Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Sharks prevail over Dragons in nine-try thriller

Cronulla Sharks half Shaun Johnson

The Cronulla Sharks and St George Illawarra Dragons derbies are always spicy and this one was no different, with the Sharks triumphant in a nine-try thriller.

Overcoming injuries to Jesse Ramien and Chad Townsend, the Sharks held on despite a defiant surge from the Dragons.

The Dragons valiant effort was also admirable with the loss of both Adam Clune and Trent Merrin to head injury assessments.

The first try would go to the Dragons and it came from an unlikely source in Tyrell Fuimaono.

Fuimaono, filling in for Tariq Sims, pounced quickly on a loose ball off a strip to give the Dragons an early lead.

Not to be outdone, the Sharks would level the scores soon after.

A Shaun Johnson grubber saw Jack Williams win the race to the ball to score.

Though the try was mired with controversy as replays suggested fullback Matt Dufty had gotten to the ball first in-goal.

The Dragons would hit the lead after a Zac Lomax penalty goal but the next try was something to be proud of.

After some razzle-dazzle, Ben Hunt kicked crossfield for Lomax who caught the ball, grubbered ahead and won the race to the ball.

A brilliant team try and just the start of an impressive game from Lomax, the points gave the Dragons a bit of breathing room.

It would not be for long, as Sione Katoa nabbed his tenth try of the season in rather easy fashion.

Shaun Johnson then stepped up to the plate as all good halves do.

First, with a weave and a few dodges, he scored a try himself to prove that he still has those nifty feet.

Soon after, he delivered a beautiful play for Will Kennedy to score and the Sharks went into half-time up 22-14.

The game seemed all wrapped up when Aaron Woods barged over for the Sharks.

Though the Dragons were far from done.

Dufty and Lomax would again combine, as Dufty put on the afterburners and found Lomax who strolled over for his second.

Lomax would then turn provider after yet another combination between he and Dufty.

Lomax won the race to the ball after Dufty’s grubber and flick passed to Mikaele Ravalawa to score in the corner.

Several last minute chances gave the Dragons every chance to snatch the win but it was not to be.

Despite the toughness of the encounter and their narrow defeat, Dragons coach Paul McGregor wants his side to be better.

“They were much more physical than us in the first 40,” McGregor said.

“We showed effort and grit to be in a winnable position with two opportunities in the last three minutes.

“We have to be better at the start.

I know we led but they got forward pretty comfortably. We have to be a lot more physical.”

Sharks coach John Morris praised his side for not giving up and praised his side’s defence in the contest.

“After the 25-minute mark, I felt like we really started to run hard and turn the ball over at their end of the field and really ramped up our defence,” Morris said.

“We completed at 83 per cent and were 20 from 21 completed sets at half-time, which was really good but we played them back into and had to defend our way to victory.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Shaun Johnson

2. Zac Lomax

  1. Toby Rudolf
St George Illawarra Dragons centre Zac Lomax

Fifita makes his decision and will join the Titans

Newly signed Gold Coast Titans back-rower David Fifita

He went back and forth but in the end, money talks, and David Fifita will depart the Brisbane Broncos and join the Gold Coast Titans.

Fifita, currently injured on the sidelines, has signed a three-year deal with the Titans, a major coup for them.

Still only 20 years old, the Keebra Park product is regarded as one of the best talents of the modern era by many.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook is pleased to welcome the richly talented Fifita to the club.

“I am extremely excited by David committing to our Club for the next 3 years,” Holbrook said.

“As a coach, we want to bring players to our club to improve the squad and David will definitely do that.

“David already has a close connection with our club through some of our players which is an important element that I am looking for as we build this team.”

Equally, club CEO Steve Mitchell is pleased to have signed a player of Fifita’s calibre.

“We welcome David to the Titans and are so excited that he has chosen to play his footy on the Gold Coast,” said Mitchell.

“We are looking forward to getting to know the Fifita family.

“Family is central to David’s decision and it is a core piece of what we are building at the Club.”

Although the Broncos did all they could, in the end, they were not able to match offers.

“There has been significant interest in David from a number of other NRL clubs and a range of sizeable contract offers for David to consider,” said club CEO Paul White.

“We have been in ongoing discussions, across more than 20 meetings, as we sought to find a way to keep David at the Broncos, where he has played some fantastic football in recent years.

“At the same time we wanted to ensure we did not go beyond what was responsible for the good of the club and playing list as a whole.”

Despite the decision being made, White also wished Fifita the best moving forward as a player and a person.

“At the end of the day, it was a really tough decision for a young man to make and we respect the choice that David has made,” White continued.

“It’s disappointing to see David depart but we look forward to him returning to the field to finish out the season with the Broncos.

