Veteran centre Jennings extends Eels stay

Eels veteran centre Michael Jennings

In some of his best form in recent years, Michael Jennings will re-sign with the Parramatta Eels for two more seasons.

2021, a player option in Michael’s favour and 2022 an additional season.

Since making his debut in 2007, Jennings has achieved all there is to in the game and represented state and country.

The now veteran centre wants to stick around to help nurture and develop the next crop of kids at the Eels.

The Eels are pleased to see Jennings remain as a focal point of their side moving forward.

“I am very pleased to see Michael remain at the Eels,” said Eels General Manager of Football, Mark O’Neill.

“He is a very popular member of our squad and is currently playing some the best football of his career.

Similarly, in an off-field capacity Michael appears to be thriving with a great life balance and strong family support network.

I have no doubt that this news will be as warmly welcomed by our members and fans as it was by our players and staff.”

 

 

Bulldogs re-sign two more as Wakeham and Faitala-Mariner etch new deals

Canterbury Bulldogs back-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner

With a coach for 2021 locked in, the Canterbury Bulldogs now need the roster and have re-signed duo Brandon Wakeham and Raymond Faitala-Mariner.

Both Wakeham and Faitala-Mariner have signed new two year deals until the of 2022.

Wakeham, a Chester Hill Hornets junior, has shown some promise and emerges as a halves talent moving forward.

For Faitala-Mariner, a Kiwi international, hard work pays off as he is now a regular in the starting back-row.

The Bulldogs aim moving forward is to surround their side with quality and depth across all positions.

“As part of our focus on developing quality and depth in our playing squad, we are delighted that we have been able to keep two talented young players at Belmore for the next two seasons,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“Wakeham is a local junior who has shown the talent he has at both NRL and International level with Fiji.

“While Faitala-Mariner is the type of hard-running forward that provides us with great energy whenever he is on the field.”

Hill expects both players to be successful at the club over the next couple of seasons.

“Both players are part of a long term plan to make sure that we keep bringing quality young players through our system and continue to develop them as they form the nucleus of our squad going forward,” Hill continued.

“We are confident that both players will have a major impact for the club in the seasons ahead.”

Canterbury Bulldogs half Brandon Wakeham

Storm sink Broncos with second half blitz

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster

A second half master class from Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster led the Melbourne Storm to a 46 – 8 win over the hapless Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

A half time score line of 14-8 was a testament to a Broncos side hanging tough.

But the Broncos couldn’t contain the Storm in the second half.

The Storm were heavy favourites heading into the Round 11 match with the Broncos.

The favouritism with punters proved true when Josh Addo-Carr scored within the first 2 minutes of the game.

Josh Addo-Carr. Source: Getty Images.

A deft Cameron Smith grubber which was kicked ahead by Kenny Bromwich resulted in an early try to the Storm. Smith converted the try.

The Broncos were next to score when Thomas Dearden, Anthony Milford and Darius Boyd combined to put Herbie Farnworth over.

Staggs kicked the conversion to level the scores at 6 – 6.

The Broncos took the lead moments later when Staggs kicked the penalty goal.

Smith responded with a Storm penalty 10 minutes later.

The Storm took the lead just before half time when Jahrome Hughes took advantage from some poor defence from Jamil Hopoate to bust the line open and score under the posts.

The Melbourne side took a 14-8 lead into half time.

The Storm picked up where they left off in the second half sealing a dominant win with a six try blitz.

Kenny Bromwich scored within minutes of the halftime when a Brodie Croft error gave the Storm perfect field position after Addo-Carr kicked the loose ball ahead and ran 60 meters.

Gold Coast bound Tino Fa’asuamaleaui was next to score after running right over the top of Broncos captain Alex Glenn off a Cameron Smith pass.

Ryan Papenhuyzen then took advantage of a Munster offload to bust through three defenders and score a try that looked to put the game out of reach for a struggling Broncos side.

Cameron Munster. Source: AAP.

Hughes, Fa’asuamaleaui and Addo-Carr all scored doubles as the Storm ran away with the game.

Hughes delivered a beautiful long ball to put Papenhuyzen on the outside of the defence.

He then chased hard in support to take a brilliant inside ball to cross over untouched.

Addo-Carr was also able to cross over untouched when a wobbly long ball from Munster found him wide open on the flank.

Fa’asuamaleaui scored the final try of the game off some broken play.

The rushing Broncos defence caused the ball to go to ground.

