Footy News January 2008 - Rugby League news & stories, schoolboys footy
NRL Rookie Camp group photo ( Photo : ourfooty media)
NRL Rookie Camp group photo ( Photo : ourfooty media) click 4 larger image
CAMP 2008
| Day 1 | Day 2 |
Mr. Ron Coot tells the boyz how it was last century
Rugby League Legend Mr. Ron Coot (L) tells the boyz how it was last century Nth Sydney Bears legend Greg Florimo with microphone (Photo : ourfooty media)

The Second day of this years NRL Rookie Camp was possibly the most interesting one yet.

Sunday saw the NRL Rookies sit through 3 lectures which were all interesting enough for all the boyz to pay attention.

Great Aussie actor Rhys Muldoon took the Rookies through an entertaining Media awareness course which had some of the players do a video interview.

Rhys put some of the rookies in awkward positions trying to trap them into saying something controversial, for example : one scenario Rhys made up an off field incident about one players roomie having a binge. "Nah sorry mate, didn't hear a thing"

But one of the boys was happy to say it's "all forgotten about now" bingo, the media has a story, a negative story

Rhys Muldoon is not really an actor, be careful, he is really a table tennis shark with a tricky little serve.

Detective Sergeant Nigel Ryan from the Australian Federal Police showed the group that you never know what they put into drugs " you bloke are just like a high performance car, finally tuned, so to take unknown drugs is putting things into your system that doesn't need to be there.

Eccies are a popular illegal drug, tests on small monkeys showed brain damage after seven years, and that was after just one dose.

Another bad thing about drugs is if you get caught, you may end up in court and be denied a passport, which means no oversea's footy trips or holidays.

Nigel's speech was followed up by Darren Marton from the "DRUGS, NO WAY CAMPAIGN". Darren spoke passionately about how drugs destroyed his life by some bad decisions HE made as a kid & junior rugby league star of the future.

Matt Rodwell & Jamie Barrington from the RLPA spoke to the boyz about the services available to them through the RLPA and encouraged the players to join the players union.

The 2nd day of the 4th annual NRL Rookie camp finished with a big diner with NRL boss Mr. David Gallop introducing rugby league legend Mr. Ronnie Coot, other speakers were, Jason Stevens, Billy Moore & Greg Florimo.

Today the NRL Rookies are taking part in the NRL Regatta on Sydney Harbour in conjunction with Sailors with disABILITIES
Ryan Barton trains with the Broncos at St Lucia after being recommended from the Welsh club Celtic Crusaders
LATEST signing . . . young prop forward Ryan Barton trains with the Broncos at St Lucia after being recommended from the Welsh club Celtic Crusaders.
Courier Mail
WAGGA product Ryan Barton has been signed by the Broncos on the basis of his performances for Welsh club Celtic Crusaders.

The former Canberra Raiders lower grader was recommended to the Broncos by former coaching staff member John Dixon who is now in charge of the Crusaders in the British second division.

Barton has been named at prop along with another former Canberra player, Jason Williams, for the Broncos' first trial of the year against Central Comets at Theodore on Saturday week.

At 22, Barton has just completed his Bachelor of Science degree and is looking for a job.

"I'm in debt to John Dixon for putting in a good word for me," Barton said. "I've got a joint contract with the Broncos and Norths in the Queensland Cup and I hope to make the most of my chance."

Barton has been one of the Broncos' best trainers and was brought into the squad for the Theodore trip after Ipswich signing Isaak Ah Mau broke down with a calf muscle tear.

The Broncos squad for Theodore is made up largely of under-20 players or players from Queensland Cup affiliates such as Wynnum-Manly where Williams is contracted.

Centre William Tupou is a former Australian Schoolboys rugby union star while halfback Ben Hunt from Yeppoon toured New Zealand with the Australian Schoolboys league side last year.

Lock Michael Spence, 18, has been recruited from Coffs Harbour where he earned Country colts representation last year.

Penrith recruit Peter Wallace has a hamstring strain but expects to be available for the trial against North Queensland in Rockhampton on February 16.

The Broncos' other trials are against Canberra at Orange on February 23 and Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval on March 1.

The competition opens on the weekend of March 14 to 17.

All three Queensland NRL clubs are represented in Sydney at the annual rookie camp which started yesterday.

The camp will address issues from business networking and career development to the responsible use of alcohol and the dangers of illicit drugs. Presenters include Jason Stevens, Ben Ikin, Ron Coote, Brad Mackay, Michael Buettner, Greg Florimo and Billy Moore.

Broncos team to play Central Comets at Theodore on February 9: Josh Hoffman; Jharal Yow Yeh, Alex Glenn, Willie Tupou, Brendon Gibb; Tim Yee, Ben Hunt; Ryan Barton, Cameron Joyce, Jason Williams, Palmer Wapau, Derrick Watkins, Michael Spence. Res: Nathan Strudwick, Guy Ford, Leon Panapa, Wiremu Ratana, Matt Handcock. Coach Anthony Griffin.
Matty's Cup trial Sharks vs Raiders (Photo : ourfooty media)
Sharks Matthews Cup in action against the canberra Raiders (Photo : ourfooty media) PHOTO'S
Matty's Cup trial Sharks vs Raiders (Photo : ourfooty media)
Sharks Matthews Cup in action against the canberra Raiders (Photo : ourfooty media) PHOTO'S

What a fantastic day it turned out to be on this the 107 th Australia day, a few hundred fans, including many visitors from our Nations Capital : Canberra.

The Cronulla Sharks Junior Rep team the Harold Matthews & SG Ball squads had their first trial game of the year.

What a welcome the new Matty's Cup boyz got from the Raiders, they had some big boyz.

Not sure what the score in either game was but i think the Sharks either won or came very close.

Both the Raiders & Sharks used just about their whole squads in games that comprised of 4 quarters. The Sharks Matty's Cup coaches rotated the 2 teams made up from the squad in the first & the second half of the game.

The Matthews Cup boyz looks great in their Sharks jumpers & all looked extremely proud as they ran onto Gymea High School's footy oval, which was in really good nick.

The second Matt's Cup team wore the Sharks away jumpers and look great along with the fantastic green of the visiting Raiders outfit.

Match reports/Story soon - PHOTO'S
Mose Masoe weighs in at 119 kilograms and stands 192 centimetres tall. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Too big to stop … 18-year-old Roosters recruit Mose Masoe weighs in at 119 kilograms and stands 192 centimetres tall. Photo: Brendan Esposito

When Mose Masoe started playing football at the age of 13, he had to play at fullback because he was too big to fit into a scrum.

Five years later, the man recruitment whiz Peter O'Sullivan dubbed "a young Willie Mason" is preparing to become the biggest thing in rugby league.

Masoe is as physically intimidating as his more illustrious Roosters recruit - the 18-year-old Kiwi casts an imposing shadow courtesy of a 119 kilogram/192 centimetre frame. If you think he's big now, you should have seen him a few months ago, when he was tipping the scales at about 140kg.

The figures are impressive, but Masoe is more interested in a different set of digits. When he isn't crunching defenders, Masoe is crunching numbers, studying accounting with a view to making it a career.

But for the time being, the big Samoan's future lies with rugby league. And according to two of the best judges of talent in the game, it looks like it will be a bright one.

League immortal and former Roosters scout Arthur Beetson - the man who brought Anthony Minichiello, Michael Crocker, Chris Flannery and countless other promising youngsters to Bondi Junction - recalled the first time he saw Masoe play.

"I loved him when I saw him a few years ago in an under-16s New Zealand side," Beetson said. "He's a big kid, there aren't many front-rowers like him.

"Apart from the fact he's got incredible size, he's a great athlete. He's got a tremendous work ethos and from what I understand they're all rapt with him [at the Roosters]."

The man who replaced Beetson as chief talent spotter at the club, former Storm recruitment officer O'Sullivan, was similarly impressed.

"When he was at the Australian Schoolboys, whenever he got the ball 10 metres out, he scored; he was just too big to stop," O'Sullivan said.

