Veteran half granted release from Penrith

Jamie Soward

In some respects, it may not have been the way he wanted to leave the club but for Penrith Panthers half Jamie Soward, it is a decision he has taken in his stride.

Soward indicated via Twitter that he would be rejoining the London Broncos, an English side he has previously played for.

The 31-year old played in a total of 53 NRL games for the Panthers after joining ahead of the 2014 season and has a chance to finish his career in England.

“Jamie feels the time is now right to pursue an opportunity to finish his career in England,” Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.

“How playing careers begin and end is not an exact science but he has recognised there are a number of emerging talents at the club who deserve the chance to progress.”

Always a fan of Soward, Gould left the door open for a return to Soward for a return to the club down the track in a coaching role.

“Jamie has been wonderful for the Panthers and has done everything we have ever asked of him. He has been a leader, on and off the field, and played a key role in the development of our younger players,” added Gould.

“If Jamie sees a future for himself in coaching, once his playing days have come to an end, it is my intention that he will begin that coaching career here at the Panthers.”

Current Panthers CEO Corey Payne, who played alongside Soward whilst at the St George Illawarra Dragons, echoed the sentiments from Gould.

“Jamie has been a great servant to this club and to rugby league in Australia,” he said.

“I wish him all the best with his future endeavours and want him to know he will always be welcome at the Panthers.”

Soward, who has previously played for the London Broncos for a short stint, is excited to return to the club.

“I’m thrilled to be returning to the Broncos and pulling on the number 33 jersey again,” commented Soward.

“I have such fantastic memories of my time in London and am very happy to have been offered the chance to do it all over again.

“I’ve been watching the Broncos this season – they’re working hard, and are being justly rewarded with their wins and second place in the league.

“I can’t wait to rip in with the boys in training and start the Super 8s.”

With a crucial period coming up for the Broncos side, coach Andrew Henderson knows that Soward’s experience will be crucial for the club.

“Obviously, Jamie is an outstanding player with a huge wealth of experience – he’s got over 200 NRL games under his belt with St. George Illawarra and the Panthers, has played State of Origin, and was a key member of the St. George team to win the NRL premiership in 2010,” said Henderson.

“After speaking to Jamie, it’s clear to me he is a team player and a genuine competitor with a will to win. This attitude fits with what we’re building here at the Broncos: a competitive team, with a winning mentality.

Henderson also made mention of how valuable a player like Soward will be to their Super 8’s campaign.

“Jamie’s arrival comes at a good time for us as we prepare for the final push in our season. He will inject some enthusiasm and create excitement within the team and the club,” Henderson added.

“His experience and leadership will stand us in good stead for what’s to come in the Super 8s.”

NRL Teams Rd 17

Another week flies by and already we are at Rd 17 of the NRL Telstra Premiership. Make no mistake, the season enters one of the hardest roads yet with so many spots on the line and so many uncertainties surrounding teams both on and off the field.

Without further adieu, here are the teams for Rd 17:

Sydney Roosters v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLsydcby); Allianz Stadium, Moore Park; Thursday June 30. Kick-off: 7:50pm.

Roosters: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Blake Ferguson 4. Dale Copley 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Jackson Hastings 7. Mitch Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Dylan Napa 11. Aidan Guerra 12. Mitch Aubusson 13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

Interchange: 14. Sam Moa 15. Isaac Liu 16. Kane Evans 17. Connor Watson 18. Ryan Matterson (One to be omitted).

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Curtis Rona 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Sam Perrett 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham (C) 11. Josh Jackson 12. Greg Eastwood 13. David Klemmer.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Tony Williams 16. Danny Fualalo 17. Craig Garvey 19. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 20. Asipeli Fine (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Des Hasler.


Brisbane Broncos v Melbourne Storm (#NRLbrimel); Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane; Friday July 1. Kick-off: 7:50pm.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kodi Nikorima 4. James Roberts 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker.

Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Tevita Pangai Jr. 16. Jaydn Su’A 17. Travis Waddell.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Storm: 1. Young Tonumaipea 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Cheyse Blair 4. Ryan Morgan 5. Marika Koroibete 6. Tohu Harris 7. Blake Green 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cam Smith (C) 10. Jordan McLean 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Felise Kaufusi 15. Christian Welch 16. Matt White 17. Ben Hampton 18. Curtis Scott 23. Slade Griffin (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Craig Bellamy.


