Category Archives: NRL Vault (Archives)

Sandow believes Dragons halves pose no threat to Souths

It is something that you rarely hear, but Souths halfback Chris Sandow has gone on record, and said that the Dragons halves in Jamie Soward and Ben Hornby pose no threat to Souths, and are not that dangerous in attack.

It was after training at Redfern Oval that Sandow said the following, as Souths are not fazed by the Dragons whatsoever.

“Nah mate, it’s pretty much their edges that worry us,” Sandow said.

“Soward and Hornby don’t worry us that much.”

The comments are guaranteed to spur the Dragons on even more in their clash this week, and they will know that despite Sandow’s comments, that he is a defensive weakness in the Bunnies defensive line, so he can expect a barrage of assaults from the Dragons forwards.

Sandow believes that his side can win the game if they can stop the Dragons wide-running forwards, who are destructive on the edges.

“It’s their boys out wide [that are the biggest threat],” he said. “If we can contain those guys, I think we’ve got a big chance.”

Watmough and Seu Seu found urinating in public

Manly second-rower Anthony Watmough and interchange utility Terence Seu Seu have both been suspended for a week by their club, the Manly Sea Eagles, after they were caught urinating in public last night.

Not only have the pair been suspended, but they have also been fined a weeks wages, for the incident that took place at The Corso in Manly on Sunday night.

As a result, both players will miss the Sea Eagles clash with the Cronulla Sharks, after their club conducted their own investigation, after they discovered that the club had charged them with improper conduct.

The players were also given an on-the-spot fine by police of $220 when they were caught urinating in Manly, on the corner of The Corso and Whistler Street at 9:25 pm.

Graham Lowe, Manly CEO, said that the players behaviour was very poor and unacceptable.

“They have embarrassed themselves and the club and its sponsors and supporters – they have shown great remorse for their silly action and will pay a heavy penalty,” Lowe said.

Watmough and Seu Seu also issued a joint statement:

“We are bitterly disappointed with our actions and for the fact that we have let our team mates, our families and our supporters down.

“It was a careless and stupid thing to do and we accept the suspension without complaint.”

Ennis signs 3-year extension

In a move that is sure to please Dogs fans, but have other fans question it, Michael Ennis has re-signed with the Canterbury Bulldogs until the end of the 2014 season.

The re-signing is expected to be a huge boost for the Bulldogs, just 10 days out from the start of the NRL season, with the Bulldogs looking to make amends for a poor 2010 season.

Ennis has improved immensely since he made his debut for the Bulldogs, making the NSW State Of Origin four times since he joined the club, as well as playing for NSW Country and in the NRL All-Stars clash.

For Ennis, he says that there were a number of reasons as to why he felt it was best to re-sign with the Bulldogs.

“From day one I’ve felt at home here at the Bulldogs and I’m really pleased to be staying,” Ennis said.

“I turn 27 this month and the decision just felt right, both for myself as a footballer and also for my wife and children. From the first time I met Todd Greenberg and Kevin Moore, as well as the rest of the staff and playing group, I knew that the Club would act in the best interests of myself and my family and in turn I want to do my best for the Club.

“Also, I’m really happy to have my future sorted before the start of the season and now I can focus on making this year and the years to come as successful as possible. Certainly, with the likes of Josh Morris, Greg Eastwood, Frank Pritchard, Trent Hodkinson and more here well into the future I think that Bulldogs Members and everyone who follows the Club can look forward to an exciting time in its history.”

According to coach Kevin Moore, with Ennis re-signing, it gives the club structure, go forward and stability both on and off the field.

“Mick is the kind of player that any head coach would love to have in his side,” Moore said. “He leaves nothing to chance. He’s a natural leader, is about the fittest bloke in the team, and he gives us outstanding direction on and off the field.

“Anyone who follows Rugby League knows what a fierce competitor he is, and away from the paddock he’s exactly the type of person that you love to have around the Club. I’m very pleased that he’s going to be a part of the Club long-term.”

Todd Greenberg was also full of praise, and was pleased that Ennis had decided to re-sign.

“Mick was always keen to stay here at the Bulldogs and I’m thankful to both him and his management that we’ve been able to get him squared away before the start of the season,” Bulldogs Chief Executive Todd Greenberg said.

“We are over the moon to have him locked in until at least 2014 and I’d like to think that he sees himself staying here beyond that time. We’d love to see him finish his career as one of the Club’s greats.”

