NRL Super Saturday Results

Knights Outslug Roosters
Knights 22 def Roosters 18

Newcastle put a horror week behind them with an upset 22-18 win over Sydney Roosters in tonight’s round 12 NRL fixture at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.

After being thumped 71-6 by the Broncos last Sunday, the Knights then endured a tumultuous week with club veteran Clint Newton departing for Melbourne in acrimonious circumstances and Adam Woolnough announcing he would leave at season’s end.

Brian Smith’s side headed into the match as rank outsiders and after conceding the first try of the match after just three minutes their backs were firmly to the wall.

But they hit back with the next two tries to lead 10-6 at half-time and scored the last 12 points of the match to seal a brave win.

New South Wales full-back Anthony Minichiello posted the first points of the match after he chased down a Mitchell Pearce grubber kick close to the line for an early 6-0 lead.

But Newcastle hit back with a try to winger James McManus in the 16th minute. McManus was put in space on the right wing and beat two Roosters defenders to touch down.

The Knights then hit the lead with three minutes left in the half, with second rower Cory Paterson spectacularly outleaping Amos Roberts to bring down a bomb from debutant half-back Luke Walsh on the left wing.

Braith Anasta finished off a brilliant team try in the 48th minute to put the Roosters back in front, fielding a chip ahead from Roberts who had sprinted 50 metres down the sideline after good ball movement on the right side.

Pearce then plucked an intercept from a Walsh pass and raced 80 metres to score his first try in the NRL for a 16-10 lead in the 53rd minute.

After a penalty goal from Craig Fitzgibbon, the Knights got to within two points with a four-pointer to Brad Tighe and took the winning lead in the 70th minute when full-back Nathan Hinton crossed under the sticks thanks to a neat offload from Woolnough 20 metres out.

Cowboys pushed all the way
Cowboys 26 def Sharks 24

A miraculous try to winger Ty Williams gave North Queensland a last-gasp 26-24 win over Cronulla in a see-sawing round 12 NRL battle at Dairy Farmers Stadium in Townsville tonight.

With the Cowboys trailing 24-20 with just three minutes on the clock, Williams, who missed the early part of the season through injury, touched down in the 78th minute to hand his side an unlikely win in front of a jubilant home crowd.

In tonight’s other fixture at Olympic Park in Melbourne, the Storm scored four tries to two in a 26-10 win over the Rabbitohs.

In Townsville, the Cowboys went 90 metres to score the match-winning try, which came when a Jason Smith chip deflected off Sharks full-back Misi Taulapapa and was picked up brilliantly by a flying Williams and placed down under the posts. Johnathan Thurston then slotted the straightforward conversion to seal the win.

North Queensland scored the opening three tries of the match and led 16-6 at half-time, but the visitors gained the ascendancy early in the second stanza when tries to Isaac De Gois (50th minute) and Greg Bird (53rd minute) gave them an 18-16 lead.

When Bird posted his second for the match in the 57th minute, the Sharks were out by eight points and looked to have all the momentum going into the final quarter.

But Williams scored his first try of the match with 15 minutes left on the clock to draw the Cowboys to within four points, veteran pivot Jason Smith providing a brilliant cut-out ball close to the line to put his winger over.

Both sides had half-chances in the ensuing 10 minutes, but it was Williams’ opportunist try that eventually sealed the game for the Cowboys and lifted them to third on the competition ladder.

To add insult to injury for the Sharks, centre Fraser Anderson left the field in the second half with a suspected dislocated shoulder.

Melbourne Storm inflict more pain on South Sydney
Storm 26 def South Sydney 10

The Storm tonight jumped back to the top of the NRL table with a hard fought 26-10 win over a desperate South Sydney at Olympic Park on Saturday night.

Souths have now lost 5 games in a horror stretch for the club; who only weeks ago was promising so much.

The home side opened the scoring in the 12th minute through a bizarre try to renegade winger Steve Turner. With television replays suggesting some doubt as to whether Turner grounded the ball legally, Video referee Pat Reynolds needed nine replays to determine that the diminutive winger had cleanly grounded the ball. Storm skipper booted a majestic sideline conversion to put the premiership favourite ahead 6-0.

Turner was denied a second try just six minutes later, with Reynolds this time ruling that Storm centre Matt King had obstructed opposition centre Nigel Vagana in the lead up.

