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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.

    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.

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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.

    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

    - Author: admin

    “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.

    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.

    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

    - Author: admin

    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.

    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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