Warriors hold on for narrow win against spirited Knights side

Shaun Johnson

The Newcastle Knights might be down and out on some troops but they have heart and passion to succeed and very nearly pulled off a great win away from home against the New Zealand Warriors.

Playing at Mt Smart Stadium, it was an enthralling contest with both sides enjoying periods of dominance, sustained possession and attacking opportunities.

With several front-line players out, the Knights cause was not helped when Tyrone Roberts also departed the field with a foot injury of some sort.

The injuries and relative inexperience in certain positions proved telling for the Knights, as their opponents ran them ragged early and scored several tries through some great attacking brilliance.

The Knights resolve was strong, though, and after two quick tries of their own before the half-time break, they found themselves trailing by just six points.

They stayed in the contest and dug deep to perform well and despite the loss, it was an effort from his players that coach Rick Stone was proud of.

“We probably just had a couple of lapses in concentration with a couple of soft tries – the first try in the first half and probably the first try in second half to be honest were pretty soft tries in the context of the game,” Knights coach Rick Stone said.

“I am really proud of the team, they got through their sets alright and competed pretty hard in defence. Like I said the lack of concentration hurt us a bit, some soft tries make a difference in close games.”

In front of the 13,203 strong crowd, the Warriors win was enough to keep them in the top eight and whilst he will take the points, there were aspects of the game that did not please Warriors coach Andrew McFadden.

“I wouldn’t say I am completely satisfied with it. We will take the points but it wasn’t very convincing,” Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said.

“We just gave up too many easy points and when you are trying to build pressure on a team you need to hold them out in those critical moments, and turn them away a lot more than we did.”

There was one true shining light for the Knights and that was the work from fullback Dane Gagai, fast becoming one of the club’s most important players.

“He’s dangerous and the fullback position gives him the opportunity to get the ball in his hands as often as he can,” said Stone.

“I thought he popped up everywhere and was a consistent threat to the Warriors’ defensive line. He made himself a nuisance.”

Player of the Game:

3. Shaun Johnson
2. Dane Gagai
1. Ben Matulino

Warriors 24 (Tuimoala Lolohea, Manu Vatuvei, Ben Matulino, Solomone Kata, Jonathan Wright tries; Johnson 2 goals) def. Knights 20 (Dane Gagai, Akuila Uate 2, James McManus tries; Tyler Randell, Gagai goals) at Mt Smart Stadium. Crowd: 13,203. Halftime: 14-8.

Cowboys rep prop stars in thrilling last-minute victory

Matt Scott

Backing up from Origin on Wednesday night, players are usually lethargic, somewhat tired and given breathers throughout the game. Try telling that to North Queensland Cowboys prop Matt Scott, who has produced a fantastic performance in his side’s last-minute come-from-behind win.

In a game that went down to the wire with the Cowboys scoring on the final play of the game through Gavin Cooper, it was Scott who led the way early as he scored a rare double.

He was untouchable as he made metres at will, broke the line and scored twice seemingly with ease and proving a handful on every occasion for the Manly defence.

It was a valiant effort by the hulking front-rower, who just three days ago, was playing for QLD in a brutal State of Origin clash.

The 18-14 win means the Cowboys have now won nine games in a row and in an ominous sign for rival clubs, at a crucial point of the season, the club only seem to be getting better and more clinical.

It very nearly did not materialise, however, as early errors ended up costing the Cowboys and it was Manly who pounced and scored several early tries.

The Manly forwards played well and they helped set the tone for much of the Manly attack, as the Sea Eagles took the early ascendancy in the clash.

There were some jitters and nerves from the Cowboys throughout the game that almost resulted in a loss but their defence held resolute and they held on for the win, one that sends out further warning bells to rival teams.

Cowboys coach Paul Green says close wins are a testament to the team and praised his side’s confidence levels.

“(Winning by a close margin) is certainly a good sign,” coach Paul Green said.

“Teams that have that confidence in each other… don’t panic. We didn’t panic but we looked for things that weren’t there either.

