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    Mumford looking for four-year deal

    27/07/2018 - Author: admin

    Swans premiership ruckman Shane Mumford is out of contract, with negotiations yet to begin on what his management hopes could be a new four-year deal. He is sure to attract attention from several clubs if talks break down.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Melbourne’s Max Gawn is another ruckman seeking a new deal, with discussions also on hold.

    Mumford’s current four-year deal, estimated to be worth between $250,000 and $300,000 a season, is about to expire.

    His agent, Anthony McConville, of Mac’s Sports, and the Swans agreed over summer to wait until at least the mid-season break to open discussions.

    Mumford, who will turn 27 in July, is one of the competition’s premier ruckmen, although he appears to have been hindered by injury this season.

    He has played 64 matches for the Swans since leaving Geelong, after he was unable to dislodge Brad Ottens and Mark Blake during the 2009 finals campaign.

    ”He is 26. In a perfect world, I would like to look at four years, to be honest,” McConville said of imminent contract discussions.

    ”If it is three years, it’s three. If it’s two, it’s two. I haven’t had the conversation with them [Sydney].

    ”I will go to the table with an open mind. In saying that, we have a relative amount of expectation … We will see where it takes us.”

    The lucrative deal the Swans offered four years ago raised some eyebrows, but both parties have prospered. Mumford was traded for pick 28, which the Cats used to secure Mitch Duncan.

    ”It was a good, fair deal considering the output they have got from a player over the last three and a bit years now,” McConville said.

    ”I am sure they [Swans] are happy with the result.”

    Mumford has worked well alongside flourishing ruckman Mike Pyke, although just what the Swans do in terms of selection of their big men when Kurt Tippett is available after his league-imposed suspension is intriguing.

    Former Swans premiership coach Paul Roos this week acknowledged the importance of stockpiling ruckmen, having watched Fremantle’s big men department decimated by injury.

    ”I would say there is always interest from clubs, especially with his quality,” McConville said.

    ”I would expect to have the conversation with the club around midyear. I wouldn’t imagine there would be too many issues going forward – hopefully not. But, I mean, we’ll see.

    ”There are a lot of things to take into consideration, obviously, when players are out of contract, both for the player and the club.

    ”It was always said from the start of this season that we won’t start talking until midyear. We are still a few weeks from that period. They were happy with that, I was happy with that.”

    Mumford’s hitouts to advantage have dipped from 28 per cent last season to 21 per cent, but he still wins 52 per cent of all hitouts.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    No muzzle on Clarke’s men for Ashes

    - Author: admin

    There is no danger Australia will follow England’s lead and ban players from talking about the Ashes, after James Pattinson revealed the bowlers’ plan to ”open up” England by targeting their captain and best batsman Alastair Cook.
    Nanjing Night Net

    England coach Andy Flower has muzzled his players, who have been told they will face disciplinary action if they shift focus from the series against New Zealand and the Champions Trophy to talk publicly about the more glamorous Ashes assignment that follows.

    Australian captain Michael Clarke has no such concerns, and has encouraged his troops to keep talking and tweeting as the Champions Trophy and Australia A squads prepare to depart for Britain this weekend.

    ”I’m very open to the guys talking about whatever they want to talk about. I love the fact that in the Australian team we allow people to be themselves,” Clarke said. ”That’s probably one of the great advantages of social media … We understand there’s a line and don’t overstep the mark. [But] there’s no restrictions in regards to guys not talking about the Ashes.”

    Pattinson, the potent young paceman, took immediate advantage of the licence, taking early aim at Cook. The opening batsman scored 1249 runs at 48.03 last year but was dismissed by left-arm quick Trent Boult in both innings in the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s, for 32 and 21.

    ”The big thing for us is Cook, he’s their star batsman, their captain, their leader, so we want to get into him as much as possible, not really verbally,” Pattinson said. ”As a bowling group, we’ll be working hard on trying to get into him early on, bowl to his weaknesses and try to get his wicket because we feel like if we can do that, we can open them up quite early.

    Cook averages 50 against Australia and Peter Siddle foreshadowed a new approach.

    ”In the past we have tried too many different things instead of sticking to what we knew would work. If we keep that consistency we know we can build pressure on him,” Siddle said.

    The Australians have also been monitoring Cook’s opening partner Nick Compton, who has made two centuries in his first eight Tests, and young middle order batsmen Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow, one of whom is expected to make way for Kevin Pietersen if he proves his fitness before the Ashes.

