Hasler calls for improvement despite commanding win by the Dogs

Mitch Brown

He is a harsh marker when it comes to the performance of his side and today was no different, as Canterbury Bulldogs coach Des Hasler admits improvement in his side is a must if they are to challenge the top sides.

Starting the game in a relatively poor fashion and thus trailing at one point, they were forced to dig deep and win, with the moment that changed the game coming from an unlikely source in Tony Williams, who enjoyed one of his best games in Bulldogs colours.

It was only after being given a serve by Hasler at half-time that saw the Dogs players respond, as they ran away with the game and were just too strong for the Panthers.

“Both sides were probably sub-standard with the completion rate,” Hasler said.

“They are a good side Penrith but we contributed to our downfall … it’s just not good enough and we need to improve.

“But luckily we tackled well and they were as guilty as were by completing just two sets more than we did.”

“We improved in the second half and had some momentum and scored four tries.”

Hasler is harsh on his players, too, and admits that Williams has been playing satisfactorily over the last month.

“I think he has been playing OK the last month,” Hasler said.

“Considering the way we played in the first half, any points could be seen as a turning point.

“When you are 14-6 down the next score usually decides the game so getting the try and Trent kicking the goal was good.

“They had enough possession, they should have had more than the 14 they had before halftime.”

For Williams, it is all about confidence and whilst he is not quite where he wants to be, he did say that he is slowly getting it back piece by piece.

“I guess I wasn’t involved much before that so I had to do something,” Williams said.

“I was lucky enough to get the pass away … it’s been a bit of roller-coaster ride for me this year.

“It’s good that we have got a bit of confidence at the back end of the season and some momentum going into the finals.

“My confidence has been much better than earlier in the season and it’s up to me now.

“I need to make of those runs and get the boys along.”

Not one to beat around the bush, Penrith Panthers coach Ivan Cleary admits that his side was just outplayed by a better side in the second half.

“We just couldn’t build up enough pressure,” Cleary said.

“We had some good spells, we had chances but the try on halftime was significant and they went on with it in the second half.

“They were too good.”

3. Mitch Brown
2. Tony Williams
1. Tim Lafai

Warriors keep slim finals hopes alive after thrashing the Raiders

Shaun Johnson

There are sums galore and numbers to crunch just to work out how the New Zealand Warriors can make the NRL finals but they have kept their hopes of making it alive, after obliterating the Canberra Raiders 50-16 in New Zealand.

There were two hat-tricks in the game, with winger Manu Vatuvei and halfback Shaun Johnson putting on a show, as the Warriors now need a win over the St George Illawarra Dragons next week, if they are to make the finals.

“To be honest I haven’t looked at what’s needed,” said Warriors captain Simon Mannering.

“I know we have to win to be a chance. That’s all I’m concentrating on.

“I guess we’ll see next week what we’re looking at, but obviously the win’s the most important thing.”

There was some razzle-dazzle in the Warriors play, as they scored a whopping 44 unanswered points after trailing 12-6 to the Raiders at one stage.

Despite the classy play, Mannering said that the key to his side’s victory was simple – playing the basics.

“I don’t think it was being too expansive, it was just sticking to what we trained through the week,” he said.

“It’s not the flash plays. It’s the basic ones that really sent it home for us.”

The only sour note for the Warriors was an injury to Jerome Ropati, who has had a horrid run of injuries of late.

It has been a tough last little period for the Raiders, with David Furner sacked, Blake Ferguson stood down and Sandor Earl found guilty of peptide use, with interim coach Andrew Dunemann admitting that it is taking a toll on his side.

“That’s not making excuses for anyone,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of players out and we’ve had to deal with a fair bit over the last three weeks.

“At the end of the day, they’re professionals and we need to get over it. It’s easy to say, but it’s hard to do.”

Trailing by just 8 points at half-time, the Raiders had a chance, but Dunemann concedes that the Warriors just had too much firepower in the second half and showed why.

“We didn’t defend as well as we would have liked in the second half but that’s probably been our issue for the whole year, to be honest,” he said.

“Our defence has been poor at times.”

