AT a meeting of the RFL independent judiciary panel, the Bradford Bulls club has been found guilty of breaching the 2005 Super League Cap.
IS anyone else as perplexed as I am with the lack of depth in this competition? Call me cynical, but the number of inconsistent sides this season in comparison with past seasons is unprecedented.The most alarming aspect of the competition table after 23 rounds is the fact that the fourth placed side, the Parramatta Eels, have won 11 matches and lost 10. I know the Eels have been in great form recently but of their 21 matches this year, to have won 11 games would usually place a side in the bottom half or on the fringes of the top eight.Not this year. 11 wins out of 21 matches have the Eels sitting in the top four, vying for a home semi-final.I guess now you?re expecting me to say that a top five finals system would better serve the NRL. I won?t, because even a top five this year would consist of sides that don?t deserve to play off in September!Even for Manly, a side sitting in third position, a record of 12 wins and 9 losses from their 21 appearances this season illustrates their standing is somewhat flattering. Usually a side with that sort of record would be sitting in sixth place, fifth if they?re lucky. The only just way to determine this year?s title fairly, would be to play the grand final the weekend after round 26, between the Melbourne Storm and the Canterbury Bulldogs at Olympic Park. This grand final will probably eventuate, but given Melbourne?s superiority to the Bulldogs on the competition table, I feel that the only way to see a fair contest would be to play the match in Melbourne, given their six-point lead on the Bulldogs at the moment.How naive of me to even contemplate that the fairest way to contest finals would be the way the NRL adopts. Reality is that in most years, we get three or four genuine contenders who deserve a shot at the title, another two sides which have been reasonably consistent and another two which are making up the numbers.Not this year. This year, there are only two with any right at all to be there. Melbourne should play Canterbury at Olympic Park in the only match of the finals series, and maybe Manly have earned the right to carry the water out to the players. Nevertheless, with the way the competition is designed, everything starts again when the finals begin and if momentum is given any credence, the Parramatta Eels will have a fair bit to say to those who feel that the Storm and Bulldogs will barely need to revert from second gear to qualify for the 2006 decider.Parramatta?s resurgence has been a feature of the 2006 premiership. Jason Taylor has taken full advantage of his brief first grade appointment but something tells me he won?t have to wait too long before slotting into a more permanent first grade coaching role.Some highlights have been the emergence of rookie Jarryd Hayne, the relentless ability of Nathan Hindmarsh and a more controlled role from halfback Jeremy Smith since his return from suspension. These three stars have each greatly contributed to the Eels? recent success. Smith has flourished under the tuition of Taylor, and his decision to follow the Eels coach to South Sydney, at which Taylor is taking up an assistant?s role, came as no coincidence.The only other place left for me to look this week is the other end of the scale ? the North Queensland Cowboys. I find it astounding that a side can go from competition leaders and favourites after eight rounds, to missing the top eight in the same season. They have continued to deny any off-field dramas, but from the outside looking in, it seems that those sorts of accusations may have affected the club regardless of whether there was any truth to them. Admittedly they have had injury concerns and coach Graham Murray was involved with the State of Origin series this year but there seems to be more to this fall from grace than meets the eye. A 26-0 defeat to the lowly Warriors was nothing short of spineless. They can certainly kiss their finals chances goodbye for 2006.Some may think I need to get off my high horse after these comments but here?s one to think about. Are referees becoming the scapegoats of every team?s close loss? Coaches, players and ex-players alike simply cannot find anywhere else to point the finger after a loss than the man with a whistle. It?s never a sub-standard effort from the side, or a lack of discipline, or poor execution. Now, it?s just the referee?s fault. In the current climate, who in their right mind would become a referee? I would like to applaud the NRL?s decision to charge Andrew Johns over the incident in which he allegedly swore at touch judge Matt Cecchin. You simply cannot speak to match officials in the manner which he has in the last few weeks.Another example was Nathan Brown?s outburst at referees after the Dragons were penalised heavily against the Parramatta Eels. Brown was rightly fined for his comments. We all know the real problem with the Dragons is their own lack of discipline.This continued acceptable culture that the referees are to blame does nothing for our game. All this mentality does is provide more reasons not to become a referee. I have heard many pundits blame referees over the last week or so, but none have offered valid alternative solutions to improve their performances. Referees don?t grow on trees. It?s time some of our most respected figures commented more laterally rather than shoot their mouth off at the man in the middle for good measure. You can hate the referees all you want. But if they stop refereeing, the game simply cannot operate.
THE NRL has fined Newcastle $5,000 for comments made by coach Michael Hagan supporting captain Andrew Johns over a claim he'd abused a match official.
MELBOURNE forward Michael Crocker looks set to add at least two matches to the nine matches of suspension he has already served this NRL season for dangerous throws.
