INJURY-HIT Harlequins have included a trio of youngsters in their squad for Saturday?s engage Super League clash with in-form Leeds Rhinos at the Twickenham Stoop.
FULLTIME score:Round 3Manly Sea Eagles 20 v Cronulla Sharks 18Match summary:The Manly Sea Eagles have come from behind to beat the Cronulla Sharks 20-18 at Brookvale Oval this evening.Manly have registered their first win in 2006 while the Sharks are yet to get on the board for a victory after holding comfortable leads in both matches played to date against the Broncos and Sea Eagles.The Sharks raced to a 12-0 lead and looked like they were going to run away with the match but Manly hung in there as they did against the Cowboys last week but the result went in their favour tonight with a two point victory.Manlytook the lead with about ten minutes remaining and extended their lead through a penalty goal to Matt Orford but the Sharks scored in the 75th minute to give themselves an outside shot at a last gasp victory but it wasn?t to be.For Manly, Ben Kennedy and Steven Bell were strong while for the Sharks Adam Dykes had an impressive game.It has to be said neither side looked overly impressive in this match and both sides have a lot of work to do if they want to compete with the top sides in 2006. It is early days and we don?t usually see teams hit their straps until about round six but if either side continues to front up and play like they did tonight, it will be a long season for both teams.Scorers:Manly Sea Eagles: 20Tries: Travis Burns, Brett Stewart, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 4/4Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 18Tries: Phil Bailey, Adam Dykes, Darren AlbertGoals: Luke Covell 3/4Live commentary1 min: NEWS We are underway at Fortress Brookvale for the clash between the Sea Eagles and the Sharks.4 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksKimmorley drops in a kick behind the Manly line and Adam Dykes strolls through to collect the spoils and get the Sharks on the board. Sharks 6-08 min: NEWS David Simmons knocks Chris Hicks into touch to save a certain try. Great show of speed and strength from the Sharks fullback.12 min: NEWS Michael Robertson is manhandled and forced back in goal by the Sharks defence. All one way traffic at the moment.14 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksSharks making look all too easy at the moment but they did the same thing last week. Simple passing movment along the backline saw Albert crash over in the corner. Sharks 10-020 min: NEWS Possible try to Phil Bailey after David Simmons threw a miracle ball. Looks the goods from where I am sitting.21 min: NEWS No try, obstruction ruled against the Sharks but Manly's defence looks terrible at present.25 min: NEWS Game starting to even out a bit more but the Sharks still look very dangerous with the ball in hand. Matt Orford is havng a very quiet game so far.32 min: NEWS Manly attacking the Sharks line. Can they score?33 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesBrett Stewart gets across the line to score Manly;s first try of the night as half time looms large on the horizon. Conversion successful. Sharks 10-637 min: NEWS Luke Covell from the Sharks sent to the sin bin for a professional foul.40 min: NEWS The Sharks hold a slender four point lead against the Sea Eagles but the Sharks look to be losing momentum as the games wears on. Will they stumble like they did against the Broncos last weekend or will they kick on to register their first win of 2006?Manly are travelling ok but Matt Orford is yet to have a major impact on the game and still looks a little lost out there. Still, they are in the hunt and if they are good enough, they will find a way to win.41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half!48 min: PENALTY GOAL Cronulla Sutherland SharksLuke Covell slots a penalty goal after Ben Kennedy was penalised for a high shot on Lance Thompson. Sharks 12-652 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesBurns cleans up a grubber that was missed by a Sharks player to get Manly back on level terms. Conversion successful. Sharks 12-1264 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesSteve Bell cuts the Sharks "defence" to ribbons to give Manly the lead for the first time in the match. Conversion successful. Sea Eagles 18-1273 min: PENALTY GOAL Manly Sea EaglesLance Thompson is penalised for a high shot on Brett Stewart and Matt Orford makes the Sharks pay dearly with a penalty goal that puts Manly eight points front with under seven minutes to play. Sea Eagles 20-1275 min: TRY Cronulla Sutherland SharksBailey scores to give the Sharks an outside chance at victory after another terrible second half performance. Conversion successful. Sea Eagles 20-1880 min: NEWS The Manly Sea Eagles win their first match for 2006 but were anything but convincing. They simply made less errors than the Sharks in the second half and that was enought o see them home. -----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Ben Kennedy2 - Steve Bell1 - Adam Dykes-----------------------------------------
