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Baby Blues Win Inaugural Under 20s Origin

The New South Wales Blues have claimed the Inaugural Darren Lockyer Shield in the Under 20’s State of Origin Match at Centrebet Stadium with a 18-14 victory over the Queensland Maroons in front of 5,105 fans.

The best young player talent from the Toyota Cup and NSW Cup was on display as they battled it out. Queensland half, Ben Hampton crafted the first try with his skilful footwork. The Video Referee awarded Aaron Whitchurch the four-pointer. Brisbane Broncos’ Mitchell Frei failed to convert, Queensland 4-0 after 12 minutes.

The New South Wales Blues managed their first points as Kane Evans made a name for himself with a wonderful solo performance. Harry Seijka fired the ball over for the extras. The NSW Blues took the lead after 24 minutes, 6-4.

A defensive mistake from Seijka gifted Edrick Lee his first representative try after an 80 metre run downfield. The Queensland Maroon back in command 8-6.

The No. 5, Chanel Mata’Utia smelt out points as Cheyse Blair supplied the short pass to bring up the Blues second try. From the sideline the conversion struck beautifully as it sailed like a Seijka missile. At half time the Blues held a slim 12-8 lead.

Harry Seijka mustered up after his defensive misread as he stepped through the tiring Queensland defence to score. He converted his own four-pointer, the Blues 18-8 after two minutes of the second half. Edrick Lee busted past defenders to score his second four-pointer as he linked with Tautau Moga.

The Queenslanders closed the gap to four points, 18-14, with 28 minutes until full time. A dew-soaked ball late second half saw the error count climb which affected both sides.

Queensland fought until the end as Ben Hampton went close to scoring the match-winning try. However the Blues Captain Boyd Cordner in a true Origin moment forced the mistake.

In the end the New South Wales Blues held victors 18-14 to claim the Darren Lockyer shield. The Inaugural contest has created a bright future for this Under 20’s State of Origin format.

In a sign that the the younger generation is eager to experience the euphoria that comes with playing Origin at the highest level – NSW coach Dean Pay had former Origin greats speak to his players, with captain Boyd Cordner admitting the team took a lot from it.

“He was very passionate about us being the next generation and the future of Origin,” NSW skipper Boyd Cordner said after the match.

“I think we got a lot out of that.”

Despite the win, nerves almost got the better of Pay, as he and many other NSW fans at Centrebet Stadium, were waiting for the young Queensland side to strike the killer blow.

“We’ve seen that in the past, them being four points behind and coming back to get us in the death,” he said.

Kevin Walters, QLD coach, said that despite his side’s narrow loss, the performance was “Queensland-like”.

“It’s a disappointing result, but certainly the effort from the players was very Queensland-like. I thought the performance was very Queensland-like,” he said.

“And that’s what we wanted to get out of the game – be a Queensland team.

“We had a couple of chances there that we just couldn’t quite capitalise on in that second half.

“(NSW’s) defence was really strong on the line. They came up with a couple of big plays to shut us down which kept us out of the match.”

Cowboys Against the Grain Stroll Through Canberra

The North Queensland Cowboys have constructed a convincing win in Canberra to defeat the Raiders 22-6 in front of 12,135 fans. The Raiders prior to the contest had 8 wins from their past 10 Monday Night clashes, however the Cowboys against the grain stole the two competition points away from home.

The pressure was mounted earlier by the visitors to see them craft a set play as Johnathan Thurston guided the ball to Brent Tate on the right wing to crash over. Thurston’s conversion from the touchline hooked beautifully to add the extras. 10 minutes down, Cowboys 6-0.

Man of the match, Thurston stamped his skills on the game with a lovely cut out play to put Ashley Graham through a hole for the first of a double. His conversion an easier attempt compared to his first was successful, 30 minutes lapsed, Cowboys 12-0.

“Our attack was poor last week against the Sharks, we had plenty of field position against them but didn’t get over the line,” Henry said.

“We worked hard on it – credit to the boys, we executed some nice plays on that right edge and got some plays out wide.”

Despite playing out of his skins, and taking control from five-eighth for the first time this season, Thurston deflected any praise directed towards him, and passed it on to his team-mates.

I think it was the best team performance – our forward pack did a really good job on their forward pack,” Thurston said.

“When you’re a halfback or a five-eighth, playing off momentum makes your job so much easier.”

The Raiders continued to have lack of possession and field territory which saw them down 12-0 at the half time break.

The Cowboys targeted Raiders winger Jack Wighton on a number of occasions and it paid dividends with Graham gifted a Thurston ball to collect his second four-pointer. Conversion from Thurston pushed wide, Cowboys 16-0.