Souths replied through a dubious try to Dean Widders in the 23rd minute, with replays suggesting that Jeremy Smith’s pass to Widders was marginally forward. Rabbitohs winger Nathan Merritt duly converted to level the scores at 6 all after 25 minutes.

Melbourne started to dominate both field position and possession in the closing stages of an exciting first half, but to their merit, the Rabbitohs defence held strong.

King had a chance to extend the home sides lead right on the stroke of halftime, but the lanky Origin centre failed to hold onto a Matt Geyer cross field bomb, leaving the scores tied at 6 all at the break.

The Storm extended their lead in the 43rd minute, with a simple backline movement allowing King to cross unopposed. Another booming sideline conversion from Smith edged Melbourne out to a 12-6 lead.

A 50/50 penalty against rookie Souths centre Fetuli Talanoa for an incorrect paly the ball saw Smith kick his third goal of the night to extend their lead to 14-6 after 55 minutes.

The Storm looked home and hosed when makeshift five-eighth Geyer jinxed his way over the line in the 62nd minute, with another Smith conversion handing the home side an unassailable 20-6 advantage.

However, Souths weren’t done for the night, with a 70th minute try to Shannon Hegarty getting the visitors to within six points with ten left on the clock.

But Melbourne whiz kid Greg Inglis sealed the 16 point victory with a now customary freakish try in the final minute, with the dynamic Maroons winger flying high above the pack to ground the ball in sensational fashion. Smith completed a perfect night with the boot with his fifth goal of the night, keeping the Storm’s perfect record against Souths at Olympic Park intact.

Melbourne now faces the daunting road trip of travelling to Mt Smart Stadium next Sunday to take on the inconsistent New Zealand Warriors, whilst the South Sydney Rabbitohs host the Penrith Panthers at Telstra Stadium next Friday night.

Dragons 11 def Brisbane Broncos 4

Ok, so which NRL News readers took our advice and grabbed the juicy odds available on the Saint George Illwarra Dragons?
Well if you did, enjoy the $4.40 or $4.50 you were able to return on every $1 invested! Remember to shout NRL News a beer soon.
Now on to the game, it was a contest that had it all. A war of attrition, with the babies from Dragon town up against the might of golliath like Brisbane – coming off a 71-6 thumping of Newcastle.
After a nervous start, the Dragons weathered the early Broncos onslaught to gradually get into the game. Enthusiastic and patient play from the Dragons, saw them gain set after set – content to play simple and gain repeat sets off the Jamie Soward boot.
Soward was like a Saints old boy. Looking very comfortable in the half back role, his team mates responding to his calls and a five eighth beside him in Rangi Chase – who played nicely in unicen.
With Cooper in a livewire mood outwide, the Dragons when they got a glimpse of the opposition line – played expansive. Nightingale was solid outside Cooper and at the back Josh Morris was outstanding. Morris defused everything the Broncos sent his way, and was damaging whenever he chimed into the backline.
Injuries really hampered the Broncos efforts, with Darren Lockyer sustaining a painful back injury from the accidental knees of Adam Peek. Lockyer was in agony, and left the field for the remainder of the match – however soft tissue damage is the diagnosis and he should be fine for Origin in the coming weeks. The Broncos also had scares with Karmichael Hunt hurting his arm and Ennis also looking to be struggling with injury.
The Saints had injuries of their own, with standout Simon Woolford copping the stray boots of a linesmen – with the ‘studding’ ripping the flesh from Woolford’s head. Woolford left the field in a bath of blood, the hard working hookers face barely recognisable under the cover of claret.
The young Dragons held on grimly at the end, with new buy Jamie Soward managing to secure a medium range field goal to ensure the Saints won the war. It’s been a whirlwind few days for Jamie Soward, with the young half changing clubs – moving from Bondi to Kogorah and looking like a true professional.
In post match, Wayne Bennett was back to his introverted self. The grandfather of NRL didn’t give much away, but did admit to “not being frustrated anymore – but now angry” Bennett snapped.
Its a tough period still ahead for the Broncos with Origin committments meaning more time away for big name stars.

Penrith Panthers 22 def Manly Sea Eagles 16

NRL Competition leaders Manly went down tonight at the hands of a determined and gutsy Penrith Panthers outfit at CUA Stadium.

