NRL Teams Rd 13

Another week and another round of team-lists. Wednesday night might be Origin but the club games represent numerous interesting fixtures; teams with a lot to prove, teams to get the season bask on track and teams that want to solidify their spots. Just who will be named and will Origin players back up even after being named?

Without further adieu, here are the teams for Rd 13 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights (#NRLmelnew); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Friday, June 2. Kick-off: 6 pm.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Cheyse Blair 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Tim Glasby 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Tohu Harris 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Jordan McLean 15. Joe Stimson 16. Kenneath Bromwich 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Young Tonumaipea 19. Slade Griffin 20. Brandon Smith 21. Mark Nicholls 22. Ryley Jacks 23. Jeremy Hawkins.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Knights: 1. Dane Gagai 2. Ken Sio 3. Joe Wardle 4. Peter Mata’utia 5. Nathan Ross 6. Brock Lamb 7. Jaelen Feeney 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Danny Levi 10. Josh Starling 11. Sione Mata’utia (C) 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Luke Yates.

Interchange: 14. Sam Stone 15. Josh King 16. Tyler Randell 17. Jacob Saifiti 18. Brendan Elliott 19. Cory Denniss 20. Trent Hodkinson 21. Lachlan Fitzgibbon.

Coach: Nathan Brown.


Parramatta Eels v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLparwar); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Friday, June 2. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.

Eels: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Brad Takairangi 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Clint Gutherson 7. Mitch Moses 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Beau Scott (C) 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Kenny Edwards 17. Siosaia Vave 18. David Gower 19. Will Smith 20. Marata Niukore 21. Nathan Davis.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kieran Foran 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Nathaniel Roache 15. Sam Lisone 16. Albert Vete 17. Bunty Afoa 18. Jacob Lillyman 20. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad 21. Toafofoa Sipley 22. Ata Hingano.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.


St George Illawarra Dragons v Wests Tigers (#NRLsgiwst); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Saturday, June 3. Kick-off: 3 pm.

Dragons: 1. Jason Nightingale 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Taane Milne 4. Tim Lafai 5. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa 6. Kurt Mann 7. Josh McCrone 8. Russell Packer 9. Cam McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tariq Sims 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Jacob Host 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Hame Sele 17. Jai Field 18. Tyrone McCarthy 19. Josh Dugan 20. Tyson Frizell 21. Gareth Widdop (C) 22. Blake Lawrie.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 4. Moses Suli 5. Kevin Naiqama 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Jack Littlejohn 8. Aaron Woods (C) 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Kyle Lovett 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor.

Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. JJ Felise 16. Joel Edwards 17. Jacob Liddle 18. Esan Marsters 19. Matt Eisenhuth 20. Jordan Rankin 21. Michael Chee-Kam.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.


Sydney Roosters v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLsydbri); Allianz Stadium, Moore Park; Saturday, June 3. Kick-off: 5:30 pm.

Roosters: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell  4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitch Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner (C) 12. Mitch Aubusson 13. Sio Siua Taukeiaho.

Interchange: 14. Isaac Liu 15. Kane Evans 16. Aidan Guerra 17. Ryan Matterson 18. Lindsay Collins 19. Connor Watson 20. Chris Smith 22. Mitch Cornish 23. Zane Tetevano 26. Victor Radley.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Broncos: 1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. Jordan Kahu 6. Anthony Milford 7. Ben Hunt 8. Korbin Sims 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Adam Blair (C) 11. Sam Thaiday 12. Matt Gillett 13. Josh McGuire.

Interchange: 14. Alex Glenn 15. Tevita Pangai Jr. 16. Herman Ese’ese 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Joe Ofahengaue 19. Jaydn Su’a 20. Benji Marshall 21. Jai Arrow 22. David Mead 23. Jonus Pearson.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.


North Queensland Cowboys v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLnqlgld); 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville; Saturday, June 3. Kick-off: 7:30 pm.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Ray Thompson 7. Michael Morgan 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Gavin Cooper (C) 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton 15. Coen Hess 16. Shaun Fensom 17. Ben Spina 18. Kalyn Ponga 19. Johnathan Thurston 20. Corey Jensen 21. Sam Hoare 22. Javid Bowen.

Coach: Paul Green.

