SALFORD captain Malcolm Alker has dubbed the visit of fellow high-flyers Huddersfield to The Willows as a "four-pointer".
RICHARD Agar takes charge of Hull for the first time against Leeds insisting he is not the man to succeed John Kear.
UNBEATEN St Helens will be at full strength with the return of skipper Paul Sculthorpe as they look to complete the double over Harlequins.
WAKEFIELD are boosted by the return of New Zealand international David Solomona as they look to gain swift revenge against Wigan for Sunday?s 32-22 Challenge Cup defeat.
ROUND 5 North Queensland Cowboys 32 v Wests Tigers 12at Dairy Farmers StadiumReferees: Steve ClarkMatch Summary:The Cowboys have comfortably won the Grand Final rematch 32-12 over the Wests Tigers in Townsville. The Cowboys led 22-2 at half time and choked the Tigers out of the match with oppressive defence, however the result may be overshadowed by a shoulder injury to Tigers and Kiwis star Benji Marshall.The Tigers got on the board early with a fifth minute penalty goal to Brett Hodgson, before the Cowboys took control. A Thurston penalty goal in the 19th minute opened the floodgates. Rod Jensen scored in the 26th minute from dummy half, then four minutes late Thurston scored a superb solo try for a 14-2 lead. Whatuira was sin binned for a professional foul and Thurston added another two points. Matt Sing then caught a spectacular bomb from Thurston for the 22-2 half time lead.The Tigers took control over the second half, with a try to Benji Marshall in the 46th minute and Isaac De Gois scored in the 60th minute to trail 22-12. The Tigers could have overrun the Cowboys in that 20 minute period, but for all their possession and territory could only score the two tries. Two late tries to Cooper and Jensen restored the Cowboys half time margin of 20 points, and a deserved winning margin. The Cowboys will continue to lead the competition all alone, and are on a club record five match winning streak ? all against 2005 Top 8 teams.Perhaps a bigger story is the injury to Benji Marshall, who injured his shoulder trying to tackle Carl Webb in the 79th minute. After the match the television cameras showed Marshall sobbing in the dressing room. This injury could be fatal to the Tigers Premiership chances, and certainly could not help the Kiwis in the ANZAC Test, or even the Tri-Nations, depending on how long he is out.Scorers:North Queensland Cowboys: 32Tries: Rod Jensen(2), Matt Sing, Johnathan Thurston, Gavin CooperGoals: Johnathan Thurston 6/7Wests Tigers: 12Tries: Benji Marshall, Isaac De GoisGoals: Brett Hodgson 2/3By the Clock:1 min: NEWS The Cowboys kick off this Grand Final rematch!5 min: PENALTY GOAL Wests TigersAfter a penalty from a high tackle, Hodgson converts the easy two points. Tigers 2-012 min: NEWS Scott Prince is penalised for a swinging arm and the Cowboys will get three repeat sets on the Tigers goal line.13 min: NEWS Video referee for a Cowboys try...13 min: NEWS NO TRY - The ball runs dead off a Cowboys kick early in the tackle count. The Tigers hold on.14 min: NEWS The Tigers go 80 metres and enforce a repeat set.19 min: NEWS ON REPORT - Benji Marshall is put on report for a high tackle.19 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland CowboysThurston kicks the penalty goal for the high tackle penalty on Marshall. 