HEAD Coach Jon Sharp has confirmed that major pre season signing Robbie Paul will partner England captain Chris Thorman in the halves on Sunday for the big pre season warm up game versus the Bulls (kick off 3pm). Sharp has named a 19 man squad but has confirmed the starting half back partners.Sharp commented "I am sure that our fans want to see Robbie in action along with the other new boys and after a great week in camp I can confirm that he starts the game alongside Chris Thorman. I have picked 19 players for this game including five of our new signings. I know that the Bulls will be strong too and am sure Stanley Gene is looking forward to his return so I'd echo the clubs views earlier in the week and say to all the supporters get down to the Galpharm on Sunday as it is a game which is very important to us in our build up to Super League XI"19 man squad to face BradfordSunday 22nd Feb, KO 3pmPaul ReillyStuart DonlanMartin AspinwallAlbert TorrensMichael De VereJames EvansChris ThormanRobbie PaulPaul MarchEorl CrabtreeWayne McDonaldPaul JacksonJon GrayshonBrad DrewSteve SnitchChris NeroPaul SmithStuart JonesStephen WildMembers of the press are reminded that Robbie Paul will be available for interview at the Powergen Challenge Cup Launch Event this lunch time at The Royal Armouries in Leeds.For any further media information please contact Stuart Sheard on 07702 023004.
THE weekend is here. St Helens, Superleague's most successful club, will do battle against the up and coming London Skolars.Interest in the game has been very strong with Setanta announcing it will cover the game, 106FM have advertised the game all week and will interview Sean McGuire, CEO of St Helens and Hector McNeil, Chairman of the Skolars, tomorrow. The Irish Sun has ran articles all week including a focus on locally produced Skolars trialist Vinnie O?Dowd. The Dublin Metro also featured Vinnie.Leinster Rugby has also shown their strong support by using all their advertising channels to promote the game. It shows the two codes can work well together in Ireland.St Helens and Skolars fans will already be in Dublin or will be on their way. It is expected to draw a strong local crowd from RLIreland supporters and volunteers and hopefully some curious union and GAA fans. All in all it?s a game not to be missed!!!ST HELENS v LONDON SKOLARSSUN 22ND JAN, 2.30P.M, DONNYBROOKwww.skolars.com
IAN Millward today expressed his anger and disappointment at the statement put out by the St Helens club following a lengthy mediation meeting yesterday.Millward said,"The truth of the matter is that I met the St Helens Chairman and Chief Executive yesterday with both sets of lawyers present. It was in fact a mediation meeting held prior to a full court hearing that was scheduled for later this year. The mediation meeting lasted for almost fourteen hours when many issues were discussed. At the end of the day I was getting concerned that if the court case was going to be as protracted as this then it would seriously interfere with my duties at Wigan, particularly as the lengthy hearing would be taking place during the season. I am sure Mr McManus and Mr McGuire could afford significant time but I am Head Coach at a world famous club and I could not afford that kind of time which would significantly interfere with my club duties."Millward continued,"My lawyers were certainly prepared to take my complaints forward but at the end of the day and with the Wigan club in mind, I agreed to compromise.As a result we agreed with St Helens what was an amicable and totally agreed settlement. It is true that St Helens have now made a significant contribution to my legal costs. I have made no contribution to theirs."Millward added,"What disappoints me is the terminology used by the St Helens club in their statement such as' tainted memories'. The fact is, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at St Helens and the supporters were very good to me. I also want to say that I am superbly happy at Wigan and I have had great support from my Chairman, Maurice Lindsay, with whom I have discussed this whole case. Maurice and Dave Whelan have backed me from day one but understand that by discontinuing the case I can fully concentrate on my club duties. That is what I will now concentrate on and the St Helens issue is behind me."
