smith extends stay at Rhinos

LEEDS Rhinos have received a massive boost ahead of the start of the new engage Super League season this Sunday at Headingley Carnegie against Huddersfield with the news that Head Coach Tony Smith has agreed a new one year extension which will keep him at Leeds until at least the end of 2007.Smith, who will come up against his former club this Sunday, was named engage Super League Coach of the Year last season and was due to be out of contract at the end of the 2006 season. However, he has agreed a one year extension now having moved to Headingley Carnegie at the start of the 2004 season.Commenting on the announcement Smith said, ?I?m delighted to have been offered and accepted an extension to my contract. It is an honour to coach a club that is always competitive and pushing for titles. I would like to thank Paul Caddick and Gary Hetherington for their backing and I had no hesitation in signing my new contract.?I have enjoyed my time already here at the club and I am looking forward to the future and working with the exciting players and backroom staff we have in place now at the Rhinos. The strength of our team both on and off the pitch was a major factor in my decision and we will have some exciting times in the future.?I am pleased to have got the extension sorted out before the start of the season and we can now concentrate on the year ahead and doing our best. Having recently been back to Australia, my family are very happy here in England and this is certainly home for us now,? added Smith.Chief Executive Gary Hetherington added, ?We are delighted Tony has accepted this extension and we are now looking forward to continue our progression under him and his coaching team over the next two years at least. Tony has done a tremendous job in his two years already at Headingley Carnegie and we are all looking forward to the new season now, starting on Sunday at home against Huddersfield.?

Kennedy to quit rep football

MANLY Sea Eagles and Test back rower Ben Kennedy will quit representative football after accepting the Club captaincy for 2006.The 31-year-old veteran of 13 Tests and 12 State of Origin appearances was offered the captaincy by coach Des Hasler last Monday. He will take over from Michael Monaghan.One of the best forwards in last year's Tri-Nations tournament, Kennedy joined Manly last year after five seasons with the Newcastle Knights (2000-2004). His first grade debut was with the Canberra Raiders in 1996 where he stayed until 1999.Kennedy was touted as a possible captain when he joined the Sea Eagles last year. But he said he wasn't interested, stating the prospect of changing clubs to be enough responsibility for one year. In what may be his final season in first grade football, Kennedy has indicated he will focus on Manly's 2006 premiership ambitions. "Manly has given me this honour and I should show some respect and show that I'm committed to getting Manly going in the right direction," Kennedy said."In regards to rep footy, I'm pretty much leaning towards last year being my last season. I haven't officially rung [ARL general manager] Geoff Carr or written a letter, but with this job and the change of coaches with the rep teams I'm thinking that it's probably time to sit back and let someone else have a go."Pic: Action Photos.

Delaney likely pivot in Ballina trial

BRETT Delaney is set to wear the number six for the Parramatta Eels after the 20-year-old was named at five-eighth for this Saturday's trial against the Melbourne Storm in Ballina.With regular five-eighth John Morris likely miss the start of the season, it appears that Delaney's selection at pivot will not be a one-off.Morris continues to recover from a pectoral injury prompting coach Brian Smith to search for an alternative five-eighth during the pre-season."We thought Brett was terrific in his two games in the centres last season and his development has continued during the off-season," Smith told The Sydney Morning Herald."I'm really excited about his potential, but it would obviously be hard for him to break through on a regular basis in the centres with Ben Smith and Timana Tahu there, so we're going to give him a shot at five-eighth while John Morris is out."What happens in the long term will depend on how Brett goes and how John goes when he is fit again, but competition never hurt anyone. Brett's got a junior background at five-eighth and lock and I'm pretty confident he'll handle it. I'm going to give [forward] Dean Widders a go at five-eighth during the trials as well."The Eels v Storm trial match kicks off at 5:45pm this Saturday 11 February at Kingsford Smith Park, Ballina.Other trial games this weekend include:Sat 11 Feb: Wynnum-Manly Seagulls vs Broncos/Clydesdales (7:00pm) Kougari Oval, Wondall Road, Manly West (Brisbane). Sat 11 Feb: Cowboys/Young Guns vs Broncos/Clydesdales (7:30pm) Browne Park, Rockhampton.Sun 12 Feb: NZ Warriors v Canberra Raiders (3.00pm) North Harbour Stadium, Albany (Auckland).List of pre-season trial matches: click herePic: Ballina Lighthouse. Photo: Annette Flotwell (

Orr refused agent accreditation

HIGH-PROFILE player agent Gavin Orr has been refused official rugby league player agent status by the Rugby League Accredited Player Agent Committee.The committee met tonight to review a number of applications for persons seeking accreditation and it was determined Orr would not be accredited. The decision follows Orr's refusal to offer information over allegations he forged the signature of Eels forward Fui Fui Moimoi.Orr, who runs Pacific Sports Management with brother Chris and looks after superstars such as Sonny Bill Williams, can reapply in 12 months. Orr can continue to act as an agent as the game does not have the power to prevent someone working in such a capacity.

