Category: NRL Rugby

NRL Rugby News

Dec 30

Australia’s sporting year in review – success stories and slip-ups of 2017 | Paul Connolly

It has been a rollercoaster year across the codes but women’s sport has gone from strength to strength‘This moment is for you’: how women’s sport rocked 2017Australian sports quiz of the year 2017In the 43rd minute of the Matildas’ 30 July match agains…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/31/australian-sporting-year-in-review-2017

Dec 25

Australian sports quiz of the year 2017

Richmond broke their premiership drought, Melbourne reigned supreme and it was a great year in women’s sport. But did you pay attention to the detail?Richmond ended the 10th longest premiership drought in VFL/AFL history this year (37 years, last premi…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/26/australian-sports-quiz-of-the-year-2017

Dec 21

Angus Crichton has finger amputated to ensure fitness for new NRL season

Souths backrower takes desperate measure to avoid injury layoff‘I’m going to have it cut in half because I’m just over it,’ he saysSouth Sydney star Angus Crichton has had his finger amputated to ensure he is ready for the 2018 NRL season. The player’s…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/21/angus-crichton-has-finger-amputated-to-ensure-fitness-for-new-nrl-season

Nov 09

Johnathan Thurston ‘humbled’ after scooping Queensland’s Australian of the Year award

Cowboys player recognised for his work in the communityCould become fifth Indigenous sportsperson to win national awardJohnathan Thurston, the talismanic North Queensland Cowboys captain, is in contention to be named Australian of the Year af…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/09/jonathan-thurston-humbled-after-scooping-queenslands-australian-of-the-year-award

Nov 01

Gold Coast ‘blindsided’ by reports of Jarryd Hayne exit request

Player wants to return to Sydney, agent reportedly tells TitansClub expecting Hayne back for pre-season trainingJarryd Hayne reportedly wants to leave the Gold Coast Titans just a few months after triggering his option for another $1m season with the N…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/02/gold-coast-blindsided-by-reports-of-jarryd-hayne-exit-request

Oct 30

Premiership is Roosters to lose after flourish of Cooper Cronk’s pen

With the addition of the NRL great, the Bondi club has the final piece of the puzzle – the leader and organiser they have longed forThe Sydney Roosters rarely miss their man. And despite having the NSW halfback and not being mentioned as even an outsid…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/31/premiership-is-roosters-to-lose-after-flourish-of-cooper-cronks-pen

Oct 13

No sin-bin for punches, no problem – Rugby League World Cup boss

Penalties will be left to the discretion of a single refereeAn in-goal video referral system will replace the NRL bunkerOfficials won’t need to implement mandatory sin-bins for punches during the Rugby League World Cup to clamp down on the illegal act,…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/13/no-sin-bin-for-punches-no-problem-rugby-league-world-cup-boss

Oct 13

50 Years of Tears: NRL photo wins top Walkley prize

Grant Trouville’s shot captured Paul Gallen and Andrew Ettingshausen’s tearful ‘cuddle’ as Cronulla Sharks claimed their first Premiership 50 Years of Tears – an image which depicts the tearful embrace of Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen and club le…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/oct/13/50-years-of-tears-nrl-photo-wins-top-walkley-prize

Oct 02

Australia go for blend of youth and experience for Rugby League World Cup

Seven players selected from NRL premiers Melbourne Storm Felise Kaufusi one of six rookies in Mal Meninga’s squadMelbourne bolter Felise Kaufusi has been confirmed as one of seven Storm players named in Australia’s 24-man squad for the upcoming Rugby L…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/03/australia-go-for-blend-of-youth-and-experience-for-rugby-league-world-cup

Oct 02

Australia go for blend of youth and experience for Rugby League World Cup

  • Seven players selected from NRL premiers Melbourne Storm
  • Felise Kaufusi one of six rookies in Mal Meninga’s squad

Melbourne bolter Felise Kaufusi has been confirmed as one of seven Storm players named in Australia’s 24-man squad for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup. Kaufusi is one of six rookies included by coach Mal Meninga, with Melbourne team-mates Cameron Munster and Jordan McLean also selected.

