LATEST JUNIOR RUGBY LEAGUE NEWS
|REFEREE'S STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE
Rugby League’s flourishing stocks of junior referees received another boost last night after one of its best young officials took out the NSW Sports Federation award for Young Official of the Year.
The annual awards dinner celebrated the outstanding achievements of athletes, administrators, organisations, coaches, officials and volunteers within NSW, with last night’s winners in other categories including Australian cricketer Simon Katich and Olympian Matthew Mitcham.
Rugby League topped the lot in the Young Official of the Year category with 21-year-old NSWRL referee Kasey Campbell taking out the award for her outstanding achievements in 2008.
In between her full time job as an ARL Development Officer, Campbell refereed in the 2008 Women’s World Cup including the third place play off between England and Pacific Islands, and was touch Judge in the Final between Australia and New Zealand.
In a huge year, Campbell also controlled Game 1 of the NSW v QLD Women’s State of Origin series and refereed and touch judged in numerous state and district level competitions, including the Harold Matthews Cup and SG Ball Cup competitions of the NSWRL.
Campbell, who has refereed since 2004, said she hoped to do it for many years to come.
“I love the physical challenge of refereeing and the mental aspect of it too,” Campbell said today.
“The other thing about refereeing is if you work hard you are given a lot of opportunities and that’s a great thing, it keeps you motivated to keep improving.
“It was a big shock to get an award but I’m very grateful.
“Refereeing isn’t something you do for recognition but it was nice of the Sports Federation to consider officials for the awards night.”
NSWRL Coaching and Development Manager Martin Meredith said Campbell had a bright future as a referee.
“It’s a wonderful achievement for one of the up and coming young female referees to be awarded a prestigious award in a male dominated sport,” Meredith said.
“She’s come a long way in a short period of time and is showing plenty of potential.
“Our numbers in the junior refereeing ranks have steadily increased over the past 12 months and hopefully Kasey’s win will further encourage more women to get involved.”
STORM ROOKIE WILLIE ISA IN ISRAEL FOLAU'S FOOTSTEPS
|Groomed ... Willie Isa trains with the Storm yesterday. Photograph: Norm Oorloff / The Daily Telegraph
WILLIE Isa is a Melbourne centre who prays daily, speaks softly and has never touched a drop of alcohol in his life. Sound familiar?
"Well, I guess I am a bit like Israel Folau, yeah," the anonymous Stormer grins.
"Although he's a Mormon and I'm a Catholic . . . but we're both praying to the same God, ey."
Preferring hallelujahs to hangovers, Isa is the unknown rookie being groomed to replace departed superstar Israel Folau in 2009.
And the similarities are everywhere. Like that both these flyers were born in 1989. Both own Australian Schoolboy jerseys too.
They shared a junior Origin rivalry, have a knack of finding the white stripe and even boast the same Titan management group.
Sure, Isa concedes 15cm and almost 10kg to the youngest Kangaroo ever. And his pay packet is several zeroes lighter than the marquee Brisbane recruit too.
But just like Folau, Storm insiders insist this Penrith product is speed and strength. Skill and poise.
So relaxed that when quizzed about lining up against Folau in the Storm's final trial against Brisbane tomorrow night . . . well, Isa had forgotten he was even playing.
"Yeah, someone asked me about that yesterday and I said, 'Oh, I guess Israel is playing'," Isa laughs.
"I didn't mean any disrespect. I guess I just forgot."
Unknown to all but the most ardent Penrith fans last year, Isa finally made his NRL debut in Round 26 - but only after a bizarre bungle between medical staff and coach Matt Elliott.
It seems Panther Brad Tighe was ruled unfit for the Bulldogs clash but Elliott had no idea until he saw the centre arrive in civvies.
After a brief but colourful exchange, the coach then raced into the Toyota Cup sheds during halftime and gave Isa his unique call-up.
"I just looked at Matty and said 'you're joking?'," Isa laughs. "And he just looked straight back at me . . . then smiled."
And so began the NRL career of this Auckland-born kid whose parents - Ulufafo and Litia - shifted their family to Australia before his first birthday.
A couple who have spent every weekday since working in factories to provide for all their four children.
"And my family, yeah, they're what drives me," Isa says. "I want to eventually earn enough money so my parents don't have to work. So my two younger sisters and brother can get an education.
"Obviously playing in the NRL is my goal.
"It's what I want to do. But family, that's what means most to me."
Hmmm . . . sound familiar?
OUTRAGE AS JOEL THOMPSON RETURNS TO RAIDERS
|Back in the fold ... young Canberra forward Joel Thompson. Photograph: Kym Smith / The Daily Telegraph
THE Canberra Raiders last night rejected suggestions of double standards on player misconduct after lifting their ban on young forward Joel Thompson.
The tyro backrower will be welcomed back to training after pleading not guilty to charges of assaulting girlfriend Danielle O'Brien last month. Thompson is alleged to have struck O'Brien in the eye during an argument on January 22 and faced the ACT Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.
At the time, Raiders officials reacted by immediately standing down the 20-year-old, with general manager Don Furner declaring Thompson would "not participate in any club activities until (the) matter has been finalised by the appropriate authorities."
But, although there is as yet no verdict, Canberra softened their stance to allow Thompson to train with the side from Monday.
Raiders Group CEO Simon Hawkins said the change of heart was reached after Thompson informed the club he was pleading not guilty.
"We now don't know when the matter will be finalised so it would seem unreasonable to prevent him from training," Hawkins said.
Thompson's return, however, has drawn criticism from representatives of former winger Bronx Goodwin, who was stood down and then sacked last year after a late night altercation. Goodwin is appealing to the Industrial Relations Commission over his dismissal and his manager Sam Ayoub believes the speedster was not given the same opportunities as Thompson.
"No one asked Bronx if he was pleading innocent or guilty before they sacked him," Ayoub said. But Hawkins said the two cases did not demonstrate double standards.
"Bronx pleaded guilty to his charges - so you can't compare the two."
|RUGBY LEAGUE ROCKS
ARL Development today released statistics of its recruitment ‘Blitz’ program which has seen more than 66,000 school children around Sydney get a taste of Rugby League this February.
A total of 257 schools throughout Sydney welcomed NRL players into their classrooms to learn about healthy living through One Commuity’s “Eat well, Play well, Stay well” campaign.
The visits, convened by ARL Development Officers with the support of NSWRL, CRL and NRL Club development staff, also gave students the opportunity to try the ‘mini mod’ version of the game.
Of the 65,245 school children who participated in the ‘Blitz’ visits, almost 35,000 were based at western Sydney schools, a figure highlighting Rugby League’s continued growth in the region.
Six schools in the Canterbury district and eight in the Parramatta district signed up for ‘Blitz’ visits for the first time, while Liverpool Boys High and Leumeah High School both participated for the first time in several years.
ARL Development General Manager Bill Palmer said one of the most pleasing aspects of the ‘Blitz’ program was its ability to reach new schools.
“The recruitment Blitz not only gives school children a taste of Rugby League but it’s very much about promoting a healthy lifestyle,” Palmer said today.
“Kids are able to try the game out and if they like it they are able to sign up for their local junior league.
“The breadth of the program is really quite amazing and these statistics are testament to the hard work the game’s development officers and players are putting in to grass roots Rugby League.”
In the western Sydney region, more than 11,075 kids from 44 Schools in the Canterbury district welcomed top 25 playing squad members from the Bulldogs into their classrooms to talk about the differences between professional football and the ‘mini mod’ version of the game, autograph signing and Q & A sessions.
In the Parramatta region 37 schools and more than 12,000 students listened to Eels players Luke Burt, Ben Smith, Josh Cordoba and Joel Reddy share their experiences in Rugby League.
And Wests Tigers first-grade players Chris Lawrence, Bryce Gibbs, John Morris, Taniela Tuiaki, Todd Payten joined development staff to visit 46 schools and more than 11,200 children.
Meanwhile, St George Illawarra players Jason Nightingale, Ben Creagh and Matt Head visited schools in the Illawarra and Kogarah regions while the Roosters top-25 squad visited 15 schools and more than 3,100 school children.
NRL clubs were also represented at “Come and Try” clinics after school, with the Penrith Panthers players introducing new children to Rugby League and signing autographs at the local club in Doonside in an attempt to support its 2009 recruitment.
|YOUNG JETS WIN AT HOME AGAINST THE MAGPIES.
The Newtown Jets SG Ball Cup team remained unbeaten after seeing off Western Suburbs by 44 - 22 in the second-round competition match played at Henson Park on Sunday afternoon.
This was the first opportunity for Newtown supporters to take a look at the newest addition to the Jets Rugby League inventory and they would have been impressed as the young Jets took full control of the match in the second half.
Newtown had led 22 - 6 midway through the first half and looked to be set for a runaway win. The young Blues took the pressure off and allowed the Magpies to dictate terms, with the visitors pulling back to trail 22 - 16 at halftime and then drawing level early in the second half.
The match was very much in the balance for another ten minutes before the quality of Jets players in key positions swung the ascendancy back to the Royal Blues.
Newtown’s standout player was classy halfback Jacob Miller who orchestrated the Jets in attack, scored two tries and kicked six goals including a ‘screamer’ from the sideline that put the match beyond Wests’ grasp.
Forwards Boyd Cordner and Nick Ehsman also played well on a day that should have been a lesson to the young Jets about the dangers of slipping back into cruise control.
In the Harold Matthews Shield curtain-raiser, a brave Roosters Junior League team made the Wests Magpies work hard for their 38 - 26 win.
In the main game, a NSW Cup trial match between old inner-city rivals Newtown and Balmain, the Tigers always looked to have the edge in beating the Jets by 32 - 20.
Coach Greg Matterson would have noted the improved showing by his team, knowing that this squad will be significantly strengthened by the injection of several Roosters NRL squad members in future weeks.
Both NRL coaches Brad Fittler (Roosters) and Tim Sheens (Wests-Tigers) and their staff members were on hand at Henson Park to check out the afternoon’s Rugby League program.
The Newtown Jets are back at Henson Park next Saturday (February 28th) for a NSW Cup trial match against last year’s Grand Final opponents Wentworthville, with this game timed to start at 5.00pm.
The Jets SG Ball squad travels west to take on the Panthers at the St Marys Leagues Stadium at 2.15pm, preceded by the Roosters-Penrith Harold Matthews match at 1.00pm.
BREEDING FACTORY FOR STORM
|There is now a clear pathway for rugby league in Melbourne from juniors to NRL
Story & Photo : MELBOURNE STORM
There is now a clear pathway for rugby league in Melbourne from juniors to NRL
IN 10 years Melbourne Storm has had great success, but one glaring failure stands out.
It has yet to produce a local player good enough to play first-grade rugby league.
It is not something that could be done easily in recent years, as the feeder-system required talented locals to leave home and learn their trade interstate.
Not any more.
Storm now has its own locally-based under-18 team competing in the national SG Ball Cup.
There are 17 Victorians desperate to make it at NRL level in the 30-man squad coached by Kim Williams.
And without hesitating Williams declared that within five years one, if not more, would be playing in the NRL.
"Definitely. If it's not one of the kids in the under-20s squad it will definitely be one of the under-18s. I think five years is probably a fair call," Williams said.
"It's the result of an investment that started five years ago with the appointment of a high performance manager.
"There's now a pathway all the way through for local kids to stay in Melbourne. It's a really big boost for the club."
Williams nominated under-18 captain Kenny Bromwich, Lucas Grech, and 16-year-olds Herschel Gideon and Cameron Hansen, who played in the Victorian under-14 Australian Rules team before concentrating on league, as the most likely locals to make it.
"Herschel is one that we are very excited about," Williams said.
"He is an outstanding talent. He and Cameron Hansen, our youngest players, both scored tries last week."
"But Herschel, he is one we have earmarked with great potential. And he has grown up here, a definite Victorian."
Despite its reliance on local talent, Storm's SG Ball team isn't just making up the numbers in a competition played against teams from rugby league's heartlands.
It was good enough to win its first match, away to Newcastle last weekend, and also it’s second match against the Canberra Raiders at Visy Park on Saturday afternoon.
"It wasn't expected that we would win last week. It's only very early in the comp but we think we are going to be pretty competitive," he said.
"These boys have really been made to feel part of the club here and that is a key ingredient of achieving exactly what we all want."
FIRST FOR HOUNDS
|TOP SQUAD: With places in the under 18 premiership winning side (pictured above) expected to be at a premium this year, the Singleton Greyhounds are looking at fielding an under 17 side for the first time ever.
NEGOTIATIONS between the Singleton Greyhounds senior and junior clubs will see the formation of an under 17 side for the first time in the 2009 season.
Currently junior league players’ commitments cease at under 16 level before moving to seniors to play under 18 in the Thiess Services Group 21 competition.
Seniors president Brad Solman issued the challenge to many of the 2008 under 16 players to get registered if the concept was to materialise.
Current rules state that the under 18 side must always be filled in the first instances.
Places in coach Gary Gardner’s premiership winning side have been at a premium in recent years, and this opportunity should give more kids a chance to continue to play the great game.
The call has been answered, with some 34 players having since registered for under 18s and, with a majority of them only 17, a team will be entered into the Hunter Valley Junior Rugby League administered competition.
In a boon for that side, Singleton’s pre-eminent coach Mark Newman and former Newcastle Knight Russell Richards have agreed to coach the side.
Anyone wishing to play is welcome to attend the seniors Tuesday and Thursday training sessions from 6.00pm at Resco Park, with more players welcome.
With the Singleton Junior League performing strongly, it may become a permanent option for players in this age group in years to come.
