AFTER adjourning last week so teams could attend to Challenge Cup duties, Superleague resumes this weekend with some interesting Round 8 clashes. The Friday night televised game comes from KC Stadium where Hull host Leeds Rhinos. It has been a dramatic week at Hull being after knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Bradford and losing the chance to defend their trophy, and losing their coach John Kear, who left by mutual consent after learning that his contract would not be renewed for season 2007. It's anyone's guess as to how these events will effect club morale, but Hull are expecting to welcome back hooker Richard Swain from injury. Leeds have been stronger than Hull so far this season, and especially under these circumstances are more than capable of scoring the away win.In what seems one of the most evenly contested matches this round, the in form Salford Reds host Huddersfield at The Willows. Both teams are coming off strong wins against lower division teams last weekend, and will want to continue their winning form in the league. Huddersfield are capable of matching it with the best sides on their day, but Salford have been this season's surprise package, showing a consistency that has been a long time in the making, and will be favourites at home to edge out the Giants.Also on Friday night, Harlequins make the trip north to face league leaders St Helens at Knowsley Road. St Helens registered a comfortable 56-6 win against lower division Doncaster last week in the Challenge Cup, whilst Harlequins also had an easy victory against French side Toulouse. However the London side will face a much stiffer challenge here, and only the brave would tip them to score an upset win against the undefeated Saints.And to wrap up the night's action Wakefield and Wigan meet for the second week in a row, in a return helping of last weekend's Challenge Cup tie at Belle Vue won by Wigan 32-22. That game was in the balance until the later stages, and so Wakefield will be hoping the insights they gained might help them return to the winners circle. But Wigan will be keen to make the most of the momentum from what for this season has been a rare win for the cherry and whites. Saturday night's televised game comes from Odsal Stadium, where Bradford host Warrington. Hopefully the ground will have recovered from last weekend, where the persistent rain and hail had led to parts of the pitch being in quite poor and boggy conditions. Bradford are coming off a 23-12 win there over Hull, which will have done their Superleague conditioning no harm at all, whilst Warrington went through their paces with a 52-0 win over lower division London Skolars. However the Wolves will have to lift their intensity here if they are to compete with the Bulls over the full 80 minutes.Finally, also on Saturday night Les Catalans play host to Castleford at the Stade Albert Domec in Carcassonne. Catalans recorded a 60-0 win against amateur Challenge Cup opposition, whilst Castleford lost at Widnes, embarrassingly to the team that they had passed in promotion to this season's Superleague. When everything else is equal, it all comes down to the travel, and despite confusion about the home ground arrangements (with this game originally having been planned to be staged in Spain), Les Catalans should be better adjusted and favourites to get the win here.
BRISBANE will be without veteran forward Brad Thorn for tomorrow night's NRL match against South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium. Thorn is out with a knee injury which is only expected to sideline him for one week.
NORTH Queensland five-eighth Johnathan Thurston says the Cowboys will have to keep a straight line defence against his Wests Tigers counterpart Benji Marshall in tonight's big NRL clash in Townsville.
LOW-SCORING and tightly contested matches was the flavour of the week last week, but after looking into the crystal ball for Round 5 there?s every chance it could happen again. I squandered a great start to the year, carding 2 from 7 last week to leave me on 18 from 28 for the year, a far cry from the 76% batting average I held seven days ago.
