Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Kaufusi takes up player option with Storm for 2021

Melbourne Storm back-rower Felise Kaufusi

A mainstay of their side for several years now, Felise Kaufusi will extend his Melbourne Storm stay by a further year.

Kaufusi opted to take up the option in his contract that keeps him at the Storm until the end of the 2021 season.

Since debuting in 2014, Kaufusi is one of three brothers to have played for the Storm.

With more than 100 first-grade games to his name and a 2017 premiership to boot, Kaufusi has achieved plenty in the game.

Kaufusi has also represented Queensland, Tonga and Australia in his career and the Storm are pleased to retain him.

Tonumaipea back in the NRL signing train and trial deal with Titans

New Gold Coast Titans recruit Young Tonumaipea

Young Tonuamaipea has returned to the NRL, signing a train and trial deal with the Gold Coast Titans.

Tonumaipea, who was in Germany completing his Mormon mission, had previously played 44 NRL games for the Melbourne Storm.

Tonumaipea is excited to return and look forward to what lies ahead at the Titans.

“I’ve been away for a couple of years and have come back with all of this COVID-19 stuff happening but I’m grateful to the Gold Coast Titans for giving me this opportunity and I plan on taking it with both hands,” Tonumaipea said.

“It’s awesome to be back in Australia and here at the Titans.”

With the challenge of competing for a spot ahead, Tonumaipea is determined to work hard and prove himself.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge that is ahead,” the new Titans winger continued.

“I’ll definitely apply myself and I’m looking for a spot at some stage this year. I’ll do my best at everything I can.”

Jaydn Su’A activates 2021 player option

South Sydney Rabbitohs back-rower Jaydn Su’A

Slowly finding his feet as a South Sydney Rabbitohs player, Jaydn Su’A has opted to activate the player option for 2021 at the club.

Su’A has played in 41 NRL games to date, ten of which have come for the Rabbitohs.

With his playing future secured, Su’A felt comfortable in sticking with the Rabbitohs.

“I just thought to myself that to take my game to the next level, this would be the Club to do it at,” he said.

Just as pleased are the club, with Rabbitohs Head of Football Mark Ellison praising Su’A for fitting in like he has.

“Jaydn has worked really hard over the off season to put himself into a position to become our starting backrower,” Ellison said.

“He was playing some great football before the competition was suspended in March.”

Progression is the key and the Rabbitohs look forward to watching Su’A grow as a player.

“Wayne and our recruitment team were keen to see Jaydn stay next season,” Ellison continued.

“We’re delighted that he sees his future with the Rabbitohs.

“We look forward to seeing how he progresses when we return to the field this year.”

NRL confirms de-registration of Bulldogs players Harawira-Naera and Okunbor

The game may be in lockdown due to coronavirus, but the NRL has decided to de-register Canterbury Bulldogs duo Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera.

The decision comes after the duo were suspended for taking schoolgirls back to the team hotel for sex in Port Macquarie in February.

Doing so breached the club’s code of conduct, and the club self-reported the incident very soon after.

The Canterbury Bulldogs released a statement on the de-registration of the duo.

“The NRL have today deregistered both Jayden Okunbor and Corey Harawira-Naera with immediate effect and as a result their playing contracts with the Bulldogs have been cancelled.

“Our Club acted swiftly and was proactive in relation to the incidents in accordance with the expectations of our club and the NRL guidelines.

“Accordingly, our Club fully supports the determination made by the NRL in defence of the reputation of our game and the conduct of the majority of players who represent their respective clubs in the right way.

“The conduct of the two players, on the eve of our final trial match, demonstrated an unacceptable lack of respect for their teammates, their coach and club officials, our hosts in Port Macquarie and fans of the game everywhere.

Now de-registered Canterbury Bulldogs winger Jayden Okunbor

“An important part of the role of being a professional rugby league player is to promote the game and act as an ambassador for your club and the code.

“There can be no tolerance for any abuse of the privileged status the game affords its leading players.

