Tipping Point’s View: Rd 21 Tips

Another week, another tipping round. Last week was marginally easier but tipping accurately this year is getting increasingly harder given the even nature of many teams. Here to help, though, is our tipping guide, Tipping Point. His help will potentially be the difference between a perfect round and a low-scoring round.

Round 21 Tips

Season: 91/151 (60%) Last week: 5/8

At a glance: Storm, Roosters, Sharks, Cowboys, Broncos, Dragons, Souths, Titans

Tigers v Storm, Leichardt Oval

Channel 9 viewers are treated to another Tigers Friday night game as they head to one of their traditional home grounds to take on the Storm, who have flown under the radar to sit just two points outside the top four. Leichardt has been a miserable ground for the Tigers this season, copping three defeats to the Panthers, Raiders and Titans – all non-top eight sides. While they welcome back Robbie Farah, they lose one of their better forwards in Marty Taupau and I expect them to be fairly ruthlessly dealt with by a thoroughly professional Storm outfit.

Tip: Storm

Roosters v Bulldogs, Allianz Stadium

Two Sydney rivals and premiership heavyweights square off in what ought to be a willing encounter. The Dogs will be seething after a pretty poor effort against the Sharks last Sunday so the Chooks will be in for a battle. This strikes me as the kind of game where the Dogs really fire up and Dessie will have them primed, but the Roosters’ form and credentials are hard to ignore: they’ve only lost one game since round nine and knocked over the Dogs fairly easily in round 10. They’re still very much in the hunt for the minor premiership and they won’t want to let this game slip.

Tip: Roosters

Warriors v Sharks, Mount Smart Stadium

This fixture has had me completely flummoxed since last weekend. Put simply, it’s a nightmare. The Warriors are always haunting tipsters, and the loss of Shaun Johnson makes them more unreliable. They’ll also be without Bodene Thompson who has been one of their best this year; they do however welcome back Hurrell, Vatuvei and Hoffman. The Sharkies on the other hand have actually been ticking along nicely, and find themselves firmly in the eight with three straight wins. In fact, they’ve actually won 10 of their last 13 games so if you excuse their shocking start to the season – where they opened with four losses – they’re one of the form sides of the competition. But the loss of Fifita and Luke Lewis, two of their best players, is significant. Coming off a tough Sunday afternoon game there’s a strong case for picking the Warriors – but their poor record against top-eight sides makes me reluctant to pick them. I’ll take the Sharks but I’m already having doubts.

Tip: Sharks

Cowboys v Raiders, 1300Smiles Stadium

I’m really looking forward to this clash which features the NRL’s second- and third-most prolific attacking sides. Both sides are coming off last-round wins with the Raiders jagging a critical victory against the Panthers at Pepper Stadium whereas the Cowboys played twenty minutes of football last Monday against the Eels and walked away with a 46-4 victory. The Cowboys are in a rich vein of form and I think they’ll be too good for the Raiders who, despite having a great away record this season with six wins from nine, may suffer in the humid conditions.

Tip: Cowboys

Manly v Broncos, Central Coast Stadium

After such a torrid week the Manly side and their embattled coach will be keen to focus on footy for a day. Unfortunately, they take on the competition leaders Brisbane who are sitting on an eight-game winning streak and playing an exciting brand of footy that has seen them pegged as near premiership favourites. Manly will be no easy-beats though: they won against-the-odds against the Warriors last week and with their season on the line they will be bringing their A-game. But I just can’t see them knocking off the competition leaders, especially away from Brookie. Manly will also be without Symonds, Sao and Burgess which sees their forward stocks tested even further. I’m sure the Silvertails will rally for Tooves, but the Broncos will whether the storm and come home strongly.

Tip: Broncos

Dragons v Knights, Jubilee Oval

Talk about embattled clubs – the Knights are probably the only ones doing it tougher than Manly. They’ve just punted Rick Stone for a second time, and a cavalcade of former players and personalities have been bagging them deluxe all week about a poor culture. The Dragons aren’t going real flash either, losing seven straight and free-falling out of the top eight. I’m sure Buderus will give the Novocastrians a rev-up – and I’d expect some late changes to the 17 – but the Dragons will win this game. They simply must win to save their season.