The Panthers; who started on the backfoot after conceeding an early try (55 seconds) – battled Manly and referee Steve Clark all night; winning dispite all odds and a penalty count of 14-5 in favour of Manly.

Peter Wallace. How good is he? The Panthers should setup a tent outside his house and not leave until he signs a multi-year contract. Wayne Bennett is on the money to be chasing the Penrith young gun. Tonight, Wallace was everywhere – he ran the attack plays for his team, produced sublime kicks and defended stoutly even with Watmough running at him all night.

Wallace’s quality game is assisting team mate Craig Gower; who is under much less pressure with the young player maker at his side.

The game swung both ways early, with Penrith and Manly going try for try. Manly through piercing forward runs; Watmough and G. Stewart proving a nightmare for the Penrith line. Apart from the Tony Puletua try for Penrith, where he scored from a penalty tap and swatted 3 defenders to score all himself, the Penrith attack was stunning – with deep, sweeping backline movements – putting Youngquest in for two early tries that looked identical.

Penrith gained the confidence they have been craving and controlled possession until half time. Early in the second period, Penrith got on the board again and looked to be cruising. Then Steve ‘Terminator’ Clark stepped in. Clark blew penalty after penalty against the Panthers, and at one stage allowed Manly to play out 4 sets of 6 back to back. Full credit to Penrith who remained headstrong, even after some poor calls from Clark and his officials.

Manly suffered from frustration as their stack of possession wasn’t converted, with the Panthers somehow scrambling to defend – set after set.

Looking at Manly, they are really missing Travis Burns. Lyon is no doubt a solid player with sound defence and constructive attack – but the former centre is not a ball player or organiser and Manly should think twice before discarding Travis Burns to the Titans or Cowboys.

Monaghan was quiet tonight, and Orford had a mixed bag – with strong early kicking, but some poor, careless errors in the backend.

Watmough was again the standout for the Sea Eagles. This guy must be in the NSW Origin side, he is almost impossible to tackle, at one stage carrying both Puletua brothers on his back for 5 metres. Brett Steward was contained well by the Panthers, as was Hicks and Robertson out wide. Steve Bell managed to find some room tonight, and in my eyes – it’s the best Bell’s looked in 2007, he was speedy and slippery in attack, shrugging plenty of tackles off a la his Storm days.

While Penrith’s Peter Wallace was a stand out for man of the match, he had good help from Panthers veteran Tony Puletua, Michael Jennings who was busy all night and the livewire Paul Aiton. When Paul Aiton moves to dummy half for the Panthers they are simply a different team, they are faster, and so much more constructive through the extra room. Priddis continues to play a ‘slow motion’ game, which at times is smart – but not every play. I tried hard to look for positives in Priddis’ game, but things were compounded with a brain snap late in the game, with the Panthers clinging to their 6 point lead, Priddis kicked dead in goal with an open Gower waiting for the field goal.

The Panthers savour their 2 points and could be back into contention with only a handful of wins, due to the fact that the cellar dwellers and only 4 points adrift from the top 8.

Manly dust themselves off and will be better for the experience tonight, it may be the slap in the face they needed to kick on with their impressive season. Hey Des, just don’t forget Travis Burns, the guy is a genuine match winner and is worth keeping on the roster!

NRL Round 12 Predictions

Looking over the match ups for Round 12 – NRL News tips who should win and why:

Penrith vs Manly @ CUA Stadium
– Manly the competition leaders, up against the 2007 NRL strugglers Penrith. While at CUA, and hopefully the Panthers get a decent crowd impossible to go against the might and should I say impressive brick wall defence of Manly.

St George Illawarra vs Brisbane Broncos @ OKI Jubilee
– Broncos should win this away game comfortably. The Saints are struggling to field a full team let alone a first grade side. Broncos will enjoy getting further into top gear after last weeks demolishion of the Knights.

Sydney Roosters vs Knights @ BlueTounge
– Most have tipped the Roosters here after the Knights were flogged last weekend. However one trend in the NRL rings true. When a side is severly walloped you can generally expect a massive performance the following week. The Knights have an understrength team, but I believe Brian Smith will have things inch perfect for this match. Knights in a slug fest.

Cowboys vs Sharks @ Dairy Farmers Stadium
– Cowboys should continue their return to form here, and will revel in their home conditions. Sharks while strong have failed in attack and the tidal wave of raids from the Cowboys will kill them off early. Cowboys.

Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney @ Olympic Park
– Impossible to tip against the Storm, they have a near full strength lineup except for Billy Slater. They have stunning depth and will inflict more pain on struggling South Sydney.

Titans vs Radiers @ Carrara
– Should be a tough contest this one, very hard to pick. The Raiders away form isn’t good enough to tip them in a tight one. Expect to see more improvement from the Titans with a good lineup this week and Josh Lewis settling in with every day. Titans.

NZ Warriors vs Bulldogs @ Mt Smart
– Both teams struggling at present. The Warriors were woeful against the Eels, although Manu Vatuvei did gift the Eels plenty of points. Flip a coin! Will we see the Dogs of War or Once were Warriors? I think the Dogs. Just.

Wests Tigers vs Parramatta Eels @ Telstra
– Game of the round here, a local derby with both sides showing good form. The Tigers deserve to be favourites but I feel the fact that this is a night game and the crowd being a 50/50 mix brings the Eels into the equation. The Eels love a wet, squishy field and this is right up their alley. Expect 20,000+ pundits at this game, and the Eels to win in a tight one.

NRL Punters Paradise – Juicy Odds

As NRL News looks at the upcoming games for Round 12 – the first standout is the juicy odds that are available to punters on this weekends round.

Firstly the Dragons vs Broncos game at OKI Stadium has St George Illawarra at such outsiders, they are paying $4.75 for the win head to head. Ok, so Nathan Browns Dragons aren’t exactly setting the world on fire and might be struggling to field a team – but this is NRL and in a two horse race, we all know that games can simply go either way (bounce of ball, ref calls etc etc)

In the other juicy odds game, South Sydney are travelling to the Melbourne Storm graveyard on Saturday night. Once again, we know the Storm are hard to beat at home – but Souths while on a bad run of late do have a team that can cause an upset. The bookies have Souths paying $5.50 for the win! Thats simply astounding in a two horse race.

So, if you haven’t already – go and throw some lazy bucks on either of these teams. And don’t forget to buy NRL News a drink if you jag a winner.

In other NRL News, the signing sagas continue. At Cronulla, reduced offers to Kimmorley and Dykes have now turned things around totally – with both players considering offers elsewhere. Dykes looking at the UK and Kimmorley local clubs.

The Knights exodus continues, with Adam Woolnough copying Clint Newton and packing his bags for Penrith. Luke Davico is set to hang up his boots for good. Josh Perry has been linked with Manly; as the Eagles decide whether to throw injured George Rose a lifeline. (Rose remains unsigned beyond 2007, as he kept himself on the open market hoping for more money.)

Newcastle are also hoping to lock-in their junior halfback Luke Walsh – who has massive wraps on him. Walsh is that good, that some see him as a future long term no.7 and Jarrod Mullen as a long term no.6 for the club. The Knights are competing against the Bulldogs and the Sharks to lock the young gun in.

The no.1 ticket holding fan for the Newcastle Knights is golfer Jack Newton; will Newto still backup next year as the no.1 fan – given his son is now Melbourne bound?

The NRL this week have altered the rules to officially state that conversions are ‘optional’ and teams do not have to attempt conversions in situations where it’s not beneficial. The rules didn’t officially state that a conversion was optional before, meaning that it was a grey area. (Only place kicks are allowed for conversions, a drop kick at goal is not)

Bryan Fletcher Rape Case Interview

Former leading NRL player Bryan Fletcher has had his name dragged through the mud as an investigation continues into Police handling of an alleged gang rape case in 2004.

Bryan Fletcher, former member of the Sydney Roosters and South Sydney NRL teams – was reported to be in the company of several men who allegedly gang raped a Finnish backpacker in 2004.

It’s alleged that the backpacker consented to sex with a first man; and afterwards up to 5 other males forced themselves on to the young woman.

Bryan Fletcher was allegedly identified as one of the three men in a taxi who dropped the woman off to an eastern suburbs house. Police Superintendant Adam Purcell is then alleged to have interviewed Bryan Fletcher ‘off-line’ and unrecorded in what he claims was a bid to avoid the media leaks- similar to the Bulldogs rape case a few years ago.

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) claims that Supt. Adam Purcell gave Bryan Fletcher ‘a heads up’ – by talking to him unofficially. Fletcher co-operated with Police and a DNA sample was requested.

