Storm strengthen forward stocks with signing of representative prop

Nate Myles

In need of some big boppers over the Origin period and for the remainder of the year, the Melbourne Storm have signed representative prop Nate Myles for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Joining the Storm from Manly, Myles has plenty of experience to bring to the Storm side as they look to solidify their position at the top of the ladder for the remainder of the season.

Perhaps a surprise for some in terms of a mid-season move, it is one that Myles looks forward to.

“I’ve been welcomed with open arms and I’m very excited,” said Myles.

Myles had always heard of the stature of the Storm club and what it meant to play for them and so when the opportunity arose, it was too good to pass up.

“I’ve always had that thought process of ‘I’d like to be a part of it’ and an opportunity came up to do that,” Myles continued.

“I think that the traits and what the Storm are about and hopefully I can emulate that and keep building on football.”

His previous club Manly released a short statement on Myles’ early release:

“Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have agreed to grant an early release request received from Queensland and Australian representative Test prop forward Nate Myles.

The Club recognises Nate’s significant contribution both on and off the field in providing much needed stability, being a key contributor in building a winning culture and confidence in our developing forward pack.

Nate leaves us with our best wishes for both his and his family’s future.”

Storm strengthen halves depth with re-signing of Jacks

Ryley Jacks

Slotting into the halves when injury or Origin have forced changes for the Storm, Ryley Jacks has impressed the Melbourne Storm enough to be awarded a new 1-year deal with the club.

Playing again this week in the absence of Cooper Cronk, Jacks has slotted in seamlessly and performed well for the Melbourne-based side with the club pleased at his efforts and at retaining him.

“Ryley has done everything right from the moment he walked into AAMI Park at the end of last year,” said the Storm’s Director of Football, Frank Ponissi.

“He has all traits that we value highly in our players; great work ethic, an outstanding attitude and he is passionate about constantly trying to improve himself.

“Ryley fits in really well with our playing group and we have no doubt he will continue to improve as a player with the more experience he gains in our system.”

 

Roosters release Kenny-Dowall

Shaun Kenny-Dowall

In a move that may surprise some but not others, the Sydney Roosters have opted to release Shaun Kenny-Dowall from the remainder of his contract. 

The Roosters offered a short, sharp statement on the immediate release that said:

The Sydney Roosters have today announced that Shaun Kenny-Dowall has been released from the remainder of his playing contract with immediate effect.

“Shaun has made a significant contribution to the Roosters’ on-field success across his 13 years at the Club, and for that, we thank him,” said Sydney Roosters CEO Joe Kelly.

“The Club wishes Shaun all the very best in the future,” he added.

The Club will be making no further comment on the matter.”

His future in the NRL and in rugby league remains unclear.

 

NRL Teams Rd 15

Here we are, Rd 15! The second of the shorter rounds with just four games this week due to Origin next week. Some teams desperately need wins and others will hope to get their seasons back on track but can they do it?

Without further adieu, here are the sides for Rd 15 of the NRL Telstra Premiership:

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Gold Coast Titans (#NRLsougld); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Friday, June 16. Kick-off: 7:50 pm.

Souths: 1. Cody Walker 2. Alex Johnston 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Bryson Goodwin 5. Aaron Gray 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Robbie Farah 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Tyrell Fuimaono 12. Angus Crichton 13. Sam Burgess (C).

Interchange: 14. Damien Cook 15. Kyle Turner 16. Robbie Rochow 17. Zane Musgrove 18. Braidon Burns 19. Jason Clark 20. Anthony Cherrington 22. Cameron Murray.

Coach: Michael Maguire.

Titans: 1. Will Zillman 2. Anthony Don. 3. Dale Copley 4. Konrad Hurrell 5. John Olive 6. Chris McQueen 7. Ash Taylor 8. Nathaniel Peteru 9. Pat Politoni 10. Ryan James (C) 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Joe Greenwood 13. Leivaha Pulu.

Interchange: 15. Morgan Boyle 16. Eddy Pettybourne 17. Max King 22. Paterika Vaivai 18. Ben Nakubuwai 19. Philip Sami 20. Keegan Hipgrave 22. Jamal Fogarty.

Coach: Neil Henry.


Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys (#NRLmelnql); AAMI Park, Melbourne; Saturday, June 17. Kick-off: 5:30 pm.

Storm: 1. Young Tonumaipea 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Curtis Scott 4. Tohu Harris 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cam Munster 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Jesse Bromwich (C) 9. Brandon Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane.

Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Joe Stimson 17. Dean Britt 18. Jeremy Hawkins 19. Brodie Croft 20. Vincent Leuluai 21. Jahrome Hughes.

Coach: Craig Bellamy.

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Justin O’Neill 4. Javid Bowen 5. Antonio Winterstein 6. Kyle Laybutt 7. Ray Thompson 8. John Asiata 9. Jake Granville 10. Scott Bolton 11. Kane Linnett 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Jason Taumalolo.

Interchange: 14. Ben Hampton 15. Ben Spina 16. Shaun Fensom 17. Corey Jensen 18. Braden Uele 19. Kalyn Ponga 20. Patrick Mago 21. Blake Leary.

Coach: Paul Green.


Cronulla Sharks v Wests Tigers (#NRLcrowst); Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla; Saturday, June 17. Kick-off: 7:30 pm.

Sharks: 1. Gerard Beale 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Ricky Leutele 4. Kurt Capewell 5. Edrick Lee 6. Fa’amanu Brown 7. Chad Townsend 8. Sam Tagataese 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham (C) 13. Paul Gallen.

Interchange: 14. Daniel Mortimer 15. Chris Heighington 16. Jeremy Latimore 17. Joseph Paulo 18. Kurt Dillon 19. Jesse Ramien 20. Jack Williams 21. Billy Magoulias.

Coach: Shane Flanagan.

Tigers: 1. Kevin Naiqama 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Michael Chee-Kam 4. Moses Suli 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Tim Grant 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Sauaso Sue 12. Kyle Lovett 13. Elijah Taylor (C).

Interchange: 14. Matthew Eisenhuth 15. JJ Felise 16. Esan Marsters 17. Jacob Liddle 18. Joel Edwards 19. Jack Littlejohn 20. Watson Heleta 21. Junior Tatola.

Coach: Ivan Cleary.


Parramatta Eels v St George Illawarra Dragons (#NRLparsgi); ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park; Sunday, June 18. Kick-off: 4 pm.

Eels: 1. Bevan French 2. Semi Radradra 3. Brad Takairangi 4. Clint Gutherson 5. Kirisome Auva’a 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitch Moses 8. Daniel Alvaro 9. Kaysa Pritchard 10. Tim Mannah (C) 11. Manu Ma’u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown.

Interchange: 14. Beau Scott (C) 15. Suaia Matagi 16. Kenny Edwards 17. Will Smith 18. Marata Niukore 19. Siosaia Vave 20. Michael Jennings 21. John Folau.

Coach: Brad Arthur.

Dragons: 1. Jason Nightingale 2. Nene Macdonald 3. Kurt Mann 4. Tim Lafai 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa 6. Gareth Widdop (C) 7. Josh McCrone 8. Russell Packer 9. Cam McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Joel Thompson 12. Tariq Sims 13. Jack de Belin.

Interchange: 14. Jacob Host 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Hame Sele 17. Taane Milne 18. Jai Field 19. Tyrone McCarthy 20. Blake Lawrie 21. Will Matthews.

Coach: Paul McGregor.


 

Veteran Souths utility back makes the move to Leigh

Bryson Goodwin

Players always scour for the opportunities no matter how experienced they are and go where they feel it is right for their career at the present point.

For current South Sydney Rabbitohs utility back Bryson Goodwin, that new opportunity and challenges lie with the Leigh Centurions in the Super League after he signed a 2-year deal with the club.

With 164 games to his name in the NRL to date across three clubs – the Cronulla Sharks, the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Rabbitohs – the emergence of younger players and coach Michael Maguire’s insistence to play them perhaps forced Goodwin’s hand.

With that in mind, though, Goodwin said that the decision was the best one for his family, always an important factor.

“I had a choice to stay if I wanted to but it’s just a decision that myself and the family have to make,” said the veteran utility back.

“I just sort of thought about it and I look forward to doing it – it’s something different and a new experience.

“It’s very tough, I made a lot of friends here with all the staff and players. It’ll be a very sad day but in saying that, it’s a new adventure for me and my family that we’ll be looking forward to doing.”

In the market for an experienced and versatile back-line player, Leigh coach Neil Jukes believes that Goodwin is just the perfect fit for the flourishing club.

“I have followed Bryson’s career over past years and he has been one of the most consistent performers for his team.,” said Jukes.

“He has shown that again this year and as he can play fullback, centre or wing he also has great versatility.

“Those are areas where we need to add quality and Bryson reinforced his reputation when he had a very strong game against Brisbane Broncos and their form centre James Roberts in particular.