New Zealand Warriors v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLwargld); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday July 2. Kick-off: 3pm.

Warriors: 1. David Fusitu’a 2. Tuimoala Lolohea 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Issac Luke 10. Albert Vete 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman (C) 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Nathaniel Roache 15. Sam Lisone 16. Ben Matulino 17. Charlie Gubb.

Coach: Andrew McFadden.

Titans: 1. Will Zillman (C) 2. Anthony Don 3. Josh Hoffman 4. Chris McQueen 5. Nene Macdonald 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Luke Douglas 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Zeb Taia 12. Leivaha Pulu 13. Greg Bird.

Interchange: 14. Eddy Pettybourne 15. Ryan Simpkins 16. Agnatius Paasi 17. Nathan Friend.

Coach: Neil Henry.


Wests Tigers v Penrith Panthers (#NRLwstpen); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Saturday July 3. Kick-off: 5:30pm.

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Jordan Rankin 6. Mitch Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods (C) 9. Dene Halatau 10. Sauaso Sue 11. Josh Aloiai 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Ava Seumanufagai 16. Robbie Farah 17. Kyle Lovett 18. JJ Felise (One to be omitted).

Coach: Jason Taylor.

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan (C) 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Bryce Cartwright 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Leilani Latu 9. Peter Wallace 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Isaah Yeo 12. Trent Merrin 13. Suaia Matagi.

Interchange: 14. Sitaleki Akauola 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Chris Grevsmuhl 17. James Fisher-Harris 20. Sam McKendry (One to be omitted).

Coach: Ivan Cleary.


Cronulla Sharks v Parramatta Eels; Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla; Saturday July 3. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Sharks: 1. Ben Barba 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Gerard Beale 5. Valentine Holmes 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Ennis 10. Sam Tagataese 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Ricky Leutele 15. Chris Heighington 16. Matt Prior 17. Jayson Bukuya 18. Joseph Paulo (One to be omitted).

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Eels: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Clinton Gutherson 5. Bevan French 6. Kenny Edwards 7. Corey Norman 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Issac De Gois 10. Danny Wicks 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Beau Scott 13. Tepai Moeroa.

Interchange: 14. Cody Nelson 15. Peni Terepo 16. David Gower 17. Rory O’Brien.

Coach: Brad Arthur.


Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights (#NRLcannew); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Sunday July 4. Kick-off: 2pm.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Brenko Lee 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Luke Bateman.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Iosia Soliola 16. Paul Vaughan 17. Joseph Tapine.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Knights: 1. Dane Gagai 2. Nathan Ross 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Brendan Elliott 6. Jack Cogger 7. Trent Hodkinson (C) 8. Sam Mataora 9. Danny Levi 10. Korbin Sims 11. Jacob Saifiti 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Jeremy Smith (C).

Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell 15. Robbie Rochow 16. Daniel Saifiti 17. Mickey Paea 22. Josh King (One to be omitted).

Coach: Nathan Brown.


South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLsounql); Barlow Park, Cairns; Sunday July 4. Kick-off: 4pm.

Rabbitohs: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Greg Inglis (C) 4. Aaron Gray 5. Joe Burgess 6. Luke Keary 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Cam McInnes 10. Nathan Brown 11. John Sutton 12. Kyle Turner 13. Sam Burgess.

Interchange: 14. Tautalatasi Tasi 15. Jason Clark 16. Jack Gosiewski 17. David Tyrrell.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Ray Thompson 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Jake Granville 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjaysn 15. John Asiata 16. Scott Bolton 17. Ben Hannant.

Coach: Paul Green.


Manly Sea Eagles v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLmansgi); Brookvale Oval, Manly; Monday July 5. Kick-off: 7pm.

Manly: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Tom Trbojevic 4. Dylan Walker 5. Brayden Wiliame 6. Jamie Lyon 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Darcy Lussick 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Nathan Green 12. Jamie Buhrer 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Josh Starling 16. Addin Fonua-Blake 17. Siosaia Vave.