SCORES and standings in major rugby league competitions around Queensland in the last week.>>MAJOR COMPETITIONSQLD WIZARD CUPRound 21: Redcliffe 40 d Tweed Heads 10, Ipswich 50 d Easts 30, Toowoomba 48 d Souths Logan 22, Central 18 d Norths 16, Wynnum Manly 26 drew North Queensland 26. Burleigh bye.Standings: Toowoomba 30, North Queensland 30, Redcliffe 28, Tweed Heads 20, Easts 20, Burleigh 19, Norths 15, Central 15, Wynnum Manly 13, Souths Logan 12, Ipswich 8.QLD WOMENSRound 17: Ipswich Brothers 14 drew Wests Mitchelton 14, Wests Centenary 24 d Caboolture 12.Standings: Ipswich Brothers 29, Wests Centenary 24, Wests Mitchelton 11, Caboolture 2.ARRIVE ALIVE CUPNorthern Semi Final: St Brendan?s Yeppoon 26 (David Taylor 3, Sammy Joe, Cam Steel tries; Cam Steel 3, David Taylor goal) d Ignatius Park College 4 (Ben Henaway try).Southern Semi Final: Keebra Park SHS 10 (Bodene Thompson, Kingi Akaoula tries; Matt Parata goal) d Palm Beach Currumbin SHS 0.Queensland Final: St Brendan?s Yeppoon v Keebra Park SHS, Browne Park, Rockhampton, Saturday August 19, 6pm.>>> SOUTH EAST DIVISIONFOGS CUPRound 21: Tweed Heads 44 d Redcliffe 16, Easts 30 d Ipswich 0, Norths 34 d Western Districts 18, Souths Logan 44 d Aspley 24, Wynnum Manly 36 d Sunshine Coast 10. Burleigh bye.Standings: Tweed Heads 34, Wynnum Manly 24, Easts 24, Burleigh 23, Souths Logan 22, Sunshine Coast 20, Redcliffe 17, Norths 16, Ipswich 12, Aspley 10, Western Districts 8. FOGS COLTS CHALLENGERound 21: Redcliffe 38 drew Tweed Heads 38, Easts 42 d Ipswich 12, Norths 46 d Western Districts 4, Aspley 24 d Souths Logan 22, Wynnum Manly 76 d Sunshine Coast 10. Burleigh bye.Standings: Norths 30, Redcliffe 30, Easts 26, Wynnum Manly 22, Aspley 22, Tweed Heads 20, Souths Logan 19, Burleigh 15, Western Districts 11, Ipswich 10, Sunshine Coast 5. SPOTLESS CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPStandings: Redcliffe 253, Tweed Heads 242, Easts 230, Norths 198, Burleigh 190, Wynnum Manly 190, Souths Logan 171, Ipswich 98, Aspley 96, Sunshine Coast 75, Western Districts 57.XXXX BRISBANE SECOND DIVISIONNORTHSIDE ONERound 17: Fortitude Valley Juniors 24 d Northside Natives 14, Pine Rivers 20 d Northern Suburbs Juniors 0 (forfeit), Banyo 66 d Aspley Demons 6, Sandgate Brighton Gaters 44 d Brook Sharks 14. Standings: Dayboro 30, Banyo 23, Fortitude Valley Juniors 22, Pine Rivers 20, Samford 19, Sandgate Brighton Gaters 17, Aspley Demons 15, Brook Sharks 9, Northside Natives 8, Northern Suburbs Juniors 7.SOUTHSIDE ONERound 19: Wests Inala 24 d Greenbank 10, Mt Gravatt 34 d Capalaba Juniors 6.Standings: St Brendans 30, Carina 30, Greenbank 25, Wests Inala 23, Mt Gravatt 20, Wynnum Manly Juniors 10, Capalaba Juniors 6, Logan Brothers 0.NORTHSIDE TWORound 21: Ferny Grove 20 drew Arana Hills 20, Mitchelton 30 d Deception Bay Bombers 18, Normanby 58 d Northern Raiders 12, Deception Bay Juniors 58 d Pine Central Holy Spirit 20, Aspley Demons 36 d Burpengary 30, Fortitude Valley Juniors bye.Standings: Mitchelton 38, Normanby 36, Ferny Grove 36, Deception Bay Bombers 26, Northern Raiders 26, Arana Hills 25, Deception Bay Juniors 24, Aspley Demons 15, Fortitude Valley Juniors 12, Pine Central Holy Spirit 10, Burpengary 4. SOUTHSIDE TWOMajor Semi: Rochedale 32 d Beenleigh Juniors 20.Minor Semi: Sunnybank 22 d Logan Brothers 20.Standings: Rochedale 36, Beenleigh Juniors 32, Sunnybank 30, Logan Brothers 29, Redlands 18, Bears 12, Carina 11. Preliminary Final: Beenleigh Juniors v Sunnybank, Davies Park, Saturday August 19, 1.15pm.SOUTHSIDE THREEMajor Semi: St Brendan?s 28 d Slacks Creek 20Minor Semi: Logan Wanderers 34 d Beeneligh Juniors 20.Standings: St Brendans 34, Slacks Creek 31, Logan Wanderers 30, Beenleigh Juniors 21, Rochedale 18, Wynnum Manly Juniors 16, Browns Plains 10, Bulimba Valleys 8.Preliminary