“We wish him all the best with his rugby league future.”

Newly signed Gold Coast Titans back-rower David Fifita

Alvaro and George Jennings join Warriors on short-term loan

New Zealand Warriors loanee Daniel Alvaro

The plight of the New Zealand Warriors has been well documented and the club has received a welcome boost with the loan signings of Daniel Alvaro and George Jennings.

The Parramatta Eels duo, who have both featured this season for the club, will head over and provide some much needed depth for the Warriors.

Forced away from home because of the ongoing pandemic, the Warriors will lose four of their players due to family reasons in a few days time.

Ken Maumalo, David Fusitu’a, Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa are the four players who will depart.

The loanee signings in Alvaro and Jennings help to alleviate the loss to an extent, with the duo to join the Warriors at their Terrigal base.

Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan was thankful to the Eels and their coach Brad Arthur.

“We’re hugely appreciative of the support from (head coach) Brad Arthur and the Eels as well as the NRL for the work they’ve done in making this happen,”said O’Sullivan.

“We realise all clubs are under pressure through injuries, so this is a fantastic gesture from the Eels to help us at a time when we’re certainly thin on players.”

Warriors coach Todd Payten also weighed in, grateful to have the duo joining the club.

“We’re delighted to have Daniel and George joining us to boost our stocks in the area where we’re the most exposed,” said Vodafone Warriors interim head coach Todd Payten.

“Daniel has been around for quite a while now and will give us size and quality in the middle of the park while George is a real talent.

“We can’t thank Brad and the Eels enough for helping us out.”

New Zealand Warriors loanee George Jennings

 

Veteran centre Jennings extends Eels stay

Eels veteran centre Michael Jennings

In some of his best form in recent years, Michael Jennings will re-sign with the Parramatta Eels for two more seasons.

2021, a player option in Michael’s favour and 2022 an additional season.

Since making his debut in 2007, Jennings has achieved all there is to in the game and represented state and country.

The now veteran centre wants to stick around to help nurture and develop the next crop of kids at the Eels.

The Eels are pleased to see Jennings remain as a focal point of their side moving forward.

“I am very pleased to see Michael remain at the Eels,” said Eels General Manager of Football, Mark O’Neill.

“He is a very popular member of our squad and is currently playing some the best football of his career.

Similarly, in an off-field capacity Michael appears to be thriving with a great life balance and strong family support network.

I have no doubt that this news will be as warmly welcomed by our members and fans as it was by our players and staff.”

 

 

Bulldogs re-sign two more as Wakeham and Faitala-Mariner etch new deals

Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner

With a coach for 2021 locked in, the Canterbury Bulldogs now need the roster and have re-signed duo Brandon Wakeham and Raymond Faitala-Mariner.

Both Wakeham and Faitala-Mariner have signed new two year deals until the of 2022.

Wakeham, a Chester Hill Hornets junior, has shown some promise and emerges as a halves talent moving forward.

For Faitala-Mariner, a Kiwi international, hard work pays off as he is now a regular in the starting back-row.

The Bulldogs aim moving forward is to surround their side with quality and depth across all positions.

“As part of our focus on developing quality and depth in our playing squad, we are delighted that we have been able to keep two talented young players at Belmore for the next two seasons,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“Wakeham is a local junior who has shown the talent he has at both NRL and International level with Fiji.

“While Faitala-Mariner is the type of hard-running forward that provides us with great energy whenever he is on the field.”

Hill expects both players to be successful at the club over the next couple of seasons.

“Both players are part of a long term plan to make sure that we keep bringing quality young players through our system and continue to develop them as they form the nucleus of our squad going forward,” Hill continued.

“We are confident that both players will have a major impact for the club in the seasons ahead.”

Canterbury Bulldogs half Brandon Wakeham

Storm sink Broncos with second half blitz

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster

A second half master class from Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster led the Melbourne Storm to a 46 – 8 win over the hapless Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

A half time score line of 14-8 was a testament to a Broncos side hanging tough.

But the Broncos couldn’t contain the Storm in the second half.

The Storm were heavy favourites heading into the Round 11 match with the Broncos.

The favouritism with punters proved true when Josh Addo-Carr scored within the first 2 minutes of the game.

Josh Addo-Carr. Source: Getty Images.

A deft Cameron Smith grubber which was kicked ahead by Kenny Bromwich resulted in an early try to the Storm. Smith converted the try.

The Broncos were next to score when Thomas Dearden, Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd combined to put Herbie Farnworth over.

Staggs kicked the conversion to level the scores at 6 – 6.

The Broncos took the lead moments later when Staggs kicked the penalty goal.