    ”Joe Root looks a pretty composed player … Compton is finding it hard, getting lbw a lot, he closes off quite a bit,” Pattinson said. ”You look at those things, find out weaknesses, but they’re all class batsmen. The big thing for us is don’t have any doubts, trust our ability, that will shine through in the end.”

    The 23-year-old fast bowler, who has recovered from abdominal surgery, has milked his older brother and Nottingham veteran Darren for information about bowling at Trent Bridge, the seam-friendly venue for the first Test.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Ryan in mix to join revamped Storm

    - Author: admin

    GreenEDGE Cycling boss and Melbourne businessman Gerry Ryan says he will decide early next month whether to join the consortium that has taken control of Melbourne Storm.
    Nanjing Night Net

    European-based Kiwis Bart Campbell and Michael Watt and Melbourne millionaire Matthew Tripp have been identified as members of Holding MS, the company that assumed control of the Storm from News Limited on Tuesday.

    Ryan has also been mentioned but told Fairfax Media he was yet to commit to the group.

    ”I think we’re all going to meet on the fourth or the third of June, when we’re going to discuss the final rollout of the new structure,” Ryan said.

    ”We’ll have some dialogue then and I’ll decide what I’m going to do.

    ”I don’t have time to be the owner or major shareholder. But I have said before I think the club can work.”

    Ryan said it was his understanding that three individuals were already committed and five more had been asked to take part.

    Ryan said he was impressed with new chief executive Mark Evans and that the new owners would ”bring value to the club” but believed it would ”take a few years to turn the club around”.

    ■ Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he always believed James Maloney, who lines up for the Roosters against Melbourne on Saturday, would be a first grader and added the ex-Storm player would not be out of place in the NSW team. Maloney left the Storm for the Warriors in 2009 after playing four first-grade games.

    ”I used to play against his old man,” said Bellamy. ”He was a tough unit, his old man. James is of the same ilk. He’s a tough, gritty player , he’s probably made for origin.

    ”I don’t really think about, when they leave here, what level they’re going to get to. I knew he was a first-grade player, without a doubt. He’s done tremendously well. He’s had a real good career over there at the Warriors.

    ”If he does get that [blue] jumper, it’s going to be an enormous credit to him. He hasn’t had the easiest start to his career … but he’s worked really hard and it will be a real pride thing for him and his family if he gets that blue jumper.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Women lead the way towards a meaningful ratings scheme

    01/03/2019 - Author: admin

    Did you know South Africa is the holder of the “ICC Test Championship mace”? Any idea what it looks like? Well, this should be a revered item – it passes to the nation which leads the ICC Test championship. Know what that is? Well, basically, it is the continually updated league ladder of Test cricket, in which teams are ranked by which team they beat, and where. The mace is transferred every time a team takes over the top ranking, not that all but the most attentive fan would notice. It seems scant recognition for achieving the the presumed pinnacle of the sport.
    Nanjing Night Net

    But in many parts of the cricket world, Test cricket is not the pinnacle.

    Many fans, administrators and TV moguls get more excited by T20 or limited overs cricket. The World Cups of T20 and 50-over cricket are presumably their mountain tops, and IPL their staple, and addiction.

    There is a gaping divide in world cricket.

    It is why the International Cricket Council has failed to institute a world championship of Test cricket, and postponed the next attempt until 2017, despite releasing Test rankings each month since 2003.

    Such a tournament is simple in theory – the top four teams in the rankings at the end of every four years play off in an event that could be completed in less time than the perversely interminable 50-over World Cup.

    The tradition associated with individual contests between particular nations are a hindrance to them enthusiastically embracing a global Test championship. Australians and Englishmen treasure Ashes series over every other contest, and those series will make more money than banks of now unfashionable ODIs. Most nations are also keen on playing India more often these days, due to the broadcast dividends that can result.

    However, such is the power of cricket’s lucrative shorter forms that second-rank one-day tournaments such as the Champions Trophy survive while the Test championship languishes.

    Given this dichotomy, an innovation in the women’s game bears some scrutiny.

    The Ashes series being contested by Australia and England’s finest women cricketers this winter will be decided by a points system.

    The winners of the Test will be awarded six points, with two points awarded to the winners of each of the limited overs and T20 matches. The team that accrues the most points across all three formats will win the women’s Ashes.

    The concept of awarding three times as much weight to a Test win as for an ODI or T20 match is a worthy starting point for a refreshing innovation. Already, votes awarded to Australian male cricketers in their player of the year awards give greater weight to performances in Test matches than ODIs, due recognition to the form of the game that most truly tests the skill of the combatants.

