New Manly recruit charged with illegally entering a property

Apisai Koroisau

In another scandal for the NRL – albeit one that is not as severe – new Manly Sea Eagles recruit Apisai Koroisau has been charged by police for illegally entering a property.

It is alleged that the incident – which happened last year on December 20 – occurred when Koroisau entered a Bondi property without the consent of the owners.

He was set to face court at Waverley Local Court on January 25 but did not make an appearance. He is set to appear before Waverley Local Court on February 17.

Koroisau is formerly charged with entering inclosed land without a lawful excuse.

The NRL Integrity Unit is aware of the matter.

As for the Sea Eagles, it is somewhat of a blow for them if Koroisau ends up missing game-time, as they will only have one hooker in their ranks in fellow recruit, Matt Parcell.

Recently, the Sea Eagles released a statement on the Koroisau incident. It reads as follows:

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles are aware of a minor incident that occurred with Apisai Koroisau in Bondi on 20 December 2015.

The Club immediately informed the NRL Integrity Unit of the matter.

The incident follows some extenuating circumstances in Apisai’s personal life.

The Sea Eagles are providing Apisai with the necessary support during this time.

The Club will make no further comment.

Ricky’s NRL Previews Pt 4: Cronulla Sharks

The NRL Auckland Nines may be starting but our previews must roll on, as we take a look at the Cronulla Sharks in part four of our NRL previews. A side blessed with emerging talent and solid veterans, they have also made some crucial additions to their side, ones that have the potential to take them to the next level. But with that comes questions. Just who will get the fullback role amid all the speculation and will it be the right choice? How much can they get out of their veteran forwards and can they stay fit? And finally, just where does Jack Bird fit in given his versatility as a player.

Often a team that many like to see do well in light of incidents over the last number of years, the Cronulla Sharks have ploughed through the adversity put in front of them and shown that they have the talent in their roster to challenge the top sides, as they improve every year. Blessed with an array of youthful yet talented exuberance and a hard-nosed veteran forward pack, the Sharks have found the right balance to make a serious tilt at the premiership in 2016 or at least challenge for it once again. With several key additions such as James Maloney and the return of Chad Townsend, their halves stocks are boosted and they are in good stead – but can they get the best out of the duo from the get-go or, like many new partnerships, do they need time to gel.

James Maloney had his fair share of criticism last year, even though he did perform reasonably well over the course of the season. A talented player and still relatively young, it is likely that the onus will be on him to lead from the front, direct the attack and call the shots, to create the opportunities for the Sharks to score. But despite that, the role that Townsend will have to play should not be understated. An equally talented player in his own right, he also bore the brunt of some criticism in 2015, as he looks to kick-start his season with solid form and show glimpses of his ability at the start of the 2015 season. Individually, the duo are talented and can produce when in form. Collectively, they have to work with each other and for each other, to create as many sound, attacking opportunities as possible and form a partnership early to gel with each other.

And of course, the conjecture over who gets the fullback spot is one of the big questions right now. With three primary candidates for the role in Ben Barba, Valentine Holmes and Jack Bird, all three are capable of handling the role and performing well. All three players bring something different to the table in terms of their style of play. Barba’s speed and acceleration from the back would get the Sharks over the advantage line and onto the front foot early. Holmes’ smart play and powerful nature would provide the Sharks back-line with a different element, as he would lay the tone in an attacking sense with hard-running and determination. Whereas Bird would bring a new dynamic altogether, with a creative approach to the role, having played all of last season as a five-eighth and showcasing his ball skills in the halves. It is a telling factor when the reports suggest that not even Sharks coach Shane Flanagan knows who he will pick and with players training in different positions this off-season, the fans may not know who gets the nod until very close to Rd 1.

