May, 2019

Injury-hit Sharks beat Panthers in NRL

Cronulla have beaten Penrith 26-22 in the NRL, with Valentine Holmes scoring the hosts’ first try.A battered and bruised Cronulla have hailed their 26-22 NRL win over Penrith as one of their toughest in a long time.
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With Paul Gallen (knee) and Wade Graham (hamstring) watching from the Southern Cross Group Stadium sidelines on Sunday and after losing fellow veteran forward Luke Lewis to a calf strain in the 12th minute, the Sharks had every excuse.

Even with 828 NRL games worth of experience watching on, they refused to relent.

So bad is their mounting injury toll amongst their senior players that Andrew Fifita – their fourth-string skipper – had to take over captaincy duties.

Fifita was inspirational in the absence of his fellow big-name forwards, playing 73 minutes, running for 130 metres, making 35 tackles and six offloads.

After an injury-interrupted first six weeks, five-eighth Matt Moylan had his best game in Sharks colours, playing against his junior club, but is yet to hit his straps this year.

Penrith playmaker and former Sharks premiership winner James Maloney had an afternoon to forget, missing a simple conversion attempt in the dying moments and almost conceding a penalty try.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan described the win as one of their bravest efforts in a long time.

“We’re pretty battered,” Flanagan said.

“I’m just proud of the whole group. That’s Cronulla Sharks – we know it’s there and we’ll see that more often than not.”

It was an important two points for Cronulla, who had lost their previous two and looked down on confidence.

The Sharks carried a 10-6 lead into halftime after Scott Sorensen produced a stunning individual effort to beat four defenders when there was nothing on.

The Sharks extended their advantage to 10 after Josh Dugan sliced open the Penrith defence from the back field and Jesse Ramien scored a few plays later.

Panthers replacement hooker Sione Katoa had been on the field for only three minutes when he grubbered for Dylan Edwards to reduce the deficit to six points.

But James Segeyaro returned in kind, dribbling the ball in-goal for Ramien’s second try.

In the lead-up, Maloney took out Dugan and on-field referee Matt Cecchin said Cronulla would have been awarded a penalty try had Ramien not got to it first.

Tries to Isaah Yeo and Viliame Kikau in the final three minutes gave the Sharks a few nervous moments but the Panthers were never truly in the contest in the second half as they had their three-game winning streak snapped.

“We never give up all night,” Panthers coach Anthony Griffin said.

“We just got our defence wrong a few times, kicks and transition and they have some classy outside backs and made us pay.”

Penrith also have a nervous wait after Reagan Campbell-Gillard was put on report for an alleged crusher tackle.


Pearce out for four months with pec injury

Newcastle’s Mitchell Pearce will miss up to four months of the NRL with a ruptured pectoral muscle.Newcastle’s season has taken a significant hit and NSW are in search of a new State of Origin halfback after Mitchell Pearce was ruled out for four months with a pectoral injury.
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Scans confirmed on Sunday that Pearce would need surgery on a ruptured pectoral muscle after he left the field in agony in Tamworth on Saturday night following an attempt to make a tackle.

The surgery would leave him sidelined for around 16 weeks, ruling him out of the entire Origin series and making him unavailable for the Knights until approximately round 23.

The injury will place a large stress on the Knights who are already waiting on five-eighth Connor Watson to return from a shoulder injury, with youngsters Jack Cogger and Brock Lamb as coach Nathan Brown’s other options.

But their pain will be equalled by that of Blues coach Brad Fittler, who has now lost his incumbent while potential replacement Nathan Cleary is still sidelined with a knee injury for another month.

The probable unavailability of both Pearce and Cleary for the June 6 series-opener significantly whittles down the list of possible options to partner likely five-eighth James Maloney.

Luke Keary has been in strong form for the Sydney Roosters, while Wests Tigers No.7 Luke Brooks has also recently been tossed up as a possibility to make his Origin debut.

Other candidates include South Sydney playmaker Adam Reynolds, Cronulla link-man Matt Moylan and Brisbane five-eighth Jack Bird, each of whom have previously pulled on the Blues jumper.

