Alker signs new Salford deal

SALFORD captain Malcolm Alker on Friday ended speculation over his future by signing a new three-year deal.

Storm Smash Sinful Saints

ROUND 8 Melbourne Storm 24 v St George Illawarra Dragons 10at Olympic Park MelbourneReferees: Tony ArcherMatch Summary:The Melbourne Storm have sent the St George Illawarra Dragons packing with a comprehensive 24-12 victory at a rain-drenched Olympic Park tonight. With fullback Greg Inglis in tremendous form, the home side came back from a 4-0 deficit to run in four tries.The turning point of the match came late in the first half following two tries to winger Jake Webster. With the scores locked up at 4-all, Webster swooped onto a loose ball, running 80 metres to score under the posts. Then on the stroke of half time, Inglis combined with half back Cooper Cronk to send Webster in again.At half time, Melbourne held a handy 14-4 lead.The Dragons resumed the second half without Mathew Head, the star half back reportedly aggravating a knee injury which had kept him out for most of last season. With little direction, the visitors compounded their woes with fundamental errors while conceding a number of penalties.Referee Tony Archer issued several warnings and placed representative prop Luke Bailey on report for a high and late tackle. The resulting penalty goal giving the Storm a 16-4 lead.Archer finally lost patience, sending Dragons forward Justin Poore to the sin bin in the 64th minute, the boot of hooker Cameron Smith extending Melbourne's lead to 18-4.Down to 12 men, the Dragons were unable to hold Melbourne out with forward Ian Donnelly scoring after a kick from Matt Geyer, putting the match beyond doubt.Dragons' winger Reece Simmonds scored a consolation try following a classy backline movement in the 74th minute. But by then, the match had been won and lost.Scorers:Melbourne Storm: 24Tries: Ian Donnelly, Steve Turner, Jake Webster(2)Goals: Cameron Smith 4/6St George Illawarra Dragons: 10Tries: Colin Best, Reece SimmondsGoals: Aaron Gorrell 1/1, Mathew Head 0/1By the Clock:Very cold in Melbourne. Players still in the sheds, kickoff only a matter of minutes away...A few line up changes but Greg Inglis is running on for the Storm and Mathew Head is running on for the Dragons.Storm kicking off and we're underway in the first half....1 min: NEWS Huge bust down the left flank with Gasnier and Cooper combining for the Dragons. They come very close before Inglis is on the spot to snatch a fortunate intercept. Cooper attacks the same side a minute later and again Saints come close with Creagh heading for the corner, but again Inglis saves the day, this time with a covering tackle.9 min: NEWS Mat Head HELD UP as the Dragons are on the attack from close range.15 min: NEWS Still 0-0 with the game being played mainly in Melbourne's half.Possible try to Dragons - video ref checking....18 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsColin Best does well to score in the corner after being met by a wall of cover defence. Follows weight of possession and field position in Dragons favour. Head unsuccessful with conversion attempt. Rain now falling at Olympic Park. Dragons 4-022 min: NEWS Storm HELD UP over the line on the last tackle.25 min: NEWS Matt King comes within a whisker of scoring for the Storm. Stopped by some desperate cover defence. Storm getting some more ball now and looking good with it.27 min: Possible Storm try - video ref checking....28 min: TRY Melbourne StormREF'S CALL and Steve Turner is awarded the try after some conjecture over the challenge for the ball. Follows cross-field kick from Cronk. Conversion attempt from Storm is waved away.4 all.35 min: Possible Storm try - video ref checking...NO TRY - Cameron