In other junior league news, the club’s second registration day was another big success.
With little more than two weeks before the first trial game against rivals Greta-Branxton Colts, teams are taking shape, with the club now looking to add coaches to age divisions with multiple teams.
At this point in time, there will be two teams in the under 10, 11 and 12 age groups that will require additional coaches.
Anyone interested in coaching this age group can contact Darren Ward on 0419 235 423 for more information.
The club would like to see a few more players in the 13s, 14s, 15s and 16s to see if two teams can be formed, but time is running out.
Team nominations from clubs competing in the Newcastle Junior League competitions must be in place by February 28.
Further coaches will be appointed when team numbers reach required levels.
Applications for the Macquarie Generation ‘weekend of league’ at Lake Liddell next weekend are due today.
The camp consists of clinics for players aged six to 16 over both days and for $20 you receive a t-shirt, football, backpack, drink bottle and lunch.
Coaches and FAOs will also be busy that weekend gaining accreditation for the year ahead.
For more information, go to the Group 21 JRL web site or contact Mark Bayley on 0414 825 736, Lynne Hamm 0422 889 352 or Chris Brennan 0439 469 098.
A ‘leaguesafe’ course will be run in Muswellbrook on Monday March 9, but if enough interest is generated, a course may be run in Singleton.
Teams are urged to have this in order as soon as possible.
Looking ahead for further dates of interest, Sunday March 15 will see Singleton play host to the visiting Balmain JRL club side the Leichardt Wanderers.
The following weekend is the Scone Schoolboys carnival and on March 28, round one of the competition begins.
All new and existing players are welcome to register at our Cook Park headquarters on Tuesday and Thursday between 4pm and 5pm.
| COAST JUNIORS SAFE FOR QUEENSLAND
FEARS the Gold Coast Titans are breeding the next generation of Blues by playing their youngsters in NSW are unfounded, according to QRL boss Ross Livermore.
While concerns have been raised over the Titans turning their backs on newly established Queensland junior competitions to field their under - 16 and under - 18 sides south of the border, Livermore said it would have no bearing on future State of Origin eligibility.
"With eligibility for Origin, it is where you play your first senior football after turning 16," said QRL managing director Livermore.
"(The SG Ball Cup and Harold Matthews Cup) are not considered senior football, so any of those players eligible to play for Queensland or eligible to play for NSW are unaffected by their involvement."
In an interesting twist, the Titans' strong emphasis on junior development is instead likely to benefit Queensland.
Senior football is generally deemed to be open aged competition, although there are exceptions to the rule. The national high school competition, the Arrive Alive Cup, is one.
The majority of players from the Titans' Harold Matthews and SG Ball sides attend Palm Beach Currumbin high school, who are the defending Arrive Alive Cup champions.
A considerable amount of those juniors are products of the Northern Rivers.
But because they will play Arrive Alive Cup with PBC -- their first senior football -- they will be regarded as Queenslanders at Origin time.
"If they play for Palm Beach Currumbin in the Arrive Alive Cup after the age of 16, they could be classed as Queenslanders," said Livermore. "But if a kid said `look, I want to play for NSW, I only came up here for high school', we would make a common sense decision on it.
"But once they make their mind up, they can't change."
The Titans experienced mixed success in their junior ranks at the weekend, with their SG Ball side going down 40 - 26 to St George and winning their Harold Matthews clash with the Dragons 38 - 8
ACADEMY AWARDS TO WRAP UP LEAGUE BOYS’ PROGRAM
|GNA head coach Jamie McCormack makes a point during last Sunday’s final training session. Photo: Barry Smith
THE Wests Greater Northern Academy Under 17 and 18 sides were to have finalised their programs at Coffs Harbour’s Advocate Park today.
However floods derailed those plans, leaving the 42-player squad with a presentation ceremony at Scully Park tomorrow.
The GNA program started with 44 and has just two casualties, head coach Jamie McCormack said.
One of those “dropouts” was talented Glen Innes teenager Nick Ehsman who left to be a part of the Sydney City Roosters SG Ball squad.
“We’ve had 98 per cent attendance at all our training sessions as well,” McCormack said.
“That’s been real good. And they have put in at training.
“It’s been great to see, the dedication and commitment.”
He was hoping to have been able to watch the boys put their many skills into practice in the annual Tri Series at Coffs Harbour but that wasn’t to be this year.
What he is appreciative of is his large back-up staff.
“I am very lucky also to have the coaching staff I have.
“They’re all volunteers and all have a passion for football and to help the young guys.”
McCormack heads a coaching staff also including Chris Brennan, Damien Kenniff, Peter Stevens, Ron Dellar and Brad Neely. There are also FAOs Robert Rolffe and Matt Kenny along with manager Scott Bone and strength and conditioning coach Geoff Sharpe.
KEEBRA PARK PROMISE BIG '09
With season 2009 well and truly in sight, trials are set to begin at Keebra Park.
The new cohort of grade 8's are well and truly into training and looking like a team that could emulate the unbeaten antics of last years 8's.
The Nines are looking good. With only a couple of losses from last years team that won the Renouf Shield 74-0, however they have gained a number of juniors from as far afield as Tamworth and North Queensland.
The Under 15's have also profitted from the reputation the school has aquired across both Australia and New Zealand with a number of new recruits filling the ranks.
There are 80 students in the Open Divison with a number of students on contracts with the Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans. The Wests Tigers players are looking particularly strong with gains throughout the forwards anda couple of useful looking halves.
Another positive addition to the school this year is the appointment of a Polynesian guidance officer who is on hand to work with the students for whom the schooling system is often different to the one they are used to andd often speak a language other than English at home.
These innovations, coupled with the rigorous training schedule are sureto make 2009 a Blockbuster yeab at "The Park' , so good luck boys and lets bring it on
|ARE THE STORM THE REAL DEAL?
It could have been dismissed as beginner’s luck in Round 1 but the Melbourne Storm have well and truly rocked the SG Ball Cup competition after a consecutive upset victory at the weekend.
The SG Ball Cup (Under - 18) newcomers stunned heavyweights Canberra 32 - 22 in Melbourne at the weekend backing up from an 18-14 win against Newcastle in their competition debut in Round 1.
The Storm join fellow SG Ball Cup debutants the Newtown Jets in enjoying a dream start to the NSWRL Junior Representative season after two rounds of action.
The Jets were 44-22 winners over Western Suburbs at the weekend, continuing their good early season form which saw them down the Bulldogs 20 - 16 in the opening round.
Meanwhile, the Gold Coast Titans have notched their maiden victory in the Harold Matthews Cup (Under-16) competition by smashing St George 38 - 8 in Tugun.
NSWRL Academy’s Coaching and Development Manager Martin Meredith said the upsets were great news for the competitions.
“Melbourne’s great form in their first season of SG Ball Cup competition is an example of Rugby League’s ability to build and strengthen its playing base outside of traditional breeding grounds of NSW and Queensland,” Meredith said.
“Similarly, the Gold Coast Titans Harold Matthews Cup side are competing in the competition for the first time and have hit the ground running.
“It all bodes well for Rugby League because the stronger these competitions are now, the stronger our elite senior competitions like the NRL will be in years to come.”
The Storm SG Ball Cup team will look to continue their giant-killing run this weekend when they travel to the Gold Coast to take on the Titans in Round 3 of the NSWRL Junior Representative season.
| PARRA EELS WIN BATTLE OF THE WEST
The much anticipated clash between the two junior heavyweights of the west at CUA Stamium in Penrith was won by the mighty Parramatta Eels with Harold Matthews winning 28-6 and the Ball side absolutely dominating their opposition by shutting the Panthers out 30-0 in a six trys to nil rout.
There were many stars in the Eel’s Ball side but none more than exciting second rower Pat O’Hanlon from Queensland.
Parramatta looks to have hit the jackpot with this bloke and he is destined to play in the 20’s after his Ball commitments are completed.
He dominated his side of the field with great defence and he had a hand in a couple of trys with deft off-loads as well as scoring one himself for good measure.
The game started with big hits in defence from both sets of forwards and it was no place for the feint-hearted.
Penrith’s Samson Sene and Parra’s Peni Terepo were dominating in exchanges.
In the end the Eels forwards got on top of their opposition and the backs led by halves Josh Murray and Jason Wehbe steered their team around the paddock with judicious kicking and clever passing.
It was this area of the game where Parramatta clearly had an edge.
Penrith halves Harry Seijka and Australian touch footy player Matthew Moylan were unusually quite.
Penrith will bounce back. They smacked Canberra Raiders team at Seiffert 44-14 last week and quite rightly the Rugby League News program announced them as early season favourites. Beware the wounded Panther!
PK's pick for best and fairest:
3 – Pat O’Hanlon Second Row Parramatta
2 – PJ Asiata Prop Parramatta
1 - Samson Sene prop Penrith
1 – Rodney Moefaauo Prop Parramatta
1 – Josh Murray – Half back Parramatta
1 – Peni Terepo Prop Parramatta
(J Tuitupou 2 J Wehbe R Moefaauo P O'Hanlon T Vandermade tries J Wehbe 2 J Tavita goals) bt
In Harold Matthews it was the more composed Parramatta Eels who got the money by winning 28-6 against a strong Panthers outfit. Last week the Eels struggled with a 14 all draw to the Illawarra Steelers and Penrith beat the Raiders 38-10 and were entitled to be favourites.
What we saw was a determined and disciplined Eels team that tamed the Panther beast. Penrith appeared to be distracted by the referee and niggle issues and they suffered as a consequence. You don’t win football games when your mind isn’t on the job.
Parramatta were well led by props Sione Hehepoto and Josh Neale. At the back 2008 Australian under 15 player Jacob Gagen was outstanding.
The experience he picked up playing on the wing for last year's premiership winning Matthews team was evident. He was a constant nuisance to the Penrith defence scoring two trys and making a number of clean breaks. His defence was also rock solid.
Best for the Panthers were prop and human wrecking ball Tai Tuivasa who thrilled the crowd with his big runs and second rower Jason Antonelli.
If Tuivasa can work on his discipline he could be a show for the NSW under 16 team.
PK ’s pick for best and fairest:
3 – Jacob Gagen Fullback Parramatta
2 - Sione Hehepoto Prop Parramatta
1 - Tai Tuivasa Prop Penrith
(J Gagan 2 J Tuitan S Hehetoto F Masinamua S Manumua tries, T Graham J Neale goals) bt
PENRITH 6 (N Tuia try B Heterick goal)
BEHIND PENRITH'S PUNCH-UP
|Fist fight ... Joel Romelo / The Sunday Telegraph
HE is the half-Aboriginal, half-Italian pig hunter who grew up in Darwin, stands 170cm, earns $270 a week and stood toe-to-toe with Trent Waterhouse.
Meet Joel Romelo, the Queenslander on a $14,000 contract hoping to make a name for himself at Penrith this season.
Romelo, 19, hit the headlines last Wednesday after it emerged in Rugby League Week he and 194cm team-mate Waterhouse traded blows during a training session a month ago.
Unconcerned by the prospect of shaping up to one of the biggest names and biggest frames in the NRL, Romelo held his own. The pair cleared the air the same evening by sharing a beer at Masada Iosefa's 21st birthday party in Mt Druitt.
"We were revving each other up for a few weeks. House goes hard at me because I'm a spot player and people try to target me, so he was trying to teach me to defend strong,'' Romelo said.
"The day it boiled over it was really hot and we were both going at each other not wanting to give an inch. After it happened, we went straight back into opposed training. He was still running at me and I was still tackling him.
"Then 20 minutes after that, Matty Elliott pulled us aside and had a word. He said it was good in one way but bad in another. It was good because of the aggression but bad because I'm a junior and House is a senior.
"There was no way in the world Matty said take it out the back. We shook hands and said sorry. It was laid to rest and we had a beer and a laugh about it that night.''
Romelo, the son of an Aboriginal father and Italian mother, grew up in Darwin before moving to Redcliffe in Brisbane aged 12 to pursue rugby league.
A gifted hooker who can play halfback, Romelo has been likened to former captain Craig Gower.
"You can't help liking the way Joel Romelo plays football. To be honest, he reminds me a lot of Gower,'' said Penrith's 2003 grand final hero Scott Sattler.
Waterhouse said the incident had been blown out of proportion.
"It's no big deal. It was hot and we were ripping into it in pre-season,'' he said.
Gower had a rivalry with Steve Carter, the pair regularly facing off at training. During one drinking session at the Grey Gums Hotel in Penrith, the pair took their differences outside, traded punches, then returned to the bar to have a beer.
Former Panthers Joel Clinton and Ben Ross stood toe-to-toe during the pre-season after winning a grand final together.
|COASTAL FLOODING WIPES OUT ACADEMY'S FINAL FLING
THE FLOODING rains that have struck the North Coast have also ruined the grand final of the Wests Greater Northern rugby league program.
The region’s brightest young rugby league stars were looking forward to their final test against North Coast and Northern River academies in Coffs Harbour tomorrow.
But those games have now been cancelled, GNA head coach Jamie McCormack said.
“It’s really, really frustrating,” McCormack said yesterday.
“We had to make a decision by Wednesday and they have had more rain over there since it was cancelled.
“That’s the end of the program but we will still have our presentations at West Leagues Club on Sunday where the boys will all receive their jackets and where we will also give out our two major awards.”
The GNA under 17 and 18 squads were to have played Northern Rivers and North Coast academy sides at Advocate Park, Coffs Harbour tomorrow.
However it was too wet to host the games.
