National Rugby League
The National Rugby League is a league of professional men's rugby league teams in Australia. Run by the Australian Rugby League Commission, the NRL's main competition is known as the Telstra Premiership due to sponsorship from Telstra Corporation and is contested by sixteen teams, fifteen of which are based in Australia with one based in New Zealand, it attended rugby league club competition in the world. The National Rugby League is Australia's top-level domestic men's rugby-league club competition, it contains clubs from the original Sydney club Rugby League competition, running continuously since 1908. The NRL formed in the aftermath of the 1990s' Super League war as a joint partnership between the Australian governing body, the Australian Rugby League and media giant News Corporation-controlled Super League, after both organisations ran premierships parallel to each other in 1997; this partnership was dissolved in February 2012, with control of the NRL going to the independently formed Australian Rugby League Commission.
NRL matches are played in New Zealand from March to October. The season culminates in the premiership-deciding game, the NRL Grand Final, traditionally one of Australia's most popular sporting events and one of the world's largest attended sporting championship games. In addition, the NRL premiers play in the World Club Challenge, a pre-season match against the champions of the Super League competition; the reigning premiers are the Sydney Roosters winning their fourteenth official premiership. The New South Wales Rugby League ran the major rugby league competition of New South Wales from its inception in 1908 until 1994. Following the introduction of a new format for interstate rugby league, the State of Origin series in 1980, the decade of the 1980s brought about expansion of the NSWRL premiership, with the introduction of commercial sponsorship, the Winfield Cup, the addition of non-Sydney-based teams and Illawarra in 1982. Although this move brought more interest in the competition statewide in New South Wales, it would spell the beginning of the demise of some of the traditional Sydney-based clubs as well as having a negative effect on the Brisbane Rugby League premiership.
Following the 1983 season, Sydney foundation club Newtown Jets were forced to withdraw from the competition because of financial difficulties. Further expansion of the league followed in 1988, with another three teams based outside Sydney introduced to the competition; the Brisbane and Newcastle sides proved to be successful and popular and paved the way towards a push for a national competition. This was attempted in 1995 with control of the premiership passing from the NSWRFL to the Australian Rugby League, who invited four more teams from outside NSW to participate in 1995; this competition failed, but in its demise the National Rugby League was born, incorporating the traditional Sydney clubs coercing the Sydney market to follow the newly created national competition. The prospect of a national rugby league competition in addition to the introduction of pay television in Australia attracted the attention of global media organisation, News Corporation, it followed that professional rugby league was shaken to its foundations in the mid-1990s with the advent of the Super League war.
A conflict over broadcasting rights, it became a dispute as to who controlled the sport and which traditional clubs would survive into the new national era, as News Limited formed their own Super League and admitted some former ARL clubs, poaching players from the original ARL league with high salaries. With twenty-two teams of varying quality playing in two competitions that year, crowd attendances and corporate sponsorships were spread thinly, many teams found themselves in financial difficulty; the ARL undertook moves to invite the traditional clubs that had moved to the Super League competition back into a re-unified competition. Following a period of negotiation with News Corporation, on 23 September 1997 the ARL announced that it was forming a new company to conduct the competition in 1998. On 7 October News' Manaaki Ranginui announced that he was confident that there would be a single competition in 1998. On 19 December, representatives of clubs affiliated with the Australian Rugby League gathered at the Sydney Football Stadium to decide whether to accept News Limited's offer of a settlement – voting in favour by 36 votes to 4.
As a result, in the following months the National Rugby League, jointly owned by the ARL and News Limited, was formed. It was announced that the inaugural National Rugby League season of 1998 would have 20 teams competing, 19 remaining Super League and ARL teams plus the Melbourne Storm, who were created by Super League for their 1998 season. Clubs on both sides of the war were shut down. Super League decided to close the Hunter Mariners and the financially ruined Perth Reds, who were $10 million in debt at the end of 1997, while the ARL decided to close down the South Queensland Crushers, who were in severe financial trouble. Additionally, at the end of 1998 the NRL decided to close down former Super League club, the Adelaide Rams and former ARL club, the Gold Coast Chargers, despite the Gold Coast franchise being one of the few clubs to make a profit during the Super League war. One condition of the peace agreement between the ARL and News Limited was that there would be a 14 team competition in 2000.