    Under the innovative women’s scoring system, Australia would have scored 23 points to England’s 19 on the last men’s Ashes tour, having lost the Test series 2-1 (two points are awarded for draws), and won the ODI series 6-1. The single T20 match was washed out.

    Antipodean cricket fans may grasp at such flimsy consolations given the bleak short-term prospects of the national team. (We’ll leave aside the fact that our ODI team is also hardly setting the world on fire of late.)

    But in the future such a scoring system might not seem so ridiculous.

    While women’s cricket features far fewer Test matches, and the gap in status and prestige between long-form and limited overs cricket is not as great as in the men’s game, the scheme is a starting point for thinking differently about how we rate cricket performances.

    The novel scoring technique agreed to for the women’s Ashes may be a method to enliven series which feature all forms of the games and recognise the best all-round cricketing nation. Surely there should be acclaim for a team that can slog at 10 an over in a three-hour T20 extravaganza, then defend grimly on the final day of a five-day Test match.

    Do many IPL fans care about which nation is crowned Test cricket’s finest? Are there that many Test cricket devotees who care much about which team is crowned T20’s champion? Maybe it is time to bring such fans closer together, for the sake of both forms of the game.

    Perhaps, in decades to come, a new scoring system will inject some meaning and interest to previously dead rubbers, and suspense to usually moribund one-day games.

    Consider how much has changed in the past 40 years in cricket. India has gone from easybeat to superpower, on and off the field; the game is professional, lit up at night, played in coloured clothing and over in three hours in many gaudy instances. The reverse sweep, ramp shot and TV rights deals now demand attention previously hogged by delicate leg glances during slow-scoring Tests viewed from a single fixed camera in colonial black and white.

    We live in an idiosyncratic, divided cricket world, and it may be that the women and their administrators have shown a way forward, or a taste of things to come.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Ashes silent treatment: some observations

    - Author: admin

    Beefy’s shouting it from the rooftops. Photo: telegraph.co.uk Underdog Ashes victory, 1989.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Some ramifications of England’s ban on its players mentioning the Ashes.

    1. BAN ALL MEDIA

    If English cricket authorities want their apparently fickle players to focus on New Zealand and the Champions Trophy instead of the Ashes, they can’t just ban players from answering reporter’s questions about the Ashes. They will have to stop the easily distracted stars from reading the paper as well. And stop them from examining the web, checking their text messages, glancing at their Facebook page, or conversing with British citizens, including their spouses, and pets.

    A clue to the magnitude of the challenge facing Andy Flower’s ruling was immediately obvious.

    On the Telegraph website, beneath the story announcing the Ashes talk ban, was this headline: “England will whitewash panicking Australia 5-0, says bullish Sir Ian Botham”.

    “I don’t see Australia competing with England for a little while, a few years yet,” Botham said. “I’m loving it. I absolutely adore it.

    “Over the years, we’ve had to put up with Australian commentators here enjoying it and gloating. Well, see how they enjoy it for the next few years.”

    Such sentiments are careening around the British airwaves. How could they not? By all measures, England is currently a superior team to Australia, and deserved hot favourites. Australia is coming off an implosion of an Indian tour, Homeworkgate and David Warner’s Twitter tirade, and boasts a batting line-up which wobbles every time the ball does. Even the most illiterate England player knows all of this, and just in case such self-evident truths slip their mind, there’s commentators such as Beefy revelling in the upcoming carnage.

    This England team will have to be locked in the caves of Afghanistan to avoid the fact that they should belt the living suitcase out of an inexperienced, demoralised, vulnerable Australia. And it’s hard for the coach to keep up hydration and repeat effort fielding drills when the players are in a dusty, frigid cavern out of satellite radio range.

    2. MIND CONTROL

    Can England control its player’s minds as well as their mouths?

    Coach Andy Flower wants to beat New Zealand in the current Test series – England lead 1-0 after bowling the Kiwis out for 68 in their second innings of the first Test – and then win the Champions Trophy. An everything-to-lose series as favourite against a dour, battling team of lower standing, followed by yet another irrelevant one-day series in which half the Test team does not participate. How can Flower stop the minds of his men wandering to: “Can’t wait to smash those Aussies”? Hypnosis? Psychedelics?

    3. THE WAR

    What if someone slips up, and mentions the … er … Ashes?

