AS curtain raisers go, this was about as good as it gets. Graham Lowe, the 1983-86 Kiwi coach, was back in harness bringing together a collection of former Kiwi internationals to face an Invitational team at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night. The crowd came early as well, several thousand attracted to see the likes of Kurt Sorensen, Fred Ah Kuoi, James Leuluai, Gary Kemble, Tony Iro, Clayton Friend and many more wind back the clock in a match organised by the Invitational team's Noel Wyatt, an Ellerslie stalwart. At the age of 43 he wanted one last match and he had his wish.What unfolded was a display of some wonderful ball skills from players of yesteryear. The evening hadn't started well for one of their number. Joe Ropati, a blockbusting winger in his Kiwi days, suffered the embarrassment of straining a calf muscle as he ran - or even walked - onto the field. He went straight off. It so happened that another Kiwi great was in attendance and willing to step into the breach, none other than the absolute warrior Kevin Tamati. He emerged on the sideline wearing the jersey intended for Ropati but with no shorts! On the field, the ex-Kiwis settled into their work and everyone there plus a television audience witnessed some great touches all over the field. Winger Mark Bourneville, a 1985 Kiwi tourist and later a French test player, streaked close to 50 metres for the opening try. Throughout Ah Kuoi, Friend and Shane Cooper were displaying all their old ball skills. Duane Mann jinked out of dummy half and paved the way for Sam Panapa to score a nice try. Then early in the second half Panapa showed he had lost little of his toe despite the advancing years, skipping away for his second try. The Invitational players, just possibly helped a little by referee Bill Shrimpton, wanted some glory, though, and found it as first Gregory Molloy and then Reece Guy scored converted tries. They weren't going to go away but the Kiwi legends weren't about to allow a later winner either. The result was never going to be academic for them, not when the competitive juices kicked in. Match details:KIWI ALL STARS 14 (Sam Panapa 2, Mark Bourneville tries; Tea Ropati conversion). INVITATIONAL TEAM 12 (Gregory Molloy, Reece Guy tries; Gregory Molloy conversion; Reece Guy conversion). Halftime: 8-0 Kiwi All Stars.
FRIDAY - 14th July 2006Two tries each from Leslie Vainikolo and Marcus St Hilaire helped Bradford record their third win over the Dragons but this 30-16 victory was no stroll in the park and the Bulls never looked likely to put 50 points past the Frenchman for the third time this season.Vainikolo returned after a two-match absence and as well as his scoring, provided some of the big hits of the night to get the Bulls fans on their feet.The Dragons started brightly and their early pressure paid off when prop Alex Chen powered over from close range.Bradford took a while to recover but three quick penalties created good field position and a looping pass from Michael Withers created the opening for Marcus St Hilaire to race over.Just as Bradford looked set to get on top, the French side struck again, winger Bruno Verges stealing the ball from Withers and racing over from 35 yards.Catalans could have stretched their lead further but Mark Hughes was just unable to take Stacey Jones? precise chip.Instead it was the Bulls who went in front, Brett Ferres touching down after more French indiscipline had given Bradford a good position.The Jones-Hughes combination tried again and this time the centre took the ball but the Bulls managed to turn him on his back before he could ground the ball.And it looked as though Bradford would finally get on top just before half-time when Iestyn Harris cut out four men with a long pass to Vainikolo who made no mistake from 10 yards.Paul Deacon added his third successful kick to give the home side an 18-10 lead.But Catalans came out firing in the second half and pulled within two points when Greg