Parker officially a Bronco for life

He is a favourite son at the Broncos, and a loyal son, and he has shown just that, after re-signing with the club until the end of the 2014 season that will see him a Bronco for life.

Corey Parker has made his way through the ranks, and has become a crowd favourite, and has pleased fans with his decision to re-sign, a deal which will take him through until the age of 32.

Parker is a very real chance to become only the second Bronco to reach 300 games behind the late Darren Lockyer, as his tally currently stands at 222 – with the chance remaining that he may just crack the 300 mark by 2014.

Paul White, the Broncos CEO says that Parker’s achievements have put him up there as one of the Broncos greatest ever players.

“He has had an extraordinarily long career for someone who is just 28 years of age, has won a premiership and scored hundreds of points for the Broncos,” said White.

“But what is most impressive is the loyalty Corey has shown this club.

“In these days of professionalism the salary cap places pressure on both players and clubs. So it is extremely unique for one player to stay at a club for over 10 years, let alone commit to 15 seasons.

“This longevity is testament to Corey’s talent, and his attitude to training and the Brisbane Broncos club in general.”

For Parker, Red Hill is his home, and he could not imagine playing anywhere else except with the Broncos.

“It was a boyhood dream of mine to play for the Broncos and I have been fortunate enough that it has worked out better than I could have imagined,” he said.

“I am proud to be a one-club man for the Broncos and I am excited about the future and possibilities for the team over the next few seasons.”

Graham officially a Dog from 2012

After a mountain of speculation over the last few months, the Bulldogs have finally got their man, with James Graham signing a 3-year deal with the Bulldogs a short time ago.

Graham, 25, played with St Helens for 9 years, making his debut as a 16 year old, with many believing that he has the potential to be a bigger and better player than current English prop Sam Burgess.

Whilst it was a tough decision for Graham to leave the ESL and England, he said that the prospect of playing in the NRL was simply too good to refuse.

“The decision to leave St Helens has been by far the biggest decision of my Rugby League career,” Graham says.

“I’ve been on the books with Saints since I was 11 years old and I grew up supporting the Club. I love the place and I never wanted to play against them, and as such I didn’t consider any other Super League options.

“Testing myself in the NRL is something I’ve always wanted to do, and the Bulldogs just seemed right from day one. From meeting with Todd Greenberg and Kevin Moore and also Peter Mulholland, I got a feeling that the Bulldogs are a Club heading in the right direction.

“They made it clear to me that they saw me as a big part of the future of the Club and I’m looking forward, after a successful finish to my time at Saints, to linking with the Club at the end of the year.”

For Dogs coach Kevin Moore, he sees the signing of Graham as a valuable acquisition for his side.

“James is a player of the highest quality and we’re very much looking forward to having him on board from next season onwards,” Moore says.

“He’s been rated among the best front rowers in the world for a number years now and it’s always exciting to add international quality to your forward pack. Being the current captain of Great Britain his leadership qualities are obvious and he will be a great addition to our Club and our team.

“I think he’s going to make a big impression across the NRL.”

Bulldogs CEO Todd Greenberg shared the same views as the Dogs coach on Graham.

“One of the things that struck me about James is his genuineness,” Greenberg said. “He was up front about wanting to test himself in the NRL and was also up front about the qualities he wanted in the Club he was going to join.

“He’s obviously come through a very close-knit environment at St Helens, who have fostered him from a very young age and have done a fantastic job with him both on and off the field.

“There were a number of NRL Clubs in the hunt for James and we take it as a compliment that such a fine young man sees the Bulldogs as having the right type of environment to further himself in football and life.”

Manly keen to lock up Hasler before he leaves

Despite still having time to go on his contract, the Manly Sea Eagles have already begun re-negotiating with coach Des Hasler, amidst rumours that he is headed to the Panthers, following the sacking of Matthew Elliott.

Due to a get-out clause in Hasler’s contract, the fear from Manly officials, is that Hasler may act on that, hence the clubs keenness to ensure that he remains with the club.

Whilst Hasler is contracted to the end of next year, should he decide to enforce his get-out clause before June 30, then he is free to explore his options in the NRL.

With Manly officials racing to ensure that he does not invoke that clause, they have begun re-negotiations with Hasler, in a deal that will see him as coach of the Sea Eagles for 11 years.

