13 Czech officials qualify as match officials after passing course

You can never have too many match officials and with the game of rugby league growing in the Czech Republic, they will need all the support they can get, as 13 Czech officials have become match officials, after passing a dual language course.

The candidates, who underwent both theory and practical exams, also took part in an actual refereeing environment and where shadowed as referees by tutors and worked as touch judges.

Petr Sedina, the man who led the course, says it was well received by a host of clubs and is a boost for rugby league in the country.

“It has been received with great interest from all clubs, the candidates have shown a perfect attitude and it was a very fruitful day. We believe it’s going to help to sustain our development and to enlarge our organization even more,” said Sedina.

Matt Smith, the CZRLA's leading electric or electronic cigarettes referee, says seeing current and former players participating was a boost.

“It was great to see so many players, former and present participating. Because of their playing experience the guys were quite confident which really made a difference in learning to officiate and adjudicate the game,” said Smith.

With Czech rugby league slowly growing into something big, according to CZRLA's Andy Mulhall, it was the number of match officials that was lacking throughout the entire process.

“So far, the Czech Rep has been very successful in establishing community-based rugby league clubs which are self-sufficient in producing enthusiastic local players, supporters, sponsors and even coaching staff, but one area that has been lacking has been the emergence of Czech nationals as match officials,” said Mulhall.

“As the sport advances here, I am confident that in the not too distant future, we will be able to provide a referee at international level.”

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Bulldogs appoint first female CEO in Australian rugby league in 15 years

Raelene Castle

We certainly do not see it very often but it is a fantastic move forward for both the Canterbury Bulldogs and the NRL, with the club appointing New Zealand Netball CEO Raelene Castle as their new Chief Executive Officer.

With her official duties to commence on July 15, Castle has been CEO of NZ Netball for the past 6 years and oversaw growth in commercial and broadcast revenue during her tenure there.

With Castle also having experience in the marketing sector, having worked for Telecom, Fuji Xerox and the Bank of New Zealand, Bulldogs Chairman Ray Dib says getting Castle on board is a great coup for the club.

“Raelene was the standout applicant from a list of high quality candidates made up of sporting and business leaders from around the world,” Dib said.

“Her combination of business and marketing acumen coupled with her experience with high-performance athletes was unrivalled.

“Under Raelene’s leadership, the Bulldogs can move forward into a new era with great confidence.

“It is also a watershed moment for the Bulldogs with the appointment of our first female Chief Executive and we’re delighted to welcome Raelene to the Club.”

Castle is also no stranger to rugby league, with her father Bruce Castle captaining the New Zealand Kiwis side that played against the Australian Kangaroos in the 1960’s.

“I have grown up with Rugby League. I believe my appreciation of its history and the importance of the game to the Australian sporting landscape will be an excellent platform for the business acumen I bring to this role,” Castle said.

“The strong governance, sound financial standing, alongside the priority the Bulldogs place on community engagement provide with me an excellent opportunity to continue the substantial growth the business has shown in recent times.

“I am excited for the opportunities ahead for this Club and for Rugby League and I will look to continue a Bulldogs tradition of innovation and strong leadership to ensure we can make the most of them.”

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St Helens confirm the signing of Luke Walsh

Luke Walsh

With the Penrith Panthers moving in another direction, Luke Walsh sought to test himself on the open market and found an opportunity with St Helens in the English Super League who grabbed it, with the Penrith halfback signing a 2-year deal with the club from next season.

With an option for a third season, at 26, Walsh has played in 107 NRL games to date, with St Helens and former St George Illawarra Dragons coach Nathan us online blackjack Brown excited with the addition of Walsh.

“Luke is an exciting addition to the squad. He is a good organiser and possesses a great kicking game too,” said Brown.

“We are always looking to improve the team and I’m sure Luke will contribute to that. We are looking forward to having him on board.

“We would also like to thank Penrith Panthers for allowing Luke to be released from his contract to join us next season.”

