IN 2007 the NRL welcomes their 16th member club when the Gold Coast Titans (formerly Giants, Seagulls, Chargers and for a short time ? Dolphins) join the competition. Armed with a completely vacant roster and an uncompromised Salary Cap, the Titans have been extremely aggressive in building a side that can compete from day one. Coach John Cartwright and the Gold Coast management deserve a lot of credit for luring some very good players to the club. In doing so they have transferred a lot of pressure onto their own shoulders for the next two seasons as the playing roster is a lot stronger than say South Sydney had in 2002.
THE Gold Coast Titans in 2007 is a long way from the Midhurst Junior Magpies (Taranaki region of New Zealand?s North Island) where Sharks Prop James Stosic (Pron ? store-sitch) began playing Rugby League.
SOUTH Sydney's impressive 2007 recruitment drive continued today with the signature of Parramatta halfback Jeremy Smith. A former junior Kiwi, Smith has agreed to a two-year deal with the Rabbitohs, where he will be joined by fellow Eel Dean Widders and interim Parramatta coach Jason Taylor.
ST George Illawarra has suffered a massive blow on the eve of its blockbuster clash against the Bulldogs with former Test prop Jason Ryles ruled out with a back injury.
BULLDOGS coach Steve Folkes says he had no option but to bench superstar forward Sonny Bill Williams for Friday night's blockbuster with St George Illawarra.
PARRAMATTA forward Nathan Hindmarsh says the Eels are not even talking about finals football despite last year's minor premiers moving to within four points of the NRL top eight.
WITH Melbourne leading the competition, suspended Storm back-rower Michael Crocker believes he will have to earn his first-grade spot back with a stint in reserve grade.
WE?VE had some cracking football over the past few weeks and Round 18 was no exception. Friday night?s absorbing contest at Olympic Park was a mere precursor for the remainder of the week, and there were some great moments. A good old-fashioned stoush between Manly and Easts, Parra springing an upset over Newcastle and the return to form of the Premiers were all taken in by the selectors first hand as we roll out the Round 18 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
SOUTHS Second Rower Mark Minichiello and Eels Centre Brett Delaney have become the 20th and 21st signings for the Gold Coast Titans as the fledgling clubs recruitment drive nears its? final stages.
DRAGONS Supporters, Round 18 of the NRL season saw the Dragons take outright second on the table with a 38-28 victory over the Rabbitoh's at Oki Jubilee stadium. The Dragons started the game with all guns blazing and 2 kicks from Matthew Head saw Brett Morris and Mark Gasnier both post tries in the first 10 minutes. From there the match turned into an arm wrestle of sorts with both sides looking good in patches, but neither side really doing a great deal to impress their coaches. The Dragons were able to hold on and take a 10 point victory, but will have to improve their attitude markedly if they are to compete with this week's opponents, the Bulldogs. The MBDS screening of this blockbuster will be back at Crown Casino in the SteakOut Sports Bar from 8:30pm onwards. This is the first Dragons v Bulldogs encounter held at Oki Jubilee for many years so expect a full house off the field and plenty of fireworks on the field as these 2 local rivals try to gain an edge over one another in the back half of the season. WHAT: Dragons v BulldogsWHEN: Friday 14th July, 8:30pmWHERE: SteakOut Sports Bar, Level 1 Crown Casino GO THE DRAGONS!!
PENRITH halfback Craig Gower will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury. Gower limped off the field in last Saturday night's win over Canberra and has not been named in the Panthers team to play North Queensland this Saturday night.
CANBERRA has offered Clinton Schifcofske a post-football career opportunity in a desperate last-ditch attempt to prevent him from leaving the club.
THE New Zealand Warriors' rugby league ground has had a name change, reverting from Ericsson Stadium to Mt Smart Stadium. The venue, which will also be used by Counties-Manukau in the Air New Zealand Cup provincial rugby competition, went back to its original name today.
CASTLEFORD winger Waine Pryce will not play again this season after it was confirmed he broke both his tibia and fibula during the defeat by Harlequins.
SOME of them have hit 50 or are very close to it and only a few are under 40 but on Saturday night a band of former Kiwi internationals will try to wind the clock back a decade or two. With 1983-86 Kiwi coach Graham Lowe there to turn them around at halftime, a team called the Kiwi All Stars will take on an Invitational side in the curtain raiser to the Vodafone Warriors-Parramatta NRL clash at Ericsson Stadium. A squad stacked with test experience has been assembled including legendary Kiwi second rower Kurt Sorensen ? 50 in a few months ? who?s coming home from Australia especially for the match. And he?ll be joined by a number of former test colleagues from his era including James Leuluai, Gary Kemble, Duane Mann, Joe Ropati, Clayton Friend and Owen Wright. The Invitational side boasts no such star quality in comparison but, for chief organiser Noel Wyatt, that?s just how he wanted it to be. ?The game came about through purely selfish reasons,? said the 43-year-old Auckland taxi driver and long-time Ellerslie player. ?I broke my arm in my last competitive game in July 2000 and I just wanted one more run. I couldn?t think of a better way to finish it off.? Sorensen was the first of the big names he asked to be involved. He accepted and so too did ex-Kiwi captain Gary Freeman although his television commentary commitments with Fox Sports have now prevented him form making the trip. Also included in the Kiwi All Stars is Vodafone Warriors welfare and development manager Tony Iro, who runs the club?s Allied Work Force elite development squad, and his younger brother Kevin is also set to play. The three Ropati brothers who played for New Zealand ? Joe, Tea and Iva ? are all involved while their brother Peter, an ex-Auckland hooker, is due to line up for the opposition. Of the players in Kiwi All Stars, Mark Bourneville, equally well-known for his Fight for Life exploits, is the only player not to have appeared in a test for the Kiwis, although he did play for France against New Zealand. The Invitation side, coached by former Auckland and Ellerslie prop Jeff Grainger, features several players who turned out for Auckland during their playing careers including Kiwi coach Brian McClennan. Also involved are McClennan?s assistant coach Graeme Norton, Steve Kemble ? Gary?s brother ? Ken Andersson and brothers Ricky and Darrel Williams (the latter not to be confused with 1980s Kiwi fullback Darrell Williams). Wyatt said the match had been made possible through the support of a number of sponsors such as Lion Red, Great Western Steakhouse (New Lynn), Trak Electrical and Air Conditioning, Regency Cabs and Greenlane Manor Motel. The match will played over two 30-minute halves.KIWI ALL STARS V INVITATIONAL TEAMEricsson Stadium, Auckland5.30pm, Saturday, July 15, 2006Referee: Bill Shrimpton KIWI ALL STARSGARY KEMBLETONY IROJAMES LEULUAITEA ROPATIJOE ROPATISHANE COOPERCLAYTON FRIENDFRANCIS LEOTADUANE MANNJASON LOWRIEOWEN WRIGHTKURT SORENSENSAM PANAPA INTERCHANGE; MARK BOURNEVILLERICHARD BLACKMORETONY TATUPUIVA ROPATIDEAN CLARKKEVIN IRO INVITATIONAL TEAM WAYNETRAINORKEN ANDERSSONHEREME SIOSTEVE KEMBLEDARREL WILLIAMSBRYCE TOWNSENDARTHUR CLARKNOEL WYATTGRAEME NORTONGREG HILEYCHRISTIAN FA?AVEAREECE GUYRICKY WILLIAMS INTERCHANGE; GREGORY MOLLOYPIRI ENUA PETER ROPATIRAY HANNAYPETER O?ROURKE BRIAN McCLENNANPETER SIMONS