FULLTIME score:Round 3New Zealand Warriors 26 v Wests Tigers 10Match summary:The New Zealand Warriors have created their first win of the new season by defeating the rusty West Tigers 26-10 in cold conditions at Jade Stadium. The first half started of with a tonne of errors from both teams, but the Warriors were the first team to put the points on the board with a nicely worked try to Jerome Ropati. Another try was on the horizon as Brent Webb capitalised on some nice work from birthday boy George Gatis who found some lazy defenders around the ruck area. Clinton Toopi scored the last try of the half and the Tigers found themselves in all sorts of trouble at half time with the score at 14-0.The second half started the way Tim Sheens would of liked for it to start with the Tigers getting on the board first with rookie Michael Crockett scoring right on the touch line. However the Tigers continued to turn the ball over and the Warriors punished them with a quick try to big Kiwi winger Manu Vatuvei. When Awen Guttenibeil crossed in the 61 minute mark the game was all but over, with the Tigers scoring a late try to Daniel Fitzhenry. Steve Price and Rubin Wiki were very strong up front for the Warriors, while George Gatis was very strong out of that dummy half position causing all sorts of troubles for the Tigers. Clinton Toopi terrorized the Tigers defence out wide as did winger Manu Vatuvei and fullback Brent Webb.Not too many shining lights for the Tigers with Brett Hodgson being the only player who looked dangerous with ball in hand. The Tigers looked lost without Benji Marshall at five eight and Robbie Farah at hooker and if tonight?s performance is any indication, the Tigers will struggle for the next few weeks without those key players.Scorers: Wests Tigers: 10Tries: Daniel Fitzhenry, Michael CrockettGoals: Brett Hodgson 1/2New Zealand Warriors: 26Tries: Awen Guttenbeil, Jerome Ropati, Clinton Toopi, Manu Vatuvei, Brent WebbGoals: Tony Martin 3/5Sat 6:30pm(NZ) 5:30pm(Syd) 25 Mar 2006Jade Stadium NZReferee: Paul SimpkinsLive commentaryWelcome to Jade Stadium for a battle between the West Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors. The Warriors are looking for their first win of the season while the Tigers are trying to find a win with some key players missing.One change with Bronson Harrison on the Tigers bench in replace of Sam Harris.KICK OFF: We are underway here at Jade Stadium with the Warriors kicking off.5 min: NEWS Some early mistakes from both teams. Warriors have been in a good position to score on a few occasions but have turned the ball over both times.10 min: NEWS Ryan O'Hara gives the Warriors a cheap penalty and the Warriors find themselves in good field position11 min: VIDEO REF - Decision for a Manu Vatuvei try. Video Referee looking to see if the big Kiwi winger has planted the ball down. Held up is the decision and the Warriors continue their set on the 10m line.15 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsGood set move from the Warriors sees the pivot Jerome Ropati go into score. Warriors looking the good early on in this match with them having plenty of possession.Tony Martin misses the kick from a difficult angle.Warriors 4-024 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsGeorge Gatis sets up a nice try for the Warriors fullback Brent Webb. Gatis spotted some lazy defenders around the ruck area and found a supporting Brent Webb to put the Warriors up by two tries. Conversion successful from Tony Martin Warriors 10-029 min: NEWS Tigers making to many simple mistakes right now. They are playing without confidence and the Warriors have a huge roll of momentum with them at the moment. 30 min: NEWS Rookie winger Michael Crockett drops a high bomb from Nathan Fien. The Warriors looking for more points with the Tigers looking very vulnerable 35 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsAnother try to the Warriors, this time to the centre Clinton Toopi. Soft defence from the Tigers with 3 players not being able to stop Clinton Toopi.Conversion missed from Tony Martin. Warriors 14-038 min: NEWS Another mistake from the Tigers, this time from Paul Whaturia. The Warriors looking for one more try to close this first half of football.HALF TIME: New Zealand Warriors 14 - West Tigers 0Very dissapointing first half from the Premiers here at Jade Stadium. They have hardly been in a good position to post points with them turning the ball over constantly. The Warriors have played fairly well but need to keep it going to go on with the victory. Possession: Tigers 40% - Warriors 60%Completion: Tigers 11/19 - Warriors 18/24Missed Tackles: Tigers 26 - Warriors 2Tackles: Tigers 162 - Warriors 105Errors: Tigers 9 - Warriors 6Second Half underway