“The consequences of this matter have been serious and far-reaching and protecting the welfare of the young women involved has been a priority for us since we were first alerted to this issue.

“They have, unfortunately, been the victims of some distasteful social media attacks which are not called for and need to stop.

“We have been in regular contact with them, their families and their school and we will continue to offer ongoing support moving forward.

“Jayden and Corey have been subject to intense scrutiny in recent times and have paid a heavy price for their behaviour.

Now de-registered Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera

“They too are entitled to welfare support to help them through this period and assist them into the next stage of their careers.

“Our club will liaise with their respective agents, the NRL and the Rugby League Players Association to ensure they receive the support and guidance they need.

“We know and accept that there will be conflicting views about the penalties handed out to these two players.

“Our united view as a Club is that a firm line must be drawn in the sand to uphold the standards and values that define our club.

We want to assure our members, partners and supporters that we have outstanding people at the Bulldogs who are working harder than ever to make sure anyone associated with our club understands that we have a culture that we all live by and that this type of behaviour will simply not be tolerated.”

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the decision sends a clear message to all players.

“The behaviour of both players was inexcusable and a very serious breach of the code of conduct,” he said.

“The game will not tolerate such conduct and as such both players have had their registrations cancelled.

“This decision should send a very clear message to all players of our stance on such behaviour.”

Second half blitz gives Eels dominant victory over Titans

Parramatta Eels halfback Mitchell Moses

It is still early days but the Parramatta Eels proved their attack can click with a comprehensive 44-6 win over the Gold Coast Titans.

Led by halves Mitch Moses and Dylan Brown, it was a second half blitz in particular that produced the big win.

The Eels start to the game was impressive as they came into the clash focused and determined to prove a point.

The first try came soon after when Nathan Brown took the line on and passed to back-rower Ryan Matterson.

Matterson powered forward, offloaded and found Moses, who showed impressive speed to outpace Titans fullback Philip Sami to score.

On the back of a penalty, the Eels scored a quickfire double; this time Reed Mahoney dove over from close range to score.

Up 12-0 and seemingly flying, the Eels appeared to have taken their foot off the accelerator.

The Titans would eventually score through Dale Copley, but he was forced to leave the field after copping some knees from Brown.

Copley’s departure, an expected rib injury, compounded the Titans injury woes for 2020.

Captain Kevin Proctor tweaked a hamstring in the warm up and so did not play.

Moses added a penalty goal and the Eels went into half-time leading 14-6.

As doggedly as the Titans defended, many believed it was a matter of time before the floodgates opened.

Dylan Brown started the onslaught, stepping and weaving his way over, with a crafty solo effort close to the line.

Kane Evans then scored a rare meat-pie, barging his way over and planting the ball down with authority.

A lovely shortside play produced the Eels next points, as an in and away by Michael Jennings saw winger Maika Sivo to score.

Evans would then turn provider as a simple pass for fellow prop Peni Terepo saw the Tongan hit the gap at speed to score a simple try.

Dylan Brown’s double capped off an impressive win; another evasive effort by the talented Eels halfback.

Eels coach Brad Arthur praised his side’s discipline and composure in executing the game plan.

“We played really disciplined and stuck to what we thought would work for us and our plan,” Arthur said.

“I was impressed we managed not to get over-excited and just to stick to what we thought would work for us.

“We had a plan and we wanted to stick to it. We want to persist with it.

“It doesn’t always work out like that, we might have to keep fighting to the 80th minute but we need to keep getting better at it.”

Old habits die hard and Titans coach Justin Holbrook knows he has work ahead of him to stop what he calls ‘dumb’ individual errors.

“It’s individual concentration on what their job is and sticking to that,” Holbrook said.

“That’s what we need to look at as an individual and then collectively as a team.

“Just talking to a few guys in the staff, we defended our line for 15 minutes in the second half and that could’ve been a real positive.

