Mitchell slots golden point field goal as Roosters beat Storm in thriller

Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell

In arguably the game of the season so far, a Latrell Mitchell field goal has given the Sydney Roosters a golden point win over the Melbourne Storm.

The 21-20 victory at AAMI Park was set up by a terrific Sitili Tupouniua run and Mitchell did the rest early in golden point.

With plenty of hype surrounding the game as two competition heavyweights went head-to-head, the game lived up to it all.

It was the Roosters with the early running as they overpowered the Storm’s left side defence.

Mitchell had a field day and scored the opening try, after he combined with winger Daniel Tupou.

Other opportunities arose but it would take a further 15 minutes for the next Roosters try.

This time it was Kiwi international Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, who powered his way over as the Roosters extended their lead.

A further penalty goal and a James Tedesco try – set up by Mitchell’s run and fends – put the Roosters in a dominating position.

Down but not out, the Storm’s resiliency started to show towards the back end of the first half.

They scored a late try to winger Josh Addo-Carr on the cusp of half-time to give themselves some hope.

The Melbourne club then started the second half stronger of the two sides and they were rewarded.

Two tries in three minutes, one to forward Tui Kamikamica and the other to Curtis Scott, had the game primed and tied at 20-apiece.

Both sides had field goal attempts in the last few minutes of regular time but to no avail.

On the back of Tupouniua’s run, the ball came back to Mitchell on the last and from 40 out, he slotted the field goal, running away celebrating.

Trent Robinson was proud of his side for responding as they did in light of suspensions and injuries.

“I couldn’t be prouder of a group of men,” Robinson said.

“The way they represented the club and the jersey and the way they represented themselves and their family and the way.

“The character of the way they played tonight was exceptional.

“We weren’t perfect. I think we did run out of gas at different times.”

With a short turnaround ahead for the Storm, coach Craig Bellamy knows his side need to put this behind them and be better.

“There will be some important messages for us out of that game,” he said.

“We need to see how we handle them and taken them into our next game.

“Short turnarounds are always pretty tough, but everyone does it.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Latrell Mitchell

2. Cameron Smith

  1. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves

Rabbitohs overcome Bulldogs in scrappy Good Friday affair

South Sydney Rabbitohs five-eighth Cody Walker

It was their fifth win of the season but it was hardly convincing, as the South Sydney Rabbitohs overcame the Canterbury Bulldogs on Good Friday. 

The 14-6 win was one filled with scrappy plays, dogged defence, and missed opportunities.

The second half in particular was the grittiest, with no points scored by either side.

This was the first time that no points were scored in the second half since round one of 2017, also a game involving the Bulldogs.

More points could have been scored in the first half, had either side not had a try disallowed.

The points came early and quickly, as Campbell Graham opened the scoring for the Bunnies.

It was his sixth try in six games, as he finished acrobatically in the corner.

The Bulldogs soon hit back as a barnstorming Ofahiki Ogden powered straight through the middle to score a rare try.

Another Souths try came in the 25th minute, when Alex Johnston sliced through to score.

The tries stopped there, as the second half became a defensive battle.

There were plenty of chances for the Bulldogs especially to score more, though Jayden Okunbor and Kerrod Holland were bundled into touch.

Corey Harawira-Naera then missed the bounce off a Lachlan Lewis and Bulldogs coach Dean Pay could not believe it.

Although the Dogs can be proud of their defence, it is their attack that needs fixing.

Pay was proud of his side’s effort and made note of their resiliency.

“Overall, I thought we showed a fair bit of resilience today which we haven’t showed yet,” said Pay.

“The most positive thing out of it is that when it got really tough we hung in there for a while, and we kept hanging in there and that was the most pleasing part of it.”

Bunnies coach Wayne Bennett was critical of the ruck crackdown post-game.

“But I told them when I knew what was going down, the issue would be what was happening in the tackle,” said the veteran coach.

“You all saw it today. It had a huge impact on the game because of what was going on with the ruck and play-the-ball area.

“I’ve never been in an era where players are less compliant than they’ve ever been.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Cody Walker

2. Cameron Murray

  1. Sam Burgess

Garry Jack: What playing for the Tigers meant to me

Balmain Tigers fullback Garry Jack

One of the greatest ever players to don the Balmain Tigers jersey, Garry Jack has long been a fan favourite of the diehards. 

