Archives - March, 2019

1 Mar 19

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The latest news from the NRL as clubs name their sides for round 12.

Talkin’ Teams: So Laurie Daley still hasn’t named a replacement for the injured Kurt Gidley. I spoke to him last week and he told me that he had two teams in mind. He had one with Gallen at prop and another team with Gallen at lock. I believe Gidley was picked with the thought of playing Gallen in the front row, so don’t be surprised to see a reshuffled side now that the Knights skipper has had to withdraw. I expect Gallen to move back to lock, with Lewis on the bench. That will allow Daley to pick one of Willie Mason, Aaron Woods, Aiden Tolman or Tim Grant. Considering Queensland have named a team without a recognised prop on the bench, the Blues should go for a big bopper. That’s just my opinion. Looking forward to the abuse when I get it wrong. Who would you pick?

Talkin’ Teams: With no Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Brent Tate and James Tamou, it’s an experienced looking Cowboys side to take on the Titans on Sunday.

Cowboys: 1. Clint Greenshields 2. Ashley Graham 3. Antonio Winterstein 4. Kane Linnett 5. Kalifa Faifai Loa 6. Michael Morgan 7. Robert Lui 8. Ashton Sims 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. Scott Bolton 11. Tariq Sims 12. Glenn Hall 13. Dallas Johnson. Interchange: 14. Ray Thompson 15. Joel Riethmuller 16. Ricky Thorby 17. Jason Taumalolo 18. Ethan Lowe 19. Blake Leary.null

Talkin’ Teams: Dave Taylor returns from injury for the Titans, who are missing Ashley Harrison, Nate Myles and Greg Bird on Origin duty. William Zillman will captain the side in their absence.

Titans: 1 William Zillman, 2 Kevin Gordon, 3 Brad Takairangi, 4 Jamal Idris, 5 Anthony Don, 6 Aidan Sezer, 7 Albert Kelly, 8 Luke Bailey, 9 Matt Srama, 10 Luke Douglas, 11 David Taylor, 12 Mark Minichiello, 13 Luke O’Dwyer. Interchange: 14 Ryan James, 15 Mark Ioane, 16 Jamie Dowling, 17 Sam Irwin

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1 Mar 19

ON THE BALL: James Virgili and Ruben Zadkovich train at Ray Watt Oval yesterday. Picture: Ryan OslandTHE Newcastle Jets will open their pre-season campaign against Northern NSW minnows Plattsburg Maryland.
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The Bulldogs, who play in the third-tier Zone Football Premier League, is the junior club of former Socceroos striker and Jets youth team coach Clayton Zane and has also produced former national league regulars Peter Juchniewicz and Brad Wieczorek.

The Jets assembled yesterday for the start of the first main phase of the pre-season. The game against Plattsburg is on June 26 with a venue yet to be confirmed.

Marquee striker Emile Heskey is not due back from England until July and the Jets’ four Young Socceroos, Connor Chapman, Josh Brillante, Adam Taggart and Andrew Hoole, will be at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey.

The rest of the squad are expected to play some part.

‘‘We will go into games pretty quickly, starting with lesser opposition and building up as we have done previously,’’ Jets coach Gary van Egmond said yesterday.

‘‘We have a game against Plattsburg and we want another game against similar opposition.

‘‘We will be working the players pretty hard in this phase and they will be fatigued.

‘‘We still want to play reasonable football against a team who is going to want to do well.’’

Plattsburg player-coach Mal Hinchliffe, who works for Zane’s InZane Football academy, said his players were ‘‘buzzing’’ when told about the friendly.

‘‘We are looking at it as an experience, a game of footy they will never forget,’’ Hinchliffe said.

‘‘It is not often you get these experiences, the opportunity to play against the likes of Michael Bridges, who has played so many games in the English Premier League. A lot of them were in disbelief.’’

Plattsburg are sixth on the ladder with two wins from seven games and are still alive in the State Cup.

‘‘We have had a bit of an unlucky start to the season,’’ said Hinchliffe, who returned to Newcastle after nine years in Germany.

‘‘There are some good players, but they can’t commit to training three times a week with a state league club. Most of them are former Wallsend High boys. They are hard workers and fight to the end.’’

The Jets have opened their account against Northern NSW State League clubs in previous seasons.

Van Egmond said they would still face state league rivals as they approached the season, which begins against Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium on October 11.

‘‘We have divided the pre-season into three stages of about six weeks, which is similar to last season,’’ the coach said.

‘‘We are looking at going to the AIS in Canberra again, Tamworth again, and there is some talk about going to Townsville and maybe Coffs Harbour.

‘‘We want to take the game regional, from a Northern NSW point of view, and interstate if we can.’’

The Jets have at least three places to fill on their roster.

