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.”

Hock joins Widnes leaving Wigan coach fuming

Gareth Hock

A move to a rival club is usually not a cause for an outburst, but in the eyes of Wigan Warriors Chairman Ian Lenagan, he had some rather stiff words to say about former Warrior Gareth Hock, who has now joined the Widnes Vikings on a season-long loan.

Hock, who was apparently after more money in his next deal, had approached NRL side, the Parramatta Eels abut a possible move, only for that to fall through – with Lenagan bitterly disappointed about how things panned out.

“Gareth Hock has made it clear in face-to-face discussions with me and via his agent, that he has no intention of playing for the Wigan Club. This is hugely disappointing to me, to the Wigan fans and to the Club who have all treated him well,” said Lenagan.

“We have gone to unique lengths to help him get his life back on track after his ban two years ago, including increasing his contract voluntarily on two separate occasions to help him financially against a backdrop of his threats to leave. The Wigan Club has consistently supported the player and has done all that any Club could be asked to do.

“We acceded to his recent request for a move to Australia, on the basis that a change of environment and a different competition might be good socially for him, provided it was also financially beneficial to Wigan. However, this did not transpire. Even though better offers have been now received, he has made it clear he does not now wish to move to Australia and will not play for Wigan.

“A line has to be drawn at some stage and whilst with immense regret at losing a player of Gareth’s quality, who I believe is still a Wiganer at heart, we have concluded that that time is now for the good of the 2013 Wigan Squad, the Coaching Staff and for the Wigan fans.

“Since I and Wigan are not prepared to allow Gareth Hock to play for one of our major competitors, we have decided to retain his Registration and to allow him to move on loan to Widnes Super League Club with whom we have an excellent relationship. He is not allowed to play against Wigan in any competitions.

“In terms of rationale, it is known that Gareth was upset that Shaun Wane took away his number 12 Squad Number – hardly surprising in the light of his expected departure to Australia – but we were expecting him to concentrate on his injury rehabilitation and to fight for his place in the Team.

“Having stood by Gareth Hock, we feel let down by his attitude under both Michael Maguire and Shaun Wane since returning to play for Wigan.

“I have instructed Wigan staff to now leave this issue behind, concentrate upon the coming season and make no further comment.”

From the perspective of Widnes Vikings coach Dennis Betts, however, he is more excited at the potential the move has for the club, citing Hock’s tremendous form last season and is pleased with what the English international can offer the club moving forward.

“It’s been a hard task putting everything in place but well worth it, to secure somebody of his standing. Gareth is a current international player and regarded as one of the best back rowers in the world,” said Betts.

“He’s healthy and hardly missed a game for Wigan last year. He has loads of presence about him, knows how to play a very tough game and at the top end of his twenties; he’s at a good, solid age and knows exactly where his career is going.”

“When we looked around our squad, we realised we needed to move to the next level. We’ve already seen evidence of this following the recruitment of Kevin Brown, so to be able to bring Gareth in as well, offers even more cutting edge to our side.

“We’ve not made wholesale changes but those that we have will change our mindset and drive us forward.

“I appreciate that it is only a season-long loan, but people like Gareth don’t come around too often. Having that ‘something extra’ about him, I’m confident that what he does over the course of the year will add so much quality to us.

“What we want now is for our members and supporters to get behind us and appreciate that we are trying to bring in high-end international players for them to come and watch. Throughout the whole organisation, our process is all about development and we are continuously looking at moving forward.

“Gareth has a lot of admirers within the game of rugby league and adding someone of his standing to our set-up can only make us that little bit better.”

Betts is not the only one pleased to see Hock at Widnes, with the man himself excited at the chance to work alongside Betts once more.

“As a junior working my way through the ranks at Wigan, Denis was a first team regular at the time and somebody I genuinely looked up to. To later have him as my Coach was fantastic and I really benefitted from his knowledge of the game.

“When the chance of re-joining him at Widnes came around, I didn’t need asking twice. They are a proud club with a great history and I’m looking forward to playing my part in what we hope will be a big season for the club.

“Being a World Cup year, individually, I’m desperate to have a big season and by doing so, hopefully put myself in with a chance of pulling on an England shirt and representing my country again, so I’ll definitely be giving it my all for the team.

