Bulldogs appoint Pay as new Head Coach

Dean Pay

Following the sacking of Des Hasler, the Canterbury Bulldogs have brought back a former player with coaching experience to take over the head coaching mantle.

That man is Dean Pay, a former Bulldogs player himself, with the club and Pay coming to an agreement for the next two seasons.

In total, Pay played 108 games for the Bulldogs side and was a part of their 1995 premiership success as well as playing for both Australia and NSW.

Pay has been across numerous clubs in his coaching career; serving under Kevin Walters as an assistant at Catalans before similar roles at the Melbourne Storm, the Parramatta Eels and the Canberra Raiders.

Pay admits that he is excited about the new role particularly at a club that he knows well.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be offered the Head Coach’s role at a club that I loved playing for,” said Pay.

Having learnt under some great coaches, I now believe that the time is right for me to step up into the Head Coach’s role.”

Pay looks forward to getting the best out of the players and improving the club’s overall play as they look to get back into the finals in 2018.

The Bulldogs have a great history and tradition and I’m looking forward to the chance to work with a talented group of players, where respect and discipline will be the cornerstones of how we go about our business,” continued Pay.

“The club has great foundations, facilities, staff and an incredible fan base. It is important that we work hard to make our supporters proud.”

In the end, from a club perspective, getting in a person like Pay was important as they already know the club, its values and its history.

“We are extremely happy to have been able to secure the services of Dean Pay for the next two seasons,” said Bulldogs Chairman Ray Dib.

“Dean is a Bulldogs man through and through and someone who totally understands the history and tradition of the club.

Culture is a word thrown around a lot in rugby league these days and Dib believes that Pay is the man to bring that back to the Bulldogs.

“He was an outstanding player with the club and has carried that over into his coaching career, where he has worked under some excellent coaches, as well as showing that he can lead from the front with his superb record with the NSW Under 20’s side,” continued Dib.

“We want to bring back the Bulldogs culture of old and feel strongly that Dean is the man to do this.”

Promising Knights forward for a further season

Luke Yates

With a very young core group of players within their roster, the Newcastle Knights have emphasised the use of juniors to make the majority of their team with Luke Yates the latest to re-commit to the club.

Yates has 19 NRL games to his name so far after making his debut in Rd 1 and it could have been more, had an injury not ruled him out for the rest of the season in Rd 19.

The promising forward drew praise from Knights General Manager of Football Darren Mooney.

“Luke is a great young talent and thoroughly deserves this contract extension,” General Manager Football Darren Mooney said.

“Luke has progressed through the grades at the Club and made a successful transition to the NRL this season.

“He is a popular teammate and consistent contributor and we look forward to seeing his continued development at the Knights.”

Yates is not the only one to re-sign, however, with Tom Hughes, a staple back-line player in the side’s NSW Cup team also staying on.

The club also decided to take up the 2018 options for Sam Stone, Dylan Phythian and Nick Meaney, as well as re-signing young hooker Tom Starling for 2018.

Titans forward makes the move to Leeds

Nathaniel Peteru

With more opportunities up for grabs, Gold Coast Titans forward Nathaniel Peteru has opted to head to the Super League to sign a three-year deal with the Leeds Rhinos.

Peteru, who had been with the Titans since 2015, was also a former New Zealand Warriors player and with the new opportunity in front of him, the hulking forward is excited at what lies ahead.

“I am really looking forward to joining the Rhinos,” said Peteru.

“I see it as a fresh challenge for me and I am excited about the opportunity to come on board with the team.

We have been talking for a while but has speeded up over the last few weeks.”

With his family coming along for support, Peteru looks forward to partaking in a new league, full of new challenges and experiences.

My family and I are looking forward to coming to Leeds and for me personally playing in a new competition is something that inspires me,” continued the forward.Having watched Leeds, I know they have a winning culture and that is something I want to be part of but most of all I am coming for the challenge.

“Having watched Leeds, I know they have a winning culture and that is something I want to be part of but most of all I am coming for the challenge.”

Ultimately, Peteru wants to be able to perform at a higher level from an individual perspective and after talking with Kylie Leuluai, his decision was made easier.

