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Thursday, July 13, 2017
PICTURE: Viv Logie
Young basketballers upskill
Sonny Haldane and Ariana Elliott, nine, get involved in the basketball school holiday programme at the Greymouth High School
gym today. Up to 50 budding young basketballers were taken through their skills by coach Robbie Barrow. The programme finishes
It was supposed to be the end of an era.
But Queensland’s dominance does
not look like ending anytime soon after
their 22-6 win over NSW at Suncorp
Stadium last night clinched their 11th
series triumph in 12 years.
Winger Valentine Holmes nabbed a
hat-trick in just his second Origin while
man of the match Cameron Smith
again turned back the clock to extend
the team’s dynasty in front of a record
The decider was billed as a changing
of the guard for the maroons with
champion five-eighth Johnathan
Thurston receiving a pre-match tribute.
His 37-game origin career was ended
by a shoulder injury in Queensland’s
dramatic game two win.
It may have also been the final game
for fellow maroons greats Billy Slater
and Cooper Cronk, who are yet to
decide whether to play on in 2018.
However, Q ueensland officially began
life after Thurston just the way they
left it; by breaking NSW hearts and
clinching their 13th Origin decider.
In a touch of class, Smith invited
Thurston to lift the Origin shield with
him on the podium.
“ I reckon you are the greatest player
to ever pull on a jersey,” Smith said to
Smith said later of the moment: “It was
pretty special but I would much prefer
if he was out there with us on the field.
I wanted to give him the moment he
deser ved, I wanted to share it with him.
We won’t see a guy like him again for a
The maroons were supposed to be at
their most vulnerable this year, missing
Thurston for two games and going
through 26 players, including eight
debutants for the series — the most ever
used by Queensland.
The writing was on the wall after their
record 28-4 game one loss.
Queensland still maintained their
dominance to ensure Kevin Walters is
just the third maroons coach to win his
first two series.
“ What a proud moment particularly
after game one,” Walters said. “ That ’s the
proudest thing for me, how these guys
played under enormous pressure. And
what can I say about Cam Smith. I don’t
think I have seen a more dominant first
Debutant Cameron Munster was
outstanding, stepping into the big shoes
left behind by Thurston at No 6.
In his second Origin, Holmes became
the fifth Queensland player to nab a
record equalling hat-trick.
But it was the maroons’ “ big three” —
Smith, Slater and Cronk — who sparked
Slater showed no sign of an ankle
complaint to be a constant threat,
Smith tore NSW apart with his first
half dummy half runs while Cronk’s
highlight was a pin-point cross-field
kick that delivered Holmes’ second try.
Queensland winger Dane Gagai
received the Wally Lewis Medal as
player of the series.
“It’s pretty hard to walk away from it.
This is what you play the game for, the
enjoyment that the game brings you,” 29
Origin veteran Slater said of his future.
NSW had backed themselves to seal
their second series win in 12 years after
Origin I and kept the same 17 for the
entire series for the first time since 1996.
Asked about his future NSW coach
Laurie Daley said: “I am not quite sure,
tonight’s result has not changed my
opinion on what I want to do. I am proud
of these guys, glad they tried so hard. It
will hurt for the next 12 months.”
Maligned NSW halfback Mitchell
Pearce again had a game to forget as his
career Origin series tally slumped to 0-7.
Roger Federer says the key to winning
majors is making sure his average is as high
as possible — every round.
There is nothing average about Federer,
though, as he proved again today by turning
his 100th Wimbledon match into an
exhibition of his magic, outclassing Milos
Raonic 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (4) to reach the semi-
finals for a record 12th time.
The Swiss maestro, 36 next month,
played his best tennis of the tournament
to dismantle the big-ser ving Canadian —
avenging last year’s semi-final defeat in
With defending champion Andy Murray
losing earlier on Centre Court to Sam
Querrey and Novak Djokovic retiring with
an injury against Tomas Berdych, Federer is
now over whelming favourite to become the
first man to win the title eight times.
“ I can’t believe it’s 100 matches, it’s a lot
but I’m very happy my body has kept me
going all these years,” Federer, who will face
Berdych in Saturday’s semi-finals, said.
“ You have to make sure you average is as
high as possible every day and I think I’m
doing a great job this week.”
Raonic might have had the 225kph ser ve
in his locker, but Federer owns a magic wand
that he used to make the world’s sixth best
player look like a lumbering also-ran.
It was hard not feel sorry for Raonic at
Usually when a player is taking the kind of
beating Federer was handing out on a sunlit
Centre Court, the crowd throw their weight
behind the underdog.
That rule does not apply when it is
Federer, king of Wimbledon, inflicting the
punishment in the silky manner only the
18-times grand slam champion is capable of.
When, to his immense credit, Raonic
finally began to threaten in the third set,
going 3-0 up in the tiebreak, it was Federer
they were cheering for.
