BEROUN SCHOOLS BATTLE IT OUT IN RUGBY LEAGUE THRILLER
|Czech Under 16 Rugby League team
|Czech Under 16 Rugby League team
|game on - Czech Under 16 Rugby League team vs Gates Head High School
A last-second try-saving tackle by Czech international Kuba Hrbac secured a win for Hlinky School u-18s in the first junior domestic Rugby League game held in the Czech Republic.
Hlinky School, in the city of Beroun, defeated cross-town rivals Zavodi by 42-38 in a modified-rules 9-a-side game.
Fullback Hrbac was beaten to the man-of-the-match award by team-mate David Dolak who scored two tries and worked tirelessly in defence to hand Hlinky an early lead before Zavodi rallied to go in 18-18 at the break.
The second half saw Hlinky again pull away to a sizeable lead before a stunning late comeback by Zavodi, led superbly by captain Honza Buben who scored three tries and kicked several conversions, and centre Lada Sebek who was pulled down inches short of the try line on the final play to be denied a game-tying score.
Coach Michal Priputen was suitably proud of the efforts of his players. "It was an exiting match with some big hits and great skills on show, and the intensity was pretty high throughout. The Zavodi guys will be hoping to even the score in the rematch in March."
The Beroun schools have been training for almost a year, playing one full match against a UK touring side in summer before supplying several representatives for the Euro U16s tournament in Belgrade and will compete as a joint team against visiting teams from the UK in 2008.
Also playing in the game were guest players from the Prague international schools, who have been participating in rugby training sessions for several months and will be competing in more Rugby League matches next season.
Rugby League differs from Union, who recently held a world cup, in that there are 13 players on a League team, two fewer than Union, and the emphasis is more on speed, ball skills and strong defence rather than kicking, rucking and mauling.
Czech Rugby League development manager Andrew Fairhurst, who officiated the fixture, added "The game was a great display of attacking Rugby League and it's encouraging to see guys like this take to the game so well.
"This game was a precursor to a bigger junior competition next season and on today's showing the future looks promising."
The Czech RL can be contacted on email@example.com
|EUROPEAN NATIONS CUP – U16's
ALL GAMES WILL BE PLAYED AT STADIUM ADA CIGANLIJA, BELGRADE SERBIA
WEDNESDAY JUNE 27TH
Russia 10 v 22 Serbia
Scotland 26 v 14 Euro Celts
Friday June 29th
Serbia 0 v 46 England
Euro Celts 6 v 40 France
SUNDAY JULY 1ST
England 70 v 0 Russia
France 32 v 0 Scotland
TUESDAY JULY 3RD : FINALS DAY
1st England 14 v 12 France 2nd
3rd Euro Celts 22 v 20 Serbia 4th
5th Russia 18 v 12 Scotland 6th
YOUNG SETU A DRAGON ON THE RISE
|Lagi Setu is confident he is over a shoulder injury.
Young Dragons backrower Lagi Setu hopes to continue taking big steps forward on the paddock next year.
Setu made his NRL debut off the interchange bench in round two against Newcastle.
The 19-year-old made a further 11 top-flight appearances, doing enough to earn himself a spot in the Junior Kangaroos squad which toured the South Pacific at the end of the season.
In 2008, he will be in the thick of a keenly fought battle for a backrow berth amongst players including Ben Creagh, Beau Scott, Dean Young, Chase Stanley and Kirk Reynoldson.
"Making your debut is a dream come true - you don't expect to make it so young," Setu said.
"But one of the staff here said: 'If you're good enough, you're old enough'. I'm just hoping for some consistent footy (in 2008) and to try and stay away from injuries."
Setu knows what it is to be injured, given his 2006 season was a write-off following shoulder reconstructive surgery.
But the former Australian schoolboys rugby union representative slowly fought his way back to the field of battle.
"In 2006 I had a reco on my shoulder," he explained.
"It was a problem from when I was back in high school - it didn't get treated properly back then. But the shoulder's strong - better than what it was before."
|AUSTRALIA SNEAK HOME AGAINST ENGLAND U 17's
James Sheahan’s Daniel Mortimer used his skill and pace to give the ARL/AIS Aussies a narrow victory in last nights international.
Mortimer's try came in the dying minutes of the game to give the young touring Aussies the lead for the first time in the game
Reports coming in say it was "a cracking game" & amoung the many spectators the game was watched by the England National coach and ex pat Aussie, Tony Smith.. LEARN MORE
GIVE PLAYERS A FAIR GO: LOCKY
|Australian captain Darren Lockyer says the public and media must give players breathing room. Photo: Getty Images
Australian captain Darren Lockyer has urged the public and media to give rugby league players breathing space in the wake of the vicious "glassing" attack on Parramatta's Mark Riddell.
Riddell, the Eels hooker, had been drinking at the Bondi Junction hotel on Wednesday night with Wests Tigers star Benji Marshall and other Tigers players when a group of men allegedly attempted to start an altercation.
The players reportedly tried to ignore the taunts but things got out of hand and Riddell was struck from behind with a beer glass, suffering a cut that required six stitches. Marshall was also reported to have been knocked to the floor.
Broncos captain Lockyer, who is in rehab from a knee reconstruction, is one of the game's biggest names and used to life in a fishbowl. He is instantly recognisable when he ventures out onto the streets of his native Brisbane or Sydney.
He said attracting attention in public was the lot of the modern professional athlete but turning the other cheek to obnoxious and aggressive taunts wasn't always the simplest of tasks.
"It is difficult. Sometimes it depends on the personality. Others can probably tolerate more crap than some people," Lockyer said.
"Rugby league now is pretty high profile. It has been for a number of years. Any sportsman that goes out - particularly after midnight, late at night - there's always going to be some young kids around, even older people, that have had a few too many and want to show off in front of their mates and give someone a bit of lip."
Rugby league players haven't enjoyed a rosy profile in the media over recent years, while the Broncos had problems of their own last season with John Te Reo and Ian Lacey both sacked after an alleged inner-city assault.
Test fullback Karmichael Hunt was mentioned in media reports earlier in the year after a man was assaulted outside the Sofitel Hotel, which lead police to question Wallabies Lote Tuqiri and Matt Dunning. All were cleared of any involvement.
Lockyer said league fans shouldn't assume players to be the catalyst of controversial events despite the bad press of the past.
"The fact that the media now report pretty much everything that happens in rugby league circles, it's quite easy for someone to get in a bit of a melee through no fault of their own," Lockyer said.
"I'd just say to not only the media but the people, that sometimes they might be involved in an incident, it's not their fault. We've seen it in the past, people just by being in the area, their names been dragged into it, which is unfortunate. But I guess that's the profile of the game now.
"But I would urge the public and the media to understand that a lot of the times it's not really their fault."
Lockyer said in-depth coverage of big-name players could be puzzling for those at the end of the lens and fans should be wary of jumping to conclusions when it came to incidents involving footballers.
"Willie Mason was on the back page of the Daily Telegraph getting sun cream rubbed into his back by Wendell Sailor. That's making back page news," he said.
"So with any incident, whether it be a league player's fault or not, it's going to get put in the papers. And that's your (the media's) job, that's what the papers want, that's what people want to read.
"I just hope people read the articles and realise that it's not the player's fault all the time."
|PANTHERS UNDER 20’S WIN OPENING TOUR GAME
Penrith Panthers started their three game tour of England with a comfortable 26-0 victory over St Helens at a rain swept Knowsley Road on Wednesday night.
In what was the Panther’s only warm up game for the 'Carnegie Junior World Club Challenge' against Leeds Rhinos on Monday night; a weakened Saints Academy side, that had only been training for a week prior to the game, were no match for the 2007 Jersey Flegg winners.
Playing into a strong breeze the Panthers took a 10-0 lead into the break.
Saints bravely held out for 20 minutes under intense pressure from a dominant Penrith side who were well led by stand off Wade Graham.
Hooker Joel Romelo scored the opening try when he sneaked over from dummy half.
It looked like that was going to be the only score of the first period but Graham ghosted through the Saints defence from 40 metres out to slide over in the corner four minutes from the break.
Michael Mate converted well from out wide in the difficult conditions.
Penrith started the second half strongly, a kick to the in-goal from Graham was just reached by Sonny Tuigamala - younger brother of ex-Wigan star Inga - and Mate again converted with the half only five minutes old.
Sam McKendry was denied after a knock on but Saints gradually began to tire and struggled to get out of their own half and Penrith rammed their advantage home.
In the 65th minute, Tuigamala posted his second try after good work by Mate, who converted to take the lead to 22-0 and put the result beyond doubt.
The game ended with a large altercation which saw Saints Sam Thompson and the Panthers Joel Orton trading blows while Sean Weed and Michael Mate then had their own personal battle before referee Jamie Leahy restored order and dispatched all four players to the sin bin.
From the resulting penalty the Panthers scored again when Tirinau Arona crossed from a Lachlan Coote pass.