Titans: 1. Tyrone Roberts 2. Anthony Don 3. Jarryd Hayne 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Dale Copley 6. Kane Elgey 7. Ash Taylor 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Nathan Peats 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Chris McQueen 12. Joe Greenwood 13. Leivaha Pulu.

Interchange: 14. Karl Lawton 15. Morgan Boyle 16. Paterika Vaivai 17. Nathaniel Peteru 18. Pat Politoni 19. Will Zillman 20. Max King 21. Eddy Pettybourne.

Coach: Neil Henry.


Manly Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders (#NRLmancan); Lottoland, Brookvale; Sunday, June 4. Kick-off: 2 pm. 

Manly: 1. Matthew Wright 2. Jorge Taufau 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic. 

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Jackson Hastings 16. Nate Myles 17. Addin Fonua-Blake 18. Jarrad Kennedy 19. Cameron Cullen 20. Jonathan Wright 22. Lloyd Perrett.

Coach: Trent Barrett.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Iosia Soliola.

Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Clay Priest 17. Dunamis Lui 18. Scott Sorenson 19. Royce Hunt 20. Brent Naden 21. Lachlan Croker.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.


Canterbury Bulldogs v Penrith Panthers (#NRLcbypen); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Sunday, June 4. Kick-off: 4 pm

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Kerrod Holland 6. Moses Mbye 7. Matt Frawley 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham (C) 11. Josh Jackson 12. Adam Elliott 13. David Klemmer.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Greg Eastwood 17. Craig Garvey 19. Francis Tualau 20. Marcelo Montoya 21. Renouf To’Omaga 22. Richie Kennar.

Coach: Des Hasler.

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Waqa Blake 5. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 6. Matt Moylan (C) 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Mitch Rein 10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 11. Corey Harawira-Naera 12. Isaah Yeo 13. Trent Merrin.

Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Leilani Latu 16. Tim Browne 17. Viliame Kikau 18. Sitaleki Akauola 19. Peta Hiku 20. Moses Leota 21. Te Maire Martin.

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Lolohea granted immediate release to Tigers

Tuimoala Lolohea

Taking longer than many had perhaps expected it to, the move has finally been made official by the Wests Tigers as they confirm the immediate signing of utility back Tuimoala Lolohea until the end of the 2019 season.

After being granted permission by the New Zealand Warriors to talk to other teams about an early release, it was granted.

“Tui and his management recently asked us for permission to talk to other clubs about a possible move and have since requested an early release from the rest of his contract,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment and development manager Tony Iro.

“We appreciate the service Tui has given the club and wish him all the best.”

With 53 NRL games to date since making his debut in 2014, Lolohea has recently been in and out of the Warriors side prompting the player’s desire to leave.

The Tigers are excited to have Lolohea on board and he is expected to be named for the Tigers clash this week for Rd 13.

“On behalf of everyone at Wests Tigers I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome Tui to the club,” said Tigers coach Ivan Cleary.

“Tui has shown that he is a player of tremendous natural talent.

“We look forward to helping him develop, and reach his true potential, in the coming years.”

Having represented both New Zealand and Tonga at the international level, Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe is looking forward to seeing him take the next step.

“We look forward to having a player of Tui’s talent join Wests Tigers for the coming two and a half seasons,” said Pascoe.

“At just 22 years of age he’s already represented both New Zealand and Tonga and we’re keen to see him take his game to the next level here.”

Turner given immediate release to return to England

Jordan Turner

Opportunity is everything in rugby league nowadays and when an offer is too good to refuse, you take it. Jordan Turner did just that, signing with Super League side Huddersfield after being given an immediate release by the Canberra Raiders.

Joining the Raiders in pre-season, Turner has been playing for their feeder side Mounties in the Intrust Super Premiership.

He thanked the Raiders club for the opportunity they gave him.

“I want to thank the Raiders for the opportunity to come over to Australia and be a part of the Raiders squad,” said the utility.

“They understand the deal for me and my partner to return home to England to play for Huddersfield was too good for me to turn down.”

Experience in Australia is invaluable and something that Turner will use to his advantage back home.

“I’ve enjoyed my time with the Raiders and will take the experience with me as I return to the Super League,” said Turner.

I want to thank everyone at the Raiders and most of all the players for making me feel welcome while I’ve been in Canberra.”

