Titans hooker keen to remain on the Gold Coast

Beau Falloon

He may not be the first cab off the rank, but that has not stopped Gold Coast Titans hooker Beau Falloon from being keen for a contract extension at the club.

It was just last year when Falloon joined the Titans from his former club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, but since his move to the Gold Coast, he is keen to stay at the club, wanting to not only make amends, but also excited at what lies ahead for the Titans.

With an injury disrupted year that saw him play towards the end of the year, Falloon is now fully recovered from his previous torn bicep injury, as he looks forward to what the Titans can achieve.

“It's definitely exciting. We've got a great forward pack there, it's full of Origin players, representative players that have played for Australia and they are all leaders in their own right,” Falloon said.

“Our forwards are a big part of our side and playing behind them is going to be unreal.”

Whilst he is off-contract, Falloon is eager to stay on the Gold Coast and will do what he can to make that happen.

“I'm off contract … I haven't sorted anything out yet but hopefully we can nut something out in the future,” he said.

“I'm happy here and I want to stay here.

“I love the club, love the boys around here, love the coaching staff, so I don't want to go anywhere else.”

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Former Titan given 12-month contract with Leeds following successful trial

Joe Vickery

There was much speculation as to whether he would be awarded a Leeds contract, and after a successful trial with the English Super League club, Australian utility back and former Gold Coast Titans player Joe Vickery has been rewarded with an impressive trial display, given a 12-month contract by the club.

Vickery, 23, joined the Leeds club on a three-month trial from the Gold Coast in November, following an impressive performance in Leeds’ win over Wakefield on Boxing Day.

Vickery is excited at the opportunity ahead of him, and said it was his initial ambition to earn a contract at the club.

“It was my ambition to earn a contract with the club when I came over here and I backed myself to do that so I am delighted to have signed for the season,” said the former St George junior, who can play on the wing or at centre,” said Vickery.

“It was a gamble to move here on a trial and away from everything I knew in Australia but the hard work has been worth it and I am pleased with my decision.”

Leeds are also pleased to have signed Vickery, and they are excited to see the Australian utility back in action.

“We are really pleased to have secured a permanent deal with Joe and he fully deserves this contract,” said Leeds coach Brian McDermott.

Former Titan close to a deal with Leeds

Joe Vickery

Sometimes, some NRL players feel that better opportunities lie overseas, and for former Titan Joe Vickery, he felt that he had more chances overseas, as he is close to signing a deal with English Super League side, the Leeds Rhinos.

Vickery, 23, who is currently two-thirds of the way through a trial with the Leeds Rhinos, did his chances of securing a deal no harm – scoring a double in the club's Boxing Day friendly win over Wakefield.

Vickery, originally from Exeter, was in brilliant try-scoring form for the Titans feeder club Tweed Heads, finishing with 17 in total.

With an eventual decision looming on his future, Leeds coach Brian McDermott said that the club was close to securing a deal for Vickery, one expected to come soon.

“That's put him in a strong position,” admitted Leeds coach Brian McDermott.

“You can't be signing blokes on how they train but he has done everything asked of him so we were leaning that way anyway.

“That's now put him in good shape for when the decision comes.”

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Super League to trial new rules in Boxing Day friendlies

Nigel Wood

The nature of rugby league is that rules are amended or trialled as a part of developing the game, and the English Super League will trial some rules of their own in two friendlies on Boxing Day.

The new rules will be trialled in two friendly clashes – Leeds v Wakefield and Batley v Dewsbury, as the RFL look to expand the English Super League.

The new rules are:

1. Kicking the ball dead from inside your own half – where the ball is kicked dead or touch in goal from inside the kicker’s own half, play will be restarted with a handover at the centre of the 40m line nearest to the non-kicking team’s goal line.

2. Charge down – charging down the ball does not restart the tackle count. If the kicking team regains possession the tackle count will continue as before. The charge down will still not count as a knock on.

3. Attacking team option to reduce numbers in scrum – where a team is awarded a scrum, the feeding team has the option of only putting five men in the scrum giving them eight “backs” to attack with.

