Sunday NRL

Tigers hot, win 6 on trot
Wests Tigers 25 def Penrith Panthers 24

A controversial win today for the runaway Wests Tigers sends the 2005 NRL Premiers into 3rd spot on the NRL 2007 Points Table.

The Tigers started flat today at CUA stadium, but they warmed to the challenge as the hapless Panthers weren’t able to take advantage of the periods where they dominated. The Tigers were down 6-0 early, but it easily could have been 12-0 in their favour had some simple opportunities been taken.

The Tigers recovered and scored nice tries through Liam Fulton and Daniel Fitzhenry. The latter Fitzhenry try an absolute scortcher of a try, with the classy outside back beating 4 defenders and putting a massive step on Penrith fullback Rhys Wesser to speed around the fullback and score under the posts.

This try lifted the confidence of the Wests Tigers, and they led 25-12 with under 20 minutes to go. With the game seemingly over, the Panthers staged one of their big late combacks and go to within a point – with the controversy errupting after the Panthers declined to take a shot at goal after a late try. With the scores, 25-22 – the Panthers smartly declined the conversion shot (as the rules state it’s not mandatory) so they could quickly get back to receive a kickoff and score again. However rookie referee Jarred Maxwell incorrectly forced the Panthers to take the shot at goal and the wasted seconds ultimately ended the game for the mountain men.

The Wests Tigers have been unstoppable in the past 6 weeks and the Benji injury hasn’t hurt them at all, with the classy Liam Fulton slotting into the side and proving a match winner with 3 tries now in the past few weeks. The Tigers are lavishing in the skills and raw power of youngster Chris Lawrence and kiwi Taniela Tuiaki. The giant Tuiaki continues revelation for the Tigers, the big unit is a scary sight when he runs at the line, regularly requiring 3 opposition defenders to stop him. All this is capped off with sublime game plans from the exerienced Tim Sheens, not only do Sheens and Simmons have the blueprints – but their troops are one of the best at following instructions to the letter.

Penrith continue to lick their wounds and fans wonder what the future holds. Talk of the talented Peter Wallace heading to the Brisbane Broncos and the possibility of snaring Brent Tate continues to abound on club forums and gossip corners. New coach Matt Elliott needs to bring harmony some how and quickly, as things get worse – the public will cry out for a scape goat and this usually the coach. Elliott must be extremely frustrated with the fact that not only are Penrith troubled, but his old troops in Canberra find themselves well entrenched in the top 8 after a solid win this weekend.

Angry Penrith fans flooded 2GB and other talk back radio stations tonight, airing their frustrations to Andrew Moore, Steve Roach and Darryl Brohman on the Continuous Call team. Many of the calls related to Penrith CUA Stadium ground announcer Steve McCrae – who is under fire for critising his own team for poor performance.

Broncos belt Knights
Brisbane Broncos 71 def Newcastle Knights 6

A dynamic Broncos side today finally clicked into gear at the expense of a wounded, sick and sorry Newcastle Knights outfit. The reigning premiers, Brisbane scored 12 tries in a romp that lasted until the final minutes of the match.

Brisbane’s previous biggest NRL wins were 58-4 over North Queensland and 60-6 over North Sydney, both in 1998.

Newcastle were forced to make numerous changes to accommodate the savage losses of Origin stars Kurt Gidley (shoulder), skipper Danny Buderus (foot) and forward Steve Simpson (calf) who were all late withdrawals.

Brisbane led 25-6 at half-time. Centre Justin Hodges, winger Brent Tate and forward Tonie Carroll each scored a double in Brad Thorn’s 200th first grade game. Hunt was named man of the match.

Knight’s halfback Jarrod Mullen, whose passing game was impressive, scored the visitors only try in the 33rd minute beating Hunt and Hodges with a neat sidestep.

The win lifted Brisbane off the bottom of the NRL after the Roosters scored an upset win over the Sharks. The latest halfback experiment with Michael Ennis seemed to work well. I am sure Wayne Bennett was much more upbeat at the press conference, and maybe Brian Smith should have asked Wayne to answer his questions at the after match chat – as it seems to have worked well for old timer Bennett after last weeks arrogant showing.




Unrelated: DOTA, WoW

Raiders, Cowboys Win Friday Games

Cowboys 26 def Bulldogs 16

Tonight the Cowboys trounced the Bulldogs at Suncorp – with the audience treated to a Thurston sideshow. The Queensland halfback was in cruise mode – as he put on every trick in the book, making the Bulldogs rue their decision to turn their backs on him all those years ago.

The game was very uncontrolled early from both teams, with plenty of dropped balls and errors. The Dogs forwards tried to muscle up, but the Cowboys big men had every answer. Bluey Southern and Tronc in particular really gave the Bulldogs back the tough stuff.

As the forward battle swung the Cowboys way, Thurston was able to simply run amok and did entertain.

The Bulldogs remain in the NRL wilderness for 2007 and need to find the spark soon. Ben Roberts had a forgettable night and the outside backs aren’t a force with the dogs engine room misfiring.