Smith penalised for pushing a defender (Dean Young) out of the way. Follows a neat chip from Cooper Cronk but no dice in the end.37 min: TRY Melbourne StormJake Webster runs 80m to score under the posts after a kick charge-down from Cooper Cronk. Smith converts and the Storm hit the front just before the break. Storm 10-440 min: Possible Storm try - video ref checking....40 min: TRY Melbourne StormWebster gets a double following a clever chip kick from Cronk from half way. Inglis regathers and then finds Webster in support. Survives video ref scrutiny over possible offside.Smith conversion attempt 9m in from touch is unsuccessful. A killer blow to the Dragons and the Storm extend their lead in the rain. Storm 14-4Half time: Storm 14-4A couple of late tries has seen the Storm take control of the match. The stats are pretty even now after Saints had the bulk of possession early on. A physical match being played in slippery conditions leading to a number of knock-ons and a few high shots.Storm looking the goods with a handy 10-point lead and should be able to go on with it. But Saints are far from out of it and if they hang onto the ball, may have a few tries in them.Second half underway and the rain is still bucketing down.41 min: NEWS Dragons halfback Mat Head has not returned to the field. News is that he has aggravated his knee injury and unlikely to take any further part.44 min: NEWS Storm come close after fullback Inglis attacks the left flank only to thwarted by a dusty offload which went to ground.49 min: Possible Storm try - video ref looking....NO TRY - Matt Geyer denied. Knock on ruled against David Kidwell who attempted a pass along the ground, and Saints have the ball.55 min: NEWS Still 14-4 in favour of the home side.ON REPORT - Luke Bailey for late and high shot, and it may cost him a green-and-gold jumper.57 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormSmith slots the goal from right in front. Follows another penalty against Bailey for pushing Smith who was a support player. Storm 16-464 min: NEWS SIN BIN - Justin Poore sent off for 10 minutes after the ref ruled a late tackle on Cooper Cronk. It has been coming for a while but a bit of a dodgy decision. Cronk comes from the field.65 min: PENALTY GOAL Melbourne StormFrom right in front Smith adds the points from the penalty. Storm 18-469 min: TRY Melbourne StormIan Donnelly scores after a kick from Matt Geyer. Puts the contest beyond doubt. Smith converts from almost in front. Storm 24-474 min: TRY St George Illawarra DragonsSimmonds scores in the corner after Saints put it through the hands and gain the overlap. Aaron Gorrell converts from out wide and in tricky conditions. Storm 24-10Full time: Storm 24-10Melbourne post a comprehensive victory over a lacklustre Dragons outfit.The Dragons were unable to maintain the early momentum as possession in the end went the way of the Storm.Best on the park was Storm fullback Greg Inglis who defended well when it counted and was electric in attack as his half back Cooper Cronk directed proceedings. He was ably supported by winger Jake Webster while hooker Cameron Smith, backrower David Kidwell and Michael Crocker all played well in a winning pack.For Saints, not too much to write home about. Losing Mathew Head at half time didn?t help their cause but apart an opening foray, they never looked like winning. A number of players tried hard but they looked underdone, possibly from having played the previous Tuesday. But they were outplayed and frustrated into making too many errors and have some work to do.-----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Greg Inglis (Storm)2 - Cooper Cronk (Storm)1 - Cameron Smith (Storm)-----------------------------------------

