Ray ‘Rabs’ Warren in danger of missing grand final due to infection

The man regarded as the voice of the NRL , Channel 9’s Ray Warren, is in danger of missing out on his first grand final in 40 years, as he is in hospital suffering a severe infection.

He was given antibiotics initially, but after they failed to improve his condition, Warren, 67, was placed on a drip. His temperature was at 39.6 degrees, and he has been bed-ridden in hospital for the last six days.

Warren said, “I’ve got a sky-high temperature, the shivers, shakes and sweats”.

The infection bothering Warren was finally traced to his prostate, and he would try to walk tomorrow, in an attempt to be fit and raring to go for the grand final this weekend.

Should Rabs health not improve, then it is most likely that fellow Channel 9 commentator Andrew Voss will be called upon to commentate on the big game.

“One of the problems is my temperature,” Warren said.

“It was 37 earlier today but 39.4 a few minutes ago. That is a dangerous temperature.

“It’s up and down like a fiddler’s elbow. I was on antibiotics but I wasn’t getting any better so they put me on a drip.

“At the moment I can’t talk with any confidence. After a day or two in hospital, I’m starting to feel OK but until I get on my pegs [legs] I won’t know. I have to be fair to the people around me, including Andrew. I can’t leave a decision any later than Friday.”

When asked if he was worried as to whether or not he would indeed miss his first grand final in 40 years, Warren replied, “I haven’t missed one in 40 years but it wouldn’t be the end of the world as far as I’m concerned.”

Peter Wynn considering at a possible challenge to current Eels board

Eels great Peter Wynn is just one of many former Eels greats that are seriously contemplating making a run for a position on the Eels board.

After the controversial decision made by current board members to sack coach Daniel Anderson, the pressure is mounting on them at a rapid rate.

Wynn, who was a member of three of the Eels premiership sides in 1982, 83 & 86, has previously knocked back several offers to join the club in some capacity, but he stated yesterday he was seriously re-thinking his initial thoughts, in light of recent events at the club.

Daniel Anderson, who was sacked via email on Monday night, a mere 12 months after he had taken the Eels to the 2009 grand final, was reassured only weeks before his sacking that his job was safe according to Eels chairman Roy Spagnolo.

Although those on the Leagues Club board are still safe, elections for the football club are in December, and if recent criticism is to be believed, then many Eels fans are considering voting out Spagnolo and his brigade.

Wynn, who is a successful businessman, and owns his own NRL merchandise store on Church Street in Parramatta, says, “There is an option there if a bloke wanted to pursue that area”.

“I don’t go into anything unless I go in 100 per cent. If you want to put your hand up, you have to go in with the right intentions.  I haven’t made a decision.”

Wynn and another Eels legend Michael Cronin, both acknowledged that they are sincerely disappointed at the way Daniel Anderson was treated by the club.

“It just seems Daniel Anderson’s biggest mistake was being appointed by (former chief executive) Denis Fitzgerald,” Cronin said.

“Once the coach is appointed, from my point of view he should have the whole say in the buying and selling of players and running of the football team. It doesn’t look like Anderson was given that.”

Gold Coast Rugby League player sacked for drug use

An NRL player on the Gold Coast has become Australia’s first sportsman to be officially banned for the use of cannabis.

The Queensland Rugby League, more commonly known as the QRL, has banned William Morunga of the Gold Coast Vikings from participating in games, training, and banned from coaching, management positions, and all NRL related positions.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority collected a sample from Morunga in-competition on June 16.

The particular sample that was taken, “returned an adverse analytical finding for a metabolite of cannabis”.

Morunga is now the first Australian case that has involved a professional athlete committing a third anti-doping violation which under the World Anti-Doping Code usually invokes a lifetime ban.

Morunga, who was in strife once the result came out, had previously received two bans on separate occasions for having cannabis in his presence for New Zealand touch.

His first violation, following a test on March 5, 2005 resulted in a two-month ban and his second, following a test on March 4, 2006, resulted in a two-year ban.

Morunga’s ban started on September 14.

Eels centre Timana Tahu says sacked coach Daniel Anderson made him play with injury

Eels centre Timana Tahu has made claims that sacked Eels coach Daniel Anderson continually forced him to play despite suffering a severely sore ankle injury early on in the season.

The dual international’s comments came after the Parramatta club held a board meeting on Monday night.

Tahu claims that Anderson blatantly ignored repeated warnings from Eels medical staff that Tahu was not fit to play, and that he was forced to play since May with a sore ankle.

2010 is a year to forget for the Eels, after they went from runners-up in the grand final to finishing 12th, despite heading into the season as one of the favourites to take out the premiership.

“I’ve had it since Country (the City-Country) clash and I’ve just been restricted, since Country it’s just been torture with this ankle and it still hasn’t recovered,” Tahu said.

“I could have done things better during the season to get back to 100 per cent but we were struggling during the year and Ando wanted players on the field training so it just got worse as we kept on going.”