Canberra 30 def St George Illawarra 6

The icey ACT was the graveyard tonight, as the sour Saints continue their horror run. The Raiders without bad boy Todd Carney (who as of today remains with the Canberra Raiders) – we served through Adrian Purtell who took a hat trick of tries home for the night.

Zilmann the Raiders custodian found his form from the early rounds and was a danger all night.

The Dragons failed to click in attack and rarely threatened the Green machine tonight in a comprehensive loss. The only positive for the Dragons right now, is Matt Cooper remains injury free and the only weapon the red vee possess.

State of Origin Game 1 2007

QLD ORIGIN REVIEW
PLAYER RATINGS
KARMICHAEL HUNT 7
Hunt was solid at the back, positioning himself perfectly to return serve on the full from the Mullen and Anasta kicks. Safe hands and some good charges.

BRENT TATE 6
Nothing spectacular from ‘Buzz Lightyear’ but Tate warmed to the challenge and kick chased well after the 55 minute mark. Will improve as series goes on.

STEVE BELL 5.5
Limited chances, not a high involvement from the Manly man. Bombed a certain try for the QLD team.

JUSTIN HODGES 6.5
Apart from the miss on Hayne before half time, Hodges defence was strong – and as QLD got more ball he proved a hard worker and carted the ball up well, beating several tacklers.

GREG INGLIS 7
Inglis played well and bagged a double. Had a top game, but can play even better. NSW Origin team need to watch him in games 2 and 3 – a possible series breaker.

DARREN LOCKYER (c) 7
Controlled things beautifully for QLD Origin. Never panicked and the kicking game from Locky and JT was first class. Always popped up in attack and defence, the Hayne cleanup try typifies Lockyers work ethic.

JOHNATHAN THURSTON 8.5
Combined surperbly with Lockyer. JT passed and kicked to perfection. Didn’t overplay his hand and topped things off with a sublime field goal to put the result beyond doubt. He will be Queensland Origins foundation for the next decade.

PETERO CIVONICEVA 7.5
The ‘Rock’ – Petero was faultless in his effort. While not totally unstoppable, the big man didn’t put a foot wrong for his QLD team.

CAMERON SMITH 8
While not frequently noticed in State of Origin Game 1 – Smith was his usual tradesman self. Smith shut down most NSW dummy half scoots and his probing raids caused headaches for NSW all night.

STEVE PRICE 9
Keeps on Keeping on. His robotic charges are still so hard for the opposition to handle. Price is a fit, hard working and smart prop – who on current form will put QLD in good stead to win the series and will surely win his Australian Kangaroo jersey back.

TONIE CARROLL 8.5
Terrorised the NSW side. From the opening whistle Carroll was like a caged lion released. Intimidation was his goal and he well and truely achieved it. Put Brett White out of commission and played a lot of minutes.

NATE MYLES 6
Not a lot of involvement, appearance will give Myles more confidence and will improve as series goes on.

DALLAS JOHNSON 7
Busy night in defence for the Maroons. Johnson never stopped tackling and had some good carries. Played well above his weight.

SHAUN BERRIGAN 6
Limited opportunities, didn’t make mistakes when given the game time.

JACOB LILLYMAN 6
Not well known, but the Cowboy was everywhere and tackled everything that moved.

NEVILLE COSTIGAN 6.5
Had some heavy contact and was a handful on the fringe for the NSW team. Didn’t see a lot of ball. Will be a factor in games 2 and 3.

ANTONIO KAUFUSI 6
Injury ruined the party for the big bopper. Showed some good signs early. 2007 is over now for the Storm star.

NSW ORIGIN REVIEW

PLAYER RATINGS

ANTHONY MINICHIELLO 8
Positional play was top notch. Carted the ball back at speed and did plenty of housework in goal – defusing sticky situations. Proved selectors right. Star.

MATT KING 5
Had a bad night in defence with some poor reads and had limited chances in attack. Will be disappointed.

JAMIE LYON 5
Wasn’t seen all night. Low involvement and had some bad misses in defence. Fell short of expectations. Tahu will press for his spot in game 2.

MATT COOPER 6.5
Nabbed the early try for the NSW team and tried to lift his side with some courageous hitups – taking the pressure off his forwards. Missing his mate Gaz.

JARRYD HAYNE 6
Hero to zero. Hayne had a good night apart from the dreadful mixup at the back. Will be so much better after the debut, a future superstar.

BRAITH ANASTA 5.5
Set up a try and looked good early on. Went missing as game went on, and didn’t execute kicking game well enough. Found Hunt on every kick.

JARROD MULLEN 5.5
Had an encouraging start, but was too much for the young kid to handle when things started to go against the Blues. Needed to demand the ball on 1 or 2 occasions. Forwards let him down in the back end.

BRENT KITE 6
Some solid charges from the knee lifter. Got driven back regularly though. Was impressive without being dynamic.