IAN Millward, the Wigan Coach, has dropped his ?150,000 claim for wrongful and unfair dismissal against his former employer St Helens. No compensation in respect of Mr Millward?s wrongful and unfair dismissal claims was paid by the Club.The Club did make a small payment to Millward?s solicitors to make a contribution towards his legal costs.St Helens had always maintained that Millward would not be entitled to a penny in compensation and was wasting his money in bringing a claim. The Club has been totally vindicated in that view.The Board of St Helens stated:?In early May 2005, we offered Ian Millward a substantial settlement in order to avoid personal embarrassment to him, to the club and to the game which would inevitably result from the public airing of the serious allegations of gross misconduct of which we subsequently found him to be guilty.?Ian rejected the club?s offer at the time and instead chose to embark on a press campaign in which he trivialised the charges against him. This campaign could have turned St Helens supporters and the sporting public against the Club and its directors. The affair was a significant ordeal for those directors and their families and they are grateful to the public for the support it has shown throughout.?The Board formed the clear view that Ian was guilty of gross misconduct and that he was acting in a manner which was significantly damaging the club. St Helens had no choice but to dismiss him.?Ian?s decision to bring a case for wrongful and unfair dismissal against the club was misconceived. The Club were advised that his claim was doomed to failure from the start and that he had no prospect of success. That is presumably why he has withdrawn his claim without receiving a penny of compensation. The club?s stance has been fully vindicated.?The fact that our memories of Ian will be tainted by his legal action is particularly unfortunate since he had been a coach to a very successful and talented team.?St Helens have the greatest respect and admiration for their keenest historic rival, Wigan. We are two great clubs in a great game and look forward to continuing one of the great sporting rivalries in a sporting manner.?The Club is looking forward to the new season and is confident that Daniel Anderson and the players will make 2006 a year of scintillating and successful rugby.?
SATURDAY, 11/02/065:00pm: Newtown Premier League v North Sydney Premier League - Henson Park3:45pm Newtown Jim Beam Cup v Asquith Jim Beam Cup - Henson Park2:00pm Roosters Jersey Flegg v North Sydney Jersey Flegg - Henson ParkSunday, 19/02/065:00pm: Newtown Premier League v Bulldogs Premier League - Henson ParkSaturday, 25/02/065:00pm: Newtown Premier League v South Sydney Premier League - Henson Park3:30pm Roosters SG Ball v South Sydney SG Ball - Henson Park2:00pm Roosters Harold Mathews v South Sydney Harold Mathews - Henson ParkSaturday, 25/03/063:00pm: Newtown Jim Beam Cup v Wentworthville Jim Beam Cup - Henson Park(This match is a curtain-raiser to the Newtown v Raiders VB Premier League competition match) Get along to all these trials at Henson Park and see how the Jets are shaping up for the 2006 season, Newtown?s 99th in Rugby League football! There will be other trial matches at away venues where the kick-off time is still to be finalised. You will receive notices with the details of these away trial matches in the near future.The full draws of the 2006 VB Premier League and Jim Beam Cup competitions will soon be made known to you as well.The VB Premier League competition commences on the week-end of 10/11/12 March 2006.The Jim Beam Cup competition will commence on the weekend of 14/15/16 April.
CHAMPION playmaker Andrew Johns says he will do the right thing by his NRL club Newcastle and skip the State of Origin series this year if he's not 100 per cent fit.Johns only returned to training with the Knights this week after surgery in November on his right knee, which had been previously reconstructed in 2004. The 31-year-old halfback has admitted that he will have to reduce his training load and "manage" his knee if he wants to coax a few more playing years from the worn-out joint.Johns said despite his love of pulling on the blue jersey in the annual grudge series with Queensland his priority was with the Knights, where he has three years left on his contract.