“It was really flattering to find out that there were plenty of other club’s who would’ve also liked to have offered me an opportunity, but I’ve spoken to lots of people in the game and they have only had good things to say about Widnes. My Brother-in-law, Kevin Brown, has also told me all about the set-up, the professionalism and the ambition at the club, which made my decision even simpler and I can’t wait to pull on a Vikings shirt and get started.”

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Hep Cahill

He may have only had brief stints in the NRL but Melbourne Storm fans may remember Hep Cahill, who has enjoyed a lengthy, successful stint with English Super League side, the Widnes Vikings.

Cahill, 27, has been rewarded for his form, signing a new 2-year deal with the club until the end of 2016.

Although limited by niggling injuries earlier this season, Cahill is now fit, raring to go and keen to make an impact.

“The contract is done and dusted and I can just focus on the rest of the season and I’m really excited about what’s to come,” said Cahill.

“I’ve had a few games now and I’m getting my match fitness back up. I’m only going to get better and hopefully I’ll move forward with the team and I can’t wait to rip in tonight and for the rest of the season.

“I’ve been here from the start of Super League and I’m part of something special which is being built here by Denis (Betts) at Widnes Vikings. I’m enjoying being here and playing for the Club and I think we’ve got a bright future ahead of us.

“The race for the top eight is hotting up now and we have a few teams right behind us, so it’s a good time to be involved. The boys are working hard but we know where we want to be and that’s play-off footy. We know what we have to do to get there and we will give it everything to get there.”

With 53 appearances for the Vikings under his belt, the culture that the club have created over the years is one that impresses Cahill.

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“We have such a tight group at Widnes and that was also a big reason for me signing for another couple of years,” said Cahill.

“Widnes is unlike any club I’ve been at before. Not having any family here can be hard but we’ve got such a good group of guys here it makes it so easy and I think that shows on the pitch.”

The re-signings have been the key for Widnes, who have retained 12 of their current crop of players and for coach Denis Betts, he knows just how well Cahill can perform.

“Hep has been huge since he’s been at the Club. His work rate and his ability have helped us move forward,” said Betts.

“He appreciates the fact the he’s been getting better each year himself, too.

“He’s been hampered by injury this season but when he has played, he’s been exceptional. His workrate is such that it’s hard not to have him in the side week in, week out.

“Hep’s a big part of the culture of the Club. That’s why you want to have people like him around.

“The likes of him, Kevin Brown, Danny Tickle, Willie Isa and Pat Ah Van give the culture of the Club so much substance.”

Working with the younger players as a mentor is an attribute that Betts has seen from Cahill first-hand.

“Hep comes in and works with young kids off his own bat. He’ll spend time with our 16s and 15s,” said Betts.

“He’s a great bloke to have in your system as well as being tough as teak and fearless in what he does on the field.”

William Barthau

Keen to strengthen their side to make a charge back into the Super League for next season, the London Broncos have signed a talented international halfback in William Barthau.

The 24-year old French international has signed a 2-year deal from next season, playing in 16 games for the Catalan Dragons and enjoying successful stint with their reserve side, Saint Esteve.

It was back in 2009 when Barthau made his French debut and since then, he has appeared in the Les Bleus eight times. Additionally, he made three World Cup appearances and if you ask Broncos coach Joey Grima, he believes they have a talented player signed up.

“I’m pleased we’ve secured William as he will fit into one of our key positions on the field. He’s was impressive in the Dragons win over the Broncos in Round nine and led them around the field,” said Grima.

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“He should link up well with both Ray Nasso and Ben Farrar who he knows from their time in France.”

As for the player himself, he goes to the Broncos knowing a couple of players, having been acquainted with both Ben Farrar and Ray Nasso.

“I’m looking forward to joining the Broncos as it will be good to learn a different system and to play with different players,” he said.

“The challenge is to get into the top four and then play four Super League clubs to show we are ready to play in Super League again. I know that I can play my part in helping the club achieve this.

Confident with what Grima is setting out to achieve at the Broncos, Barthau looks forward to playing under the coach.

“I’m really motivated to be part of a winning culture that Joey Grima is creating, and I’m also looking to improve individually during my time at the club.

“I already know Ray Nasso and Ben Farrar who have lots of talent and I’m looking forward to playing alongside the young talent that is being developed in London.”

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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