“It was a really good effort defensively considering all the ball we gave them.

“It was great composure from ‘Johnno’ (Thurston) to make the play at the end there, but also give Jakey Granville a massive rap; he created the break there for Cootey which gave us a chance to win the game.”

Whilst they do languish towards the bottom of the ladder, Manly have improved over the course of the season and they have not given up on a potential top 8 berth.

“We will dig ourselves out of it,” vowed Manly coach, Geoff Toovey.

“We are well on the way to doing that as you can see in the way we play. I’ve said in the last couple of weeks that we were probably unlucky to lose both of those matches.

“But it’s reality and we need to brush ourselves off and work hard and take on Brisbane (next week) who are in pretty good form.”

Player of the Game:

3. Matt Scott
2. Gavin Cooper
1. Brett Stewart

North Queensland Cowboys 18 (Matt Scott 2 tries, Gavin Cooper tries; Johnathan Thurston 3 goals) defeated Manly Sea Eagles 14 (Jorge Taufua 2, Tom Trbojevic tries, goals) at 1300SMILES Stadium. Crowd: 14,196. Half-time: Sea Eagles 8-6.

Broncos score early try of the year contender in win against Canberra

Ben Hunt

Every year, fans are treated to a multitude of quality tries and great plays and those at GIO Stadium yesterday and watching around Australia were treated to a scintillating play.

With time winding down in the first half, the Broncos chanced their arm and went on the attack. The ball went through many different sets of hands as they raced down the sideline, cut back inside, passed, kicked and regathered, before Lachlan Maranta finished the play off.

A remarkable play in its own right, it gave the Broncos confidence and helped set up their away win against the Raiders, moving them into first place on a provisional basis.

The result could have been very different for the Broncos if they failed to capitalise on further chances, given fans were shocked at how many tries they could botch.

The game was all about Ben Hunt though, who by his own standards, has been inconsistent this year. But he burst out of the blocks the entire game and produced what was his finest performance in 2015 so far.

He had a hand in all the Broncos tries and all their attacking momentum and solidified the Broncos position as one of the competition heavyweights.

For the second time in less than a week, the Broncos have kept their opposition scoreless in the second half.

There was some post-game controversy, with Raiders coach Ricky Stuart storming out of the press conference after mere seconds.

He was very blunt in his short, sharp statements and it was clear that he was incensed with some of the decisions that went against his side.

“Todd Greenberg (NRL’s head of football), he was at the game tonight, and I just really hope he saw what I saw,” he said.

“It’s a lot healthier for our club if I don’t go any further into this press conference.

“In respect to all the media, it has nothing to do with you, but it’s just a lot healthier if I don’t continue.”

Player of the Game:

3. Ben Hunt
2. Jack Reed
1. Edrick Lee

Unsung hero stands up and helps Souths to narrow win

Chris Grevsmuhl

Boasting stars like Greg Inglis, Dylan Walker and John Sutton, the expectation is that those players are always the ones to shine and perform. Though for any club, knowing that the lesser-known players within the team can stand up is a great sight.

And so, in the South Sydney Rabbitohs side, it was unsung back-rower Chris Grevsmuhl who made the impact scoring two tries in a quality display.

With the game closely fought in its entirety, it was ultimately fundamental errors and poor decisions that let the Gold Coast Titans down. Making errors galore, the Titans ended up costing themselves the game at an inopportune time.

It was a stark contrast to the first half action, with the Titans leading at half-time and putting on a show of resolute defence despite having just 32% possession across the half.

Such defence dissipated, though, and it was Souths who gained all the ascendancy in the second half with 16 unanswered points.

There were two sour points for Souths despite their win, with both Greg Inglis and George Burgess departing the field due to concussions and head clashes that left them dazed and confused.

The game itself went down to the wire and despite being down some players, Souths managed to hang onto the victory even after a late try for Anthony Don.

There was some contention that had the fans talking and it came with one of Souths tries. It occurred when Greg Inglis ran behind one of his own players to score a try which is deemed an obstruction, only for the decision to be overturned when video refs determined that the Titans player initiated the contact.