“I want to come to England and take my game to the next level. I believe I can do that with Leeds with a successful team and a successful coach,” said Peteru. I have known Kylie Leuluai for a number of years. I watched him when I was growing up in New Zealand and followed his career when he was at Leeds. Talking to him put my mind at ease when I was looking to come over for a new challenge. Brian McDermott and I have had a couple of conversations and he has been really positive about what I can do. He wants me to push to become a starting forward eventually and that is something I want to do consistently.”

“I have known Kylie Leuluai for a number of years. I watched him when I was growing up in New Zealand and followed his career when he was at Leeds. Talking to him put my mind at ease when I was looking to come over for a new challenge. Brian McDermott and I have had a couple of conversations and he has been really positive about what I can do. He wants me to push to become a starting forward eventually and that is something I want to do consistently.”

Talking to him put my mind at ease when I was looking to come over for a new challenge.”

He also spoke with head coach Brian McDermott who sets goals for Peteru and inspired to create strong ambitions.

“Brian McDermott and I have had a couple of conversations and he has been really positive about what I can do,” he continued.

“He wants me to push to become a starting forward eventually and that is something I want to do consistently.”

As for the club, coach McDermott admits that they were keeping tabs on Peteru for a while and when the opportunity came up to sign him, they made their move.

“Nathaniel is someone we have been keeping an eye on for a while and the opportunity arose to bring him over for next season,” said McDermott. He is an impressive individual who spoke passionately to us about his commitment to the Rhinos and what he wants to achieve in his own game and with the Rhinos. Moving your family to the other side of the world is not something that anyone takes lightly and it is a measure of Nathaniel’s desire to be successful with the Rhinos that he is ready to come over and be part of our club.”

“He is an impressive individual who spoke passionately to us about his commitment to the Rhinos and what he wants to achieve in his own game and with the Rhinos.”

McDermott praised Peteru’s desire to move to the other side of the world with his family to become a better player.

Moving your family to the other side of the world is not something that anyone takes lightly and it is a measure of Nathaniel’s desire to be successful with the Rhinos that he is ready to come over and be part of our club,” concluded McDermott.

Rugby League World Cup 2017 squads

My word, how quickly four years passes! A Rugby League World Cup is yet again upon us. Will it be all smooth sailing for the Australian Kangaroos side or can another team surprise the rest and earn their way to the top of the mountain?

With those thoughts in mind, we have you covered with the squads that will be named for each respective team and so without further adieu, here we go:

France: Bastian Ader,  William Barthau, Clement Boyer, Mark Kheirallah & Antony Maria (all Toulouse Olympique). Olivier Arnaud & Guillaume Bonnet (both SO Avignon XIII). Lucas Albert, Jason Baitieri, Julian Bousquet, Nabil Djalout, Benjamin Garcia, Thibaul Margalet, Roman Navarette & Fouad Yaha (all Catalans Dragons).

Damien Cardace (FC Lezignan). Theo Fages (St Helens).  John Boubedza (London Harlequins). Maxime Herold & Mickael Rouch (both XIII Limouxin). Benjamin Jullien (Warrington Wolves). Hakim Miloudi (Doncaster/Hull FC). Gadwin Springer (Castleford Tigers). Eloi Pelissier (Leigh Centurions).

Coach: Aurelien Cologni


Wales: Courtney Davies & Steve Parry (both Gloucestershire All Golds). Chester Butler (Halifax RLFC). Danny Ansell (Hunslet Hawks). Sam Hopkins (Leigh Centurions). Joe Burke (Oldham Roughyeds). Michael Channing, Ben Evans, Elliot Kear, Dalton Grant & Rhys Williams (all London Broncos). Gavin Bennion (Rochdale Hornets). Matty Barron (Newcastle Thunder).

Craig Kopczak (C) (Salford Red Devils). Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles). Andrew Gay & Christiaan Roets (both South Wales Ironmen). Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles & Ben Morris (all St Helens). Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions). Josh Ralph (Tweed Heads Seagulls). Phil Joseph (Workington Town). Matty Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls).

