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Friday, 20 February 2009

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Super 14 Teams Round 02 2009

ROUND 2 TEAMS UPDATED: 9:46pm Thursday 19 February 2009.

Teams for ALL TEAMS named, all other sides are Teams from Round 1 (which is stated above side).

Keep coming back for lineups updated as they are released.

FRIDAY

HURRICANES v HIGHLANDERS @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington. HURRICANES: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: C Jane, D Smith, T Ellison (c), J Kawau, H Gear, D Kirkpatrick, P Weepu/A Mathewson. Forwards: V Vito, S Waldrom, F Levave, J Eaton, J Thrush, N Tialata, D Coles, J Schwalger. Bench: G Robinson, J Ellison, A Naikatini, K Lowe, A Mathewson/W Ripia, M Nonu, C Smith. IN: D Smith (Starting), J Kawau (Starting), P Weepu (Starting), V Vito (Starting) J Thrush (Starting), W Ripia (Bench) OUT: Z Guildford (Dropped), M Nonu (Bench), A Mathewson (Bench), R So’oialo (Suspended), B Evans (Dropped). HIGHLANDERS: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: I Dagg, B Smith, J Shoemark, J Leota, F Vainikolo/K Lynn, D Bowden, S Romans. Forwards: S Setephano, A Soakai, A Thomson, H Triggs, J Bekhuis, C Newland, D Hall, C King. Bench: J Rutledge, A Perenise, G Naoupu, T Boys, S Cowan, J Hayward, K Lynn/F Vainikolo. IN: C King (Starting), S Romans (Starting), S Cowan (Bench), A Perenise (Bench). OUT: J Cowan, J Mackintosh (Injured).

WARATAHS v CHIEFS @ SFS, Sydney. WARATAHS: (NAMED 17/2) Backs: S Norton-Knight, L Turner, R Horne, T Tahu, L Tuqiri, K Beale, L Burgess. Forwards: W Palu, P Waugh (c), B Mowen, W Caldwell, D Mumm, A Baxter, T Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Bench: D Palmer, C Thomson, S Fava, B Sheehan, T Carter, D Halangahu. IN: W Palu (Starting), D Palmer (Bench). OUT: S Fava (Bench), J Tilse (Dropped). CHIEFS: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: M Delany, L Masaga, R Kahui, C Bruce, S Sivivatu, S Donald, B Leonard. Forwards: C Bourke, T Latimer, L Messam (c), K O'Neill, T Lynn, B May, H Elliot, S Taumalolo. Bench: A de Malmanche, J McGougan, C Clarke, S Lilo, T Morland, D Sweeney, J Wilson. IN: M Delany (Starting), C Bourke (Starting), C Bruce (Starting), S Lilo (Bench), J Wilson (Bench). OUT: D Sweeney (Bench), C Clarke (Bench), M Muliaina, S Lauaki (Injured).

WESTERN FORCE v CHEETAHS @ Subiaco, Perth. FORCE: (NAMED 18/2, UPDATED 19/2) Backs: N Cummins, H Sare, R Cross, J O'Connor, D Mitchell, M Giteau, J Valentine. Forwards: R Brown, D Pocock, T Horua, N Sharpe (c), P O'Connor, B Castle, T McIsaac, G Hardy. Bench: L Holmes, K Longbottom, T Hockings, M Hodgson, C O'Young, J Tatupu, S Staniforth. IN: N Cummins (Starting), J O'Connor (Starting), J Valentine (Starting), B Castle (Starting), G Hardy (Starting), K Longbottom (Bench), S Staniforth (Bench). OUT: C Shepherd (Injured), J Tatupu (Bench), C O'Young (Bench), AJ Whalley (Dropped), P Cowan (Dropped), T Takiari (Dropped), D Haylett-Petty (Dropped). CHEETAHS: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: H Daniller, D Demas, P van Zyl, J-L Potgieter, F Juries, M Bosman, T de Bruyn. Forwards: F Viljoen, J Smith (c), H Brussow, D de Villiers, N Breedt, B Roux, A Strauss, W du Preez. Bench: R Strauss, K Calldo, W van Heerden, H Scholtz, S Pretorius, H Coetzee, B Basson. IN: F Juries (Starting), P van Zyl (Starting). OUT: C Hus (Dropped), B Basson (Bench).