It was another strong showing for in-form centre James Roberts, who continues to impress every week and continues to stake his claims for higher honours.

With a lot of talk surrounding Souths attack and how it is lacking at times without Adam Reynolds, captain Greg Inglis admitted that it is an area that has to improve.

“That’s something that we’ve been working on for the last few weeks,” Inglis said.

“We know it’s there, it’s just getting it right on the day. Our training’s been excellent, everything’s been superb, but you can train all you want until you get to a game scenario. We spoke a lot over the past few weeks about what we can fix up and we’re definitely improving on it.”

There was also praise galore for Roberts from Titans coach Neil Henry.

“He has got that in-and-away and the pass and we need him to be in the game,” Titans coach Neil Henry said of Roberts.

“We probably didn’t do justice with our ball control to give him a few more opportunities but he’s part of our team and is working on his game as well.”

With the Titans suffering several close losses this season, rather than buckle, captain Nate Myles believes the character of the club can see them get through it.

“The question was asked as to whether these close losses are taking their toll, I think it’s building a bit of character about us,” said an upbeat Myles.

“I think our young halves and hookers are starting to recognise these situations now and it’s turning into a bit of a positive.

“Although we didn’t get a couple of calls tonight I thought we did enough to get the two points. I thought we were the better side and our execution and our halves and our young guys are learning from it. I think it’s a positive.”

There was a further dampener for the Titans, with Ryan James placed on report for a crusher tackle in the first half.

Player of the Game:

3. Chris Grevsmuhl
2. John Sutton
1. James Roberts

South Sydney Rabbitohs 22 (Chris Grevsmuhl 2, Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston tries; Issac Luke 3 goals) defeated Gold Coast Titans 16 (Anthony Don 2, James Roberts tries; Aidan Sezer 2 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Half-time: Titans 10-6. Crowd: 15,583. On report: Ryan James (Titans, 18th minute). Holden Cup: Rabbitohs 30-26.

Eels win Western derby and record first win in several weeks

Semi Radradra

Needing a win to get their season back on track, the Parramatta Eels went into their Western derby with the Penrith Panthers confident of recording a win.

It started out well enough, as they burst out of the blocks courtesy of some Semi Radradra magic down the sideline as well as a lovely Will Hopoate offload that saw Ryan Morgan score.

The Eels had much of the ascendancy and possession in the first half and it proved to be a telling factor, as they went into the break with a handy lead. After that, though, they seemed to implode for a period of 15-20 minutes.

Unable to stem the tide of possession the Panthers had in the second half on the back of a string of penalties, the Panthers got themselves back into the contest with three tries of their own.

Throughout, one of the big differences was the pinpoint accuracy to which Sandow converted. Even from the sideline, Sandow made no mistake as he finished with 5 goals from 5 attempts in the Eels 26-20 win at Pepper Stadium.

Despite the decent patches by both sides throughout the game, there are bigger talking points. With several injuries to come out of the clash on both sides, the teams will face nervous waits on the prognosis of those players.

For the Eels, Brad Takairangi (ankle) and Tim Mannah (wrist) are the major concerns, whereas a medial ligament strain for in-form Panthers fullback Matt Moylan has their fans worried.

Takairangi eventually returned and played on one leg, even having a hand in one of Radradra’s tries in the second half.

The Panthers final try to fill-in fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak made things interesting but despite the Panthers best efforts to try and score to even the game up, the Eels defence held resolute.

In the end, it was a much needed win for the Eels and one that gives them confidence moving forward.

With the Eels goal-kicking lacking in recent weeks, coach Brad Arthur said his side did nothing different in their preparation.

“They [the kickers] work hard every week,” Arthur said.

“Going into each game, last week they kicked 15 from 18 the day before at training. Sometimes it’s just the occasion and maybe last week was just the occasion. We needed to win.”

From Sandow’s point of view, he said it was just working and training with noted goal-kicker and Eels legend Luke Burt that helped him this week.

