Category Archives: ESL/International RL

PNG put on a show as they dismantle Wales

David Mead

If you had asked anyone prior to the game, ‘would Papua New Guinea win by 44 points,’ you might have been scoffed at or laughed at.

However, after what was nothing short of a breathtaking display, the Papua New Guineans put on a clinic from start to finish as they overpowered and outmanoeuvred a Welsh side who failed to keep up.

In front of a sell-out crowd of screaming, passionate Papua New Guinea fans, the humid conditions played right into their hands as they won 50-6 on the back of a David Mead hat-trick.

Although Wales did well to hold onto the ball, it was their lack of the killer punch that cost them and as Papua New Guinea began to assert dominance, they ended up with 62% of possession in the game.

The NRL experience in the Papua New Guinea side was on show as Mead, James Segeyaro, Nene Macdonald and Kurt Baptiste all had good games, guiding their side to victory.

The one sour note for Papua New Guinea was a biting allegation against Wellington Albert, with Welsh player Ben Evans making an official complaint.

As Papua New Guinea continued to assert their dominance with big hits, sturdy defence and huge attacking plays, the major talking point was David Mead and Rhyse Martin.

Mead became the first Papua New Guinean player to score a hat-trick in the World Cup and Rhyse Martin – with his 2 tries and 3 goals – now holds the record for the most points in a match by a Papua New Guinean player.

As the final hooter sounded, Wales got on the board after a fumble in defence that saw Regan Grace scoop the ball up to score.

Welsh coach John Kear was blunt in his assessment of his side’s performance; they were taught a harsh lesson.

“I think it’s been a very harsh lesson,” Kear said.

“The southern hemisphere fellas really do carry the ball very aggressively and, if you don’t stand up to that, you end up getting rolled and losing field position.

“We just never got any opportunity to attack because we couldn’t prevent the roll on from Papua New Guinea.”

Player of the Game:

3. David Mead

2. Rhyse Martin

  1. Wellington Albert

PNG Kumuls 50 (Mead 3, Martin 2, MacDonald, Ottio, W Albert, Olam, Aiton tries; Martin 5 goals) defeated Wales 6 (Grace try; Davies goal) at Oil Search National Football Stadium. Crowd: 14,800.

Late flurry sees the Kangaroos edge out England in RLWC opener

Billy Slater

Although the scoreline may have ended up 18-4 in favour of the Australian Kangaroos, it could be argued that it does not represent the entirety of the game itself. 

A gallant England went toe-to-toe with the Australian side, holding their own in defence for the most part and putting on some good attacking raids.

The bigger concern for England, however, is an MCL injury to star forward Sam Burgess who is in doubt for the remainder of the tournament.

Equally of concern but for the Roos, is a possible pectoral rupture to forward Jake Trbojevic. After a break-out season, Trbojevic was rewarded with selection for this tournament.

The match started like your traditional Australia v England clash; some back and forth action, some brutal defence and ticker shown by all.

The English side broke the deadlock as a cut-out pass found winger Jermaine McGillvary in the corner to score.

From then on, the Kangaroos enjoyed a lengthy period of dominance with the ball in hand and the English errors cost them, as Matt Gillett burrowed his way over the line.

The Kangaroos lead was extended after Billy Slater fought his way through a gap in the English defence as the Australians went into the break up 10-4.

Although the English attacking line peppered the Australian defence and kept them on their toes, a penalty against them allowed hooker and captain Cameron Smith to extend the lead to eight.

With a minute to go, Josh Dugan capitalised on an English error to run 70m to score and sealing the win for the Kangaroos.

Despite the loss, England coach Wayne Bennett was content with his side’s performance and believed they have improved in the last 12 months.

“I was pretty happy with it overall actually,” he said.

“A really top effort by the guys and a real Test match. We’ve improved a lot since London (12 months ago).”

He also praised his side’s determination and ability to deal with tough moments.