With Mate off the field, Coote’s conversion attempt drifted across the face of the posts to leave the final score at 26-0 and send the Panthers to Headingley Carnegie in good heart.
St Helens: 1. Shaun Quinn; 2. Adam Twamley, 3. Sean Weed, 4. Dave Hull, 5. Paddy Flynn; 6. Andy Stott, 7. Lee Cunliffe; 8. Paul Leyland, 9. Alex McClurg, 10. Danny Cooper, 11. Paul Johnson, 12. Kurt Haggerty, 13. Olly Cooper.
Interchange: 14. Danny Fairhurst, 15. Andy Parnell, 16. Sam Thompson, 17. Liam Bland, 18. Dwayne Nelson, 19. Greg Smith, 20. Liam Gilchrist, 21. Akin Okunola
Penrith Panthers: 1. Lachlan Coote; 2. Greg Waddell, 3. Michael Mate, 4 Chris Ward, 5. Sonny Tuigamala; 6. Wade Graham, 7. Luke Clydesdale; 8. Sam McKendry, 9. Joel Romelo, 10. Joel Orton, 11. Daniel Penese, 12. Brad Goodwin, 13. Jamie Theoharous.
Interchange: 14. Trent Iselin, 15. Jarrod Cannon, 16. Tim Glasby, 17. Mitchell Calahane, 18. Matthew Minto, 19, Tinirau Arona, 20. Zoram Watene
Referee: Jamie Leahy
Joseph Cobb, Richard Cowling
SHARKS JUNIOR REPS PRESENTED WITH TRAINING SHIRTS
Ricky Stuart, Cronulla head coach welcomes next years Harold Matthews Cup squad (Photo : ourfooty media)
Now it's real, both the LG Cronulla Sharks 2008 SG Ball & Harold Matthews Cup squads have been given their Sharks training shirts to train in.
It is amazing our quickly young men can change a shirt, they ripped off their cool shirts and swapped them for their new Sharks training shirts, well real fast.
They all looked fantastic in their lightly coloured gear too, well done the Sharks (most likely Dean).
Harold Matthews Cup coach Dave Howlett was happy to let Cronulla Sharks head coach Ricky Stuart spend the entire training session with the squad.
Ricky welcomed the boys to the Sharks, he said " you guys are just as important as his 1st grade team".
He then put the squad though learning session that went for about 2 hours.
The Sg Ball squad were doing plenty of running with lots of sprints, it looked like they were having fun.
Both squads are enjoying themselves and are keen to bring on next footy season.. LEARN MORE
|HUNTER SPORTS HIGH SCHOOL RUGBY LEAGUE
Our competition section of the program for this year has come to an end with some pleasing results.
We are now into post season training with the gym program well underway and our junior students commencing their level coaching certificates.
The NRL will also conduct a lecture on racial awareness.
For the first time in the programs history we had both our Buckley and University Shield sides in their respective finals.
The finals were held in the last week of Term 3 at Energy Australia Stadium with our under 14’s going down to Westfield and the Open squad losing to Matraville who finished with the double, also winning the Arrive Alive Competition a week earlier.
Congratulations to both sides for reaching the final.. LEARN MORE
|PANTHER CUBS JET IN
Australian Jersey Flegg champions, Penrith Panthers under 18’s flew into England on Sunday (18th November) to undertake a three-match tour.
The Cubs will played against St Helens on Wednesday and are due to face Leeds Rhinos on Monday 26th and complete their commitments with a match against England Students at Bradford Dudley Hill on the 30th .
The clash at Headingley Carnegie against the Rhinos is being billed as an unofficial World Club Challenge, as the sides won their respective domestic championships.
A familiar face back there will be Matt Adamson who enjoyed three seasons in the blue and amber, and returns as the Panther Cubs strength and conditioning coach.
Other familiar names in their party are coach Steve Georgallis who played Super League with Warrington and tour co-ordinator Peter Mulholland who was in charge of Paris Saint Germain.
Penrith head coach Matt Elliott, fresh from taking charge of the USA national team in the recent World Cup qualifiers, was keen to stress how much the trip means to his talented youngsters.
“It is Integral part of our elite talent programme and something the boys and staff look forward to” he commented.
“It is a great opportunity for us to observe the players performance in an environment that is out of their comfort zone and to test them against the best young players the British game has to offer.”
“The players we are bringing are part of our National Youth Squad that will compete in the inaugural NYC competition in 2008.”
“Coaching staff members Steve Georgallis and Matt Adamson have had extensive experience in UK Rugby League and have proved themselves to be great coaches in the development of young elite players. The three matches are of great interest to us all over here.”
As on their previous tour in 2005, the Panthers will be based at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate and their itinerary includes a visit to the George Hotel in Huddersfield and Old Trafford, free time in York and Whitby and watching a Premiership football match at Everton. On their way home they will spend two days in London visiting all the sights including a trip on the London Eye.
Current NRL stars who came on previous Panther Cub tours include: Shane Rodney, Danny Galea, Steve Turner, Frank Pritchard, Ben Rogers, Ben Pomeroy, Michael Jennings, Jarrod Sammut and Peter Wallace.
The next generation are:
* Luke Clydesdale
* Willie Isa
* Mitch Cahalane
* Jarod Cannon
* Lauchlan Coote
* Joel Romelo
* Michael Mate
* Brad Goodwin
* Chris Ward
* Wade Graham
* Joel Orton
* Sam McKendry
* Sonny Tuigamala
* Greg Waddell
* Jamie Theoharous
* Daniel Penese
* Trent Iselin
* Tim Glasby
* Tin Arona
* Matt Minto
|HATFIELD COMETS UNDER-13S FLYING HIGH
Hatfield Comets Under-13s maintained their unbeaten start to the league season with 30-28 victory at Bennetts End Bulldogs.
The newly formed team are early contenders for the title in their debut season after their third consecutive win in the Chiltern Junior Rugby League.
The match was a close run thing and either side could have won it. It flowed from end to end with first one team scoring and then the other.
Although the Hemel-based team have been playing Rugby League for the past couple of years, they just couldn't keep on top of the Hatfield new boys.
After the game, which his team edged by just two points, Comets' coach Shane Rampling said: "In the end the best team won.
"The Comets were really up for the game, their enthusiasm and enjoyment was there for all to see.
"They did the club and themselves proud today."
Comets U15s didn't fair so well in their first game of the league season as Bennetts End Bulldogs thumped them by 42 points to 12.
Bulldogs showed the experience of playing the sport for a longer period in their convincing performance against the young Hatfield team.
However, the game was put into perspective by Comets coach Rampling, who said: "Let's not forget, the Hemel team has been playing together for the last couple of years.
"This is the Comets' first game of their first season, so well done to them. It's very hard to play Rugby League against an experienced team. They did very well and I'm proud of them for getting stuck in and trying so hard. They will definitely get better as the season progresses. firstname.lastname@example.org
PAT'S ON THE WAY UP
|Mackay SHS's Patrick O'Hanlon has a bright future
THE Eels have snapped up promising young Mackay rugby league prospect Patrick O'Hanlon.
O'Hanlon, 16, was also named the Mackay State High School rugby league academy representative player of the year last week.
He said he was looking forward to joining Parramatta.
"I've signed up for a two year deal, with a third year option," he said.
He'll join the Eels for three weeks of pre-season training in January, but the strapping young back-rower will complete his senior schooling at MSHS in 2008 before joining the Parramatta under 20 side the following year.
He'll also be part of the school's senior rugby league academy side in 2008, which he predicted could make the state and national finals.
MSHS teams were part of the inaugural Super 8s competition last season, featuring the top eight rugby league schools in the north, and O'Hanlon said the team benefited from the experience, reaching the semi-final.
"It was a good standard of competition and we were playing above our ages," he said.
"Next year I think we can make the state and national finals, we've just got to keep training hard and do the pre-season work, only we can do that."
Former Broncos front rower Peter Ryan, who is now defensive coach at the NRL club, attended the presentation night and earlier worked with coaches and players at a training session.
"He talked about discipline and was very impressed with the academy's success," academy coach Don Saunders said.
TEENAGER RIPS THE WORLD CUP APART
|Joseph Paulo from Patricain Brothers College Blacktown takes the ball up in the 1st test vs England 06 (Photo : ourfooty media)
This time last year, former Patrician Brothers Blacktown student Joseph Paulo was studing for his HSC.
Yesterday 18 year old Joseph Paulo played in the World Cup of Rugby Leagues final qualifing match.
Playing one of the games of his young life, he ripped through the Lebanese lines & kicked 7 goals to help his team to victory and the World Cup next year.
Joseph was awarded 'Man of the Match' performance in the final World Cup qualifier for Somoa against Lebanon.
The former Patrician Brothers College Blacktown student represented NSW CCC & ASSRL in 2006.
