NRL Round 13 Predictions

1. Tonight we have the South Sydney Rabbitohs hosting the Penrith Panthers.

Souths on a 5 game losing run, and the Panthers hitting some form last week. I think the Bunnies will be desperate tonight and should win.

2. Canberra host the hot Parramatta at Bruce Stadium tomorrow night. While Parramatta is hot at the moment, the Raiders at home are extremely tough. I think on form, tip Parramatta.

3. Roosters host Cowboys at Aussie Stadium. The Cowboys and Roosters are missing Origin stars here, but I think the Cowboys suffer most. This might be an upset game, tip the Roosters for some value.

4. Knights host Tigers at EngeryAus. Another tricky one to pick, Knights are inconsistent – but do have the homeground advantage. I think the Tigers will be desperate here, tip Tigers.

5. NZ Warriors host the Storm in NZ. A lot of mail for the Warriors here, however the Storm are still strong with many of their fill-in players capable performers. Tip Melbourne.

6. Dragons host Sharks on Monday night. This is always a great clash – the Southern derby. Dragons have nothing to lose here and the Sharks are missing some talent. Tip Dragons just.

Todays Sponsor:
DOTA Hints

Karmichael Hunt Cover Up?

Broncos’ fullback, Karmichael Hunt – was allegedly involved in an incident outside a nightclub last year. Brisbane City Council knows why, but they are not going to tell you.

The council knows what happened because it has the footage from a closed-circuit TV camera. It had one aimed at the taxi rank where Hunt and a number of others were gathered about 1.30am, because it has had problems there in the past.

Everyone agrees there was an “incident” the police who arrested half a dozen people, the Broncos’ management and Hunt himself.

But the specifics of what the Australian rugby league fullback might or might not have done early on the morning of Sunday, July 30, remain decidedly murky.

The Broncos’ chief executive, Bruno Cullen, said Hunt was just waiting for a taxi when a woman was squirted with water. She just happened to recognise the star footballer, and so gave his name to police, he said. Any suggestions that Hunt was personally involved in an assault were “disgraceful and irresponsible”, Mr Cullen thundered, and had the potential to damage the reputation of someone who was merely an innocent bystander.

Hunt himself was slightly less indignant: “I was in the vicinity of a fight but I didn’t start it.” As you’d expect from a first-grade rugby league player, he took a taxi and left the scene at the first sign of trouble.

To find out whether there might be any discrepancy between the footage of the incident and the Bronco accounts, Channel Seven sought access to it from Brisbane City Council under freedom of information legislation in what is emerging as a test case on CCTV footage.

The council refused on two main grounds. The first was its own policy, which says CCTV footage is released only “for court evidence”. The second is that the footage is exempt from the act under a section which protects the release of information concerning the personal affairs of a person “unless its disclosure would, on balance, be in the public interest”.

Channel Seven’s FoI editor, Michael McKinnon, has appealed against the decision. He has argued that although Brisbane City Council can have whatever policy it likes on CCTVs, such policies must be subordinate to the Queensland FoI act. He seems on reasonable ground here. The second reason is more complicated. It boils down to this: what entitlement does a person, or Hunt, have to privacy on a public street at 1.30am?

In 1993 Queensland’s former information commissioner defined “personal” as meaning the “private affairs of a person’s life”.

He said this: “As an appropriate guiding principle, the phrase extends to the kinds of information concerning the affairs of a person which a notional reasonable bystander .hs.hs. would regard as information the dissemination of which the person (whose affairs the information concerns) ought to be entitled to control.”

Put another way, the test seems to be whether an ordinary person outside the nightclub would think Hunt should be able to decide whether or not the information on the camera tape is made public.

If someone was seen heading into a psychiatrist’s office, you could readily understand an entitlement to privacy. But in Hunt’s case it is harder.