DANNY BUDERUS (c) 5.5
Was outgunned by Cameron Smith. Tried hard without effect. Will be fired up to return serve in Sydney.

BRETT WHITE 5
Talked the talk before hand, but Carroll laid him to rest with the first hitup. Broken nose hampered his night – will be interesting to see his next effort. Carroll got away with his rough stuff, so expect to see the NSW origin side flaunt the physical rules in game 2.

NATHAN HINDMARSH 6
Got the first Blues try and made some desperation saves for the Blues. Never stopped trying.

WILLIE MASON 5.5
Hamstring hampered the big man. Really needed to stand up to get the Blues back on a roll. Didn’t have a big impact and was nailed a few times on the hitup.

ANDREW RYAN 6
Bobcat had a good night, setup an early try and was extremely busy. Needed to put his hand up in the back end to lead the team forward.

LUKE BAILEY 5.5
Got a little bit of extra time with the White saga. Didn’t do enough. Lacked mongrel.

STEVE SIMPSON 6
Should have been a starter. The NSW Origin side needs his physical intimidation, he is a street brawler and needs more time.

ANTHONY TUPOU 4.5
Limited minutes, threw some silly offloads that hurt the NSW side. May lose his spot for Game 2.

KURT GIDLEY 4.5
Had a few nice runs, but injury killed off his night. Would have wanted to run riot in the back end – as opposition forwards tired.rwards tired.

NSW kicking game killed them. Forwards from NSW won the battle for 60 mins, but lacked agression in later parts. Mullen played well for the Blues, Hayne went from hero to zero – thinking it was a 40/20 kick. NSW line defence was poor, rush defence needs altering for game 2. Hindy try really wasn’t a try – so NSW could have been even worse off.
QLD played a patient game, after copping it early – The Queenslanders through Locky and JT came into play with sublime long kicks. Good dummy half service from Cam Smith setup the Steve Price try to get QLD back on a good roll. Tony Carroll was fierce all night and drove the Blues backwards – really giving good lift to his team. Should QLD pick Slater in game 2 they will be even more potent. A good close game that typified Origin contests.

Rugby League Power Rankings How is your team placed?
By The Grubber

The Grubber is NRL News’ newest team member. With years of media experience in League circles, the Grubber has all the inside contacts to know what’s happening with your club. Here is his new ‘Power Rankings’ column.

Power Rankings:

1. Melbourne: Could probably field two sides and still sit atop the table. Great depth, solid offensive execution. Will be tested this Saturday at Brookvale, but should benefit from a longer turn-around than the Sea Eagles. Power score: 9/10, Odds of cracking it for a mention in the sporting pages of the Melbourne papers by 2050: 20-1.

2. Wests Tigers: Getting it done without Marshall through opposition specific game plans and solid completion. Young forward pack have met tough challenges in recent weeks and have come through nicely. Supporters finding it increasingly hard to continue talk of “NRL conspiracy” against them. Power score: 8/10, Odds of Brett Hodgson relinquishing fullback spot for Benji upon return: 100-1.

3. Manly: Solid defence and high completion rate has set up top of the ladder position. Need to improve offensive production and execute better when opportunities present themselves. Need all the points they can get at the moment with tough 6 game road stretch at end of season. Power score: 8/10, Odds of Laurie Daley being able to correctly pronounce “Nick Bradley-Qualilawa” during game commentary 30-1.

4. Cronulla: Mobile pack with outstanding back row and reliable, if not brilliant, half combination. Completion was outstanding against weakened Dogs. Kimmorley’s manager desperate to talk up price with ludicrous suggestions that other clubs are interested in signing him. Power score: 7/10, Odds of Sharks supporter being seen at away fixture: 100-1.

5. New Zealand: Play well in patches but consistently let themselves down at crucial stages. Will probably struggle for consistency for most of season. Teflon keen to reopen sponsorship discussions with Manu Vatuvei after talks stalled during ’06 Tri-Nations series. Power score: 7/10, Odds that local “NZ Sky” commentators would be employed by any other media organisation: 1000-1.

6. North Queensland: May lose premiership points for mistakenly fielding Queensland Cup team in NRL fixture vs. Parramatta. Club has vowed to check kick-off times more carefully in future. Power score: 7/10, Odds that Cowboys could win a game without Thurston 25-1.

7. Parramatta: Continue to rack up big scores against mediocre opposition. Smith and Finch may be beginning to settle down behind underrated forward pack. A great effort given that heart and soul of the club, Nathan Hindmarsh was missing. Power score: 7/10, Odds of Luke Burt being asked to endorse shoulder pads: 500-1.

8. Canterbury: Poor effort without stars. On the positive, SBW has finally begun to stand up when needed. Will struggle during Origin series but will surely improve when representative players return. Power score: 6.5/10, Progress report on number of chants Canterbury supporters have stolen off the Barmy Army so far this year: 1 (“We are the army, the Bulldog Army”).