STORMERS v REDS @ Newlands, Cape Town. STORMERS: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: C Jantjes, T Chavhanga, G Bobo, D Des Fountain/J De Villiers (c), S Naqelevuki/N Koster, P Grant, R Januarie. Forwards: D Vermeulen, F Louw, S Burger, A Bekker, A Fondse, B Mujati, S Brits, JD Moller. Bench: D Fourie, W Blaauw, AJ Venter, L Watson, B Conradie, D Des Fountain/N Koster, P Montgomery. IN: D Des Fountain (Bench), S Naqelevuki (Starting). Out: N Koster (Bench), J Pietersen (Dropped). REDS: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: P Hynes, D Ioane, C Fetoai, B Barnes (c), B Va'aulu, Q Cooper, B Lucas. Forwards: L Houston, D Braid, S Higginbotham, A Byrnes, V Humphries, D Edwards, S Hardman, G Holmes. Bench: S Fainga'a, L Weeks, R Simmons, P Luafutu, W Genia, A Fainga'a, M McLinden. IN: M McLinden (Starting), W Genia (Starting), L Weeks (Starting). OUT: B Va'aulu (Bench), B Lucas (Bench), D Edwards (Bench).

SATURDAY

BRUMBIES v CRUSADERS @ Canberra Stadium, Canberra. BRUMBIES: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: M Gerrard, C Rathbone, A Ashley-Cooper, S Mortlock, F Fainifo, C Leali'ifano, P Phibbs. Forwards: S Hoiles (c), G Smith, J Salvi, M Chisholm, B Hand, G Shepherdson, S Moore, N Henderson. Bench: J Ulugia, B Alexander, S Timani, P Kimlin, J Holmes, T Smith, M Toomua, S Mackay, M Chapman. IN: S Mackay, M Chapman (Bench). OUT: None. CRUSADERS: (NAMED 19/2) Backs: S Brett, J Payne, C Laulala, T Bateman, K Poki, C Slade, A Ellis. Forwards: T Waldrom, G Whitelock, K Read (c), R Filipo, I Ross, B Franks, C Flynn, W Crockett. Bench: J MacDonald, B Murray, M Paterson, N Manu, K Fotuali'i, R Crotty, A Whitelock. IN: S Brett (Starting), G Whitelock (Starting), I Ross (Starting), M Paterson (Bench), N Manu (Bench), R Crotty (Bench). OUT: L MacDonald, B Thorn, R McCaw (Injured).

BULLS v BLUES @ Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria. BULLS: (NAMED 18/2) Backs: Z Kirchner, A Ndungane, J Pretorius, W Olivier, B Habana, M Steyn, F du Preez (c). Forwards: P Spies, D Potgieter, D Stegmann, D Russouw, B Botha, W Kruger, D Kuun, G Steenkamp. Bench: C Ralepelle, F Kirsten, W Steenkamp, P Wannenberg, H Adams, B Francis, JP Nel. IN: D Russouw (Starting), W Steenkamp (Bench). OUT: V Matfield (Injured). BLUES: (NAMED 19/2) Backs: I Toeava, R Ranger, A Tuitavake, J Helleur, P Williams, J Gopperth, C Smiley. Forwards: C Lowrey, J Blackie, J Collins, A Boric, K Haiu, J Afoa, K Mealamu (c)/T McCartney, T Mailau. Bench: T McCartney/F Smith, T Woodcock, D Budd, O Auva'a, G Hart, M Hobbs, W Stanley. IN: J Helleur (Starting), J Gopperth (Starting), C Smylie (Starting), J Blackie (Starting), T Mailau (starting), G Hart (Bench), M Hobbs (Bench), W Stanley (Bench). OUT: T Woodcock (Bench), O Auva'a (Dropped), T Lavea (Dropped), B Stanley, T Moa (Injured), C Faumuina (Dropped), P Saili (Dropped).