AFTER 11 years of loyal service to the club, Robbie Paul will make his final appearance for Bradford Bulls at Odsal Stadium on Friday, 27 January in a Testimonial Game against Hull Kingston Rovers. Paul, who made his debut in the 1994?95 season, will play in a Bulls side that will include guest appearances by former stars such as Henry Paul, James Lowes, Brian McDermott and Steve McNamara. Robbie Paul said?It will be great to say farewell to all at Bradford. The Bulls have been like my own family throughout my 11 years at Odsal and having Henry, Jimmy, Brian and Steve playing alongside me will add a very special feeling to what I know will be a great and emotional night. Hull KR will come prepared for a tough game and I know the Bulls are using the fixture as full preparation for the Carnegie World Club Challenge on February 3rd. I know the fans will want to come and see the former players and personally I can?t think of any better way of signing off at Odsal ? it should be a great night!? Bulls Chairman Chris Caisley said: ?Anybody who is now or who ever has been a Bulls fan or a Rugby League supporter ought to come to Robbie's Testimonial game. Robbie was the "face" of the Bulls, our "shop window" as it were, throughout the first decade of Super League. He put his heart and soul into the Club, both on and off the field of play and has been a fantastic ambassador for the Bulls, the city of Bradford and the sport of Rugby League in this Country for over 10 years. There will be a chance to not only give Robbie a proper Bulls send-off but also an opportunity to see some other Bulls legends who are supporting his Testimonial. I urge everyone to come along to Odsal on 27 January, whatever the weather, and make it a big night to remember for Robbie.?Tickets are available through the ticket office at Odsal Stadium (tel. 08701 202040) with cash turnstiles open on the night. The match kicks off at 8.00pm with turnstiles opening at 6.30pm. Admission is priced ?12 adults and ?6 concessions. The Stadium Road terrace will be closed for this match with seats in the Tetley?s Main Stand issued on a first come first served basis. The Rooley Lane Terrace (behind the posts) will only be opened if required. For further information contact:Stuart Duffy Tel: 01274 762315M: 07966 171991
WIGAN have unveiled their striking new away playing kit, which will see the Warriors wearing blue for the engage Super League XI campaign.The new 2006 playing kit has been manufactured by JJB, the club's Technical Sponsor, and will be worn for the first time in Wednesday's friendly at Leigh. The navy blue shirt, which sees a return to the colours worn when the Warriors last lifted the Challenge Cup in 2002, will feature a round neck, white sleeves and red piping. This will be worn with navy shorts and navy socks.The strip will be officially launched on Wednesday 15th February at the JJB store on Robin Park and also at the JJB Soccer Dome on Stadium Way in Wigan from 6pm, priced at ?25 for junior sizes and ?35 for adult sizes.The shirt will also go on sale that night from the two stores with first team players celebrating the launch at the Robin Park store. The kit will go on general sale on Thursday 16th February from selected JJB Stores along with Warriors World in Wigan Town Centre and online at wiganwarriors.comWigan Warriors Marketing Director Simon Collinson said:"Our home kit is on course to become a best seller and we are confident that our new blue alternative strip will follow suit."
ST George Illawarra halfback Mathew Head's recovery from a knee injury has been set back three weeks.The talented playmaker underwent an arthroscope last week on the knee, which forced him to miss most of the 2005 season. Head is likely to miss the Dragon's Charity Shield hit-out against South Sydney on February 18.Meanwhile Dragon's captain Trent Barrett says he has not held talks with any English Super League clubs about his future despite reports recently that had linked him with Maurice Lindsay at Wigan. In the reports, Barrett was said to be contemplating a big money move to the UK by enacting a get-out clause in his contract with the Dragons at the end of this season.
ENGAGE Super League Champions Bradford Bulls have today added to their squad ahead of next month?s Carnegie World Club Challenge with the capture of former Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants utility back, Marcus St Hilaire.St Hilaire, who is 28, has joined the club from Halifax where he had signed after being released by Huddersfield Giants at the end of last season. He will be a member of the Bulls first team squad but will not be on their 20/20 register and has signed a one year contract to play at OdsalBulls Coach Brian Noble said today:?We felt that we needed to strengthen the squad ahead of the season and we are delighted that Marcus has agreed to join us. We are getting a player who can cover all the outside back positions and who has a wealth of Super League experience behind him. What we are getting too is a player who is looking to make the most of the opportunity we have given him to prove that he is still a Super League player and it is always good to have that kind of person at the club.?Marcus St Hilaire, who jetted out to Lanzarote last Sunday to join his new team mates, is delighted with the opportunity to join the Bulls.?This is a tremendous opportunity for me to prove that I am a Super League player and there is no better club to do that at than the current Super League Champions.?In other news:BULLS TO LAUNCH SEASONengage Super League Champions, Bradford Bulls, have today announced that their Season Launch will take place on Monday January 30th at 7.00pm for 7.30pm at the Cedar Court Hotel Bradford. The event is in association with Bulls Sponsor, the Aagrah Group of Restaurants. All of the Bulls First Team Squad will be in attendance and they will be presented with their squad number and shirt for Super League XI. The Bulls new dance team will also be unveiled at the event and it will be an opportunity for Bulls supporters to meet the new players ahead of the Carnegie World Club Challenge game against Wests Tigers on February 3rd. There will be an opportunity to have your photo taken with the Super League Trophy and collect autographs at the event.Tickets Now on Sale from the Odsal Stadium Ticket Office, Tel 08701 202040 and are priced as follows: ?3 for Season Ticket Holder, ?5 for Non-Season Ticket Holders For further information contact:Stuart Duffy Tel: 01274 762315M: 07966 171991
