Jackson Hastings has been included in Great Britain's 24-man squad for the tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The Australian-born Hastings, who qualifies through a grandparent born in Plymouth, is rewarded after a stellar season with Salford that saw him lead the Red Devils to the Super League Grand Final, though they lost to St Helens in Saturday's showpiece.

Super League's newly crowned Man of Steel could form a half-back partnership with Blake Austin, another born in Australia but available for selection via an English relative.

Wigan Warriors full-back Zak Hardaker is also among the list of names for the first Lions tour since 2006.

Saints quartet Lachlan Coote, Jonny Lomax, Luke Thompson and Alex Walmsley will be on the trip too, though club colleagues Morgan Knowles, James Roby, who had withdrawn from contention before the Grand Final, Tommy Makinson and Mark Percival were all unavailable.

Coach Wayne Bennett had already confirmed 11 of the touring party through the England squad for the upcoming World Cup Nines tournament.

"It was pretty tough actually, with a lot of players in contention. A couple of guys got injured and that’s taken a bit of the pressure off, and given a couple of other guys opportunities," Bennett said.

"I think we’ve got a pretty good squad which is more than representative of the best players in the game in England and Australia."

Great Britain, who will be captained by James Graham, face a Tongan Invitational XIII on October 26 in New Zealand before a two-Test series against the Kiwis in November.

The tour concludes with a one-off game against Papua New Guinea, which takes place in Port Moresby on November 16.

 

Great Britain squad in full: James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons) Blake Austin (Warrington Wolves) John Bateman (Canberra Raiders) Tom Burgess (South Sydney) Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves) Jake Connor (Hull FC) Lachlan Coote (St Helens) Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors) Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors) Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils) Ryan Hall (Sydney Roosters) Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves) Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders) Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves) Josh Jones (Salford Red Devils) Jonny Lomax (St Helens) Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves) Luke Thompson (St Helens) Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers) Alex Walmsley (St Helens) Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders) Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons) George Williams (Wigan Warriors).

Melbourne Storm officials met Nelson Asofa-Solomona on Monday after launching an investigation into an incident involving the forward in Bali.

Footage on social media appeared to show the New Zealand international being embroiled in a street brawl at the weekend.

The NRL Integrity Unit and the Storm are investigating the incident and Melbourne will establish the facts before deciding whether to take any action.

A Storm statement said: "CEO Dave Donaghy and representatives of the club's football department staff, including a player wellbeing and welfare manager, met with Nelson in Melbourne today [Monday] as part of the club's investigation.

"Storm has provided an update to the NRL Integrity Unit. Storm will be looking at all the facts involved in this incident and will reserve its position on any possible ramifications until every aspect has been properly assessed and considered.

"The RLPA [Rugby League Players Association] has been consulted and will continue to be engaged through the process."

An NRL spokesperson said: "Melbourne Storm advised the NRL Integrity Unit of an incident involving a player on holidays Bali.

"The Integrity Unit is working with both the Storm and the player to determine what has happened. The Integrity Unit takes these matters very seriously."

New Zealand have called up six uncapped players for the World Cup Nines in Sydney. 

Parramatta Eels rookie Dylan Brown, Canberra Raiders' Bailey Simonsson and Cronulla Sharks prop Braden Hamlin-Uele join a trio of Canterbury Bulldogs players in the 16-man selection.

Corey Harawira-Naera, Reimis Smith and Jeremy Marshall-King are the three Bulldogs to make the cut.

New Zealand Warriors also have three players in the squad, with Leeson Ah Mau, Ken Maumalo and Kodi Nikorima in the mix.

NRL Grand Final runners-up Canberra Raiders can match that tally, with Jordan Rapana and Joseph Tapine set to feature alongside Simonsson in the inaugural edition of the tournament, which begins next week.

New Zealand will face Australia, the United States and Papua New Guinea in Pool A.

New Zealand Nines squad:

Leeson Ah Mau, Dylan Brown, James Fisher-Harris, Corey Harawira-Naera, Braden Hamlin-Uele, Jamayne Isaako, Shaun Johnson, Jeremy Marshall-King, Ken Maumalo, Briton Nikora, Kodi Nikorima, Kevin Proctor, Jordan Rapana, Bailey Simonsson, Reimis Smith, Joseph Tapine.

Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Moses have been named in Australia's squad for the inaugural World Cup Nines later this month.

The Newcastle Knights' Ponga and Parramatta Eels' Moses are yet to represent Australia, but are set to play their parts in Sydney on October 18-19.

Moses' Eels team-mate Clint Gutherson and the Brisbane Broncos' David Fifita are also part of the squad.