9. Newcastle: A chance every week with Gidley’s current form. Mullen will no doubt come back to them an improved player no matter how badly he tanks the Blues in Origin. Power score: 6.5/10, Percentage of NSW selectors who mistakenly believed they were selecting former Newcastle #7 Andrew Johns for Origin: 75%.

10. South Sydney: Enjoyed much needed BYE with extensive Origin commitments. Supporters will hope that current slump is only temporary and not a hangover from losing culture. Well poised to pick up victories during the next couple of months. Power score: 6/10, Odds of John Sattler and George Piggins being seen enjoying the carvery at Souths Leagues: 60-1.

11. Penrith: Lean forward pack who may be beginning to turn the corner. Will battle without Gower though. Matt Elliot must find a way to improve completion rate and discipline or may soon find himself under pressure. Power score: 6/10, Number of pre-emptive warnings from Panthers director Greg Alexander to Craig Gower regarding the consequences of speeding from Police: 5.

12. Brisbane: Seem to be suffering the premier’s curse this year. Tough to gauge their true form during Origin period, however young players stood up well against Sea Eagles. Power score: 5/10, Number of words used per answer by Wayne Bennett during press conference: 1.

13. Gold Coast: Seem to have trouble winning away and now missing Preston Campbell like a fat kid misses cake. Power score: 5/10, Odds of newspapers dragging out “Remember the Titans” headline when losing streak is eventually broken: 2-1.

14. St George-Illawarra: Improving marginally week to week as rookies gain valuable NRL experience. Head may be returning to decent form and will be a crucial part of a rebuilding effort to try and salvage the season. Power score: 4.5/10, Number of weeks before Dragons board announce they have “full confidence in Nathan Brown”: 5.

15. Canberra: Just a young squad struggling to find their feet. Todd Carney may yet reinvent himself as race car driving instructor to Australian Idol Dean Geyer. Power score: 4/10, Odds of Canberra major sponsor CFMEU preventing Carney from switching careers without appropriate Race car Drivers Union membership: 13-1.

16. Roosters: Have now written off season by conceding that this year is a “rebuilding” one. Struggling for go-forward with senior citizens in front row. A tough ask to lose 4 players when propping up the ladder. Power score: 3/10, Odds of a second Roosters player bagging a Miss Universe contestant: 800-1.

And…some quick “around the grounds”:

1. Warren Smith: Who else read Warren Smith’s whine (he calls it a rant) in Big League last week? Just when I thought Smith’s op-ed pieces couldn’t get any less relevant, he chose to spend this week’s 300 words on the “success” of the Melbourne Storm. Specifically, a slap to the face of anyone who happens to disagree with, to put it bluntly, the existence of the Storm. Now we all know that Warren Smith is News Corp’s cabana boy, but isn’t even he stretching it a little far to suggest that the on-field performance (and modest growth in crowd figures) is somehow the final word on whether a team should exist in Victoria? OK, so Melbourne may be a great football team (and one that has certainly been consistent for a extended period of time), but wouldn’t we expect that?! I mean, this is an organisation which is effectively been financially underwritten by News Ltd. You’d think that they’d be able to construct a good football side considering that they don’t have the financial concerns and stresses of pretty much every side in Sydney. As for the crowds, I can’t say I’m that impressed with what they’ve achieved. We’re talking about the most solid (and at times exciting) side of the last five years. You’d be deeply concerned if they couldn’t draw the 15,000 they tend to get given the promotion the game has had in Melbourne in the last 18 months AND the fact that they have now been in the NRL for 9 seasons. I’m not calling for the demise of the Storm, but let’s put their “success” in perspective. Even Warren Smith should be prepared to admit that Melbourne exists solely as part of the Bigger Picture Ideology being pursued by the NRL and its boss News Ltd.

2. The Footy Show: I used to love the Footy Show like Phil Gould loves a Sharks loss. But now? Spare me from that drivel they serve up on a Thursday night. Why do I feel when I’m watching it that I’m sitting in the dressing sheds after a Newcastle Knights game circa 1997? Could it be because this program has become completely dominated by the Red and Blue? The Merewether Mafia have even found a way to work in Andrew Johns. Andrew Johns?! A man who has all the onscreen personality of a goal post. He even made Brett Kimmorley look like Rodney Dangerfield. Is anyone out there seriously prepared to argue that just throwing on an old tape of a game from say 1987, would rate any worse than the Footy Show? A lot of supporters would love to relive the old days of the 5 metre rule, no blood bin and a world without “The Chief”, “Matty” and “Barge-arse”.

3. Eric Growthe: Give us some respect Eric. Just a slight nod to our collective intelligence. The cellular telephony age has been with us long enough now that most of us know the difference between when a mobile phone is switched off and when it is “out of range”. Yours was clearly switched off. Can’t say I’m really that upset with you though. I know how the conversation would have gone with Denis Fitzgerald. “Listen Eric, I know Jamie is your mate, and you just wanted to help him out, but when it comes to the hearing, just switch your phone off son. We don’t help Manly, alright?”

Yours in league,
The Grubber.