here at Jade Stadium!!46 min: NEWS A oppurtunity for the Tigers is gone with Dean Collis knocking the ball on 5m away from the Warriors try line. 48 min: VIDEO REF - Possible try to Michael Crockett in the corner. Video Ref looking to see if the rookie has put a foot in touch.48 min: TRY Wests TigersMichael Crockett picks up his second try in his NRL career. The Tigers find the Warriors short down the blindside and Michael Crockett sneaks in to find the try line. A fantastic conversion from Brett Hodgson from the sideline. Warriors 14-652 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsA nice break from Clinton Toopi who suckers in Brett Hodgson with a nice dummy then finds the big winger Manu Vatuvei to score next to the posts. Tony Martin converts from in front of the posts Warriors 20-655 min: VIDEO REF - Another video referee decision for Phil Cooley. The question is weather Louie Anderson grounded the ball or if he was short or even knocked the ball on. Decision is that Anderson lost the ball in attempting to ground the ball.55 min: NEWS The Tigers throw away a golden opportunity with halfback Reynolds throwing a forward pass to captain Hodgson close to the line.61 min: TRY New Zealand WarriorsA barnstorming try from Awen Guttenbeil nearly seals the victory for the Warriors here at Jade Stadium. Guttenbeil palmed off John Skandalis and Brett Hodgson with ease to get a 4 pointer.Tony Martin converts the try. Warriors 26-669 min: NEWS A drop-a-thon here at Jade Stadium now. The Warriors playing some silly football with nothing to lose, while the Tigers are throwing the ball around in hope for a try. 71 min: NEWS VIDEO REF - Another possible try to the Warriors. Manu Vatuvei is claiming the try and the question is weather he knocked the ball on from a Nathan Fien bomb. No try is the decision and a the ball is turned over to the West Tigers.74 min: TRY Wests TigersA video referee decision goes to the Tigers with 6 to go. Some good ball movement followed by a nicely weighted kick sees Fitzhenry score a fine try. All little to late from the Premiers. Hodgson misses his first kick of the evening.Warriors 26-10FULL TIME - New Zealand Warriors 26 def West Tigers 10The Warriors have won comfortably against a dissapointing Tigers team. Birthday boy George Gatis was solid from the dummy half position, while the two big men up front in Wiki and Price were fantastic up the middle. Clinton Toopi looked dangerous out wide as did Manu Vatuvei. The Tigers dropped too much ball and looked lost without their star five eight Benji Marshall. Next week the Tigers have the Storm at home, while the Warriors travel to Newcastle to tackle the red hot Knights.Possession: Tigers 45% - Warriors 55%Completion: Tigers 24/38 - Warriors 29/43Missed Tackles: Tigers 40 - Warriors 18Tackles: Tigers 301 - Warriors 250Errors: Tigers 16 - Warriors 14 -----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Ruben Wiki2 - Clinton Toopi1 - Steve Price-----------------------------------------
INCUMBENT St.George Directors Warren Lockwood (Chairman), Brian Johnston and Ralph Piggott have retained their positions on the St.George Leagues Club Board following this week's elections. The R2K endorsed candidates were very competitive in what has been described as the most closely fought St.George ballot in years. R2K?s James Young finished only 112 votes away from securing a position on the Board. Brian Johnston, the respected former St.George Dragons CEO topped the poll.The results are listed below:Brian Johnston 745Warren Lockwood 716Ralph Piggott 672James Young 560 (R2K)Troy Felice 546 (R2K)Nick Stojanovski 520 (R2K)Dennis Preece 33Rajni Kant 24R2K are pleased that the outcome of the election reaffirms its influence with St.George members. The R2K candidates received a high level of positive feedback and support throughout the campaign. R2K will continue its work to ensure that the best interests of St.George are looked after in the joint-venture. In particular, R2K will attempt to ensure that OKI Jubilee Stadium is maintained as a multi-purpose community asset and that 50% of Dragons home games are allocated to Kogarah. R2K will also work to ensure that the facilities at St.George Leagues Club continue to be maintained and enhanced.R2K would like to congratulate the incumbent Directors on retaining their positions and would like to thank Danny Robinson and Michael Derrig for their diligence as the Returning Officers.Finally, R2K would like to thank the numerous supporters who attended the Club over the four days of the election to assist with the distribution of the voting leaflets.http://www.r2k.info/
HULL centre Kirk Yeaman, engage Super League?s in-form player, is hoping to lift his game to new heights when he comes up against Australian star Jamie Lyon.
WIGAN will have two new faces in their team as they look to stop the rot against engage Super League champions Bradford at Odsal on Friday.
