Hi folks. What are you doing still here? Our new website is now up and running (well sort of - we're still working on it) and you really should be over there because we're not updating this one any more. Oh sure, we'll keep it here for a wee while but the new place to be is our 2012 website.
Hi all site members...!!! Some of you lovely readers may have received an email in the last few days informing you that you have had an account created for Ayberspace, so it's time we explained why. First of all, DON'T PANIC! It nothing sinister we promise... quite the reverse in fact.
You might have noticed that our beloved Ayberspace is looking a bit shabby round the edges and to be honest if it wasn't for Delboy wouldn't have had any updates at all recently (thanks Del!). Well the reason for this isn't that we've been sat on our fat a**es during the offseason. No, we've actually been creating a brand new Ayberspace ready for the 2012 season and the reason some of you have received an email recently is simply because we've been transferring members to the new site in the background.
So if you HAVE received an email telling you your Ayberspace account has been created then it means your details have simply been registered on the new site. Of course, if you haven't received an email then you should do in the next few days. Please just hang onto your emails for when we launch the new site, which will of course be done right here. And in the meantime of course, all your current logins and passwords still work right here on your regular, old, shabby Ayberspace.
Tigers head coach Basil Millward has unveiled the club's squad numbers for the 2012 season.
Amongst the changes, Richie Owen is given the number 1 jersey and 18 year-old hooker Daryl Clark is given the number 9 jersey.
Squad number 18 has once again been given to the fans as a thankyou gesture for their support.
On his selections, Millward said:
"I'm not a great believer in squad numbers, I personally think you should be able to pick 1-17 each week and players have pride in wearing one of those numbers every week.
"But these are the rules and obviously some thought has gone into it but there's an old saying; it's not where you start, its where you end up that counts and hopefully all of the players will take this in the right context."
Tigers squad numbers 2012:
1. Richard Owen,2. Nick Youngquest,3. Joe Arundel,4. Kirk Dixon,5. Josh Griffin
6. Rangi Chase,7. Danny Orr (c)
8. Jake Emmitt,9. Daryl Clark,10. Craig Huby,11. Brett Ferres,12. Jonathan Walker
13. Steve Snitch,14. Stuart Jones,15. Adam Milner,16. Ryan Hudson,17. Lee Mitchell
18. Cas Fans,19. Paul Jackson,20. Grant Millington,21. Oliver Holmes,22. Nathan Massey
23. Ryan McGoldrick,24. Steve Nash,25. Jordan Thompson,26. James Clare,27. John Davies
Ian Millward was doubtless assessing his options during today's Boxing Day clash with the Bulls, and in the main he'll likely be quite happy with the squad he fielded. Very light in terms of established first teamers, Cas played well after a shonky first minute) to beat Bradford 28-18.
They didn't start by oozing confidence though... Cas watched bleary eyed as the Bulls kicked off and it bounced straight back into their arms. From there they swung it out left and Jason Crooks breezed down the wing to open the visitors' account as the Cas lads continued to flap about. Tigers were four down after just 50 seconds, but they soon got their heads into the game after that glitch. It wasn't long before they were putting some good passing moves together and making decent headway towards the Wheldon Road End and Bradford's try line....
The Tigers have named a 21 man squad for the Boxing day Friendly against the Bulls at the PROBIZ .
On naming his squad Millward said:
"Our biggest concern is availability [due to recovering injuries] but we're not looking to rest people. Danny Orr won't be playing as he's had a bit of a calf strain and Rangi's not going to play because he played in the internationals. Everyone else who is fully fit will play.
"It's important for some of the younger guys who train with the squad. It's all very nerve-wracking when you start a full-time career and get involved with the professional players and it's a great chance for them to get some credibility on Boxing Day."
The Squad is:
1. Richard Owen,2. Josh Atkinson,3. Jordan Thompson,4. Josh Griffin,5. James Clare,6. Ryan McGoldrick
7. Ben Johnson,8. Steve Nash,9. Ryan Hudson,10. Nathan Massey,11. Oliver Holmes,12. Lee Mitchell
13. Stuart Jones,14. Daryl Clark,15. Adam Milner,16. Zac Snellgrove,17. Jack Smith,18. John Davies
19. Steve Snitch,20. Chris Simmons,21. Daniel Holmes
After an approach from Wakefield ,the Tigers have allowed recently exiled full back Richie Mathers to go on a season long loan to our nearest Superleague rivals .
Basil Milllward said about the deal, "We had an approach from Wakefield on the availability of Richard Mathers as they lost Matt Blaymire for 2012. After assessing our options and depth in the full back position we granted the twelve month loan to provide Richard regular Super League," ,Basil also said "This loan deal was also brought about by the signing of home grown talent Richard Owen for four years. I made a commitment to giving him an opportunity to play fullback. Also we have strength and depth in this position with Ryan McGoldrick and the emergence of the 20 year old James Clare."