Final: Slacks Creek v Logan Wanderers, Davies Park, Saturday August 19, 11.30am.SOUTHSIDE FOUR Grand Final: Carina 34 d Browns Plains 24.Standings: Wests Inala 34, Carina 30, Browns Plains 27, Cannon Hill 22, North Stradbroke Island 22, Waterford 10, Slacks Creek 5, Bears 2. ALBERT BISHOP SHIELDGrand Final: Redlands 20 d Easts Juniors 10.Standings: Redlands 32, Eastern Suburbs Juniors 28, Fortitude Valley Juniors 25, Arana Hills 22, Wynnum Manly Juniors 18, Sunnybank 18, Waterford 15, Centenary 4, Aspley Demons 4, Mustangs 4. ARTHUR SPARKS SHIELDMajor Semi: Sandgate Brighton Gaters 32 d Arana Hills 22.Minor Semi: Logan Brothers 44 d Mustangs 20.Standings: Sandgate Brighton Gaters 30, Arana Hills 29, Mustangs 29, Logan Brothers 28, Wynnum Manly Juniors 26, Eastern Suburbs Juniors 24, Mitchelton 24, St Brendans 18, Capalaba Juniors 10, Browns Plains 6, Pine Central Holy Spirit 4. Preliminary Final: Arana Hills v Logan Brothers, Davies Park, Saturday August 19, 3pm.>>NORTHERN DIVISIONBENDIGO BANK PREMIERSHIP (Cairns)Round 21: Brothers 24 d Atherton 18, Innisfail 58 d Edmonton 4, Mareeba 30 d Ivanhoes 6, Suburbs 26 d Mossman Port Douglas 24, Tully 66 d Yarrabah 32. Kangaroos bye.Standings: Brothers 37, Innisfail 35, Kangaroos 33, Ivanhoes 25, Atherton 24, Mareeba 24, Tully 24, Mossman Port Douglas 18, Yarrabah 14, Suburbs 14, Edmonton 2.TOWNSVILLE DISTRICTS RLRound 19: Brothers 46 d University 4, Burdekin 38 d Charters Towers 20, Sharks United 54 d Centrals 24. Herbert River bye.Standings: Brothers 72, Herbert River 56, Sharks United 52, Burdekin 46, Centrals 34, Charters Towers 32, University 12.* Wins worth 4pts in TDRLMERCURY CUP (Mackay)Mid-Week Playoff: Norths 32 d Magpies 28.Elimination Final: Sarina 40 d Norths 28 (extra time).Qualifying Final: Souths 26 d Brothers 22.Standings: Moranbah 28, Souths 26, Brothers 24, Sarina 16, Norths 14, Magpies 14, Whitsunday 10, Wests 4.Finals: Major Semi ? Moranbah v Souths, Mackay JRL, Sunday August 20, 3.45pm (TBC). Minor Semi ? Brothers v Sarina, Mackay JRL, Sunday August 20, 2pm (TBC).MID WEST RLMajor Semi: Doomadgee 48 d Hughenden 32.Minor Semi: Normanton 46 d Cloncurry 26.Standings: Doomadgee 24, Hughenden 24, Normanton 24, Cloncurry 12, Julia Creek 3, Richmond -6.Preliminary Final: Hughenden v Normanton, Hughenden, Saturday August 26.>>CENTRAL DIVISIONEXTENDED LEAGUERound 9: Rockhampton Brothers 44 d CQU Norths 16, Gladstone Brothers 26 d Tannum Sands 20, Yeppoon 48 d Valleys 20, Wallabys 68 d Biloela 20. Fitzroy Gracemere bye.Standings: CQU Norths 13, Wallabys 12, Gladstone Brothers 12, Rockhampton Brothers 11, Fitzroy Gracemere 10, Yeppoon 8, Tannum Sands 4, Valleys 2, Biloela 0.Finals: Commence August 26/27 following completion of district league finals.ROCKHAMPTON DISTRICT RLPreliminary Final: Fitzroy Gracemere 68 d CQU Norths 30.Standings: CQU Norths 16, Rockhampton Brothers 15, Fitzroy Gracemere 15, Yeppoon 2.Grand Final: Rockhampton Brothers v Fitzroy Gracemere, Browne Park, Sunday August 20, 3pm.GLADSTONE DISTRICT RLPreliminary Final: Gladstone Brothers 25 d Tannum Sands 24.Standings: Gladstone Brothers 21, Wallabys 19, Tannum Sands 10, Valleys 6, Biloela 4.Grand Final: Wallabys v Gladstone Brothers, Marley Brown Oval, Sunday August 20, 3pm.CENTRAL HIGHLANDS RLRound 17: Clermont 30 d Emerald Cowboys 20, Emerald Tigers 68 d Springsure 0, Blackwater 46 d Middlemount 28.Standings: Clermont 28, Blackwater 23, Emerald Tigers 22, Middlemount 17, Emerald Cowboys 9, Springsure 3.Finals: Major Semi ? Clermont v Blackwater, Clermont, Saturday August 19, 7pm. Minor Semi ? Emerald Tigers v Middlemount, McIndoe Park, Emerald, Sunday August 20, 3pmCENTRAL WEST RLGrand Final: Longreach 36 (Glenn Forbes 2, Kien Dickson 2, Dave Bielenberg, Marc Fickling, Brad English tries; Marc Fickling 4 goals) d Winton 26 (Grant Haddon 2, Brenton Grant, Jason Fogarty, Ernie Ellis tries; Jason Fogarty 3 goals).Standings: Barcaldine 20, Longreach 14, Winton 14, Ilfracombe 8, Blackall 4.