Speaking with Westslife Podcast, Garry Jack opened up on his playing career, what the club meant to him and what life has held post-footy.

Jack wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to the Tigers and he gave his thoughts on where the current team is at.

“I think given that where things were at last year with Ivan Cleary, when I found out he was leaving, I was disappointed,” said Jack.

“When I found out we were getting Maguire [Michael] to come on board, I thought that was a better fit for the club.”

Looking to improve on previous years, Jack believes the Tigers can push for higher honours.

“They’ve got a good squad, I think he [Maguire] has a great brain for picking out talent and he will develop these players,” said Jack.

Wests Magpies Garry Jack

Jack’s rugby league career began far away from the black and white of the Magpies realm in Wollongong.

“I played for Wests Illawarra which is the Red Devils down there from U7’s all the way through to first-grade,” the Balmain legend continued.

“My father played down there, my grandfather played down there, so I’m from a football family.”

Jack played alongside another Balmain legend in Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach, one of the club’s greatest ever props.

“Blocker [Steve Roach] was the year behind me and we played U17’s together,” Jack said.

“We went to the same high school, Blocker and I.

“He went to Balmain as a junior and I stayed at Wests Illawarra.”

Balmain Tigers prop Steve Roach, long-time teammate of Garry Jack.

It was then a catch-up following a touch footy game that would change the trajectory of Jack’s rugby league career forever.

“I was offered a trial and a chance to get fit and so I drove up there every day,” Jack said, excited at the opportunity.

“Garry Dowling, Johnny Ribot, Terry Lamb, Allan Neale were all there.

“We all trained with the first-grade squad; I was just one of the young fellas coming through.

“I played the trials and Roy Masters pulled me aside and wanted to offer me a contract.”

Balmain Tigers legend Garry Jack playing against the Parramatta Eels

The decision at the time for a young Jack was not easy but the chance in Sydney was too hard to give up.

“My dad was with me and I said I didn’t want to come to Sydney, I wanted to stay in Wollongong,” Jack said, telling the story.

“He said it was a great opportunity to come up and I think you’re going to end up as a five-eighth, not as a fullback.

“That’s what his advice to me was. That was good advice from Roy, hehe.”

The move to Wests led to a move to Balmain where Jack truly hit his stride as a player.

“There were about four clubs interested in me [Canberra, Eastern Suburbs, Illawarra and Balmain],” said Jack of the interest in him at the time.

“I suppose the biggest factor was that Keith Barnes came to my house in Sydney and he was good mates with the recruitment officer back in those days.

“We had a chat for three hours and he told me wanted a fullback for the future.

The powerhouse 1989 Balmain team featuring Garry Jack, Paul Sironen, Steve Roach and Wayne Pearce.

“They had Wayne Pearce coming through, a guy called Benny Elias coming through.

“I took a couple of weeks to decide but then I called him back and said I’d love to join the club, so I did.”

Although Jack’s Balmain side made two grand finals and lost both, the former fullback has watched them back since and forgot just how good they were.

“We actually did sit together once at Fox Studios in 2005,” Jack reminisced.

“We sat in a nice big booth there and watched the game. I’d never seen the game from 89 in 2005.

“My recollection of it after watching was what a great game it actually was! I was just so disappointed that we had lost.”

Australian representative Garry Jack

Jack also played for both the Sheffield Eagles and the Salford Red Devils in England, and opened up on the English game and his experiences there.

“It was a lot of fun. I was there for three years,” said Jack.

“I went to Sheffield Eagles in 1992-93 and had a great time over there. They were a young team and we made the final of the Yorkshire Cup.”

“The following year I was approached by Salford as a player-coach for a year and then coach the next year.

“I loved being a full-time professional and loved my time as coach for Salford.”

That experience as player-coach at Salford fuelled Jack’s desire to look at long-term coaching back in Australia.

“I loved coaching at Salford and a personal goal of mine was to try and come back here and coach in Australia,” Jack said.

Garry Jack during his time at Salford

When his time in England came to an end, Jack still felt fit enough to play on.

As luck would have it, he would rejoin the Balmain side alongside former team-mate Ellery Hanley.

“I feel really good,” Jack said, who was 34 at the time.

“I trained hard for six weeks, spoke to the club and when I got back to Australia, the club and Wayne Pearce gave me an opportunity.

