Category Archives: NRL Club News

Individual NRL Team and Club News

Newcastle Knights a darkhorse in 2008

After a shocking first up season at the helm of the Knights, experienced coach Brian Smith will be hoping that his new squad of Knights will bring unsatisfied Newcastle supporters back to Energy Australia Stadium to support their club this year. Season 2007 saw Brian Smith cop tonnes of criticism from many corners, including local Newcastle business owners and the likes of John Singleton and Jack Newton in one of the darkest periods in the Knights history, and Smith will know that his team must perform to earn the regain the respect from the disheartened Knights fan base.

While the Knights have bolstered their ranks with several new signings and cleaned out a whole raft of players, it will take time for the new squad members to settle in and form combinations with each other. Of more concern is the harmony between remaining 2007 Knights players and Brian Smith, with the very public Danny Buderus feud threatening to tear the club apart. We should have a clear gauge on how Newcastle will fair by Round 10, as the new look Knights will face off against five of last years semi-finalists by then.

If Newcastle can stay healthy and build early confidence, than the Knights may well be an outside chance of capturing a semi-final position.

Advantages:

Having been given permission to clean out ‘the dead wood’, coach Smith and his recruitment team have managed to obtain a host of talented individuals to fill their void. The addition of Naiqama and Lulia more than compensates for the departure of Carmont and Thaiday, while props Wicks and Cross are adequate replacements for Perry and Woolnough. Matt Hilder will takeover Daniel Abraham’s utility role, and Ciraldo and Fa’aoso will replace the flair that Hinton and Reynoldson provided.

Coach Smith has replaced a host of middle aged players with a group of talented youngsters, and while you may not see the best of the seasons from the Knights this year, look out for them in season ’09!

Concerns:

Given the massive player turnover throughout the club, it will take the Knights a few weeks before combinations start to gel. With so many new faces, and games against NRL heavyweights Manly, Parramatta, New Zealand, Brisbane and the Roosters all preceding their Round 7 bye, coach Smith and his players may well behind the eight ball in terms of confidence and table position.

2008 Likely NRL Starting Team:

1- Kurt Gidley
2- Cooper Vuna
3- Adam McDougall
4- Wes Naiqama
5- James McManus
6- Jarrod Mullen
7- Luke Walsh
8- Ben Cross
9- Danny Buderus
10- Danny Wicks
11- Mitchell Sargent
12- Steve Simpson
13- Cory Paterson

14- Terrence Seu Seu
15- Daniel Tolar
16- Matt Hilder
17– Chris Houston

2008 NRL Pre-Season Trial Match Schedule:

15/02/08 v New Zealand Warriors @ North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
01/03/08 v Cronulla Sharks @ Cessnock

2008 Acquisitions and Departures:

Acquisitions:

Wes Naiqama, Danny Wicks and Keith Lulia (St George-Illawarra), Matt Hilder (Gold Coast), Ben Cross (Melbourne), Cameron Ciraldo (Cronulla), Richard Fa’aoso (Parramatta), Sione Finefeuaki (Manly)

Departures:

Adam Woolnough and Brad Tighe (Penrith), Kirk Reynoldosn (St George-Illawarra), Josh Perry (Manly), Riley Brown (Sydney Roosters), Daniel Abraham (Central Coast), Kade Snowden (Cronulla), Nathan Hinton (Newcastle Wests), Milton Thaiday (Charlestown), David Seage (QLD Cup), Reegan Tanner, Trent Salkeld and George Carmont (released)

Storm continue to look unbeatable

Melbourne StormEven as they arrive to take on Super League giants Leeds Rhinos in the World Club Challenge, the Storm remain slick and absolutely polished in their preparation and lead-up to the clash. Always well prepared, obviously well coached – they remain an enviable outfit that not only innovates, but every aspect of the club puts in massive amounts of effort.

Not only are the players the most prominent in the NRL competition, but the staff right through to the Public Relations teams seem to stand out from the pack. Here at NRL News, we get regular media releases from clubs and the Storm continue to keep us informed of their every more – more so than any other club, giving the media unrestricted access to them most of the time.

In 2008, there is no questioning they remain a force to be reckoned with. After blowing every other team away in the 2007 premiership, the Melbourne Storm will again start as overwhelming favourites for the NRL’s 2008 crown. Under the expert eye of coach Craig Bellamy, who remains the most astute coach in the premiership, many punters believe that back-to-back titles is a certainty.