Related: Melbourne claim NRL premiership with champions across field | Matt Cleary

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/03/australia-go-for-blend-of-youth-and-experience-for-rugby-league-world-cup

Oct 02

Tony Abbott renews attack on Macklemore – and reveals preference for Savage Garden

Former PM names band whose lead singer is in a same-sex marriage as he says an Australian should have played NRL final

Tony Abbott has attempted to reignite his feud with Macklemore – despite the rapper being on a plane back to the US – by saying that an Australian artist should have been chosen to perform at the NRL grand final and also revealing that he prefers Savage Garden, a band whose lead singer is gay and in a same-sex marriage.

Related: From Andrew Bolt to Macklemore: a brief history of Tony Abbott on free speech

Footy fans shouldn’t be subjected to a politicised grand final. Sport is sport! https://t.co/1uRh4eZ61Z

I’m no fan of Tony of Abbott.

Related: ‘Equality for all’: Macklemore issues emotional plea during NRL grand final

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/oct/02/tony-abbott-renews-attack-on-macklemore-and-reveals-preference-for-savage-garden

Oct 01

Churchill medallist Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk coy on NRL futures

  • Emotional Slater says he will take a decision on retirement ‘soon’
  • Cronk refuses to confirm plans after Storm’s 34-6 win over Cowboys

Melbourne fullback Billy Slater refused to be drawn on his future plans after his Clive Churchill medal-winning performance inspired the Storm to a convincing 34-6 win over North Queensland in the NRL grand final.

The future of Slater, who is off contract, had been the subject of much talk heading into the game at ANZ Stadium but he did not let the speculation affect his performance on Sunday night as he put in a stand-out performance.

Related: Melbourne Storm blow away Cowboys to secure NRL premiership

Related: NRL grand final 2017: Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys – in pictures

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/01/churchill-medallist-billy-slater-and-cooper-cronk-coy-on-nrl-futures

Oct 01

Melbourne Storm blow away Cowboys to secure NRL premiership

It was a script that Hollywood screenwriters would have been proud of, not a Rocky Balboa-style against-all-the-odds win for North Queensland, but a fitting finale for Melbourne maestro Cooper Cronk as the halfback helped the Storm secure a dominant 34-6 grand final victory.

Related: Churchill medallist Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk coy on NRL futures

Related: ‘Equality for all’: Macklemore issues emotional plea during NRL grand final

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/01/melbourne-storm-blow-away-cowboys-to-secure-nrl-premiership

Oct 01

Melbourne Storm beat North Queensland Cowboys in 2017 NRL grand final – as it happened

12.13pm BST

Final thoughts

The Melbourne Storm lived up to their billing as hot favourites by putting on a near faultless performance tonight. Rocked by the early loss of Shaun Fensom – and hobbled by Johnathan Thurston’s absence – the Cowboys were always a step behind, the Storm’s defence keeping them away from their danger zone and forcing converted half Michael Morgan to bomb hopefully – and ultimately hopelessly.

12.08pm BST

Craig Bellamy and the Storm are now called onto the stage. Cameron Smith then takes his turn at the mic and praises the Cowboys for making the decider under trying circumstances. He thanks the crowd, and there is certainly a sizeable Storm contingent hanging about still. He then thanks the club staff and coaches and their families, and the families of the players.

“To all the players, not only the 17 here, but the rest of the group, it’s been a pleasure to be part of this year. It’s been hard work but we put to bed early what happened here last year.”

11.56am BST

Losing captain Gavin Cooper takes the stage and congratulates “Smith and Bellyache [Bellamy]” and the rest of the Storm. He praises the Cowboys’ supporters and tells his teammates he’s proud of their efforts. He wraps up wishing Cronk and Slater all the best.