Coach: Trent Barrett.

Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop (C) 7. Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Mitch Rein 10. Russell Packer 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims 15. Jacob Host 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Jake Marketo.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Titans veteran to retire at season’s end

Nathan Friend

Having been around the traps for a while, Nathan Friend has covered many miles, played in many games and always been a fan favourite wherever he has gone.

But as you play more games and travel further, the body of a rugby league player knows when the time is right to stand down and Friend has made that decision.

Opting to retire at the completion of the 2016 season, Friend is currently at the Gold Coast Titans, his 2nd stint at the club.

Having previously played for the Brisbane Broncos, the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors, Friend has always played the game with spirit and integrity.

Via his Instagram account, Friend made the following statement.

“I want to take this opportunity to announce my retirement at the end of the season from the game I’ve loved since my first encounter at five years old,” Friend said on his Instagram.

“Thanks to everyone that has had a hand in my career. I am forever grateful for the support and guidance I’ve received.

“It’s now time to time to give back to my beautiful wife who has sacrificed so much of her life to support me on my endeavours whilst producing 2 beautiful children.

“I look forward to the next chapter of parental duties on weekends and being around family and loved ones once again.”

A foundation player during the Titans inception, coach Neil Henry was pleased that the veteran opted to return and continue at the club for another stint.

“It’s been great to be able to see him come back and finish at the club where he was a foundation player and played 100 games previously,” he said.

“He has been a key component of rebuilding the club and a great example to every young player coming through by being a thorough professional in all that he does.

“He’s not a big man in a tough sport and the fact he has played 235 games at NRL level is a tribute to him, his preparation and leadership and we all know that will continue until the end of the season.”

With the Titans a real chance at making the top eight and the finals in 2016, Friend wants to finish his career on a as much of a high note as possible.

“That would be great,” he said.

“But there is a lot to be done before that might eventuate and I just want to work as hard as I can for the team and enjoy every moment I can until whenever my last game might be.”

Late Bunnies fightback not enough as Penrith hold on to win

Bryce Cartwright

It may only be momentarily but as it stands, the Penrith Panthers have moved back into the top eight after a narrow 28-26 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

The win looked to be a relatively comfortable one with seven minutes to go, before the Bunnies found some heart and soul and dug deep to score two late tries.

It made the game an interesting proposition late on but ultimately, the luck of the bounce eluded the Bunnies leading to the loss.

Trailing 28-14 with seven minutes to go, several of their big name players combined to get them back into the contest.

Sam Burgess, who has been criticised by Souths fans this season for his poor ball control and lack of involvement got them back onside for one week at least, after a solid performance.

A two-try outing and a relatively error-free performance from the Englishman, helped the Bunnies get back in the contest and make a fist of things.

The Bunnies started the game the better of the two as a Kyle Turner try gave them an early buffer. But after that, it was Penrith – although neither side was totally fluid in attack.

The Panthers put on some good plays of their own, often catching the Bunnies off guard either through the middle – for a try to Leilani Latu – or out wide, a try to former Bunnies player, Chris Grevsmuhl.

Penrith had an added incentive to win, with hooker Peter Wallace playing in his 200th career NRL game.

One man who stood up and performed well was Bryce Cartwright. With damaging runs, miracle offloads and solid play, he was involved in the majority of Penrith’s attacks and laid off several passes that led to tries.

With many believing that he should be picked for the third and final Origin game given NSW can no longer win the series, he did his chances to justify selection no harm.

Team-mate Josh Mansour, who also recently made his debut for the Blues, believes Cartwright should get that opportunity.

“I think he deserves a shot,” Mansour said after the game.

“He’s been enormous for us at club level.

“He’s just got that style of play that puts the opposition off. He’s got everything in the kit; he’s got a good offload, he’s a hard runner of the ball and can play in the halves as well which is a huge bonus.

The loss means the Bunnies languish in the bottom four but coach Michael Maguire has not given up hope of a finals berth.

“I only think about next week. What happens in the future, I can’t control that. What we can control is what we do this week,” he said.