Veteran back-rower re-signs at the Cowboys

Gavin Cooper

A mainstay of the North Queensland Cowboys side for numerous years, consistent back-rower Gavin Cooper has agreed to a new 2-year deal with the club.

The veteran back-rower, who has played in 247 NRL games to date – 171 of which have come with the Cowboys – has nothing but pride in the club and the jersey and is pleased with his new deal.

“This club has been a huge part of my life and I’m thrilled to be able to continue to take the field with my Cowboys teammates in front of our valued members and fans,” Cooper said.

“I am filled with pride every time I pull on the Cowboys jersey and I look forward to doing so for the next couple of years.”

A leader among the players, Cooper drew strong praise from coach Paul Green.

“Coops is a marvellous example to our younger forwards coming through of hard work, talent, resilience and consistency,” Green said.

“He’s a pleasure to coach, is a genuine leader among the group and puts his heart and soul into every game.”

Also praising him was the Cowboys General Manger of Football, Peter Parr.

“Since Gavin arrived back in North Queensland, the team has made the finals every year,” said Parr.

“Gavin is a quality player and a quality person who embodies our principles with the way he plays and conducts himself.”

Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle to resign at season’s end

Raelene Castle

No job can last forever and for Canterbury Bulldogs CEO Raelene Castle, she has made a decision to resign from the role at the end of the 2017 season.

Citing a desire to seek a new challenge in her career, she praised the club for the work and commitment they showed over her four-year tenure in the role.

“I have loved every moment of my time at the Bulldogs and after four years in the role, the time is now right to look for my next challenge,” said Castle. I wish the Club and the team every success for the future.”

“I wish the Club and the team every success for the future.”

“I am pleased that together with the Board we could give the Club leadership continuity and a professional transition to new leadership.”

Bulldogs Chairman Ray Dib praised Castle’s efforts over the course of her four years in charge and is grateful at the early notice that will enable the club to search for a new CEO.

“Raelene has made a significant contribution over the last four years,” said Dib.

“She has strengthened all areas of the Club and will leave us in a strong position for the new Chief Executive to take over.”

“We are appreciative of her professionalism in signalling this early enough for us to find a replacement in time for next season.”

No NRL return for Barba as he signs deal with St Helens

Ben Barba

With no likely return for this season possible for Ben Barba given the suspension he would have to serve for his prior indiscretion, the live-wire fullback has instead opted for a move to Super League side, St Helens.

Barba will join the Saints on a two-and-a-half-year deal after the club took advantage of an additional marquee exemption provision to the salary cap.

Still only 27, Barba has enjoyed his fair share of on-field success; winning the Dally M Medal in 2012 and an NRL premiership with the Cronulla Sharks in 2016.

With the need for such a player, St Helens coach Justin Holbrook praised the signing and believes Barba can and will perform for the club.

“I’ve known Ben for some time and am confident that he will add a new dimension to the Saints and is a great capture for Super League,” said Holbrook.

“He is a multi-talented and world-class rugby league player.

“Everyone in the team will benefit from him joining us and are really looking forward to his arrival. The fans also have a lot to look forward to.”

Rarely do players of Barba’s ability become available and Holbrook knew that he and the club had to jump at the chance.

“Given Ben’s abilities and reputation, his signing was extremely competitive and the Club have done exceptionally well to secure him,” Holbrook continued.

“It is not often that players of his calibre become available and the Club has pulled out all the stops to fight off competition from both rugby codes around the world.”

Spotted in the stands during St Helens clash over the Magic Weekend, speculation was rife that he would join them and Barba admits he met up with officials and players to talk about the club.

“I feel very privileged to be joining such a historic rugby league club as St.Helens,” said Barba. I was able to meet up with some of the players and key people from the Club at the Magic Weekend and know they are a great set of people. The fans also showed me just how passionate they are.

“I was able to meet up with some of the players and key people from the Club at the Magic Weekend and know they are a great set of people. The fans also showed me just how passionate they are.

The fans also showed me just how passionate they are.”

Family played a key role in Barba’s decision and the swiftness of the deal will allow he and his family to make a seamless transition to English life.

“I wanted to make an early decision so that I can get my family settled in England and kids enrolled at a school,” said Barba. I have certainly enjoyed my time in France at Toulon, but I am a rugby league player and St.Helens, especially with Justin Holbrook as head coach, have made me very comfortable with the decision.