Young Wakefield forward signs a new contract with the club

Chris Annakin

In what has been his first real stint in the top-grade, Wakefield Wildcats 22-year old forward Chris Annakin has been rewarded for a breakthrough season so far, with a new 2-year deal, one that will run until the end of 2015.

A member of the Wildcats 2009 Academy winning side, it has been his high-work rate and strong carries that have caught the eyes of staff and officials at Wakefield, with the young forward excited at the new deal and pleased to be staying at the club.

“My goals at the start of the year were to make my debut and keep my shirt, then getting my future sorted was the next one after that,” said Annakin after penning his deal.

“I’ve enjoyed my rugby this year and been really happy with how it’s gone so far. There’s still half the season to go so I want to kick on and keep improving.

“At the start of last pre-season I’d had a shoulder operation so I didn’t get to make the first impression I would have wanted on Rich (Agar). He told me to come back for this pre-season, rip in and that’s what I’ve done.

“As pre-season went on Rich spent more time with me and he was true to his word and gave braless pokies me my opportunity.”

With this being his second year with the full-time squad, Annakin admits that it was only this year that he realised that he was yet to fully embrace what it meant to be a professional rugby league player.

“I think I’ve come on leaps and bounds in terms of my professionalism this year. I take advice on board and put it into practise. All the players have been a big help to me but Kyle Amor and Justin Poore in particular.

“They’re the first ones to tell me what I need to be doing better and they tell me when I’m doing well, and as a young player that fills you with confidence to hear it from players like that.”

Someone who has been impressed with Annakin, has been Wakefield head coach Richard Agar, who praised the young forward his hard work and effort, both of which are now paying off.

“He’s worked really hard on his game and himself over the last 12 months,” Agar.

“He’s had a great impact for us so far this year and this is reward for his progress. Now we want him to push on and be a regular first grader. It’s very pleasing that he’s a player that has come through from our Academy.”

Rd 12 Teams

Just 8 teams playing this week given Rd 12 is the start of the bye rounds, but it will be an interesting selection process nonetheless, as teams name a side that is without their Origin stars. So, here are the teams for Rd 12.

Canterbury Bulldogs v St George Illawarra Dragons; ANZ Stadium (#NRLcbysgi).
Friday May 31st; Kick-off: 7:45pm.

Bulldogs: 1. Ben Barba 2. Drury Low 3. Mitch Brown 4. Tim Lafai 5. Sam Perrett 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Ennis (C) 10. Sam Kasiano 11. Frank Pritchard 12. Josh Jackson 13. Greg Eastwood.

14. Dene Halatau 15. Tim Browne 16. James Graham 17. Dale Finucane 20. Martin Taupau (One to be omitted).

Coach: Des Hasler.

Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Chase Stanley 4. Matt Prior 5. Jason Nighthingale 6. Jamie Soward 7. Nathan Fien 8. Dan Hunt 9. Mitch Rein 10. Michael Weyman 11. Bronson Harrison 12. Ben Creagh (C) 13. Tyson Frizell.

Interchange: 14. Cameron King 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Jack De Belin 17. Jack Stockwell.

Coach: Steve Price.

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Newcastle Knights; ANZ Stadium (#NRLsounew).
Saturday May 1st; Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Bunnies: 1. Nathan Merritt 2. Andrew Everingham 3. Beau Champion 4. Dylan Walker 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Dave Tyrrell 9. Issac Luke 10. Roy Asotasi 11. Ben Lowe 12. Sam Burgess 13. Nathan Peats.

Interchange: 14. Justin Hunt 15. Jason Clark 16. Jeff Lima 17. George Burgess.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Knights: 1. Kevin Naiqama 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joey Leilua 5. Peter Mata’utia 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. Kade Snowden 9. Travis Waddell 10. Willie Mason 11. Robbie Rochow 12. Alex McKinnon 13. Jeremy Smith.

Interchange: 14 Online Pokies. Adam Clydesdale 15. David Fa’alogo 16. Adam Cuthbertson 17. Korbin Sims

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Gold Coast Titans v North Queensland Cowboys; Skilled Park (#NRLgldnql).
Sunday May 2nd; Kick-off: 3pm.