Mounis stretched out and just managed to touch down near the posts, allowing Jones to put over his second successful kick.Another trademark Harris long pass put St Hilaire in for his second try and as Bradford increased the pace, Jamie Langley came close to scoring and Iestyn Harris was just an inch away.Deacon landed a long-range penalty to put Bulls 24-16 in front and Vainikolo finished off a good passing move to touch down for the second time.Bradford: Withers, Vainikolo, Hape, B. Harris, St Hilaire, I. Harris, Deacon, Meyers, Newton, Lynch, McKenna, Ferres, Langley.Replacements: Vagana, Henderson, Burgess, Smith.Catalans Dragons: Guigue, Murphy, Wilson, Hughes, Verges, Rudder, Jones, Beattie, Berthezene, Chan, Guisset, Hindmarsh, Mounis.Replacements: Fakir, Casty, Rinaldi, Fellous.Bradford: (18) 30.Tries: St Hilaire 2, Ferres, Vainikolo 2.Goals: Deacon 5.Catalans Dragons: (10) 16.Tries: Chan, Verges, Mounis.Goals: Jones 2.Referee: R Laughton (Barnsley)Att: 10,388Source: www.superleague.co.uk
WIGAN?S bid for the great escape continued to gather momentum with a fifth straight engage Super League win, 20-12, that lifted them clear of the relegation zone for the first time for four months.It took the Warriors more than an hour to grind down a gritty Salford side that recovered well from the loss of captain Malcolm Alker but wins are more important than performances for Brian Noble?s men.Six points adrift of their nearest rivals just six weeks ago, Wigan are now 10th in the table, just a point behind seventh-placed Harlequins.The result leaves Salford still searching for their first win at the JJB Stadium but they rallied after going 10-0 behind after 24 minutes and never gave up despite seeing Alker limp out of the action four minutes into the second half.The Reds were forced to defend for long periods and prop forward Andy Coley put his side under early pressure by twice losing possession deep in his own half.Coley, one man hoping to impress Wigan and Great Britain boss Brian Noble, also lost the ball in a three-man tackle at the other end of the field as he attempted to cross the tryline.That was the nearest Salford came to scoring until a grubber kick from Luke Robinson bounced awkwardly short of the Wigan line and substitute Ryan Clayton scored with his first touch.Before then, Wigan had fully deserved their 10-0 lead, courtesy of two tries created by the clever kicking game of in-form half-backs Danny Orr and Michael Dobson.Second rower Bryan Fletcher touched down Orr?s deft punt on 14 minutes while 10 minutes later winger Brett Dallas followed up Dobson?s kick to the corner following a splendid break by hooker Wayne Godwin.Wigan almost scored again when Orr got Dallas into his stride but Salford full-back David Hodgson chased him down and his inside pass was intercepted by John Wilshere.It was a similar story in the second half, with Wigan dominating possession and territory but Salford refusing to yield to the mounting pressure.The Warriors almost scored from another Dobson grubber, with former Salford centre Nathan McAvoy failing to ground the ball over the line.The Reds? cause looked a lost one when Alker went off but they redoubled their efforts and got to within two points on 52 minutes when centre Aaron Moule took Robinson?s pass and pulled out of Mark Calderwood?s attempted tackle to touch down.Stephen Myler failed to add to his first-half conversion but he tied the scores with a simple penalty six minutes later after Wigan skipper Sean O?Loughlin was punished for a high tackle on Robinson.Salford substitute Gareth Haggerty was then pulled up for a high tackle on Orr and Dobson maintained his focus to curl in a 30-metre penalty that restored Wigan?s lead.And Orr had the final say when he finished off a break by man of the match Fletcher for the all-important try 11 minutes from time and Dobson maintained his 100% record with a fourth goal.Wigan: Ashton, Calderwood, Radlinski, McAvoy, Dallas, Orr, Dobson, Paleaaesina, Higham, Fielden, Hock, Fletcher, O'Loughlin.Replacements: Logan, Godwin, Hansen, Tickle.Salford: Hodgson, Langi, McGuinness, Moule, Wilshere, Myler, Robinson, Lima, Alker, Rutgerson, Littler, Coley, Charles.Replacements: Clayton, Adamson, Haggerty, Highton.Wigan: (12) 20.Tries: Fletcher, Dallas, Orr.Goals: Dobson 4.Salford: (6) 12.Tries: Clayton, Moule.Goals: Myler 2.Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)Att: 13,630Source: www.superleague.co.uk