Smith responded with a Storm penalty 10 minutes later.

The Storm took the lead just before half time when Jahrome Hughes took advantage from some poor defence from Jamil Hopoate to bust the line open and score under the posts.

The Melbourne side took a 14-8 lead into half time.

The Storm picked up where they left off in the second half sealing a dominant win with a six try blitz.

Kenny Bromwich scored within minutes of the halftime when a Brodie Croft error gave the Storm perfect field position after Addo-Carr kicked the loose ball ahead and ran 60 meters.

Gold Coast bound Tino Fa’asuamaleaui was next to score after running right over the top of Broncos captain Alex Glenn off a Cameron Smith pass.

Ryan Papenhuyzen then took advantage of a Munster offload to bust through three defenders and score a try that looked to put the game out of reach for a struggling Broncos side.

Cameron Munster. Source: AAP.

Hughes, Fa’asuamaleaui and Addo-Carr all scored doubles as the Storm ran away with the game.

Hughes delivered a beautiful long ball to put Papenhuyzen on the outside of the defence.

He then chased hard in support to take a brilliant inside ball to cross over untouched.

Addo-Carr was also able to cross over untouched when a wobbly long ball from Munster found him wide open on the flank.

Fa’asuamaleaui scored the final try of the game off some broken play.

The rushing Broncos defence caused the ball to go to ground.

Cameron Smith scooped it up and ran down the short side putting Fa’asuamaleaui over with an inside ball.

Another heavy defend piles more pressure on Anthony Seibold.

It was revealed earlier in the week that the club would review his performance as head coach at the end of the season.

Seibold wasn’t happy with the second half fade out but commented that there were positive signs in the first half.

“It was a really good first half and that is as good as we have been since the resumption after COVID.

“That is what makes it really disappointing how the scoreline got away from us in the second half.”

The Broncos face the Sharks in the next round while the Storm go on to play the Knights.

NRL News player of the game

3 – Cameron Munster

2 – Cameron Smith

1- Jarome Hughes

Raiders strengthen back-row with signing of Harawira-Naera effective immediately

Newly signed Canberra Raiders back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera

Granted an immediate release by the Canterbury Bulldogs, the Canberra Raiders have pounced and signed back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera.

After his incident in Port Macquarie, Harawira-Naera felt like a fresh start was needed and Canberra are the beneficiaries.

Harawira-Naera joins the Bulldogs effective immediately, in addition to signing on until the end of 2022.

Once he passes all NRL Apollo protocols, Harawira-Naera will be allowed into the Raiders bubble.

Club CEO Don Furner is pleased to sign a player of Harawira-Naera’s quality.

“Corey is a very talented player who’s played representative football for New Zealand and we’re looking forward to having him join the club for the next two and half years,” Furner said.

“He will join the squad for training once he’s been cleared by the Apollo committee and then its up to the coaching staff to work out when he may play his first game for the club.”

Emerging Dragons prop Kerr signs new long-term deal

St George Illawarra Dragons prop Josh Kerr

Highly rated by St George Illawarra Dragons fans, they will see plenty more of Josh Kerr after he re-signed for a further three years.

Kerr, who has played mostly off the bench, has made quite an impact on the field and in the eyes of Dragons fans.

The new deal will see Kerr remain at the Dragons until the end of the 2023 season.

With 17 NRL games to date and two appearances for the Indigenous All-Stars, Kerr is pleased to stay with the Dragons.

“This new deal is something I’ve been working towards for a while now,” Kerr said.

“To extend my time with the Dragons for another three years is what dreams are made of.

“I’ve been at the Dragons almost four years now, and the culture that’s been built in that period has been incredible.

“To be sticking around is something special. I feel at home.”

Kerr wants to make sure he is improving every week and thanked coach Paul McGregor for the opportunities.

“I’m very grateful for everything the Dragons have done for me,” Kerr continued.

“It’s been a long and tough journey but the club, Mary (coach Paul McGregor), the coaching and performance staff have stuck by me and shown a lot of faith in me.

“I’m lucky that I have been able to start repaying them now [on the field].

“It’s time now to keep chipping away at my craft and make sure I’m getting better every week.”

Ian Millward, the Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways, believes Kerr can become a focal point of the club’s forward pack.

“Josh has real character about him off the field and we are very excited that he has made this commitment to the Dragons,” said Millward.

“All through negotiations, it was clear he wanted to remain with the club despite the interest from numerous clubs.”

Parramatta Eels outclass Wests Tigers in physical local derby clash

Parramatta Eels fullback Clint Gutherson

The Parramatta Eels continued their strong winning form over the Wests Tigers by overpowering them 26-16 in slippery conditions at Bankwest Stadium.