Fletcher admits to being in the house with several others and he knew of consensual sex with the girl- however he claims to have left the house to walk home on foot after a few drinks.

No charges were ever laid in the case, with the victom unwilling to go through court process. Fletcher was determined to be a ‘witness’ and not an alleged offender in the saga.

Supt Purcell, who has played a key role with the NSW Origin side, helping the league transform player behaviour and is now the local area commander in Hurstville, was yesterday under fire for meetings he had with Fletcher.

The commission heard that during one phone call, Fletcher pleaded with Supt Purcell to tell his wife and Souths CEO Shane Richardson that he was not involved in the gang rape.

Fletcher allegedly told Supt Purcell he was afraid his DNA might match the attackers’ because he had been kissing the backpacker as they danced at the Orient Hotel, The Rocks on that night.

An interview with Fletcher was never recorded and the star was not cautioned, meaning anything he said could not be used in evidence in court.

“You gave Mr Fletcher a heads up didn’t you?” counsel assisting the inquiry Michael King SC asked Supt Purcell yesterday. “Your actions were to provide, in effect, an unrecorded and advance warning to a possible suspect or person of interest werent they?”

Supt Purcell angrily rejected the suggestion and said he only wanted to prevent damaging leaks to the media.

After the Bulldogs were caught in a media storm over unfounded allegations of rape in the same year, he decided, as acting commander of Waverley police, he would interview Fletcher himself to prevent leaks.

Supt Purcell told the inquiry he had phoned Fletcher’s former coach Ricky Stuart, who contacted Ricketson, or possibly another player, to obtain the star’s number so he could call him in.
Fletcher attended Bondi police station but Supt Purcell did not record an interview he conducted with him. No other police were present throughout the interview.

The integrity commission continues investigating whether any police were involved in serious misconduct or criminal activity in relation to the investigation. The hearing continues.

Brent Tate Signs with Warriors

Brisbane Broncos outside back, Brent Tate has signed with the NZ Warriors until 2010. Tate will now join his brother in law Steve Price; who is married to Tate’s sister Jo. Tate’s wife is also of New Zealand heritage so the move is a good one for himself and the family. We wish Brent all the best in his new ventures.

Raiders Double Standards – Irwin Sacked

The Canberra Raiders yesterday confirmed new winger Steve Irwin has been sacked following the Police car chase with Todd Carney. The former Brisbane winger leaves the ACT having not played a single game for the Raiders.

How this young guy was thrown out of the club and local star Todd Carney was thrown a lifeline is simply outrageous. Lets consider the circumstances again, Carney was driving the Utility with Irwin as passenger. Carney led Police on a car chase, then left the scene; bolting on foot – Irwin stayed at the scene and assisted Police.

Following the events, the Police charged Todd Carney with various offences and Steve Irwin was totally exonerated by authorities. Fast forward a week – Todd Carney gets a lifeline from his Canberra Raiders club and new boy Steve Irwin gets thrown out on his ear.

This sends a shocking message to the Canberra Raiders playing squad. If you’re a top line player, have no fear – you can do what you want. If you’re a fringe first grader or average first grader, watch your step! Irwin wasn’t even committed of a crime and was booted out of the Raiders club.

The NRL needs to intervene here and severely reprimand the Raiders in the very least. This is an absolute outrage; and the Raiders are lucky they are a low profile club in comparison to some others – as this would be front page news anywhere else in the NRL.

The Raiders tried to soften the blow for Irwin by offering him a role with it’s Brisbane feeder club – South Logan Magpies. Accordingly Irwin and his manager refused the ridiculous offer.

NRL Power Rankings by The Grubber

The popular ‘Power Rankings’ returns this week, after a positive reception by NRL News readers. You wanted more of ‘Mr Grubber’ – you got it! The Grubber hits us with his expert analysis and the brutal truth about all things NRL.

1. (Equal) Melbourne: Stayed with the Sea Eagles for 77 minutes and other than a field goal there was nothing to split the two sides. Should bounce back strongly this weekend at home to Souths. Power score: 9/10, Odds of salary cap audit now that Client Newton has been signed: 3-1.

1. (Equal) Manly: Amazing defence set up victory against last year’s minor premiers. Have a core group of talented, committed players with solid NRL experience. Turn up every week and do what needs to be done. Opportunities to improve in attack. Power score: 9/10, Odds of Laurie Daley conceding that Manly will (in all likelihood) make the finals: 50-1.