The 20 clubs that played in 1998 would be assessed on various items such as sponsorship, crowds, on-field success and the like. It was announced that clubs that merged would
Brett Hodgson is an Assistant Coach at the Wests Tigers in the NRL and an Australian former professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. A New South Wales State of Origin representative goal-kicking fullback, he played his club football in the NRL for the Western Suburbs Magpies, the Parramatta Eels and the Wests Tigers, with whom he won the 2005 NRL premiership, he played in the Super League for the Huddersfield Giants, with whom he won the 2009 Man of Steel Award, the Warrington Wolves, with whom he won both the Challenge Cup and the Lance Todd Trophy. Hodgson gained representative selection for the Exiles and City NSW. Hodgson was born in Australia. An Ingleburn RSL junior, Hodgson was graded to the Western Suburbs Magpies, he made his first-grade début under coach Tommy Raudonikis in round 11 of the 1997 ARL season, when Wests met the South Queensland Crushers at Campbelltown Stadium. In 2008, Hodgson was the last remaining pre-2000 Western Suburbs Magpies' footballer playing in the NRL, before the return of John Skandalis in 2009, Ray Cashmere in 2012.
In 1999, Hodgson turned down a position with the new Wests and Balmain Tigers joint venture club, Wests Tigers, and, to obtain a fullback position, he signed with Parramatta Eels for the 2000 NRL season. Hodgson's season was cut short following a high tackle from Cronulla's Mitch Healey, breaking his jaw; the 2001 season was a successful one for Parramatta Eels. Hodgson was selected for City Origin and the club made it to the grand final. Described as a "lethal, attacking full-back", Hodgson played as a fullback and scored two tries in the Parramatta Eels's loss to the Newcastle Knights in the 2001 NRL grand final. During his time at the Eels, Hodgson was the recipient of Gordon Tallis' famous slingshot tackle, whilst was representing NSW in the 2002 State of Origin series. In 2003, Hodgson's final year at the Parramatta Eels was cut short in round 16 with a rib injury. Hodgson returned to Campbelltown when he signed with the Wests Tigers in 2004. Taking over goal-kicking duties, a position he had sometimes filled in previous seasons, he scored 194 points for the year.
In round 24 of the 2005 season, Hodgson scored a club record 22 points during a 54-2 flogging of the Bulldogs. Three weeks he broke his own record, scoring 30 points against the Cowboys. Hodgson's successful 2005 season resulted in the Dally M Fullback of the Year and the NRL competition's leading pointscorer with 308 points, the most points scored by a fullback in one season, he went on to play and kick five goals in the Tigers' 2005 NRL Grand Final victory over the North Queensland Cowboys. As NRL Premiers Wests faced Super League champions Bradford Bulls in the 2006 World Club Challenge. Hodgson played as a fullback, kicking one goal in the Tigers' 30-10 loss. On 23 July 2006, midway through the first half of the clash between Wests Tigers and his former club, Parramatta Eels, Hodgson sustained medial and cruciate ligament injuries and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. In Round 12 of 2007, Hodgson fractured his cheekbone in the match against the Parramatta Eels. After surgery to repair the fracture, Hodgson was sidelined for seven rounds and returned in Round 20 for his 200th first-grade game, a resounding win against the North Queensland Cowboys.