Following on from the last paragraph, it is important to assess the role of Jack Bird and where he might play, given his versatility as a player. The initial move to play him as a five-eighth was an interesting one in the eyes of many but in the end, it did pay off. Although not a natural ball-player, it was his running game that he utilised to good effect, based on his style of play having played other positions. As the season wore on, he gained more confidence with ball in hand and created opportunity, laying claim to retaining him at five-eighth for 2016. The arrival of James Maloney puts a spanner in the works in that regard, so now fans have been giving their view as to where he should play. Whilst regarded as a long-term lock and the likely heir to the role once Paul Gallen retires, his name has constantly been linked to the fullback role as previously mentioned. Also adept as both a centre and back-rower, having played the majority of his footy there coming through the Dragons ranks, it is clear that there are decisions to make about where he best fits into the team in light of the new signings, and where he will make the biggest impact.

Best Buy: When you look at who the Sharks have signed, this one is a no brainer really. James Maloney. Acquired from the Roosters, the Sharks immediately addressed any concerns fans may have had with their halves and signed the entertaining five-eighth. A crafty player, it was his form in 2014 especially that had everyone excited about his development, a sign that his hard work, exuberance and natural ability had finally shone through, as he became a core feature of the blistering attack of the Roosters side at the time. With a new halves partner at the Sharks, likely to be Chad Townsend, you would expect to see Maloney running the show and utilising his running game to take on the defensive line early and either make a half-break to catch them off-guard, or deliver a deft pass on the inside for a player in support. His addition gives the Sharks not only a quality halves duo but a great x-factor in Maloney, who when on song, can turn a game around and create opportunities.

Most Promising Talent: When you see his last name, it will instantly bring back memories of two former Sharks greats. Jack Rogers, the son of Matt and the grandson of Steve, is one player to really look out for. Emerging as a utility back much like his father late in the 2015 Holden Cup season, he showed that he had the goods to succeed. Nifty and crafty, his quickness often caught the opposition off-guard, as he excelled in the later periods when given an opportunity. Although as a player, he still has to develop, learn more and fine-tune his game, should he play first-grade at some point in his career, he will be the third generation Rogers’ to play in the NRL, no easy feat. That time will come, though, and for the time being, Sharks fans will want to see Jack perform well in the Holden Cup and potentially the NSW Cup, if given that opportunity.

2016 Gains: Kurt Capewell (2016), Josh Cleeland (2016), Jordan Drew (Brisbane Broncos, 2017), James Maloney (Sydney Roosters, 2018), Matt McIlwrick (Sydney Roosters, 2016), Joseph Paulo (Parramatta Eels, 2017), Jesse Sene-Lefao (Manly Sea Eagles, 2017), Chad Townsend (New Zealand Warriors, 2017)

Our predicted Rd 1 line-up:

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

14. Fa’amanu Brown
15. Chris Heighington
16. Jesse Sene-Lefao
17. Joseph Paulo

Promising Roosters half signs new deal

Jackson Hastings

Set to take the NRL by storm in 2016, Jackson Hastings will have all the opportunities available this season and in a boost for the club, he has re-signed until the end of 2017.

The signing of Hastings sees a core group of young players remain with the club, as the Roosters keen to develop and grow their younger players.

Peter O’Sullivan, the Roosters recruitment manager, said the club was pleased to have secured the promising half.

“Jackson is an instinctive half and showed when called on last season why he is one of the game’s most promising young players,” said O’Sullivan.

“There’s no doubt that his maturity as a footballer is way beyond his years and we look forward to watching his continued development in the coming season,” he added.

As for Hastings, he had nothing but excitement and delight in signing with the Roosters.

“Since the day I joined the Club, everyone’s looked after me and I’m stoked to know that I’ll continue to be part of the Roosters,” said Hastings.

“I’m learning so much from Robbo and all the coaching staff and I’m so happy to stay with the Roosters and work towards building my career here,” he added.

Ricky’s NRL Previews Pt 3: Canberra Raiders

Another day, another team preview. This time, in pt 3, we cast our eye over the Canberra Raiders. One of the sides to have made some of the best additions ahead of the 2016 season, their roster is one that on paper, has the calibre and quality to challenge the top sides. But as we all know, games are not won on paper but on the field, and that is where the players will have to aim up. Led by captain Jarrod Croker, the Raiders are a side capable of beating any team on their day and will be hoping that a mix of youth and experience can get them over the line come Rd 1.