    This ban is a red rag to the bull of Fleet Street. Expect more questions than ever of players about the Ashes. It will be a parlour game for scribes, dulled by the faux World Cup of the Champion’s Trophy, to trick an England star into saying something verboten. Sliding scale – 10 points for Joe Root confession, 100 points for an overheard Jonathan Trott aside. If Jimmy Anderson, keen for electrolytes after another five-for, accidentally lapses into candour when asked for the 17th time whether he is feeling confident about the upcoming clashes for the Ashes, how will he be punished?* And how will such admonishments affect morale in the dressing room?

    * May we suggest the following? Suspension for the next 10 Tests.

    4. SECRETS AND LIES

    What subterfuge will England players resort to in order to discuss their Ashes fixation?

    We all know that the more you try to ignore an itch, the worse it torments. Private chat rooms and discreet counselling services must be set up at secure locations by rebels in the team management to enable players to sneak in a few observations about David Warner’s lack of footwork against the moving ball, or the crosshairs painted on Shane Watson’s pads. Given how little happens most of the time on the cricket field, aimless chit-chat is a vital human inetraction, a sanity-saving necessity. Repressing quips, boasts, jokes, jibes, speculation and gossip – the lifeblood of a game in which one stands around in the open air for hours – is a high risk ploy. Upset the equiilibrium maintained by idle chatter and gaskets could be blown … This way madness lies.

    5. FLOWER WORKS FOR KAOS

    Do you get the feeling that since the ban was announced, everyone is thinking about the Ashes more than ever? Could Andy Flower be that deviously brilliant, that capable of using his genius for evil instead of goodness, that he concocted this ridiculous ban purely to put more focus on the Ashes challenge to come, rather than less? Do you remember when Australia had England by the throat? Prior to an Ashes series, shrinking violets such as Glenn McGrath would predict 5-0 victories. Such bold statements weren’t considered simply boastful, they were rated as calculated gamesmanship, or confident honesty. Flower prefers nervous evasion. Is he Siegfried?

    6. 1989

    Yes, Australia was underdog in that fabled series, when they defied the scoffing Poms to record a memorable Ashes triumph in the Old Dart. Maybe a few crusty middle-aged English fools are still scarred by that 0-4 result. But they ought to have been exorcised by pulverising the Aussies and owning the Ashes for the past two contests. And the Australian team that year? Let’s just say that Messrs Marsh, Taylor, Boon, Border, Jones and Waugh, now in their early fifties, could give the incumbent Aussie willow-wielders a run for their (big) money. And England, alas, does not have the following eighties county yeoman to throw at the invaders:

    Barnett, Newport, Jarvis, Curtis, Stephenson, Cook, Moxon, Capel.

    And Igglesden.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    More girls set to eye cricket career: coach

    - Author: admin

    Em Preston, pictured here in 2009, is considering a return to cricket after Cricket Australia’s new funding plan. Photo: Melissa AdamsFormer Australian under-23 representative Em Preston believes Cricket Australia’s increased funding of women’s cricket will give girls hope they can pursue a career in the game in years to come.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Cricket Australia announced on Tuesday that Southern Stars like Ellyse Perry could earn up to $80,000 per year from the new increased funding set-up at both international and domestic levels.

    Preston played for the ACT Meteors and was an age representative for her country before retiring three years ago.

    The 22-year-old is still involved in the game as coach of the ACT under-15 girls team.

    While extra cash in the game wouldn’t lure her out of retirement, she felt it would help inspire a younger generation of female cricketers she is helping develop.

    ”It gives positive direction to a real career like we see the men going overseas and making the money and the career pathways that they have,” Preston told The Canberra Times.

    ”I think that money will help women stay in the game for longer … I think this is a step in the right direction and it’s going to encourage me to keep my girls in the game and to show them that this can really become a career for you.

    ”That’s a positive sign.”

    The all-rounder said there were two reasons behind retiring: losing her enjoyment and focusing on a teaching degree. However, she refused to rule out a comeback. But it wouldn’t be because of the $100,000 CA cash injection into every Women’s National Cricket League team.

    ”I wouldn’t come back to it for the money, I’d want to enjoy the game of cricket and have that passion that I used to have.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Ghosts of ’92 stalk Newlands

    - Author: admin

    Mud and guts: Ewen McKenzie’s Wallabies slug it out at Newlands in their first Test against the Springboks after their readmission to world rugby in 1992. The Wallabies stunned the hosts 26-3 to confirm their status as world champions. Photo: AllsportTable Top Mountain is a prominent landmark that dominates life here in Cape Town. It’s so damn big that the locals will never have to worry about finding a house with mountain views as you can’t help but be encapsulated by its magnitude.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Right now I’m looking straight at it from the fifth floor of our hotel, and you can only just see the skyline above its mass. It’s a view I’ve become very familiar with and have seen many times before since I first visited Newlands in South Africa with the Wallabies back in 1992.