“I know the parents are just as disappointed as we are that their boys won’t get the chance to play these final games,” McCormack said.
“We always look forward to playing the coastal academies.”
Sunday’s presentation day starts at 12.30pm where McCormack and his coaching staff will announce the GNA’s most outstanding two squad members.
McCormack had been confident of success in those final games at Coffs.
However it wasn’t going to be the main objective.
He was “looking for a big improvement after the games against Western Academy at Scully Park two weeks ago” and was looking to them “stepping up another level” at Coffs.
UNDER 17s: 1 Ryan Pooley, 2 Colin Bird, 3 William Tufui, 4 Joh Mathers, 5 Tim Grob, 6 Dale Watson, 7 Daniel Sharman, 8 Rod Rolls, 9 Cameron Rodgers (capt), 10 Jock McHatton, 11 Cody McCarthy, 12 Robert Kennedy, 13 Chris Lewis, 14 Zac Howlett, 15 Kyle Eather, 16 Ethan McLachlan, 17 Jason Hobday
UNDER 18s: 1 Cameron Pyne, 2 Mick Kelly, 3 Kane Stevenson, 4 Reece Jaeger, 5 James Smith, 6 Kurt Resch (capt), 7 Nick Monckton, 8 Andy Mack, 9 Corey Holman,10 Marty Carroll, 11 Dylan Baker, 12 Sam O’Shannessy, 13 Beau Brummell, 14 Tom Hine, 15 Jeb Hardy, 16 Damian Young,17 Matt Law, 18 Janson Doughty, 19 Guy Berger, 20 Blake Pawley
TITANS HELP BOOST JUNIOR NUMBERS
|Matt Rogers was just one of the 30 Titans players who helped out on the Gold Coast JRL sign up days (Photo : Gold Coast Titans)
The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans have helped boost the number of juniors playing rugby league in the region following the club’s assistance with a recent junior sign-on day.
A fortnight ago, more than 30 Jetstar Titans players visited every Gold Coast District Junior Rugby League club across the region in the interest of promoting the game to youngsters.
Jetstar Titans players participated in a host of different activities – ranging from being dunked underwater in the dunk machine to handling live snakes and cooking barbeques.
For the kids, the chance to interact with their heroes clearly did the trick with the Gold Coast District Junior Rugby League recording 1074 new registrations for the 2009 season.
The success of the sign-on day followed several weeks of promotion by the Australian Rugby League Development team, who have visited over 6000 school children in the region since the resumption of term one.
About 400 kids also attended Titans coaching clinics throughout the school holidays while others also tried their hand at TitanTag – a new non-contact sport aimed at young boys and girls.
GCDJRL Operations Manager Gary Phillips said the number of new registrations was well up on the same time last season.
“We’re extremely pleased with the result,’’ said Phillips. “It’s more than 300 compared to the same time last year.’’
“The Titans impacted on that enormously with their involvement in the sign-on day and their promotional work in the lead-up.
“It’s great for our game. We had 4500 players last year and we’re on track to get to our target of 5000 this year.’’
The sight of big prop Aaron Cannings being dunked underwater in the dunk machine at the Mudgeeraba Redbacks JRLC proved a success, with the club recording 83 new junior players including 61 new players between under-6s and under-10s.
The Runaway Bay Seagulls also celebrated a significant increase in registrations, with 130 new players signing up – a 20 per cent rise on 2008.
TITANS JUNIORS AT HOME TO ST GEORGE
||Cory Mc Grady
||Jack Durhiem © 13
The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans’ SG Ball and Harold Matthews sides will play their first home game of the season this Saturday when they host the St George Dragons at Boyd St Oval, Tugun.
The Jamie O’Connor-coached SG Ball (under-18s) side is chasing its second win after defeating Wests in round 1 last week, while the club’s new Harold Matthews (under-16s) side is hoping to register its historic first victory.
Harold Matthews kicks-off at 1pm while SG Ball commences at 2.30pm.
The Titans’ under-14s and under-15s junior development sides will also be playing matches, taking on Ipswich at 4pm and 5pm respectively.
Gates open at 10.30am for a clash between the under-13s CRL Group 18 v Ipswich. Admission is $5.
GREAT BRITAIN COMMUNITY LIONS 22 - FRANCE JUNIORS 42
|Clement Bienes dives in for France's 2 nd try of the night ( PHOTO'S BY : Ian LOVELL Photography)
|French boys on the attack
|Come here you, say the English defender
FRANCE U 18's
Johnson (50), Grundy (62), Miller (65), Fenton (70)
Goals: Grundy 3/3, Bailey 0/1
Boudebza (6, 10, 19, 26), Bienes (15), Vignau (42), Negre (58)
Goals: Gigot 6/6, Guasch 1/1
Story By Ian Golden at Glan-yr-Afon Park, Blackwood
PHOTO'S BY : IAN LOVELL
After coming so close to beating the young tricolours last year, Great Britain under 18s were crushed in Blackwood on Wednesday night, going down 22 - 42 to a rampant French side.
It took just six minutes for France to take the lead. After earlier forcing a goal-line drop-out, a fine passing move led to a try in the corner from hooker John Boudebza.
Tony Gigot kicked the tricky conversion.
The prolific Boudebza broke through again four minutes later, his strength being too much for the Lions pack, giving Gigot an easier second conversion.
The French were now running riot and they deservedly got a third try from the first set after kick-off.
Initially Clement Soubeyras and Ritrau Vignau failed to break through but from a quick Gigot grubber, Clement Bienes dived to score.
Gigot had another easy conversion and he repeated that feat just three minutes later after Boudebza ran through for his hat-trick.
There could have been more tries. After forcing another goal-line drop out, Clement Soubeyras was denied a score following a forward pass.
The French, who could do nothing wrong in the first half, broke through again before the interval and once again it was Boudebza who grounded with Gigot keeping up his 100% kicking record.
The speed and agility of the French had to be admired.
Coming out of the traps quickly at the start of the second half, loose forward David Guasch had a try disallowed a forward pass before Retri Vignau waltzed over for France’s sixth.
The Lions finally got on the board on 50 minutes, which was 15 minutes in the half as the game was played at 35 minutes each way.
Nick Johnson was the scorer, weaving his way through skilfully after a fine set of six.
Stephen Grundy converted.
But France restored the balance after William Barthau intercepted on his own ten-metre line and ran 80 metres only to be stopped in his tracks.
From the next play, Joseph Negre again took advantage of the gaps in Lions backline to ground.
David Guasch had no problems with landing the extras.
Lions scored an almost identical try four minutes later.
This time it was Grundy who intercepted and ran the length of the field to score, converting it himself.
Elliott Miller did likewise and ran 70 metres to give the Lions some credibility on the scoreboard as the French tired.
Welshman Rhys Fenton completed the scoring with a try in the corner in the final seconds to make the final score 22 - 42.
Referee: Ian Curzon
0-6, 0-12, 0-18, 0-24, 0-30, 0-36, 6-36, 6-42, 12-42, 18-42, 22-42
Men of the Match:
Great Britain: Steven Grundy, France: John Boudebza
France’s first half. They were outstanding and GB did well to even touch the ball in those first 35 minutes.
John Boudebza only needed half a match to shine showing strength, speed and skill as a fine attacking hooker to watch out for in the future.
0-6, 0-12, 0-18, 0-24, 0-30, 0-36, 6-36, 6-42, 12-42, 18-42, 22-42
Men of the Match: Great Britain: Grundy, France: Boudebza
France’s first half. They were outstanding and GB did well to even touch the ball in those first 35 minutes.
John Boudebza only needed half a match to shine showing strength, speed and skill as a fine attacking hooker to watch out for in the future.
LATE BLOOMER ON THE MOVE
|Singleton’s Dale Watson takes the ball into this opposed drill at last Sunday’s GNA training session.
DALE Watson continues his initiation into the Wests Greater Northern Academy in Coffs Harbour on Saturday.
The Singleton teenager has thrived in the GNA environment and impressed many in the GNA’s recent trial win over Western in Tamworth.
Turning 17 this year it’s a big season on the home front (Group 21) for him.. LEARN MORE
TITANS SET FOR NORTHERN RIVERS BLITZ
| LISMORE GAME
|Brunswick Public School
|St Finbars Byron Bay
|Bangalow Public School
|St Francis Ballina
|Ballina Public School
|St Josephs Alstonville
|Alstonville Public School
|Rukenvale Public School
|Lennox Public School
|St Josephs Coraki
|Coraki Public School
|Broadwater Public School
|Wardell Public School
|Wyrallah Road Public School
|Lismore Public School
|Caniaba Public School
|Our Lady of Lourdes
|Albert Park P.S
|Lismore Heights P.S
|Our Lady Help of Christians
|Goonellabah Public School
|Byron Bay Public School
The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans will visit thousands of school children in the Northern Rivers region next week as part of a five-day promotional blitz in more than 25 schools.
The BCU Gold Coast Titans Development team, in conjunction with Australian Rugby League Development and Country Rugby League, will visit 26 schools located from Brunswick in the north to Wardell in the south and Rukenvale in the west.
The five-day blitz is aimed at promoting rugby league in the area in the lead-up to the club’s eagerly anticipated trial match against the New Zealand Warriors at Lismore’s Oakes Oval on Saturday, February 28.
Among the 26 schools to be visited by the Titans Development team are the former schools of Jetstar Titans NRL squad members Will Matthews (Rukenvale Public School) and David Mead (Lismore Heights Public School).
The Titans playing squad are currently in Darwin preparing for this weekend’s trial match against Cronulla before attention turns to next week’s trip to Lismore.
To culminate the week-long blitz, the Titans will be running a free ‘Come and Try’ coaching clinic for kids aged five and up at Oakes Oval on Friday afternoon which coincides with the NRL side’s open training session.
The session will be the players’ final hit-out before the trial match against the Warriors, with autograph signings to follow training.
Local coaches in the region will also have the chance to sit in the stands with a member of the first grade coaching staff while the NRL squad are put through their paces and drills are explained.
“The Northern Rivers is an important part of our catchment area and next week presents a great opportunity for the Titans to get out into schools in the region and promote rugby league,’’ said Titans managing director Michael Searle.
“The ‘Come and Try’ coaching clinic is also a great way for both boys and girls to have a go at learning some of the skills involved in playing rugby league.’’
Tickets are still available for the Jetstar Titans v Warriors clash and can be purchased through the Lismore Workers Club on (02) 6621-7401.
A list of activities and school visits for next week is included below:
Come & Try Coaching Clinic
Date – Friday, February 27
Location – Oakes Oval
Time – 4pm registrations for a 4.30pm start
Cost – FREE
Details – fun rugby league experience for boys and girls aged 5 to 14 years. Children will learn some of the skills of the game and participate in rugby league lead up games, in a safe and fun environment.
Date – Friday, February 27
Location – Oakes Oval
Time – 4pm until 5.30pm
Cost – FREE
DETAILS – A member of the 1st Grade Coaching staff (Trevor Gillmeister, Steve Murphy or John Cartwright) would be in the stands with the coaches explaining the session.
This will be followed by an informal question and answer time with all coaching staff available. This is a fantastic opportunity for coaches to learn some of the current coaching techniques, while watching the stars of the NRL go through their paces.
NT TEAMS TO MAKE HISTORY AT RICHARDSON PARK
|TERRITORY TITANS Under-18's
||TERRITORY TITANS Under-16's
||Jason Gebert (c)
||Mitchell-Kingi Te Aho
HISTORY will be made at Richardson Park tomorrow night when the Territory Titans make their debut on the national club rugby league landscape.
The Titans host North Queensland conference rivals Wide Bay in the opening round of the national SG Ball (under-18) and Harold Matthews (under-16) competitions.
It has been the day marked with a big red pen by under-18 Titans coach Michael Rawiri, who believes his troops are ready to make their presence felt on the national stage.
"The boys just want to get out there, it has been a long build-up for us and I think we're all happy the first game is finally here," Rawiri said. "This is the next stage for our players and everyone is champing at the bit to make the Territory's presence felt."
Stability has been a key feature in the under-18 Titans preparation with Rawiri's opening 17-man team having been together for two years, an era that has gleaned successive Sam Davey Plates at the national schoolboys level.
The Titans have also benefited from the presence of former Kangaroo Rod "Rocket" Reddy during the week and his guidance has been greatly appreciated.
Wide Bay is regarded as the weakest of the five North Queensland rivals the Titans will face this season and hopes of a debut win are high.
The expectations are only slightly lower for the Brett Holmes-coached under-16 team also making its debut tonight.
Holmes squad is something of an eclectic mix with players from Gove, Katherine, Alice Springs and Darwin, along with new recruit Jake Watts, a former WA under-15 representative from Kununurra.
Holmes, a highly-regarded junior coach, explained the excitement at seeing how his team fares tomorrow night.
"These boys are really a work in progress and it is a whole different ball game to the competition they've been exposed to in the past," Holmes said.
"It's hard to gauge exactly where we stand, but I'm happy with the boys and as long as they give it their best I can't complain."
TERRITORY TITANS Under-18: 1. Gavin Brown, 2. Kruise Nicholls, 3. Brett Boucher, 4. Matt Johnson, 5. Brooke Wothers, 6. Matt Bennett, 7. Jason Gebert (c), 8. Sean Shanahan, 9. Bradley Hansen, 10. Jeromie Edwards, 11. Callan Chapman, 12. Tyler Malone, 13. Mitchell Russell. Interchange: 14. Cameron Versteegh, 15. Ben Tonkin, 16. Angus Jacobs, 17. Matt Paterson-Nicolai. Coach: Michael Rawiri.Under-16: 1. Ado Waianga, 2. Ramon Jenkinson, 3. Brycen Ammenhauser, 4. Kieran McManus, 5. Kendall Quakawoot, 6. Mickey Rees, 7. Brendan Donnelly, 8. Lewis Bilich, 9. Jake Watts, 10. Ayden Barr, 11. Mitchell-Kingi Te Aho, 12. Nathan Hazel, 13. Dylan Cartwright. Interchange: 14. Sam Putland, 15. TJ Norris, 16. Michael Cutillo, 17. Jason Mackrow.