The Raiders have always had talented players at their disposal but in recent years, they have always been pipped at the post when it mattered or lost games that they should have won. Some would say it is the players, others would say it is the coach. A lot of people would say that it is simply because Ricky Stuart is the coach of the Raiders. But with handy additions like Aidan Sezer and Elliott Whitehead, the crux of the Raiders side has now been set in stone.

For those generally unaware of who Elliott Whitehead is, he becomes the latest Englishman to join the NRL. A back-rower who has most recently played for Catalans and previously Bradford, he enjoyed a stellar season with the Bulls in 2015 and strengthens the Raiders back-row stocks and general forward stocks. Whether Whitehead starts or plays off the bench is still unknown, as Ricky Stuart keeps his cards close to his chest. Should he start, it is likely that Josh Papalii moves into the front-row where he has had some success in the past but if the QLD representative remains in the back-row, it is more likely that Whitehead will come off the bench given the already plentiful stocks in the Raiders starting back-row.

Perhaps one of the more interesting points with the Raiders is the partnership set to be formed in the halves between Blake Austin and Aidan Sezer. Both are tremendously talented players as individuals and will have different roles within the Raiders system, but how long will it take for them to gel as a halves duo? Sometimes, a team gets rather lucky and players can gel quite quickly but the majority of occasions will see a slow start from one or both of the halves, as they become accustomed to each other’s game and style of play.
Further to the point regarding Blake Austin, after what was a career best year for him in 2015, teams will crack down on his style of play and his running game, which will require him to bring new skills and elements to his repertoire. A talented player in his own right, adapting and adjusting is key, as he remains one of the most crucial players for the Raiders in 2016.

Perhaps one worrying element for the Raiders to some extent, is the general lack of forward depth in the front-row especially, a point that has been raised countless times before across various mediums. Whilst the props they do have are quality players in Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Paul Vaughan and Shannon Boyd, outside of that trio, the reliance on youngsters becomes even more important. Whilst individually, those youngsters are emerging players that have long futures in the NRL, making the transition into the NRL is never easy. Should a couple of injuries occur in the Raiders front-row stocks, those youngsters will be thrown into the fire earlier than expected and the reliance and expectation on them to perform efficiently increases. That expectation is something some players will thrive in and use to their advantage to stake their claims but for others, the prospect is daunting if they are not prepared for rigours of first-grade.

Ultimately, this is one of the best rosters the Canberra Raiders have had in some years and one that on paper, are an intriguing prospect to perform well and potentially an underdog to some extent. Led by captain Jarrod Croker and with a solid back-line and forward pack around him, the calibre and quality of the players among the Raiders would have fans excited with their chances in 2016. If all players play to their potential and gel as unit for the majority of the season, a top eight opportunity beckons and possibly, even a top 4 spot.

Best buy: A talented half that excelled during his time at the Gold Coast Titans, Aidan Sezer moves to the Raiders side with much fanfare. Set to play alongside Blake Austin in the halves at halfback, Sezer has enjoyed sound personal success as a player, showcasing his array of skills as a crafty player over recent years. Much like other players, adapting to a new system at the Raiders may take time but his quality is such that many would be expecting him to make a rather smooth and quick transition into the Raiders system. A handy goal-kicker also, he may have to put that trait behind him, particularly with such a talented kicker in Jarrod Croker within the team. He, along with Austin, form the crux of the Raiders side and will be expected to lead from the front and guide them towards success in individual games and potentially in further finals games when it matters.

Most Promising Player: Every so often, a player comes along that fans rave about constantly for the way they play, their level head and their all-round game that would fit the NRL perfectly. For the Raiders fans, that one young player is Lachlan Croker. The nephew of Raiders great Jason Croker but not related to Jarrod Croker, the younger Croker has the potential to succeed brilliantly in the NRL and is only getting better year after year. A crafty half, Croker’s own personal admissions is that he wishes to expand his game and begin his career in the NRL as a potential utility if it means regular first-grade action but regardless of when he does get that opportunity, he has all the tools and skills to succeed in first-grade.

