Smith and Grothe in trouble again

PARRAMATTA rugby league halfback Tim Smith is at risk of being sacked by the NRL club after allegedly being thrown out of a pub for drunken behaviour last night.

Wrap: Harrigan, Bennett, Turner

FORMER leading whistleblower Bill Harrigan believes constant criticism of the NRL's referees will only hurt the game in the long run.

Round 24 Teams and Fixtures

FRIDAY, 18th August 2006

Superleague Round 25 Preview

FOUR rounds left to play, but next weekend will be a rest for everyone except St Helens and Huddersfield who are contesting the Challenge Cup final. So teams will be going all out this weekend to climb a notch on the ladder before regrouping for their final chance to make this season count ? or to fight for their Superleague survival? game on!Friday: Wigan v HuddersfieldWigan can?t afford to drop a game in their ongoing quest to avoid relegation, and this match against Huddersfield is one they would be counting on for as an easier win ? if such a thing exists? Huddersfield have had a hot and cold season and now sit four points outside of sixth place and a play-off berth. The Giants have announced the signing of Shane Elford for next season, but could be excused for having one eye on next week?s Challenge Cup Final against St Helens. Brad Drew and Chris Thorman are out for the Giants, with Tom Hemmingway and Bolu Fagborun called into the squad. Wigan squad unchanged from last week?s win over Leeds, Brett Dallas still out through injury. Friday: Wakefield v Leeds at Atlantic Solutions Stadium? televisedMeanwhile, Eddie and Stevo will be bringing us the next episode of Wakefield?s quest to avoid relegation when they take on a vulnerable Leeds Rhinos. The Wildcats have been revitalised under new coach John Kear, who earlier in the season left his position at Hull. Without Monty Betham and Ned Catic they managed a win over Catalans last week, and will be hoping to do the same against a Rhinos side that has lost it?s last five on the trot and is still without the injured Danny Maguire. Willie Poching is called back into the Leeds squad along with Chris Feather and Nick Scruton, while French halfback Maxime Gresque may get some game time for Wakefield.Friday: Bradford v Castleford at Grattan StadiumAlso on Friday night, Castleford will want to make sure they stay one point above the danger zone with a win over Bradford, and will be helped by the return of first choice halves combination Peter Lupton and Danny Brough. But after losing 72-4 last week against St Helens, the Tigers will need a big turn around to match it with the Bulls. Bradford have their own worries though, having been docked two points in relation to a breach of last season?s salary cap, and having been surprise losers against Harlequins last week. For Bradford Terry Newtown is out through injury, with Matt Cook and Karl Pryce returning to the squad.Saturday: Warrington v Harlequins ? televisedMark McLinden rejoins a victorious Harlequins squad which looks to get within one point of sixth place and a play-off berth should they beat Warrington here. Joe Mbu and Zeb Luisi are also available for the first time in a month, and the London-based club has announced the signing of Scott Hill for next season. Warrington went down narrowly to Salford last week, and with new England coach Paul Cullen in charge should know that a win here virtually makes certain they?ll feature in the finals. Will that be enough motivation for the Wolves to beat the Harlequins? This could be the game with the most at stake this weekend. Sunday: Catalans v St HelensThe French side are now alone at the bottom of the Superleague table, and without the threat of relegation to spur them on may not make up any ground on their rivals. St Helens however are giving them the best chance by naming a squad with up to nine players set to make their Superleague debut while they rest their stars ahead of next week?s Challenge Cup final. In Trent Hodgkinson they have even named a 36 year old hooker who has not played first grade for 12 years! How will the Dragons react to playing Saints reserve team? They will be without Renaud Guigue and Pascal Jampy, but Thomas Bosc and Laurent Frayssinous are available again. Sunday: Hull v SalfordSecond placed Hull look to score an important win over play-off rivals Salford, and should have centre Kirk Yeaman to help them. Yeaman has been injured for two months but was scoring more than a try a game before injury. Hull prop Paul King is suspended for this match, following a dangerous throw. Not much news from Salford this week, but they?ll be hoping to build on their one point win over Warrington and catch the Hull side on the hop in this one.