“I have certainly enjoyed my time in France at Toulon, but I am a rugby league player and St.Helens, especially with Justin Holbrook as head coach, have made me very comfortable with the decision.

“I look forward to pulling the Saints’ jersey on and playing beside my new teammates as soon as possible.”

Currently, Barba is the subject of a 12-match ban from the NRL and the view of the RFL is that this ban also applies to playing Super League.

St Helens are expected to seek clarity on this issue.

 

Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 3: Sione Faumuina

Sione Faumuina

Back again with another interview, this time with Sione Faumuina, a former Canberra Raider, New Zealand Warrior, Hull FC player, North Queensland Cowboy and Castleford Tiger. 

He spoke to us about his career, his autobiography, how he wants to change the lives of young people and other areas.

Sione Faumuina

1. Your rise from the junior system in Auckland into the NRL world was quite rapid; was it something you were expecting or was it a shock for you to play so early?
It was definitely a shock and happened very quickly. I went from playing in our local under 19 side then moving up to our reserves then senior side, making the Auckland rep team and NZ under 18 side. Before I knew it, I was turning up for pre-season training at the Raiders. All this happened within 8 months.

2. Your first-grade debut came with the Canberra Raiders; why Canberra and what was it like playing first-grade for the first time?
It was between the Roosters and Raiders and I chose the Raiders – sorry, my Mother chose the Raiders because they had a hostel which was run by a Samoan couple. The Roosters were going to put me in a house with other players and no adult supervision. My debut was made more memorable because it was against the Warriors in Auckland. My whole family and extended family showed for my debut and I’ll never forget that.

3. d had your most successful period as a player; what did it mean to you to return home and play for your hometown team?
Returning home was a blessing and a curse. My first year at the Warriors, I was in and out of first grade. I was more concerned with going out and having a good time with my mates then footy. My second year was a lot better as I knuckled down and really got stuck into training. Having my family around was a huge blessing but looking back, I was very selfish with some of the decisions I made.

4. By your own admission, you were not the player or the leader you wanted to be because of off-field indiscretions. Looking back, what would you have done differently and what would you tell your former young self?
Playing in the NRL is no easy feat and the profile that comes with it can be used to do great things. If I had my time again, I would have done a lot more community work. I would use my profile to add value to people and organisations. Being a positive role model is easy when you have core values and beliefs which I know I did, unfortunately when I consumed alcohol, that all went out the window. I would also start to create a life after football and also mentor young players that were coming through. “As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way”. I was given a great opportunity and I didn’t value it.

5. At what precise moment did you realise that you had to change your ways and become a better person and role model?
When I had my first child, suddenly it wasn’t about me anymore. I finally had a reason to change and the thought of my children reading about Dad and all the trouble he was in was scary. It’s been 7 years since I played and I’m using whatever profile I have left to be a role model now. Basically making up for what I should’ve done during my career.

6. You released your autobiography ‘The Second Phase’; what prompted you to release the book and what do you hope its release achieves?
The purpose was to get my message out and basically say, “hey, I really stuffed up but I’ve turned my life around. Here’s how I did it”. I wanted fans to see the other side of professional sport. Tell my side of the story and also share how I overcame my alcohol addiction. My mentor put it best when he said: “if we can’t help each other, what’s the point in gathering experiences”. Basically, I’m sharing my mistakes and the main message is that you don’t let your past dictate your future.

7. If you could give any budding rugby league player some advice, what would it be?
“No guarantees in professional sport” is what another mentor of mine would always say. Playing in the NRL is an opportunity, value it. The traits that rugby league teaches you can be applied to every aspect of your life. Stay grounded and work hard on and off the field and always remember that you are a reflection of your club, family but more importantly yourself. Be a pillar in your community and know that young people are looking up to you. Don’t look at being a role model as added pressure, look at it as an honour.

Facebook: @sionefaumuinaoffical.

Instagram:sione.faumuina.

Twitter: @sione_faumuina.

NRL Teams Rd 12

Well, if you can believe it, we are already at Rd 12. It’s the first of the major bye rounds and so just the eight teams play this week. A chance to make some ground in terms of goal difference or just points in general for the teams languishing at the bottom.