Schoolboys coach Simon Huntley selected Joseph to play in the test matches against England & France on last years Australian Schoolboys trip to the UK & France and and can look forward to a bright future.
||38 - 16
|TRIES : Chris Vaegafa, Tangi Ropati, Nigel Vagana, Frank Puletua, Andreas Bauer, Hutch Maiava
GOALS : Joseph Paulo 7
|TRIES : Phillip Tatchi, Adham El-Zbaideh, Danny Chiha, Tom Joseph
|Chris Moyles Stadium, Featherstone, England. Referee: Ashley Klein (Eng). Crowd: 1323.
Somoa's skipper & Duel International Nigal Vagana led his team well with help from Panthers Frank Puletua.
"Somoa are a team to watch", according to Colin Love, World Cup boss. "The team is packed full of talented players"
The islanders raced into a 14-0 lead inside 10 minutes and were 28-8 ahead by half-time but plucky Lebanon roared back and in the end were left to rue another slow start and the lack of a reliable goalkicker.
Despite the presence of the Puleta brothers and the Super League quartet of Ali Lauitiiti (Leeds), Hutch Maiava (Hull), Willie Talau (St Helens) and Harrison Hansen (Wigan), Samoa lacked cohesion and were outplayed for long periods of the second half.
Coach John Ackland said: "We've got a lot of improvement in us. The boys got there through heart and effort.
"We probably deserved to qualify in the long run and it's good for international rugby league now that Samoa's in the World Cup.
"But we didn't improve on the first match. To be honest, I was disappointed with the way we played. Lebanon were very brave."
Lebanon were able to claw back half-time deficits in their earlier matches against Ireland and Wales but this time they gave themselves too much to do after conceding four first-half tries as they succumbed to their first defeat of a prolonged qualifying campaign that began more than 12 months ago.
"I'm very, very proud of our players," said coach Darren Maroon. "If we hadn't missed four conversions, it could have been 32-24 with 15 minutes to go.
"We weren't there to make up the numbers but maybe the experience of the other side got the better of us.
"After the Ireland game, I thought we were down and out but they pulled themselves up to beat Wales and to come up against a team with nine internationals and not having your own NRL players speaks volumes for the character of this side.
"At full strength it would have been a different story."
The result clinched a trip to Australia for Wigan back row forward Harrison Hansen, who made his debut for New Zealand last year but qualified for Samoa through his grandparents.
"I'm really proud to be Samoan," he said. "I'm happy for the boys now we've made the World Cup. Considering it was our second game, it was a great effort.
"We had to work hard because Lebanon gave it to us. They should be proud of themselves."
Samoa plays arch-rivals Tonga in a night match at Penrith’s CUA Stadium on October 31 before facing Ireland on November 5 at Parramatta Stadium.
Tickets are already on sale and fans of the team can purchase these through Ticketek at www.ticketek.com.au or on 1300 136 494.
CLASS OF 2007 EXCELLENT
|Plenty of endeavour: Some of the school stars (from left) Alex Jovanovic, Micah Watene, George Strogylos, Marc Warren, Teresa Polias, Nick Tsattalios, Abbey McCulloch, Sam Latunipulu, Chase Stanley and Michael Lennox. This year has seen some phenomenal achievements by the school's students.Picture: Chris Lane
AS one of the few targeted sports schools in Sydney, Endeavour Sports High expects a level of success. But, by any stretch, 2007 has proved quite phenomenal.
Last year, they received 12 Sydney East Blues, this year eight and four students will receive state CHS Blues - outstanding for any one school considering only about 62 Blues are awarded each year.
Best known in recent years for producing rugby league first graders from their champion Arrive Alive Cup (national competition) teams, Endeavour Sports High's program is now bearing fruit across the range.
Football players are now making their mark, joining league and union talent produced by the school.
Nick Tsattalios, aged 17 and with Sydney FC, has just completed his HSC and recently became the youngest player competing in the national A-League football competition.. LEARN MORE
|NEW DIRECTION FOR WOMEN'S LEAGUE
THE Queensland Women's Rugby League held its AGM on the weekend, with its new executive officers expected to make huge inroads heading into the 2008 season.
Former Australian WRL representative player and captain Natalie Dwyer has taken the helm, having been elected unopposed as the new president of the league.
The QWRL also took the opportunity to meet with Mackay DRL delegates who have voiced their commitment to a Mackay women's rugby league competition in 2008.
Mackay will also host the 2008 State Championships over the May long weekend, with the selection of the 2008 Queensland Representative squad taking place from the tournament.
The expansion of the women's game continues with Bundaberg also expressing an interest in staging a women's competition next season.
The Queensland Women's Rugby League has been undergoing several structural changes throughout the 2007 season which will accommodate the expansion of the game in the regional areas.
The QWRL now boasts Brisbane, Mackay, Cairns, Thursday Island and Central Queensland as regional members.. Learn More
SHARKS' PLEA TO WILLIE MASON
|Ben Pomeroy & Paul Gallen keen on Willie helping the Sharks to their 1st Premiership (Photo : ourfooty media)
THE Sharks' two brightest stars Paul Gallen and Greg Bird last night challenged big Willie Mason to help the club win its first premiership in 41 years.
On the day Cronulla officially tabled a two-year offer for Mason, Gallen and Bird called on their State of Origin teammate to reject the Sydney Roosters and join them at Toyota Park.
Mason will end a fortnight of prolonged debate either today or, more likely, tomorrow, by finally deciding whether to join Cronulla or the Sydney Roosters.
The Roosters' offer may be financially superior - and they remain the favourites to win the chase for Mason - but Gallen believes big Willie can help the Sharks create history.
"I actually think it would be a shame if Willie didn't come here," Gallen said. "Willie loves a challenge and he has never shied away from one - and the ultimate challenge would be to help Cronulla win the club's first premiership.
"We all want to win a premiership and we've never won on. It would be a massive boost if he came, awesome.
"Willie is exactly what we need. I sent him a text saying we want him down here at Cronulla."
Bird, now a NSW and Australian representative, also called on Mason to join the rejuvenated Sharks under Test coach Ricky Stuart.
"He'd bring presence and intimidation," Bird said. "Willie would also be good leader of our pack. We've got a lot of good workers in our forwards like Luke Douglas and Lance Thompson but maybe we lack that intimidation - Willie would bring that."
Stuart acknowledged his players would
like to see Mason in a Sharks jersey. "It's a lucrative offer we've put forward and we're hoping to get Willie here to the Sharks, as are the players who keep pestering me every day to get him here," Stuart said.
Cronulla are refusing to surrender to the glamorous Sydney Roosters and have promised a torrid fight to sign Mason.
At 4.15pm yesterday in the city, Sharks chief executive Tony Zappia officially tabled a two-year offer to Mason's manager Greg Keenan.
Stuart did not attend the meeting, neither did Mason.
Many felt Cronulla would collapse under the pressure and money of the Roosters - but the shire club is still hunting the discarded Mason.
"We've tabled our offer," Zappia said. "The meeting was very professional. It went very well.
"He (Keenan) wouldn't divulge where the Roosters were at with their offer. We expect a decision within the next 48 hours."
Asked why Cronulla offered a two-year-deal compared to the three years by the Roosters, Stuart said: "We offered two years because when I spoke with Willie, that was what he wanted. But I'd be happy to sit down and arrange for a third year if that's what Willie is after."
Keenan was spotted in the Sydney Football Stadium carpark outside the Roosters' offices yesterday. "I'm not saying anything today," he said.
Until his meeting with Stuart and the Sharks on Tuesday, Mason was understood to have his heart set on a move to Bondi Junction. He has recently bought a house at Clovelly, the same beachside suburb as his girlfriend and also Roosters coach Brad Fittler.
The Roosters were last night continuing their negotiations with Mason, which centre on maximising the strike forward's off-field earning capacity without breaching the salary cap.
The 27-year-old earned an estimated $450,000 a season at the Bulldogs, who yesterday confirmed Mason had still not formally requested a release from the final two seasons of his contract.
But a big positive for the Sharks is the fact Mason has acknowledged he has played some of his best football under Stuart, at representative level for both NSW and Australia.
ADRIAN SIGNS WITH BULLDOGS
|ADRIAN Davis is destined for an elite rugby league career.
Adrian back in 2006 when he played for the Warriors.
At just 17, the youngster has signed with the Canterbury Bulldogs to play in the under 18s SG Ball competition.
Adrian will come up against former team mates Albert Kelly, Malcolm Webster and possibly Kieran Vale on the paddock next year.
The contract was signed, sealed and delivered last Thursday at 4.30pm and Adrian started with the club yesterday.
The half-back or five-eighth was a member of the 2006 Group 2 premiership winning Gimbisi Valley Warriors team.
The Newcastle Knights fan has had a stellar year with the Newcastle based Western Suburbs Rosellas.
Not only did his 17s side win the competition, he backed up after the grand final and played for the 18s side who also took home the title.
He played alongside Bradley Cohen in the 17s and Patrick Kelly in the under 18s who were members of the 2006 Warriors team.