Video Referee, Steve Clark brought in for a quick review to award the Cowboys fourth try to Ray Thompson. Dane Tilse aided Thompson’s effort over the line, the North Queensland side on top 22-0 with Thurston’s conversion.

A turn in possession and some luck finally saw the home side on the board. Sam Mataora bashed his way over the line similar to the four-pointer against the Wests Tigers in Round 4. A leak in points from the Cowboys with ten minutes on the clock had a change in score, 22-6.

In the final moments of the contest, the Raiders started to play catch up football however it was a little-to-late. An almost miracle try to Josh McCrone was added to the sheet, but the Steve Clarke spun up the red lights.

“I said to the group I’m not looking to blame injuries, I think we’ve got to look at the start … (but) we were just holding on there at the end,” Furner said.

“We lost far too much energy in our middle, those injuries hurt us a little bit.”

The Cowboys didn’t end the match they way they started, nevertheless the victory on the board as they defeated the Raiders in Canberra 22-6.

The Raiders were dealt a big blow heading into the remainder of the season, with representative prop Brett White ruled out for the rest of the season, after suffering a ruptured ACL injury.

To make matters even worst for the Raiders, centre-come-second-rower Joel Thompson also left the field, due to an ankle injury.

A big test for the North Queensland squad will come when they travel to AAMI Park to face the five-straight victors the Melbourne Storm. Meanwhile the Raiders open Canberra Stadium again to the New Zealand Warriors.

Chris Sandow Explosive as Manly face their third defeat

The fireworks finally exploded in Parramatta as the Eels held on to claim their first 2012 season victory over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 29-20 at Parramatta Stadium. Signs not promising in this early part of the season as the reigning premiers fall to their third straight loss.

The home crowd were in voice for majority of the game which gave them an edge over the visitors.

Ben Roberts on his game as he fired a pin-point kick into the in-goal area to set up Jarryd Hayne for the first points of the evening. The Manly’s defence cracked to leak a try after five minutes, Sandow nailed the kick, Eels 6-0.

However a turn in possession stopped the celebrations with Manly on the board after 14 minutes as Brett Stewart found himself on the end of a Steve Matai kick. Daly Cherry-Evans didn’t have a wonderful night with his boot but the first attempt successful, 6-all.

It didn’t take long for the Eels to hit back with more points as Matt Keating close to the line wasn’t going to be stopped. Parramatta made the Manly side pay for the gifted field position after a penalty. Sandow’s conversion made it 12-6 after 21 minutes.

The uncharacteristic Eels saw them go back-to-back in their next play to put another four-pointer on their opposition. Young gun Ken Sio strolled his way over the whitewash as the Eels rolled on, 18-6.

A questionable decision against the home side saw the Manly Sea Eagles well on the attack. Anthony Watmough gave the Manly side the set at the line and he played cleaner after Jarryd Hayne coughed up the ball on the line. Eels led 18-10 with five until half time.

Ball possession in our great day is so important in the modern day and Manly used what they had to their strengths. After two consecutive scrum feeds on the Eels 10 metre line, Jorge Taufua helped close the gap to two points. Manly spread it to the winger with quick hands. They capitalised on the Eels mistakes, however still trailed 18-16 after 8 minutes of the second half.

Manly gathered pace as they went in search of the lead and found it. Jamie Buhrer flew through the line at speed to roll over Chris Sandow to score. Cherry-Evans’ conversion attempt met the posts on the full, no goal – Manly claimed the lead 20-18 after 55 minutes.

Robert again crafted his skill to display his wonderful footwork to break into open space. His magic set up Jarryd Hayne with an inside ball through the Manly defence. The Eels back in front with 20 minutes on the clock, 24-20.

Something we haven’t seen in 2012 is the Eels defending a lead at the back end of a game. It was different tonight has it was certainly something special. The Parramatta boys took whatever opportunities they had and made Manly suffer. Chris Sandow nailed a penalty goal in the final minutes to make the gap between them a converted try, 26-20.

Manly remained hopeful with five minutes left in the contest, but Sandow put it beyond doubt with an amazing snap field goal. Eels 27-20 as their confidence rocketed with the lead out to seven points.

The fireworks started to fire with two minutes left as the Eels were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks. One of the Eels stars of the evening, Chris Sandow added the further nail in the coffin for the downed Eagles with a penalty goal. The siren sounded at Parramatta Stadium which saw the home crowd heroes victors 29-20.

Parramatta with greater confidence with their first points of the season will travel north to Hunter Stadium when they are hosted by the Newcastle Knights. While the current premiers after their third straight defeat will finally head home to open Brookvale Oval for the Penrith Panthers.