Chairman Scott Penn would rather get all the negotiations sorted, as they are keen on retaining Hasler as their coach for years to come.

“I believe Dessie is pretty entrenched as a Sea Eagles person, but he does have that get-out clause and we do not want to leave things as they be”, Penn said.

“We have started discussions with him about an extension, and the dialogue so far has been pretty positive”.

“We are talking about two years on top of his current deal, which runs until the end of next year. We have significant long-term plans for the club, and we see him as being a big part of that, so we decided at last weeks board meeting that we would get things rolling”.

“We’ve been clear in the past that our normal time-frame for making decisions of this nature 12 months prior to contracts running out, but there has been a lot of talk about the coaching market-place recently, and since we want to retain Dessie, the board believed it was time to initiate something.”

“We would like to have a deal done by June 30, or at least be a long way down the track by then”.

Hodgson rested indefinitely as fainting spells confuse physio

It is a situation that is not seen very often in the NRL, but Bulldogs prop Michael Hodgson has been told that he will not be able to train, or play, until medical staff can work out the reasons as to why he fainted at ANZ Stadium.

His collapse is being treated as mysterious, as he is set to undergo blood tests, scans and cardiac tests, before the Dogs make a final decision on his immediate playing future.

”He essentially fainted for no obvious reason,” said Bulldogs doctor Joe Lombardo.

“There was no head knock, he was well hydrated and he had no recent illness. There was nothing in that respect to go on.

There is a positive out of the situation however, as the fainting spell will give Hodgson some time to mingle with his family, who live in Canberra.

In a radio interview, Hodgson conceded that it may have been the constant travelling to and from Canberra, that played a part in the reason as to why he fainted.

A cardiologist is set to look at Hodgson today, and no decision will be made on Hodgson’s future, until the cardiologist inspects him.

We don’t want to put it down to that if it is something more serious,” Lombardo said.

“It is the first time I have come across something like this.”

“Obviously things like this do happen – they require investigation”.

“At the moment, he is fine. He has no symptoms and is carrying on with life as normal. But he will not be playing or training again, until we find out if anything is wrong.”

Round 8 Team Lists

FRIDAY

Brisbane Broncos v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Suncorp Stadium, 7:35pm

Broncos: Gerard Beale, Dale Copley, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Jharal Yow Yeh, Darren Lockyer, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Dane Carlaw, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange: Mitchell Dodds, Josh McGuire, Nick Kenny, Ben Hunt.

Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Steve Turner, Josh Morris, Jamal Idris, Michaell Lett, Kris Keating, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, Mickey Paea, Frank Pritchard, Andrew Ryan, David Stagg. Interchange: Greg Eastwood, Grant Milligan, Corey Payne, Dene Halatau.

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Cronulla Sharks at ANZ Stadium, 7:35pm

Rabbitohs: James Roberts, Nathan Merritt, Dylan Farrell, Greg Inglis, Chris McQueen, John Sutton, Chris Sandow, Ben Ross, Isaac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Dave Tyrell, David Taylor, Michael Crocker. Interchange: Jason Clark, Shannan McPherson, Nathan Peats, Eddy Pettybourne.

Sharks: Isaac Gordon, Matthew Wright, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, John Williams, Wade Graham, Tim Smith, Kade Snowden, Paul Aiton, Luke Douglas, Jeremy Smith, Anthony Tupou, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Josh Cordoba, Broderick Wright, Stuart Flanagan, Jayson Bukuya.

SATURDAY

Gold Coast Titans v Sydney Roosters at Skilled Park, 5:30pm

Titans: Luke Capewell, Steve Michaels, Esikeli Tonga, Bodene Thompson, David Mead, William Zillman, Scott Prince, Luke Bailey, Nathan Friend, Matthew White, Greg Bird, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Michael Henderson, Ryan James, Ben Ridge, Luke O’Dwyer.

Roosters: Anthony Minichiello, Justin Carney, Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Joseph Leilua, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Jason Ryles, Mark Riddell, Martin Kennedy, Tom Symonds, Frank Paul Nuuausala, Nate Myles. Interchange: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Mose Masoe, Jake Friend, Daniel Conn, Tinirau Arona, Phil Graham.

Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights at AAMI Park, 7:30pm

Storm: Billy Slater, Anthony Quinn, Dane Nielsen, Beau Champion, Matt Duffie, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Bryan Norrie, Adam Blair, Kevin Proctor, Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Ryan Hinchcliffe, Atelea Vea, Adam Woolnough, Jaiman Lowe.

