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Match Report – Melbourne 27 – 25 Sydney

The Melbourne Storm produced a stunning comeback to down the Roosters 27-25 in a golden-point thriller at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.

Trailing 22-12 with 12 minutes remaining the Storm were running out of time, but scored two tries in three minutes through Jahrome Hughes and Paul Momirovski to give them a 24-22 lead.

With two minutes remaining, Kyle Flanagan landed a superb penalty to level the scores before Luke Keary knocked over a field goal to make it 25-24 to the Roosters with a minute on the clock.

However, the drama was not over as Ryan Papenhuyzen nailed a one-pointer of his own to send the game into golden time at 25-25.

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NRL 2020, round 8 | Melbourne Storm edge Sydney Roosters in all-time thriller

The Melbourne Storm have defeated the Sydney Roosters in one of the best matches of the season in a 27-25 thriller.

Commentators said it was State of Origin-like or Grand Final-esque but the golden point thriller has delivered once again.

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The Roosters got out to 22-12 with 12 minutes left but the Storm are never going to give up.

With Cameron Smith filling in in the halves, before shifting to hooker and orchestrating a comeback, snatching back the lead with two tries in two minutes.

A 30m penalty goal to Kyle Flanagan brought it back to level but the thrills weren’t over.

A field goal from Luke Keary gave the Roosters the lead, before a short kick off and a 35m reply from Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen sent the game to golden point.

In fact, the end of the game was the most anticlimactic with a penalty goal in front 10m out was snapped up by Smith.

“Been quite some time since I’ve played in a game like that, probably back against these guys in Adelaide a few years back,” Smith said post match.

The Storm celebrate one of the unlikeliest wins in an all-time classic.Source:Getty Images

Matthew Johns said “I’ve never seen a game like that” after the match.

Remarkably, it’s the sixth game between the teams in the last eight that has been decided by three points or less.

The rugby league world lost its collective mind at the incredible match with social media exploding with reaction as the two champion teams pulled off another incredible match.

This is unbelievable footy to watch

Game of the century!
##NRLStormRoosters

Incredible game #NRLStormRoosters
King Cam Smith seals the W @storm

Storm! Sport! What. A. Game.#NRLStormRoosters

Rugby League is a hell of a drug #NRLStormRoosters

Golden indeed!! Cam Smith 👏🏼👏🏼 and take a bow Pappy! Reckon NRL may have picked up a few extra fans tonight #NRL #NRLStormRoosters @Storm

For any non-NRL fans watching AFL tonight, try and catch the final 15 minutes of tonight's match. Great spectacle. #NRLStormRoosters

Haven’tseen a better quality game for a long time #NRLStormRoosters

Rugba Leeg. How good is it 🤘🏼#NRLStormRoosters

Well done Storm. Magnificent comeback. Deserved winners. Fantastic game tonight. High Calibre. Credit to both sides. #NRLStormRoosters

Probably one of the best finishes to a game I've ever seen. #NRLStormRoosters

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Dan Carter: All Blacks legend to play club game with Southbridge

Dan Carter will make a return to his native Canterbury this weekend for his first rugby game in New Zealand since 2015.

The 38-year-old All Blacks legend, who spent his entire New Zealand professional career playing for the 10-time Super Rugby champion Crusaders, will line out for club side Southbridge as he continues to build up his fitness.

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Last month Carter did what many Christchurch-based fans think was treasonable by joining the Blues.

However, the two-time Rugby World Cup winner said he was not match fit enough to return to the field at the time and would need several weeks of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season to get prepared to play, which includes a match in club rugby.

“That’s the plan,” Carter told Newshub. “I’m hopeful to get down there and pull on the blue and white of the Southbridge hoops this weekend.”

Carter grew up in the small rural community of Southbridge, south of Christchurch, and recently raised more than NZ$20,000 (£10,000) for the club by auctioning one of his All Blacks jerseys.

Carter joined the Blues after stints in France and Japan but has not played since February after Japan’s Top League was shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Aussies join the @SuperRugby party this week as #SuperRugbyAU kicks-off on Friday 🇦🇺

We're also into Round 4⃣ of @SuperRugbyNZ 🇳🇿

Watch all of the action on @SkySports this weekend 📺

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He barely played in the past 18 months after undergoing neck surgery in 2019.

The fly-half’s return this weekend could pave the way for him to make his Blues’ debut against the Crusaders in Christchurch on July 11, live on Sky Sports.