FULLTIME score:Round 3Newcastle Knights 46 v Canterbury Bulldogs 22Match summary:The Newcastle Knights have produced a dominant performance to reinforce their Premiership claims tonight, running out convincing 46-22 winners over the Canterbury Bulldogs in Newcastle to kick off Round 3.Aided by a dodgy no-try call against the Bulldogs in the opening minutes, the score was only 10-6 in favour of the home team midway through the first half before Andrew Johns inspired a late charge that produced four tries to take a 34-6 lead into the sheds at the break.The Knights continued on with the job in the second forty, adding two further tries before Andrew Johns was subbed off and Danny Buderus was sin-binned, leading to a late Bulldogs revival. The final score flattered the Bulldogs somewhat, as they were totally outplayed in almost every aspect of the match.The Knights were lead around as usual by the magical Johns, who had more than enough support from a dominant forward pack and the lethal Milton Thaiday, who finished with three tries.The Bulldogs looked a mere shadow of the team that squashed the Tigers only a week ago. For once, Willie Mason didn't enjoy the Knight-life - and the rest of the team were made to look pretty ordinary as a result.Scorers:Newcastle Knights: 46Tries: Milton Thaiday (3), Danny Buderus, Matthew Gidley, Todd Lowrie, Brian CarneyGoals: Andrew Johns 9/10Canterbury Bulldogs: 22Tries: Hazem El Masri, Andrew Emelio, Corey Hughes, Willie MasonGoals: Hazem El Masri 3/4Venue: EnergyAustralia StadiumCrowd: 25,504Referee: Steve ClarkHalf time: Knights 34 Bulldogs 6Live commentary:Welcome to EnergyAustralia Stadium for what promises to be a ripper of a match between the Knights and the Bulldogs!For the Doggies, Mark O'Meley will start the match in place of Chris Armit. The Knights have slotted David Seage into a wing spot.KICKOFF - We're underway!3 min: NO TRY Canterbury BulldogsTony Grimaldi claims a try after picking up a dropped ball from a David Seage kick-return, but Steve Clark rules a penalty for a strip instead.4 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle KnightsThree straight penalties give the Knights an easy ride downfield, and Joey Johns capitalises with a gift two points. Knights 2-06 min: NEWS Josh Perry makes an outstanding 50 metre run from the Bulldogs kickoff.7 min: NEWS Matt Utai has left the field with a suspected broken rib after a legal Steve Simpson tackle. *Now confirmed*10 min: NEWS Mark O'Meley is penalised for a blatant late shot on Andrew Johns - he had to sidestep to make the hit!10 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle KnightsJohns adds another two points following the O'Meley penalty. Knights 4-011 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsHazem El Masri is on the spot to clean up a Knights fumble from the kick-off and gets the green light from the Video Ref. El Masri converts his own try. Bulldogs 6-414 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThis time the Doggies drop the ball at the wrong end of the field, and Brian Carney finds himself on the end of a swift Knights backline movement to score the try.Johns misses the conversion from out wide. Knights 8-616 min: PENALTY GOAL Newcastle KnightsBrent Sherwin kicks a 20-metre restart out on the full, handing another easy penalty goal to Johns. Knights 10-619 min: NO TRY Newcastle KnightsDanny Buderus crosses the line after backing up a great run from David Seage, but Steve Clark instantly rules a dropped ball without using the Video Ref.26 min: NEWS The Knights have just survived three consecutive sets from the Dogs - still 10-6 to the Knights.27 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsA beautiful try to Milton Thaiday here - he received the ball 35 metres out and steps, jinks and weaves through half the Bulldogs team to dot down under the posts.Johns adds the extras. Knights 16-630 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThe Dogs put their kick-off out on the full, and the Knights have taken full advantage. Danny Buderus skips across from dummy-half for the try, and Andrew Johns slots another goal. Knights 22-634 min: NEWS Willie Mason concedes a penalty while in possession for a bit of niggle - and he was only 5 metres away from the Knights tryline!36 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThe Knights continue to punish the Bulldogs mistakes. Plenty of wide ball movement presents half a chance to Matt Gidley, and he stretches out to score the try.Johns converts. Knights 28-640 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsIt's a carve-up! Thaiday crosses for his second with another display of dazzling footwork. Johns kicks a great conversion from the touchline. Knights 34-6HALFTIME: Newcastle Knights 34 Canterbury Bulldogs 6A classic first half of two halves - the Knights turned on the afterburners after 25 minutes to completely dominate the Bulldogs. It'll take