3. Shaun Johnson
2. Manu Vatuvei
1. Elijah Taylor

Vanuatu rugby league and Westpac join forces

Attaining a sponsor is always a bonus for any rugby league side, both local and international, and for the Vanuatu rugby league side, they have reason to celebrate, after banking giants Westpac have agreed to come on board as their official sponsor for the next 12 months.

Westpac will be the official Platinum sponsor for the Vanuatu rugby league side, with staff members from the bank introduced to Vanuatu players and officials at the Port Vila branch.

The commitment by Westpac will see them feature on the jersey for Vanuatu’s upcoming international clashes against the Solomon Islands and Niue, as well as any future test matches planned for early/mid 2014.

Vanuatu rugby league is all about potential and as they grow and develop as a rugby league nation, getting Westpac on board is a major coup for them both now and moving forward.

Tom Carlo, the Vanuatu Rugby League President, said they are thrilled to have Westpac on board and look forward to the ongoing partnership.

“It is great to be able to have Westpac support the Vanuatu Rugby League and we believe that our brand will continue to soar given this announcement,” said Carlo.

“We have 2 very important test matches coming up in October and we look forward to displaying Westpac on the front centre of our playing and training apparel. The VRL will work hard to ensure that the agreement with Westpac is mutually beneficial”.

Jeff Byrne, Westpac Vanuatu’s Regional General Manager, said the organisation is also pleased to be on board, with increased exposure for the rugby league side and the organisation set to be beneficial for all.

“It is great to be part of the continued presence and development of rugby league in Vanuatu and the launch has certainly created a great buzz for our staff and general public who witnessed the new jerseys being unveiled,” said Byrne.

Those interested in purchasing new gear or apparel, will be able to do so in the coming months.

Former NRL utility joins Widnes

Danny Galea

Some NRL fans may remember him as he had several stints with clubs in the NRL, but for Danny Galea, a new chapter begins in his career, signing with the Widnes Vikings.

Playing in more than 130 first-grade games for the Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers and Canberra Raiders, Galea admits that the prospect of playing alongside some of his mates and of playing in the Super League, was a very alluring option for him.

“I’m good mates with Rhys Hanbury from our time spent alongside each other at the Tigers, and I’ve spoken with him on a number of occasions about my desire to come overseas and give it a go,” said Galea.

“One thing led to another and before too long, I was contacted by James Rule. He filled me in on how the Club is run and it was clear that he has a fantastic relationship with his staff and from what he explained, there is plenty of potential at Widnes and they are definitely a Club on the rise.

“I’ve obviously spoken with Denis Betts, too he also gave me a run-down on the way things are done at Widnes and what will be expected of me, when I join the group.

“From day one, everything has run smoothly and the process of sorting out the contract was easy. Of course, there are always a few people who try to warn you not to make the jump from competition to competition and tell you that you’ll regret it, but I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that I’ve made the right decision and I genuinely can’t wait to get over there and play my part in making the Club grow even more!

Currently at the Canterbury Bulldogs and playing for their NSW Cup side, Galea is just excited to have a chance to play in the Super League.

“I’m contracted to the Bulldogs until the end of October, but I’m hoping to be over in Widnes the following week,” said Galea.

“Being of Maltese descent, I’ve already got dark skin and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to adapt to the English weather and all of the sunshine really quickly!”

Having been coached by the likes of David Furner, Tim Sheens and John Lang throughout his career, the 30-year old veteran has learnt a lot along the way and believes his experience in the Super League will only further aid his game.

I’ve learnt a lot from some great coaches over the years and I’ve taken in as much of the information as I possibly can. Although each coach has had his own methods and tactics, collectively, they’ve all played a massive part in influencing my footy career,” said Galea.

“As I’ve got older as a player, I’ve passed on a lot of this knowledge to the younger guys in the team – and I was there not too long ago – so I know exactly how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking.

“I’m really enjoying the leadership-type role that my game has taken on over the past couple of years, and in no way do I think of zero tar electronic cigarettes it as an extra responsibility. If anything, I’d like to think that it has improved me as a player and hopefully it has also helped the progression of the young players, especially in the early part of their footy careers, when it can be quite a tough environment.