>>WIDE BAY DIVISION4BU-HITZ FM PREMIERSHIP (Bundaberg)Finals: Qualifying Final ? Across The Waves 42 d Hervey Bay 38. Elimination Final ? Wallaroos 30 d Easts 24.Standings: Wests 21, Hervey Bay 20, Across The Waves 16, Easts 13, Wallaroos 10, Brothers 8*. * Deducted two points for fielding unregistered player. Finals: Minor Semi ? Hervey Bay v Wallaroos, Salter Oval, Sunday August 20, 1.30pm. Major Semi ? Wests v Across the Waves, Salter Oval, Sunday August 20, 3.10pm.WIDE BAY AUSTRALIA CUP (Northern Districts)Preliminary Final ? South Kolan 30 d Gin Gin 22.Standings: Biggenden 28, South Kolan 20, Miriam Vale 18, Gin Gin 16, Avondale 8.Grand Final: Biggenden v South Kolan, Biggenden, Sunday August 20, 2.45pm.CENTRAL DISTRICTSPreliminary Final: Calliope 26 d Monto.Standings: Eidsvold 12, Calliope 8, Monto 6.Grand Final: Eidsvold v Calliope, Eidsvold, Saturday August 19, 4pm.BRAD BACKER SHIELD (Fraser Coast)Semi Finals ? Brothers 28 d Titans 4, Wests 16 d Rovers 12.Standings: Brothers 24, Rovers 12, Wests 8, Titans 4.Grand Final: Brothers v Wests, Eskdale Park, Maryborough, Friday August 18, 7.30pm. (Curtain-raiser: Rovers v Titans, 6pm).MAROOCHY RSL CUP (Sunshine Coast)Round 17: Noosa 36 d Kawana 26, Caloundra 70 d Gympie Cooloola 4, Nambour 38d Maroochydore Coolum 34, Caboolture 28 d Beerwah 18. Bribie Island bye.Standings: Caloundra 32, Noosa 28, Caboolture 24, Kawana 22, Nambour 21, Maroochydore Coolum 17, Beerwah 10, Gympie Cooloola 9, Bribie Island 7.SUNSHINE COAST GYMPIE AMATEURSMajor Semi: Beachmere 32 d Kilcoy 16.Minor Semi: Yandina 24 d Pomona 12.Standings: Kilcoy 30, Beachmere 23, Pomona 19, Yandina 12, Palmwoods 6.Preliminary Final: Kilcoy v Yandina, Pomona, Saturday August 19, 3.30pm.>>SOUTH WEST DIVISIONWAGNER?S FIRST GRADE (Toowoomba)Round 20: Oakey 40 d Wattles 32, Dalby 66 d Souths 18, Valleys 72 d Warwick 10, Brothers 92 d Pittsworth 18, Gatton 58 d Newtown 24. Goondiwindi bye.Standings: Valleys 36, Brothers 32, Goondiwindi 30, Dalby 26, Oakey 26, Wattles 23, Gatton 22, Pittsworth 17, Souths 14, Warwick 10, Newtown 4. ROMA DISTRICTS RLMinor Semi: Red Bulls 34 d Cities 32.Standings: St George 19, Mitchell 17, Cities 16, Red Bulls 16, Miles 13, Chinchilla 9.Finals: Major Semi ? St George v Mitchell, Bassett Park, Sunday August 20, 3pm.BORDER LEAGUERound 16: Inglewood 34 d Stanthorpe 22, Tenterfield 34 d Killarney 32Standings: Tenterfield 24, Killarney 20, Stanthorpe 11, Inglewood 5.Preliminary Final: Killarney v Stanthorpe, Killarney, Saturday August 19, 2pm.WESTERN RLMajor Semi: Charleville 28 d Tambo 4.Standings: Charleville 22, Tambo 19, Cunnamulla 11, Quilpie 8. Preliminary Final: Tambo v Cunnamulla, Tambo, Saturday August 19, 3pm.>>SOUTHERN DIVISIONQLD GROUP CUP (Ipswich)Round 17: Brothers 28 d Norths 8, Redbank Plains 24 d Swifts 14, Goodna 68 d West End 12, South Burnett 50 d Laidley 16, Springfield 32 drew Fassifern 32.Standings: Brothers 32, South Burnett 28, Goodna 20, Norths 20, Springfield 19, Fassifern 15, Redbank Plains 14, West End 10, Swifts 9, Laidley 3. SMARTLEND CUP (Gold Coast)Round 18: Tweed Heads 80 d Helensvale 6, Mudgeeraba 28 d Nerang 10, Tugun 42 d Burleigh 6, Southport 24 d Beaudesert 16, Runaway Bay 32 d Uni Parkwood 30.Standings: Tugun 36, Burleigh 28, Runaway Bay 27, Southport 20, Beaudesert 18, Uni Parkwood 17, Tweed Heads 16, Nerang 8, Mudgeeraba 6, Helensvale 2. Finals: Major Semi ? Burleigh v Runaway Bay, Pizzey Park, Sunday August 20, 3pm. Minor Semi ? Southport v Beaudesert, Owen Park, Saturday August 19, 5pm.
NEWCASTLE captain Andrew Johns is set to miss the first week of the NRL finals after being charged with grade three contrary conduct today.
