Broncos wipe the floor with Cowboys 36-2

The Broncos minus big names Darren Lockyer and Karmichael Hunt still flexed plenty of muscle to totally smash the Cowboys and condemn them to 3 straight losses for the 2008 NRl season.

Again it was the silky skills and promise of Peter Wallace who orchestrated the majority of Brisbane’s attack, he was ably supported by strong performances from PJ Marsh, Sam Thaiday and a spirited Ben Hannant.The massive Suncorp crowd of 50,612 were kept entertained by numerous big hits from both sets of forwards, with Hannant showing tremendous courage to play on after being knocked senseless from the first tackle of the match.

The Cowboys opened the scoring through a Johnathan Thurston penalty goal in the 7th minute, but that was to be the last bit of joy for the visitors for the night.

Hannant was ‘johnny on the spot’ in the 31st minute when he crossed for his side’s opening four pointer, with the hulking prop falling on a spilt bomb to score.

The home team was able to cross twice more before the break, with Marsh and Darius Boyd’s tries handing Brisbane a commanding 18-2 half-time lead.

The game was good as over when Brisbane winger Reece Robinson scored his side’s fourth try in the 48th minute, with the rookie winger capitalising on good lead up work to score his first try in the NRL

Further tries to Steve Michaels and Tonie Carroll completed the rout, with the Broncos seemingly holding onto the number one position on the table for the third consecutive week.

The Broncos will now travel to Olympic Park next Friday night to tussle with defending premiers the Melbourne Storm, whilst the Cowboys will try to regroup in time for their tussle with the Parramatta Eels next Saturday night.

Brisbane Broncos 36
Tries: Ben Hannant, PJ Marsh, Darius Boyd, Reece Robinson, Steve Michaels, Tonie Carroll
Goals: Peter Wallace 3, Michael Ennis 3
North QLD Cowboys 2

Goals: Johnathan Thurston

At Suncorp Stadium

Referee – Ben Cummins
Crowd – 50,612

Eels beat Knights 24-23 Golden Point

The Eels and Knights were engaged in rapid fire NRL Rugby League, the first half being played at a frantic pace.

Parramatta looking focused for their first home game and enjoying big early possession. Tim Smith slotting back in nicely and adding more direction and options in attack. The Eels scoring early, Jarryd Hayne getting a nice reflex action try off a ricochet from a Knights foot after a Tim Smith grubber sped through.

The Eels were in again, working for the penalties and piggy backing down field. It was Jarryd Hayne again who scored the 4 pointer, running on to a great gap run off a Brett Finch cut out ball – hammering the Knights right edge and scoring. Burt missing the conversion 10-0 to the Eels. The score looked like being anything here, the Eels having heaps of ball and Mateo and co running riot mid field for plenty of second phase play.

The Knights to their credit responded well, when they got their fair share of ball they too looked sharp in attack. With field position eventually coming their way, the game plan was obviously to attack the Eric Grothe edge. Brian Smith sending plenty of traffic they way of his old winger, the Knights getting over the line easily from a nice backline back in the 12 minute. Keith Lulia scoring easily on the Eels right hand edge.

The Knights gained confidence from the try and the likes of Danny Buderus and Kurt Gidley were making inroads in the retreating Eels defence. Half back Scott Dureau backing things up with a good long kicking game, making Luke Burt work hard in defence. Dureau kicking regularly on the 4th tackle to turn the Eels around.

The strict Knights game plan worked wonders again, in the 30th minute Cooper Vuna exploiting Eric Grothe and his defence problems again roaring in to get the Knights in front after a pin point Kurt Gidley conversion. 12-10 Knights.

The game had quickly turned on it’s head, the Eels had gone from cruise mode to playing for survival with the Knights showing their attacking flair.

Grothe then worked hard to repay his team and did it in the best way possible, scoring off a long range Eels movement that went through plenty of hands. The Eels worked it from left to right from 40m and after Joel Reddy made an angled run to find space, he passed to Grothe who took a tough catch and charged bum-on ‘Craig Young’ style to hit, spin and reach out to score.