The RFL Laws Committee were the ones who decided on the experimental rule changes, with RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood looking forward to seeing the sort of impact the rules will have on the game.

“Christmas friendlies are the perfect opportunity to trial changes such as these and I would like to thank all four clubs for their willingness to participate in the experiment,” said Wood.

“The rule changes have been proposed with a view to enhancing the game day experience for both fans and players alike and I’m sure that will be the case for everyone at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and Mount Pleasant on Boxing Day.”

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Russia approach future rugby league endeavours with renewed optimism

They may have had some tough times in developing rugby league in the past, but things are now moving in the right direction – as rugby league in Russia will approach their development with both purpose and optimism.

The Association of Rugby League Clubs (ARLK), have been in charge of the game of rugby league in Russia since 2010, with President Edgard Taturyan commenting on the game of rugby league in Russia from the last year.

“Our annual conference demonstrated that in the new ARLK structure we have switched from crisis management to creative work,” said Taturyan.

With rugby league on the rise in Russia, evidenced by six new senior teams playing the sport, as well as 78% increase in the number of 13-a-side games played at open age level, the future looks bright for Russian rugby league.

Domestic rugby league is not the only thing on the agenda, however, with international fixtures for the national side in full swing.

“Our priority in 2013 will be to regain Russian rugby league’s Full Member status of both the RLEF and the RLIF,” continued Taturyan.

“We also aim to restore the legal status of the sport in the Russian State Registry of Sports, where we are being more favourably received, in the new year.”

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Jamaican Rugby League building nicely for 2013

8 years ago, there were some doubts as to whether or not rugby league could thrive in Jamaica, but in 2012 heading into the next season in 2013, those doubts are gone as the JRLA look forward to the season ahead.

Romeo Monteith, the Director of Rugby at the JRLA and the Development Manager of the Caribbean for the RLEF, is excited at what the future holds for RL in Jamaica, as growth and expansion continues in the region.

“It’s been an incredible journey”, said Monteith.

“2012 was a solid year for us; we had a productive national competition with eight clubs competing, a five team Intercollegiate Championship and activities in 12 high schools and some primary schools.”

In an added boost for the JRLA, the Sports Development Foundation in Jamaica, an official Government agency created to contribute to the continued building and development of RL, as well as dozens of coaches and officials in partnerships with GC Foster College and the RLEF.

Ventley Brown, the JRLA Chairman, said they are keen to introduce even more new projects in 2013.

“It is important that we continue to train and educate officials and coaches in the coming years,” he noted. “Our training courses will empower new ambassadors of rugby league while upgrading existing skills,” said Brown.

Competitions in Jamaica have been a huge success in 2012, with the intercollegiate competition one of the brightest, as a dozen students received scholarships.

To make things even better, the JRLA oversaw 16 additional youth teams in 2012 for a total of 27, an increase of 11 from 2011 – with the JRLA keen to seek full membership of the RLEF and the RLIF, as their confidence is sky-high heading into 2013.

“Full Membership, along with continued support from the Sport Development Foundation and GC Foster College, will further strengthen our position in Jamaica’s rich sporting landscape. It will help the JRLA to sustain and fuel the expansion of the sport in the region. The support of these institutions is critical in getting rugby league into our 14 parishes and the wider Caribbean,” said Monteith.

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First five Greek coaches gain level 1 coaching qualifications

Rugby league is a sport that is expanding around the world, and in Greece, they have taken the next step in their bid to make RL a popular sport, with 5 coaches completing level 1 qualification coaching courses.

Anastasios Pantazidis, Konstantinos Tzevelekos, Ioannis Mavros, Matthew Ashill and Iordanis Bilikaidis were the four recipients of the qualifications, held in Nikaia, North of Piraeus, which is the port capital of Athens.

Pantazidis, the president of the committee, is working with the Greek Culture Ministry to form a Hellenic Rugby League Federation, and is excited at the completion of the course and what is to come for Greek rugby league.

“I would like to thank the RLEF for the first ever course to take place in Greece,” said Pantazidis.