But the two time premiers will not have things all their own way, with other clubs sure to lift and attempt to knock the at times untouchable Storm off their high horse. Desire might be in question after achieving their goals in 2007 and there will be even more pressure on Bellamy and his boys in the games Centenary season, with an increased Origin involvement, and a host of new, inexperienced talent set to test the professionalism and spirit of the club.

Melbourne have been the best team by far over the past two seasons, but I think their recent success may just hurt them cum finals time this season.

Advantages:

Coach Bellamy possesses arguably the most talented and speedy backline in the competition, with rookies Greg Inglis and Israel Folau set to kick on from last year’s stellar season. The departure of Matt King opens the door for the introduction of yet another boom Storm rookie, Will Chambers, and fullback Billy Slater will be out to make amends for an injury interrupted 2007 season. With cool halves Inglis and Cronk steering the ship, the Storm could well be in for another record season.

Concerns:

The Storm have lost a host of experience over the off season, and only time will tell if their gamble on youth will pay dividends. The loss of Crossman, Shortland, Newton and Aubusson leaves a big hole in the defending premiers forward depth, and coach Bellamy may find it extremely difficult finding a suitable hooking replacement should captain Cameron Smith go down injured.

The Storm’s backline still looks particularly lethal despite the departure of representative centre King, with talented rookie Will Chambers set to assume the number 3 jersey. Melbourne’s depth is sure to be tested cum representative time, and there will be no shortage of teams queuing up to break the premiers’ enviable home record.

Likely 2008 NRL Starting Side:

1- Billy Slater
2- Anthony Quinn
3- Will Chambers
4- Israel Folau
5- Steve Turner
6- Greg Inglis
7- Cooper Cronk
8- Brett White
9- Cameron Smith
10- Antonio Kaufusi
11- Ryan Hoffman
12- Jeremy Smith
13- Dallas Johnson

14- Michael Crocker
15- Matt Geyer
16- Jeremy Smith
17– Jeff Lima

2008 Pre-Season Trial Matches-

16/02/08 v Manly Sea-Eagles @ Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
29/02/08 World Club Challenge – v Leeds Rhinos @ Elland Road, Leeds
01/03/08 v Brisbane Broncos @ Dolphin Park, Redcliffe

2008 Acquisitions and Departures:

Acquisitions:

Ben McDougall (Northern Rivers), Kevin Proctor (Tweed Heads), Lucas Miller (Newcastle), Sinbad Kali (Central Coast), Joseph Tamone (Super 14, QLD), Aiden Guerra (Brisbane Norths)

Departures:

Matt King (Warrington), James Aubusson (Sydney Roosters), Clint Newton and Garret Crossman (Hull), Ben Cross (Newcastle), Ryan Shortland (NZ Warriors), Anthony Perkins (NQ Cowboys)

Can Dragons avoid injury?

Ben Hornby St George Illawarra DragonsCoach Nathan Brown has named the strongest St George Illawarra Dragons side for some time for the Dragons 2008 pre-season trial match against the Bulldogs at WIN Stadium this weekend. Only Dean Young is missing from this classy looking side, on paper it starts to regain some of the allure that past Dragons outfits have had.

It’s widely known that the Dragons are the most injured team in the NRL. Can the St George-Illawarra side avoid the dreaded curse this year? Or will NRL 2008 remain another year where stars remain in the hospital ward?

I feel the Dragons may be about to get some luck, well some may not call it luck – but with several players in the squad getting on in years they virtually have to perform regardless of their health this season. The likes of Jason Ryles, Mark Gasnier, Ben Hornby and Matt Cooper are well experienced and the opportunity for them to win a premiership and sign longer contracts certainly must remain an attraction.

Surrounding this leadership group at the Saints, are some encouraging new stars that can hopefully shed the injury curse from the promising club. Jamie Soward looks to have really found a home at the Dragons and plays a much more relaxed, free flowing game than he did at the Roosters. Combining well with Rangi Chase in the halves, the Dragons again look to possess some of the strike poker they had with Head/Barrett at one stage.

Newcastle Knights discard Kirk Reynoldson will be the real wildcard for the Dragons, surely wanting to prove a point and get himself back into the regular routine of first grade – expect a solid showing from the former Knights and Storm player. A player in the real workhorse mould, he should assist the Saints who up until the acquisition of Simon Woolford lacked some real cattle dogs.

