Fri 21 September
Bulldogs bark drowns out Roosters crow
Fijian Rugby League’s premier prize, the Vodafone Cup, has been won for the first time by the Fair Trade Makoi Bulldogs.
They defeated Sabeto Roosters 12-10 in a thrilling final in the capital Suva.
Ilikena Niumatailwalu was the Bulldogs hero, the stand-off’s accuracy with the boot proving decisive as the Roosters missed a late conversion attempt to tie the scores.
"The hard work that we have put in this team for the past few years and this season has finally paid off", said delighted Bulldogs coach and former Bati international, Maika Vunivere.
Full story: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=212014
Kiwi trio train on
New Zealand’s national selectors – Richie Barnett, Tony Iro, Stephen Kearney and Tawera Nikau – have added three more players to the train-on squad for October’s Townsville test against Australia.
Canberra Raiders’ Josh Papalii, and North Queensland Cowboys’ duo Jason Taumalolo and Antonio Winterstein are added after their side’s NRL play-off defeats.
Papalii is currently at the centre of a tug-of-war between administrators in New Zealand and Queensland, where coach Mal Meninga is anxious to secure the Auckland-born but Brisbane-reared back-rower for State of Origin rugby.
Kiwis making plans for world domination
New Zealand’s Rugby League bosses have named strong under 16s and 18s squad to tour Australia next month.
According to coach Ricky Henry, the tour will “provide some great development opportunities” for New Zealand’s World Cup stars of the future.
PNG pick six of the best
Six debutants have been named in the Papua New Guinea Prime Minister’s XIII to play Mal Meninga’s Australian Rugby League Commission side in Port Moresby on Sunday (23 September).
Mathew Puke and Roy Kela (Muruks), Wesley Mohukule (Lahanis), Enock Maki (Vipers), Wartovo Puaria Jr (Guria) and Essau Siune (Lions) are included alongside Eagles’ star centre Jason Tali.
The team is likely to be captained by veteran prop Rodney Pora, who led his Guria side to Digicel Cup glory last weekend, and coached by ex-Kumuls international Adrian Lam.
Meninga’s side includes Newcastle Knights’ Akuila Uate and Darius Boyd, and Brisbane Broncos’ Scott Prince and Corey Parker.
University honour for Ireland coach
Ireland and Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston is to be honoured by the city’s Hallam University as part of its 2012 graduation programme.
The long-serving Eagle, famously a Challenge Cup winner with them in 1998, has long championed links with the university. Aston’s efforts have seen some of Hallam’s most talented student Rugby League players become fully fledged internationals, and led to the university side now challenging for a premier league place.
Full story: http://www.shu.ac.uk/news/release.html?ID=1153
Tomahawks ready for battle
World Cup preparations continue for the USA this Sunday with the second Colonial Cup clash with Canada in Fairfield, Connecticut.
The USA won the first match of the series in Toronto 28-24 and utility player Curtis Cuntz is expecting another close contest.
"This game is a typical USA versus Canada rivalry" he says. "In any sport we play, that rivalry is always good. ...it's always very aggressive and kind of take-no-prisoners brutal type of thing."
No play-off swansong for Tongan Moa
Barnstorming Tongan international Sam Moa has played his last game in Super League.
Fans' favourite Moa had hoped to return from injury in time to boost his side’s play-off hopes before linking up with Sydney Roosters in 2013. But a long-term bicep injury, added to the fact that Tonga are not scheduled to play at the KC Stadium in the 2013 World Cup, mean that Moa has played his last game at the KC Stadium.
Scorpions seal Tongan signature
Tongan international James Tutuila will be turning-out for South Wales Scorpions in Rugby League World Cup year.
The 22-year old second row forward recently made a try-scoring international debut in the Tongan’s 28-20 win over USA in Hawaii.
Teenage Scotland international David Scott picked up two prestigious awards at Hull Kingston Rovers’ youth presentation night.
Scott, who hopes to feature in next year’s Rugby League World Cup, was named the Reserves Player of the Year and Man of Steel.