Tip: Dragons

Souths v Panthers, ANZ Stadium

I’m not going to mince words: the Bunnies win this game. Penrith’s loss to the Raiders last week ended their faint finals hopes and the injury to Wallace pretty makes the rest of the year a write-off. They’ll also be without the underrated Dean Whare and Nigel Plum against Souths, but they do welcome back Josh Mansour. The Bunnies on the other hand have started a run: they’ve put back-to-back wins together and with their key players back on deck they’ll make short work of the undermanned Panthers. It’s a shame for Penrith because I thought they’d be a real contender in 2015, but they’ve just had shocking luck from the outset.

Tip: Souths

Gold Coast v Parramatta, Cbus Stadium

This game could be close to the least-anticipated match of all-time, and there may well be more match officials in attendance than actual fans. With that said, games between sides with nothing to lose are often quite entertaining with plenty of points: and I reckon the Titans might just get a few more than the Eels. With Sezer and Elgey back and James Roberts due for a big one, I think Gold Coast will get up in a game where defence will not be a priority: a 40-34 scoreline would not surprise.

Tip: Titans
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Injury forces Dragons prop to retire

Dan Hunt

When injury cruelly ends a career, you feel for the player involved and in this case, he thought long and hard about the decision and knew that it was the only decision to make.

The player in question is Dan Hunt, who after 150 first-grades games – all of which came with the St George Illawarra Dragons – made the call to close the curtain on his career due to a chronic left knee injury.

The injury was sustained in this years’ NRL Auckland Nines competition and Hunt, no matter how hard he tried and the effort he put in, could not get his knee to the level it had to be.

“It is no secret that I have been struggling with injuries throughout my career and unfortunately the injury sustained in pre-season has been career-ending,” said Hunt.

“It has come to the point where my left knee cannot withstand the strain that comes with playing first-grade on a regular basis.”

Consulting with numerous medical professionals and independent surgeons, Hunt desperately sought a way to return to the field and play rugby league.

It was not to be and the 28-year old was forced to retire.

“It is not a decision or day that any rugby league player looks forward too and it has been a difficult time and decision, but after several extensive discussions with both the Club’s Medical Staff as well as various other independent surgeons, this decision is the right one to make for my long-term well-being,” said Hunt.

A local junior with the Dapto Canaries, Hunt’s debut came in 2007, with a premiership coming in 2010 and a World Club Challenge in 2011.

He is grateful for the opportunities he has received in rugby league and winning the premiership remains his career highlight.

“I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to represent my childhood Club as many times as I have and it feels like only yesterday I put on the jersey for the first time,” said Hunt.

“I arrived here at an early age and had the opportunity to come through the Club’s junior ranks prior to making my debut and cherished every opportunity to wear the Red V when my chance came.

“Winning the Premiership will always be amongst the many highlights of my career and that period of playing rugby league in general is probably my best time playing rugby league overall.

“To be involved in something like that was very special and coupled with the chance of competing months later in the World Club Challenge and playing several representative games are memories that I will never forget.”

Life after football is not all bleak for Hunt, though, with the 28-year old completing his Level 4 Certificates in Social Welfare and Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health at TAFE Illawarra.

In terms of roles with the Dragons, he moves into an ambassador role with the club within their Dragons Education department and also becomes an NRL State of Mind Ambassador.

“At the Dragons it has always been instilled upon players from an early age that we need to have a focus on life and a career away from rugby league,” said Hunt.

“I am very fortunate to have had the support and guidance of both the Club and NRL to have undertaken study over recent years to help with this moment.

“As an NRL player there is so much influence you can have on the younger generation and I look forward to pursuing this chapter of my life to give back to the community and rugby league.”

The club were quick to praise Hunt for his efforts to the club via comments from CEO Peter Doust.

“Dan has been a proud one-club man, a local junior who has represented the Dragons at the highest level for almost a decade and it is unfortunate that his career provided many injury challenges including one that would ultimately force his retirement,” said Doust.

“Dan is to be respected for his contributions to the Dragons both on and off the field and for the way that he has positively faced his challenges over the years.

“Dan’s commitment to his studies and passion for helping others will ensure that he makes a positive difference to the lives of the youth that he is committed to helping.

Back to the future as a Titans foundation player returns

Nathan Friend

Age is only a number and with some young, developing players within their hooker stocks, the Gold Coast Titans have gone out and recruited veteran Nathan Friend on a 1-year deal.

