Young backrower Scott Bolton has re-signed with the North Queensland Cowboys until the end of the 2009 season. Another product from Innisfail's rugby league nursery, the 20-year-old has blossomed this season.
He earned his NRL spurs after impressive form for reserves team Young Guns and has not looked back. Bolton has been named on the bench for a Cowboys side without their Queensland Origin stars Johnathan Thurston, Carl Webb and Jacob Lillyman for tomorrow night's clash with the Sydney Roosters.
Newcastle have moved to further bolster their front row stocks for next season after agreeing to terms with Melbourne NRL prop Ben Cross. Cross will link with the Knights on a three-year deal from next season where he will be joined by impressive St George Illawarra tyro Danny Wicks.
Cross and Wicks will help cover for the impending loss of starting props Adam Woolnough and Josh Perry. Woolnough will join Penrith next season while Perry is being strongly linked with a move to Manly.
Penrith coach Matthew Elliott says tonight's clash against South Sydney is the start of a four-week period which could well determine his side's premiership fate. Despite the fact they are languishing in 12th spot, the Panthers have a golden opportunity to move up the ladder.
In the next month they play the struggling Rabbitohs, the bottom-placed Sydney Roosters, an inconsistent Warriors outfit and a Brisbane side which will be without its Origin representatives.
The Panthers go into the game against the Bunnies full of confidence after knocking Manly off the top of the table last week. The Rabbitohs will be riding a five-match losing streak ahead of the Telstra Stadium match.
Moving on to Origin, and New South Wales five-eighth Braith Anasta says the Blues need to forget the biff in Wednesday night's game or risk taking their focus of the main aim of winning the match.
Anasta says while the Blues forwards needed to match the Queenslanders in the aggression stakes, it's more important they come out on top of the scoreboard. Both sides have traded barbs over who will win the muscle game but Anasta says the first side to concentrate on their football rather than the biff will come out on top.