2008 might just be a year that the Dragons surprise us, certain to perform better than their horror showing last year – this side will have others certainly peering over their shoulders.

In opposition this weekend, the Bulldogs will unleash some of their big guns too – with Steve Folkes giving Sonny Bill Williams, Reni Maitua and Willie Tonga the nod for the Wollongong match. For the Dragons, it’s their last hit out before the popular Charity Shield Match for 2008 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Dragons Squad for 2008 Pre Season Trial against Bulldogs: Ben Hornby, Jason Nightingale, Mark Gasnier (c), Matt Cooper, Josh Morris, Rangi Chase, Jamie Soward, Justin Poore, Simon Woolford, Jason Ryles, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh, Chase Stanley.

Interchange: Dan Hunt, Kirk Reynoldson, Lagi Setu, Brett Morris, Stuart Webb, Ben Ellis, Ricky Thorby, Jon Green, Dean Whare, Tony Caine, Matt Prior, Michael Lett, Frank Samia, Mark Hendy, Jardine Bobongie, Jarrod Saffy, Alex Ranieri, Joe Falemaka.

Can Manly bounce back in 2008?

By Peter Roy

Manly may struggle without the underrated Michael Mongahan on deck, Peter Roy today gives his opinion on the Northen Beaches outfit in his first article for 2008. Welcome back Peter, great to have you on board for 2008.

The recent trial game against the Melbourne Storm, probably wasn’t the ideal guage for Manly especially after many predicted them to take out months of disappointed and frustration firstly on the rival Storm side, and then continue to take out their anger on others during the rest of season 2008.

Can the Sea-Eagles, who have a long list of talented squad members make amends for their grand final shocker against the Storm in 2007? Coach Des Hasler will be sure to remind survivors from ’07 of the pain when times get tough throughout the season, and after the poor first up showing against the Storm – chances are pretty good that Des may need to pull out the motivation card every now and then.

Possessing good speed on the fringes, strong defence that doesn’t leak too many points and a good amount of depth at the club, Manly do seem to still have the nucleus of a premiership winning side. If the leadership group of Orford, Lyon, Stewart, Watmough and Kite can remain injury free, then the Sea-Eagles have the talent to again challenge for the big prize.

Advantages:

Despite losing creative workhorse Michael Monaghan, the Sea-Eagles still seem to have a strong squad heading into season ’08. New signings Josh Perry and Heath L’Estrange will bolster an already powerful looking pack, with Perry and Adam Cuthbertson set to battle it out with Kite and King for the two starting prop positions.The addition of former Eels outside back David Vaeliki will add more potency to the Sea-Eagles backline, with the likes of Steve Bell and Steve Matai sure to be kept honest in competition for starting spots.

Concerns:

With the departure of Travis Burns, Manly remain quite light-on in the halves with the club betting the house on Matt Orford and Jamie Lyon. This doesn’t leave much room for error, should one of the two go down injured. The departure of Michael Monaghan also leaves a big hole in both the halves and hooking roles, with only the inexperienced Matt Ballin and new buy Heath L’Estrange left to fill the void. While there is depth aplenty through the outside backs and forwards, the lack of experienced, quality depth in the crucial halves department could well prove to be Manly’s Achilles heal.

Likely 2008 NRL Starting Side:

1- Brett Stewart
2- Michael Robertson
3- Steve Bell
4- Steve Matai
5- Michael Bani
6- Jamie Lyon
7- Matt Orford
8- Brent Kite
9- Matt Ballin
10- Jason King
11- Anthony Watmough
12- Glenn Stewart
13- Luke Williamson

14- Steve Menzies
15- Adam Cuthbertson
16- Josh Perry
17– Mark Bryant

Pre-Season Trial Matches:

16/02/08 v Melbourne Storm @ Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
29/02/08 v New Zealand Warriors @ Quad Park, Kawana Waters, QLD

2008 Departures and Acquisitions:

Acquisitions:
Josh Perry (Newcastle), David Vaeliki (Wigan), Heath L’Estrange (Sydney Roosters), David Williams (Parramatta), Tom Browne (South Sydney), Jared Waera-Hargreaves (NSWRU)

Departures:

Michael Monaghan and Chris Hicks (Warrington), Travis Burns (North QLD), Aaron Groom (Canterbury)

Tigers without several players for Cup clash

Wests Tigers Foundation CupWests Tigers second-rower Chris Heighington will miss the second annual Foundation Cup match through suspension. Heighington will serve out a one match suspension carried over from 2007.Although suspended from the NRL, Heighington is free to play in the NSW State Cup trial match against Newtown Jets at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday, February 23, from 3.20pm.
In more bad news for the Wests Tigers, they will also be without the services of Dean Collis, Shannon McDonnell, Danny Galea, Bryce Gibbs and Mathew Head who will miss the trial through on-going  injury concerns.

