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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.

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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!

Jesse Bromwich

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.”

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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 finals… 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.”

Federazione Italiana Rugby Football League: 2013 Season: Growth, Expansion, & Internationals!

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 – 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 10’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,” 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.”

The official partnership with our new technical sponsor for the 2013 season will be with Stash Sports Wear.

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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.”

Ben Smith

Retirement comes at some point for all players and to be able to do it on your own terms, although hard, is the way to go and that is the decision that Parramatta Eels back-rower Ben Smith has made.

The 29-year old has opted to retire at season’s end and will not play in the NRL or overseas.

It was back in 2004 when Smith made his debut as a centre for the Eels before moving to the back-row and for the one-club man, he was proud to have played 150 games and was thankful that the Eels gave him an opportunity.

“It’s taken me a while to get there but better late than never, they say,” Smith said.

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“I’m very proud to get here. The thing I’m most proud of is I played all my football at Parramatta. I’m proud to say I was at Parramatta from start to finish. I’m happy and very grateful for the opportunity the club’s given me over many years.

“I’ll be retiring at the end of this year so to start and finish at Parramatta – I’m very grateful.”

Smith, who endured some tough years both through injury and with wooden spoons, says he prefers not to reflect on those turbulent years. Rather, he wants to focus on the good years at the club.

“Just to play first grade NRL is a massive achievement but I’m proud to say so many years later that we had some quality teams and good opportunities.”

Smith is just grateful he has come back stronger and fitter from past injuries and is honoured to have another chance to play.

“We had a couple of rough years but this year there’s a good feeling,” Smith added.

“Over the years I’ve had a fair few injuries that have kept me on the sidelines, I’ve probably played 20 games over the past three years so that’s been very frustrating for me personally. So to come out and be playing football when the team’s going well, I feel fortunate just to be a part of it.”

Welsh rugby league side decide not to compete in this year's competition

Hearing of news that a team will not be performing in a national competition due to varying factors is largely disappointing, and for Welsh side, the South Wales Hornets, they have made the decision to sit out playing this year.

With changes to both the team itself and rugby league in South Wales, it was unforeseen circumstances that brought about the decision to sit out this year, with Chairman Mark Harris confirming that they would not be in the competition.

“Unfortunately, there won’t be any Hornets this season,” he explained.

“Jane [Harris, club secretary] and I had already told Martyn before he emigrated that we wouldn’t be involved this year due to family commitments.

“We’ve kept it quiet to keep stability in the club last season and also I wanted to try and work with Wales Rugby League to try and recruit new staff.

“Before Christmas, they had someone who was potentially interested but they have now pulled out. WRL don’t have the resources to run the team themselves, so regrettably, we have to call it a day.”

With a relatively large local junior base involved with the club, the hope is that those players do not lose faith in rugby league, and are thus able to find clubs elsewhere in the region.

“Due to differing reasons, we gave over 50 players an opportunity to play rugby league in our first year,” Harris added.

“Many of those had played the sport before – either stepping up from a Conference club or from the Academy system – but there quite a few who were being introduced to rugby league by the Hornets.

“Hopefully they are not lost to the game, in the same way that the club isn’t. We have left the door ajar should a situation arise in which we could return in the near future.”

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Denny Solomona

Joining the Castleford Tigers after a stint with fellow Super League side the London Broncos, former Melbourne Storm utility Denny Solomona is after a new challenge in his career.

The two-year deal will begin from the start of the 2015 season with Solomona so far scoring 9 tries in 17 games for the Broncos outfit.

He will not be alone, though, with former Storm team-mates Junior Moors and Ben Roberts also joining Castleford in 2015 – which played a big role in his decision.

“The move came about through Daryl Powell,” said Solomona.

“He asked me what my plans were for next year, and thought it would be a good opportunity to bring me in alongside Junior Moors.

“The way the club is run attracted me. Castleford have a good fan base and they are regarded as the loudest in the competition by some, so it is good to get fans behind you when you play.

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“I spoke to Luke Dorn and he said the club was run well, so that attracted me there too. Everyone is professional and does their job, which is what you want.”

With a potent back-line, Solomona knows that working his way into the side will not be easy but he intends to work hard to earn a spot.

“I try and bring a bit of excitement to the game, and put a fancy finish on a good run play,” he added.

“I am looking forward to working with Daryl Powell, who seems a really good guy and knows what he is doing. That is what I need in this stage of my career.

“Daryl said if I am willing to work hard then there is a position open for me, which is exactly what I want. I do not want to be given the position, I want to actually earn it and train hard in the off season to claim the shirt.

“I like how Castleford play. They like to throw the footy around, but when the going gets tough, they run hard and tackle hard, which is exactly how I like to play.”

It has been hard going for the Broncos this season but excelling in adversity and performing week-in and week-out is what impressed Castleford coach Daryl Powell.