Australia head coach Mal Meninga is excited by the players he has at his disposal for the tournament.

"This is an exciting squad of players and I can't wait to see what they can do in this format," he said.

"We have some experienced Kangaroos representatives but we also have some players who have never represented Australia before.

"It will be fantastic to see all these players in the green and gold and on this stage.

"Nines is a fantastic innovation and this group of players have been picked with this form of the game in mind, but also with a view to seeing what a number of them can do in an Australian jumper."

Australia will face New Zealand, the United States and Papua New Guinea in Pool A.

Australia Nines squad:

Josh Addo-Carr, Jai Arrow, AJ Brimson, Nathan Brown, Kyle Feldt, David Fifita, Tyson Frizell, Reuben Garrick, Wade Graham, Clint Gutherson, Ben Hunt, Mitchell Moses, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Kalyn Ponga, Curtis Scott, Cody Walker.

The NRL will not return to using one central referee despite controversy blighting Sydney Roosters' 14-8 Grand Final win over Canberra Raiders.

Assistant Gerard Sutton and touch judge Chris Butler advised head referee Ben Cummins to overturn his late call to hand the Raiders another six tackles, handing possession back to the Roosters, who promptly went up the other end to claim the win.

Canberra boss Ricky Stuart was diplomatic afterwards and insisted he would neither blame the officials for a heart-breaking loss nor seek talks with the league's head of football Graham Annesley.

Speaking after the match, Annesley's assessment was the right decision had been reached – a review of replays showed the ball had come off a Canberra player – but in unsatisfactory circumstances.

"That meant six tackles should not have been awarded," he said. "But I accept it created confusion among the Canberra players.

"It's obviously very messy and very disappointing for the game as a whole that we're now talking about an incident where they actually got the decision right – but they got it right in a way that's caused controversy.

"But if they had not corrected the decision and the Raiders had scored, I'd probably still be sitting here telling you a try had been scored off an incorrect decision.

"But from the moment it happened, the outcome was going to be very unpalatable.

"One of the reasons we have multiple officials on the field is to try to get decisions right."

Before 2009, NRL games were controlled by a single referee, and Annesley felt the Grand Final flashpoint actually highlighted the flaw of the old system.

"If we'd had one referee tonight we would have got the decision wrong," he added.

"It's not possible to avoid errors. Errors by their very definition aren't intended to happen.

"So if anyone can sit in this chair and tell you they can prevent errors from occurring, then we should be hiring them immediately."

James Graham will captain England in the inaugural World Cup Nines in Sydney.

The veteran St George Illawarra Dragons prop was confirmed on Sunday as the leader of a 16-man party featuring six players from the NRL and 10 from Super League.

However, there are no representatives from St Helens or Salford Red Devils, who will contest Super League's Grand Final on Saturday - the day the England squad departs for Sydney.

England will face Wales, France and Lebanon in their qualifying group at the Nines, which will take place at Bankwest Stadium on October 18 and 19.

Of the 16 players selected for the Nines, 11 - Graham, Gareth Widdop, Elliott Whitehead, Ryan Hall, Tom Burgess, Daryl Clark, Jack Hughes, Jake Trueman, Jermaine McGillvary, George Williams and Jake Connor - have also been picked for Great Britain's subsequent tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Sam Tomkins, Reece Lyne, Ash Handley and Liam Watts are on standby for the GB tour having been picked for the Nines, while Ryan Sutton will only participate in the shortened format.

Warrington Wolves half-back Blake Austin and Canberra Raiders duo John Bateman and Josh Hodgson were not considered for Nines selection due to injury, but they are expected to be available for the GB tour.

Great Britain's full 24-man touring party will be announced on October 14.

England Nines squad: 

James Graham (captain), Tom Burgess, Daryl Clark, Jake Connor, Ryan Hall, Ash Handley, Jack Hughes, Reece Lyne, Jermaine McGillvary, Ryan Sutton, Sam Tomkins, Jake Trueman, Liam Watts, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.

Ricky Stuart insisted he would have to be a miracle worker to lift the spirits of his Canberra Raiders squad after their NRL Grand Final defeat.

James Tedesco's late try secured a 14-8 victory for defending premiers Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, though it was a game laced with controversy.

The Roosters' Cooper Cronk was harshly sin-binned early in the second half, but it was Canberra who were the recipients of a bizarre decision late on.

Referee Ben Cummins initially signalled for a repeat set of six following a Canberra attack, only to rescind his decision and hand possession back to the Roosters, who went up the other end to claim the win.