“I played 11 games to end the year and I like to think I helped them there to steady the ship.”

Balmain meant so much to Jack and he enjoyed his second stint as much as his first.

“I was very fortunate; Balmain fans gave me a great reception when  I left in 92,” he said.

“I loved all my time at Balmain. I just loved the club, the joint and made plenty of great mates and memories from that era.

Balmain Tigers utility Ellery Hanley, a team-mate of Garry Jack’s.

As most players do, you learn that life is not all about footy and that pre-planning for your life post retirement is more important than ever.

“For the last 12 months, I’ve worked for the TAB,” said Jack.

“The last six months, that has led me into the Digital Acquisitions which means when you go to a hotel or club and you’re on your phone, I help sign people up on the TAB app.

“I have a lot of younger people and students going around to hotels and that sort of stuff.

“I’m responsible for their training.”

To listen to the full Westslife podcast, click the link and follow the Westslife podcast on Twitter (@WestsLifePod).

Tigers fans and rugby league fans in general, if you do not do so already, you can also follow Garry Jack on twitter (@jimmyjack244).

NRL Teams Rd 6

It is that time again! Teamlist Tuesday as NRL Teams Rd 6 approaches us. 

With surprise packets at the top, surprising cellar dwellars and injuries striking key players, how will teams respond this Easter weekend?

Plenty of big games, possible big exclusions and yet an exciting weekend of footy.

So, without further adieu, here we are; the NRL Teams for Rd 6 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Cronulla Sharks v Penrith Panthers (#NRLcropen); Pointsbet Stadium, Cronulla; Thursday, April 18. Kick-off: 7:50 pm. 

Sharks: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Bronson Xerri 4. Josh Morris 5. Sione Katoa 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Briton Nikora 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Blayke Brailey 15. Jayson Bukuya 16. Jack Williams 17. Scott Sorenson.

Interchange: 18. Kyle Flanagan 19. William Kennedy 20. Braden Hamlin-Uele 21. Aaron Gray.

Coach: John Morris

Panthers: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dylan Edwards 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou (C) 9. Wayde Egan 10. Tim Grant 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Isaah Yeo 13. James Fisher-Harris.

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Tyrell Fuimaono 16. Moses Leota 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

Reserves: 18. Jarome Luai 19. Liam Martin 20. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 21. Jed Cartwright.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Canterbury Bulldogs v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLcbysou); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Friday, April 19. Kick-off: 4:05 pm. 

Bulldogs: 1. Nick Meaney 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Jack Cogger 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Ofahiki Ogden 11. Josh Jackson (C) 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Rhyse Martin.

Interchange: 14. Michael Lichaa 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Adam Elliott 17. Chris Smith.

Reserves: 19. Christian Crichton 20. Marcelo Montoya 21. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 22. Fa’amanu Brown.

Coach: Dean Pay.

Rabbitohs: 1. Alex Johnston 2. Corey Allan 3. Kyle Turner 4. Dane Gagai 5. Campbell Graham 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. John Sutton (C)12. Sam Burgess 13. Cameron Murray.

Interchange: 14. Tevita Tatola 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ethan Lowe 17. Liam Knight.

Reserves: 18. Connor Tracey 19. Bayley Sironen 20. Rhys Kennedy 21. Jacob Gagan.

Coach: Wayne Bennett

Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters (#NRLmelsyd); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Friday, April 19. Kick-off: 7:55 pm. 

Storm: 1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Christian Welch 16. Tui Kamikamica 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen.

Reserves: 18. Billy Walters 19. Patrick Kaufusi 20. Albert Vete 21. Curtis Scott.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Angus Crichton 13. Zane Tetevano.

Interchange: 14. Lindsay Collins 15. Nat Butcher 16. Poasa Faamausili 17. Mitchell Aubusson.

Reserves: 18. Sam Verrills 19. Sitili Tupouniua 20. Joshua Curran 23. Lachlan Lam.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

New Zealand Warriors v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLwarnql); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday, April 20. Kick-off: 5:30 pm (AEST) & 7:30 pm (local). 

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Agnatius Paasi 9. Issac Luke 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Adam Blair 12. Tohu Harris 13. Lachlan Burr.

Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Sam Lisone 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Isaiah Papali’i.

