Round 5 NRL preview

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.

Coach issues timely warning

REDCLIFFE coach Anthony Griffin has warned his players to beware the wounded Bears as the Dolphins prepare to do battle with Burleigh in its Queensland Wizard Cup clash at Dolphin Oval this Sunday.Despite his side holding top spot on the competition ladder following a 48-22 win against Easts at Langlands Park last Saturday, Griffin is anticipating a tough clash against the struggling Gold Coast outfit.Last year's runners-up, Burleigh has won just once this season, downing Ipswich in the opening round of the season before being upset by Central and rolled by Easts and Norths.Despite the Dolphins and Bears being at opposite ends of the ladder, Griffin is wary of a side he predicts ``is going to win soon''.``They're a very strong club and they've been in the last three grand finals, but they're just going through some bad form early in the year,'' Griffin said.``They're going to click soon, so we've just got to make sure we're ready for them on Sunday.''Redcliffe's home field status isn't assured to be an advantage for the Dolphins.Burleigh has won most of its visits to the Peninsula in the past five years, including a 56-6 result last year.Redcliffe's Duane O'Grady is in doubt after lasting only 10 minutes against Easts due to a back complaint.The fast-finishing Dolphins squandered an early lead against Easts before blowing out the final score in a see-sawing affair.Early tries to Greg Bourke and standout Mick Roberts got the ball rolling for Redcliffe, before Tigers veteran Darren Smith orchestrated a comeback, setting up several tries and scoring two of his own.Easts had nullified Redcliffe's 12-point half-time lead to tie the game at 22-all with half an hour to play but, as with its performances against Ipswich and Central, Redcliffe skipped away in the last quarter of the match by scoring five unanswered tries.While Griffin praised his side's try-scoring prowess and its ability to dominate the back half of matches, he wasn't impressed with letting Easts into the match.``We were in the position to win the game at half-time but we let that slip,'' Griffin said.``To Easts credit they played some good footy on us, but we shouldn't have let them get to that point.``But I don't want to be too pessimistic we haven't lost a game yet.''Griffin cited prop Pat Gardner, five-eighth Shane Perry and hooker Roberts, whose scheming play around the rucks provided plenty of headaches for the Easts defence, as the stand out players for the Redcliffe team.The Dolphins have now snared top spot on the ladder after North Queensland's record 18-game unbeaten streak was shattered after they were hammered 54-16 by Tweed Heads.This Article is courtesy of the Redcliffe & Bayside Herald

Marshall the target

NORTH Queensland coach Graham Murray will aim human torpedo Luke O'Donnell at Benji Marshall at every opportunity tomorrow night in a bid to sink the cheeky young West Tigers' playmaker.

Johns set to play against Dragons

NEWCASTLE halfback Andrew Johns has been cleared of a serious neck injury and is an "80 per cent" chance to play in his side's NRL clash with St George Illawarra on Saturday night.

Sheens doubts Cowboys will use revenge

WESTS Tigers coach Tim Sheens says North Queensland counterpart Graham Murray will be too smart to use revenge as motivation for Friday night's NRL grand final replay in Townsville.

Payne to miss Grand Final replay

NORTH Queensland hooker Aaron Payne has failed in his bid to line up against Wests Tigers in tomorrow night's NRL clash in Townsville.

Carting it up with Stevo

PLAYIN? those Mind Games

Best of March

FOUR Rounds of the 2006 NRL Season have been completed and here is the best (and some of the worst) of the first month of the season.

Lockyer to stay at five-eighth

QUEENSLAND assistant coach Kevin Walters has ruled out a return to fullback for Darren Lockyer for the Maroons. There has been speculation Lockyer will return to the No.1 jersey at representative level, but Walters says this will not happen.Lockyer says he is happy to play wherever chosen at representative level but indicated his preferred position was five-eighth.

Woolford fears for NRL future

CANBERRA hooker Simon Woolford fears he could be forced out of the NRL after being suspended for the eighth time in six years. Woolford was last night unsuccessful in seeking a downgrade to a grade two careless high tackle charge on Penrith prop Joel Clinton and will be suspended for two matches.The veteran hooker, who is off contract at the end of the year, fears NRL clubs will baulk at signing him because of his lengthy judiciary record and says he may consider an offer to join the English Super League.

Crocker returns for Queensland

BRENT Tate and Michael Crocker have been welcomed back by the XXXX Queensland State of Origin team, ahead of next Wednesday?s deciding State of Origin tie.

Gasnier back in Blues side

DRAGONS Centre Mark Gasnier has been recalled to the New South Wales side for the third State of Origin game, to be played next Wednesday night.

Finals to be Live on Channel Nine

FOR the first time in history, Channel Nine has agreed to show all the finals game live into Sydney and Brisbane.

Knights will survive - Crowe

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.

Queensland Statewide Review

CITY-COUNTRY Result: City 48 d Country 16.

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