“The players are putting a lot of work in but we’re not getting the rewards that all we want.

“There’s a big expectation at our team on how we play. We have got a very strong culture in the club about performing and winning games of football and that’s what we’ve got to keep striving for. This week’s going to be no different.”

Player of the Game:

3. Bryce Cartwright
2. Sam Burgess
1. Cody Walker

Panthers 28 (Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Josh Mansour, Leilani Latu, Nathan Cleary, Chris Grevsmuhl tries; Nathan Cleary 4 goals) defeated Rabbitohs 26 (Sam Burgess 2, Kyle Turner, Greg Inglis tries; Cody Walker 5 goals) at Pepper Stadium. Half-time: 10-8 Panthers. Crowd: 13,080.

Raiders New Zealand international departs for Wigan immediately

Frank-Paul Nuuausala

Forced out of the team this year with the emergence of younger forwards, Frank-Paul Nuuausala has bitten the bullet and made a decision to head overseas.

He will join Super League side the Wigan Warriors effective immediately, signing a 3-and-a-half year deal with the club.

The 29-year old forward originally played for the Sydney Roosters, making his debut in the 2007 NRL season.

In that time, he won an NRL premiership and a World Club Challenge and became known by many as ‘Frank-Paul, the wrecking ball.’

Nuuausala went on to represent his country 15 times, and joined the Canberra Raiders in 2014. In 2015, he played in all 24 games for the club.

Wigan are pleased to have signed the Kiwi international, knowing full well the talent he has and how it can improve their side.

“As an ambitious club, Wigan is always interested in International players of the highest calibre and Frank-Paul Nuuausala certainly fits into that category,” said Wigan Chairman, Martin Lenagan.

“Having played in the NRL for many years and consistently for New Zealand, he is an excellent addition to an already-strong Wigan pack as we look to build on our strong position in the Super League table and to progress in the Challenge Cup”.

Having achieved everything in NRL, Nuuausala felt that the time was right to make a move to England and test himself elsewhere whilst he is still in his prime.

“I’ve achieved everything that I can in my career in the NRL and, whilst still in my prime as a prop-forward, want to experience the challenge of Super League,” said Nuuausala.

“It would be great to win the Grand Final over there as well and the Challenge Cup at Wembley and joining a strong and successful club like Wigan gives me that best opportunity.

I’m looking forward to pulling on the famous cherry-and-white jersey for the first time and playing in the uniquely passionate environment of Rugby League in England.”

Tongan international re-signs with the Warriors

Solomone Kata

A favourite son of many New Zealand Warriors fans, Solomone Kata has burst onto the scene in the last couple of seasons, as he scores tries for fun and makes a mockery of opposition defences.

In a move that will boost the Warriors moving forward, Kata has re-signed with the club until the end of the 2019 season.

With a handy track record of 22 tries from 37 games, Kata led the Warriors in tries scored last year with 12 and currently leads them with 10.

In addition to Kata re-signing, the Warriors also announced the re-signings of several young players. Ken Maumalo and Jazz Tevaga have both re-signed until the end of 2018, NYC Player of the Year Bunty Afoa re-signed until 2019 and Erin Clark, Ofahiki Ogden and Patrick Sipley all re-signed for the 2017 season.

“Sol has made fantastic progress jumping straight from the NYC into the NRL last year,” said Iro.

“He has proved to be not only one of the game’s most damaging centres but also one of the most consistent. The NRL coaching staff are hugely impressed with him.

“We’ve moved to secure him long-term and we’re also delighted with the way Ken, Jazz, Bunty, Erin and Pat are developing. It’s especially pleasing for us seeing Sol, Ken, Jazz, Bunty and Erin come through our NYC side while Pat shows there’s a pathway from local football as well.”

Tough, dogged affair sees Queensland clinch State of Origin series

Dane Gagai

In a game that had everything from big hits, to tries, to entertainment and to controversy, it was ultimately the Queensland Maroons who came out smiling, clinching yet another series win.

Although they may not get to celebrate it in full until the completion of Game 3, the Queensland side stayed true and strong throughout the game and were too good for New South Wales.