Reserves: 18. Nathaniel Roache 20. Leivaha Pulu 21. Gerard Beale 22. Patrick Herbert.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Cowboys: 1. Te Maire Martin 2. Justin O’Neill 3. Jordan Kahu 4. Enari Tuala 5. Ben Hampton 6. Jake Clifford 7. Michael Morgan (C) 8. Matthew Scott 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Josh McGuire 13. John Asiata.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Coen Hess 16. Scott Bolton 17. Francis Molo.

Reserves: 18. Corey Jensen 19. Javid Bowen 20. Shane Wright 21. Mitchell Dunn.

Coach: Paul Green

St George Illawarra Dragons v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLsgiman); WIN Stadium, Wollongong; Saturday, April 20. Kick-off: 7:35 pm. 

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Euan Aitken 4. Tim Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Blake Lawrie.

Interchange: 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Zac Lomax 16. Jacob Host 17. Luciano Leilua.

Reserves: 18. Mitchell Allgood 19. Jai Field 20. Lachlan Timm 21. Jonus Pearson.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Manly: 1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Moses Suli 4. Brad Parker 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kane Elgey 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (C) 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Curtis Sironen 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Manase Fainu 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Corey Waddell 17. Toafofoa Sipley.

Reserves: 18. Kelepi Tanginoa 19. Sam Smith 20. Morgan Boyle 21. Trent Hodkinson.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights (#NRLgldnew); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Sunday, April 21. Kick-off: 2 pm. 

Titans: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. Tyrone Peachey 4. Brian Kelly 5. Dale Copley 6. Tyrone Roberts 7. Ashley Taylor 8. Shannon Boyd 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ryan James  (C) 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Bryce Cartwright 13. Jai Arrow.

Interchange: 14. Philip Sami 15. Keegan Hipgrave 16. Max King 17. Jai Whitbread.

Reserves: 18. Moeaki Fotuaika 19. Jack Stockwell 20. Jesse Arthars 21. Ryley Jacks.

Coach: Garth Brennan.

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce (C) 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. James Gavet 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tim Glasby.

Interchange: 14. Connor Watson 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Daniel Saifiti 17. Josh King.

Reserves: 18. Sione Mata’utia 19. Jamie Buhrer 20. Brodie Jones 21. Tautau Moga.

Coach: Nathan Brown.

Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLcanbri); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Sunday, April 21. Kick-off: 4:05 pm. 

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Sam Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. John Bateman 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton.

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Hudson Young 16. Iosia Soliola 17. JJ Collins.

Reserves: 18. Aidan Sezer 19. Corey Horsburgh 20. Jack Murchie 21. Bailey Simonsson.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Jack Bird 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Anthony Milford 7. Kodi Nikorima 8. Payne Haas 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Joe Ofahengaue 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. David Fifita.

Interchange: 14. Gehamat Shibasaki 15. Jaydn Su’A 16. Thomas Flegler 17. Patrick Carrigan.

Reserves: 18. Shaun Fensom 19. Patrick Mago 20. James Roberts 21. Richie Kennar.

Coach: Anthony Seibold

Parramatta Eels v Wests Tigers (#NRLparwst); Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta; Monday, April 22. Kick-off: 4 pm. 

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson (C) 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Jaeman Salmon 7. Mitch Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Marata Niukore 13. Tepai Moeroa.

Interchange: 14. Peni Terepo 15. Tim Mannah 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Ray Stone.

Reserves: 18. David Gower 19. Kane Evans 20. Josh Hoffman 21. Greg Leleisiuao.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Tigers: 1. Moses Mbye (C) 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Robert Jennings 4. Esan Marsters 5. Corey Thompson 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Luke Garner 13. Josh Aloiai.

Interchange: 14. Ben Matulino 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Matthew Eisenhuth 17. Michael Chee-Kam.

Reserves: 18. Paul Momirovski 19. Elijah Taylor 20. David Nofoaluma 21. Chris McQueen.

Coach: Michael Maguire.


Is America the next key target for rugby league?

News from the UK is the powers that be are reviewing an application from a New York team bid.

The consortium is wanting to follow in the footsteps of the Toronto Wolfpack into the English rugby league system.

The Toronto Wolfpack has been a revelation.

Moving up the English lower Leagues and then coming within a game of entering the English Super League at the end of last season.

They eventually lost to the London Broncos in the Million Pound Game playoff.