WARRINGTON Wolves have smashed through the 7,000 barrier for season ticket sales with a 25% increase on last term.The feel good factor from The Halliwell Jones Stadium has swept across the town with record breaking sales after The Wolves sterling efforts last season.With less than a month to go until the eagerly awaited start of the Engage Super League XI campaign Wolves fans have been queuing to snap up their season tickets.Tickets are now limited as the rush continues ahead of the big kick off and the all important opening fixture at home on Sunday, February 12 against Salford City Reds.This week less than 1,500 season tickets remain on sale, with the popular East Stand nearly sold out. The North Stand will be equally brimming when the action begins as so far nearly 2,000 tickets have been purchased by fans. On the terraces less than 1,000 spaces remain. Once again the 'Full Family' ticket has been hugely popular with more than 750 tickets brought, a 109% increase. Younger supporters are also getting the Super League bug with 1,500 children joining The North Stand and the ground.Dave Gittens, Ticketing Co-ordinator, said: "Sales are yet again well up on the previous season as the fans rush to get involved in the action. When it comes to the start of the season the only way to guarantee getting into the Halliwell Jones Stadium on match day will be with a season ticket."For details on Season Tickets for Engage Super League XI call (01925) 248888 logon to www.wolfwareonline.com.In other news:Wedge Kicks Off In StyleMike Wainwright kicked off his Testimonial in style last night at The Halliwell Jones Stadium with a fan's forum to introduce Head Coach Paul Cullen's new signings; Richie Barnett, Stuart Reardon, Mike Sullivan, Paul Rauhihi and Rob Parker. MC for the evening was 'Friend to the Stars' Graham Lovett.The Wolves fans turned out in force to support Mike and grill Paul Cullen about the new lads and the forthcoming season.NEXT EVENT:POKER CASINO EVENING@The Bridge Bar, Latchford Village
WARRINGTON overcame their spirited derby rivals Widnes 21-20 and raised a cash windfall for their seriously ill former player Mike Gregory.The pre-season friendly, watched by a crowd of 6,124 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, will raise around ?50,000 for the popular ex-captain who spent 12 seasons as a player with Warrington.Gregory, whose sons Sam (eight) and Ben (four) were match-day mascots, has not worked since coaching Wigan in the 2004 Challenge Cup final and is taking the Warriors to court in March under disability legislation.Widnes captain Terry O?Connor, who played under Gregory for Wigan, said: ?I am just happy that we could be involved in a game to help Mike, who is a legend in the game and an outstanding man and true gentleman.?O?Connor?s side went close to embarrassing a near full-strength Warrington side for the second time. They beat the Wolves on Boxing Day and would have completed the double had Lee Marsh been able to land a late conversion.Half-back Chris Bridge was chosen by Gregory as man of the match and presented with the Harry Bath medal, the Australian?s winning memento from Warrington?s 1948 championship success.Warrington just about deserved their win but it was a result which surely confirmed Widnes? right to be considered promotion favourites in the LHF National League.The Vikings twice held the lead in a tightly-contested first half, with impressive hooker Mark Smith and centre Damian Reid scoring tries, both converted by loose forward Marsh.Warrington scored first-half tries through winger Henry Fa?afili, created by an inch-perfect kick by Lee Briers, and Bridge.The visitors, 12-10 ahead at the break, extended their lead to 16-10 when winger Paul O?Connor finished strongly at the corner for their third try 12 minutes into the second half.But hooker Mark Gleeson, making his comeback from a torn hamstring, jinked his way over just short of the hour mark and Bridge levelled the scores with the conversion.Bridge then broke the deadlock with a 74th-minute drop goal before centre Brent Grose took a cut-out pass from new signing Michael Sullivan to score the deciding try.Widnes still had a chance to win the game, with substitute Mick Nanyn going over for their fourth try two minutes from the end, but Marsh was narrowly wide with the difficult conversion.?I thought the way both teams went about their business - it was a very competitive match - was purely down to respect for Mike Gregory,? said former team-mate Paul Cullen, the Wolves head coach.?Both sides showed immense respect for the tie,? said Widnes boss Steve McCormack. ?It was full-blooded, as you would expect from a Warrington-Widnes derby.?It was little surprise that Cullen tipped the Vikings to bounce back following their relegation from engage Super League.?On the evidence of the two games I?ve seen so far, they?re very well drilled and they?ve a great work ethic,? said Cullen. ?Even when a side gets in front, they keep coming back. They are very good signs.?Australian full-back David Peachey, who missed the match in order to attend a family funeral in Sydney, is due back at the club on Monday and is likely to play in Widnes? last friendly against St Helens on Saturday, January 28.Elsewhere, Leeds beat York 25-18 in their pre-season friendly at Huntingdon Stadium.
