LATEST JUNIOR LEAGUE NEWS
THE INSIDE STORY OF ISRAEL FOLAU'S $2M BRISBANE DEAL
|NRL's $2 million man ... new Brisbane signing Israel Folau at Storm training. Photograph: Colleen Petch / The Daily Telegraph
|Chris Lawrence & Israel Falou, from schoolboys to NRL Stars (Photo : ourfooty media)
THE team bus carrying a beaten Melbourne Storm pulled to a halt on the side street outside their Coogee hotel. It was around 9.30pm on Saturday.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy ordered his players to the function room where dinner waited.
Once seated, Bellamy addressed them briefly, saying only: "Boys, Israel has something to say."
All eyes immediately turned to Folau. They knew what was coming. Folau, slightly pensive, rose to his feet.
"You guys are like a family," Folau told them, "but I have to go back home."
With that, rugby league's hottest property declared he was leaving the club. Silence greeted the announcement. Not a word was said.
First the loss to the Roosters, their second successive defeat - the first time that had happened in two years - and now this.
The decision by Folau to leave Melbourne and sign with Brisbane for a four-year deal worth close to $2 million shocked the game yesterday.
It also left Melbourne a shattered club, despite Storm CEO Brian Waldron putting on a brave face.
"The future is not Israel - that's fine," Waldron said.
"He's a great young talent but it's really not about him now. It's about maintaining the processes we have so we can bring in the next Israel Folau.
"I'm not worried one iota and I don't think anyone is going to be driving off the West Gate Bridge.
"We're disappointed but the club is bigger that Israel Folau. It's bigger than Cameron Smith. It's bigger than Craig Bellamy and Brian Waldron."
But the man who discovered Folau, former Storm recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan, said the decision was "an injustice and a tragedy for the game".
"The club has looked after him since he was 15 years old," said O'Sullivan, now with the Roosters.
"The people of Melbourne deserved to watch Israel for many years to come - not just two seasons.
"It's an injustice and a tragedy for the game and highlights the inadequacies of our transfer system.
"The bottom line is I should have signed him for four years, not two. I should have offered him a bigger carrot."
In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Folau said: "It was a very tough decision, the hardest of my life to leave Melbourne and sign for the Broncos.
"The club has been like a family to me in Melbourne and without their support I wouldn't have been able to achieve what I have.
"But the opportunity to return home and be closer to my family was too hard to resist.
"My family is the most important thing in my life and they are the reason I have made the choice."
Folau, who became Australia's youngest Test player for the international last year against New Zealand in Wellington, was homesick in Melbourne and his family desperately wanted him to return home.
Brisbane yesterday confirmed the signing but said no officials would make any further comment until today. The decision could spark drama and tension between the two clubs, both News Limited-owned.
Brisbane have pinched Folau, a Mormon, and also want Storm coach Craig Bellamy to replace departing Wayne Bennett.
Should he obtain a release from Melbourne, Bellamy could end up coaching Folau again.
There is also a chance in coming years the two clubs could be fighting over hooker and captain Cameron Smith, who has expressed a private desire to return home to Queensland.
Melbourne now have just 21 games - and hopefully a finals series - left with the young centre the club nurtured to become an international.
"The impact Israel has made in Melbourne in a short time with the club has been phenomenal and for that he will always be remembered with great affection," Waldron said.
|BRISBANE SECOND DIVISION RUGBY LEAGUE WRAP-UP FOR 29 MARCH 2008
Banyo is the outright leader in Northside 1, on 6 points, after beating Samford 70 - 0. Valleys Juniors and Deception Bay Bombers are level in second place, on 5 points, after the two teams drew 26 - all. Pine Rivers, Dayboro and Nundah devils all share 4 points after Pine Rivers drew 12 - all with Mitchelton, Dayboro beat Aspley 34 - 10 and Nundah had the bye. In the other match, Sandgate Brighton beat Normanby Hounds 28 - 10.
Easts Juniors lead the Southside 1 competition on 6 points, after beating Logan Brothers 3 0- 6. Logan Brothers and Wynnum Juniors share 4 points after Wynnum beat Redlands 30 - 6. In the other match, Sunnybank beat Carina 28 - 10.
In the Northside 2 competition, Deception Bay Juniors and Valleys Juniors share the lead on 6 points, after Deception Bay beat Northside Natives 64 - 10 and Valleys Juniors beat Arana Hills 50 - 20. Pine Central, Arana Hills and Mitchelton all share 4 points, after Pine Central beat Burpengary 66 - 12 and Mitchelton beat Banyo 24 - 12. In the other match, Aspley beat Kallangur 26 - 24.
JETS RECEIVE A COASTAL REALITY CHECK
Newtown defeated the NSWRL second-tier newcomers the Central Coast Storm 28-16 in the VB NSW Cup fixture played at Wyong on Saturday afternoon.
As the name implies, the Central Coast club is the official feeder team to the defending NRL premiers the Melbourne Storm and there were several Bleak City squad members in their ranks on Saturday. The Jets led 24-6 at halftime but turned in a mediocre second half display that will have Newtown coach Greg Matterson cracking the whip at training sessions this week.
The Jets ran up an 18-0 lead after twenty minutes with lively hooker Luke Gordon claiming two tries and second-rower Mickey Paea tearing the storm’s right-side defence asunder after running off a sweetly-timed pass from five-eighth Luke Branighan.
Winger Tevita Folau scored wide out five minutes before halftime from a slick “out the back” pass from centre Iosia Soliola, with Branighan converting this try from the sideline.
Branighan helped himself to a try ten minutes into the second half after the Jets had dominated possession and field position.
That try completed Newtown’s scoring for the afternoon as the Jets slid into a quagmire of poor discipline, lack of patience and a stream of conceded penalties. Matterson noted after the game that there had been too much speculative “ad lib” play and a failure to take on the hard yards and play right through the sets.
That unproductive last thirty minutes hopefully would prove to be a good reality check as to the team’s progress.
Front-rowers Ray Moujalli, Steve Meredith and Frank-Paul Nuuausala were once again among Newtown’s best workers while backrowers Mickey Paea and Jimmy Andersen were always looking for weaknesses in the Storm’s defence.
Hooker Luke Gordon’s two tries came from his alertness and enterprise. Newtown’s backline functioned well in the first half but rarely threatened in the second session. Centre Toshio Laiseni impressed in his first competition match for the season.
The Newtown Jets are back home at Henson Park next weekend but in the unaccustomed time-slot of a Sunday afternoon. The Jets take on the in-form Auckland Vulcans (formerly the Auckland Lions) on Sunday, April 6th at 3.00pm.
There will be Sydney Roosters v Penrith Panthers Harold Matthews and SG Ball fixtures as curtain-raisers at 12 noon and 1.30pm respectively.
TIGERS TOO GOOD ON THE DAY
|Cronulla's Joel Tubbs smashes his way forward (Photo : ourfooty media)
The Sharks travelled to Liechhardt Oval to play the Balmain Tigers @ the Tiger Den in round 6 of the NSWRL District Rep's.