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Warrington boss warns financial troubles for sport are only tip of the iceberg

Warrington chairman Stuart Middleton has warned that Wigan Athletic’s administration could be the “tip of the iceberg” for sporting clubs.

But the Wolves boss insists that despite an estimated £1.4million shortfall since the start of lockdown, the club will still bring superstar signing Greg Inglis to England next year.

Middleton and club owner Simon Moran have already committed to a seven-figure sum to see the Wolves through the current crisis.

But the chairman – the creative director of Card Factory – admits he worries for other clubs in Super League and beyond.

Middleton said: “Wigan was a bit of a shock as I thought they had some big backers in China and Hong Kong, but I think there will be more to come. With most businesses I think it will be a two to three year issue.

“Certainly rugby league has it hard enough without Covid to break even as a business, and we still need to invest in the sport. I think it’s the tip of the iceberg and there will be a lot more pain to come.

“I am really worried about it because a lot of clubs are run on a shoestring. Clubs that don’t own their own stadium are at an advantage, because we have a stadium that generates a lot of income and that’s gone to zero with no functions on.

“At Warrington we have a turnover of £7.5million, 7,000 members and an average attendance of over 11,000. A lot of clubs don’t have that and it’s a worry.

“I know the sport has a government loan but it is a loan and it’s got to be paid back. We’re hoping we don’t have to use that. We’ll cut our cloth accordingly to get back to normal.

“There’s no doubt about it – myself and Simon will have to put our hands our pockets even deeper.
 But so be it – we want to do the right thing, keep the club here and keep it successful.”

That includes honouring a one-year deal with former Australian Inglis after he decided to come out of retirement for 2021 earlier this year.

Middleton added: “We have a salary cap that we work to and fortunately Greg is not a marquee player on big money – certainly not Sonny Bill Williams money.

“It’s something for our supporters to look forward to, watching these type of players. We’re not planning to make cuts in this area.”

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Leicester Tigers: Manu Tuilagi one of six players set to be released

England centre Manu Tuilagi is one of six players to have been told to look for another club by Leicester Tigers, reports BBC Radio Leicester.

Several players, including 29-year-old British and Irish Lion Tuilagi, have been locked in a contract dispute with the Premiership strugglers.

Players have been offered amended deals because of the financial implications of the coronavirus outbreak.

Greg Bateman, Telusa Veainu and Jordan Taufua are also set to be released.

It is understood the club made a compromise offer, but the players want to keep their legal position.

On 8 June, Premiership teams unanimously agreed to reduce the salary cap from £6.4m to £5m to help cope with the losses incurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Only 75% of wages from deals signed before 18 June will count towards the salary cap from the start of the 2021-22 season.

That deadline has passed but Leicester’s players have been given until Tuesday to make their decisions and the club remain in communication with all of the playing squad.

Tigers are 11th in the Premiership but not in danger of relegation this season as Saracens have already been demoted to next season’s Championship because of salary cap breaches.

Tuilagi, who has been with Tigers since 2009, has won 43 England caps and represented the Lions during their 2013 tour of Australia.

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Phil Gould tells Raiders to forget about John Bateman and ‘never deal with him again’

Phil Gould believes John Bateman is “no longer a part of the Raiders’ future” and the club would be best to “never deal with him again.”

Gould’s comments come after the injured Raiders star announced on Tuesday he’d be leaving Canberra at the end of the season after pushing for an upgrade per the terms of his original three-year deal.

“Terrible, absolutely terrible,” Gould said on Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.

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Glenn fired up over criticism

NRL: Broncos captain Alex Glenn has staunchly defended teammates from constant criticism that has come their way, after the club’s continued form slump.

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“And again, yet another example of player managers having far too much influence in our game.

“As I’ve said, there are a lot of good player managers that are good to deal with. But there are others that are less caring than that and just totally out for a dollar and whatever else they can gain for themselves.

“I think the Raiders have made a wise decision there and they should just forget about it very very quickly.

“John Bateman’s no longer a part of their future, they’ve got a good roster, they should just get on with that and forget about him and I would recommend never deal with him again, but that’s just my own personal view.”

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Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said he held no ill-feeling towards Bateman despite accusing player manager Isaac Moses of “agitating” and “manipulating” the club.

Gould believes Bateman’s future selection when he returns from injury should come down to how he commits himself to the club for the rest of the season.

“That will depend on how he handles his rehab, how he is around the playing group himself,” Gould said.

