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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.”

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.

Ben Hannant

Although it was the game that kept the Brisbane Broncos in the finals hunt, it will be the potential season-ending injuries to Justin Hodges, Trent Merrin and Josh Dugan that will be the talking points, as the Broncos downed the St George Illawarra Dragons in a nail-biter, winning 26-24.

The win was bittersweet for the Broncos, with star centre Justin Hodges suffering a potential season-ending injury, a ruptured Achilles.

The injury at this point of the season, one of that nature, means that Hodges will not be available until mid 2014 and despite the latest setback, Hodges says he will be back.

“I’ll get some scans but I think so (torn Achilles). I did the right one a couple of years ago, it’s a long process, but I’ve been through it before,” Hodges told Channel Nine.

“I will get back at some stage next year, but it’s just a bit of a hard road ahead.

“I think it’s more a nine to 10 month injury so I hope to be back mid next year.”

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With four wins from their final four games needed to make the finals, the loss of Hodges is a blow in more ways than one for the club but they can take confidence out of the nail-biting win in front of just under 32,000 fans.

It was a back and forth game, as the Dragons looked to make life difficult for the opponents around them, fighting valiantly and determinedly to stay in the contest.

Young five-eighth Adam Quinlan did his best to spark something, finishing up with two tries in what was perhaps his best first-grade performance to date.

The news was not much better on the injury front for the Dragons and to compound their loss, Trent Merrin (knee) and Josh Dugan (thumb) will face nervous waits on whether their seasons are over.

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin compared his side’s recent injury troubles in the back-line to that of the Bermuda Triangle, a mysterious area.

“I can’t figure out his whole body – it just keeps breaking,” Griffin said.

“The last recovery process was very long. It took him a whole year to get over the last one.

3. Ben Hannant
2. Daniel Vidot
1. Andrew McCullough

David Kidwell

Support as a coach is always crucial and when it is someone you know well, that makes it even easier – as David Kidwell, a former Kiwi international, joins the New Zealand Kiwis side as an assistant coach.

He and Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney go some way back, with both having played alongside each other at the Melbourne Storm, with Kidwell having played in 241 NRL games.

Along with 20 Tests for NZ and success at the 2008 World Cup, the former South Sydney Rabbitohs Holden Cup coach, Kidwell is pleased to be involved with the Kiwis again.

“Obviously, I’m very excited and honoured to be part of the Kiwis again,” says Kidwell.

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“The future looks bright for the team and I’m happy to be part of that.

“I’ve been coaching for five years now and think I’ve picked up a few really good things that I can bring to the Kiwis. I have a good sound knowledge of the game and I think I’m a pretty good people person, but I’m also good at getting my point across.

Having held the position of Junior Kiwis coach in the past, Kidwell has a close association with some of the current Kiwi players.

“A few of the guys from the Junior Kiwis are now in the Kiwis, so it’ll be exciting to hook back up with them, having seen their progress through the NRL,” said Kidwell.

Knowing how crucial it is to develop the coaching platforms at the New Zealand Rugby League, General Manager of Football Tony Iro believes bringing Kidwell in is a start.

“It’s important we continue to develop our coaching depth at all levels, including the elite level,” says NZRL football general manager Tony Iro.

“David has certainly shown his ability during his career to date and we like the idea of a Kiwi coaching staff guiding this team towards the next World Cup.”

Adam Henry

Roosters fans will remember Adam Henry and after playing out a couple of years at Super League side, the Bradford Bulls, the utility back has extended his stay with the club.

He becomes the eleventh addition to James Lowes’ squad for 2015 and for the 23-year old, he is excited to have extended his stay in Bradford for a season.

“I am really pleased to be staying because I love it here,” said Henry.

“The club wanted me to stay and the main thing for me was Jimmy (Lowes).

“He has put a lot of faith in me and pretty much played me every week since taking over as coach. That was the main reason why I chose to stay, as he is backing me all the way.

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Knowing that hard work is needed, he praised Lowes for the advice given to him.

“He said all the hard work would pay off and in the past two games we have beaten Wigan and Leeds,” said Henry.

“In addition to that, our supporters have been very welcoming and I would like to thank them for all the love they have shown me since I joined the Bulls.”

Henry, who was a former Holden Cup winner with the New Zealand Warriors, is a player that Lowes likes for many reasons.

“Adam is a player with great attacking flair and I like a lot of what he does,” added Lowes.

“He certainly has something to offer the team and I am hoping, over the next few years, he can flourish and become a key figure in our side.

“He is young and still has a lot to learn, but has bags of potential and I am delighted that we have been able to secure his services.

“He is happy to be here and we are happy to have him on board for next season.”