rugby league

Pacific support for league could outstrip that for rugby

Damon Salesa, an associate professor of Pacific Studies at Auckland University, said rugby should have more Pacific people involved in its decision-making.

Fifty years ago there were 56,000 people described as Pacific living in New Zealand but by 2013 that figure had increased to almost 300,000.

In Auckland, more than one in four babies is Pasifika.

During the recent Rugby League World Cup, two Pacific nations, Tonga and Fiji, made the semi-finals, while the Kiwis missed out.

Pacific Tests confirmed for Origin period

Six nations will compete during a three-match festival at Campbelltown Stadium on June 23. Tonga, Samoa, Lebanon and Papua New Guinea will be joined by two further teams to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Tonga coach wants NRL to invest more money in to Pacific teams

Tonga sealed their second win in the tournament against Samoa on Saturday night at a packed-out FMG Stadium in Hamilton.

The stadium was a sea of colours as fans showed up to sing, cheer and dance for their Pacific teams. 

Woolf says the experience was one of a kind and it proves that Pacific teams are worth the investment.

"The first step I think is putting on more games. We'd love to play Samoa every year and I know they'd love to play us every year and I'm sure the fans would love to see that as well."

Tonga savour watershed moment

With a 32-18 win over Samoa on Saturday night, Tonga made it two wins from two at the tournament and assured themselves of advancing beyond the group stage for the first time in five attempts dating back to 1995.

The victory in front of over 18,000 fans at Waikato Stadium was also just the second time Tonga have tasted victory over their Pacific neighbours in a rugby league Test match, with coach Kristian Woolf happy for his men to celebrate before re-focussing for their final pool game against New Zealand.

Ireland on path to growing rugby league

"To be fair, that's not a bad crowd in Ireland," says captain Liam Finn.

Finn may or may not surpass Bob Beswick – absent from this tour as his wife is expecting – as Ireland's most capped player during this World Cup tour, with the uncertainty due to the fact that he believes he has more than Beswick's 25 Irish caps already.

"Who's got more? Bob Beswick? I'm sure I've got more," says Finn, who on a number of websites is credited with 24 international caps.

Lafai feeling responsibility to lift Dragons

Lafai's own personal form in 2017 started in a blistering pace, but along with the rest of Paul McGregor's men he has been inconsistent at the backend of the season. 

The former Bulldog put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with the Dragons in June and denied as a result he's taken the foot off the gas and become too comfortable. 

"It's a domino effect, if one player is off the rest can follow," Lafai told NRL.com.

"We got off to a great start along with myself but feel as though we've lost our way as a whole team.

Defence key to Panthers win

Their fourth win on the trot was typical of a side coming off a five-day turnaround and the Panthers stayed in control for most of the contest despite a low-scoring affair.

Penrith kept the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half before nabbing two late tries through Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Tyrone Peachey to seal another much-needed win and edge closer to the top eight. 

"We are obviously defending well and that gives you a lot of confidence. But you only defend well if your attitude is right," Griffin said post-game. 

Warriors down Bulldogs in tight NRL battle

It took a Shaun Johnson field goal in the 69th minute to give the home side some breathing space.

A dart from dummy-half by skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck six minutes from time and Johnson's conversion virtually sealed victory at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday night.

The result keeps the Warriors - who had started the round in 11th place, one place ahead of the Bulldogs - within touching distance of the top eight.

But it was tempered by injury to hooker Issac Luke, who dislocated his shoulder in the 33rd minute after what seemed like an innocuous tackle.

Jennings the key to Eels backline reshuffle

All other playmakers are fit, but the Eels' successfully-rejigged backline actually came about largely due to the return from injury of veteran centre Michael Jennings.

Explaining the line-up changes after a 24-10 win over the Dragons on Sunday, Parramatta coach Brad Arthur said a lack of quality ball in a poor loss to the Cowboys last week denied Gutherson a chance to show what he is capable of in the centre position.

Nevertheless, the players available for Sunday's game made moving fullback Bevan French to the wing the best option.

Myles leaves Manly for Melbourne

The Australia international forward has been recruited as cover for Christian Welch, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the 2017 campaign with a knee injury.

Myles, 31, is currently recovering from an elbow problem sustained in the opening State of Origin match but will begin work with his new team immediately.

"I'm ecstatic to be able to join Melbourne Storm for the remainder of the season," he said.