Despite the solid performances on debut from Tyson Frizell and Jack Bird, the Queensland side had too much fire-power, causing issues down the left edge of the Blues defensive line.

Whilst NSW never gave in and fought hard, inopportune errors and poor decisions cost them, as they continued to let Queensland take charge and assert dominance.

Buoyed by news that veteran Corey Parker was retiring at season’s end, the Maroons dug deep. Known for their resiliency over the last decade, the game was a tense affair throughout with the Maroons then gaining the upper hand.

The game started as a bit of a penalty-a-thon, with both teams trading penalty goals before NSW went ahead 4-2 with a second one.

Not keen to simply go with the flow, the NSW attack took it to Queensland and opted to run the ball with intent and desire, even on the last tackle at times.

The first try came out of opportunity for the Maroons, after a Michael Jennings offload went astray and Dane Gagai raced 90m downfield to open the scoring.

A brave chase from debutant Frizell had NSW fans cheering but it was in vain, as Gagai slid over the line to score the first try of the game.

The Blues had chances of their own and could have taken the lead at one point, but Michael Jennings was ruled to have knocked on in the lead-up to the try.

In the end, it was the Maroons who ran out eventual 26-16 winners to assert their dominance over the fixture.

Missing a wealth of experience, Queensland coach Kevin Walters praised his side for the way they stepped up and praised the work of their leaders.

“What a lot of people do need to get their head around is how much experience we’ve lost this year,” Walters said.

“There’s no Billy Slater, no Nate Myles, no Justin Hodges and no Will Chambers. Three of them have nearly 100 Origin games between them.

“The leadership of the group to bring these younger players in is brilliant.

“Greg Inglis looks after Corey Oates, Matt Gillett and Cooper Cronk have looked after Justin O’Neill and Dane Gagai.

“Dane only just played his third Origin game. The leadership of this group is something that is very special.”

As they get older, that does not deter the Maroons, with captain Cam Smith confident that they can continue to perform over coming years.

“I’m extremely confident that the young players coming through can keep this winning culture moving forward,” Smith said.

“We’ve got some quality young players in our side at the moment. Aidan Guerra, Gillett, O’Neill, Oates, Gagai and Josh Papalii.

“Papalii was outstanding tonight because he gave us so much go forward. The team is in good hands.

NSW coach Laurie Daley explained the reasoning behind starting debutant Frizell and praised his efforts.

“I thought he was great,” said Daley.

“The idea behind starting Tyson was twofold. Young guy, plenty of energy, I didn’t want him sitting on the bench thinking too much about it and the other one was that I needed someone with a bit of experience (Greg Bird) to start the second half.”

Fellow debutant Jack Bird says his main aim was simply to do his family and his state proud.

“I watched it at home and I could see how crazy the crowds are and when I ran out there I got goosebumps,” Bird said.

“I went out there to do my family proud, obviously myself proud and hopefully I did that.

“It was nothing that I didn’t expect, I knew it was going to be a crazy game, a fast game, a lot different to NRL standard, but I really enjoyed every minute.

Player of the Game:

3. Dane Gagai
2. Tyson Frizell
1. Johnathan Thurston

Queensland Maroons 26 (Dane Gagai 3, Corey Oates tries; Johnathan Thurston 5 goals) def. New South Wales Blues 16 (Tyson Frizell, James Maloney tries; Adam Reynolds 3, Maloney goals) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 52,293. Half-time: Queensland 10-4. On report: Sam Thaiday (Maroons, lifting tackle). Under-18s: NSW 26 def. Queensland 0.

Panthers and Leeds Rhinos involved in immediate player swap

Zak Hardaker

There has been much debate about the future of James Segeyaro at the Penrith Panthers and the dust has now settled, with the NRL club and SL’s Leeds Rhinos coming to a unique deal.

Segeyaro will head to Leeds for the remainder of the season, with English fullback Zak Hardaker going in the opposite direction to join the team at the foot of the mountains.

Both deals are with immediate effect with a view to long-term arrangements should each club desire it.

Hardaker always had a desire to play NRL and as the incumbent English fullback, he comes with skill and ability, even if he does have noted off-field issues.

“It is pleasing that we have been able to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” said Leeds coach, Brian McDermott.