State of Origin 2007 Preview

Ok, it’s the eve of Origin and NRL News takes a look at who will win the war and how it will be won.

Queensland have obviously lost some raw power in Carl Webb. The big battle axe has lost the battle with his hamstring injury and won’t be in the line-up. The halves are where Queensland will be so strong – Lockyer and Thurston holding the aces in this game.

A lot of talk has centered around Jarrod Mullen and his ability to cope with the pressure. I think Mullen will be assisted by a NSW forward pack intent on laying plenty of foundation. To combat the Queensland halves, the NSW forwards must get tough and bash the Maroons back.

Queensland will really need to win the wrestle at the ruck, losing this battle will make things harder for their talent on the fringes. Queensland have done well to put the focus on Mullen – but really there is some pressure on the Queensland pack – with NSW boasting a lot of the Australian forwards.

The bench is also an interesting situation. The NSW Blues have Gidley, Bailey, Tupou and Simpson ready to rock and roll. With Kurt Gidley in top form and playing a roving role or style can be expected.

Queensland have some impact men in Neville Costigan and Jacob Lillyman but Nate Myles.and Shaun Berrigan are only finding their best form in current NRL ranks. The big force for Queensland will be Justin Hodges. The agressive former Rooster always lifts for the big occasions and Justin Hodges loves to talk it up and act the goat Anthony Mundine style – after putting his Origin disasters of yesteryear behind him – he is a key man.

Paul Simpkins plays an interesting role – as he has let things flow in 2007, unlike colleagues such as Steve ‘The Terminator’ Clark.

Simpkins’ flowing style could suit the speed game of Lockyer and Thurston – but once again if the forward battle is lost, this speed game is nullified.

With Suncorp Stadium or the Cauldron as it is known as the venue for Game 1, State of Origin 2007 – the support will be fierece and Queensland are favorites in the eyes of NRL News.

So take care at the Caxton Hotel before the big game – and good luck to both sides in the big one!

NRL Team Line Ups Round 11 Named

Many teams have named their Origin stars to backup after a fierce Origin encounter. The fatigue and injuries of these players will play a part in determining how your team will fare. Expect big things from the stars that don’t play in Origin, guys like Sonny Bill Williams for the Bulldogs, Matt Bowen for the Cowboys, Ben Hornby Saints, Matt Orford for Manly, Billy Slater Storm, Brett Kimmorley for the Sharks, Craig Fitzgibbon for the Roosters (well overdue for a big one), Scott Prince for the Titans, Corey Parker for the Broncos, Craig Gower Penrith, Brett Hodgson for the Tigers and Eric Grothe for the Eels. All these players will be disappointed the spotlight isn’t on them – and will put in big games to show their wares. Bring on Round 11 of the NRL !

ALL the teamsheets for round 11 of the NRL premiership (all times AEST):

FRIDAY
BULLDOGS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS at Suncorp Stadium, 7.30pm
BULLDOGS: Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Daryl Millard, Willie Tonga, Andrew Emelio, Ben Roberts, Brent Sherwin, Chris Armit, Corey Hughes, Willie Mason, Sonny Bill Williams, Andrew Ryan (captain) , Reni Maitua. Interchange: Adam Perry, Lee Te Maari, Kane Cleal, Jarrad Hickey, Nick Kouparitsas, Mark O’Meley (two to be omitted).
COWBOYS: Matt Bowen, Brenton Bowen, Scott Minto, Paul Bowman, Ty Williams, Jason Smith, Johnathan Thurston (captain), Shane Tronc, Aaron Payne, Ray Cashmere, Steve Southern, Jacob Lillyman, Sione Faumuina. Interchange: David Faiumu, Scott Bolton, Sam Faust, Ben Vaeau, Jackson Nicolau, John Frith, Rod Jensen (three to be omitted).
Referee: Tony Archer

CANBERRA RAIDERS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS at Canberra Stadium, 7.30pm
RAIDERS: William Zillman, David Milne, Marshall Chalk, Adrian Purtell, Bronx Goodwin, Terry Campese, Michael Dobson, Scott Logan, Lincoln Withers, Dane Tilse, Neville Costigan, Glen Turner, Alan Tongue (captain). Interchange: Josh Miller, Troy Thompson, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Michael Weyman, Trevor Thurling, Ben Jones (two to be omitted).
DRAGONS: Ben Hornby (captain), Jason Nightingale, Keith Lulia, Matt Cooper, Josh Morris, Dean Young, Mathew Head, Justin Poore, Simon Woolford, Jason Ryles (captain), Ashton Sims, Beau Scott, Ben Creagh. Interchange: Adam Peek, Danny Wicks, Corey Payne, Ben Ellis, Sam Isemonger, Dan Hunt (two to be omitted).
Referee: Steve Clark