It’s understood that Collis, McDonnell and Galea only have hamstring injuries and are tipped to return for the Gold Coast Titans trial on Saturday, March 1.

Prop Bryce Gibbs has an ankle injury and has been earmarked for a round three return against the Bulldogs and new half-back Mathew Head has a shoulder injury and is confident of being right for round one against St George-Illawarra Dragons; many Tigers fans will watch the progress of Head closely as the former Dragons star is expected to do big things for the club that really missed the organisation skills of Scott Prince during 2007.

The Roosters won the inaugural Foundation Cup 10-4 last year in front of a crowd of 16,000.  The Foundation Cup will be the first chance for the Tigers new signings in winger Nick Youngquest and second-rower Corey Payne to be unleashed in their new club colours.

 

Dene Halatau makes a return to his original centre position after spending a few seasons in the forwards.

 

Tigers Coach Tim Sheens has elected to give rising young half back Tim Moltzen and rookie winger Peni Tagive the chance to test themselves in first grade. Moltzen represented the Junior Kangaroos in 2007 with Tagive having played alongside Chris Lawrence on the Australian Schoolboys tour of 2006.

 

Wests Tigers team

 

1 Brett Hodgson ©

2 Nick Youngquest

3 Dene Halatau

4 Chris Lawrence

5 Taniela Tuiaki

6 Benji Marshall

7 John Morris

8 Todd Payten

9 Robbie Farah

10 Keith Galloway

11 Bronson Harrison

12 Ben Te’o

13 Liam Fulton

 

14 Stuart Flanagan

15 Tim Moltzen

16 Ryan O’Hara

17 Corey Payne

Roosters name strong side for Foundation Cup

Foundation Cup 2008Sydney Roosters coach Brad Fittler is wasting no time in unleashing his big guns in 2008, with the Sydney side announcing a near full strength lineup to take on the Wests Tigers this Saturday.

The expectations are growing rapidly around the new look Roosters outfit, primarily around the recruitment of Willie Mason and the return of match winning fullback Anthony Minichiello. While new boy Mason might be in trouble for piddling in public, he is set to don the new colours and join fellow piddler Anthony Toupu in the second row for the charity clash.

With a full off-season under new coach Brad Fittler, we feel the Roosters will play a much more confident brand of football and will have the added punch with the new signings and prominent players returning from injury. Half Mitchell Pearce should have much more room to work in with the forwards in front of him certainly packing some power, with Mini chiming into the backline it really could be the Roosters of old.

1. Anthony Minichiello

2. Amos Roberts

3. Brent Grose

4. Setaimata Sa

5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall

6. Braith Anasta

7. Mitchell Pearce

8. Lopini Paea

9. Riley Brown

10. David Shillington

11. Anthony Toupu

12. Willie Mason

13. Craig Fitzgibbon

14. Nate Myles

15. Shane Shackleton

16. Rory Kostjasy

17. Shaun Foley

Can it get any worse at the Bulldogs?

Bulldogs NRLRegardless of who won control of the Bulldogs board, the situation at the NRL club is obviously dire. While several position holders at the Dogs have come out and said we are not a club in crisis, their good intentions are probably just as believable as Pinocchio on steroids.

Malcolm Noad’s fallout was just as stellar as his rise to power at the Bulldogs, thrown into the fire during their darkest hour Noad was the cleaner – sent in to save the NRL club from itself. At the time, players were performing well on the field but were out of control off the field. Malcolm Noad seemingly reigned the trouble makers in and obviously some corners haven’t taken too lightly to his iron fist rulings. Hence the situation he finds himself in now.

While the problems at the Dogs are presently in the corridors of power, an inkling of the problems ahead could have probably be traced back to Steve Price leaving his long term club. A smart operator and genuine Rugby League good guy, for Price to walk away from the Bulldogs even for less money should have rung alarm bells all over the place. Price obviously didn’t feel confident staying on board and didn’t just get out of Belmore, he took the first plane out of the country.