Many fans of traditional English teams feel threatened by the inclusion of teams from North America and Europe.

The Super League has in past tried to expand the game in France and Wales without success at the expense of traditional teams.

Most felt the Wolfpack would follow in demise as with previous attempts, mainly due to the expenses that would come with operating.

Particularly the travel costs for all teams and also lack of grass roots and support base in Canada.

To the surprise to many, the Wolfpack has been a success.

USA rugby league captain Mark Offerdahl, who has expressed support for a New York bid

They have a solid and loyal fan base, secured TV coverage and sponsorships.

Based on Toronto’s success, the New York consortium wants to also enter the lower leagues and become the first American professional rugby league team.

New York has a population of 8.5 million people. People from all corners of the world.

It would be reasonable to think there would be enough Australian, NZ, UK and French expats who would form the support base before they start attracting locals.

In America, rugby league is an amateur sport with little or no exposure.

However, if the New York consortium can be elevated to the English game, it could open a pathway for rugby league to reach unimaginable heights.

Americans love contact sport. Those who have been exposed to rugby league love what they see.

Although, the game is confused with rugby union. Perhaps the New York consortium can brand the name without rugby in the title.

America should be a market the English game should try to enter.

In fact, it should be a market the NRL and international rugby league boards should explore. With a population of roughly 325 million, the rewards would be endless.

The American college systems produce athletes who each year after graduation have limited options to continue playing high level competition if they are not awarded a professional contract within their chosen sport.

For example, the NFL draft takes 3000 applications each year.

Of these, only less than 250 are picked by teams and of those less than half actually make it on a NFL roster.

To think Jarryd Hayne made a roster based on these odds is something that should be applauded.

Some not picked in the NFL draft venture into the Canadian Football equivalent of the NFL, others to the indoor football league but the majority hang up the boots never to play again.

Athletes that have trained as hard as NFL players for 4 years, only to end up as wasted talents.

Jarryd Hayne during his NFL stint with the San Francisco 49’ers.

If Toronto and New York can succeed to super league and raise the profile of Rugby League in the USA, the American Dream may become a reality.

A huge population, endless corporate opportunity, a huge player talent pool and media outlets wanting sports.

The potential of North America is astronomical. To deny New York a bid would be a mistake in my view.

However, I empathise with fans whose team is impacted by the arrival of the bid team.

It is understandable of fans of traditional teams not wanting the New York team getting the go ahead. To see a team like Bradford Bulls struggling – once a genuine English powerhouse – it gives credence to their concerns.

Like us in Australia, we don’t want to see our teams axed, merged or relocated.

We also wouldn’t want to see an overseas team come into the NRL at the expense of our teams.

The truth of the matter is the bid team would enter in the lower leagues so the impact on all teams should be minimal.

The New York team as with Toronto, would have to play their way to make the Super League.

However, it is not an equal opportunity to all teams to compete for a spot in Super League.

Toronto and New York would rely on a player roster almost full of overseas talent. Ex NRL and Super League players.

They also have financial backing which existing clubs can not compete with.

For the growth of the game – particularly the Super League – it must make the hard decisions to build the competition to make it a multi country and major UK City team competition.

Changes that will not be popular to fans of the existing traditional smaller teams.

However, If promoted correctly and if Toronto and New York succeed, there are two paths that could be made.

The Super League becomes an elite multi nation competition with English, American, Canadian and French teams.

The second would be to exploit the success of Toronto and New York on the East Coast of North America and set up a USA/Canada League.

The Super League reverts back to a UK/ France League replacing the North American teams with major city U.K. teams like Manchester.

A US/ Canadian League could target large cities on the East Coast along with New York like Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and many more who’s combined population outnumbers Australia.

The potential of a men’s and women’s league being successful on the East Coast could spread the competition over time across the USA and Canada to include big market cities on the West Coast.

This is the ultimate wish and dream by many for rugby league to succeed in North America.

The worst scenario is, like previous attempts by Super League to expand, it fails.

Out of failure with Super League expansion, has come Catalans and London.

Raised exposure in areas not known as rugby league strongholds.

Similarly, in the NRL, for the failures of Super League, we gained the Melbourne Storm and the successful mergers of the Tigers and Dragons.

Change is hard. It is emotional and sad. I know personally of the pain of losing my team the Western Suburbs Magpies and having to accept a merger.