Friend, who was one of the Titans foundation players when they entered the competition in 2007, made great memories during his first stint with the club and is looking forward to doing the same the secnd time around.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to the Coast and making a contribution to the Titans, and hopefully playing a leading role in better times ahead,” Friend said.

“I have great memories from my five seasons with the Titans, including twice getting to the finals, and I’d love to be a part of getting there again.

“Hopefully my experience and determination can be of value and I can help the club move in the right direction.”

To date, the veteran hooker has played in 215 NRL games with the Brisbane Broncos, the Melbourne Storm, the Gold Coast Titans and the New Zealand Warriors.

Well aware of the need for an experienced player to mentor their younger kids coming through, Titans coach Neil Henry knows how crucial the signing of Friend will be to the side.

“It’s great to have a foundation player return to the Coast, and Nathan’s experience and leadership will be invaluable, especially for our young hookers Kierran Moseley and Karl Lawton,” he said.

“He is one of the most professional and dedicated players in the NRL and we feel still has a lot to offer the club.

“Nathan was an integral part of the establishment of the Titans from 2007 and is excited at an opportunity to return and have a positive influence as part of our leadership group and to finish his career on the Gold Coast.”

Gallen re-signs to remain a Shark for life

Paul Gallen

A lot has happened in recent times that has seen Paul Gallen question his future and others speculate on it but the dust has settled and the Cronulla Sharks captain has re-signed with the club.

The one-year deal will see Gallen remain a one-club man, before he takes up a three-year ambassadorial role with the Sharks.

His playing days will come to an end at the completion of next year and for the man himself, it was quite simple.

“I started my career here, I wanted to finish it here,” Gallen said.

Well aware of everything he has done for the club over the years, re-signing Gallen was a proud moment for the club and for CEO Lyall Gorman.

“Obviously a great day for our club, an exciting day to announce the one-year extension of Paul’s contract,” Gorman said.

In modern day football, one-club players are rare to find and Gorman is pleased that Gallen can have the opportunity to do that at the Sharks.

“I think it’s fair to say that in the modern era of football, one-club players and Paul, as you probably do know, he’s played in Origin and achieved everything. The only thing eluding him is a premiership,” said Gorman.

In a rare move, Gorman and the Sharks opted to put forward a post-career deal for Gallen, his ambassadorial role from the 2017 season.

“It will allow him to engage in our community work, within the evolution of the young people in our community and also to work with our corporate partners,” said Gorman.

“I think it’s fair to say that Paul is an icon of the game, certainly not just our club. He’s behind ET [Andrew Ettinghausen] only in terms of games played for our club.

“It’s a great day for us.”

Gallen is not getting any younger but he admits that if his body holds up beyond 2016, he may consider going around again in 2017.

“As long as my body holds up, there’s no reason I can’t keep going,” said Gallen.

“I’ve had a little bit of bad luck but hopefully things like that don’t happen again.”

Veteran NRL centre signs with Bradford

Dane Nielsen

Dumped by the St George Illawarra Dragons for an indiscretion, Dane Nielsen was on the search for a new club to further his rugby league career.

He has now found one, with English Championship side Bradford coming knocking, signing the veteran centre until the end of the season.

Previously playing for the Melbourne Storm, Cronulla Sharks and the New Zealand Warriors, as well as the Dragons, across his career, it is that experience that Bradford crave and look forward to.

“I expect Dane to make a huge impact for us, he is raring to go and is already in good shape,” said Head Coach, James Lowes.

“He will bring a wealth of experience, having played at the highest level for the past nine years or so.”

Nielsen has also played State of Origin for QLD and represented the Indigenous All-Stars side and there was no sugarcoating from Lowes – Nielsen has been signed to play at centre.

“Obviously we will assess him when he arrives but he certainly isn’t coming to train. He is here to play and we have signed him to play in the centres,” said Lowes.

“There is a wealth of competition for places out wide but perhaps what we are lacking is a little experience – and he will certainly bring it.

“I expect him to be a strong character around the place, giving us some real leadership during what is an exciting, yet crucial part of our campaign.”

Set to arrive in the UK later in the week, he will be able to play once his visa is approved.

NRL Teams Rd 21

One huge round has just ended and another one is set to begin. So much at stake and top eight spots still up for grabs for a number of sides. Whilst some are struggling, some are flying and the question remains, can anyone beat the high-flying Brisbane Broncos?