SHARKS v LIONS @ ABSA Stadium, Durban. SHARKS: (NAMED 19/2) Backs: S Terblanche, O Ndungane, A Jacobs, F Steyn, JP Pietersen, R Pinaar, R Kockott. Forwards: R Kankowski, J Deysel, K Daniel, J Muller (c), S Sykes, J du Plessis, J Smit, D Carstens. Bench: B du Plessis, T Mtawarira, A Hargreaves, J Botes, R Cronje, R Swanepoel, L Vulindlu. IN: T Mtawarira (Bench). OUT: M Mthethwa (Dropped). LIONS: (NAMED 19/2) Backs: L Ludik, A Willemse, J Fourie, D la Grange, H Mentz, E Rose, J Vermaak. Forwards: W Alberts, F van der Merwe, C Grobbelaar (c), A van Zyl, G Mostert, G Muller, W Wepener, H van der Merwe. Bench: H van Dyk, L Sephaka, R Landman, T Clever, C Jonck, A Pretorius, J Boshoff. IN: No change. OUT: No change.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

2009 Super 14 Season Preview on YouTube

The big boys of the Super 14 are ready to rumble for another year in 2009.
A two part YouTube Season Preview for the 2009 Super 14 Season is live here on www.wdnicolson.blogspot.com 2009 Super 14 Season Preview Part One of Two 2009 Super 14 Season Preview Part Two of Two
You can also check out the videos here at the NSC Videos Channel here or http://www.youtube.com/NSCVideos.
Discuss the Season Preview on YouTube or here on http://www.wdnicolson.blogspot.com/ and let me know if you think I'm way off or somewhat close to some issues the tournament is facing in 2009. Don't forget the first game of the Season is in New Zealand when the Highlanders host the Brumbies so if you're not a Kiwi - make sure you take note of when kick-off is your time and fix your tips and fantasy lineups in advance. NSC's 90 Seconds of Nonsense will be uploaded around midday Friday with our tips for Round 1 of the 2009 Super 14 Season. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Super 14 Teams Round 1 2009