The Eels revived and scoring again through Brett Finch. Feliti Mateo busting poor defence centre field to position Finch to score under the goal posts untouched. The Eels getting the upper hand minutes before half time 20-12

After half time, both sides coming out a little weary and taking a while to get into top gear. The Knights having the best early chance, getting some good field position but bombing a certain try and Danny Wicks pulled off a great hit and spin, offloading to Gidley who only had to pass to McManus for the try. Gidley throwing the ball behind the winger and losing it over the whitewash.

The Knights continued their solid push, in the 45th minute – boom halfback Scott Dureau putting up a classic spiral bomb a la Matt Orford that always looked like troubling Luke Burt – it was dropped, but Jarryd Hayne was there to clean up the Eels.

After 10 minutes of the second half both teams started getting very sloppy, plenty of dropped ball and poor passing saw the game start to get a touch ugly. The Eels snapping out of it to nearly go over through Mark Riddell. Piggy charging at the line from 2m, getting over and wrestling to score – referee Tony Archer making a poor call of held and not letting the player fight the defence. Mark Riddell actually scoring a try, but it was pulled back because of the held call. The Eels were understandably furious and back chatted costing them another penalty.

The Knights taking the chance with both hands and eventually scoring through Wes Naiqama and bringing the game back to 20-18. The Knights for the first time looking good enough to go all the way and the Eels on their heels. Danny Buderus was carving the Eels up having his best game in a long time, certainly looking every bit the representative player he was.

After 62 minutes, the Knights were looking home and hosed with a slick left edge play showing more Eels problems in defence – Gidley offloading for Patterson to eventually position Lulia to score a hot Knights try – sending them to 22-20 after Gidley narrowly missed the kick.

Newcastle hurting themselves after giving away a penalty soon after and letting the Eels sneak back in.

Jarrod Mullen got his side edged ahead again in the 73rd minute with a snap field goal and making it 23-22.

The Eels looked gone, but somehow captain Nathan Cayless snapped a field goal to send the game into golden point. 23-23

The Eels holding their nerve to get a field goal from the scrum to win 24-23

Latemail: Hunt and Lockyer Out

Brisbane Broncos have suffered a huge loss in the hours leading up to their big clash tonight with the North Queensland Cowboys.

Fullback Karmichael Hunt has failed a fitness test and will miss the match.

It’s now understood that Darren Lockyer is also struggling with his knee for the Round 3 NRL match against the Cowboys. Lockyer has been coming off the bench in the early Rounds, but there is strong mail he will miss tonights match all together.

The Cowboys are searching for their first win for the 2008 NRL season and while this game is at Suncorp Stadium, the North Queenslanders might have a mental edge now – as the Broncos lose two big names.

Sonny Bill Williams dumps long time manager

Sonny Bill Williams Gavin Orr Khoder NasserNRL News raised concerns in early February about Sonny Bill Williams linking with Anthony Mundine. It seems the influence of the Mundine enigma has had a profound affect on SBW, the Bulldogs big name yesterday dumping his long term manager Gavin Orr to link with Mundine manager Khoder Nasser.

Williams was picked up by Gavin Orr as a promising 15 year old and the manager has taken him to the loft heights his now enjoys today. There is alot of ‘Jerry McGuire’ about this current backflip from SBW, the big name managers fighting over the prize player – but mixed in with all the politics is a dash of religion, two topics you’re not supposed to raise with guests let alone both at once.

SBW has apparently told team mates he is not interested in converting to islam, but after dumping long term manager Orr further surprises might be possible.

Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg last night confirmed Sonny Bill had left Gavin Orr’s Pacific Sports Management group.

He said Williams had asked the Bulldogs to liaise with Nasser, not Orr.

“We are dealing with Khoder Nasser,” Greenberg said. “I haven’t talked to Khoder yet, but I will be very keen to speak to him next week.”

Orr said he had not been informed of the split.