Cameron Smith scooped it up and ran down the short side putting Fa’asuamaleaui over with an inside ball.

Another heavy defend piles more pressure on Anthony Seibold.

It was revealed earlier in the week that the club would review his performance as head coach at the end of the season.

Seibold wasn’t happy with the second half fade out but commented that there were positive signs in the first half.

“It was a really good first half and that is as good as we have been since the resumption after COVID.

“That is what makes it really disappointing how the scoreline got away from us in the second half.”

The Broncos face the Sharks in the next round while the Storm go on to play the Knights.

NRL News player of the game

3 – Cameron Munster

2 – Cameron Smith

1- Jarome Hughes

Sea Eagles Too Strong for Gallant Cowboys

The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles have prevailed 24-12 against the North Queensland Cowboys in an entertaining affair at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

Josh Hannay was given a tough challenge in his head coaching debut with his young side matching up against a much-fancied Sea Eagles lineup who are fighting for a top eight spot.

The Cowboys looked set to defy an early onslaught from Manly but Curtis Sironen crashed over after seven minutes to land the first blow of the match.

Neither side gained any clear momentum through the following twenty minutes with errors stifling the attack of both sides.

However, Manly slowly began to regain control of possession and reaped the rewards through a Danny Levi dummy-half scoot.

Jack Gosiewski looked to have further extended the lead in the following set but was denied by the Bunker.

Kyle Feldt would have no such issues at the other end of the field, rising above Jorge Taufua to score. He then slotted the sideline conversion to cut the lead to six.

It was Feldt’s tenth four pointer of the year, making it five consecutive seasons with a double-digit try tally for the Cowboys winger.

Both sides struggled to break through following the break, but Brendan Elliot was fortunate to remain on the field after a potential professional foul on Kyle Feldt.

It was Manly who struck first however, with Daly Cherry-Evans crossing for his second try in as many weeks to extend the lead to 12.

As time ticked down the Cowboys weren’t without their chances, the greatest of which came through a Daejarn Asi grubber that was inexcusably spilled by Coen Hess over the line.

When Cade Cust crossed on the following set, the result appeared to be confirmed.

Francis Molo crashed over with ten minutes to go but his efforts proved to be little more than a consolation try for the Cowboys.

The luckless North Queensland fans in attendance were treated to the sight of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in full flight, gliding his way downfield in an impressive 80-metre run.

Unfortunately, his efforts were unrewarded.

Following the match, Manly coach Des Hasler was pleased with his team’s efforts, directing praise to his side’s ability to ‘weather a couple of difficult patches’ throughout the match when the Cowboys gained momentum.

Despite the loss, Josh Hannay remained upbeat in his first press conference as head coach. He said that his team’s performance was encouraging, but just not enough to get the job done on the night.

“I’ve been harping on the need to become more consistent around the tough parts of the game… we need to make sure that the last fortnight’s effort and attitude are the standard for us for the rest of the year” Hannay stated.

With tonight’s victory Manly will sneak back into the top eight, while the Cowboys remain in twelfth position.

Both clubs will now enjoy an eight day turnaround with the Sea Eagles playing against the Panthers and the Cowboys facing off against Canberra next Saturday night.

NRL News Player of the Match:
3 Points – Cade Cust – One try and a try assist was enough for Cust to secure the player of the match honours. He’s been exceptional since taking the place of Dylan Walker and will certainly challenge for the starting role moving forward.

2 Points – Addin Fonua-Blake – His addition was somewhat controversial, but there’s no doubting that Manly are a much better side with Fonua-Blake on the pitch. He racked up 228 metres on 17 runs to go along with 33 tackles.

1 Point – Jason Taumalolo – Taumalolo put in a typically tough performance tonight, putting the team on his back for 212 metres on 22 carries in addition to 43 tackles.

Raiders strengthen back-row with signing of Harawira-Naera effective immediately

Newly signed Canberra Raiders back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera

Granted an immediate release by the Canterbury Bulldogs, the Canberra Raiders have pounced and signed back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera.

After his incident in Port Macquarie, Harawira-Naera felt like a fresh start was needed and Canberra are the beneficiaries.

Harawira-Naera joins the Bulldogs effective immediately, in addition to signing on until the end of 2022.

Once he passes all NRL Apollo protocols, Harawira-Naera will be allowed into the Raiders bubble.

Club CEO Don Furner is pleased to sign a player of Harawira-Naera’s quality.