FULLY UPDATED: ALL TEAMS NAMED 7:12pm Thursday 12 February 2009. I've been scouring the internet to try and find a place that listed all the Super 14 Teams for Round 1 of the 2009 season but having failed at that - I've done the hard work and here is an updating blog of line ups after they are named. FRIDAY HIGHLANDERS v BRUMBIES @ Carisbrook, Dunedin. HIGHLANDERS: Backs: I Dagg, B Smith, J Shoemark, J Leota/J Hayward, F Vainikolo, D Bowden, J Cowan (c). Forwards: S Setephano, A Soakai, A Thomson, H Triggs, J Bekhuis, C Newland, D Hall, J Mackintosh. Bench: J Rutledge, C King, G Naoupu, T Boys, S Romans, J Hayward/B Mather, K Lynn. BRUMBIES: Backs: M Gerrard, C Rathbone, A Ashley-Cooper, S Mortlock, F Fainifo, C Leali'ifano, P Phibbs. Forwards: S Hoiles (c), G Smith, J Salvi, M Chisholm, B Hand, G Shepherdson, S Moore, N Henderson. Bench: J Ulugia, B Alexander, S Timani, P Kimlin, J Holmes, T Smith, M Toomua. FORCE v BLUES @ Subiaco, Perth. FORCE: Backs: C Shepherd, H Sare, R Cross, J Tatupu, D Mitchell, M Giteau, C O'Young. Forwards: R Brown, D Pocock, T Horua, N Sharpe (c), P O'Connor, AJ Whalley, T McIsaac, P Cowan. Bench: L Holmes, T Takiari, T Hockings, M Hodgson, J O'Connor, N Cummins, D Haylett-Petty. BLUES: Backs: P Williams, A Tuitavake, I Toeava, B Stanley, R Ranger, T Lavea, T Moa. Forwards: C Lowrey, O Auva'a, J Collins, A Boric, K Haiu, J Afoa, K Mealamu (c), T Woodcock. Bench: T McCartney, C Faumuina, D Budd, P Saili, C Smiley, J Gopperth, J Helleur. LIONS v CHEETAHS @ Ellis Park, Johannesburg. LIONS: Backs: L Ludik, A Willemse, J Fourie, D la Grange, H Mentz, E Rose, J Vermaak. Forwards: W Alberts, F van der Merwe, C Grobbelaar (c), A van Zyl, G Muller, W Wepener, H van der Merwe. Bench: H van Dyk, L Sephaka, R Landman, T Clever, C Jonck, A Pretorius, J Boshoff. CHEETAHS: Backs: H Daniller, D Demas, C Uys, J-L Potgieter, B Basson, M Bosman, T de Bruyn. Forwards: F Viljoen, J Smith (c), H Brussow, D de Villiers, N Breedt, B Roux, A Strauss, W du Preez. Bench: R Strauss, K Calldo, W van Heerden, H Scholtz, S Pretorius, F Juries, P van Zyl. SATURDAY CRUSADERS v CHIEFS @ AMI Stadium (Jade), Christchurch. CRUSADERS: Backs: L MacDonald, J Payne, C Laulala, T Bateman, K Poki, C Slade, A Ellis. Forwards: T Waldrom, R McCaw (c), K Read, R Filipo, B Thorn, B Franks, C Flynn, W Crockett. Bench: J MacDonald, B Murray, I Ross, G Whitelock, K Fotuali'i/S Alfeld, S Brett, A Whitelock. CHIEFS: Backs: M Muliaina (c), L Masaga, R Kahui, D Sweeney, S Sivivatu, S Donald, B Leonard. Forwards: S Lauaki, T Latimer, L Messam, K O'Neill, C Clarke, B May, H Elliot, S Taumalolo. Bench: A de Malmanche, J McGougan, T Lynn, C Bourke, T Morland, M Delany, C Bruce. HURRICANES v WARATAHS @ Westpac Stadium, Wellington. HURRICANES: Backs: C Jane, Z Guildford, T Ellison, M Nonu, H Gear, P Weepu, A Mathewson. Forwards: R So'oialo (c), S Waldrom, F Levave, J Eaton, B Evans, N Tialata, D Coles, J Schwalger. Bench: G Robinson, J Ellison, J Thrush/A Naikatini, K Lowe, D Kirkpatrick, J Kawau, D Smith. WARATAHS: Backs: S Norton-Knight, L Turner, R Horne, T Tahu, L Tuqiri, K Beale, L Burgess. Forwards: S Fava, P Waugh (c), B Mowen, W Caldwell, D Mumm, A Baxter, T Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Bench: J Tilse/D Palmer, C Thomson, W Palu, B Sheehan, T Carter, D Halangahu. STORMERS v SHARKS @ Newlands, Cape Town. STORMERS: Backs: C Jantjes/P Montgomery, T Chavhanga, G Bobo, J De Villiers (c), N Koster, P Grant, R Januarie. Forwards: D Vermeulen, F Louw, S Burger, A Bekker, A Fondse, B Mujati, S Brits, JD Moller. Bench: D Fourie, W Blaauw, AJ Venter, L Watson, B Conradie, J Pietersen, P Montgomery/S Naqelevuki. SHARKS: Backs: S Terblanche, O Ndungane, A Jacobs, F Steyn, JP Pietersen, R Pinaar, R Kockott. Forwards: R Kankowski, J Deysel, K Daniel, J Muller (c), S Sykes, J du Plessis, J Smit, D Carstens. Bench: B du Plessis, M Mthethwa, A Hargreaves, J Botes, R Cronje, R Swanepoel, L Vulindlu. BULLS v REDS @ Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria. BULLS: Backs: Z Kirchner, A Ndungane, J Pretorius, W Olivier, B Habana, M Steyn, F du Preez. Forwards: P Spies, D Potgieter, D Stegmann, V Matfield (c), B Botha, W Kruger, D Kuun, G Steenkamp. Bench: C Ralepelle, F Kirsten, D Rossouw, P Wannenberg, H Adams, B Francis, JP Nel. REDS: Backs: P Hynes, D Ioane, C Fetoai, B Barnes (c), B Va'aulu, Q Cooper, B Lucas. Forwards: L Houston, D Braid, S Higginbotham, A Byrnes, V Humphries, D Edwards, S Hardman, G Holmes. Bench: S Fainga'a, L Weeks, R Simmons, P Luafutu, W Genia, A Fainga'a, M McLinden.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