State of Origin memorabilia for sale

FOR all the collectors out there, the Team at League Unlimited would like to offer this piece of memorabilia that would look great hanging over a bar.The first ever Queensland State of Origin Team to take the field at Lang Park back in 1980 has been captured and framed.We?ve only got 25 to sell, out of a total of 250 made. Plus they?ve become even rarer by the fact someone stole all the NSW ones!It has been signed by the whole team.From the top left down in order:Colin ScottKerry BousteadMal MeningaChris CloseBrad BackerAlan SmithNorm CarrArthur BeetsonGreg OliphantWally LewisRod ReddyRowen HancockJohn LangRod MorrisReserve: Bruce Astill (not used)Coach John McDonaldThe price tag is $2,000 plus postage and handling (about $400 off). If you have a genuine interest in purchasing one of these, please contact Matt Starkey via email: [email protected]

Ferns in training for '07 W.C.

THE Kiwi Ferns will tomorrow (Wednesday 8 February 2006) go into camp at the Millennium Institute in Auckland as part of their preparation in build up to the scheduled 2007 women?s rugby league world cup.As world champions and having never lost a test series the Kiwi Ferns are keen to stay in good shape to retain their world title status and know that they must continue to extend themselves and not rest on any laurels.A Kiwi Ferns squad, and for the first time a Kiwi Ferns development squad, were selected at the 2005 National tournament and were scheduled to play Australia in a two test series held in Auckland, New Zealand in October of last year.It was however with great disappointment that the Australians had to pull out of the tour, and therefore coach Stan Martin, with the support of the women?s committee realised that they must push on and had no hesitation in putting in place a camp where the selected players will gather together from around the country and partake in 4 intense days of fitness, skills, drills and game plan.Stan Martin, who is a very experienced coach, having taken many men sides and doing a four year stint as a professional coach in England at the Whitehaven club says ?It is a pleasure to coach the ladies and they are very receptive to learning. It is never too early to start working hard and is a good time to blood some of the young girls coming through. We will be setting our goals high for the World Cup.?It is exciting and positive times for the ladies game and with some very talented young athletes coming through the ranks, with girls such at 2005 Player Of Year, Rona Peters only being 17 it looks that the Kiwi Ferns will remain at the top of their game for some time to come.The NZWRL would like to thank SAS Sport Ltd, Mt Wellington Trust, Trillian Trust, South Auckland Trust, Pub Charity and Pelorus Trust for their continued support. For further information please do not hesitate to contact team manager Juanita Woodhouse (021-444-385) or Secretary Cherie Steele-Shanks (021-128-6438).

Tomkins extends Contract

WIGAN'S exciting 18 year old back row forward Joel Tomkins has signed an extended contract with the Club which will keep him at the JJB Stadium until the end of the 2008 season.Wigan Chairman, Maurice Lindsay said: "It always gives us an extra thrill when a player comes through our academy ranks and into the first team. Joel is a classic example of that and he is already looking like a regular member of our first team squad. He is set for a good career with us and he increases even further the number of local players in our group."Joel Tomkins said: "I love playing for my hometown club and there are quite a few of us now in the first team squad who have played together in our youth teams. I realise I have to be patient with so many other good players at the club, but I will work hard and do my best."Head Coach Ian Millward added: "It's another great tribute to the youth policy that the club has had in place for many years, and I am sure that if Joel carries on with his rate of progress he can make it to the top. He has got some healthy competition for his spot this year, but he is big and pacey with lots of potential."

Alf backs Hunt punt at halfback

FORMER champion halfback Allan Langer has backed Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett's punt to test run fullback Karmichael Hunt in the troublesome No.7 role.Teenager Hunt will get the first shot to show his halfback credentials in the club's second preseason trial against North Queensland this Saturday night in Rockhampton. The move is seen as a stop-gap measure while first choice halfback Brett Seymour recovers from a shoulder reconstruction.But Langer, who chalked up a club record 288 appearances at halfback, believes Hunt has what it takes to form a deadly halves combination with skipper Darren Lockyer.

Parra side to face Storm

EELS coach Brian Smith has named ten first grade regulars in his side to play Melbourne in an NRL trial in Ballina on Saturday.The match is the first hit out for the year for both sides ahead of the first round of the NRL which kicks off on March 10. Last year's rookie sensation Tim Smith has been selected at halfback in a backline which features fullback Wade McKinnon and three-quarters Luke Burt and Ben Smith.Full squad: Wade McKinnon, Luke Burt, Ben Smith, Luke O'Dwyer, Matt Petersen, Brett Delaney, Tim Smith, Aaron Cannings, Drew Dalton, Adam Peek, Daniel Wagon, Jack Afamasaga, Chad Robinson.Interchange: Matt Keating, Kris Keating, Dean Widders, Jarryd Hayne, Peter Lewis, Josh Cordoba, Justin Tsoulos, Zeb Taia.