“Denny has really impressed me this season in what has been a difficult year for the Broncos,” said Powell.

“His speed and strength alongside his ability to play in a number of back line positions will make him an invaluable member of our squad over the coming seasons.”

David Williams

Whilst they will take the win any day of the week, the talking point post-game is just how badly Manly Sea Eagles back-rower hyper-extended his knee, with coach Geoff Toovey believing that the in-form Test and NSW back-rower will not be fit for next week.

In what was Manly’s sixth successive victory, there was confidence all round, as Manly held firm and defeated a spirited New Zealand Warriors side, eventually winning 27-12.

With fellow back-rower Justin Horo also out due to a calf injury picked up in training, it was the back-line who made their presence known, as David Williams and Brett Stewart got into the swing of things with three and two tries respectively.

“Choc (Watmough) will miss at least a week, but I can’t confirm that until he has scans. Justin Horo should be back next week,” Toovey said.

“I thought we played extremely well, especially in the first 20 minutes.

“We just had some execution issues. It wasn’t quite there which kept them in the match.

“I think we were 53 per cent completion. We just got over-excited at times.”

The loss for the Warriors dampens their finals ambitions and was their second on the trot but they do have support from Toovey, who believes the New Zealand side can make the finals.

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“It’s always tough for them travelling over here to Sydney and then it’s another hour and a half up the coast,” he said.

“And that’s always difficult for them. But they are a quality side and will bounce back.”

Despite the long trip for the Warriors to the venue, coach Matt Elliott knows that his side was simply outplayed and refused to make any excuses for the loss.

“We had confidence but we played a really good footy team and we have to accept they executed better than we did in attack and defence,” he said.

“It was a little bit of a lesson for us. There’s nothing to be down in the mouth about.

“We just didn’t challenge them enough with our play, perhaps we were a touch conservative.”

With a relatively easy run home and still a chance to sneak into the finals if they jag a few wins, Elliott is not about to get too carried away.

“Our job is about next week. I’m not saying we’re going to do it (make the eight) but I’m comfortable we’re capable of doing it,” he said.

3. David Williams
2. Glenn Stewart
1. Brett Stewart.

Round 19 already. The season has gone by so fast and here we are at the business end. Some teams have long-term injuries, others have remained injury free. How will the finals shape up?

Here are the teams for Rd 19:

Cronulla Sharks v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLcronql); Remondis Stadium; Friday July 18. Kick-off: 7:40pm.

Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jonathan Wright 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Jacob Gagan 6. Nu Brown 7. Jeff Robson 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham (C) 13. Anthony Tupou.

Interchange: 14. Pat Politoni 15. Siosaia Vave 17. Tinirau Arona 18. Sam Tagataese 19. Tim Robinson 20. Tupou Sopoaga.

Coach: James Shepherd.

Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Matt Wright 3. Tautau Moga 4. Kane Linnett 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Robert Lui 7. Johnathan Thurston (C) 8. Ashton Sims 9. Rory Kostjaysn 10. James Tamou 11. Tariq Sims 12. Jason Taumalolo 13. Glenn Hall.

Interchange: 14. Ray Thompson 15. Scott Bolton 17. Sam Hoare 18. John Asiata.

Coach: Paul Green.

Parramatta Eels v South Sydney Rabbitohs (#NRLparsou); Pirtek Stadium; Friday July 18. Kick-off: 7:40pm.

Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne (C) 2. Semi Radradra 3. Ryan Morgan 4. Willie Tonga 5. Vai Toutai 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Junior Paulo 9. Issac De Gois 10. Fuifui Moimoi 11. Ken Edwards 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. David Gower.

Interchange: 14. Joseph Paulo 15. Peni Terepo 16. Pauli Pauli 17. Mitch Allgood 18. Ben Smith (One to be omitted).

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Souths: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Lote Tuqiri 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Issac Luke 10. Dave Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turenr 12. Sam Burgess 13. Ben Lowe.

Interchange: 14. Luke Year 15. Joe Picker 16. Jason Clark 17. Thomas Burgess 18. Joel Reddy 19. Luke Burgess 20. Apisai Koroisau. (Three to be omitted).

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers (#NRLsydpen); Allianz Stadium; Saturday July 19. Kick-off: 3pm.

Roosters: 1. Anthony Minichiello (C) 2. Brendan Elliott 3. Nene MacDonald 4. Mitch Aubusson 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. James Maloney 7. Mitch Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Aidan Guerra.

Interchange: 14. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 15. Issac Liu 16. Dylan Napa 17. Remi Casty 18. Heath L’Estrange (One to be omitted).

Coach: Trent Robinson.

Panthers: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Jamal Idris 5. Kevin Naiqama 6. Matt Moylan 7. Jamie Soward 8. Sam McKendry 9. James Segeyaro 10. Brent Kite 11. Sika Manu 12. Elijah Taylor 13. Adam Docker.

Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown 15. Jeremy Latimore 16. Nigel Plum 17. Bryce Cartwright 18. Issah Yeo (One to be omitted).

Coach: Ivan Cleary.

Melbourne Storm v Canberra Raiders (#NRLmelcan); AAMI Park; Saturday July 19. Kick-off: 5:30pm.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Marika Koroibete 3. Will Chambers 4. Kurt Mann 5. Mahe Fonua 6. Ben Roberts 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cam Smith (C) 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe.

Interchange: 14. Tim Glasby 15. Tohu Harris 16. Junior Moors 17. Jordan McLean.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

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Raiders: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jarrad Kennedy 5. Sami Sauiluma 6. Terry Campese (C) 7. Josh McCrone 8. David Shillington 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Brett White 11. Josh Papalii 12. Joel Edwards 13. Shaun Fensom.

Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste 15. Paul Vaughan 16. Dane Tilse 17. Shannon Boyd 18. Matt Allwood (One to be omitted).

Coach: Ricky Stuart.

Brisbane Broncos v New Zealand Warriors (#NRLbriwar); Suncorp Stadium; Saturday July 19. Kick-off: 7:30pm.

Broncos: 1. Ben Barba 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges (C) 5. Dale Copley 6. Josh Hoffman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Corey Parker (C) 11. Alex Glenn 12. Corey Oates 13. Sam Thaiday.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hannant 15. Dave Hala 16. Todd Lowrie 17. Jake Granville 18. David Stagg (One to be omitted).

Coach: Anthony Griffin.

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. David Fusitua 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Dane Nielsen 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Nathan Friend 10. Suaia Matagi 11. Ben Henry 12. Simon Mannering (C) 13. Sebastien Ikahihifo.

Interchange: 14. Feleti Mateo 15. Ben Matulino 16. Agnatius Paasi 17. Thomas Leuluai 18. Jayson Bukuya (One to be omitted).

Coach: Andrew McFadden.

Newcastle Knights v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLnewgld); Hunter Stadium; Sunday July 20. Kick-off: 2pm.

Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joey Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Kurt Gidley (C) 8. Kade Snowden 9. Adam Clydsdale 10. Willie Mason 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Jeremy Smith.

Interchange: 14. Tyrone Roberts 15. Chris Houston 17. David Fa’alogo 18. Korbin Sims 19. Adam Cuthbertson (One to be omitted).

Coach: Wayne Bennett.

Titans: 1. Kevin Gordon 2. Anthony Don 3. James Roberts 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Kalifa Fai Fai Loa 6. Maurice Blair 7. Daniel Mortimer 8. Luke Bailey 9. Beau Falloon 10. Nate Myles 11. Mark Minichiello 12. Dave Taylor 13. Paul Carter.

Interchange: 14. Matt White 15. Luke Douglas 16. Tom Kingston 17. Albert Kelly 18. Mark Ioane (One to be omitted).

Coach: John Cartwright.

Wests Tigers v Canterbury Bulldogs (#NRLwstcby); ANZ Stadium; Sunday July 20. Kick-off: 3pm.

Tigers: 1. Mitch Moses 2. Keith Lulia 3. Tim Simona 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Pat Ricahrds 6. Blake Austin 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah (C) 10. Keith Galloway 11. Curtis Sironen 12. Bodene Thompson 13. Adam Blair.

Interchange: 14. Ava Seumanafagai 15. Martin Taupau 16. Dene Halatau 17. James Gavet 18. Sauaso Sue (One to be omitted).

Coach: Mick Potter.

Bulldogs: 1. Mitch Brown 2. Corey Thompson 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Krisnan Inu 6. Josh Jackson 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Sam Kasiano 9. Michael Ennis (C) 10. James Graham 11. Dale Fincuane 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood.

Interchange: 14. Reni Maitua 15. Pat O’Hanlon 16. Tim Browne 17. Lloyd Perrett 19. Drury Low 20. Damien Cook (Two to be omitted).

Coach: Des Hasler.

St George Illawarra Dragons v Manly Sea Eagles (#NRLsgiman); WIN Jubilee Oval; Monday July 21. Kick-off: 7pm.

Dragons: 1. Adam Quinlan 2. Charly Runciman 3. Josh Dugan 4. Gerard Beale 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Benji Marshall 8. Ben Creagh (C) 9. Mitch Rein 10. Mike Cooper 11. Leeson Ah Mau 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack De Belin.

Interchange: 14. Bronson Harrison 15. Shane Pumipi 16. Will Matthews 17. Jack Stockwell.

Coach: Paul McGregor.

Manly: 1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon (C) 4. Steve Matai 5. Peta Hiku 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Starling 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brenton Lawrence 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Jamie Buhrer 13. Tom Symonds.

Interchange: 14. Jesse Sene-Lefao 16. James Hasson 17. Jason King 15. Dunamis Lui.

Coach: Geoff Toovey.

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