SATURDAY
MANLY SEA EAGLES v MELBOURNE STORM at Brookvale Oval, 5.30pm
SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Steve Bell, Steve Matai, Chris Hicks, Jamie Lyon, Matt Orford (captain), Jason King, Michael Monaghan, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Luke Williamson. Interchange: Travis Burns, Glenn Hall, George Rose, Mark Bryant.
STORM: Billy Slater, Steve Turner, Matt King, Anthony Quinn, Matt Geyer, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, Brett White, Cameron Smith, Ben Cross, Antonio Kaufusi, Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Jeff Lima, Ian Donnelly, Jeremy Smith, Israel Folau, James Aubusson (one to be omitted).
Referee: Shayne Hayne

THE SHARKS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS at Toyota Park, 7.30pm
SHARKS: Brett Kearney, Misi Taulapapa, Ben Pomeroy, Fraser Anderson, Luke Covell, Adam Dykes, Brett Kimmorley (captain), Ben Ross, Kevin Kingston, Craig Stapleton, Paul Gallen, Lance Thompson Greg Bird. Interchange: Luke Douglas, Phil Leuluai, Reece Williams Isaac De Gois.
ROOSTERS: Amos Roberts, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sam Perrett, Joel Monaghan, John Williams, Setaimata Sa, Mitchell Pearce, David Shillington, Craig Wing, Danny Nutley, Shane Shackleton, Craig Fitzgibbon (captain), Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Mickey Paea, Lopini Paea, Nigel Plum, Mitchell Aubusson.
Referee: Sean Hampstead

GOLD GOAST TITANS v SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS at Carrara Stadium, 7.30pm
TITANS: Richie Mathers, Matt Petersen, Mat Rogers, Brett Delaney, Smith Samau, Matt Hilder, Scott Prince (captain), Luke Bailey, Nathan Friend, James Stosic, Anthony Laffranchi, Mark Minichello, Luke Swain. Interchange: Kris Kahler, Michael Hodgson, Gavin Cooper, Josh Lewis.
RABBITOHS: Reece Simmonds, Nathan Merritt, Nigel Vagana, Shannon Hegarty, Paul Mellor, Jeremy Smith, Joe Williams, Peter Cusack (captain), Daniel Irvine, Roy Asotasi (capt), Luke Stuart, David Faalogo, Dean Widders. Interchange: Shane Rigon, Joe Galuvao, Manase Manuokafoa, Jaiman Lowe, Scott Geddes (one to be omitted).
Referee: Tony De Las Heras

SUNDAY
BRISBANE BRONCOS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS at Suncorp Stadium, 2pm
BRONCOS: Karmichael Hunt, Steve Michaels, David Stagg, Justin Hodges, Darius Boyd, Darren Lockyer (captain), Shane Perry, Dane Carlaw, Shaun Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, Tonie Carroll, Brad Thorn, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Joel Moon, Ben Hannant, Mick Ennis, Corey Parker, Denan Kemp, Brent Tate (two to be omitted).
KNIGHTS: Kurt Gidley, James McManus, Adam MacDougall, Brad Tighe, Stephen Gordon, Marvin Karawana, Jarrod Mullen, Josh Perry, Danny Buderus, Clint Newton, Steve Simpson, Mark Taufua, Kirk Reynoldson. Interchange: Michael Young, Cory Paterson, Kade Snowden, Adam Woolnough, Daniel Tolar, Riley Brown (two to be omitted).
Referee: Ben Cummins

PENRITH PANTHERS v WESTS TIGERS at CUA Stadium, 3pm
PANTHERS: Rhys Wesser, Michael Gordon, Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Nick Youngquest, Peter Wallace, Craig Gower (captain), Joel Clinton, Luke Priddis, Brendan Worth, Frank Pritchard, Tony Puletua, Nathan Smith. Interchange: Frank Puletua, Junior Moors, Tim Grant, Paul Aiton, Geoff Daniela (one to be omitted).
TIGERS: Brett Hodgson (captain), Daniel Fitzhenry, Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Taniela Tuiaki,Liam Fulton, John Morris, Todd Payten, Robbie Farah, Bryce Gibbs, Ben Galea, Chris Heighington, Dene Halatau. Interchange: Chris Lawrence, Ben Te’o, Bronson Harrison, Jarrod Saffy.
Referee: Jared Maxwell

MONDAY
PARRAMATTA EELS v NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS at Parramatta Stadium, 7pm
EELS: Luke Burt, Jarryd Hayne, Ben Smith, Timana Tahu, Eric Grothe, Brett Finch, Tim Smith, Nathan Cayless (captain), PJ Marsh, Aaron Cannings, Nathan Hindmarsh, Feleti Mateo, Daniel Wagon. Interchange: Mark Riddell, Josh Cordoba, Chad Robinson, Fuifui Moimoi.
WARRIORS: Wade McKinnon, Patrick Ah Van, Tony Martin, Simon Mannering, Manu Vatuvei, Jerome Ropati, Michael Witt, Ruben Wiki (vice-captain), Nathan Fien, Steve Price (captain), Louis Anderson, Logan Swann, Micheal Luck. Interchange: Lance Hohaia, Wairangi Koopu, Epalahame Lauaki, Sam Rapira, Evarn Tuimavave (one to be omitted).
Referee: Paul Simpkins

Non Relevant: ARU Information, OzPortal, HeyLink!, LazyHints

Broncos Press Conference after Manly Loss (Click Play to Watch Video)

Boring Bennett, after Manly beat brave Broncos
Manly 18 def Broncos 6
John Chelsea

A boring, non-compliant and rude Wayne Bennett capped off another loss for the struggling Brisbane Broncos tonight – as he rode out his duties at the post game press conference in an amazingly unprofessional manner.