a lot of hard work to turn this result around.Possession: Knights 58% Bulldogs 42%Completion: Knights 18/23 Bulldogs 12/16Missed Tackles: Knights 7 Bulldogs 19Total Metres Gained: Knights 756 Bulldogs 342 (!)The second half is underway!46 min: Still 34-6 to the Knights as the second half starts at a slightly slower pace than the first half finished!47 min: NO TRY Canterbury BulldogsAdam Perry tries to dart across from dummy half but loses the ball over the line. Still 34-6 Knights.51 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThe Knights forwards are continuing to demolish the Bulldogs pack, giving Andrew Johns plenty of space to work his magic. This time Todd Lowrie takes an inside ball from Joey and slides under a couple of tackles to score.Johns converts. Knights 40-6CROWD: 25,50458 min: TRY Newcastle KnightsThaiday claims a treble after some more beautiful lead-up work from Johns. This score could blow out to anything now.Johns successfully converts. Knights 46-666 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsThe Dogs finally get some ball down the Knights end of the field, and Andrew Emeilo crosses the line out wide after some good ball movement from the Doggies.El Masri misses the conversion.Knights 46-1067 min: Andrew Johns has left the field for an early rest.70 min: SIN BIN - Danny Buderus joins Joey for an early rest after a deliberate strip at the play-the-ball.71 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsWillie Mason strolls across the line after taking a short pass from Corey Hughes.El Masri kicks the conversion from in front. Knights 46-1672 min: TRY Canterbury BulldogsThe Bulldogs are finding plenty of holes in the 12-man Knights team at the moment. This time Corey Hughes is on hand to finish a good break started by Roy Asotasi.El Masri kicks the extras. Knights 46-2278 min: NEWS The Bulldogs have had two more chances to score, but dropped ball is proving their biggest enemy.FULLTIME: Newcastle Knights 46 Canterbury Bulldogs 22The Newcastle Knights have reinforced their Premiership claims this evening with a dominant victory over a surprisingly flat Bulldogs team by 46-22.Possession: Knights 52% Bulldogs 48%Completion: Knights 35/42 Bulldogs 26/34Missed Tackles: Knights 20 Bulldogs 34Errors: Knights 8 Bulldogs 13 -----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Andrew Johns (Knights)2 - Josh Perry (Knights)1 - Milton Thaiday (Knights)-----------------------------------------
ROUND 7 of Superleague kicks off with a top six clash between undefeated St Helens and Hull FC. Hull have a good record at home in recent encounters against St Helens, but will be looking to improve on their performances of late if they are to compete in this televised match. St Helens will be without fullback Paul Wellens who suffered a facial injury last weekend.Also on Friday night Bradford host the injury ravaged Wigan side, who have four regular forwards out this week. Wigan look set to include two new midweek player gains in their pack, in Salford's Tim Jonkers and Whitehaven's Oliver Wilkes. Bradford will be without Paul Deacon who has had some minor facial surgery following up his injury from last seasons Tri-Nations.Saturday nights televised game sees Leeds travel down to London to take on Harlequins. Harlequins sprung an upset away win over Hull as well as an away draw against Bradford earlier in the season, but their form in-between has been ordinary. They are also facing injury problems to key players, and should be no match for a near full-strength Leeds side.Also on Saturday, Catalans Dragons host the impressive Salford in Perpignan. Catalans will be full of confidence after recording their first win last week under new coach Mick Potter, and their first win without captain Stacey Jones. Salford have been in good form all season, lost narrowly to Leeds in the closing stages last week and currently sit in fourth spot on the table.In Sunday's matches, Wakefield (who appointed a new chief executive mid week) host Warrington, a game in which both teams will be looking to improve on close losses last start, and grab the two points on offer here. And to close off the round, Castleford (minus the suspended Richard Fa'aoso) host Huddersfield with both sides in good form coming off big wins last weekend.
THE Knights, wooden spooners last year, can justify their premiership favourite status by beating the Bulldogs tonight. Punters think they can as the Knights have been the best backed side of the season so far, but we at
Centrebet are not so sure. They won in a 'hand canter' last week, but with the possibility of bad weather looming, who knows?
THE Knights will put their unbeaten record on the line in tonight's NRL blockbuster with the Bulldogs at Newcastle.
CANBERRA is the latest NRL club to call for a Cricket Australia-style player valuation system to prevent rugby league's best players from being poached by rugby union.