It took me a long time to accept the Wests Tigers.

I am glad I did. The 2005 Premiership made up for the sadness and loss. I also knew deep down that as a stand alone club, my Magpies would have died a slow and agonising death.

This is the extreme and a long way off for fans of the traditional English clubs.

If accepted, the New York bid could be the start of a new era and for the betterment of the game.

I wish the bid well.

Let me know your thoughts about growth of the game particularly that if North America.

Injury forces Rabbitohs star Inglis into early retirement

South Sydney Rabbitohs utility back Greg Inglis

Greg Inglis initially made a decision to retire at the end of 2020 but the South Sydney Rabbitohs centre will retire early due to injury.

With his body not coping with the strenuous demands that come with rugby league, the decision was made.

One of the greats of the modern era, Inglis won premierships, Clive Churchill Medals and had numerous successes with Queensland and Australia.

Although his playing career is over, Inglis knows this is just the beginning of a new chapter for his career.

“I’m not looking at today’s announcement as the end of my career. I’m looking at it as the start of my next one,” Inglis said.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have had the playing career I have had, and to have played in some awesome teams with great team mates and under some great coaches.

“I want to thank them all for everything they have done for me and my family.”

The decision was not one that he made lightly but he knows that it was the right one.

“This isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly and over the last week, spending time with family and moving out of the spotlight, it has given me some clarity about the way forward for me and my family,” continued Inglis.

“People have always told me you’ll know when it’s time to retire from playing, and I know within myself that that time is now.”

Inglis has shown an interest in coaching and looks forward to learning under the tutelage of Wayne Bennett.

“I feel I have something to offer in coaching and I’m very keen to learn more from Wayne and the other coaches, and to work closely with the young players we have coming up through the grades here at the Rabbitohs,” said Inglis.

“I feel that my experiences over the past 15 years will be of value to them and I want to pass those on.”

In addition to that, Inglis will work with the South Cares program and has an NRL ambassador.

“I’ve been active in Souths Cares and I’m keen to learn more about the community and administration side of the Club, so working with Alisha and Blake is a perfect way to do that,” said an excited Inglis.

“And I’ll also have the opportunity to work with Todd’s (Greenberg’s) team over at the NRL this year in their ambassador program which will be a good way to stay connected with the game as a whole.”

Having seen a lot of him during his time with the Rabbitohs, General Manager of Football Shane Richardson praised the premiership winner.

“Greg is without doubt one of the greatest players to have played our game, he will feature in discussions around the Hall of Fame and the Immortals in years to come, and I know the influence he has had on the game on the field will carry over to his new ventures off the field,” Mr Richardson said.

Wayne Bennett also praised Inglis, making the most of the chance to coach the Rabbitohs star.

“I made no secret of the fact that I wanted to coach Greg one day, and even though it was only brief, I’ve really enjoyed coaching him since joining South Sydney in December,” Coach Bennett said.

“He has achieved so much during his playing career and I’m sure his name will be mentioned alongside the greats of the game in our history.”

Raiders shut out Eels at GIO Stadium once again

Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton

If you had said that the Parramatta Eels and Canberra Raiders would be one of the games of the round in 2019 a year ago, many would not have believed you.

And yet here we were at GIO Stadium in Round 5, both teams with only 1 loss to their name.

The battle proved very vicious too – so vicious Blake Ferguson was left clutching what was surely a broken nose early in the first half and then left the field in the second half with suspected fractured ribs.

Ferguson not being the only casualty, with Joseph Tapine also suffering a bad ankle injury, the third of the round.

The Raiders led the possession leaving the visitors with only 38% of the ball in the first half, however, the boys in blue and gold refused to fold on defense.

After 6 repeat sets, the Raiders finally got their first points for the night in the 27th minute through Josh Papalii after he steamrolled an exhausted Eels defense.

The Eels held strong for the remaining of the half however the home team chose to turn a penalty into points which saw them heading to the sheds up by 8 at half time.

Despite being down by 8, the Eels showed their strength in their best defensive half in 2019 but also showed by far their worst attacking half with only 57% completion rate.

The Eels carried their poor completion into the second half, turning the ball over every time they had any sort of opportunity and leaving their fans feeling deja vu of the round 6 loss in 2018.

The Raiders capitalised, this time a lot quicker, through Elliott Whitehead jumping on a loose ball that the Eels were unable to clean up.