Gidley’s Return Shocks Bulldogs Defence

The Newcastle Knights have pulled off an upset to knock the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs off the top of the ladder with a 20-6 victory in front of 21,701 crowd at ANZ stadium.

The Knights produced a flawless effort in defence to dominate the contest. The game started with some big tackles with the Bulldogs struggling to maintain possession and the Knights capitalising on early errors. Six minutes in, Kade Snowden linked up with his prop forward partner Richard Fa’aoso to send him over. Captain Kurt Gidley converted to try to give his side a six-point lead.

Possession always proves crucial to coming up trumps in Rugby League and today was no different. With the swing of possession on their side the Knights were able to add even more points in 17th minute with halfback Jarrod Mullen slicing through the Canterbury defence and diving over to score.

The Knights gave coach Wayne Bennett plenty to smile about as the match progressed, with a mammoth defensive effort ensuring the Bulldogs remained scoreless in the first half. For the Bulldogs however, Des Hasler was given little reason to smile following a mistake riddled first half from his side.

The home side did not get off to a much better start in the second half with Englishmen James Graham giving away an early penalty. The Knights opted to go for the two and Gidley had no problems kicking the goal.

With a 14 point lead the Knights appeared more concerned with defending their lead than adding to it, however, when the points were on offer the Knights were ready to take them with Alex McKinnon breezing through a gap in the 72nd minute courtesy of a Gidley offload. Gidley added the extras to give the Knights a 20-point lead.

After a relatively quite 75 minutes Ben Barba put his mark on the game, the fullback produced some fancy footwork to set up Joel Romelo. Steve Turner added the extras to reduce the Knights’ lead to 14.

The Bulldogs will look to hit back stronger when they travel to Skilled Park to meet the lacklustre Gold Coast Titans. Meanwhile a mission-impossible to some when the Melbourne Storm open AAMI Park to the Knights on Friday Night.

Uncharacteristic Win: Bulldogs Run Over Dragons

The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs have claimed their second victory under the guidance of head coach Des Hasler. They have closed 30-4 winners over the St. George Illawarra Dragons in front of a good crowd in attendance at ANZ Stadium of 29,641.

Josh Morris was the stand out as he crossed the whitewash three times for the Bulldogs. The first of his amazing efforts came in the 7th minute as he ended a messy set with points. He linked with Trend Hodkinson to add the Bulldogs to the scoreboard. Steve Turner had a perfect night with his conversion after 7 minutes, Bulldogs 6-0.

It didn’t take long for Morris to see his name on the big screen again as he crossed again after breaking into a hole of the Dragons’ defensive line. Ben Barba this time aided his effort to get over the stripe. Turner again no issue with the boot to give the Bulldogs a 12-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Dragons managed only one try in the contest and it was from created by another Morris, as Brett set up Kyle Stanley for this four-pointer. The try gifted as the inside pass was collected by Stanley before he dived through the Bulldogs line to score. After 28 minutes, Bulldogs held leaders 12-4.

Three tries in thirty minutes is something special as Josh Morris brought up his third of the night in the 31st minute. A team play saw the ball travel through many hands before Morris found space to cross. The Bulldogs showed no signs of slowing as they hit the half time score of 18-4.

Things started to heat up when Michael Weyman was placed on report for a high shot on Bulldog Corey Payne. Weyman will have a case to answer later in the week. However he was not the only one in the Red V to see the arms raised from the men in pink. Late in the game Lesson Ah Mau joined Weyman as he was placed on report for a shoulder charge.

Regardless of the indiscretions from the Dragons, the Bulldogs remained composed as they ended the match with Greg Eastwood’s power seeing him over line. Steve Turner’s boot magic with 5/5 conversions. The Dragons not happy with the performance as they went down by the full time siren 30-4.

Both sides have a big task at hand when they look ahead to Round 3 of NRL action as the Dragons return home to WIN Jubilee to face the Wests Tigers. Whilst the Bulldogs jump on a plane to cross the Tasman to clash with the Warriors.

Match Details
Canterbury Bulldogs 30 defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 4
Round 2 – Saturday March 10, 2012 7:30pm
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Referee: Matt Cecchin and Ashley Klein
Video Referee: Sean Hampstead
Touch Judges: Paul Holland and Grant Atkins
Crowd: 29,641
Halftime: Canterbury Bulldogs 18 St George Illawarra Dragons 4

Almost Full Strength Foundation Cup Wests Tigers

Wests Tigers coach has named a close to full strength side to face the Sydney Roosters for the Foundation Cup at Campbelltown Sports Stadium this Saturday, 18th February 2012. Despite suffering a gash to the eye last week against Parramatta, second-rower Liam Fulton has been named on an extended bench. The Tigers also welcome back injured stars Chris Lawrence and captain Robbie Farah.