2016 gains: Aidan Sezer (Gold Coast Titans, 2018), Elliott Whitehead (Catalan Dragons), Adam Clydsdale (Newcastle Knights).

Our predicted line-up:

1. Jack Wighton
2. Sisa Waqa
3. Jarrod Croker (C)
4. Joey Leilua
5. Jordan Rapana
6. Blake Austin
7. Aidan Sezer
8. Paul Vaughan
9. Josh Hodgson
10. Josh Papalii
11. Elliot Whitehead
12. Iosia Soliola
13. Shaun Fensom

14. Frank-Paul Nuuausala
15. Shannon Boyd
16. Jarrad Kennedy
17. Mitch Barnett

Representative Roosters back-rower signs new deal

Boyd Cordner

Despite rumoured overtures that he was headed to Manly, it is instead the Sydney Roosters who are celebrating with Boyd Cordner re-signing for a further two seasons.

Still only 23, Cordner is regarded as one of the best upcoming back-rowers in the game and for him, there was no other team but the Roosters.

“I love the Roosters. I’ve been with the Club since I was 16 years old and this is my home,” said Cordner.

“I’ve made a lot of my best mates here and from the coaches to the office staff, it feels like family and I couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else.

“I’m just really excited to know that I’ll continue to work on my game with the coaches we have here, and be a part of the team,” he added.

Equally pleased is Roosters Recruitment Manager Peter O’Sullivan.

“Boyd joined the Roosters as part of our pathway program, and since making his NRL debut, we have watched him develop into a representative player,” said O’Sullivan.

“From the outset, Boyd indicated that his heart was with the Roosters and that this was where he wanted to continue to develop his career, so we’re pleased to have retained his services despite interest from other clubs,” he added.

A Jack Gibson Medal winner in 2015 and with 5 games for NSW and 96 club games, Cordner is a key player for the Roosters side.

“A fierce competitor with a strong work ethic, Boyd is highly respected by the coaching staff and his teammates for what he does out on the football field and at training,” said Roosters coach, Trent Robinson.

“But, just as importantly, Boyd is also respected by us all for the man that he is away from the field, and its great news for the Roosters to know that Boyd will continue to play his role for a further two years,” he added.

Ricky’s NRL Previews Pt 2: Canterbury Bulldogs

Back again with what is part 2 of our NRL previews and we shall today cast our eye over the Canterbury Bulldogs ahead of the 2016 season. Not a great deal of player turnover as their overall side remains largely the same, but that could be a good thing, as the players all know each other and are familiar with the styles of play each player has. Alternatively, it could be a bad thing, especially if there’s some key injuries, with the depth not overly strong. How will that all play out for the Dogs? Time will tell.

Any team coached by Des Hasler is going to work hard, play hard and get results that are needed but for any fan from the outside looking in who is interested in rugby league, there are some legitimate concerns and questions among the Bulldogs roster that could define their season. Just how well can new halves pairing Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds play together? Are they the right halves pairing? How can Will Hopoate fit into the side and can he recapture his form from his Manly days? Is he the right fit? And finally, can the Bulldogs depth players step up and make their presence felt when called upon, or is that depth too skinny and not experience enough?

Let us start with Mbye and Reynolds, the new halves pairing. As individual players, both are talented in their own rights and versatile in the positions that they can play. Mbye was a talented youngster coming through the Dogs ranks and waited for opportunity, before it came in a big way for him throughout the 2015 season.
As for Reynolds, he has shown that he can perform at an elite level – making the NSW Origin team as a result of his good club form – but his temperament and at times ill-fated decisions still plague his own game and his team.