    Since then, I’ve stayed in every one of the six levels the hotel has to offer. I’ve been to this hotel so many times that I’ve witnessed numerous renovations, and while the rooms haven’t gotten any bigger, they have received new paint jobs and installed new furniture. Every time I return you can’t help but notice the small changes and improvements while you also find yourself reflecting on past memories – good and bad – of Cape Town. We won our first Test here in 1992, which was a hugely important game as it represented the readmission of South Africa into world Rugby. They were gunning for us as they did not value Australia’s Rugby World Cup win in 1991 as they were not there.

    We proved them wrong in the mud of Newlands, and it was a record score that stood for a long time. That game was about pure pressure. The fear of an unknown opponent was a huge challenge. We knew who they were, and the locals made sure we heard about them every day for the fortnight leading into the match. The only thing was that we just had never played against that group of players before.

    I was back in Cape Town in 1995 – same hotel and playing on the same ground. We were based here for the first Test of the Rugby World Cup, a match we lost and where I was up against the massive 135 kilogram Os du Randt. Coincidently, I was up against him once against in the coach’s box last week in Bloemfontein, and we ever shared the lift together pregame. We are using the same team space now for the Reds as we did with the Wallabies in 1995. As I presented at our team meeting, I could not help but recall the musings of Bob Dwyer in that very room during our World Cup preparations. You might have got inkling about the significance to the South Africans of that World Cup and of our match from the movie Invictus. It was heady stuff but I still wonder how my body-double in the movie had blonde hair! That’s showbiz though, and I digress.

    The Reds just finished a training session at the Villagers Club, which was the same venue the Wallaby group in 1995 spent more than three weeks at spilling a bit of blood and sweat. I swapped some nostalgia with the Reds, explaining the goings-on nearly 20 years ago and even how some of the grounds and clubs have changed. Not much has stayed the same – there are new offices that surround the ground, and the clubhouse has gone – expect for that big mountain in the background.

    Things, however, have not always been joyous here in Cape Town. I distinctly recall five days here during a period of crisis in energy supply when we enjoyed hotel living without the luxury of any power. I can assure you that staying on the fifth and sixth floors are not so salubrious when you are forced to constantly take the stairs. It was funny for a day but that wry smile ended on the second and life as a hermit commenced after that.

    There are a lot of other memories and moments that people remember about Cape Town. I remember picking up a copy of the Cape Argus, which is the afternoon paper, and reading about the infamous Brumbies taxi cab damage incident where our players were on the front page for the wrong reasons. It caused a storm of publicity and resentment that lasted many years.

    They were also the ones who ran the story about one of our players vomiting in a pot plant, which I was also here for. In fact, I think I even ran the disciplinary proceedings from the very same room I am in now, eventually seeing the player return home. These were some of the more unpleasant memories.

    But, that’s life down here. Big, bold and complicated, and that’s before you even take on the Stormers. We were in this same hotel two years ago when we were expected to lose to the rarely defeated Stormers. We won 19-6 before going on to win the title.

    Right now, I can see the Newlands ground just a few hundred metres’ walk away, which is the main reason we stay here. We are here to compete. Putting aside all the distractions of Cape Town, we are here for business, and while the little things keep on changing, the rugby coliseum at the foot of the mountain is waiting as it has since 1992.

    It boasts the largest and noisiest regular season crowds of the Super Rugby tournament and is a bloody hard place to play. We need to keep the crowd quiet if we want to be successful – no easy task is such a busy and vibrant place.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Fagan on shortlist to join Bulldogs

    - Author: admin

    Brumbies Chief Executive Andrew Fagan is on the shortlist to join the Canterbury Bulldogs. Photo: Rohan ThomsonThe Canterbury Bulldogs will interview Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan and have him on a short list to be their new leader as the ACT rugby boss considers a cross code switch to the NRL.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Fairfax Media understands Fagan is one of three or four candidates still in the running to be Todd Greenberg’s replacement at the Bulldogs.

    Fagan’s contract with the Brumbies expires at the end of the year. He has been in talks with the Brumbies board about his future, but it’s understood he has been head-hunted to replace Greenberg and was expected to be interviewed this week.

    Fagan was unavailable for comment. The Brumbies board is aware of the Bulldogs’ pursuit of Fagan, but declined to comment when contacted.

