Melbourne finish on a high note

ROUND 26 Melbourne Storm 30 v Manly Sea Eagles 20at Olympic Park MelbourneReferee: Paul SimpkinsMatch Summary:The Melbourne Storm have defeated the Manly Sea Eagles 30-20 at Olympic Park this evening.The game was played at a furious pace and up until the 60th minute, it was anyones game but with the game there for the taking Melbourne put their foot on the pedal and away they went. Both teams have electrifying backlines and both were in full flight with some superb end to end action from both teams with Greg Inglis, Steve Turner and Brett Stewart all providing some great highlights throughout the match.The match was high quality and for Matt Orford and Steven Bell, it was a sombre return to Olympic Park with both former Storm players having good games in a beaten side. Every time Orford touched the ball the Storm fans let him know this was no longer his home ground with the boos resonating throughout Olympic Park for the entire match.For Manly, a win would have secured them a top four berth but their immediate fate rests on the outcome of the Broncos/Warriors match tomorrow and if the Broncos win, Manly finish fifth and if the Broncos lose, Manly secure a home final.Melbourne will face off against the Eels next Sunday and on current form, it would take a massive effort from the Eels to shake the minor premiers at home.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 30Tries: Michael Crocker, Matt Geyer, Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Steve TurnerGoals: Matt Geyer 1/1, Cameron Smith 4/5Manly Sea Eagles: 20Tries: Brett Stewart, Steve Matai, Steve Bell, Michael RobertsonGoals: Matt Orford 2/4Crowd: 13,991By the Clock:1 min: NEWS We are underway at a packed Olympic Park. Plenty to play for with Manly trying to secure a top four berth and all important home final.6 min: NEWS Possible try to Greg Inglis...6 min: TRY Melbourne StormVideo ref came back with a ref's call and Paul Simpkins had no doubt what he thought, awarding the Storm the opening try. Conversion successful. Storm 6-011 min: NEWS Very open game with both sides happy to use the ball. Real end to end stuff at the moment but the Storm are looking by far the better side at the moment.15 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesSteve Bell has a happy homecoming scoring a try in heavy traffic as Manly hit back to possibly level the scores. Conversion successful. 6 all.25 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesManly hit the lead for the first time in the match and they are looking much better than Melbourne at the moment. Michael Robertson scored in the corner without a finger being lad on him. Conversion unsuccessful. Sea Eagles 10-635 min: NEWS Shayney Dunley put on report for a high shot. With his record, he could miss the entire finals series and half of next season. Certainly no love lost between these two teams.35 min: TRY Melbourne StormThe Storm are in through Cameron Smith just before the break. Conversion unsuccessful. 10 all.38 min: TRY Melbourne StormMelbourne hit the front again through Michael Crocker. Soft Manly defence allowed him to score right next to the posts. Crucial try right before half time. Conversion successful. Storm 16-1041 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half.53 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesManly score the opening try of the second half and it's game on in Melbourne. This one will go down to the wire. Brett Stewart finished off a good Manly backline move to get the Sea Eagles within two points. Conversion unsuccessful. Storm 16-1456 min: NEWS Possible try to Matt Geyer from the Storm. Video ref checking and I can't see too much wrong with the grounding.56 min: TRY Melbourne StormTry awarded after Matt Geyer caught a Cooper Cronk bomb to score in the corner. Conversion successful. Storm 22-1466 min: TRY Melbourne StormSteve Turner finishes off an excellent backline movement and the Manly Sea Eagles in one go with a great try in the corner. Conversion successful. Storm 28-1469 min: NEWS Cooper Cronk penalised for a double movement.74 min: TRY Manly Sea EaglesConsolation try to Manly through Steve Matai. Looked to be held up for mine but the video ref awarded the try under the benefit of the doubt rule. Conversion successful. Storm 28-2080 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormMatt Geyer puts the icing on the cake for the Storm with a penalty goal on full time. Great game of footy. It was fast and furious and a good preview for what lies ahead in the finals. Storm players of the match:3 - Cameron Smith (Storm)2 - Brett Stewart (Sea Eagles)1 - Steve Turner (Storm)-----------------------------------------

Preview: Castleford v Harlequins (R26)