Broncos come from behind to defeat Raiders

ROUND 8 Brisbane Broncos 30 v Canberra Raiders 28at Suncorp StadiumReferees: Russell SmithMatch Summary:The Brisbane Broncos have defeated the Canberra Raiders 30-28 at Suncorp Stadium this evening.Amazingly, the Raiders held an 18-0 lead at half time through tries to Tongue, Mogg and Croker, who was playing in his 300th match for the Raiders. The Raiders looked set to run away with the match but their second half nightmare was never far from their minds as the Raiders gave up 24 unanswered points in fifteen minutes to find themselves behind by a converted try early in the second half.The Raiders then hit back with another ten unanswered points to take a 28-24 lead with less than fifteen minutes remaining but the Broncos were not to be denied as they scored in the 68th minute through Justin Hodges with Darren Lockyer kicking what was to be the match winning goal.The Broncos held on in the remaining ten minutes with the Raiders left to rue yet another loss away from home and a game that should have been in the bag by half time. To score 28 points and lose is simply unacceptable but when you lose as often as the Raiders do, letting the close ones go is a very hard habit to break.Brisbane maintain their place in the top eight and are now equal competition leaders with the North Queensland Cowboys while the Raiders continue to live up to everyone?s expectations by finding themselves well off the pace as we enter the grueling representative season.Scorers:Brisbane Broncos: 30Tries: Justin Hodges, Karmichael Hunt(2), Darren Lockyer, David StaggGoals: Darren Lockyer 1/1, Corey Parker 4/4Canberra Raiders: 28Tries: Jason Croker, Adam Mogg(2), Clinton Schifcofske, Alan TongueGoals: Clinton Schifcofske 4/5By the Clock:1 min: NEWS We are underway at Suncorp Stadium this evening for the clash between the Broncos and Raiders with both sides having plenty to play for. For the Raiders, a spot in the top eight beckons while for the Broncos, they have players pressing for test selection and a good showing tonight may go a long way to securing the coveted green and gold jersey.6 min: NEWS Very even start to the match from both sides in the opening exchanges.12 min: NEWS 12 minutes in and still no score with the Raiders holding their own at the moment.17 min: TRY Canberra RaidersAlan tongue, the Raiders pocket dynamo, has scored the opening try of the match to give the Raiders and early lead. Can they build on it? Let's wait and see. Raiders 6-023 min: NEWS Possession slightly in favour of the Broncos but the Raiders are hanging in there and still hold a six point lead as we move into the second stanza of the first half.26 min: TRY Canberra RaidersThe Raiders are in again with Jason Croker the scorer this time. Conversion successful. Raiders 12-033 min: NEWS Still no cahnge to the score but the Broncos are now starting to dominate in possession but are yet to register their first points for the night.34 min: TRY Canberra RaidersThe Raiders are in again, this time through Adam Mogg. They are making a liar out of me as they hold a commanding 18 point lead heading into half time. Conversion successful. Raiders 18-040 min: NEWS The Canberra Raiders hold an 18 point lead at half time and have kept the Broncos scoreless thoughout the opening forty minutes. As we all know, 18 points is not a match winning lead these days and the Raiders will have to work very hard if they are to win this game as their second half "efforts" in 2006 have been their major stumbling block. Having said that, the Broncos have a lot of work to do to get the points and it will take a big second half effort to get home but they are more than capable of piling on the quick points to dsmantle even the best defences in the NRL.41 min: NEWS We are underway in the second half.43 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosBroncos captain Darren Lockyer gets the home side on the board early into the second half and it's game on for the Raiders. Can they go on to win the match or will the Broncos run them down and prevail at home? Raiders 18-648 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosHere come the Broncos with David Stagg crossing to cut the lead to just six points with plenty of time left on the clock. The Raiders are doing their usual second half capitulation. Raiders 18-1251 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosTalk about a game of two halves. Karmichael Hunt has crossed to get the Broncos right back into the match and the Raiders hoist the white flag and only just over ten minutes has passed in the second half. I can smell a bloodbath unless the Raiders dig their heels in and fight hard for the remainder of the match. 18 all.55 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe white flag has been well and truly hoisted with Karmichael Hunt getting his second for the Broncos and they have piled on 24 points in 15 minutes. The Raiders have capitulated as predicted and the Broncos will be in complete control from here on until the final whistle. Broncos 24-1857 min: TRY Canberra RaidersThe Raiders have crossed through Adam Mogg and the game has now become a scoring frenzy with just over 20 minutes remaining. Broncos 24-2262 min: TRY Canberra RaidersThe Raiders are in again to put them back in the lead after squandering an 18 point half time lead. Defence has gone out the window from both sides with Clinton Schifcofske regaining the lead for the Raiders. In the second half we have seen 34 points scored in 22 minutes. Unbelievable! Raiders 28-2468 min: TRY Brisbane BroncosThe Broncs hit right back as the match takes another twist with Justin Hodges soring to give the Broncos the lead with ten minutes remaining. How Canberra let the Broncos back into the game is beyond me but there still may be a few twists before the final whistle. Broncos 30-28 -----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Corey Parker (Broncos)2 - Alan Tongue (Raiders)1 - Karmichael Hunt (Broncos)-----------------------------------------