NZ College Semi results & Finals fixtures

THURSDAY 17 August 2006 Cornwall Park, AucklandSEMI FINAL 1Aranui High School vs Southern Cross Campus Aranui High School 24Tries: Kolone Faalilo, Tyrone Edmonds, Louis Fanene, Cairo Takarangi-RennieGoals: Chris Thomas (2)Southern Cross Campus 6Tries: Semisi AhoafiGoals: Moale TaufaHalftime Score: 10 - 0 To Aranui High School SEMI FINAL 2St Paul?s College vs Otahuhu CollegeSt Paul?s College 28Tries: Daniel Palavi, Isaia Tuifua, Tom Pelo, Nafe Seluini, Paki AfuGoals: Isaia Tuifua (4)Otahuhu College 6Tries: Sioeli KaifotoGoals: Sione TongiaHalftime Score: 10 ? 6 To St Paul?s College NZ NATIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOLS NATIONAL TOURNAMENT ? GRAND FINAL FIXTURES Friday 18 August 2006 Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland Play Off For 5th & 6thWainuiomata High School vs Manurewa High School 1.25pm Kick Off Play Off For 3rd & 4thSouthern Cross Campus vs Otahuhu College 2.45pm Kick Off Grand Final - Play Off For 1st & 2nd Aranui High School vs St Paul?s College 4.15pm Kick Off

Fed Shield fixtures announced

ENGLAND will take on France, Samoa and Tonga in the newly-launched Federation Shield tournament in the European autumn.The second-tier international competition will take place at the same time as the Tri-Nations Series."International rugby league is the pinnacle of the game," said RFL executive chairman Richard Lewis."This new tournament will give fans the chance to see many of Europe's best players, together with emerging stars from the Pacific islands."The tournament gets under way on 22 October with Tonga against Samoa and England versus France at Headingley Stadium in Leeds.The final will be played at Widnes' Halton Stadium on 12 November.England, under new coach Paul Cullen, will also play matches at the Twickenham Stoop - the home of Super League side Harlequins - and Hull's KC Stadium, while there are two matches pencilled in for French venues.Federation Shield fixtures:22 October: Tonga v Samoa (1545 BST) and England v France (1745 BST) Headingley, Leeds28 October: France v Samoa (1900 BST) Colomiers*29 October: England v Tonga (1500 GMT) Twickenham Stoop, London5 November: England v Samoa (1500 GMT) KC Stadium, Hull5 November: France v Tonga (1500 GMT) Castres*12 November: Federation Shield final (1530 GMT) Halton Stadium, Widnes* Fixtures in France still subject to confirmation N.B. Tonga v Samoa match forms part of Pacific Group qualification for 2008 Rugby League World Cup Finals.Source: bbc.co.uk

Round 24 NRL Preview

BOY it?s a long season...there?s three games to go and the top 8 has pretty much been decided. Only some freakish results would force a change to the contents of the premiership aspirants, with the remaining rounds focussing on the make-up of it.