3. Wests Tigers: Exciting enterprising attack and good control of ruck area has the Tigers in best form since ’05. Young forward pack continuing to improve with every outing. Power score: 8/10, Number of Tigers fans who have conveniently forgotten their previous complaints after losing in controversial circumstances: at least 50,000.

4. North Queensland: Belted out of sorts Canterbury side when it mattered. Thurston reportedly politely enquired of team-mates “do I [ expletive] have to [expletive] make every [expletive] tackle as well as set up every [expletive] try?”. Power score: 7.5/10, Odds that the Bulldogs will take another game to Brisbane any time soon: 100-1.

5. Brisbane: Very impressive with their talent back on deck, even if they were playing a Newcastle pub team. Need to capitalise on the occasions where stars are available. Bennett positively animated in press conference even offering whole sentences in response to questions. Power score: 7/10, Odds that Ben Ikin will now back Broncos for rare premiership double: 2-1.

6. Parramatta: Smith and Finch showing signs of a combination developing. A big test this weekend against the Tigers. Have the forward pack to match them but may lack speed around the ruck. Power score: 7/10, Odds that Parramatta will rename the “Cronin Stand” to the “Vatuvei Stand”: 3-1.

7. Cronulla: Current uncertainty regarding Kimmorley deal may have led to shock loss to Roosters. A tough assignment this weekend with road game against Cowboys. Power score: 7/10, Odds of Brett Kimmorley playing for any NRL side other than Cronulla: 30-1.

8. New Zealand: Teflon now desperate to beat out rival bidders in quest for Vatuvei’s crucial endorsement. Front office keen to investigate Manu’s suspicious purchase of $1000 worth of lubricant prior to Monday night game. OK, I’m done. That’s enough for “new Steve Mavin”. Power score: 6/10, Odds that Auckland Lions will be down a winger this Sunday: 2-1.

9. Gold Coast: Found a way to win without Preston Campbell though innovative ball handling, a compressed squeeze defence and clutch plays at end of match. Power score: 6/10, Odds of Brett Delaney being “mysteriously” benched in round 20 encounter with South Sydney: 2-1.

10. Canberra: Alan Tongue always dangerous around ruck area, especially when combining with Zillman and Withers. Probably one franchise player away from being a consistent top 8 threat. Power score: 5.5/10, Odds of Neville Costigan becoming Todd Carney’s 12-step sponsor: 200-1.

11. Canterbury: Forwards must find a way to fire up and bring back the intimidation. Accordingly, management have asked for tape of Folkes altercation with North Queensland fan to provide aggression training to Hickey and others. Power score: 5.5/10, Odds that we will see “Dogs of War” (what does that even mean?!) headline after next Canterbury victory: 2-1.

12. South Sydney: Poor structure in defence. Forwards appear to lack commitment. Coaching staff not helping by blaming losses on external factors. Power score: 5/10, Odds of Jaiman Lowe appearing in cameo role in “Cinderella Man” sequel: 2-1.

13. Penrith: Poorest ball control in the NRL at the moment (nowhere near as good as the Tigers outside backs). Created multiple opportunities for themselves to come back against the Tigers but couldn’t hold the pill when it counted. Will do well to forget “controversial circumstances” and realise they weren’t the best team on the day. Power score: 5/10, Number of Penrith “2003 Premiers” t-shirts starting to fade like Marty McFly’s photo at the end of Back to the Future: 10,000.

14. Roosters: Rep players carried on solid Origin form to post major upset win. Probably capable of a few more victories in this fashion. Performance in first ever golden point match in club history bodes well for future extra time encounters. Power score: 5/10, Odds that Jamie Soward will change his surname to that of a former league legend when negotiating next contract: 2-1.

15. St George-Illawarra: Expected to lose four more first-graders to injury and in addition to undertaking search for more Morris siblings have now published details of “fan try out day” on their website. Power score: 4.5/10, Percentage increase in “Oust Doust” signage for next home game: 150%.

16. Newcastle: Paul Harragon seems to have interpreted his directorial duties as requiring him to be some kind of stand over man and is shortly expected to confront Brian Smith behind the dressing sheds. Power score: 4/10, Odds of Josh Perry negotiating a contract that doesn’t include the words “match payments only”: 1000-1.

