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: www.rlef.eu.com

Superleague Round 26 Preview

THREE weeks to go before the play-offs and with the Challenge Cup safely in the St Helens trophy cabinet, teams are jostling for position at the top and bottom of the table, and players are now desperate to impress and earn representative spots. As this weekend marks the 100 year anniversary of rugby league being played with 13 players instead of 15, here are six more 13-a-side matches to get your teeth into. Game on!

Signing round-up...

IN news this week:Great Britain second rower Paul Johnson will join Warrington next season on a three year deal. Johnson is currently with Bradford but owing to injury has not played since May.Prop Danny Ward will not use a get out clause that would allow him to play in Australia, but instead has committed to staying at Castleford next season, even though they are battling possible relegation. Castleford have also signed young Hull prop Liam Higgins on a two year deal . St Helens second rower Mike Bennett has signed a new two-year deal with the club. His year has been interrupted by shoulder injuries but he is expected to make his comeback for Saints this week. Willie Poching has confirmed his retirement at the end of this season. The former Samoan international is currently out with a knee injury and hopes to land an off-field role in the Rhinos set-up.And finally Wakefield have given short-term coach John Kear a contract for next season. Kear, who left Hull earlier in the season, stepped in at the Wildcats to try and steer them clear of relegation following the departure of coach Tony Smith, the ex-GB international. Source: superleague.co.uk

Round 26 NRL Preview

WE?VE arrived at the final hurdle for 2006 with some clubs still skipping around chairs waiting for the music to stop. Melbourne obviously can?t be displaced and I?m pretty sure Canberra will meet them in week 1 of the semi?s, but there?s more complexity in this one than you?re average garden compost heap.

Meninga scoffs at St Helens coaching rumours

VICTORIOUS Queensland State of Origin coach Mal Meninga has rubbished newspaper reports linking him to English Super League power club St Helens next year.

Hamilton pulls out of Eels deal

HAMILTON has pulled out of its three-year agreement to host the Parramatta Eels' NRL "home games" against the New Zealand Warriors.

Melbourne Supporters Info - Dragons v Roosters

DRAGONS Supporters, Only one week of the season proper left and the Dragons are stringing some important wins together. Can they keep this run going until the 1st Sunday in October.....time will tell. One thing is for sure, whilstever Mark Gasnier is out there we are a chance, his form has been brilliant this year and he seems to create something with every touch of the ball. This week the Dragons take on the Roosters for a chance to jump into 4th position and a home semi. The MBDS event last week was back at the Grosvenor Hotel and the fans turned out to watch the local derby. The Grosvenor once again turned on a great Saturday night event, and we expect the same this Saturday night for the 9:20 game. Get in there early and have a meal in the restaurant or for a few drinks before kick off at 9:20 on the big screen. WHAT: Dragons v Roosters WHERE: Grosvenor Hotel, 10 Brighton Road East St Kilda WHEN: Saturday 2nd September, 9:20pm GO THE DRAGONS!

Prince calls for honour on contracts

GOLD Coast Titans halfback Scott Prince has called on his jaded future team mates to honour agreements with the new franchise for next year.Melbourne winger Steve Turner has turned his back on an agreement with the Titans and Penrith's Frank Puletua is trying to get out of his Gold Coast deal. Titans management say both players will be made to honour their deals, but Turner has indicated he'd be uneasy amongst Titans teammates after stating his desire to stay in Melbourne.But Prince saysthere would be no hard feelings towards either Turner or Puletua, and urged the pair to get excited about the new franchise's prospects.

Carting it up with Stevo

NRL Battlers play on

Thurston set for surprise return

A meeting between Johnathan Thurston and North Queensland medicos this morning will determine whether the star Cowboys playmaker makes a surprise return to the NRL tomorrow night.

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