Titans Media Release regarding Steve Turner

TITANS Media Release regarding Steve TurnerGold Coast Titans Managing Director Michael Searle is confident an agreement reached with Melbourne Storm player Steve Turner will be enforced by the National Rugby League and that the 21 year old will play his part in the fledgling club?s debut NRL season in 2007. ?We believe the NRL?s interim assessment of the validity of our agreement with Steve Turner, is a vindication of the integrity, professionalism and good faith that we have displayed in these negotiations. However, we believe the Storm attempting to sign Steve Turner, after we were very clear to the Storm that we had an agreement with Steve Turner is reprehensible. It shows a lack of respect for not only the Gold Coast Titans administration but Gold Coast Titans fans as well.? ?We were very clear with the Storm?s administration before they offered him a new three year deal that we had an agreement with Steve Turner that was legally enforceable and his manager was very clear that we had an agreement but they chose to ignore that very clear advice and sign Steve Turner anyway. Their actions were arrogant and showed complete contempt for our Club? ?Subject to David Gallop making his final determination we want to unequivocally reaffirm that our club will NOT be releasing Steve Turner from his agreement. We also want to confirm he had approached our club last week about a release and after long consideration by myself and John Cartwright we decided that his request did not warrant any special consideration and we informed his management of that.? ?We have no doubt that once Steve gets to spend some time on the Gold Coast, with John Cartwright, Trevor Gillmeister and all the Titans staff that he will be very comfortable with this outcome. He will be warmly welcomed. This should send a clear message that our club truly desires to retain Steve and we think that highly enough of him that we are prepared to fight so hard to keep him. We look forward to him being in Titans colours in 2007.? Steve Turner Time LineSteve Turner agreed to a two year deal with the Gold Coast Titans on June 19. During a flying visit to the Gold Coast to celebrate his signing, the 21 year old said he had based his decision to move north on his desire to make a name for himself as a fulltime fullback. Turner said, ?The opportunity to play in my preferred position at fullback excites me. I have been behind some great players at the Storm and have been appreciative for the support they have shown me but the chance to concentrate on the number 1 jersey at a brand new club is something that is too good to pass up.? Turner said, ?The Titans have staff that I am familiar with; John (Cartwright) was my lower grade coach at the Panthers and I played with Satts (Scott Sattler) & also the chance to experience Billy Johnstone as a conditioner is very appealing. Let?s hope I can leave the Storm on the highest note possible.? The following day the Titans had a contract couriered to Steve Turner and his management. Monday the 14th of August 2006 The Titans were informed that Steve Turner had appeared on a Sydney Radio station where he had made it quite clear that he was looking forward to joining the Titans and setting out on a new adventure. 24 hours later Turner was paraded for the media with the Melbourne Storm CEO at his side claiming that he was now unhappy with his decision and no longer wanted to go to the Gold Coast, announcing he had instead agreed to new terms with the Storm and signed a new contract which would keep him in Melbourne until 2009. 16th August 2006, Gold Coast Titans Managing Director Michael Searle presented a comprehensive file to the NRL which included Statements from Titans Head Coach John Cartwright, Football Manager Scott Sattler and the player?s agent David Riolo. After reviewing extensive documentation provided by Gold Coast Titans Managing Director Michael Searle, National Rugby League CEO David Gallop?s preliminary ruling was that an agreement was reached between the Titans and Player Steven Turner 17th August Mr Gallop stated that after reviewing the documents supplied by the Titans, he believed an agreement had been reached between the Gold Coast Club and the player, stating that he will support the Titans as they move to retain Turner on their 2007 playing roster.Source: titans.com.au

Tallis complaint dropped

AN assault complaint against former Brisbane Test forward and National Rugby League boardmember Gorden Tallis has been dropped.

Melbourne Supporters Info - Dragons v Tigers

DRAGON Supporters The West Tigers Fanatics and the MBDS will be getting together for Sunday's screening in what promises to be one of the biggest footy crowds Richmond has seen since Anzac Day at the 'G. The screening will be held at the Rising Sun Hotel, on the corner of Burnley and Swan St Richmond and is a pub that has a great reputation for being a Rugby League friendly venue. It also offers audio for the League on Sunday afternoon's so should be a great event. We want as many of our members to turn up to this match to show the Tigers fans which out of town team has the most supporters in Melbourne so come along and show your colours!! GO THE DRAGONS!! WHAT: Dragons v Tigers WHERE: The Rising Sun Hotel, 395 Swan St, RichmondWHEN: Sunday 20th August, 4pm

Seymour & Tallis

POLICE have decided not to pursue an assault complaint against dumped Brisbane Broncos rugby league halfback Brett Seymour.

Carting it up with Stevo

WILL two words end an era?