Reddy sidelined for remainder of trials

Parramatta centre Joel Reddy is set to miss the Eels remaining two trials, as he still recovers from off-season shoulder surgery, and he might just be eased back through the NSW Cup instead of playing in the NRL in Rd 1.

”We’re expecting Joel to be cleared to play on the weekend of round one, but whether that’s with Parramatta or lower [with Wentworthville] remains to be seen,” Eels coach Steve Kearney said yesterday.”

”We’re going to have to weigh that up when we get closer to the season kick-off and see how he has progressed.”

With Reddy likely to be eased back in the NSW Cup, Luke Burt will be the only player from the Eels three-quarter line of last year, to be in the line-up, given the departures of Timana Tahu, Jonathon Wright and Eric Grothe.

Despite the loss in their first trial, Kearney was not too concerned, as the Eels fielded a young side, and he is expecting that his full-strength side, possibly to be named for their second trial, will perform much better.

”There are a few areas in attack that we need to tweak, but overall I was encouraged by the performance,” Kearney said. ”We fielded a pretty young group in the forwards.”

In light of Reddy’s injury, and given he may not play Rd 1 straight away, Chris Walker, Chris Hicks, Paul Whatuira, Jacob Loko and Ryan Morgan all pressed their claims to play in Reddy’s vacant centre position.

Another potential candidate for the position in Etu Uaisele, suffered an injury, but it is not expected to be anything too serious.

”Etu got a knock early and had to come off, but the others all went OK,” Kearney said.

In a great story also, Eels forward Shane Shackleton made his return in the Eels trial game, and he will undoubtedly get better over the course of the season.

”We just wanted him to get some confidence back, before we increase his game time,” Kearney said after the game.

Burgess says Souths will do all the talking on the field

The ploy has failed to work in the past when players have said it, and it remains to be seen if it can work this time for Souths, given that last year, they also promised good things, and it just was not to be as a late-season form drop saw them miss the finals.

For Sam Burgess, he knows that the Bunnies did not perform to the potential that he knows his Bunnies team can, and thus, in 2011, he says that the Bunnies will do all of their talking on the field, rather than talking themselves up off it.

After initial fears that the 22-year old Englishman would miss out on the first few rounds due to off-season shoulder surgery, he should be good to go for the Round 1 monster clash between Souths fierce rivals, the Sydney Roosters.

Burgess had his sling removed on the 4th January, and will ease back into training, with contact work being started in three weeks, leaving him just three weeks to fine-tune his game before the Round 1 clash arrives.

“It’s come on pretty good, better than expected, so I’m right on track for round one,” he said

As Burgess shapes up to start his second season in the NRL, he says that his fellow team-mates, as well as himself have learnt to ignore any early hype about finals talk, as that can often get to players heads, meaning they don’t play to their potential.

“Last year a lot got said from inside and outside,” he said.

“And I think we’ve probably learnt from that.

“We’re taking a bit more of a quiet approach this year.

“We just really want to try to let our football do the talking and hopefully that should bring a few wins early on.”

No confirmation on return date for Brett Stewart

First it was the sexual assault charge, then it was the season-ending knee injury. 2010 will be a season that Brett Stewart won’t want to remember.

In light of his injury, it’s unknown as to when exactly the star fullback will return with Sea Eagles physio Andre Rickenbach unsure as to whether Stewart will be available for the start of the 2011 season.

The club has to wait until at least the new year before it could confirm whether or not Stewart would be fit in time for Rd 1 of the 2011 NRL season.

“It’s far too early to say he’ll be ready for round one,” he told AAP.

“This (recovery) has taken a little bit longer because there was more damage to the injury, and he had to undergo two operations.

“Last time (Stewart was injured back in 2009) he had to undergo just one, which is why we’re taking things nice and slowly at the moment.

“It’s just one of many steps. We’re not forecasting anything at this stage.

“It’s progressing as planned and it’s progressing nicely.

“He’s got a few boxes to tick and it’s small steps at a time, but we’re getting there slowly.”

Hull KR eager and ready for upcoming Super League season

With the start of the Super League season just around the corner, Hull Kingston Rovers, more commonly known as Hull KR, are excited and ready for the season to begin.

With a solid team and a decent portion of new players at the helm, after a re-shuffle of sorts – coach Craig Sandercock believes that if the team plays to the best of their ability, they can perform well this year.