Adrian did have preliminary discussions with the Knights, but it was decided the Bulldogs were of the best interest for him.
Adrian’s father Ben Holten told the Macleay Argus the Bulldogs have a ‘great infrastructure and junior development program.’
“Adrian wants to wish Mal, Albert and Kieran all the best in the 2008 season with their respective clubs,” Holten said.
Adrian also wanted to pay a special mention to his family- mother Jan, step father Richard, father Ben, step mother Maria. He would also like to acknowledge his coaches especially Shane Moran, Mal Webster snr, Lewis Kelly and Dennis Smith.
Adrian was the captain of the Knights Academy Development team who played against other academies.
He was also the vice captain of the Newcastle AAMI Country Championships team who competed in the Country Championships.
The exciting new adventure with the Bulldogs has come at a cost to Adrian.
He has had to sacrifice his vice captaincy at Hunter Sports High as he will be moving to Sydney.
He would have been one of the first Aboriginal leaders of the school.
Adrian will complete Year 12 at Granville Boys High next year.
The amazing thing about this rising footballer, is the fact he only started playing football in 2002. He played for the Kempsey Dragons under 12s.
The following year he went on to play for Rosella before returning to the Valley in 2006 and being part of the premiership winning team.
|DOGS SIGN CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCKER, JACK JUNIOR
Story By : Glenn Jackson
THE Bulldogs may have lost two big names in the past week, but they have also picked up two. Well, the sons of two big names, anyway.
In a week during which they waved goodbye to Willie Mason and Brent Sherwin, the Bulldogs signed the promising sons of former Balmain greats Steve Roach and Garry Jack - from the Tigers.
Coincidentally, Liam Roach is a front-rower and Rhys Jack is a halfback - however, Bulldogs officials have been at pains to explain that the signings, from the club where their fathers were feted as heroes, are unrelated to the club's recent mini walk-out. Both have been earmarked to play in the club's under-20 side for the inaugural National Youth Competition.
"We saw them as good players, guys who'll fit in here," the club's recruitment manager, Keith Onslow, said. "Obviously, the names could be a burden for a young player but they don't have to worry about that here. 'Blocker' or 'Jimmy' can come here and support the boys, and I'm sure they will. They've been very supportive of the move."
And that they have. "I'll have to [support the Bulldogs]," laughed Garry Jack. "I've got no choice.
"But at the end of the day, we looked at what was out there for Rhys to play footy. We probably just felt there was a bit more of an opportunity at Canterbury. I just told him, 'Mate, I'll support you whatever you do. Whatever you do, I'll be there'. It's his choice. He's his own person. I think he'll stand and fall on his performances as a player. I'll just sit back as a father."
Roach was equally happy to support the blue-and-whites: "I just wish Willie [Mason] was still at the Bulldogs because I would have liked to have seen him show him [Liam] the way.
"I'm happy for him. He's got to go where he's going to be wanted."
Liam Roach, 18, is a front-rower who, Onslow hopes, is a chip off the old Blocker.
"It doesn't hurt to have great pedigree," Onslow said. "Hopefully, there have been a few traits passed on."
Rhys, who finished his HSC examinations last Friday and signed with the Bulldogs on the same day, is described by his father as an "organising ball-player with a good kicking game".
"They're both good kids with a bit of potential," Onslow said. "We think they'll fit into the system nicely. They had a bit of traffic in front of them at the Tigers … It's more an opportunity for them. What matters is they've grabbed it - it just so happens that their last names are Roach and Jack."
ROOSTERS TO SIGN FOLAU NO.2
|Israel Folau's big brother, Tevita, is training at Bondi Junction after serving two years as a Mormon missionary in Hong Kong. Photograph: Mark Evans
THE Sydney Roosters are poised to sign the only kid who has ever outplayed Kangaroo superstar Israel Folau - his older brother.
The Daily Telegraph can exclusively reveal that Tevita Folau is training at Bondi Junction after serving two years as a Mormon missionary in Hong Kong.
Still only 22, the unknown centre has been pressing his claims in anonymity for a fortnight largely because of the ongoing Willie Mason saga.
But his younger brother - who happens to be the youngest Australian Test player in 100 years - says the tri-colours could soon have a big surprise packet alongside Mason.
"Because back when we were both younger, Tevita was definitely the star, not me,'' Storm hero Israel recalls with a laugh. "In our backyard games he always used to bash me up. Threw me around or tackled me straight into the brick wall of our house.
"We always talked about playing in the NRL together too. But playing against him ... yeah, that might be a bit more scary.''
So keen are the Roosters to keep the latest member of Folau Inc under wraps, club officials have taken the extraordinary step of placing the shy outside back on a media ban.
While happy to pose for The Daily Telegraph photographer at training, the Logan Brothers flyer is now on the same "off limits'' deal that welcomed brother Israel to Melbourne.
"No, he won't be talking just yet,'' manager Isaac Moses concurs. "But to be honest we didn't think anyone knew about this.''
If the elder Folau is granted a contract by Roosters coach Brad Fittler, he will be the second member of the family to add his signature to the club's books.
Younger sibling Eni, a 15-year-old prop scouted by Arthur Beetson, is also on a Roosters scholarship while completing his education at Marsden High School, Brisbane.
"Obviously Eni is a very different style of player to me,'' Israel explains. "He has an average height but a lot of skills for a prop or second-rower.''
And this, the 2007 Melbourne premiership hero adds, is the biggest problem for Tevita.
"Oh, he has definitely missed out on a lot of football because of his mission,'' he adds. "Even in the years before he went away he had to give footy away so he could work weekends and save money for his trip.
"So he'll need some time to get his skills back, but I honestly don't think it will take him long. I mean, we talk over the phone and he asks me a few things, questions about little aspects of his game.
"But he has gone to Sydney to try to make a name for himself and I really believe he can do that.''
So what chance Folau Inc one day dominating the competition like the Walters or Mortimer boys.
"We all talked about that when we were younger - playing together in the NRL,'' Folau says. "But we also understand the reality is that's probably not going to happen.
"And so I don't think there is any pressure on my brothers at all. They're different players, different people. They're going to have a go but if they don't make it then so be it. There are still many other things they can do with their lives.''
THRILL OF CHASE EASES KIWIS' PAIN
|Chase Stanley was one of the few positives for the Kiwis in their match against Britain.
BLINKING uncomfortably in a post-match media scrum, Chase Stanley took a bump to the head from a microphone.
He'd already sustained one blow to the head, and was feeling "a bit shaken up" after slamming shoulder-first into an advertising hoarding as he scored the second try of a memorable Test debut - one that Kiwis coach Gary Kemble said marked him out as "something special".
Kemble had to persuade the St George Illawarra player to stay on the field after that try, but it seemed worth it afterwards, when the shy teenager described the evening as "unbelievable, I'm just loving it".
Finishing with poise, Stanley claimed the Kiwis' opening try on six minutes, and put them back into the game at 18-26 with his brave 66th-minute second - although he admitted that had luck gone his way, he might have scored five.
Both tries were created by recalled five-eighth Ben Roberts, whose performance was the other major highlight for the visitors.
When Roberts and second-rower Jeremy Smith - a revelation as fifth-choice goal-kicker, landing three from four, none of them easy - dominated the left edge in the opening quarter, the Kiwis looked reborn.
Admitting his exclusion from the past two Tests was "gut-wrenching" as well as "character-building", Roberts said: "Our talk was to go out there and give it all we can in the first 20 minutes, then I suppose we clocked off a bit … which is why we lost."
Smith said: "We had nothing to lose, they had everything to gain, so we went out there and emptied the tanks."
Roberts and Smith combined for a 12th-minute Paul Whatuira try and a 12-point lead, and the Kiwis continued to hold the British scoreless until the 32nd minute.
Then, however, weak defence allowed substitute James Graham to score with his first touch and tries by Keith Senior and David Hodgson just before the break put the home side ahead at half-time.
Kiwi Clinton Toopi later admitted that period was crucial: "We got dealt the hand late in the first half."
Great Britain made the most of the 3-0 whitewash; their first series win in 14 years.
But the Kiwis were left a little miffed by their post-match treatment. They were left to stand unrecognised in icy conditions and not invited to the dais, while Britain went up for the man of the series, individual winners' medals and the Baskerville Trophy.
WALKER'S ORIGIN OPTION
|Speed machine Shannon Walker is set to make a mark in the NRL with the Titans.
HE runs 100m in 10.56secs. He is rated the quickest player to grace a rugby league field in 20 years.
Now the race is on to make Shannon Walker a State of Origin star after the Titans sensation declared he will play for the first state to pick him.
Torn by divided loyalties among his family, Walker says is he prepared to represent Queensland or the Blues at senior level, depending on which outfit makes the first move.
The revelation is sure to spark concern among NSW powerbrokers, who are growing tired of the Maroons' poaching attempts, the latest of which netted Kempsey flyer Greg Inglis two years ago.
