Penrith v Norths: BEARS LOOK FOR ANOTHER UPSET
NORTH Sydney proved the surprise packets in round one and coach Wayne Lambkin is hoping to build on the bonds his players created in a tough off-season when they travel to Bathurst for what is an ‘away game’ for them and VB NSW Cup premiers Penrith.
The Panthers are taking this match and their NRL clash with the Gold Coast Titans to Carrington Park on Saturday and, after a first-up 30-16 upset win against Wentworthville, the Bears couldn’t be happier about being on the road.
“I think I’d rather play them out at Bathurst than at Penrith Park,” said North Sydney coach Wayne Lambkin.
“They may be 45 minutes closer but it’s as much an away game for them as it is for us. It’s also a chance for us as a new group to go away, train and stay overnight and build a bit more of that team culture we’ve been talking about.”
The Panthers kicked off their title defence with a 26-20 victory at home against the Bulldogs but it came at a price.
Star fullback Kieran Moss grabbed a try in that win but fractured his foot on the hour mark and will miss the next eight to 10 weeks.
“Yes, it’s not good and we’re very short on outside backs too with Josh Mansour (shoulder) and David Simmons (quad) out of the NRL squad,” said Panthers VB NSW Cup coach Garth Brennan.
“Fortunately we have some good young kids coming through and I know they’ll do a good job.”
South Sydney recruit Apisai Koroisau scored against the Dogs but remains in doubt with an ankle injury so Liam Ayoub has been named at hooker for the match against Norths.
The injury to Moss means Will Smith slots back at fullback and allows Robert Jennings to revert to his preferred right-centre position.
Lambkin will be just hoping for more of the same from his Bears who shocked the Magpies to lead 24-nil at the break before withstanding a second-half fightback to start their season with a win away from home.
“I was in a bit of shock actually but it came through some good ball control and wearing the opposition down,” said Lambkin of that opening half from his Bears.
“We held out eight sets of six within our 20m and midway through the second half that extra work did take its toll but it was a good way to start the season.
“The boys played real well. I didn’t know what sort of expectations to have because it’s a very new side with a big turnover of players.”
One of those newcomers is fullback Setefano Taukafa and the Wests Tigers recruit proved a handful in attack and solid in defence.
Taukafa is on a full-time contract with the Rabbitohs and saw action with the NRL side during the Charity Shield and Auckland Nines.
“I had him at Westfields Sports High as a 13-year-old so I know him pretty well,” said Lambkin.
“He knows the standards I set and what ‘Madge’ (South Sydney coach Michael Maguire) expects in training so he comes prepared.”
Penrith Panthers v North Sydney Bears, Carrington Park, Bathurst, Saturday March 14. Kick-off: 2.10pm. Referee: Jeff Hartup. LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
PANTHERS: 1. WILL SMITH 2. CHRISTIAN CRICHTON 3. ROBERT JENNINGS 4. WAQA BLAKE 5. EDDIE AIONO 6. ISAAC JOHN 7. ADRIAN DAVIS 8. SAM ANDERSON 9. LIAM AYOUB 10. LEILANI LATU 11. TUPOU SOPOAGA 12. BEN MURDOCH-MASILA 13. ADAM DOCKER 14. ANDY SAUNDERS 15. RODNEY COATES 16. JAMES FISHER-HARRIS 17. NU’U AKERIPA 19. CHRIS SMITH
BEARS: 1. SETEFANO TAUKAFA 2. DANE CHANG 3. LATRELL SCHAUMKEL 4. AARON GRAY 5. SAM MANULELEUA 6. BRAD WALL 7. NIKKO ROBERTS 8. JESSE ROBERTS 9 .MATT HYLAND © 10. NATHAN BROWN 11. BROCK GRAY 12. SCOTT SORENSEN 13. CHEYNE WHITELAW 14. NATHANIEL NEALE 15. MICHAEL ROSS 16. DUNCAN LOW 17. JACK GOSIEWSKI 18. KILIFI TIA KILIFI
Manly v Illawarra: HEATH NO L’ESTRANGER TO WILLIAMSON
HE’S a friend but Manly VB NSW Cup coach Luke Williamson will be hoping his old Sea Eagles team-mate Heath L’Estrange gets a late call-up to the make his debut for the Dragons in round two.
If not L’Estrange will be calling the shots and controlling the ruck for the Illawarra Cutters when they take on Williamson’s side at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.
Both clubs copped first-round losses with Manly beaten 34-8 by Wyong Roos and the Cutters downed 22-20 in their clash against Mounties.
