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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.”

Talented St Helens back signs new long-term contract

Tom Makinson

He might only be young, but he has made a stellar impact so far and thus been rewarded for it – with St Helens fullback Tom Makinson signing a new-long term deal with the club, one that will see him stay until the end of the 2016 Super League season.

Makinson, who is just 21, has already played in 46 games for the club, following his debut in 2011 at Salford – with the fullback a handy winger and goal-kicker, having scored 25 tries and kicking 54 goals.

St Helens coach Nathan Brown says that the club is excited to have re-signed such a great talent, and he looks forward to seeing Makinson grow as a player and become even better.

“Tommy is a promising young player who has worked hard and taken his opportunities when they have come along,” said Brown.

“He is a consistent performer in training and understands the dedication that is needed to become not only a member of the first team at Saints, but a rugby league professional.

“If he continues to work hard, then he has a very promising future in the game.”

For Makinson himself, signing a new deal has him pumped up, as he looks to continue his improvement and development as a player, over the next 4 years.

“I’m over the moon to have signed this contract and I’m looking forward to continuing my career and development at Saints.

“I know I still have a lot to learn; I believe I am at the right place to do that and I am excited about the future.”

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Atelea Vea

NRL fans will know him well after several stints over a number of years at some clubs and after a brief stint with the London Broncos, Atelea Vea has signed a 2-year deal with English Super League powerhouse St Helens.

The 27-year old also has an option for the 2017 season and with several offers on the table, Vea felt like the chance to play for St Helens and at Langtree Park was a good one.

“I had offers from many different clubs but once I spoke to Mike Rush and Nathan Brown and had the chance to view Langtree Park and the training facilities, I felt it was the right fit for me,” said Vea.

“Saints have a nice culture and environment and that attracted me to sign.

“I played against Saints not too long ago and liked the feeling of the place even though we lost. The crowd were very vocal and it felt like somewhere I would like to be.

“I’m looking forward to playing in front of those fans and getting them on my side.”

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Vea, who goes about his business on the footy field with aplomb, just wants to play his natural game once he joins the club.

“I want to come there, play my own game and hopefully the fans will embrace me,” said Vea.

With interest galore in him, Saints head coach Nathan Brown is pleased that his side were the ones to snare the signature of Vea.

“Atelea had a lot of interest throughout Super League and we are pleased he decided to join the Saints,” said Brown.

“He is a similar player to Willie Manu in the fact he is quite robust, has good feet and speed and can use the ball well.

“He has the ability to play before and in the line and will be a great addition to our squad.”

Although disappointed to see him depart at season’s end, London Broncos coach Joey Grima was not about to stand in Vea’s way when a move like this came along.

“I’ve been liaising with Mike Rush and Nathan Brown and while we’re disappointed to be losing a player of Tils’ ability and professionalism, I would never stop anyone wanting to play Super League, given where we are at the moment,” said Grima.

“Tils has been an ultimate professional to me and a personal friend. He accepted my invitation by coming over to play for the London Broncos and I wish him and his partner all the best for St Helens. I know the type of person St Helens are going to get and they couldn’t have picked anyone better than him.”

James Donaldson

Signing young players that can develop is something all clubs set to achieve and the Hull Kingston Rovers have acted quickly to signing a talented, young player, acquiring James Donaldson from the Bradford Bulls.

Donaldson will be the club’s fourth signing for the 2015 season, with the 22-year old looking forward to playing in Hull with the Rovers side.

“I feel like I’ve progressed a lot over the last few years but I know I’ve got a lot more to give. I feel the best place to do that is at Hull Kingston Rovers,” said Donaldson.

Having been at Bradford for seven years, the young forward knows that he needed a new challenge and signing with Hull KR provides it.

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“I’ve been at Bradford for seven years now and I needed a new challenge. I’m ready to be taken out of my comfort zone and hopefully something fresh will spark me up. I’ll be working with new players, new coaches and new ideas, it’s a totally clean start for me to come here and I can’t wait for it,” said Donaldson.

“I’ve met with Chezzy and I’ve liked what he said. The strongest part of my game is my defence and Chezzy wants me to come here and help tighten the middle up a bit.

“At the same time, he wants me to play with the ball which I haven’t always had the opportunity to do over the past couple of years at Bradford. I’ll work hard in this off season on that and hopefully I’ll make some strides for next year.”

It was back in 2009 when Donaldson made his debut and after topping the tackle count for Bradford this season, Rovers head coach Chris Chester knows how good of a player the young forward can be for his side.

“James is exactly the sort of player that we want to bring to the club in that he is young, hungry and works very hard at his game,” said Chester.

“I would liken him to Scott Murrell in that he does all the little things that sometimes go unnoticed by supporters but that are always appreciated by coaches and teammates.

“He’s got a good engine on him, he plays big minutes and he doesn’t miss many tackles, so he’ll be a great fit for us.”

Australian Indigenous side out to impress at rugby league Nines tournament in May

Not only will it increase the profile of Australian rugby league in general, but the increased exposure for the Indigenous talent that Australian rugby league has to offer will be on show, with an Australian Indigenous side to play in the rugby league Nines tournament in Philadelphia in May.

Dan Randall, who is the team organizer, was originally set to play for the Philadelphia Fight (an American-based side who will also be playing in the tournament), before deciding to create his own team – a move that the USARL supported.

The Indigenous side, whilst not yet released in full, is expected to be a strong contender in the tournament, with the team to come up against rival players from all over the world.

With the USARL in full support of Randall’s decision, and the opportunity to show the world just how good Indigenous talent can be, Randall is looking forward to the tournament.

“Chairman Peter Illfield and Ryan McGough were all for me trying to bring a team over so we’re now looking to showcase our culture and our football ability,” Randall said.

“There aren’t too many indigenous Rugby League teams that tour overseas, so this will be a good opportunity. Plus it’s to experience the US and the way they play footy,” he continued.

The side will boast some experience with former NRL player Yileen Gordon to be in the side, as well as Australian Rugby Union Sevens player, Arthur Little.

With the side not very familiar with the USARL structure or team, the one thing the Indigenous side does not want to do, is underestimate their opponent.

“We don’t want to take anyone lightly,” Randall said.

With the tournament promising to be fiery, frenetic and explosive, the Indigenous side are hopeful that they can put on a show and make a statement.

“I’d also like to let the other sides know we are there to win and not a holiday, so I’ve put together a very talented side,” Randall said.

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