I am reasonably new to media circles, and while I’m sure coaches experience frustration and bad publicity on occasion – that’s no excuse for the way Wayne Bennett acted in the press conference tonight. Bennett gave one word answers, displayed ignorance and extreme arrogance! Watch the video attached and decide for yourself. David Gallop needs to have words with Broncos management and Bennett needs to be told in no uncertain terms – get your head out of the past and help move the game forward into the future. With a pay TV audience of possibly a hundred thousand watching, this footage is downright embarrassing for the NRL.

Now, on to the football – Manly remain on top of the NRL Ladder after Round 10 with tonights win over the Broncos, continuing to be equal with the Melbourne Storm as the top two teams meet next week in what should be a blockbuster.

Manly started with a flurry – plenty of early possession and 2nd man players saw 2 tries inside 10 minutes. The Manly forwards were impressive in the absence of Brent Kite, with Anthony Watmough having a blinder. Watmough was almost untouchable as he carted the ball up, skittling the young Broncos regularly and finishing the night with a strong effort, rising from a poor uncompleted tackle and beating 3 more defenders to the line.

I thought Orford was good tonight without being brilliant. While he did play a part in the Manly tries – his timing wasn’t there, and his passing was very average. Monaghan started at hooker and had minimal game time tonight – Des Hasler may be resting the star for next weeks big game, where Manly must backup on a short turn around for Saturday night.

Manly outside back replacement Nick Bradley had a busy and impressive night, scoring a double and having a faultless night pretty much. Des Hasler will be happy to know he has some depth with Nick Bradley in reserves.

The Broncos really did put in a good showing considering their Origin and injured stars weren’t there. Having something like 35% possession in the first 30 minutes really made things hard from the outset, but to their credit they hung in there and scrambled well in defence. The Broncos played very conservative for most of the game, at one stage having completed 24 of 24 sets – a rarity in modern day NRL. Last tackle options, discipline and inexperience proving the only missing ingredients.

The Brisbane Broncos will be excited about new prospect, Denan Kemp – with the youngster playing fullback tonight after only 3 years in the game of Rugby League. Denan Kemp was plucked from Soccer circles several years ago and hasn’t looked back. Debuting tonight at 20 years old – he made is impact at the 53m mark – Kemp took a Manly kick on the full from 25 metres out and ran the length of the field through 3 defenders and blistering speed to score an exciting try.

Our NRL ladder and points table is updated tonight, so be sure and check it. The link can be accessed at any time – simply scroll down and access our menu on the right hand side of the page. We have placed a link to the ladder here also: http://nrlnews1.blogspot.com

Todd Carney police pursuit, Canberra ACT

Behave? Can he or Carney?
Adam Sutcliffe

Well we’re at it again. Todd Carney ‘The Hot Pursuit’ saga. Only 5 months ago the talented Canberra Raiders half was charged with doing burnouts in his car and being under the influence of alcohol while doing so.

Well he is obviously a car buff, because the Canberra kid was at it again – this time behind the wheel of teammate Steve Irwin’s Ute. Carney was apparently driving Irwin home, as Irwin had consumed a few drinks and didn’t want to risk driving.

During the trip, Police have attempted to pull the pair over for one reason or another – and Carney has panicked and hit the gas. Naturally the police have engaged in a pursuit and as they closed in on Carney and cornered the vehicle – he has taken off on foot, leaving Irwin to do the talking.

The Canberra half showed all his speed and successfully outran the Police, pretty hard to expect the Police to keep up with a first grade footballer. The next day Carney turned himself in to the Canberra police and was ready to face the music.

Lets get serious for a moment here. Ok, so the kid is young and is entitled to make mistakes – but why, regardless of circumstances would he get behind the wheel when he only 5 months ago was banned from driving for 5 years? It is so inconceivable that someone could be so stupid, let alone someone in the public spotlight who would easily be recognised in traffic. Any number of people sitting in Canberra traffic could have looked out their window and seen Carney sitting at the lights!

Well it’s hurt the kid big time now. We await the decision of Canberra officials as to whether they keep the talented star in the Canberra Raider ranks. Carney’s mum today sent a letter and contacted Raiders management to plea for leniency. Does he deserve it? We’d like to hear your view.

