The A-List: JEREMY SMITH (Newcastle & New Zealand)

By STEVE MASCORD IT’S the most obvious question to ask any retiring player, a clichéd query that invites a clichéd response, asked more out of obligation than anything else. And it’s usually saved until last: “what was your career highlight?”. Jeremy Smith, 36, has more than a few clichés from which to choose: the 2008 […]

Six Highlights Of The 2014 NRL Regular Season

By STEVE MASCORD THERE Is something unnatural – even mean-spirited – about the finals. For 26 weeks, rugby league is just THERE. Some weekends, there aren’t eight NRL games but no matter how well or otherwise your team plays, there’ll be a match to watch again in a minimum of a fortnight That’s 24 matches […]

Knights Tyro Draws Strength From Veteran Smith

By STEVE MASCORD NEWCASTLE tyro Tyrone Roberts says Jeremy Smith is the man who’s given him the confidence to guide Wayne Bennett’s side around the park under intense pressure at finals time. Only 22 years old with just over 50 first grade games to his name, Roberts helped the Knights end the premiership defence of […]

THE JOY OF SIX: Finals Week Two

By STEVE MASCORD WAYNES WORLD VIII? ASKED on Saturday night why his Newcastle side was coming good in the finals, coach Wayne Bennett replied: “It’s spring”. Then quizzed if that was the reason just for him, he replied: “For all of us, that’s the time you want it to happen”. On the eve of the […]

Storm Lacked “September Buzz”, Says Bellamy

By STEVE MASCORD MELBOURNE Storm’s premiership defence ended with a startling admission from coach Craig Bellamy that his side lacked finals hunger. Down 18-4 to Newcastle with 33 minutes left in the second preliminary semi-final, Cameron Smith’s men charged back but fell just short in a pulsating clash before 19,649 fans. It marked the end […]

Second preliminary semi-final: NEWCASTLE 18 MELBOURNE 16 at AAMI Park

By STEVE MASCORD DESPITE a stirring rear-guard action in front of a rabid, deafening AAMI Park crowd, Melbourne Storm’s premiership defence is over. Under master coach Wayne Bennett, the unheralded Newcastle Knights rode into town and raced to an 18-4 lead just after halftime before Cameron Smith’s men attempted to run them down. But at […]

Bennett Laments Broncos’ Loss Of Mojo

By STEVE MASCORD FOUNDATION Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett expressed disappointment the Broncos had missed the finals for only the second time in 21 years. Bennett’s Newcastle consigned the current Broncos to that ignominy, coming back from 14-0 down to score a 26-18 victory at Suncorp Stadium with Darius Boyd and Joey Leilua each scoring try […]

NRL round 25: NEWCASTLE 26 BRISBANE 18 at Suncorp Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD BRISBANE’S season is over and so, it would appear, is that of Newcastle’s former NSW State of Origin captain Kurt Gidley. Newcastle will almost certainly be in the NRL finals after coming from 14-0 down a minute from halftime to edge the Broncos 26-18 at Suncorp Stadium on the opening night of […]

THE BIG ISSUE: #56

By STEVE MASCORD DIVING and deliberately conceding penalties. As we head into the finals, these are pressing on-field issues for our game. Debate about the practice of “staying down” to attract as video review has been around for about a decade. So far, players and coaches publicly decry the act, but below the surface there […]