11.54am BST

Slater named Churchill Medallist

I would have had Smith a nose ahead but can’t argue with the announcement just now that Billy Slater is this year’s Clive Churchill medal. What a comeback season he’s had when it looked as if his career was in jeopardy. He watched last season’s decider from the sidelines and now he’s up on the dais failing to hold back the tears. Today’s effort: 170m, one try and a try assist.

11.48am BST

Craig Bellamy is going between the players and the affection and gratitude the players feel towards him is so apparent. What an influence he has had on the Storm since taking over from Mark Murray in 2003.

11.45am BST

Cooper Cronk: “There are no fairytales in rugby league. It’s just about working hard and hoping the results come your way. I don’t know what I’d be if it wasn’t for the Storm. I’ve nothing but gratitude to the people who have played a part. The club has been a big influence on my career and me as a person. Melbourne Storm makes you bigger than you are, better than you are.”

On playing with Slater and Smith? “They are reliable. I don’t think Cameron Smith has thrown me a bad pass in my career. And Billy has never let me down. I’d like to think we inspired each other to keep working hard. Unfortunately this is the last time we’ll do it together.”

11.41am BST

Michael Morgan: “They are a very good side. The best at breaking a team down. Once they get ahead they really grind it out. We spoke about needing points early [in the second half] and we got that but we couldn’t sustain the pressure and they scored again.”

[A good season?] “I’m proud but it hurts. It now feels like a waste of a season to be honest. You’ve come this far and we were a little bit embarrassed tonight. But the score doesn’t reflect the effort we put in this season.”

11.37am BST

Billy Slater is collared for the first time today: “It’s a lot of hard work to be as consistent as we were all year It’s a great performance.”

Reflecting on missing last year’s grand final due to injury he lets a tear slip: “I didn’t know if I’d get back here. Whether my body would let me. It was the toughest thing to sit through last year, being helpless. I wasn’t going to let that happen today [as his daughter and son rush to embrace him].

11.35am BST

What a comprehensive win to the Storm who delightedly embrace as the Cowboys collapse in a heap. The Big 3 were simply outstanding.

11.32am BST

80 min: The Storm take their time with their final set and it’s Smith tackled with the ball as the hooter goes.

11.31am BST

79 min: Granville circles looking for an opening but none appears. Coote then kicks inside where Cronk claims the ball and dives to the deck just inside the field of play. Not bothering with rules Granville simply drags Cronk into the in-goal giving away a penalty.

11.29am BST

78 min: After taking a bomb Addo-Carr is driven over the sideline giving the Cowboys the ball from 25m out.

11.27am BST

77 min: Craig Bellamy has come down from his box to celebrate with his players on the sideline.

11.27am BST

A tough one from the left for a leftie, but Smith is having the kind of game that makes the difficult look easy.

11.26am BST

In centre field, Smith passes right to Cronk who passes straight back to Smith. Smith then finds Slater on the fly back on the inside. Slater races into the clear and though Coote brings him down, Harris finds himself with the ball and he makes a mighty long pass to his left and hits Addo-Carr on the chest. The wonderful winger as a five-metre trot to complete his try double!

11.22am BST

71 min: The game is at such a state that the commentators have time to muse on what Slater and Cooper might do after the game. Retire on top or play on.

Meantime, Morgan puts up another bomb that Vunivalu catches in his own in-goal. Granville smacks the ball out of his hand as he strolls forward to take the 20m restart. Penalty to the Storm.

11.20am BST

70 min: We enter the final 10 minutes with the result wrapped up. The Cowboys will do well now to keep the deficit to its current level.

11.19am BST

… and offloads to 19-year-old centre Curtis Scott who has a clear run to the line!

11.18am BST

66 min: That try, you’d imagine, has ended any hopes of a Cowboys comeback.

Yep, that’s for sure. Working the ball out from his own line, Linnett is tackled by Addo-Carr who pilfers the ball …

11.16am BST

Easy peasy for Smith who is firming as Churchill Medallist.