The Sharks SG Ball side started with a quick try in the 1 st couple minutes to the flying five eight Mitch Wynn scoring his first try for the day, then Chad Townsend coverted go give the Sharks a 6 - 0 lead.
The Tigers hit back a few minutes later with one of their boys powering over the line, the conversion was an easy shot and it was 6 - all. More Soon
The Sharks Matty's Cup did a bit better than last week and are running out of troops faster than an easter egg disappearing on easter Sunday.
Once again Joel Tubbs & fullback Ben Straton have top games, Berks popped in for a few cameo runs and the boyz were unlucky with a couple of tries that were not allowed.
The Mattys Cup team can play a lot better than they have over the past 2 or 3 weeks, and will welcome the bye next week, which works out well as the Cronulla Junior League kicks off on Saturday next week, u beauty! - ||
|WE’VE GOT A LONG WAY TO GO: LOVE
All Saints College St Mary’s campus rugby league coach Col Love said a change of attitude was still needed by some of his players, after yesterday’s trial win over Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College at Maitland Sportsground.
St Mary’s eventually prevailed 28-26 but not before giving the visitors a 16-0 headstart courtesy of some “atrocious” football.
Love said his players’ attitudes had not been where they should be to play the level of football they would be playing throughout the school year.
“We’re improving each week and there’s a lot of good work individually but we still need to bring it together as a team,” Love said.
“We’ve still got a long way to go and some of their attitudes are not where they should be to be at this level.
Yesterday’s match was to be the squad’s final pre-season hit-out, but Love is hoping to arrange a match against Hamilton’s St Francis Xaiver College before the end of term one.
The 25-man squad will be culled to 20 at the end of the week, with Love saying a plethora of good backrowers had made the decision to leave several players out hard.
The squad has been training since October but the finalised squad can now smell the start of the Arrive Alive Cup, which will start next term.
But before then almost half of the St Mary’s squad are expected to attend the first stage of NSW Combined Catholic College’s (CCC) selection, when the Northern Country rugby league trials are held in Kempsey on April 9 and 10.
Yesterday’s trial match was played across three stanzas and after struggling in the opening third, St Mary’s clawed back to only trail 16-12 going into the final term.
YOUNG SHARKS GALLANT IN DEFEAT
|SHARK ALARM: Gavin Buttsworth and his Moruya team mates will return to Ack Weyman Oval in a fortnight.
THE Moruya Sharks under 18’s played the Bay Tigers for the prestigious Donna McLelland shield last Thursday and although the boys were beaten on the night by a very good and fit Bay side, the young Sharks showed their coach and supporters they will be more than competitive in the coming group 16 competition.
In front a good crowd the Moruya boys put it right to the Bay boys for the most of the game.
Fitness and defence on the line was a crucial factor at the end of the game. For the Sharks, Matt Evans had a blinder along with Shaun Rudd, Aaron Murphy, Sam Hicks, Jai Dunne and Darcy Burke.
The Tarra ford Cup will kick off for the season at Ack Weyman Oval in a couple of weeks with four games to be played. Both first grade and under 18s will play. The first game will be against Bega at noon.
The Sharks will be holding a sausage sizzle to welcome new players this Sunday at 3pm at the Waterfront Hotel.
All supporters, wives and girlfriends are welcome to attend along with people who wish to help make the Sharks force in 2008.
“We are sorry to hear that Ack Weyman has been unwell, but from all reports the old boy is back on his feet,” Sharks spokesman Robert Jay said.
“We wish him a speedy recovery.”
SEASON OPENER PROMISES TO BE A REAL KNOCKOUT
Story By :
SCHOOLBOY football has been in full swing across the region for several weeks but the big boys join into action tomorrow.
The Wests Knockout is the main event in Group 4 with all 14 first and second division clubs competing for a total of $14,500 at Tamworth’s Scully Park.
Group 19 kicks off with a huge local derby clash at Uralla when the Tigers face Armidale.
Tingha and Glen Innes also meet on day one at Tingha while Guyra and Inverell face off at Guyra on Sunday.
Bingara also relaunches in the President’s Cup when it faces local rivals Warialda tomorrow.
Group 21 has the jump on the others though with its pre-season competition entering week three this weekend.
Meanwhile the schoolboys have been in action in the opening rounds of the Arrive Alive Cup.
Yesterday Glen Innes High beat Oxley High and Narrabri High was too good for Peel Technology High in the latest matches.
Joel Jackson was the start for Glen Innes and the Magpies will be hoping for a similar performance at Tingha tomorrow.
The Arrive Alive Cup is the biggest open schoolboy competition in the country and growing across the northern inland region.
A total of 13 teams will compete for the regional title, the most for many years.
BIG SMOKE NO TURN OFF FOR THIS TALENTED TRIO
|Three of a kind: Albert Kelly, Mal Webster and Adrian Davis have made a smooth transition from the country to the city.
THE move from country to city can often be daunting, overwhelming and even a tad frightening, but that’s simply not the case for three young Kempsey lads who have made the most of their shift to the big smoke.
Mal Webster, Adrian Davis and Albert Kelly have revelled in the atmosphere of Sydney, with all three making a name for themselves in the high profile SG Ball competition.
SG Ball is of course one of the stepping stones to the NRL and all three of the Kempsey lads are currently on track to realise their dream of playing in the world’s strongest rugby league competition.
The trio, who play for NRL teams the Bulldogs (Davis), Parramatta (Kelly) and the Rabbitohs (Webster), have set a great example for young country footballers, in particular young indigenous footballers, with their courage and commitment in choosing to leave their families behind and follow their dreams.
“Leaving my family and friends was hard, but having the chance to fulfill my opportunities and goals made it all worth it,” Davis said.
“My advice would be take your opportunities with both hands.
“If you’ve got the talent and the opportunity to do something like play rugby league you have to make the most of it, nothing comes easy.”
Davis also said, while rugby league was a priority, there were other considerations that were just as important.
“Footy is a priority but it’s not the only one,” he said.
“Getting a good education away from football is also important and I’d put both on a similar level.”
Kelly, who has lived in Sydney for just over a year, agreed and said it was important for young footballers from the country to have a firm plan in place before making any move to the city.
“When I first came down here the club got me a job with a mowing company, which I’ve had to leave because of the hours, but I’m about to start another traineeship,” he said.
“When you come down it’s important to be focused and put in 100 per cent to make it work.
“You should also set something up before you come down so when you get here you’re ready to go.”
All three admitted the initial move to the city had been hard, but becoming part of a team and meeting new people who had been thrust into a similar environment made the transition much easier.
“Being from the country the things you miss most are going fishing or riding motorbikes with your mates,” Webster said.
“I thought it (the move) was going to be hard, I didn’t really know anyone, but it’s alright now, you get used to it.”
From a football perspective the trio said the competition wasn’t really all that different, mainly just more professional, but they did say expectations were much greater when playing for a leading club.
“It’s definitely harder than park football, there are bigger blokes for starters,” Webster said.
“Training’s every day and you work a lot more on the little things.”