John Bateman is considering an offer from the Bulldogs and Wigan.Source:AAP

“They are paying him for this season, so they may as well use him. They don’t want to cut off their nose to spite their face in a year they can win a premiership.

“But it’s a lesson for the club and it’s a lesson for everybody about being careful who you deal with”

Bateman is a free agent next season and is weighing up a three-year offer from the Bulldogs or a four-year deal from his old Super League team Wigan, with both contracts understood to be worth around $2 million.

Originally published as‘Never deal with him again’: Gould tells Raiders to forget about Bateman

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Rhys Carre: Wales prop to return to Cardiff Blues from Saracens

Wales international prop Rhys Carre will return to Cardiff Blues after agreeing to re-join from Saracens.

The 22-year-old has signed a long-term contract with Cardiff, who he left last summer to join Saracens.

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Carre joins the exodus of players from Saracens following their relegation from the Gallagher Premiership at the end of this season following persistent salary cap breaches.

Brad Barritt, Will Skelton, Ben Spencer and George Kruis are among the players who have announced their departures, while Nick Isiekwe, Alex Lozowski and Nick Tompkins are all leaving on loan.

Carre told Cardiff’s official website: “It’s great to sign for Cardiff Blues and I’m looking forward to getting back to the Arms Park and once again playing my part.

“I have enjoyed my time at Saracens and playing and training with a massively experienced and successful squad has been hugely beneficial.

“But Cardiff Blues are a team I am really passionate about – it is the team I supported as a kid, I came through the system here and I want to be part of we are building.

“I obviously know all the boys and it’s a really exciting squad, which is only going to get better and there is a great culture throughout the organisation.”

Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill is delighted to see the loose-head prop return to Cardiff Arms Park stomping ground and believes it is the best place for his ongoing development.

Mulvihill said: “We are all obviously thrilled to sign a player of Rhys’ calibre and look forward to welcoming him back here next season.

“We were disappointed to see him leave last year but he comes back with more experience, not only from playing and training with Saracens but following a hugely impressive World Cup and Six Nations.

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First domino falls in Broncos shake-up

After recording their fifth consecutive loss, the Brisbane Broncos have once again swung the axe in their latest shake-up, with State of Origin star Corey Oates dropped to the reserves.

Oates was ineffective during the Broncos’ embarrassing 30-12 loss to the Gold Coast Titans on Saturday — the winger made 68 metres in ten runs, and was unable to muster a linebreak or offload.

The 25-year-old was then sin-binned in the 76th minute by referee Pete Gough for dissent, ending a forgettable evening.

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Oates has played 146 NRL matches for the Brisbane Broncos since his debut in 2013. The Queenslander has also been selected for eight State of Origin matches.

Jamayne Isaako will replace Oates in the No. 2 jersey for this weekend’s match against the New Zealand Warriors at Central Coast Stadium.

Corey Oates has scored 95 NRL tries for the Brisbane Broncos.Source:Getty Images

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Meanwhile, the Melbourne Storm have named Ryley Jacks and Jahrome Hughes as their new halves for Thursday’s highly-anticipated clash against the Sydney Roosters.

After Parramatta Eels superstar Mitch Moses suffered an injury in round seven, Jai Field has been named to make his NRL debut. James Tedesco and Bradman Best also return for the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights respectively.

Here are all the teams for round eight of the NRL premiership.

MELBOURNE STORM vs SYDNEY ROOSTERS

Thursday, July 2 at Suncorp Stadium, 7:50pm

Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Justin Olam 4. Paul Momirovski 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Cooper Johns 19. Marion Seve 20. Albert Vete 21. Chris Lewis

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Luke Keary 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Angus Crichton 13. Nat Butcher 14. Poasa Faamausili 15. Sitili Tupouniua 16. Mitchell Aubusson 17. Lindsay Collins 18. Daniel Fifita 19. Ryan Hall 20. Freddy Lussick 21. Lachlan Lam

CANBERRA RAIDERS vs ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS

Friday, July 3 at GIO Stadium, 6pm)

Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Bailey Simonsson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Michael Oldfield 5. Nick Cotric 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Iosia Soliola 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Curtis Scott 15. Emre Guler 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Siliva Havili 18. Tom Starling 19. Dunamis Lui 20. Matt Frawley 21. Kai O’Donnell

Dragons: 1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jason Saab 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Adam Clune 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tyrell Fuimaono 13. Trent Merrin 14. Ben Hunt 15. Josh Kerr 16. Korbin Sims 17. Jackson Ford 18. Eddie Blacker 19. Tristan Sailor 20. Billy Brittain 21. Tim Lafai