FRIDAY night football kicked off to a packed Kogarah?s Oki Jubilee Stadium with the St George Illawarra Dragons playing host to the Canterbury Bulldogs. Played in a semi-final atmosphere, the match saw both sides entertain the bumper crowd with some great forward clashes. The Bulldogs finally got the better of the home side in posting a 22-16 victory. The result sees both sides on 26 points, with the points differential giving the Bulldogs second spot on the National Rugby League ladder.On Saturday, we travelled to Auckland where a visiting Parramatta Eels side kept their finals hopes alive with a 20-12 win over the New Zealand Warriors. Sitting on 18 points, the Eels are just outside of the top eight while the Warriors are now battling to keep in touch on 14 points.Saturday night took us west of Sydney to Penrith to see the Panthers defeat the North Queensland Cowboys by 17-8. The Penrith side are on the fringe of the top eight and join a number of teams on 20 points, including the Cowboys.Meanwhile, the hapless South Sydney Rabbitohs went down again, the fifth-placed Manly Sea Eagles travelling to Homebush to post a 26-20 win over the 2006 wooden spooners.Sunday football saw three matches, kicking off with the Newcastle Knights hosting the Melbourne Storm. The Storm are now top of the table and six points clear after recording a 24-16 win over the home side. The Knights join the log jam of teams on 20 points and are still clinging to the top eight.Meanwhile in Sydney, the Roosters scored an upset win over the Cronulla Sharks, defeating the visitors 38-32 in a match where the score line reflected the level of defence. The Roosters have snapped a six match losing streak but are still in the lower half of the ladder on 16 competition points. The Sharks are 22 points and running sixth.Round 19 wrapped up in the national capital with the Raiders overcoming last year?s premiers, Wests Tigers, by 20-18 at Canberra Stadium. The result sees the Raiders on 20 points and within shot of a finals berth while Wests Tigers are on the outside and looking in on 18 points.All match results and details are listed below.LeagueUnlimited.com Player AwardsRaiders full back Clinton Schifcofske may be heading off to Union but this isn?t affecting his League form. The Raiders fullback scored maximum points on the weekend and has kicked away in this year?s LeagueUnlimited.com Player Awards. ?Schif? is in front on 24 points, four points clear of his nearest rival.Greg Inglis (Storm), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), Cameron Smith (Storm) are all in equal second place on 20 points. Meanwhile Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), and Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys) are not far away on 17 points. With just seven rounds remaining, the leader board sees a number of players still in contention in the 10-15 points range. The full leader board is below.The LeagueUnlimited.com players of the match are decided by our live score updaters and tallied here each week on Monday?s Expert League wrap.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email usMATCH RESULTS:League Wrap: Round 19, 14 July ? 