Coach: John Kear.


Lebanon: Robbie Farah & Adam Doueihi (both South Sydney Rabbitohs). James Elias (West Newcastle). Mitch Moses, Anthony Layoun & Tim Mannah (all Parramatta Eels). Danny Barakat (Wentworthville Magpies). Jason Wehbe, Elias Sukkar, Mitch Mamary & Reece Robinson (all unattached). 

Raymond Sabat (Lycans FC). Ray Moujalli & Michael Lichaa (both Canterbury Bulldogs). Jamie Clark & Ahmad Ellaz (both Auburn Warriors). Nick Kassis & Chris Saab (both Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles). Bilal Maarbani (Manly Sea Eagles). Abbas Miski (North Sydney Bears). Travis Robinson (Newtown Jets).

Coach: Freddy Fittler.


Scotland: Danny Addy, Ben Kavanagh, Kieran Moran (all Hull KR). Ryan Brierley (Toronto Wolfpack). Frankie Mariano (both Featherstone Rovers). Danny Brough & Dale Ferguson (Huddersfield). Shane Toal (Barrow Raiders). Luke Douglas (St Helens). Ben Hellewell & Alex Walker (both London Broncos). Oscar Thomas & Brandon Wilkinson (both Bradford Bulls). Gavin Bennion (Rochdale Hornets).  Callum Phillips (both Workington Town).
Matty Russell (Warrington Wolves). David Scott (Batley RLFC).
Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors). Lachlan Stein (Penrith Panthers). Jonathan Walker (Darlington Point Roosters). James Bell (New Zealand Warriors). Andrew Bentley & Kane Bentley (both Toulouse Olympique). Jarred Anderson (Sydney Roosters).
Coach: Stephen McCormack

USA: Jonathan Taylor Alley (Central Florida Warriors). Ryan Burroughs & Joseph Eichner (both Toronto Wolfpack). Bureta Faraimo (New Zealand Warriors). Gabriel Farley & Andrew Kniesly (both Philadelphia Fight). Charles ‘CJ’ Cortalano, Kristian Freed & Matt Walsh (all Plain White Wombats). Daniel Howard (Wentworthville Magpies).
Stephen Howard & Corey Makelim (both Mounties RLFC). Martwain Johnson (Delaware Black Foxes). Fotukava ‘Hiko’ Malu & Nicholas Newlin (both Atlanta Rhinos). David Marando (Belrose Eagles). Mark Offerdahl (London Broncos). Eddy Pettybourne & Samuel Tochtermann-Talbott (both Tweed Heads Seagulls).
Josh Rice (New York Knights. Matt Shipway (South Newcastle). David Ulch (Tampa Mayhem). Taiolo Vaivai (Illawarra Wests Devils.

Coach: Brian McDermott


Italy: Daniel Alvaro & Nathan Brown (both Parramatta Eels). Mirco Bergamasco (Venetian Lions).  Terry Campese (Queanbeyan Blues).  Ryan Castellaro, Ryan Ghietti, Joel Reithmuller & Colin Wilkie (all Northern Pride). Chris Centrone, Josh Mantellato & Brenden Santi (all Wyong Roos). Mason Cerruto (Penrith Panthers). Gavin Hiscox (Central Queensland Capras).

Jack Johns (Newcastle Knights). Richard Lepori (Oldham Roughyeds). Mark Minichiello (Hull FC). Nathan Milone & James Tedesco (both Wests Tigers).  Joey Tramontana (Canterbury Bulldogs). Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons). Shannon Wakeman (Huddersfield Giants). Jayden Walker (Cronulla Sharks). Cristophe Calegari (Palau XIII Broncos).

Coach: Cameron Ciraldo.

PNG Kumuls: Ase Boas (VC), Enoch Maki, Moses Meninga, Nixon Put, Stanton Albert, Stargroth Amean, Wartovo Puara Jr, Wellington Albert, Watson Boas & Willie Minoga (all PNG Hunters). David Mead (C) (Brisbane Broncos). Garry Lo (Sheffield Eagles). James Segeyaro (Cronulla Sharks).