Jordan Rapana is out for the Raiders this week with a minor calf injury. If a minor strain likely he misses 1-2 weeks

PARRAMATTA EELS vs NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS

Friday, July 3 at Bankwest Stadium, 7:55pm

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Jai Field 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Ryan Matterson 13. Marata Niukore 14. Ray Stone 15. David Gower 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Brad Takairangi 18. Stefano Utoikamanu 19. Daniel Alvaro 20. George Jennings 21. Will Smith

Cowboys: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Tom Opacic 4. Esan Marsters 5. Justin O’Neill 6. Scott Drinkwater 7. Jake Clifford 8. Josh Mcguire 9. Reece Robson 10. Jordan McLean 11. Shane Wright 12. Coen Hess 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Ben Hampton 15. Gavin Cooper 16. Peter Hola 17. Francis Molo 18. Reuben Cotter 19. Valentine Holmes 20. Corey Jensen 21. Jake Granville

GOLD COAST TITANS vs CRONULLA SHARKS

Saturday, July 4 at Cbus Super Stadium, 3pm

Titans: 1. Corey Thompson 2. Anthony Don 3. Brian Kelly 4. Tyrone Peachey 5. Phillip Sami 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jaimin Jolliffe 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Keegan Hipgrave 13. Jai Arrow 14. Tanah Boyd 15. Sam Lisone 16. Bryce Cartwright 17. Jarrod Wallace 18. Erin Clark 19. Beau Fermor 20. Jai Whitbread 21. Tyrone Roberts

Sharks: 1. Matt Moylan 2. Sione Katoa 3. Josh Dugan 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Shaun Johnson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Blayke Brailey 10. Aaron Woods 11. Briton Nikora 12. Wade Graham 13. Jack Williams 14. Toby Rudolf 15. Braden Hamlin-Uele 16. Siosifa Talakai 17. Royce Hunt 18. Scott Sorensen 19. Connor Tracey 20. Will Kennedy 21. Nene Macdonald

WARRIORS vs BRISBANE BRONCOS

Saturday, July 4 at Central Coast Stadium, 5:30pm

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Blake Green 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 9. Wayde Egan 10. Agnatius Paasi 11. Jack Murchie 12. Tohu Harris 13. Adam Blair 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita 15. Jack Hetherington 16. Karl Lawton 17. Josh Curran 18. King Vuniyayawa 20. Isaiah Papali’i 21. Adam Pompey 22. Gerard Beale

Broncos: 1. Tesi Niu 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Herbie Farnworth 4. Darius Boyd 5. Xavier Coates 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Issac Luke 10. Payne Haas 11. Alex Glenn 12. Tevita Pangai Junior 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tom Dearden 15. Thomas Flegler 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Ben Te’o 18. Corey Oates 19. Cory Paix 20. Richard Kennar 21. Jamil Hopoate

Corey Oates has been dropped for the Broncos clash with the Warriors.

Jamayne Isaako will take his place on the wing. #NRL #bronxnation pic.twitter.com/51Iil9UK4G

WESTS TIGERS vs PENRITH PANTHERS

Saturday, July 4 at Bankwest Stadium, 7:35pm

Tigers: 1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Luke Brooks 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Harry Grant 10. Oliver Clark 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Elijah Taylor 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Sam McIntyre 17. Michael Chee-Kam 18. Benji Marshall 19. Chris Lawrence 20. Billy Walters 21. Russell Packer

Panthers: 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Josh Mansour 3. Dean Whare 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. James Tamou 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo 14. Matt Burton 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Moses Leota 17. Billy Burns 18. Mitch Kenny 19. Brent Naden 20. Spencer Leniu 21. Tyrone May

MANLY SEA EAGLES vs NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

Sunday, July 5 at Lottoland, 4:05pm

Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Tevita Funa 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Cade Cust 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Morgan Boyle 19. Brendan Elliot 20. Abbas Miski 21. Haumole Olakau’atu

Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Enari Tuala 4. Bradman Best 5. Hymel Hunt 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Sione Mata’utia 13. Herman Ese’ese 14. Tex Hoy 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Aidan Guerra 17. Pasami Saulo 18. Tautau Moga 19. Brodie Jones 20. Phoenix Crossland 21. Josh King

