Costin Rises to the Top

VETERAN Brandon Costin has taken out the prestigious Courier-Mail Best and Fairest title, rugby league's longest-running player award.

Cullen laughs off link to Chooks

REPORTS the Sydney Roosters have targeted Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett have been met with laughter and surprise from the Broncos.

Jets set to host semi-final

RUGBY League history will be made this coming Friday night (September 8th) when the Newtown Jets, the foundation club of the NSW Rugby League, will host a senior grade semi-final for the first time at Henson Park.The Jets will meet the Penrith-St Marys Cougars in a VB Premier League qualifying final at Henson Park with this match kicking off at 7.30pm.The match details are:Friday, September 8th 2006NSWRL VB Premier LeagueQualifying FinalHenson ParkNewtown v Penrith-St Marys CougarsKick-Off: 7.30pmPhoto:Newtown?s special ace for Friday night?s semi-final will be the will-of-the-wisp halfback Jamie Soward.Photo courtesy of Mike Biboudis.

Tight contest for Warriors awards

ANNUAL awards will be handed out to the Vodafone Warriors? top achievers at Sky City next Thursday night (September 14) after one of the club?s best seasons in the NRL.

Tamaki Leopards - Finals prev

THE Tamaki Leopards don?t have a lot of time to enjoy their nail-biting win over the Waitakere Rangers.The Leopards grabbed a golden point 25-24 win over the Rangers on Monday night to book their spot in the Bartercard Cup semi-finals with the Canterbury Bulls.The two teams face off at Mt Smart Stadium on Monday September 11 and Leopards coach Dean Clark is already plotting the strategy to help them continue their winning run. ?The boys dug deep and that?s what we?d been working towards all week,? Clark said.?I?m proud of what the boys have achieved but we?ve still got another game to play.But the former Kiwi knows it?s not going to be easy to beat the Bulls.?We?ll be viewing some of the games Canterbury have played this season,? he said.?We?ll be trying to work another game plan to suit us against them.?The Leopards made plenty of mistakes throughout the game gifting the Rangers plenty of possession and points.But when they got it right they showed why they are serious title contenders.Their attacking play was impressive as was their composure in the moments before halfback Darin Kingi landed the field goal that won them the game.With the Rangers? defence stretched they could have tried their luck at grabbing a try to win the game but instead they turned to the young halfback and he didn?t disappoint.But the left-footed kicker wasn?t getting carried away after the game.And he admitted the team knew they still had plenty of work to do.?This is what we?ve been working for all year,? he said.?This is our time to shine, it?s time for us to play to our potential.?CANTERBURY BULLS vs TAMAKI LEOPARDSMt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New ZealandMonday 11 September 2006 ? 8.00pm Kick Off * LIVE & FREE-TO-AIR ON MAORI TELEVISION *CANTERBURY BULLS:LUSI SIONESCOTT HURRELLDONAVAN AITKENLEE FIDOWLUCAS TAMAKAHAJOSH REUBENDUANE WINETIVINCE WHARESHANE BEYERS (C)ALEX TIMOJONNY LIMMERDANIEL METCALFCOREY LAWRIEGARETH COOKBLAKE MILNERROSS TURILOUIS FANENECoach - PHILIP PRESCOTTManagement:BRENT STUARTDAVE PERKINSBRUCE MILNEANDY WIHARESTEVE WOODTAMAKI LEOPARDSCOOPER VUNATAAVILI LEAUNOAAIROE BOAZACONSTANTINE MIKAISAAKO HAGAITOA(CO-C) WILLIAM HETADARIN KINGISIONE NIUILATROY BECROFT(CO-C) SINAVE FAITALEISAAC LIAVAAGEOFFREY RUAPOROPAUL ATKINSRICHARD JOHNSONFRED TURUWHENUA(GENE VAAFUSUAGA)LEESON AH MAU(NIKORN THAMMAVONGSA)KOTISI FAKALATACoach - DEAN CLARKManagement:VINNIE CLARKKEVIN HAWKINSJACK PRENDERGASTRICK WILLIAMSJOHN BOCKETTWILLIE TAUATEVALUBOB NEWALDRHYS CULLEN

Around the Grounds with Rosso

AFTER having the bye in round 26, Newcastle welcome back captain Andrew Johns from a contrary conduct suspension for their Qualifying Final against Manly. The match will be played at a sold out Energy Australia Stadium, where just a month ago, the exact same sides played in a corresponding match which was fuelled with controversy, as the Knights lost an attacking raid with just one minute on the clock. That night referee Paul Simpkins correctly ruled that a pass was not played at by Sea Eagles? centre Steve Matai.

Overnight wrap: Roosters & Tigers

INSPIRATIONAL Sydney Roosters captain Craig Fitzgibbon has won the Jack Gibson Medal for being the Sydney Roosters' Player of the Year.