If Hunt was just an innocent bystander, as the Broncos’ boss says, then surely Hunt or the club wouldn’t give a toss about whether the footage was made public. And if events were not quite as described, if there was bad behaviour by people who are public figures, then is there a public interest in knowing that?

NRL News Rugby League

Qld State of Origin Whitewash Wanted

The Queensland Origin crew aren’t worried about the Telstra Stadium curse and Queensland want to clinch their first Origin clean sweep since 1995.

The QLD Maroons don’t have to be reminded that they have never won at the Telstra Stadium venue since Origin matches were switched there from Aussie Stadium / SFS in 1999.

That’s an very poor record of no wins, one draw and 10 losses.

However, Queensland Origin tough guy Neville Costigan has revealed that in the sheds moments after their Origin I victory senior players not only discussed a Telstra Stadium win but then also touched on a first series whitewash in 12 years.

“Winning this first game there was a bit of talk around how it would be awesome to get the 3-0 result – Queensland hasn’t done it (clean sweep) for a while,” Costigan said.

“I have already spoken to a few of the young guys like (forward) Jacob Lillyman during the week and they are all fired up for it.

“We are as fired up as we were in the first one.”

Queensland last swept NSW in a best-of-three series in 1995 when a team devoid of Super League-affiliated players shocked a star-studded Blues outfit.

The Maroons have won a series 3-0 three times.

But to do that again, they first must accomplish a task that is as daunting as what faced Paul Vautin’s “no name” 1995 team – getting the Telstra Stadium monkey off their backs.

The last time Queensland won at Sydney was in game three in 1998, 19-4.

The Maroons won that series 2-1 by claiming both matches at Sydney’s SFS.

Indeed, Queensland enjoyed an 11-9 overall record in Sydney and won three straight games at the SFS before the NSW venue was switched to the Olympic stadium and the jinx kicked in.

But if their Telstra Stadium record was playing on Queensland’s minds, Maroons coach Mal Meninga wasn’t giving anything away on Wednesday.

“It’s a challenge … it’s something we may talk about but in the end it’s about us,” he said.

“For a change and for a long while, we’re actually going into game two 1-0 up and not 1-0 down.

“We’ve got ourselves in a good situation and it’s going to come down to our preparation and what happens on the night.

“We’re not going to put too much emphasis on going down there and breaking a hoodoo.

“We’re going to put the emphasis on us doing really well, individually and as a team.”

Queensland chairman of selectors Des Morris on Tuesday hinted that it was perhaps the “slippery” surface at Telstra Stadium that was behind their hoodoo.

But Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer was having nothing of it.

“It’s not the surface. We just haven’t performed as well as we would have liked on the night, particularly our starts,” he said.

“They have lacked that intensity. From my point of view it’s something that I would like the team to do well.

“But our preparation has got to be spot on and it’s about what we do when we cross the line on the night too.

“We can use it (hoodoo) as a motivational tool this week but at the same time we don’t want to use it as something that can psyche us out.”

Meninga will take the Queensland camp into enemy territory in the lead-up to next Wednesday’s Origin II, settling into Terrigal on Friday before moving to Sydney on Tuesday.

NRL Player Movement & Signings

By John Chelsea

The continued player movement midseason continues with several players shuffling clubs and locking in deals for this year, next year and beyond.

In deals done recently:

  • Nigel Plum has been released by the Roosters and signed by Canberra Raiders, effectively immediately.
  • The Gold Coast Titans have snared in-form Parramatta prop Aaron Cannings, who has been injury free and impressive in 2007. Cannings joins the Titans in 2008.
  • The Titans have also bolstered their forward crisis for 2007 by signing Ian Donnelly from the Storm, effective immediately – including a contract extending to the end of 2008.
  • Cowboy Jason Smith has declared his intention to retire at season end. The 35 year old veteran has had a stellar career with stints at the Bulldogs, Parramatta, Hull, Canberra and Cowboys.
  • Brett Kimmorley has been resigned by the Sharks for 2 more years at an estimated $300,000 per season
  • In more Titans player news, problem plagued winger Chris Walker looks set to return to the NRL in the short term. Walker has been blitzing them in the Queensland Cup, scoring plenty of tries for Ipswitch – however his rehabilitation programme is nearly complete, with the winger not touching a bottle for over 7 weeks.
  • Wests Tigers fullback Brett Hodgeson looks to be sidelined from around 6 weeks, after x-rays showed he has fractures in his upper cheek region after the heavy collision with PJ Marsh on Monday night. The Tigers are hinting at shifting boom youngster Chris Lawrence (St Gregory’s) – closer to the action and starting the talented 18 year old at five eight in the coming weeks. This move would see Liam Fulton shifted to the bench or wider to the fringes of the backline.

NRL Round 12 Power Rankings

The Grubber gives his NRL News power rankings below. How is your team faring? Is your NRL team losing or gaining players? Read on, and see the Grubbers ‘Around the Grounds’ article:

NRL Round 12 Power Rankings:

1.Melbourne: Did well to back up from gruelling encounter with Manly to defeat a gallant Homebush Rabbitohs side. Still the team to beat in this competition and are dangerous from anywhere on the park. Power score: 9/10, Odds of Manu Vatuvei being named against them this weekend: 30-1.

2. Parramatta: Out powered, outplayed and out enthused the hapless Tigers. Halves seem to be getting the job done behind a powerful forward pack. Looking like a serious contender. Power score: 8.5/10, Odds of Mark Riddell being able to parlay recent success of Eels into “third party” fast food endorsement deal: 3-1.

3. North Queensland: Impressive comeback in victory against Cronulla. Showed patience and composure that will serve them well in September. Important victory during disruptive Origin period. Power score: 8.5/10, Odds that Thurston’s street brawling opponent from Saturday night made reference to last year’s scandal which derailed Cowboy’s season: 2-1.

4. Manly: Poor choices in defence and wasteful offensive execution contributed to sub-par performance against Penrith. Will surely come back strongly after the bye this weekend. Power score: 8/10, Odds that opposition teams will now be studying (and planning) the Nick Youngquest backline movement before taking on the Sea Eagles: 2-1.

5. Wests Tigers: Suffered a set-back against Parramatta and may have begun to believe their own hype. Despite the hammering, this may be the loss they needed at this stage of the season. Power score: 7.5/10, Odds of Tigers ever having another player picked for Origin: slim, for some reason.

6. Cronulla: Bounced back from poor performance against Roosters to give a solid account against North Queensland. Will now need to manage unusually high number of Origin stars (2). Power score: 7/10, “Over-Under” on “Number of Interceptions thrown by Kimmorley in Origin II”: 5.

7. Penrith: Got the job done against Manly behind a powerful forward pack and control of the ruck area. Time will tell whether they have more of these performances in them. Power score: 6.5/10, Number of metres Panthers players crawled off the mark against Manly: 230 (go ahead, ask Middleton).

8. Canterbury: Got squared up for ludicrous SBW send-off against Newcastle and showed commitment that has been lacking in recent times. May still be suffering from front-office issues. Power score: 6.5/10, Odds that the Hughes family will continue to support the incestuous “family club”: 100-1.

9. Gold Coast: Demonstrated superb execution against Canberra to race away to early lead. Will surely start to suffer from massive forwards injury toll though. Power score: 6/10, Odds of some NRL player (other than Chris Walker) getting busted in a Gold Coast nightclub before the end of the year: 4-1.

10. Brisbane: Simply didn’t turn up against Jersey Flegg Dragons side and may now officially be suffering from “Premier’s Curse”. Fortunate to have Bye this weekend in order to regroup. Power score: 5.5/10, Odds that Wayne Bennett will blame poor form of Broncos side on recent distraction of player movements: 2-1.