Webster, who plays either full back or five eighth, heads to Wollongong this weekend to take on Illawarra, while Davis has the bye.
The pair, who have never before met on the paddock having always played together, will come face to face in two weeks when the undefeated Bulldogs meet the improving Bunnies.
Kelly, who plays in the opposite half of the draw and is making his return from injury, will come up against the Newcastle Knights.
COMMUNITY LION' C M FRANCE JUNIORS LESS THAN 18, MARCH 2008 MATCH:
|GB Community U 18 Lions '08
|French U 18's Rugby League team line up
|French u 18's attack
|French u 18's attack
|This page has been translated from French by 'free babel"
UNITED KINGDOM COMMUNITY LIONS U 18'S Vs FRANCE U 18's
The COPELAND STADIUM with WHITEHAVEN the victory (19 - 10) built meeting progressively.
More sharpened physically, the young French gave the rate/rhythm to the match. In spite of difficult conditions (very fatty ground, strong wind) and a will posted of the Lions to harden the meeting, the French juniors made a success of the objective to make a little forget the null match to be it asserting themselves outside.
On an offensive level, in spite of one starts very difficult match, the team succeeded in marking three tests under delicate climatic conditions.
She knew, thereafter, to respect the instructions on the speed of held played, the control of the balloon and a better quality of her play to the foot.
However, it remains much of efforts to carry out on the role of the carrier of ball and its supports. The quality of the transmissions is still insufficient as well as the tactical orientation (the heart must be hot but the cold head to remain lucid).
On a defensive level, very big problems of placement and communication on the right block of share the team work of GB at the beginning of meeting required a reorganization of the block which proved to be effective.
Work around the block medium, in particular of the first defenders made it possible to limit the penetration of the adversaries.
The communication remains still too weak as well as work on the ground. On the individual level, for the majority of the players we notice a deficiency in the field of the technique of impact.
To note the palm of the most beautiful square to allot to DJALOUT Nabil.
One makes a point of congratulating all the 18 players for the result like for the spirit of solidarity and determination vis-a-vis to rough English.
Thank you with the FFR XIII to have put to us under the best possible conditions to approach this meeting.
However, it should not be forgotten that it remains us much of work to carry out and to consolidate. For this reason, the physical preparation is a determining criterion to be able to claim to compete against the best nations but it remains insufficient in general at the majority of the players. International standards (accessible on the site: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/pgrenet/Entraineurs/Documents/Valeurs_reference_juniors.pdf) remains very remote for many players.
STROMLO HIGH WINS THE DAVID FURNER SHIELD
|Stromlo High School win David Furner Shield
|Caroline Chisholm High School
Stromlo High school has continued a recent run of rich rugby league victories, as they defeated Caroline Chisholm 18-16 to win the David Furner shield at Northbourne Oval today.
The win for Stromlo in this years David Furner shield (years 9 and 10 sevens competition) is a follow on from their success two years ago, when the same side took out the Jason Croker Shield (years 7 and 8 sevens competition).
In a close scoring final Stromlo held out a defiant Caroline Chisholm side, which almost snatched victory at the death with a late try.
Earlier in the day 19 teams from 15 ACT schools competed in a round robin competition to determine the four semi-finalists, with Stromlo High and Caroline Chisholm being joined by Melba High and Wanniassa High in the finals.
In the first semi-final Caroline Chisholm edged out Melba 18-16, while in the second semi Stromlo outclassed a gallant Wanniassa team 24-10.
Raider’s legend and Assistant Coach David Furner was on hand to present the shield and said the day was a huge success, and congratulated all those who participated.
“It’s been a great day of rugby league and it’s a real honour for me to have a shield named after me,” Furner said. “I would like to give big congratulations to all the teams and players that turned up today and to Stromlo High for winning the shield.”
The Jason Croker shield was postponed yesterday due to bad weather, and will now be held at Northbourne Oval on April 9.
SEMI FINAL 1: Caroline Chisholm defeated Melba 18-16
SEMI FINAL 2: Stromlo High defeated Wanniassa High 24-10
FINAL: Stromlo High defeated Caroline Chisholm 18-16
LITTLEJOHN MAKES HIS MARK
|HIT IT UP: Wagga High’s Jackson Margosis is tackled by Kildare’s Seb Cottam in last night’s Hardy Shield grand final played at Conolly Rugby Park. Picture: Kerrie Stewart
|TRIES : Kyle Philpott, Jack Littlejohn ,
GOALS : Jack Littlejohn
|TRIES : Curtis Young
GOALS : Zac Nix
|Full Time: Penalties: 1-6 - Scrums: 9-13
|HARDY SHIELD PHOTO'S here
WAGGA High won last night’s enthralling Hardy Shield grand final thanks to some late heroics from captain Jack Littlejohn, who sealed the 10-6 win over Kildare Catholic College with a last-minute try at Conolly Rugby Park.
After being locked at 6-6 for the majority of the game, a Kildare knock-on gave Wagga High the ball 20m out from their line.
Littlejohn took the ball at first receiver and glided between two defenders to score in the corner, breaking Wagga High’s three- year hoodoo in the Hardy Shield and exacting revenge for last year’s grand final loss to Kildare.
In what was a dramatic and intense grand final, both teams struggled in the wet and cold conditions, making plenty of handling errors and missing a number opportunities in attack.
Wagga High centre Kyle Philpott was the first to score with a brilliant 30m run, evading several Kildare defenders before planting the ball underneath the posts.
Kildare struck back not long after following three consecutive sets of six on Wagga High’s line, with hooker Curtis Young darting over from dummy half, tying the scores up at 6-6 where they remained until just before full time.
Wagga High coach Andrew Morton was ecstatic after the game.
“It is an unbelievable feeling (to win),” Morton said.
“The boys have put in a lot of hard work and really deserve the win,” he said.
“Both teams had a lot of errors and in the end it came down to the brilliance of one player.”
Kildare coach Simon Huntly was pleased with his team’s performance in the trying conditions.
“In light of the conditions, I thought we did well,” Huntly said.
“We were well beaten by Wagga High in round two so I think we have come back well and put in a really good effort,” he said.
“Wagga High are deserved winners being undefeated but the grand final provided a great spectacle, which was pleasing.”
For Kildare, Huntly said fullback Zac Nix played well while Michael Connolly’s work rate was exceptional.
NSW CIS ANNOUNCE REP TEAMS
|Nick Ratcliffe - St. Patricks College Sutherland in action in last years u14A Grand Final for De La Salle (Photo : ourfooty media)
After the Catholic Independent Schools rugby league trials a couple weeks ago, the following squads have been announced, congratulations to all players.
CIS will take on other NSW CCC sides at the State selection triala.
The 2008 NSWCCC State Selection Trials will be held on Friday 23rd May and Saturday 24th May at The Crest Sporting Complex.