“We’re waiting to see if Heath L’Estrange plays,” said Williamson after Dragons coach Paul McGregor added L’Estrange and Jake Marketo as extra cover to an extended first grade bench.
“He was quite dominant against Mounties. I’ve watched some of that and both teams were quite evenly matched, being big teams and powerful in the middle.”
Williamson, who is now 36, and 29-year-old L’Estrange played together at Manly in 2008 before both enjoyed stints in Super League.
L’Estrange returned from Bradford Bulls last year to play five NRL games for the Roosters and, while he and former Bulldogs’ five-eighth Kris Keating bring plenty of experience to the Cutters, Williamson has quite a young side and that inexperience showed in the loss to the Roos.
“We didn’t start well and we sorta got ambushed even though we expected it a bit,” said Williamson.
“The game got away from us a bit but some of these guys have only just started training with one another. There’s a lot of room for improvement in our squad but we need it to happen now. We can’t get to round seven and say we’re working our way into it.
“There’s plenty of potential there and we need to get it right so these players start putting pressure for places on our first grade squad.”
Unfortunately the Sea Eagles are expected to be without five-eighth Manaia Rudolph (ankle) and experienced forward Justin Horo (concussion) for the clash with the Cutters.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles v Illawarra Cutters, Brookvale Oval, Saturday March 14. Kick-off: 2.30pm. Referee: Drew Oultram
SEA EAGLES: 1. DAVID WILLIAMS (C) 2. BEN FRITZ 3. BRAYDEN WILIAME 4. TONY SATINI 5 DOM REARDON 6. KURT ALDRIDGE 7. MANAIA RUDOLPH 8. SIOSAIA VAVE 9. JAYDEN HODGES 10. JAKE TRBOJEVIC 11. JORDAN LATHAM 12. DYLAN KELLY 13. MICHAEL CHEE KAM 14. TYSON ANDREWS 15. TODD WILSON 16. UITI BAKER 17. VINNI NGARO
CUTTERS: 1. TYRON CRANSTON 2. CHARLY RUNCIMAN 3. EUAN AITKEN 4. PETER MATA’UTIA 5. KITI GLYMIN 6. KRIS KEATING 7. DREW HUTCHISON 8. JOKATAMA DOKONIVALU 9. CRAIG GARVEY 10. RULIN NUTIRA 11. NATHAN GREEN 12. ADAM TUIMAVAVA-GERRARD 13. SHANNON WAKEMAN 14. ANDREW MCCARTHY 15. JACOB HIND 16. TEKINA VAILEA 20. SAM COSTER
Canterbury v Warriors: DOGS SPORT FAMOUS NAME
IT’S not often a coach loses a player and he’s pleased but Bulldogs VB NSW Cup coach Andy Patmore says the elevation of Moses Mbye to first grade will be good for the young playmaker and the club in the long run and that’s what counts when you’re building for the future.
A broken arm to NSW VB Blues State of Origin star Josh Reynolds has seen NRL coach Des Hasler call Mbye into the top grade for the clash with the Bulldogs.
The 21-year-old gets the chance to add to his nine top grade appearances after being 18th man last week.
“It’s certainly a loss this week but I think it’s actually a bonus for us when he does come back,” said Patmore.
“I can say that because I actually feel for the kid. He’s up and down like a yo-yo at times. He played half a game or around 50 minutes for us last week and it is a loss, his organisation – for a young kid he’s very mature.”
While the Dogs have lost Mbye, they will look to Lindon McGrady to take control at halfback alongside Matt Frawley.
A reliable kid with plenty of speed, McGrady is the nephew of former Canterbury star and 1991 Rothmans Medal winner Ewan McGrady. The Goondiwindi Boar’s junior joined the Dogs in 2013.
McGrady will have his work cut out against the Warriors with their halfback Api Pewhairangi one of the stars in the come-from-behind 26-18 win against the Knights in Newcastle in round one.
The Dogs started their season with a 26-20 loss to premiers Penrith but there was plenty to like for Patmore.
“I was really happy with the young front-rowers,” he said.
“They stood up against a big pack and they’re going to have do the same again this week, especially against the Warriors because if you let them get a roll on they will hurt you.”