REDCLIFFE coach Anthony Griffin has warned his players to beware the wounded Bears as the Dolphins prepare to do battle with Burleigh in its Queensland Wizard Cup clash at Dolphin Oval this Sunday.Despite his side holding top spot on the competition ladder following a 48-22 win against Easts at Langlands Park last Saturday, Griffin is anticipating a tough clash against the struggling Gold Coast outfit.Last year's runners-up, Burleigh has won just once this season, downing Ipswich in the opening round of the season before being upset by Central and rolled by Easts and Norths.Despite the Dolphins and Bears being at opposite ends of the ladder, Griffin is wary of a side he predicts ``is going to win soon''.``They're a very strong club and they've been in the last three grand finals, but they're just going through some bad form early in the year,'' Griffin said.``They're going to click soon, so we've just got to make sure we're ready for them on Sunday.''Redcliffe's home field status isn't assured to be an advantage for the Dolphins.Burleigh has won most of its visits to the Peninsula in the past five years, including a 56-6 result last year.Redcliffe's Duane O'Grady is in doubt after lasting only 10 minutes against Easts due to a back complaint.The fast-finishing Dolphins squandered an early lead against Easts before blowing out the final score in a see-sawing affair.Early tries to Greg Bourke and standout Mick Roberts got the ball rolling for Redcliffe, before Tigers veteran Darren Smith orchestrated a comeback, setting up several tries and scoring two of his own.Easts had nullified Redcliffe's 12-point half-time lead to tie the game at 22-all with half an hour to play but, as with its performances against Ipswich and Central, Redcliffe skipped away in the last quarter of the match by scoring five unanswered tries.While Griffin praised his side's try-scoring prowess and its ability to dominate the back half of matches, he wasn't impressed with letting Easts into the match.``We were in the position to win the game at half-time but we let that slip,'' Griffin said.``To Easts credit they played some good footy on us, but we shouldn't have let them get to that point.``But I don't want to be too pessimistic we haven't lost a game yet.''Griffin cited prop Pat Gardner, five-eighth Shane Perry and hooker Roberts, whose scheming play around the rucks provided plenty of headaches for the Easts defence, as the stand out players for the Redcliffe team.The Dolphins have now snared top spot on the ladder after North Queensland's record 18-game unbeaten streak was shattered after they were hammered 54-16 by Tweed Heads.This Article is courtesy of the Redcliffe & Bayside Herald
NORTH Queensland coach Graham Murray will aim human torpedo Luke O'Donnell at Benji Marshall at every opportunity tomorrow night in a bid to sink the cheeky young West Tigers' playmaker.
NEWCASTLE halfback Andrew Johns has been cleared of a serious neck injury and is an "80 per cent" chance to play in his side's NRL clash with St George Illawarra on Saturday night.
WESTS Tigers coach Tim Sheens says North Queensland counterpart Graham Murray will be too smart to use revenge as motivation for Friday night's NRL grand final replay in Townsville.
NORTH Queensland hooker Aaron Payne has failed in his bid to line up against Wests Tigers in tomorrow night's NRL clash in Townsville.
PLAYIN? those Mind Games
FOUR Rounds of the 2006 NRL Season have been completed and here is the best (and some of the worst) of the first month of the season.
THE Pepsi Dolphins have a history of producing top-notch players for NRL ranks.
Every year at least one Redcliffe junior or Colt forces his way into the top-level ranks.
Don't be surprised if Liam Georgetown joins that list in the next couple of seasons.
The 18-year-old already has turned out in two Queensland Cup fixtures for the Dolphins after playing a significant role in last season's Colts premiership.
And the flash has former Test prop Glenn Lazarus as his manager after a family connection tied the pair last year.
"A mate of my father's persuaded Glenn to come along to a couple of games last season and he is now my manager," he said.
"He has faith in me and I believe I can make a career out of playing rugby league," he said.
Georgetown's talent also has been recognised by representative selectors as he was picked for the Queensland Rangers side to take on New South Wales Country in late June at Murwillumbah.
"That was a big thrill," he said. "I played on the right wing and had a full match and got a try. It couldn't have been better."
He was selected for Brisbane South East to contest a carnival in Mackay from where the Rangers side was selected.
"Marshall Colwell was coach for the Rangers and we beat NSW Country 50-22 in front of a good turnout," Georgetown said.
"It was the first time I had made a rep team and it was close to playing to a grand final. I always get these nerves playing big matches."
He did not let nerves affect him in the 2003 grand final, scoring a try against Burleigh Heads.
This season shapes as just as successful. A few kilograms heavier at 76kg, the wingman has worked hard on his fitness and, as he says, "I'm starting to reap the rewards".
After turning out in a pre-season trial against Toowoomba, Georgetown took on Central Comets and Burleigh Bears in the top grade, nailing a try against the Comets.
"Premier League is heaps faster and I try to do what I normally do in a match," he said. "My second game was one of the best games I've played as I got more involved."