FORMER London Broncos skipper Terry Matterson is not expecting any favours from his old club when Harlequins RL take on his relegation-haunted Castleford Tigers side at the Jungle.Matterson was a popular player with the Londoners at the advent of Super League in 1996 but knows there will be no place for sentiment as he battles to keep the Tigers in the top flight."I don?t expect any favours," he said. "We need to earn our points and earn our win. We?ve certainly got to turn the corner big time from our form over the last month."A hat-trick of home wins over Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos lifted Castleford to the brink of the top six but four successive defeats, including a club record 72-4 hammering by St Helens, have brought them back back into the mire.Saturday's final home game is followed by trips to Salford City Reds and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Matterson is comforted by the knowledge that his team have control over their own destiny."It?s in our hands, that?s the main thing," he said. "We?ve got three games to go and, if we do our job, we?re going to be okay. There?s still an opportunity to jump a few spaces higher."In addition to claiming some notable scalps at the Jungle, Matterson is also able to draw encouragement from the Tigers? 34-20 win over Harlequins at the Stoop in March, although they went down 24-16 on a return visit four months later."We won down there after being down 14-0," he recalled. "It was one of our better performances."It?s not as if we?re trying to find something that we haven?t got. We?ve shown in the middle part of the season that we can play some good footie and mix it with the best teams."Emotions could be running high at Saturday's match, which will mark the final home appearance of popular skipper Danny Nutley and the much-travelled Deon Bird, who are both returning to Australia at the end of the season, and Matterson is expecting the vocal Tigers fans to play a key role."When the crowd get involved, they do make a difference," he said. "In three or four games we haven?t given them an opportunity to get involved."I think they?re realistic, they know where we?ve come from and how big a job it was. They?re very critical at times and rightfully so."I?ve struggled probably more than anyone at times but it?s how you bounce back and we?ve got an opportunity to bounce back."I didn?t think we were as bad in the last match at Bradford as the scoreline suggested. It was a much-improved performance and we got some positives out of that game."Castleford welcome back prop Danny Sculthorpe, Australian three-quarter Luke Dyer and back rower Richard Fletcher from injury, with youngsters Jason Payne and Michael Knowles dropping out.Harlequins are boosted by the return of skipper Mark McLinden, who has missed their last two matches with a back injury, but Luke Dorn continues at scrum-half in the absence of Thomas Leuluai. Centre Zeb Luisi and former Castleford winger Jon Wells are also back in the squad.Castleford Tigers 18-man squad: Platt, Shenton, Dyer, Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Bird, Huby, R. Fletcher, Viane, Fa'aoso, Manu, McGoldrick, Ward, Davis, Lupton, A. Fletcher, Brough.Harlequins RL 18-man squad: Bradley-Qalilawa, Budworth, Dorn, Gafa, Haumono, Heckenberg, Hopkins, Lucky Luisi, McLinden, Mills, Noone, Paul, Purdham, Randall, Smith, Stewart, Sykes, Williams.Referee: P BenthamSource:

Round 25 Team of the Week

WE saw some great footy last week with several emotional farewell?s and players strutting their stuff in front of packed houses. With positions 3-7 still to be decided, there was plenty of club?s displaying their wares for all to see.

Preview: Wigan v Bradford (R26)

BRIAN Noble tipped his former club Bradford Bulls to retain their engage Super League Grand Final crown, even though he expects them to suffer their ninth defeat of the season at Wigan Warriors.

Preview: St Helens v Wakefield (R26)

DANIEL Anderson intends to field his strongest team when Powergen Challenge Cup winners St Helens return to engage Super League action against relegation-threatened Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at Knowsley Road on Friday night.

Preview: Leeds v Warrington (R26)

WARRINGTON Wolves will seek to end a seven-match losing run away from home when they take on Leeds Rhinos at a new-look Headingley.