The Tigers have added an additional match to their pre season schedule with a visit to the Gateshead International Stadium on Sunday 15th January 2012 (2.00pm kick off).
The match will be a chance for under 20s coach Gary Thornton to test his charges in competitive action and could also be a platform for some of Ian Millward's first team stars to get valuable game time under their belts.
The revised pre season schedule reads:
v Bradford - H (on Boxing Day; 1pm)
v Huddersfield - H (Friday 13th Jan; 8pm)
v Gateshead - A (Sunday 15th Jan; 2pm)
v Wakefield - A (Sunday 22nd Jan; 3:30pm)
v York - A (Sunday 29th Jan; 3pm)
The Tigers have completed a double swoop by signing Aussie prop Grant Millington and Warrington back row forward Lee Mitchell.
Millington, 25, moves from Canterbury Bulldogs on a two-year deal, while Mitchell, 23, comes on a 12-month loan deal with a view to a permanent deal.
Mitchell has also agreed a one-year contract extension with Warrington.
The deal states that Warrington will have first option on Mitchell at the end of next season.
But, if this is not taken up, Cas coach Ian Millward can sign him on a permanent basis.
Billinge-born Mitchell, 23, who has scored three tries in 32 first team games for Warrington, made only five appearances last season, but went out on loan to Harlequins in April, as well as playing on a dual registration under Millward at Championship club Leigh.
"Such is the quality and depth of the Warrington squad, it is definitely in Lee's interests to continue to improve his game by playing for us," said Millward.
"He is ready for the rigours of Super League week in, week out and is an extremely talented English back row. He has lots of mobility, plenty of skill and a fantastic attitude,He adds depth to our squad and he's hungry to play. Although not guaranteed a spot, he'll get opportunities here with us next year."
Millington, who previously played with Cronulla, was under contract with the Bulldogs for 2012.
He was granted an early release, enabling him to move to Super League, but he is likely to miss the start of the season after undergoing a shoulder re-construction.
"Hopefully we'll be playing over 30 games next year and him missing the first couple shouldn't be the main issue," said Basil.
"I'm looking at the bigger picture with him. He played in all but one game for Cronulla in 2010 and we've covered every base with his medical - he's well on his way to a full recovery.
"He brings variation to our attacking game up front and he comes highly recommended by Ricky Stuart, his former coach at Cronulla, and also Trent Barrett who played with him there."
Tigers half back Rangi Chase produced the goods to help England into the 4 Nations Final despite several attempts by the Kiwis to 'Rattle' him .
England produced a performance brimming with confidence and class to demolish reigning Gillette Four Nations champions New Zealand 28-6 in their last group match to secure a meeting with Australia in next Saturday's final.
Jamie Peacock's men dominated the clash at Hull's KC Stadium from start to finish to delight a near-capacity crowd of 23,447 and raise hopes that they can finally end their 41-year wait for a series triumph over the Kangaroos at Elland Road in seven days' time.
England ran in tries through wingers Tom Briscoe and Ryan Hall, prop James Graham and electrifying full-back Sam Tomkins, with man of the match Kevin Sinfield kicking six goals from six attempts.
Jason Nightingale's effort was nothing more than a consolation for New Zealand.
Australia overcame the loss of inspirational full-back Billy Slater and the best efforts of a gallant England to reach the Gillette Four Nations final at Elland Road on November 19.
Slater, named international player of the year this week, suffered a fractured collarbone after just 10 minutes that has ruled him out of the remainder of the series.
However, the Kangaroos brushed off the absence of their talisman to outscore their hosts by six tries to four and make it seven final appearances in as many attempts.
England will hope to earn a rematch at Elland Road by overcoming New Zealand in their last group match in Hull next Saturday and there was enough evidence today to suggest they could go a step further.
They took an early lead with the first of winger Ryan Hall's two tries and might have sprung a shock victory but for a controversial decision of referee Henry Perenara to disallow a Tom Briscoe touchdown when the match was delicately balanced.
With will-of-the-wisp full-back Sam Tomkins thrilling the 42,344 crowd with his trademark dashes and Kevin Sinfield and Roger Chase continuing to build on their lively half-back partnership, England were full of invention but were left to rue a series of defensive lapses which proved costly.
The fans had plenty to cheer from the moment England took the lead with an 11th-minute try from Hall.
Second rower Ben Westwood looked a certain scorer after taking Sinfield's pass but Slater not only brought him down short of the line but stole the ball at the same time.