Usually it was the Bulldogs who would pickup discards from other NRL teams and turn them into superstars, just take Luke Patten and Willie Tonga in recent times who have excelled at Belmore. But these days, Jonathan Thurston was let go and became the best player in the NRL and now Willie Mason, Mark O’Meley and Brent Sherwin, all Premiership winning players were let go.

While Noad may have a massive target on his head, as the club looks for someone to blame – the real concern should be with the team for 2008. While there are still a few prominent players in the squad, the this is a team devoid of creativity and struggling to keep up with the improvement in other clubs. Whether it stems from the coaching program, a lack of interest from the players or a culture of good times – this could really be a disaster year for the once proud family club.

As Steve Folkes walks the plank in the early season, the power brokers putting pressure on the long term coach before a ball has been kicked – everyone will be watching over their shoulder at Belmore. They were very fortunate to secure Luke Patten and Andrew Ryan as they did, will rumours abounding that Ryan well and truly wanted out.

While the clock might be ticking for several troops on and off the field at the Bulldogs, getting pushed off the Titanic might be the best thing that ever happened to them.

How will the Titans backup this year?

Gold Coast TitansBy most accounts they did a good job of their inaugural NRL year in 2007, showing some great signs for the future and only just falling short of a historic finals birth. This year the Gold Coast Titans will be looking to build on their strong platform from last year and with the addition of a new purpose built Stadium at Robina they will have plenty of advantages on their side. Their biggest problem in 2007 came from poor depth, an understandable one considering they haven’t had an eternity to build a complete squad. Ultimately finishing 12th, they certainly punched above their weight and took some big scalps along the way.

No doubt, only a semi-final birth will be the goal for coach John Cartwright and his team, with solid acquisitions and a stunning new stadium sure to see increased turnouts by the Titans fans in what will become solid Rugby League heartland. The Gold Coast have boosted their halves depth with new buy Ashley Harrison, and coach  Cartwright will be keen to use explosive rookies Shannon Walker and Will Matthews should injury bite the main squad this season.

If the Titans can improve their ability to travel, then this will go along way to helping them into the big time in September.

Advantages:

The Titans barring injury should have a lot more depth this year with added quality amongst their playing ranks, with some impressive new signings making the move to the growing holiday strip. The Titans inaugural season was interrupted badly by a huge injury toll to key forwards, with only captain Luke Bailey and James Stosic at one point the only available prop forwards in the club.

Thanks to smart recruiting, the Titans now have the enviable problem of competition for positions in most positions, with John Cartwright having to work out who to leave out of a blistering backline. The Gold Coast have speed to burn on the flanks, with new signings Ben Jeffery, Brenton Bowen and Esi Tonga set to challenge the likes of Chris Walker, Mat Rogers, Matthew Petersen, Preston Campbell and rookie Shannon Walker for starting spots.

Concerns:

While the Titans have the luxury of a new home ground at Robina which is set to become a solid home fortress for the club, the NRL’s newest club will have to learn to win on the road if they want to challenge for a semi-final position. The Gold Coast could only manage a disappointing two wins outside of Queensland in 2007, which ultimately saw them finish just two competition points outside of a Top 8 finish.

Gold Coast Titans likely 2008 Starting Squad:

1- Chris Walker
2- Brenton Bowen
3- Mat Rogers
4- Luke O’Dwyer
5- Matt Petersen
6- Preston Campbell
7- Scott Prince
8- Luke Bailey
9- Nathan Friend
10- Brad Meyers
11- Anthony Laffranchi
12- Mark Minichiello
13- Ashley Harrison

14- Gavin Cooper
15- Luke Swain
16- Aaron Cannings
17– Michael Hodgson

2008 Trial / Pre-Season Matches:

16/02/08 v Canberra Raiders @ Briggs Rd Sporting Complex, Ipswich
23/02/08 v North QLD Cowboys @ Barlow Park, Cairns
01/03/08 v Wests Tigers @ Skilled Stadium, Robina

2008 Player Acquisitions and Departures:

Acquisitions:

Ashley Harrison (Sydney Roosters), Billy Ngawini and Esi Tonga (Canterbury), Aaron Cannings (Parramatta), Brenton Bowen (North QLD), Ben Jeffery (Wests Tigers), Matt Cross (Penrith)

Departures:

Richie Mathers (Wigan), David Myles (retired), Matt Hilder (Newcastle), Jake Webster (Hull), Lelea Paea (released)

Crocker and Inglis to miss Club Challenge

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has today announced the 21-man squad he will take to England to contest the World Club Challenge against Leeds Rhinos at Elland Road on March 1 (Australian time).