Reared in Kyogle on the NSW far north coast, the Australian Schoolboys wizard said his interstate future was wracked with confusion.
"To be honest, I don't have a preference. I'll go for the first team that picks me," Walker said.
"I don't really know where I stand.
"When I first represented Queensland (this year), some bush officials said you will have to sit down and talk about things with your mum and dad."
The problem with consulting his parents is that Walker's mum, Vera, is a Queenslander. His dad, Michael, comes from NSW.
One of 10 children, Walker's two sisters were born in Queensland. His five brothers are from NSW, but a couple barrack for the Maroons at Origin time.
To add to the mess, Walker represented the Queensland Residents this year. Under State of Origin eligibility guidelines, he is officially a Blue, having played first grade for the Kyogle Turkeys at age 16.
But rules haven't stopped the Maroons before. They've claimed Inglis. Poached fellow Kempsey boy Wayne Bartrim. Lured Adrian Lam, born in Papua New Guinea. Even Craig Smith, a Kiwi, got a start as a cane toad.
Given Walker's incredible feats this season in the Queensland Cup – he inspired Tweed Heads to the premiership – the Maroons won't need an invitation.
"My Mum would love me to play for the Maroons, but try telling Dad," Walker laughs.
"I played my first A-grade game at Kyogle so I guess I'm a New South Wales boy. But I've played rep footy for Queensland so I've been told by officials that I'm eligible to play for both states.
"But Origin can't be my priority at the moment. I need to make first grade first."
An NRL berth is surely not far away, with Titans managing director Michael Searle saying he has never seen a quicker player than Walker in more than two decades watching rugby league.
"I remember John Cartwright (Titans coach) seeing him and saying: 'We might lose the kid to Beijing at this rate'," Searle said.
"He's an incredible talent, but you still need the determination and grit to get there, and I think Shannon has that.
"The feeling I'm getting from Carty is that he'll blood him this year. Every challenge we've put in front of him he's met.
"He started this year in Tweed Heads colts and he ended up being the Queensland Cup player of the year."
Importantly, the hype isn't going to Walker's head. When Tweed teammates began partying after their premiership win, Walker went home to his partner Casie Winkler, 18, who is studying psychology and criminology at Bond University.
He doesn't touch alcohol.
His speed, though, is intoxicating. In his most humble tone, Walker says he has never lost a foot race. His time of 10.56, set as a 16-year-old, is no doubt a byproduct of a childhood spent chasing kangaroos and rabbits.
"Last year I was at home working with the old man. He makes boomerangs and didgeridoos, so I'd go out and look for wood with him," he says.
"I can't believe how far I've come in such a short amount of time. I'd love to play NRL.
"I'm keeping my feet on the ground."
LOVE OF THE GAME
|BRINGING THE GAME BACK: South Sydney star Dean Widders talks to Russell Tighe, Jake Farthing, Jesse Constance and Dan Green about junior rugby league
JUNIOR rugby league in Armidale will receive a big boost next year as South Sydney Rabbitohs star Dean Widders brings a new competition to town.
Widders plans to introduce a new primary school-based competition in Term 3 next year in a bid raise the profile of the game while promoting the need for good sportsmanship.
“Because there’s been no junior league up here I thought it would be a great idea to bring it to Armidale,” he said.
“It gives me the opportunity to start a rugby league program but the main message is playing rugby league in the right spirit.
“We’re making it school based because we want the kids to stay in school and do the right things.
“It’s a way of bringing indigenous and non-indigenous kids together.”
The South Sydney lock/utility believes young athletes in Armidale have a desire to be competing in rugby league.
“The kids want to play. They’re dying for a game of sport - they want footy,” he said.
“I want to help teach the things I learnt from sport: you never discriminated, you never swore, you train your hardest, listen to your coach and always turn up.
“I really want to bring back those things, learning from sport and taking their habits from there.”
The school-based game will work to compliment the town junior league competition.
Under eights through to under 16s will join the seniors as part of the Group 19 competition.
“This used to be one of the strongest competitions in the northwest. We want to get that back,” Widders said.
Widders also hopes that the wealth of rugby league talent at the University of New England can be tapped to help train the next generation of players.
“We’re also looking to recruit uni students to help mentor the players,” he said.
LEAGUE OF HER OWN - PENNELL RETURNS AFTER BACK-TO-BACK TOURS
|Dubbo Rhinos Sheilas forward Kylie Pennell recently represented Australia in both rugby league and rugby union.
Kylie Pennell returned to the real world this week following the most exciting month of her life representing Australia in both rugby league and rugby union.
The first of back-to-back tours to New Zealand started on October 13 with the Australian Wallaroos producing their most competitive performances to date against the New Zealand Black Ferns in two rugby union Test matches.
Pennell made her international debut in the series coming off the bench as a prop forward.
She returned to Australia before heading back to New Zealand the following week to play for the Australian Jillaroos against the New Zealand Maoris in two rugby league Tests.
Again playing in the front row, Pennell was named Players’ Player in the 20-16 come-from-behind win in the first match.
After losing the second clash 20-4 on Saturday, Pennell returned to hometown Coonamble where she will spend just her second weekend at home since January.
“The whole experience was unreal,” Pennell said.. Learn More
RAIDERS WELCOME ST GREG'S CAMPBELLTOWN
|St Gregory's College visit Raiders HQ
|St Gregory's College visit Raiders HQ
The CFMEU Canberra Raiders welcomed St Gregory's College in Campbelltown to Raiders HQ on Friday afternoon, in a bid to help foster a relationship with the proud rugby league school.
St Greg's who are in town for a three day camp and match against Forbes' Red Bend College, spent the afternoon training with the Raiders, before holding an opposed session against the top squad.
With specialised sport's high schools starting to take a hold of the Arrive Alive Cup, St Greg's used the opportunity to learn some skills from the Green Machine, in a bid to help them continue their impressive history among the school boy teams.
St Greg's Coach Simon Dent said it was a great opportunity to get up close and personal with an elite level team, and the whole squad would benefit from the experience.
"Our school boys have a great history in the Arrive Alive Cup and to come here and pick up a few tips off the Raiders is great, and hopefully we can build a partnership with them in the next couple of years," Dent said.
"We’ve got a couple of old boys in the club down here and I know the current crop has been keen to get down here since we came up with the idea."
Dent said the three day camp is a good chance for the school to prepare themselves for next years Arrive Alive Cup, and also gives individuals a look at the day to day life of an NRL player.
"We also have some players in the squad that will be looking at NRL footy in the future, so it’s a good chance for them to get an insight on that as well."
"It’s a good opportunity to see where we’re at the moment, we start our competition in the middle of next year so its still early days for us, but some of the boys will be using the opportunity to learn from some great players," he said.
Raiders Coach Neil Henry said the Raiders were more than happy to help the boys from Campbelltown, and hoped they would forge a strong link between them and the Raiders.
"It’s great to have them along, like us they have a proud tradition and it’s great to be working with them," Henry said.
KIWIS CHASE STANLEY FOR DEBUT
|Dragon Chase Stanley attempts to burst through the North Queensland defence in their round 23 clash in Townsville. Photo : Getty Images
Story By :
ST George Illawarra teenager Chase Stanley will make his Test debut for New Zealand against Great Britain in Wigan.
Stanley has replaced Bradford wing Shontayne Hape in the Kiwis side.
Hape was ruled out of the third Test with a wrist injury.
"He has impressed in all ways throughout the tour and, while it's unfortunate for Shontayne, Chase deserves this opportunity," New Zealand coach Gary Kemble said.
Stanley appeared for the All Golds in their 25-18 win against Northern Union in Warrington on October 20.
He was previously one of the standout players as the Junior Kiwis defeated the Junior Kangaroos in Wellington.
At almost 18 years and six months, Stanley will be one of the youngest players to appear in a Test match for New Zealand.
Dennis Williams remains the youngest player to have played for New Zealand, as he was just 18 years and one day old when he commenced his 10-year internetional career against Great Britain in Salford in 1971.
|NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS SIGNED LAD A STEP CLOSER TO ‘DREAM’
KIERAN Vale is on the path to an illustrious career in rugby league.
The 16-year-old has been selected in the 2008 SG Ball summer train on squad.
Earlier this year, Kieran signed a three-year contract with the Newcastle Knights.
This was a ‘dream opportunity’ for the former Kempsey High School student as the Knights are ‘his team.’
Kieran will start training on November 5 and will play two trial matches next year against Parramatta and Penrith.
Kieran is following in the footsteps of other local lads, Malcolm Webster and Albert Kelly ,who have signed deals with South Sydney and Parramatta Eels respectively and will play in the SG Ball competition next year.
It would be hard to find a prouder father than Eddie Vale. He talked to the Macleay Argus this week and the glow in his eyes said it all.
“I am very proud of Kieran and what he has achieved in the six months he has been down in Newcastle,” Eddie Vale said.
“One thing we did as parents was not push him to go to Newcastle. He told us he wanted to go to Hunter Sports High.