Without further adieu, here are the teams for Rd 21 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Sydney Roosters v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLsydcby); Allianz Stadium, Moore Park; Friday July 31. Kick-off: 7:35pm.

Roosters: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Blake Ferguson 5. Brendan Elliott 6. James Maloney 7. Mitch Pearce (C) 8. Jared Waerea-Hargraeves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitch Aubusson 13. Aidan Guerra.

Interchange: 14. Sam Moa 15. Isaac Liu 16. Kane Evans 17. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 18. Jackson Hastings 19. Matt McIlwrick 20. Suaia Matagi. (Three to be omitted).

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Dogs: 1. Brett Morris 2. Curtis Rona 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Sam Perrett 6. Moses Mbye 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Greg Eastwood.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Shaun Lane 16. Lloyd Perrett 17. Tim Browne 19. Corey Thompson 22. Danny Fualalo.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Wests Tigers v Melbourne Storm (#NRLwstmel); Leichhardt Oval; Friday July 31. Kick-off: 7:35pm.

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Kevin Naiqama 4. Tim Simona 5. Pat Richards 6. Mitch Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah (C) 10. Keith Galloway 11. Curtis Sironen 12. Dene Halatau 13. Sauaso Sue.

Interchange: 14. Kyle Lovett 15. Jack Buchanan 16. Ava Seumanufagai 17. Brenden Santi 18. Manaia Cherrington (One to be omitted).

Coach: Jason Taylor.

Storm: 1. Cameron Munster 2. Marika Koroibete 3. Will Chambers 4. Tohu Harris 5. Matt Duffie 6. Blake Green 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cam Smith (C) 10. Tim Glasby 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe.

Interchange: 14. Dale Finucane 15. Mahe Fonua 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Christian Welch.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

New Zealand Warriors v Cronulla Sharks (#NRLwarcro); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday August 1. Kick-off: 3pm.

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Ken Maumalo 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Tuimoala Lolohea 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathan Friend 10. Albert Vete 11. Ben Matulino 12. Simon Mannering (C) 13. Sebastine Ikahihifo.

Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili 15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 16. Charlie Gubb 17. Sam Lisone 18. Sione Lousi 21. Jonathan Wright (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Andrew McFadden.

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Ricky Leutele 4. Gerard Beale 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Jack Bird 7. Jeff Robson 8. Chris Heighington 9. Michael Ennis 10. Sam Tagataese 11. Anthony Tupou 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Ben Barba 15. Matt Prior 16. Tinirau Arona 17. Jayson Bukuya 21. Junior Roqica.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

North Queensland Cowboys v Canberra Raiders (#NRLnqlcan); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Saturday August 1. Kick-off: 5:30pm.

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. Rory Kostjaysn 15. John Asiata 16. Scott Bolton 17. Ben Hannant.

Coach: Paul Green.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Edrick Lee 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Josh McCrone 8. Paul Vaughan 9. Josh Hodgson 10. David Shillington 11. Josh Papalii 12. Iosia Soliola 13. Shaun Fensom.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Jarrad Kennedy 16. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 17. Shannon Boyd.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Manly Sea Eagles v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLmanbri); Brookvale Oval; Saturday August 1. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Manly: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon (C) 4. Steve Matai 5. Peta Hiku 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Jake Trbojevic 9. Matt Ballin 10. Willie Mason 11. Feleti Mateo 12. Justin Horo 13. Blake Leary.

Interchange: 14. Jesse Sene-Lefao 15. Michael Chee-Kam 16. James Hasson 17. Josh Starling 18. Jayden Hodges (One to be omitted).

Coach: Geoff Toovey.

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

Interchange: 14. Joe Ofahengaue 15. Mitchell Dodds 16. Corey Oates 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Dale Copley (One to be omitted).

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Newcastle Knights (#NRLsginew); Win Jubilee Oval, Wollongong; Sunday August 2. Kick-off: 2pm.

Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan 2. Justin Hunt 3. Euan Aitken 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Leeson Ah Mau 9. Mitch Rein 10. Ben Creagh (C) 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Mike Cooper.

Interchange: 14. Jack de Belin 15. Jake Marketo 16. Craig Garvey 17. Will Matthews 18. Mark Ioane (One to be omitted).