"With his footwork and size, he's potentially a young Willie Mason. He's got that sort of frame. Like Willie he's got the size, physique and speed to do that sort of damage.

"I saw him play in the schoolboys and he was carrying a lot of weight, a massive amount of weight. I was very keen for him to get over as soon as he could.

"I was pleasantly surprised, he'd lost about 15 kilos and after Christmas he's lost another four or five. He's going gangbusters."

Masoe has played his fair share of union but opted to concentrate on the 13-man game, despite the fact his cousin, Hurricanes loose forward Chris Masoe, is an All Black.

"I liked league more, the contact, the physicalness of the game," said Masoe, who is recovering from chicken pox.

The teenager will start off his Roosters career in the new National Youth Competition, but it may be double trouble if the Mason clone makes first grade.
Parramatta Rookies with the Sailors with Disabilities kids at last years NRL Regatta
Parramatta Rookies with the Sailors with Disabilities kids at last years NRL Regatta
(Photo :

The third NRL Regatta will take place on the 29th of January.

Teams of rookies from all 16 NRL teams together with disabled children will compete for line honours in a two hour race on Sydney Harbour.

The race is organised by Sailors with disABILITIES, NRL and CYCA.

The competing yachts will leave from Rushcutter’s Bay and the race will start at 10.45 am.

The aim of the NRL Regatta is to raise funds and awareness of people with a disability.

The NRL uses the regatta as the graduation to their rookie program, which always takes place before the start of the new League season.

Eels stars Jarred Hayne and Inu Krisnan and Chris Lawrence from Wests Tigers were amongst the players who took part in the NRL Regatta last year.

Would you like to join us for the race, help us out as a volunteer or provide your services as a skipper of your yacht (40+ feet)? Give Marc a call contact
Dave Taylor & the Broncos Rookies at last years NRL Rookie Camp (Photo : ourfooty media)
Dave Taylor & the Broncos Rookies at last years NRL Rookie Camp (Photo : ourfooty media)
Mitchell Pearce & the Roosters at the 2007 NRL Rookie Camp (Photo : ourfooty media)
Mitchell Pearce & the Roosters at the 2007 NRL Rookie Camp (Photo : ourfooty media)
NRL Rookie Camp - (Photo : ourfooty media)
Guys listen at this years NRL Rookie Camp
(More Photo's of Day 1 here)

The next wave of future NRL stars will celebrate the Australia Day weekend at Sydney University for the annual Rookie Camp.

A three-day intensive workshop will bring together players from all clubs and cover every aspect of Rugby League on and off the field before finishing on Sydney Harbour next Tuesday as players partner the Sailors with DisABILITIES team to bring a special experience to those in need.

In its four-year history the NRL Rookie Camp has been an important stepping stone for the likes of Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Brett Stewart, Krisnan Inu, Greg Inglis and Karmichael Hunt.

From making the most of training to business networking, media, career development, financial opportunities, cultural awareness, responsible use of alcohol, the dangers of illicit drugs and playing by the rules sessions that deal with sexual ethics, the Rookie Camp is one that pulls no punches in offering players the best guide to a rewarding career.

Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah, who attended the inaugural Rookie Camp, still has a clear memory of its impact.

“As young players we were all naturally caught up in the excitement of playing in the NRL,” Farah recalls

“The Rookie camp made us realise playing the game was just one part of a complex picture

“It has had a big impact on me and on the other players who were there that year.”

Presenters this year include some of the game’s former stars, among them Jason Stevens, Ben Ikin, Joel Caine, Ron Coote, Brad Mackay, Greg Florimo, Billy Moore and Michael Buettner.

The Rookie Camp features those young players who are already part of NRL squads.

NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, who will address the players on Monday night and join them at the Sailors with DisABILITIES day on Tuesday, says that the camp has become a key part of preparing for life in the NRL.

“The feedback from the players over the years has been that the camp is really rewarding,” he said.

“Through the Rookie Camps and also this year through the Toyota Cup induction camps for the national youth competition there has been a positive shift in the way athletes are prepared for professional sport.

“The players fully understand both the opportunities they have and the challenges and responsibilities they face.

“The Sailors with Disability day on Tuesday also provides a real insight into the joy they can bring into people’s lives and a reminder of the game’s One Community approach.”


Sunday, January 27, 1.00pm: Players assemble at Sydney University sessions include networking Money Matters, Cultural awareness.

Monday, January 28, 7:00am: Training
9:30am: Sessions include responsible use of alcohol, presentation and media, playing by the rules, illicit drugs, the RLPA and an official dinner at which former players discuss life in the NRL.

Tuesday, January 28, 6:30am Training session
10:00am Sailors with DisABILITIES featuring players, international class yachts and children from Royal Far West Manly, Northcott Disability Services, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, St George School and the Nepean Area Disabilities 2008 NRL ROOKIE CAMP PHOTO'S
Jimmy Dymock show the boyz how to tackle a bloke (Photo : ourfooty media)
Jimmy Dymock show the boyz how to tackle a bloke
(Photo : ourfooty media) | PHOTO'S HERE |

ourfooty media

Super geek Dr. Karl reckons the faster you go, time slows down, it kinda makes Spence because it's been a slow old summer holidays and a long time since we played & watched some footy.

The Footy's back, Cronulla Sharks junior rep teams, the under 16's Harold Matthews Cup & under 18's SG Ball play their first trial game for 2008 at Gymea High School.

The Canberra Raiders are hitting town for these 2 trial games on Australia Day, yep, this Saturday it'z on.

The Matty's Cup kicks off at 4:00 pm then the SG Ball clash should begin about 5:30pm

All parents, friends and footy fans are encouraged to get to Gymea High School for some good rugby league, the Cronulla Junior League have arranged a BBQ, so there will be plenty of good food and some nice cold drinks available too.. READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

Bradford Bulls have announced the signing of four more junior players ahead of the 2008 season.

Tom Lillycrop, a Prop Forward who is in the England Schools Squad, has joined the club from Drighlington and Josef Wardle, a Loose Forward / Stand Off, who has represented Yorkshire this year, has joined the club from Illingworth ARLFC. Both players are products of the Bulls Scholarship system.

The Bulls have also signed two more players from the successful Hunslet Warriors club. Adrian Raw is a Centre who has played for England Schools and Liam Kay is a Scrum Half who has represented Yorkshire this year. Both have previously been on the Leeds Rhinos Scholarship scheme.

Bulls Coach Steve McNamara is delighted with the quality of the four players and the compliment the five signings already announced

“I am absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure the signature of these very talented players.

Josef Wardle is a really exciting signing for us. He is well developed physically and we have high aspirations for him. He can play at either Stand Off or Loose Forward and we think he will compliment the great pack that we have assembled.

He has great potential and we feel he can develop and fill one of our half back roles in future years.

Tom Lillycrop is an England International and a Prop Forward who we have signed from Drighlington. He is as strong as an Ox and is one of those block busting type of Props. I am delighted they have come through our system and I am sure they will prove to be outstanding signings for us.”

Steve is also delighted with the capture of two players who have been on Leeds Rhinos Scholarship.

“Liam Kay is a fantastic prospect. He is a Scrum Half and it is obviously an area where there is an opportunity at this club for someone to come through and put pressure on the players currently occupying that spot at a higher grade.

I am really excited that we have persuaded him that his future lies here at the Grattan Stadium.

The positions of Half Back and Outside Backs are areas where there are not too many outstanding junior players and we are delighted to have signed Liam and also his teammate Adrian Raw.

Adrian is a tremendous finisher and a consistent finisher.

He is very athletic with good hands and his signing is another major coup for us.

We have worked very hard to secure the nine juniors singings that we have made and they will have every opportunity to come through the system here and I am confident they will serve this club well a long time.”
Cronulla Sahrks U15 Dev players at the NSWRL academy
Cronulla Sharks U15 Dev players at the NSWRL academy (Photo : SHARKS)

Ten local juniors identified by the Sharks as players of the future, this week attended the annual January rugby league development camp at the NSWRL Academy at Narrabeen in Sydney’s northern suburbs.