And…some quick “around the grounds”:

1. Wayne Bennett: What more is there to be said about this bloke? Seems like every journo in the game has taken a crack at him since his press conference at Brookvale last week. Perhaps most surprisingly one of his acolytes, Shane Webke, used his op-ed piece in last week’s Big League to subtly suggest that it was time for Bennett to move on. Webcke’s column included the line “he (Bennett) may well have to make some tough decisions yet”. Read between the lines and you find a strong undercurrent that it is time for Bennett to move on, and as the prevailing wisdom seems to suggest, for Craig Bellamy to step in. From where I’m standing, the moment Bennett even spoke to Nick Politis and the Roosters it was all over. The news of his negotiations with the Roosters made it obvious that everything was not as it seemed at Brisbane and that Bennett’s 20 year stranglehold on the position had weakened. Bruno Cullen seems well and truly sick of the old man’s antics.

2. Chris and Sticky: Ricky Stuart really doesn’t belong in a suit. He looks like a labourer who gets by with King Gee Monday to Friday and then has to don the bag of fruit for his best mate’s wedding. As soon as things start to get stressful the tie gets loosened, the jacket comes off and all of sudden he’s sweating like the guy in the Subway Sandwich suit at a Bulldogs home game. Well, he looked even worse last Saturday night. The nightmare was coming true. The club who negotiated behind his back with his old rival Wayne Bennett were solidly measuring up against his Cronulla side in probably the best Roosters performance of the season. As for the Sharks board? Well, they’re still feeling the financial headache of having paid out Chris Anderson’s unfair dismissal claim and would have relished the opportunity to get one over him. The set-up seemed perfect. But, as history will show, Cronulla couldn’t deliver a knock out punch and now Sticky and the Sharks will have to wait for another opportunity to trump Chris Anderson.

3. Ben Ikin: I was going to use this opportunity to get stuck into Laurie Daley, but that’s worth an entire column in itself. Instead, I thought I’d settle for having a crack at “Bennett’s Boy”, Ben Ikin, a man who tried to turn himself into the thinking man’s Julian O’Neill by donning a pair of spectacles. Now, I wouldn’t normally dream of hitting a man with glasses, but if Ikin thinks that the league loving world is even considering taking him seriously as an analyst, well then he better think again. Here we have a pretty mediocre player (who benefited from the Superleague war to get picked for Origin) who has been thrust upon us by the Nine Network despite him lacking limited talent as a commentator or analyst. Now, that might be fine for Fox (see Laurie Daley, Gordon Tallis) but with Nine’s budget couldn’t they do a bit better? The immediate concern however is that he requires urgent and extremely risky surgery to have his head removed from Wayne Bennett’s rectal cavity.

Yours in league,
The Grubber.

NRL Teams for Round 12, 2007

NRL teams – round 12

May 29, 2007

ALL the teamsheets for round 12 of the NRL premiership (all times AEST):

Rhys Wesser, Michael Gordon, Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Geoff Daniela, Peter Wallace, Craig Gower (captain), Joel Clinton, Luke Priddis, Frank Puletua, Frank Pritchard, Tony Puletua, Nathan Smith. Interchange: Brendan Worth, Junior Moors, Tim Grant, Paul Aiton, Nick Youngquest, Maurice Blair (two to be omitted).
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, Mark Bryant, Adam Cuthbertson, Matt Ballin, Sione Finefeuiaki.
Referee: Steve Clark

Josh Morris, Jason Nightingale, Beau Scott, Matt Cooper, Chase Stanley, Rangi Chase, Jamie Soward, Justin Poore, Simon Woolford, Dan Hunt, Corey Payne, Chris Houston, Ben Creagh. Interchange: Adam Peek, Danny Wicks, Lagi Setu, Ben Ellis, Rick Thorby (one to be omitted).
BRONCOS: Karmichael Hunt, Steve Michaels, Darius Boyd, Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Darren Lockyer (captain), Mick Ennis, Ben Hannant, Shaun Berrigan, Petero Civoniceva, David Stagg, Tonie Carroll. Interchange: Joel Moon, Greg Eastwood, Dane Carlaw, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday (one to be omitted)
Referee: Shayne Hayne