With neither Mbye or Reynolds regarded as natural creative halves by nature, the question for them and one that many Dogs fans will be hopeful eventuates, is can they guide the Bulldogs to some sort of success? The loss of Trent Hodkinson to the Newcastle Knights puts real pressure on the young duo, who may be expected to form early on. Pressure like that is something some players thrive in but for other players, it dwells in the back of the mind every time they take the field and can get the best of them at times.
This young halves duo has the world at their feet but they have a big task ahead of them to take charge, make the most of opportunity and to provide stability and consistency.

Moving on to Will Hopoate, and his return to the NRL following his Mormon mission was well publicised, as was his play on the field. It was a topsy-turvy ride for the former NSW representative player, who showed glimpses of promise but failed to ultimately reach those previous heights upon his return. But that is expected, given most players who return from Mormon missions take time to re-adjust to the game that has often changed during their time away.

A gifted utility back, Hopoate’s time at the Eels ended in a rather sour fashion and it was the Bulldogs, in need of a centre after letting a couple of players go, who pounced. A new club may be what Hopoate needs and perhaps having re-adjusted to the game itself, he can produce better, more consistent performances. However, he does still need time to develop and find his feet if he is to truly re-establish himself once again and with many fans disappointed at having lost a player like Tim Lafai to sign Hopoate, he will have to impress the fans very quickly, just as much as the club themselves.

The final area that has is of concern to some, is the noticeable lack of recognised depth at the Dogs in several positions. From a forwards perspective, there are still young, capable players, who have tasted first-grade, though there are some that are yet to do so, as well as in other positions. In today’s day and age of rugby league, depth has never been more important as teams juggle injuries, suspension, Origin and other factors. When there is a relative lack of depth at certain times, it creates pressure on the team and the players especially, who are then expected to perform at an even higher level. Some teams can cope and you can virtually guarantee that any player that comes into the Dogs side – no matter how young they are – will have been conditioned and talked to by Des Hasler, but it does not make the side’s job any easier nor the player’s job any easier.

Ultimately, Dogs fans always have high hopes for their team’s chances every year, even if many opposition fans believe that the Dogs could be headed for a slide this season for a number of reasons. With a lot of teams significantly adding to their side with key additions in key positions and the Bulldogs not adding to the same extent, some rival fans believe that is the catalyst for a tough season ahead for the Dogs.
But as previously mentioned – and it is a fact worth noting – any side coached by Des Hasler is going to challenge hard, play hard and push teams all the way, given his stature as a coach in the game. His style is one that the players are seemingly drawn to and whilst they have largely the same contingent of players, there are still quality players there and it is up to them to provide the building blocks for the Bulldogs season and take their own games to new heights.

Best Buy: The pressure may be on Will Hopoate ahead of the 2016 season, but in terms of natural footballing talent, that cannot be denied. He may have had a tough 18 months as he re-adjusts to the game upon his return, but his signing is one that gives the Dogs some starch, experience and much needed versatility to their back-line. Determined to prove himself once more and emulate previous form and successes, Hopoate has worked hard to get himself in the right condition, the right shape and the right frame of mind to achieve that. Still a young player himself, he should make a rather smooth transition into the Dogs side and back-line, wherever that might be. His versatility still has many fans questioning the exact make-up of their back-line, with Des Hasler known as a coach who keeps his cards close to his chest. Where would you play him? Fullback or centre?

Most Promising Talent: Although he is not their junior as such, one player to keep a genuine eye on at the Bulldogs is youngster Brad Abbey. Joining from the New Zealand Warriors where there was a significant back-log in the back-line, there is the chance for opportunity at the Bulldogs. Whilst he may not start from Rd 1, the Origin period should provide a chance for him, particularly if both Morris brothers are selected. One of the form fullbacks in the Holden Cup last season, Abbey is a naturally gifted player, with a cool head, some quick feet and some good pace to boot. His consistency and performances had many Warriors fans raving about him and subsequently disappointed to lose him. What is the Warriors loss is the Bulldogs gain and if Abbey does get an opportunity, then there will be some fireworks and excitement when he plays.