The ten under 15’s year olds joined over 125 boys from the Sydney metropolitan area, NSW country divisions, Wellington in New Zealand and from around Queensland in an effort to enhance their Rugby league skills.

Stacey Morell, Zac Wedesweiler, Reece Davidson, Luke Dodge, Harry Day, Dion Beattie, Michael Morris, Jeremy Saville, Rea Pittman and Ryan Giles were selected from the Sharks junior development squad to attend and experience the four-day annual camp.

The boys enjoyed four days of rugby league skills and activities and also spent a half day at North Narrabeen beach during the week.

Sharks recruitment manager and Cronulla Cobras coach Craig Wilson also delivered a presentation to the young players attending the camp.

The NSWRL Academy has been conducting school holiday development camps for the past 14 years with camps traditionally scheduled for the last week of January for 12 – 16 year olds, the Easter Blues camp is in the April/May school break for 12 – 15 year old junior players and the Winter Mod camp in the July school holidays for 10 – 12 year olds.

Many current NRL players over the years have attended the camps as young players with many famous names of the NRL among the graduates including Craig Wing Luke Lewis, Jarrod Sammut, Brett Stewart, Ben Roberts, Daniel Conn, Matt Hilder, Liam Fulton and Dene Halatau.

The under 15’s development squad, of which the 10 boys are a part, along with the under 14’s and under 17 development squads, will be presented with their training gear prior to the Sharks SG Ball and Matthews Cup trials on Saturday.

The junior rep trials, which are against Canberra and will be played at Gymea High School, kick off at 4.00pm with Matthews Cup and 5.30pm for SG Ball.. | Learn More about the Cronulla Junior League here |
Story By : Mackay Daily Mercury
Meet the new breed of players set to make their mark on the inaugural season of the national under 20 competition.

Eight of the hottest players from around our region will line up with clubs across Queensland and New South Wales.

But only three of them will be with the North Queensland Cowboys, despite the club having a squad of 25 to 30 which includes three New Zealand players and one Cronulla recruit.

Mackay rugby league identity Steve Nielsen said he felt the Cowboys "could have done more", considering the high calibre of Mackay players who have signed with other NRL clubs for the under 20 competition.

"It's a bit disappointing that there hasn't been more Mackay boys signed by the Cowboys, especially as it is such a big squad," he said.

"The talent in Mackay is as strong as it has ever been."

But 2007 Mackay Sea Eagles under 19 coach Steve Jackson, whose side was one of three Mackay rugby league representative outfits to struggle last year, said a lack of preparation by Mackay teams has put them at a disadvantage against other North Queensland centres and could be the reason for the city's representation at the Cowboys.

"We have talented boys but their preparation hasn't been up to standard," Jackson said.

"It's not a lack of depth, because ability-wise we are up there with Townsville and Cairns.

"We don't train enough and we aren't dedicated enough.

"But the ability is definitely there."

Cowboys football operations manager Peter Jones said from his club's perspective there was "no particular reason" for the low number of Mackay players in the Cowboys' under 20 squad.

"It is very important for us to be seen to have local kids in our squad," he said.

"The majority of our players, about 90%, are from North and Central Queensland."

Jones said the Cowboys had pursued a number of other players from Mackay, including boom prospect Ben Barba.

Last night at Belmore Sports Ground the BullDoggies hosted the first trial games for 2008 with the Penrith Panthers.

The BullDogs dominated both the Harold Matthews & SG Ball Cup games, with Doggies players having a field day in most positions.

The Panthers sent their U17 & U15 Dev squads instead of full Matty's & SG Ball squads - hence the results

The scores where a blow out & therefore not important at this stage of the season.

The games were not of an official nature as the Panthers didn't send their Matty's & SG Ball sides, they send their Under 15 & under 17' s development squads do do battle against the Bulldogs.

So by all accounts then, the Panthers boys have done well to compete for a few minutes here and there against stronger opposition.

In the SG Ball, the BullDogs fullback had an outstanding game, he has a great step & runs very fast, as did their left center in the no. 4 jumper, he is a big boy, smashed into the Panthers line, busting through at will, the big bloke also has good vision & skills too.

The 14 for the Canterbury came off the bench for short devestating bursts, one comment from the crowd was the 14 is a "wrecking machine in both attack & defence

Looks like the mighty Panthers have a bit of work to do & it's a bit scarey for the rest of the comp if the BullDogs continue to grow in both these comp's.
Krisnan Inu relaxes at Parramatta Stadium yesterday after re-signing with the club until 2010. Photograph: Troy Bendeich
Special bond ... Krisnan Inu relaxes at Parramatta Stadium yesterday after re-signing with the club until 2010. Photograph: Troy Bendeich
Daily Telegraph
Excitement machine Krisnan Inu, who was raised in the same working-class neighbourhood as Melbourne's Israel Folau and Eels' teammate Jarryd Hayne, turned his back on rival clubs in a bid to help clinch Parramatta's first premiership since 1986.

In a deal understood to be worth $400,000 a season, Inu said his friendships with Hayne and the rest of the squad made his decision easy.

The chance to see some of the fringe players work their way into the top grade in the coming seasons was also a big factor.

So rapt is coach Michael Hagan with Inu locking himself in for two more seasons, he believes the 20-year-old star and Hayne can combine to become "the two best centres in the game".

Hagan said Inu and Hayne would be his starting centres for the 2008 season while Ben Smith continued to recover from a knee reconstruction.

Inu, who returned home to Minto on Saturday to break the news of his extended contract to his parents and sisters, said it would have been hard to picture himself at another club.

"The bond here at Parramatta amongst the players is the main reason I decided to stay," he said.

"And if we can keep that bond this season we'll have every chance to go one better than last year.

"I think we can get there, but you never know what can happen during the year. We're preparing well and everybody is looking faster and stronger than last year."

Inu's manager Isaac Moses said his star client only made up his mind in the new year that he did not want to leave Parramatta.

"He's played with some of the guys since he was a teenager, guys like Jarryd and Feleti Mateo, and would love to think he can win a premiership in the next couple of years while those mates are still at the club," Moses said.

"He's also got some friends in the lower grades who are bound to get their chance in the coming seasons to join Inu in the top grade.

"We spoke with a few other clubs, but Krisnan basically said he didn't want to go anywhere."

Moses said Inu had such an affection for the area and its junior players, he hopped off a plane last September after Parramatta beat New Zealand in the opening round of the NRL finals and immediately headed west to watch the next generation of stars.

"His old club Cabramatta was playing in the finals series and after he left the airport he rocked up by himself and was mobbed by kids," Moses said.

"They loved him, he loved the night, he was picking the young ones up and made sure he said hello to all the players. He's the perfect gentleman."

Hagan said Inu had the chance to develop into a world-class player of the same calibre as former Eel and now NSW Waratah Timana Tahu.

He said Hayne was popular among his peers and, together with Hayne, "they can do things on the park I certainly couldn't do".

After Hayne signed on for a further two years last month - to make sure there was enough cash for Inu to re-sign - Hagan said the club's first priority would be to secure their best talent before searching outside the club for new recruits.
Billy Williams NRL Educations guys made things interesting
Billy Williams talked about peoples cultures, which includes the culture at your local footy club too. ( Photo : ourfooty media)
NRL Induction Camp
Jay Aston and this group listen to Jason Stevens at the NRL Induction Camp ( Photo : ourfooty media)

The NRL have successfully completed the final NRL Inducion Camp for the new National Under 20 competition, the Toyota Cup.

The last four teams from NRL clubs the Melbourne Storm, Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers & the Canberra Raiders attended this camp which began on Friday and ended yesterday afternoon.

The talented young footballer were given the drum by Toyota Cup boss Michael Buettner, "We don't hide the fact that some of these guys are going to miss out," Buettner said. "That is the harsh reality."

Rather that crush the dreams of these kids, the NRL works hard to make the player relise that not every one will play for Australia and that they have an excellent opportunity to use these new life skills in every day life and in their work place.