“Corey is a very talented player who’s played representative football for New Zealand and we’re looking forward to having him join the club for the next two and half years,” Furner said.

“He will join the squad for training once he’s been cleared by the Apollo committee and then its up to the coaching staff to work out when he may play his first game for the club.”

Emerging Dragons prop Kerr signs new long-term deal

St George Illawarra Dragons prop Josh Kerr

Highly rated by St George Illawarra Dragons fans, they will see plenty more of Josh Kerr after he re-signed for a further three years.

Kerr, who has played mostly off the bench, has made quite an impact on the field and in the eyes of Dragons fans.

The new deal will see Kerr remain at the Dragons until the end of the 2023 season.

With 17 NRL games to date and two appearances for the Indigenous All-Stars, Kerr is pleased to stay with the Dragons.

“This new deal is something I’ve been working towards for a while now,” Kerr said.

“To extend my time with the Dragons for another three years is what dreams are made of.

“I’ve been at the Dragons almost four years now, and the culture that’s been built in that period has been incredible.

“To be sticking around is something special. I feel at home.”

Kerr wants to make sure he is improving every week and thanked coach Paul McGregor for the opportunities.

“I’m very grateful for everything the Dragons have done for me,” Kerr continued.

“It’s been a long and tough journey but the club, Mary (coach Paul McGregor), the coaching and performance staff have stuck by me and shown a lot of faith in me.

“I’m lucky that I have been able to start repaying them now [on the field].

“It’s time now to keep chipping away at my craft and make sure I’m getting better every week.”

Ian Millward, the Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways, believes Kerr can become a focal point of the club’s forward pack.

“Josh has real character about him off the field and we are very excited that he has made this commitment to the Dragons,” said Millward.

“All through negotiations, it was clear he wanted to remain with the club despite the interest from numerous clubs.”

Parramatta Eels outclass Wests Tigers in physical local derby clash

Parramatta Eels fullback Clint Gutherson

The Parramatta Eels continued their strong winning form over the Wests Tigers by overpowering them 26-16 in slippery conditions at Bankwest Stadium.

The Tigers record at Bankwest didn’t make for good reading with only 3 wins out of their past 9 at the Eels home ground.

With a very physical clash throughout and plenty of injuries Clint Gutherson led the way.

He again showed why he is one of the form players of the competition with a 5-star display against their fierce rivals.

The Tigers got off to a flying start with a try inside the first 2 minutes.

Luciano Leilua beat Reed Mahoney and Ryan Matterson to barge over close to the line from a great short ball by the Dally M leader Harry Grant.

Moses Mbye missed the conversion for the Tigers to take the early lead 4-0.

Soon after, the Eels bounced back in style with a try themselves.

Maika Sivo recorded his 10th try of the season to bump off Adam Doueihi to score in the corner.

The try came from a quick pass from Gutherson to Shaun Lane who produced a great cut out ball for Sivo to score.

Mitchell Moses missed his conversion attempted to keep the game all tied up at 4-all.

Not to be out done, David Nofoaluma wanted to be part of the action.

He also scored his 10th try of the season through a clever long pass by Doueihi.

Mbye converted for his team to take the score out to 10-4 in favour of the Tigers.

The Tigers extended their lead to 12-4 after a successful penalty goal due to a strip.

Eels interchange forward Andrew Davey took the line on and offloaded, finding Gutherson in support.

Gutherson threw a great ball to put Reagan Campbell-Gillard in a hole.

Campbell-Gillard who was the best forward on the field beat Doueihi to run 40 metres to score a great solo try.

Moses converted the easy conversion to bridge the gap to 12-10.

It didn’t take long for the Eels to draw level at 12-all.

From a ruck infringement penalty, Moses slotted the penalty goal to tie the game up again.

The game was left in silence 13 minutes from half-time with Michael Chee-Kam leaving the game due to a sickening head injury.

Just before half-time, Moses took it upon himself to stamp his authority on the match with a great chip and chase to score.

A great bounce saw the play maker give the Eels a 18-12 lead after converting his own try.

This score took us to half-time with plenty of wounded bodies needing a break.

The Eels started the second half like the ended the first half with Lane grounding the ball in the in-goal just inside the dead-line from a pressured Gutherson kick only 4 minutes in.

Moses missed an easy kick with his standards for the Eels to lead 22-12 with 36 minutes remaining.

Mistakes dominated the next 20 minutes until Sivo scored his 2nd try for the match.