Broncos team to play NQ Cowboys

THE Brisbane Broncos team announced today for the NRL trial match against North Queensland Cowboys at Browne Park in Rockhampton on Saturday night.The notable selections are Hunt at halfback and Ennis at hooker. There are also a host of young players taking part in the game.The team is:Darius Boyd, Leon Bott, Scott Minto, Steve Michaels, Tame Tupou, Greg Eastwood, Karmichael Hunt, Ben Hannant, Michael Ennis, Nick Kenny, Dane Carlaw, Chris Muckert, Neville Costigan.Interchange: David Taylor, Ian Lacey, Gideon Mzembe, Lyndon Murphy, Jamie Simpson.

Kennedy to captain Manly

VETERAN Test backrower Ben Kennedy was today named Manly captain for the 2006 NRL season.The 31-year-old former Newcastle forward takes over the leadership from Michael Monaghan. Coach Des Hasler described Kennedy as the "best on-field leader in the club". "Ben Kennedy is an inspirational player and an obvious choice as captain," Hasler said in a club statement. "His first-up season with Manly was exceptional last year and the leadership won't affect his role in any way." Kennedy beat out Monaghan and new recruit Matt Orford for the role.

2006 Premier League tipping comp

THE North Sydney District Rugby League Football Club is seeking interest in a joint Premier League and National Rugby League football tipping competition.All tipsters from all clubs from around the country are welcome to participate with both weekly and end of the season prizes.If you are interested in joining the comp go here - register your interest and download the 'Terms & Conditions'.The North Sydney Rugby League Football Club can be contacted on 9466 8860, by e-mail [email protected], or check out the website at

Junior Dolphins News

THE first major event for 2006 happens this month with our junior sign-on day set down for Sunday, February 12. The day will kick off at 9.30am in the Dolphin oval dressing sheds and will finish by 11.30am. The Dolphins Old Boys will provide a free sausage sizzle and drinks for the kids with our good friends and major sponsor Keystar Auto World handing out giveaways to every player. Any new players wanting to sign up should bring along a birth certificate or equivalent proof of age as well as two passport size photos on the day.Registration fees are $45, which includes a club polo shirt for every player. Won't it be great to see our teams arriving at games in 2006 looking like a team that is proud of their club? Anyone wanting to help out on sign-on day can contact Grant Cleal on 3203 7333.The Redcliffe Dolphins junior coaches took part in a coaching camp last month at Alexandra Headlands. The camp was held over two days with our coaching team getting a lot of useful tips on coaching junior rugby league.Coaching staff from the senior Dolphins were on hand to take the boys through their paces with head coach Anthony Griffin, strength and conditioner Tony Guilfoyle, kicking coach Doug Hale and Colts coach Craig "Trigger" Ingebrigtsen passing on experiences to rest of the camp. Coaches from the under 11s to the under 18s had first contact from the coaching staff from our new affiliate club, the Brisbane Broncos. This was the first step in a long and continued effort by both clubs to make sure that every junior who registers with the Dolphins receives the best coaching available. A coaching information night also was organised in January for coaches taking on teams in the younger age groups (under 7-10). Members of the Broncos coaching staff and Dolphins junior development addressed these coaches about the club's expectations for 2006 and finished the night off with some field work. Coaches are still required for some of the younger teams.IN 2005, the Dolphins had six under seven, four under eight, four under nine and four under 10 teams playing in modified footy competitions. We expect to have at least that number again in 2006. For these youngsters to get their chance to play league, we need some special help.Dolphins teams have been fortunate over recent seasons with a more than capable group of referees officiating over local games.We need to recruit seven new starters to our referees ranks and that magnificent 7 are needed now.The main criteria is that you must want to improve your fitness level marginally, are happy to involve yourself for an hour or so on a Sunday morning, be available for games that are all played at Dolphin Oval, complete a referees course run locally by the QRL and be a part of the start of our youngest champions fulfilling their dreams.There may even be a future career awaiting someone that takes on refereeing this year.Age or gender is no barrier with male and female referees officiating, the minimum age is 14 and there are granddads refereeing at many clubs.To register your desire to find out more about this vital role, contact Grant or Katrina at the Dolphins on 3203 7333. Remember, we need 7 so the kids can play.

Bears faithfull strong as ever

THE North Sydney Bears have now been absent from the National Rugby League competition for 5 years. However, the support for the club strengthens everyday. Bears faithfuls have remained loyal to the club through all the ups and downs and are not about to disappear now. The Bears are used to tough battles and the present is just another rock in the road of proud history of the Bears!

Finch fears a repeat in wet weather

SYDNEY Roosters halfback Brett Finch has spoken out saying he fears the Roosters wet weather play could let them down again, like it did in the Grand Final.

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