TITANS TRIO TOUCH DOWN EARLY IN DARWIN
|Gold Coast Titans help NT Titans (Photo : Gold Coast Titans)
Jetstar Gold Coast Titans players Brad Meyers and David Mead, along with assistant coach Trevor Gillmeister have touched down in Darwin a day ahead of their Titans teammates.
The trio met with Minister for Regional Development & Minister for Sport and Recreation, Mr Karl Rio Hampton MLA and members of the Northern Territory Titans under-16 rugby league team before setting out on a tough training session in oppressively humid conditions, with Gillmeister making sure his charges don’t miss any crucial training sessions ahead of Saturday night’s NRL trial against Cronulla.
Gillmeister said sports fans in the north deserved to see more quality NRL matches and is hopeful the Titans can make the Northern Territory pilgrimage an annual event.
Gillmeister said, “Just meeting the young Territory Titans players here today and everyone we have met since we touched down are so excited about Saturday’s game and I am really pleased that the Jetstar Gold Coast Titans will provide them with a top notch squad containing some of rugby league’s most exciting players.”
“I have been up to Darwin quite a few times and I would love to see the Titans and the NT Government reach an agreement which resulted in the Titans playing a trial in the Top End each year.”
After impressing against Brisbane during last weekends opening season trial, Brad Meyers is looking forward to playing more valuable pre-season minutes against the Sharks on Saturday.
Meyers said, “It was good to finally blow the cobwebs out last week, I know the young guys were itching to get out on the field after a really tough pre-season and I am sure the Titans more established players will be feeling exactly the same ahead of the Cronulla encounter.”
When quizzed on his goals for the 2009 season, Meyers echoed the sentiments of the entire first grade squad when he targeted an historic finals appearance, also suggesting there was still a strong desire to play at State level again.
“On a personal level I am really looking forward to the year ahead, my 2008 campaign was cut short with injury and if I can stay fit and play at the standard I know I am capable of and do a good job for Carty (John Cartwright) and the Titans, then yes I would love to play State Of Origin again.”
The remainder of the Jetstar Gold Coast Titans squad arrive in Darwin at 12.00pm tomorrow.
LEAGUE CAREER BOOST
|League scholars: Brad Donnelly (left) and Tyler Fawcett will benefit from their scholarships from Camden High School. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale
TWO young Wollondilly rugby league players have been given a boost to their playing careers by winning Camden High School rugby league scholarships.
Tyler Fawcett, 12, from Douglas Park, and Brad Donnelly, 11, from The Oaks, will both receive $500.
Both boys are due to attend Camden High School next year.
The school's physical education teacher, Brendon Reeves, said it had been a difficult decision to choose the lucky players who would benefit from the Pizza Hut-donated scholarship grant.
Tyler, a Picton Magpies 12A player, can play at lock or five-eighth.
He is also a Razorback Zone player and a Sydney South West representative player.
He will use the scholarship money to pay for representative team fees.
``Tyler is a very quick player who has good agility skills and is captain of his junior team,'' Reeves said. ``We are hoping these leadership skills transfer to Camden High school in 2009.
``His goals are to play rugby league at a state level.
``Rugby league is his passion. ``He will represent Camden High School in the Wests Leagues Cup in 2009.''
Meanwhile, Reeves said Brad, who is also a Razorback Zone player and Sydney South West under-11 representative, would be a player to watch out for next season.
The youngster plays his team football with The Oaks Tigers.
``Brad is a very rugged and tough forward who loves getting stuck into the opposition,'' Reeves said.
``He's extremely gifted and is a superb attacking player.
``He loves every minute on the rugby league field.''
UNDER-15S GET GREAT START
|Strong run: Tylon Tanuvasa (black and white) scored South West Sydney Academy of Sport's first try against Parramatta in his team's 20-10 victory.
SOUTH West Sydney Academy of Sport's under-15 rugby league development squad got off to a winning start in their first game of the year.
The boys beat their Parramatta counterparts 20-10 at McCredie Park, Guildford, last week.
Academy rugby league co-ordinator Mark Dunn said that although the boys were up against a bigger Parramatta side, they put the pressure on early in the game.
The first try went to Tylon Tanuvasa and second rower Sou Kamuta made a 70-metre break to score under the posts 10 minutes before half-time.
Matt Applebee converted the try to give his team a handy 10-0 lead at the break.
Parramatta came out in the second half more determined and levelled the score.
But with five minutes remaining Lachlan Yule and Ethan Fucile crossed with Applebee adding another goal.
Best players were Sou Kamuta, Corey Makelim, Luke Warren, Josh Cullen and Isaac Wodjewodka.
The team's next game will be on Saturday (February 21) against a strong Canberra side at Worrell Park, Ruse, at 12.30pm.
The squad trains at Wood Park, Ingleburn on Wednesday and Friday from 6pm to 8pm.
GRANT FOR WESTFIELDS SPORTS HIGH SCHOOL
|Off-field relationship: (from left) Roger Davis, Paul Metcalfe, Chris Uluiga, Brett Watson and Maneta Pepe. Cabramatta Rugby League club donated $10,000 to Westfields Sports High School last week to assist the rugby league program. Picture: Wesley Lonergan
BETWEEN them, Westfields Sports High School and Cabramatta Rugby League Club have produced some of the finest rugby league talent this area has seen.
Krisnan Inu, Jarryd Hayne and Kris Keating, just to name a few.
And now that relationship is stepping up a notch with the leagues club announcing a $10,000 donation to help fund the high school's rugby league program.
With more than 50 percent of the school's players representing the Two Blues at club level on the weekend, the sponsorship deal can also be seen as an investment.
Westfields already use the leagues club grounds for training sessions but will now reap the rewards of further equipment and gear.
Rugby league is one of Westfields Sports High School's strengths and is set to strengthen even more now.
NEW ERA BEGINS
|Endeavour SHS at the 2008 AaC Elite 7's (Photo : ourfooty media)
IT WAS the end of an era at Western Weekender Stadium in St Marys last week when it was renamed St Marys Leagues Stadium.
Club president Warren Smith said that the renaming of the venue represents a new era for St Marys Leagues and coincides with stage one of the club's $17 million Master Building Plan now under construction and due for completion later this year.
It will host a range of events in 2009, including the Western Sydney Academy of Sport rugby league program, Penrith Emus rugby union, schoolboy trials, Harold Matthews and SG Ball matches and more.
The next generation of NRL stars were in action at a wet and slippery St Marys Leagues Stadium last week when 300 juniors from 22 schools competed in two days of competition.
Eight schools took part in the Schoolboy 9-a-side elite schools tournament last Wednesday.
Patrician Brothers 1 beat Endeavour Sports 14-10 to win the cup final, while Patrician Brothers 2 defeated Matraville Sports 18-10 to win the plate final.
A group of 14 schools across NSW took part in the Schoolboy 9-a-side general schools tournament on Thursday, won by Bass Hill High School.
Speaking of St Marys Leagues, the club is one of the big supporters behind the Western Sydney Academy's rugby league program, which recently moved to Penrith.
The academy will be officially unveiled at CUA Stadium this Saturday.
A taskforce was set up last year to build on western Sydney's rugby league playing base of more than 20,000 juniors in partnership with NRL clubs Penrith, Parramatta and Wests Tigers.
Greg Mitchell, who heads the Academy, hailed it as a landmark moment for the sport.
``Other sports have talked and talked about what they plan to do in western Sydney. Rugby league is here right now and we are doing it,'' Mitchell said.
Almost 50 Penrith and Parramatta junior rugby league players are part of the Academy's squads, with a high percentage of the Penrith juniors hailing from St Marys' junior ranks.
The partnership will see the Academy play its Harold Matthews Shield (under-16s) and SG Ball Cup home matches at St Marys League Stadium.
The finals of both competitions will also be played at the venue in May.
Round one of both competitions kicked off against Manly on the weekend.
The Sea Eagles were too good for the Academy in both matches.
The Academy tackle Illawarra at St Marys Leagues Stadium this Saturday.
The Harold Matthews match kicks off at noon, followed by SG Ball at 1.30pm.
TAKE UP RUGBY LEAGUE FOR FRIENDS AND FITNESS
|Nambucca Heads High School rugby league players are urging primary and high school sportsmen to sign up to play for the Nambucca Heads Junior Rugby League Club in 2009. Pictured (back from left) are Ziggy Fatnowna, Matt Keast, Jackson Elphick, Silas Robbins, Lewis Smith and Jacob Welsh. (Front from left) are Braydon Cox, Ned Hicks and Jake Russo. Photo by Jessica Welsh.
The Nambucca Heads Junior Rugby League Club is urging young enthusiastic sportsmen to sign up for a season of footy.
Nambucca junior rugby league coordinator Pat Nichols said a registration day would be held tomorrow (13th) at EJ Biffin Oval, Nambucca Heads between 4pm and 6pm.
Primary school and high school aged students are encouraged to go along and support their local club. Those who sign up on Friday will get 10 per cent discount from their registration fees and could also go into the draw to get a full fee refund.
Mrs Nichols said Nambucca’s junior rugby league teams were down on past years and hoped the 2009 season would bring a turn-around.
To register, new players will need a birth certificate, Medicare number and player and parent signatures. Former players will only need a parent’s signature to re-register.
Additional sign-up days will be held every Tuesday and Thursday between 4.30pm and 5.30pm, starting Tuesday, February 17. All enquiries should be directed to 6564 7722. Registrations fees start at $70 for one child, $95 for two and $120 for three children.
Also tomorrow, from 11.30am, Nambucca Heads High School footballers were helping primary school students to develop their football skills as part of a special rugby league workshop.
BROTHERS LOOK TO YOUNG GUN
|Teenage star Reece Watton may be rushed into Brothers' rugby league premiership-winning pack. Ron Burgin
TEENAGE star Reece Watton may be rushed into Brothers' rugby league premiership-winning pack after the departure of several key players this off-season.
Grand final heroes Aaron Kuskey, Michael Morris, Andrew Duffy and Mark Cherry have left the club, leaving a gaping hole in its 2009 roster.
But director of coaching Tracy Kuskey is confident a new breed of champions will be able to lead the way to back-to-back titles.
“We will be looking on some young guys to step up,” Kuskey said.
“But the nucleus of our team will remain the same and we should be in a strong position come the start of the year.”
Kuskey said his son, Aaron, had taken a job in Mount Isa and was not expected to play this season, while Morris, Duffy and Cherry decided to hang up the boots.
Watton, 18, who played Wide Bay School Boys last year, is expected to start in the centres or move to lock if Aaron Hall is shifted into the halfback role that has been vacated by Kuskey.
The side will get its first opportunity to test its new line-up at the Supa 13s carnival this weekend at Brothers Sports Club.
Teams from across Queensland will be in Bundaberg for the one-day event.
Watton was excited about his opportunity to press for a starting spot.
“It's a great time to come into the squad - there's a lot of confidence,” he said.
FREDDY’S MINI LEAGUE IN 09
|Freddy’s Mini League in 09
The Sydney Roosters and Australian Rugby League Development will kick start Freddy’s Mini League for kids under six in 2009.
The non-competitive league will be played in the Eastern Suburbs with matches scheduled for Sunday mornings.
There will be a mini game played each week in a controlled environment with qualified staff on hand to encourage player participation and help enhance skill development.
There will be Roosters players involved over the duration of the season for the benefit of the kids and parent participation is welcome.
For more information or to register interest for this fun and exciting introduction to rugby league call Kate Miller on 0411 159 451 or email her via firstname.lastname@example.org.
To download a Freddy's Mini league registration form click here.
BRISBANE BRONCOS OVERHAUL ISRAEL FOLAU'S RUNNING STYLE
|Faster...Brisbane have overhauled Israel Folau's running style. Picture: Darren England / The Daily Telegraph
BRISBANE have overhauled Israel Folau's running style in an effort to make league's most freakish attacking weapon even more potent.
Broncos fans will catch their first glimpse of the superstar recruit this Saturday night at Redcliffe when Folau makes his long-awaited club unveiling in a trial against the Raiders.
Already among the most significant signings in the glamour club's history - 19-year-old Folau's power and athleticism is set to be enhanced in 2009.
In a cutting-edge move Brisbane's conditioning team, led by high-performance manager Dean Benton, have had the former Storm flyer honing a new running technique this summer.
Using analysis compiled by Dutch running mechanics expert Frans Bosch - who is at Red Hill working with the club - Folau is expected to boost his pace this season by an impressive 1m a second.
In another mouth-watering proposition for Brisbane fans - the teen whiz kid has also upped his weights room output and toned down his chiseled 195cm physique.
"I've gotten a lot fitter and quicker than last year and I feel stronger," Folau said.
"I've improved. I feel a lot better and that's why I can't wait to get out there and see how it goes.
"I can't wait to put the boots on again. It feels like I'm playing my first ever first-grade game.
"I'm definitely looking forward to playing with the new guys here and also some of the great players at this club.
"I'm really enjoying my time here. Playing this trial game is something I've been looking forward to for a fair while now."