2016 Gains: Brad Abbey (New Zealand Warriors, 2018), Graham Clark (2016), Craig Garvey (St George Illawarra Dragons, 2017), Kerrod Holland (Newcastle Knights, 2017), Will Hopoate (Parramatta Eels, 2017)

Our predicted line-up:

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

14. Tim Browne
15. David Klemmer
16. Shaun Lane
17. Sam Kasiano

Coach: Des Hasler.

Ricky’s NRL Previews Pt 1: Brisbane Broncos

My, my, how quickly the NRL pre-season has gone. Another year and another lot of season previews for each team. This year, we start with the Brisbane Broncos, last years’ grand finalists. With some new additions, players with one more year experience and a very similar side compared to last year, can they go one step better and win yet another piece of NRL silverware?

They came ever so close last year and were pipped at the post by the North Queensland Cowboys who won their maiden premiership. It would take a brave punter to tip against the Broncos chances in 2016, given their side is largely the same with one very handy addition, and with Wayne Bennett at the helm, his teams are always expected to perform well. They start the year with a trip to Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium, a game that is never easy.

With some uncertainty over the Broncos back-line in light of the retirement of Justin Hodges and an injury to Jack Reed, there are positions up for grabs in the short-term ahead of the season proper. Lachlan Maranta is a name that will come up, with the young winger tried and tested in the NRL, and performing relatively well in his time so far. Although he is not everyone’s fan favourite at the Broncos, with many fans eager to see Carlin Anderson afforded an opportunity to start the season. Anderson, who joined the club from the Intrust Super Cup winning side, the Ipswich Jets, is somewhat of an unknown conundrum. An able performer for the Jets in his time there, the NRL is a different kettle of fish and if he is given the opportunity to start or in fact, one at some point throughout the season, can he handle the additional pressures or will he need further time to develop and grow as a player?

One thing that is settled is the addition of James Roberts, who departed the Gold Coast Titans to join the Broncos rather unceremoniously, after a contract bungle. To gain a player like Roberts after losing an elite centre like Hodges is a huge boost for the Broncos, even if the two are very different players. Hodges, who established a reputation on quick, swift dummy-half running and creating opportunity with very little space, was powerfully built and adept at making space for himself and producing offloads. On the other hand, as we saw with Roberts and his 2015 season with the Titans, he needs space to run into and it is from there that his attacking prowess comes. The interesting aspect is how the dynamics of the Broncos team will adapt or stay the same, in order to fit the flying centre into their system.

And on their system, there is another interesting aspect to ponder and look into. After the brilliance of both Ben Hunt and Anthony Milford as a halves duo in 2015, is that the sort of form they can emulate in 2016 or have they set the bar too high? Usually, as the next season rolls around, teams develop strategies and ways to deal with excelling players from the previous season. The onus is on the halves duo and the club themselves, to develop even more and expand their game to emulate the same type of success as both individuals and a duo. Both are two of the most talented young halves currently in the competition but they will be marked men, even if they do hold the key to the Broncos chances in 2016.

Essentially, the Broncos are still an elite side in the NRL even if rival fans do not think so, or if the continued debates about the salary cap rage on. They boast somewhat of an ageing roster but a very experienced one, with the mix of youth and experience all playing their part in 2015 and looking to do the same again in 2016. Anything other than a top 4 finish and many fans would be very surprised.

Best buy: Bit of a no-brainer this one, with the best buy being centre James Roberts from the Titans. A gifted player and blessed with sheer, blinding pace, he is often regarded as the fastest man in the game. Coming off a career best year at the Titans, where he was their go-to man and the man that could create opportunity, he moves into a very different dynamic at the Broncos. He will no longer be the star of the show and will have to share the opportunity and creativity around, especially with a halves duo of Hunt and Milford. Adjusting into a new system is never an easy task and that is the challenge for Roberts in 2016. Unlikely to see as much ball this year compared to last year, he may have to change his own style and increase his overall work-ethic, if he is to get his hands on the ball as often. Doing so is merely a subtle change, but it is one that may take time for Roberts to get used to. His addition is a tremendous one for the Broncos and his attacking prowess will only bolster their back-line.