THE Newtown Jets held on for a narrow 22-18 win over the St Marys-Penrith Cougars in the VB Premier League match played at the Western Weekender Stadium on Saturday. The Jets had a number of enforced late changes to their original team line-up and then lost hooker and captain Heath L?Estrange through a shoulder injury very early in the game. Newtown had led 10-6 at half-time and had to withstand a determined second half fight-back from the fired-up Cougars.The Cougars grabbed an early 6-0 lead and dominated field position in the first quarter of the match. Newtown equalised in the 25th minute through a try to winger Aaron Lai which was cleverly constructed by backrower Daniel Dumas and centre Lelea Paea. The Jets took the lead nine minutes before half-time with a Michael Burns try, coming off the back of a scintillating fifty-metre run from fullback Aidan Kirk.Newtown built on this 10-6 half-time lead with further tries to Grant Millington and Lai early in the second session. Millington?s was the result of his deft one-on-one strip from an unfortunate opponent that any conjuring artist would have been proud of, while Lai was clinically positioned for his second try by the master craftsman Lelea Paea.The Cougars had the better of the contest in the last twenty minutes of the game when they controlled both possession and territory. They employed a smarter kicking game and made their own luck with a fortuitous run of penalties. The Jets defended well under all this sustained pressure and were still besieged on their own line as the final siren sounded.Jets fullback Aidan Kirk deservedly won the players? player award and the three points for best and fairest. Hooker Luke Gordon, lock Mitch Aubusson and front-rower Glenn Hall were Newtown?s best forwards while Lelea Paea and Grant Millington were the standouts in the backs.The Jets completed a tough week in the Jim Beam Cup with two losses to competition leaders the Sydney Bulls in the space of five days. Newtown had lost a deferred match played at Henson Park last Tuesday night by 32-16 and then went down in the return encounter on Saturday by 38-22. In the second match the Jets had trailed 18-0 in the first half and recovered well to take the lead 22-18. Missed opportunities and ?coach killer? errors and wrong options gave the Bulls repeated chances that weren?t declined.Tireless front-rower Ritchie Parker was the standout performer on Saturday in both defence and attack and deserved better support. Livewire hooker Adam Bennett turned in another non-stop performance.There?s plenty of night-time Rugby League at Henson Park this week, with the Clovelly Crocodiles under 16?s taking on the touring Warrington Wolves (UK) development squad on Wednesday evening at 6.00pm. The Sydney Women?s Rugby League grand final is on at Henson Park on Friday evening at 7.00pm, when the Newtown Jetettes face off with the Canley Vale Kookas. The Jetettes won an epic preliminary final against the Redfern All Blacks on Saturday by 28-20.Next Saturday (August 19th) will feature the final competition games double-header at Henson Park for this season, with the Newtown Jets taking on Cabramatta in the Jim Beam Cup curtain-raiser at 1.15pm. In the VB Premier League main game at 3.00pm, competition juggernauts Newtown and Parramatta shape up in the match that may well decide the 2006 minor premiership. Photo:Newtown Jets five-eighth Grant Millington relieves a bemused Cougars opponent of possession in a critical moment in Saturday?s VB Premier League match.Photo supplied by Gary Sutherland Photography.
WIGAN Warriors 20 (Ashton, Vaealiki, Calderwood tries; Dobson 4 goals) def. Leeds Rhinos 18 (Gibson 2, Kirke, Lauiti?iti; Sinfield 1 goal). Att: 15,066.
WITH just three rounds remaining before the finals, the Melbourne Storm have all but wrapped up the minor premiership following their 18-12 victory over the Brisbane Broncos last Sunday. Played in front of a Lang Park crowd of 40,159, the Storm overcame a 10-0 half time deficit to run out winners and maintain their spot at the top of the NRL ladder. The southern franchise are now on 40 competition points and six points clear of the field. The Broncos are clinging onto fifth spot and join a log jam of teams on 26 points.Round 23 kicked off on Friday night with the Manly Sea Eagles hanging on to defeat the Newcastle Knights 16-14 in Newcastle. The Sea Eagles are now in outright third position on 28 points while the Knights are in sixth position on 26 points.Saturday rugby league took us to Auckland where the New Zealand Warriors treated a small crowd to their 10th win of the year, thrashing the North Queensland Cowboys by 26-0. The in-form Warriors are on 20 points and in 12th position and realistically no chance of making the top eight. The 11th-placed Cowboys are on 22 points and are playing like a team that has already given the season away.Meanwhile, the Sydney Roosters were handing the Penrith Panthers a 20-10 pasting at Penrith Stadium. The 10th-placed Panthers, like the Cowboys, are still a mathematical chance of making the top eight but are unlikely contenders if recent form is anything to go on. The Roosters are in 13th position but are looking to