Roosters bounce back with upset over Cowboys

ROUND 8 North Queensland Cowboys 18 v Sydney Roosters 22at Dairy Farmers StadiumReferees: Shayne HayneMatch Summary: The Sydney Roosters have shocked critics by upsetting the Cowboys in Townsville tonight. The Bondi based club only had a 4 day turn-around coming in to this match following their 22-12 Anzac Day loss to the Dragons. Brett Finch starred for the tri colours playing in one of his best games for the club since moving across from the Raiders. He set up Amos Roberts? try in the first half with a neat grubber and put the Roosters back in front late in the second half with a pass to Anthony Tupou who scored under the posts. The Roosters got off to a shaky start with numerous sets of six in the first five minutes defending on their own goal line. However, they did well to get out of jail in that instance and the first time they got down in to opposition territory, young winger Sam Perrett scored in the corner. Both sides struggled to hold on to the ball continually in their sets of six. The Roosters only held the ball in 27/47 sets while the Cowboys for 26/40. The away side led 10-6 at the break but the Cowboys worked themselves back in to the game thanks to a great try to the Cowboys through the hooker Aaron Payne who caught the Roosters? markers out. However, the Roosters hit back in front through a piece of brilliance from half Brett Finch who slid through and found Anthony Tupou who scored under the posts. The game looked to be all wrapped up with eight minutes remaining when replacement hooker John Doyle fired a long ball out to former shark Vince Mellars who dived over to score in the corner. North Queensland gave their fans a slim hope of victory when Matty Bowen through a great cutout pass to Neil Sweeney who dived over in the corner. A couple of errors late in the contest from the Cowboys nullified any opportunity of a comeback victory. A thoroughly deserved victory to the tri colours who won the contest through a strong defensive performance despite backing up from a tough encounter against the Dragons on Anzac Day.Scorers:North Queensland Cowboys: 18Tries: Aaron Payne, Johnathan Thurston, Neil SweeneyGoals: Johnathan Thurston 3/3Sydney Roosters: 22Tries: Sam Perrett, Amos Roberts, Anthony Tupou, Vince MellarsGoals: Craig Fitzgibbon 3/4By the Clock:One change for the Cowboys tonight with Ashley Graham out and Gavin Cooper into the centres.For the Roosters Minichiello,Edmonson and Flannery are out with Sa moving into the centres,John Doyle on to the bench against his old club,Nigel Plum is alongside him on the bench with Sam Perrett on to the wing.Anthony Tupou drops back to the bench with Lafi Manua in to the second row.1 min: NEWS Kickoff in Townsville!2 min: NEWS After a penalty on the 2nd tackle to the Cowboys.They are firm on attack here and get a repeat set of six.7 min: NEWS After doing all the defending so far,the Roosters go on the attack here through a knock on by Cooper.9 min: TRY Sydney RoostersOn their first trek down the opposition end,Anasta does well to keep the ball alive through an offload and Roberts throws a great cutout pass to Perrett who does well to score in the corner.Fitzgibbon can't add the extras. Roosters 4-014 min: NEWS Matt Bowen throws an unneccessary long pass in his own 20 and Vince Mellars drops the intercept that would of seen him run away and score.16 min: NEWS Going to the Video for a possible Cowboys try.16 min: NEWS NO TRY - Matthew Scott is ruled to be tackled short of the line.Somehow he gets a pass away to Brett Firman who knocks the ball on over the line.19 min: TRY Sydney RoostersBrett Finch puts a neat grubber in for Amos Roberts and Matty Bowen misjudges the bounce with Roberts going through to score under the posts.Fitzgibbon converts from in front. Roosters 10-025 min: NEWS The Roosters' are targeting Matty Bowen under the high ball and so far they are winning the battle.28 min: NEWS Paul Bowman is penalised while playing the ball for dissent while on the attack.30 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysThurston scores a Cowboys special.A long kick through by Anasta,finds Bowen on the full who runs to the right and creats and overlap on halfway.He fires a cutout pass to Matty Sing who runs away and passes on the inside to Thurston who scores next to the posts.Thurston converts his own try. Roosters 10-632 min: NEWS Firman can't find the line when taking a penalty kick for touch.40 min: NEWS Video Referee for a possible Cowboys try.40 min: NEWS NO TRY - Carl Webb is ruled to have done a double movement and is penalised.40 min: NEWS Halftime - Both sides have been very poor in the first half with the handling.The Cowboys are 15/26 in completions while the Roosters are only a bit better with 12/19.The Roosters' defence has been outstanding and if they go on to win this game,it will be on the back of this.41 min: NEWS Second half underway!And an error on the first tackle by the Roosters brings early pressure on themselves.46 min: NEWS Neil Sweeney bombs a try after Johnathon Thurston picks up a loose ball in his own half,runs away,Amos Roberts comes across and Johnathon passes on the inside to Neil who drops the ball cold.54 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysAaron Payne scores a good hookers try.With the markers still loitering around the tackle.It leaves a hole is the defensive line and Aaron runs 10 metres to score under the post.Thurston puts the Cowboys in front. Cowboys 12-1060 min: NEWS Ashley Harrison looking for a 40/20 kicks out on the full giving the Cowboys another chance.66 min: NEWS Craig Fitzgibbon is hit in a beauty from Brett Firman.68 min: TRY Sydney RoostersAnthony Tupou scores under the posts after a great ball from Brett Finch.Fitzgibbon strecthes the lead to 4. Roosters 16-1271 min: NEWS The Roosters go 100 metres in their next set of six and force a goal line dropout.72 min: TRY Sydney RoostersVince Mellars wraps the game up for the Roosters scoring in the corner off a long ball.Fitzgibbon adds the extras from the sideline. Roosters 22-1276 min: NEWS Going to the video for a possible Cowboys try.76 min: TRY North Queensland CowboysNeil Sweeney scores in the corner off a great ball from Matty Bowen to give the Cowboys a slight chance.Thurston's kick is an absolute beauty from the sideline. Roosters 22-1879 min: NEWS The Cowboys go on a role but as they reach halfway O'Donnell is ruled to have dropped the ball in the tackle.80 min: NEWS Fulltime -----------------------------------------Leagueunlimited.com players of the match:3 - Brett Finch (Roosters)2 - Matthew Bowen (Cowboys)1 - Ashley Harrison (Roosters)-----------------------------------------