“But if you get the ball back and drop it straight away you can’t keep doing that.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Mitch Moses

2. Dylan Brown

  1. Junior Paulo

Knights O’Brien reign begins with successive wins after victory over Tigers

Newcastle Knights captain and halfback Mitch Pearce

The Newcastle Knights Adam O’Brien tenure has now produced two straight wins to start 2020 after victory over the Wests Tigers.

Led by Mitchell Pearce and with contributions from Kalyn Ponga, Connor Watson and Enari Tuala, their attacked flowed with few ebbs.

The Knights took a quick 10-0 lead on the back of Pearce and hooker Jayden Brailey.

Tuala scored his opening try when a bat-back from Edrick Lee was taken by the centre who ran over.

This was quickly followed by a penalty try after Brailey’s grubber seemed set for Mitch Barnett to score.

The Knights back-rower would be held back by Josh Reynolds, however, which was confirmed by the bunker.

Against the run of play, a rare Ponga error off a pass saw David Nofoaluma coast 85 metres to score for the Tigers.

Soon after, Pearce was it again, this time laying on a lovely pass for Lachlan Fitzgibbon who made a break through the Tigers line.

Fitzgibbon then found Kurt Mann on the outside and the five-eighth nabbed another Knights try.

Barnett would later leave the field with a shoulder injury, and Herman Ese’ese continued on with an ankle complaint.

On the cusp of half-time, Reynolds redeemed himself when, using his silky footwork, he found Corey Thompson storming through to score.

The two sides would then interchange tries for a while, with the Knights winger Edrick Lee scoring soon after the break.

A high cross-field kick from Pearce saw Lee jump, take the ball with ease and avoid any defence to coast over the line.

That would put the Knights up 22-12 and they were hungry for more.

It was a mistake by Tuala that allowed the Tigers to score, with Billy Walters scooping it up and finding Reynolds to score.

At 22-18, the game was evenly poised as the sides continued to trade tries.

Ponga then scored a try of his own, with a yawning gap opening up on the back of Brailey’s pass.

Benji Marshall then combined with Luciano Leilua, who powered his way over the line to score, showing too much strength.

Just when the Tigers looked like they could hit the lead, some Pearce magic saw him glide and bustle through the line to score.

Pearce turned provider once again, when he found Tuala, who scooped up the grubber.

With a handy 38-24 lead as a result, Connor Watson put the game to bed when he sliced through some butter-like Tigers defence.

The Watson try sealed the Knights win and has the Knights flying high with two wins and the Tigers sitting with a win and a loss.

Although O’Brien was quick to praise his side, he knows they can be better by applying more pressure.

“There were some moments where I was really happy with our resilience on our line but we had a couple where blokes took their foot of the throat a little bit,” O’Brien said.

“I spoke to the boys earlier and any time you get 24 points against – I know one was an intercept and an error coming out of our end – they’re a dangerous footy team and we spoke about that.

It was a night to forget for the Tigers, with coach Michael Maguire lamenting his side’s attitude.

The Tigers right side was in fact the worst culprits, with five of their seven tries conceded down that flank.

“It was extremely disappointing… that’s not what we’re about and will definitely have to fix that moving forward,” Maguire said.

“I thought the game was there at half-time and it was about who wanted it more.

“That comes back to attitude towards how you want to play and sink your shoulder into a tackle.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Mitch Pearce

2. Luciano Leilua

  1. Jayden Brailey

NRL Rd 2: Parramatta Eels v Gold Coast Titans Stats Breakdown

Former Gold Coast Titans half Aidan Sezer

Gold Coast Titans v Parramatta Eels Stats

The Gold Coast Titans and Parramatta Eels have played each other on 19 occasions; the Titans have won 11 games, the Eels 8 games and there have been no draws.

The Gold Coast Titans and Parramattta Eels have played each other at Cbus Super Stadium on 10 occasions in the past; with the Titans winning seven of them.

The Eels need 23 more points to score 400 total points against the Gold Coast Titans.