“Five new coaches had the chance to get much more knowledge about our sport.”

The course was run and organised in co-operation by the Greek rugby league committee and the Serbian Rugby League Federation, with Serbia's Mario Jankovic and Central and Eastern Europe Director Jovan Vujosevic conducting the course.

“They transferred to us their experience and the ethics of rugby league,” continued Pantazidis.

“We hope that this is the first step towards meaningful development.”

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Sharks sign Fijian rugby international

Alipate Ratini

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Back-line depth is crucial for any side, and the Sharks have strengthened their side by signing talented Fijian rugby international Alipate Ratini, on a one-year deal.

Ratini, who is the older cousin of Wests Tigers winger Marika Koroibete, has forged a strong reputation as a prolific try-scorer in the IRB 7's, and is a former Fijian sprint champion – clocking a best time of 10.90 seconds.

It was at a rugby sevens event in which the club first saw Ratini, with a club scout spotting him, before the club moved swiftly to sign him.

“One of our scouts saw him playing rugby sevens for Fiji in Newcastle,” Flanagan explained.

“It’s about giving him an opportunity. While he’s been playing rugby and rugby sevens, he has a rugby league background which will help with his transition.”

Ratini, who is not a loud talker, said that training is “very different” to that in which he has experienced in the past.

“We used to run 6 kilometres for training,” he said.

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Talented Roosters back signs new long-term extension at the club

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

When you see a player in the NRL for the first time, you can tell immediately when they will be a future star – and Roosters utility back Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is just that, a future star, with the club announcing a new long-term extension for him that will see him remain at the Roosters until the end of 2016.

Sheck, who made his mark for the club in just 6 games last year, is excited at the new long-term extension that he has signed.

“I’m really enjoying being a part of the Roosters. The club has treated me so well ever since I got here. I’m learning so much and I wanted to stay a Rooster and build a career here.

“I still have lots of room to improve and I just want to continue to learn in the coming years, keep getting better and hopefully secure my opportunity to play some good football for the club.”

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Brian Canavan, the Chief Operating Officer at the Roosters had very few bad things to say about the kid they call RTS, highlighting his key attributes and how excited the club are to retain him long-term.

“Roger is an exciting young talent and has been a wonderful asset to the club both on and off the field. Blessed with amazing footwork, evasion and ability to break the line, Roger has the ability to thrill crowds while being a dependable contributor week in week out”.

“He has shown some true leadership qualities for someone so young and has applied himself diligently across all aspects of professional football. We certainly look to him as a leader both on and off the field in the years to come.”

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Former NZRL CEO chosen to review and oversee NRL pathways

Jim Doyle

The world of rugby league sees players and officials changing, and this case is no different, as Jim Doyle, the former New Zealand Rugby League CEO, has joined the ARLC to review rugby league pathways from the NYC level to the NSW Cup.

Doyle, who held the NZRL CEO position for three years, is a former businessman and was chosen as the man to take charge of an independent assessment of all things pathways across several rugby league levels.

Shane Mattiske, the NRL Interim Chief Executive, views the move as a perfect opportunity to utilise the skills of an astute administrator in NRL planning.

“Jim’s achievement over the last three years in New Zealand has been simply outstanding.

“He has an incredible business background, a love of Rugby League and a proven track record in both grassroots development and high performance management.

“Importantly, he is a good listener who is able to bring a fresh perspective to a fundamentally important area of the game.”

Doyle himself is looking forward to the role, one that he will begin in the new year and based out of New Zealand, in order to assist all business and community programs for the NRL in New Zealand.

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to be involved with the NRL and to assist in identifying strategic investment areas,” Mr Doyle said.

“For me, the key has been about getting alignment between the leagues and the competitions in a way that allows everyone to push in the one direction.

“Rugby League is full of passionate people and great competitions, and the object of this review will be to ensure that they are aligned in a way that means each strengthens the other.

“My role will be to identify the undoubted strengths of what is in place but also to identify the opportunities, and it is a really exciting project that will give people a real chance to provide input into the sport’s development.”

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