unsettle teams above them on the ladder.Saturday wrapped up in the Shire with the Parramatta Eels staging a second half comeback to blitz the Cronulla Sharks by 34-14. The Eels have now posted their eighth win on the trot and move up to fourth position and 26 points. With other results going their way, the Sharks are still clinging onto ninth spot but on 22 points, find themselves four points adrift of the top eight.Sunday football took us to Homebush where the Canterbury Bulldogs maintained the rage in disposing of an out-of-form St George Illawarra Dragons by 26-10. The Bulldogs are in outright second position on 34 points. Meanwhile the Dragons have crashed to their fifth consecutive loss and are hanging onto seventh position amongst a crowd of teams on 26 points. Round 23 wrapped up with the Canberra Raiders pipping the Wests Tigers by a golden point for the second time this year. Locked up at 18-all after 80 minutes, the match went into extra time with a field goal giving the Raiders a surprise 19-18 victory. The Wests Tigers are in second last position and the result all but ends any chance of them defending their title. The Raiders are looking rough on 26 points but are set to take the final position in the top eight. The last-placed South Sydney Rabbitohs had the bye for round 23.All match results and details are listed below.LeagueUnlimited.com Player AwardsThis year?s LeagueUnlimited.com Player Awards still has Melbourne hooker Cameron Smith coming first on 27 points. Canberra full back Clinton Schifcofske is in second spot with 26 points. Moving up the leader board are forwards Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels) and Willie Mason (Bulldogs) on 23 points. Preston Campbell (Panthers) is not far away on 21 points while Greg Inglis (Storm) and Matt Orford (Sea Eagles) are on 20 points. On 19 points are Ben Kennedy (Sea Eagles) and Andrew Johns (Knights).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 23, 11 August ? 13 August 2006Newcastle Knights: 14Tries: Matthew Gidley, Andrew Johns, Josh PerryGoals: Andrew Johns 1/3Manly Sea Eagles: 16Tries: Chris Hicks, Matt Orford, Steve BellGoals: Matt Orford 2/3Half time: Sea Eagles 10-8Venue: EnergyAustralia StadiumCrowd: 25,105Referee: Paul SimpkinsLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)2 - Josh Perry (Knights)1 - Travis Burns (Sea Eagles)New Zealand Warriors: 26Tries: Lance Hohaia (2), Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Sam RapiraGoals: Lance Hohaia 3/6North Queensland Cowboys: 0Half time: Warriors 12-0Venue: Mt Smart (Ericsson) StadiumCrowd: 5,425Referee: Gavin BadgerLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Lance Hohaia (Warriors)2 - Steve Price (Warriors)1 - Sam Rapira (Warriors)Penrith Panthers: 20Tries: Luke Priddis, Rhys Wesser, Michael GordonGoals: Preston Campbell 4/4Sydney Roosters: 40Tries: Sam Perrett (3), Amos Roberts, Jamie Soward, Shaun Foley, Josh LewisGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 4/5, Josh Lewis 2/2Half time: Roosters 16-14Venue: CUA Stadium, PenrithCrowd: 11,704Referee: Jason RobinsonLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Sam Perrett (Roosters)2 - Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters)1 - Josh Lewis (Roosters)Cronulla Sutherland Sharks: 14Tries: David Simmons, Ben PomeroyGoals: Luke Covell 3/3Parramatta Eels: 34Tries: Luke Burt (2), Wade McKinnon, Glenn Morrison, Mark Riddell, Jarryd HayneGoals: Luke Burt 5/7Half time: Sharks 12-8Venue: Toyota ParkCrowd: 12,830Referee: Tony ArcherLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Luke Burt (Eels)2 - Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)1 - Paul Gallen (Sharks)Brisbane Broncos: 12Tries: Darren Lockyer, Tame TupouGoals: Darren Lockyer 1/2, Corey Parker 1/1Melbourne Storm: 18Tries: Cooper Cronk, Matt King, Steve TurnerGoals: Cameron Smith 3/3Half time: Broncos 10-0Venue: Suncorp StadiumCrowd: 40,159Referee: Shayne HayneLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Steve Turner (Storm)2 - Justin Hodges (Broncos)1 - Sam Thaiday (Broncos)Canterbury Bulldogs: 26Tries: Hazem El Masri, Willie Mason, Brent Sherwin, Sonny Bill WilliamsGoals: Hazem El Masri 5/6St George Illawarra Dragons: 10Tries: Trent Barrett, Brett MorrisGoals: Mathew Head 1/2Half time: Bulldogs 16-4Venue: Telstra StadiumCrowd: 31,256Referee: Sean HampsteadLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Willie Mason (Bulldogs)2 - Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)1 - Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs)Wests Tigers: 18Tries: Daniel Fitzhenry, Chris Heighington, Scott PrinceGoals: Scott Prince 3/4Canberra Raiders: 19Tries: Phillip Graham, Adam Mogg, Alan TongueGoals: Clinton Schifcofske 3/3Field Goals: Todd CarneyHalf time: 12 allVenue: Campbelltown StadiumCrowd: 18,474Referee: Steven ClarkLeagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Scott Prince (Tigers)2 - Todd Carney (Raiders)1 - Alan Tongue (Raiders)South Sydney Rabbitohs v ByeFULL DRAW, RESULTS & LINKS TO LIVE SCORES ? CLICK HEREUPCOMING MATCHES:Round 24, 18-20 August 2006Fri 7:30 BULLDOGS v BRONCOS - Telstra StadiumSat 5:30 SHARKS v PANTHERS - Toyota Park Sat 7:30 COWBOYS v KNIGHTS - Dairy Farmers StadiumSat 7:30 STORM v WARRIORS - Olympic Park MelbourneSun 2:30 ROOSTERS v EELS - Aussie StadiumSun 3:00 SEA EAGLES v RABBITOHS - Brookvale Oval Sun 3:00 DRAGONS v TIGERS - OKI Jubilee Stadium RAIDERS v BYE LEAGUEUNLIMITED.