2 all.22 min: NEWS Video referee for a Tigers try...22 min: NEWS NO TRY - Shane Elford is ruled to have knocked on in the in goal.26 min: NEWS Video referee for a Cowboys try...26 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysJensen pushes over from dummy half. Thurston converts off the posts. Cowboys 8-230 min: NEWS Video referee (again) for a Cowboys try...30 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysThurston runs out of dummy half, kicks for himself and dives on the ball in the in goal. He converts his own try. Cowboys 14-232 min: NEWS Matt Bowen saves a try with a spectacular take from a Prince grubber kick.36 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Paul Whatuira is sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, tackling a player without the ball.37 min: PENALTY GOAL North Queensland CowboysThurston kicks the goal for the professional foul. Cowboys 16-238 min: NEWS 40/20 - Bowen kicks a 40/2039 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysThurston puts up a kick to Sing who steams onto the ball and scores. Thurston converts. Cowboys 22-240 min: NEWS HALF TIME - The Cowboys have dominated the last 30 minutes of the first half and fully deserve their 20 point lead.Stats - Cowboys have 61% possession, 16/23 completions compared to the Tigers 9/15, Tigers have made and missed nearly double the number of tackles to that of the Cowboys, penalty count is 8-5 to the Cowboys and error count is 8-5 against the Tigers.40 min: NEWS Second half underway!43 min: NEWS A couple of mistakes from the Cowboys to open the second half, and the Tigers are dominating posession, but they just can't score.45 min: NEWS The Cowboys have been penalised twice in this half alone for not playing the ball straight.46 min: TRY Wests TigersMarshall runs around Hannay from 10 metres out and scores. Hodgson misses the conversion. Cowboys 22-656 min: NEWS Tigers dominating posession and territory in this half, but they can't score.57 min: NEWS Tigers gain another line drop out, amazing Cowboys defence. Line dropouts 6-0 Tigers.60 min: TRY Wests TigersDe Gois dives over from dummy half after a tonne of Tigers posession, Hodgson converts. Cowboys 22-1268 min: NEWS Whatuira is penalised for a high tackle on Bowen.69 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysCooper is put into space 10 metres out and scores. Thurston hits the posts and the crossbar and the ball bounces out. Cowboys 26-1272 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysThurston breaks up the middle on half way, offloads to Southern who passes to Jensen who scores. Thurston converts. Cowboys 32-1276 min: NEWS Video referee for a Tigers try...76 min: NEWS NO TRY - Whatuira is ruled to have bounced the ball in the in goal.79 min: NEWS Marshall going up the tunnel with a shoulder injury.80 min: NEWS The Cowboys run out comfortable winners over the Tigers, 32-12. The Cowboys have now beaten four Top Eight teams, and the Premiers. They are now on a club record five match win streak.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)2 - Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)1 - Shane Tronc (Cowboys)-----------------------------------------
THE North Sydney Rugby League Club will be honouring one of the legends of the North Shore, Fred Orreill, who recently passed the milestone of his 101st birthday. All members of the New South Wales Fire Brigades are invited to come and support him when he kicks off the greatest local derby in rugby league; the Bears verse the Sea Eagles at beautiful North Sydney Oval. New South Wales Fire Brigade members will receive free entry to the game (just show your ID at the gate).Last weekend the Mighty North Sydney Bears defeated Western Suburbs 40 points to 20 and will be champing at the bit to go round again with the Sea Eagles this weekend.Gates will open at 9:30 a.m. and a full program of football will be on show as well as all the latest Bears merchandise for sale. And there will be appearances by the sensational HONEY BEARS (the official North Sydney Cheer Girl Squad).FULL DAYS PROGRAMAPPEARANCES BY THE HONEY BEARS (Official North Sydney Cheer Girls)Harold Matthews (U16s) Bears V Roosters 10:30 a.m.S. G. Ball (U18s) Bears V Roosters 12:00 p.m.Jersey Flegg (U20s) Bears V Sea Eagles 1:30 p.m.APPEARANCE by FRED ORREILL 2:55 p.m.PREMIER LEAGUE ? BEARS V SEA EAGLES 3:00 p.m.
