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.”
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.
â€œThey have embarrassed themselves and the club and its sponsors and supporters â€“ they have shown great remorse for their silly action and will pay a heavy penalty,â€ Lowe said.
Watmough and Seu Seu also issued a joint statement:
â€œWe are bitterly disappointed with our actions and for the fact that we have let our team mates, our families and our supporters down.
â€œIt was a careless and stupid thing to do and we accept the suspension without complaint.â€
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.
â€œFrom day one Iâ€™ve felt at home here at the Bulldogs and Iâ€™m really pleased to be staying,â€ Ennis said.
â€œI 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.
â€œAlso, Iâ€™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.â€
According to coach Kevin Moore, with Ennis re-signing, it gives the club structure, go forward and stability both on and off the field.
â€œMick is the kind of player that any head coach would love to have in his side,â€ Moore said. â€œHe leaves nothing to chance. Heâ€™s a natural leader, is about the fittest bloke in the team, and he gives us outstanding direction on and off the field.
â€œAnyone who follows Rugby League knows what a fierce competitor he is, and away from the paddock heâ€™s exactly the type of person that you love to have around the Club. Iâ€™m very pleased that heâ€™s going to be a part of the Club long-term.â€
Todd Greenberg was also full of praise, and was pleased that Ennis had decided to re-sign.
â€œMick was always keen to stay here at the Bulldogs and Iâ€™m thankful to both him and his management that weâ€™ve been able to get him squared away before the start of the season,â€ Bulldogs Chief Executive Todd Greenberg said.
â€œWe are over the moon to have him locked in until at least 2014 and Iâ€™d like to think that he sees himself staying here beyond that time. Weâ€™d love to see him finish his career as one of the Clubâ€™s greats.â€
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.
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.”
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.
â€œIt’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.â€
As the wait for official confirmation on the pending takeover continues, Salford City Reds coach Phil Veivers is left with one primary option – and that is the likelihood that he will have to play youngsters in the club’s upcoming clash against Wigan, a move he is prepared to make.
With 8 players leaving the club last year and a changing of the guard all but likely, Veivers has experienced players lined up to join the club but he cannot go ahead and sign them, until Dr Marwan Koukash officially takes over.
Koukash, who is a millionaire racehorse owner, made a firm pledge to make funds available immediately as paperwork continues to stall the deal, one expected to be finalised by the middle of the week.
â€œIâ€™m still waiting to see what happens this week,â€ said Veivers.
â€œYou can only play the cards you are dealt. At this moment in time Iâ€™ve got to prepare with what Iâ€™ve got.â€
With veteran prop Martin Gleeson just one player that Veivers will likely bring in, the delays with the takeover, mean that the club may not be able to field a side that Veivers believes is competitive, for quite some time.
â€œIâ€™ve probably lost a couple of them now because of how late itâ€™s gone, but the ones that are still there and available are in pretty good shape at the moment,â€ he said.
â€œBut fans will have to be patient. If youâ€™re going to put new bodies in there, itâ€™s going to take time a team time to gel.
â€œAnd, if they are in Australia, they canâ€™t train with us and thereâ€™s a timescale between signing and getting visas and work permits and so on.â€
After an off-season that saw many changes and brought about a score of uncertainty, Salford captain Stephen Wilde says the team is just keen to get out there and play.
â€œUntil we actually see itâ€™s signed, weâ€™re still a bit wary as players because weâ€™ve been here before,â€ he said.
â€œWe just want to get out on the field now. I think itâ€™s come at the right time for us.
â€œItâ€™s gone from a tricky off season where we didnâ€™t even know if we are going to have a club and now we play Wigan on Friday. The boys are keen to get started and start building for the future.
â€œItâ€™s been awkward, but the boys have stuck together through it.â€
In his first article for NRL News, we welcome passionate Warriors supporter Luke Roberts who believes in his side’s ability moving forward. Here is his take on how their season can finish up.
Can the New Zealand Warriors make the NRL Top 4. Yes.
Some of you may find this hard to believe but after seeing the changes and belief in the team over the past 8-10 weeks, I believe they are a genuine chance. Not saying that it will be easy, but with a favourable run home and a team running high on confidence, they become virtually unstoppable.
A turning point for this team was the round 13 loss to the Rabbitohs in Perth. After leading the Bunnies by eight points with thirty minutes to go. they lost composure, energy and spirit to eventually be steamrolled by sixteen points. The team which had endured a rollercoaster ride during the first three months of 2014, mishaps including; a new coach after the dismissal of Mathew Elliot and the public uproar brought along with it; a star player that was struggling to live up to the billing in Sam Tomkins and a spate of team changes and injuries; looking fatigued after four wins in five the bye could not have come at a better time.
Following the round 13 match in Perth, the Warriors faced a five week season defining stretch in which they would have two byes and three home games. Now three weeks later with two home wins against Top 8 opposition and another two points in the bag this weekend, the boys are on the rise. With nine games left and five of those at the Mt Smart fortress, look for the warriors to surge towards the top 4.
The four away games take the Auckland based club to Brisbane, Canberra, Newcastle and Penrith, all teams in which the Warriors will fancy their chances away from home having beaten them all on home soil in 2014. Perhaps the biggest tests in the coming few weeks are the visits of Manly and the Roosters and will give a true indication of where this Warriors side really shapes up against the competitions heavyweights.
