Category Archives: ESL/International RL

Former NRL winger signs with Warrington

Mitch Brown

A new chapter awaits former NRL winger Mitch Brown, who has signed with Super League side Warrington on a 1-year deal.

Brown, who most recently played for the Leigh Centurions, scored 8 tries in his 26 appearances with the club.

The former Wests Tigers, Canterbury Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharks winger played 132 NRL games and scored 39 tries in that time.

Brown praised his new side’s recruitment drive and looks forward to the chance of working with Steve Price.

“Warrington’s a power club in the Super League and they have a great team for next year,” said Brown.

“They had a good base to start with, have recruited strong and with Pricey (Steve Price) coming over it’s a good opportunity.

“I like the way Pricey coaches, the way he structures things, and he’s a good person off the field as well. Hopefully, he’ll bring a good culture to Warrington too.”

Brown will have no feelings of being alone, having worked alongside Price before at the Sharks and also being friends with new Wolves signing, Bryson Goodwin.

“It’s always hard going to a new team, meeting new faces, but there will be a lot of boys in the same boat even the coach here,” continued Brown.

“I know Bryson pretty well and have been coached by Pricey before so that will help. There are the same personalities just different faces on every team, and everyone is always very welcoming.”

Wolves coach Steve Price was after players that he believes have genuine first-grade experience and in his eyes, Brown is a player that can help develop the club culture.

“The culture I want to create is about players who are team first and willing to work extremely hard, having been involved with Mitch at Cronulla he certainly ticks those boxes,” said Price.

“He’s an outstanding quality person and will add a lot to the club culture which we are building.

“He understands the systems which I am implementing here at the Wolves and he knows that there are positions up for grabs in the wing spots and no places are guaranteed as it will all come down to how each performs in pre-season and the friendlies.”

Former Penrith half signs new deal to stay at Catalans

Luke Walsh

Luke Walsh will continue his Super League adventure, re-signing with French-based side Catalans Dragons on a 12-month deal. 

Having previously played for fellow Super League side St Helens, Walsh helped Catalans narrowly avoid relegation as he played in 29 games over the course of the season.

As the club looks to rebuild and perform more consistently in 2018, Dragons coach Steve McNamara pointed out just how crucial Walsh is to their side.

“Luke is a hugely influential member of our club and his re-signing is very important for us moving forward into 2018,” said McNamara.

“We will be looking to add to him even greater responsibility and control within the team as we look to develop and build our game.”

Being able to play his own game and being a leader both on and off the field is something that appeals to Walsh.

“I’m very pleased to be given the opportunity to stay with a club that is on the verge of doing something special,” said the veteran halfback.

“Steve has let me play my game and be a leader on and off the field.”

In the end, his family was comfortable in Perpignan and Walsh wants to make the most of the opportunity for both he and his family.

“I love it here in Perpignan,” continued Walsh.

“It’s a great culture, they are great people and it’s a great opportunity for me and my family to learn and benefit from it.”


Melbourne to host the 2018 World Club Challenge

For just the third time in the tournament’s history, the World Club Challenge is set to be played in Australia after the NRL confirmed this morning that the fixture would take place at AAMI Park.

With the battle for supremacy set to begin, both the Melbourne Storm and the Leeds Rhinos will go head-to-head on February 16 to determine which club is rugby league’s best.

Previously, the game had been held in both Brisbane and Sydney but this is the first time that Melbourne is hosting the event.

The Storm and Rhinos have gone head-to-head in a World Club Challenge on three previous occasions, with the Storm winning two of those in 2010 and 2013.

With the game now locked in, fans can make some early plans to watch footy at AAMI Park and the NRL is pleased that such a game has been confirmed.

“It’s important for the growth of both the NRL and international game that major events like this go ahead each year, so we’re glad to have ensured this important match takes place in what is a shortened pre-season post the Rugby League World Cup,” said the NRL’s Head of Strategy, Mr David Silverton said.

“To have the match take place on home soil for the first time in four years is an added bonus for Australian rugby league fans too.

“A special thank you must go to all those involved from the Super League, Melbourne Storm, Leeds Rhinos and Channel Nine for joining forces and committing to make this showpiece event happen.”

Equally pleased is Victoria’s Minister for Sport, Tourism and Major Events, with John Eren stating that the tournament is right at home in Melbourne and that they are thrilled to host it.

“The World Club Challenge is right at home in the sporting capital. We can’t wait to get behind our Storm and help make them the world’s best rugby league team,” said Eren.

“It’s yet another coup for the sports capital that will bring more visitors to Victoria – boosting businesses and supporting local jobs.”

The Storm themselves are excited to have the opportunity to host the World Club Challenge as CEO Dave Donaghy praised the event.

“There’s no better venue or city to host a game that decides the world’s best rugby league team than AAMI Park and Melbourne – Australia’s sporting capital.

“It will be fantastic to see rugby league take centre stage again at AAMI Park, having hosted record Storm crowds and the Rugby League World Cup in 2017.”

For the fans that want to watch the game, it will be broadcast live on Channel Nine in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“We’re really excited about this match – the two best rugby league teams in the world squaring up against each other for the title of champions,” said Nine’s Director of Sport, Tom Malone.

“Wide World of Sports will be the best place to catch all the action – live and free and in HD.

Club members of both the Storm and the Rhinos are able to purchase tickets on today before public tickets go on sale on Tuesday November 21.

Tongan international makes the move from Penrith to Catalans

Samisoni Langi

A versatile player who has perhaps not seen as much first-grade action as he may deserve based on his ability, Samisoni Langi will don the white, red and gold of the Catalans Dragons next year, signing a 2-year deal.

Langi, who has previously had stints in the NRL with both the Sydney Roosters and the Penrith Panthers, as well as with the Leigh Centurions, embarks on the new challenge as he looks set to embrace his role as a utility in the side.

Catalans coach Steve McNamara knows how good Langi is having worked alongside him at the Roosters in 2014 during his time as an assistant coach there.

“Samisoni is a tremendous signing for the club,” said McNamara.

“Having worked closely with him at the Sydney Roosters in 2014, I know exactly the quality he will bring both on and off the field.

“He is a young, ambitious man who is an exciting attacking player and one who wants to compete on every play.”

Langi is excited about the move and confident that he can help Catalans move up the ladder in 2018.

“I believe my best years are ahead of me and I want to play a big part in the club’s climb up the Super League ladder in 2018 under Steve McNamara, someone I have confidence in who will take my game to the next level,” said Langi.

Former NRL player and Cook Islands international stays on at St Helens

Dominique Peyroux

A few years have now passed since we last saw Dominique Peyroux in the NRL but he has been making the most of his ability with Super League side St Helens and performing strongly. 

With the club since the end of the 2015 season, Peyroux has played in 46 games for the club and has become a great asset for the side in their continued quest for Superleague supremacy.

His work ethic, desire and commitment have impressed coach Justin Holbrook who says the new deal for Peyroux is justified.

“We’re pleased to have retained Dom for the 2018 season,” said Holbrook.

“He was one of best players towards the back end of last season after working hard in training to regain his place in the side.

“I’ve been impressed with his work ethic since I joined the club and he adds vital experience and depth as we look forward to the new campaign.”

Peyroux, an international representative for both the Cook Islands and Samoa, is pleased to have the chance to prove himself further at St Helens.

“I’m blessed to have re-signed with St Helens for another year,” said Peyroux.

“We did well in the back end of this year’s campaign to make the semis and were unlucky to miss out on the Grand Final.

“We are using it as fuel for a great 2018 season.

“I’m looking forward to working hard in pre-season and starting well next year.”

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.”