REDCLIFFE v CENTRALDolphin Oval, Sunday March 26, 2.30pm.THE STORY:The Comets go looking for their first win outside Central Queensland in almost two years. Coincidentally the last team they beat in the South East corner was Redcliffe, a 38-22 upset in Round 9, 2004.THE STAT:Redcliffe needs one win for 170 victories in the Queensland Wizard Cup. They are well ahead of nearest rivals Burleigh, sitting on 145 Cup wins. THE STAR:Local school teacher and two-time Sunstate Player of the Year Michael Roberts is closing on Aaron Barba?s Wizard Cup record of 61 tries for the Dolphins. He needs two to equal the mark.CHANGES:REDCLIFFE ? In: Darren Glase, Shannon Fish, Gerard Parle. Out: Danny Green, Pat Gardner, Clint Frazer.CENTRAL ? In: Marty Oborn. Out: Kurt Cawdron.CHARGES:REDCLIFFE ? Pat Gardner (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle + Carry Over, Early Plea, 1wk).CENTRAL ? Peter Penaia (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Early Plea, 0wks), Aaron Sweeny (Grade 1 Careless High Tackle, Early Plea, 0wks).This article is courtesy of the QRL for more Queendland Wizard Cup news visit www.qrl.com.au
CLICK here if you care to forget about the Bulldogs crowd dramas, cap rort inquiries into players and their managers and the umpteenth Leagueie trying to talk up his contract value by leveraging against Rugby Yawnion.It?s time to talk footy and after picking 6/7 last week I?m sitting pretty on a total of 11/14 and enjoying the rare early season form which usually deserts me as it does the Dragons around March each year. This week is no push-over though, with plenty of match-ups that could go either way.Knights v BulldogsA big game this one. Newcastle are always hard to beat at home and it?ll be a full house at Marathon to give them an extra boost. This game is a classic tale of tough forward pack (Bulldogs) versus a talented backline (Knights).Both sides will be on a high after last week but Newcastle want to be careful not to get too carried away with scoring 70 points. The Raiders were pretty shabby and the Knights were clinical in attack but poor in defence. Johns showed that when he leads from the front they can run away with things, but it won?t be a simple lay-down misere on Friday night.The Bulldogs steamrolled Wests last week and have had a full 7 days to recover from that encounter, so they?ll be a little fresher than the Knights. Their forward pack took enormous pleasure out of destroying their fit and competitive rivals and blind Freddy could have seen that Canterbury were parading about with a sign saying ?We?re back?.It?s a tough ask to hold the Bulldog forwards, but if Newcastle can do that it will pave the road to victory in the backs. They managed it against Parramatta up there a fortnight ago and whilst the Doggies are stronger in the prop department, Newcastle has a terrific backrow. Knights by a few with the home crowd, but beware of El Masri, he can pop up anywhere.Tigers v WarriorsA very hard pick. The famous stat here is that the Warriors have never won in New Zealand outside Auckland and the Tigers have given them a touch up at Jade Stadium over the past two seasons in their ?away? home games.It really has been a terrible start for the Warriors. During the off-season they must have looked at the draw and realised they had 3 games in a row in New Zealand giving them every chance to make up the 4 points that they were docked. But so far they haven?t been able to click into gear and with the schedule they have in the next few weeks, their season is perilously close to being over at round 3.The Tigers are in a spot of bother as well. Injuries to key players (Marshall, Fulton, Farah, Heighington & Gibbs) has pulled the rug from under their feet, but that?s no excuse for selection oddities. Whilst he did win the premiership last year and is a great coach, I simply don?t know what Tim Sheens is doing with Jamaal Lolesi at lock - they have ample backrowers. It could well be to link up with Reynolds at halfback, who replaces the one-dimensional Fitzhenry with Prince shifting to five-eighth.With the reshuffle at Wests I?m going to go with the Warriors to break their duck. They?re gone without a win on Saturday.Sea Eagles v SharksThe Sharks depart the Shire and head to the Peninsula chasing their first win in our second instalment of Super Saturday. They?re not the only ones looking for first points with the Sea Eagles sure to be desperate at Fortress Brooky.Cronulla played a pretty stupid brand of footy in the second half last week. They seemed to want to close the game down and just bank a victory with about 20 minutes to go. Their options were poor and they played a deflated style of footy that discouraged any sort of attacking venom whatsoever.The Sea Eagles were at least committed in Townsville after going down in a bit of a scrappy affair which is to be expected from a team with a new playmaker. But the question for Manly fans is how long will this last and how long can they afford it to last? I don?t think it will last much longer. Manly will beat Cronulla on Saturday and it?ll be a top game of footy as there?s plenty of fireworks in both forward packs.Cowboys v StormI?d call this one game of the round. Two brilliant attacking teams facing up against one another with the backdrop of a cyclone devastated home town praying for