“Just the way they stuck at it a couple of times when they got into tricky situations, hung in there really good and played some good football,” he said.

“A lot of their errors they reduced. It’s still not where they want to be, but a huge improvement.”

Australian coach Mal Meninga admits that his side could be playing better but he was pleased with their attitude and to get the win.

“We could play better,” Meninga said.

“But I was pleased with our attitude and effort.

“We improved our defence late in the game when we were under the pump. England had a lot of field possession against us.

“We got a hard battle. A lot of fatigue amongst our players.

Player of the Game:

3. Billy Slater

2. James Graham

  1. David Klemmer

Australia 18 (Matt Gillett, Billy Slater, Josh Dugan tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) defeated England 4 (Jermaine McGillvray try) at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium. Crowd: 22,724. Half-time: 10-4.

Leigh continue to strengthen squad with signing of Titans forward

Paterika Vaivai

They clearly mean business in their bid to return to the Super League with the Leigh Centurions confirming the signing of Gold Coast Titans forward Paterika Vaivai on a 2-year deal.

In and out of the Titans side at times, when Vaivai was in the team, he performed well, carried the ball hard and did his job.

Born in Salamumu, Samoa, Vaivai had junior stints with both the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors, before joining the Newcastle Knights.

After drifting in and out of that team at the first-grade level also, Vaivai left to join the Titans having played just 6 games.

His 2012 Holden Cup season, in particular, was impressive, as he took out the Coaches’ Player of the Year Award at the Knights during that time.

Keen to beef up their forward pack, Vaivai is a signing that Leigh head coach Neil Jukes is excited about.

“Paterika is an outstanding signing for our Club,” said Jukes.

“He is an unbelievably powerful player and his explosive, direct running style will be really instrumental for our team next year.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that the Leigh Centurions fans are going to really enjoy watching Paterika play for our Club and showcasing his ability.”

Equally, the club is excited to have him sign and expect him to make good inroads with the club’s fanbase.

“From speaking to him, it is clear that Paterika is a highly motivated player who is really looking forward to coming here and playing his best footy and the Coaching Staff will 100 percent support him in that objective,” continued Jukes.

“Again, I’d like to thank (Head Of Rugby) Keiron (Cunningham) for all the work he has done getting this one over the line. We have no doubt that Paterika is going to be a huge fans’ favourite.”

With a lot still ahead of his career, Leigh owner Derek Beaumont looks forward to watching Vaivai and his growth and development.

“I am really excited by this signing and have been since Kez (Keiron Cunningham) mentioned him to me,” said Beaumont.

“The biggest statement this club made when I got back involved was signing a man that good they named him twice, and he was a massive asset to this club and a fans’ favourite.

“I hope that the fans get the same excitement from Patty, especially given he is at the early part of his career and has lots in front of him. I can’t wait to see him get going for us.”

RLWC Teams Rd 1

Well, the momentous occasion has arrived. The Rugby League World Cup is here in all its glory and by gosh, is it slated to be a tremendous spectacle. Each team boasts their strengths and weaknesses and whilst the Kangaroos go in as favourites, can another team upset the apple cart?

With all that in mind, here are the teams for Rd 1 of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup:

Australian Kangaroos v England (#RLWC2017 & #AUSENG); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Friday, October 27. Kick-off: 8 pm (AEDT). 

Kangaroos1. Billy Slater 2. Dane Gagai 3. Will Chambers 4. Josh Dugan 5. Valentine Holmes 6. Michael Morgan 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Aaron Woods 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. David Klemmer 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Matt Gillett 13. Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: 14. Wade Graham 15. Jordan McLean 16. Josh McGuire 17. Tyson Frizell.

Reserves: 18. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 19. Ben Hunt 20. Tom Trbojevic 21. Felise Kaufusi.

Coach: Mal Meninga.