CANTERBURY BULLDOGS vs SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS

Sunday, July 5 at Bankwest Stadium, 6:30pm

Bulldogs: 1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Marcelo Montoya 5. Christian Crichton 6. Kieran Foran 7. Brandon Wakeham 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Adam Elliott 14. Kerrod Holland 15. Dean Britt 16. Renouf To’omaga 17. Sauaso Sue 19. Ofahiki Ogden 20. Jack Cogger 21. Luke Thompson 22. Sione Katoa

Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Dane Gagai 3. Campbell Graham 4. James Roberts 5. Alex Johnston 6. Cody Walker 7. Adam Reynolds 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Thomas Burgess 11. Jaydn Su’A 12. Ethan Lowe 13. Cameron Murray 14. Liam Knight 15. Bayley Sironen 16. Hame Sele 17. Braidon Burns 18. Mark Nicholls 19. Patrick Mago 20. Troy Dargan 21. Corey Allan

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NRL 2020: New competition for the best country teams to take on their city rivals

Regional powerhouse club Dubbo CYMS will have a chance to prove that the bush is rugby league’s best breeding ground when they compete in a new statewide Presidents Cup competition, starting next month.

The NSWRL announced a unique competition for the 2020 season which will see regional-based teams representing Western NSW, Dubbo and Maitland up against metropolitan teams including North Sydney, Wentworthville, Hills District and Glebe-Burwood.

The seven-team competition, which replaces the Ron Massey Cup for 2020, will kick off on 18 July on what will be a huge weekend for the NSWRL with the state’s premier women’s competition, the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership and the Sydney Shield, and community football for under 6s to open age, also kicking off across the state at the same time.

All three major competitions will have seven teams, playing over seven rounds (each team will play every other team once plus a bye) followed by a four-week finals series with a gala Grand Final weekend on 26-27 September at a venue yet to be determined.

Western Regional Area Manager Peter Clarke welcomed the addition of both Dubbo CYMS and Western NSW into the Presidents Cup competition.

One of Dubbo’s finest juniors, former Canterbury and Parramatta prop Dean Pay.Source:News Corp Australia

“The Presidents Cup will help unify the state through Rugby League in what has been a tough year for everyone connected with the game,” Clarke said.

“It’s great to see our players will get some game time in over this nine-week period rather playing no footy at all in 2020.

“Teams from our region have been part of the NSW Challenge Cup in previous years and have enjoyed the challenge so I’m sure the Presidents Cup will be no different.”

Dubbo CYMS President Michael Fraser said they were looking forward to a different challenge and the competition was a great result for bush football.

“We’ve got a core group of players and we’re hoping to bring in a couple people around them just to strengthen the team,” Fraser said.

“That’s what really got it over the line I think you’ll find, giving these players from the bush the opportunity to play against some different competition.”

Maitland Pickers President Frank Lawler said the players were all looking forward to training and playing again.

“It’s exciting to play against different teams and players and just do something a little bit different,” Lawler said.

“We haven’t got a first-grade competition as such up here and the boys are just really keen to play against some different teams and see how they how go.

“It’ll be good to have an elite different comp like that and the teams that want to play are playing against some good opposition.”

The Presidents Cup will feature seven teams including the North Sydney Bears, Maitland Pickers, Wentworthville Magpies, Glebe-Burwood Wolves, Hills District Bulls, Western NSW Rams and Dubbo CYMS.

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Magic Weekend: Super League cancels 2020 event in Newcastle

Super League has cancelled this year’s Magic Weekend because of ongoing restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, which sees all 12 sides play at the same venue over two days, was due to be held at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park on 23 and 24 May.

It was postponed in April, when the league said it hoped the event would take place later in the season.

The 2020 Super League season is due to resume behind closed doors on 2 August.

No matches have been played in the competition since 15 March.

Although there will be no Magic Weekend this season, a deal has been agreed in principle for it to return to Newcastle on 29 and 30 May 2021, with tickets purchased for this year remaining valid.

Magic Weekend has become one of rugby league’s major events in the calendar, aimed at growing the audience of the sport in new areas.

Since its first incarnation at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the event has been played at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield, Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and, last year, Anfield in Liverpool.

The most successful venue for the competition in terms of attendance has been Newcastle, with a record cumulative crowd over the two days of 68,276 in 2016, and more than 40,000 attending in a single day the previous year.

Hull KR will play Toronto Wolfpack, champions St Helens will face Catalans Dragons and Huddersfield will take on Leeds all at the same as yet unnamed venue when Super League restarts in August as the sides play matches that were postponed before the season was suspended.

A full round of fixtures will follow during the weekend of 8-9 August.

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