“Me and Burty have been working really hard you know, Burty was a great kicker at the club, he’s got the record there so me and Burty have been working really hard and we worked really hard this week and it paid off tonight,” Sandow said.

Acknowledging that fullback Matt Moylan had a significant injury, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary was not sure on the extent of it.

“It’s a significant injury, whether it’s fractured or not I don’t know but it’s a significant injury,” he said,” said Cleary.

Player of the Game:

3. Semi Radradra
2. Bryce Cartwright
1. Corey Norman

Parramatta Eels 26 (Radradra 2, Morgan, Robinson tries; Sandow 5 goals) defeated Penrith Panthers 20 (Yeo, Simmons, Cartwright, Watene-Zelezniak tries; Wallace 2 goals) at Pepper Stadium. Crowd: 17,821.

Late Cronk field goal seals the win for Queensland

Will Chambers

Although the game may not have had the finesse, super skill and flair that many fans are used to seeing, the passion and intensity still existed, as QLD claimed first blood in what is likely to be a fiery Origin series.

With the game relatively tense and close across the board throughout the night, it was the field goal hero Cooper Cronk who yet again, crushed the hopes of NSW fans with a late field goal.

As a result, the Maroons took out the opening Origin game 11-10, and go into the second Origin with a big advantage, considering no more games will be played in NSW this series.

The execution from both sides was rather poor at times but it was NSW especially who had numerous chances to salvage the game by kicking a field goal of their own. Only to take the wrong option or see their field goal attempts sail wide.

With QLD attacking in wave after wave after wave, the NSW defence held resolute, drawing praise from a number of different avenues. That defence was not enough, though, as they could not stop Cronk from slotting home an easy field goal.

It was quite literally a game of two halves, as the early muscle and mobility in the NSW pack seemingly putting QLD on the ropes. The second half was all QLD though, as they toiled, hustled and fought back to eventually snare the 1-point come-from-behind win.

The early go-forward for the Blues set the tone with Aaron Woods and James Tamou impressing with their big runs, continually getting the NSW side over the advantage line.

But it was downhill come the second half, as poor ball control and a lack of composure saw the Blues complete just five of their nine sets in the half, letting QLD apply relentless pressure on their own line.

With the major talking point late-on that decision to run it on the last, only for the ball to end up in the hands of NSW centre Michael Jennings who kicked it dead, half Mitch Pearce admitted a field-goal was needed earlier in that set.

“We had an opportunity, we probably should have gone for a field goal there. It’s disappointing. I’ll have to watch it back. At the time, we still had our chance on the last tackle, but we probably should have set that up a bit better,” Pearce said.

“We talked about playing the set out and working for a field goal at the end so we probably could have gone for it a play earlier which was disappointing.”

As for QLD, they knew that the minute that grubber happened to go dead, they had a chance to quickly get down the field with an extra tackle and skipper Cam Smith pointed that out.

“As soon as that ball went dead myself, Cooper and JT [Johnathan Thurston] said that if we have an opportunity then we were going to take the one point and I thought our team did a very good job to get us into that position. Especially our early carries,” Smith said.

“We probably took 30 or 40 off them in our first three runs so we were really controlling there when we needed too. Cooper’s slotted a few over the couple of years whether it’s been for Queensland or for the Melbourne Storm so he struck it nicely and he struck it when it counted so it was a good play, a big play.”

In what was a scintillating performance from Will Chambers, which continues his stellar form so far in season 2015, he drew praise from coach Mal Meninga in a big way.

“The carries and efforts from Will Chambers, and Justin Hodges too, were exceptionally good,” Meninga said.

“It’s Will’s second game now [at Origin level] and I said after his first game it was one of the best ever debuts I’ve ever seen and his performance out there was close to the best second appearance I’ve seen as well.”

With a lot of conjecture over the NSW halves and just who should play there, NSW coach Laurie Daley was adamant that when game two rolls around, both Mitch Pearce and Trent Hodkinson will still be the halves.

“I thought they were terrific,” Daley said of the pair.