England1. Jonny Lomax 2. Jermaine McGillvary 3. Kallum Watkins 4. John Bateman 5. Ryan Hall 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Luke Gale 8. Chris Hill 9. Josh Hodgson 10. James Graham 11. Sam Burgess 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Sean O’Loughlin (C).

Interchange: 14. Alex Walmsley 15. Chris Heighington 16. Thomas Burgess 17. James Roby.

Reserves: 18. Ben Currie 19. Kevin Brown 20. Mark Percival 21. Scott Taylor.

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Ricky’s View: The Australians go into this game and the competition as favourites but the English side are not to be underestimated. Boasting a try-scoring freak at the World Cup in winger Ryan Hall and a forward pack filled with NRL stars, the English should provide the Australian side with some stiff competition. Kangaroos by 2.

Papua New Guinea Kumuls v Wales (#RLWC2017 & #PNGWAL); Oil Search NSF Stadium, Port Moresby; Saturday, October 28. Kick-off: 3 pm (local time) & 4 pm (AEDT).

PNG: 1. David Mead (C) 2. Justin Olam 3. Kato Ottio 4. Nene Macdonald 5. Garry Lo 6. Ase Boas 7. Watson Boas 8. Stanton Albert 9. Wartovo Puara 10. Luke Page 11. Rhyse Martin 12. Rod Griffin 13. Paul Aiton.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Willie Minoga 16. James Segeyaro 17. Enoch Maki.

Reserves: 18. Lachlan Lam 19. Stargroth Amean 20. Wellington Albert 21. Moses Meninga.

Wales: 1. Elliot Kear 2. Rhys Williams 3. Michael Channing 4. Andrew Gay 5. Regan Grace 6. Courtney Davies 7. Matt Seamark 8. Craig Kopczak (C) 9. Steve Parry 10. Phil Joseph 11. Rhodri Lloyd 12. Ben Morris 13. Morgan Knowles.

Interchange: 14. Matty Fozard 15. Sam Hopkins 16. Ben Evans 17. Chester Butler.

Reserves: 18. Josh Ralph 19. Dalton Grant 20. Christiaan Roets 21. Matthew Barron.

Coach: John Kear.

Ricky’s View: This is a fascinating clash. Both sides boast NRL and SL experience respectively, yet some are of the belief that outside of this game, neither is a genuine chance to go past the group stages. A win goes a long way in this tournament and both sides will be out to prove any doubters wrong. PNG led by Broncos utility back David Mead and Wales by Salford prop Craig Kopczak, both teams have a point to prove. PNG by 8.

New Zealand Kiwis v Samoa (#RLWC2017 & #NZLSAM); Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland; Saturday, October 28. Kick-off: 8:10 pm (local time) & 6:10 pm (AEDT). 

New Zealand: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Gerard Beale 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Martin Taupau 9. Thomas Leuluai 10. Adam Blair (C) 11. Kenny Bromwich 12. Joseph Tapine 13. Simon Mannering. 

Interchange: 14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Russell Packer 16. Isaac Liu 17. Danny Levi.

Reserves: 18. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 19. Peta Hiku 20. Te Maire Martin 21. Addin Fonua-Blake.

Coach: David Kidwell.

Samoa: 1. Young Tonumaipea 2. Peter Mata’utia 3. Timoteo Lafai 4. Joey Leilua 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Joseph Paulo 7. Ben Roberts 8. Junior Paulo 9. Jazz Tevaga 10. Sam Lisone 11. Josh Papalii 12. Frank Pritchard (C) 13. Leeson Ah Mau. 

Interchange: 14. Pita Godinet 15. Herman Ese’ese 16 .Suaia Matagi 17. Bunty Afoa.

Reserves: 18. Zane Musgrove 19. Ricky Leutele 20. Frank Winterstein 21. Fa’amanu Brown.

Coach: Matt Parish.