However, England maintained the pressure and went in front when Hall took a pass from his Leeds skipper Sinfield and evaded the flying challenge of Slater to brilliantly touch down one-handed by the flag.
Slater paid the price for his heroic efforts as he was led to the sidelines and coach Tim Sheens was forced to reshuffle his side, with Darius Boyd switching to full-back and second rower Luke Lewis moving onto the wing.
However, Lewis looked an accomplished threequarter on 16 minutes when he was on hand to take Boyd's long pass and beat three defenders to cross for an equalising try.
It was against the run of play once more when the Kangaroos extended their lead on 29 minutes when giant forward Tony Williams, who made a big impact from the bench against the Kiwis, brushed off a poor attempted tackle by Chris Heighington to romp over for a try.
Thurston kicked his second conversion to make it 12-4 but England struck back a minute before the break to leave the match finely balanced.
Tomkins stepped majestically through the heart of the Australian defence and, with the aid of a delightful flick pass, combined with impressive centre Jack Reed to get Hall charging over for his second try, brilliantly holding off Boyd to touch down.
Sinfield, off target with his first conversion attempt, hit the post this time to leave England trailing by just four points at the interval but any momentum England might have derived from the try disappeared within five minutes of the re-start when Australia scored again.
Briscoe knocked on in the tackle inside his own half to gift the visitors an attacking position and half-backs Darren Lockyer and Thurston worked the ball out wide for Greg Inglis to glide over for his 16th Test try.
Thurston's third goal made it 18-8 and England missed a glorious chance to get back in the game on 47 minutes when Briscoe was contentiously denied.
The winger stretched out of Boyd's tackle to plant the ball over the line but Perenara ruled a double movement, despite slow-motion replays indicating otherwise.
England coach Steve McNamara, pictured expressing his frustration on the big screen, clearly thought his side had been wronged.
Australia had Williams put on report for an ugly tackle around the neck of Westwood and loose forward Anthony Watmough was lectured after coming to blows with Gareth Widdop but they extended their lead on 52 minutes when prop Paul Gallen went over from Cooper Cronk's pass and Thurston kicked his fourth goal.
The comeback was back on when Reed outjumped Boyd to collect Sinfield's high kick on the hour and raced clear to score his third try in as many matches and Sinfield landed his first successful goal to cut the gap to 10 points.
England clearly thought they were still in the game when Tomkins and Reed scrambled superbly to pull off last-ditch trysaving tackles on Thurston and Inglis but there was no way back when Boyd went over for a fifth try eight minutes before the end.
As both defences began to tire, Tomkins produced another delightful offload to get Heighington over for a try, while Chris Lawrence twisted out of Sinfield's tackle to score Australia's final try, with Thurston taking his goal tally to six from as many attempts.
Having been christened Roger by his fellow English team-mates, Rangi Chase played a big part in a 42-4 Four Nations opening win against Wales.
Starting again at half back Rangi produced the pass that saw Sam Tomkins go over for the games first try.
When the Wigan favourite took a pass from Sinfield to slice through the Welsh defence for a second on 15 minutes, it look routine for McNamara's team.
But, inspired by captain Lee Briers, the Welsh played with spirit to keep England in check and test their defence.
The veteran stand-off gave his side a perfect attacking position with a 40-20 kick and replacement forward Craig Kopczak came up with a clean break but Wales lacked the composure and class to make the pressure pay.
Their best scoring opportunity came through Warrington winger Rhys Williams, one of eight Super League players in the side, but Ryan Hall showed his defensive mettle to bundle him into touch.
England extended their lead to 14-0 by half-time when half-backs Rangi and Kevin Sinfield produced some delightful passes to get centre Kirk Yeaman over for a try try but the 10,377 crowd had to wait another 28 minutes for the next score.
Second rower Gareth Ellis began punching holes through the heart of the Welsh defence and it was from his clean break that Tomkins completed his hat-trick on 49 minutes, which secured him the man-of-the-match award.
Reed then took Westwood's pass to storm over for his second try in as many matches and Tomkins grabbed his fourth after Briers' speculative drop-out failed to go the required 10 metres.
Wales never gave up and gained some consolation on 66 minutes when winger Elliott Kear made full use of an overlap to score at the corner.
McNamara took the opportunity to rest hooker James Roby and in his absence Gareth Widdop produced an impressive cameo performance, breaking clear to get loose forward Chris Heighington over for his first try before scoring England's eighth try from from Hall's interception.
Sinfield kicked his fifth goal from eight attempts to wrap up the scoring.
Rangi had a spell on the bench as McNamara tried a few combinations out when Widdop came on but to be honest i thought the game stalled a bit when Rangi went off and picked up again when he came back on. (but i would say that wouldnt I ).