As part of their contracts, the players must study or work at least from Tuesday to Thursday, to prepare for life after football, said Buettner.

"We've implemented mandated non-training hours Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday where they are not allowed to train during business hours.

"It is why we have emphasised the importance of education and welfare for players by encouraging players to be in either study or employment opportunities.

The NRL is conscious of players' limited career span and how easily injuries can shorten that.

"When you use the term thrown to the scrapheap that's the way professional sport is," Buettner said.

"Unfortunately if you do get some career-ending injury, then clubs will do their very best to support and help out but you're no longer any value on the field."

Employment : As NRL players, players are employed by their footy club. Although a professional rugby league players is a little more glamourous than the rest of us mere mortals.

Playing foor for a living may bring fame, fortune & fantastic girls, it is still a job, the boyz learned a lot to do with employment obligations.

NRL education and welfare officer Jason Stevens was joined by Paul Mellor who's NRL carrer spanned 17 years.

Jason Stevens told players that if it was not for education "i wouldn't have my job with the NRL, i have done a Business Masters course"

Finances were discussed in length by Joel Caine, basically Joel said not to go crazy and buy a flash new car, keep your heap, save your cash, invest in stuff, but importantly, keep your eyes on the ball, football that is, football careers.

On saturday morning the Raiders & Panthers team went across the road to Sydney Uni to train in the rain, then breakfast was on, you don't want to be an egg or a piece of bacon at any of the NRL education camp, these boyz can eat.

Jesse Godsell reintroduced himself to representative training on Saturday.
Jesse Godsell reintroduced himself to representative training on Saturday.
Story By : Beverly Warnest Bundagurg New Mail
BUNDABERG'S best teenage rugby league talent returned to the track on Saturday to reintroduce themselves to the riggers of representative training.

This year's under 16s and under 18s representative competition has under gone a revamp, including scheduling of games against clubs outside the Wide Bay division.

The change will allow Bundaberg's young and emerging talent to test themselves against Rockhampton, Gladstone and Dawson.

In addition, matches are not being played in four days, but over four weekends starting March 1.

The new format has received a tick of approval from Bundaberg under 18 coach Terry Borland.

"It's sensational," Borland said.

"It will give these fellas the experience of playing other clubs who they don't normally come up against.

"We know we'll have to lift the benchmark, but we are confident we will be competitive."

Bundaberg Junior Rugby League president Garry Anderson was satisfied with the turn-out.

"Approximately half the under 18 squad attended," Anderson said.

"About 19 of the under 16s turned up, and about four or five or those let us know they were going to be late due to work.

"It's a bit difficult on Saturdays, people have to put employment first, but training now shifts to a week-night so that should help."

"Glen Dreger (Wide Bay rugby league development officer) controlled a two-hour session in the morning before players were split into groups.

"They all came back together for a final run to finish the day."

Each squad currently consists of 30 players.

"Some were asked to join the squad on last season's performances, some were taken on advice from clubs and their officials," Anderson said.

"With the competition being played over four weeks, and not four days we will eventually choose a squad of 25 for each of the two teams."We plan to travel with 21 players.

"Our first game is being played on the first Saturday of March and a team is expected to be announced a fortnight prior

."This new format is a great opportunity for the young lads to compare themselves against players outside the Wide Bay region so they know | Learn More about Bundaburg Junior Rugby League HERE |
Wade Graham, Greg Waddell & the Penrith Panthers Boyz at the NRL Induction Day 1
Wade Graham, Greg Waddell & the Penrith Panthers Boyz at the NRL Induction Day 1
Billy Williams both entertained and taught the boyz some valuable lessons on the 1st day of the NRL Toyota Cup induction day
Billy Williams both entertained and taught the boyz some valuable lessons on the 1st day of the NRL Toyota Cup induction day (Photo's : ourfooty media)
ourfooty media
The NRL’s next generation of stars will this weekend complete the most progressive development program for elite junior athletes in Australian professional sport as part of their build-up to the inaugural Toyota Cup national youth competition.

One hundred players from the Storm, Knights, Panthers and Raiders are undertaking a two-day intensive course in Sydney today and tomorrow that focuses on cultural awareness, money matters, marketing, community work, media training and the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

It is the fourth and final induction camp, with Toyota Cup players from the other 12 NRL clubs having previously attended camps in Sydney and Brisbane.

While the NRL and other Australian professional sports have developed comprehensive induction and education programs for rookie and senior players, this program is the first of its type for a national youth competition and sets new standards in the way junior players prepare for life as professional athletes.

The Toyota Cup, for under 20 players, is itself a ground-breaking competition that will develop players’ skills on the field as well as provide educational and workplace opportunities that will significantly enhance career prospects for them off the field.

“These young men have completed the most comprehensive off-field training program that has even been provided for elite junior Rugby League players,” Toyota Cup Manager Michael Buettner said.

“It is a platform for them to succeed on the field, to prepare for the challenges that confront modern-day athletes and, most importantly, to build a rewarding career for life after football.

“We are giving players the chance to compete in an elite junior competition week to week on the same stage as NRL stars, but we are also offering them the opportunity to build a career beyond football and that is a huge incentive for any young athlete.”

Former New Zealand international Tony Iro, who will coach the Warriors in the Toyota Cup, says the induction camps are a fundamental component of preparing young players for the realities of professional sport.

“It’s good for the players to realise that just because they are playing in the Toyota Cup isn’t a guarantee that they’re going to earn big money and be a superstar NRL player,” Iro said.

“This camp teaches them the importance of balance and the importance of their other careers.”

The inaugural Toyota Cup competition kicks off on Friday, March 14 – the first round of the Telstra Premiership. | SEE MORE PHOTO'S OF DAY 1 & DAY 2 OF THE NRL INDUCTION CAMP |
David Taylor
David Taylor - new Bronco's deal (Photo : ourfooty media)
Story By : Steve Ricketts Courier Mail Photo By : ourfooty media
GIANT Broncos prop Dave Taylor is assured of a new deal at the Broncos but some of the club's other youngsters must prove themselves in the early part of the season to attract fresh offers.

That was the message from Broncos chief executive Bruno Cullen on his return to work yesterday. The club faces one of the most challenging seasons in its history.

Cullen said the Broncos were close to finalising a deal of two or three years with 19-year-old Taylor.

However he wanted to assess the progress of several other players before entering contract negotiations.

"I don't want to single out people but I want to see what their attitude is, particularly to the pre-season work," Cullen said. "I understand some have really stepped up to the mark and have shown they are fair dinkum about having big seasons. The mental approach is very important."

Winger Darius Boyd played 22 NRL games in 2007 but by his own admission slipped back a cog or two after an impressive rookie year.

Utility Greg Eastwood also played 22 games but finished the season poorly.

Other players off contract include Corey Parker, Michael Ennis and David Stagg.

Cullen said Taylor would play for the Central Comets if he was not required for NRL duty.

"Originally we allocated him to Norths in Brisbane but because Dave is from Central Queensland we thought it best he turn out for his home town," Cullen said.

Obe Geia, Cameron White & Chris Sandow at the 2007 NRL Rookie camp (Photo : ourfooty media)
Obe Geia, Cameron White & Chris Sandow at the 2007 NRL Rookie camp (Photo : ourfooty media)
Mitchell Pearce talks to the media at the 2007 NRL Rookie Camp

The National Rugby League are conducting the final Toyota Cup Induction Camp at Sydney University this Friday and Saturday 18 - 19 January.

This should be a good opportunity for these talented young football players , they will at least have the knowledge to steer their careers to the try line rather than to the sin bin.

Dally M Rookie of the Year Israel Folau and fellow international Greg Inglis have been among the young guns to burst on to the NRL stage with the Melbourne Storm – tomorrow the 2007 premiers will unveil their next generation of stars at the final Toyota Cup induction camp.

One hundred players from the Storm, Panthers, Raiders and Knights will attend the two-day camp starting tomorrow, Friday, January 18, at Sydney University Village.