Stuart insisted he did not wish to put the spotlight on the officials, though confirmed he would not be speaking to the referees' boss Graham Annesley, stating it would be miraculous if he was able to lift his side's confidence.

"The plan we had was working. We were coming on really strong with the plan we had but we lost a bit of momentum in a couple of scenarios," he told a news conference.

"I'm not a miracle worker, you can't lift spirits after a grand final [defeat].

"I'd like to think of it as a wonderful Grand Final, one we could have won. It was the wrong call and I've only seen it once. 

"No one goes out there to make a mistake. They have tough jobs. If it's the wrong call there's not a referee that would go out there to make a mistake, if it is a mistake."

Stuart, however, believes the incident is merely a reflection of a hugely challenging campaign for Canberra, who made their first Grand Final appearance in 25 years.

"Anything that can go wrong has gone wrong for us this year. All the adversity we've had this year, we've overcome," he added.

"The travel adversity, two players sent off in one half. That's built the resilience in this team, we don't look for excuses. We look for solutions to get on with it. I'm proud of the squad that I'm coaching."

Cooper Cronk is more than ready for retirement after he helped Sydney Roosters to an unprecedented back-to-back title in the NRL.

The Roosters became the first team to win successive premierships in the NRL era with a tightly contested 14-8 victory over Canberra Raiders at ANZ Stadium.

James Tedesco crossed late on for the Roosters after the referee Ben Cummins changed his decision from awarding Canberra a fresh set of tackles, instead giving Sydney the handover as Cronk - who was controversially sent to the sin bin early in the second half - went out on a winning note.

Cronk, 35, was overwhelmed with emotion in the aftermath of Sunday's triumph, but insisted he has no doubts about hanging up his boots.

"There was so much emotion around the game this week, but the club did a really good job of keeping it pretty small," Cronk told the Nine Network.

"I don't really know what to say except thank you to everyone involved in rugby league.

"From being a young kid, I've been blessed to be able to watch this game and it's a humbling experience having been able to live out a dream and have some success at the end of it. But I'm ready for retirement - I've had enough!

"I'm the result of some very good individuals at some very good clubs. I've been fortunate enough to play with some guys that changed the way rugby league was played and I just jumped on the back of that and had some fun along the way.

"It's been one hell of a journey, one hell of a ride and I'm just glad it's over!"

Cronk, appearing in his ninth Grand Final, was harshly cautioned when he was adjudged to have tackled Josh Papalii without the ball.

The officials checked for a penalty try, though the video official deemed a penalty - and yellow card for Cronk - was sufficient.

"It's not ideal. I'm not here to criticise the referees but I didn't think it was a sin-binning offence," Cronk said.

"It took heart and soul for this club to defend for that time and then score points. This club cops a lot of criticism but it's got one big heart, a hell of a lot of soul and a lot of good people involved in it."

Match-winner Tedesco echoed Cronk's thoughts, while hailing his retiring team-mate.

"It's a pretty surreal feeling. Everything was against us, Cooper getting sent to the bin in his last game, we were under the pump that whole second half," Tedesco said.

"We've got a winning culture, the boys never give up and we fought for the whole 80. [Cronk] is an unbelievable player, an unbelievable bloke.

"We spoke during the week about how much he has done for every one of us as players. To send him out a winner is an awesome feeling."

Sydney Roosters became the first team to win back-to-back premierships in the NRL era with a nail-biting 14-8 triumph over a dogged Canberra Raiders.

Star full-back James Tedesco crossed eight minutes from the end of a hard-fought and ultimately controversial contest to send the retiring Cooper Cronk out a winner at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.

The Raiders, on top for long periods, had moments earlier been on the wrong end of a reversed decision for a fresh set of six that forced a handover heading into the closing stages.

Jack Wighton's converted try and a Jarrod Croker penalty earlier brought Ricky Stuart's men level after they fell eight points behind in the first half but their first Grand Final appearance in 25 years ended in agony.

Defence had been the cornerstone of Canberra's unexpected run to the premiership decider but the Roosters needed just six minutes to pierce the armour.

Boyd Cordner went close before Sam Verrills, in his 14th NRL appearance, darted out of dummy half and opened the scoring next to the upright.

There was a setback for the Roosters when Mitchell Aubusson suffered a game-ending knee injury as the result of last-ditch defending on his own line but another two points from Latrell Mitchell's boot softened the blow.

Joe Tapine had gifted away the penalty with a high tackle on Victor Radley that left the dazed lock in need of a concussion test.