11. Newcastle: Luke Walsh may have proved correct Brian Smith’s statement that Jarrod Mullen is not even the best half at the Knights (but evidently he is somehow the best half in NSW. Weird). Power score: 5/10, Odds that either Johns brother would ever concede that NSW side should not entirely consist of Newcastle players: 1000-1.

12. St George-Illawarra: Shocked the monkey with massive upset win over a partially Lockyer-less Broncos side. Soward may have found a home where surnames are not as important as form. Power score: 5/10, Odds that militant Dragons fans will be sporting witty “Soward is a Coward” signs following eventual and inevitable poor performance from their new signing: 2-1.

13. New Zealand: Were always going to struggle one man down. Have now signed Brisbane cyborg Brent Tate for next year so perhaps better things ahead for them with their inconsistent backline. Power score: 4.5/10, Odds that Tate will eventually wield a cast on his arm (David Barnhill style) to complement his bionic neck brace: 2-1.

14. South Sydney: Were reasonable in defeat against non-testicle grabbing Storm outfit. Cannot be too far away from a good performance, or another wooden spoon. Power score: 4/10, Odds of Russell Crowe remaining interested in team beyond ’07: 10-1.

15. Roosters: Started well, but didn’t quite do enough to beat determined Newcastle side. Forwards starting to show some positive signs. Power score: 4/10, Previous number of occasions where a team running last has had three players picked for NSW Origin: Zero (probably, I mean I didn’t check).

16. Canberra: Hot and cold side that never fails to deliver inconsistency. Had no luck against Gold Coast however and will be out for revenge this weekend against Parramatta side which flogged them earlier this year. Power score: 3.5/10, Odds of sacked Raider Steve Irwin being awarded Order of Australia medal in manner of late Crocodile Hunter: 10,000-1.

And…some quick “around the grounds”:

1. Player movements: There’s been plenty written and said in the last week about the recent spate of player movements. We’ve heard that they’re disruptive, demonstrate a lack of loyalty and that they distract from the game itself. All of those statements are probably true. The movements are disruptive – but then again, so is trying to balance salary cap payments and manage a roster, that’s just a part of the challenge. Take the “disruption” out of running a team and you’d lose the unpredictability of the NRL – which has made the game so interesting in the last few seasons. Sure, there is a lack of loyalty, but as Bob Sugar said in Jerry Maguire “it’s not show friends, it’s show business“. Do player movements distract from the game? No doubt about it. But so does every nightclub/drinking indiscretion too. Would any of us seriously want to give that up? Part of the reason we love league is the off-field drama. The NRL is the singularly most interesting code in the country. The stuff that happens off the paddock is almost as good as the game itself. This new approach to player trading is just the next evolution in the madness that is rugby league.

2. Injuries and the cap: Word this week that the Dragons may soon find themselves in salary cap trouble due to the number of players that they have already had to use this year. Apparently they have reached beyond their top 25 on several occasions and may find themselves having fielded a playing rotation whose value exceeds the salary cap. Now, if there’s any certainty in rugby league these days, it’s that St George-Illawarra will always whine about injuries wrecking their season. This time however they may have a point. The Dragons couldn’t really do much about the injuries. These things happen. But perhaps it’s time for the NRL to consider providing concessions to teams in this situation. This could be achieved through the development of a “disabled list”, much the current rule in Major League Baseball. Teams would have to name a 25 man “active roster” and any injured players would be exempt from this roster and would be listed on the Disabled List. Players listed on the “DL” would not be eligible to play for a period of either 15 or 60 days (depending on the severity of the injury and the club’s assessment of their absence and would stay on a 15 day or 60 day DL regardless of whether the injury heals more quickly than expected) and would be exempt from the team’s cap. This would allow teams to call up players from the lower grades with little salary cap impact.