The State Trials will be hosted by Metropolitan Catholic Schools (MCS).
||UNDER 18's (OPENS)
||Xavier College Landilo
||St John Bosco Engadine
||St John Bosco Engadine
||Holy Sprit Lakemba
||Marion College Kenthurst
||Gilroy Castle Hill
||St Patrick’s Sutherland
||St Patrick’s Sutherland
||St John Bosco Engadine
||MacKillop College Warnervale
||Holy Sprit Lakemba
||Oakhill Castle Hill
||St Patrick’s Sutherland
||Mater Maria College
||St Augustine’s Brookvale
||St Paul’s Manly
||Oakhill Castle Hill
||St Edwards Gosford
||Oakhill Castle Hill
||MaCarthy Emu Plains
||St Paul’s Manly
||St Columba Springwood
||Oakhill Castle Hill
||St Columba Springwood
||MaCarthy Emu Plains
||De La Sale Cronulla
||St Pauls Manly
||Clare Hassall Grove
||Mater Maria Warriwood
||De La Sale Caringbah
||St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney
||Clare Hassall Grove
||St Edwards Gosford
RAUFERS HELPS KOORINGAL HIGH TO WIN
|TAKING IT FORWARD: Kooringal High player Lachlan Parker runs at Mater Dei hooker Jack Burey in their Hardy Shield grand final played yesterday at Conolly Rugby Park. Picture: Kerrie Stewart
Kooringal High five-eighth Anthony Raufers scored a last- minute try and then kicked the match winning goal from the sideline in the final 20 seconds to defeat Mater Dei 12-10.
Following a 12-12 draw between the teams in round two of the Hardy Shield, the final again provided a nail-biting contest, with both teams having equal opportunities to win the game.
After an even 10 minutes which resulted in neither team having the ascendency, it was left to Kooringal High back rower, Ben Poutu, to score the opening try and give his team a 6-0 lead.
Shortly after, Mater Dei were ahead 12-6 following back-to-back tries to Jack Collins and Dallan Stanton, with Stanton’s being an individual long range gem in which four defenders were unable to stop him.
Kooringal High coach Tim Wykes was pleased to finish third following two tight games between the two teams.. LEARN MORE
IT’S CRUNCH TIME
|CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Wagga High centre Kyle Philpott is one of the players coach Andrew Morton is expecting a big game from in tonight’s Hardy Shield grand final against Kildare Catholic College at Conolly Rugby Park. Picture: Brett Koschel
WAGGA High School will be desperate to shatter a three-year hoodoo in the Hardy Shield grand final against Kildare Catholic College at Conolly Rugby Park tonight.
Wagga High School has been runner-up in the past three Hardy Shield grand finals, losing last year’s decider to Kildare in an extra-time thriller.
Wagga High School coach Andrew Morton yesterday said the team had not openly discussed the losing sequence but believes the players would be pumped to atone.
“This will be our fourth grand final in a row and we haven’t won any of them yet,” Morton said.
“There are a few boys who played last year and it would be great to beat them (Kildare).”
Morton was at a loss to explain the reasons for Wagga High School's recent failure to win a grand final but insisted it was not caused by the team choking under pressure.
“Our first couple of losses were against a strong Mount Austin High team whereas last year we had every chance but couldn’t get the win,” he said.
Morton said he was confident Wagga High School can continue its unbeaten run and defeat Kildare for the second time in the Hardy Shield, after easily accounting for them in round two 26-8.
“Throughout the competition, the boys have trained really hard,” Morton said.
“All players are pumped up and really excited.”
Morton believes Wagga High School will need to be wary of Kildare’s ball movement, which will be controlled by Ben MacKenzie and Ben Lucas in the halves.
“We need to pressure their halves and give them no time,” Morton said.
“Their front rowers, Aaron Bennett and Ryan Inglis, are also good ball runners and played well in last year’s grand final so hopefully we can shut them down as well.”
For Wagga High School, Morton will again turn to five-eighth and captain Jack Littlejohn who has been the spearhead for Wagga High in the tournament.
“Littlejohn is a player who can do everything, our centres have been good out wide and we need to make sure we work hard in defence,” Morton said.
Hardy Shield grand final – Conolly Rugby Park
STORM BOYS NOW WITH COAST PATH TO NRL
|NEW START: Pictured at the Central Coast rugby league season launch at Mount Penang were (from left) NSWCRL chairman Warren Kimberley, Central Coast Rugby League general manager Scott Wyatt, Central Coast Storm's Jamie Feeney and NSWCRL chief executive officer Terry Quinn.- Picture by Phillip Hearne
|CC Storm Harold Matthews Cup in action Vs Cronulla Sharks ( Photo : ourfooty media) MORE PHOTOS
MELBOURNE Storm's decision to set up the Central Coast Storm as its feeder club was the talk of the town at the launch of the local rugby league season on Friday.
Central Coast Storm high performance manager and former NRL player Jamie Feeney now oversees all young talented players on the Central Coast.
"Basically we're Melbourne Storm's feeder club so Melbourne look solely at the Central Coast to draw their players from now," Feeney said.
"We've got our under 16s and 18s playing in a national rugby league competition, we have an under 15s academy and we'll soon be starting an under 13s and 14s academy.
"What it means for the local kids is that Melbourne are here looking on the Coast all the time and there is a true pathway for them to start playing footy here on the Coast and go through and represent at NRL level.
Speaking at the season launch at Central Coast rugby league's new headquarters at Mount Penang, Central Coast Storm chairman and Gosford City councillor Chris Holstein said: "The young players need opportunities like this, to stop the kids jumping on the freeway and heading north or south. We want to keep the boys here on the Coast."
The Central Coast Division Rugby League (CCDRL) senior competition kicks off on Sunday, April 6.
|KILDARE BOLSTERED BY SENIOR PLAYERS
THE Hardy Shield grand final is in no way a one-horse race, with Kildare Catholic College coach Simon Huntly believing a strong contribution from his senior players can get his team the win in Tuesday’s grand final, to be played at Connolly Rugby Park.
Kildare will play Wagga High in the final, with Wagga High clearly the form team in the competition, easily accounting for Kildare in round two 26-8.
With that loss in mind, Huntly realises his players must play close to their full potential in the final, with big performances needed from the senior players.
“We need all our players to contribute,” Huntly said.
“Our senior guys, such as Michael Connolly, Ben Lucas, Ben MacKenzie and Pat Geale, need to lead the way,” he said.
“Along with those boys our front rowers Ryan Inglis and Aaron Bennett will need to play well.”
“They were outstanding in last year’s grand final so I am hoping they will play to same level this year.”
Huntly realises Wagga High will be tough opposition, especially as they will be keen to avenge last year’s grand final which they lost to Kildare in extra time.
“They are pretty strong across the board so we will have to look after our own game and hopefully put ourselves in a good position,” Huntly said
In their previous meeting, which Wagga High won by 18, Kildare did not appear to be switched on mentally with Wagga High scoring 26 unanswered points.
Huntly said Kildare has been working on their speed off the line in defence, getting numbers in tackles and supporting the ball carriers.
Kildare will play Wagga High in the Hardy Shield grand final, to be played at Connolly Rugby Park on Tuesday with kick off at 7.30pm.