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Knights: 1. Kurt Gidley 2. Jake Mamo 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Dane Gagai 5. Chanel Mata’utia 6. Carlos Tuimavave 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. Kade Snowden 9. Adam Clydsdale 10. Korbin Sims 11. Beau Scott 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jeremy Smith.

Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell 15. David Fa’alogo 16. Chris Houston 17. Clint Newton.

Coach: Danny Buderus.

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Penrith Panthers (#NRLsoupen); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Sunday August 2. Kick-off: 4pm.

Bunnies: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Bryson Godwin 5. Joel Reddy 6. Luke Keary 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Issac Luke 10. Tim Grant 11. Glenn Stewart 12. John Sutton 13. Chris McQueen.

Interchange: 14. Kyle Turner 15. Chris Grevsmuhl 16. David Tyrrell 17. Thomas Burgess.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Panthers: 1. Will Smith 2. Robert Jennings 3. Waqa Blake 4. Isaah Yeo 5. Josh Mansour 6. Isaac John 7. Jamie Soward 8. Sam McKendry 9. James Segeyaro 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Lewis Brown 12. Sika Manu 13. Elijah Taylor (C).

Interchange: 14. Api Koroisau 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Tyrone Peachey 17. Bryce Cartwright.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Gold Coast Titans v Parramatta Eels (#NRLgldpar); Cbus Super Stadium, Robina; Monday August 3. Kick-off: 7pm.

Titans: 1. Josh Hoffman 2. David Mead 3. James Roberts 4. Nene Macdonald 5. Kevin Gordon 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Kane Elgey 8. Luke Douglas 9. Beau Falloon 10. Nate Myles (C) 11. Ryan James 12. Lachlan Burr 13. Greg Bird.

Interchange: 14. Agnatius Paasi 15. Eddy Pettybourne 16. Matt White 17. Daniel Mortimer 18. Dave Tayor 19. David Hala.

Coach: Neil Henry.

Eels: 1. Reece Robinson 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Ryan Morgan 6. Joseph Paulo 7. Luke Kelly 8. Junior Paulo 9. Nathan Peats 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. David Gower.

Interchange: 14. Pauli Pauli 15. Darcy Lussick 16. Daniel Alvaro 17. Issac De Gois 18. Cody Nelson (One to be omitted).

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Manly give Toovey the flick as coach from next year

Geoff Toovey

One of the biggest talking points in recent weeks as been what is going to happen with the Manly Sea Eagles and their head coach, Geoff Toovey.

We now have an answer, with the club confirming that via mutual consent, Geoff Toovey will remain as head coach for the remainder of the 2015 season.

Additionally, the club intend to honour Toovey’s contract for 2016 – even if it is not as head coach – and keep him on board in some capacity.

The new coach from 2016 will be former NRL player, Trent Barrett, who has signed a three-year deal with the club.

The club were quick to thank Toovey for his services and commitment to the club over the years.

“Geoff has been an influential figure within the Sea Eagles organisation for almost three decades. His contribution on and off the field is unprecedented, and he will always be one of the club’s favourite sons,” CEO Joe Kelly said.

“Geoff and the club remain firmly committed to finishing this season off on the highest possible note.”

Such sentiments were also echoed by Chairman Scott Penn, who praised Toovey for his valuable contributions to Manly as a player and a coach.

“Geoff has been an integral part of the club since first playing in our junior ranks over 30 years ago,’’ Penn said.

“Geoff is a club legend having played 286 first grade games for the Sea Eagles including three Grand Finals from 1995-97, captaining the team to the 1996 Premiership and numerous representative appearances.

“We’ve all had the pleasure of watching his career evolve from being one of the toughest competitors on the field to coaching our first grade team in recent years.

“Geoff is a Life Member of the Sea Eagles and his lifelong commitment to the club is without question.

Knights sack head coach Rick Stone

Rick Stone

The form of the club has not been great at all and as a result, the Newcastle Knights have sacked coach Rick Stone in a move that has surprised some.

With a lot of players not in the best of form, ultimately, it is the coach that has paid the price for the poor run of games by the Knights.

For the time being, Knights legend Danny Buderus will step into the role as interim coach, whilst the club begin their search for a new coach for 2016.

Admitting that situations like these at a club are never easy, club CEO Matt Gidley said he and many more were thankful for the services that Stone gave to the club.

“We thank Rick for his efforts and loyalty over a long period of time and while these decisions are never easy, it was made in the best interests of the Club,” Gidley said.