Salary cap restraints at the Wests Tigers forced Hodgson to look elsewhere for a contract for the 2009 season. Hodgson said. There was nothing here. If you've been in the game seven, nine or 10 years I think there needs to be some sort of allowance."Hodgson played his last game for the Wests Tigers on 7 September 2008 and although the club failed to make the top eight, they did send Hodgson out with a win against the Gold Coast Titans, 28–12. Hodgson was named Man of the Match. At the club's end of season awards, Hodgson was voted the Members' Player of the Year for 2008. In 2015, Hodgson was named a Wests Tigers' life member. Hodgson signed a two-year deal to play in the UK for Huddersfield Giants from 2009. In February, 2009, Hodgson was named team captain, he played for Huddersfield Giants as a fullback in the 2009 Challenge Cup final, as they lost to Warrington Wolves. Hodgson was awarded with the Super League's'Man of Steel' Award after his first season with Huddersfield Giants, becoming only the fourth Australian to win the prestigious award since it was introduced in 1977.
In April 2010 it was announced that Hodgson has signed for Super League rivals Warrington Wolves from 2011 on a two-year contract. His final day as an official Huddersfield Giants player was on 7 October 2010. Hodgson become the first choice fullback for Warrington Wolves in the 2011 season. Hodgson was selected for the Exiles squad for the inaugural Rugby League International Origin Match against England. Hodgson was selected by Exiles coach Brian McLennan to play as a fullback, he had a solid game and helped the Exiles win the first International Origin 16-12. He led the Wire to the league leader's shield, but they fell at the quarter-final stage of the Challenge Cup and semi-final stage of the Super League play-offs. Due to an injury early in the 2012 season, a rotation policy, he shared fullback duties with Stefan Ratchford, being used for the more important games. Two days before Warrington Wolves beat Wigan Warriors 30-10 in the league, it was announced that ten Warrington Wolves players had signed contract extensions, including Hodgson for a further two years, taking him to the end of the 2014 season when he would be 36.
Hodgson was instrumental as he led Warrington Wolves to the 2012 Challenge Cup Final victory, their 3rd in 4
Benjamin Quentin "Benji" Marshall is a New Zealand professional rugby league footballer who plays as a five-eighth or halfback for the Wests Tigers in the NRL. He played for the St. George Illawarra Dragons and the Brisbane Broncos. Marshall was briefly a professional rugby union player with the Blues of Super Rugby. Marshall played for ten seasons in the National Rugby League for Sydney club Wests Tigers, with whom he won the 2005 NRL Premiership, he has been noted including sidesteps, no-look passes and flick-passes. In 2010 Marshall won the Golden Boot Award for the best international player. Marshall was raised without his biological father, but has spoken of the influence of his foster-father Michael Doherty, other men within his extended family, he has said he had, "10 or 11 fathers …, not a bad thing." He was a pupil at Whakatane High School. The eldest of three brothers, he was offered a scholarship to play for a high school in Gold Coast, Queensland when he was 16. While attending Keebra Park State High School, Marshall played for the Australian Schoolboys team in 2003, represented Australia in touch football that same year.
Although eligible to represent Australia, Marshall declared his allegiance to the New Zealand Kiwis early in his career. In Round 20 of the 2003 NRL season, Marshall made his NRL début for the Wests Tigers against the Newcastle Knights, coming on as a replacement in the 14th minute as fullback; the Wests Tigers won the match 52-12 at Campbelltown Stadium. Marshall continued to make appearances for Wests Tigers for the remainder of 2003 when his studies allowed, playing halfback. In Round 24 against the Penrith Panthers, Marshall scored his first NRL try in the Tigers 44-28 loss at Penrith Stadium, he scored. Marshall starred in the pre-season World Sevens competition helping the Wests Tigers to win the tournament, he began the season playing at centre until he dislocated his shoulder in Round 4 against the North Queensland Cowboys. During his time off the Tigers struggled in attack; when he returned after four weeks, he was moved to the play-making position of five-eighth. From there, Marshall set the club on a record 3 match winning streak.