Canterbury Bulldogs v Warriors, Belmore Sports Ground, Saturday March 14. Kick-off: 3pm. Referee: Scot Murray
BULLDOGS: 1. COREY THOMPSON 2. TYRONE PHILLIPS 3. LEVI DODD 4. CHASE STANLEY 5. JARROD MCINALLY .6 MATT FRAWLEY 7. LINDON MCGRADY 8. ANTONIO KAUFUSI 9. DAMIEN COOK 10. DANNY FUALALO 11. SHAUN LANE 12. ADAM ELLIOTT 13. LLOYD PERRETT 14. JALINE GRAHAM 15. HERMAN ESE’ESE 16. DAVID MINUTE 17. JASON SCHIRNACK
WARRIORS: 1. VILIAMI KAVEINGA 2. SAULA SOLOMONA 3. JARROD TUA 4. DOMINIQUE PEYROUX 5. WILLIE PEACE 6. API PEWHAIRANGI 7. SAM COOK .8 SUAIA MATAGI 9. SILIVA HAVILI 10. SEBASTINE IKAHIHIFO 11. DAVID BHANA 12. SIONE LOUSI 13. RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER 14. JOHN PALAVI (C) 15. UPU POCHING 16. CHARLIE GUBB 17. NATHANIEL PETERU 18. ZAC TIPPINS 21. STEDMAN LEFAU
Wests Tigers v Wentworthville: SHANNON COMES FULL CIRCLE
TEN years of top-grade rugby league has taken Shannon McDonnell from the Tigers to Newcastle Knights and three clubs in the Super League but now he’s back where it all began and couldn’t be happier.
The 27-year-old fullback is one of the key members of coach Paul Fletcher’s VB NSW Cup side but is far more composed than the young gun who debuted for the Tigers back in 2005.
“I’m back where it all began at the Tigers. Sometimes it’s a bit weird how things turn out,” said McDonnell, who also played three games for Ireland last year.
“I’m just enjoying being home and back with friends and family after three years away.
“You look at rugby league a bit differently, I’m quite relaxed about it all which I guess just comes with that experience of you’ve sorta been there done that type of thing.”
McDonnell’s Tigers started their VB NSW Cup season with a 24-14 with against Newtown.
They host Wentworthville at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday with the Magpies coming off a surprise 30-16 loss at home to North Sydney.
“They’ll obviously want to bounce back after being beat last week,” said McDonnell.
“You’re always looking to get away to a good start but we just have to keep worrying about us.”
Since returning home McDonnell has been suitable impressed with the depth assembled by the Tigers.
One youngster who’s already caught the eye is hooker Manaia Cherrington. The Junior Kiwis rake is contracted to Wests Tigers until the end of 2016.
“I think he’s going to do big things,” said McDonnell.
“It’s only a matter of time before he explodes on the scene.”
Wests Tigers v Wentworthville Magpies, Leichhardt Oval, Saturday March 14, Kick-off: 3pm. Referee: Daniel Olford. Listen live via radiohub.com.au
TIGERS: 1. SHANNON MCDONELL 2. DELOUISE HOETER 3. KEITH LULIA 4. CHANCE PENI 5. KURTIS ROWE 6. SITALEKI AKAUOLA 7. JOSH DRINKWATER (C) 8. DALLAS GRAHAM 9. JOEL LUANI 10. JACK BUCHANAN 11. LAMAR LIOLEVAVE 12. ASIPELI FINE 13. ANDY FIAGATUSA 14. MANAIA CHERRINGTON 15. MICHAEL BULLOCK 16. SALESI FUNAKI 17. INNO INOSESIO
MAGPIES: 1. VAI TOUTAI 2. BEN CROOKS 3. RYAN MORGAN 4. JOHN FOLAU 5. BURETA FARAIMO 6. RYAN MATTERSON 7. LUKE KELLY 8. PENI TEREPO 9. SAM GORMAN 10. DANIEL ALVARO 11. NICK KASSIS 12. JOSEPH UALESI 13. CODY NELSON 14. LIONEL O’MALLY 15. FRED PAKUTOA 16. FABIAN GOODALL 22. TANIELA LASALO
Newcastle v Newtown: 'MURPH' THE MAN FOR JETS
THE Newtown Jets will look to former Queensland Residents star Todd Murphy to steer the ship against the Knights in round two of the VB NSW Cup after losing Kyle Stanley to yet another serious knee injury.
Stanley underwent his fifth knee reconstruction during the week after he was injured in the Jets 24-14 loss to Wests Tigers in the season opener.
“It’s a big loss. Kyle definitely helps me in controlling the game,” said halfback Murphy who has been joined by Nesiasi Mataitonga in the halves for the Jets trip to Kurri Kurri Sportsground.
“We didn’t play our best last week so we need to concentrate against the Knights. You just look at their (Newcastle) team list, they’ll be strong but we need to worry about us.”
A Caloundra Sharks junior and former Brisbane Broncos under-20s player, Murphy was runner-up to Souths Logan Magpies’ Luke Page in the Queensland Cup best and fairest last year.