For now at least, gaining confidence is the biggest factor for these boys as they look to put together a run similar to 2011 where they got all the way to the grand final after downing both Wests and Melbourne on the road in the finals. So to those of you writing the Warriors chances off already, take the boys from across the ditch at your own peril.
Players to watch: Konrad Hurrell. Lethal with the ball in hand and an expert in breaking both the line and multiple tackles; he does however need to work on his defence a little as missed tackles could prove costly, especially when he charges out of the line.
Shaun Johnson. His movement, quick thinking and kicking game are going to be vital if the Warriors are to continue the march forward. He is one of very few players who can change the game in an instant and is very exciting to watch.
Sam Tomkins. English import that was paid big money to make the move from Wigan and is very slowly starting to show his worth. He brushes off plenty of tackles and is very often in the attacking line, look for him to step up his game in the backend of the season as he continues to adapt.
Ben Matulino. Getting Big Bad Ben back from injury in the next two weeks will help give a lot more go forward to the Warriors. His running metres this season as well as offloads and tackle busts have been huge; and who can forget crossing the chalk three weeks in a row for the first try!
It was a win that the Melbourne Storm needed and in front of 12,185 fans at AAMI Park, it was a win they received, as the Storm demolished an undermanned and outgunned Cronulla Sharks side with an easy 48-6 win.
The 42-point win was the biggest for the Storm over the Sharks, with the first half a spectacle for the Victorian side.
Scoring six tries in the opening stanza and dominating possession across the board, it was a clinical performance by the Storm and one that has them back in the winners circle.
Usually seen as a side with the big 3, another name can throw his hat into the ring to make it a big 4 – one Jesse Bromwich. His impact in making metres and breaks at will and eventually scoring a try, have seen him cement his spot as an elite prop in the game.
Although his side was firing on all cylinders in attack, it was the defence of his Storm team that impressed captain Cam Smith the most.
“I think the lesson learned last week was that you can’t go into games, score 30 and expect to win; you need to defend well,” said Smith.
“If you can’t defend well at this time of year you can’t expect to win footy games.
“If you want to defend strongly then you will defend strongly, if you don’t want to then you won’t.”
After a disappointing loss last week, the positive attitude and mentality signaled the change in their overall performance in the eyes of Smith.
“The attitude was different tonight,” said Smith.
“You could feel it in yesterday’s captain’s run and you could feel it before the game and that is where we let ourselves down last week. It was good that the boys responded well and changed it straight away.
“We are in a position now where it is getting pretty close to finalsâ€¦ From experience defence is what wins big games.
“Defence is what wins matches against good sides and we are playing three of them in our last three matches.”
As for the Sharks, it continues what has been a very tough 2014 season for the Shire-based club.
Although their fans can take some heart out of the game for the courageous way in which they fought in the second half, it perhaps may not be enough, with Sharks fans seeking victories and wins.
That was not what James Shepherd wanted, though, who admitted that his side were disappointing.
It was a poor performance for us, there is no doubt,” Shepherd said.
“On the back of what we did last week, we defended really well and that wasn’t there tonight so it was really disappointing.
“I think the first couple of tries were us but from that point, the possession they had, they are a quality team with such good a good dummy half, halfback and fullback.
If given that much possession they are capable of coming up with those points.”
The Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League (FIRFL) presented the 2013 Rugby League season competitions on Saturday 26 January.
On the occasion, FIRFL President David Massitti showed the exponential growth of our Rugby a Tredici in recent years.
“Our Federation is walking on its own feet – says David Massitti – since November 2011 in fact we started the path to recognition by CONI (Italian National Olympic Committee â€“ government agency funding recognised Italian Sport bodies). Moreover, thanks to attention toward activity that we have organised throughout Italy we can find athletes to our first international commitments, which will allow us more often to increase our opportunity to represent Italy at the international level.”
Our numbers confirm the growth rise: “We will manage to increase to 50 clubs, including Rugby Reggio of the Super 10â€™s (top flight Rugby Union), which is one of the most titled. We have more than doubled the number of our members (players), suffice to say that at the end of 2012, there were 500 members, we are now at 1500,â€ declared a satisfied Massitti.
Pierluigi Gentile, secretary general of the FIRFL presented the technical staff, which this year will rely on the professionalism of Ty Sterry, responsible for the development of rugby with the Scottish Federation and has coached top flight Italian Rugby clubs plus coaching development through (RFL) Super League clubs, the collaboration of Luciano Gorla, the physical trainer of the national team and medical director Guido Porcellini who will track the National Team.
“Guido Porcellini – says Gentile – will work with us behind the scenes, he is the most successful doctor in Italian sport. We will participate in the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) with the finals to be held in Belpasso (Catania, Sicilia).”
“Then in the period between May and July there will be the championship (r-Evolution League), which this year has been expanded to create three main groups: North, Centre and South. Among the Italian Cup and the championship activities there will be the Rugby League Internationals.”
Gentile continues: “We are very keen to the draft integrated rugby, which will take place through State Professional Institute for Industry and Crafts with Antonio Magarotto from Rome (http://www.scuolasordiroma.it/superiori/) for deaf children, which will be developed with a path of help and socialization defined through the game of rugby, sport open to all important both from the training point of view, that from an athletic view.â€
The official partnership with our new technical sponsor for the 2013 season will be with Stash Sports Wear.