He dislocated the same shoulder four weeks into his return in Round 13. Marshall's season ended. In 2005, Marshall injured his other shoulder in the opening minutes of the first trial match. After missing the opening round match, Marshall played five-eighth for the club's second match of the year against defending premiers, the Bulldogs. With an injury free run, Marshall demonstrated a passing and kicking game to complement his stepping, he was able to set up tries for his team-mates. Marshall made his New Zealand debut in the 2005 ANZAC Test. Marshall was a member of the Wests Tigers that defeated North Queensland Cowboys in the 2005 NRL grand final, where he famously set up a 90-metre try to Pat Richards, considered to be one of the best tries of grand final history; the try involved a trademark'flick pass', at about the 50-metre line to Richards. Marshall was named as New Zealand five-eighth for the 2005 Tri Nations tour. However, surgery on his weak shoulder in the off-season ruled him out and he missed the 2006 World Club Challenge.
Marshall made his comeback from surgery against St George Illawarra in round 1, but broke his cheek bone. He set up the winning try. Making his comeback against the Cowboys, Marshall set up many tries with a mixture of stepping and perceptiveness. In the 79th minute he was injured by Cowboy's prop Carl Webb, he recovered in three weeks, playing for New Zealand in the ANZAC test. With another injury-free run he began producing dominating performances for the Tigers but eight weeks into his come-back he dislocated the same shoulder, dislocated against North Queensland, he missed the rest of the season. In 2007, Marshall again made his comeback from injury against the Melbourne Storm in Round 1. Marshall had to adapt to changes within the team such as the departure of halfback, Scott Prince, the added responsibility of goal kicking while fullback, Brett Hodgson, was recovering from a knee injury; the Daily Telegraph said, "Marshall had to become something else, he had to become an organiser, a dictator, a tactician.
This never came to him but he made himself into that type of player because he had to do it."Marshall was selected to play for New Zealand at five-eighth in the 2007 ANZAC test, kicking one goal in the 6–30 loss. In round 8, Marshall sustained a fractured shoulder in a tackle where his arm was jammed between Melbourne's Israel Folau and the Tigers' Taniela Tuiaki, didn't return until round 20. Following the season, he missed the Centenary Trans-Tasman Test due to injury and missed the Kiwis' Tour of Great Britain and France. In 2008 Marshall's injury troubles continued when he suffered a knee ligament tear in the third minute of the season's opening game, he returned in round 7. Halfway through 2008, coach Tim Sheens' announced his plan to move Marshall to the halfback position during the 2009 season, going as far as encouraging New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney to play Marshall in this role during the 2008 World Cup; the suggestion was declined. "Benji equals anybody I've seen in terms of flair, making something happen.
He is a remarkable talent, born out of living on the edge. That's the way, he was made to be a footballer." -Wayne Bennett Marshall was named in the 24-man Kiwis squad for the World Cup. He captained New Zealand for the first time on 8 November, against England. Marshall scored a try and
Penrith Panthers are an Australian professional rugby league football team based in the western Sydney suburb of Penrith. The team is based at the foot of the Blue Mountains; the Panthers were admitted to the New South Wales Rugby League competition in 1967. Penrith struggled for twenty years before reaching their first finals series; the club achieved its first Grand Final appearance in 1990 but were beaten by the Canberra Raiders 18–14. The following year the Panthers met the Raiders again in the 1991 Grand Final, this time winning the game 19–12. Penrith's most recent premiership achievement was over the Sydney Roosters in the 2003 Grand Final where Penrith were considered underdogs but came out on top with an 18–6 victory. Ivan Cleary was appointed head coach in October 2018. James Maloney assumed the role of club captain following Peter Wallace's mid-season retirement in June 2018. Sports media personality Phil Gould is the club's manager of football operations. OAK Milk has been their major sponsor since 2012.