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.27 pointsCameron Smith (Storm)26 pointsClinton Schifcofske (Raiders)23 pointsNathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Willie Mason (Bulldogs)21 pointsPreston Campbell (Panthers)20 pointsGreg Inglis (Storm), Matt Orford (Sea Eagles)19 pointsBen Kennedy (Sea Eagles), Andrew Johns (Knights)17 pointsCooper Cronk (Storm), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)16 pointsDanny Buderus (Knights)14 pointsMatthew Bowen (Cowboys), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Steve Price (Warriors), Scott Prince (Tigers)13 pointsAdam Dykes (Sharks), Hazem El Masri (Bulldogs), Darren Lockyer (Broncos)12 pointsJason Smith (Raiders), Sonny Bill Williams (Bulldogs)11 pointsRoy Asotasi (Bulldogs), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Paul Gallen (Sharks), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)10 pointsPetero Civoniceva (Broncos), Robert Farah (Tigers), Alan Tongue (Raiders)9 pointsMathew Head (Dragons), Brett Hodgson (Tigers)8 pointsBrett Kimmorley (Sharks), Corey Parker (Broncos), Grant Rovelli (Warriors), Rhys Wesser (Panthers), Ruben Wiki (Warriors), Dean Young (Dragons)7 pointsSteve Bell (Sea Eagles), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Nathan Merritt (Rabbitohs), Mark O?Meley (Bulldogs), Aaron Payne (Cowboys), David Peachey (Rabbitohs), Amos Roberts (Roosters), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs), Steve Simpson (Knights)6 pointsNathan Cayless (Eels), Craig Gower (Panthers), Nathan Fien (Warriors), Ryan Hoffman (Storm), Luke Lewis (Panthers), Steve Menzies (Sea Eagles), Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles), Lance Thompson (Sharks)5 pointsTrent Barrett (Dragons), Dean Collis (Tigers), Peter Cusack (Rabbitohs), Brett Finch (Roosters), Aaron Gorrell (Dragons), Jarryd Hayne (Eels), Wade McKinnon (Eels), Luke O'Donnell (Cowboys), Simon Mannering (Warriors), Luke Priddis (Panthers), Brad Thorn (Broncos), Brent Webb (Warriors)4 pointsDarren Albert (Sharks), Greg Bird (Sharks), Brian Carney (Knights), Todd Carney (Raiders), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Sione Faumuina (Warriors), Phillip Graham (Raiders), David Kidwell (Storm), Scott Hill (Storm), Ben Hornby (Dragons), Anthony Laffranchi (Tigers), Adam MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Fuifui Moimoi (Eels), Clint Newton (Knights), Josh Perry (Knights), Brent Sherwin (Bulldogs), David Simmons (Sharks), Billy Slater (Storm), Jamie Soward (Roosters), John Sutton (Rabbitohs), Milton Thaiday (Knights), Anthony Tupou (Roosters), Paul Whatuira (Tigers), Lincoln Withers (Raiders)3 pointsLuke Bailey (Dragons), Travis Burns (Sea Eagles), Luke Burt (Eels), Joel Clinton (Panthers), Darius Boyd (Broncos), Luke Covell (Sharks), Michael Crocker (Storm), Greg Eastwood (Broncos), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Michael Gordon (Panthers), Clint Greenshields (Dragons), Nathan Hinton (Knights), Lance Hohaia (Warriors), Brett Kearney (Sharks), Luke MacDougall (Rabbitohs), Reni Maitua (Bulldogs), Manase Manuokafoa (Rabbitohs), Adam Mogg (Raiders), John Morris (Eels), Sam Perrett (Roosters), Luke O?Dwyer (Eels), Michael Robertson (Sea Eagles), Jerome Ropati (Warriors), Matt Sing (Cowboys), Tame Tupou (Broncos), Steve Turner (Storm), Matthew Utai (Bulldogs), Anthony Watmough (Sea Eagles), Jake Webster (Storm), Joe Williams (Rabbitohs)2 pointsBrenton Bowen (Cowboys), George Carmont (Knights), Daniel Fitzhenry (Tigers), Keith Galloway (Tigers), Awen Guttenbeil (Warriors), Ashley Harrison (Roosters), Wairangi Koopu (Warriors), Tom Learoyd-Lahrs (Raiders), Tony Martin (Warriors), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Peter-John Marsh (Eels), Benji Marshall (Tigers), Luke Patten (Bulldogs), Todd Polglase (Rabbitohs), Luke Rooney (Panthers), John Skandalis (Tigers), Craig Smith (Knights), Tim Smith (Eels), Iosia Soliola (Roosters), Steven Southern (Cowboys), 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), Ben Creagh (Dragons), Shayne Dunley (Sea Eagles), Michael Ennis (Broncos), Shaun Foley (Roosters), Nathan Friend (Storm), Matt Geyer (Storm), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Tony Grimaldi (Bulldogs), Chris Hicks (Sea Eagles), Daniel Holdsworth (Bulldogs), Lee Hookey (Panthers), Matt King (Storm), Josh Lewis (Roosters), Todd Lowrie (Knights), Steve Matai (Sea Eagles), Daryl Millard (Dragons), Ryan O'Hara (Tigers), Shannon McDonnell (Tigers), Sam Rapira (Warriors), Mark Riddell (Eels), Shane Rodney (Panthers), David Shillington (Roosters), Brent Tate (Broncos), Sam Thaiday (Broncos), Willie Tonga (Bulldogs), Shane Tronc (Cowboys), Taniela Tuiaki (Tigers), Ben Walker (Rabbitohs), Simon Woolford (Raiders), William Zillman (Raiders)
NEWCASTLE skipper Andrew Johns will find out today whether he'll be charged by the NRL match review committee after his verbal spray in the direction of a touch judge on Friday night.