His form for Norths Devils led to a move to Cronulla and he’s benefitting from a strong off-season under Sharks coach Shane Flanagan.
“Yeah it’s been good. I’m definitely seeing improvements in my game,” said Murphy.
“I feel faster, stronger and fitter than before.”
Murphy and the rest of the Sharks who play for the Jets normally only get the one session with Newtown.
Flanagan’s told him to ‘concentrate on attitude and being positive around the place’ and that’s just what the Jets need this week.
Newcastle will certainly have the majority of crowd support at Kurri Kurri with Matt Lantry’s side also looking to make amends after letting slip a 18-12 lead at home to lose their opening match of the season to the Warriors.
Newcastle Knights v Newtown Jets, Kurri Kurri Sportsground, Saturday March 14. Kick-off: 3pm. Referee: Damian Briscoe
KNIGHTS: 1. NATHAN ROSS 2. JAKE MAMO 3. CHANEL MATA’UTIA 4. JOSH ALLISON 5. HONETI TUHA 6. CARLOS TUIMAVAVE 7. DANNY KERR 8. SAM MATAORA 9. CHAD REDMAN 10. PATERIKA VAIVAI 11. CLINT NEWTON (C) 12. BRETT JARRETT 13. JOSEPH TAPINE 14. JAKE FINN 15. JAMES TAYLOR 16. JAMES ELIAS 17. MICHAEL STEELE 18. DYLAN HARTIN 2. JAMES DE SAXE 24. THEERAN PEARSON 27. SAM KEENAN
JETS: 1. NATHAN GARDNER 2 JACOB GAGAN 3 JACK BIRD 4 BLAKE AYSHFORD 5 DALLAS WELLS 6. NESIASI MATAITONGA 7. TODD MURPHY 8. SAM TAGATAESE 9. PAT POLITONI 10. SAULALA HOUMA 11. JUNIOR ROQICA 12. PATRICE SIOLO 13. TIM ROBINSON 14. KURT DILLON 15. KURT KARA 17. RAY MOUJALLI 19. BLAKE JUDD
Wyong v Mounties: STAR FORWARDS READY TO ROCK
WYONG enjoyed the perfect start to the season with a big win against Manly but they face a genuine test of their title credentials when they host Mounties on Saturday.
Canberra’s feeder club has been blessed with the Raiders free from injuries and that means a host of topline players will again turn out for Mounties.
Former Test and Queensland State of Origin prop David Shillington heads the list with Raiders coach Ricky Stuart opting for a ‘more mobile’ pack in Canberra’s first win of the season against the Sharks.
Shillington and fellow big boppa Shannon Boyd were late inclusions as Stephen Antonelli’s side beat Illawarra Cutters 22-20 in round one.
Winger Bill Tupou, well-travelled halfback Sam Williams and hooker Glen Buttriss give Mounties an edge in experience but the Roos have some guns of their own.
One-time Rabbitoh Yileen Gordon scored two tries in the 34-8 win against Manly and he’ll be hunting for more four-pointers in the centres with experienced forwards Willie Manu and Lagi Setu giving coach Rip Taylor a handy line-up at Morry Breen Oval.
Wyong Roos v Mounties, Morry Breen, Saturday March 14. Kick-off: 6pm. Referee: Liam Nicholls. Listen live via radiohub.com.au.
ROOS: 1. ALEX LANGBRIDGE 2. KIEREN GALLAGHER 3. BRENDON ELLIOTT 4. YILEEN GORDON 5. MATT IKUVALU 6. BROCK MOLAN 7. TYLER CORNISH 8. MAGNUS STROMQUIST 9. MITCH WILLIAMS © 10. ELONI VUNAKECE 11. WILLIE MANU 12. LEIVAHA PULU 13. LAGI SETU 14. JACK SEIJKA 15. ABRAHAM PAPALII 16. SHAUN BOSS 17. JAKE LEWIS 18. BLAKE CARTER
MOUNTIES: 1. JACK AHEARN 2. BILL TUPOU 3. JEREMY HAWKINS 4. MITCH CRONIN 5. GUS AIGA 6. SAM DUGGAN 7. SAM WILLIAMS 8. DAVID SHILLINGTON 9. GLEN BUTTRISS 10. SHANNON BOYD 11. PATRICK MAGO 12. MITCH BARNETT 13. JOEL EDWARDS 14. KURT BAPTISTE 15. KYLE O’DONNELL 16. MARK NICHOLLS 17. LUKE PAGE 18. JEFF LYNCH 19. RHYS KENNEDY