3. Penalty count: Ok, once and for all, here are the rules regarding discussing a lopsided penalty count. 1) If you didn’t see the game, you can’t comment. End of story. You’re relying on what you read in the paper, or what you heard Andrew Voss say on Sunday morning and therefore you don’t know whether that heavy count may have been justified. This rule should be really obvious. 2) Sometimes a heavy penalty count in favour of one team is actually justified. Take Penrith on Friday night for instance. An ill-disciplined side who well and truly deserved the 13 whistles blown against ’em. 3) A lopsided count can be misleading. Again, on Friday night, Manly were awarded 13 penalties, but many of those came early in the tackle count and late in the game when Manly were already in the Penrith red-zone. Given the margin of 6 points (i.e. Manly needed a try) those additional penalties didn’t do the Sea Eagles any favours and instead just killed their momentum. The Bulldogs pulled the same trick against the Warriors on Sunday. I hope that ends the debate. The key message to take away is this: watch the game (so you know what you’re talking about) and consider the context of the game when penalties are given. Makes a world of difference.

Yours in league,
The Grubber.

The Grubber is Sponsored by:

Mobile and Cell Phone Reviews and Hacks

NRL Round 13 Team Lineups

ALL the team lineups – round 13 of the NRL premiership (all times AEST):

David Peachey, Nathan Merritt, Nigel Vagana, Fetuli Talanoa, Paul Mellor, Ben Rogers, Jeremy Smith, Peter Cusack (captain), Stuart Webb, Roy Asotasi (Captain), Luke Stuart, David Fa’alogo, Dean Widders. Interchange: Shane Rigon, Issac Luke, Manase Manuokafoa, Scott Geddes, Joe Galuvao (one to be omitted).
PANTHERS: Rhys Wesser, Michael Gordon, Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Nick Youngquest, Peter Wallace, Craig Gower (captain), Joel Clinton, Luke Priddis, Frank Pulletua, Frank Pritchard, Tony Peletua, Nathan Smith. Interchange: Brendan Worth, Junior Moors, Tim Grant, Paul Aiton.

CANBERRA RAIDERS v PARRAMATTA EELS at Canberra Stadium, 5.30pm

RAIDERS: William Zillman, David Milne, Marshall Chalk, Brad Cross, Bronx Goodwin, Terry Campese, Michael Dobson, Dane Tilse, Lincoln Withers, Scott Logan, Ben Jones, Glen Turner, Alan Tonhue (captain). Interchange: Josh Miller, Troy Thompson, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Michael Weyman.
EELS: Luke Burt, Joel Reddy, Ben Smith, Krisnan Inu, Eric Grothe, Brett Finch, Tim Smith, Nathan Cayless (captain), PJ Marsh, Aaron Cannings, Chad Robinson, Feleti Mateo, Daniel Wagon. Interchange: Mark Riddell, Josh Cordoba, Ian Hindmarsh, Fuifui Moimoi, Weller Hauraki (one to be omitted).

Amos Roberts, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sam Perrett, Joel Monaghan, John Williams, Setaimata Sa, Mitchell Pearce, David Shillington, Craig Wing, Danny Nutley, Anthony Tupou, Craig Fitzgibbon (captain), Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Shane Shackleton, Lopini Paea, Mitchell Aubusson, Danny Williams.
COWBOYS: Matt Bowen, Brenton Bowen, Scott Minto, Ashley Graham, Ty Williams, Justin Smith, Jason Smith, Shane Tronc, Aaron Payne (captain), Ray Cashmere, Steve Southern, Sam Faust, Matthew Bartlett. Interchange: David Faiumu, Scott Bolton, Matthew Scott, Ben Vaeau.

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v WESTS TIGERS at EnergyAustralia Stadium, 3pm
Nathan Hinton, James McManus, Luke MacDougall, Brad Tighe, Adam MacDougall, Chris Bailey, Luke Walsh, Josh Perry, Riley Brown, Adam Woolnough (captain), Kirk Reynoldson (captain), Cory Paterson, Daniel Tolar. Interchange: Michael Young, Reegan Tanner, Mitchell Sargent, Kade Snowden.
TIGERS: Shannon McDonnell, Daniel Fitzhenry, Dean Collis, Jason Moodie, Taniela Tuiaki, Chris Lawrence, John Morris, Todd Payten, Robbie Farah, Bryce Gibbs, Ben Galea, Chris Heighington, Dene Halatau. Interchange: Liam Fulton, Ben Te’o, Bronson Harrison, Keith Galloway.