11.15am BST

Smith receives the ball at dummy half, the Cowboys’ line metres away. The Storm are lined up on the right deeper than the Mariana Trench. But Smith passes to Finucane at first receiver and he charges over between the attempted tackles of Cooper and Hampton!

11.12am BST

63 min: As the Storm prepare to feed a scrum 35m out, the crowd figure comes in: 79,722. “Well done,” says Rabbits Warren.

11.10am BST

61 min: But that’s a set they’ll wish they could take back. A tame five tackles before an even tamer crossfield kick on the last. Vunivalu catches with little pressure.

11.10am BST

60 min: The Cowboys keep the ball alive on the last and the Storm knock on trying to gain possession. A fresh set to the Cowboys from 20m out.

11.08am BST

58 min: A rare error by Smith who grubbers dead on the last.

The Cowboys are still in this. They’ve picked up the pace and a try now could really give the Storm the willies. And not in a way that would trouble Bob Katter.

11.07am BST

57 min: Munster is hit hard by Ben Hampton who lifts Munster and slams him on his back. Munster objects and there’s a bit of push and shove, Slater and Taumalolo holding each other by the collar. The Storm are awarded a penalty but I’m not sure why. Munster wasn’t hit high nor lifted above the horizontal.

11.04am BST

56 min: Cronk bombs and is hit by Taumalolo. I can think of better things to be hit by. A car, for instance. Coote takes the ball under enormous pressure and cops a knock. He gets to his feet slowly.

11.02am BST

55 min: Chambers stretches the Cowboys’ defence out wide after some excellent lead up work by Smith. He gets within 10m before passing inside to … Michael Morgan tracking back.

11.01am BST

53 min: Second half completion rates: 9/9 Cowboys, 4/4 Storm.

Oh dear, make that 9/10 for the Cowboys. Lowe attempts a silly offload just inside the Storm half when his team still had a couple of tackles up their sleeve.

11.00am BST

51 min: The intensity, which didn’t seem to be lacking, has lifted a notch. The crowd are really willing the Cowboys on. Not just because Melbourne as a ferris wheel (see earlier, pre-kick off comment) but because they want a game made of this.

10.58am BST

Lowe adds the extras giving Cowboys fans a little hope.

10.57am BST

From a tap on the Storm line Morgan draws Smith as he passes to Te Maire Martin on his inside. Martin has an age to step inside the first defender and run in an easy try!

10.54am BST

47 min: The Cowboys go left, they go right, and Feldt is tackled on the third before the Townsvillians are awarded yet another penalty for interference in the tackle (which sounds like something the ‘No’ crowd would have feared as a result of the Macklemore set). Surely the sin-bin must come into play?

10.53am BST

46 min: Here’s another penalty to the Storm for holding on. This one 10m out from their own posts. And as soon as they take the tap Slater holds down the tackled player and is penalised. Three on the trot.

10.52am BST

45 min: Granville finds Cooper who muscles to the half on the fourth tackle before the Storm are pinged for holding down too long. What can the Cowboys do with a rare full set inside the Storm’s 30m?

10.51am BST

44 min: More solid defence from the Storm forces the Cowboys to kick from their own half. Another huge swirling Morgan bomb, another catch from Vunivalu.

10.50am BST

42 min: The Cowboys run it on the last, scooting down the blindside before a short grubber than Addo-Carr snaffles safely. It didn’t work out, but that’s the kind of thing they’ll need to try more of this half if they are to have any chance.

10.48am BST

41 min: The Cowboys kick off, a mountain to climb.

10.47am BST

What hope the Cowboys, folks? It’s looking grim. Despite an excellent completion rate by the Cowboys, this is the largest half-time deficit in a decider since 2001 when the Knights led the Eels 24-0. They went on to win 30-24. For the sake of an exciting finish we can only hope for a similar second-half effort from the Cowboys.