Folau found it difficult at first to adjust to his altered running technique but says he's already reaping the benefits of the bio-mechanical tweak.
"When I first got here it was hard to get used to but I'm used to it now," Folau said.
"With Dean's training, it's been good, and I feel a lot better now.
"The strength training here with Dan Baker has been great too.
"I can't wait to continue it through the year and hopefully get a bit stronger.
"I've lost a bit of weight this year. That was one of my goals.
"I was a little bit heavy last year."
Bosch is in Brisbane to work with both the Broncos and Brisbane Lions on how to better apply the running potential of professional footballers.
"I studied Israel and made an assessment to change a few things in his technique," Bosch said.
"Dean and I agree we could make Israel one metre per second quicker. Currently he runs 8.8 metres per second, we think he could get to 9.8.
"From the physical perspective I could see he is (an elite athlete) but in his motor-balance he looked like a novice."
More than 7000 tickets were sold by 5 pm yesterday after the box office opened for Brisbane's round 1 NRL clash against the Cowboys on March 13.
COREY HOPING TO BE A HAPPY HOOKER
|Corey Holman delivers this pass during yesterday’s final GNA training session. The Murrurundi teenager is hoping for a winning finish to the GNA program in Coffs Harbour this weekend. Photo: Barry Smith
COREY Holman is a talented young hooker from Murrurundi just itching to get on the football paddock at Coffs Harbour next week.
The 17-year-old Year 12 student at St Joseph’s College, Aberdeen plays for Muswellbrook in the Group 21 competition.
He played for the Ram 18s last year when the Kurt Dial-coached side finished third in Group 21.
Holman is hoping his team can improve and win this year’s junior competition but that’s a long way off.
This weekend his immediate aim is to help the Wests Greater Northern Academy Under 18 side beat North Coast and Northern Rivers academies at Advocate Oval, Coffs Harbour.
He’s been a member of the GNA for two years now.
“It’s been good fun,” the livewire number nine said after Sunday’s final GNA training session at Scully Park in Tamworth.
“We beat Western 32-20 the other day.
“The Academy has been good for me. All the coaches have been great and I’ve learnt a few new skills as well.”
GNA head coach Jamie McCormack said helping talented young players such as Holman improve their games to take back to their local clubs is what the GNA is about.
He is hoping the GNA’s Under 17 and 18 teams can improve on their performances from recent games against Western to finish the program on a bright note at Coffs Harbour this weekend.
“The boys can’t wait to get to Coffs Harbour,” McCormack said.
“They’re real keen to play and improve on what they did against Western.
“Being the last game the coaches can sit back too and relax and watch the boys deliver.”
|JUNIOR TITANS SCORE COMEBACK VICTORY
The Jetstar Gold Coast Titans’ SG Ball side produced a gutsy comeback to score a 28-12 win over Western Suburbs in the opening round of the under-18s competition at the weekend.
A halftime rev-up from coach Jamie O’Connor gave the side the lift it needed as the Titans came from 12-nil down to score 28 unanswered points and notch a spirited win on debut.
Five-eighth Michael Parker-Walshe scored two of the Titans’ five tries while lock Tyson Skyring also impressed.
Earlier in the day, the Titans’ Harold Mathews side looked on track to score a win in their first ever competition game before being overrun by the Magpies 26-12.
The Titans started the match well to lead 12-10 at halftime through tries to captain Jack Durheim and James Dunley but the competition newcomers were unable to go on with the job in the final 40 minutes.
However, there were some encouraging signs for the Titans, who will no doubt benefit from the experience of their first away game.
Both sides now take on St George at Boyd St, Tugun on Saturday.
ROUND 1 RESULTS
GOLD COAST TITANS 28 (Michael Parker-Walshe 2, Rowen Klein, Guy Borgas, Ryan James tries; Jackson Springer 4 goals) defeated WESTERN SUBURBS MAGPIES 12.
WESTERN SUBURBS 26 defeated GOLD COAST TITANS 12 (James Dunley, Jack Durheim tries; Jack Sands 2 goals).
|JUNIOR WARRIORS UNEARTH TALENT IN CONVINCING WIN
Multi-talented Elijah Niko turned his homecoming into a personal celebration by scoring four tries for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in their 74-4 trial win against the Hawke’s Bay Unicorns in Napier today (Saturday).
Educated at St John’s College, the 18-year-old excelled in front of family and friends as the Vodafone Junior Warriors racked up their second big preseason win in less than 48 hours.
On Thursday night they cleared away from a Waikato Selection to win 38-6 in Hamilton before heading to Napier for another hit-out ahead of their 2009 NYC campaign.
Niko signed with the Vodafone Junior Warriors last year and was soon joined at the club by his younger brother Kenny.
Today the older of the siblings underlined why he’s seen as yet another of the exciting new faces expected to make an impact for the Vodafone Junior Warriors this year.
Able to play in the second row or at prop, Niko played Bartercard Cup football for the Central Falcons and he’s also an outstanding volleyball player, making the New Zealand Under-17 team in 2006.
While he was the standout performer in today’s trial, there were strong displays from centre Rusty Bristow – also outstanding in Hamilton on Thursday night – as well as hooker Alehana Mara, new prop Luke Laban and standoff Simon Gibson.
Several players backed up after appearing in Hamilton as the Vodafone Junior Warriors scored 13 tries in all.
At Park Island, Napier
Vodafone Junior Warriors 74
Tries: Elijah Niko 4, Alehana Mara 2, Jason Cook, Bill Tupou, Gowan Duff, Kyle Bos, Rusty Bristow, Siuatonga Likiliki, Kevin Locke; Conversions: Kevin Locke 5, Brandon Nixon 3, Kurt Kara 3
Hawkes Bay Unicorns 4
Tries: Pen Pilamo
MEET PARRAMATTA'S MANNAH FROM HEAVEN
|Man of iron … rookie Tim Mannah has been a star in the gym during the pre-season. Photo: Ben Rushton
The men of league aren't robots, but they train like machines - with this youngster showing he has horsepower to spare, writes Adrian Proszenko.
When Tim Mannah runs out to make his NRL debut, opponents will have plenty of ammunition.
The Parramatta prop is a former milkman who is abstaining from sex until he gets married.
In rugby league, that combination is tantamount to putting a dartboard on your head and begging to be sledged. However, his opponents might not want to get too cheeky, as Mannah can claim to be one of the strongest men in rugby league.
With the first match of the season just 25 days away, The Sun-Herald contacted all 16 clubs to determine the strongest, fastest and fittest men in the game.
Most of the clubs tested the maximum bench press of their players during the pre-season, and Mannah shares top spot with a one-repetition lift of 180 kilograms.
The feat was equalled only by promising Penrith prop Sam McKendry and Bulldogs counterpart Sione "John" Kite.
The Eels copped a flogging on the field last year and they have been flogged mercilessly in pre-season to ensure it doesn't happen again.
Under the watchful eye of new coach Daniel Anderson, the Eels have been pushed to their limits.
Mannah, who turns 21 today, has responded to the challenge.
"He's a machine when it comes to throwing weights around, he's training the house down," said Parramatta strength and conditioning coach Hayden Knowles.
Mannah is fit, too. No one had ever cracked the 400-metre barrier since the club measured the distance a player could travel on their rowing machine in 60 seconds.
Mannah jumped on the ergometer and clocked 401m. Meanwhile, Bulldogs skipper Andrew Ryan also excelled with 380m.
To put the figures in perspective, rugby sensation Ratu Nasiganiyavi had Waratahs trainers in a lather when he pulled 713m in two minutes.
Australian Schoolboys star Mannah, a candidate for a front row spot after Junior Paulo suffered a pectoral injury, hopes the hard work translates into an NRL debut.
"With the new coach coming in, everyone's on a level playing field and we're all trying to impress," Mannah said. "Ando [Anderson] has really pushed us. Compared to last year, we're that much tougher. Physical preparation won't be an issue this year, that won't be an excuse."
Eric Grothe jnr is also thriving under the new regime. The Eels winger generates the most power on a non-motorised treadmill, which simulates game-day exertions, and can complete 28 chin-ups.
|STORM’S SG BALL TEAM CREATES HISTORY
Melbourne Storm’s SG Ball team created history in more ways than one tonight as the under-18 team defeated the highly fancied Newcastle Knights 18-14 in the team’s first ever competitive game.
Defeating such a highly credentialed team is one thing (Newcastle won both the SG Ball and Harold Matthews competitions in 2008), but what makes the win even better is that twelve of the squad have come through the Melbourne Storm Development Program from a young age, eight of which are Victorians.
The remaining five members of the squad were made up of members of the under-20’s team still young enough to play in the SG Ball team.
Playing in atrocious conditions in Charlestown, Newcastle, it was the forwards who dominated the game, with the captain Kenny Bromwich (a Victorian) leading the way with a superb best-on-ground performance.
The rain made it tough for any fluent football to be played, but the Storm made the most of the situation in the early exchanges, and by half-time had skipped away to a 14-6 lead.
In the second half the Knights came back at the Storm, and it was only a gutsy performance by everyone in the team that ensured a victory in their first ever outing in Storm colours.
Big front-rowers Junior Afu and Jordan McLaughlin were outstanding, while Lucas Grech, another local product, excelled at hooker.
Special mention must be made of a couple of 15-year-olds in the Storm team.
Melbourne boy Cameron Hansen scored a try in the first-half to get the Storm off to a flyer, while hooker Herschel Gideon came off the bench in the second-half to score a crucial, match-winning try.
The Storm plays their second SG Ball game on Saturday, February 21 at Princes Park in Melbourne from 3.00pm. The game will be a curtain-raiser to the Storm’s NRL trial game against the Newcastle Knights from 6.00pm.. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WEEKENDS GAMES
SHARKS TAME TIGERS
|Cronulla Sharks & Balmain Tigers Harold Matthew's Cup teams after their Round 1 clash at Shark Park (Photo : ourfooty media)
|MATTY'S CUP|SG BALL|
Manly SeaEagles V WSAS Matthew's Cup Action (Photo : pk/ourfooty media) MORE SOON
|| | |
The Cronulla Sharks started the NSWRL District Representative Season with two magnificent victories at Shark Park this morning.
Michael Lichaa had the honour of getting this years Matthew's Cup under way when he kicked off to start the game.
Heaps more soon, check out the other results,
South demolish Norths 46 - 6 in the Matty's Cup & Norths 34 - 20 won in the SG Ball clash.
South demolish North's 46 - 6 in the Matty's Cup & North's 34 - 20 won in the SG Ball clash.
Wests Magpies Matthew's Cup hammer Gold Coast Titans in the Titans 1st game in the NSWRL comp
Panthers take home the points from their Canberra trip with the Matt's winning 10 - 38 andin the SG Ball steamrolling the Raiders 14 - 44
Everyone that was at Toyota Stadium for the Matthew's Cup game will all be wishing young Tigers player Curtis Sironen all the best after being taken from the field on a stretcher and taken to hospital. Good luck Siro !
|MARK O’NEILL SHIELD
Date: 29th March
St Patricks, Kirby Street, Dundas
$120.00 per team entry fee (Entry fee is non-refundable)
Registrations close 14th March 2009. Please note that due to interest all registrations must
be received with entry forms and entry fee by Dundas Shamrocks JRLFC prior to acceptance to the competition.
All interested clubs please contact
1. All players must be registered and be eligible to play in the Under 10’s age group in 2009.
2. Spreadsheet with each participants name to be completed and submitted with registration form to
3. Managers to produce player cards on the day.
4. Winning team will be presented with the Mark O’Neill Shield
5. Every participating player receives a medallion
6. All teams to play games consisting of 2 x 15 minutes with 3 minute half time (including quarter and semi finals).
7. Final game consisting of 2 x 15 minutes with a 5 minute half time.
8. Kick off of the first game begins at 8:30am sharp.
9. Free drink and sausage sandwich for each registered participating player
10. Rules and draw to be sent out after close of registration
If you have any queries, please contact
REFRESHMENTS ON SALE AT CANTEEN
See you on this great day
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the 14th March 2009. email@example.com
SG BALL CUP AND HAROLD MATTHEWS SHIELD JERSEY PRESENTATIONS
|Newtown Jets SG Ball team and staff ready for their return to the SG Ball Competition after 26 yrs
The members of the Newtown Jets SG Ball Cup and the Eastern Suburbs Junior League Harold Matthews Shield squads had their 2009 jerseys presented to them at the Sydney Football Stadium on Tuesday evening, 10 February.
Sydney Roosters NRL squad members Mitch Aubusson and Anthony Cherrington, as well as the former Roosters and Australian Test player Brian Fletcher, were on hand to present the jerseys to the young men who are embarking on their junior representative careers.
Both Mitch Aubusson and Anthony Cherrington have risen through the path of progression from the Roosters junior representative teams, then with the Newtown Jets, and then onwards and upwards into the Sydney Roosters NRL ranks.
Sydney Roosters CEO Steve Noyce, Newtown Jets President Barry Vining and Roosters Recruitment Manager Peter O'Sullivan were in attendance to meet with the players, along with team officials from the ESJL and Jets squads as well as a large number of proud fathers watching their sons accept their junior rep team jerseys.
The SG Ball and Harold Matthews squads had trained earlier in the evening in Moore Park with the Sydney Roosters Toyota Cup team members, with the training hit-out being followed by an excellent barbecue capably prepared by Roosters officials Brian Sinclair and Bobby Jones.
Veteran official Bobby Jones remarked that the lads had swarmed over the barbecue "like a plague of locusts" and that "if these young blokes can play as well as they can eat, they'll be undefeated in every grade!"