A superb days entertainment with a large vocal crowd turning up for all four games with the caviar saved until last the game the U/18 Final.UNDER 12 FINALPORTICO VINE 16 INCE ROSE BRIDGE 10A great start to the proceedings saw the St Helens based side win this game in the closing minutes thanks to a try in the corner by there hooker and man of the match Jack Jones. At that stage the game was poised at 12-10 in there favour with Ince Rose Bridge of Wigan trying to score the decisive points.Portico took the lead when second row forward Connor Dwyer crashed over for an unconverted try but Ince levelled the game up when prop Jonathon Turner crashed over in the corner.Portico retook the lead when second row forward Sam Long supported the backs to go over from twenty metres and when prop Bradley Ashurst went over for there third unconverted try just before half time they appeared to have control of the game at 12-4.But Ince responded and scored arguably the best try of the game when the ball went down the line and stand off Nathan Docherty went down the wing before cutting inside to score a 35 metre effort and he duly got his breath back to add the extras to make it 12-10.Both sides put in big efforts to win the game with Ince close numerous times but Jones had the final say.UNDER 14 FINALBLACKBROOK ROYALS 22 WEST BANK BEARS 6There are rugby league matches when the score doesn?t reflect the game itself and this one was an example of this although Blackbrook Royals deserved the success with four superb individual tries. But a valiant West bank Bears got on the scoreboard which there efforts deserved.After withstanding Bears pressure on there own line centre and man of the match Paul Davis opened the proceedings when from the play the ball he showed his considerable speed to scoot through the gap and 70 metres to score a converted try with stand off Daniel Crane adding the extras.They doubled the score after superb defensive work by them when one of the tallest scrum half?s in this age group Christopher Ford went through a gap from the play the ball to go 60 metres for a try again converted by Craven. Just before half time Ford kicked a penalty to make it 14-0 to the St Helens side over the Widnes based club.The second half was similar to the first with the Bears pressing but Blackbrook came up with the goods when Ford scored his second this time going 50 meters from the play the ball and he also added the extras. He had the chance of a hat trick when he was away again but the Bears covering defence this time got back to thwart him.But following more pressure the Bears finally got onto the score sheet with a converted try when stand off Ben Karalius went under the posts following a penalty to make it 18-6. On the next set they continued the momentum but superb sliding Blackbrook defence forced them into touch inches from the corner.Davis though finished off the game though for Blackbrook when he was on the end of a move and went 50 meters to score in the corner.UNDER 16 FINALBLACKBROOK ROYALS 6 WIGAN ST JUDES 8A superb advert for the game at this level in a game of two halves in this close encounter were Judes came back from 6-0 down to win 8-6 in a game that was in doubt until the final whistle.In a superb 34 man performance this was a game between two stand offs Gary Wheeler of Blackbrook and Chris Gorrard of Judes who controlled the ball between the forwards and backs of there respective sides.Blackbrook playing into the wind took the game to there opponents and the pressure finally told when winger Chris Vowles went in at the corner to make it 4-0. The Royals forwards tore into the Judes defence but they somehow held firm and the only other points of the half came from centre Jamie Foster to make it 6-0. Judes cause wasn?t helped in the first half when they lost the ball early in the tackle count from penalties in good position in the Blacbrook half.The second half saw a change of fortune with Gorrard trying to cajole his side to greater heights and Blackbrook indiscipline led to Judes opening score. Following two quick penalties Judes moved up field and centre Chris Seal went over the whitewash for an unconverted try to make it 6-4.This game was all about if and buts and Blackbrook may argue the turning point of the game came when Wheeler went for a 44 meter drop goal. They thought they had scored but