Category: Cowboys

GUILTY! The Judiciary Fallout

The NRL judiciary has been given the night off this week with all six players charged by the match review committee taking the early guilty plea on Tuesday. Manly co-captain Jason King, Canberra prop Brett White, Warriors five-eighth James Maloney and Cronulla hooker Paul Aiton will all sit out one game, while Matt Bowen and Luke Walsh are both free to play. King’s absence, for a knee lift in last weekend’s loss to Melbourne, leaves the Sea Eagles without a skipper with Jamie Lyon out for a month with a hamstring strain. White’s absence has opened the door for Josh Miller to come into Canberra’s squad, while young gun Isaac John replaces Maloney in the Warriors No.6 jumper.

Tariq Sims gets his chance

North Queensland coach Neil Henry says forward Tariq Sims has earned his NRL debut against Newcastle on Saturday with a good attitude and some hard work during the pre-season. The 21-year-old will join brother Ashton, who is five years older and has already played 138 NRL games, in the Cowboys pack for the clash in Townsville. “Tariq will definitely be playing. He’s earned the right to make his NRL debut alongside his brother which is exciting for the Sims family,” said Henry, who’s reshuffled his pack after losing left edge forward Scott Bolton (calf) for three to four weeks. “He’s (Tariq) produced some good trial form and he deserves it for his work ethic at training throughout the pre-season.” Henry said the young Sims was a good worker for his 106kgs and he didn’t lack confidence. “He’s going to find out how quick it (NRL) is out there and being on the bench we can limit or extend his time on the field depending on how he is going,” said Henry. Gavin Cooper, who was solid off the bench in last week’s 16-14 win over Brisbane, will fill Bolton’s spot on the left side which is where he likes to play. Continue reading

For the next 26 weeks of the NRL Dream Team Competition, I’ll be reviewing the rounds top performers.  To make it in this list each week a player must have a season average of 45 or more and score 50 points or more in the review round.  Mid season, I’ll review the top performers in all the key positions using a different criteria for each position.

There were mixed results across the board in round 1, a few players ventured into the 40’s but only eight broke into the 50’s.  Some high priced stars were disappointing – Corey Parker, Nathan Hindmarsh and Paul Gallen and on the other side of the coin Ashley Harrison (62) and Aiden Tolman (60) were exceptional – the only players in the round to break 60 and for Ashley Harrison, the only Titan to break 40. 

Johnathan Thurston returned to Dream Team form; scoring 55 points and no doubt will make the Cowboys faithful very happy.  It was a case of what could have been though – JT loosing 16 points from mistakes, the worst from the Top Performers.  Continue reading

The NRL Match-Review committee today laid six charges from the weekend games; Brett White, Jason King, Matt Bowen, James Maloney, Paul Aiton and Luke Walsh all having cases to answer. Sharks Paul Aiton is facing two weeks on the sidelines after he was charged with an alleged heat butt on Raiders Joel Thompson. Aiton will miss one week if he pleads guilty, or could face two weeks if he fights the charge and loses. Canberra’s Brett White and Manly’s Jason King could both miss a week of football after being charged with Grade 1 dangerous contact for lifting knees while running with the ball. Matt Bowen is facing a Grade 1 dangerous contact charge for sliding in with the feet on Broncos Matt Gillett, but will avoid suspension if he takes the early guilty plea. Warriors five-eighth James Maloney could miss his side’s clash with the Wests Tigers after he was charged for dangerous contact on Jarryd Hayne. Panthers halfback Luke Walsh has been charged with a high tackle on Knights James McManus, but will not miss the Round 2 clash with Parramatta. Continue reading

Cowboys second-rower Scott Bolton could be out of action for up to six weeks as a result of a calf muscle tear sustained in Friday night’s game.Bolton went down about 18 minutes into the 16-14 triumph over the Brisbane Broncos and initial estimates of two weeks on the bench have now been replaced by a possible time frame of “two to six weeks”. Coach Neil Henry said Bolton would undergo MRI scans on the injury this morning but with the results of the scan still to be reviewed he added that an accurate time frame was hard to provide. “He could be out for several weeks,” he said. “It could be two to six weeks depending on how severe it is. The docs say it’s a deep tissue tear so it could be about four weeks.” Bolton’s loss is a bitter blow to the Cowboys and no doubt a tough pill to swallow for the rugged Innisfail Brothers junior, who has been on the fringe of Origin selection for the last two seasons. But Bolton’s absence didn’t prove fatal on Friday as the Cowboys came out tops to break a seven-match losing streak to Brisbane stretching back to the start of 2007. Continue reading

Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen will today come under scrutiny from the NRL match review committee for lashing out with his foot to try and stop a try in Friday night’s 16-14 defeat of the Broncos. Bowen was not put on report, but the 56th minute incident was flagged for review after he twice tried to use his boot to stop Brisbane utility Matt Gillett grounding the ball. Gillett managed to get across the tryline, but was penalised for a double movement in a crucial call by match officials as the Broncos were trailing 16-10 at the time. The incident is one of several that will be studied closely today by the NRL match review panel to determine whether contact was made, including allegations of lifting knees against Manly prop Jason King and Canberra’s Brett White. Warriors halfback James Maloney also faces an anxious wait to learn whether he is charged over an early tackle on Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne while he was fielding a kick during the Eels 24-18 win at Eden Park on Saturday night. Continue reading

1. Anthony Mitchell (Eels) – The Eels have struggled to find a regular dummy-half in recent years but with the emergence of 21-year-old Anthony Mitchell in late 2010 their search could soon be over. The highly-rated young hooker boasts all the skills – lightning service, a crisp passing game and speed off the mark. Likely to be part of a three-man rotation for the Eels this year, he will battle for the No.9 jersey with Matt Keating and new arrival Casey McGuire but the general consensus is that the hooking spot will become his alone in the long term. Mitchell played three games for the Eels at the back end of the 2010 season, scoring two tries, and was selected in the Indigenous All Stars side earlier this year.

2. Siuatonga Likiliki (Knights) – Boasting one of the greatest names in rugby league history – right up there with the likes of former Bronco Steele Retchless and South Sydney’s Bronco Djura – Siuatonga Likiliki made a name for himself playing for the Warriors’ premiership-winning Toyota Cup side last season when he scored 19 tries in 25 games. Now with Newcastle, the 20-year-old speedster already has tongues wagging in the Hunter where he will join Akuila Uate in a lightning-fast backline. A Junior Kiwis representative in 2010, Likiliki was named in both the 2009 and 2010 Toyota Cup Team of the Year. Continue reading

JT happy with Coach Henry

North Queensland star Johnathan Thurston has issued a warm public endorsement of his embattled club coach Neil “King” Henry on the eve of a make-or-break season.In the countdown to Friday night’s NRL season opener against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, the Cowboys co-captain moved to quash speculation he stands bitterly divided from Henry. Thurston admits the pair “butt heads” and have heated arguments, placing stress on their relationship at times, but he argued that was reflective of a healthy coach-captain partnership. “Our relationship is a mix of things … you do butt heads at times, you do have disagreements, but that’s healthy and those type of situations are due to the fact we both love the club so much and want it to do well,” Thurston said. “We have a good captain-coach relationship. I’ve known Neil for a while now, ever since I’ve been at the club (2005), and we’re both so passionate about the Cowboys. Continue reading

Cowboy Hogans run of injuries

He might not call himself lucky but North Queensland Cowboys second-rower Dane Hogan has dodged another injury bullet.Hogan sustained a partial dislocation to his shoulder playing for the Mackay Cutters in a trial match against the Easts Tigers at the weekend, just two weeks after hyper-extending his knee playing for the Cowboys against the Wests Tigers. The 21-year-old Bribie Island product now expects to start the year playing Queensland Cup instead of NRL because of his injury run, but he’s treating the fact he’ll be able to start the season at all as a blessing. Both injuries had the potential to cause much more damage to both Hogan’s body and his prospects of capitalising on a breakthrough year in first-grade. Hogan made 10 NRL appearances for the Cowboys in 2010 and scored his debut first-grade try along the way. “It hasn’t been the best start to this season but it was better news than I thought it would be, Continue reading

Henry given 6 weeks!

Neil Henry has been given six weeks to save his coaching career. The Sun-Herald has been told the North Queensland coach will be punted if he is unable to immediately turn around the fortunes of the underperforming club. 

The ruthless nature of life as a coach in the NRL was highlighted when Brisbane’s Ivan Henjak was sacked this week before a ball had been kicked in the 2011 premiership. Ironically, his replacement, assistant coach Anthony Griffin, had been earmarked as a target for the Cowboys if Henry suffers the same fate. Like Henjak, Henry has a strained relationship with senior players. Despite denials from both parties, it is an open secret that there has been friction with star playmaker Johnathan Thurston. The Cowboys are yet to confirm whether Thurston will retain the captaincy. There is no shortage of potential replacements with Wayne Bennett, Ricky Stuart, Michael Maguire, Mal Meninga, Daniel Anderson, Nathan Brown and Jason Taylor among those available. Continue reading