Titans: 1. William Zillman 2. Kevin Gordon 3. Brad Takairangi 4. Jamal Idris 5. Anthony Don 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Bailey 9. Matt Srama 10. Luke Douglas 11. David Taylor 12. Mark Minichiello 13. Luke O’Dwyer.

Interchange: 14. Ryan James 15. Mark Ioane 16. Jamie Dowling 17. Sam Irwin

Coach: John Cartwright

Cowboys: 1. Clint Greenshields 2. Ash Graham 3. Antonio Winterstein 4. Kane Linnett 5. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa 6. Michael Morgan 7. Robert Lui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Rory Kostjaysn 10. Scott Bolton 11. Tariq Sims 12. Glenn Hall 13. Dallas Johnson.

Interchange: 14. Ray Thompson 15. Joel Reithmuller 16. Ricky Thorby 17. Jason Taumalolo 18. Ethan Lowe 19. Blake Leary (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Neil Henry.

Brisbane Broncos v New Zealand Warriors; Suncorp Stadium (#NRLbriwar)
Monday May 3rd; Kick-off: 7pm.

Broncos: 1. Corey Norman 2. Denan Kemp 3. Josh Hoffman 4. Jordan Kahu 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Scott Prince 7. Peter Wallace 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Scott Anderson 11. Alex Glenn 12. Nick Slyney 13. Dunamis Lui.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hunt 15. Mitchell Dodds 16. David Hala 17. Jarrod Wallace 18. Jake Granville 19. Aaron Whitchurch (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Warriors: 1. Kevin Locke 2. Glen Fisiiahi 3. Dane Nielsen 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Sam Rapira 9. Nathan Friend 10. Russell Packer 11. Feleti Mateo 12. Simon Mannering (C) 13. Elijah Taylor>

Interchange: 14. Ben Matulino 15. Jacob Lillyman 16. Sebastine Ikahihifo 17. Pita Godinet 18. Dominique Peyroux.

Coach: Matt Elliott.

Ricky’s Team of the Week: Rd 11

Here we are again. The end of another week and that means a Team of the Week. With a lot of fantastic performances in the lead-up to Origin by Origin players and by players that weren’t selected, who would be in your team of the week? Here we go, the Team of the Week for Rd 11.

Just to re-iterate, this is based on the points system I use at the completion of every game.

1. Jarryd Hayne – The Eels side may have been struggling of late and shown inconsistency, but one player who has stepped up in form and with his overall play of late, has been Hayne. With the first Origin game fast approaching and Hayne picked at fullback, the Eels play-maker seems to be running back the ball with more intent and has been producing some fantastic defensive displays over the last few weeks.

2. Travis Robinson – Not the most well-known winger but you may recognise his surname, as he’s related to Canberra Raiders fullback Reece Robinson. In the absence of several back-line players, Robinson was given a chance to prove his worth in 2013 and he’s taken it well, producing some consistent performances, potentially seeing him retain his spot even when injured players are slated to return.

3. Jamal Idris – With the form he’s in, you could have very nearly picked him for the NSW Origin side. In the best form of his life and one of the form centres in the game right now, Idris is going from strength to strength. More mobile and sharp in attack than in past years, it is his strength that is causing problems for opposition defences as he bulldozes opposition defensive lines.

4. Jamie Lyon – Once again, Lyon makes this list and shows the rest of the NRL how it’s done as a centre. Widely tipped as the best centre in the game at the moment, had he not declared he wanted to focus on club footy and not representative footy, he’d be a shoe-in for NSW. His form over the last few years has been extremely consistent and every game of every year, he plays a vital role for the Sea Eagles as to whether or not they win games or lose games.

5. Sisa Waqa – Waqa is quite literally, a wrecking ball. When you look at him, he’s a huge, huge man and playing on the wing, he has the chance to show his destructive nature and speed when the ball comes to him. The Fijian may not be a household name nor a name that some are familiar with, but the way he plays and the way he has played this year, makes him an under-rated asset for the Storm this season.