The induction camp features presentations on cultural awareness, media training, money matters and the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Previous camps have been held in Sydney and Brisbane for the other 12 NRL clubs.

Toyota Cup Manager Michael Buettner and NRL Welfare and Education Officer Jason Stevens will be available to speak to the media about the induction camp from 10.30am-11am tomorrow
Adam Reynolds with a slick pass Vs Queensland u17 at Telstra Stadium (Photo : ourfooty media)
Adam Reynolds with a slick pass Vs Queensland u17 at Telstra Stadium (Photo : ourfooty media)
MATRAVILLE ARE # 1 r (Photo : RLW )
MATRAVILLE ARE # 1 r (Photo : RLW )

17 year old Adam Reynolds, year 12 student at mighty Matraville Sports High School will play in some of the most powerful junior football teams in Australia this year.

2007 was a year full of milestones for this young Arrive alive Cup champion, Adam is the 2007 Peter Sterling Medalist as the best players in the 450+ National School Arrive alive Cup competition.

Adam was also voted the "player of the finals" in the 2007 NSW CHS University Shield.

Adam also ripped the Queensland Under 17's apart at Telstra Stadium as part of the NSW U17's who smashed the Queenslanders 52 - 18 before the State of Orgin last year.

Adam's school is arguabley the hottest school side on the planet by smashing all commers in all competitions last year, and Adam says "he can't wait ti start playing again".

Titles for Matraville Sports High School in 2007 are : ARRIVE aLIVE CUP national Champions, NSW CHS UNIVERSITY SHIELD Champions, NSW CHS ST. MARY'S CUP, the HOPPA CUP.

This year will be a busy one for Adam, he will be playing in the National Youth Competition (U20's) for the South Sydney Rabbitoh's, SG Ball, and of course all his school games for Matraville Sports High School as they prepare to defend all their illustrious Titles.

We ask, who can stop mighty Matra in 2008?

Adam Reynolds was kind enough to allow ourfooty media to interview him on Tuesday night, so if you want to read ourfooty Interview with Adam Reynolds, CLICK HERE
Matt Vautin
Chip off the old block ... Matt Vautin. Photo: Phil Lutton
Matthew with his old man fatty Paul Vautin
Matthew with his old man fatty Paul Vautin
Brisbane Times
Matt Vautin looks up to his famous dad, Paul. Sort of.

At just 17, the new signing for the Gold Coast Titans has a maturing appreciation of what his old man, the Manly and Queensland legend, accomplished on the football field.

But in terms of physical stature, that relationship is inverted. Standing six-foot three inches tall and with nary a red hair in sight, Matt isn't exactly a carbon copy of the ginger-topped Footy Show front man.

"He's (Matt) six foot bloody three. Fatty reckons the milkman got in there somewhere," says Titans junior recruitment director Tom Searle, who first saw Matt playing for New South Wales at a schoolboy carnival in Townsville before snaring his signature last year.

The lack of a family resemblance is equally as puzzling to Matt, who says the origin of his extended frame is somewhat of a riddle in the Vautin household.

"I don't have the red hair and he's (Dad) about five foot nine and I'm about six foot three. It's a mystery. No one has got any idea where I got the height from," says Matt.

While father and son differ greatly in appearance, the burning ambition on the field remains the same. After playing rugby for St Luke's Grammar School until he graduated last year, Matt is chasing his football dream on the Gold Coast, where he hopes to make his mark in the centres.

Following the move from Sydney's northern beaches, where he was linked to Manly, Vautin 2.0 will have his first chance to impress as part of the Titans' 30-man SG Ball squad in two trial games later this month.

"I've played rugby league since I was 10. At the school we didn't play rugby league, I played rugby union. So I played rugby union for a few years and I wasn't the biggest fan but it was just a bit of fun. I was a fullback," says Matt, who has moved in with dad Paul at Broadbeach.

"I'm deadly serious about football. It's been really good, a really good experience. But it's been a bit boring up here by myself. I don't really know anybody yet. I came up and left all my friends in Sydney."

Despite growing up in Blues-territory, Matt says he's always been a Maroons supporter. The move north will give him the chance to follow in his dad's footsteps.

Matt said his dad had never pressured him into lacing up the boots but was thrilled with his decision to pursue a career in the game that made 'Fatty' famous.

"He doesn't put too much pressure on. He's always been supportive and giving me tips. He's always wanted me to do this. But in saying that, he's always said do what you want to do. It's up to you."

Matt & His da - legend Paul Vautin

Vautin senior has pulled a few strings to help Matt harden up his lanky frame. The youngster is doing one-on-one sessions with Titans trainer and former Queensland hardman Trevor Gillmeister two days a week, with immediate and often messy results.

"Gilly's a great mate of mine and an integral part of the Gold Coast club. He's taken time out to help Matt," said Paul Vautin.

"He had Matt spewing today so that's a good sign. He had him on the treadmill and he had an up and under, so that's good."

While Matt is now seeking his dad's tutelege on all matters football, it wasn't that long ago that the brash youngster wasn't interested in the advice his father had to dispense.

"I've never pushed him. He just does his own thing," Vautin snr said.

"He's making his own way. I'm there to help him as he needs help. As he gets older he comes to me more for a bit of help.

"I said to him once when he was 10 - 'Mate you can always come to me for a bit of help'. And he said 'Dad, what would you know?'.

"I said, 'Mate! Come on! The 80s!'"

Despite growing up on the beach all his life, Matt won't be taking advantage of the Broadbeach waves lapping on his doorstep.

"I can't surf. I'm unco. I run. If I can I'll run down the road or something like that," he said.

And though his dad has never pushed him into football, he is pushing to get him out of the house and into the workforce or study.

"Dad is pretty adamant that I get a job soon. But I'm riding it out as long as I can and having a bit of a holiday."
Israel Fulou powers through the Emgland Academy line Dec '06 (Photo : ourfooty media)
Israel Falou smashing the Poms on last years Schoolboys tour Vs BARLA (Photo : ourfooty media)
Story By : Daily Telegraph
MELBOURNE have eased off rather than increased the pressure on rugby league's top target Israel Folau to re-sign.

The defending NRL champions still desperately want the 18-year-old Test winger to make his future with the club but have agreed to leave it to Folau and his management to call the next shot.

Although they're aware they face raging competition from the Roosters, Bulldogs, Broncos and Titans, the Storm haven't spoken to Folau about contract negotiations this year.

Folau capped off an astonishing rookie year last year when he became the youngest ever Test player for the Kangaroos when he scored two tries against New Zealand.

Considered the frontrunners to lure him away from Melbourne, the Roosters are currently trialling his 22-year-old brother Tevita, also known as David.

He is looking to start an NRL career after spending two years in Hong Kong completing Mormon missionary work.

Their younger brother Eni, 15, is also on a Roosters scholarship as he completes his schooling in Brisbane.

The Roosters also snared the Storm's recruitment guru Peter O'Sullivan, the man responsible for discovering the giant teen, who added 10 kilos and four centimetres in the past 12 months to now measure in at 103kg and 194cm.

But the Storm have realised the ball is in Folau's court.

"At the request of Israel, he hasn't set himself a deadline to make a decision by, he'd rather take it pretty casually so we've respected his decision and gone with that," said new Melbourne football manager Frank Ponissi.

"We'll sit down a bit more formally in a couple of weeks but the last thing we want to do is put any undue pressure on him."

While Melbourne may not be able to match some of their cashed-up rivals in the money stakes, they are confident a champion line-up, coach Craig Bellamy and the low-key Melbourne lifestyle hold plenty of attraction for Folau.

"We believe Israel and his management group that he wants to stay so it's going to come down to a financial decision at the end of the day.

"We just need to make him an offer that's comparable to one he's going to get elsewhere, we're hoping that he'll stay."

Folau's manager Isaac Moses said Folau would sign a contract "when he's ready".

The Storm will also conduct more formal discussions later this month with prized forward Dallas Johnson, who is also off contract at the end of the season.