Varied Penrith teams had played for many years between 1912 and 1966 in the Western Districts League under the control of the Western Suburbs RLFC. In the Parramatta competition after Parramatta was admitted to the NSWRL in 1947, in a second-tier Sydney competition introduced by the NSWRL in 1962. By this time a single top level rugby league team had emerged in the Penrith area and in 1964 they became known as the Penrith Panthers; the Panther had been chosen as the Penrith emblem after a public competition won by a graphic artist from Emu Plains named Deidre Copeland. In 1966 word was out that the New South Wales Rugby League in 1967 would introduce two new teams to the Sydney premiership. There were three teams vying for the two proposed slots, Cronulla-Sutherland, the Wentworthville Magpies. Cronulla-Sutherland had been assured of one place, leaving Penrith and Wentworthville to fight it out for the other place; the NSWRL settled on Penrith due to their location and a win in the 1966 Second Division title.
After admission to the competition in 1967, they promptly came second last on the competition ladder. Hopes were raised in 1968 under new Captain-Coach Bob Boland when they won the pre-season competition and finished 8th, but this improvement proved to be short lived. Penrith had trouble attracting the sort of experienced players they knew they needed, although they always had good junior talent coming through, they did not get the on-field leadership they needed. Penrith needed to wait until they could develop their own'stars', they struggled for 20 years before reaching their first finals series in 1985 with a team boasting new local star Greg Alexander and captained by Royce Simmons. Penrith started to build momentum, they made their first Grand Final appearance in 1990 with a team boasting notable players the likes of Greg Alexander, John Cartwright, Brad Fittler and Mark Geyer only to be beaten by the Canberra Raiders 18–14. The next year the Panthers met the Raiders again in the Grand Final, this time winning 19 to 12, including two tries by Royce Simmons the former team captain in his last game.
They went on to play Wigan in England for the 1991 World Club Challenge but were beaten by the British champions 21–4. Their reign was short lived as in 1992 tragedy struck the club when the younger brother of Captain Greg Alexander, died in a car accident. Greg and close family friends Mark Geyer and Brad Fittler left the club soon after as well as coach Phil Gould left midway through the 1994 season; the Panthers were coached by former player and club captain Royce Simmons starting with the last six games in 1994 until the end of 2001. They made the finals during the 1997 Super League season and again in 2000 in the re-united NRL competition. In the year 2001, they came last on the competition ladder. 2001 was Royce Simmons' last season as coach for the Panthers, he was replaced by John Lang from Cronulla in 2002, where they finished 12th. Their last game of 2002 showed hope as they proceeded to thrash the Northern Eagles, knocking them out of the final eight; this showed the promise, to come the next year.
With the signing of Preston Campbell and Joe Galuvao, their side fired in 2003. Coming off 3 early season losses, they proceeded to lose only 3 other games for the rest of the competition with the local hero, Rhys Wesser scoring a new club record 25 tries. Penrith finished as Minor Premiers after convincingly accounting for the Parramatta Eels in the last round of competition. In the Finals series Penrith beat the Brisbane Broncos and New Zealand Warriors to reach the 2003 NRL Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters. Entering the match as underdogs, Penrith defeated the Roosters 18–6, with winger Luke Rooney scoring two tries. Hooker Luke Priddis received the Clive Churchill Medal; the game is remembered for a spectacular tackle by Scott Sattler in the 2nd Half, where he ran down and tackled Roosters winger Todd Byrne, sprinting down the left wing for an certain try. Penrith lost the 2004 World Club Challenge in the following pre-season, with the Bradford Bulls defeating them 22–4 in sub-zero temperatures.
The Panthers did however rally after that loss and once again qualified for the NRL semi-final series by finishing fourth and defeating St George Illawarra in the first week of the semi-finals before being knocked out by the Bulldogs in the Grand Final qualifier two weeks later. The Panthers just failed to qualify for the Top 8 in 2005 finishing two points out and in 10th spot on percentages, they endured another below-par season in 2006 this time falling well short of the f
Dene Halatau is a New Zealand former professional rugby league footballer who played for the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs of the National Rugby League. Halatau was part of the Wests Tigers team. Halatau is New Zealand national representative, part of their 2008 Rugby League World Cup winning squad. Born in Invercargill, New Zealand, Halatau moved to Australia as a 4-year-old and played his junior rugby league for the Merrylands Rams and North Ryde Hawks before being signed by the Wests Tigers. Halatau was educated at Westfields Sports High School, he is of Niuean descent. In Round 13 of the 2003 NRL season, Halatau made his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval off the interchange bench in the Tigers 38–30 loss. In Halatau's third match in Round 18 against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Leichhardt Oval, he scored his first and second tries in the 44–12 win, he finished his debut year in the NRL with him playing in 9 scoring 3 tries.