But they’ll have to get over the advantage line a lot more often. Jason Taumalolo, for instance, has just 68 run metres for the first 40. Cameron Smith has 95.

10.34am BST

Some entertainment during the break.

Great grand final tries? Why not? I’ll be back in a sec…

10.32am BST

Hard to see the Cowboys winning from here. The Storm have been clinical and their big three have been instrumental. To think, Mark Murray brought them to the Storm all these years ago for about $5000 each. Reckon they’ve paid that off already.

The Cowboys have barely had an attacking set from inside the Storm’s 30m. The Storm’s defence has kept them at arm’s length all night. They’ll need something very special now.

10.29am BST

40 min: Just on the siren Kyle Feldt gets the crowd to its feet with to a tackle-busting run that sees him eat up 60m. But he’s brought down eventually and the two teams go to the sheds.

10.28am BST

From just to the right of the posts Smith makes it 18.

10.27am BST

Smith, in dummy half under the posts, passes right to Cronk. He takes advantage of a dummy run from Kaufusi to find Slater running in behind. Slater dummies to his right to get an edge on O’Neill and he runs it in for a try. The Storm flock to him like seagulls to an AAMI Park bathed in floodlights.

10.24am BST

37 min: Oh dear. Winterstein, on his own line, attacks a Smith grubber with gusto and he spills the ball in doing so. He could have waited and collected it in his in-goal in relative safety but his attempt to avoid a drop-out has resulted in giving the Storm a great chance to stick the knife in on the verge of halftime.

10.22am BST

36 min: Another high bomb from Morgan on the last that Vunivalu takes safely enough. The Cowboys’ last tackle options have been fairly predictable kicks but that’s mostly because they’ve never quite been close enough to run it, bar the once.

10.19am BST

33 min: On the last, 50m out, Cronk grubbers through the line and Chambers regathers. He keeps the ball alive and hands off to Slater. He’s tackled but finds a pass himself. Smith is then forced to dive on a loose ball and that’s the turnover. Had the Storm got the ball wide left they would have found themselves in more space than Sandra Bullock in Gravity.

10.17am BST

31 min: Cronk is collected in mid-air after kicking downfield. I missed who the tackler was but he was as late, and not politely late either. Should have been a penalty.

The Storm are right on top now and the Cowboys need to steady lest the game slips right away from them.

10.15am BST

From almost an identical position from where he took his first conversion Smith makes no mistake.

10.14am BST

The big three play a role into putting a big one over the line! Smith from dummy half, 20m out, passes right to Cronk who, after straightening the attack, passes right to Slater. He draws the defence and puts Kaufusi into a hole from a few metres out!

10.12am BST

27 min: On the last Cronk fires the ball inside to Smith who, seeing nothing on, dinks the ball into the in-goal where Coote is tackled cleaning up. Drop out. The pressure builds.

10.10am BST

25 min: By his standards, Cronk puts in an ordinary kick on the last that Feldt takes easily without a Storm player near him.

10.09am BST

24 min: Morgan’s angled kick across the face of goal is taken by Chambers in the in-goal and his quick restart gets the Storm to the Cowboys’s 30m on just the third tackle.

10.08am BST

23min: We’ve just had the game’s first penalty, this one to the Cowboys which gives them a good platform to hit right back.

10.07am BST

From 10m inside the right touchline Smith steers it over.

10.06am BST

It wasn’t Morgan, but Martin. And he did run into the ref but that is deemed nothing more than bad luck. Try it is!

10.05am BST

19 min: Morgan bombs from inside the Storm’s 30m and the ball is tapped sideways by Cooper but it falls into the arms of Will Chambers who comes back inside, beating three players, before he finds Addo-Carr on his inside. With a swerve he bursts into the clear and streaks away 70m to score what looks like a fair try!

We’re going upstairs. The Cowboys feel that Morgan was impeded form tackling Addo-Carr by referee Cechin.