If it were up to Galea, he would be playing for as long as he could and with no end currently in sight as to when he will stop playing, the veteran forward is enjoying playing footy.

“Whatever role I’m given, one thing remains the same and that’s the fact that I enjoy playing. At the end of the day, I just want to carry on playing for as long as I possibly can. When the day arrives that I’m not enjoying it anymore, I’ll give it away and stop, but that’s a long way off!”

Someone who is familiar with Galea is his future Widnes team-mate Rhys Hanbury, with the two playing alongside each other in the NRL for the Wests Tigers.

With Galea now coming to Widnes, Hanbury looks forward to playing alongside him once more.

“He is a really honest player and his work ethic in defence and the ability to put on a ‘big shot’ is something that will please not only the players around him on the field, but also our fans,” said Hanbury.

“He’s played plenty of games in the NRL and actually started out as a centre when he debuted in first grade. Although he’d be first to admit that he’s not as fast as he used to be since moving into the pack, he’s still got the skills and understanding of how to hit a hole and offload a ball, too.

“If I had to make a comparison from within our current group of players for him, then I’d definitely choose Hep Cahill – and we all know what a popular and appreciated player he is!”

Someone who is excited about adding a player like Galea to the side, is Widnes coach Denis Betts.

“We were looking for a solid, hard-working club man to come in and do a good job for us, make us a better team and contribute to the whole organisation,” said Betts.

“Danny is a really strong back rower and a great defensive player, and we’ve had lots of good wraps on him, coming out of Australia.

“With all due respect, a lot of people may not know who he is immediately, but he has a fantastic pedigree and is a former Australian Schoolboys representative. He’s played a large number of NRL games at First Grade level and I’m confident that he will surprise a few people when he comes over to these shores and runs out onto the field for us.

Crucially, Betts is looking forward to the experience and leadership qualities that Galea will bring to the side for the future.

“Danny will bring plenty of leadership qualities, hunger, enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge with him, and the younger players in our group will only benefit from having him as team-mate and a part of the group,” said Betts.

Knights end Broncos finals’ hopes

Joey Leilua

Whilst the win just about cements the Newcastle Knights spot in the top eight, it was a bittersweet moment, with captain Kurt Gidley stretchered off the field with what looked to be a serious ankle/foot injury.

The 26-18 win over the Brisbane Broncos ended their hopes of a finals berth and with a congested ladder heading into the game, Brisbane knew that they could not afford to lose again.

Unfortunately, it was not to be for the Broncos, as former Bronco Darius Boyd produced a stellar performance against his old club, one that ultimately led to the win for the Knights.

The loss means the Broncos have now missed the finals for the second time in four seasons but the Broncos had a chance to win, after going up 14-0 early on, before the Knights fought back to win.

It was a crazy game in a few senses, with Corey Parker, Peter Wallace, Dunamis Lui and David Fa’alogo where do i buy electronic cigarettes in chicago all placed on report, as Knights coach Wayne Bennett ruled out any chance of a recurrence of a previous foot injury for Gidley.

“But to their credit tonight they played on without him. They have played a lot of last year without him so it is not something that we are unaccustomed to,” Bennett said.

Trailing at a crucial side, Bennett praised his side’s self belief to come from behind and record a victory.

“At 14-0 down, it can be 20-0 pretty quickly or you can make a stand,” he said.

“I might not look happy but I am.”

It was a case of what if for the Broncos, who have now missed the finals for just the second time in 21 years, with coach Anthony Griffin left disappointed and frustrated.

“I am very disappointed and frustrated. We thought we had a chance to win the game,” he said.

3. Joey Leilua
2. Darius Boyd
1. Robbie Rochow

Bunnies forced to dig deep to beat the valiant Tigers

Issac Luke

It was not all smooth sailing and not the sort of overall performance South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire would have wanted from his side, but they will take the two points, overcoming a resilient Wests Tigers outfit at Allianz Stadium.

It was the Tigers who came bursting out of the blocks as they raced out to a commanding lead, catching off the usually on-fire Rabbiotohs off-guard.