“He was not meant to go until 2008, but when the sports master read his achievements he jumped at the chance to get Kieran there as quickly as possible.”
Eddie said Knights premier league coach Brian Smith had watched Keiran play in trials and was very pleased in the way he handled the pace and his ball skills and pace.
Knights Coaching and Development Officer Warren Smiles believes Kieran has many attributes of a modern player.
Smiles said Kieran’s selection in the train on squad was a stepping stone to a football career.
Club officials told Eddie anyone that comes from the bush takes a year or two to get where Kieran has got in just six months.
Kieran, who played for such clubs as Kempsey Dragons, Nambucca Heads and Dunghutti, was a member of the Western Suburbs grand final team who played against Maitland in the Newcastle competition.
Kieran scored two tries in the game and both teams were named joint premiers when the encounter ended in a draw.
“Kieran started playing as a five-year-old and has never looked back,” Eddie said.
“He has got his football family around him who support him.
“I think he is focused and he pretty well knows what he wants. He loves what he is doing.
“I would like to think others will support the kids in the town who are aiming to achieve what the likes of Kieran, Mal and Albert have. There are plenty of stars around Kempsey.”
Kieran would like to wish Mal and Albert all the best for the 2008 season.
Eddie would like to thank everyone who had a hand in helping Kieran accomplish so much in this sport.
|MANLY SET UP YOUTH PROGRAM
THE Manly Sea Eagles have set up a program with the Caloundra Falcons that will provide a direct pathway for emerging young talent on the Sunshine Coast to play for the Sydney NRL team.
Manly chairman Scott Penn said the Queensland base at Caloundra would extend the reach of the club with a talent feeder program giving young players in the region an immediate association with one of the code's major clubs.
"Manly will provide support in all areas and we are committed to a long term partnership which will not only include trial games but the possibility of staging at least one NRL game for the 2009 season,'' Mr Penn said.
"We will also be sharing significant football resources to the partnership which will include playing and coaching personnel.''
He said with the Falcons expected to be admitted to the Queensland Cup competition in 2009, it was a partnership that would benefit both clubs.
"The Manly Board ... are working on some exciting developments in and around the area to sustain the partnership well into the future,'' he said.
INALA HELPS KIDS TACKLE SCHOOLWORK
`BUILDING pride and strength in our kids' is the motto of Wests Inala Junior Rugby League Club. Today's unveiling of the Panthers' $35,000 Learning Centre only further serves to emphasise that purpose.
Assisted by federal, state and council funding, Wests Inala now proudly sports a facility which will not only benefit its players, but all those in the local community.
"The basic idea was for a homework centre so we could offer the kids support with their schooling," says club secretary Karren Hamilton.
"But it will also be a place which parents can utilise for typing up resumes or improving their life skills.
"It'll be utilised for Community Jobs Plan, TAFE and to hold meetings for various groups."
Aside from government backing, the club is working together with various organisations around Inala, unifying the football-mad multicultural community.
Brisbane City Council has donated 10 computers for the Learning Centre, the latest in a series of undertakings by the Panthers to improve their surrounds.
In recent years the Wests Inala committee has also worked on employment and artistic initiatives, as well as making significant upgrades to the appearance of their clubhouse.
The Panthers' senior team, which competes in Brisbane Second Division, is a part of the `Positive Living, Positive Life' project, which tackles topics such as self esteem, discipline and health.
"This club is all about making a difference to people's lifestyles," Hamilton explains.
"While we are a football team, in many ways a big purpose of ours is to explain there is life outside sports.
"Our kids need to know what options are available to them and we try to prepare them to accomplish a variety of goals."
One of the first tasks given to children utilising the Wests Inala Learning Centre will be creating a new name for the facility, enhancing a sense of ownership over the project.
MAN OF THE MOMENT
|The Sea Eagle and Gaoler shows off his awards.
KENNETH Dixon has had a stellar year on the football field.
Not only did the 17-year-old take home some of the most prestigious awards in the Group 2 competition, he was a vital member of the under 18s Macksville Sea Eagles winning premiership team.
What most people do not know about the Melville High School student is that he played two codes this season.
On a Saturday you would find Dixon donning a blue jersey for the South West Rocks Gaolers in the Mid North Coast Rugby Union competition.
The next day he would back up, but he was wearing the Sea Eagles blue and white colours in the Group 2 competition.
The commitment and dedication to both codes proves the high skill this sportsman has.
The amazing thing about Dixon is the fact he was told by doctors not to play football because of problems with his back.
However, the determined youngster overcame the obstacles set before him and worked hard to make his dream a reality.
Seeing his brothers and cousins play football only made him more determined to run onto the field beside them.
Dixon and his family moved to South West Rocks from Armidale in 2000. He has played for such clubs as the Smithtown Tigers, Dunghutti and just played his first season with the Sea Eagles.
The Parramatta Eels fan scored a swarm of trophies including the best back in the under 18s Gaolers team.
After his team beat the Macleay Valley Mustangs in the grand final of the Group 2 competition, Dixon was named the most improved player in the competition.
The Sea Eagles also reward Dixon with a number of accolades including the best back and the most improved player of the club.
Dixon has been invited to a Brisbane Broncos training weekend in January, which could be a major stepping stone for the youngster who aims to one day play in the NRL.
WORLD CUP TICKET ON SALE
|World Cup Captains : Scotland Danny Brough, New Zealand Roy Asotasi, France Eric Anselme, Fiji Waisale Suka, Australia Mark Gasnier, England Jamie Peacock, Tonga Lopini Paea, Ireland Eamon O'Carroll, PNG Keith Peters
As tickets go on sale today for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, the competing nations have gathered in England for the last time before heading to Australia in October 2008.
The meeting of the nine countries already through to the main draw (and the four still fighting for the final berth) outlined every aspect of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.
Rugby League World Cup ’08 officials detailed television agreements that will ensure coverage across the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and the Middle East; New Media platforms that will provide access across internet platforms; ticketing programmes across all 18 matches and a tournament draw that will ensure quality games throughout the 29-day event.
Rugby League World Cup ’08 Tournament Director and Rugby League International Federation Chairman, Mr Colin Love AM, outlined a tournament schedule that has already sparked tremendous interest from overseas tourists and which promises exciting matches at every turn.
Official travel agencies for World Cup XIII have been allocated key seating for the event and early registrations of interest suggest that thousands of English fans are preparing to head to Australia in 2008.
First preference for this seating will go to those fans seeking to come to Australia for extended tours with a further allocation of tickets available early next year.
The tournament begins when England takes on PNG on October 25 in Townsville, with the official opening ceremony a day later as host nation Australia plays New Zealand at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The final will be played in front of what promises to be a capacity crowd at one of the world’s great Rugby League venues - Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium - November 22.
“The game has made some great strides in rebuilding international competition in recent years,” Mr Love said.
“Australia is finding itself constantly tested by New Zealand and Great Britain, while French Rugby League is re-emerging on the back of some strong performances against the top three nations and after seeing Catalans Dragons reach the Challenge Cup Final.
“We have seen the likes of Tonga and PNG score some surprise results against Australian teams and a look across both the English Super League and the NRL provides a reminder of the number of talented players coming through who are from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds.
“In the case of the Pacific Island nations, in particular, I think the World Cup will see some formidable teams begin to emerge.
“A strong World Cup tournament is the key to helping develop emerging countries and in providing future infrastructure for the international game.
“There’s a lot of work ahead but, given the support we have had from Federal and State Governments in Australia, from broadcasters and the stadium operators, I’m confident that we already have a very solid foundation in place.”
Rugby League World Cup XIII will take in 12 different venues, three states and the Australian Capital Territory.
The English itinerary will begin at the gateway to the Barrier Reef, Townsville, and take in Newcastle and Melbourne before the finals.
The encounter between Australia and England not only marks 100 years since a fledgling Australian team headed to the UK for its first official Rugby League Test series, but it also combines the sites of Melbourne with the world famous Spring Racing Carnival, coinciding with the weekend of the Victoria Derby at Flemington Racecourse.
“It is a tournament that has any number of matches that would attract large audiences in their own right,” Mr Love said.
“It is a series of events spread across a wide range of areas to ensure that every fan has a chance to be a part of the 2008 World Cup.” For further information go to www.rlwc08.com
|OLD BOYS TAKE A BRUISING
NOT even the birth of his third child could keep former NRL referee Bill Harrigan from controlling his fourth consecutive St Brendan's First XIII v Old Boys clash yesterday.
Just four days after Harrigan and wife Lesley welcomed Billie Annaliese into the world, the great referee joined the current and former St Brendan's College stars on the paddock in scorching conditions in Yeppoon.
"I was going to tell them I couldn't make it, but Lesley said I couldn't brush them.
She knows I enjoy coming up for the game," he said.