“I’m confident that if we do play the best we can, we’ll be there or thereabouts,” said Sandercock.

With former Canberra Raiders half Michael Dobson in the crucial position of halfback, he is eager to see how the team will gel, as well as seeing how some of the younger players will perform as they get more game-day experience.

“There’s nothing like game experience, so when we’re stuck into the season, they’re going to get more experience and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’re gonna go” says Dobson.

Josh Hodgson also knows the value of gelling as a unit, given the high turnover of players that have left as well as come in, but he is confident that the side can maintain the level of chemistry from the last few years.

“People have come and gone obviously, there’s a few leave and a fair few come, but I think somehow or somewhere along the line, I don’t know how we’ve done it, but we’ve kept that good chemistry in the squad,” said Hodgson.

Like with any side that brings in a good number of players, the possibility remains that cohesion goes out the window and the team struggles to gel, but Sandercock is pleased with the players the club brought in and those they have at their disposal.

“I’m pretty pleased with all those players that have been brought on board, and the most pleasing thing for me as a coach, is that they genuinely want to be here at Hull Kingston Rovers,” said Sandercock.

“They’ve signed on for less money than they could have gotten at other clubs and it’s exciting to have them here, and hopefully they’ll be injury free and contribute well to our team.”

With new recruit Travis Burns to miss the first four games of the season due to his impending suspension from the NRL, Dobson is looking forward to playing alongside a fellow Australian in the halves.

“Trav’s (Travis Burns) a good guy and we travelled in together, so he’s going to miss the first four games, so we’ve been training with 4 different partners to make sure we’re covered with that,” said Dobson.

“I’m looking forward to when he does come back and being able to play with him – he’s a quality player that’s played a lot of NRL and it’s going to be interesting to see how we go.”

With a tough off-season drawing to a close, Hodgson believes that the club have the right players at the club to challenge top sides, with players chomping at the bit to get on the field for their season opener.

“I think they’ve fit in really well, everyone’s slotted in fine and they’ve picked up the style of play that we play,” says Hodgson.

“They’ve mixed in with the lads really good and I think we’ve made some really good additions to the squad, and it’s going to be a good year for us hopefully.”

“We’ve worked really hard in the off-season and it’s been a pretty tough and pretty brutal off-season, but I believe in Paul and we’re raring to get going.”

“Your pre-season is your foundation – if you don’t have a good pre-season under your belt, I don’t think you’re going to do too much throughout the year.”

“I think that’s what a lot of teams believe in, that if you have a tough, good stint in pre-season, that builds a foundation for you to crack on with.

With big expectations placed on the club by the fans every year, Sandercock knows that results are expected of him, but that the only pressure he faces, is the pressure on himself.

“The only pressure comes from myself to work as hard as I can and for us as a team to play the best that we can, and that’s all that we can do,” said Sandercock.

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David Kidwell

Support as a coach is always crucial and when it is someone you know well, that makes it even easier – as David Kidwell, a former Kiwi international, joins the New Zealand Kiwis side as an assistant coach.

He and Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney go some way back, with both having played alongside each other at the Melbourne Storm, with Kidwell having played in 241 NRL games.

Along with 20 Tests for NZ and success at the 2008 World Cup, the former South Sydney Rabbitohs Holden Cup coach, Kidwell is pleased to be involved with the Kiwis again.

“Obviously, I’m very excited and honoured to be part of the Kiwis again,” says Kidwell.

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“The future looks bright for the team and I’m happy to be part of that.

“I’ve been coaching for five years now and think I’ve picked up a few really good things that I can bring to the Kiwis. I have a good sound knowledge of the game and I think I’m a pretty good people person, but I’m also good at getting my point across.

Having held the position of Junior Kiwis coach in the past, Kidwell has a close association with some of the current Kiwi players.

“A few of the guys from the Junior Kiwis are now in the Kiwis, so it’ll be exciting to hook back up with them, having seen their progress through the NRL,” said Kidwell.

Knowing how crucial it is to develop the coaching platforms at the New Zealand Rugby League, General Manager of Football Tony Iro believes bringing Kidwell in is a start.

“It’s important we continue to develop our coaching depth at all levels, including the elite level,” says NZRL football general manager Tony Iro.

“David has certainly shown his ability during his career to date and we like the idea of a Kiwi coaching staff guiding this team towards the next World Cup.”