Knights:  Shannon McDonnell, James McManus, Tafeaga Junior Sa’u, Wes Naiqama, Akuila Uate, Kurt Gidley, Jarrod Mullen, Lisiate Richie Fa’aoso, Matt Hilder, Evarn Tuimavave, Chris Houston, Cory Paterson, Joel Edwards. Interchange: Tyrone Roberts, Antonio Kafusi, Marvin Karawana, Dan Tolar.

North Queensland Cowboys v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Dairy Farmers Stadium, 7:30pm

Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Antonio Winterstein, Willie Tonga, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Ray Thompson, Jonathan Thurston, Matthew Scott, Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Glenn Hall, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Scott Bolton, Leeson Ah Mau, Tariq Sims, Ashton Sims, James Segeyaro.

Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, William Hopoate, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jason King, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Joe Galuvao, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: Tim Robinson, Jamie Buhrer, George Rose, Vic Mauro, Michael Oldfield.

SUNDAY

Canberra Raiders v Wests Tigers at Canberra Stadium, 2:00pm

Raiders: Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Jarrod Croker, Joel Thompson, Daniel Vidot, Josh McCrone, Matt Orford, Dane Tilse, Glen Buttris, David Shillington, Trevor Thurling, Bronson Harrison, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Alan Tongue, Josh Miller, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Brett White.

Tigers: Wade McKinnon, Mitch Brown, Blake Ayshford, Tim Moltzen, Matt Utai, Benji Marshall, Robert Lui, Andrew Fifita, Robbie Farah, Keith Galloway, Simon Dwyer, Liam Fulton, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Beau Ryan, Alan Schirnack, Bryce Gibbs, Aaron Woods.

New Zealand Warriors v Penrith Panthers at Mt Smart Stadium, 2:00pm

Warriors: Lance Hohaia, Kevin Locke, Lewis Brown, Simon Mannering, Krisnan Inu, James Maloney, Brett Seymour, Sam Rapira, Aaron Heremaia, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Elijah Taylor, Michael Luck. Interchange: Alehana Mara, Russell Packer, Ben Matulino, Ukuma Ta’ai.

Panthers:  Michael Gordon, David Simmons, Michael Jennings, Timana Tahu, Brad Tighe, Travis Burns, Luke Walsh, Tim Grant, Kevin Kingston, Petero Civoniceva, Trent Waterhouse, Nigel Plum, Sarafu Fatiaki. Interchange: Nafe Seluini, Matthew Bell, Yileen Gordon, Sam McKendry, Adrian Purtell.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Parramatta Eels at WIN Jubilee Oval, 3:00pm

Dragons: Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Peni Tagive, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby, Dan Hunt, Nathan Fien, Michael Weyman, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Matt Prior. Interchange: Jon Green, Dean Young, Trent Merrin, Kyle Stanley, Mitch Rein, Adam Cuthbertson.

Eels: Luke Burt, Etu Uaisele, Joel Reddy, Jacob Loko, Jordan Atkins, Daniel Mortimer, Jeff Robson, Tim Mannah, Casey McGuire, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh, Taniela Lasalo, Justin Horo. Interchange: Billy Rogers, Shane Shackleton, Mitchell Allgood, Ben Smith.

Boyd has a dig at Australian coach Tim Sheens

He is likely to miss the Test match on the 6th of May after injuring his hamstring, but Darius Boyd has come out and made a remarkable statement, saying that Sheens would not have picked him anyways.

”To be honest, I don’t think I’d get picked if I was fit anyway,” Boyd said

”I’m just looking to get back on the field for the Dragons. That’s the main thing.”

When asked the reasons why he thought that he would not be picked in the side, his response was rather blunt.

“I didn’t get picked last year. It’s not something I’m really concentrating on. If it happens, it happens.”

It is a big blow for the Dragons side, who are beginning to hit their stride, and Dragons coach Wayne Bennett says that it will be a little while before Boyd returns to the side.

“He’s got a hamstring tear, so he’s going to be out for a while,” Bennett said.

“I don’t think he’ll be right for the Test.”

For Boyd himself however, he has long had a history of both hamstring and quad problems that have plagued him throughout his career.