Ricky’s View: With several Kiwis players missing due to suspension, injuries or poor form, the side boasts some debutants and newcomers to World Cups but it is formidable nevertheless. With many of the hopes likely to hinge on Shaun Johnson’s creativity and the experience of their forward pack.
The Samoan side is not to be underestimated, though, for they boast some talent of their own. Littered with NRL and SL talent, they have the chance to cause some upsets and ruffle some feathers in the competition. Samoa by 2. 

Fiji v USA (#RLWC2017 & #FIJUSA); Townsville Stadium; Saturday, October 28. Kick-off: 7:40 pm (local time) & 8:40 pm (AEDT).

Fiji: 1. Kevin Naiqama (C) 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Taane Milne 4. Akuila Uate 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Jarryd Hayne 7. Henry Raiwalui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Kane Evans 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Korbin Sims 13. Tui Kamikamica. 

Interchange: 14. Joe Lovodua 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Eloni Vunakece 17. Petero Benjamin Nakubuwai.

Reserves: 18. Brayden Wiliame 19. James Storer 20. Junior Roqica 21. Pio Seci.

Coach: Mick Potter.

USA: 1.Corey Makelim 2. Ryan Burroughs 3. Junior Vaivai 4. Jonathan Alley 5. Bureta Faraimo 6. Kristian Freed 7. Matthew Walsh 8. Eddy Pettybourne 9. David Marando 10. Mark Offerdahl (C) 11. Danny Howard 12. Matt Shipway 13. Nicholas Newlin. 

Interchange: 14. Sam Tochterman-Talbott 15. Andrew Kniesly 16. Steve Howard 17. Gabriel Farley.

Reserves: 18. Charles Joseph Cortolano 19. Joe Eichner 20. David Ulch 21. Joshua Rice.

Coach: Brian McDermott.

Ricky’s View: A young, budding US side that boasts a wealth of home-grown American talent, they will be looking to emulate their 2013 campaign as they surprised many and claimed scalps on their way to a quarterfinals berth. The question is; will it be enough to beat a strong Fijian side? This Fijian possesses numerous experienced NRL campaigners and their ambitions are bold and brave and they mean business; will their confidence echo their play, though? Fiji by 12

Ireland v Italy (#RLWC2017 & #IREITA); Barlow Park, Cairns; Sunday, October 29. Kick-off: 2 pm (local) & 3 pm (AEDT). 

Ireland: 1. Scott Grix 2. Shannon McDonnell 3. Ed Chamberlain 4. Michael Morgan 5. Liam Kay 6. Api Pewhairangi 7. Liam Finn (C) 8. Brad Singleton 9. Michael McIlorum 10. Kyle Amor 11. Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook 12. Oliver Roberts 13. George King. 

Interchange: 14. Tyrone McCarthy 15. James Hasson 16. Joe Philbin 17. Anthony Mullally.

Reserves: 18. Joe Keyes 19. Will Hope 20. Jack Higginson 21. Matty Hadden.

Coach: Mark Aston.

Italy: 1. James Tedesco 2. Mason Cerruto 3. Justin Castellaro 4. Nathan Milone 5. Josh Mantellato 6. Terry Campese 7. Jack Johns 8. Paul Vaughan 9. Ryan Ghietti 10. Daniel Alvaro 11. Joel Reithmuller 12. Mark Minichiello 13. Nathan Brown (C). 

Interchange: 14. Colin Wilkie 15. Brenden Santi 16. Shannon Wakeman 17. Jayden Walker.

Reserves: 18. Christophe Calegari 19. Christopher Centrone 20. Joey Tramontana 21. Gavin Hiscox.

Coach: Cameron Ciraldo.

Ricky’s View: Of all the sides regarded as minnows, the Italians, along with Fiji, are the team that many pundits believe have the best chance to pushing the top sides all the way and potentially beating them. Capitalising on the use of players not selected for the top sides, the Italians embody pride and spirit and will use that to fuel themselves throughout the competition.
Ireland, led by veteran Liam Finn, will use their own skills and luck of the Irish, to show that they are here to play and are not pushovers. Italy by 10.