The move comes as Sonny Bill Williams has taken a more public stance in recent weeks, the talented NRL player speaking on the NRL Footy Show about several topics close to his heart and elaborating on things more than he has ever done before. SBW has said he is keen to take a much greater role in the spotlight and use his profile to assist others less fortunate than himself, such as the plight of younger Polynesian Rugby League players as they come through the ranks.

“I don’t know,” Orr said.

“I haven’t been told anything. I will wait until I hear from Sonny until I comment. I think he is big enough to tell me.”

Brian Smith still loves to SMS

Brian Smith likes to SMS Text Message Danny Buderus and the Newcastle KnightsNewcastle coach Brian Smith likes to send text messages to players mobile phones writes John Chelsea, the habit dating back to his early days at the Parramatta Eels. Seemingly a big fan of the SMS text message, it’s come to light that Smith not only continues to send messages players on their mobile phones – but went wayh over the top by sending antagonising SMS messages to prominent Newcastle Knights hooker Danny Buderus; which seems to have been the catalyst for their falling out.

Initially coming to light several years ago, a pocket of Parramatta players went public with their dislike of their coach at the time Brian Smith sending annoying text messages after hours reminding them of game plans and advising them of their duties. As if the players don’t get enough of Rugby League during their full-time daily routines; you can understand some of them getting frustrated with 24/7 coach contact.

But what about this latest round of SMS activity from Brian Smith, not only sending his current Newcastle players messages but also playing serious mind games with captain Danny Buderus. Several players including Buderus were out celebrating the birthday of Andrew Johns; during the evening – Buderus apparently received two text messages from coach Smith. The first SMS message said “Terence Seu Seu is a great player” obviously a reference to ex-Knights hooker Seu Seu being a possible replacement for Buderus should he not perform. The message was followed up with a second, saying “Terence Seu Seu will play NZ Test football” further pushing the barrow of the rookie hooker.

The only explanation for the Brian Smith messages was to put pressure on Buderus. Certainly not a smart way to go about things, Danny Buderus an Australian and NSW Origin representative would have felt totally disrespected by the comments and you can understand the strained relations between Buderus and Smith through-out 2007.

Fast forward to 2008 and the Newcastle Knights are now set to lose Danny Buderus at the end of the year. The long term Newcastle man set to join the UK Super League ranks in 2009. Certainly the relationship with the new coach must have played some part in this decision, with Buderus contracted to the Knights until the end of 2009 but earning an early release from the club.

For Brian Smith, it seems the unusual methods continue. While 2007 was a horror year for the Knights – in 2008, the Newcastle Knights are undefeated. Strong NRL results preceeded by unbeaten trial game form have proven that the clean-out instigated by Brian Smith is so far justified. Will it continue? The future looks tough for the Knights, they’ve had two great wins – but depth looks to be their biggest threat. Tonight they have a tough road trip, heading to Smiths old stomping ground at Parramatta.

I wonder how many text messages will be sent tonight?

The Grubber Previews NRL Round 3

The NRL News Grubber does his tipping and NRL Round 3 Preview“After a horror Round 2 analysis, the Grubber returns this week after getting a late release from the suicide ward at Royal Price Alfred Hospital. With some tough match-up’s for NRL Round 3, the Grubber has his work cut out as does everyone else in Rugby League tipping competitions.”

Hello Everyone, thanks to those that sent get well cards – trust my tips this week, I will get you back on top of your tipping comp! If you’re a betting person, look to the Penrith Panthers vs Souths match. The Panthers are red hot specials with the bookies paying around the $1.50 mark which is quite amazing considering their poor form, look to get better odds on Souths and while they have wholesale changes this week – they’ll be up for the clash and represent good value; Uncle Grubber will be off to the TAB first thing this morning to get in on the action there. Ok, here’s how I see things this Round:

Parramatta Eels v Newcastle Knights – The first Eels home game for 2008, after a woeful showing against the NZ Warriors the Eels will have been embarressed during the week and will be up for this game. Emotions will be running high, as Nathan Hindmarsh lost his father after a battle with cancer and no doubt the team will want to get the Hindmarsh family a win to dedicate. The Knights while winning 2 from 2, face a massive ask. Their defence will need to improve to starve the strong Eels attack; however their young forward pack could give the Eels some headaches too. Danny Wicks, Jesse Royal and Richie Faaoso could certainly do some damage. However, I see Parramatta with the most advantage in this game.