The Parramatta Eels have won three games on the trot against the Titans.

The first ever clash between the two sides was a 38-12 win for the Titans in round 7, 2007.

Biggest Wins

The Gold Coast Titans biggest win came against the Parramatta Eels in the sole clash between the two sides at Mudgee, that saw the Titans win 42-4.

The Parramatta Eels biggest win against the Gold Coast Titans was a comfortable 27-2 victory in the 2009 NRL semi final.

Top try-scorer in this clash

Anthony Don (GLD) – 8
Jarryd Hayne (PAR/GLD) – 6
James Roberts (GLD) – 5
Ryan Morgan (PAR) – 3
Kevin Gordon (GLD) – 3
Ken Sio (PAR) – 3
David Mead (GLD) – 3

Most prolific point-scorer in this clash

Aidan Sezer (GLD) – 16 goals (32 pts)
Luke Burt (GLD) – 1 try & 12 goals (28 pts)
Chris Sandow (PAR) – 1 try & 11 goals (26 pts)
Ash Taylor (GLD) – 1 try & 10 goals (24 pts)
Jarryd Hayne (PAR/GLD) – 5 tries (20 pts)
Kevin Gordon (GLD) – 3 tries & 3 goals (18 pts)
Scott Prince (GLD) – 1 try & 4 goals (12 pts)
Anthony Laffranchi (GLD) – 2 tries (8 pts)
Mat Rogers (GLD) – 2 tries (8 pts)
Preston Campbell (GLD) – 4 goals (8 pts)

Players to have played for both sides from this clash

  1. Matt Petersen – 2002-2006 (PAR) & 2007-2008 (GLD)
  2. Brett Delaney – 2005-2006 (PAR) & 2007-2009 (GLD)
  3. Michael Hodgson – 1998-2000 (PAR) & 2007-2008 (GLD)
  4. Jarryd Hayne – 2006-2014 & 2018 (PAR) & 2016-2017 (GLD)
  5. Aaron Cannings – 2004-2005 & 2007 (PAR) & 2008-2010 (GLD)
  6. Zeb Taia – 2006-2007 (PAR) & 2016 (GLD)
  7. Luke O’Dwyer – 2004-2006 (PAR) & 2007-2013 (GLD)
  8. Chris Walker – 2007 & 2009 (GLD) & 2011 (PAR)
  9. Esi Tonga – 2008-2009 & 2011 (GLD) & 2012 (PAR)
  10. Daniel Mortimer – 2009-2011 (PAR) & 2014-2016 (GLD)
  11. Brad Takairangi – 2013-2014 (GLD) & 2015-2019 (PAR)
  12. Cody Nelson – 2014 (GLD) & 2015-2016 (PAR)
  13. Josh Hoffman – 2015-2016 (GLD) & 2017-2019 (PAR)
  14. Michael Gordon – 2016 (PAR) & 2018-2019 (GLD)
  15. Nathan Peats – 2014-2016 (PAR) & 2016-2019 (GLD)

Head coaching records

Stephen Kearney (PAR) – 2/2 (100%)
Neil Henry (GLD) – 4/6 (66.7%)
John Cartwright (GLD) – 7/11 (63.6%)
Brad Arthur (PAR) – 5/10 (50%)
Daniel Anderson (PAR) – 1/3 (33.3%)
Craig Hodges (GLD) – 0/1 (0%)
Luke Burt (GLD) – 0/1 (0%)
Garth Brennan (GLD) – 0/1 (0%)
Michael Hagan (PAR) – 0/2 (0%)
Ricky Stuart (PAR) – 0/2 (0%)

Players to have scored three or more tries in this clash

  1. James Roberts (GLD) scored three tries in round 6, 2015.

NRL Rd 2: Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights Stats Breakdown

Newcastle Knights legend Kurt Gidley

Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights Stats

The Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights have played each other on 28 occasions; the Tigers have won 15 games, the Knights have won 13 and there have been no draws.