Again it was set up by Gutherson with his 3rd try assist for the match.

A great cut out ball across the face of Michael Jennings for Sivo to dive over.

Moses did not add the extra 2 points for the Eels to extend their lead to 26-12.

With 3 minutes remaining, the score could of blown out even more in favour of the Eels.

Though Blake Ferguson was disallowed a spectacular try by a correct accidental off-side ruling by the bunker.

The Tigers got a late try with 2 minutes remaining through Tommy Talau.

Mbye created some space through some quick passes beforehand to give Talau a try through good footwork and determination to find the goal-line.

The Eels bounced back to the winners circle after their below par performance last week against the Manly Sea Eagles.

With many stars returning, they proved they were too good for a Tigers side who never stopped trying and not many troops left on the bench for a great deal of the match.

Gutherson said it was a tough win and having a crowd back made it easier for them in the last 10 minutes to secure the win.

A win is a win in slippery conditions and it is a good turn around after last week’s performance.

NRL News Player of the Game

3 – Clint Gutherson

2 – Reagan Campbell-Gillard

1 – Harry Grant

Parramatta Eels prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Bulldogs get their man as Barrett becomes the new coach

Newly appointed Canterbury Bulldogs coach Trent Barrette

The speculation lingered for an eternity but the Canterbury Bulldogs have now confirmed Trent Barrett as their new coach.

After sacking Dean Pay, the search was on for a replacement and the former Manly Sea Eagles coach in Barrett, got the nod.

Barrett joins as coach on a three-year deal from 2021.

Currently an assistant at the Penrith Panthers, Barrett thanked the Bulldogs for the opportunity.

“I’d like to thank the Canterbury-Bankstown Club for appointing me to the position of Head Coach and for giving me the opportunity to become part of the Bulldogs family,” Barrett said.

“The Club has a long and proud history of success in Rugby League and is a Club founded on strong work ethics and family values.

“I look forward to, and am excited by, the challenges ahead in terms of making this Club a serious competition force again.”

With a bevvy of coaches to choose from, the Bulldogs believe Barrett is the right man for them moving forward.

“We have acted swiftly to secure the services of Trent because we believe he is the right man to take our club forward,” said club CEO Andrew Hill.

“Having spoken to Trent on a number of occasions, we have been impressed with his vision for the future of our football team and how he will look to develop our players on and off the field.”

Good form sees Sele earn new Rabbitohs contract

South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Hame Sele

Joining the South Sydney Rabbitohs this year, Hame Sele impressed the club and they have now re-signed him until the end of 2023.

Sele, who has 29 games to his name in the NRL so far, made his debut back in 2017 for the St George Illawarra Dragons.

His versatility in the forwards is an asset the Rabbitohs have embraced and Sele says he has found a new home.

“The guys here, the players and staff, have really welcomed me and I’m honoured to be able to call the Rabbitohs home,” Sele said.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given here, going from having nothing at the end of last season to be signing on for this year and then the next three after that.”

Sele looks forward to playing in front of the Rabbitohs faithful in the future.

“We haven’t been able to play in front of many of the Members this year so I look forward to getting out in front of them in the years ahead,” Sele continued.

“I’m really proud to call myself a South Sydney Rabbitohs player.”

The feelings were the same from the club with Head of Football Mark Ellison praising Sele for his consistency in 2020.

“Hame has been a welcome addition to our pack this year and we’re really excited about extending his contract here at Souths,” Mr Ellison said.

“He has consistently been one of our best performers throughout this 2020 season.

“His attitude around the Club along with his on-field performances have earned him this contract extension.”

Bulldogs receive huge signing boost for 2021 with addition of Cotric

Newly signed Canterbury Bulldogs winger Nick Cotric

The Canterbury Bulldogs needed some backline firepower and they have found it, signing Nick Cotric from the Canberra Raiders.

With speed, size and a try-scoring knack, Cotric has signed on at the Bulldogs for three seasons from 2021.

With 37 tries so far in his 80 games, Cotric has also represented both NSW and Australia so far in his career.

On the back of the signing of Luke Thompson, the Bulldogs are confident they are headed in the right direction once more.

“Signing a player of Nick’s ability and class is a massive boost for our club moving forward and another step in strengthening our squad to lead us into the future,” said Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill.

With Luke Thompson having joined us and Nick now bringing some great strike power to our backline, I am confident that we are constructing the quality of squad that can produce the results we are looking for in the coming seasons.”

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