So, without waiting any longer, here are the teams for Rd 12 for the NRL Telstra Premiership:

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Parramatta Eels (#NRLsoupar); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Friday, May 26. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.

Rabbitohs: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Bryson Goodwin 4. Hymel Hunt 5. Aaron Gray 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Thomas Burgess 9. Robbie Farah 10. Robbie Rochow 11. Kyle Turner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess (C).

Interchange: 14. Damien Cook 15. Tyrell Fuimaono 16. Anthony Cherrington 17. George Burgess 18. Braidon Burns 19. Zane Musgrove 20. David Tyrrell 20. Cameron Murray.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Eels: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Brad Takairangi 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Josh Hoffman 6. Clint Gutherson 7. Mitch Moses 8. Suaia Matagi 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Beau Scott 15. Daniel Alvaro 16. Kenny Edwards 17. Siosaia Vave 18. David Gower 19. Will Smith 20. Rory O’Brien 21. Nathan Davis.

Coach: Brad Arthur.


New Zealand Warriors v Brisbane Broncos (#NRLwarbri); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday, May 27. Kick-off: 5:30 pm. 

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (C) 2. Charnze Nicholl-Klokstad 3. Blake Ayshford 4. David Fusitu’a 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kieran Foran 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering.

Interchange: 14. Nathaniel Roache 15. Sam Lisone 16. Albert Vete 17. Bunty Afoa 18. Tuimoala Lolohea 20. Toafofoa Sipley 21. Ligi Sao 22. Mason Lino.

Coach: Stephen Kearney.

Broncos: 1. Jordan Kahu 2. Jonus Pearson 3. James Roberts 4. Tautau Moga 5. David Mead 6. Benji Marshall 7. Ben Hunt 8. Herman Ese’ese 9. Travis Waddell 10. Adam Blair (C) 11. Alex Glenn 12. Jaydn Su’a 13. Korbin Sims.

Interchange: 14. George Fai 15. Joe Ofahangaue 16. Jai Arrow 17. Kodi Nikorima 18. Joe Boyce 19. Jamaayne Isaako 20. Tevita Pangai Jr. 21. Francis Molo.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.


Cronulla Sharks v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLcrocby); Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla; Saturday, May 27. Kick-off: 7:30 pm.

Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Gerard Beale 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Edrick Lee 6. Fa’amanu Brown 7. Chad Townsend 8. Chris Heighington 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Kurt Capewell 13. Paul Gallen (C).

Interchange: 14. Jayson Bukuya 15. Sam Tagataese 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. Joseph Paulo 18. Kurt Dillon 19. Daniel Mortimer 20. Jesse Ramien 21. Briton Nikora.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Bulldogs: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Marcelo Montoya 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Kerrod Holland 6. Moses Mbye 7. Matt Frawley 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham (C) 11. Greg Eastwood 12. Adam Elliott 13. Danny Fualalo.

Interchange: 14. Sam Kasiano 15. Asipeli Fine 16. Francis Tualau 17. Craig Garvey 19. Andy Saunders 20. Reimis Smith 21. Renouf To’Omaga 23. Brad Abbey.

Coach: Des Hasler.


Canberra Raiders v Sydney Roosters (#NRLcansyd); GIO Stadium, Canberra. Sunday, May 28. Kick-off: 4 pm.

Raiders: 1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Joseph Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Iosia Soliola.

Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Luke Bateman 16. Clay Priest 17. Dunamis Lui 18. Dave Taylor 19. Scott Sorenson 20. Brent Naden 21. Lachlan Croker.

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Roosters:  1. Michael Gordon 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Mitch Aubusson 5. Joseph Manu 6. Connor Watson 7. Luke Keary 8. Jared Waera-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (C) 10. Kane Evans 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 13. Zane Tetevano.

Interchange: 14. Issac Liu 15. Lindsay Collins 16. Chris Smith 17. Mitch Cornish 18. Nat Butcher 19. Victor Radley 20. Eloni Vunakece 21. Brock Gray.

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Signing boost for Raiders as Wighton re-signs

Jack Wighton

Since his move to fullback, he has become a focal point of the Raiders team as well as their attack and in news that will please the club’s fans, Jack Wighton has re-signed with the club until the 2020 season.

Since making his debut in 2012, he has gone on to play in more than 100 NRL games and will continue to add to that number.