Bears masters of their destiny

A rampaging Karl Johnson, a fast footed Saia Makisi, a thunder clashing Eddie Sua, sweeping passes from Liam Foran and a sweet kicking Daniel Russell have helped Norths defeat top 4 placed Balmain at Leichhardt Oval on Friday Night.The Tigers scored first putting Norths under pressure with a bomb collected by the Tigers to give them a 6 pointer.Then Luke Fatnowna preluded his tremendous defensive performance by barging over for the Bears and Daniel Russell converted to even the score early 6-6. An easy penalty kick for Daniel Russell then gave the Bears a lead 8-6.A kick by Schoolboy Rep Liam Foran hit that sweet spot bouncing between Balmain defenders for Luke Fatnowna to gather as the ball spread wide to Saia Makisi who sprinted down the left touchline before offloading to Daniel Watkins for the 4 points and Daniel Russell converted. However Balmain scored two tries including an intercept by Ben Jeffery against the run of play to finish in front at half time 16-14.But Norths put Balmain under pressure via a bomb and the ball found it's way back to Saia Makisi mid air to land in the in-goal and score. Daniel Russell didn't even look like missing his conversion as the Bears hit the lead 20-16. And again a kick from Norths (a grubber) landed in goal as a million hands stretched out for the grounding - Saia Makisi won the race and with the conversion the Bears appeared on fire 26-16.However the Tigers hit back with a 4 pointer via Taniela Tuiaki to bring them within 6 points. The Bears now dominating in attack, gave Daniel Russell the opportunity to score a field goal and extend the Bears lead to 7 points with only 5 minutes remaining.A wayward kick by Balmain was caught by Bears centre Saia Makisi who ran 85 metres before being tackled short of the try line. The ball spread right to the other side of the field and Anthony Beare scored in the final minute. Daniel Russell's conversion from the side line was highly impressive to seal the victory. 33-20.Greg Florimo felt the Bears gained from being masters of their own destiny. "They dominated in every aspect. The loss of the Melbourne players may be the best thing to have happen - they have the self belief and confidence to play outstanding footy".Saia Makisi was named Players' Player and Daniel Russell's kicking was also a highlight kicking 6 from 6 plus a field goal under pressure from the Balmain supporters' 'lolly legs' jibe.No lolly legs tonight!It was a good performance by the Bears Jersey Flegg team also at Leichhardt on Friday night, but they weren't quite able to beat Balmain who won 34-20.The Bears were able to score the first 2 tries of the match when Siaosi Liumaunu barged his way over for a try. And then Dean Hamson created an opportunity for Bladen Baird to score.But Balmain was able to score 4 tries before halftime to lead 18-8.In the second half Michael Morris put in a grubber for Matt McDougall to score. Chris Heasman converted. Balmain scored a try before Jason Saliba was able to find a gap to score after good lead up work by Arnold Mano. Gavin Duncan converted. At this point the Bears were trailing by 4 points at 24-20 and we were looking good.However the Tigers were able to score 2 tries in the last 10 minutes to secure their victory 34-20.The Bears were very determined and persistent. Coach Steve Carter said "It was a simple game plan - complete our sets of six and reduce the 1 on 1 misses in defence. We succeeded in both. In the second half we lapsed in defence and gave away a few penalties which allowed those tries in".There were many good performances by the boys with Steve Carter naming Bladen Baird, Jason Saliba, Arnold Mano, Pio Rokomaqisa, Tupou Peaua and Siaosi Liumaunu.PICTURED: Centre Saia Makisi and North Sydney Junior Liam Foran celebrate one of Saia's three tries.PHOTO: Steve Little.

Player movements: Elford, Emelio

ENGLISH Super league club Huddersfield has signed Shane Elford from Wests Tigers on a three-year deal. The 28-year-old, who can play as a centre, wing or five-eighth, will be part of the Giants' squad from the start of next season along with Tigers clubmate and prop John Skandalis.

When is a rule, not a rule?

HERE we are just three rounds from Finals Football and the Chief Executive of the NRL David Gallop has openly castigated his Referee?s boss Robert Finch and former top referee Bill Harrigan for not knowing the rules. From memory one of Gallop?s key pleas to the clubs and fans when he took over from David Moffat towards the end of 2001 (and officially for 2002) was to unify the differing factions within the Rugby League community. Yet here he is openly calling out his Referee?s boss and one of the most accomplished referees of all time. An article on Foxsports.com.au by James Hooper (http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,20140188-23214,00.html), quotes David Gallop with the following attack on Finch and Harrigan for their publicised views on a non-call on the allegedly off-side Canberra in their game against the Wests Tigers on Sunday.