One things for sure, if it was a nuff nuff player – the Raiders would bone him for sure. However, it’s their future star here and kicking him out will hurt the player and the club. Can the Raiders handle the bad publicity either way?

nrl news on sunday – rugby league wrap up

Sharks turn corner in Dog win
Cronulla Sharks 30 def Bulldogs 20

The growing force that is the Cronulla Sharks surged on yesterday, accounting for a disjointed Dogs outfit at Telstra Stadium. The Sharks looked like running away with this one – but some expansive play and chancing of arm from the Dogs, saw them get a sniff towards the end.

The Sharks started Dykes and Kimmorley in the halves, and the much maligned pairing seemed to produce the goods. Regularly playing on opposite sides of the ruck, the elder statesmen of the NRL ran some nice plays and kept the Dogs guessing as to which side the Sharks would attack.

Big games from Greg Bird and Paul Gallen really lifted the Sharks – both these guys were impossible to tackle throughout the game. Bird has really come on this year, he has stepped up a class and troubles most opposition with his gusty and robust style. Gallen was much the same, the stocky backrower was like a runaway train at times, his final try typifying this guys style. Beating 4 defenders from 5 metres out, fending Sherwin twice and scoring a try which was really the impossible.

As with any NRL team, back to back wins promote confidence, and with every win the Sharks get they seem to be growing more than most. Their new fullback ‘Hows your Pappa?’ was stunning against the Dogs – defusing several bombs and always getting back into the field of play during sorties of attack from the Dogs. He ran with purpose and played with experience well beyond his years.

Ok, so the Bulldogs were without Willie Mason, Shrek O’Meley and Andrew Ryan – but it’s probably the most disjointed I have seen the Belmore outfit in some years. The experiment with Holdsworth in the forwards and Brent Sherwin and Ben Roberts in the halves didn’t set the world on fire. Roberts showed some good skill and evasion throughout the game, as did Holdsworth in the forwards – but Shifty Sherwin will do something brilliant then follow it up with a poor play – heaping pressure on himself and his team.

Big Jarrad Hickey had some strong touches and was hard to contain, the big bopper getting over for a late try to make the game a close one. Jon Green the rookie forward also had a nice save close to his try line – but the big units have monster shoes to fill and aren’t of the same calibre of the regular Dogs hardmen.

The Sharks forwards seemed to have really come of age, Luke Douglas looks to be the next big thing – strong, fit and able to offload and Reece Williams was lethal in defence for the Sharkies with some venomous hits.

It was a good game of football to watch this one, and as we approach Round 11 – Ricky Stuart must be complimented, as he was sacked last year from the Roosters – he is recruited into the Shire and gets their below par team to perform, locking them into the Top 8 and looking at the Roosters now – equal last in 2007 – the problem obviously wasn’t Ricky!

Wests Tigers Machine Rolls over Warriors
Wests Tigers 30 def Warriors 26

The juggernaut that is the wests Tigers continues to roll on and they held off a late finishing Warriors outfit to record their 5th win in succession.
The Tigers were helped by Wade McKinnon who had an usually off day and also by Steve Clark ‘The Terminator’ who true to his name was hardened in his resolve to police the game. Clark sent Anderson to the bin for 10 and in that period the Tigers capitalised to jump away on the scoreboard.

Good games for Payten, who was praised in depth by coach Sheens and new buy Morris continues to get better every week in his new role. It seems the Tigers are not missing Benji at all – as Liam Fulton is relishing the role at pivot, proving a star for the Tigers for most of this match.

The Tigers were actually outscored five tries to four by the Warriors but got home on the strength of Brett Hodgson’s boot, the full-back landing three conversions and four penalty goals compared to three of five conversions for Warriors centre Tony Martin.

The two sides went into half-time with scores locked at 12-12 but the Tigers scored two tries in 10 minutes after the break to shoot ahead 24-12 in the 50th minute.

John Morris scored his second try of the season in the 43rd minute, before flying winger Chris Lawrence finished off a 70-metre effort started by Taniela Tuiaki in the 49th minute.

But the Warriors hit back with a try to centre Simon Mannering on 57 minutes and clawed back to trail 26-22 with winger Patrick Ah Van’s try 15 minutes from time.

Hodgson then landed two crucial penalty goals in the final 10 minutes to keep the home side at bay, despite a late try to Lance Hohaia.

The Warriors have now slumped to three losses in a row after beginning the season with four wins from their first seven games.

In the opening stanza a late try to interchange player Ben Te’o drew the Tigers level 12-12 at half-time.

In a controversial finish to the opening half, Te’o crossed from close range on the right side, taking advantage of a Warriors outfit reduced to 12 men after Louis Anderson was sin-binned by Steve Clark in the 37th minute.

The visitors got off to a strong start, leading 8-0 after just 12 minutes following a converted try to Liam Fulton and a Brett Hodgson penalty goal.

But the Warriors went ahead by four points after tries to Manu Vatuvei (16th minute) and Jerome Ropati (29th minute).

Tigers 30 (L Fulton, B Te’o, J Morris, C Lawrence tries; B Hodgon 3 conversions, four penalties)
Warriors 26 (M Vatuvei, J Ropati, S Mannering, P Ah Van, L Hohaia tries; T Martin 3 conversions)

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