16 July 2006St George Illawarra Dragons: 16Tries: Ben Creagh, Mark Gasnier(2)Goals: Aaron Gorrell 2/4Field Goals: Ben Hornby 0/1Canterbury Bulldogs: 22Tries: Brent Sherwin, Sonny Bill Williams, Daniel Holdsworth(2)Goals: Hazem El Masri 3/4Half time: Bulldogs 10-4Venue: OKI Jubilee Stadium, KogarahCrowd: 18,223Referee: Steve ClarkLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Roy Asotasi (Bulldogs)2 - Willie Mason (Bulldogs)1 - Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs)New Zealand Warriors: 12Tries: Grant Rovelli, Steve PriceGoals: Tony Martin 2/2Parramatta Eels: 20Tries: Nathan Hindmarsh, Luke O'Dwyer, Jarryd Hayne(2)Goals: Mark Riddell 1/4, Jarryd Hayne 1/2Half time: Eels 18-6Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland (Ericsson Stadium)Crowd: 14,499Referee: Sean HampsteadLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)2 - Simon Mannering (Warriors)1 - Jarryd Hayne (Eels)Penrith Panthers: 17Tries: Luke Priddis, Rhys Wesser, Michael GordonGoals: Preston Campbell 2/3Field Goals: Craig TrindallNorth Queensland Cowboys: 8Tries: Steven SouthernGoals: Johnathan Thurston 2/2Half time: Cowboys 2-0Venue: CUA Stadium, PenrithCrowd: 8,212Referee: Ben CumminsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Preston Campbell (Panthers)2 - Joel Clinton (Panthers)1 - Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)South Sydney Rabbitohs: 20Tries: Luke MacDougall, Nathan Merritt(2), David PeacheyGoals: Ben Walker 2/4Manly Sea Eagles: 26Tries: Brett Stewart, Luke Williamson, Michael Robertson(3)Goals: Matt Orford 3/5Half time: Sea Eagles 16-10 Venue: Telstra StadiumCrowd: 7,509Referee: Jarred MaxwellLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Michael Robertson (Sea Eagles)2 - Nathan Merritt (Rabbitohs)1 - Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)Newcastle Knights: 16Tries: Anthony Quinn(2), Brian CarneyGoals: Andrew Johns 2/4Melbourne Storm: 24Tries: Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, Billy Slater, Jeremy SmithGoals: Cameron Smith 4/4Half time: Storm 12-10Venue: EnergyAustralia StadiumCrowd: 21,655Referee: Paul SimpkinsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Cooper Cronk (Storm)2 - Clint Newton (Knights)1 - Billy Slater (Storm)Sydney Roosters: 38Tries: Ryan Cross(2), Chris Flannery, Sam Perrett(2), Iosia Soliola, Setaimata SaGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 5/9Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 32Tries: Greg Bird, Adam Dykes, Nigel Vagana, Darren Albert, Brett KearneyGoals: Luke Covell 6/6Half time: Sharks 18-16Venue: Aussie StadiumCrowd: 9,241Referee: Jason RobinsonLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters)2 - Nigel Vagana (Sharks)1 - David Shillington (Roosters)Canberra Raiders: 20Tries: Todd Carney, Marshall Chalk, Phillip GrahamGoals: Clinton Schifcofske 4/5Wests Tigers: 18Tries: Dean Collis, Brett Hodgson, Shannon McDonnellGoals: Brett Hodgson 3/4Half time: 12-allVenue: Canberra StadiumCrowd: 9,125Referee: Tony ArcherLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Clinton Schifcofske (Raiders)2 - Jason Smith (Raiders)1 - Scott Prince (Tigers)Brisbane Broncos v ByeFULL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HEREUPCOMING MATCHES:Round 20, 21-23 July 2006Fri 7:30 STORM v SHARKS - Olympic ParkSat 5:30 BULLDOGS v ROOSTERS - Telstra Stadium Sat 7:30 KNIGHTS v RABBITOHS - EnergyAustralia StadiumSat 7:30 COWBOYS v BRONCOS - Dairy Farmers Stadium Sun 2:30 TIGERS v EELS - Telstra StadiumSun 3:00 SEA EAGLES v PANTHERS - Brookvale OvalSun 3:00 RAIDERS v DRAGONS - Canberra StadiumWARRIORS v BYE FOR LATEST CENTREBET ODDSCLICK HERELEAGUEUNLIMITED.COM PLAYER AWARDS 2006LEADER BOARDThe Leagueunlimited.com players awards are decided by our live score updaters.Want to be a live score updater? For further enquiries, email us.24 pointsClinton Schifcofske (Raiders)20 pointsGreg Inglis (Storm), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), Cameron Smith (Storm)17 pointsNathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)15 pointsPreston Campbell (Panthers), Andrew Johns (Knights)14 pointsCooper Cronk (Storm), Mark Gasnier (Dragons)13 pointsAdam Dykes (Sharks), Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Darren Lockyer (Broncos)11 pointsMatthew Bowen (Cowboys), Danny Buderus (Knights), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)10 pointsRoy Asotasi (Bulldogs), Petero Civoniceva (Broncos), Robert Farah (Tigers)9 pointsPaul Gallen (Sharks), Mathew Head (Dragons), Brett Hodgson (Tigers), Steve Price (Warriors), Jason Smith (Raiders)8 pointsBrett Kimmorley (Sharks), Corey Parker (Broncos), Scott Prince (Tigers), Ruben Wiki (Warriors), Dean Young (Dragons)7 pointsSteve Bell (Sea Eagles), Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs), Amos Roberts (Roosters), Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)6 pointsCraig Gower (Panthers), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Luke Lewis (Panthers), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Grant Rovelli (Warriors), Lance Thompson (Sharks), Alan Tongue (Raiders)5 pointsTrent Barrett (Dragons), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Brent Webb (Warriors), Rhys Wesser (Panthers)4 pointsDarren Albert (Sharks), Brian Carney (Knights), Sione Faumuina (Warriors), David Kidwell (Storm), Jarryd Hayne (Eels), Ryan Hoffman (Storm), Ben Hornby (Dragons), Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers), Adam MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Fuifui Moimoi (Eels), Clint Newton (Knights), David Peachey (Rabbitohs), Luke Priddis (Panthers), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs), David Simmons (Sharks), Steve Simpson (Knights), Billy Slater (Storm), Jamie Soward (Roosters), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Paul Whatuira (Tigers), Lincoln Withers (Raiders)3 pointsLuke Bailey (Dragons), Greg Bird (Sharks), Joel Clinton (Panthers), Darius Boyd (Broncos), Dean Collis (Tigers), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Luke Covell (Sharks), Michael Crocker (Storm), Greg Eastwood (Broncos), Brett Finch (Roosters), Michael Gordon (Panthers), Phillip Graham (Raiders), Clint Greenshields (Dragons), Nathan Hinton (Knights), Brett Kearney (Sharks), Luke MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Reni Maitua (Bulldogs), Manase Manuokafoa (Rabbitohs), Michael Robertson (Sea Eagles), Jerome Ropati (Warriors), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Tame Tupou (Broncos), Matthew Utai (Bulldogs), Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles)2 pointsBrenton Bowen (Cowboys), George Carmont (Knights), Todd Carney (Raiders), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Keith Galloway (Tigers), Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors), Ashley Harrison (Roosters), Scott Hill (Storm), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Raiders), Tony Martin (Warriors), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Benji Marshall (Tigers), Nathan Merritt (Rabbitohs), John Morris (Eels), Luke Patten (Bulldogs), Josh Perry (Knights), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Rooney (Panthers), John Skandalis (Tigers), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Craig Smith (Knights), Tim Smith (Eels), Iosia Soliola (Roosters), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), Steven Southern (Cowboys), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Timana Tahu (Eels), Clinton Toopi (Warriors), Evarn Tuimavave (Warriors), Nigel Vagana (Sharks), Trent Waterhouse (Panthers), Shane Webcke (Broncos), Michael Weyman (Raiders), Craig Wing (Roosters)1 pointPaul Bowman (Cowboys), Nathan Cayless (Eels), Ben Creagh (Dragons), Shayne Dunley (Sea Eagles), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Nathan Friend (Storm), Matt Geyer (Storm), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Tony Grimaldi (Bulldogs), Daniel Holdsworth (Bulldogs), Lee Hookey (Panthers), Matt King (Storm), Todd Lowrie (Knights), Steve Matai (Sea Eagles), Daryl Millard (Dragons), Ryan O'Hara (Tigers), Shannon McDonnell (Tigers), Mark Riddell (Eels), Shane Rodney (Panthers), David Shillington (Roosters), Brent Tate (Broncos), Shane Tronc (Cowboys), Ben Walker (Rabbitohs), Simon Woolford (Raiders), William Zillman (Raiders)