Most Promising Talent: Not too many players have come back from Mormon missions and been largely successful but one player that has the potential to buck that trend is Caleb Timu. A try-scoring machine in the Holden Cup before he left, he has always been rated highly by Broncos coaching staff and by the Broncos fans. This could be his break-out year, with a likely first-grade call-up to occur over the Origin period. Adept as a front-rower as well, Timu will be looking to get back into the swing of rugby league and make a strong impact in the Intrust Super Cup, where it is likely he will play. Whether he can take the leap and emulate his success prior to his Mormon mission is a challenge but with his natural ability as a player, if anyone can do it, it is Timu.

2016 Gains: Carlin Anderson (2016), Herman Ese’ese (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, 2016), Salesi Funaki (Wests Tigers, 2017), Darren Nicholls (Mid Season: South Sydney Rabbitohs, 2016), James Roberts (Gold Coast Titans, 2017), Marion Seve (Wests Tigers, 2016), Caleb Timu (2017).

Our predicted line-up:

1. Darius Boyd
2. Corey Oates
3. James Roberts
4. Jordan Kahu
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 (C)

14. Kodi Nikorima
15. Sam Thaiday
16. Jarrod Wallace
17. Joe Ofahengaue

Just with the Broncos side, it is worth noting that Jack Reed’s omission is due to injury. So upon his return, the line-up is subject to change.

New Head Coach of England is Wayne Bennett

Wayne Bennett

It was rumoured and it has eventuated, with one of the best coaches in the modern game today and the current Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, named as the new head coach of the English rugby league side.

The two-year deal as English head coach will see him take the side through the 2016 Four Nations and the 2017 World Cup.

The challenge is one that excites Bennett and he believes England have what it takes to go the extra mile in international rugby league.

“I am very excited by the challenge of taking England on to the next level,” said Bennett.

“From what I have seen I have been impressed by the ambition and energy demonstrated by the team and I look forward to working with a group of players that I believe have what it takes to succeed on the international stage.”

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood is pleased to have secured the services of Bennett as coach, well aware of his achievements and accolades as a coach over the years.

“Wayne is quite rightly regarded as the outstanding coach of this generation and I am delighted that we have been able to secure his services,” said Wood.

“This England team has made considerable progress over the last few years and we now possess truly world class players across all positions. These players deserve the very best support and coaching as we attempt to move from contenders into potential winners of international tournaments.

“I believe that Wayne Bennett is undoubtedly the right man to lead this group forward and enable them to do this”.

“We will be discussing with Wayne in due course the coaching support he will need which we expect will be UK based”.

Concussion issues force McManus to miss entire 2016 season

James McManus

A blow for the Newcastle Knights in terms of experience within their side, as veteran winger James McManus will sit out the entire 2016 season due to concussion issues.

Having not played in the NRL since Round 20 of 2015, he has been receiving constant medical advice and treatment for concussion.

McManus said he needs the time to re-assess his career and work out what options are available to him.

“I need rest and time to work through my options,” McManus said.

“This has been a difficult time and I certainly appreciate everyone’s support.”

Via the club, when there are further updates on his progress, McManus will provide those.

Eels forward makes the move North to Newcastle

Pauli Pauli

It was a move anticipated for quite some time in light of recent moves the Parramatta Eels have made, with the Newcastle Knights signing young gun Pauli Pauli.

The Eels, who gave Pauli his opportunity, released him from the final two years of his contract and released the following statement:

The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have today released Pauli Pauli from the final two years of his contract.

Pauli will take up an opportunity at another NRL club from the 2016 season onwards.

The club thanks Pauli for his 33 games in Blue and Gold and wishes him every success for his future.

With 33 NRL games to date, the signing is one that has Knights coach Nathan Brown pleased.

“This is great news for the Club because Pauli certainly improves our squad,” coach Nathan Brown said.

“Pauli is a young forward and will continue to develop and improve his game at the Knights.

“He immediately adds good size to our forward pack and we look forward to welcoming him to the Club.”

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