“I thought they really combined well. Mitch played with control, Hokko did the job we wanted him to do.

“They will be there for game two, there’s a headline for you.”

Player of the Game:

3. Will Chambers
2. Aaron Woods
1. Billy Slater

Queensland 11 (Cronk, Chambers tries; Thurston goal; Cronk field goal) defeated New South Wales 10 (Morris, Scott tries; Hodkinson goal). Half-time: New South Wales 10-6. Crowd: 80,122.

NRL Teams Rd 12

Another week and another set of team-lists, this time for Rd 12. Once again, the time flies, as teams shape up for a crucial period over the next 4-6 weeks with the Origin period well and truly upon us. Who will be rested for club games, if anyone? Will some players back up and play for their clubs? Time will tell.

Without further adieu, here are the Rd 12 teams:

Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels (#NRLparbri); Pepper Stadium, Penrith; Friday May 29. Kick-off: 7:45pm.

Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Josh Mansour 3. Waqa Blake 4. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 5. David Simmons 6. Jamie Soward 7. Peter Wallace (C) 8. Nigel Plum 9. James Segeyaro 10. Sam McKendry 11. Lewis Brown 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Bryce Cartwright 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Sika Manu 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 18. Apisai Koroisau (One to be omitted).

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Eels: 1. Reece Robinson 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Ryan Morgan 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Danny Wicks 9. Nathan Peats 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Anthony Watmough.

Interchange: 14. Junior Paulo 15. Joseph Paulo 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Pauli Pauli.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Gold Coast Titans v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLgldsou); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Saturday May 30. Kick-off: 3pm.

Titans: 1. Josh Hoffman 2. Anthony Don 3. James Roberts 4. Will Zillman 5. Kevin Gordon 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Kane Elgey 8. Luke Douglas 9. Kierran Moseley 10. Nate Myles (C) 11. Ryan James 12. David Taylor 13. Lachlan Burr.

Interchange: 14. Matt White 15. Eddy Pettybourne 16. Ben Ridge 17. Daniel Mortimer 18. Mark Ioane (One to be omitted).

Coach: Neil Henry.

Souths: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Bryson Goodwin 5. Aaron Gray 6. John Sutton 7. Luke Keary 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Issac Luke 10. David Tyrrell 11. Ben Lowe 12. Chris McQueen 13. Jason Clark.

Interchange: 14. Cam McInnes 15. Nathan Brown 16. Tim Grant 17. George Burgess 18. Chris Gresvmuhl 19. John Olive.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Canberra Raiders v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLcanbri); GIO Stadium, Canberra; Saturday May 30. Kick-off: 5:15pm.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Edrick Lee 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Sisa Waqa 5. Jeremy Hawkins 6. Blake Austin 7. Sam Williams 8. Paul Vaughan 9. Josh Hodgson 10. David Shillington 11. Josh Papalii 12. Iosia Soliola 13. Shaun Fensom.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Jarrad Kenned 16. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 17. Luke O’Donnell.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Jordan Kahu 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges (C) 5. Lachlan Maranta 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Sam Thaiday 11. Alex Glenn 12. Matt Gillett 13. Corey Parker.

Interchange: 14. Jarrod Wallace 15. Adam Blair 16. Corey Oates 17. Francis Molo 18. Daniel Vidot 19. Joe Ofahengaue 20. David Stagg (Three to be omitted).

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

North Queensland Cowboys v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLnqlman); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Saturday May 30. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Matt Wright 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Michael Morgan 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Matt Scott (C) 9. Jake Granville 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Ray Thompson 15. Ben Spina 16. Ben Hannant 17. Sam Hoare 18. John Asiata 19. Rory Kostjaysn 20. Patrick Kaufusi (Three to be omitted).

Coach: Paul Green.

Manly: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon (C) 4. Steve Matai 5. Peta Hiku 6. Tom Symonds 7. Kieran Foran 8. Jake Trbojevic 9. Matt Ballin 10. Luke Burgess 11. Blake Leary 12. Justin Horo 13. Dunamis Lui.