Toowoomba v Redcliffe match preview

TOOWOOMBA v REDCLIFFEWizard Cup Major Semi (Winner to Grand Final - Loser to play Easts Tigers next week)Clive Berghofer Stadium, Saturday September 2, 2.00pm *Live on ABC TVReferee: Justin EastwoodTHE STORY: Back from a week?s break, Toowoomba is boosted by the return of Steve Michaels and David Taylor. Redcliffe will make a last-minute decision on whether centre Nick Emmett (quadriceps) will play, with coach Anthony Griffin describing his injury as ?only 80 per cent right?. Toowoomba is not expecting Ian Lacey back this season.THE STAT: A rich rivalry between these two clubs includes three Wizard Cup grand finals (1996, 2000, 01). On each of those occasions the clubs faced off in the major semi final a fortnight beforehand. A curious statistic is that in every instance the team which won the major semi went on to lose the grand final.THE STAR: Opposing five-eighths Greg Eastwood and Chris Fox are both former Junior Kiwis who played in teams which beat the Australian Schoolboys. Eastwood has shown what a threat he is with the Brisbane Broncos this season, while Fox set up a marvellous try for Ryan Cullen with fancy stepping in his last televised appearance.CHANGES: TOOWOOMBA ? In: Steve Michaels, David Taylor. Out: Gideon Mzembe, Luke Brosnan. REDCLIFFE ? No announced changes.CHARGES: None.Toowoomba Clydesdales Players: 1. Scott MINTO 2. Denan KEMP 3. Jason MOON 4. Jamie SIMPSON 5. Steve MICHAELS 6. Greg EASTWOOD 7. Ben GREEN13. Derricke WATKINS12. Joe CLARKE11. Chris MUCKERT10. Ben VAEAU 9. John TE REO 8. Nick KENNY (c)Interchange: 14. David TAYLOR15. Lynden MURPHY16. Lachlan MORGAN17. Nick PARFITTCoach: Mark GEE Redcliffe Dolphins Players: 1. Ryan CULLEN 2. Chris GIUMELLI 3. Greg BOURKE 4. Mark SHIPWAY 5. Rory BROMLEY 6. Chris FOX 7. Marty TURNER13. Gerard PARLE12. Danny BURKE11. Grant FLUGGE10. Adam STARR 9. Michael ROBERTS 8. Troy LINDSAY (c)Interchange: 14. Nick WALKER15. Shannon FISH16. Danny GREEN17. Pat GARDNERCoach: Anthony GRIFFIN Source:

Tyrrell Touchdown Clinches it For Tigers

A TRY to rookie David Tyrrell five minutes from fulltime has propelled Easts to within a game of the Wizard Cup grand final, eliminating North Queensland 28-18 at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Friday.

Qld's best to contest Arrive Alive final

A KEEBRA Park blitz has sent the Gold Coast school cart wheeling into the national Arrive Alive Cuo final on Friday September 22, beating St Dominic?s Penrith 20-6 in Friday?s semi final at Townsville.Against bigger opposition Keebra scored three tries in the opening 13 minutes to all but seal the result, establishing a 14-0 advantage by the halftime break.The highlight of the game came just three minutes in when former Gladstone junior Damon Harth scored a scorching try from dummy-half, running 40m to bring the Dairy Farmers Stadium crowd alive.Equally at home in the centres or forwards, Harth started at lock and danced confidently through a stack of defenders as he plunged over for the opening try.His incision was followed five minutes later with a try to centre Kyle Bos down a narrow blindside. At first glance it appeared Bos had bombed a certain try to the open side, but made amends with his determination to find the line.As has been the case all season, the well-drilled Keebra side showed maturity beyond their years, responding well to adversity and quickly recovering from errors.Their line speed in defence was again something to behold and they took the match to their southern rivals with a fierce intensity.When centre Kingi Akauola ? a prominent figure throughout the school?s charge ? dived over for Keebra?s third try, it was all one way traffic.Yet to St Dominic?s credit they hung on until halftime with a passage of football which saw them give as good as they got.St Dominic?s had beaten highly-rated St Gregory?s Campbelltown 28-20 the previous week and there was enough to suggest they would lift in the second stanza.Unfortunately for them, before they could muster a response, the elusive Robert Lui pounced for Keebra.Playing in front of his old home crowd, the Townsville Centrals and Upper Ross junior made it 18-0, extended to 20-0 when Matt Parata added the extras.Not long after St Dominic?s notched their first points with a slick try to winger John Feiloakitau, finishing off a backline movement. Backrower Michael Mate converted for a 20-6 difference.With almost 20 minutes left on the clock there was plenty of time to bridge the gap, but poor ball handling from both sides took the sting from the match, the scoreline remaining unchanged.Although not featuring on the scorer?s sheet, Keebra?s front row of Stu McGill, Lio Vaiga and Jimmy Poland deserved much of the credit. McGill and Vaiga punched holes in attack and hit hard in defence, while skipper Poland gave good direction and a steadying influence to his side.Keebra?s opponents in the national final, to be held in Sydney, will be either reigning champs Endeavour Sports High or Patrician Brothers Blacktown.KEEBRA PARK SHS 20 (Damon Harth, Kyle Bos, Kingi Akauola, Robert Lui tries; Matt Parata 2 goals) d ST DOMINIC?S PENRITH 6 (John Feiloakitau try; Michael Mate goal) at Dairy Farmers Stadium.Source:

QRL Finals Schedule 1-3 September

GRAND Finals in Mackay, Bundaberg, Roma, the Central Highlands and the Mid West are among the highlights of this weekend's Queensland Rugby League Schedule.

Rugby League 13-a-side 100 years old

100 years ago this Friday (Sept. 1), rugby league was played for the first time with its signature features ? 13-a-side and the play-the-ball.Born in England in 1895, the first League matches used rugby union rules and 15-aside.Rugby union though was primarily a scrummaging game. In a manner akin to American football, (which also evolved from rugby), a scrum was formed after every tackle.For much of the time, spectators and backs alike could only watch on, wondering where the ball was under the mass of forwards scrummaging around the field.Finally in 1906, the League decided to introduce reforms to bring about attacking ball-passing football, radically reduce the number of scrums, and ensure the ball could always be seen by the paying public.Space was created on the field by reducing teams to 13 men. This alone though could not stop the endless scrum battles.The highly open and visible play-the-ball was adopted to replace the mandatory scrum after every tackle.The effect upon the game was instantaneous. Being able to see the ball, crowds flocked to matches as they could become ?involved?, cheering or booing the actions of the players and officials.While rugby union rules created a game for the enjoyment of the players, rugby league had evolved into a game for players and spectators alike.It was a timely change, for just over a year later, rugby league arrived in Australia.Off-field dramas beset the new code, but its matches were an instant favourite with the sporting public. One paper observed: ?What saved the League is that the game it controls is spectacular and popular?.With their new freedom, teams experimented with 5-man and 7-man packs, new positions such as ?wing-forwards? and ?rovers?, while others used back-lines with 2 half-backs, 2 five-eighths or even 5 players in the three-quarter line.Meanwhile, faced with competition from League, over the following decades rugby began to allow rucks and mauls rather than stop play for a scrum.The reforms introduced to rugby league a century ago this week, continue to be integral features of the game today.More detailed articles on the 1906 changes are available at:

Lion Red Fox Memorial Minor Semi

THREE weeks out from the Grand Final of the Lion Red Fox Memorial and a fascinating afternoon of football tomorrow is promised.

Thurston, McRae

NORTH Queensland playmaker Johnathan Thurston has rushed back from injury to press his Kangaroo Test selection chances in tonight's round 26 clash with Parramatta at Dairy Farmers Stadium.