Both teams play the Bulldogs at The Crest Stadium, Bass Hill, in the opening round of the 2009 junior rep competitions this Saturday, 14 February 2009
Harold Matthews - ESJL v Bulldogs, kickoff at 4.00pm
SG Ball - Newtown Jets v Bulldogs, kickoff at 5.30pm.
PATRICIAN BRO'S NSW 9's CHAMPIONS
| 14 - 10
|Schoolboy 9's RESULTS (Elite HS)
|Patrician Bros 2
||8 - 0
|The Hills Sports
||14 - 10
||Patrician Bros 1
||14 - 14
||16 - 4
||Illawarra Sports 2
|Patrician Bros 2
||18 - 18
|The Hills Sports
||14 - 10
||0 - 8
|Patrician Bros 1
||22 - 4
||Illawarra Sports 2
|Patrician Bros 2
||8 - 20
|The Hills Sports
||30 - 8
||Illawarra Sports 2
||0 - 8
|Patrician Bros 1
||16 - 4
||12 - 20
||Patrician Bros 2
|Patrician Bros 1
||22 - 16
||Illawarra Sports 1
||8 - 4
|Patrician Bros 2
||18 - 10
|Patrician Bros 1
||14 - 10
Patrician Brothers (1) College Blacktown are the 2009 NSWRL 9's Champions after defeating Endeavour SHS 14 - 10 today at Western Weekender Stadium.
In the Plate Shield, Patrician Brothers (2) def Matraville Sports High School 18 - 10 to win .
So it was a very good day for Patrician Brothers winner both comp's in this years NSWRL Elite 9's High Schools Competition
The CHS schools all used younger players in Wednesday's tournament and rested their junior representatives
All the schools junior rep's will be playing in round 1 of the & games on the weekend. Good luck boys.
|Red Bend Catholic College deputy principal Mark O’Connor and disappointed students (l-r) Zac Redfern, Jake Grace and Lou Goodwin on the college’s hard and dry oval.
Red Bend Catholic College has been forced to cancel the school’s annual junior rugby league carnival, due to the continued drought.
A lack of rain and little water available for irrigating has left the ovals in a state which the school deems unfit to play on.
The carnival was set to take place on Saturday, March 14.
Mark O’Connor is the deputy principal of Red Bend Catholic College and the convener of the college sports executive.
O’Connor said the decision was forced on the school by the potential for injury.
“It is a shame to have to take such drastic action in canceling our annual rugby league carnival but our ovals are just not suitable to any contact sport at this time,” he said.
The 2008 carnival was a large success and O’Connor said it was unfortunate such a move had been forced on the school.
He said the school will attempt to stage the event again next year.
|RUGBY LEAGUE IS BACK THIS WEEKEND
The NRL season is almost upon us and for our junior reps it kicks off this weekend!
This Saturday the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Harold Matthews and SG Ball teams commence round 1 of the NSWRL time honoured competition.
The Sea Eagles play Western Sydney Academy of Sport at Brookvale Oval.
The Harold Matthews kick off at 4.00pm followed by the SG Ball match commencing at 5.30pm.
This fixture will be followed with a trial for our Under 20 Toyota Cup side playing the Bulldogs at 7.00pm.
Everyone is excited with the footy starting and it would be fantastic to see a huge amount of support for the players to open their season campaign.
So for 3 games admission for round 1 will be only $3.00. Great value for all Sea Eagles fans to come and check out some exciting young players for the future...
|EELS FINALISE JUNIOR REPRESENTATIVE SQUADS
Pirtek Parramatta Eels selectors have finalised their squads for the 2009 Junior Representative season ahead of round one this weekend.
The Eels have named two high quality squads for the season ahead, which starts with an opening round clash with the Illawarra Steelers in Wollongong on Saturday.
The Eels play the first four rounds away from home, taking on Illawarra, Penrith, Canberra and South Sydney, before a run of five home fixtures to finish off the regular season.
The Eels are out to defend the Harold Matthews Cup title they won in 2008, and will also be looking to go one better in the SG Ball after they were losing Grand Finalists last season.
Saturday’s matches kick off at 4pm (Harold Matthews Cup) and 5.30pm (SG Ball) at Centenary Field,
Croome Road Complex, Albion Park.
In other round one fixtures, the Western Sydney Academy is away to Manly, Wests play host to the Gold Coast, Central Coast go head to head with St. George, Cronulla takes on Balmain, Melbourne and the South Western Academy travel to Newcastle, Souths play North Sydney, Penrith heads down the Hume to play Canberra, and the Bulldogs welcome the Roosters & Jets.
PIRTEK PARRAMATTA EELS JUNIOR REPRESENTATIVE SQUADS 2009
(in alphabetical order)
(in alphabetical order)
PJ Asiata, Jarrod Azar, Rory Brien, Tim Crellin, Kyle Fraser, Krys Freeman, Tuipulotu Lasalo, John Leiataua, Jacob Loko, Rodney Moefaauo, Joshua Murray, Phillip Nati, Patrick O'Hanlon, Daniel Pale, Edan Price, Avagalu Seumanufagai, Jorge Taufua, Jaydin Tavita, Peni Terepo, Joshua Tuitupou, Christopher Ulugia, Olomanu Usini, Thomas Vandermade, Jason Wehbe, Keith Wicks
John Asiata, Troy Errington, Jacob Gagan, Kieren Gallagher, Derek Golding, Todd Graham, Sionelote Hehepoto, Alan Kamoto, Robert Kamoto, Kalausa Leha, Michael Leifi, Jordan Malaki, Soane Manumua, Frazer Masinamua, Chad McGill, Sean McGuiness, Adam McMillan, Joshua Neale, Junior Paulo, Kelepi Tanginoa, Vai Tautai, James Tuitahi, Joseph Ualesi
|JETS TAKE SG BALL FIELD AFTER 26 YRS
In the NSWRL SG Ball Cup, the Newtown Jets take on the highly-rated Bulldogs in the opening competition round on Saturday at 1.30pm, at The Crest Stadium, Bass Hill. The young Jets will be making the club’s first competition appearance in the SG Ball Cup for 26 years and are primed to turn around their trial match loss to Canterbury three weeks ago.
Newtown’s NSW Cup squad battled through heatwave conditions in the ARL International 9’s tournament staged at the New Era Stadium, Cabramatta last weekend. The Jets disposed of all of their opponents in the qualifying rounds on Saturday, but brought themselves undone through their own errors in losing 14-10 to the Wests Magpies in the tournament quarter-finals.
The Jets SG Ball Cup squad completed their trials program with an emphatic 32-8 win over Balmain at the TG Milner Field on Saturday morning. The young Jets were most impressive as they ran all over the Tigers in the final quarter, and the Newtown squad gives every indication of being a competitive force in this under 18’s junior representative premiership quest.
The Sydney Roosters Harold Matthews Shield squad went down by 28-16 to the Tigers in their final trial match assignment. Both the Newtown SG Ball Cup and the Roosters Harold Matthews Shield squads will have their official jersey presentation ceremonies at the Sydney Football Stadium on Tuesday evening.
The Newtown Jets trials program for 2009 gets underway when the Jets host Western Suburbs and Cronulla-Sutherland in an innovative Tri-Way Tournament at Henson Park this Saturday evening.
Each of the teams will play a total of 80 minutes football and will field around 25 players in total. Spectators will get great value for their money with two hours of top-class NSW Cup Rugby League action on display for the standard admission price, with both Wests and Cronulla sure to be fielding a number of fringe NRL selection candidates. The Tri-Way Tournament kicks off at 5.00pm this Saturday (14th February) with the Jets taking on the Magpies in the first of a total of 6 twenty-minute segments.
ENGLAND U15 AND U16 SQUADS ANNOUNCED
|ENGLAND YOUTH U15 SQUAD
||Salford City Reds
|English Schools U16 Squad:
The England Youth U15 and English Schools U16 Rugby League Squads have been announced ahead of several international fixtures which the representative sides will play in April against Wales and France. England will once again be proudly sponsored by Gillette during these international fixtures.
England Youth U15 will play against Wales U16 on Friday 10 April, whilst English Schools U16 will play two matches against a touring French U16 side on Saturday 11 April and Tuesday 14 April.
Chris Chapman, RFL Performance Youth Coach, said: “I would like to congratulate all the young players that have been selected for these two squads.
“It is a great honour to represent your country at any age level and those involved in the squads should be massively proud of their achievement.”
The England Youth U15 Squad includes five players who have a scholarship with Leeds Rhinos as well as outside back Mike McMeeken from Harlequins RL who has played Junior Rugby League for West London Sharks.
Meanwhile the English Schools U16 Squad includes four youngsters who have a scholarship registration with St. Helens and three each from Hull FC, Wigan and Warrington.
England U15 v Wales (Away) – Friday 10th April 2009 –Venue: Blackwood RFC - Glan-yr-Afon Park, Hall Street, Blackwood, Gwent, NP12 1NY
ENGLISH U16 V FRANCE
ENGLISH U16 V FRANCE
(HOME) SATURDAY 11TH APRIL 2009 VENUE: TBC
(HOME) TUESDAY 14TH APRIL 2009 VENUE: TBC
COWBOYS STARS REACH OUT IN FOUL WEATHER
|REACHING OUT ... Cowboys' Matt Bowen and Johnathan Thurston
NOT even chaotic weather and road closures could stop the Cowboys' biggest stars reaching out to their young fans at the weekend.
With many areas of North Queensland inaccessible by road, the club sent its big names far and wide by plane for their annual delivery of T-shirts to junior rugby league players.
While Ingham, Charters Towers, Innisfail and Tully were inaccessible, the club sent players to Ayr, Cairns, Mackay, Mareeba, Mount Isa, Proserpine and Bowen to distribute the shirts with local Toyota dealers.
Local juniors got the chance to meet players of the ilk of Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Bowen, Luke O`Donnell, Antonio Kaufusi and Dayne Weston as part of what has become an annual event for the club in partnership with their principal sponsor Toyota.
"It is something that we and Toyota pride ourselves on, doing it for all the kids playing league in North Queensland," Cowboys executive director Peter Parr said.
While the weather was a concern, Mr Parr said there was never any chance the club would call off the drive and said the players were more than happy to put in the extra effort.
"This year has presented real challenges with the weather and our players have gone above and beyond the call of duty to get to where they have to go," he said.
"They understand the importance of it. They all came through junior clubs themselves and they all understand what it's like to meet players they see on TV and the importance of North Queensland to our club.
"Our players embrace that to their credit and they have a clear understanding of the importance of North Queensland and grassroots rugby league to us," he said.
"We've never had one player complain about anything to do with helping out with rugby league and kids in particular."
MAGPIES SWOOP TO STEAL MATTY"S TRIAL MATCH
|Sharks celebrate Nick Ratcliffe's try (Photo's : ourfooty media)
In an at times exciting game of junior rugby league, the Magpies swooped to to score in the last minute to save a 10 all draw at Toyota Stadium .
In a game of opposites the Cronulla boys scrambled & defended well around the ruck, it was good in the first half.
Moments of brilliance from both teams showed these boys can play at Matthew's Cup level, and by the same token... (LeaRN MoRe )
SHARKS SG BALL SWIMMING NICELY
|Dan Fazakerley on the burst in the trial vs Wests (Photo : ourfooty media)
Cronulla's SG Ball side continue to quietly improve and gave the Magpies a good run for their money, but were the stronger side at home winning 22 - 6 in the rising heat.
| LeaRN MoRe |
LOOKIN' AFTER THE BOYS
Congratulations to both the Parramatta Eels & Manly SeaEagles junior leagues for having the courage to call off today trial games, it was the advise of both clubs medical staff which allowed the game to be called off.
The trial would have been played in temperatures INXS of 42 degree's PLUS, now that's too hot for footy, good on ya's !!
Congratulationsalso to the Sharks and the Wests Magpies for changing today's trila from Liverpool to the Shire.
|CABRAMATTA INTERNATIONAL 9’S TOURNAMENT STILL ON
The New South Wales Rugby League and the Cabramatta Leagues Club would like to advise that the Cabramatta International 9’s tournament will still take place this weekend.
Following consultation with a physician and sports medicine experts the NSW Rugby League has advised all clubs participating in the Cabramatta International 9’s tournament to take note of the following:
1. Advise participating players to begin hydrating themselves for the expected weather conditions up to 36 hours prior to commencement.
A meeting between tournament officials will be held at approximately 10.30am on Saturday where a decision will be made on the operational aspects of the days play.
2. Advise each player that their daily intake of water should be in excess of 3 litres per day.
3. The league is providing hydration stations at various points of the ground as well as a Mist Fans, ice baths and sideline soakers to ensure the comfort of players and officials.
4. Gatorade will be on hand on day 2 and they will be armed with hydration stations, a Gatorade tent and they will also be providing communal refuel station for teams as required by providing a supply of powder mixed Gatorade.
5. A fulltime doctor will be on duty both days.
6. Ice will be readily available on both days as will the provision of fresh fruit proudly donated by Southern Cross Produce.
7. All games will have unlimited interchange and there is an option in the operational manual to decrease game time from 9 minutes a half to 8 minutes.
|FINAL MATTS & BALL TRIALS CANCELLED
3.33pm, Friday 6 February 2009
Please be advised that due to predicted extreme weather conditions Harold Matthews Cup & SG Ball trial matches set down for Ringrose Park Wentworthville tomorrow, Saturday 7 February, have been cancelled.
The games, which were to feature Parramatta playing Manly, were cancelled on the advice of medical staff from both Clubs.