    An independent recruiting agency first approached Fagan last month to gauge his interest in replacing Greenberg, who will take a role at NRL management in July.

    It’s believed that of the final three or four applicants, just one has a rugby league background.

    Applications closed on May 3 and it’s understood Fagan, who initially declined to be considered, did not submit his resume. Instead, the chief recruiter contacted him to see if he was interested and the end result was Fagan being included in the list of candidates.

    Greenberg is not part of the process, given his current position as the Bulldogs chief executive. But he is an admirer of Fagan as a sports administrator.

    Former Manly chief executive Grant Mayer pulled out of the running to be the Bulldogs’ new boss while ARU official Greg Harris has also been linked to the position.

    It is expected interviews will be finished by the end of this week with a decision to be made as early as next week.

    The Brumbies board refuses to be rushed into a decision on Fagan’s future in Canberra, aiming to finalise its decision within the next two months. Fagan has been at the club since 2002 and chief executive since the end of 2005.

    Fagan has seen the Super Rugby club through the controversy of sacking coach Andy Friend in 2011 and the recent ACT government approval for a $30million apartment complex to be built at the Brumbies’ Griffith headquarters next month.

    Brumbies chairman Sean Hammond said earlier this month the board would review its position and had started unofficial discussions with Fagan.

    Meanwhile, the Brumbies play the Auckland Blues at Eden Park on Saturday, aiming to stabilise their play-off hopes.

    They have lost their past two matches and are facing their third consecutive defeat for the first time in the club’s new era.

    The team will fly to New Zealand on Thursday and is hoping for revenge against the Blues. The Blues smashed the Brumbies 30-16 in a last-round choke last year which ended the ACT’s play-off hopes.

    Brumbies flanker Peter Kimlin admitted they underestimated the Blues last season but lock Sam Carter said they wouldn’t make the same mistake again as they launch a revenge mission.

    ”It was a very poor way to finish the season as we were kind of planning on hopefully getting a home final,” Carter said.

    ”A lot of the guys are holding on to resentment for that match so hopefully we can bottle that and bring it out for the game this weekend.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Hat-trick challenge for Roosters

    31/01/2019 - Author: admin

    The Roosters have one more challenge to overcome, it just happens to be a wounded Melbourne side, after identifying an intense three game period to test their premiership worth.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The Roosters are beginning to grow some momentum after wins in away games against Manly and North Queensland in recent weeks and face Melbourne on Saturday before a bye. Hooker Jake Friend said the side had spoken about the importance of a hat-trick of wins before the side is split by the representative period. ”We talked about it a little bit,” Friend said. ”It was a tough block and we’ve got one more tough game to go.

    ”We didn’t speak about it that much but we did talk about the three teams being up there as the benchmark of the competition.

    ”We spoke about doing as good as we could against them and to get two wins has been great.”

    The Roosters’ stellar start to the season has seen them climb to second on the premiership ladder with just two losses. In form back-rower Mitchell Aubusson dismissed thoughts that the club had a softer start to the season. ”We don’t choose who we play,” Aubusson said. ”We couldn’t face those challenges until they came up. Now we’ve met those challenges and we have one more to go. It’s going to be a big test. We can’t wait to see where we are at.”

    Defence has been key to the Roosters resurgence. They have leaked just 94 points, less than 10 points per game. It is a massive turnaround compared to last season where they finished the year as the second worst defensive side in the game, leaking 26 points per match. ”The biggest change has been our defence,” Aubusson said. ”It comes down to each individual. The results are showing. We weren’t too good on it last year, it was one area we needed to fix. We haven’t scored that many points, we’re backing our defence a bit. It does give us a lot of confidence knowing that.”

    They play a Storm side who have hit an unusual early season dip in form. The Storm were brave but lacked their usual polish against a determined Manly side in a 90-minute thriller on Monday night. Despite their unusual lean trot, Aubusson said the Storm were still a danger side. ”They had a brutal game on Monday night,” Aubusson said. ”I don’t think there is an easy time to get Melbourne. You can’t underestimate them.”

    A nice run off a Mitchell Pearce pass had Aubusson scoring the match-winning try for the Roosters in their 12-8 win against North Queensland last week.

    ”We’ve been working hard on that at training,” Aubusson said. ”I was lucky enough to get across the line and help the boys get a win.”