Blackburn Rovers and former North Queensland Fury goalkeeper Seb Usai and Adelaide shotstopper John Solari began a trial yesterday for the No.3 spot vacated by Jack Duncan’s exit to Perth.

Usai, 23, has spent the past 18 months at Championship club Blackburn Rovers. He featured on the bench but did not play a first-team game.

Solari, 20, plays for Adelaide Premier League club White City and is still eligible for youth league.

The Jets had 10 contracted players on deck yesterday.

Craig Goodwin has been given an extended break, while Ben Kennedy (knee) and Josh Mitchell (knee) are recovering from surgery.

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1 Mar 19

OFF-contact outside backs Kevin Naiqama and Peter Mata’utia are expected to receive another chance to advertise their wares in the NRL shop window when Newcastle take on competition leaders South Sydney at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
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The Knights are set to field a depleted squad minus their three main strike weapons, skipper Kurt Gidley, fullback Darius Boyd and winger Akuila Uate, all of whom are either unavailable or in doubt with injuries.

Gidley and Boyd were selected by NSW and Queensland respectively for Origin I tomorrow week, but Newcastle’s skipper was a shock withdrawal last night because of a foot injury.

Boyd also faces a race to prove his fitness for the series opener after injuring his lower leg/ankle in Sunday’s 28-12 loss to the Warriors in Auckland.

Despite the Knights stating on their website yesterday that Boyd had been ‘‘cleared of serious injury following scans on Monday’’, there are fears he has suffered a syndesmosis injury, which means tearing the ligament that binds that tibia and fibula.

Queensland have named Melbourne winger Justin O’Neill on standby in case Boyd is ruled out.

Uate was replaced early in the second half with rib-cartilage damage and would appear at long odds to line up against the Rabbitohs.

Rib-cartilage injuries are notoriously painful and, while players sometimes carry them into games with the aid of pain-killing injections, this usually delays the healing process.

Uate is expected to have scans today and until he has those results, Knights physiotherapist Phil Coles said ‘‘we can’t be sure on time frames’’.

Uate’s likely absence would create a selection dilemma for Knights coach Wayne Bennett, leaving him with an extra vacancy in his backline.

Kevin Naiqama, who scored two tries against Canterbury nine days ago but did not retain his position, is a certain selection, either at fullback or on the wing.

Mata’utia, who has not played in the top grade since June 9 last year in a 32-16 loss to Canberra, is the next most experienced candidate.

Naiqama has scored nine tries in his 10-game NRL career and Bennett admitted after his performance against the Bulldogs that it would be ‘‘almost impossible’’ for the Knights to retain him, because he was ready to establish himself as a first-grader.

It is understood other NRL clubs – and rugby union outfits – are already circling the 24-year-old.

Mata’utia appeared a rising star when he made his NRL debut in 2011 but was cruelled by injuries last season.

The former Australian Schoolboy’s manager has been negotiating with the Knights recently about contract extensions for Mata’utia and his younger brothers Chanel, Pat and Sione, who also play for the Knights.

Other possible replacement options include powerful centre Siuatonga Likiliki or even goalkicking winger Josh Mantellato, who has been a prolific pointscorer in the NSW Cup for the past two seasons.

Veteran centre Timana Tahu, who was dropped after the 44-14 loss to Canberra three games ago, has not played since because of a calf injury.

Gidley’s unavailability means Travis Waddell is likely to be promoted from the bench to the starting side.

Waddell may have to share the dummy-half duties with a stop-gap hooker, such as Neville Costigan, to accommodate the return from suspension of enforcer Jeremy Smith.

Smith has missed five club games and the Anzac Test match since being found guilty of a dangerous throw on Matt Robinson in the round-six win Penrith.

The 33-year-old’s return will be welcomed by Bennett, who admitted Newcastle were overpowered and physically intimidated by South Sydney’s giant pack in two heavy defeats last season.


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1 Mar 19

THE Maitland Mustangs are in turmoil after the resignation of Waratah Basketball League men’s coach David Richards and the imminent departure of general manager Chris Heath.
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Richards resigned yesterday under mounting pressure after the Mustangs won just one of their first 10 games this season.

Heath is expected to do likewise tomorrow would not comment yesterday.

The Newcastle Herald has been told Heath’s exit is not directly related to Richards’s decision to step down.

‘‘I made my decision in the best interests of the team, based on my own expectations and what I delivered,’’ Richards said yesterday.

‘‘Due to my own poor performance, I decided to stand down.

‘‘I’m not sure who will take over. That is a decision for Maitland. But I think the team is capable of winning some games and I expect them to get some wins soon.’’

Maitland’s 86-72 home loss to Bankstown on Saturday was their sixth straight.

Their only victory was by one point against winless Sutherland on April 13, but five of their nine losses were by six points or less.