"We're going to try to do something before the start of the season because that would be in the best interest of the player and the club, to have their future sorted out," said Ponissi.

Protection...Ryan Schubert, Jack Lowe and Khyl Ward.
Protection...Ryan Schubert, Jack Lowe and Khyl Ward.
Daily Telegraph
A SYDNEY rugby league club official wants junior players and officials to take out AVOs against abusive parents and spectators during the 2008 season.

Penrith District Junior Rugby League CEO Don Feltis said off-field violence was often so brutal he would recommend players and officials take legal action against unruly parents, players and supporters.

Players as young as 14 told The Sunday Telegraph they feared being followed from matches and being abused or assaulted by furious parents.

Mr Feltis made a detailed submission to the NSW Department of Sport and Recreation urging a statewide AVO system for junior rugby league.

Any player or spectator could be issued with an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) under the radical plan.

They would then be banned from either playing junior rugby league - or attending matches.

Mr Feltis said his submission, made with the aid of lawyers and police, provided evidence of parents and spectators violently breaching the junior rugby league code of conduct.

"In the document, I have outlined three pivotal issues in junior rugby league - parents and spectators assaulting the referees; parents and spectators running on the field and molesting players; and supporters seriously threatening to assault players on the opposite team,'' he said.

Mr Feltis said extreme measures were needed to stamp out such violence.

He added: "We have to make players and parents accountable for their actions because until then, we won't win the battle.''

By the end of 2007, 63 of 210 new referees had quit the sport because of violence at matches.

But in Penrith, the situation was even worse - almost half the game's new referees quit in fear.

"We had 42 new referees at the beginning of the season, but 20 quit because they were victims of abuse,'' Mr Feltis said.

Young Panthers player Jack Lowe, 14, said he had rejected offers to referee for fear he would be abused.

"I won't referee because I don't want to be assaulted by players and spectators,'' he said.

"After a match, referees can't wear their vests outside because if they do, they will be abused, so it's a pretty big problem.''

Another player, Khyl Ward, 14, said he had been followed from matches by furious parents.

"If you hurt someone's kid during a match, then their parents will wait for you outside after the game and abuse you,'' he said.
Young CherryPickers rlfc - The Under 18s Cherrypickers side are preparing for a big 2008 season with Warren Aiken and Nick Hall set to lead the team as coaches.
PREPARATIONS: The Under 18s Cherrypickers side are preparing for a big 2008 season with Warren Aiken and Nick Hall set to lead the team as coaches.
The Young Witness YOUNG have a proud tradition of producing quality footballers.

Many of these players have come through the Junior League and then onto the Under 16 and 18 teams in Sunday football.

This has definitely been the case in recent times, with the Sullivan Cup and Weisel Cup teams taking out premierships and being very competitive, while the senior sides have at times struggled.

New Under 18 coaches Warren Aiken and Nick Hall are well aware of that tradition and are looking forward to getting this years side together and carving out their own piece of history.

"I have been in Young a number of years now and love the town. I have watched the younger sides play and have always been impressed with the talent and guts shown by these guys." Aiken said.

"I have been involved in football at a higher level and felt that I would like to help some of these younger guys improve their games and achieve something.

"I'm looking forward to working with Nick. We are good mates and think very similarly about football. Between the two of us, I think the boys are going to really learn something and have a very enjoyable year."

Training is set to start in late January for all grades with Wednesday January 30 the first official training session for all of the players.

"I want them doing some training before then though. Nick and I have some good sessions organised and we need them to be fit so that we can get straight into it," Aiken said.

Hall agreed with Aiken, saying there were good signs for the Weisel Cup side this year.

"There is always a good squad in that age group. It is exciting when two teams come together like this. It is a challenge for everyone. The players will be competing for spots. We will be trying to get the best out of everyone and balance the side out," he said.

"The start of the year is always fun for me. You get to know guys better and see what makes everyone tick. You bond and grow that mateship through the hard yards you put in and the experiences you share. I can't wait.

There are some top players in the mix and some good guys. I hope they all get down there and give it a go"

Hall also indicated that players from all grades should be doing some fitness now, so that it is not such a shock to the system later.

"To give yourself the best chance of a spot, any competitive guy should be doing something. There are guys from all grades doing some unofficial training at Hall Bros oval every Monday at 6pm. Take some water with you and do some training with the fellas," he said.

So with two grand finalist teams combining and two new coaches, the future looks good for the Weisel cup team this year. Good luck to the team.
Mitchell Pearce played well in the Premier League (Photos : ourfooty Media ) THE JETS HEAD BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.

The Newtown Jets celebrated the centenary of their foundation on Tuesday afternoon in exactly the same room where the inaugural meeting of the club had taken place back on January 8th, 1908.

The battered assembly hall of the Newtown Town Hall might have seen better days but there was no mistaking the
genuine pride and camaraderie in the crowd of current and past officials, players and supporters who gathered to pay tribute to the tenacious old club's centenary occasion.

Famous ex-players on hand included former Australian captains John Raper and Dick Poole, former Kangaroo five-eighth Tony Brown, plus former Newtown first graders like Bob Keyes, Peter Ryan, Ray Preston, Ron Wright, Clarrie Jeffreys, Bob Carnegie, John Floyd, Frank Speechley, George Debnam, Horrie Kessey and Brian McGoulrick.

93 years old veteran Joe Wade, who had played for Newtown in 1939-40, travelled down from the Central Coast and said he wouldn't have missed Newtown's centenary bash "for quids".

Federal Government Minister and MP for Grayndler Anthony Albanese was in attendance, along with the State MP for Marrickville Carmel Tebbutt and their little boy Nathan (who was sporting a smartly-presented Newtown Jets polo shirt).

Ms Tebbutt received a big cheer from the packed assembly hall when Jets President Barry Vining pointed out Carmel's pivotal role in the NSW Government having made a $250,000 grant towards the re-turfing and
provision of a new irrigation system for historic Henson Park.

Marrickville Councillors Barry Cotter and Saeed Khan were also at the centenary gathering.

Jet 100 yrs birthday cakeCongratulatory messages to the Newtown RLFC on its centenary came from the Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd; the Premier of NSW, Morris Iemma; Federal MP for Sydney Tanya Plibersek; State MP for Heffron Kristina Keneally; the Mayor of Marrickville Dimitios Thanos; the English Rugby Football League; the New Zealand Rugby League; the Queensland Rugby League; the Country Rugby League of NSW; UK clubs St Helens and Rochdale Hornets, as well as from a large number of former Newtown officials and players who now reside outside of Sydney.

The presence in the Town Hall of the family representatives of iconic Newtown players from the Bluebags' past century such as "Tedda" Courtney, Charles "Boxer" Russell, Paddy McCue, Charles "Chicka" Cahill and the
incomparable Frank "Bumper" Farrell was given due recognition by various speakers.

The late "Bumper" Farrell was represented on the day by his daughter Maureen Elsegood and her son Jack Elsegood, the classy winger of the 1990's formerly with Manly-Warringah and the Sydney Roosters.

The event was more than capably compered by WSFM DJ Ron E. Sparks who has been a long-time Newtown Jets fan.

The lineup of speakers at the Town Hall function spoke of the major events and personalities in the club's history and the celebrations continued well into the night at the nearby @ Newtown RSL Club, one of the Newtown Jets major sponsors.

A huge crowd of Jets supporters cheered and toasted the 100th anniversary of the foundation of this remarkably enduring old Sydney sporting institution, and an outsize and suitably-decorated Newtown Jets 100th birthday cake was devoured by the revellers.

The Newtown Jets look towards their second century with confidence while being mindful of the courage and resilience of the officials, supporters, sponsors and players who have steered the club through such tough times in the past.

Official representatives from the National Rugby League, the Australian Rugby League, the NSW Rugby League and officials from each of the remaining NSWRL 1908 foundation clubs - the Sydney Roosters, Balmain, North Sydney, South Sydney and Western Suburbs - were all on hand to pay tribute to the oldest club in Australian Rugby League on one of its proudest days.
Ben Barba. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
Freaky … new Bulldogs halfback Ben Barba. Photo: Dallas Kilponen
The Bulldogs are widely considered to have gambled but lost after waving goodbye to Johnathan Thurston following the 2004 season.