Scotland Bravehearts v Tonga Mate Ma’a (#RLWC2017 & #SCOTON); Barlow Park, Cairns; Sunday, October 29. Kick-off: 4:15 pm (local) & 5:15 pm (AEDT).

Scotland: 1. Lewis Tierney 2. Matty Russell 3. Ben Hellewell 4. Lachlan Stein 5. Will Oakes 6. Danny Brough (C) 7. Danny Addy 8. Luke Douglas 9. Kane Bentley 10. Ben Kavanagh 11. Frankie Mariano 12. Dale Ferguson 13. James Bell. 

Interchange: 14. Callum Phillips 15. Andrew Bentley 16. Sam Brooks 17. Johnny Walker.

Reserves: 18. Alex Walker 19. Jarred Anderson 20. Kieran Moran 21. Brandon Wilkinson.

Coach: Steve McCormack.

Tonga: 1. Will Hopoate 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Ata Hingano 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Siliva Havili 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Sika Manu (C) 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Sione Katoa 15. Sam Moa 16. Peni Terepo 17. Ben Murdoch-Masila.

Reserves: 18. Joe Ofahengaue 19. Solomone Kata 20. David Fusitu’a 21. Samisoni Langi.

Coach: Kristian Woolf.

Ricky’s View: The Pacific Island nations have all brought their a-games to this tournament. You only have to take one look at the depth of talent across that Tongan side to know that they will most certainly ruffle some feathers in the tournament. A huge pack of in-form forwards and an experienced back-line, if the team gels, the others may want to be on their toes.
Scotland, on the flip side, has a young team that will be eager to do their country proud and make a name for themselves as individuals and as a team. In the Rugby League World Cup, anything is possible. Tonga by 10.

France Les Bleus v Lebanon Cedars (#RLWC2017 & #FRALEB); Canberra Stadium; Sunday, October 29. Kick-off: 4 pm.

France: 1. Mark Kheirallah 2. Fouad Yaha 3. Bastien Ader 4. Damien Cardace 5. Ilias Bergal 6. Theo Fages (C) 7. William Barthau 8. Antoni Maria 9. Eloi Pelissier 10. Julian Bousquet 11. Benjamin Garcia 12. Benjamin Jullien 13. Jason Baitieri. 

Interchange: 14. Clement Boyer 15. Nabil Djalout 16. Thibault Margalet 17. Lucas Albert.

Reserves: 18. John Boubedza 19. Olivier Arnaud 20. Mickael Rouch 21. Romain Navarette.

Coach: Aurelien Cologni.

Lebanon: 1. Anthony Layoun 2. Travis Robinson 3. James Elias 4. Jason Wehbe 5. Abbas Miski 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Robbie Farah (C) 8. Tim Mannah 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Alex Twal 11. Chris Saab 12. Ahmad Ellaz 13. Nick Kassis. 

Interchange: 14. Mitchell Mamary 15. Elias Sukkar 16. Jaleel Seve-Derbas 17. Andrew Kazzi.

Reserves: 18. Adam Douehihi 19. Bilal Maarbani 20. Jamie Clark 21. Danny Barakat.

Coach: Brad Fittler.

Ricky’s View: Brad Fittler will certainly use all of his coaching experience and knowledge to get the Lebanese side performing strongly and led by Robbie Farah along with other NRL stars, they will put up a fight and be competitive, nor will they die wondering.
For the Les Bleus, World Cups are now second nature to them and whilst in the past, they may not have lived up to their own expectations, there is a belief that they can come together and perform. Lebanon by 2. 


Leigh continue to set high ambitions with signing of Warriors forward

Bodene Thompson

Not a team to beat around the bush, the Leigh Centurions have made their ambitions clear; they want a return to the Super League after a taste of that environment.

