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.”

Reece Lyne

One of their best young players at the present time, the Wakefield Wildcats have received a huge boost, with talented utility Reece Lyne re-signing for a further three seasons.

With time on his current deal still remaining, Lyne, a former England Academy international, opted to sign on the dotted line and extend his stay with the Wildcats.

Scoring eight tries in the current campaign so far and with 40 Super League appearances to his name, the 21-year old knows he has improved and feels the Wildcats is the team for him moving forward.

“I’m really excited,” said Lyne.

“I sat down and had a good think about it and thought to myself, ‘I’m happy here, I really enjoy it here so why look elsewhere?’ I really enjoy my rugby here and every time I come training, I’ve got a smile on my face and I love playing with the boys.

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“I had a year left and I’m grateful to Rich (Agar) for bringing me here, it’s been the most enjoyable part of my career. The club approached me about extending my contract and I was more than happy to do that.”

As he looks to improve himself and become an even more consistent player down the track, Lyne wants to string together a good portion of games and avoid any more injuries.

“I feel comfortable more each week. I know I’ve got a lot of developing and learning to do but I feel a lot more comfortable in my surroundings. You start to understand yourself better and what works for you,” said Lyne.

“I want to string a consistent number of games together and be out on the field as many weeks as possible. This year and last year I’ve had injuries that have kept me out for a couple of months, so I just want to string a good 20-25 games together and build some partnerships up and cement a starting spot.”

For Wakefield, the key is to bring in and re-sign some of the best young players possible and in re-signing Lyne, head coach James Webster knows they are well on their way to starting that process.

“It’s fantastic news that Reece wanted to extend his deal with us,” said Wesbter.

“He had a lot of interest from other places and realistically, you need to look at what Reece has done at the age of only 21. He’s only to get better.

“We want to look over the next couple of years to bring on good, young players at Wakefield and Reece fits that category for us. We think that he’s the type of kid that can really kick-on and become a fantastic centre or winger for Wakefield.”

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.”

Sione Mata'utia

The Newcastle Knights fans and organisation have long had wraps on the potential and quality of the Mata’utia brothers and two of them showed why, as they helped their side to an upset win over the New Zealand Warriors.

Scoring four tries between them, Sione and Chanel Mata’utia were instrumental in their sides win and helped them to back-to-back wins.

It was smooth sailing to begin the game for the Knights as they scored three tries in the first 26 minutes, before Shaun Johnson – who returned for the Warriors this week – led his side’s comeback to claw back the deficit.

The game went back-and-forth for some time, though the Knights held on to give their season some smiles and good times.

In what has been a turbulent season for the Knights, particularly in dealing with the earlier injury to Alex McKinnon, their heart and determination have been evident in recent weeks.

Now, it is paying off and giving their fans something to cheer about.

Having seen Mata’utia come through the ranks, Knights coach Wayne Bennett had some very kind words for Sione, labelling the youngster as a future club captain.

“He has great attributes. The greatest thing about him is I can imagine one day he will captain the Knights and be a great player throughout his career,” said Bennett.

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He has played fullback for us, his preferred position is centre but he played well for us on the wing today.”

“I don’t think anyone at the club would doubt that [Sione is captain material]. It is a long way away for him but I’m sure one day… that’s the way he is heading.”

Echoing the sentiments of his coach, Knights captain Kurt Gidley was quick to point out the toughness in Sione.

“For a young guy, I’ve seen him play in those junior Origin games and our Under 20’s team and he was only 17 at the start of the year. He is prepared to put his body on the line and he doesn’t have a big head or an ego,” Gidley said.

“He trains hard and talks well and he has all those attributes to be a leader especially around his peers around his age so it is a pleasure playing with the younger guys coming through.”

As for the Warriors, there were no excuses. Poor discipline is what ultimately cost them.

“The majority of our penalties were poor discipline but that is no excuse as to how we played,” Warriors captain Simon Mannering said.

“They deserved to win. We had our chances at the end but unfortunately we couldn’t get over – but we’ll be back into it next week.”

Agreeing with his captain, Warriors coach Andrew McFadden denied that his side were complacent heading into the game.

“We knew that it was never going to be in the bag instantly,” McFadden said.

“We knew that when we came here that the opposition were going to have a real go. They have shown that over the past month of football and they were just a little bit too good for us.

“It was five tries all but they kicked more goals. We certainly had a go but we conceded too many points in the end.”

Ngani Laumape

They may not have won the game but the Cronulla Sharks can be proud of their efforts despite a narrow loss to the New Zealand Warriors.

The Warriors, who are known for their attacking flair, have decimated teams in recent weeks but the Sharks steely resolve held them at bay and frustrated them, especially during the second half.

Averaging 30 points in their last five games, the Warriors started strongly and immediately had the Sharks on the ropes, with the defensive pressure proving too much eventually.

That did not deter the away team, though, as they scored a rather fortuitous try to even the scores up and wrestle back some momentum.

With a lions share of possession – the Warriors had 68% of possession – the Warriors could only crack the Sharks resolute defence three times.

Although the Warriors will take the win, their second half in particular was quite tame, as they allowed the Sharks to get the run on them and force themselves back into the contest.

The win also ended a five-match losing streak against the Sharks and was the Warriors fifth win at Mt Smart Stadium this year.

Knowing that they have to improve after today’s effort, Warriors coach Andrew McFadden is just pleased to take the two points.

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“It was a scrappy win but two points is two points at this time of the year,” said McFadden.

“We needed to win and we haven’t backed up especially after a big win last week.”

Knowing how much they were kept at bay, McFadden credited the Sharks for their defence.

“We have to give credit to the opposition for the way they’ve fought,” said McFadden.

“They’ve only got pride to play for and with all the losses in their team, they really turned up.

“We had our own challenges out there when we lost Tui in about the second minute of the game and then Dane Nielsen, it really tests you.”

For the Sharks, it was all about character, resolve and determination. Coach James Shepherd saw it and was pleased with how the side never gave up.

“With the weight of possession in the first half, to go in 16-6 down, we were reasonably happy,” said Shepherd.

“Our effort was great, our attitude was great and to keep them scoreless in the second half, was an amazing display.

“The blokes were working really hard for each other and with a shade more luck or a different decision, we may have grabbed it there in the end.”

Warriors 16 (Laumape x2, Vatuvei tries; Townsend 2 goals) defeated Sharks 12 (Arona, Feki tries; Gordon 2 goals) at Mount Smart Stadium. Crowd: 13,939.