victory. With Innisfail born Billy Slater lining up for Melbourne, there?s sure to be passion on both sides.The Storm have had two solid victories against New Zealand and Easts without setting the world on fire. But at stages throughout each match they have controlled the game and looked comfortable before the opposition has staged a fightback to make the scoreline appear closer than it was. They can?t afford to do that this week, with the Cowboys sure to capitalise on any opportunity that comes their way.Last week North Queensland struggled to get out of third gear against Manly but as it turns out they didn?t need to in order to win the contest. We know they can turn it on and I get the feeling they?re going to do that on Saturday night. The Cowboys forward pack will dominate their smaller rivals at Melbourne, who will miss the aggression of new recruit Mick Crocker desperately. The clash in the halves will be an interesting sub-plot to the match.Rabbitohs v DragonsWell it?s not getting any easier. Necessity was the mother of invention last week for the Dragons as they played Dean Young at five-eighth in what I would hope is his last outing in that position. It was always going to be tough for him, but with Barrett returning this week he settles nicely back into the hooking role. The big factor here for the Dragons is the absence of Luke Bailey. They missed his go-forward last week when he was forced from the field and with Creagh also on the sidelines the Dragons bench is starting to look pretty weak in comparison to last season.The Bunnies will turn up at Homebush for the first time as a privately-owned team. It remains to be seen how this will affect the club?s mental preparation, but I can?t see it having anything other than a positive affect. They had a week off with the bye and they?d be keen to erase the memories of their first round loss to the Roosters. Walker is still out and he?s replaced by boom rookie Beau Champion who showed his wares a little last season and also in the Charity Shield.This is a hard pick. On one hand the Dragons have Barrett, Gasnier, Ryles and Hornby in the team, but I think they key is who they?re missing ? Cooper and Bailey ? which makes them look a little fragile. Souths are full of toilers in the forwards department and a great playmaker in Sutton who could prove the difference in a backline that is under rated, but they are coming off the bye. I?ll tip the Dragons, if they lose this one there will be gnashing of teeth down at Kogarah.Broncos v EelsHeading up to Lang Park now and the Eels take on the Broncos in what shapes to be a good stoush. Both sides have a win each and there?s plenty to be talked about in each line-up.I?m lost with Brian Smith?s selection policies. He?s got Tahu and Grothe on the bench returning from injury presumably in case Graham and Peterson break a leg in the warm up? It could be one of his last minute change of heart decisions this week. We all know how well they work. At least he?s got Riddell there again after a good performance against the Warriors.Moving on to the Broncos, and Wayne Bennett has stuck with Lcokyer at five-eighth as you?d expect, but he?ll be closely watched in case he turns up at fullback. Hunt may be called upon in the frontline and with Hodges back in the team there?s some more flair and creativity than last week.Across the park Parramatta just look too strong though. I think it?s probable that their forwards will dominate the Brisbane pack who are a bit lethargic. They are big guys and it will be interesting to see the difference daylight savings makes to the heat up in Queensland, which may have caused them to struggle against the Cowboys. The Eels should win by a few and they also have the demons of round 5, 2005 to exorcise (Brisbane won 54-14).Roosters v RaidersThe final game of the round sees two last start losers confront one another in the heart of League territory ? the Sydney Football Stadium. It?s a great ground to view the game from and let?s hope the Roosters can get a few bodies out there this weekend. They?ll certainly need some support after losing to the Storm last weekend.Easts are starting to worry me though. Braith and Ashley aren?t pulling their weight and the persistence of Finch at hooker is debasing the team. He keeps issuing orders at every opportunity and I don?t think that?s his role anymore. If I were him I?d stick to giving good service out of dummy half to Soward and Anasta before Wing comes on and commences his darting runs out of hooker.Canberra are in a different boat. They got smashed last week and still managed to score 32 points. One thing Leagueies always do after a bad loss is to try and erase that memory the very next week, so perhaps I?ve shown my hand a little early here. With the return of Schif and what?s more or less their strongest line-up, the Raiders have no excuses here. They?re a tipping disaster but I think I?ve cracked the code ? just tip them when most people think they?re going to lose and they generally win.The Penrith Panthers have the bye this round and they have surprised most people with their lofty position on the ladder. Close victories over the Bulldogs and the Dragons could give them an edge in tight matches later in the season. John Lang must have had a wry smile on his face last Sunday given the result in Canberra.