The Raiders steadied and earned a deserved foothold before the interval following a largely subdued Tedesco's failure to hold a high kick, which gave Wighton the chance to slice through and reduce the deficit back to two points for an improving Canberra.

Bursts from Joseph Leilua and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad imbued them with more momentum at the start of the second half and led to a real opening for Stuart's side.

Cronk, in his ninth Grand Final, headed for the sin bin after being adjudged to have tackled Josh Papalii without the ball.

The video referee decided against awarding a penalty try but Croker's successful penalty leveled the score at 8-8.

Canberra looked to have taken advantage of the extra number when Jordan Rapana crossed in the corner, but a sloppy last pass from Leilua had gone forward off the ground.

Mitchell squandered an opportunity to edge the Roosters back ahead yet the door swung back open when the Raiders were forced to hand the ball over on the fifth tackle of a promising attack, despite six-again having seemingly been signalled before Wighton allowed himself to be tackled. 

The Roosters surged forward and Mitchell and Leilua combined to send Dally M Medal winner Tedesco in for the winning try.

Sydney Roosters are strong favourites to become the first team to win back-to-back titles for 21 years when they lock horns with Canberra Raiders in the NRL Grand Final on Sunday.

The Roosters dethroned Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium last year and are expected to shatter the Raiders' hopes of being crowned champions for the first time since 1994.

Canberra have a terrible record when facing the defending champions in New South Wales, but Ricky Stuart's men will be not be thinking about that when they run out in Sydney this weekend.

We pick out a selection of Opta facts ahead of the decider.

 

- This will be the third time the Roosters and Canberra have clashed in the finals series during the NRL era – with the Roosters having won the previous encounters by 28 (2000 semi-final) and 26 (2004 quarter-final) point margins respectively.

- The Roosters have won 17 of their 18 matches against the Raiders in New South Wales since the NRL commenced in 1998.

- Jarrod Croker needs eight points to become the first Raiders player to score 2000 in the NRL. He has scored 48 points in his last five matches against the Roosters, crossing the try line on each occasion in that span.

- Canberra's Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (1527) and Sydney's James Tedesco (1467) have gained the most metres from kick returns amongst all players in NRL 2019.

- The defending champions have scored the most tries than any other team this season, with 116 to their opponents' 93. 

- Canberra have won three of their five NRL Grand Final appearances. This is the first time they have been involved on the final day of the season since being crowned champions in 1994.

- Only the Storm (9.4) and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (9.7) have averaged fewer errors per game than the Raiders (10.0) in NRL 2019. The Roosters have averaged 12.2 per game - the second most.

Brisbane Broncos hooker James Segeyaro has failed a drugs test, the NRL announced on Thursday.

The league said 28-year-old Segeyaro has been served with a provisional suspension following the 'A' sample result, and can ask for a 'B' sample to be analysed.

In a statement, the NRL said: "The National Rugby League (NRL) has tonight provisionally suspended Brisbane Broncos player James Segeyaro under the NRL’s anti-doping policy.

"The provisional suspension notice asserts that Mr Segeyaro returned a positive A-sample for di-hydroxy LGD-4033 which is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the NRL’s anti-doping policy.

"He was tested by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) on 3 September, 2019.

"Mr Segeyaro is prohibited from participating in any WADA compliant sport, including rugby league, while the provisional suspension is in place."

The date of the test fell in the midweek between NRL matches against Parramatta Eels and Canterbury Bulldogs.

The NRL said it had notified Segeyaro and "advised him of support services".

The Broncos said Segeyaro, who joined the club from Cronulla Sharks in May 2019, was overseas on holiday.

He has previously played for North Queensland Cowboys, Penrith Panthers and Leeds Rhinos, and has been capped by Papua New Guinea.

Cameron Smith will consider retirement in the coming weeks after the Melbourne Storm missed out on a place in the NRL Grand Final.

The long-serving Storm captain and former Australia star turned 36 in June, and admitted it would be a wrench to give up playing.

Speaking after the Storm fell 14-6 to the Sydney Roosters on Saturday, goal-kicking hooker Smith told his former club and international colleague Billy Slater he would give thought to his future.

Replying to Slater, who asked on Channel 9 whether he would be back next season, Smith said: "Dunno mate, I'll have a think about it over the next few weeks and decide then.

"But I've said all along, particularly over the last two or three seasons, even though I'm getting on a little bit and the end is near, I've been enjoying my football thoroughly.

"I've been playing a bit of a different style of football in the last couple of years, now we've got a lot of younger players and a lot of inexperienced players, and in a way it's given me a new lease of life in footy.

