ONLY one home team went down this week and that was a thriller on Friday night. With players backing up from Origin duty the going was tough for some but the Sharks, Storm and Tigers continued their rich vein of form. Once again our sage-like selectors have taken the best 17 as the Round 15 League Unlimited Team of the Week strut their stuff in our field of dreams.
GREG Bird has re-signed with the Sharks on a three year deal worth what is believed to be $500 000. The signing is good news for the Sharks, with interest in Bird having been shown by both South Sydney and Melbourne.
BULLDOGS winger Matt Utai will miss Friday's NRL match with Melbourne after pleading guilty to a dangerous throw. Utai was charged with a grade one dangerous throw for his 74th minute tackle on North Queensland's Matt Sing in the Bulldogs victory over the Cowboys on Sunday.
MELBOURNE Storm coach Craig Bellamy believes his fullback Greg Inglis won't be fit to play for Queensland in rugby league's State of Origin series decider at Telstra Dome on July 5.
NORTH Queensland will be sweating on the fitness of Matt Bowen and Ashley Graham as the duo struggle to be fit in time for Saturday's clash with St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium.
AT the conclusion of Origin I, former NSW fullback Garry Jack claimed that the Queensland forwards were a bunch of ?creampuffs?. If I was Jack, I would not only retract that statement after seeing Origin II, but I would also reverse the statement and claim that the NSW forwards played like ?creampuffs?. That?s certainly what it looked like from where I was sitting?
SCOTLAND A 16 France Federale 31
THE final European Preliminary Group World Cup Qualifying match between the top two teams Russia and Georgia - due to be played in Moscow on Thursday 22nd June - has been cancelled due to the Georgian team experiencing visa and travel issues.
HOLLAND 38 SERBIA 26Rotterdamse RC Beekweg, RotterdamA last minute try from full back Rudy Stanford-Smyth secured victory and third place in the final table for the Netherlands in a thriller in Rotterdam. The men in Orange, being coached for the first time by Hemel?s Troy Perkins, built a 20 point half time lead but were pegged back after the break by the spirited Serbs.The Dutch got the perfect start when hard working back rower Raijmond Den Engelsman proved unstoppable on one of his frequent charges, skipper Aaron de Jager converting.A Dalibor Vukanovic penalty got the visitors on the board in the seventh minute but both sides were reduced to twelve men soon after when former Halifax centre Dayne Nierinckx and Dorcol Spider Jovan Vujosevic were sin binned.The visitors? levelled in the 18th minute when agile winger Nenad Grbic outpaced the cover to go in at the corner.The second quarter belonged to the Dutch who posted four fine tries, the first from strong running Vincent Grimbergen.A great break from loose forward Duncan Taylor set up Stanford-Smyth by the posts for his first score, de Jager converting and Nierinckx showed his strength and experience to power over.Taylor gained due reward for his sterling efforts with a well deserved touchdown just before the break, de Jager?s conversion making it 26-6.The Serbians staged a superb fight back in the second half, drawing to within four points with three tries in 15 minutes after the break. Debutant James Simeunovic from Siddal got them back on track and busy hooker Zoran Pesic coming off the bench to cross twice in six minutes to make it 26-22, his second arriving despite the visitors being down a man after Nemanja Popsogorovic had been sin binned for deliberate offside.Never-say-die Den Engelsman extended the Dutch lead when he followed up a kick but Grbic set up a grandstand finish when he grabbed his second score in the 77th minute, Vukanovic?s kick coming back off the posts to leave the gap at six points.A blindside power play in virtually the last attack secured victory when Stanford-Smyth linked for his second and the decisive score.RLEF Development Officer Kevin Rudd commented, ?Both sides can be justifiably proud of their efforts today and in the competition.??The match was always tense and full of passion and endeavour but in the end it was a fair result.?Source: www.rlef.eu.com
BRADFORD Bulls 20 (Deacon 2, Vainikolo tries; Deacon 4 goals) def. St Helens 18 (Gilmour, Wellens, Gardner tries; Lyon 3 goals). Att: 12,450.
