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.

Korkidas guilty, free to play

RELEGATION-THREATENED Wakefield have been boosted by the news Michael Korkidas has been cleared to play in their vital clash with Bradford on Friday.The Australian forward was sent off against St Helens last Friday for head-butting Saints centre Jamie Lyon during Wakefield's 34-12 defeat at Knowsley Road.Despite being found guilty of illegal use of the head at the League's disciplinary committee, they also found that the sending off was punishment enough.The tough prop is therefore cleared to keep his ever-present record this season to face Bradford in a must-win encounter for the struggling Wildcats.Defeat against The Bulls will see Wakefield's relegation confirmed, but a point could yet set up a thrilling decider against Castleford next week.Wakefield will also be able to call upon the services of Darrell Griffin for the trip to The Grattan Stadium at Odsal after he completed a one-game ban.Source: skysports.com

Waite to return to Australia

FORMER Great Britain head coach David Waite is to end his consultancies with both the RFL and Catalans Dragons at the end of September and return home to Australia.

Cameron Smith - 2006 Dally M Award winner

MELBOURNE Storm hooker Cameron Smith has been awarded the 2006 Dally M Player of the Year award.In a result which mirrors our own adjudication at League Unlimited, the nuggetty rake capped off a memorable season by taking out the prestigious award tonight at the Sydney Town Hall.Smith, a goal kicking hooker, has been a mainstay of the Storm side for some years now and represented Queensland with distinction in this year's State of Origin series. Following the withdrawal of Danny Buderus, Smith looks likely to receive his first Test cap in this years's Tri-Nations tournament.Other notable winners were rookie Jarryd Hayne and coach Craig Bellamy.Here are the full details of the night?s awards:Rookie of The Year: Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)Nominated - Greg Eastwood, Jarryd Hayne, Darius Boyd, Luke Douglas, Grant Rovelli2006 Top Tryscorer: Nathan Merritt (South Sydney Rabbitohs) 22 tries2006 Top Pointscorer: Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs) 274 pointsCaptain of The Year: Ben Kennedy (Manly Sea Eagles)Nominated - Ben Kennedy, Darren Lockyer, Cameron Smith, Andrew RyanProvan Summons People's Choice: Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta Eels)Nominated - Nathan Hindmarsh, Ben Kennedy, Willie Mason, Andrew JohnsPeter Frilingos Memorial Award for Headline Moment of the Year: Brett Finch (State of Origin I)Nominated -The Brett Finch field goal, SOO1The Brett Stewart try, Manly v TigersHodgson's pass in SOO3Gorrell's sideline conversion to sink the Broncos at SuncorpCoach of the Year: Craig Bellamy (Melbourne Storm)Nominated - Craig Bellamy, Steve Folkes, Jason Taylor, Matt ElliottRepresentative Player of the Year: Darren Lockyer (Queensland Maroons & Australian Kangaroos)Nominated - Darren Lockyer, Petero Civoniceva, Jonathon Thurston, Willie MasonARL Hall of Fame inductees:The late Ken KearneySid PearceCharles FraserGeorge TreweekDuncan HallPeter SterlingPOSITIONAL AWARDS:Fullback: Clinton Schifcofske (Canberra Raiders)Nominated - Greg Inglis, Rhys Wesser, Brett Stewart, Clinton SchifcofskeWinger: Brian Carney (Newcastle Knights)Nominated - Hazem El Masri, Eric Grothe, Brian Carney, Nathan MerrittCentre: Mark Gasnier (St George-Illawarra Dragons)Nominated - Justin Hodges, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Adam Mogg, Jake WebsterFive-eighth: Darren Lockyer (Brisbane Broncos)Nominated - Scott Hill, Jason Smith, Darren Lockyer, Preston CampbellHalfback: Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)Nominated - Matt Orford, Cooper Cronk, Andrew Johns, Johnathan ThurstonProp: Roy Asotasi (Bulldogs)Nominated - Luke Bailey, Roy Asotasi, Petero Civoniceva, Mark O'MeleyHooker: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)Nominated ? Danny Buderus, Aaron Payne, Robbie Farah, Cameron SmithSecond row: Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta Eels)Nominated - Willie Mason, Nathan Hindmarsh, Steve Simpson, Ryan HoffmanLock: Ben Kennedy (Manly Sea Eagles)Nominated - Ben Kennedy, Alan Tongue, Reni Maitua, Dallas Johnson

Referee's Report - Round 26

IT has been a long season for the Referee?s in season 2006, and here at LeagueUnlimited and Referee?s Report, we have made a list of awards for what has been an up and down season. Referee of the Year Award: Steve Clark ? While sometimes being inconsistent and sometimes making the wrong calls, he has been the standout for this season. Two origins show this and leading in to the semi finals he is in line to take out his first ever Grand Final.The What Happened Award: Paul Simpkins ? While Paul has been up there as one of the best this season, we can expect more of him. Although he was out for a couple of months after a calf strain in round six, he made a slow comeback from injury. When returning for the Tigers and Souths match in round 12, he took too long to return to his normal good performances. However he is now well positioned to hit form at the right time of the season.The Most Improved Award: Shayne Hayne ? Just a year and a half ago, Shayne Hayne was doing Premier League and some NRL touchlines. Now in September of 2006, Shayne has been given his first ever Finals fixture. It has been a great season for Shayne, which has involved a fair few Friday night matches. Next year he should be hoping for a top two finish.The Rookie of the Year Award: Ben Cummins ? There have been a fair few referees blooded in to First Grade this season. Last year Ben was awarded the SG Ball Grand Final and now the Canberra Junior has a handful of First Grade matches to go with it. He is one to watch in the future.The One to Look Out For Award: Tony De Las Heras ? He has had two proper First Grade matches and one half a match as a replacement, but Dapto junior Tony De Las Heras is one of the referees to watch in 2007 and beyond.Now on to the appointments for the first week of the 2006 playoffs:Sean Hampstead receives his first start in a semi final since 2004 when he did the First Qualifying Final between the Panthers and Dragons. Hampstead has been given the match of the round at Energy Australia Stadium between the Knights and Sea Eagles which, last time these two sides met in round 23, was amid controversy when Knights captain Andrew Johns lashed out at touch judge Matt Cecchin with a number of four letter words. The touch judges will be Steve Carrall and Rod Lawrence.Paul Simpkins receives yet another semi final when the Broncos are at home to the Dragons on Saturday night. In 2004 Simpkins had first and eighth placed in week one of the playoffs between the Roosters and Raiders, while in 2005 he had the Tigers and Cowboys? week one clash being the fourth and fifth placed teams. The touch judges will be Paul Holland and Matt Cecchin.It is a memorable moment for Shayne Hayne who has been given his first start in an NRL Finals match. He will be at the helm of the Bulldogs and Raiders match at Telstra Stadium on Saturday night. Hayne just beat fellow referee Tony Archer to the fourth and final refereeing position in the upcoming finals series. Shayne?s touch judges will be David Abood and Steve Chiddy. The last man to be named is number one referee Steve Clark, who will be down in Melbourne as the minor premiers take on the eighth placed Parramatta Eels. The last time Clark did an Eels match was when Parramatta heavily defeated the Dragons back in round 22, while the last time he officiated in a Storm match was in round 20 as Melbourne were too strong for the visiting Sharks. The touch judges will be Russell Turner and Michael Jones.

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