Jukes continued to place emphasis on Goodwin’s experience and just how invaluable that will be to the side.

“Bryson brings a wealth of experience, hardness and consistency and I look forward to welcoming him and his family to Leigh Centurions,” Jukes continued.

“When I spoke to Bryson over the phone, I could immediately tell that he has the appetite to achieve things over here and he is a good fit for us, just as we are for him.”

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont also weighed in, praising both Goodwin and the club for getting the signing done.

“Bryson is a proven quality NRL player and comes with a wealth of experience of top quality games,” said Beaumont.He is a player that has played every round this term and who was offered a contract out there, so this is a quality signing for the Club and gives us some quality out wide.

“He is a player that has played every round this term and who was offered a contract out there, so this is a quality signing for the Club and gives us some quality out wide.

As for Goodwin himself, the transition to Leigh is one he is looking forward to and will be made easier with friend Mitch Brown already at the club.

“I am really looking forward to joining Leigh Centurions and competing in the Super League Competition next season,” said Goodwin.

“The club is on the way up and I look forward to being part of their journey.

“I have a close friend already playing with the club, Mitch Brown, and he only has positive things to say about the Club.”

Souths confirm signing of versatile Knights back

Dane Gagai

The Newcastle Knights confirmed a while back that he would be departing and today, the South Sydney Rabbitohs have confirmed the signing of versatile utility back, Dane Gagai.

At 26, Gagai has 124 NRL games to his name – most of which have come for the Knights – although his debut was with the Brisbane Broncos in 2011.

In good form for the Knights, Gagai has played in 5 games for Queensland and his experience is crucial for the Souths side and particularly their back-line.

“Dane is one of the best outside backs in the competition and he has played plenty of football at the elite levels of the game in a variety of positions across the backline,” Coach Maguire said.

“His ability and versatility on the field will be matched by the experience he will be able to bring to the young backs in our squad off the field, plus he has the added experience of putting in the hard work to reach State of Origin level at this stage of his career.

Gagai is talented on the field but also works with Indigenous communities in the off-field department, a trait that Souths pride themselves on given their programs and community initiatives.

“In our discussions with Dane, he’s demonstrated that he’s willing to come to our Club and work hard to bring success to the team, he’s a man of great character and has leadership qualities that he will bring to the Club too,” continued Maguire.

“He’s also very active in the Indigenous community and he will fit in well with the community programs and initiatives run by Souths Cares.

“We wish Dane the best of luck as he finishes off this season with Newcastle and we look forward to having him join our squad for the 2018 pre-season.”

An earlier Knights statement pointed out that they were disappointed but understood the decision.

“We are obviously disappointed that Dane has decided to leave the club, but we respect the decision he has made with his family,” said Knights CEO, Matt Gidley.

Fittler named as new Lebanon coach

Brad Fittler

In a tremendous boost for the Lebanese rugby league and their ambitions, they have announced that Brad Fittler as their new coach.

Fittler’s first primary task will be coaching the side at this year’s Rugby League World Cup and with a wealth of playing and coaching experience to his name, he looms as a key contributor to their success.

As someone who has been involved in developmental elements with other budding rugby league nations, Fittler is a perfect fit for the Cedars and will adopt the same approach.

“The opportunity to guide a developing nation to this year’s Rugby League World Cup was one that I’m eager to take up,” said Fittler.

“I also look forward to going to Lebanon to provide knowledge to assist them further develop their well-established local championships.”

Equally pleased – as you would expect – are the Lebanon Cedars themselves with CEO Remond Safi hailing the appointment as a positive one for Lebanese rugby league across the board.

“Brad’s appointment shows that the LRLF continues to pursue excellence of standards and is confident of competing in the World Cup behind an elite coach,” said Safi.

“The LRLF was really pleased with the calibre of candidates who applied for the role, but Brad’s ability and desire to engage with the Lebanese rugby league community, not just the national team, has been the most pleasing aspect of our discussions.

On behalf of the LRLF, I would like to welcome Brad on board and we are all really excited about working with him.”

 

Unheralded Bulldogs back-rower signs new deal

Adam Elliott

By their own admission, the Canterbury Bulldogs have struggled for consistency this season, one of a topsy-turvy nature. Despite that, though, players are committing to the club and the latest to do so is Adam Elliott.

Ignoring the overtures of rival clubs such as the Parramatta Eels and the Cronulla Sharks – if the news reports are to be believed – Elliott has put pen to paper on a new 3-year deal with the club.