6. Feleti Mateo – Inconsistency has plagued Feleti Mateo in 2013 but he produced perhaps his best performance of the season for the Warriors this week, in their win over the Knights. When he’s composed and calm and doesn’t attempt to force things or overplay his hand, Mateo is arguably, the best ball-running lock in the game, if not in rugby league in general. With a tendency to force too many offloads and often resulting in dropped balls or errors, it’s moments like that frustrate any Warriors fan.

7. Robbie Farah – Not usually a halfback but named here for the purposes of putting together an entire 17, Farah is a player probably could play just about anywhere. The heart and soul of the Wests Tigers, Farah wears his heart on his sleeve as a player and gives it his all in every clash that he plays. Rewarded for his stellar form in a largely poor Tigers outfit for most of the year, Farah is a player that has stood out above his team-mates for his consistent play.

8. Andrew Fifita – If there’s one term that you use to describe Fifita, it’d either be a human wrecking ball or a machine. Named in the Origin side and rightfully so given his stellar form, what makes it all the more impressive is that of late, he’s been coming off the bench and racking up colossal metres the last few weeks, all in excess of 200. With his form, he’s see live sex currently in the best props in the game.

9. Cam Smith (C) – If you want a player to change the course of the game when you’re losing or with the game hanging in the balance, Cam Smith is your man. With a single change in what he thinks and sees in front of him, Smith has the ability to turn a game on its head and produce something out of nothing to lead the Storm, QLD or Australia to victory when required, making him one of the best players in the game, if not the best right now.

10. Nigel Plum – An underrated piece to the Panthers recent resurgence, Nigel Plum is a hard-nosed, bruising forward who is known for his huge hits in defence. With the Panthers on a mini-run, Plum has been a key part of that recent run of form, producing fantastic games, minutes and metres as a starting prop and will be a key player in games to come for the Panthers.

11. Frank Pritchard – Injured to start the season, the last few weeks have seen Pritchard hit back with a bang, producing some stellar form to guide the Dogs to victories over the last few weeks. A veteran of the Bulldogs forward pack, in the absence of Tony Williams, it was Pritchard who stood up and produced a man-of-the-match performance. Solid with the ball in hand and able to pop off unexpected offloads, Pritchard is a player that is invaluable to the Bulldogs side.

12. Paul Vaughan – If you haven’t heard of Paul Vaughan, that’s not surprising, given it was only very recently he came into the NRL foray. After his performance in a losing Raiders side, however, perhaps his best game in his career to date, you’ll remember his name. He was probably the Raiders best forward and off the bench for that matter, as he made solid metres, solid runs and was strong in defence when required.

13. Sam Burgess – Another player that makes this side consistently, given the consistent nature and play every week from Sam Burgess. A powerhouse forward that can play anywhere in the pack, Burgess is a player that plays his heart out every week and you know what you’re going to get from him. Has a motor like there’s no tomorrow and runs all day, tackles all day and, if you give him the chance, makes breaks all day.

14. Sam Rapira – Rapira’s a player who has been plagued by injuries several times in his career but when he’s playing and on song, he’s a talented forward to have in your ranks and he showed why, producing a solid display in the Warriors win. Able to cover prop and back-row, Rapira hits the ball back with speed and is a hard man to bring down if opposition teams aren’t careful.

15. Jesse Bromwich – Another key piece to the Melbourne Storm puzzle, Bromwich is one of the form forwards for the Storm and in the NRL. A New Zealand international, he quite often lays the platform for the Storm’s play-makers to create something. Still young, he will only get even better as he gets more minutes and more experience.

16. Adam Blair – Criticised excessively this season and at times, rightfully so, Adam Blair played perhaps his best game of the season, one that saw him start at prop. It forced him to get more involved, run harder and play harder, something he seemed content to do, especially after recent criticisms of him over the last few weeks by fans, NRL experts and journalists, that he was being lazy. It’s the sort of form Tigers fans hope isn’t a one-off.