“It’s not great,” Knights coach Brown said of Pearce after their 22-20 win over Wests Tigers.

“He is disappointed. Mitch loves playing. Game day is his favourite day of the week.

“They are the types of players you want in your club. Whatever the result is he will still contribute while he is not playing.”


NPL wrap: Broadmeadow overcome loss of Virgili to cruise past Adamstown

Virgili targets rapid return for Magic TweetFacebookPhotos: Max Mason-HubersNORTHERN NSW NPL leading goalscorer James Virgili hopes to miss only one game despite dislocating his shoulder early in Broadmeadow’s4-0 win over Rosebud on Sunday at Adamstown Oval.
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The former Jets flyer, who has six goals this season,was tackled from behind by Luke Rutledge in the ninth minute of the round six game and landed awkwardly on his right elbow.

Virgili was taken to John Hunter Hospital, where his shoulder was quickly put back into place and scans taken. He dislocatedthe same shoulder in round 15, 2016, buthad to be put under anestheticto get it corrected.

He missed three games that year before returning for the finals but he was confident on Sunday of coming back quicker this time.

“It’s not as bad aslast time,” Virgili said.“We’ve got Valentine next week but then we’ve got the bye, so I should be back after that.”

Magic also lost youngster Jeremy Wilson to a knee injury late in the first half but the visitors overcame the setbacks to overwhelm last-placed Adamstown.

Cody Carroll scored with a powerful free kick in the 15thminute and Kale Bradbery scored from the spot in the 60th after John Majurovski was fouled following Dino Fajkovic’s strike into the crossbar.

Adamstown threatened when Connor Heydon had a one-on-one chance blocked and a deflected shot hit the crossbar, but Magic closed out the win with Bradbery scoring in the 81stand Majurovski in the 85th.

Rosebud lost Gocha Abshilava to a straight red card in the 87thfor an off-the-ball shove into Takebe Soma’s back.

The win followed a 1-0 victory over leaders Charlestown and lifted Broadmeadow to 10 points and third spot ahead of Maitland on goal difference.

Adamstown coach Shane Cansdell-Sherriff said his side were paying the price for regularlygiving away penalties.

”You go from havinga good performance and doing well, to giving away silly goals. letting them back in the game and making it look worse than it really is,”Cansdell-Sherriff said.

“I don’t think 4-0 was a reflection of the game, but we’re doingthe stupid things to give them goals.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, Charlestown surviveda late scare from Weston to win 2-1 at Lisle Carr Oval and stay top of the table, while Lambton Jaffas drew 0-0 with Valentine at CB Complex.

Scott Smith scored off a Rene Ferguson cross in the 16thminute and Cal Lewis capitalised on a failed clearance in the 28th to put the Blues ahead. Charlestown were down a man when Masaya Sakamoto was shown a red card for kicking an opponent after a free kick was blown in the 85th minute.Two minutes late, Jackson Burston scored with a header to give Weston hope.

On Saturday night, Daniel McBreen came off the bench to score twice and give second-placed Edgewortha 3-2 win over Hamilton at Darling Street Oval. Earlier at Maitland, the Magpies beat the Jets Youth 1-0 with a late goal fromAlex Read.

At Darling Street, Leo Bertos and Dom Bizzarri scored in the first half before Simon Mooney put Hamilton up 2-1 just after the break. McBreen, back after two games out with injury and illness, scored off a Jamie Byrnes cutback in the 66thminute before another left-foot strike in the 90th.


Eels turn tables on hapless Manly

The Parramatta Eels have ended their 2018 NRL losing streak with a 44-10 win over Manly.Parramatta produced the NRL’s biggest head-to-head turnaround in 16 years as they snapped their winless start to the season and heaped all their misery onto Manly in a 44-10 flogging.
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Beaten 54-0 by the Sea Eagles just five weeks ago, the Eels’ 88-point reversal was the fourth biggest of the NRL era and the largest since Cronulla turned the tables on Newcastle in 2002.

It also represented the significant changes in fortunes for the two battling clubs, as Manly’s week from hell hit another low just as their arch-rivals breathed a small glimmer of hope into their season.