THE MOTHER OF ALL DYNASTIES
|Good things come in threes ... Jordan, left, and Jeremy Marshall with mother Lydia. Photo: Lee Besford
Benji Marshall has revealed his dream of one day playing alongside younger brothers Jeremy and Jordan in the NRL, rating the duo as even more talented than he was at the same age.
The junior Marshalls are rated such hot prospects there are already predictions of a "dynasty" to match the likes of rugby's Ella brothers or the famous Hughes and Mortimer clans at the Bulldogs.
Following in his famous brother's footsteps, 15-year-old Jordan is progressing through famed junior league nursery Keebra Park State High, while Jeremy, 11, has been accepted into Hills Sports High School in Sydney's west next year.
"They are probably better than me when I was that age, a lot more skills and definitely a lot more talented than I was," Marshall told The Sun-Herald.
"My goal and dream in footy would be to play with them. When the youngest one comes through I'll be 30.
"Hopefully, with a bit of luck, we'll get the chance to play together.
"Every now and then they get ahead of themselves, but all in all they are pretty good boys.
"They are well behaved and if they keep working hard they can make it as well."
Benji said Jordan, a versatile back-line utility, had a good chance of emulating the deeds of big brother.
"He's getting bigger, has good skills and he's an up-and-comer," Benji said.
"He can play anywhere - five-eighth, halfback, hooker, fullback.
"I don't want to talk him up too much but he's well on the way.
"He's in the same program I was in at Keebra Park, getting a bit of discipline and learning the basics of footy. Hopefully in a few years we'll see him come through the same way I did. There's no pressure, let him be a kid for now."
On Jeremy, Benji said: "He's a bit bigger than Jordan and I were and he'll probably end up a lot bigger than we are now.
"He could end up playing lock. It's hard to tell when they're young but he goes all right, he's got good skills and vision for an 11-year-old."
Not only do they look the same, the younger brothers also have Benji's swagger and bravado. Asked how he compares to the Kiwi international, Jeremy rated himself as "probably better", while Jordan was confident first grade was an achievable goal.
"It would mean everything to play with your older brother in the NRL," Jordan said.
Benji's wicked left-foot step has become his trademark, but mother Lydia rates Jordan's as superior.
"I reckon his step is actually better than Benji's," she said.
"He can go off both feet as well. He doesn't jump in the air, he stands still and then goes."
The trio are tight. When the Wests Tigers won the premiership in 2005, Marshall broke away from the celebrations with his teammates to bring Jeremy and Jordan onto Telstra Stadium, where they started up an impromptu football game among themselves.
"Just having Benj around is the best thing, he's shown them how to have fun with it and how to make it in sport," Lydia said.
Keebra Park coach Greg Lenton, who oversaw the rise of Benji and other Gold Coast products Rangi Chase, Greg Eastwood, Ben Te'o and Sam Moa, said there were similarities between the Marshall brothers.
"Benji always had the ability to read the game well and put people into gaps in traffic and his brother also has that," Lenton said.
Marshall's manager, Martin Tauber, rates the younger brothers as better players than Benji and predicted a Marshall dynasty.
"There is a dynasty in the making with these kids, this could be like the Hugheses, the Mortimers, the Ellas," Tauber said.
"Assuming Benji reaches his potential, this is a dynasty."
Source: The Sun-Herald
BEETSON PULLING STUMPS ON LEAGUE
|Bowing out ... Beetson after Easts' grand final victory in 1975. Photo: John O'Gready
League immortal Arthur Beetson has ended a lifelong association with the game by quitting from his post as the Sydney Roosters recruitment manager.
Beetson has retired and will relocate to Queensland after handing in his resignation during the week.
The 62-year-old is one of the greatest attacking forwards the game has produced, carving out his legend in stints for Balmain, Easts and Parramatta after moving south from his birthplace of Roma, Queensland.
During the past 13 years, he has been the Roosters' recruitment officer and has been responsible for discovering Anthony Minichiello, Michael Crocker, Chris Flannery, David Shillington and the Paea brothers.
"Arthur has been an exceptional ambassador for the club and for rugby league," Roosters CEO Brian Canavan said.
The Roosters snared Melbourne recruitment guru Peter O'Sullivan to Bondi Junction in the off-season, but Canavan made it clear the appointment had no impact on the former Test skipper's decision to resign.
Beetson played with Brisbane side Redcliffe as a teenager before being recruited by Balmain in 1966, where he spent the next five seasons.
Criticised for being bulky and unfit, Beetson switched to Easts in 1971, spearheading the side to premierships in 1974-75.
Beetson also played 14 Tests for Australia, captained Queensland in the inaugural State of Origin match in 1980 and was named as the game's seventh immortal in 2003.
Meanwhile, Manly have re-signed Luke Williamson for a further two years.
JAKE HAS A LOT ON HIS PLATE
|CYMS under 18s prop Jake Anlezark will head to England and France with the AIS rugby league side following the HSC.
WHILE studying for the Higher School Certificate, Blayney's Jake Anlezark is eagerly awaiting the end of his exams with a tour of England and France with the Australian Institute of Sport awaiting.
The towering front-rower has been training under an AIS program for a year and has come on in leaps and bounds.
Anlezark believes the level of improvement he has made in the last 12 months led to his selection for the European tour.
“With the help of the AIS I've improved heaps in all aspects of my game,” Anlezark said.
The 17-year-old is proud he has the opportunity to represent the AIS and is excited about touring overseas.
It will be a big couple of months for the prop with his HSC following his outstanding performance in Orange CYMS’ Group 10 under 18 grand final win over Cowra.
“It's going to be great representing Australia and playing at the international level is going to be great really,” Anlezark said.
Anlezark will also link with the Cronulla Sharks immediately after the tour so the rugby league prospects of the Blayney High student are promising.
At 17 , he will be eligible to play SG Ball next year but thinks he will instead train with the Sharks under 20 Toyota Cup side, with the possibility of playing in the second-tier national competition's inaugural season.
“I'm eligible for both but to start off I think I'll be training with the under 20s,” he said.
Anlezark will be joined in the AIS team for the tour of England and France by Orange's Daniel Mortimer.
JASON KING OF THE KIDS AT OLD SCHOOL
|ABOVE: The win over St Carthage’s gave the boys from St Augustine’s plenty to cheer about (Jason King is at the rear).
A few days before Manly’s grand final clash with Melbourne, front-rower Jason King, an old boy of St Augustine’s College, Brookvale (class of ‘98) dropped by to congratulate the primary rugby league team for taking out the NSW Independent Catholic Schools competition.
The boys from Brookvale beat St Carthage’s College, Lismore, 26-16 in a hard-fought decider played at Leichhardt Oval.
Coach Jason Lussick said he was “extremely happy” with the way his side performed.
“In particular I was very impressed not only with the way the boys defended, but more so with the way they kept moving the ball and created many scoring opportunities,” he said. “This is a feature of their game and many people have commented on their ability to score tries after a sweeping team movement.
“My thanks to all of the boys who have willingly given up their time during Term 2 and 3 to undergo additional training in order to prepare themselves.”
Jason also praised the side, saying their received just reward “for their commitment and hard work”.
“I played eight years for the college and I have so many fond memories of those days,” he recalled.
“These boys will cherish what they have achieved not only for themselves but the college as well.”
Jason began playing league at the age of eight with the Belrose Club.
After commencing at St Augustine’s in 1991, he played league for the college for the following eight years.
At his graduation in 1998, he was awarded the college’s Aggregate Cup recognising outstanding achievement in conduct, study and sport.
That year he captained the winning St Augustine’s Sea Eagles Shield team and was named the college’s league and rugby union player of the year.
Jason made Manly’s Harold Matthews representative team in 1999, and two years later made his first grade debut against Brisbane.
Despite tasting grand final defeat last month, Jason says playing in front of 80,000 at Telstra Stadium was a “wonderful experience”.
“We had a terrific season and it’s a shame we produced one of our worst performances in the grand final,” he said.
“We will use the disappointment as a major motivational tool to go one better next season.”
Last year, Jason graduated from Macquarie University with a Business Degree and is currently continuing his studies in Property Law.
THE ST AUGUSTINE’S SQUAD WAS: Matthew Arnold, Luke Bonanno, Dylan Chant, Thomas Cleary, Fletcher Davies, Matt Dunsmore, Jed Ibbotson, Aaron Johnstone, Jonte Kaplan, Simon Kennewell, Will Lentell, Joey Lussick (c), Grant McDonald, Thomas Milligan, Daniel Pitcher, Jesse Sweet, Joshua Stacey, James Taefotu, Denzel Veikune, Joshua Yeates and Liam Yeates.
CENTENARY OF RUGBY LEAGUE COIN UNVEILED
|CENTENARY OF RUGBY LEAGUE 'INSPIRE THE FUTURE'
“The drive to find ways to continually improve the game demonstrates the enthusiasm that grows each year and reflects the ideals of those who wanted to play and watch a more exciting game back in 1907” - Sean Fagan
In 2008 the Australian Rugby League celebrates its centenary of one of the nation’s most popular winter sports.