The Tigers record at Bankwest didn’t make for good reading with only 3 wins out of their past 9 at the Eels home ground.

With a very physical clash throughout and plenty of injuries Clint Gutherson led the way.

He again showed why he is one of the form players of the competition with a 5-star display against their fierce rivals.

The Tigers got off to a flying start with a try inside the first 2 minutes.

Luciano Leilua beat Reed Mahoney and Ryan Matterson to barge over close to the line from a great short ball by the Dally M leader Harry Grant.

Moses Mbye missed the conversion for the Tigers to take the early lead 4-0.

Soon after, the Eels bounced back in style with a try themselves.

Maika Sivo recorded his 10th try of the season to bump off Adam Doueihi to score in the corner.

The try came from a quick pass from Gutherson to Shaun Lane who produced a great cut out ball for Sivo to score.

Mitchell Moses missed his conversion attempted to keep the game all tied up at 4-all.

Not to be out done, David Nofoaluma wanted to be part of the action.

He also scored his 10th try of the season through a clever long pass by Doueihi.

Mbye converted for his team to take the score out to 10-4 in favour of the Tigers.

The Tigers extended their lead to 12-4 after a successful penalty goal due to a strip.

Eels interchange forward Andrew Davey took the line on and offloaded, finding Gutherson in support.

Gutherson threw a great ball to put Reagan Campbell-Gillard in a hole.

Campbell-Gillard who was the best forward on the field beat Doueihi to run 40 metres to score a great solo try.

Moses converted the easy conversion to bridge the gap to 12-10.

It didn’t take long for the Eels to draw level at 12-all.

From a ruck infringement penalty, Moses slotted the penalty goal to tie the game up again.

The game was left in silence 13 minutes from half-time with Michael Chee-Kam leaving the game due to a sickening head injury.

Just before half-time, Moses took it upon himself to stamp his authority on the match with a great chip and chase to score.

A great bounce saw the play maker give the Eels a 18-12 lead after converting his own try.

This score took us to half-time with plenty of wounded bodies needing a break.

The Eels started the second half like the ended the first half with Lane grounding the ball in the in-goal just inside the dead-line from a pressured Gutherson kick only 4 minutes in.

Moses missed an easy kick with his standards for the Eels to lead 22-12 with 36 minutes remaining.

Mistakes dominated the next 20 minutes until Sivo scored his 2nd try for the match.

Again it was set up by Gutherson with his 3rd try assist for the match.

A great cut out ball across the face of Michael Jennings for Sivo to dive over.

Moses did not add the extra 2 points for the Eels to extend their lead to 26-12.

With 3 minutes remaining, the score could of blown out even more in favour of the Eels.

Though Blake Ferguson was disallowed a spectacular try by a correct accidental off-side ruling by the bunker.

The Tigers got a late try with 2 minutes remaining through Tommy Talau.

Mbye created some space through some quick passes beforehand to give Talau a try through good footwork and determination to find the goal-line.

The Eels bounced back to the winners circle after their below par performance last week against the Manly Sea Eagles.

With many stars returning, they proved they were too good for a Tigers side who never stopped trying and not many troops left on the bench for a great deal of the match.

Gutherson said it was a tough win and having a crowd back made it easier for them in the last 10 minutes to secure the win.

A win is a win in slippery conditions and it is a good turn around after last week’s performance.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Clint Gutherson

2 – Reagan Campbell-Gillard

1 – Harry Grant

Parramatta Eels prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Bulldogs get their man as Barrett becomes the new coach

Newly appointed Canterbury Bulldogs coach Trent Barrette

The speculation lingered for an eternity but the Canterbury Bulldogs have now confirmed Trent Barrett as their new coach.

After sacking Dean Pay, the search was on for a replacement and the former Manly Sea Eagles coach in Barrett, got the nod.

Barrett joins as coach on a three-year deal from 2021.

Currently an assistant at the Penrith Panthers, Barrett thanked the Bulldogs for the opportunity.

“I’d like to thank the Canterbury-Bankstown Club for appointing me to the position of Head Coach and for giving me the opportunity to become part of the Bulldogs family,” Barrett said.

“The Club has a long and proud history of success in Rugby League and is a Club founded on strong work ethics and family values.

“I look forward to, and am excited by, the challenges ahead in terms of making this Club a serious competition force again.”

With a bevvy of coaches to choose from, the Bulldogs believe Barrett is the right man for them moving forward.

“We have acted swiftly to secure the services of Trent because we believe he is the right man to take our club forward,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“Having spoken to Trent on a number of occasions, we have been impressed with his vision for the future of our football team and how he will look to develop our players on and off the field.”