Bartercard Cup Week 2 Play-offs preview

WEEK 2 of New Zealand's Bartercard Cup play-offs will have the supporters on the edge of their sets I'm sure.Top of the table Auckland Lions enter the finals for the first time when they take on 2nd placed Canterbury Bulls at Western Springs on Sunday afternoon.The Bulls had to fight hard last week against a determined Waitakere side, and know they have a tough ask in Auckland away from home, however the winner is straight into the Final.Expect plenty of action in this match.BARTERCARD CUP COMPETITION ? QUARTER FINAL FIXTURESSunday 3 September 2006 (1st vs 2nd)Auckland Lions vs Canterbury Bulls Western Springs Stadium, Auckland 2.30pm Kick OffAuckland Lions:PAUL FISI?IAHI MALOFOU SOLOMONAMIGUEL STARTANTHONY SWANNROWAN BAXTERSTEVE BUCKINGHAM (C)KELVIN WRIGHTDYLAN DAVISREGAN WIGGSIONE POUHAEDDIE PURCELLFABIAN SOUTERWAYNE McDADELEE WETHERILLWILLIAM SORENSONLUI TOIMOANAHARRY AONGA Coach:BRIAN McCLENNAN Management:BRENT GEMMELL PETER LAVEANIGEL RATTRAYMARK DENNISSTEPHANIE MARR CANTERBURY BULLS: LUSI SIONE SCOTT HURRELLDONAVAN AITKENLEE FIDOWLUCAS TAMAKAHAJOSH REUBENDUANE WINETIVINCE WHARESHANE BEYERS (C)ALEX TIMOJONNY LIMMERDANIEL METCALFCOREY LAWRIEGARETH COOKCLINTON FRASERROSS TURILOUIS FANENE Coach:PHILIP PRESCOTTManagement:BRENT STUARTDAVE PERKINS BRUCE MILNEANDY WIHARESTEVE WOOD Referee: CRAIG PASCOETouch Judges: PHIL CRUMPE & ALAN CADDYThe second game in this week's Bartercard action is another evenly matched line-up when Watakere Rangers go up against the Tamaki Leopards at Albany on Monday night. Both sides put on top performances last week against their opposition.The Rangers pushed the Bulls all the way in Christchurch while the Leopards put on an excellent 2nd half performance to knock the Jetz out of contention. Once again, there'll be plenty of talent and action on show in this finals match.Monday 4 September 2006 Live And Free-To-Air On Maori Television (3rd vs 4th)Waitakere Rangers vs Tamaki Leopards North Harbour Stadium, Auckland 8.00pm Kick OffWAITAKERE RANGERS:CLIFFORD BEVERLEY WILLIAM (Billy) CLARKENLEE TAMATOAROBINSON GODFREYMANA TUIPULOTUGAVIN BAILEY (Co-C)BERNARD PERENARAKARL EDMONDSONDEAN SHEPHERDHAMISH BARCLAYHENRY TURUA (Co-C)KARL GUTTENBEILSCOTT JONESJUNIOR FIUMARK TOE?LAUJAYE PUKEPUKEROB SEUALA Coach: BERNIE PERENARA Management: LELE SIPELI-SCHAUMKELWAYNE FLOYEDBOB VERCOEMOHAN JEYAKUMARBRENT CORINGMICHAEL GRANT TAMAKI LEOPARDS:PAUL ATKINS TAAVILI LEAUNOAAIROE BOAZACONSTANTINE MIKACOOPER VUNAWILLIAM HETA (Co C)DARIN KINGIGEORGE TUAKURATROY BECROFTSINAVE FAITALE (Co C)LEESON AH MAUFRED TURUWHENUAGEOFFREY RUAPORORICHARD JOHNSONSIONE NIUILAISSAC LIAVAAISAAKO HAGAITOA KOTISI FAKALATACoach:DEAN CLARKManagement:VINNIE CLARKKEVIN HAWKINSJACK PRENDERGASTRICK WILLIAMSJOHN BOCKETTWILLIE TAUATEVALUBOB NEWALDRHYS CULLEN Referee: GLEN BLACKTouch Judges: ARTHUR CLARK & AARON KESHA

Austria v Estonia preview

EURO DEVELOPMENT TRI NATIONS Match 3: Austria vs. EstoniaPaternion Stadium, Austria, Saturday 2nd September, KO 2pmAustria will try to confirm their promising performance displayed in June against Germany, where they have been narrowly defeated 34-32 for the opening match of this inaugural Tri Nations tournament. Paternion Rugby club will host the event on what is considered to be ?the best Rugby pitch in Austria?, situated in the heart of this outstanding Alpine resort.Selected for the RLEF IX?s President team who competed in last week end?s London MX9?s tournament, Christoph Kaltenboek from Austria is eager to face his Estonian ex-team mates who were also invited in London, European Skipper Petrik Mottus and promising full back Dmitri Myskiv.The Estonian will battle to get their first victory on the international stage after their convincing debut in Tallinn against eventual Development Tri Nation Winners Germany. All the players are travelling from their homeland, and it is already a great achievement to be able to send a strong squad on the other side of Europe.As previously for all development international fixtures, the RLEF will send a representative who will assist the locals, in order to encourage the development of Rugby League in Austria.Source:

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