A proud Country boy, the Bulldogs are a second home to the in-form back-rower who has been with the club since he was a teenager.

“I have been with the club since I was a teenager,” said Elliott.

“Canterbury has been a second home for me ever since I moved from the country.

To sign for another three years and have my future at the Bulldogs is something I am very proud of.”

Now holding down a regular starting spot, the club clearly rate Elliott as a player and they are excited to have retained him.

“We are very pleased to have secured the services of Adam for the next 3 years,” said club CEO, Raelene Castle.

“Adam has made tremendous strides this year and has secured a regular starting spot after developing through our 20s programme.

We expect to see him continue to grow his footballing ability over the term of the contract.”

Storm emerge victorious in grand final rematch

Cameron Smith

With somewhat of a rivalry now forming between the two sides, it was another entertaining clash between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm but the result was reversed in the grand final rematch.

Whilst the Sharks may have taken out the 2016 NRL premiership with success in the grand final, it was the Melbourne Storm who edged out a fast-finishing Sharks side this time around to win 18-13.

The win was made all the more impressive in the absence of Cooper Cronk and it was captain Cameron Smith who stood up and made his presence known with a commanding display.

By no means will last night’s win erase the memory of the 2016 grand final loss but it does move the Storm four points clear at the top and gives them some breathing space over a tough Origin period still to come.

It was a fast start by the Melbourne outfit as they raced to a 12-0 lead on the back of tries to Felise Kaufusi and Tim Glasby but the Sharks wrestled back some momentum and eventually gained the ascendancy.

They fought back to firstly tie the scores courtesy of two tries – just one of which was converted – a penalty goal and a field goal by James Maloney to put the Sharks ahead.

Knowing they had to score, the Storm put up a short kick-off and it paid off, as Billy Slater found back-rower Kaufusi who hit the line hard, found the gap and scored his second try of the game to seal the win for the Storm side.

There was a sour note for the Storm, however, with prop Jordan McLean suffering a possible fractured cheekbone.

Despite that, the Storm remains top and they also remain unbeaten away from home in 2017.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan had a bit to say after the game, particularly in relation to ‘referee Smith.’

“He’s the best player in his position. I watched him closely today and he managed the game perfectly,” said Flanagan.

“He got off the line early…I can complain about it as much as I want during the week, but he just does it very, very well. I wish we had a couple of them!

He’s just a good player at whether you call it flaunting the rules or push the referees or whatever it is, he’s the best at it and he showed it tonight. He had one of those games.”

Flanagan also admitted that the two early tries are probably what cost his side the game.

“We just didn’t get off the blocks tonight and they got two soft tries and in the end, that’s what probably hurt us,” Flanagan said.

“We fought our way to get back in front but then didn’t catch a kick-off and we didn’t adjust from the short kick-off – it was hard to adjust – and they scored a try. It just goes to show how close it is between the two teams.”

Player of the Game:

3. Cameron Smith

2. Felise Kaufusi

  1. Luke Lewis

Storm 18 (Felise Kaufusi 2, Tim Glasby tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) def. Sharks 13 (Luke Lewis, Sosaia Feki tries; James Maloney 2 goals; James Maloney field goal) at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Half-time: 12-6. Crowd: 7,912.

 

Cowboys prop to remain a one-club man

Scott Bolton

A rare feat in the world of rugby league nowadays is loyalty and thus remaining a one-club man. Scott Bolton will be one, however, having re-signed a new 2-year deal to stay with the North Queensland Cowboys.

Since debuting as a 19-year old in 2007, Bolton is currently in his 11th season with the club and could not be happier to continue his involvement with them.

“I’m really pleased to be able to continue on with this great club,” Bolton said.

“I’ve been fortunate to have played my whole career in my home region, and I’ve loved sharing in the success we’ve had with my teammates and our members and fans.

“To be able to do what you love while sharing it with family and friends week-in, week-out is truly special.”

The Innisfail junior is highly rated by Cowboys fans and in the absence of Matt Scott, has led the Cowboys forward pack alongside boom lock, Jason Taumalolo.

For the club, Bolton is a player that knows what it means to be a Cowboy and one that is valued and cherished at the club.

“Scott typifies what the Cowboys are about,” said General Manager – Football Peter Parr.

“Aside from being a very good footballer, he is a true team man and is someone our younger forwards turn to for advice and guidance.

“He was huge for us in our premiership year in 2015 and is this season playing what I believe is some of his best football.”

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