There was concern that Tahu’s injury wasn’t managed properly, and as a result, it could have impacted on him making the Four Nations Train-On Squad.

“Yeah it could have been but when the coach overrules the physios and the medical staff, it’s an uphill battle.

“We just had to listen to what the coach wanted, we were under pressure during the year.”

In light of the Eels decision to sack Anderson, Tahu backed the boards decision and has has been speculated before, Melbourne assistant coach Steve Kearney is the leading candidate for the job.

“I support the club and the board 100 per cent,” Tahu said.

“Every club wants to be successful and Parramatta needs to think about the future of where Parramatta wants to go and whatever decision they make I support them.

“It’s a tough business being in the NRL as a player, I’ve been in that situation where you’re not wanted … it should go for coaches as well, if you don’t perform then you know you’re under pressure the same as the players.”

Tahu has received reassurance that his role at the Eels is safe from Eels CEO Paul Osborne.

“It is a bit stressful, I’ve got three kids, I need to put food on the table for my family and I don’t know what my future is,” Tahu said.

“I was supposed to re-sign in round ten and I’m still to sign a contract.

“Ozzie’s saying everything’s fine … (he’s) told me Steve Kearney if he does get the job wants me there which is a positive thing, I’d like to be coached underneath him.

“Every club has spent all their money, I’m hoping that when I walk in soon that there’s a contract sitting on the table waiting to get signed because if not I don’t know where I’m going to go, I haven’t talked to no-one.

“Clubs don’t want injured players and especially at my age, coming to the back end of my career, they don’t want old, injured players.”

Jamal Idris attacked with sword

Gun Bulldogs centre Jamal Idris has been attacked with a samurai sword at a family reunion at Forster last weekend.

The Bulldogs confirmed that their star centre now turned second-rower was indeed involved in an incident up on the North Coast, but have said that Idris managed to come away from the incident relatively unharmed.

The incident is believed to have happened around 2 am on Saturday morning, and the culprit was one of Idris’s cousins, Beau Currie, aged 20.

Police were called to the scene at 10 am on the Saturday, and they arrested Currie for his actions.

It’s alleged that Currie attacked Idris with a Samurai sword causing swelling and bruising around the star’s neck.

Currie pleaded guilty to the unprovoked attack, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, and a non-parole period of 14 months.

The accused appeared in Taree Court yesterday and was charged with assault with a weapon and grievous bodily harm.

Brett Stewart found not guilty

Manly star Brett Stewart has been found not guilty of accusations that he sexually assaulted a 17 year old girl at a Manly function earlier this year.

Manly Chairman Scott Penn breathed a sigh of relief after the ordeal dragged on for some time. He is happy that the Manly club can now focus their attention on the off-season in preparation for the 2011 season.

He also stated that Stewart has been granted indefinite leave, and that he can take as much time as he needs to recover from his traumatic experience.

“As a club we all knew the type of quality person Brett Stewart is and from day one of the allegations there was an insistence that like every Australian citizen he should be allowed to have his day in court,” Penn said in a statement.

“That has been a long time coming – particularly for his close knit family. They have been hurt by the allegations but believed in the justice system to deliver the right verdict and it has.

“We will give Brett and his partner Jamie Baker all the time they need to recover from the traumatic last year and a half.

“Since Brett Stewart arrived home from England and the successful 2009 World Club Challenge his life has been under intense scrutiny. Everyone at the Sea Eagles from the staff in the front office, the coaching staff, team mates, sponsors, members and supporters wish him well and a successful return from a long period out with injury to his famous number one jersey next season.”

Brett Stewart only made one appearance for the Sea Eagles in 2010.

Two ref system set to stay

Whilst many are angered at the current two referee system, the system appears to have been given the nod of approval to remain after it was given glowing endorsements.

Right after making the announcement that Shayne Hayne and Tony Archer would ref in the grand final this week, NRL Referees boss Robert Finch came out and stated that if only one referee was in charge, the game would be too fast for them to monitor and they would miss crucial decisions and plays regularly.

He believes that refereeing is one of the toughest working environments in the NRL, but admits that the two ref system has taken some of the pressure off the whistle-blowers and made their job easier.

“I can’t envisage any other system that meets the demands of the modern game,” Finch said on Tuesday.

“The pace of it, the intensity of it, the demands of it, the physical pressure the modern game puts on referees – and their ability to make decisions under that sort of pressure – there is no other model that will take the game forward other than two referees.”

Asked if he believed the two-referee system was working, Archer said: “No doubt. You go back and watch a game from a couple of years ago and watch the decision we couldn’t see.”

“Now I’ve got someone in a position who sees it, who communicates it to me and there is no doubt we bat higher in those decisions now than we did previously.”

NRL boss David Gallop, is also a big fan of the two ref system, and he will be ensuring that the system is re-instated when the end of year NRL meeting takes place.

“Inevitably in the second season people will start to focus on the negatives rather than all the positives that have been achieved through two referees, but I think we tend to forget the things it’s brought to the game,” he said.