With the Tigers 18 points in 14 minutes coming off the back of a rather harsh sin-binning call against Sam Burgess, one that left the in-form Englishman confused, he repaid his team-mates tenfold later on in the game and was a key reason behind their surge to victory.

“It’s certainly disappointing to get ten minutes,” Burgess said.

“I didn’t say a word. I’m a bit confused.

With the spotlight on the four Burgess brothers, who were the first quartet of brothers to play in Australian rugby league since 1910, Burgess was pleased with the win – a 32-18 triumph for his club – and the fact that all four brothers were on the field at the same time.

“Madge (coach Michael Maguire Viagra) got us all out there at the same time which was a pretty cool moment, it’s going to be one that we’ll remember for a while, we certainly enjoyed that.”

With a crucial game coming up in Rd 26, one that can decide the fate of the minor premiership, Souths coach Michael Maguire said that his side’s destiny is now in their hands.

“It’s a great opportunity for the club, the players and another important game,” he said.

“It’s going to be a great atmosphere and have that finals feel.

“The boys want to be able to add a little bit of that history along the way.”

For the Tigers, whilst it was not the result they were after in Benji Marshall’s 200th game, Robbie Farah’s record-breaking club game or Lote Tuqiri’s 150th game, there was a lot to take out of the game for them.

Building for the future, the young players talents were again on show, with Tim Simona and Ben Murdoch-Masila impressing, in what was a valiant effort from the Tigers across the board.

3. Issac Luke
2. Sam Burgess
1. James Tedesco

Three talented youngsters stay on in the nation’s capital

Jack Ahearn

Youngsters often form the building blocks of an NRL side moving forward and the Canberra Raiders have acted swiftly to re-sign some of their young, talented players, with Jack Ahearn, Jeremy Hawkins and Jeff Lynch re-signing until the end of the 2015 season.

The trio are currently a part of the NYC side and enjoying stellar stints, though Lynch’s season was unfortunately cut short due to a season-ending shoulder injury.

On the cusp of securing the minor premiership, the three have been a part of the Raiders solid season so far and with two weeks remaining, the Raiders will hope they can hold on.

For Ahearn, he is excited to stay at the club and hopes that staying on with the Raiders can act as a pathway to the NRL.

“I grew up supporting the Raiders, so to be able to re-sign with them is a great feeling for me. I have an old 1994 jersey signed by Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley and it’s still at home,” Ahearn said.

“I’m over the moon to have a two year extension at my local club. It’s a good opportunity here for me and I look forward to wearing that green jumper for another two years.”

Ahearn is familiar with his fellow players that are re-signing and says he looks up to them and what they do for their work ethic and overall persona on and off the field.

“We’ve got a Viagra good young group coming through. I really look up to players like Mitch Cornish, Jeremy Hawkins and Jeff Lynch because of their work ethic,” he said.

“They keep pushing me to improve and it’s good to see that we’re all going to be here for a bit longer together.”

Hawkins was a young player who joined the club from New Zealand and is excited to have re-signed, with club officials pleased with his promising form at both NYC and NSW Cup level.

“I came over here from New Zealand on a three year deal and my main goal was to play in the NRL for the Raiders and I’ve now got two more years to work towards my goal,” Hawkins said.

“I played SG Ball with Mitch Cornish and Jack Ahearn, so it’s good that we’re sticking together.”

Jeremy Hawkins

Whilst Lynch is disappointed that he cannot finish out the season due to his shoulder injury, he knows that it will make him hungrier to perform and play well in the pre-season and 2014 season.

“It’s been a frustrating end to the year for me after the shoulder surgery and watching the team do so well from the sideline, but hopefully the boys can go on and win the competition,” Lynch said.

“For me, it’s about making sure my shoulder is right to go for the pre-season and I can’t wait to learn from the NRL players and train alongside them.”

Jeff Lynch

Knights winger re-signs for 2014 season

Josh Mantellato

He made an impressive debut for the Newcastle Knights before he was unfortunately injured but the chance for further action may appear in 2014, after Josh Mantellato re-signed with the club for the 2014 season.