Halatau finished the year with 4 tries. In November, he was selected for the New Zealand national rugby league team making his test debut at hooker against France in the 24–20 win at Stade d'Albert Domec. Halatau played off the interchange bench for New Zealand in the 2005 ANZAC Test at Suncorp Stadium, as the Kiwis lost 32–16. Halatau said, "I've grown up going to Australian schools and most of my friends are Aussies, but I've always held my New Zealand passport and I've never got Australian citizenship. I don't know why, but other than my immediate family, all of my other relatives live in New Zealand."Later in the season Halatau was moved from the interchange bench to lock forward for the finals campaign. Halatau was awarded the Man of the Match for his two try effort against St George Illawarra Dragons in the Preliminary Final 20–12 victory and a week in the 2005 NRL Grand Final, he played at lock in the Wests Tigers 30–16 win over the North Queensland Cowboys. Halatau finished. Playing in 14 NRL matches in 2006, Halatau played 3 matches at hooker for New Zealand in the Tri-Nations.
Halatau was selected to play for New Zealand at hooker in the 2007 ANZAC Test in the Kiwis 30–6 loss at Suncorp Stadium. Halatau finished, he went on the 2007 All Golds tour, playing at hooker in all the 5 matches. In Round 15 against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, Halatau played his 100th NRL career match and scored a try in the Tigers 19–18 loss. Halatau finished the 2008 NRL season with him playing in 22 scoring 3 tries. Halatau was a member of the New Zealand team which defeated Australia 34–20 in the 2008 World Cup Final at Suncorp Stadium. Halatau played in the 2009 ANZAC Test at Suncorp Stadium in the Kiwis 38–10 loss. On 14 August, Halatau signed a 3-year deal with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs commencing in 2010. Halatau finished the season with him playing in 18 scoring 2 tries. In Round 3 against the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium, Halatau made his club debut for the Bulldogs in the smashing 60–14 win. Halatau played in 8 matches for the Bulldogs in an injury interrupted season.
In Round 23 against the Sharks at Remondis Stadium, Halatau scored his first try as a Bulldog before succumbing to a season ending ankle injury. He finished. In 2012, Halatau was playing second-row in the starting team, he was unable to return to first grade. Halatau was named 18th man for the Bulldogs 2012 NRL Grand Final team against the Melbourne Storm with the Bulldogs losing 14–4, he finished the season with him playing 17 scoring a try. On 28 July, it was announced that Halatau would be returning to his previous club Wests Tigers on a two-year contract from 2014. CEO Grant Meyer said, "His experience and leadership as a senior player is going to be invaluable for some of our younger players. We have been clear that we are investing heavily in our juniors and a player like Dene will provide leadership and mentoring for the group." Halatau played from the interchange bench in 2013, but made appearances in all 25 of the Bulldogs matches and scored 2 tries. After breaking his left ankle in a pre-season trial, Halatau was ruled out for at least four months.
He played his return match in Round 14 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs off the interchange bench in the Tigers 32–10 loss. In Round 18 against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval, Halatau played in his 200th NRL match in the Tigers 40–8 loss, he finished his return year to the Tigers with him playing in 7 matches. With the introduction of concussion rules to the NRL in 2014, Halatau saw his value as a utility rise. Peter Mulholland said, "Every team is going to need someone on the bench who can play half a dozen positions. Dene Halatau is the perfect player- someone who can play 1, 7 or 9" Better luck with injuries saw Halatau play in 22 matches and score 4 tries in the 2015 NRL season, equaling his best season tally for the Tigers since the 2005 season. Halatau made his debut as captain in Round 11 against the North Queensland Cowboys in the Tigers 8–0 loss at Campbelltown Stadium, he captained the team a further 2 times while Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods were away on State of Origin duties, including a surprise 34–6 upset win against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in Round 14.