ROOSTERS SNEEK HOME IN LAST 10 SECONDS
The Cronulla Sharks District Rep's played the Sydney Roosters at Blaxland Oval in round 6 this week.
In the SG BAll, the Sharks started like greased lightning with a try from the first set to see the boyz race off to a 4 - 0 lead only to have the Roosters hit back the next set of 6.
Both teams went hammer and nails trying to get on top, the Sharks spent plenty of time chasing the footy to be behind 14 - 24 at half time with the sky looking like it wa about to rain.
The Sharks played some pretty good footy to out play the Roosters in the 2 nd half and actually fought their way to be in front by 2 points with only 3.5 minutes left.
Sharks winger Adam Goode could be screaming to his defensive line "$6@3& keep in line boys"
After Sharks hooker Dane Snelson snuck in under the upright from dummy half to level the score, Chad Townsend had an easy chance to give his team the lead in the game.
The Rooster 5/8 & goal kicking whiz Brad Murray kicked a short ball from the kick off which he himself caught among 3 Sharks, this gave the Scott Murray coached Roosters the ball and they went into a passing & running frenzies that resulted in the Roosters scoring right on the bell to steal the game.
The Roosters take the 2 competition points from both the Harold Matthew's & the SG Ball Cup's back to the Chookpen.
The Harold Matthews Cup boyz got flogged by a team that are not 38 points a better team, except for today.
What can ya say about today Matty's game apart from the fact that the Roosters played a fast game, deserved most of their tries and Center Jacob Miller converting his own try at the end of the game for a personal tally of 14 points was a familiar sight.
A bit of a match report later & photo's from both games too
IT'S SAFE FOR OUR KIDS
|Ricky Stuart at Sharks SG Ball training 19th Mar '08 (Photo : ourfooty media)
I HAVE been moved to write this not as a rugby league coach, but as a parent.
As a father of two young boys, I can relate to the concerns of some mums and dads. We've only had one week of the NRL, but already our season has included some fairly graphic injuries.
No one wants to see Craig Wing wincing in pain, Braith Anasta bloodied or Ben Ross unconscious after an accidental head clash.
As a father, I don't know what I'd feel if that was one of my children left unconscious or injured. I hope I never do.
But what I can't understand is the knee-jerk reactions and negative headlines.
To set my mind at rest as a parent, and hopefully to do the same for every footy mum and dad, I contacted respected rugby league physician and Roosters medico John Orchard this week.
John told me that early-season injuries are hardly a new phenomenon. Rugby league hasn't changed much at all in its 100 years. In the first games of the year, players are as physically fit as they will be all season. One thing they're not is match fit.
Sure, it sounds like a technical difference, but throw in dry, fast surfaces and a bit of rustiness in timing for the players and it starts to make sense.
John also said that studies have shown rugby league, en masse, is experiencing a decline in head-related injuries. Put that down to the NRL's vigilance when it comes to head-high tackles.
As a parent, if I thought rugby league was a sport that was going to put my boys in any danger whatsoever, I wouldn't let them play their junior footy.
To every other parent, if you don't want your son or daughter playing rugby league because of last weekend, then it's simple: don't let them.
But don't allow them to take part in other contact sports like rugby union, AFL or soccer.
You risk injury in any sport, whether it's skiing, squash or basketball.
As a father and as a former league player, I know that the positives of being involved in our team sport far outweigh the negatives. I know it's taught me a lot about character.
And I know rugby league teaches our youths respect and responsibility, two of the biggest ingredients that plenty of people will tell you are lacking in society.
I'm proud that my two young boys are involved in the game, with the knowledge also that they will grow up with a greater respect for others and with more ownership on life - all because they have played the game of rugby league. | CRONULLA JUNIORS |
GLEN INNES PAY BIG FOR SLUGGISH GAME START
|Farrer College in action last year
FARRER 2 continued their Arrive Alive Cup winning form on the road at Inverell yesterday.
The Farrer seconds followed up a 62-nil first round outing against Tamworth High with a 32-6 win over Inverell High.
Farrer did the damage in the first half, piling on five unanswered tries for a 28-nil lead.
Sam Bowden grabbed two of those and was one of three Sams to finish on the scoreboard, with Sam Crossley and Sam O’Shannessy also finding the tryline.
Mitchell Swain was the other first half tryscorer while Michael Adams scored their only four-pointer in a much tighter second half.
“It was a good (performance) in the first half but it was a pretty scrappy second half,” coach Dave Olrich said.
He said the platform was set up front, with the forward and dummy half work good in the first half.
“The work of Tom Mellor, Sam O’Shannessy and Michael Jones got us going early,” Olrich said.
“That set it up for the backs.”
They fed off that and ran rampant in the first half, with Adams, Crossley and Nick Say controlling things.
Olrich also pointed to their ball control as a positive aspect.
“Once we settled into the game and started completing our sets, the points came,” he said.
“We were a bit over-eager to score early on.”
Their Inverell opponents were also first round winners – against Glen Innes High – but yesterday had a
sluggish start and paid the price.
“We didn’t wake up ready to play,” coach Glenn Partridge said.
“We didn’t muscle up and they broke the line (continuously).”
They improved in those aspects in the second half, and were rewarded with a try to winger Josh Hosking midway through the half.
“James Anderson in the front row played a tremendous game. He was out there the whole game, and our standout,” Partridge said.
Inverell and Farrer will both be back in action in April with Inverell travelling to Tamworth to play Oxley High, while Farrer will clash with O’Connor.
TEAMS IN DOUBT
|JUNEE’S Daryn Deacon avoids a tackle from Leeton’s Dave Steven during the Diesels’ comfortable win during a trial game in Wagga on Sunday. Picture: Brett Koschel
The Diesels had a successful season last year, but this year the club faces the prospect of not fielding a team in either age group.
The under 18 team claimed the Weissel Cup premiership, but so far training numbers have been well down on previous years.
Publicity officer Gavin Lamb said only eight or nine people had been showing up for training each week. To field a team, the club needs double that number.
One possible reason for the shortage is older players leaving the region for work or university, but some players who are still eligible have not yet registered for this season.
“There’s a fair few of them who were 17 last year and could still play,” Mr Lamb said.
“It’s a bit of a mystery to us because they won the premiership last year.”
Mr Lamb said the shortage in the junior divisions could lead to problems for the seniors and reserves, because the club was expected to field at least three teams to be part of the Group Nine competition.
He urged anyone who was eligible for the under 16 and under 18 age groups to start attending training, and bring their friends.
“The last thing we want to do is put in a combined under 16 and under 18 team,” Mr Lamb said.
This would mean younger players would be forced to play against older players with more experience.
Last year the club faced a similar problem, with fewer under 16 players, and they came up against some tough competition, but under 15 players put their hands up to help later in the season.
Many of those players are now eligible to play in the under 16 team, and Mr Lamb is urging them to take the opportunity.
“Just this year, they seem a bit slow off the mark to start training. Just show up at training and we’ll go from there,” he said.
CLUB polo shirts for the Junee Diesels are now ready for order. Anyone interested should contact Debbie Diggins on 6924 1423.
|NYNGAN TO HOST EVENT
Nyngan will again host an Easter Rugby League Challenge for the second year running which is set to be again a great weekend of rugby league for the bush.
