John Hopoate's plea to Kangaroos stars over Samoa heritage dilemma

The Pacific Island nation lost 38-12 to Australia before being thumped 50-0 by New Zealand – just a year after making the World Cup final. Hopoate, who played for Australia and Tonga, remains passionate about the Pasifika cause and is saddened by Samoa's abrupt demise.

Posting photos of players who opted to play for Samoa over Australia, including Penrith grand final heroes Stephen Crichton and Brian To'o along with Parramatta enforcer Junior Paulo, Hoppa challenged other NRL stars to join the crusade.

Fiji set to host historic NRL trial match

The initiative is the brainchild of the Melbourne Storm, who are poised to announce on Tuesday a new partnership with Fiji Airways for at least the next three years. Storm officials are hopeful the deal – which includes becoming the club’s new shorts sponsor – will result in a trial match being taken to Fiji in the upcoming pre-season for the first time in the game’s history.

Kiwis deliver statement win over Toa Samoa


Named the Ken Irvine Medallist following his 24 tries during the Telstra Premiership season, Isaako's two tries gave Michael Maguire's side a commanding early lead that they wouldn't look back from, to secure their first shut-out win on home soil in over two decades.

Playing their first game since a narrow defeat to Australia in last year's World Cup semi final, New Zealand's combination of power through the middle and quality work from their outside backs was simply irrepressible as Samoa struggled to generate sustained attacking pressure or go-forward.

Gardiner names Toa Samoa squad

Four of these come from the premiership-winning Penrith Panthers - Stephen Crichton, Spencer Leniu, Izack Tago and Brian To'o.

Brisbane Broncos duo Keenan Palasia and Jesse Arthars were also named in new coach Ben Gardiner's squad to take on Australia and New Zealand in the tournament starting later this month.

Eels skipper Junior Paulo was named captain.

Samoa will play its first game of the Pacific Championships against Australia in Townsville on October 14, before taking on New Zealand in Auckland the following week.


Johnson to make late call on playing his 200th NRL game

It's down to mother nature whether or not Shaun Johnson will play his 200th NRL match this weekend.

Johnson's wife Kayla is expecting their second child shortly with the Warriors to play the Parramatta Eels on Saturday.

Warriors coach Andrew Webster says the club will support Johnson whether he travels to Sydney to make his milestone match or not.

NRL star Dylan Brown pleads guilty to groping woman in Sydney

The 23-year-old was accused of touching the woman's breast without her consent at the Golden Sheaf Hotel earlier this month.

It was an incident that resulted in him being banned from bars in the Double Bay area, and the NRL standing him down from team selection as part of its "no fault standdown policy".

The ABC reports Brown had been charged with five offences; however, this was reduced to two charges of sexual touching without consent which he pleaded guilty to.

He's been sentenced to an 18-month Community Corrections Order.


Hansen: NRL more interesting than Super Rugby nowadays

The issue of fan retention for Super Rugby has been a constant for NZR and SANZAAR for years but after a short injection of numbers immediately after the Covid-19 pandemic, figures have fallen back to alarming lows.

In fact, just 12,000 fans turned up for last week's Super Rugby quarter-final between the Blues and Waratahs at Eden Park.

In contrast, almost 24,000 fans turned up to Go Media Stadium (Mount Smart) the week before for the Warriors' round robin game against the Dolphins.

Warriors climb back into top eight with win over Bulldogs

Playing as well as ever in his 13th season in the National Rugby League, 32-year-old Johnson came up with two try assists, two forced dropouts and 722 kick metres as the Warriors racked up their sixth win of 2023.

"Shaun leads with his voice and he leads with his actions and that's very powerful when a player can do that," Warriors coach Andrew Webster said post-match.

Warriors put up a fight but fall to defending champion Panthers

During the Magic Round in Brisbane, the Warriors made a promising start to nail the first points on the board but eventually succumbed to their third straight defeat.

The Warriors dominated the opening stages and were rewarded when prop Addin Fonua-Blake crossed in the 10th minute after halfback Shaun Johnson combined with lock Tohu Harris.

The try followed a break by Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who was stopped short of the tryline on the previous tackle by Penrith fullback Dylan Edwards and centre Sunia Turuva.

Judiciary Report: Wighton set for stint on sideline; Nanai, Paulo facing bans

The 30-year-old, who was sin-binned for the 48th minute incident involving Newcastle halfback Jackson Hastings, faces a two-week suspension with an early guilty plea or three weeks if he unsuccessfully contests the charge at the judiciary.

Wighton also faces a $1800 fine with an early guilty plea for a High Tackle (Careless) earlier in the match on Knights fullback Lachie Miller.