“The Club will now undertake a formal review process of our entire football operations, of which the playing group are a key part, and all have the opportunity to demonstrate over the next seven weeks why they should retain their position.

“The Club strives to build a consistent, competitive and entertaining team and this formal review process will help us achieve this.”

Back-line duo re-sign with the Roosters

Daniel Tupou

The role of wingers in rugby league is increasing in the game itself and talented Sydney Roosters duo Daniel Tupou & Brendan Elliott have re-signed with the club until the end of 2017.

Both have enjoyed prolonged stints in first-grade, Tupou especially, who has made one wing spot his own over the last few years.

The hulking winger first made his debut in 2012 and has impressed fans and experts alike, most well-known for his aerial ability to score tries and create opportunities.

With 66 NRL games to his name so far, all of which have come with the Roosters, the Tongan international is thrilled to remain with the Roosters.

“I’m so happy that I’ll continue to be part of the team here at the Roosters,” said Tupou.

“The Club means so much to me and I’m looking forward to continuing to work hard with Robbo and my teammates to keep improving and do my job for the side.”

Also re-signing is Elliott, who was a member of the Roosters Holden Cup side since the age of 17, where he has come through their system.

With room to improve by his accord, Elliott is also pleased to have re-signed.

“I’m really excited to know that I’ll continue to be a part of the Roosters family for a further two seasons,” said Elliot.

“I still have lots of room to improve and I just want to keep learning from Robbo and the team and hopefully secure my opportunity to play some good football for the Club.”

The club also commented on the matter, with Chief Operating Officer Brian Canavan pleased to retain both wingers.

“In their own right, Daniel and Brendan are terrific contributors to the Roosters both on and off the field,” said Sydney Roosters Chief Operating Officer Football, Brian Canavan.

“Their best football is still ahead of them, and its great news for the Roosters to have secured their services for a further two years.”

Brendan Elliott

Dragons losing streak continues after loss to Storm

Tohu Harris

A record was broken after the St George Illawarra Dragons defeat to the Melbourne Storm but it was not one to remember. The Dragons have now lost seven straight games, the worst losing streak in the joint merger’s history.

It was a different story for the Storm, who are returning to form after their comfortable 22-4 win at McLean Park in Napier. It was a special game for Storm centre Tohu Harris, who is from the region, as he excelled with two try assists and a solid all-round performance.

Hearts were in mouths as Cooper Cronk was pulled from the field earlier than expected but he was all smiles on the bench as he nursed ice on his knee.

There was another positive for the Storm, as they welcomed the return of Matt Duffie who after two knee reconstructions and stints in the Queensland Cup, returned to the NRL after missing 66 games.

The first half was devoid of any real action or attacking spark but Fijian flyer Marika Koroibete kick-started the excitement, as he raced away down the sideline with blistering speed to score just before the break.

It was very nearly a shut-out for the Storm but a late try to the Dragons centre Peter Mata’utia denied that, as the Dragons are left scratching their heads as to what is next.

The win continues the Storm’s recent run of form and has them progressing well in the back-end of the season.

Duffie’s return is one that had many Storm fans cheering and he received huge plaudits from Storm coach Craig Bellamy upon his return.

“Me and his teammates havn’t seen everything he has gone through,” Bellamy said.

“He has obviously shown a lot of resilience, a lot of perseverance to get through was he has been through.

“To play like that tonight was tremendous. To me, it was a nice warm feeling at the end for him to get through it and have some really good touches.

“We were wrapped for him to play like he did and get through unscathed. Hopefully now he can have an uninterrupted run with injury because he deserves it.”

There was nothing but bluntness from Dragons coach Paul McGregor post-game, well aware that his side is struggling and searching for answers.

“I thought Melbourne gave us a lesson in how to build pressure,” McGregor said.

“We are not building any pressure with the ball. Far too many passes hit the deck and obviously we’ve got a really good intent behind out defence, it’s holding up but our attack is the side we need to fix.

“There has got to be a better purpose behind every play instead of just running if you need to.”

Player of the Game:

3. Tohu Harris
2. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
1. Matt Duffie

Melbourne Storm 22 (Marika Koroibete, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Kevin Proctor, Mahe Fonua tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) def. St-George Illawarra Dragons 4 (Peter Mata’utia tries). Half-time: Storm 12-0. Crowd: .