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Member Since 18 Apr 2004
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 02:06 PM

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In Topic: Live streaming today - French RL

03 February 2016 - 01:03 PM

The promoted Albi likewise Sunday at Lezignan in the lead at the break before falling away (30-14) but the Tarn side have impressed and look in far better shape than the disastrous one-year stay a near decade back when they reached the Lord Derby Cup Final only to fall in a heap seasons end with money problems. The town council appear to be getting involved with some upgrading of their ground too while their U20s are top of the comp followed by title holders SOA. Avignon 72-16 Carcassonne and FCL 28-32 Albi at the weekend tell its own story at junior level.


Back on Avignon three of their former players will line-up against Wigan tomorrow – Gigot, Yaha and Duport while Jullien is in the Wire 19 for Headingley tonight and a fifth Vauclusian - Garcia will be hoping to debut with Penrith in the NRL in the weeks to come. It shows the potential up there. 2000 was reported as the crowd Saturday and their international gates exceptional. Somebody needs to keep the kettle boiling up in Provence.



Interesting in these images Fed President Carlos Zalduendo chatting pitch side with the Dragons CEO Christophe Jouffret. I wonder what the topic was!


* Great to see too the classic shirts worn by the two clubs - along time since the Bisons wore the blue & white hoops.





In Topic: Live streaming today - French RL

01 February 2016 - 11:29 AM

The Avignon lad who got the two tries is their sole overseas player Kiernan - an Aussie I think. SOA reached the Lord Derby Cup Final a few years back but then with loads of antipodeans in tow. They struggle financially I understand and now look to their youngsters like half-back Bissiere and loose forward Goudemand. Their U20s ran riot against Carcassonne winning 76-12 and are the title holders.ASC are top dogs this year but their strength is in the pack with the likes of Vinnie Anderson and the impressive young Kiwi second rower Samson. They fielded five antipodeans and that experience sounded decisive. Its interesting too that the other U20s side doing well is Albi and their senior side led at half time yesterday at Lezignan before falling away in the second half. Really pleased for these two clubs representing different departments - Vaucluse and Tarn respectively - pushing the game forward in areas other than Perpignan, the Aude and Toulouse.

In Topic: League 1 predictions

28 January 2016 - 01:06 PM

Toulouse announce today a goal of Super League by 2020. A squad of 19 professionals and 8 from their Academy set-up with a budget of €1.5M for 2016.

In Topic: R.I.P Brian Johnson

18 January 2016 - 08:39 PM

Piece by Roy Masters on Brian Johnson in SMH.


Has there ever been a former footballer with a fate so unfair as Brian Johnson, the blond haired St George fullback who died too young of a disease at odds with his lifestyle?

The 1979 premiership fullback was a teetotaller, a healthy eater and a fitness guru but died aged 59 of dementia and its associated problems of wasting.

"Sad" has been the dominant word of the mobile phone texts of ex Dragons lamenting a death we have been expecting for four years, ahead of his funeral in Dapto Wednesday.


dt9903030331. dave tease. steelers. sport. story Mike Gandon..Steelers state 1st division players, Patrick Gibson, left and James Wynne right, with steelers coach Brian Johnson. Photo: David Tease

How can a guy who scolded us on end of season trips for drinking too much; who finished up the front in all those 400 metre circuits of Kogarah Oval; who studied diet and health as a Physical Education teacher; who, when he and wife Karen could not have children, adopted two little boys ...  how could a man lead such a moral, decent and healthy life, yet be cruelly taken by a disease we do not understand?


Sure, some will say he is the victim of his career on the football field...too many head knocks.

Yet he was a fullback, not a combative forward.


20 March 1982 Brian Johnson - St. George R/L Footballer 1979 Fairfax Media


In fact, we would chide Brian for his tendency to slow up when the defence swept menacingly towards him, gently dubbing him "Better Brakes," suggesting he make the opposition earn the tackle.

He would argue, quite reasonably, that there is no point in getting belted when he could cover his head against the swinging arms.

Once, when an over-zealous trainer ran the boys into the ground at the Tuesday night training session after a loss, he went home to his PE textbooks and underlined the relevant pages demonstrating how punishing players can be counter productive.

He then printed them off and handed them to me at the next training session.

When I replaced him as fullback for Glenn Burgess in 1985, he volunteered, "Burgo is playing better than me." And on the day of that year's grand final, when he played in the successful reserve grade premiership team, he said, "I want you guys to win more than anything." He played with Warrington later that year, winning trophies with Les Boyd, the former Wests and Manly international who became the godfather of his two children.

I once stayed with their families in England, sitting at a table with two men of vastly different reputations, musing silently of the days Les fired up at face slapping while Brian preferred to turn the other cheek.

But the game bonds in ways outsiders do not understand and Les drove up from Cootamundra to see his old teammate as the life force was leaving him.

When the position as inaugural head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport coach came up and Brian was an applicant, I was on the board of the Australian Sports Commission and in a position to help him.

The AIS program initially catered for young lads from indigenous families and those from remote rural areas, young fellows whose talents needed to be nurtured before being recruited to Sydney clubs.

The other short listed candidate was Mal Meninga who had just finished his fabulous career with the Raiders.

But Brian, with his background as a teacher was preferred and, as it transpired, Mal's star took on another more spectacular trajectory.

The AIS program, which was cancelled last year because of budgetary cuts, counted amongst its graduates Israel Folau, Boyd Cordner, Jake Friend, Ben Hunt, Sam Thaiday and Kevin Proctor.

When Brian's heath began to fail, the award for best and fairest player in the program was named after him.

The last time we met was at AAMI Stadium, Melbourne and he had taken his squad to observe Storm training.

Over a coffee, I noted his speech faltering, with his assistants subtly and loyally finishing his sentences.

Years before, Brian had read a travel piece I wrote on a visit to Oradour-sur- Glane, the French village where a German tank battalion slaughtered 642 villagers, including 247 women and 205 children for reasons still mysterious.

He took his young AIS team to the village every year until 2011.

The village remains today as it was in June 1944, abandoned, with rusted bikes and burnt out cars, a reminder of mans' inhumanity to man.

The words humanitarian and rugby league rarely appear in the same sentence but Brian, particularly as father and AIS coach, forged them.

Sadly the AIS medal and the man after whom it is named have both gone, too soon.


In Topic: Cathares Knights - Catalans Dragons

12 January 2016 - 11:22 AM

Marc Palanques a former French international forward is the Carcassonne lead man in this Cathare project. He wants to put this entity in the Challenge Cup in 2017. Saturday was quite a special day in the Aude for the game. Games starting at 10am and going on till 10pm at night with a grand post-match reception attracting 800 players, mangement and supporters. The near 6,000 crowd at Domec was as many as Narbonne got the night before for their Pro 2 derby against Carcassonne. The people at Limoux seem joined at the hip with the ASC in developing this project - Lezignan a little less so.I thought the whole feel of the day was a notch or two up on 2015 with plenty going on around the Stadium. The lovely weather helped. It was well presented with the Cathares having their distinctive colours, emblem and identity as well as their own anthem to match Catalans El Segadors. A real super day. We just crave for more of them.