Brisbane Broncos v North Queensland Cowboys – An exciting match up here, the winless Cowboys having a huge task to de-rail the new look Broncos at Suncorp. The Broncos looked composed last week and at home I can’t see them struggling to much unless they get some bad calls or injuries. Naturally the Cowboys are down on confidence and new combinations are taking longer to bring together; Travis Burns in particular might be a little starved of ball with JT playing a strong role in the side and unusually their attack isn’t what it was last year. I can’t see the Cowboys getting their first win at Suncorp, look to the Broncos to keep their roll going.

Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm – Another great match-up here. The Sydney Roosters unlucky last week and robbed of a certain try. The Storm very patchy and getting touched up by the Sharks. I think the Storm are really missing some of their injured players and the departure of Brett White will see this trend continue. While Inglis is sorely missed, they do miss the passion and drive of Michael Crocket I reckon. The Roosters did beat the Storm in Sydney last year and I think they could cause and upset here. Yep, I do – back Freddies boys in this one.

Canberra Raiders v St George Illawarra – Well picking a winner in this game is probably the same as choosing red or black on roulette. So maybe take the better odds and play 19-36 on the roulette table instead. Being serious, the Dragons should win this game after their form showing on Monday night. However, if they don’t see as much possession in this match it could be a different story. Canberra won ugly, but are a gritty side at home. I nervously predict the Raiders to have enough grit in their ACT homeland even without Zillman and Logan – Don’t forget, the Dragons have not won in Canberra in 8 years, a hoodoo that could remain fresh in their minds.

Gold Coast Titans vs Cronulla Sharks – An interesting match-up at Skilled Stadium, the Sharks getting another stern test after a tough road trip to Melbourne. Cronulla has been really stretched in the forwards, already low on depth after Reece Williams was struck down for the season and now Ben Ross goneskis it looks tricky for them. The Titans didn’t have enough ball against the Dragons – but when they got possession in good field position they looked very hot. I think emotionally Cronulla will be down and the Titans should light up at home in front of a bumper crowd. The Gold Coast to win.

Penrith Panthers vs South Sydney – A mountain of pressure on the mountain men here and their coach Matt Elliott. The Panthers have been in search of answers for 18 months, will they find them at CUA Stadium this week? I don’t think so. The bookies seem to know something here, why are the Panthers such red hot favourites? Is someone in the know? I initially wanted to follow the money, but Uncle Grubber phoned up Russell Crowe and said “Will the boys be ready?” And the big guy told me – “They’re specials!” So given that Jason Taylor would have had the whip out this week, Souths should be up for this one. Both sides winless this year, the better completion rate and less-risky style from Souths should see them get home in this one.

Bulldogs vs Wests Tigers – Amazingly the Wests Tigers could be 3-0 after this game, with no one really picking them as a major force in 2008. The Benji-less Tigers are anything but toothless – with young gun Tim Moltzen looking like hot property and surely would have management trying to buy him half of Campbelltown to keep him on the books. The Bulldogs on the other hand would kill for an upcoming junior like Moltzen or a key signing anytime soon – the Dogs looking unpredictable so far and unable to give any guide to tipsters. I think the improved defence of the Wests Tigers, with only 26 points against them should be enough to get them home. In addition, their mobile forwards have suddenly become an advantage in the 10 man interchange system – making them much more potent.

Manly Sea Eagles vs NZ Warriors – Brookvale will come to life on Monday night for what should be a good, physical game. The Warriors will travel with confidence and their physical presence will trouble Manly at times. For the Sea Eagles, a horror start to the year so far – confidence down and mentally they won’t want to hear another NRL guru like the Grubber talk about the ‘Monaghan Factor’. However, at home this week Des Hasler should have the 2008 Manly side ready to unleash; expect a big showing from Brett Stewart on the pack of quick play the balls and with an up-tempo game – they’ll look to run the big Warriors raggard. Manly look good for the win here.