2009 IPL Top Ten Available Players

February 6, 2009 marks the date for the player auction for the second season of the Indian Premier League to be held in Goa, India. Kevin Pietersen is this young man's first pick - but is he ours? With English players available for the first time amongst the 43 nominated for the auction, here are the Top Ten players available for the season which starts in April - please note Michael Clarke has only just pulled out today but remains on the list. 10. Shaun Tait, Australia (Reserve $250,000) An excitement machine in his opening spell as he can regularly clock in excess of 150km/h with the new pill. Thrived in the 2007 ICC World Cup taking 23 wickets in 11 games to announce himself on the world stage but has struggled since with injury and off-field issues. Still when he’s fit and firing there’s no more impressive sight in cricket than Tait opening the bowling so he’ll be worth his IPL team’s investment given he’ll only need to bowl 4 overs a game. Career T20 Record: GM: 3, WK: 4, ER: 7.91 RPO Career ODI Record: GM: 22, WK: 38, ER: 5.33 RPO (44th in ODI Rankings) 09. Dominic Thornely, Australia (Reserve $50,000) The only non-international on this list is made for the Twenty20 game. A clean hitter of the ball and accomplished batsman he’ll be a perfect middle order option for whichever IPL franchise picks him up – and they’ll likely not have to pay big $$$ for him. Has 23 wickets in 35 domestic T20s so he’s a good all-round option and his fielding has always been a feature of his game. Has scored 610 runs at 24.40 and hit 22 sixes in those 35 games. Career T20 Record: Yet to play an international. Career ODI Record: Yet to play an international. 08. Jesse Ryder, New Zealand, (Reserve $100,000) If his current shoulder injury improves by the time the IPL begins in April, the 24 year old all-rounder is set for stardom as he is made for the Twenty20 game. Attack is the name of the game for Ryder who sports a domestic T20 batting strike rate of 144.06. His medium pacers will be useful in the T20 format but his ability to launch the ball when batting will keep the crowds entertained. Career T20 Record: GM: 4, RUN: 108, STR: 117.39 per 100 balls. Career ODI Record: GM: 12, RUN: 330, S50+: 1 (78th in ODI Rankings) 07. Phil Jaques, Australia (Reserve $100,000) His priority will be to make the touring squad for South Africa and considering his last Test innings yielded a century – he must still be a chance despite having been injured for almost all of this current summer. If he misses that tour his focus will certainly shift to the IPL and his domestic T20 record stands at 30 games, 903 runs and a strike rate of 131.63 – so he looks good value in the auction. Career T20 Record: Yet to play an international. Career ODI Record: GM: 6, RUN: 125, S50+: 1 (Outside Top 100 in ODI Rankings) 06. Stuart Clark, Australia (Reserve $250,000) Currently ranked the World’s #3 Test Bowler, the line and length machine that is Stuart Clark still has plenty to offer the shorter form of the game if he can overcome his elbow injury in time for the IPL. Will be keen for plenty of cricket before the Ashes Tour of England mid-year so he’ll be a fine addition to any IPL squad. A handy striker of the ball too which is a nice bonus down the order. Career T20 Record: GM: 9, WK: 13, ER: 6.58 RPO Career ODI Record: GM: 36, WK: 50, ER: 4.90 RPO (24th in ODI Rankings) 05. Paul Collingwood, England (Reserve $250,000) England’s glue in the middle order is going to fetch a pretty penny at the auction because he is a rounded player suited to the Twenty20 format. He can build and bash with the bat and his fielding