Relegated back to the Championship, Leigh continues to go from strength to strength and have signed New Zealand Warriors back-rower Bodene Thompson on a 2-year deal.

Having previously played for the Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans prior to joining the Warriors, Thompson established himself as one of the club’s top back-rowers during his time at the Warriors.

With numerous players coming in and positions up for grabs, however, something had to give but his departure to Leigh is one that has the club excited.

“This is a real quality signing for the Club,” said club owner Derek Beaumont.

“I am really excited to have Bodene at our Club.

I was a little dubious when Kez said he had landed this one and as time pressed on I had thought it wasn’t going to happen with us being in the Championship.”

Beaumont did not hold back with praise, as he looks forward to the impact that Thompson can provide for the club.

“But fair play to him, he worked hard to get it over the line and big respect to Bodene for buying into what we are doing,” continued Beaumont.

“He plays the style of rugby I love to watch and I am really looking forward to meeting him.”

Centurions head coach Neil Jukes believes that Thompson is a signing that will please the club’s fans on and off the field.

“Bodene’s signing is a big coup for Leigh Centurions,” said Jukes.

“He has lots of experience and has played for some big NRL clubs. Kez has done a marvellous job to get it over the line.

“Bodene is a hard running, tough tackling edge player which is pretty much everything you want from someone in that position.

“The fans will surely enjoy watching Bodene ply his trade in the great jersey of Leigh Centurions.”


Former NRL utility opts to remain with Leigh

Daniel Mortimer

The Leigh Centurions have received a boost in their bid to return to the Super League with talented utility Daniel Mortimer re-signing for the 2018 season.

After reported overtures from the Cronulla Sharks about a possible return, Mortimer made the decision to stay with Leigh instead.

Scoring twice in 7 games for the Centurions, Mortimer was in good form before a bicep injury ended his season.

That injury prompted Mortimer to stay with the utility admitting that he has unfinished business as a Leigh player.

“I can’t wait to get back on the field in a Leigh jersey,” said Mortimer.I feel I have got unfinished business there. I came to do a job and was gutted when I got injured and was unable to play my part, it was really hard watching what happened from the side.

“I feel I have got unfinished business there. I came to do a job and was gutted when I got injured and was unable to play my part, it was really hard watching what happened from the side.”

With a passionate and loyal fanbase, Mortimer knew he owed it to them to stay as he looks to help them regain their Super League status.

“The fans made me feel really welcome and I owe it to them to work hard to get back to Super League next year and I am fully committed to playing my part in that,” continued Mortimer.

His impact did not go unnoticed by the club with head coach Neil Jukes praising Mortimer for his impact on and off the field.

“I am delighted that Daniel is returning to our Club,” said Jukes.He made a big impact as soon as he came over, both on game day and in practice.

“He made a big impact as soon as he came over, both on game day and in practice.”

He praised Mortimer for his performances and knows that he will become a key part of the Leigh side in 2018.

“He got in some really solid performances until injury ruled him out for the rest of the season,” continued the head coach.

“As we continue on our journey, we need outstanding and professional athletes like Daniel whose resume speaks for itself.”

English club Barrow sign Italian World Cup forward

Alec Susino

As they undergo somewhat of a player overhaul in an attempt to revamp their roster, English Championship side Barrow Raiders have kick-started signings with an Italian forward, signing Alec Susino.

Susino, who was a Cronulla Sharks junior, has most recently been playing for Mounties RLFC across numerous grades in the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competitions.

Barrow made it to the championship after a play-off win against Whitehaven in the League 1 championship.

Following their tense finish to the season, Barrow coach Paul Crarey is pleased to have secured the signature of Susino.

“We have actually signed a player that is in the World Cup,” said Crarey. “He has played all his junior football for Cronulla Sharks. He is an exciting young fellow with massive potential.

“He has played all his junior football for Cronulla Sharks. He is an exciting young fellow with massive potential.