It appeared that the Eels were incapable of completing any sets and the Raiders took full control because of it.

Jack Wighton dominated in the second half and got himself 4 points after he outjumped the Eels defenders for a Sam Williams try assist with a beautiful cross field kick.

The Raiders had moments of excellence in attack but their defence was exceptional as well, holding out Parramatta every chance they had to score.

With 3 minutes to go, Sam Williams wrapped the game up and added some salt to the wounds with an uncontested field goal to extend the lead to 19.

The Eels will travel back to Parramatta having only completed 19 sets of 34 and well and truly feeling the reality check of the Canberra Raiders and GIO Stadium.

NRL News Man of the Match

3. Jack Wighton

2. Josh Papalii

1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Hunt Dominates in Bulldogs beatdown

St George Illawarra Dragons halfback Ben Hunt

After a rocky start to the season, the St George Illawarra dragons well and truly quietened their haters after a brutal beating of the Canterbury Bulldogs in front of 13,409 fans at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

The Dragons were first on the board with Euan Aitken steam rolling over his defenders off a bullet pass from Ben Hunt.

Tim Lafai proved that he has been practicing his kicks on the training paddock converting the try and a penalty goal 5 minutes later.

With 10 minutes to go in the half, Lafai found himself attempting to convert his own try, a beauty which started with a one on one strip.

Hunt, who had his best game of 2019, jumped on an attacking opportunity stripping the ball one-on-one and then breaking down the field putting his team in excellent attacking position.

They carried the ball to the left and Corey Norman put Lafai over through a cut out pass, not before he broke through some defenders first, though.

Just 5 minutes later and with the game in full control, the Dragons extended their lead even more this time through Mikaele Ravalawa.

Once again, Ben Hunt was there to provide the assist.

The Dogs went up the tunnel at half time without any points to their name.

However, Dragons fans weren’t entirely comfortable with the 18 point lead knowing how unpredictable both teams can be.

The first half of the second half proved to be much more of a tug-o-war which saw both teams coming up with some costly errors and incapable of capitalising on prime opportunities.

Ben Hunt thought he had himself a try after having a part in every other try, however he was denied because Ravalawa took his defender out of play.

Just a few minutes later however, Jordan Pereira got himself his 4th try this season this time off a beautiful Matt Dufty play.

The Dragons spine, which was under so much scrutiny just a few weeks earlier, today proved their power.

After being denied one earlier, Ben Hunt got himself his 4 points, jumping on a poor offload decision from Kerrod Holland and extending the lead to 28.

Rhyse Martin looked to have got his team their first points but the Dragons defense was far too strong holding him up.

The Bulldogs were then unable to convert the goal line opportunity turning the ball over.

The Dragons, however, did capitalise on their opportunity through the help of no one else but Ben Hunt.

Norman put up a ginormous bomb which Jayden Okunbor was unable to handle, handing it over to Hunt who passed it off to Zac Lomax, fresh on the field and scoring his first NRL try.

In what could be called a consolation try, Reimis Smith got the Bulldogs their first points of the night turning a repeat set into points and giving their fans something to celebrate at least.

Despite letting their opponent on the board, the Dragons weren’t done.

Euan Aitken was denied his double but after the ball was turned around once again, Ben Hunt got his in what is being crowned as a potential try of the year so far.

After being under pressure to start the year, Hunt is enjoying his footy and that improves his overall game.

“Benny is really enjoying his footy,” Dragons coach Paul McGregor said.

“When someone with that much talent is enjoying his footy, it’s exciting to watch. He’s had a couple of good games this year but that was his best.”

NRL News Man of the Match:

3. Ben Hunt

2. James Graham

1. Corey Norman

Strong opening sees Manly hold off Knights

Manly Sea Eagles lock Jake Trbojevic

Despite the best efforts of the Newcastle Knights, the Novocastrians slumped to a fourth loss of the season, defeated by the Manly Sea Eagles. 

Unable to recover from an early 18-0 deficit, although they did their best to get back in the contest, it was too little, too late.

The Sea Eagles started with more energy as 200-gamer Daly Cherry-Evans and Kane Elgey both combined.

Their combination led to the game’s opening try for winger Jorge Taufua. A tough sideline conversion was made and Manly went up 6-0.