    The Roosters have won their past three games against the Storm at Allianz Stadium.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Trio of big signings a boost for Brumbies

    - Author: admin

    Sport. Brumbies V Warratahs at the Canberra Stadium. Christian Lealiifano slides over for a try and is congratulated by Clyde Rathbone. March 9th 2013 Photograph by Graham Tidy The Canberra Times. Photo: Graham TidyIt started as the fairytale comeback but veteran winger Clyde Rathbone is poised to prove he’s not a one-season wonder as the Brumbies prepare to extend the former Wallaby’s Super Rugby return.
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    In a triple signing bonus for the Brumbies, Rathbone, powerhouse forward Fotu Auelua and outside centre Andrew Smith are on the verge of signing new one-year deals as early as next week to stay in Canberra.

    Fairfax Media understands the deals are almost finalised and the news follows Wallabies star Pat McCabe recommitting to the Brumbies until the end of 2015..

    The trio’s commitment to the Brumbies is a massive boost as the team prepares to fly to New Zealand to take on the Auckland Blues on Saturday.

    Just 12 months ago Rathbone wasn’t even on the Super Rugby radar after going public about his battle with depression.

    He rebuffed an initial invitation from Brumbies coach Jake White to trial for a Super Rugby contract.

    But after a solid block of training, Rathbone decided to take a chance and signed a one-year deal to end his three-year retirement.

    Since making an emotional comeback in round one, the 26-Test Wallaby has been a valuable asset to the new generation Brumbies – on and off the field.

    Rathbone played the first five games of the season and showed glimpses of recapturing the blockbusting form that established him as an international winger before chronic knee problems ended his career in 2009.

    At 31, Rathbone offers much-needed experience for the rebuilding Brumbies as they try to re-establish themselves as perennial title contenders.

    Auelua is set to sign a one-year deal and extend his stay in Canberra after the Brumbies helped him resurrect his Australian career last season.

    The 29-year-old wrecking ball was added to a Wallabies logistics camp last month and has the next three games to push his case for selection in the British and Irish Lions series.

    Smith signed a one-year deal last season but it’s understood he’s close to finalising another short-term contract to chase a Super Rugby title.

    Their decision to stay in the capital will bolster White’s plans to continue rebuilding the Brumbies.

    Skipper Ben Mowen, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, McCabe, David Pocock, Siliva Siliva and Robbie Coleman have already committed to the end of the 2015 season.

    ”It’s nice continuity with these guys signing, it just highlights for us that we’re doing things right,” White said.

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    Ryan makes Melbourne group wait on takeover decision

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    “I don’t have time to be the owner or major shareholder. But I have said before I think the club can work”: Gerry Ryan. Photo: Josh RobenstoneOrica-GreenEDGE Cycling boss and Melbourne businessman Gerry Ryan says he will decide early next month whether to join the consortium that has taken control of Melbourne Storm.
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    European-based New Zealanders Bart Campbell and Michael Watt, and Melbourne millionaire Matthew Tripp, have been identified as members of Holding MS, the company that assumed control of the world champions from News Ltd on Tuesday.

    Ryan has also been mentioned in dispatches but said he was yet to commit to the group.

    ”I think we’re all going to meet on the fourth or the third of June, when we’re going to discuss the final rollout of the new structure,” Ryan said. ”We’ll have some dialogue then and I’ll decide what I’m going to do … I don’t have time to be the owner or major shareholder. But I have said before I think the club can work.”

    Ryan said it was his understanding that three individuals were already committed to the project and five more had been asked to take part.

    Asked if he was being asked to make a big financial commitment to the Storm, Ryan said: ”No”.

    ”I think there are some board positions that they’re looking for some shareholders. But it’s more giving them some time, networking and introducing people.”

    Ryan said he had met London-based Campbell once, six months ago through a mutual friend, and had spent time with Watt at a workshop associated with his technology company, which made the props for the King Kong stage show.

    Watt, who is based in Ireland and sells sports TV rights, also produces Broadway musicals.

    Ryan said he was impressed with new chief executive Mark Evans and that the new owners would ”bring value to the club” but believed it would ”take a few years to turn the club around”.

    In on-field news, coach Craig Bellamy said he always believed James Maloney, who lines up for the Roosters against him on Saturday, would be a first-grader. He also said the ex-Storm player would not be out of place in the NSW Origin side.

    Maloney left the Storm for the Warriors in 2009 after playing four first-grade games. ”I used to play against his old man, I played in a rep side with him once,” Bellamy said. ”He was a tough unit, his old man. James is of the same ilk.

