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.”

Mitch Garbutt

Depth is crucial in the NRL and a team that pride themselves on ensuring they have quality players waiting in the wings are the Brisbane Broncos.

To bolster their forward stocks and their depth, they have announced the signing of Melbourne Storm prop Mitch Garbutt on a 2-year deal.

Garbutt, 25, is around that age when it is said that front-rowers start to hit their straps and for Broncos coach Anthony Griffin, he believes Garbutt can complement their current forward pack well.

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“Mitch will add some depth and some size to our squad next season,” said Griffin.

“He is coming to the right age as a front rower and has the best football of his career in front of him.

“I’m sure he will fit in well at the Broncos and his addition will complement the other talent we have in our group of forwards.”

Playing in nine NRL matches for the Storm so far and producing consistency for the Storm’s QLD Cup feeder side, the Easts Tigers, Garbutt is excited at the new challenge.

“The Broncos are a really professional club and I’ll do the hard work necessary to get into the side,” he said.

“There are some great players at the club so I can learn a lot there.”

Welsh rugby league side decide not to compete in this year's competition

Hearing of news that a team will not be performing in a national competition due to varying factors is largely disappointing, and for Welsh side, the South Wales Hornets, they have made the decision to sit out playing this year.

With changes to both the team itself and rugby league in South Wales, it was unforeseen circumstances that brought about the decision to sit out this year, with Chairman Mark Harris confirming that they would not be in the competition.

“Unfortunately, there won’t be any Hornets this season,” he explained.

“Jane [Harris, club secretary] and I had already told Martyn before he emigrated that we wouldn’t be involved this year due to family commitments.

“We’ve kept it quiet to keep stability in the club last season and also I wanted to try and work with Wales Rugby League to try and recruit new staff.

“Before Christmas, they had someone who was potentially interested but they have now pulled out. WRL don’t have the resources to run the team themselves, so regrettably, we have to call it a day.”

With a relatively large local junior base involved with the club, the hope is that those players do not lose faith in rugby league, and are thus able to find clubs elsewhere in the region.

“Due to differing reasons, we gave over 50 players an opportunity to play rugby league in our first year,” Harris added.

“Many of those had played the sport before – either stepping up from a Conference club or from the Academy system – but there quite a few who were being introduced to rugby league by the Hornets.

“Hopefully they are not lost to the game, in the same way that the club isn’t. We have left the door ajar should a situation arise in which we could return in the near future.”

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Nick Scruton

Since signing with the Wakefield Wildcats from the Bradford Bulls, Nick Scruton has impressed those at the club and as a result, the club has rewarded him with a new 2-year deal.

Scruton, 29, has played in a total of 189 games and has both grand final wins and Challenge Cup wins to his name.

Scruton is also a former English international and he wants to help the Wildcats make an impact in 2015 and beyond.

“I’m really happy,” said Scruton after signing his new deal.

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“From the moment I got here, I knew it was a club that I wanted to spend the next couple of years at as long as everything was going well on the field and everything has. I’m chuffed to bits to have another two years and hopefully we can move forward as a team and start being considered play-off candidates instead of relegation battlers.

“The top eight over the next couple of years is a big incentive, it’s where everyone wants to be. With the players we’ve got and this run we’ve been on it’s completely within our grasp and it’s something that everyone is working towards.

Knowing that he can get better, Scruton is pleased to have a new deal under his belt and is keen to make the most of the opportunity afforded to him.

“I didn’t think it (the transfer from Bradford) would have affected my game as much as it did but those first few weeks I was garbage and some of the fans didn’t hesitate in telling me,” said Scruton.

“I’ve not had that for a long time so I’m just glad I’m starting to show people what I’m capable of and why Wakefield signed me, and I’ve been rewarded with a two-year deal. As a prop forward at my age, hopefully I’ll be playing my best rugby for Wakefield Wildcats.”

As Wakefield build their squad for 2015, coach James Webster is pleased to have re-signed a quality prop like Scruton.

“It’s great news that Nick has extended his stay here at the club. Nick has been tremendous for us both on and off the field, adds a lot of experience and is a very influential player for us in the middle of the park,” said Webster.

“He was somebody that I wanted to tie down as soon as possible and for a player of Nick’s stature to commit to Wakefield is a fantastic boost for where we want to go.”

John Kear

It has been a busy period for new coaches joining new clubs or nations and today is no different, with former England and France coach John Kear appointed as the new head coach of Wales.

Kear, 59, will take over the head coaching role at Wales as the nation approaches their European Championship clashes with France, Ireland and Scotland.

14 years ago now, Kear was the coach of the English side at the 2000 World Cup and before that, in 1997, he was the coach of the French national side.

Having also enjoyed a lengthy playing stint with the Castleford Tigers from 1978-88, he has since enjoyed coaching stints with Paris Saint Germain, the Sheffield Eagles, Wigan, Hull FC, Wakefield and his current role, head coach of the Batley Bulldogs.

For the man himself, he is thrilled to have the chance to work in this new role and is excited to get back into the international arena.

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“I’m really delighted to have this opportunity as the new head coach of Wales Rugby League,” said Kear.

“I’m a big believer in international Rugby League as my background shows. I really think that I can make a big contribution to the game in Wales that will allow us to qualify and do well in Rugby League World Cup 2017.

“A strong international game is essential for Rugby League. The more competitive teams we have at the highest level the better and it’s my challenge to turn Wales into one of those top teams.

“I’m really looking forward to a long relationship with Wales Rugby League as we build for 2017 and beyond.”

With experience crucial in a coach for a budding rugby league nation, the Chairman of Welsh Rugby League, Brian Juliff, looks forward to a strong and successful period with Kear as head coach.

“The appointment of John Kear as head coach brings a wealth of experience forged at the highest level of the game to Wales Rugby League. His knowledge and proven ability to bring the very best out of his players makes him an ideal fit for Wales Rugby League at this formative time,” said Juliff.

“It was important to bring in someone who shares our values and is committed to our vision ‘to be a top four Rugby League Nation in governance and performance’.

“John’s immediate challenge is to balance a young but very capable Wales squad into a winning team at this year’s European Championship and thereafter lay the foundation for success at the Rugby League World Cup 2017. I look forward to building a strong and supportive relationship with John to underpin the undoubted potential of Wales Rugby League.”