the referee after consulting his linesman disallowed it. Oh for an official video referee.Judes continued chasing the game as both sides lifted the ante and they were rewarded when substitute Barry Rothwell went in at the corner to make it 8-6.Blacbrook came storming back and only superb covering defence stopped Wheeler meters from the line in the dying minutes. Judes held on and Gorrard rewards saw him named the man of the match.UNDER 18 FINALGOLBORNE PARKSIDE 22 THATTO HEATH CRUSADERS 21This was a magnificent finale to the days proceedings with the result in doubt to the final play of the game in a match were the lead changed four times. Golborne twice came from behind from 12-0 down to lead 14-12 and 21-14 behind to clinch the win 22-21.It looked all plain sailing in the opening twenty minutes as Thatto Heath Crusaders from the first division of the North West Counties League lauded it over Premiership rivals Golborne Parkside. Scrum half Daniel Chantler kicked a thirty six meter penalty and converted an Alex Corke try in the corner to make it 8-0. Chantler was pulling all the strings with his passing and kicking game and it was no surprise when he went over for an unconverted try to make it 12-0. He went off shortly after his try and this seemed to disrupt the side and Parkside came into the game and how. Second row forward and man of the match Andrew Bennett started the revival as he drove over but loose forward Nathan Bell missed the conversion. But Bell redeemed himself when he went over for there second try and added the extras. Following that centre John Parr scored the first of his brace and Parkside led 14-12.Crusaders loose forward Andrew Stott and second row forward began to control the game though Roughley let himself down when he was sin binned. This didn?t deter the St Helens based side as winger Iain Newton scored in the corner to give them a 16-14 half time lead.The Crusaders had the better of the early second half and fortuitously scored there fourth try through hooker Michael Smith. Inches from the Parkside line at the play the ball Smith attempted a grubber into the in goal, the ball bounced off a Parkside leg back into his arms and he burrowed over but substitute David Lowe missed the kick.They continued to take the game to Parkside and Roughley who was superb kicked what was thought to be a decisive drop goal on the last tackle to make it 21-14.Crusaders stand off Michael Smith had a try disallowed which proved to be a defining moment in the game as it would have given them an eleven point advantage and Parkside took advantage of the let off when Parr went in for a converted try to make it 21-20. The tension became unbearable and ugly at times with both sides guilty of some high tackles and as a result Parkside were awarded a penalty 55 meters from the posts in the closing minutes.Parkside with the wind at there backs elected to kick for goal and Bell struck the ball cleanly.He was 10 meters short but Crusaders fullback Shaun Quinn knocked on and kicked the ball away. The referee penalised him and Bell kicked the goal for a one point lead.With seconds ticking away Crusaders put a kick into the corner of the in goal and they thought they had scored the try, Parkside disputing it. The referee disallowed the try and called time on the game and Parkside ran out winners.Video/DVD commentary of all the finals is available from Alpha Photography 01706 642446/07973 735570.
LEEDS has sacked Great Britain forward Danny Ward just one month before the new Super league season gets underway.The Rhinos' blamed serious breaches of club rules over the past year for the 25-year-old's shock dismissal, without going into further details. Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington says he is not prepared to go into detail.
SOUTH Sydney coach Shaun McRae will remain at the Rabbitohs until the end of the 2007 NRL season after agreeing to a one-year contract extension today.McRae was rewarded for a promising debut with the Rabbitohs in 2005, guiding the perennial strugglers to 13th spot on the ladder, their best finish since being re-admitted into the league in 2002. Souths finished last season in solid form, winning six of their last eight games.The Rabbitohs open their pre-season campaign against St George Illawarra in the annual Charity Shield clash on February 18 at Telstra Stadium.