“(There are) far less grapple-wrestle penalties, (there’s) the ability for us to bring through young guys and give them first grade experience.”

“We’ll review the whole thing once the dust settles on the grand final but I’d expect two referees to go forward.”

Wests Tigers halfback Robert Lui in police custody

Tigers halfback Robert Lui has been charged by police and is now in police custody after being charged with nine offences, including assaulting his girlfriend who is pregnant.

20-year-old Lui, has already appeared at Burwood Local Court and was refused bail.

“Burwood police have arrested a 20-year-old man in relation to allegations of a domestic violence-related assault on the weekend,” a police statement read.

“The incident is alleged to have occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning at an address in Abbotsford.

“A woman suffered facial injuries.

“The matter was reported to police later that day.

“The man has been charged with nine offences.”

The offences that Lui is facing include two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, three of common assault, one of malicious damage, one of choke with intent to commit an indictable offence, one of detain for advantage and one of aggravated robbery.

Lui, who has been playing some terrific football has put that form down to the fact that he has become a father for the first time.

He was one of the stars in the Tigers run to third place before they were defeated by minor premiers, the Dragons.

The incident is bad timing for the NRL as they try to shift all the attention onto the much anticipated grand final between the Dragons and the Roosters.

Whilst Lui will fight the charges, he has been stood down indefinitely by the Wests Tigers as they get to the bottom of the case.

“Lui has told the club that he will vigorously contest charges laid against him,” the club said in a statement.

“The matter is now one for the police and the courts to manage.”

It said the club would respect the legal process and the rights of everyone involved by not entering into any further comment.

“Robert Lui has been relieved of his club duties until further notice so that he can properly concentrate his attention on the matters in question.

“Wests Tigers has an inclusive and family orientated culture and does not condone violence against women.”

Give the Tigers zero tolerance policy against poor player behaviour, something that former Tiger Daine Laurie knows all about, should Lui be found guilty, he may suffer a similar fate.

Graham still hoping he is fit for Grand Final

Phil Graham, who was injured in the Roosters win over the Panthers is still hopeful of being able to play in this weeks NRL Grand Final.

Graham, who missed last weeks clash with the Gold Coast Titans due a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in the Panthers game, is currently battling to ensure that he is 100% fit to play in the grand final.

“I did a little bit this morning in the gym, just on the wrestling mats, it wasn’t too bad so hopefully it pulls up good tomorrow,” Graham told reporters on Monday.

“I’ve done some running and done some tackling … if it pulls up alright maybe I’ll just do a bit more tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday.

“During the tackling it went pretty good so it’s not sore or anything now but I’ve just got to wait and see.

“It feels pretty good, I’ve got all my range back and all my movement.” The former Canberra back will need to convince coach Brian Smith and the Roosters medical staff in simulated match conditions later this week.

Despite the hope however, Graham knows that making it to the grand final is a long shot, and he doesn’t really expect to run out, as he only had his first contact session today.

“I’m not sort of concentrating on getting my hopes up, I’m just seeing if I’m right to play,” he said.

“I’m just doing everything I can to be right to play and if I end up coming good I guess it’s up to the coach to see if he wants to play me or not.

“The boys have played awesome all year so it’s just great to be in this position so I’ll be certainly cheering the boys on if I’m not out there.”

Todd Carney and Jeremy Smith free to play in NRL Grand Final

Roosters five-eighth Todd Carney, and Dragons lock Jeremy Smith have both taken early guilty pleas and have thus been cleared to play in this weeks NRL Grand Final between the Roosters and the Dragons.

Carney was initially put on report for a careless high tackle on Gold Coast Titans halfback Scott Prince, and Jeremy Smith was put on report dangerous contact with the knees.

The knee to the ribs has left Lote Tuqiri with possible broken ribs, and he may require surgery in the off-season as a result of the injury.

Despite being charged for kneeing incident, Smith wasn’t penalised when the incident happened, at a time where the Tigers were on the attack.

NRL match review panelist Greg McCallum has since defended the call made at the time, that Smith should not have been penalised.

Dragon Dean Young, who many consider was lucky not to be sanctioned for possible derogatory remarks, is also free to play in this weeks grand final.

On field-audio failed to detect comments made from Young towards Tigers hooker Robbie Farah, thus causing an altercation between the two in last weeks preliminary final.

Due to the lack of evidence that would implicate Young, the NRL match review committee had no choice but to drop any possible charge against Dean Young.

The Tigers also declined to comment, and refused to make an official complaint to the NRL regarding the incident.

Farah had the chance to make a complaint twice on the field, but he declined both times, but he could be heard accusing Young at a scrum several minutes after of calling him a f*****g wog.

“The on-field audio provided no evidence to confirm if any comment had been made” the match review committee said in a statement.

“The on-field audio does contain an accusation from Farah and a denial from the St George Illawarra player.

“The Wests Tigers have today declined a request to provide any further information that may assist the match review committee.

“Having assessed all the available information, the match review committee does not believe there is sufficient evidence to warrant a charge.”