Statement from Wests Tigers CEO Steve Noyce

STATEMENT FROM STEVE NOYCEWests Tigers Chief Executive Steve Noyce today issued the following statement.?We have been made aware of an allegation that a woman may have been sexually assaulted early Monday morning at a place where both Wests Tigers players and others were present,?? Mr Noyce said.?We are not aware at this stage of any specific allegation against a Wests Tigers player and the Club is very keen to work with the police to establish what may or may not have taken place.??

Tigers helping investigations over rape claims

WESTS Tigers rugby league officials are working with NSW Police as part of an investigation into a woman's claim that she may have been raped at a Sydney apartment block.

Inglis to play

AFTER clinching three Dally M awards, Melbourne has received more good news with attacking genius Greg Inglis certain to play in the qualifying final against Parramatta on Sunday.

Melbourne Supporters Info - Dragons v Broncos

DRAGONS Supporters, THE 2006 FINALS ARE UPON US!! After a long and arduous season that at times resembled the Mighty Mouse at Luna Park (you know, up and down and in parts looks a little shaky) the Dragons finished the regular season in 6th position. This puts us in the 2nd final for the weekend at 6:30pm Saturday against the Brisbane Bronco's. MBDS have been working hard to ensure we get the best for our members and have been able to secure a great venue which can both show the game live on the big screen AND guarantee audio for the game which has proven impossible where there are clashes with the AFL in the past. THE STATION HOTEL in Prahran will be our Finals Live Site this week and is a fantastic venue which is known for it's ability to host sports events screening in style. The hotel is located right next door to Prahran train station (with the delays on the Sandringham line you can almost stop in there for a pot on the way home while the train is waiting for the green light it is that close) and is a short walk from Chapel St. Come along and check out the new venue and watch the Dragons as they attempt to beat the Bronco's in Brisbane for the second time this year. WHAT: Dragons v Bronco's - NRL FINALSWHEN: Saturday 9th September 2006, 6.30pmWHERE: STATION HOTEL, 96 Greville St Prahran. WEBSITE: www.stationhotel.com.au GO THE DRAGONS!!

Rammo's rant

WHILE I have been cynical about the standard of football to this point of the 2006 season, I must admit this finals series has me intrigued more than most over the years.

Kiwis / NZA Train On Squad

NEW Zealand Rugby League chairman Sel Bennett has today confirmed a 19-man train-on squad for the Kiwis? Gillette Tri-Nations campaign and the New Zealand A side?s clash with Australia A.In total 11 Warriors players - including hooker Nathan Fein - have been named in the initial squad.Kiwis coach Brian McClennan said Fein, who has played for the Queensland State of Origin side, had earned his selection.Nathan has been the number one starting hooker for the Warriors this season,? he said.His Nana was born in Wanganui so he is eligible through parentage.It actually wouldn?t have been long and he would have been eligible through residency as well.His form has been very good this year and he?s pledged his allegiance to the Kiwis. He was very close to making the Queensland side but he?s chosen to play for the Kiwis over that.It shows you how much he loves our country and how much he loves the culture of the people. It?s a positive step.?McClennan made it very clear the door was not closed on any player.We have kept the squad tight at the moment,? he said.Once we have confirmed fitness and seen who becomes available as clubs exit the play-offs, we?ll make further judgements about who might be needed for the final mix.The squad that we?ve picked is a little different from last year.There?s an age limit ? a youth policy ? in the New Zealand A side this year.Last year we were able to pick a broader base of players because it was open.The only player not considered for selection in the initial train-on squad from the 2005 Gillette Tri-Nations series squad is North Queensland Cowboys hooker David Faiumu who requires surgery on a groin injury.The players named in this squad have two weeks off training before they get back into business.This will also give the Kiwis and New Zealand A staff a chance to assess the medical reports of all the players named.The guys are getting a couple of weeks refresher break and after that we?ll be able to confirm things a bit more,? he said.We?ll get the medical reports back from the clubs in that time and find out what medical issues the players have.We?ll find out more about the extent of some injuries and what rehab is required.? The train-on squad is:Patrick Ah Van, Louis Anderson, Nathan Fein, Epalahame Lauaki, Simon Mannering, Sam Rapira, Jerome Ropati, Evarn Tuimavave, Manu Vatuvei, Brent Webb, Ruben Wiki (NZ Warriors).Iosia Soliola (Roosters)Frank Pritchard, Tony Puletua (Panthers)Nigel Vagana (Sharks)David Fa?alogo (Rabbitohs)Dene Halatau, Paul Whatuira, Rangi Chase (Tigers).

Danny Green to Fight Charge

REDCLIFFE'S Danny Green will contest a dangerous throw charge which threatens to keep him out of this Saturday's QLD Wizard Cup preliminary final blockbuster against Easts.

Sculthorpe seeks solution

ST Helens are scouring the country for experts to find an answer to Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe?s chronic knee complaint.

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