“He is now playing for Mounties, which is a feeder team for Canberra Raiders.”

Crarey went on to praise Susino’s size, tackling prowess and motor as assets that will prove valuable for the club.

“He is a very exciting young player, very passionate, he is a big unit and can play,” continued Crarey.

“He can run hard and tackle hard, and he has a great passing game, which is something we need when we go up a level, and he can play big minutes as well.”

In the end, a personal connection with Susino’s agent aided the deal taking place despite interest from other Championship clubs and Crarey is just pleased to have the forward on board.

“He has had a couple of offers from other Championship clubs but his agent is a good friend of mine – he has played Super League and I have coached him – and that has probably got it over the line,” said Crarey.


Young Souths forward makes the move to Wigan

Gabe Hamlin

Recommended to the club by former Wigan boss Michael Maguire and former player Pat Richards, young South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Gabe Hamlin will swap the cardinal and myrtle for the colours of Wigan, signing a 2-year deal.

The young forward will join Wigan in November for pre-season and at just 20 years old and 47 appearances in the U20’s Holden Cup to his name, the club is pleased to have a young, blooming forward joining them.

“My recent visit to Australia was primarily about our 2018 trip to Wollongong and Sydney however, along the way, I met with a few familiar faces including Michael Maguire and Pat Richards,” said Wigan’s Executive Director, Kris Radlinski.

“Having worked with us as a Club and more recently with Gabriel, both Michael and Pat mentioned that he was available and that he would be the perfect fit for Wigan. Michael’s words were ‘he is someone who is made for our environment’.

“A wise head on young shoulders, we believe that Gabriel has the potential to blossom here at Wigan.”

Wigan coach Shaun Wane spoke of the club’s desire to find, nurture and develop young talent.

“We are always on the lookout for talented players that have a good attitude and a real determination to improve,” said Wane.

“Developing players is a part of coaching that I really enjoy and at Wigan, we have a great record of bringing in players and taking them to the next level.”

When the recommendations came from both Maguire and Richards, it was an opportunity too hard to pass up for Wigan.

“When people like Michael Maguire and Pat Richards are both recommending a player to you, then you take that recommendation very seriously and we all believe that Gabriel is a talented forward who can really fulfil his potential here at Wigan,” continued Wane.

“We can’t wait to have him join us.”

Hamlin is excited at the challenge that awaits and has some ties to the country, with his mother born in England.

“I’m really excited about joining Wigan and I’m flattered that they think me worthy of this opportunity,” said Hamlin. I’m very proud of my English heritage, my Mum was actually born in Blackpool.

“I’m very proud of my English heritage, my Mum was actually born in Blackpool.

“Although I’ve never been to the UK before, I’ve heard great things about it. I have studied up on Wigan’s great history and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to represent the Club next season.

I have studied up on Wigan’s great history and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to represent the Club next season.”

Hamlin intends to make the most of the new challenge and wants to impress all involved at the club.

“I watch Super League regularly and I am prepared for the challenge that awaits,” continued the young forward. It’s very exciting and I intend on making the most of this chance.”

“It’s very exciting and I intend on making the most of this chance.”

He may return to Sydney sooner rather than later, with Wigan set to take on the Bunnies in an international doubleheader in February.




Eldest Mata’utia joins the Leigh Centurions

Peter Mata’utia

After stints with both the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons, a new chapter beckons for experienced utility back Peter Mata’utia after he signed a three-year deal with the Leigh Centurions.

After failing to come to an agreement with the Knights over a contract, Mata’utia announced that he would instead be departing the club and looking for a new one.

In the end, the Leigh offer came knocking and the club could not be happier.

“This is a significant signing for the Club and demonstrates one of the benefits of having Keiron at the Club,” said club owner, Derek Beaumont. I know that some people were disappointed when we did business with Warrington on Bryson Goodwin and I hope this news shows our clear intentions.