17. James Graham – The blonde-haired Englishman has been revelation since returning from his suspension. Coming off the bench, he gives the Dogs the spark they often need to press on in games and he has been a key part of their recent success. A dogged and determined player, Graham does whatever he can to ensure that his team wins the game and often shows that by putting in monster performances in both attack and defence.

Well, there we have it, the Team of the Week for Rd 11. Do you agree?

Northern Pride name new CEO

Brock Schaefer

Finding the person you believe is the perfect fit for the role of CEO at any organisation is never easy, but the Northern Pride have appointed current interim CEO Brock Schaefer as their official Chief Executive Officer.

Schaefer, 26, who was the Pride’s Business Development Manager before all this, has signed a 2-year deal to the club’s CEO, with Schaefer excited about the opportunity in front of him.

“It’s a rare privilege to have the chance to lead such a Club and I thank the Northern Pride Board for appointing me to the position,” he said.

“It is a truly exciting time for this footy club as we sit atop the Intrust Super Cup ladder, experience record membership growth, and look forward to the continued evolution of our competition and status in the game as a direct result of changes occurring in our game at the national level.”

His time as the Business Development Manager was a busy one, as he introduced, implemented and maintained many key facets of the football club off the field.

– The expansion of the Northern Pride Academy system, which will see more than 200 locals aged 12-20 with development and pathways direct to elite levels
– Assisting to make an NRL competition game a reality in Cairns
– The establishment of remote games (in Bamaga and Mount Isa)
– Community work through the club’s award-winning Take Pride Program
– Development and expansion of the Pride’s game-leading live stream initiative
– Launch of the 2013 ‘More than Pride’ membership campaign.

“The great successes of this Club are a reflection of the aspiration, commitment and passion of our players, our corporate partners, and our season members,” Mr Schaefer said.

“We are the beneficiaries of a level of support both from the general public and from the corporate community that is the envy of clubs that play at a hour payday loans national level.

“That means we have an obligation to ensure we are providing the best service, value and experience for all of those stakeholders.

“I look forward to spending the next few weeks and months speaking to as many of our supporters as possible, to ensure we continue to create an open and honest communication channel with those people who allow our Club to succeed.

“We haven’t been perfect in the past but we will strive to improve in every facet of our operations.”

Bob Fowler, the club’s Chairman, said the Pride board were unanimous when making the decision, that Schaefer was the right fit for the job.

“In his time with the Northern Pride, Brock has displayed a maturity beyond his years in handling administration and business management duties,” said Mr Fowler.

“The Board are impressed by his views to transform and strengthen our organisation and look forward to supporting Brock, our staff and players to have our club recognised as the most professional and successful state league sporting club in Australia.”

Coach Jason Demetriou is also excited at the move and has praised the appointment of Schaefer as CEO.

“The football department, along with the players, are delighted at Brock’s appointment as the new CEO,” said Demetriou.

“Brock is a very intelligent young man who, combined with his passion for the club, will drive our brand forward and engage with all our community partners to ensure we are at the heartbeat of the Cairns region.

“The Northern Pride ethos is about providing opportunities for young local players, and Brock is committed to driving this forward.

“I am excited and looking forward to working with Brock to take the Northern Pride to another level that sees us recognised as the most professional club in the Intrust Super Cup, both on and off the field.”

NSW and QLD Origin Sides: Game 1.

Here are both sides named for NSW and QLD for the opening State of Origin clash.

