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.”

Mickael Simon

It has been an inconsistent season for the Wakefield Wildcats so far, but planning for 2015 is crucial and the club have signed French international Mickael Simon.

The 27-year old prop was a part of France’s recent World Cup squad and has signed a 2-year deal. He joins fellow prop and new recruit Greg Hall, with both set to strengthen the Wakefield forward pack.

Playing 65 Super League games so far, the Frenchman said he was after a new challenge and the Wildcats were a great place to test himself.

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“I need a new challenge and I want to play as many games as possible for Wakefield,” said Simon.

“I hope I can settle quickly in the team and the culture of the country. James is a very good coach and I enjoyed working with him at the World Cup. The start he has had as head coach is great for the club, the players and for James. I know that I will progress with the help of James and the other coaching staff.

“Hopefully I can bring my enthusiasm to the team and just do my job as a prop.”

With a reputation as a player with a huge work-rate and commitment, Wakefield head coach James Webster is looking forward to having the Frenchman at the club.

“Mickael is a big, strong ball carrier with a good engine and he will be able to play big minutes for us in the middle of the field,” said Webster.

“I know him well from my time with France at the World Cup and he has a very good knowledge of the game and will add something to the two props we’ve already secured for next year in Scott Anderson and Nick Scruton.”

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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Mark Minichiello

A long, lengthy and spirited NRL career has come to an end for Mark Minichiello, with the Gold Coast Titans veteran to sign with English Super League side Hull FC for the next two years.

Minichiello, who has a wealth of experience having played in 250+ games over 13 years for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Titans, felt it was time for a new challenge.

The veteran is the third player to join Hull FC in the off-season and Minichiello looks forward to the prospect of England and Hull that await him.

“It is going to be a new challenge for me and I am really looking forward to it I can’t wait to get over there and experience a different league,” said Minichiello.

“It was a big decision, I have been in the NRL for thirteen seasons now and have played over 250 games here but I think it was maybe just the right time for me to make the change and I guess accept a new challenge.

“I have always had dreams of playing in the Super League, and when this deal and opportunity came about, I just thought it was the right time to jump in and experience something new.”

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Knowing that the club has a long history in rugby league, playing in the Super League has always been an ambition for the veteran.

“Hull is a club with a long history, is one of the bigger clubs over there and from what I hear the fans are very passionate about rugby league, they have a good culture for rugby,” said Minichiello.

“So when offered the chance to come over and play that was really the only offer I needed to make my decision.”

The club are also pleased to have him on board for not only his experience, but the value he brings both on and off the field as a player and person.

“Mark brings vast experience to the club, not just in terms of his ability and game sense on the field, but a wealth of knowledge and the right way to conduct yourself off it,” said Hull FC head coach, Lee Radford.

“It’s been a long time coming, we’ve been talking to Mark and his management about coming to Hull for some time and it is difficult at the moment to bring in players of his calibre from the NRL, you only have to look at who we were in competition with to see why.

With the new challenge ahead of him, the club are confident he will be a big hit on the field and with the fans.

“But he has made all the right noises about the club, the opportunity to play Super League and seems extremely committed to making the move which has been pleasing,” said Radford.

“It’s a new chapter for him and I know he is full of enthusiasm and can’t wait to get started. He will be a big influence on some of our younger blokes and a real hit with the fans, I’m sure.”

James Segeyaro

Injuries have hit them hard in recent times and that can often result in a side falling apart but out at Penrith, the Panthers have made sure that they are not in that boat.

Instead, their performances remain steady and they continue to win the games they are required to, with their most recent victory a 16-4 win over a lacklustre St George Illawarra Dragons side.

It was an interesting occasion for former Dragon now Panther Jamie Soward, who made his return to WIN Stadium for the first time since departing the Dragons mid-season in 2013 for the team out West.

The game also saw Brett Morris score his ninth of the season and collectively, he and brother Josh have now scored 196 tries between them.

Such a feat surpassed the great Mortimer trio but despite that early try, it was all Penrith after that, as the Dragons struggled to make the most of their opportunities.

One man who stood up and made his mark on an already impressive season was James Segeyaro. Scoring a try and setting one up, Segeyaro is fast becoming not only a Panthers fan favourite but one of the most dangerous players in the league.

On top of the Dragons loss, prop Dan Hunt was put on report for a high tackle on David Simmons that saw the Penrith winger leave the field with concussion.

Despite their injuries, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary was pleased with his side’s performance and believes the players know the style well.

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“I think we understand the style of play with the attack and defence and today, you could see that,” said Cleary.

“That’s always a good sign when everyone’s on the same page.”

With their injuries, depth is always crucial and Cleary was quick to praise the efforts of his Holden Cup and NSW Cup coaches, as well as the players that have made the step into first-grade.

“Full credit to Garth Brennan and Trent Barrett. Those boys have done a great job,” said Cleary.

“We have got a bit of depth at the club and so that definitely helps. To bring in three good first-graders back into the side today, so when you have injury hurdles like we have, the bonus is that those guys get an opportunity.”

For Dragons coach Paul McGregor, the reason for the loss was simple. They were beaten by a quality top 4 side.

“They’re [Penrith] a real competent side and they kept things simple,” said McGregor.

“They worked us over and won field position and once they did that, they strangled us. We just didn’t play with enough composure.”

Although he praised his side’s defence, forcing it in attack was the downfall for McGregor.

“We defended well but when we got our opportunities, we just seemed to push the pass too much,” said McGregor.

“That’s what we need to look at this week and what we need to fix.”

Penrith Panthers 16 (Segeyaro, Docker, Idris tries; Soward 2 goals) def St George-Illawarra Dragons 4 (Morris try). Crowd: 13,107.