This year will see the Nyngan community take ownership of the event with the Bogan Shire Council and Nyngan senior and junior rugby league committees.
The challenge was such a success last year and the support of the local rugby league committees and the Nyngan community was overwhelming.
All people involved wanted to see the challenge held in Nyngan again over the Easter long weekend said Col Wright, event organiser and CRL Far West Academy of Sport Head Coach.
“The challenge provided a rugby league spectacle that is rarely seen out
in Far West NSW and will again provide some great junior rugby league
action,” Wright said.
This year will see the return of the Parramatta Eels, Newcastle Knights, CRL Western and Far West Academies and a new team from the Riverina.
These teams will go head to head for the right to be named Open Boys winners.
In the younger age group, Under 15s, Parramatta, Group XI, Group X and FWAS will participate.
“The weekend will be very challenging and demanding for all players, especially our far west athletes having to play three games against quality opposition who are very well drilled and extremely fit.”
“We welcome Straits Tritton as event sponsor of the opens division and Flygt for the U15’s division.
“We would also like to thank all the people involved in organising the challenge including the Bogan Shire Council, both Nyngan rugby league committees and the Far West Academy of Sport.”
The Newcastle Knights will again be back to defend their title in the open boys (Under-18s) and are looking forward to once again visiting Nyngan.
“We had a terrific time last Easter and we were welcomed by the Nyngan community, so it was an easy decision to compete again this year,” said Newcastle Knights coach Ian Thompson.
“We feel it is important to visit the bush and assist with the promotion of rugby league in these areas.’
“This year we will be aiming to defend our title, but we know it will not be easy considering the other teams competing, but we will see how we go.”
The action will not be confined to the rugby league field, as there are numerous activities to keep the sides busy in their downtime.
On Friday there will be a welcoming dinner and ceremony for all participating teams followed by a few activities which will keep all players and guests entertained.
The challenge will be a great event this year and we hope to see a big crowd at Larkin Oval on Saturday March 22 and Sunday March 23, to see some great rugby league action.
Games will commence early Saturday morning and finish up late in the afternoon. Sunday will see the finals played which will be followed by the presentations at Larkin Oval.
LUKE NOT FAZED BY TACKLING MONSTERS
|Kicking on … South Sydney hooker Issac Luke has adapted well to his new roles of hooker and goalkicker after making his NRL debut last year.
Photo: Craig Golding
Bringing down forwards twice his size is not a problem for South Sydney's lightweight hooker, Issac Luke, writes Brad Walter.
WHEN South Sydney coach Jason Taylor was trying to decide what position Issac Luke would be best suited to, he lined up three of his biggest forwards and asked the lightweight rookie to tackle them.
"There was Joe Falemaka, who plays for the Dragons now, and Eddy Pettybourne. They were running at full pace but I managed to crunch them," Luke recalls. "Then JT said, 'How would you go against Manase Manuokafoa?' I said, 'There's only one way to find out, bring him on'. After I managed to stop him, too, JT said, 'You can play hooker'. I actually wanted to play halfback but halfbacks don't tackle."
After the stunning manner in which he has burst onto the scene since making his NRL debut in Melbourne last June, it is hard to imagine that Luke hadn't played in the position all his life.
But when Souths recruitment manager Mark Hughes signed him for the Bulldogs as a 16-year-old in 2004, Luke was playing on the wing for a Wellington under-18s team that included the likes of Simon Mannering, Sika Manu, Marvin Karawana and John Te Reo. Hughes was actually at the match to watch Karlos Filiga - the centre Cronulla snared from the Bulldogs this season on a deal reportedly worth $200,000 per year - but Luke caught his eye by scoring a hat-trick of tries.
"The things that he did in that game were no different to what he does now - he just ran hard and tackled hard," Hughes said yesterday from New Zealand, where he was watching the latest batch of talent in the Wellington and Auckland under-18s teams. "At the Bulldogs, he needed education in the halves but they assessed him as not going to be there and they tried him at fullback. I thought he would be outstanding at hooker and when I was moving on, I hoped I could get someone interested in him."
Taylor was and went to watch him play a Jersey Flegg match against Parramatta in 2006. Luke was impressive but after a shoulder injury restricted his pre-season training last year, Taylor wasn't expecting him to suddenly emerge the way he has.
Remarkably, Luke had never been a regular goalkicker at any level he has played since taking up league as a junior in Taranaki. As with his switch to hooker, Luke responded to a challenge from Taylor, the game's leading pointscorer until Andrew Johns broke his record in 2006, and is now the Rabbitohs' first-choice goalkicker.
"We were just mucking around one day and JT said, 'If I get this, you've got to start goal-kicking'," Luke said. "He was about 40 metres out on the sideline and he kicked it. I never used to goal-kick before but he said, 'You've got to start practising seriously now'."
Taylor said: "I saw straight away that he had some natural ability but he's still got a long way to go because it's something he's never really done before. Most guys, even when they do it for the first time at NRL level, have had some experience kicking in games as a kid."
With Parramatta's Krisnan Inu unlikely to recover from an ankle injury for the May 9 Centenary Test against Australia at the SCG, Luke is set to be given the goal-kicking duties for the Kiwis in what would be his international debut. It would cap a rapid rise for the 20-year-old, who has a silver fern tattooed at the top of his back, but there is little doubt he would handle it
"We saw him as a hooker, but I remember thinking to myself, 'He's not very big, he's coming off a shoulder injury'," Taylor said. "But the thing about Issac is that he's prepared to work really hard."
After Souths training on Wednesday afternoon, Luke stayed behind at Erskineville Oval to practice his goalkicking - something he does on a regular basis.
ENDEAVOUR SHS Vs HILLS SHS
|Endeavours new Scoreboard Uni Shield game
|Endeavour SHS University Shield team (Photo : ourfooty media)
|The Hills SHS University Shield Team (Photo : ourfooty media)
The Elite schools CHS University & CHS WC Buckley Shields kicked off between Endeavour SHS & The Hills SHS played on Endeavours great new school footy field.
Check out the gr8 new scoreboard
ENDEAVOUR PLAY UNI & BUCKLEY GAMES @ HOME
Endeavour played the Hills SHS in the CHS University & Buckley Shields on the schools new football field today.
The morning started well for the home team with the Buckley Shield (under 14's) having a comfortable 12 - 0 lead at half time.
The boyz were well lead with the forwards charging hard and young Daniel put in another powerhouse performance, the forwards were well backed up by the backs who were on the prowl for the footy.
Endeavour SHS ended the game the better of the two team and won 28 - 10
The opens played Hills SHS in the 1st game of this years University Shield and had a much harder game than their little brothers.
The Hills looked fantastic in their new while playing strip and played a very hard game that Endeavour had to scramble to try to get any control of the game.
With all the Endeavour kids screaming ENDEAVOUR during lunch, the home side lifted to level the scores at 16 - 16 late in the 2nd half.