THE Dolphins opened the season with wins in all grades at Ipswich last weekend. All 3 games were tough encounters and it was pleasing for the coaches their sides were able to walk away with 2 points.The Colts jumped out of the blocks well slipping out to a halftime lead of 14-6. The Jets worked themselves back into the game leading 16-14 midway through the second half before a tense finish saw the Dolphins run out eventual winners 20 points to 14.The side will need to improve its discipline in the future with too many unnecessary penalties. Matt Handcock and Tom Donnelly will spend 3 weeks on the sidelines after an unfortunate tackle while Captain Tim Benson proved the sides best collecting the LEADING EDGE SPORTS Man of the Match. This week sees the Dolphins tackling the Western District Panthers for the first home game of the season.The A Grade encounter was a rugged affair with both sides playing the game in a physical style. The Dolphins finished 34-14 winners after playing the final 25 minutes with 12 men after Richie Russell was sent off. It was a solid effort from the Dolphins as the game was still a tight contest when Richie left the field, Coach Grant Cleal was impressed with the way the side put the game beyond doubt in the circumstances. Dominic Fallini continued his impressive trial form receiving the HOGS BREATH CAFE Man of the Match award off the bench, Dom was well supported by NZ recruit Kaine Manihera and Mark Shipway who unfortunately picked up a rib cartilage injury. The team also tackles the Western District Panthers this weekend who will be keen to register their first win.The Premier Grade side completed the trifecta with a hard fought win over the Jets to the tune of 34 points to 12. The game was a good contest despite the scoreline with the Dolphins relying on a determined defensive effort to shut out Ipswich on their home soil. The win has come a cost with Clint Frazer badly separating the AC joint in his shoulder, Danny Green also suffered a shoulder injury while Pat Gardner will miss one week through suspension, Duane O?Grady was thought to have broken the scaffoid in his left hand however tests have cleared him of a break. Winger Adam Fletcher was solid on debut for the Dolphins receiving the KEYSTAR AUTOWORLD Players Player award and evergreen forward Adam Starr proved his worth again with his SEARLES GARDEN PRODUCTS Player of the Match performance, others to impress were Danny Burke and centres Greg Bourke and Nick Emmett. This week provides a real test for the Dolphins depth with a number of player?s unavailable to confront the Central Comets who will be champing at the bit after downing the Burleigh Bears for the first time last weekend. The first home games of the season shape as good encounters and with the Wizard Family Day promotion on we can expect a good crowd on hand for their first fix of Dolphin Oval footy for the year.This weeks teamsQueensalnd Wizard Cup1. Ryan Cullen 2. Alwyn Simpson 3. Greg Bourke 4. Nick Emmett 5. Adam Fletcher 6. Marty Turner 7. Shane Perry (c) 8. Adam Starr 9. Mick Roberts 16. Damian Jentz 11. Grant Flugge 12. Danny Burke 13. Shannon Fish Interchange 14. Chris Fox 15. Duane O'Grady 10. Darren Glase 17. Gerard ParleCoach Anthony GriffinFOGS Cup A grade1. Mark Christensen 2. Kaine Manihera 3. Pat McGill 4. Rory Bromley 5. Lucas Deaden 6. Matt Anderton (c) 7. Chris Jelich 8. Brad Massey 9. Scott Gillis 10. Dom Fallini 11. James Douglas 12. Dan Jones 13. Matt Mannion Interchange 14. Mick Pares 15. Xavier Jordan 16. Josh McCormick 17. Sam Fillery Coach Grant ClealFOGS Colts Challenge1. Phil Daisy 2. Dion Porteous 3. Matt Gillett 4. Michael Wilson 5. James Derbyshire 6. Bob Jones 7. Asher Elemani 8. Greg Malenstein 9. Angus Cameron 10. Jon Broad 11. Foisa Peni 12. Logan Sullivan 13. Tim Benson (c) Interchange 14. David Hala 15. Dane Hogan 16. Stuart May 17. Anthony TonkinCoach Craig IngebrigtsenThe Redcliffe Dolphins ask all members and supporters of the Leagues and Football Clubs to get behind the club's Cyclone Larry Appeal donations are being taken at reception in the Leagues Club.
NRL chief executive David Gallop says he is willing to risk losing representative stars such as St George Illawarra centre Mark Gasnier to rugby union if it means preserving the salary cap.Gallop says the NRL will not relax its rules to keep the likes of Gasnier and fellow internationals Anthony Minichiello and Willie Tonga from switching codes. He says the salary cap is responsible for creating one of the most even competitions in the game's history, and he is not willing to jeopardise that to retain one player.Dragons three-quarter Gasnier is believed to be in talks with Australian Rugby Union officials about a switch next season, with rumours of contracts worth up to $750,000 a season said to be on offer.