But the club now has a chance for redemption, having rolled the dice again and taken a punt on a player whose similarities with the current Queensland and Australian halfback are striking.

Ben Barba, 18, has been at Belmore for just a few months but is already making the sort of noises Thurston did as a young five-eighth. The sort that has led the club to sign the relatively unknown halfback until the end of 2010. The sort that has persuaded the Dogs not to chase a halfback after losing Brent Sherwin.

Here's why. After the club brought Barba down from Mackay last June, he scored 130 points in 11 games in Jersey Flegg - 15 tries and 35 goals.

"He's just like one of those freaky kids, like Johnathan Thurston," his manager, Gavin Orr, said. "There are a lot of similarities between those two."

Like Thurston, he was a young and slightly scrawny Aboriginal kid when largely ignored at school-age carnivals in north Queensland. Like Thurston, he scores tries and kicks goals.

But the biggest and best similarity is the footballing instinct they share. Bulldogs recruitment manager Keith Onslow hasn't seen instinct like it.

It was Onslow who brought Barba to Belmore after being tipped off by a Mackay contact in Ken Kennedy and also Ben Anderson, the son of former Bulldogs player and coach Chris.

The Bulldogs took a punt on Barba, who was at that stage a fullback, even though after a carnival in Rockhampton he was ignored by no less than three Queensland representative teams.

He didn't disappoint, arriving a few days before June 30, which allowed him to register for last season, and blitzing the second half of the Flegg competition.

During his stupendous run, he even managed to sell a dummy to a high-ranking Bulldogs official. In a final, Barba raced out of the defensive line towards a hard-running Parramatta forward, and looked, on the surface at least, like he had erred badly. The official cursed the fact he had missed a tackle … to be told that Barba was about to put the ball under the black dot, having stripped the ball from the stricken prop.

"His first two touches against the Roosters in his first game were drop outs, and they went 60 metres on the fly," Onslow said. "Then he scored a try with 10 minutes to go. He's certainly got some rough edges, defensively and that, but he's a great kid, a terrific kid. He struggled in the gym early but he's hung in. He hasn't had an off-season yet.

"I've seen a million cases of second-year syndrome, but I have great hope for Ben Barba."

Barba is more circumspect: "I'm just happy that they're showing interest in me. I just love the football. I was moving a fair way from my family, but at the moment things are going sweet."

That is the one question mark over Barba. His brother, Aaron, was considered a prospect at Penrith but he became homesick and cut his career short voluntarily. The Bulldogs are being careful to ensure younger sibling does not fall to the same fate; he lives with teammates in Belmore and is allowed to return to Mackay as often as possible.

He also has the added advantage of being schooled by Andrew Johns, who is affording more advice to Barba than the other halves.

"It's an eye-opener for me," Barba said. "He was my idol growing up. It's just unbelievable being in his presence. He hasn't given us all his tricks. He's just given us the basics."

Barba has agreed to terms with the club in a deal that will keep him in their colours until the end of 2010, and is a significant reason the club refused to buy a halfback after the departure of Sherwin to the UK.

Ben Roberts and Daniel Holdsworth will begin this season as the first-choice halves combination. However, Barba, as the No.7 for the new under-20 National Youth Competition, may be given an opportunity at some stage.

"I'm just looking to put in a good season and whatever happens happens," Barba said. True instinct.

AS RUGBY league in Australia celebrates its Centenary in 2008, the game’s biggest nursery is preparing to grow even more champions for the game’s future.

Home to over 12,000 registered players – more than anywhere else in the world - the Greater Brisbane Junior Rugby League expects another surge of interest when Sign-On Days commence in coming weeks.

A full list of clubs, Sign-on Days and contacts is available on Page 2 of this release, covering a massive expanse from Burpengary to Beenleigh and from Stradbroke Island to Forest Lake.

Since season 2003 a phenomenal growth of 40 per cent in player numbers has occurred in the Greater Brisbane area. That converts to 157 new teams or almost 80 more games of junior rugby league each week.

Among the players to come from the competition in the past decade have been current Australian captain and Golden Boot winner Cameron Smith, Dally M Medallist Johnathan Thurston and 2007 Rookie of the Year Israel Folau.

Particular growth has been seen in Brisbane’s northern corridor, where Pine Rivers now has 21 teams (8 in 2003), Aspley has 33 teams (22 in 2003), Nundah-based Norths has 18 (11 in 2003) and Narangba has 9 (0 in 2003).

On the southside, Easts Carina has shot to 27 teams (14 in 2003), Wynnum Manly has 33 sides (21 in 2003), Springwood has 14 (6 in 2003) and Browns Plains has 17 (9 in 2003).

Even smaller inner-city clubs, which have virtually perished in senior rugby league, have shown positive junior trends in recent years with Bulimba, Cannon Hill, Valleys, Brothers, Souths Graceville and Wests forging ahead through the work of dedicated volunteers.

Based at Bardon, Wests possesses an enviable coaching staff which contains State of Origin legends Tony Currie, Glenn Lazarus and Danny Moore as well as local hero Wayne Treleaven.

Of the more interesting stories in Centenary year will be fortunes of the Cannon Hill Stars, the junior club of Queensland icon, the Immortal Wally Lewis.

Dead and buried two years ago without any junior teams, foundation club Cannon Hill was resurrected in 2007 with a solitary band of Under 7s players.

Hopes are high that the club can retain the 11 hardy players from last season and attract plenty more through a new relationship with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls, the senior club with which Lewis starred in the mid 1980s.. | STINGERS CLUBS |

NRL fans are invited to come and kick the footy on the ANZ Stadium playing surface as part of the biggest public fan day in Rugby League history on Saturday, February 2.

Harvey Norman Centenary Fan Day will feature 400 players from all 16 NRL clubs in what will be a dream day out for up to 20,000 lucky Rugby League fans at ANZ Stadium (formerly Telstra Stadium).

It’s a chance to meet NRL stars, attend coaching clinics, watch the game’s sharpshooters compete in a goalkicking contest, get autographs, witness the largest ever NRL players photo in history and even kick the footy with friends on ANZ Stadium itself.

“The sight of 400 first grade players together at ANZ Stadium will be an enduring image of the game’s Centenary season and fans will enjoy watching the photo come together,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said.

“The chance for families to be able to go on to the ground and kick the footy is a rare one and I hope our fans register early and take the opportunity to enjoy the range of activities available as the build-up continues to the start of the Telstra Premiership.”

To be part of the fun, fans must register prior to the day with entry limited to 20,000 people.

To register, log on to or ring the registration line on 02 9339 8550.

An overview of activities on the day is also on the website.

A gold coin donation to benefit Rugby League’s One Community charities will be collected on entry. Information on One Community’s charity projects is available on

Club membership and merchandise marquees and registration booths for individual activities will be open from 12pm on the day between Gates G and H.

ANZ Stadium gates open at 1.30pm with activities running from 2.30pm-6pm after fans witness the biggest player photo in Rugby League history, featuring the top 400 NRL players in the game’s Centenary season.

Further enquiries: David Taylor 02 9339 8555, 0405 228 974.
Dave Wynyard will be again be looking to make his mark in 08. Photo: Steve Little
PICTURED: The ever enthusiastic Dave Wynyard will be again be looking to make his mark in 08. Photo: Steve Little

Prior to the Christmas break the Bears Harold Matthews and SG Ball squads played a heroic 3 games in as many weeks, in order to finalise teams for 2008.

Both squads trained 3 nights per week leading up to the games, working on skills and conditioning. The tough part now is for the coaches to reduce the 45-50 players down to 20-23, with some tough decisions looming.

The commitment and effort of these young players to make the grade has been outstanding.