But the Endeavour Boyz lifted their intensity and had the Hills backpeddling when Endeavour scored with seconds to win a really well spirited game of schoolboys rugby league PHOTO'S SOON
HAWKER COLLEGE WINS COLLEGE SEVENS
|Hawker College Wins College Sevens (Photo : Canberra Raiders
College Rugby League has hit the ground running for 2008 in the Canberra region, with the annual 7 a side competition being held on Tuesday March 11 at Northbourne oval.
With the games played in quite warm conditions teams would be required to call on all of there players to make it through the day, with every 15 minute game being played at a fast pace.
Overall there were 11 teams from 10 colleges across the Canberra, Queanbeyan and Yass region competing for the title. In a surprise to the day the defending champion’s and topped ranked side Erindale College were bundled out before the semi finals, while their second tier side pushed on for a spot in the semi finals along side Yass High, Hawker College and St Francis Xavier.
In the first Semi final St Francis Xavier seemed certain of victory, until a try in the dying seconds sealed victory for Hawker College 14 – 12. The second semifinal saw a fiery game between Yass and Erindale Seconds, as it went into golden point extra time.
With the scores being tied at 10-10 at the end of normal time, it was Erindale Seconds who capitalised on Yass errors to score out wide and take the match, setting up a showdown with Hawker College in the final.
After some great games of football on display for the day it was Hawker who proved too strong for Erindale Seconds in the Final, running out comfortable winners 18-6.
Thank you to all teams, players and staff who participated in the day to make it possible, and Congratulations to Hawker College for running out winners in 2008.
SUCCESSFUL HOME PRE-SEASON TRIAL
|Bliie Haven Raiders trials a success (Photo : Blue Haven Raiders)
The Raiders first trial games of the season kicked off on Sunday, 9th March.
Nervous players, parents and coachs were treated with a great show piece for junior rugby league.
Yes their was fantastic individual and team performances, but the sportsmanship on display from the Raiders, Kurri Kurri and Ourimbah players was the true winner on the day.
The Mighty Raiders played their 2nd pre-season trials away against Gosford-Kariong and St.Edwards on Sunday, 16th March.
Hot weather conditions did not deter exciting and entertaining rugby league from all clubs.
How wonderful was it to see many children score their first try or complete their first tackle? What about the girls? We have 4 girls playing this year. Again the sportsmanship by all clubs was simply fanatstic.
Don't forget, the Central Coast competition kicks off Saturday, April 5th, To view the Raiders fixtures visit www.bluehavenraiders.com.au
THE FAB FIVE
|Dream team... (left to right) Matt Crowhurst, Mark Mabbot, Joel Jackson, Nick Ehsman and Ross Lewis.
Five Glen Innes boys have been selected in the squad of 30 for the Under 18s Northern Thunderbolts.
The Thunderbolts are comprised of players from group 1, 18 and 19 extending from Uralla to Tweed Heads.
Six Glen Innes boys, Joel Jackson, Nick Ehsman, Mark Mabbot, Ross Lewis, Matt Crowhurst and Dom Pringle were selected from the group 19 trials held at Mead Park on Sunday March 2 to represent group 19. The group 19 squad of 20 travelled to Grafton on Sunday March 9 for the Thunderbolts selection.
Two games were played then a game between the possibles and probables was played to select the squad of 30, the sixth Glen Innes player Dom Pringle made this round but was unsuccessful in making the squad.
Nick Ehsman, Joel Jackson and Ross Lewis were three of ten boys automatically selected into the side during the two games so did not have to play in the possibles probables game.
“I did alright,” Ehsman said. “It was pretty hot that day it was good not to have to play in the possibles probables as we were automatically selected.”
The Thunderbolts will be travelling to Cabarita on Friday April 4 for a camp where the squad will be culled to 22 to play in the divisional championships later this year.
At just 16 years of age Nick Ehsman, Mark Mabbot and Ross Lewis were three of the youngest players to gain selection in the Under 18 side.
MORTIMER WATCHES ‘REPLAY’ OF OWN GAME
|Daniel Mortimer last year
ORANGE’S Daniel Mortimer thought he was watching a replay of his own Toyota Cup match when the Parramatta Eels came from behind to beat the Bulldogs in Saturday’s NRL match.
Mortimer helped the Eels to a come-from-behind win in their Toyota Cup season opener before the NRL match kicked off.
In the under 20s game Parramatta trailed 20-6 just after the break before a strong second half allowed them to win 30-24.
Mortimer was pleased with the win after making the step up from Parramatta’s SG Ball side which won the 2007 premiership.
“The team didn’t play that well in the first half but we clicked in the second half and did a lot better,” Mortimer said.
“I think my game was much like the side’s – I had a bit of a quite first half but I thought I played better in the second half.”
The Bulldogs were leading 16-0 late in the first period before Mortimer did the groundwork for outside centre Taputoa Rea to score and bring the Eels within 10 points of the Bulldogs.
Mortimer and five-eight Kris Keating were stand outs in the second half driving the side to put on four more tries.
The former James Sheahan student also kicked a late penalty conversion to give the Eels a six-point victory.
The Australian Schoolboy representative admitted the game was a step above anything he has played before.
“I was really nervous. It was at ANZ Stadium and there was a fair crowd there for us,” he said.
“It’s the highest I think I’ve played. The trials we played got me pretty used to it. It helps being able to play with the guys we have.
“We’ve got good forwards and backs who run the ball well.”
Mortimer was in the grandstand to watch the Eels first grade side come from behind and beat the Bulldogs 28-20.
Parramatta’s Toyota Cup side had an influence on the senior game with coach Michael Hagan using the under 20s win as an example during half-time.
This weekend Mortimer heads to New Zealand where the Eels will take on the Warriors.
So what does his father, Bulldogs legend Peter Mortimer, think about him wearing the blue and gold?
“I think I’ve converted him to a Parramatta man,” Mortimer said.
“I think deep down inside he’ll always be blue and white though.”
ENGADINE WIN 3 OZTAG STATE CUP'S
|Engadine NSW State U14 Champions (Photo : ourfooty media) | PHOTO'S |
Engadine OzTag are triple NSW State OzTag Champions winning the boys Under 17, U 15 and the Under 14's titles today at Solander Fields, next to Shark Park
What a terrific day of organised chaos, there were games of oztag everywhere you could look, with teams from all over NSW doing battle, well Oztag battle anyway.
At almost 5:00 PM in the under 14 boys Grand Final the score was 3 tries each at full time, the game went to sudden death with 5 minutes each way.
Souths who had beaten Engadine in round one at 8:30 AM were straight on the attack after Engadine gave away the footy.
Souths were attacking down the left wing and were only 15 meters from the line with numbers, only to see a sharp intercept by Engadine who ran the ball to the other end of the paddock to give the boyz from Engadine a State Champions title and a sweet victory over Souths.
Engadine were victorious against the St. George side in the under 16's Grand Final in a tight fast game.