“It’s one of those things I suppose,” he said.

“We’ll just have to see how it pulls up tomorrow I suppose. I always get those little strains and niggling injuries. I had a bit of a strain in my hamstring [right], so to come in on my left is different. I just want to get back on the field as soon as I can.”

Whilst he is shattered to be on the sideline, it will give Boyd the chance to mull over his future, but the star fullback has not decided what he is going to do, as of yet.

‘I’m just weighing up my options at the moment. I don’t really know what I’m going to do,” Boyd said.

”It’s a very hard decision. Last time [when leaving Brisbane for the Dragons] I was in the situation where I didn’t really have much of a choice.

”In saying that, it makes it even harder having to choose. It’s going to be a tough decision either way.”

A self-imposed booze ban for Yow Yeh as he strives for Origin

With the young winger in the form of his life, Jharal Yow Yeh is enforcing a self-imposed booze ban on himself, as well as avoiding nightclubs and hanging out with mates, as he strives for a debut Origin appearance.

With some critics still on his back saying that the form will be short-lived, Yow Yeh ensure that this will not be the case, as he has abstained from having alcohol altogether.

“I’m off the booze, definitely,” Yow Yeh said.

“A couple of the boys had a drink the other night (after Brisbane’s win over the Tigers) and I stayed off it then as well.

“It’s hard when you get a good win like we did against the Tigers, but you have to make the sacrifices and I’m trying to do everything I can to play good football.

“I reckon I’m ready for State of Origin … I’ve settled down socially to try and help myself out.”

Having previously been a party animal, Yow Yeh has matured more, and now looks up to the leaders of the Brisbane side in Darren Lockyer, Sam Thaiday and Justin Hodges.

His decision to dump the alcohol and avoid the nightclubs comes after the most recent Todd Carney incidents, incidents which Yow Yeh does not want to be faced with himself.

“It sounds mean, but I’ve stayed away from my friends,” he said.

“I’ve tried to keep to myself and stay home a lot.

“And that’s probably helped my training. I’m a bit fitter and stronger because of it.

“Role models like Sammy and Hodgie do that all the time and it’s easy for me to do it when people like that are doing it.”

Yow Yeh has received strong support from the retiring Lockyer, with Lockyer believing that the young winger is more than capable of having a long career in both the NRL and representative football.

“He was brought in (to the Queensland squad) as 18th man last year to get some exposure to how it all operates,” Lockyer said.

“Jharal’s playing some tough footy and that’s what you need when you step onto the field in Origin.

“There’s a few candidates for one of the wing spots but if he keeps playing the way he does he’ll give himself a good chance.

“The important thing for Jharal is not to think too much about Origin, just focus on playing well for the Broncos and Origin will look after itself.”

Warriors produce upset of the season so far

One team was on fire, having won several games in succession – whilst the other was struggling, and not playing to their potential so far in 2011.

With the NRL working in mysterious ways, it was the struggling side that came into their own, and defeated the red-hot side. That is, the New Zealand Warriors defeated the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park, 18-14.

The loss would have come as a surprise to many, given that Melbourne had not lost a game in Melbourne in their last 10 games, dating back to Rd 14 last year.

In what was a record crowd for AAMI Park at 22,694 – they were treated to a hard-fought yet rather entertaining match, as the Storm threw everything they could at the Warriors in the last few minutes, but could not penetrate the line.

It was the high ball, and constant high kicks from the Warriors halves that really put the Storm backs under pressure, with Matt Duffie the main culprit – though surprisingly, given that he is normally safe at the back, Billy Slater also struggled.

Bellamy conceded that his side “got what they deserved”, and was displeased at their ball control in the first half.

“We lost the game in the first half” he said.

“We got off to a really good start and some of the guys thought, ‘We’re in for an easy night here’.

“Our defence there for a long period of time … wasn’t committed at all.

“We had our chances at the end but we probably didn’t deserve it after the way we defended in the first half.”

Whilst he could not quite put a finger on it, Warriors coach Ivan Cleary pointed out that his side just felt comfortable in travelling to Melbourne, and it showed.

He was also over the moon with their defensive efforts, especially when they managed to prevent the Storm from scoring when they were under pressure in the second half.

“They were winning the arm wrestle in terms of field position in the second half … they did throw plenty at it but we kept turning up,” Cleary said.

“Hopefully it’s something we can build on.”