"But [there are] a lot of things to think about. The family's getting a little bit older with the three kids, they're growing up. I've got a lot of things on, a lot of stuff to weigh up."

Smith holds a host of NRL records, including the most goals, most wins and most games as captain of a team.

Slater has moved into racehorse breeding since retiring last year, and Smith joked: "Do you need help with that brood mare business? I'll come down and be your stablehand."

Sydney Roosters will return to the NRL Grand Final to defend their title after beating minor premiers Melbourne Storm 14-6 in a fierce contest on Saturday.

In a rematch of last year's final, the tone was set after just seconds with a pair of yellow cards for an early confrontation at Sydney Cricket Ground.

But the Roosters quickly got in front and never let their lead slip, scoring crucial tries through Boyd Cordner and James Tedesco and battling bravely at the other end.

Sydney will chase a 15th title against a man who took them to three Grand Finals, with Ricky Stuart back in the season decider with the Canberra Raiders for the first time since losing with the Roosters in 2004.

And this year's final match will come 17 years to the day since Stuart and Sydney won together in 2002.

For the Storm, attention will now turn to the future of the great Cameron Smith, who is said to be undecided amid talk of retirement.

A fast and furious start incredibly saw a player from either side sent to the sin bin within the opening minute.

Nelson Asofa-Solomona appeared to twice swing at Siosiua Taukeiaho, prompting an understandably furious reaction that saw both props shown yellow cards as Latrell Mitchell's boot supplied the first points.

The Roosters came under intense pressure but responded superbly, with Daniel Tupou towering over his opponent to claim a high kick and then holding off three Melbourne players to offload to Cordner to touch down.

Jahrome Hughes then appeared to be guilty of a professional foul when he stopped Tedesco scoring late in the half, but Sydney settled for a penalty, dispatched by Mitchell.

Asofa-Solomona made a rather more positive impact at the start of the second period, though, powering through to score after an extended spell of Storm pressure.

The Roosters were clinging on and their hopes were hit further when Tedesco was controversially deemed to have knocked on to Joseph Manu, whose score was therefore disallowed.

But Tedesco made amends and scored himself with 12 minutes remaining, with Mitchell's conversion crucially moving Sydney eight points in front to seal victory.

Tim Mannah has announced his retirement from rugby league - but he will be staying with Parramatta Eels in an off-field role.

Mannah spent his entire NRL career with the Eels, playing over 200 games, but it had been confirmed he would not be staying on beyond the 2019 season.

There had been reports of a move to Wests Tigers, yet he has now clarified his future.

The 31-year-old completed a sports business degree in 2017 and will be hang up the boots to become part of Parramatta's commercial team.

Mannah, who represented New South Wales in State of Origin, said: "I've had a great time in the game and it's given me and my family so much.

"I'm extremely grateful for the support I've received from the Eels and our passionate Blue and Gold Army. I truly believe we have the best fans in the world.

"I'll always have amazing memories of the experiences I've had and the people I've met along the way, but now I'm excited to open a new chapter in my career."

Canberra Raiders reached the NRL Grand Final for the first time with a battling 16-10 win over South Sydney Rabbitohs at a raucous GIO Stadium on Friday.

Three-time Australian champions Canberra had not previously been to the season decider in the NRL era but finally booked their spot with a hard-fought home victory.

The Raiders upset Melbourne Storm to set up a preliminary final in front of a record crowd and they twice nudged in front to give the Rabbitohs too much to do.

Coach Ricky Stuart returns to the Grand Final 15 years on from his last appearance with Sydney Roosters, who could yet join their former coach.

Souths saw apparent tries struck off at either end of a lively first half, but the Raiders controlled proceedings for a period after a fortunate 15th-minute breakthrough.

Corey Allan was tackled by Josh Hodgson when attempting to carry a grubber kick out of the in-goal area, allowing Jarrod Croker to touch down the loose ball.

Dane Gagai thundered over in the corner for a Rabbitohs try and the scores were level at the break.

Canberra led again early in the second half, though, through another unorthodox try. Jack Wighton dropped the ball onto his right boot, negating the knock-on and wrongfooting the nearby Souths players to dive over in the corner.

The Raiders came under intense pressure thereafter and were forced to play the majority of the last 10 minutes a man down following Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad's professional foul on the counter-attacking Adam Reynolds.

But the Rabbitohs could not capitalise and Josh Papalii – who was placed on report after a high tackle on Adam Doueihi – all but secured his side's Grand Final place with a stunning solo run at the other end.

There was still time for Campbell Graham to stroll through and reignite the Rabbitohs' hopes with a minute remaining, yet they were unable to get another score with their final play and fell short.

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