MELBOURNE is just one win away from the NRL minor premiership after its come-from-behind 18-12 win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium.The Storm has now won a club record 11 consecutive matches while the Broncos have lost five on the trot. The second-placed Bulldogs have continued their momentum towards the finals, handing St George Illawarra their fifth straight loss, 26-10 at Telstra Stadium.Premiers the Wests Tigers have slipped to second last on the table after their second golden point loss to Canberra of the season. Raiders halfback Todd Carney kicked a 40-metre field goal with seven seconds remaining in extra-time to secure a 19-18 win at Campbelltown Stadium and cement Canberra's spot in the eight.Melbourne is on 40 points, the Bulldogs are 34 and Manly has moved to outright third on 28. Parramatta is in the top four, joined on 26 points by the Broncos, Newcastle, the Dragons and the Raiders.South Sydney is the only side officially out of semi-final contention after a topsy-turvy round 23. Parramatta, Brisbane, Newcastle, St George Illawarra and Canberra round out the top eight - all on 26 points - and hold a four-point buffer.The rest have a mathematical chance, although they would need other results to go their way in the remaining three rounds.Run home for the teams still in contention for the NRL finals:Melbourne (1st, 40pts) - Warriors (h), Raiders (a), Sea Eagles (h)Bulldogs (2nd, 34pts) - Broncos (h), Sea Eagles (a), Panthers (a)Manly (3rd, 28pts) - Rabbitohs (h), Bulldogs (h), Storm (a)Parramatta (4th, 26pts) - Roosters (a), Broncos (h), Cowboys (a)Brisbane (5th, 26pts) - Bulldogs (a), Eels (a), Warriors (h)Newcastle (6th, 26pts) - Cowboys (a), Panthers (h), byeSt George Illawarra (7th, 26pts) - Tigers (h), Sharks (h), Roosters (a)Canberra (8th, 26pts) - bye, Storm (h), Sharks (a)- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -Cronulla (9th, 22pts) - Panthers (h), Dragons (a), Raiders (h)Penrith (10th, 22pts) - Sharks (a), Knights (a), Bulldogs (h)North Queensland (11th, 22pts) - Knights (h), Rabbitohs (a), Eels (h)
WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats took another step closer to engage Super League survival with back-to-back wins for only the second time this season as they beat Catalans Dragons 34-14.
HULL FC?s quest to secure a maiden second-placed finish in the engage Super League was given a huge boost courtesy of a 26-12 win over Huddersfield Giants at the Galpharm Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
LEON Pryce provided the inspiration as engage Super League leaders St Helens ruthlessly swept aside relegation-threatened Castleford Tigers 72-4 at The Jungle.
QUEENSLAND WIZARD CUP - ROUND 21 RESULTSSaturday 12 AugustREDCLIFFE 40 (Greg Bourke 2, Nick Emmett 2, Ryan Cullen, Chris Fox, Danny Burke tries; Greg Bourke 6 goals) d TWEED HEADS 10 (James Wood 2 tries; Brad Davis goal) at Langlands Park.IPSWICH 50 (Ben McFadgean 3, Travis Baker 2, Luke Walker 2, Ricky Dodd, Joel Reithmuller tries; Travis Baker 5, Josh Costello 2 goals) d EASTS 30 (Kevin Stephensen, John Tamanika, Mark McKenzie, Brett McPherson, Marty Allen, Mark Cantoni tries; Luke Branighan 3 goals) at Langlands Park.TOOWOOMBA 48 (Denan Kemp 2, Jamie Simpson 2, Scott Minto, Steve Michaels, Ben Green, Nathan Strudwick tries; Ben Green 6, Jacob fauid 2 goals) d SOUTHS LOGAN 22 (Quentin Laulu-Togagae 2, paul Stanley, Tanu Wulf, Grant Lewis tries; Brandon Costin goal)at Clive Berghofer Stadium. CENTRAL 18 (Christian Davies 2, Sam Granville tries; Scott Porter 3 goals) d NORTHS 16 (Israel Folau, Sam Tagataese, Steve Franciscus tries; Jeremy Smith 2 goals) at Browne Park.Sunday 13 August WYNNUM MANLY 26 (Tangi Ropati, Brian Jellick, John Bruce, Luke Dalziel-Don, Gary Winter tries; Rodney Barba 2, Daniel Evans goals) drew with NORTH QUEENSLAND 26 (Jason Barsley, Brett Firman, Brent McConnell, Ray Cashmere, James Andersen tries; Brenton Bowen, Brent McConnell, Scott Smith goals) at BMD Kougari Oval.BYE: BurleighStandingsTOOWOOMBA 30NORTH QLD 30REDCLIFFE 28TWEED HEADS 20EASTS 20BURLEIGH 19NORTHS 15CENTRAL 15WYNNUM MANLY 13SOUTHS LOGAN 12IPSWICH 8NEXT WEEK?S GAME ? ROUND 22 SATURDAY 19 AUGUSTNORTHS V SOUTHS LOGAN BISHOP PARK 2.00PM*NORTH QLD V TOOWOOMBA DAIRY FARMERS STAD. 5.30PMCENTRAL V EASTS BROWNE PARK 7.30PMSUNDAY 20 AUGUSTTWEED HEADS V WYNNUM MANLY PIGGABEEN COMPLEX 3.00PMIPSWICH V BURLEIGH QLD GROUP STADIUM 3.00PMREDCLIFFE BYE*Denotes ABC TV Live telecast.