rugby league

Thurston wins Golden Boot again

The 32-year-old, who led the Cowboys to a first NRL grand final triumph and won the Dally M medal for a record fourth time in 2015, beat off competition from New Zealand international Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Leeds' England fullback Zak Hardaker.

England hang on to sink Kiwis

England captain Sean O'Loughlin scored a late try in the wet Wigan stadium, after forward Elliot Whitehead scored twice to the visitors' own three tries.

O'Loughlin powered over eight minutes from time to put England 20-6 ahead against the world's top-ranked side, but the Kiwis fought back in the closing minutes, Samoan-born Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Jordan Kahu grabbing tries to set up a tense finale.

However England hung on to seal their first series win over either World Cup winners Australia or No.1-ranked New Zealand since 2007.

ARL boss, teammate backing Packer

Packer is hoping to revive his NRL career after signing with the St George Dragons in October.

However the 26-year-old is reportedly facing deportation under new Australian immigration laws after being jailed for two years in 2013 for assault.

The office of immigration minister Peter Dutton says Packer's case is being reviewed but no decision has been made at this stage.

Grant says the government's decision is nothing to do with them but he's satisfied Packer has done enough to renew his career.

The Cooks return to the world of league

The Kukis haven't played a match since the 2013 World Cup, having been overlooked for the first three years of the Pacific Test programme.

They face Tonga later this month in a winner-takes-all qualifier for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

This Saturday's match-up against Niue is a chance to test players and combinations but coach Alex Chan says it's just nice to finally put a Cook Islands team back on the park.

Aussie Rugby League team wins second match

The game was the second by the visitors during their short visit to Tonga. In their first game against a Tonga A team on Thursday, they completely demolished the local team 64-14.

The local Rugby League officials were not very happy with the outcome, with the visitors winning both of their games. The annual visit to Tonga by a selected Australian rugby league team is an effort to raise the standard of Rugby League in the country.

Tonga named preliminary train-on squad

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf said: "Not only is there a lot riding on the game in terms of a spot in the 2017 World Cup, it is also a chance for us to get together as a team and keep building on the momentum created after the May Test against Samoa.

"I know that our men can't wait to get together again in camp and to pull on the Tongan jersey and represent Tonga to the best of their ability."

Additional players will be added to the train-on squad following finals matches this weekend and next weekend and confirmation of eligibility.