Speculation about Richards’s future began after the Mustangs were humbled 91-50 by arch-rivals Newcastle at Broadmeadow this month, which ensured the Hunters retained the coveted Kibble-Mallon Cup for another year.

Mustangs player Luke Boyle, assisted by older brother Adam and Maitland basketball guru Tim Mallon, said he would replace Richards on an interim basis, but the Mustangs have sounded out former Hunters coach Darren Nichols as a permanent replacement.

Nichols coached the Hunters for the past four years but resigned in February after falling out with Newcastle Basketball general manager Ivan Spyrdz and members of the board.

Spyrdz resigned a fortnight ago after almost five years in the Broadmeadow front office. He began a new job last week as general manager of Newcastle-based public relations company Eclipse Media, Events and PR.

Luke Boyle was Maitland’s player-coach last year but stepped down to concentrate on playing, which created the vacancy Richards filled.

‘‘It’s only on an interim basis at the moment with the assistance of Tim and Adam, and hopefully I won’t have to do it for too long,’’ Luke said yesterday.

‘‘I don’t want to do it forever, because I just want to worry about playing. It’s just to fill the void until we can find someone, and hopefully that will be by the end of the week.

‘‘I feel a bit sorry for him because we were a new team and he was given a pretty difficult task, and five of our losses were by six points or less.’’

The off-season departure of veterans Kieran Gleeson, Andy Allen, Matt Dick, Butch Hays and Josh Clifford meant Richards had to rebuild team led by reigning WBL Most Valuable Player Mitchell Rueter, 201cm Canadian import Robert Nortmann, Luke and Joel Boyle, Maitland stalwart Wayne Brown and several Hunters state and youth league players.

The Mustangs play Penrith and Sutherland on the road this weekend before a two-week break.

Nichols said he had spoken to the Mustangs ‘‘but I have not had an official offer’’.

If he takes the job, Nichols would almost certainly call on Newcastle stalwart Larry Davidson to be his assistant.

‘‘I have been asked to take on the position, but it’s a big decision and it’s not one I will make by myself because it impacts on my family,’’ Nichols said.

‘‘I very much want to coach again at that level, but I’m just not sure if I want to do it this soon.’’

PRESSURE: David Richards, who resigned yesterday. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

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1 Mar 19

Bad day: Gai Waterhouse leaves the inquiry on Monday. She was fined $5500. Photo: Marco Del GrandeGai Waterhouse could face further charges from More Joyous’ autumn campaign after she was fined $5500 for failing to keep proper records and failing to report a condition to stewards that could affect performance leading into last month’s All Aged Stakes.
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Stewards will also investigate a record of More Joyous being lame on the Tuesday before she ran fifth in the Queen Of The Turf at Rosehill on April 6.

The lameness improved on the Wednesday before the Queen Of The Turf and was recorded in the treatment book.

Waterhouse was fined $500 for not having More Joyous’ treatment book up to date when stewards took it on the night of the All Aged Stakes on April 27, as the inquiry was launched. It revealed the lameness issue before the previous start.

”We will also look at whether treatment given before the Queen Of The Turf ought to have been reported, and will do that on a separate date,” steward Ray Murrihy said as he summed up the findings.

Waterhouse told the inquiry on Monday that news had reached the Queen in England and it had been a ”shoddy” inquiry and ”incredibly cruel, unfair and disgraceful” on her and her family.

She questioned Nash Rawiller’s ride and the condition of the Randwick track, which stewards regarded in assessing a $5000 fine for not reporting More Joyous’ sore neck under rules that compel trainers to report a condition that may have had affected the performance of a horse in a race.

Her counsel Malcolm Ramage, QC, said his advice would be to appeal the guilty finding and the fine.

Waterhouse said she had the final decision on running More Joyous, just as she had with any of the 130 horses in her stable.

”There was no problem in my opinion,” she said. ”I’m not some hick from the bush. I’m qualified in what I do.”

Murrihy had earlier pressed Waterhouse on when she would report a problem with a runner from her stable.

Waterhouse said she wanted every horse from her stable to win and would not send them out if there was problem.

Stewards had set out 10 factors that should have led Waterhouse to report the problem with More Joyous. Murrihy said those 10 points were to be looked on individually rather than in totality.

”For you to have so many triggers, we wouldn’t expect you to ignore them,” Murrihy said. ”It was a clear breach of your requirement to report a condition to us.

”It shouldn’t have been hidden away from the gaze of the authorities. We shouldn’t have been kept in the dark. The public that supported the horse are entitled to know if there had been problems.”

Earlier in the inquiry, owner John Singleton was fined $15,000 for conduct prejudicial to racing after making claims in interviews that Waterhouse’s bookmaker son Tom had been telling his mates the champion mare ”couldn’t win”.

The explosive claim sparked the inquiry but stewards cleared Tom Waterhouse of any wrongdoing.

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