Interchange: 14. Feleti Mateo 15. Willie Mason 16. James Hasson 17. Ligi Sao.

Coach: Geoff Toovey.

New Zealand Warriors v Newcastle Knights (#NRLwarnew); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Sunday May 31. Kick-off: 2pm.

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Jonathan Wright 3. Tuimoala Lolohea 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathan Friend 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering (C).

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Sebastine Ikahihifo 16. Sam Lisone 17. Albert Vete.

Coach: Andrew McFadden.

Knights: 1. Dane Gagai 2. James McManus 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Joey Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Kurt Gidley (C) 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. Kade Snowden 9. Adam Clydsdale 10. David Fa’alogo 11. Beau Scott 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jeremy Smith.

Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell 15. Chris Houston 16. Korbin Sims 17. Jack Stockwell 18. Jospeh Tapine (One to be omitted).

Coach: Rick Stone.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLsgicro); WIN Jubille Oval, Wollongong; Sunday May 31. Kick-off: 4pm.

Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Eto Nabuli 3. Euan Aitken 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mah 9. Mitch Rein 10. Mike Cooper 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Trent Merrin.

Interchange: 14. Heath L’Estrange 15. Ben Creagh (C) 16. Jack de Belin 17. Will Matthews 18. Jake Marketo (One to be omitted).

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Sharks: 1. Ben Barba 2. Valentine Holmes 3. Gerard Beale 4. Blake Ayshford 5. Michael Gordon 6. Jack Bird 7. Jeff Robson 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Ennis 10. Matt Prior 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Wade Graham (C) 13. Luke Lewis.

Interchange: 14. Sami Sauiluma 15. Tinirau Arona 16. David Fifita 17. Sam Tagataese 19. Tim Robinson.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm (#NRLsydmel); Allianz Stadium, Moore Park; Monday June 1. Kick-off: 7pm.

Roosters: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Mitch Aubusson 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. James Maloney 7. Mitch Pearce (C) 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Isaac Liu.

Interchange: 14. Jackson Hastings 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 16. Kane Evans 17. Dylan Napa.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Will Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Marika Koroibete 6. Blake Green 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cam Smith (C) 10. Tim Glasby 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Tohu Harris 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 15. Kenny Bromwich 16. Dayne Weston 17. Felise Kaufusi 18. Christian Welch 19. Ben Hampton 20. Hymel Hunt.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Spanish rugby league announce competition in the South

They have taken big strides in rugby league development over the years and continue to do so, with the Spanish Rugby League Association (AERL) announcing the start of the Andalusian Regional League on May 30.

The competition will play host to teams from three provinces – Cordoba, Sevilla and Malaga – with 12 matches to played in total up until in July.

Miguel Angel Mudarra, the President of AERL Andalucia, knows that they have worked hard to make this competition a reality and is excited at the potential on show.

“We are really proud of the work we have done at club level to organise the first regional rugby league championship in Spain,” said Mudarra.

“The work of the last couple of months has been huge, both at the organisational, logistical level as well as increasing the training given to our referees.

We believe it will be an exciting and very competitive championship and I wouldn’t like to predict a winner.”

Andalusia has been the focus of the Spanish rugby league officials for some time now and as they continue to develop the sport in the region, they now have a total of six teams. Just one behind the Valencian region, the birthplace of Spanish rugby league.

Aitor Davila, one of the most famous names involved with Spanish rugby league and the general secretary of the AERL, says the rapid development of rugby league in Andalucia has been remarkable and he expects the championship to be a big hit.

“Andalucia is already the second biggest regions in terms of the number of players and clubs and the championship we’re announcing today is evidence of the game’s progress in the south,” said Davila.

“Andalusia, like Valencia, is witnessing rapid development and interest and with the best possible level of coaches and referees, thanks to the help of the RLEF.

From the AERL’s point of view, we have high hopes for the future in this championship.”

No one is prouder than Javier Vergara, the director of the Andalusian competition. His hard work has paid off and he was quick to thank all those involved in setting the competition up.