The Royal Australian Mint proudly recognises this achievement with the launch of the 2008 $1 Uncirculated Coin as part of the Centenary Collection.
This is one of a series of coins to be released and is a fitting tribute to the game’s greatest players, greatest teams and to the host of volunteers and administrators who contribute to their sporting communities in so many ways.
The 2008 $1 coin is a beautifully created adaptation of the heritage design of the 1908 era and is sure to be extremely popular with football fans, coin collectors and sporting memorabilia enthusiasts.
- On Sale Thurs 1st Nov '07
It is a rare tribute reserved for the truly great moments in Australian sport, and the Centenary of Rugby League has been honoured with that status.
The Royal Australian Mint tonight unveiled a first for Rugby League by releasing a commemorative $1 coin celebrating the Centenary of the game in Australia.
NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, ARL Chief Executive, Mr Geoff Carr, and Raiders captain, Mr Alan Tongue, were among the guests at the launch at the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra.
The first dedicated Rugby League coin the Royal Australian Mint has produced features the Centenary of Rugby League logo in a design that represents the game’s anniversary theme of ‘inspiring the future’.
While the coin is legal tender, it won’t be released into general circulation, making it a valuable and sought-after memento for coin collectors around the world as well as for Rugby League fans seeking a unique piece of Centenary memorabilia.
“Commemorative coins have marked some of the landmark events in Australian history and it’s a tribute to the game that the Centenary of Rugby League is being included in that company,” Mr Gallop said tonight.
“It is a unique collectible for fans and a symbol of the significant place Rugby League holds in our community.”
Mr Carr added: “The Centenary is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration and a tribute like this reflects the importance it holds for Rugby League fans across the country.
“We thank the Royal Australian Mint for this honour.”
Janine Murphy, the Chief Executive of the Royal Australian Mint, said:
“Rugby League is one of Australia’s favourite sports whether you are a player, or spectator.
“It is steeped in tradition, with great players and great matches becoming part of Australia’s folklore.
“The Royal Australian is therefore thrilled to mark the Centenary of this great game through the release of this specially designed coin.
“The Royal Australian Mint is honouring this significant sporting milestone because we recognise the important role Rugby League has played in the Australian community and culture over the last 100 years.
“The Royal Australian Mint is very proud of this first coin in a series commemorating the Centenary of Rugby League.
“Coin collectors and gift purchasers will need to stay tuned in early 2008 to see what our next coin in the Centenary of Rugby League series has to offer.”
The coin, which sells for $12.95, will be released tomorrow, November 1.
NARANGBA IN RAPID RISE
|Narangba JRLFC kids give the Thumbs Up
A grand total of 20 children, half a field and a jersey designed by primary school kids.
Fast forward to now, with the scent of 2008 already in the air, and the Rangers are looking at enrolling up to eight times as many players and helping rugby league dominate Brisbane’s northern outskirts.
Like good farmers who intuitively know when to sow on previously fallow ground, the Narangba pioneers can be mighty proud of their perfectly-timed harvest.
“The population growth through the whole zone is quite amazing,” says Brian Winney, who along with Don Oxenham and Neil Bishop founded the club in 2005.
“Before the Rangers started, the immediate Narangba district had baseball and soccer clubs and an AFL development program at the local high school.
“Gradually we’re breaking down those barriers and making it a league area.”
What was previously an empty pocket between junior league clubs at Redcliffe, Deception Bay, Burpengary, Dayboro and Pine Rivers has now been stitched up and given a club of its own.
ARL Development Officer Kate Watson has played a huge role in advancing the club’s interests, while the support from neighbouring Redcliffe Leagues Club has been nothing short of astounding.
Throughout the whole exercise those in charge of establishing Narangba have been particularly mindful of not damaging the existing league clubs around them.
“We don’t want to steal players from other clubs just to get numbers. That’s a bad way to start out in anyone’s language ,” says Winney.
“Out of the 120 kids we had this year, there wouldn’t be more than 10 who have played rugby league for another club. The rest are new to the game.
“In fact Burpengary - the nearest club to Narangba - this year had a record number of players (365) and arguably its best ever season across all age groups.”
Already there are some healthy inter-club rivalries being formed.
While all the administrators in the zone get along great and plot a course forward for rugby league, it’s only natural the players should be out to prove they are No. 1 in the region.
As Winney says, “Everyone’s a rival of Redcliffe”, while the Rangers’ Under 11s have formed a particularly competitive relationship with Deception Bay after two nail-biting games.
One facet in which Narangba has been well-complimented by its rivals has been the design of both its striking club jersey and emblem.
The playing strip – and indeed the Ranger nickname – came from a competition involving schoolkids from Narangba Primary School.
The name ‘Rangers’ was selected from a shortlist of 20 and elicits references to the mountains which surround the area and the semi-rural lifestyle, as well as being a play on words with the suburb’s title.
Oddly enough, part of the credit for the logo belongs to a mother whose son signed with the club, but never had the chance to play.
A graphic designer, she helped set some of the design aspects in place before the family relocated to Victoria due to work commitments.
Narangba will field its first-ever team in the teenage age groups in 2008 when this year’s Under 12s progress to Under 13s. An increase to a total of 11 or 12 teams is anticipated across the grades.
Coaching nominations from Under 7s to Under 13s are being called upon now. Cut-off for applications is November 12.
|WORLD IS OYSTER FOR YOUNG PEARLS
THEY say he's a `chip off the old block', but a young Charlie Renouf is beginning to plot his own course after recently being named the Samford Stags' Most Promising Junior.
Son of former Australian and Queensland wonder Steve Renouf, Charlie was among the major winners from the Stags' Presentation Day, despite being just eight years old.
Others to win big gongs from the day were Sam Milne (Club Junior Player of the Year, U11), Christopher McLaren (Club Best & Fairest, U18) and Jacob McDermott (John Stubbs Encouragement Award, U10).
Renouf's older brother Sam, 15, also picked up an award after being recognised for 100 games in Samford colours, while fellow sibling Billy scored the Coach's Award in Under 13s.
Of the three, Billy is said to play in a style most reminiscent of his father, the great `Pearl', but after flourishing at hooker this year he could be headed in a different direction as he matures.. LEARN MORE
|ADMIN CONFERENCE OFFERS VALUE
WE all know how vital a pre-season is to the premiership prospects of a rugby league team. But what you might not know is just how important the administrators’ version of a productive “pre-season” can be.
With a range of new topics and presenters, the 2008 QRL Administrators Conference – held on the Gold Coast from February 8-10 – will bring you up to speed quicker than your flashy winger’s sprint to the try-line.
Wide Bay Division Manager Gary Dunbar has seen the benefits of the conference first hand both as a QRL employee and as a delegate.
He says the event provides club personnel with a great perspective on both traditional club operations and the methods employed by other clubs in the rugby league community.
The conference offers a mixture of topical issues presented by specialist presenters including administrative content relevant to club and local league delegates. The program finishes at lunch time on Sunday.
Along with providing a great networking opportunity, Dunbar says the conference arms participants with new ideas, knowledge and skills which can in turn “ease the burden” on hard working executives and committee members.
Conference sessions begin on Saturday morning, February 9, with four streams:
Stream 1 Club Administration
Stream 2 Providing Safe Environments
Stream 3 Topical issues facing Rugby League Development
Stream 4 LeagueNet and New Technology
The event represents a fantastic social and club networking opportunity with an optional ‘social package' of accommodation, golf and dinner also on offer on Friday, February 8.
For more information contact your Division Office (South West (07) 4632 4381, South East Qld (07) 3393 2888, Wide Bay (07) 4123 2165, Central (07) 4922 3639, Northern (07) 4771 6166) or QRL Projects Manager Troy Morton on (07) 3393 2222. www.qrl.com.au
Registration forms are available on the qrl website at the top of the downloads section. Book now!
GYMEA'S U13S HAVE GOODS
|Success: Gymea Technology High school celebrating their Adam Dykes Shield victory.
Gymea Technology High School's under-13 rugby league team won the Adam Dykes Shield last month.
The Gymea school went through the tournament undefeated in their six pool games before defeating Woolooware High School 20-18 in a closely contested grand final.
They were coached by former rugby league star Alan Fallah, who played more than 100 first-grade games for Western Suburbs.
Fallah said it was a remarkable effort from his team, considering only three players from the 20-man squad play rugby league on the weekends.
"Being a small school it's hard to be competitive," Fallah said. "Instead of picking a rugby league team we pick athletes."
The tournament is played over two terms with Lucas Heights, Engadine, Port Hacking and Cronulla high schools all featuring in the competition.
The physical education teacher said the students had enjoyed their rugby league experience and predicated that a few future Cronulla Sharks players may be developing.
"The students were dragging me out of the staffroom so we could train at lunch," Fallah said.
"A couple of the boys are big and fast." | Learn More about the Cronulla Junior League |