Justin Olam (Melbourne Storm). Lachlan Lam (Sydney Roosters). Kurt Baptiste & Kato Ottio (both Canberra Raiders). Luke Page (Burleigh Bears). Nene Macdonald (St George Illawarra Dragons). Paul Aiton (Catalans Dragons). Rhyse Martin & Rod Griffin (both Canterbury Bulldogs). Thompson Teteh (Redcliffe Dolphins).

Coach: Michael Marum


New Zealand: Nelson Asofa-Solomona & Kenny Bromwich (both Melbourne Storm). Adam Blair & Kodi Nikorima (both Brisbane Broncos). Addin Fonua-Blake & Martin Taupau (both Manly Sea Eagles). Peta Hiku (Warrington Wolves). Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck & Simon Mannering (all New Zealand Warriors). Thomas Leuluai (Wigan Warriors). Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights).
Isaac Liu & Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (both Sydney Roosters). Te Maire Martin (North Queensland Cowboys). Jason Nightingale & Russell Packer (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Jordan Rapana & Joseph Tapine (both Canberra Raiders). Brad Takairangi (Parramatta Eels). Elijah Taylor (Wests Tigers). Dallin Watene-Zelezniak & Dean Whare (both Penrith Panthers). Gerard Beale (Cronulla Sharks).
Coach: David Kidwell

Tonga: Andrew Fifita (Cronulla Sharks). Mahe Fonua & Sika Manu (both Hull FC). David Fusitu’a, Solomone Kata & Ata Hingano (all New Zealand Warriors). Will Hopoate (Canterbury Bulldogs). Konrad Hurrell (Gold Coast Titans). Michael Jennings, Peni Terepo & Manu Ma’u (all Parramatta Eels).

Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers). Samisoni Langi (Leigh Centurions). Tuimoala Lolohea (Wests Tigers). Sam Moa (Catalans Dragons). Ben Murdoch-Masila & Manu Vatuvei (both Salford Devils). Joe Ofahengaue & Tevita Pangai Jr. (both Brisbane Broncos). Ukuma Ta’ai (Huddersfield Giants). Sio Siua Taukeiaho & Daniel Tupou (both Sydney Roosters). Jason Taumalolo (North Queensland Cowboys). 

Coach: Kristian Woolf


Australia: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Munster, Michael Morgan, James Maloney, Aaron Woods, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire, Andrew Fifita, Jake Trbojevic, Jordan McLean, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Tyson Frizell, Wade Graham, Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Smith & Ben Hunt.

Coach: Mal Meninga.

Samoa:  Frank Pritchard (C) & Suaia Matagi (both Parramatta Eels). Leeson Ah Mau & Tim Lafai (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Bunty Afoa, Sam Lisone, Jazz Tevaga & Ken Maumalo (all New Zealand Warriors). F’amanu Brown, Ricky Leutele, Joseph Paulo & Sam Tagataese (all Cronulla Sharks). Herman Ese’ese (Brisbane Broncos). Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers).

Pita Godinet , Frank Winterstein & Matthew Wright (all Manly Sea Eagles). Young Tonumaipea (Melbourne Storm). Peter Mata’utia (Newcastle Knights). Ben Roberts (Castleford Tigers). Josh Papalii, Joey Leilua & Junior Paulo (all Canberra Raiders). Zane Musgrove (South Sydney Rabbitohs). 


Ireland: Liam Finn (C), Scott Grix & James Hasson (all Wakefield Trinity). Kyle Amor & Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook (both St Helens). Liam Kay (Toronto Wolfpack), Will Hope & James Kelly (both Sheffield Eagles). Oliver Roberts (Huddersfield Giants). Ed Chamberlain (Widnes Vikings). George King, Toby King & Joe Philbin (all Warrington Wolves).

Joe Keyes (Bradford Bulls), Tyrone McCarthy (Salford Devils) & Casey Dunne (Longhorns RL). Jack Higginson & Michael McIlorum (both Wigan Warriors). Anthony Mullally & Brad Singleton (both Leeds Rhinos). Apirana Pewhairangi (London Broncos). Matty Hadden (Rochdale Hornets). Alan McMahon (Waterford Vikings).