This is just the second time that the Wests Tigers and Newcastle Knights have played each other at Leichhardt Oval.
The only other clash was a 17-16 win for the Tigers in round 13, 2011.
Benji Marshall is the only active player among the two sides to have played in that game.

The Wests Tigers have won five of the last six games between the two sides.

The first game played between the two sides was an easy 46-8 win for the Newcastle Knights in round 3, 2000.

Biggest Wins

The Newcastle Knights biggest win over the Wests Tigers was 56-6 demolition in round 10, 2001.

The Wests Tigers biggest win over the Newcastle Knights was a comfortable 46-4 win in round 23, 2001.

Former Newcastle Knights winger Akuila Uate

Top try-scorer in this clash

Akuila Uate (NEW) – 9
Timana Tahu (NEW) – 8
Darren Albert (NEW) – 6
Ben Kennedy (NEW) – 5
Benji Marshall (WST) – 5
James McManus (NEW) – 5
David Nofoaluma (WST) – 5

Most prolific point-scorer in this clash

Kurt Gidley (NEW) – 2 tries & 24 goals (56 pts)
Benji Marshall (WST) – 5 tries, 17 goals & 1 field goal (55 pts)
Andrew Johns (NEW) – 26 goals (52 pts)
Tyrone Roberts (NEW) – 3 tries & 15 goals (42 pts)
Joel Caine (WST) – 2 tries & 16 goals (40 pts)
Brett Hodgson (WST) – 2 tries & 13 goals (34 pts)
Pat Richards (WST) – 3 tries, 10 goals & 1 field goal (33 pts)
Timana Tahu (NEW) – 8 tries (32 pts)
Dean Collis (WST) – 4 tries & 6 goals (28 pts)
Robbie Farah (WST) – 1 try & 2 field goals (6 pts)

Players to have played for both sides from this clash

  1. Owen Craigie – 1995-1999 (NEW) & 2000-2001 (WST)
  2. John Morris – 2001-2002 (NEW) & 2007-2009 (WST)
  3. Matt Jobson – 2001-2003 (NEW) & 2005 (WST)
  4. Keith Lulia – 2008-2011 (NEW) & 2014 (WST)
  5. Joel Edwards – 2010-2012 (NEW) & 2016-2017 (WST)
  6. Robbie Rochow – 2012-2016 (NEW) & 2018 (WST)
  7. Kevin Naiqama – 2010, 2012 & 2013 (NEW) & 2015-2018 (WST)

Players to have sin-binned/sent-off in this clash

  1. Kurt Gidley (NEW) sin-binned in round 13, 2014.
  2. Kalyn Ponga (NEW) sin-binned in round 19, 2019.

Head Coaching Records

Michael Maguire (WST) – 2/2 (100%)
Warren Ryan (NEW) – 2/2 (100%)
Terry Lamb (WST) – 2/3 (66.7%)
Ivan Cleary (WST) – 2/3 (66.7%)
Wayne Bennett (NEW) – 2/3 (66.7%)
Tim Sheens (WST) – 7/12 (58.3%)
Michael Hagan (NEW) – 4/8 (50%)
Michael Potter (WST) – 1/2 (50%)
Rick Stone (NEW) – 1/3 (33.3%)
Nathan Brown (NEW) – 2/7 (28.6%)
Jason Taylor (WST) – 1/4 (25%)
Brian Smith (NEW) – 1/4 (25%)
Wayne Pearce (WST) – 0/2 (0%)

Players to have scored three or more tries in this clash

  1. Darren Albert (NEW) scored four tries in round 3, 2000.
  2. Ben Kennedy (NEW) scored three tries in in round 23, 2001.
  3. Sean Rudder (NEW) scored three tries in round 7, 2003.
  4. John Wilson (WST) scored three tries in round 20, 2003.
  5. Chris Bailey (NEW) scored three tries in round 10, 2008.
  6. Dean Collis (WST) scored three tries in round 7, 2009.
  7. Timana Tahu (NEW) scored three tries in round 16, 2012.
  8. Akuila Uate (NEW) scored three tries in round 1, 2013.
  9. Akuila Uate (NEW) scored three tries in round 14, 2013.
  10. Ken Sio (NEW) scored three tries in round 7, 2018.
  11. David Nofoaluma (WST) scored three tries in round 23, 2019.