Nathan Hindmarsh loses father

Ian and Nathan Hindmarsh have sadly lost their father Bill after a long battle with cancer. It’s was reported by the Eels today that Bill Hindmarsh wished for Nathan to play in this Fridays match against the Newcastle Knights and the Hindmarsh family will be supporting that wish.

The Hindmarsh family has asked for privacy during this period and everyone here at NRL News passes on their sincere condolences to the Hindmarsh family.

Ben Ross rubbed out for 7 weeks

Cronulla Sharks prop Ben Ross was tonight banned for 7 weeks for his late elbow to the Storms Cooper Cronk. The NRL judiciary showed no mercy to the prominent Sharks forward – making an example of Ross and confirming that late, high hits will simply not be tolerated in todays Rugby League.

A devastated Ben Ross admitted he has let his teammates down and his suspension has come at the worst time for the Sharks as they struggle to fill gaps in their forward pack after losing Reece Williams indefinitely with a knee injury. Adding to the pain, was the fact that the Sharks have started the 2008 NRL season in the best possible fashion – undefeated in Rounds 1 and 2, beating the highly rated Manly and Melbourne teams.

Ross tried to explain his moment of madness as a ‘mistimed push’; explaining he was merely trying to push the smaller Cronk – but the speed and height difference caused the connection to be made higher, thus collecting Cronk in the head.

Ricky Stuart is privately fuming at the poor discipline of Ben Ross; the big prop having previous history at the judiciary and adding to this, he has spent plenty of time on the injured list after joining the Sharks. Cronulla have every right to question the value they are getting from the big name player.

In other NRL citing news; Manly Sea Eagle Josh Perry has escaped a ban after challenging his head-butt charge and succeeding. Originally facing a one-match ban, Perry tonight pleaded not guilty and the panel saw it his way. This was an amazing escape for Perry, I have no idea how he escaped penalty on this one – his attack on Danny Wicks was clear as day; a direct head-butt that has now gone unpunished! How can White cop a 4 week ban for striking and Perry get off scott free? Extreme Inconsistency in my eyes.

Hunt OK, Broncos first escape in 14 years

Karmichael Hunt beats judiciary shoulder charge 2008Karmichael Hunt has successfully defended his shoulder charge on Braith Anasta and will line-up for Brisbane Broncos against the North Queensland Cowboys in this weeks NRL Round 3 blockbuster.

Not only was it a victory for Karmichael Hunt, but it was the first time in 14 years the Brisbane Broncos have visited the judiciary and come away with the win; at times testing their patience as the Broncos felt they were treated differently to Sydney based clubs.

Defended by former panel head, Jim Hall and scientist Dr Tim Gabbett – he and the Broncos argued that Braith Anasta slipped as much as 60cm on approach and thus it was humanly impossible for Karmichael to readjust given the speed of reaction time required.

The judiciary agreed and Hunt emerged victorious, the star fullback never before having to face a suspension and keeping his clean sheet intact. The addition of Hunt to the Brisbane lineup will have the Cowboys nervously looking over their should as they try to get their first NRL Result of 2008 after losing their first two rounds.

Brett White banned for 4 weeks

Melbourne Storm prop forward Brett White has tonight been unsuccessful in having his striking charge downgraded and will miss a total of 4 NRL matches.

Originally set to miss only 3 weeks with a guilty plea, White and his legal team decided to challenge the grading and felt that due to the provocation of Ben Ross striking Cooper Cronk – a reaction was somewhat justified.

The judiciary panel of Bob Lindner, Darrell Williams and Royce Ayliffe felt that White had acted somewhat like a vigilante and had plenty of time to ‘think about’ his actions before deciding to attack Ben Ross.

The ruling should have a knock-on effect for players contemplating running in to defend teammates – as it seems the 3rd man into brawls will not be tolerated by the NRL or referees.