10.00am BST

17 min: A half-bust by Smith gets the Storm over the half-way line before Cronk grubbers to the sideline. Munster collided with Smith in the buildup and went down but he appears to be okay.

Phi Withall writes in: “For possibly the first and last time I’m in agreement with the channel 9 commentary team. The impact of the [Fensom] injury has such a huge effect on his teammates. I’ve seen quite a few nasty injuries in kitchens and know how hard it is to keep on working when someone is suffering from a serious injury.”

9.59am BST

15 min: On the last, inside the Storm 10m, Morgan declines to kick, and instead fires a flat ball out to Linnett who arrives too early and is forced to catch and turn, backing into the defence. Turnover.

9.57am BST

13 min: After Slater is hammered on a kick return, the Storm turn it over on the half. Finally some field position for the Cowboys.

9.56am BST

12 min: The Storm pound the Cowboys’ line but here’s a relieving turnover for the Cowboys, Lowe coming up with the pill.

9.55am BST

11 min: Cronk on the Cowboys’ 30m runs right before he angles a devilish grubber back towards the post. Slater is tearing after it like a greyhound … And he might well have won the race too had the ball not hit the right post and rebounded into the arms of Ethan Lowe.

9.53am BST

10 min: Who flinches first? The Cowboys, says Wally Lewis, after Morgan grubbers across the touchline around the Storm 30m allowing both teams a breather.

9.52am BST

8 min: Some quick play-the-balls sees the Storm edge to the half from their own 10m before Smith almost pulls off a 40-20, but the bobbling ball is rounded up just inside the stripe.

9.50am BST

6 min: Morgan passes inside to Taumalolo who bends the line before being pushed back by three men in purple. Morgan bombs again, Slater takes.

The Storm have had the better of territory so far but neither team has yet to enjoy an attacking set inside the other’s 30m zone.

9.49am BST

A few pictures from the opening exchanges, prior to the injury break

9.48am BST

5 min: Fensom is finally leaving the field, on his back in the medicab. He gives the crowd the thumbs up as he goes.

The play back on, the Cowboys push up the right flank before a towering Morgan bomb almost gets away from Vunivalu who leans in to take it like someone about to topple into a swimming pool.

9.44am BST

4 min: Replays show that Coote did very well during that Bromwich bust. He had Bromwich running at him but he drifted to his right to cover a pass to Munster who was backing up, knowing that Granville was in position to take Bromwich. Seeing Coote do just that Bromwich decided to go it alone.

As may be obvious Fensom is still being treated.

So cruel on Shaun Fenson. His grand final over after 180 seconds #NRLGF

9.40am BST

4 min: Cronk goes to the line and, on the 30m line, puts Jesse Bromwich through a hole. He busts through the first attempts at tackle before he’s brought down on the 10m by Granville and he loses the ball as he hits the deck.

Cowboy Shaun Fensom has been injured in that tackle. Poor bloke. Opening minutes. The medicab is on the field and it appears Fensom has done something serious to his knee.

9.37am BST

3 min: Tohu ‘Tofu’ Harris busy for the Storm as they pummel the Cowboys and force them to kick from inside their own half.

9.35am BST

2 min: Coote gets a kick away, as he slips, after a reasonably expansive first set. Slater takes it safely but then slips himself as he approaches the defensive line.

9.34am BST

1 min: Cameron Smith kicks off and Scott Bolton takes the ball safely, no doubt saying “Thank God” to himself as he does so.

9.32am BST

Experienced NRL followers would have realised that the scheduled 7.15pm kickoff was never going to happen and they’ve been proven correct.

But at long last here come the two teams, first the Cowboys in their washed-out grey strip. Now the Storm – after a longish wait. Cameron Smith leads them out, slapping the hands of young fans leaning over the race. I like that. I often wonder why more players don’t do that. Costs them nothing in terms of effort and means a lot to the kids.

9.20am BST

For the Cowboys this game is about who’s not there. For the Storm it’s about who is. And this will be the 232nd (and last) match Slater, Cronk and Smith have played together. So far they have a win percentage of 73.2%. Incredible.