A strong performer in the NSW cup and a fan favourite among Knights fans, the Wyong junior joined the Knights in 2012 and he is excited to remain in the Hunter with the Knights.

“It was my first and only intention to stay here, I have had a great year so far and to continue here for another year is very exciting,” Mantellato said.

“Last year was a great season for me and I have gone on Buy Viagra to bigger and better things this year and hopefully next year I can advance a little further with my first grade career as well.

“Being here under the coaching staff that we have and the players I have around me as well, it definitely turns me in to a better player.”

Mantellato was a member of the NSW Residents side that defeated the QLD Residents side earlier this year, with the club themselves excited to retain someone like Mantellato.

“We are really happy for Josh, he is a great player to have at the Club and it is great he will be with us again in 2014,” CEO Matt Gidley said.

Castleford hooker extends his stay at the club for 2 years

Adam Milner

Highly touted as a player that can achieve big things in the game, the Castleford Tigers have re-signed young hooker Adam Milner for a further two seasons.

Milner, who was already contracted for next season, was sought after, so the club acted quickly and re-signed the 21-year old to avoid further interest from rivals.

2013 was a successful season for Milner, scoring seven tries in total and three in his last four games, as he looks forward to staying on at Castleford over the next few seasons.

“As soon as I got the contract offer, I didn’t think twice about signing it and I’m really happy about staying here for the next three years,” said Milner.

“The coaching staff that we have in Daryl Powell and Danny Orr have been massive for us and that, together with the players that we have, make me believe that the club is going places.

“We’ve shown in the second-half of this season how well we can play and just what a good team that we are. I want to continue to be a part of it and hopefully there are bigger and better things on the way.

“I’ve got Generic Viagra a lot of confidence from the last few games and I’m enjoying my football, and I think a lot of that is down to the coaches and what’s going on down at Cas. Long may that continue and we continue to push on over the next three years and hopefully I can produce more good performances.”

Equally excited to retain a talented player is Tigers coach Daryl Powell, who said it was vital to retain the young players that have come through the club’s ranks.

“It is crucial that we retain the young players are that developed through our system and go on to play in the first team,” said Powell.

“Adam Milner is a player who is a significant part of the future and I am delighted he has signed a contract extension which will keep him here for the next three years.

“Adam’s best years are ahead of him and I am confident he will be pressing to play at the highest level during that time.

“Both his attacking game and his toughness in defence are developing every week and I know he will continue to work hard to achieve his undoubted potential.”

Bradford stave off rival interest and sign Gaskell

Lee Gaskell

With heavy interest from other clubs to sign him, including the team he is currently at on loan, the Salford City Reds, it is the Bradford Bulls who have won the race, signing Lee Gaskell on a 2-year deal.

Gaskell, who is still just 22, has spent the season on-loan at Salford from his parent club St Helens, but when the time came, it was the Bradford Bulls who secured his services, with coach Francis Cummins excited to have signed him.

“It’s great that Lee was really keen to come to Bradford when he had an offer from Salford to go there,” said Cummins.

“He’s had some really good performances, away to London when he scored a hat-trick and he managed to get a few other tries as well, which is pleasing.

“When you’re stood next to Lee, he’s quite imposing and you can see the potential in him, which is great. His best years are ahead of him.”

For Gaskell, with other teams interested in him, he knew that when the offer came in from Cialis Bradford and having spoke with Cummins, he knew it was the club he wanted to be at.

“I had quite a number of clubs who were interested but once I had spoken to Franny, I just wanted to come to Bradford,” said Gaskell.

“He’s young himself and I’m sure he is learning a lot as he goes along.

“He’s only going to get better as a head coach, so it all bodes well for the club.

“Bradford are going in the right direction and they have a great history. Hopefully I can help to bring the good times back.”

Also looking forward to seeing Gaskell play at the Bulls, is Deputy Director Robbie Paul.

“It’s great news that Lee has signed on for next year,” said Paul.

“He is still very young but has a wealth of experience having been at St Helens since he was a 16 years old. He has a great kicking game and some genuine pace. He will be a big asset to the club over the next couple of years.”