AFTER adjourning last week so teams could attend to Challenge Cup duties, Superleague resumes this weekend with some interesting Round 8 clashes. The Friday night televised game comes from KC Stadium where Hull host Leeds Rhinos. It has been a dramatic week at Hull being after knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Bradford and losing the chance to defend their trophy, and losing their coach John Kear, who left by mutual consent after learning that his contract would not be renewed for season 2007. It's anyone's guess as to how these events will effect club morale, but Hull are expecting to welcome back hooker Richard Swain from injury. Leeds have been stronger than Hull so far this season, and especially under these circumstances are more than capable of scoring the away win.In what seems one of the most evenly contested matches this round, the in form Salford Reds host Huddersfield at The Willows. Both teams are coming off strong wins against lower division teams last weekend, and will want to continue their winning form in the league. Huddersfield are capable of matching it with the best sides on their day, but Salford have been this season's surprise package, showing a consistency that has been a long time in the making, and will be favourites at home to edge out the Giants.Also on Friday night, Harlequins make the trip north to face league leaders St Helens at Knowsley Road. St Helens registered a comfortable 56-6 win against lower division Doncaster last week in the Challenge Cup, whilst Harlequins also had an easy victory against French side Toulouse. However the London side will face a much stiffer challenge here, and only the brave would tip them to score an upset win against the undefeated Saints.And to wrap up the night's action Wakefield and Wigan meet for the second week in a row, in a return helping of last weekend's Challenge Cup tie at Belle Vue won by Wigan 32-22. That game was in the balance until the later stages, and so Wakefield will be hoping the insights they gained might help them return to the winners circle. But Wigan will be keen to make the most of the momentum from what for this season has been a rare win for the cherry and whites. Saturday night's televised game comes from Odsal Stadium, where Bradford host Warrington. Hopefully the ground will have recovered from last weekend, where the persistent rain and hail had led to parts of the pitch being in quite poor and boggy conditions. Bradford are coming off a 23-12 win there over Hull, which will have done their Superleague conditioning no harm at all, whilst Warrington went through their paces with a 52-0 win over lower division London Skolars. However the Wolves will have to lift their intensity here if they are to compete with the Bulls over the full 80 minutes.Finally, also on Saturday night Les Catalans play host to Castleford at the Stade Albert Domec in Carcassonne. Catalans recorded a 60-0 win against amateur Challenge Cup opposition, whilst Castleford lost at Widnes, embarrassingly to the team that they had passed in promotion to this season's Superleague. When everything else is equal, it all comes down to the travel, and despite confusion about the home ground arrangements (with this game originally having been planned to be staged in Spain), Les Catalans should be better adjusted and favourites to get the win here.
BRISBANE will be without veteran forward Brad Thorn for tomorrow night's NRL match against South Sydney at Suncorp Stadium. Thorn is out with a knee injury which is only expected to sideline him for one week.
NORTH Queensland five-eighth Johnathan Thurston says the Cowboys will have to keep a straight line defence against his Wests Tigers counterpart Benji Marshall in tonight's big NRL clash in Townsville.
LOW-SCORING and tightly contested matches was the flavour of the week last week, but after looking into the crystal ball for Round 5 there?s every chance it could happen again. I squandered a great start to the year, carding 2 from 7 last week to leave me on 18 from 28 for the year, a far cry from the 76% batting average I held seven days ago.
THE Pepsi Dolphins have a history of producing top-notch players for NRL ranks.
Every year at least one Redcliffe junior or Colt forces his way into the top-level ranks.
Don't be surprised if Liam Georgetown joins that list in the next couple of seasons.
The 18-year-old already has turned out in two Queensland Cup fixtures for the Dolphins after playing a significant role in last season's Colts premiership.
And the flash has former Test prop Glenn Lazarus as his manager after a family connection tied the pair last year.
"A mate of my father's persuaded Glenn to come along to a couple of games last season and he is now my manager," he said.
"He has faith in me and I believe I can make a career out of playing rugby league," he said.
Georgetown's talent also has been recognised by representative selectors as he was picked for the Queensland Rangers side to take on New South Wales Country in late June at Murwillumbah.
"That was a big thrill," he said. "I played on the right wing and had a full match and got a try. It couldn't have been better."
He was selected for Brisbane South East to contest a carnival in Mackay from where the Rangers side was selected.
"Marshall Colwell was coach for the Rangers and we beat NSW Country 50-22 in front of a good turnout," Georgetown said.
"It was the first time I had made a rep team and it was close to playing to a grand final. I always get these nerves playing big matches."
He did not let nerves affect him in the 2003 grand final, scoring a try against Burleigh Heads.
This season shapes as just as successful. A few kilograms heavier at 76kg, the wingman has worked hard on his fitness and, as he says, "I'm starting to reap the rewards".
After turning out in a pre-season trial against Toowoomba, Georgetown took on Central Comets and Burleigh Bears in the top grade, nailing a try against the Comets.
"Premier League is heaps faster and I try to do what I normally do in a match," he said. "My second game was one of the best games I've played as I got more involved."
Originally from Cherbourg, Liam's family moved to Brisbane when he was six and he spent four years with the Brighton Roosters.