Storm grind out tough win over the Sharks

Melbourne Storm captain and hooker Cameron Smith

The Melbourne Storm grind out a 12-10 win against the Cronulla Sharks, off the back of a brilliant defensive display.

The first 40 minutes was dominated by big hits and hard running as both teams tested each other and battled for ascendancy in the middle.

The Storm took an early penalty goal to take the lead in the sixth minute.

But for the rest of the half, the Sharks had the better of the field position, helped in part by penalties and errors from the Storm.

While Melbourne couldn’t get out of second gear with the ball, in hand they didn’t miss a beat in defence.

The Storm defended their line set after set, frustrating the Sharks.

Shaun Johnson, who looked dangerous when he ran the ball, couldn’t execute his passing game and had to settle for two penalty goals for a two-point lead at halftime.

The arm wrestle continued in the second half with the Storm taking an early penalty goal to level the scores.

Mid-way through the second half, fatigue set in and the game opened up.

Off the back of a linebreak from fullback Will Kennedy, Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey set up Billy Magoulias for the first try of the game.

It was a smart piece of play from Brailey who grubbered through the line after recognising that there was no fullback behind the line.

The Storm were able to draw level 10 minutes later when Cameron Smith put front-rower Tui Kamikamica over right next to the posts.

When the Sharks were penalised with four minutes left to play, Smith coolly slotted the goal to take the lead and the win.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Cameron Smith

2. Blayke Brailey

1. Aaron Woods

Raiders hold on in the heat against the Warriors

Canberra Raiders centre and captain Jarrod Croker

It’s round 2 of the NRL and we kick off our Super Saturday with the New Zealand Warriors taking on the Canberra Raiders on the Gold Coast.

The game started with both sides having attacking opportunities but both made constant errors.

The Raiders would be the first side to crack the defence and score.

Canberra brought the ball left and it ended up with Jarrod Croker who stepped inside instead of handing it out to the winger.

A beautiful offload to Elliott Whitehead and a conversion by Croker gave the Raiders a 6-0 lead.

Both teams attacking struggles continues into the half time break as the score remained 6-0.

Unlike the first half, the Raiders were firing in the start of the second.

Only a metre out, Josh Hodgson put a grubber through the line for Sia Soliola to jump on and score.

Jarrod Croker kicked the goal to make the lead 12-0.

Just 2 minutes later, the Raiders found a way to score their third try.

Adam Blair dropped the ball and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad picked it up to return it the other way.

Nicoll-Klokstad gave it to Curtis Scott who was tackled 10 metres out.

A simple through the hands play to Bailey Simonsson gave the green machine a try in the corner.

Jarrod Croker hooked the goal meaning the score remained 16-0.

With 5 minutes left in the game, the Warriors looked destined to be the first team in a hundred years to be scoreless in their first two games.

However, they made sure to change that.

A grubber was put through the line for Kodi Nikorima to chase.

The raiders defender pulled him out of the way and the bunker called it a penalty try.

Chanel Harris-Tavita sent the goal over to lower the deficit to 16-6.

To finish off the game, on the buzzer, George Williams put a grubber through to the right side.

Curtis Scott chased and scored to make the lead 20-6.

Jarrod Croker hooked the goal meaning the game finished with the Raiders winning 20-6.

The Raiders go two in a row to start the season as the warriors struggle to get their first win.

Next week, the Raiders host the struggling dragons as the Warriors head to Lottoland to play the Sea Eagles.

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Jarrod Croker

2. Josh Hodgson

  1. Iosia Soliola