“Zak goes with out best wishes and I am pleased for him that he has been able to fulfil his ambition of playing in the NRL.

When Zak came to us to request a move, it was always going to be important that we were able to strengthen our group and in James Segeyaro we have a great opportunity to bring in a highly rated player into our group.”

Hardaker was also named the 2015 Man of Steel after a tremendous 2015 season and the Panthers are pleased to have signed a player of his quality.

“This is truly exciting for the Panthers to have a current English international joining the club for the remainder of the 2016 season,” Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.

“Zak is an outstanding footballer. With long term injuries to our Kiwi international centres Dean Whare and Peta Hiku, Zak’s arrival at the club is very timely indeed.

“Zak wants to prove himself in the NRL competition and may well consider a longer stint in Australia if all goes well. It will be a fantastic experience for Zak and for the Panthers”.

For Segeyaro heading in the opposite direction, the club know how much of an opportunity it is for the live-wire hooker.

“It will be a great experience for James to live and play rugby league in another part of the world and I wish him the very best,” Panthers CEO Rugby League Corey Payne said.

Despite not playing as much as Segeyaro would have liked for whatever reason, he was given words of praise from his coach, Anthony Griffin.

“I want to thank James for his service to the Panthers,” coach Anthony Griffin said.

“For the last three and a half seasons he has been a valued member of the club and we wish him all the best for the next chapter in his career.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Executive GM, Phil Gould.

“James has been a terrific player for our club over the last three and a half seasons,” Gould said.

“We greatly appreciate his efforts both on and off the field. We also appreciate the wonderful opportunity he has been offered to play with the great Leeds club in the English Super League.

“We wish him all the best for his future.”

James Segeyaro

Seasoned fullback to depart Eels at season’s end and join the Roosters

Michael Gordon

It may not be a total surprise to many given the intense rumours that played out surrounding his future, but Michael Gordon will depart the Parramatta Eels at season’s end.

With the need to free up cap space if they are to remain active on the open market and the likelihood of several different scenarios playing out, Gordon will depart the blue and gold and head East towards Bondi.

Taking up a 1-year deal with the Sydney Roosters to take some of the pressure off boom rookie, Latrell Mitchell.

Gordon has so far played 14 games to date for the Eels and with close to 200 games to his name, the experience and mentoring values he has convinced the Roosters to sign him.

“With almost 200 NRL matches under his belt, Michael will add experience and depth to our squad,” said Roosters CEO, John Lee.

“Michael will also be a terrific mentor as we continue to develop our younger backs, and we’re pleased to have secured his services,” he added.

Rd 16 NRL Teams

We are officially on the home stretch of the NRL season now and with so many spots and points still up for grabs, teams will dig deep and fight tooth and nail to get as many points as they can.

With some teams flying high, some languishing low and needing wins, who can step up and deliver the goods in this weeks’ fixtures.

Without further fuss, here are the teams for Rd 16:

Penrith Panthers v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLpensou); Pepper Stadium, Penrith; Friday June 24. Kick-off: 7:50pm.

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Bryce Cartwright 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Leilani Latu 9. Peter Wallace 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Isaah Yeo 12. Trent Merrin 13. Suaia Matagi.

Interchange: 14. Sitaleki Akauola 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Chris Grevsmuhl 17. Moses Leota

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Bunnies: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Greg Inglis 4. Aaron Gray 5. Tautalatasi Tasi 6. Luke Keary 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Cam McInnes 10. Nathan Brown 11. John Sutton 12. Kyle Turner 13. Sam Burgess.

Interchange: 14. Jason Clark 15. Patrice Siolo 16. Jack Gosiewski 17. David Tyrrell 18. Damien Cook 19. Ed Murphy (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Michael Maguire.


Newcastle Knights v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLnewsgi); Hunter Stadium, Newcastle; Saturday June 25. Kick-off: 3pm.

Knights: 1. Dane Gagai 2. Nathan Ross 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Pat Mata’utia 5. Brendan Elliott 6. Jack Cogger 7. Trent Hodkinson (C) 8. Sam Mataora 9. Danny Levi 10. Korbin Sims 11. Jacob Saifiti 12. Mitch Barnett 13. Jeremy Smith (C).

Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell 15. Robbie Rochow 16. Daniel Saifiti 17. Mickey Paea 18. Josh King 19. Chanel Mata’utia 24. Pauli Pauli (Three to be omitted).

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Dragons: 1. Jason Nightingale 2. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Kurt Mann 6. Gareth Widdop (C) 7. Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Mitch Rein 10. Russell Packer 11. Jacob Host 12. Joel Thompson 13. Mike Cooper.

Interchange: 14. Jack de Belin 15. Will Matthews 16. Dunamis Lui 17. Jake Marketo.

Coach: Paul McGregor.


Cronulla Sharks v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLcrowar); Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla; Saturday June 25. Kick-off: 5:30pm.

Sharks: 1. Ben Barba 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Gerard Beale 5. Valentine Holmes 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Ennis 10. Sam Tagataese 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen.

Interchange: 14. Ricky Leutele 15. Chris Heighington 16. Matt Prior 17. Jayson Bukuya 18. Joseph Paulo (One to be omitted).

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Warriors: 1. Tuimoala Lolohea 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Issac Luke 10. Albert Vete 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman (C) 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Nathaniel Roache 15. Sam Lisone 16. Ben Matulino 17. Charlie Gubb 18. Ma’afoaeata Hingano 20. Toafofoa Sipley (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Andrew McFadden.


Canterbury Bulldogs v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLcbybri); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Saturday June 25. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Curtis Rona 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Sam Perrett 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. David Klemmer.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Tony Williams 16. Danny Fualalo 17. Craig Garvey 19. Lloyd Perrett One to be omitted).

Coach: Des Hasler.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Tom Opacic 4. James Roberts 5. Greg Eden 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Travis Waddell 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker (C).

Interchange: 14. Jaydn Su’A 15. Tevita Pangai Jr. 16. Adam Blair 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Herman Ese’ese (One to be omitted).

Coach: Wayne Bennett.


Gold Coast Titans v Canberra Raiders (#NRLgldcan); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Sunday June 26. Kick-off: 2pm.

Titans: 1. Will Zillman (C) 2. Anthony Don 3. Josh Hoffman 4. Nathan Davis 5. Nene Macdonald 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ash Taylor 8. Luke Douglas 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James 11. Zeb Taia 12. Chris McQueen 13. Greg Bird.

Interchange: 14. Eddy Pettybourne 15. Leivaha Pulu 16. Agnatius Paasi 17. Nathan Friend 18. Ryan Simpkins (One to be omitted).

Coach: Neil Henry.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Brenko Lee 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Luke Bateman.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Iosia Soliola 16. Paul Vaughan 17. Joseph Tapine 13. Shaun Fensom (One to be omitted).

Coach: Ricky Stuart.


Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers (#NRLmelwst); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Sunday June 26. Kick-off: 4pm.

Storm: 1. Cam Munster 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Cheyse Blair 4. Ryan Morgan 5. Marika Koroibete 6. Blake Green 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Jordan McLean 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Tohu Harris 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Felise Kaufusi 16. Kenneath Browmwich 17. Ben Hampton 18. Matt White 21. Christian Welch 22. Young Tonumaipea (Three to be omitted).

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Jordan Rankin 6. Mitch Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods (C) 9. Dene Halatau 10. Sauaso Sue 11. Josh Aloiai 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Ava Seumanufagai 16. Robbie Farah 17. Kyle Lovett 18. Michael Chee-Kam (One to be omitted).

Coach: Jason Taylor.


North Queensland Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLnqlman); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Monday June 27. Kick-off: 7pm.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Jake Granville 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Rory Kostjaysn 15. John Asiata 16. Scott Bolton 17. Ben Hanannt.

Coach: Neil Henry.

Manly: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Tom Trbojevic 4. Brayden Wiliame 5. Matt Wright 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Darcy Lussick 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Nathan Green 12. Jamie Buhrer 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Josh Starling 16. Addin Fonua-Blake 17. Siosaia Vave 18. Blake Leary (One to be omitted).

Coach: Trent Barrett.


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