"Everyone else seems to hate Redcliffe, but once you play for them it's a different story again," he said. "The club itself is brilliant and you can see why they are so successful."
Still eligible for Colts, Georgetown is noted for his flashy wing play, capable of scoring a try with his acceleration and uncanny reading of play.
He scored two tries in last year's season decider at Dolphin Oval, including an 80m intercept.
"I had not played on the wing before until last season when Crusher asked me to play there," he said. "I had played in the centres all the time.
"But I like playing on the wing now, especially after scoring 18 tries last year. Last year I was on the left wing, this year it's the right."
His pace is an obvious asset, however he is coy as to whether he's the fastest player at the club.
"We had a race in the pre-season and I came third behind Joel Barnes and Maddison Murphy," he said. "I had a good off-season and played touch to help keep me fit."
Now in his third season at Dolphin Oval, Georgetown joined from Brighton and played with Redcliffe's under 17 before receiving a call to sign up with the Colts last season.
His goal now is to cement a spot in the club's Queensland Cup ranks.
Sport dominates Georgetown's life as he is in the middle of a 12-month diploma in sports management at Brackenridge TAFE.
"Eventually I want to have a management role in sport," he said. "I have been into sport all my life and want to stay in it."
THE battle has only just started for the right to bear the Dolphins name.
Our club will not be surrendering our 35-year-old emblem, name and all the goodwill we have built up with it.
Our CEO James Hinchey has written to the National Rugby League chief executive officer David Gallop expressing our amazement and disappointment that he apparently did not know Redcliffe were the Dolphins.
In his letter, James has asked for a meeting with Mr Gallop at which we will state our case against Gold Coast's adoption of the Dolphin name for their inclusion in the NRL.
We also will be bringing pressure to bear on the BRL Division and Queensland Rugby League, as our immediate governing bodies, for their support in our battle.
While Dawn Hill and her loyal band started their campaign in front of the TV cameras for the Clydesdales-Redcliffe match, our club will bring in heavy artillery.
We have met our trademark lawyer and he believes we have a good case. We believe the NRL needs another consortium in the southeast corner of Queensland and back Gold Coast's entry, however we object strongly to their usurping our history.
As the Dolphins, the Redcliffe football club has played a major part in our city's history and development and that also will mount a part of our case.
Observers only have to take in the number of businesses and organisations on the Peninsula which use either the dolphin name or emblem to promote themselves to realise its connection to the area.
As I said last month, our club has aspirations to join the NRL and our contribution to the code cannot be underestimated.
When the Broncos downed the Knights last month, there were five former Dolphins - Petero Civoniceva, David Stagg, Craig Frawley, Brent Tate and Dane Carlaw - in their ranks.
I MUST congratulate our Queensland Residents on their selections and performances.
Justin McKay, Adam Starr, Danny Green, Trent Leis, Troy Lindsay and Ben Jones can hold their heads proud after the convincing win over Country at Barcaldine and then the narrow loss to NSW Residents at Stadium Australia.
And that was after Shane Perry, Damien Richters and Brian Jellick pulled out of the rep teams with personal commitments.
We also congratulated our three reps in the Australian under 15 side.
Asher Elemani, Dane Hogan and Ben Jones were presented with special trophies to commemorate their achievements with Ben still an under 14.
While on football, the Dolphins have surged back into form and as we go to press are equal top on the ladder.
A strong win in Townsville over the Young Guns was followed up by victory over Brothers Valleys and then a confidence-boosting result over the Clydesdales.
The side appears to lift under pressure and I'm certain we can figure in the premiership countdown again this season.
We have a hard road into the finals with Norths, Easts and Burleigh Heads - all semi-final hopefuls - upcoming fixtures, although we have Norths and Burleigh at home.
Congratulations also go to Shane Perry and his wife Angela on the birth of their daughter Kiara Rose.
Until next month, President Des Webb
THE South Sydney Rabbitohs sent their fans crazy by fighting out a 34-all draw against the third-placed Broncos at Aussie Stadium this evening.
FOR the first time in history, Channel Nine has agreed to show all the finals game live into Sydney and Brisbane.
THE Newcastle Knights are heading in the right direction, despite the loss of key players to rival clubs from next year, according to their media manager Stephen Crowe.