They travel from far and wide to attend training, converging from all areas to Bicentennial Reserve, Willoughby, some on the bus, some on the train and some on foot.

The Club is proud that these young men believe in our systems and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be a part of it.

Premier League were also full swing into training prior to the break, with a squad of around 20 players sweating it out 5 times per week.. The Club is mindful of South Sydney's player roster, and players who so far are contracted to the Bears for 2008 are:

Shaune Corrigan (centre from The Entrance, scored 3 tries in the Jim Beam Cup Grand Final)
Isaac Gordon (outside back, looking to fill the very big boots of David Peachey)
Martin Field (2007 Bears Jersey Flegg)
Arnold Mano (2007 Bears Premier League)
Dave Wynyard (2007 Bears Premier League)
Greg Nichols (2007 Bears Premier League)
Ryan Verlinden (2007 Bears Premier League)
Valu Nasio (2007 Bears Premier League)
Bladen Baird (2007 Bears Premier League)
Curtis Johnston (2007 Bears SG Ball)

Those players currently on a train on basis are:

Charlie Herekotukutuku (2007 Mounties JB Cup)
Richard Retimana (2007 Gordon Rugby, 2006 Bears Premier League)
Sean Dalton (2007 Manly Premier League)
Nathan McKay (2007 Bears Jersey Flegg)
Mitch Williams (2007 Bears Jersey Flegg)
Mohammed Alhaje (2007 Bears Jersey Flegg)
Matt Hunt (son of Neil)
Marc Russell
The North Sydney District Rugby League Football Club can be contacted on 9466 8860, by e-mail at, or check out our website at MORE
Cowboys elite dev squad
Cowboys Supporters Team Inc Committee Members presenting the cheque to Cowboys staff and Elite Squad players in December
Cowboys Supporters Team Inc Committee Members presenting the cheque to Cowboys staff and Elite Squad players in December

The Townsville-based Cowboys Supporters Team recently presented a $60,000 cheque to Cowboys staff, during a meet-and-greet with players from the Elite Squad development camp at the Cowboys Leagues Club.

This money will greatly assist the with the development of the best up-and-coming Cowboys of the future.

Football Operations Manager Peter Jones said that the money will be welcomed by the Cowboys.

"This money goes towards funding our elite young players in their representive opportunities; to attend regional, state and Australian schoolboy and junior league championships."

"In 2007 we had a very significant number of players selected for Queensland representative sides and with the Supporters Team's ongoing financial assistance we expect more players to acheive Queensland and Australian selection."

This valuable contribution comes from season-long fundraising, including selling doubles at Cowboys home games, by the devoted Cowboys Supporters Team members.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Townsville-based Supporters Team, you can contact Janet Aspinall on 0439 535 011.
Nth Qld Cowboys logo| Visit the COWBOY'S WEBSITE | Nth Qld Cowboys logo

Six of Rugby League’s oldest surviving Foundation club players will meet at the SCG today, Monday, January 7, at 11am as Australia’s oldest Rugby League clubs begin to celebrate their Centenary birthdays.

Wally O’Connell (Roosters), George Debnam (Newtown), Jack Lawrence (Souths), Bill Keato (Wests), Norm Strong (Norths) and Sid Ryan (Balmain) will be available for a historic photograph and rare interview opportunity outside the Members Stand at 11am.

Mr O’Connell is Rugby League’s oldest surviving Test captain while Mr Debnam first played for the Bluebags during World War II before becoming club secretary.

Mr Keato first played for the Magpies in 1938 and is the eldest of the group at 89.

Mr Lawrence, 86, was part of a Rabbitohs family dynasty with his father, Jack Sr, and uncle Vic playing in premiership-winning teams in the 1920s, while Mr Lawrence and his brother, Vince, played first grade for Souths in the 1940s.

Mr Strong held Norths’ appearance record for 30 years while Mr Ryan opposed Mr O’Connell and Mr Keato in premiership deciders in the 1940s - lost to both – and hasn’t seen them since.
Parramatta Eels logo20/20 CRICKET

The Parramatta Eels NRL Squad Friday 18 th January 2008


Come and see all the Eels stars slug it out against each other in this one off opportunity.


Meet the Players and grab an autograph or two.

On the day all Children aged between 6 & 12, will go into a draw where they could win the chance to be “An Eel for the Day” during the NRL Season 540 Church Street Parramatta Ph: 9890-2311
Geoff Daniela - Penrith PanthersKIDS 2 WATCH GEOFF DANIELA - PANTHERS

Imagine a schoolboy match from three years ago. On one side is Westfields Sports High, boasting the scintillating combination of Jarryd Hayne and Krisnan Inu.

On the other is St Dominic’s, with Michael Jennings and Geoff Daniela.

Currently they are two of the hottest backline pairings in the NRL but it was not so long ago Penrith winger Daniela was coming up against his Parramatta foes in the Arrive Alive Cup.

Just as Inu and Hayne have transferred their childhood friendship into an unbeatable NRL combination, Daniela and Jennings have a similar connection.

After playing his first football at the Mt Druitt City Tigers, Daniela moved on to Blacktown City and then St Marys. Jennings followed Daniela to St Marys and they were seeing more than enough of each other by the time they finished school.

They played junior footy, schoolboy footy, and Panthers junior reps together.

They went to the same school, made NSW schoolboys sides at the same time, playing alongside the likes of Hayne and Jarrod Mullen, and this year made their NRL debuts just weeks apart.

“I think it helps on the field that we know each other’s game so well,” Daniela says.

“We played together all through the junior grades so we know each other inside out. We used to hang out as kids too, in fact we still do. We try not to talk footy though, it’s good to get away from it sometimes.”

Jennings may be grabbing all the headlines this year but Daniela finds a path to the try line just as often; at 85 kilograms he is light and lithe and one of Penrith’s best finishers.

“I have played wing, fullback and in the centres, which is probably my preferred position,” Daniela says.

“But now I think I’ve grown into my role as a winger. I think you score more tries out there anyway so I’m really enjoying it.”

He may have been just one year old when he moved to Australia from New Zealand but Daniela has already pledged his allegiance to the Kiwis.

“Playing for New Zealand is the biggest goal in my career. It’s what I’ve always strived for.” this year, how did that feel?
It was a great day, the only thing I didn’t get out of it was the win. There were a lot of family and friends there and a Sunday afternoon is always packed at Penrith.

We played the Tigers so it was even bigger than usual. I got such a big buzz when I scored but the day went really quickly. That night I was sitting at home with my Nan and then it hit me I’d made first grade. It’ll always be special day.

Just backing up week after week. You really have to give your body a good rest after playing. In the lower grades you could stay out all night after a game but now I’m too tired. You really have to be aware of how your body feels.

Frank Pritchard has done a great job of bringing me into first grade. I know his family well and I used to play with his younger brother.

He’s also one of the funniest guys at the club, along with Frank Puletua. Franky Pritchard just always has a big grin on his face.

Michael Jennings always leaves his clothes around. In between training sessions he’ll just leave his clothes anywhere – and then whinge when he can’t find them!

I always forget things. Someone will tell me something and two minutes later I’ve forgotten all about it!

I always go to the same strapper before a game. If I have a good game I go back to the same one a week later, if I have a bad one I move onto someone else!

Reni Maitua from the Bulldogs; I don’t think anyone tackled him when we played them. He’s very hard to handle. VOD - Meet Geoff Daniela
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UNDER 19s &
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*ROUND 5 Results & Ladders
*ST. MARYS CUP (Opens)
Obe geia lines up Vs England in the 2nd Test 2006 (Photo : ourfooty media) OBE GEIA
Israe Falou on the burst for Australia Vs Wales '06 (photo : ourfooty media)ISREAL FALOU
Jeff HardyJeff HARDY
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Keerba Park State High SchoolGREG LENTON
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Joel Romelo
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Bulldogs win Harold Matthews Cup Grand FinalBulldogs win Harold 2007 Matthews Cup Grand Final
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Cheerleader of the Week - Rnd 5 _ ReneeCHEERLEADER of the WEEK