Cronk has yet to decide where he’s headed in 2018. There’s talk too that Slater will call it a day if the Storm win tonight. Cameron Smith, an iron man who is seemingly never injured, looks certain to go on and plague the opposition for at least another season.

9.15am BST

Now that the entertainment is done and dusted we can think again about the game. Here are the teams:

Final teams are in!#NRLGF #NRL pic.twitter.com/n4M3rpNrj3

9.11am BST

Macklemore’s set has finished. I can’t say I’ve seen any resulting moral decay, like little boys suddenly downloading Barba Streisand songs on their mother’s smart phones or people proposing marriage to bridges or assorted public monuments. That said, I’ll be sure to inform you if anything like this starts to happen so you can beat the rush and head out to buy more baked beans and bottled water for your panic rooms.

9.06am BST

Macklemore is now performing Same Love. The lights are down, smart phones are raised.

This guy is good! @macklemore #NRLGF pic.twitter.com/jS67EzuAyC

I have honestly never been prouder to be an NRL fan hey. #NRLGF pic.twitter.com/SJFPHlUsrM

9.04am BST

Here comes Macklemore in a silver jacket, white t-shirt, black jeans and boots. For some reason ex-Dragon Matt Cooper opened the dressing room door for him. Macklemore skips and dances from beneath the stands (where he high fives Johnathan Thurston) to centre stage around which a young crowd cheers enthusiastically.

Putting all the controversy aside I must admit he was an odd choice for the GF. A spoken word performance isn’t exactly the kind of thing that gets a crowd’s blood pumping is it? It’s not Cold Chisel is it?

JT and Macklemore high five! #9NRLFootyShow #NRLGF pic.twitter.com/9u7i3ePXdP

8.55am BST

The pre-game entertainment will soon get underway. Now there’s no Tina Turner tonight but going by this photo the theme wasn’t all that different in 1990:

Pure gold. #NRL #NRLGF pic.twitter.com/7FdCDpZ8Th

8.49am BST

Craig Bellamy speaks to Channel Nine:

“We’re a little bit nervous. But that’s a good thing. It heightens the senses.”

8.44am BST

Crowd shot!

8.41am BST

The 2017 season has proven to be the last for a good number of players and a number of good players, and they are being appreciated now in front of the crowd.

Here’s the full list: Matt Ballin (Wests Tigers), Jeff Lima, Dane Tilse (Canberra Raiders), Ray Thompson, Ben Hannant (North Queensland Cowboys), Rory Kostjasyn, Anthony Tupou (Newcastle Knights), Jeff Robson, Isaac De Gois (Parramatta Eels), Feleti Mateo (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), David Shillington, Daniel Vidot (Gold Coast Titans), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney Rabbitohs), and Matt White (Melbourne Storm).

8.31am BST

There have been two lower grade grand finals played earlier today.

In the first of these, the Holden Cup (u20s) grand final, Manly came back from an early deficit of 14-0. Manly then got back to 14-all before the Eels retook the lead with a try taking them out to 18-14 with just over 10 minutes remaining. But in what would be the last play of the game, Manly hooker Manase Fainu found a charging Keith Titmuss who scored adjacent to the posts. Centre Tevita Funa then added the extras seconds before the full-time hooter.

RL:Penrith rout PNG for NRL interstate title

By Steve Zemek

SYDNEY, Oct 1 AAP – Penrith have spoiled Papua New Guinea’s Cinderella story with a 42-18 rout in the NRL Interstate Championship at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The NSW Cup premiers ran riot with the game effectively over at 38-2 at halftime after Tony Santini ran in four tries in the first 40 minutes.

The victory was yet another feather in the cap for coach Garth Brennan who was amassed two NSW Cup titles and an under-20s premiership win during his time at the foot of the mountains.

Brennan is one of the leading contenders for the vacant Gold Coast NRL coaching job and sent a loud and resounding message with the eight tries to three tries flogging.