New South Wales side

1. Jarryd Hayne (Eels)
2. Brett Morris (Dragons)
3. Michael Jennings (Roosters)
4. Josh Morris (Bulldogs)
5. Blake Ferguson (Raiders)
6. James Maloney (Roosters)
7. Mitchell Pearce (Roosters)
8. Paul Gallen (Sharks, capt)
9. Robbie Farah (Tigers)
10. James Tamou (Cowboys)
11. Ryan Hoffman (Storm)
12.Luke Lewis (Sharks)
13. Greg Bird (Titans)
Interchange
14. Kurt Gidley (Knights)
15. Anthony Watmough (Manly)
16. Andrew Fifita (Sharks)
17. Trent \u00a31000 payday loan Merrin (Dragons)

Queensland

1. Billy Slater (Storm)
2. Darius Boyd (Knights)
3. Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs)
4. Justin Hodges (Broncos)
5. Brent Tate (Cowboys)
6. Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
7. Cooper Cronk (Storm)
8. Matt Scott (Cowboys)
9. Cam Smith (C) (Storm)
10. David Shillington (Raiders)
11. Nate Myles (Titans)
12. Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
13. Ash Harrison (Titans)

14. Corey Parker (Broncos)
15. Matt Gillett (Broncos)
16. Ben Te’o (Souths)
17. Chris McQueen (Souths)

18. Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly)
19. Josh Papalii (Raiders).

There’s both sides. Both very good sides.

Wigan grind out win as Leeds coach believes tough call went against his side late on

Pat Richards

It was Wigan who ended up winning the game over Leeds 20-16, though the talking point is what happened at the end of the game, with Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott of the belief that a late call went against them.

Leeds have now lost three in a row in all competitions, as McDermott was disappointed with the obstruction ruling in the last minute that cost his side a potential win.

“Nobody was obstructed,” he insisted.

“Whoever pressed the button understands the rules but probably doesn't understand the game.”

Despite that, McDermott was pleased with how his side performed.

“It was an outstanding game. I've got to give Wigan credit. They had more composure than we did when attacking the tryline,” said McDermott.

“I'm immensely proud to be involved with this group. I thought we had a good number of harsh calls and, to be still in the contest, everybody should be proud.”

The obstruction rule is contentious in any form of rugby league, but Wigan coach Shaun Payday Loans Wane saw the ruling at the end of the game in a different light to that of his counterpart.

“I was relieved obviously but I was more concerned with how it happened. The referee dealt with it correctly,” said Wane.

The win, which was a narrow one, was one that pleased Wane, given the grinding nature of it.

“It was enjoyable to grind out a win,” Wane said.

“We've not been in many arm wrestles recently.

“We were not at our best in our attack but our defence was solid and we played with a lot of energy.

“To beat a quality team like Leeds in an event like this in front of a big crowd is pleasing.

“I was pleased with our attitude. We stayed in with them, even though our attack was nowhere near its best. It was Matty Smith's first game back and Sam Powell is still learning so I'm sure we will be a lot better next week.”

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Huddersfield get revenge over Bradford with a convincing performance

Larne Patrick

Having suffered a 43-18 loss to the Bradford Bulls back in March, the Huddersfield Giants were out to make amends and they came bursting out of the blocks, as they crushed the Bulls 42-6 overnight.

It was something that played on the minds of the Giants players, with coach Paul Anderson saying that they owed Bradford one and for the most part, he was pleased with his side's performance.

“I would be lying if I said I hadn't told the players that we owed them one,” said former Bulls prop Anderson.

“If you were going to describe our performance you would call it workmanlike.

“We didn't take as many opportunities as we could have done. Because of the occasion, with all the fans singing and what not, everyone wants to throw the ball around and we were guilty of that a bit.

“But when we decided to be direct, we created havoc. We are trying to do two different things; either go through them or round them.

“This group are Payday Loan working their socks off but sometimes we rob our game of energy. Because we are not coming up with endings to our sets other than scoring, we're going set-for-set when we need to have four or five at their end of the field.

“That's the mindset we need to get.”

With Jamie Foster forced to fill in at fullback, Bradford coach Francis Cummins had no intention of heaping blame on him.

“It is a tough position, full back, and it was going to be hard for him,” said Cummins.

“He doesn't really know the role but I didn't have a choice because of the injuries we have. I had no choice, but full back wasn't where we lost the game.”

Having lost two players to injury on Saturday hurt the club, but Cummins was not using that as an excuse.

“We always seemed to have one man not playing to the system, forgetting his own job,” he said.

“It was a bad day for us and they were the better team.”

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