“I know that some people were disappointed when we did business with Warrington on Bryson Goodwin and I hope this news shows our clear intentions.”

The club, fully aware of Mata’utia’s versatility and ability, look forward to seeing him don their jersey and performing well.

“Peter is a proven quality NRL player who has been ever-present this season and has plenty of energy in his game,” continued Beaumont.

“He has age on his side and will add a lot to the squad and be a pleasure to watch in a Leigh Centurions shirt.

“Although Peter joins us in the Championship, he is aware of our Club’s ambitions and his signing is indicative of his belief in that vision. I look forward to welcoming him to our Famileigh.”

Former NRL head coach appointed new coach of Warrington

Steve Price

The coaching landscape is an ever-changing environment given the cutthroat nature of the business and Steve Price, after a stint as St George Illawarra Dragons head coach and numerous assistant roles, is back at the helm in the top job.

Super League side Warrington confirmed that Price would assume the role as head coach on a new 2-year deal.

With Tony Smith departing, the Wolves sought out Price who in recent years, has been an assistant with the Cronulla Sharks who made the grand final and won the premiership in 2016.

After his retirement as a player, Price moved into coaching and worked under Wayne Bennett in 2010 at the St George Illawarra Dragons before remaining there until he soon became head coach.

Warrington Chief Executive Karl Fitzpatrick believes that Price is the right man for the job and believes he has the tools to succeed at Warrington and in the Super League.

“Following completion of a thorough and extensive search, we firmly believe that in Steve Price we have found the right man to bring success to Warrington Wolves,” said Fitzpatrick.

“As a result of his involvement in two NRL Grand Final winning clubs, Steve fully understands what is required to deliver that success; he is regarded as having a major influence on the Sharks’ 2016 Grand Final win and he is highly respected by all of their players.

“As a result of his involvement in two NRL Grand Final winning clubs, Steve fully understands what is required to deliver that success; he is regarded as having a major influence on the Sharks’ 2016 Grand Final win and he is highly respected by all of their players.

With expectations always high for a club as prestigious as Warrington, the bar is set at a certain standard but the club has faith in their appointment of Price to meet them and challenge them.

“During our detailed discussions, Steve clearly demonstrated an exceptional understanding of the game in both attack and defence, and he has a great awareness of Super League,” continued Fitzpatrick.  Steve has a reputation for attention to detail when it comes to his team’s preparation and performance, and he is acutely aware of the high expectations we have here at Warrington.

“Steve has a reputation for attention to detail when it comes to his team’s preparation and performance, and he is acutely aware of the high expectations we have here at Warrington.

In the end, it was strong praise from both Wayne Bennett and Sharks coach Shane Flanagan – coupled with what they thought of Price, to begin with – that gave him the nod for the role.

“Steve was one of the youngest to secure a head coach role in the NRL, and we are certain that this experience will put him in good stead,” said Fitzpatrick. We received resoundingly positive feedback at all stages of the recruitment process, with Steve being highly recommended by some of the sport’s most successful coaches and influential players.”

“We received resoundingly positive feedback at all stages of the recruitment process, with Steve being highly recommended by some of the sport’s most successful coaches and influential players.”

Some of that praise from Flanagan highlighted the influential nature of Price at the Sharks.

“His knowledge and support has been invaluable for me as head coach and I know the playing group here at the Sharks will be disappointed to see him leave for season 2018,” said Flanagan.

Just as pleased as Warrington is the man himself who wants to start things on the right track as he looks forward to the pre-season and season ahead.

“I’m excited to be heading to the UK and being part of the Warrington Wolves for 2018,” said Price.

“I’m grateful to be leading this great club with such a passionate fan base and prestigious history. I endeavour to build a tough and resilient football team, that will be attractive to watch and will enhance the Wire brand.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Warrington Wolves Board, CEO, office and playing group. As well as getting to know the supportive Wire community.”