Russia Defeat Holland in First World Cup Qualifier

FOUR tries from Moscow Dynamos centre Denis Korolev helped Russia ease to a 40-14 victory in The Hague, as the first steps were taken on the road to the 2008 World Cup in Australia.A big, athletic Russian outfit had too much power for the gallant Dutch, who had the honour of scoring the competition's first try through Coventry Bears second rower James Howitt in the sixth minute of an entertaining clash.Korolev claimed his first touchdown soon after and the Russians swept into a lead they were not to relinquish on the next set when fellow centre Sergey Dobrynin broke the cover, Artem Grigoryan adding the first of his four conversions.The other two nations in the European qualifying group, Serbia and Georgia, meet in the next match in Belgrade on May 13.HOLLAND - Tries: Howitt (6, 38), de Jager (79); Goal: de JagerRUSSIA - Tries: Korolev (10, 22, 30, 50), Dobrynin (12), Bychkov (25), Koltykhov (43, 61); Goals: Grigoryan 4Half time: 10-26 Source: www.sportinglife.com

Injury update: Ross, Marshall, Cronk, & Johns

AUSTRALIA'S front row stocks have been dealt a blow with Kangaroos hopeful Ben Ross suffering a potentially season-ending knee injury during Cronulla's emphatic 40-12 NRL victory over Penrith at CUA Stadium last night.

Woolford unlikely to go to Hull, Swain to stay

HULL captain Richard Swain is set to put off retirement and play another season in the English Super League following the arrival of new head coach Peter Sharp, throwing doubt over Canberra hooker Simon Woolford's rumoured move to Hull.

Henry Paul signs for Harlequins RL

HENRY Paul has agreed a two and a half year deal with Harlequins RL after after being released from his contract with Gloucester RU.

Preview: Bradford v Les Catalans (Round 12)

BRADFORD will aim to give Steve McNamara a winning home debut as head coach and ruin former assistant Mick Potter?s return to Odsal when the Bulls take on Catalans Dragons on Friday.

Preview: St Helens v Wakefield (Round 12)

ST Helens are looking to maintain their 100% record at the expense of Wakefield - and go six points clear of Leeds - but coach Daniel Anderson does not expect their run to last.

Thorn cleared to play against Raiders

DUAL international Brad Thorn has been cleared to make his injury comeback for Brisbane against the Canberra Raiders in the NRL match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Priddis backs young rake

PENRITH will be hoping for a happy homecoming when it hosts Cronulla tonight in the opening game of round eight of the NRL season.

McClennan hoses down Benji comeback

NEW Zealand rugby league coach Brian McClennan says he knows nothing of rumours injured Wests Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall could be available for next week's Test against Australia.

Top 5 Genuine Rookies of 2006

SO which genuine rookies have been the most impressive thus far in 2006? NSC takes a look at the Top 5 Genuine Rookies (5 career games or less entering 2006) of the season so far and lists their LPR Total & Average for 2006.

Round 8 NRL Preview

THINGS don?t get any easier as I sharpen up the HB pencil for this round?s picks. I banged out a regulation 5 from 7 last week with the upset out at Caltex Field and my overconfidence in Canterbury proving to be my downfall.

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