Fiji: Kane Evans & Eloni Vunakece (both Sydney Roosters). Salesi Faingaa (Parramatta Eels). Jarryd Hayne & Ben Nakubuwai (both Gold Coast Titans). Tui Kamikamica & Suliasi Vunivalu (both Melbourne Storm). Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers). Apisai Koroisau & Akuila Uate (both Manly Sea Eagles). Joe Lovodua & Taane Milne (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Brayden Wiliame (Catalans Dragons). Henry Raiwalui (Mounties RLFC).

Sitiveni Moceidreke (South Sydney Rabbitohs). Marcelo Montoya (Canterbury Bulldogs). Kevin Naiqama (Wests Tigers). James Storer (Port Kembla Blacks). Mikaele Ravalawa (Canberra Raiders). Junior Roqica (London Broncos). Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights). Ashton Sims (Warrington Wolves). Korbin Sims (Brisbane Broncos). Pio Seci (Nabua Broncos).

Coach: Mick Potter.


England: John Bateman, Sean O’Loughlin & George Williams (all Wigan Warriors). Kevin Brown, Ben Currie, Chris Hill & Stefan Ratchford (all Warrington Wolves). Luke Gale & Mike McMeeken (both Castleford Tigers). Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sharks). Sam Burgess & Thomas Burgess (both South Sydney Rabbitohs).
Scott Taylor (Hull FC). Gareth Widdop & James Graham (both St George Illawarra Dragons). Jermaine McGillvaray (Huddersfield Giants). Ryan Hall & Kallum Watkins (both Leeds Rhinos). Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson (both Canberra Raiders). Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival, James Roby & Alex Walmsley (all St Helens).
Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Former Eels and Manly back-rower signs with Wakefield

Justin Horo

In the eyes of many, he never quite kicked on as well as he could have in the NRL but Justin Horo took his game to another level when he joined the Catalan Dragons in the Super League.

Now, he is on the move again, with Wakefield Trinity snapping up the 31-year old veteran on a 2-year deal.

Making his professional rugby league debut at the Parramatta Eels before joining the Manly Sea Eagles, he enjoyed some periods of success but ultimately dropped out of both sides.

Prompting his move to Catalans, it was here that Horo shone over his 42-game career for the Perpignan-based club.

With the move to Wakefield now confirmed, Horo is excited about the new challenge and looks forward to working with coach Chris Chester.

“Firstly, I would like to start by saying that I am extremely excited to be joining the club for the next few years,” said Horo.

“I made my decision to join the club based on the interest from Chris (Chester) and the direction he sees for the club which has shown in the results on the field and the re-signing of players at the club already.”

Horo’s ambitions are high, as he wants to work hard at Wakefield and help the team to possible success.

“One of the players being Jacob Miller who I spoke to before making my decision and he couldn’t speak highly enough of everyone involved,” continued Horo.

“I cannot wait to join the squad next year and go after a trophy or two.”

Equally pleased is Chester, who relishes the opportunity to see his back-rowers tussle for spots in a hotly contested back-row.

“I am delighted that we have been able to secure the services of Justin Horo on a two-year deal,” said Chester.

“He will add real quality to the pack and provide competition in the back row alongside Kirmond, Ashurst, and Batchelor.

“Justin has a wealth of experience and it shows a signing of intent by the club, after speaking to Justin, I am aware of how much he is excited to join us and I am looking forward to working with him over the next couple of seasons.”

Latimore returns to the Dragons after other stints

Jeremy Latimore

In a bid to boost their front-row stocks, the St George Illawarra Dragons have signed Jeremy Latimore for the 2018 season.

Latimore rejoins the club having played with the RedV during the 2012 season.

With 139 NRL games to his date at the Dragons, the Parramatta Eels, the New Zealand Warriors, the Penrith Panthers and the Cronulla Sharks, Latimore has the experience and know-how to play regular first-grade football.

In the end, the club was after a forward with that experience to cover their likely Origin forwards with additional wisdom to aid the younger players.