skills still rank amongst the best in the world. Has 84 ODI wickets and 13 in 14 T20 games so he could be a sneaky wicket taker in the IPL. He is ranked as the 10th best ODI all-rounder. A fighter no matter what level he plays so he’ll be a big boost to adding some intensity to the IPL game. Career T20 Record: GM: 14, RUN: 330, STR: 140.42 per 100 balls Career ODI Record: GM: 154, RUN: 3773, S50+: 24 (28th in ODI Rankings) 04. Michael Clarke, Australia (Reserve $1,000,000) The top ranked Australian may be paid more than his $1million reserve but his game isn’t ideally suited to the Twenty20 format so he can’t go any higher on this list. Is a superb batsman when he has time to build an innings but has never really shone in a dasher’s role which is what he’d be expected to do for his IPL franchise. Still his left arm darts might prove useful (47 wickets in ODIs) and his competitiveness will bring out the best in his teammates. But if you’re expecting him to win games on his own, you might be disappointed when it comes to Twenty20 cricket. Career T20 Record: GM: 14, RUN: 147, STR: 126.72 per 100 balls Career ODI Record: GM: 143, RUN: 4108, S50+: 33 (24th in ODI Rankings) 03. Kevin Pietersen, England (Reserve $1,350,000) He has the highest reserve price in the auction but is just a touch too one dimensional to be the top pick in this draft. There is no doubt he’s the best batsman available in the auction and he is a match winner, but unless he starts bowling his off breaks more often in the IPL his impact on the game will be limited to batting. His domestic T20 strike rate is 143.60 which is actually lower than his international T20 strike rate of 148.77 – in short he can score quickly. His marketability will be an added perk for whichever team buys him but like other English players on this list he may only be available for three weeks of this season. Career T20 Record: GM: 14, RUN: 363, STR: 148.77 per 100 balls Career ODI Record: GM: 87, RUN: 3047, S50+: 27 (8th in ODI Rankings) 02. Jean-Paul Duminy, South Africa (Reserve $300,000) Duminy was the find of the South African tour of Australia during 2008/2009 and his performances in the shorter versions of the game were nothing short of brilliant. His classy batting style proved to be the thorn in the Australian’s side during the One Day Series as he averaged almost 60 and became a cheeky bowling option with his right arm off spinners. Has played a lot of domestic T20 cricket (34 games) and whoever buys him will certainly get a chance to market the hottest new talent on the international scene. Career T20 Record: GM: 8, RUN: 235, STR: 146.87 per 100 balls. Career ODI Record: GM: 42, RUN: 993, S50+: 6 (29th in ODI Rankings) 01. Andrew Flintoff, England (Reserve $950,000) The world’s 3rd ranked all-rounder in the One Day arena is a force in all forms of the game and his devastating talents with both bat and ball make him the stand out choice at number one. Even if he only plays three weeks worth of IPL Flintoff could have a massive impact on his team’s championship chances. Has yet to play a lot of Twenty20 cricket so durability may be a concern but he is clearly the best player available in the second IPL player auction. Career T20 Record: GM: 7, RUN: 76, STR: 126.66 per 100 balls, WK: 5 Career ODI Batting: GM: 138, RUN: 3391, S50+: 21 (42nd in ODI Rankings) Career ODI Bowling: GM: 138, WK: 163, ER: 4.38 RPO (9th in ODI Rankings) Others of note: George Bailey, AUS ($50,000), Shane Harwood, AUS ($75,000), Steven Smith, AUS ($75,000), Tamim Iqbal, BAN ($50,000), Kyle Mills, NZ ($150,000), Jerome Taylor, WI ($TBC). On the web: http://www.iplt20.com/home.html