In Round 19 against the Brisbane Broncos, Halatau played his 150th club match for the Tigers in the 42–16 loss at Suncorp Stadium. The Wests Tigers failed to win any of the games Halatau was absent for the season. At season's end, Halatau signed with the Wests Tigers for a further season. Speaking of his career beyond 2016, Halatau said, "I'm
Jason Taylor (rugby league)
Jason Taylor is an Australian professional rugby league football coach and a former player. He was the assistant coach of the Sydney Roosters in 2018 when the club won the premiership that year, he was previously the head coach of the Parramatta Eels, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Wests Tigers clubs in the National Rugby League. A New South Wales State of Origin representative goal-kicking halfback of the 1990s and early 2000s, Taylor set a number of point-scoring and appearance records in the National Rugby League during a twelve-year career with the Western Suburbs Magpies, North Sydney Bears, Northern Eagles and Parramatta Eels. Taylor spent his junior years at Green Valley JRLFC and the Ashcroft Stallions JRLFC, in Sydney's south-western suburbs, he first attended Ashcroft High School before spending his late teenage years St Gregory's College, Campbelltown. Taylor played for Sydney's Western Suburbs Magpies from 1990 to 1993. Starting from the bench for the first 2 games of the 1990 season, Taylor spent most of the season playing five-eighth outside Ivan Henjak.
Still a teenager, he was called "baby-faced". In what was a poor season for the Magpies, Taylor was described as "the best of the babies" in the NRL for the season.1991 saw the arrival of coach Warren Ryan and big-name players Andrew Farrar, David Gillespie and Paul Langmack at the Magpies. Taylor, now playing halfback, lead the team to its first semi-finals in nine years after starring in a play-off for fifth spot. Wests made the semis again in 1992. Ongoing conflict with Warren Ryan saw Taylor seeking an early release from his contract; the release was not granted and Taylor remained for the 1993 season. Taylor said, "The press came up with some interesting reasons why I wanted to leave, but I prefer to keep most of them to myself because they have been pretty well resolved. One reason, was I thought our style of play was too restrictive, too structured and by the end of the year predictable. I wasn't the only player to think that way. Ryan stated in 1993, "I've made every effort to rectify the things that were buggering him up last year.
I did the same thing with Benny Elias. Jason is very talented mentally. We've taken every step to resurrect his game, and to his credit when we told him he wouldn't be released. He's done a lot of sprint work and he's worked hard." That season, Ryan suspended Taylor from first grade after an "outburst" aimed at teammate Paul Langmack at half-time in a match. The Wests Magpies board overturned the suspension. In 1993, Taylor made his representative debut with City Origin. Described as, "the form player of the premiership" in 1994, Country Rugby League general manager David Barnhill claimed that Taylor should be eligible to play for the Country side due to his time spent at St. Gregorys, he ended up playing halfback for City for the next two years. Taylor was selected to play for the New South Wales team in the 1993 State of Origin series, he was chosen on the bench for all three games, but did not take the field in the first game of the series. Coach Phil Gould said, "if anything happened to Ricky we needed a capable and experienced halfback to go in with a similar game-type to Ricky.
