Friday saw the Leeds Rhinos take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the latest chapter of the World Club Challenge. This was once again touted by many Aussie fans as an easy walk for the Australian Club that it will show how much the English are behind, certainly this was the trend in the last three years, but Leeds certainly showed that the top Super league clubs are at least the equal of the Aussies.
In what was one of the classic games of Rugby League, Leeds in front of 21,500 fans at Headingly blitzed the Aussie team to win the WCC and maintain England’s numerical dominance of the tournament 12-8 over Aussie teams. With the 26-12 win Leeds equalled Wigan, Brisbane and and St Helens in terms of appearances (5 times) and also equalled Bradford and Wigan in terms of winning the tournament (3 times).
Manly started very shakily with a knock-on from the kick-off and Leeds were quick to press the attack. The pressure the Rhinos put on eventually game way and they were able to score on the 18th minute. Manly however were quick to apply the pressure back on Leeds and it certainly looked like they were going to score out wide when a intercept and juggle saw Ryan Hall run almost 100 m to score an outstanding try. Manly were able to hit back with pressure when they forced a line drop out with a Stewart try but when Leeds were back down the field a brilliant cross field kick saw Hall bag a double once again. Leeds took a 16 – 6 half time lead.
After the break it was Manly who drew first blood with a Cherry-Evans try and with scores 16 – 12 to Leeds it seemed that Manly were on their way back. In fact it was a different looking Manly in the second stanza as they applied pressure after pressure on the Leeds try line and silly penalties from the Rhinos threatened to destroy their hard work in the first half. It looked like the walls were finally breached but Leeds were given a reprieve with a Leeds defender pushed out of the way. The resulting kick saw nearly 50 meters gained against the wind, with this pressure off Leeds were able to build again.
Attacking the line time and time again, playing what I like to call old school English Rugby League, Leeds were chancing their arm. Yes they were making mistakes at the last tackle but they were having a go and at some point it would have to pay dividend. It finally did 8 minutes from the end when Sinfield, Ablett and Ben Jones-Bishop worked together to pile on two tries and the misery for Manly running out eventaual winners 26-12. So once again English clubs have the bragging rights over the Australian ones.
But in a curious turn it seems that the RFL boss, Nigel Wood, would like to expand the World Club Challenge to include at least the top 3 teams from each competition.
The Irish and USA clash that features on St Patrick’s day is getting closer and the Irish Wolfhounds have released their squad. In reality this is the Ireland A squad as it only features locally grown players, which is a good things, but does not feature any of the Super League or NRL stars.
Adam Hughes (Dublin City Exiles), Alan Trenier (Dublin City Exiles), Andrew Winder (Belfast Bulldogs), Andy McGrory (Coventry Bears), Ashley Huck (Siddal), Brendan Guilfoyle (Treaty City Titans), Graeme Taylor (Ballynahinch Rabbitohs), Joe Smith (Northampton Demons), Joseph Mulhern (Leeds Met Carnegie), Laurence Poynton (Edenderry Boghogs), Mark O’Neill (Treaty City Titans), Matty Hadden (Strangford Sharks), Paddy Barcoe (Carlow RL), Paddy Boyle (Oxford University RL), Paddy James (Ballynahinch Rabbitohs), Sean Carmody (Treaty City Titans), Thomas Ratahi (Carlow RL).
The Serbian Rugby League Federation held its annual awards at prominent Belgrade establishment Restaurant Dvoriste where newly appointed President Predrag Pantic outlined his hopes and objectives for the future.
“The most important aim is to strengthen the existing and establish new centres and to better connect with local governments,” said Pantic, who succeeds Nebojsa Sretenovic.. “Things are moving in right direction.“
Among the guests at the packed event were legendary Serbian athlete Dane Korica, representing the Serbian Spot Association; British military attaché Colonel William English, as well as representatives from the Serbian Military Academy and Milan Milosevic, professor at FORKUP university, one of the biggest sponsors of the Serbian Rugby League Federation in 2011.
“We want to support this great project which was serves our enthusiastic cadets,” noted Colonel Dragan Djini from the Serbian Army Military Academy. “Rugby league is important for the Serbian Army because the sport contains everything that makes a good soldier – determination, courage, perseverance, discipline, team spirit and mutual support. Our desire is to play the game at an international level and we already have contacts with the RAF and the Russians.”
Dalibor Vukanovic of champions Dorcol won the Serbian player of the year award; the best national team player went to veteran hooker Zoran Pesic (RLC Red Star); young player of the year was presented to Pero Madzarevic (RLC Radnicki); rookie of the year went to Mihailo Boskovic (RLC Stari Grad); Mirko Bozovic (RLC Stari Grad) was voted the most improved player and coach of the year went to Marko Jankovic (RLC Dorcol).
Radoslav Novakovic was named best match official, Zivorada Vuksanovic was accorded volunteer of the year; a special award for contribution to development went to Dejan Skaric and Leskovac RLFC won the fair play award.
Today, 17th of February 2012 George Borg LTD signed an agreement for the main sponsorship of the Malta Rugby League (MRL).
The partnership with George Borg LTD’s Unilever-owned Dove Men+Care will see the brand feature prominently throughout the Maltese rugby scene as it transcends in providing a show of financial support for rugby league on the Maltese Islands.
Dove Men+Care Brand Manager Antonella Mizzi said; “As a brand which combines powerful technology and care, Dove Men+Care makes a natural partner for rugby and the MRL sponsorship serves as a commencing to affirming our commitment to the development of the sport.”
Dove Men+Care branding will appear across the Malta national team kit and Malta vice-captain Clifford Debattista welcomed the announcement to an audience at the Balzan Football Club.
The Gozitan rugby league player that was named 2011 MRL Player of the Year said; “I’m delighted at today’s announcement for the Malta Rugby League to boast relations with a renowned Unilever brand such as Dove Men+Care. We’ve achieved a lot of firsts on the islands on the field and being recognised off the field is a credit to all the industrious work going on behind the scenes”
Dove Men+Care delivers superior care for total skin comfort across both the shower and deodorant categories. It extends the Dove brand promise across the male shower and deodorant categories, consistently showing the difference comfortable skin can make: functionally and emotionally.
Dove Men+Care will adorn the off-field wear and the Malta Knights’ national team shirt. Malta will take on Denmark in June at home before the away leg in September.
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