“Today we have the honour to announce the first regional league in our country, and I would like to thank our clubs, the volunteers as well as the AERL and RLEF,” said Vergara.

“The Western Development League the AERL launched with southern and Madrid clubs, and the coach and referee courses run in our region laid the foundations of this competition and as our President said, we all hope they will be very competitive. “

VB NSW Cup Wrap-Up Rd 11

Already the end of Rd 11, can you believe it?! Time flies in rugby league and yet again, the NSW Cup heavyweights proved their mettle. Conversely, other teams are still struggling and languishing at the bottom. Although there is a long way left to go in the season, it is a tall order to claw their way back at this stage. Here is the weekly NSW Cup wrap-up.

No more waiting, the NSW Cup results for Rd 11:

Illawarra Cutters 38 (J Hunt 2, T Cranston, D Farrell, C Runciman, D Hutchinson, B Wallace tries; Wallace 5 goals) bt Manly Sea Eagles 18 (D Reardon 2, M Chee Kam tries; K Aldridge 3 goals).
Ricky’s View: Despite a spirited Manly fightback, it was an easy victory for the Cutters in the end. It was Justin Hunt’s work from fullback that inspired the side to victory, as he kept defenders at bay and frustrated the Manly players all game.

Wyong Roos 26 (A Papalii 2, O Slaimankhel, S Langi, J Siejka tries; T Cornish 3 goals) bt Wests Tigers 14 (J Sila, K Rowe, A Fiagatusa tries; J Drinkwater goal).
Ricky’s View: Keen to make amends for a poor first half, the Wyong Roos came bursting out of the blocks and scored 26 unanswered points to win. Experienced hooker and captain Mitch Williams was the star, producing some deft passing to help guide the Roos in their comeback.

Newtown Jets 26 (M Brown, J Roqica, P Politoni, D Wells, D Abou-Sleiman tries; N Gardner 3 goals) bt Wentworthville 12 (B Crooks, T Kamikamica tries; B Henry 2 goals).
Ricky’s View: Despite showing heart and character throughout, it was another disappointing end to the game for the Magpies, as they struggled to find their feet in 2015. They had no answer for a rampant Dallas Wells, who made it his mission to be involved in as many attacking plays as possible.

Warriors forward heads overseas and signs with Huddersfield

Sam Rapira

The New Zealand Warriors confirmed his release a little while ago and Sam Rapira now has a new home, with the veteran forward opting to go overseas.

Rapira’s new club will be English Super League the Huddersfield Giants, in what represents a new challenge for the 28-year old.

Having been a part of the Warriors organisation for so long, he relishes the new challenge with his new team.

“After 10 years at the Vodafone Warriors, I can’t wait for the new challenge of playing English Super League,” said Rapira.

“I decided to sign up with the Giants because I’ve heard positive things about the club and they have shown a lot of enthusiasm in getting me over there.”

Knowing how crucial the game of rugby league is for his career and family was a big factor for Rapira and he sought the advice of current team-mates who are also headed to England.

I’m really grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to working with Paul Anderson and the boys,” said Rapira.

“The thought of moving to the other side of the world with our two daughters is a bit daunting but our friends and family have been supportive throughout this process and we are excited to experience a new country and culture.

We’ve had lots of advice from Sam Tomkins and his partner Charlotte and it’s nice to know that we’ll have a few English friends over there in addition to our Kiwi friends.”

With the need for some forwards next season, Giants coach Paul Anderson believes Rapira is a great player to have come into the club.

“He has played at the very highest level throughout his career and to choose us to spend time with in the UK is great testament to what we have built up over the years here and a clear message of where we want the club to be,” said Anderson.

“Sam is a winner and a tough competitor who will enjoy the conditions here after he has finished his outstanding NRL career. He had options here and in Australia so we are delighted he has joined our club in the face of a lot of other possibilities.

“He is an out and out prop forward and someone who we will look to for the simple but effective and necessary role in getting the side moving forwards and making our middle unit a tough spot to run into.”