The 2009 District Representative season gets underway next weekend, Saturday 14 February. The Eels play their first four matches away from home, taking on Illawarra, Penrith, Canberra and South Sydney.
Parramatta’s first home games come in round five against Newcastle, on Saturday 14 March at Cabramatta Sports Ground.
TEEN TO SWITCH TEAMS
|Raiders forward Samual Everett charging forward - Raiders vs Sharks trial Matthew's Cup action (Photo's : ourfooty media)
|OTHER TRIAL GAMES
WESTS MAGPIES vs SHARKS
ST. GEORGE DRAGONS vs SWSAS
TEENAGE Wagga rugby league prodigy Sam Everett grew up supporting Cronulla in the NRL premiership, but plans to shift his allegiances this year.
Everett, who will turn 16 next month, has decided to dump the Sharks to barrack for the Canberra Raiders.
Little wonder, as Everett has just signed a scholarship deal with the club.
An impressive second-rower, Everett will play for the Raiders in the Harold Matthews Cup competition in the fast-approaching season.
Everett will continue to play Group Nine club football with Southcity, but is not permitted to be selected for representative teams.
“The Harold Matthews season starts on February 14 and ends when the second round of the NRL is played,” Everett said yesterday.
“After that I’ll be free to play for Southcity.”
The chance to play for Canberra is definitely enough incentive to give Cronulla the flick.
“I did go for the Sharks but I’ll support the Raiders from now on,” he laughed.
“They’re a good club and have good coaching staff.”
Everett said he was enjoying the training regime at the Raiders, which involves sessions three times a week.
Heading the Canberra puts Everett in fine company as he follows in the footsteps of such Riverina luminaries as Laurie Daley and Simon Woolford.
Meanwhile, Penrith coach Matt Elliott has named a poweful squad for an NRL trial against Parramatta at Griffith on Saturday week.
Leading the Panthers contingent is skipper Petero Civoniceva, second rower Frank Prichard, Michael Jennings and Nathan Smith.
Parramatta will release its team today for the trial which is expected to attract a full house at Exies Sportsground.
NRL STARS SPREAD THE RUGBY LEAGUE MESSAGE: BE ACTIVE
|Chris Heighington with the Narrabri High boys
NARRABRI was the first stop for six NRL players as the NRL’s One Community Carnival returned to the region yesterday.
Hot weather and a busy schedule didn’t worry the Wests Tigers, Penrith and Manly players – Chris Heighington, Chris Lawrence, Brad Tighe, Geoff Daniela, Jake Lingard and Vic Mauro – who visited local schools and ran a coaching clinic for the district’s youngsters yesterday afternoon.
For Wests Tigers and NSW Country Origin backrower Chris Heighington it was not his first trip to the region after he and his Tigers teammates played against Group 4 in Gunnedah three years ago.
“In 2006 we played a trial there,” Heighington said.
“We played the game against the local side in the heat and then headed back to Sydney and got on the plane to England to play in the World Club Challenge.
“I remember we raised enough money to help them get new lights at their ground.”
The lights are up and working and Central Coast junior Heighington was happy to be back in the bush just a few days out from his first game of the year.
“We play Souths at Redfern on Sunday,” he said.
“We get back from here on Friday and play on Sunday so it’s a pretty busy schedule.
“But Chris and I are happy to come out here and see the kids.
“It’s good to get out to these areas and talk to kids about rugby league.”
Tigers teammate Lawrence is one of the NRL’s brightest young stars and, while he’s a city boy, he appreciates the need to help bush footy.
“I’m not a country boy but I played with a few blokes from the country and I’ve been to quite a few country towns,” Lawrence said.
“It’s good to come here.
“People in the bush love their footy.”
One of the other aims of the One Community program is to promote healthy living for young people.
Its motto is “eat well, play well, stay well” and Lawrence said playing sport was one way to help kids “stay well”.
“It’s important for kids to be active,” he said.
“These days, with video games and computers and other things like that, it’s easy for kids to become inactive.
LEAGUE STARS TACKLE GULF
|Weipa-bound: National Rugby League players (from left) Nick Emmett, Ben Hannant, Dan Hunt and Jamal Idris dropped into Cairns before heading to Weipa for the Cape York Community Carnival and promoting healthy living habits with youth.
ALONG with Israel Folau, Bulldogs forward Ben Hannant is football's most famous Mormon and for the next three days he will be spreading the gospel according to rugby league in some of Queensland%u2019s most remote communities.
Hannant, teammate Jamal Idris, as well as St George-Illawarra duo Nick Emmett and Dan Hunt left for Weipa yesterday as part of the Rugby League Community Carnival.
The agenda for their three-day trip includes school and hospital visits, coaching clinics and espousing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
"The main thing is to help educate the kids while having fun as well," Hannant said before flying out of Cairns.
"I’ve never been up there before. I can’t wait to meet the kids and help promote rugby league.
"It’s about the school visits, the hospital visits and putting some smiles on their faces.
"When we do it we also want to send a nice little message out there to make sure they’re healthy and show them the benefits of getting 30 minutes of exercise on a daily
Hannant has been sweating more than half an hour a day at the Bulldogs for the past few months as the club prepares for its opening trial match against the Dragons on February 21.
The game will be the first chance for the Bankstown faithful to watch their side in action following a tumultuous 2008 which saw premiership-winning coach Steve Folkes quit, star second-rower Sonny Bill Williams abscond to France and the club finish with the wooden spoon.
It was the definition of an annus horribilis but nothing breeds hope like the promise of a new season and nothing incites excitement like the arrival of fresh blood.
Under the charge of new coach Kevin Moore, the Bulldogs’ playing roster has been boosted by the addition of former Broncos trio Hannant, second-rower David Stagg, hooker Michael Ennis as well as ex-Dragons outside back Josh Morris.
Hannant, who has played three State of Origin games for Queensland, said the Bulldogs wanted to re-establish themselves as an NRL force in 2009.
"The team’s looking really good. The new guys are all fitting in well and we all feel like we’ve been there for a fair while," he said.
"I feel very comfortable with the club. As a front rower to have my hooker (Ennis) from Queensland come with me and David Stagg, who I’ve played a lot with, is great. At the least we can strive for the finals.
"I think we’ll take a few weeks to gel and you need a couple of games under your belt as team to get used to how each other plays and the structure we want to use but at the end of the season I think you’ll see us in the mix."
PARRAMATTA MELT STEELERS IN RETURN TO FORM
|Parramatta Eels defend against the Illawarra Steelers attack in the trial game ()
Parramatta Eels bounced back to form with good wins over the Illawarra Steelers last Saturday at Win Stadium No 2.
The Eels scored 7 trys to 2 in SG Ball.
With 8 imports from NZ, Queensland and NSW Country (including Australian junior international Pat O'Hanlon and Rory Brien) costing the club an estimated quarter of a million dollars along with players from one of the strongest league nursuries in the world Parramatta looked strong against a determined Illawarra team.
Many Eels supporters are saying they could go one further this year after losing to the Roosters in the grand final last season.
In Matthews Cup Parramatta played a one and two team against the Steelers. Illawarra put the cleaners through Para 2 with a commanding 6 trys to 1 victory. However in the main Matts game Para got the money by 4 trys to 1. | MATTY'S CUP NEWS |
ROOSTER RYAN WILLIAMSON HAS WRECKING-BALL REPUTATION
|"I SUPPOSE I was fired up, trying to smash as many as I could". New Sydney resident Ryan Williamson is yet to play a game for the Roosters, but the teenager is already a big hit. Literally. / The Daily Telegraph
Big hitter...Rooster Ryan Williamson in Mt Isa as part of the NRL's One Community program. / The Daily Telegraph
YOU may not have heard of Ryan Williamson yet but up in the Queensland bush, he has made something of an impact on local juniors.
As in, call-for-the-stretcher impact.
Take the much-told story in Mackay - Williamson's home town - of the day the teenage Roosters centre began reducing the numbers of the opposition under-19 Proserpine team one by one playing for Souths.
As the tale goes, a first guy ran the ball up, got belted head over apex by Williamson and had to be helped off. Next play, same deal. Second guy off.
Next play, third guy. Next play . . . well, you get the idea.
In all, Williamson gave four consecutive rivals four early showers, and a St John ambo a fitness session, as he impersonated a one-man wrecking ball. "Aah, yeah," Williamson sheepishly confirms when asked about the story. "A guy took a tap and I guess I hit him in the right spot. He went off.
"A bloke played the ball and I gave it him, too. I suppose I was fired up, trying to smash as many as I could."
Such bush whispers usually have scouts swarming but luckily for Roosters fans, Williamson was already on their club's radar and after an impressive 2008, is now tucked away at Bondi until 2011.
After starring for the Australian Schoolboys in 2007, the 18-year-old helped the tricolours win the SG Ball Grand Final last year - and snag the competition's best and fairest - before succumbing to a season-ending knee injury in his first appearance for the Roosters under-20s.
Much is expected of a teen already likened to Ryan Cross. But yesterday Williamson was back in familiar territory - the Queensland outback - making a different kind of impact.
Tagging along with another Rooster on the comeback trail from a busted knee, Willie Mason, Williamson visited schools in Mount Isa as part of the NRL's One Community Carnival - which currently has 100 players in 50 communities around Australia promoting healthy lifestyles and league to kids.
It was a almost surreal role for the young Rooster. "I am only 18 and it wasn't too long ago I was sitting at one of those school desks, with first grade blokes like Mark O'Meley and Nate Myles talking to me," he said. "If I am on the verge of a career in footy today, it must have had some impact on me. I am sure these visits do have an impact on young kids."
Today the small group of NRL stars will venture further north into territory Williamson knows better still.
His dad Craig works as a builder in a tiny Aboriginal community outside of Doomadgee, which lies on the Gulf of Carpentaria. "I love it up here, it's my favourite part of the country," Williamson said. "I visited dad two months ago and we did a bit of piggin' and a bit of fishin' and stuff like that."
Having traded destinations with a teammates to go north, extensive flooding may stop Williamson from catching up with his dad.
Williamson knows the trip is one part of a valuable learning process this season that will see him play strongly in Toyota Cup, "earn my stripes" and perhaps push for an NRL debut as well. He's keen to make an impact.
HUMANS HELP NATURE IN HEATWAVE
|An Aussie gets some releif from the heat in Melbourne - Now THAT'S GOLD
I truly am from a remarkable country!
And we have THE cutest animals (AND some of the most deadly - I know!) But I thought you would appreciate how cute this is...!
At home in Victoria the temperature has been above 4 4 degrees all week and they are forecasting another week of 40+ temperatures.
Power is failing, trains have stopped running because tracks are buckling under the heat . It’s just scorching.
and it seems that the people are not the only ones suffering.
Check out these photos of a little Koala which just walked onto a back porch looking for a bit of heat relief. The woman filled up a bucket for it and this is what happened!
|NEWTOWN JETS SG BALL CUP REPORT
Newtown and St George turned on a thrilling SG Ball Cup trial match at the Matraville Sports High Oval last Saturday afternoon.
The teams had been locked up at 4-all at half-time and the Jets (aided by a strong breeze) grafted their way to a 12-4 lead midway through the second half – but in the “time honoured” Newtown fashion found a way to lose the match in the game’s dying seconds.
Newtown Jets coach Joel Grieg was not impressed with his team’s poor completion rate in both halves and with his players’ collective inability to comply with their instructions.
Newtown’s final trial match against the Balmain Tigers next Saturday morning will be a full dress rehearsal for the commencement of the competition rounds.
SG Ball Cup Trial Match: St George 16 (4 tries) defeated Newtown 12 (Kane Evans, Jack Littlejohn, Japeth Vaoa tries).
Next Saturday’s trial games details: - 7th February 2009, TG Milner Field, Marsfield
Dragons trial game Vs SWSAS - Sharks Vs Wests, . | MATTY'S CUP NEWS |
RAIDERS STAND DOWN JOEL THOMPSON
|Joel Thompson (l) in action against the Cronulla Sharks 2 weeks ago (Photo : ourfooty media)
Canberra Raiders player Joel Thompson has been stood down from all club commitments today, pending an appearance in court on February 25 in regard to an off-field incident.
Thompson will not train or play with the Raiders until that date and is unavailable for comment on this issue pending the outcome of the matter.
Raiders CEO Don Furner said the decision to stand Thompson down was made by the club today and there would be no further action taken until the matter had been concluded.
“Joel Thompson has been stood down today by the club and will not participate in any club activities until this matter has been finalised by the appropriate authorities,” Furner said. “Until this time he will not be training or playing with the club and a decision on his future with the Raiders will be made at a later date.
“The Raiders will be making no further comment on the issue until after the court proceedings.” (Good luck Joel, we all hope it turns out well mate)
|ONE COMMUNITY NRL TOUR
More than 100 NRL stars armed with 25,000 autograph cards, 10,000 posters and 10,000 footballs will this week take part in the biggest ever Rugby League Community Carnival in the game’s history.
NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr and CRL Chief Executive, Mr Terry Quinn, will join the likes of Terry Campese, Ryan Hoffman, Rhys Wesser, Aaron Payne, Mark O’Meley, Ben Ross, Scott Prince and Chris Heighington as they visit more than 50 communities across two countries and three states and territories.
Officials are today putting together the finishing touches to the three-day carnival, which runs from Wednesday, February 4, to Friday, February 6, and brings together NRL stars in communities across the Northern Territory, regional NSW, Queensland and Victoria, as well as New Zealand.