Embattled amid the Jackson Hastings and Daly Cherry-Evans off-field fiasco, Manly have now lost three in a row and completed just 15 sets and had only 42 per cent of the ball in the loss at ANZ Stadium.

In comparison, Parramatta were the best they have been all season, completing at 92 per cent to almost double their points scored this season, from 46 to 90.

Criticised during the week, Parramatta’s halves pairing of Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses showed signs of the form that got the Eels to last year’s finals as they had a hand in six tries.

The only sour note for Parramatta came when Jarryd Hayne limped from the field midway through the first half with the same hip injury that ruled him out of the past three weeks.

It simply begged the question: Where on earth has this form been in the opening six rounds?

“Good question,” Eels coach Brad Arthur mused.

“The question now is we just need to keep it how we perform and what we did with our performance, our identity. We played tough, controlled and patient.”

Moses had his first major involvement when he and Hayne combined to send Manu Ma’u over on the left edge, before he later lofted a ball for right-side winger George Jennings to cross and help set-up a 20-0 half-time lead.

His kicking was also much improved, evidenced by his chip for Michael Jennings early in the second half, while he later skipped free to put Clinton Gutherson over.

“It worked for him today,” Arthur said.

“He showed a good level of patience. Both halves have been trying hard but it just hasn’t been working.”

Co-captain Tim Mannah was also sensational. Another to be bagged during the week, he led the Eels with 156 metres while Ma’u, David Gower and Daniel Alvaro also reached three figures from Parramatta’s forward pack.

Brad Parker and Akuila Uate each grabbed second-half tries for Manly, but their day went from bad to worse when the former limped off with a knee injury and didn’t return.

“It’s been a very, very ordinary week,” Manly coach Trent Barrett said.

“It’s really difficult. But it’s my job to look after the players. The players have got to take some responsibility for it too and so do I.”

*Stats: Fox Sports Stats


Thomas bump a ‘dog act’,says ex-Cats champ

Port Adelaide ‘s Lindsay Thomas faces a ban after his clash with Geelong’s Scott Selwood.Geelong premiership skipper Cameron Ling has launched a blistering attack on Lindsay Thomas, labelling the Port Adelaide forward’s hit on Scott Selwood “a dog act”.
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Thomas faces suspension after he was reported for rough conduct over a heavy and high hit on Selwood during the Power’s 34-point loss to the Cats at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Selwood was knocked out of the game with a concussion following the ugly second-quarter incident.

“Lindsay Thomas’ act was nowhere near courageous – it was cheap,” Ling said on 3AW radio on Sunday.

“I know you can bump in a game of football.

“(But) that bump that Lindsay Thomas executed last night is illegal, is outlawed from the game and has been outlawed since Michael Long bumped Troy Simmons in the 2000 grand final.

“When a player is down in the act of picking up the football and the bumper is coming front-on at him and just decides to bump him in the head straight-on … that’s the one that could put a bloke in hospital, could potentially break his neck and cause quadriplegia.

“That one, for me, is as outlawed and as cheap a shot as you can take on a footy field … that was a dog act.”

Under new guidelines this season, Thomas will receive a two-week ban if the incident is classified as careless conduct with high impact to the head.

AFL match review officer Michael Christian saying a properly executed bump, with no head-high contact, is still allowed.

Thomas’ case could be sent straight to the AFL Tribunal if Christian deems it intentional conduct.

Ling said Thomas’ actions had no place on a footy field given the potential to cause severe injury.

“I want to clarify, ‘dog act’ is a big call and might be going a little far but if Scott Selwood had broken his neck last night we would be screaming about this type of bump,” he said.

“The outcome could have been really bad so therefore if we’re talking about judging something on the act and not on the outcome … that’s as bad as you can do on a footy field.”

Power coach Ken Hinkley said the collision was “ferocious” but unintentional.

“No player goes out there deliberately to try and cause things to go wrong but in a contact sport, they do happen that way,” Hinkley said.

“From our point of view, Lindsay was trying to do the right thing.”