Originally from Cherbourg, Liam's family moved to Brisbane when he was six and he spent four years with the Brighton Roosters.
"Everyone else seems to hate Redcliffe, but once you play for them it's a different story again," he said. "The club itself is brilliant and you can see why they are so successful."
Still eligible for Colts, Georgetown is noted for his flashy wing play, capable of scoring a try with his acceleration and uncanny reading of play.
He scored two tries in last year's season decider at Dolphin Oval, including an 80m intercept.
"I had not played on the wing before until last season when Crusher asked me to play there," he said. "I had played in the centres all the time.
"But I like playing on the wing now, especially after scoring 18 tries last year. Last year I was on the left wing, this year it's the right."
His pace is an obvious asset, however he is coy as to whether he's the fastest player at the club.
"We had a race in the pre-season and I came third behind Joel Barnes and Maddison Murphy," he said. "I had a good off-season and played touch to help keep me fit."
Now in his third season at Dolphin Oval, Georgetown joined from Brighton and played with Redcliffe's under 17 before receiving a call to sign up with the Colts last season.
His goal now is to cement a spot in the club's Queensland Cup ranks.
Sport dominates Georgetown's life as he is in the middle of a 12-month diploma in sports management at Brackenridge TAFE.
"Eventually I want to have a management role in sport," he said. "I have been into sport all my life and want to stay in it."
THE battle has only just started for the right to bear the Dolphins name.
Our club will not be surrendering our 35-year-old emblem, name and all the goodwill we have built up with it.
Our CEO James Hinchey has written to the National Rugby League chief executive officer David Gallop expressing our amazement and disappointment that he apparently did not know Redcliffe were the Dolphins.
In his letter, James has asked for a meeting with Mr Gallop at which we will state our case against Gold Coast's adoption of the Dolphin name for their inclusion in the NRL.
We also will be bringing pressure to bear on the BRL Division and Queensland Rugby League, as our immediate governing bodies, for their support in our battle.
While Dawn Hill and her loyal band started their campaign in front of the TV cameras for the Clydesdales-Redcliffe match, our club will bring in heavy artillery.
We have met our trademark lawyer and he believes we have a good case. We believe the NRL needs another consortium in the southeast corner of Queensland and back Gold Coast's entry, however we object strongly to their usurping our history.
As the Dolphins, the Redcliffe football club has played a major part in our city's history and development and that also will mount a part of our case.
Observers only have to take in the number of businesses and organisations on the Peninsula which use either the dolphin name or emblem to promote themselves to realise its connection to the area.
As I said last month, our club has aspirations to join the NRL and our contribution to the code cannot be underestimated.
When the Broncos downed the Knights last month, there were five former Dolphins - Petero Civoniceva, David Stagg, Craig Frawley, Brent Tate and Dane Carlaw - in their ranks.
I MUST congratulate our Queensland Residents on their selections and performances.
Justin McKay, Adam Starr, Danny Green, Trent Leis, Troy Lindsay and Ben Jones can hold their heads proud after the convincing win over Country at Barcaldine and then the narrow loss to NSW Residents at Stadium Australia.
And that was after Shane Perry, Damien Richters and Brian Jellick pulled out of the rep teams with personal commitments.
We also congratulated our three reps in the Australian under 15 side.
Asher Elemani, Dane Hogan and Ben Jones were presented with special trophies to commemorate their achievements with Ben still an under 14.
While on football, the Dolphins have surged back into form and as we go to press are equal top on the ladder.
A strong win in Townsville over the Young Guns was followed up by victory over Brothers Valleys and then a confidence-boosting result over the Clydesdales.
The side appears to lift under pressure and I'm certain we can figure in the premiership countdown again this season.
We have a hard road into the finals with Norths, Easts and Burleigh Heads - all semi-final hopefuls - upcoming fixtures, although we have Norths and Burleigh at home.
Congratulations also go to Shane Perry and his wife Angela on the birth of their daughter Kiara Rose.
Until next month, President Des Webb
FOR the first time in history, Channel Nine has agreed to show all the finals game live into Sydney and Brisbane.
THE Newcastle Knights are heading in the right direction, despite the loss of key players to rival clubs from next year, according to their media manager Stephen Crowe.