?SATURDAY morning I wake up, I jump out of bed. Its time to go, got football dreams living in my head? Yeah!? Reads the evermore-inspired message from our president. With a smile as white as the Carmen?s snow party, I roll out of bed to be greeted with another spectacular day of sun in the Shire.
ST George Illawarra has fined lock Shaun Timmins an undisclosed amount following his arrest for being a public nuisance in Brisbane on the weekend.Timmins was handcuffed and arrested by police in the early hours of Saturday morning after commandeering a street-sweeping machine in Fortitude Valley. The former Australian international, who did not play in the Dragons' 18-16 victory over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium due to a quadriceps strain, is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrate's court on July 4 over the incident.The 29-year-old is expected to return from injury for the match against South Sydney at Oki Jubilee Stadium in round 18.
NEW Zealand Warriors centre Clinton Toopi is one of four NRL players given permission by their clubs to play in next week's one-off rugby league clash between New Zealand and Great Britain.
CANBERRA has today announced the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union as the NRL club's new major sponsor.
THE Newtown Jets VB Premier League team boosted their points for and against ratio with a 54-10 win over Western Suburbs at Henson Park on Saturday. The Jets led 22-4 at half-time but there were several periods of the game where the Magpies applied prolonged pressure on the Newtown defensive line. Wests certainly had the better of play for an extended period after half-time as they strove to get back into the game, but the Jets ran away with the match in the last twenty minutes as they piled on six tries, including some spectacular long range crowd-pleasers. 2GB identity Tom Raudonikis was on hand to present the newly-instituted trophy named in his honour for annual competition between these two 1908 foundation clubs. Tom played for both Wests and Newtown with great verve and distinction, and no doubt the tough old campaigner was impressed with the sparkling form displayed on Saturday by Newtown?s halves Josh Lewis and Jamie Soward. Both youngsters scored and created tries, kicked well in general play and confirmed to the Henson Park crowd what a double gilt-edged investment the Sydney Roosters have made for the future. In addition to the mesmerising performance turned in by the halves, both Jets centres Lelea Paea and Sam Perrett played well, with Perrett forming a super-slick combination with dashing winger Troy Malcolm (who scored three tries). Fullback Aidan Kirk and left-side winger Aaron Lai withstood a barrage of high kicks confidently.Newtown?s forwards provided the grunt and the metres for the backs to shine, with front-rowers Mickey Paea and Danny Williams grafting hard in the midfield. They received strong support from impressive backrowers Mitch Aubusson and Daniel Dumas. Utility forwards John Doyle and Luke Gordon gave professional dummy-half service and also made lots of yardage with well-judged runs.The disrupted Jim Beam Cup competition schedule proved to be the Jets undoing as they went down to Cabramatta by 26-14 on Saturday evening. The Newtown team looked very rusty after two games in five weeks, and the Jets high mistake rate played into the hands of one of the most improved teams in the competition. Newtown front-rower Ritchie Parker was the team?s standout performer, and he received good backup in the forwards from Khalid Deeb, Billy Baleilomaloma and Darren Lang. Andrew Le Breton was the best of Newtown?s backline.In the Sydney Women?s Rugby League competition, the Newtown Jetettes demolished the Windsor She-Wolves to the tune of 26-0. Up in Group 11, the Parkes Spacemen were out-enthused by the Manildra Rhinos and dropped two priceless competition points in their 36-22 loss.Both Newtown Jets teams face tough playing assignments and lengthy away trips this coming weekend. The Jim Beam Cup side travels to Windsor on Sunday (June 25th) with this match against last year?s premiers kicking off at 3.30pm. In the VB Premier League, the Newtown Jets take on the Canberra Raiders at Canberra Stadium on Sunday, with this match timed to start at 12.20pm. This game is of course the main curtain-raiser to the Roosters-Raiders NRL match set down for 2.30pm. Photo caption:Tom Raudonikis is in a cheerful mood as he poses with the victorious Newtown Jets VB Premier League team after Saturday?s 54-10 win against Western Suburbs at Henson Park.Photo courtesy of Mike Biboudis (Mobile: 0410 691 114).