Wests Tigers NRL Team

1 James Tedesco
2 Beau Ryan
3 Blake Ayshford
4 Chris Lawrence
5 Matt Utai
6 Benji Marshall
7 Tim Moltzen
8 Aaron Woods
9 Robbie Farah ©
10 Keith Galloway
11 Adam Blair
12 Gareth Ellis
13 Chris Heighington

14 Liam Fulton
15 Matt Groat
16 Matt Bell
17 Tom Humble
18 Joel Reddy

Match Day Schedule
11.45am: Gates open
12pm: Rd 2 Harold Matthews Cup: Western Suburbs Magpies v Manly Sea Eagles
1.30PM: Rd 2 SG Ball Cup: Western Suburbs Magpies v Manly Sea Eagles
3.30pm: NSW Cup trial: Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers v Newtown Jets
5.15pm: NYC trial: Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters
7.30pm: Foundation Cup trial: Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters

Wests Tigers Vs Parramatta Eels Trial Teams

This Saturday marks the first trial for both clubs heading into the 2012 season. Both clubs have named strong teams to clash at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford. Live updates will be available for this match via @azsportza’s twitter

Wests Tigers

1. James Tedesco 2. Beau Ryan 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Joel Reddy 5. Matt Utai 6. Benji Marshall 7. Tim Moltzen 8. Aaron Woods 9. Pat Politoni 10. Keith Galloway 11. Adam Blair 12. Gareth Ellis 13. Chris Heighington

Interchange: 14. Liam Fulton 15. Matt Groat 16. Matt Bell 17. Tom Humble 18. Ben Murdoch-Masila

Parramatta Eels

1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Luke Burt 3. Ryan Morgan 4. Esi Tonga 5. Ken Sio 6. Ben Roberts 7. Chris Sandow 8. Tim Mannah 9. Matt Keating 10. Mitchell Allgood 11. Nathan Hindmarsh 12. Ben Smith 13. Justin Horo.

Interchange: 14. Casey McGuire 15. Taulima Tautai 16. Fuifui Moimoi 17. Taniela Lasalo 18. Cheyse Blair 19. Joseph Paulo 20. Justin Poore 23. Shane Shackleton


Saturday 11 February 2012, kickoff 7:30pm

Referees: Tony De Las Heras and Chris James

Touch Judges: Luke Walsh and Nick Beashel

Super League Magic Weekend 2012

Local rivalries will once again take centre stage on Magic Weekend when Etihad Stadium, Manchester, hosts a full round of Stobart Super League fixtures for the first time on May 26 and 27.

Some of the biggest battles in British sport will be played out at the home of Manchester City FC, where three matches take place on Saturday May 26 and four on Sunday May 27.

The 2012 Magic Weekend schedule in full is:

Saturday May 26
1.00pm – Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Wildcats
4.00pm – Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings
7.00pm – Hull FC v Hull KR

Sunday May 27
12.00pm – Catalan Dragons v London Broncos
2.00pm – Huddersfield Giants v Salford City Reds
4.00pm – Bradford Bulls v Leeds Rhinos
6.00pm – St Helens v Wigan Warriors

Wests Tigers Trial Matches Details Confirmed

Wests Tigers on Wednesday confirmed details of two big trial matches to be played on February 11 and 18.

The first trial match will be held against the Parramatta Eels at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford, on Saturday, February 11. Wests Tigers have a large following on the Central Coast and another bumper crowd is expected.

Three quality games of rugby league will be played at Bluetongue with the main NRL trial at 7.30pm.

The annual trial against the Roosters has traditionally been played at the Sydney Football Stadium but Wests Tigers is pleased to continue its recent trend of hosting more fixtures in Campbelltown.

Three trials will be played from 3.30pm. Tickets go on sale on Monday, January 23, from 9am through ProTicket and Wests Tigers Gearzone stores at Concord Oval and Campbelltown (Brands On Sale Outlet, Shop 234, 32 Queen Street).

Saturday, February 11, Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford

3.30pm: NSW State Cup: Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers v Wentworthville
5.15pm: NYC: Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels
7.30pm: NRL: Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels.


Saturday, February 18, Campbelltown Sports Stadium

3.30pm: NSW State Cup: Balmain Ryde Eastwood Tigers v Newtown Jets
5.15pm: NYC: Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters
7.30pm: NRL: Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters

Tickets: On sale Monday, January 23, 9am

By Wests Tigers Media