Wade McKinnon, Patrick Ah Van, Tony Martin, Lance Hohaia, Manu Vatuvei, Michael Witt, Grant Rovelli, Ruben Wiki (captain), Nathan Fien, Sam Rapira, Simon Mannering, Logan Swann, Micheal Luck . Interchange: George Gatis, Evarn Tuimavave, Epalahame Lauaki, Wairangi Koopu.
STORM: Steve Turner, Will Chambers, Sika Manu, Anthony Quinn, Israel Folau, Matt Geyer, Cooper Cronk, Ben Cross, James Aubusson, Garret Crossman, Clint Newton, Sam Tagataese, Jeremy Smith. Interchange: Jeff Lima, Ian Donnelly, Adam Blair, Matt Rua, Anthony Perkins (one to be omitted).

DRAGONS: Josh Morris, Jason Nightingale, Beau Scott, Keith Lulia, Chase Stanley, Rangi Chase, Jamie Soward, Justin Poore, Simon Woolford, Jason Ryles (captain), Danny Wicks, Chris Houston, Ben Creagh. Interchange: Adam Peek, Ben Ellis, Lagi Setu, Ricky Thorby, Dan Hunt (one to be omitted).
SHARKS: Misi Taulapapa, Mitch Brown, Ben Pomeroy, Reece Williams, Luke Covell, Anthony Watts, Adam Dykes, Luke Douglas, Kevin Kingston, Craig Stapleton, Dayne Weston, Phil Leuluai, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Jacob Selmes, Henry Perenara, Paul Stephenson, Isaac De Gois.

NB: Brisbane Broncos, Bulldogs, Manly Sea Eagles and Gold Coast Titans all have a bye.

State of Origin Lineups Game 2

We’ve had a massive bundle of emails today from NRL News readers, regarding State of Origin Game 2 Lineups and who should and shouldn’t be there.

NSW halfback spot was a big talking point, as was the bench. Many also thought Brett White and Jamie Lyon didn’t earn their keeps in Game 1. Obviously the emails regarding the Queensland Maroons State of Origin side centered around keeping the same side, however some mentioned Matt Bowen to be fitted in somewhere.

Here are some samples of comments in the emails we have received:

Ryan T (NSW): “Kimmorley is a smart choice, he has experience and is a tough and durable no.7”
Ben M (QLD): “The aggression from us in Game 1 was perfect, will be hard to replicate in Sydney.”
Chris L (QLD): “Matt Bowen had to be given a run somewhere, he is a super star or even sub”
Matt N (NSW): “Lyon didn’t do enough in game 1. He isn’t quite up to NRL fitness and nous yet”
Peter W (NSW): “Brett White needs to really lift after getting bashed in game 1. Last chance”
Daniel T (NSW): “Selectors got it right, Toupu had to go and Bird is a good scrapper. Happy!”
Andy K (QLD): “Telstra is a hard task, regardless of Teams – 82,000 cockroaches! Scary!”

State of Origin Teams for Game 2

NSW and Queensland have announced their State of Origin Rugby League sides for game 2.

NSW Blues: Anthony Minichiello; Matt King, Jamie Lyon, Matt Cooper, Jarryd Hayne; Braith Anasta, Brett Kimmorley; Brett White, Danny Buderus (capt), Brent Kite, Willie Mason, Nathan Hindmarsh, Andrew Ryan.
Bench: Luke Bailey, Steve Simpson, Ryan Hoffman, Greg Bird.