Dally  M Points

3 James Maloney

2 Krisnan Inu

1 Lewis Brown

Dragons too good Roosters on ANZAC Day

He had another stellar performance in their win over the Roosters, and now, he has more and more people praising him, believing that he should be in Origin.

If you ask Jamie Soward himself however, he distanced himself from the praise and accolades that he was receiving, given that in the past, the same thing has happened, but selectors have ignored him.

“That’s their opinion, my team-mates,” Soward said.

“Obviously it’s nice to be able to hear them talk about it but I’m not talking about it. I’m just playing footy and whatever happens, happens.

“I honestly don’t think about it at all, I can genuinely say that. I don’t go home and think about it or worry about it, it just doesn’t come into my mind.

“Why would I? They haven’t picked the team yet and they haven’t said you’re the man or anything.”

In some rather poor positions due to excessive rain at the Sydney Football Stadium, the Dragons were far too clinical, despite patches of resurgence from the Roosters.

Another Dragons player, Mark Gasnier, has also all but played his way into an Origin jersey, as he had a stellar all-round game, and helped the Dragons to their victory.

With Wayne Bennett being reserved on the matter, and careful in what he says, Dragons captain Ben Hornby believes that Soward is more than ready for Origin football.

“I think he’s ready,” Hornby said.

“I think he’s matured.”

The Dragons win also saw winger Josh Morris score his first try of the season, after 830 minutes of football, and he too highlighted Soward’s Origin credentials.

“I think he’s played the most consistent out of any of the players that are going around at the moment so if they’re going to go off that I think he’s the man,” said Morris.

“It’s been a long time since I scored one, so it’s good to finally get over and hopefully a couple more come now.”

Whilst they only played well at times, Roosters coach Brian Smith tried to stay as positive and up-beat as possible, given their loss.

“I think we were pretty close (to 100 per cent) but not in a couple of vital areas,” said an up-beat Roosters coach, Brian Smith.

“We didn’t convert all that physical pressure and territorial advantage, which is bloody hard to do against the Dragons.”

Dally M Points

3 Jamie Soward

2 Ben Creagh

1 Anthony Minichello

The Love Shack scores at the death as Eels win in dying moments

Titans fans, players and their coach would no doubt be left gutted, after they conceded a try with literally 20 seconds to go – a try that cost them the game.

With the Titans leading 18-16, and the Eels having one last set to score, the 6th tackle arrived. As the ball came to five-eighth Daniel Mortimer, he put the ball into the air under pressure from the Titans players, and after the ball was batted back, Shane ‘The Love Shack’ Shackleton, was the first to react.

The try was Shackleton’s first for the Eels, after he suffered a terrible injury in his debut game for the club last year, when he tore his hamstring off the bone.

He has a staunch and vocal supporter in Nathan Hindmarsh, who said that Shack’s injury is one of the worst he has seen, and gave credit to Shane for his terrific comeback.

“It’s the hardest I’ve seen someone work coming back from an injury like that,” Hindmarsh said.

“By himself, day in, day out just doing what he needed to do to get on the field and I haven’t seen someone that dedicated for a long, long time to get back on the field.”

As the Titans led the game throughout, an Eels side without the suspended Jarryd Hayne never gave in, and it paid dividends for the Eels, as they were rewarded for their never-say-die attitude.

“I think I scored in ’09 against North Queensland,” Shackleton said. “I’m probably averaging about 1.5 a year, actually probably less.”

The red-headed former Rooster agreed with his skipper’s assessment that the comeback had been tough going.

“You had ups and downs,” he said.

“I improved a lot in the early weeks so I felt good about that.

“Then you have your dark weeks where you’re sort of plateauing a bit.

“It’s still a work in progress, I’m not exactly where I want to be yet.”

With the odds and momentum in the Titans favour, it was a penalty against Bodene Thompson, and a brain explosion from Mark Minichello, that changed things around, and suddenly, it was the Eels with all of the momentum.

For Titans coach John Cartwright, he was not pleased that his side failed to close out the match when they had the chance.

“A hundred times over,” he said. “And full credit to Parramatta, they kept coming and they kept themselves in the game but that was inept from us.”

“We just shouldn’t have been in those positions.”

Dally M Points

3 Fui Fui Moi Moi

2 Shane Shackleton

1 Daniel Mortimer