FAR & WIDE: Number 30

Far & WideBy STEVE MASCORD

NEWLY re-signed Canberra prop Brett White is sitting by the phone waiting for the call to come from Ireland’s World Cup coach Mark Aston.

White was in the Wolfhounds’ squad for the 2008 tournament but had to withdraw through injury and is worried he may have been forgotten.

“I don’t know, they must be going alright over there,” White tells Far & Wide. “I got in contact with them when I was over for the World Club Challenge (before the last World Cup)

“I haven’t heard anything. I certainly am (interested). I was very close to my grandfather, who probably had the biggest influence on my life.

“He was Irish, came out from Ireland for the Snowy River Scheme in the fifties – Arthur Costello. He was the biggest influence on my life and my football career.

“To be able to play for Ireland, it would mean a lot to my family and myself. At the moment, I’ve been trying to just do the best for the Raiders and get back to the best footy I can play.

“If that happens at the end of the year, that would be fantastic.”

NSW five-eighth James Maloney also checked out his lineage to see if he was eligible for Ireland. “But it’s great grandparents, not grandparents,” he said with disappointment.

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THE latest country outside the World Cup to plan post-season internationals is Vanuatu.

Melbourne centre Justin O’Neill qualifies for the fledgling league nation but didn’t play last year against Greece.

However, he’s a huge chance of making his bow this year. Opponents and dates to be announce some time in the next week.

Elsewhere, Jamaica has just completed a very successful schools tournament and former St Helens and Samoa star Apollo Perelini will coach the United Arab Emirates Under 18s against Lebanon in September.

League is getting a surprising amount of newspaper coverage in the UAE, with The National reporting Perelini’s appointment in detail.

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

FAR & WIDE: Number 17

By STEVE MASCORD

PACK your picnic baskets, international rugby league is coming to western Sydney a week after the NRL grand final.

Lebanon will take on the Cook Islands at The Chrest in Bass Hill on October 7. Both sides are expected to include a sprinkling of NRL talent.

The Cooks can call on the likes of Zane Tetevano, Geoff Daniela and Dominic Peyroux. More detail as it comes to hand.

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IT’S taken a while but we finally have a draw for the European Cup which – as predicted in Far & Wide – will not involve Italy even though Alitalia are the sponsors.

“When coupled with the significant expenditure FIRL committed to the World Cup qualifiers the Italian rugby league felt it was not in a position to support the national squad for a further three weeks, even with a support package from the RLEF,” said Rugby League European Federation general manager Danny Kazandjian.
“It was an extremely difficult decision for FIRL to take, and their board, with the close co-operation of the RLEF, has decided to undertake a full review of their governance to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible in this challenging economic climate.”

Here’s the draw:

Round 114 October: SCOTLAND v IRELAND, Meggetland, Edinburgh 1400 hrs Round 2 19 October IRELAND v ENGLAND KNIGHTS, Belfast Harlequins, Belfast 1930 hrs Round 3 28 October: SCOTLAND v ENGLAND KNIGHTS, Meggetland, Edinburgh 1400 hrs

 

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CONGRATULATIONS to the United States, 28-24 winners over Canada in the recent Colonial Cup game in Toronto

Two players in the Tomahawks train-on squad are figuring in the Intrust Super Cup play-offs. Tui Samoa of Redcliffe and Cory Blair of Tweed Heads hope to be turning out for the US in the World Cup.

Still on North America, British Columbia won a new cross-border representative game against Utah, 32-28.

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TRIALS will continue tomorrow for the Lebanon Under 16s team which will play in the Harmony Cup at Western Weekender Stadium on October 6.

The Cedars certainly have some knowhow in the coaching ranks for the side, with Paul Khoury the main man, David Bayssari head of the coaching department and Richard Kairouz the fitness man.

Selectors struggled last Wednesday to pick just 30 boys from the flood of hopefuls who attended the initial trials at Ruse Park in Bankstown. Tomorrow (Thursday) is the second of two trials this week aimed at whittling the squad down further.

Other teams in the Harmony Cup are set to be Australian Indigenous, Mediteranean, Africa, Malta, Samoa and Maori.

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

DISCORD 2012: Edition 35

By STEVE MASCORD

MAX Krilich’s comments in Wednesday’s Herald about Melbourne players handing back their 2007 premiership rings emphasises the unspoken resentment that lingers over the whole episode.

Colleague Chris Barrett clearly touched a raw nerve when he asked Krilich about the issue – as did Storm founder John Ribot at the weekend when he was interviewed on the ABC  about his determination to have the ’07 and 2009 premierships restored.

In the studio with myself and Debbie Spillane was Daniel Anderson – coach of the 2009 Parramatta side, none of whom had previously allowed themselves to express any anger about losing a grand final to a team that had cheated.

Anderson asked Ribot: “John, Daniel Anderson. I’ve got to ask this question. If you are 700, 500,000 over the cap and you win a competition against a team who doesn’t go over the cap, then how’s it possible that the team who got beaten doesn’t feel dirty about it?”

After three years, diplomacy had finally given way.

Ribot’s point is that the Storm board was sacked by News before it could challenge the NRL’s rulings. That’s a fair point, too, procedurally. Everyone deserves their day in court.

But if the premierships were restored, one can fairly expect the demure stances adopted by Manly and Parramatta until now to quickly give way to unbridled fury.

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THERE’S plenty on the week after the grand final for Sydney readers who are suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Last week we brought you the news of Lebanon taking on the Cook Islands at the Crest in Bass Hill on October 7.

The day before, St Marys Leagues Stadium will host the Harmony Cup – a sort of under 16s World Cup which will be contested by Australian Indigenous, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Mediteranean, Lebanon, Africa, Maori, Malta, Italy and Fiji.

It’s for Australian-based players only but in these days of NSW and Queensland hoovering up everyone, it gets players involved in other representatives sides early and hopefully builds friendships and loyalties which will take players right through to senior international sides (apart from Australia).

Lebanese official Remond Safi has flown out from Beirut to guide the Cedars’ campaign.

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THE NRL’s digital rights are up for renewal this year. This story may be related to that, or it may not.

Since last year’s Four Nations, I’ve been experimenting with technology and filming post-match media conferences,  either on my iphone or with a camera. During the Four Nations and at start of the year, I was broadcasting them live on ustream.

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