There were far to many games on that there were footy fields used all over the place from next to Shark Park to over at Wooloware High School, so details on all the girls games are a mystery, but there were plenty of smiles on lots of boys faces
Bill Harrigan took a day off from selling cars to arrange and be the announcer at NSW Junior State OzTag Cup.
Bill said after the game, " The Junior State Cup was a real success played in good spirit & very the few minor problems were far out weighed by the positives of the tournament.
Which are : FAIR PLAY, Camaraderie, & fantastic support from parents & the spectators".
Heaps of photos soon guys - well done to all teams & thanks Bill Harrigan & the OZTAG people.
ISRAEL FOLAU, WILL CHAMBERS POWER MELBOURNE STORM
|DREAM team ... Melbourne Storm centres Israel Folau and Will Chambers have the chance to prove the hype is true. / The Courier-Mail
THE Melbourne Storm centre pair billed as the most exciting in the game - Israel Folau and Will Chambers - will soon get the chance to prove it.
Teenagers Israel Folau, 18, and Will Chambers, 19, will take centre stage at Telstra Dome when Melbourne launches its campaign to become the first team in 15 years to claim successive premierships.
Folau, the 2007 Dally M rookie of the year, is the youngest Australian Test player. He stands 195cm and weighs 103kg.
Chambers, from Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory, at 188cm and 100kg, has been likened to former international Steve Renouf – only bigger.
New Zealand Warriors pair Brent Tate and Jerome Ropati, both internationals, may have their work cut out marking Folau and Chambers.
The man who has overseen their transformation from boys to men, Storm strength and conditioning coach Al Corvo, said the pair – both future Queensland State of Origin players – was still growing in size and strength.
Corvo said Chambers would not peak physically for another two years while Folau, who scored 21 tries in his rookie season, has grown 5cm and added more than 10kg to his frame since arriving in Melbourne at the start of 2007.
Folau, though, will need to put a pre-season affected by ongoing speculation about his future aside tonight. A decision between staying in Melbourne or moving to Brisbane could be made as early as tomorrow.
The roof at the Dome is expected to stay open tonight with temperatures in Melbourne to climb as high as 39C. Storm officials will make a late decision on whether to bring electrical fans to the sidelines as an extra cooling measure.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has named Russell Aitken at five-eighth but Matt Geyer has spent time training there this week. Another option for Bellamy is starting a bigger man, likely to be Antonio Kaufusi.
Bellamy said he was confident the new interchange rule, cutting the number of changes teams can make in a game from 12 to 10, would work in the premiers' favour.
"I don't know how big a thing it is – two changes," he said. "I'd imagine it will certainly make a difference."
SHARKS TOO GOOD FOR DRAGONS ?
|Jake Bridge tries to crash over Matty's Cup ( Photo : ourfooty media ) matty's photos
|Sharks Vs Dragons Mattys Cup action Rnd 5
( Photo : ourfooty media )
HAROLD MATTHEWS CUP - The junior Sharks traveled to OKI Jubilee Stadium today to take on local rivals the St. George Dragons.
The Sharks took home the 2 points in this much anticipated game in round 5, it was a close thing too with the Dragons finishing with less mistakes than the boyz from the Shire.
The Sharks were lucky today to win this game, there were good sections of the game, but coach Dave Howlett and his team might need to buy some glue for the boys hands. There were plenty of mistakes from both teams and the Sharks deserved to win because the Sharks ball boy said so.
SG BALL CUP - The Sharks were not the same team that destroyed WSAS last week at Blaxland Stadium, the dragons seemed to have a bit of fire in their bellies against the Sharks and smoked the visitors with a late try off a very forward pass that led the Dragons winger Joe Rokoqo to score his second try of the game.
A bit of excitement at the end saw 4 players on put on report for something that should not have happened.
The players were getting hot under the footy jumper and were obviously in each others faces under the stinking hot Aussie sun. But unfortunately the Ref allowed things to get out of hand and it was on. A few reserves from both teams might be getting a run next week.
Cronulla SG Ball center Mikos Tempania unfortunately broke his leg in the second half and was taken to hospital in the ambo, the Ambulance was needed again for another Sharks player who broke is leg too, what bad luck, get well boyz.
- PHOTO'S COMING SOON !! Cronulla Juniors
In other District Rep's news, the Balmain Tigers had a mighty game when they beat the previously undefeated Roosters in a tight game that ended with the Tigers winning 24 - 22.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs wracked up 128 points against the WSAS and the Matty's Cup boyz ran all over the WSAS by scoring an impressive 52 - 6 victory which may see Souths into the top 8.
Souths SG Ball side had a blinder scoring a huge 76 points to win by 64 in their 76- 12 victory.
Parramatta continued their great Matty's Cup season when they destroyed Wests Magpies 46 - 0 and confirms the Eels are favorites to win the comp. Its now 5 from 5 of the slippery ones.
The Bulldogs had a tougher time against Illawarra but ran in some late tries to win comfortably 32 - 6.
The Newcastle Knights remain undefeated after steam rolling the North Sydney Bears 44 - 4.
Tomorrow the Manly SeaEagles complete round 5 when they take on the Canberra Raiders at Brookvale Oval, the game will kick off at 3:00 PM.
|FROM TAREE TO WESTS TIGERS
A mateship forged on the playing fields of Taree is helping two young Wests Tigers tackle their dream of playing in the NRL.
Joey Latham and Todd Bridge, born and bred in Taree, are looking to follow in the illustrious footsteps of a local champion, NSW and Knights captain Danny Buderus, as they begin their professional rugby league careers with the Wests Tigers in the Toyota Cup.
Latham and Bridge played representative football together throughout their junior careers and have been in country first grade sides since they were 16.
Their mateship helped make the move to the city four months ago a little easier.
“Coming from a country town, it is a bit daunting moving to Sydney,” Latham said.
“Both of us being here probably made the decision a lot easier to come down.
“We are living together in a flat with my girlfriend, so it is a learning experience.
“We stir each other all the time but it’s all good fun.”
The two 18-year-olds forged their friendship playing for Group 3 and the Country NSW under-18 side.
“We were in different teams for club footy but when it came to representative footy we were pretty good mates and we get on really well,” Latham said.
“It’s been good playing together.
“We went to Tonga and the year before that we went to New Zealand, which was a really good learning curve.”
For Bridge, the move to the Wests Tigers adds to a proud family history at the club - his father, Gary Bridge, who played for the Tigers from 1982-86, is in the Balmain Tigers Hall of Fame.
In a testament to the depth of the Wests Tigers’ Toyota Cup squad, Latham and Bridge face a tough challenge to break into a starting side that boasts Junior Kangaroos Wayde Dunley and Blake Ayshford.
Another Junior Kangaroo, Tim Moltzen, makes his NRL debut for Wests Tigers this Sunday. He too can play in the Toyota Cup competition.
Latham will start on the bench against the Dragons at the SFS on Sunday.
Both he and Bridge have two years in the U20s competition to look forward to and, with Moltzen named in first grade this week, the opportunity is there for the Taree boys to break into the team.
“I’m really excited to play in this new competition and follow the first grade team around,” Latham said.
FOOTY NEWS ARCHIVES HERE