The NSW Origin side has made limited changes, with Sharks Kimmorley and Greg Bird getting the nod and also the Storms Ryan Hoffman gets a spot on the bench. Pushing Anthony Tupou out of the side.

QLD Maroons: Karmichael Hunt, Brent Tate, Steve Bell, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston, Steve Price, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, Tonie Carroll, Carl Webb, Dallas Johnson. Bench: Shaun Berrigan, Jacob Lillyman, Nate Myles, Neville Costigan.

Queensland will go into Origin II with the same side that was originally named for the series opener.

Cowboys forward Carl Webb, a late withdrawl from Origin I with a hamstring injury, comes back in to the team in place of Antonio Kaufusi.

Kaufusi has been ruled out for the remainder of the Origin series and NRL season with a ruptured patella tendon.

Parramatta Ruthless in Disposal of Tigers

A dominant and creative Parramatta Eels outfit tonight totally and utterly disposed of the fancied Tigers side at Telstra Stadium. The Eels running out winners, 38 – 8.

Knocking on from the kick-off – Eel Nathan Cayless looked to start on the wrong foot, however the Eels regathered immediately after Burt stabbed a 10m dropout for his team to regain and they did, from there they were in control. Dominating possession and killing the Tigers with their second phase play. It was a much different style from the usually simple Eels game of single phase, one out.

As the Eels rolled forward and dominated the ruck, it was showtime out wide with the right edge of Ben Smith and Eric Grothe giving the Tigers defenders nightmares. Grothe was explosive and clinical in scoring an early try and gaining valuable metres all night.

Wing partner and NSW State of Origin winger Jarryd Hayne, got in on the act also – with a scintilating backline injection; scoring at speed and leaving speedsters O’Donnell and Collis in his wake. Good support from centre Ben Smith and fullback Luke Burt – it was a good effort throughout the ranks for the Eels.

The Tigers will still be trying to work out what hit them, it was one of those nights where the Eels would have disposed of any team put in front of them. The Telstra crowd of 22,000 – mostly Tigers faithful were deadly silent as the game wore on, as Parramatta kicked away on the scoreboard, they followed it up with some powerful hits by Jarryd Hayne and PJ Marsh. The two small men pulling off 2 of the biggest hits of the year, the second leaving Brett Hodgeson dazed and wounded with a bleeding nose and mouth region and a massive shiner under his left eye.

The Tigers had limited opportunites, and as such they probably tried to push the pass or rush the play – gifting possession to the Eels at key moments in the match. After 3 sets, attacking the Eels line – the Tigers handed the ball back cheaply after a Todd Payten failed tunnel ball pass, a coach killer without doubt.

The Tigers showed promise through Chris Lawrence who again was a standout for the Western club. As he develops, his speed is complimented by a much bulkier build – making the young star an even more scary prospect for opposition.

The Tigers forwards tonight were really outplayed, and this obviously makes it hard for the backline to prove dangerous, even the usually probing Robbie Farrah was quiet and prevented from dominating at dummy half.

The Eels face the Raiders away next Saturday night and the Tigers are at Gosford against the Newcastle Knights.

Jonathan Thurston Brawl, Assault

Leading North Queensland Cowboys and Queensland State of Origin halfback Jonathan Thurston has reportedly been involved in an incident in Townsville last night. The NRL’s leading player, Thurston seems to have been unluckily in the wrong place at the wrong time.

An investigation is underway into the alleged street brawl in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police were called to a street fight involving four people on Sturt street at 4am, with one man sent to Townsville hospital suffering tooth damage before being discharged.

Apparently Jonathan Thurston was walking home with three females; one of those being his ex-girlfriend Nikki Suey and a second female companion.

It’s reported that another group of males have become embroiled in a verbal slanging match with the Jonathan Thurston group; it’s then alleged one of the males has punched one of the female’s accompanying Jonathan Thurston and from there Thurston has become involved.

Ad Sponsor: ARU Rugby Union News

Rugby league run by the fans for the fans