Brett Morris

There are a good number of hoodoos in rugby league and one of them has finally been broken after 14 long years, with the St George Illawarra Dragons defeating the Canberra Raiders in the nation’s capital.

Since 2000 and 11 trips to Canberra, the Dragons had never won a game there and were plagued by a lingering hoodoo but on the back of a hat-trick by Brett Morris and a double to Jason Nightingale, they broke the curse and had their fans jubilant.

The game began evenly as both sides went back and forth and at one point, it would have appeared that the Raiders would again win and continue the curse, especially when Jarrod Croker scored early in the second half.

It was then that the flair, class, acrobatics and positive attitude appeared for the Dragons, as they took control over the game to run away with victory in the end.

Morris, who was stand-in captain, scored one of the most freakish, acrobatic tries you will ever see and even joked about the way in which he learnt such a move.

“We are circus performers,” he joked.

“A couple of years ago the PCYC got some mats with springs underneath them and we did all sorts of jumps and somersaults. It’s now starting to help on the field.”

The Dragons back-line simply proved too skillful and classy for the Raiders and they had no answer for the array of mastery and skills, leaving big question marks over the Raiders defence on their own goal-line.

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Going forward is no issue for the Raiders with their big boppers, though with defence clearly an issue, opposition teams like the Dragons can often score at will.

With Creagh out due to a slight hamstring strain, he expressed his disappointment in having to miss out on the hoodoo-breaking clash.

“I was very disappointed yesterday at training,” Creagh said.

“But it was good to finally come down here and get a win.”

To further complicate matters for the Raiders, the loss leaves them in danger of the wooden spoon. Should that happen, coach Ricky Stuart would be put in the unfortunate position of finishing last in two successive seasons with two different teams.

Stuart knows that Origin quality players are crucial and losing the likes of Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson a while back have not helped the Raiders cause. For Stuart, signing Origin quality is crucial.

“Losing two Origin players put us in this rut,” Stuart said.

“We are in a position and they can jump into us and bag us for what it is.

“(But) until I get Origin players in, it’s not going to change and that’s my job. I’ve got to cut to the chase and be fair dinkum.

“Until we grow our own, our fans are going to have to stick solid. I’m getting sick of it and fed-up with give you one-line answers.

“As much as it will sound like I’m making excuses, I’m telling it exactly how it is.”

ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA 34 (B Morris 3 J Nightingale 2 J Dugan P Mata’utia tries G Widdop 3 goals) bt CANBERRA 16 (J Croker J Papalii J Rapana tries J Croker 2 goals) at GIO Stadium. Referee: Adam Devcich, Grant Atkins. Crowd: 10,318.

Salford coach prepared to give youngsters a chance in upcoming game v Wigan

Phil Veivers

As the wait for official confirmation on the pending takeover continues, Salford City Reds coach Phil Veivers is left with one primary option – and that is the likelihood that he will have to play youngsters in the club’s upcoming clash against Wigan, a move he is prepared to make.

With 8 players leaving the club last year and a changing of the guard all but likely, Veivers has experienced players lined up to join the club but he cannot go ahead and sign them, until Dr Marwan Koukash officially takes over.

Koukash, who is a millionaire racehorse owner, made a firm pledge to make funds available immediately as paperwork continues to stall the deal, one expected to be finalised by the middle of the week.

“I’m still waiting to see what happens this week,” said Veivers.

“You can only play the cards you are dealt. At this moment in time I’ve got to prepare with what I’ve got.”

With veteran prop Martin Gleeson just one player that Veivers will likely bring in, the delays with the takeover, mean that the club may not be able to field a side that Veivers believes is competitive, for quite some time.

“I’ve probably lost a couple of them now because of how late it’s gone, but the ones that are still there and available are in pretty good shape at the moment,” he said.

“But fans will have to be patient. If you’re going to put new bodies in there, it’s going to take time a team time to gel.

“And, if they are in Australia, they can’t train with us and there’s a timescale between signing and getting visas and work permits and so on.”

After an off-season that saw many changes and brought about a score of uncertainty, Salford captain Stephen Wilde says the team is just keen to get out there and play.

“Until we actually see it’s signed, we’re still a bit wary as players because we’ve been here before,” he said.

“We just want to get out on the field now. I think it’s come at the right time for us.

“It’s gone from a tricky off season where we didn’t even know if we are going to have a club and now we play Wigan on Friday. The boys are keen to get started and start building for the future.

“It’s been awkward, but the boys have stuck together through it.”

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