Just five minutes later, Manly extended their lead as Apisai Koroisau exploited poor defence to scoot away to find Taufua.

Chased down by Knights winger Edrick Lee, Taufua then found opposite winger Reuben Garrick inside who scored an easy try.

The Knights chances hit a snag when Kalyn Ponga was taken from the field for HIA after a high shot.

Ponga would return but not until the back end of the first-half and by then, the Manly side had a commanding 18-0 lead.

Jake Trbojevic then showed off his silky kicking skills, grubbering ahead for Joel Thompson to score a try.

Penalties galore for the Knights were not enough to see them score and they could have gone further behind but for a Manly shepherd.

Kalyn Ponga sprung into action when he returned to the field; first setting up Edrick Lee with a grubber kick.

Then kicking off numerous attacking raids with blistering line-breaks.

The pressure proved telling as Aidan Guerra then scored the Knights second try to get them back in the contest.

His night would end soon after, however, suffering a suspected broken tibia and fibula.

A Cherry-Evans penalty goal put Manly up 20-12 as the Knights had chances to narrow the deficit after Addin Fonua-Blake was sin-binned.

They failed to do so and were unable to crack the Manly line, with Nathan Brown’s job now facing further pressure.

With three straight wins to their name, Manly coach Des Hasler is not getting carried away yet.

“It’s only round five. We’ve got a long way to go. We’re still building,” Hasler said.

“We’re thereabouts. We’re in amongst it.

“I just thought that given our start, and we were probably in a position to maybe win one of those games, that it’s just good to get a little bit of momentum, and to pick up three wins is important.”

There were no excuses from Brown who just lamented his side’s poor start.

“Our lack of intensity to start the contest, we were really poor there, and not at the level we’ve certainly been at for the first four weeks,” Brown said.

“The fact that we had two real tough, tight losses, to think we could just mosey on through against a good side in that early part … was very, very disappointing.

“I can’t make any excuse for anything. I can’t offer anything.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jake Trbojevic

2. Kalyn Ponga

  1. Daly Cherry-Evans

Walker’s four-try blitz guides Rabbitohs to comeback win over Warriors

South Sydney Rabbitohs 5/8 Cody Walker

A late two-try blitz from Cody Walker has guided the South Sydney Rabbitohs to a comeback win over the New Zealand Warriors. 

Playing at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, it was the New Zealand Warriors who looked the goods early.

They were eventually chased down by the Rabbitohs with Walker’s two tries gifting the Bunnies a narrow 28-24 win.

A reshuffle forced Peta Hiku to move into the halves and Gerard Beale called upon to play at centre.

The early forced change failed to dampen the Warriors rapid start to the game as captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck led from the front.

After blowing the chance for a try earlier, he made amends as he nabbed the game’s first four-pointer.

A quick-fire Cody Walker double then put Souths ahead as the cardinal and myrtle side began to gain ascendancy.

A rare try for Warriors utility hooker Jazz Tevaga was next, as he darted through the Bunnies line off a Lachlan Burr offload.

The match looked to be wrapped up for the Warriors as a barging Sam Lisone planted the ball down.

Tohu Harris crossed soon after in what looked like a match-winning lead for the Warriors.

It was not to be, however, as that man stood up again. Cody Walker scored two further tries in quick succession to gift the Rabbitohs victory.

His efforts saw him become the first Rabbitohs player to score four tries against the Warriors.

Souths coach Wayne Bennett has been there and done that, so he was not phased when his side was

“Strangely enough, I was more worried long before we were down 24-12,” Bennett said.

“I wasn’t worried when we were down 24-12. There was a lot of time left in the game and we were picking up the momentum we lost.

“The rhythm wasn’t there, it was stop-start, and I said to our assistant coach we’re starting to get back into a groove and we’ll be OK.”

Not blaming the loss of Blake Green as a reason for the loss, Warriors coach Stephen Kearney lamented his side’s lack of game management.

“I couldn’t fault the effort but I thought we weren’t that smart at the back end of sets in the second half,” Kearney said.

“When we got 12 points ahead, we had to manage the game more effectively. We didn’t do that so well and that was frustrating.

“I reckon we had enough occasions to manage the game properly but just failed to do so.

“That’s the NRL, you’ve got to work to the final whistle. Sixty-minute efforts don’t get you the win.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Cody Walker

2. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

  1. Damien Cook

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