Bulldogs recruit Ben Hannant will join team-mate Jamal Idris, Broncos star Sam Thaiday, Cowboys pair Shane Tronc and John Williams plus Dragons Dan Hunt and Nick Emmett in the Cape York region and says he can’t wait to be involved.
“I am extremely excited about going to a new part of Australia, and I am very keen to get out in the community and visit the local kids,” Hannant said.
NRL Director of Community Relations, Trish Crews, says the Carnival gives fans a great chance to meet the game’s elite players.
“This is the sixth time the NRL has embarked on the Community Carnival,” Crews said.
“Players will be visiting schools, hospitals and local Rugby League clubs as well as being involved in a range of activities including autograph sessions, skill clinics and poster giveaways.
“They will be encouraging people to get involved in their local Rugby League club and encouraging children to get active and live a healthy lifestyle.”
A feature of this year’s carnival will be the launch of Rugby League’s Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well health program that aims to use the high profile of NRL stars to communicate positive health messages to children and families and help reduce incidences of childhood obesity.
For more information on Rugby League’s Community Carnival, log on to www.nrl.com.
SAMMUT SMOKES PEACE PIPE WITH ELLIOTT
|Jarrod Summit at the NRL Rookie Camp - (Photo : ourfooty media)
PENRITH prodigy Jarrod Sammut has ended the feud with Matthew Elliott that threatened to derail his NRL career and says he's prepared to do whatever the coach deems necessary to secure Penrith's No. 7 jersey this year.
After only five games in 2007, the 21-year-old was touted as the Panthers' next big thing. Complacency and personal expectation led to a publicised falling-out with Elliott, who reportedly dropped the talented playmaker via text message.
"I think last year was more of a breakdown in communication between the coaching staff and myself," says Sammut, who played just 12 of 24 matches last season despite being a golden-point hero in two matches.
"I wasn't getting the freedom or games I thought at the time I deserved and I was frustrated. I maybe read a bit too much into my own press and I expected Matt to come to me and he expected me to go to him and there was a bit of a tense stand-off. And from there on things didn't get any better. We barely talked.
"There was a lot of friction around the club at the time and I just wasn't happy on the field or off it."
With personal dramas taken care of, the Doonside junior has a new outlook on life and football, easily admitting he might have jumped the gun after Craig Gower's defection to French rugby and the hype pegging him as the replacement.
"Me and Matty have been talking a lot more and the relationship has gotten a lot better and a lot stronger since the start of pre-season," says Sammut, who's bulked up seven kilograms to tip the scales at 80.4kg.
"As soon as we came back to pre-season I walked in the club and it didn't feel the same. It felt different, like a fresh start.
"Matt and I have had a few discussions about last year, saying it wasn't the best year off the field for me and the team and that we both could have handled things a bit differently. He talked about how we could improve things and about me being on the paddock and giving my all, rather than just going through the motions like I was probably a bit guilty of last year.
"I'm a real part of his plans this season. We've sorted things out and it feels great."
|KID’S PLAY FOOTY 4 FREE!
Camperdown Junior Rugby League Football Club Media Release
Camperdown Junior Rugby League Football Club welcomes kids of all ages (A-Grade-Under 6), to play in the South’s Junior 2009 Competition.
Join us for a great season of rugby league and friendly fun.
REGISTRATION IS FREE.
Jersey, socks and shorts are provided free of charge.
NO COSTS TO PLAY.
At Camperdown we welcome players of all experience and ability and everyone gets a fair go.
For further information please contact:
Club President Kerry Lindberg Ph: 02 8568 5504 - Club Secretary Tom Mob: 0433 788 701 Email: tpnies @ aol.com REGISTRATION BEGINS NOW!
BULLDOGS TRY TO BITE SHARKS
The Bulldogs & the Sharks Junior Reps played trial games today at Hammondville Oval with the Sharks giving as good as they got in the SG Ball.
Dave Pasqualino opened the scoring for the Sharks in today's Matthew's Cup trial game against a hot Bulldogs outfit with a good try near the corner post.
The Bulldogs Matthew's Cup squad are a big powerful combination and should give the 2009 premiership a real shake again.
The Sharks SG Ball team on the other hand easily handled the Bulldogs winning 10 tries to 5 and look forward to an excellent year.
More footy news & PHOTO's from Saturday's trial games . | MATTY'S CUP NEWS |
FOLAU AIMS TO TAKE CENTRE STAGE
|Star signing ... Israel Folau / The Sunday Telegraph
TEST sensation Israel Folau says he would prefer to play centre as Broncos coach Ivan Henjak mulls over the ideal position for his big-money recruit.
While more than happy to terrorise rivals on the wing, Folau is hopeful of being moved closer to the action for the Broncos' opening-round clash with the Cowboys on March 13.
Henjak is toying with the prospect of handing the No5 jumper to Folau in a move that would see the former Storm flyer receive service from Test centre Justin Hodges. But with Hodges expected to miss the first fortnight of the premiership following shoulder surgery, the 19-year-old will have the inside running for a coveted centre berth.
"I'm not quite sure where Ivan wants me to play but my priority is to play in the centres,'' Folau said.
"If Ivan wants to put me on the wing, then I'll be happy with that. I'm just trying to get through training well and hopefully when the trials come up, I can play well in the centres.
"I just like the extra time with the ball that you get in attack (at centre). The wing doesn't bother me, I've played there quite a few times so if Ivan puts me there, that's fine.''
Henjak said he had not ruled out the prospect of handing Folau the No4 jumper, with the Broncos' three trials against the Gold Coast, Canberra and Melbourne key games in determining whether Folau starts the 2009 premiership at centre.
"We want to have a look at him in the trials. We'll try a couple of different things out,'' he said.
"A lot will depend on when Hodgo will be right. That decision (to play Folau at centre) might be made for us.''
DRAGONS HELP THEIR JUNIORS REACH TOP
|Skills training . . .Coach Ben Haran (left) puts the Dragons' high performance unit's elite junior development squad through its paces at WIN Stadium's No 2 ground. Photo: Hank van Stuivenberg
THE Wayne Bennett blueprint has taken another significant step with the establishment of the Dragons' high performance unit's new elite junior pathway program.
Devised by the master coach, St George Illawarra recruitment manager Craig Young and high performance manager Jeremy Hickmans, the program will streamline the Dragons' sports science and player management systems down to the age of 14.
The Dragons development squad's season kicked off last weekend when they took on Queensland schools representative outfit Brothers Confraternity.
Young said the new structure is specifically designed to monitor playing and training workload, nutrition and education, while giving juniors an insight into life as an NRL player.
"It's pretty exciting really, it's good for the kids," he said.
"It's about how they manage themselves reall. At that age group they'll have three or four growth spurts and we're advising them by managing their workloads and we'll speak to their schools and parents to help co-ordinate it."
The Dragons have appointed Ben Haran as a full-time junior development coach, as well as Marcus Kain as strength and conditioning manager.
The students will continue to train in their junior, intermediate and senior squads twice a week and once a week with the high performance unit until the end of the junior representative season in May.
"Our junior rep kids will then play on the weekends and we'll get the tapes and go through them and edit them on the individual," Young said.
"That will be part of the program when they come together with the HPU once a week."
The program is also linked to the recently established partnership between the Dragons and the University of Wollongong to develop sports science programs.
While the club has had a long-standing junior program, it is a significant change of direction by bringing the junior age groups closer to the Dragons' senior squad.
"It creates pathways for players," Young said.
"You can see how many back-rowers and hookers you have coming through and then say we've got a good crop of back-rowers coming through.
"So you can target other areas of development and recruitment.
"Then we can give them on to Wayne when they graduate to take the next step." . | MATTY'S CUP NEWS |
TITANS YOUNGSTERS STAY LOYAL
|Loyal ... David Mead is staying with the Gold Coast Titans. Photograph: Wayne Jones / The Daily Telegraph
A LUCRATIVE six-figure deal from the Sydney Roosters has been knocked back by a 20-year-old on the Gold Coast yet to make his NRL debut.
Instead David Mead - formerly Moore - has opted for a contract extension at the Titans along with fellow exciting youngsters Esikeli Tonga and Kevin Gordon.
Mead found himself in the strange position of playing international football before earning an NRL nod when he was called up by PNG for the 2008 World Cup.
The youngster shone on the wing for the Kumuls, prompting PNG mentor - and Roosters under-20s coach - Adrian Lam to try and lure Mead to Bondi Junction.
But in a shot in the arm for the Titans, Mead decided to stay along with fellow in-demand 20-year-olds Tonga and Gordon after talking with family.
"My family are here and having them close is very important to me,'' Mead said. "I've also set myself some goals that I want to achieve with the Titans. I'm really happy here and didn't really want to move so the money was never really ever a deciding factor.''
The Titans said all three had decided to stay for "significantly less'' money until the end of 2011. The trio impressed in the Titans' Toyota Cup in 2008.
Gordon was the standout, crossing for 21 tries in as many games - more than half the under-20 team's total tries scored.
"Last year under Murph (U20s coach Steven Murphy) I improved so much and I just didn't see any reason in moving away from a club that I love and away from my family at this stage in my career,'' said Gordon.
Titans managing director Michael Searle said the trio's decision gave a big thumb's up to coach John Cartwright.
"The reason we have been able to retain these three outstanding young players is because they know that with the right effort and commitment to their individual games, the opportunities will present themselves under John's guidance at the Titans,'' he said.
Cartwright added: "When you consider we have already retained the likes of Will Matthews, Shannon Walker and more recently Kayne Lawton, you can really start to see that we are building something pretty special.''
YOUNG MACKAY BACKROWER ON THE NRL TRAIL
|Pat O'Hanlon is poised to make an impact at Parramatta. He is in contention for a Red Rooster Sports Star of the Year Award at Harrup Park on Saturday.
|Pat O'Hanlon (r) & the AIS boys say "thanks ourfootyteam.com" Photo : kt8PhotoGraphy/ourfootyteam
The next stage of young Mackay backrower Pat O'Hanlon's road to the NRL starts this weekend.
O'Hanlon will play an under 18 trial for the Parramatta Eels against Manly.
It's his first hit-out for the Eels, who he joined a month ago after a four-match tour of Great Britain and France with the Australian Junior Kangaroos. (AIS)
O'Hanlon is also in the running this weekend to win $5000 in the Red Rooster Sports Stars awards, to be announced this Saturday night at Harrup Park.
The senior and junior sports stars of the year will each win $5000, and two new entrants into the Daily Mercury Hall of Fame will be announced.
O'Hanlon, who turns 18 in March, said yesterday he also hoped to play an under 20s Toyota Cup trial in Sydney against Cronulla on February 14, the same night that the Sharks will play the Cowboys at the JRL grounds in Mackay.
“Hopefully I'll be starting the season in the under 18s,” he said.
“I'll play about five games with them, then play the rest of the season in the under 20s (Toyota Cup).”
O'Hanlon said he was fully recovered from a broken arm suffered in a Mercury Cup clash against Souths last season, and had enjoyed his month's training with the Eels.
“It's a good training environment, you learn new things and I'm getting fitter,” he said.
“I've met a few of the A graders, they're always there at training.
“I get along well with Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels second rower), I'm getting a few tips from him.”
NIGHT OF STARS
• Red Rooster Sports Stars of the Year presentation night
• Harrup Park Country Club, 6-8pm Saturday
• Tickets $20 per person from the Daily Mercury office
YOUNG CLUB CONTINUES TO GROW
|BLUE HAVEN RAIDER UNDER 14'3 - 2008 PREMIERS after the g/f
The Blue Haven Raiders on the NSW Central Coast maybe one of Australia's newest rugby league clubs, formed on 2007, the Raiders are also one of Australia's fastest growing family clubs around.
The Raiders are looking for more players in Mini (6 - 9 years), Mod (10 - 12 years) & international (13 - 16 years) for the new 2009 footy season.
If you live on the NSW Central Coast and want to play footy, contact the Raiders Coaching Co.Ordinators Rod Duck 0424 351 936 or Peter Wright 0425 367 322.
RAIDERS UP AND RUNNING
|Joel Thompson & Daniel Vidot get ready to tackle (Photo : ourfooty media)
THE NRL trials kicked off last night with two referees and Canberra overcoming an early deficit to defeat the Cronulla Sharks at Seiffert Oval.
The first test of the two-referee system went well in a match which featured predominantly Toyota Cup players. Both Jarrad Maxwell and Gavin Badger combined well in monitoring the play the ball and 10m rule.
"It's early days, but the pleasing thing from the trial was the two referees weren't noticed,'' Canberra coach David Furner said. "The speed of the game was good and ruck was cleared pretty quickly, which is what we all want.''
The only lowlight for the Raiders was prop forward Cy Lasscock who was stretched off in the first quarter after suffering a dislocated knee. Lasscock left the ground on crutches and will have scans on Tuesday.
The Sharks started well and led 8-0 at the first break thanks to tries to prop John Mannah and hooker Tony Caine.
However, the Raiders hit back with five unanswered tries in the second of three 25-minute periods.
Halfback Josh McCrone crossed twice, along with prop forward Nick Skinner and centres Brad Cross and James Stuart.
The Raiders also finished the stronger in the final quarter and Furner said he was pleased with his side's first-up performance.
"I thought after a scrappy first quarter we started to play some good football and I was especially pleased with how we finished the game,'' Furner said.
The Sharks' best was hooker Tony Caine who played strongly on his return to rugby league following a knee injury.
CANBERRA 32 (J McCrone 2, J Stuart 2, A Edwards, Brad Cross, D Vidot, N Skinner tries) CRONULLA 12 (J Mannah, T Caine, P Latu tries).