“When we came to the decision with Jeremy, it was more so to see what he could bring to the club off the field just as much as what he could bring on it. Jeremy is very keen to be involved in that process,” said Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward.

“We were looking for a player who had played over 100 first grade games and who could come into our squad and add some experience and character.

“We also have to anticipate that we may have Paul Vaughan and definitely Tyson Frizell and Jack de Belin out over the Origin series next season so we wanted to make sure we weren’t throwing all of our young boys in over that period.”

Bulldogs sack Hasler as coach

Des Hasler

It is a move that will come as a surprise to no fans as the Canterbury Bulldogs have made the decision to sack coach Des Hasler from his contract. 

After a turbulent year on the field and persistent rumours regarding off-field issues with players that led to departures by some – again, leaving fans furious – the decision was made and it was expanded on by Bulldogs club Chairman Ray Dib.

“Today, I informed Des Hasler and his management of our decision to pursue a new Head Coach for our Club, effective immediately.

The heads of agreement reached with Des Hasler for an extension of his contract were non-binding and a decision has been made not to renew his contract for next year.

“These types of conversations are never easy, especially when they involve people we respect personally and professionally, however, the Club believes the decision to change our football leadership was absolutely necessary.”

Although the strong favourite in the eyes of the media appears to be assistant coach Dean Pay, the club say they will begin their search for a new coach.

“The Club will now begin its search for a new Head Coach and will provide further information once that process has been completed,” said Dib.

The Coal Train becomes latest addition to flourishing Wolfpack side

David Taylor

On the back of their successful Championship One campaign and with greener pastures in sight on their quest towards a Super League berth, the Toronto Wolfpack continue to go from strength to strength.

Already boasting an impressive line-up, they have added to that with the signing of hulking back-rower David Taylor for the 2018 season.

Known by many as ‘the Coal Train’, Taylor has played over 150 NRL games, had stints with Super League sides – mainly the Catalan Dragons – and has also represented both Queensland and Australia in the past.

With their name, their colours and their form all continuous talking points in the rugby league world,  Taylor is excited to show the Canadian rugby league world what he can bring to the table.

“I’m excited about the challenge of joining the Wolfpack. There’s clearly some crazy good things happening with rugby league in Toronto & I can’t wait to get there,” said Taylor.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll like my style of play & hopefully it will excite Canada!”

There was nothing but praise from the Wolfpack’s Director of Rugby Brian Noble who knew that when Taylor became available and expressed an interest, there was just one outcome the club needed.

“As soon as I was made aware that Dave Taylor was interested in the challenge of representing the Wolfpack, I jumped at the chance to make this happen,” said Noble.

“The Canadian fans will just love the ‘Coal Train’, his explosive style, his power, speed and tremendous range of skills will give our group a new dimension moving forward and I genuinely can’t wait for him to hit the straps at Lamport Stadium next year.

I am relishing the prospect of Dave lining up alongside Ashton Sims and our existing big pack of forwards next year, the strength of the wolf will certainly be the pack in 2018 and the new season just can’t come around quick enough for me!”

Dragons back-rower makes the move to England

Will Matthews

A move to greener pastures for more opportunities is always on the cards for player and Will Matthews has sought that by signing a 2-year deal with the Widnes Vikings.

The current St George Illawarra Dragons utility forward and former Gold Coast Titan has almost 100 first-grade games to his name as Widnes coach Denis Betts admits that Matthews has been on their radar for a while.

“We have been interested in Will for some time, so I am very pleased to have secured this deal,” said Betts.Will is a quality player and will add a lot to the team with his experience of playing in the NRL. He is strong and carries the ball well, but can also offload and support attacking plays effectively too.

“Will is a quality player and will add a lot to the team with his experience of playing in the NRL. He is strong and carries the ball well, but can also offload and support attacking plays effectively too.”

His versatility and experience is just one factor as to why Betts wanted to sign Matthews.

I have also been impressed by his character and his excitement for taking on a new challenge at Widnes Vikings,” continued the Widnes coach. I’m looking forward to him linking up with the team next season.”

“I’m looking forward to him linking up with the team next season.”