The Hunters came into the match as the feelgood story after winning the first piece of silverware in last week’s Queensland Cup grand final against the Sunshine Coast.

However the side from the rugby league-mad island nation was outclassed and overpowered.

The Hunters struck first with a penalty goal through Ase Boas however former Manly outside back Santini ran in three tries in seven minutes to put his side on top.

Halfback Darren Nicholls was also outstanding, stretching the Hunters defence and crossing under the posts to make it 22-2 after 21 minutes.

After Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai was sin-binned for a professional foul in the 67th minute, the Hunters ran in consolation tries through Adex Wera and Bland Abavu and Boas.

8.25am BST

A few years ago I wrote this piece about some of the more memorable Australian rugby league grand finals:

Related: The Joy of Six: rugby league grand finals

8.20am BST

With about an hour until kickoff the crowd is building. Will it be a sell-out tonight? Will it matter if it isn’t? TV ratings, I’m sure, will be through the roof:

#SunsetSunday @NRL #NRLGF pic.twitter.com/rZGTByjMvJ

8.12am BST

There’s plenty to read ahead of the game. Why not Matt Cleary’s take on Cowboys’ enforcer Scott Bolton?

Related: Scott Bolton: the Cowboys enforcer charged with out-bullying Melbourne | Matt Cleary

Related: Josh Addo-Carr’s blistering form no surprise to those who watched him grow | Joe Gorman

8.05am BST

Good evening, folks.

Is it really a year since the Cronulla Sharks switched the porch light off, broke a long premiership drought and messed with the natural order to such an extent that (unless it was just a coincidence which, I suppose, we have to at least consider) it triggered a year of plague, pestilence and political putrescence across the globe?

It was fun while it lasted hey @Cronulla_Sharks fans… #NRLGF #NRL pic.twitter.com/lGQYIzb9Gf

2.11am BST

Paul will be here shorty. In the meantime, here’s his very own grand final preview:

Related: Melbourne overwhelming NRL grand final favourites but sport often surprises

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/oct/01/melbourne-storm-v-north-queensland-cowboys-2017-nrl-grand-final-live

Sep 30

Cronulla offer Cowboys clues about how to crack Melbourne’s culture club | John Davidson

Last year’s grand final winners showed up the Storm in certain departments. North Queensland should be encouraged

Unstoppable. Unbeatable. Outstanding. You’ve heard it all before when it comes to 2017’s minor premiers Melbourne. They’ve lost only four games all year and possess both the best attack and best defence, scoring more points and conceding the least, in the whole competition. Not only have they got three of the best players in the world in Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, including at least one future Immoral in that troika, but they boast both the Australian and the New Zealand Test captain in their ranks.

Related: Melbourne overwhelming NRL grand final favourites but sport often surprises

Related: Scott Bolton: the Cowboys enforcer charged with out-bullying Melbourne | Matt Cleary

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/01/cronulla-offer-cowboys-clues-about-how-to-crack-melbournes-culture-club

Sep 30

Macklemore to donate proceeds from Same Love to marriage equality campaign

His performance of the song at the NRL grand final has drawn the ire of conservatives, including Tony Abbott

American rapper, Macklemore, has pledged to donate the Australian proceeds from his track, Same Love, to the marriage equality campaign.

The artist revealed his plans on the eve of the rugby league final in Sydney, where he will perform the hit song.

Related: Malcolm Turnbull looks forward to Macklemore singing ‘gay anthem’

EXCLUSIVE: @macklemore has pledged to donate the Australian earnings of his song ‘Same Love’ to the Yes campaign. #AusPol #9News pic.twitter.com/hrV3svXUOv

Yesterday someone started a petition in Australia to ban me from playing Same Love at the #NRLGF. Today its #1 on iTunes. Love is winning ❤️

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/sep/30/macklemore-to-donate-proceeds-from-same-love-to-marriage-equality-campaign