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Ten Years Ago in Rugby League

Let me take you back to March 1999 and a copy of Rugby League Week. Here are some of the storylines from the NRL that season the March 31 edition of Rugby League Week. The competition was only four rounds old but perennial 1990s heavyweights Brisbane and Manly were winless and the Sharks were unbeaten on their way to the Minor Premiership. Eventual premiers the Melbourne Storm had beaten the grand finalists from the year before (Bulldogs & Broncos) in the opening month and RLW featured a number of snippets suggesting that the Storm could indeed take out the title in 1999. But these bold calls can’t be considered in the Nostraldamus category given the Storm fell just one game short of the 1998 decider when they were beaten by the Broncos in the Preliminary Final. However the Storm did win the Premiership so… Back to March 1999 and some of the storylines, quotes and predictions that stand out.  Cliffy Lyons came out of retirement at age 37 to play for the struggling Sea Eagles in their 32-16 loss to the Knights who were led by a dominant Andrew Johns. Lyons set up two tries for the winless Sea Eagles who managed to get back into the game just after halftime through a Terry Hill try in the 45th Minute but Johns (who had two try assists from kicks in the opening half) took over again just 11 minutes later putting prop Glenn Grief over for the match winning try and a 22-10 lead. The match also featured a try by the hooker of the 1990s Steve Walters who was to play in one of his last ever games before retirement midway through the 1999 season.  North Queensland Coach Tim Sheens may not have had the magic touch with the Cowboys after leaving the Raiders but he still knew talent like few others. Utility John Doyle had played just 3 games in the 1999 season and 16 games overall at the time of publication but Sheens predicted the converted hooker had representative honours in his future. “I believe he has the potential to play for Queensland. When you look at specialist hookers eligible for the Maroons, only the incumbents Jamie Goddard and Jason Hetherington are better equipped than John.” Doyle would make his State of Origin debut for Queensland in Game I, 2001 scoring a try in the Maroons 34-16 victory. He played three games in all for Queensland, winning two and losing one.  Evergreen front rower Steven Price, now with the Warriors, was a then 25 year old who had just re-signed with the Bulldogs for three seasons claiming that “Money’s never been the big thing for me.” History will show that the Bulldogs obviously still paid Price a big chunk of dough as the contract he signed which would expire at the end of 2002, coincided with the season the Bulldogs were punished severely for completely ignoring the salary cap set by the NRL. Price went onto sign for two more years until the end of the 2004 season – presumably this time on less money. But money became the big thing for him when he signed with the Warriors in 2005 (who themselves would face a penalty for breaking the salary cap after Price joined them), leaving the Bulldogs because they couldn’t match the gigantic offer from across the ditch.  In response to the NRL Judiciary’s decision to suspend their Kiwi international forward Stephen Kearney, the Melbourne Storm suggest that “we may as well all start wearing skirts” while playing Rugby League that season. Storm CEO Chris Johns is the man responsible for the comment and sanctions a new mascot for the following week’s home game at Olympic Park versus the Bulldogs. ‘Skirt Man’ makes an appearance before the game and does a lap of the ground (yes a man in a Storm jersey and a tutu) which evidently fires the Storm up on their way to a 26-17 win over the Dogs.  A minute’s silence is planned for Balmain youngster Tai Savea who died in a fishing incident while back in his native New Zealand earlier in the year. The 20 year old was a former Warriors junior and both the Tigers and Warriors would observe a minute’s silence in memory of the young man. In light of the recent disappearance of Sonny Fai during the off-season it is a sobering thought to realise this has happened before.  Then Melbourne Coach Chris Anderson was interviewed about his recent appointment as Australian Coach and was asked about his opinion on Brett Kimmorley as a potential future Australian skipper. “I have a huge wrap on Brett Kimmorley, but I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on the kid. He reminds me of a young Terry Lamb, and that’s the biggest wrap I can give him.” Kimmorley may never have quite reached the heights of the Australian captaincy but he did play 23 Tests for Australia (2 in Super League) but the comparison to Terry Lamb isn’t that far off given Kimmorley’s longevity in the game and ability to give 100% each week. Granted he shouldn’t be considered as good as the Canterbury champion but Anderson wasn’t far off with his assessment of the then 22 year old.  For the record here are the line-ups of the Top and bottom sides in the NRL at the completion of Round 4, 1999. o CRONULLA – 4 wins, 0 losses, 106 Points For, 36 Points Against.  D Peachey, M Rogers, A Ettingshausen, R Richardson, B Howland, J Ferris, M Healey; J Stevens, D Treister, M Lang, S Ryan, N Long, N Graham. Res: T Maddison, A Pierce, C McKenna, S Donate. Coach: J Lang. o MANLY – 0 wins, 4 losses, 44 Points For, 155 points Against.  A King, A Frew, A Torrens, T Hill, B Reeves, C Lyons, C Field; O Cunningham, G Toovey, N Tierney, D Gartner, G Mackay, N Kosef. Res: A Peters, J Hopoate, W Doyle, S Fulton. Coach: B Fulton. And how did they finish? Cronulla won the Minor Premiership by 2 points with 18 wins and 6 lossses but lost to the St.George-Illawarra Dragons in the Preliminary Final. Manly were 13th with only 9 wins, 13 losses and a draw, missing the Finals by 9 points. So there you go, March 1999 in Rugby League.