As for Matthews himself, he always had a desire to play in the UK and he now gets that chance at Widnes.

I’m delighted to be joining Widnes Vikings. I’ve always been interested in playing in the UK, so it is great to have this opportunity to do so at the Vikings,” said Matthews.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who can’t speak highly enough about the country and the competition, so I’m sure this will be an exciting new chapter for me and my family.

I’m looking forward to getting out there next season and playing in front of all the supporters.”

Panthers advance as Manly crash out in elimination final

Bryce Cartwright

The Penrith Panthers made amends for their hiding at the hands of the Manly Sea Eagles last week by getting a win where it matters most; the elimination final. 

In a match that was spiteful and between two sides that clearly hated the other, it was Penrith who came away with the glory to produce a 22-10 win at Allianz Stadium.

The game started rather sloppily from both sides before it became a no-holds barred slugfest that resulted in several missed opportunities and big hits.

As both teams fought for ascendancy, it was Manly who scored the first try of the game after an earlier penalty goal by Penrith.

A nifty chip kick by Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic found Dylan Walker who made the most of it to score. Penrith would hit back, however, as a well-timed grubber by Nathan Cleary ricocheted off the post to fall into the outstretched arms of Bryce Cartwright who picked the ball up and scored in one motion.

The second half is where the conjecture happened in the eyes of many when, firstly, Manly were denied a second try to Dylan Walker who was deemed offside off a kick despite replays suggesting the evidence was inconclusive.

Manly were then denied once more by the bunker, this time in an effort by Akuila Uate, deemed to have knocked on in the act of scoring.

They would hit back with a try of their own, however, to make the contest interesting with former Panther Lewis Brown barging through some butter-like defence to score and level things up.

Although momentum was with Manly at that time, it was wrestled back by Bryce Cartwright who crossed the line for his second of the match.

The icing on the cake came from yet another contentious decision as Tyrone Peachey crossed the line.
It started with an innocuous grubber from Cartwright that bounced off a Manly leg and despite replays seeming to show that it had touched Peachey’s arm that propelled the ball forward, it was given a try.

That, in turn, was the nail in the coffin for the Sea Eagles as Penrith march on to another week of the finals.

Manly coach Trent Barrett was visibly frustrated by the bunker’s decision-making process and voiced his thoughts on the incidents.

“If the ricochet is awarded no try, which they should have done, they can’t overturn it. It’s crazy, and it’s cost us our season. Deadset, what am I meant to say to the players? Unbelievable,” he said.

“The referee is better off putting his hands in the air and saying ‘I’ve got no idea so let’s have a look at it’ rather than influence the decision of the Bunker with a ‘no try’ or ‘try’. How the hell can you see? It went off a foot into a leg into a chest onto a hand. He must have good eyes.”

With their season now over, Barrett was careful not to attack the referees directly but he did speak directly to Tony Archer – the referees boss – at one point.

“I have to be careful with what I say, but what I would like is the Bunker and (referees boss) Tony Archer and the referees to go into my shed and explain to my players that their season is now finished on the back of those two calls. The season will go on for everyone else and everyone will say ‘Manly got some rough calls’, but that’s not good enough.”

The man at the centre of the big moment, Tyrone Peachey, admits he could not really recall the incident as such and that he did not feel the ball brush his arm.

“I was calling off Carty (Cartwright) and thought he was going to pass it, that was probably why I didn’t have my hands up and it ended up getting me on the chest,” Peachey said.

“I couldn’t tell, I didn’t see. It was pretty fast and can’t remember exactly what happened. I had the “T” (try) sign up looking at the ref – it was frantic.

“Once I saw them checking the grounding I was confident, it was an awesome feeling and we just had to hold them out.”

Player of the Game:

3. Bryce Cartwright

2. Tom Trbojevic

  1. Nathan Cleary

Penrith Panthers 22 (Bryce Cartwright 2, Tyrone Peachey tries; Nathan Cleary 5 goals) eliminated Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 10 (Dylan Walker, Lewis Brown tries; Matt Wright 1 goal) at Allianz StadiumHalf-time: Panthers 10-4. Crowd: 15,408.