Wighton is as green as they come and with such a good roster coming together, the culture and aim for a premiership is what spurred him on to stay.

“I’m very excited and very happy to stay here in Canberra with the Raiders and I know we’ve got a really strong team here and a great club,” Wighton said.

“We all want to work towards winning a premiership and I’m really looking forward to the next few seasons here.”

The Raiders have long been a team to pride themselves on the retention of their local juniors and CEO Dave Furner highlighted that when speaking of Wighton’s retention.

“Jack is an extremely talented player who is maturing into a very consistent and established NRL player,” said Furner.

“We’re very happy he’s decided to remain with the Raiders.

“He’s a big part of our plans as we build for the future and someone we believe is very important for our football club.”

Ricky’s NRL Interviews Pt 2: Aaron Gorrell

Back again with part 2 of our NRL interview series and we had a chat with former St George Illawarra Dragons, Brisbane Broncos and Catalan Dragons hooker, Aaron Gorrell.

He spoke to us about his career, his post-playing days and why he went into coaching, so sit back, read and enjoy the ride!

Aaron Gorrell interview:

1. As a Wollongong local, did you always harbour an ambition to play for the St George Illawarra Dragons?
Growing up in Wollongong, I would go and sit on the hill and watch the Steelers. I was lucky enough to then play Harold Matthews, SG Ball and Flegg for them so, at that stage, that was what I always wanted to do. I always had a soft spot for the Dragons so it was easy once they merged!

2. Tell us about the match-winning conversion in round 15, 2006 against the Broncos. What was running through your head at the time with the game on the line?
As a goal kicker, it’s the moment you’ve always dreamt of especially at a ground like Suncorp with a big crowd against a team like the Broncos. I hadn’t had a shot that night – Matty Head had taken the previous shots. I was heading back and one of the trainers called me back saying the call had come down for me to take it. It was probably a blessing as I didn’t have too much time to over think it. To me, as soon as I kicked it, I thought it was going through!

3. After such a good start to your career at Catalans, you unfortunately injured your knee and missed the rest of the season; did you set any goals upon your return and what got you through the rehabilitation?
Yeah, it was very frustrating. Being at a new club and wanting to make a good impression. We had won our first two games, one of them Hull who were beaten in the grand final the year before and leading Leeds by 40 when it happened. It was tough – probably the toughest few months of my career. Trying to be part of a new club in a new country. I was doing everything I could to try and get back on the field.

4.  What were the reasons behind your NRL return in 2009 with the Brisbane Broncos?
I had a third-year option at Catalans and was more than happy to stay. It’s a great club and great supporters, not to mention an amazing part of the world to live in. While we were sorting that out, the Broncos option came up and I thought the opportunity to play for a club like the Broncos was too good to pass up.

5. You took a step away from professional rugby league to take up the coaching role at the Queanbeyan Kangaroos; how has that experience been so far?
Yes, I always wanted to coach and my body wasn’t handling the full-time training. So when I was approached by the Queanbeyan Kangaroos, I jumped at it. They were a club that had a lot of success but hadn’t won a Comp in 30 years so I thought it was a good challenge. We won the 1st two years – 2010 and 11 – got beat in the GF in 2012 and won again in 2013. We made the semis 2014 and final 2015. 2016 was very disappointing. We lost round 1 and went the rest of the year undefeated. We led the GF until the last minute and got beaten by a penalty goal . I’ve enjoyed my time here and hopefully we can win another this year!

6.  In addition to that, has coaching always been an avenue you have wanted to pursue post-footy?
I’ve loved coaching so far and I’d love an opportunity if one pops up. There’s nothing better than seeing someone learn something from you or helping them achieve what they have been working towards.

7. Looking back on your career, what was your career highlight?
There are a few and all for different reasons. Obviously, your debut will always be special. Playing for the Junior Kangaroos was special. I think no matter what level, pulling on your countries jumper will always be special. The kick in Brisbane. The 1st grand final at the Queanbeyan Kangaroos is up there, too. Only a few years before they were getting beat by 100, so to see how much it meant to the players and supporters that were there through the tough times was amazing!

8. If you could give one piece of advice to young, budding rugby league players, what would it be?
Train hard, listen and never stop learning. You can learn something from everyone!