SYDNEY ROOSTERS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS at Bluetongue Stadium, 5.30pm
Anthony Minichiello, Amos Roberts, Sam Perrett, Joel Monaghan, John Williams, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, David Shillington, Craig Wing, Danny Nutley, Shane Shackleton, Craig Fitzgibbon (captain), Anthony Tupou. Interchange: Setaimata Sa, Lopini Paea, Nigel Plum, Ashley Harrison.
KNIGHTS: Nathan Hinton, James McManus, Luke MacDougall, Brad Tighe, Adam MacDougall, Marvin Karawana, Jarrod Mullen, Josh Perry, Danny Buderus, Kade Snowden, Steve Simpson, Corey Paterson, Kirk Reynoldson. Interchange: Michael Young, Reegan Tanner, Adam Woolnough, Daniel Tolar, Mitchell Sargent (one to be omitted).
Referee: Tony De Las Heras

NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS v SHARKS at Dairy Farmers Stadium, 7.30pm
Matt Bowen, Brenton Bowen, Scott Minto, Paul Bowman, Ty Williams, Jason Smith, Johnathan Thurston (captain), Shane Tronc, Aaron Payne, Ray Cashmere, Steve Southern, Sam Faust, Jacob Lillyman. Interchange: David Faiumu, Scott Bolton, Matthew Scott, Ben Vaeau.
SHARKS: Misi Taulapapa, Mitch Brown, Ben Pomeroy, Fraser Anderson, Luke Covell, Greg Bird, Brett Kimmorley (captain), Ben Ross, Kevin Kingston, Craig Stapleton, Reece Williams, Luke Douglas, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Dayne Weston, Phil Leuluai, Paul Stephenson, Isaac De Gois.
Referee: Paul Simpkins

Steve Turner, Matt Geyer, Matt King, Anthony Quinn, Israel Folau, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, Ben Cross, Cameron Smith, Brett White, Jeremy Smith, Ryan Hoffman, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Jeff Lima, Garret Crossman, Sam Tagataese, James Aubusson, Will Chambers, Sika Manu (two to be omitted).
RABBITOHS: David Peachey, Nathan Merritt, Nigel Vagana, Feluti Talanoa, Shannon Hegarty, Ben Rogers, Jeremy Smith, Peter Cusack (captain), Stuart Webb, Roy Asotasi (capt), Luke Stuart, David Faalogo, Dean Widders. Interchange: Shane Rigon, Joe Galuvao, Manase Manuokafoa, Scott Geddes.
Referee: Jared Maxwell

Richie Mathers, Matt Petersen, Mat Rogers, Brett Delaney, Jake Webster, Josh Lewis, Scott Prince (captain), Luke Bailey, Nathan Friend, Brad Meyers, Anthony Laffranchi, Mark Minichiello, Luke Swain. Interchange: Kris Kahler, Michael Hodgson, Gavin Cooper, Matt Hilder.
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, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Ben Jones (two to be omitted).
Referee: Gavin Badger

Wade McKinnon, Patrick Ah Van, Tony Martin, Simon Mannering, Michael Crockett, Jerome Ropati, Michael Witt, Ruben Wiki (vice-capt), Nathan Fien, Steve Price (captain), Louis Anderson, Logan Swann, Micheal Luck. Interchange: Lance Hohaia, Evarn Tuimavave, Sam Rapira, Wairangi Koopu.
BULLDOGS: Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Daryl Millard, Willie Tonga, Cameron Phelps, Ben Roberts, Brent Sherwin, Mark O’Meley, Corey Hughes, Chris Armit, Lee Te Maari, Andrew Ryan (captain), Sonny Bill Williams. Interchange: Adam Perry, Reni Maitua, Kane Cleal, Jarrad Hickey.
Referee: Sean Hampstead

WESTS TIGERS v PARRAMATTA EELS v at Telstra Stadium, 7pm
Brett Hodgson (captain), Daniel Fitzhenry, Dean Collis, Chris Lawrence, Taniela Tuiaki, Liam Fulton, John Morris, Todd Payten, Robbie Farah, Bryce Gibbs, Ben Galea, Chris Heighington, Dene Halatau. Interchange: Danny Galea, Shannon McDonnell, Bronson Harrison, Ben Te’o, Jarrod Saffy (one to be omitted)
EELS: Luke Burt, Jarryd Hayne, Ben Smith, Krisnan Inu, 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.
Referee: Ben Cummins

Rugby league run by the fans for the fans