Jason's kicking and passing game is along the same lines and would allow fellows like Daley and Fittler the same room as if they were playing with Ricky."Taylor played with the North Sydney Bears from 1994 to 1999, While at North Sydney, Taylor played a pivotal role in the team and set numerous records. Taylor won The Rothmans medal in 1996 as being the game's best and fairest player. Taylor has scored more points for the North Sydney Bears than any other player to have been at the club with 1274 points. In January 1997, Taylor was escorted from The SCG following unruly behavior at an Australian Cricket match, it was alleged that Taylor and some of his North Sydney teammates had been backing up from a bucks party the night before when they proceeded to urinate in plastic cups and throw it over patrons during a Mexican wave. Taylor was axed as an Australia Day ambassador by Central Coast organisers. In The 1997 preliminary final against The Newcastle Knights, Taylor missed 3 out of 5 conversions in North Sydney's 17-12 defeat.
The most crucial when scores were locked at 12-12 after Taylor set up Michael Buettner for a try moments before. With 3 minutes remaining, Norths had a chance to play in their first grand final in 54 years if Taylor could kick that goal; the reliable Taylor missed the conversion and Newcastle player Matthew Johns went down the other end of the field and kicked a field goal to make it 13-12. With seconds remaining Norths frantically threw the ball around the field, Owen Craigie swooped on a loose pass and raced away to score the match winning try to make it 17-12; this was North Sydney's 4th preliminary final defeat in 6 years. Taylor remained with them for their merger with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to form the Northern Eagles in 2000, but was released by the club at the end of the season. Without a club for the next year, Taylor wrote a letter to Parramatta Eels coach Brian Smith and joined the club for the 2001 season, his performance that year was described as, "close to the greatest comeback in big-time rugby league."
Taylor's last match was for Parramatta at halfback in their 2001 NRL grand final loss to the Newcastle Knights. Whilst at Parramatta Taylor set a new point-scoring record, breaking Daryl Halligan's mark of 2,034. Between 1992 and 2000 Taylor played 194 games in succession a standing record, 20 games clear of Hazem El Masri's 174. Taylor retired with the record for most career points
Anthony Laffranchi is a former professional rugby league footballer. An Australia and Italy international, New South Wales State of Origin representative forward, he played in the National Rugby League for the Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans, for Super League club St. Helens. Laffranchi was born in Australia, he played early football for the Murwillumbah Colts. He was eligible to represent the Italy national rugby league team. Laffranchi played at prop forward in the Tigers' 2005 NRL Grand Final victory over the North Queensland Cowboys; as NRL Premiers Wests faced Super League champions Bradford Bulls in the 2006 World Club Challenge. Laffranchi played at second-row forward in the Tigers' 30-10 loss. At the end of the Titans' first season Laffranchi was named co-winner of the club's inaugural Paul Broughton Medal for best and fairest player of the season with teammate Luke Bailey. After further solid performance in 2008, he was selected to play for the City vs Country Origin game, representing Country, in which he was awarded Man of the Match.
Laffranchi was named as the 18th man for the Australians for the Centenary Rugby League Test against New Zealand in 2008. Laffranchi was selected for New South Wales in game I of the 2008 State of origin series. Laffranchi started from the bench and scored the winning try off a Mark Gasnier line break and lead the tackle count for the Blues. In August 2008, Laffranchi was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, in October 2008 he was selected in the final 24-man Australia squad. Laffranchi made his test début against New Zealand in Australia's opening RLWC 08 game on 26 October playing in the Second-row, he followed this up with a two try effort in Australia's second match of the World Cup. He was selected for Australia in the one-off test match against New Zealand on 8 May 2009, he was an Italian international. Laffranchi signed a two-year deal with St. Helens starting in 2012. Laffranchi commenced his Super League career in the 2012 season with St. Helens.
He played for the Exiles in the International Origin and represented Italy in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. Junior Club: Murwillumbah Colts First Grade Debut: Round 26, Wests Tigers v Sharks at Leichhardt Oval, 2 September 2001 First Grade Record: 116 appearances scoring 22 tries First Grade Clubs: 102 appearances for Wests Tigers 2001–2006, 30 appearances for Gold Coast Titans 2007, 2008 Representative Teams: NSW Blues, 2008, City Country Match 2006 Saints Heritage Society profile Gold Coast Titans profile Gold Coast profile Anthony Laffranchi NRL Profile