    ”He’s a tough, gritty player – he’s probably made for Origin. If he does get that [blue] jumper, it’s going to be an enormous credit to him. He hasn’t had the easiest start to his career. He played lots of reserve grade at Parramatta and had a year with us here. But he’s worked really hard and it will be a real pride thing for him and his family, if he gets that blue jumper.”

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    Noakes out as NSW decide to play it safe

    - Author: admin

    NSW Rugby League has axed Mark Noakes as Blues trainer following a four-hour board meeting on Wednesday.
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    Noakes was told in December he would be a part of Laurie Daley’s coaching staff and, until Wednesday, some powerbrokers still wanted him to be part of the campaign for the coming series. However, the directors agreed to go in a different direction when they rubber-stamped their staff before the first game at ANZ Stadium on June 5.

    ”There was a feeling that it would be best not to have him involved while there is a cloud hanging over him and Cronulla,” a source said. ”That’s not casting any aspersions on him, but it would be the responsible thing to do at the moment. There might be an opportunity for him to rejoin the fold down the track.”

    Noakes was one of four Cronulla staff sacked along with team doctor David Givney, football manager Darren Mooney and physiotherapist Konrad Schultz following ASADA’s investigations. They say they have done nothing wrong. Noakes said he was a victim of unfair dismissal and was recently in the Industrial Relations Court for a mediation hearing. The others have been viewing his situation as a test case.

    Noakes, who has been part of NSW’s coaching staff since Ricky Stuart took over in 2011, was under the impression he would still be involved in the series.

    ”I’ve done nothing wrong and hopefully Cronulla will see that when this is all cleared,” he said in a recent interview. ”To know I’m still wanted at Origin level is a huge boost for me. It’s a silver lining and it’s fantastic to see they stuck by me through everything … and I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t. When I was sacked by Cronulla, I still had Origin in the back of my mind. I just wasn’t sure how it would work.”

    Givney will be replaced by Dr Nathan Gibbs on Daley’s staff, although that decision was not related to the drama at the Sharks. It is understood the Blues wanted to appoint a medico without any club affiliations. However, Givney was dropped from the Kangaroos staff for the Anzac Test against New Zealand in Canberra because of the ASADA issues.

    The rest of the Blues staff will be largely unchanged from their previous campaign.

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    Filipo sacked after off-field incident

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    FRINGE first-grader Marvin Filipo has been sacked by the Newcastle Knights over an off-field incident, but the club say they will consider re-employing him at the end of the season.
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    The Newcastle Herald understands that Filipo, who debuted in 2011 and has played in four NRL games, was involved in an altercation.

    No police charges were laid and Filipo argued that he was provoked by a racist slur.

    Filipo’s one-year contract was terminated at a disciplinary hearing more than a week ago.

    Asked to comment on the issue yesterday, Knights chief executive Matt Gidley replied by text message: “Marvin has been released from the remainder of his 2013 contract.

    “The club has remained in contact with Marvin and will review his position at the completion of this season.”

    When the Herald asked for more details, Gidley replied: “As this was an internal matter, the club will be making no further comment.”

    Filipo, who started the season in the NSW Cup but had been sidelined recently with a knee injury, said yesterday that he was hoping to discuss his situation with Newcastle’s coaching staff.

    “I can’t really talk about it,” the Auckland-born 26-year-old said.

    Filipo’s manager, Peter Brown, confirmed last night that his client’s contract had been terminated and described the whole episode as “disappointing”.

    SHOWN THE DOOR: Marvin Filipo’s one-year contract was terminated at a disciplinary hearing. Picture: Getty Images

    ‘‘I’m not going to go into details, but the Knights looked at the evidence and made their decision and Marvin has no right of appeal,’’ Brown said.

    Brown said the prospect of Newcastle re-signing Filipo at the end of the season had been raised at his disciplinary hearing.

    But he added the athletic back-rower was a free agent and he would be considering all options.

    ‘‘We’re looking at his next move, but at this late stage it’s not going to be easy to find something for this season,’’ he said.

    A product of the New Zealand Warriors development system, Filipo played alongside the likes of Simon Mannering and Manu Vatuvei in the Junior Kiwis.

    He moved to play for Nelson Bay in 2009 and two years later was offered a second-tier contract with the Knights. He debuted against the Warriors in 2011, playing two NRL games that season, and made another two appearances last season.

    In 2009, Filipo and Newtown Jets player Tavite Vatuvei pleaded guilty to stealing handbags from two young women during a night out in Newcastle.

    The pair told Newcastle Local Court they were intervening in a kebab shop dispute. They were both ordered to do 300 hours of community service and Vatuvei was put on a 12-month bond for assault.

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