 

Injury has forced backrower Michael Crocker and Greg Inglis to miss the trip, while club captain and current World Player of the Year Cam Smith will stay in Melbourne as his partner is due to give birth to their first child in early March.

 

Melbourne Storm Squad: 

 

  1. Russell Aitken
  2. Adam Blair
  3. Will Chambers
  4. Cooper Cronk
  5. Israel Folau
  6. Liam Foran
  7. Matt Geyer
  8. Ryan Hoffman
  9. Dallas Johnson
  10. Antonio Kaufusi
  11. Jeff Lima
  12. Ben MacDougall
  13. Sika Manu
  14. Dane Nielsen
  15. Anthony Quinn
  16. Billy Slater
  17. Jeremy Smith
  18. Sam Tagataese
  19. Aiden Tolman
  20. Steve Turner
  21. Brett White

The Sharks quest for an extra 10%

Cronulla Sharks Paul GallenThe Cronulla Sharks could be considered the unluckiest team in last years NRL. On the back of rock solid defence the Sharks were competitive in virtually all their regular season matches and narrowly missed the finals with a statistic that read 9 losses by 4 points or less. There is certainly no need for Ricky Stuart to reinvent the wheel this year, if he can get the Sharks to produce an extra 10% across the board they will be there at the business end of the season.

The Sharks players themselves will be surely be primed to take the next step forward this season. It seams that while many of the players bare little known names, coach Ricky Stuart might have the nucleus of a premiership winning squad – a group of tough, skilful, big bopper forwards, a creative and dynamic halves combination and an pacey backline.

The injury curse that haunted the Sharks during the 2007 NRL could be the silent killer that derails their campaign. One of the weaknesses for the Sharks is depth, as they lack the quality backup talent of other NRL clubs. If the Shire boys can reverse those narrow defeats of last year into solid victories, then a Top 8 birth will be all but theirs for the taking.

Advantages:

While some punters might feel that Brett Kimmorley and Greg Bird hold the keys to the Sharks 2008 NRL chances,  I believe that the Cronulla forward pack is more influential. Luke Douglas, Ben Ross and Jacob Selmes will provide the go forward, while Paul Gallen and Lance Thompson will provide their teammates with the all important second phase play.

The Sharks also have a dynamic hooking duo in rotation, through Isaac De Gois and Brett Kearney, and expect to see the likes of either Dave Simmonds or the talented Mitch Brown to reap the rewards from any opportunities created up the middle.

Concerns:

Depth in the forwards isn’t an immediate worry for coach Ricky Stuart, however will be praying that injuries don’t bring down their backline. Blake Green, Brett Kearney and Brett Seymour can readily step into the halves, but the Sharks will be struggling for raw speed if Simmonds, Brown or Covell go down. With coach Stuart already playing ex-forwards Anderson and Pomeroy in the centres, it only leaves Misi Taulapapa and utilities David Cooper and Paul Stephenson with top grade experience to fill the void.

Cronulla Sharks likely 2008 Starting Squad:

1- Mitch Brown
2- David Simmonds
3- Fraser Anderson
4- Ben Pomeroy
5- Luke Covell
6- Greg Bird
7- Brett Kimmorley
8- Luke Douglas
9- Isaac De Gois
10- Ben Ross
11- Paul Gallen
12- Lance Thompson
13- Karl Filiga

14- Brett Kearney
15- Jacob Selmes
16- Reece Williams
17– Eddie Sua

2008 Trial / Pre-Season Matches:

23/02/08 v South Sydney Rabbitohs @ Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
01/03/08 v Newcastle Knights @ Cessnock

2008 Player Acquisitions  and Departures:

Acquisitions  –
Kade Snowden (Newcastle), Blake Green (Parramatta), Bryan Norrie (Penrith), Karl Filiga (Canterbury), Jarryd Hogan (Sydney Roosters), Alex Butschies (Byron Bay)

Departures –
Anthony Watts and Dayne Weston (North QLD), Adam Dykes (Hull), Matt Raferty (Parramatta), Cameron Ciraldo (Newcastle), Robert Worsley (Canterbury), Sitaleki Timani (Super 14 – Western Force)