When he responded with two majestic
forehands, one apparently defying physics as
it curled around the net post, they were in
raptures in the stands and former great Rod
Laver smiled in admiration from the Royal
“I was sort of moving on, let’s see if he
can do it again. He kept doing it,” Raonic
told reporters. “ He kept a very high gear
the whole entire time without giving many
real glimpses. I think that was the most
There was a slightly subdued atmosphere
on Centre Court after home favourite
Murray had hobbled to defeat against
Querrey. But once the old place filled up
and Federer hit his stride the British player’s
defeat was forgotten.
Federer struck two rasping backhand
winners in the fifth game and raced across
the turf to punish Raonic for failing to
put away a volley, pummelling a forehand
straight through the ducking Canadian to
seize a decisive break.
Raonic’s belief ebbed away at the start of
the second set when a careless forehand
gifted Federer another break and the third
seed went for the jugular, grabbing another
break of ser ve as he sauntered into a two-set
Federer was made to sweat a little in the
third set, saving four break points at 3-4 as
Raonic finally began to hit his groundstrokes
When Raonic opened up an early lead in
the tiebreak it looked as though Federer
might drop his first set of the tournament,
but he responded in style to win seven of
the next eight points and earn himself a
standing ovation. — Reuters
STATE OF ORIGIN
Thurston out in sytle
Swiss maestro magical
Roger Federer celebrates his win over Milos Raonic today at Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic is considering
taking a break from competitive
tennis to recover after a long-
standing elbow injury forced him
out of Wimbledon today.
The three-times champion
retired hurt from his quarter-final
against Tomas Berdych after he
had lost the opening set and was
down a break in the second.
The 30-year-old Serb said his
right elbow had been bothering
him off-and-for over a year and a
half. The injury has coincided with
a slump in form during which the
former world No 1 surrendered
his Australian and French Open
titles this year and slipped to
fourth in the world rankings.
“The specialists that I’ve talked
with haven’t been really too
clear, mentioning also surgery,
mentioning different options,”
“Nobody was very clear in what
needs to be done. I guess the break
is something that I will have to
consider right now,” he added.
“The more I play, the worse it gets.”
Djokovic remained philosophical.
“It’s just unfortunate — but
in life, these particular things
happen for a reason. It takes some
time and obviously thinking to
understand why this happened
and to obviously learn from it,” he
said. “At the end of the day, this is
something I have to deal with and
accept.” — Reuters
Injured Djokovic mulls break from tennis
Queensland’s Johnathan Thurston, left, and
skipper Cameron Smith hold aloft the Origin trophy
after winning the State of Origin series last night at
Suncorp Stadium, in Brisbane.
NSW great Andrew Johns has
left the door open on possibly
taking over as State of Origin
coach should Laurie Daley not be
renewed for 2018.
Daley’s future remains up in
the air after he refused to discuss
whether he would seek a sixth
crack at Queensland next year,
following their series-deciding
22-6 loss last night.
The defeat means Daley became
the first Origin coach to suffer
four series defeats, and his current
contract expires at the end of the
New South Wales Rugby
League boss Dave Trodden
declined to talk about Daley’s fate
however it is believed a decision
on a new deal will not be made
until a review in September.
Like he has been all year, Daley
was cagey on his coaching future
after the match.
“I think I’ve always been clear
what I’m going to do. It’s certainly
not been about me. It ’s always
been about the team, and all about
trying to get them to perform
well,” he said. Asked whether the
result changed his plans, Daley
said: “No. ”
Johns was the Blues’ harshest
critic after game two, when NSW
blew a 16-6 lead in Sydney before
being comprehensively outplayed
in game three. And he again
did not miss the team with his
analysis of their performance.
“ I still don’t think NSW get
it, just really don’t get it. There
was times there with the ball
was thrown back inside, we just
switched off,” he said on Channel
“ You think the ball goes past you,
well my job’s done. You can’t give
up on it in Origin footy and that ’s
what we have to get the mentality
of. It’s not about set plays and
fancy plays. Cooper Cronk spoke
about will and desire. That ’s what
wins these games. ”
Johns, who is currently a halves
coach at the Sydney Roosters, has
previously shot down any prospect
of assuming the role when Daley
departs. But when pressed by Paul
Vautin, the former Blues halfback
indicated that could change.
“ When you asked me that on
The Footy Show. I said no. I can’t
answer at the moment. I don’t
know if I need that pressure in my
life, if I’m going to be honest.”
Phil Gould, who is the most
successful coach in Blues history,
was unsure whether a coaching
change would make the desired
effect.“ I don’t think this is about
coaching and I don’t think this is
about the selection,” he said.
“I think it is a thing that we have
never done over the last 10 or 11
years and I keep saying it every
time we lose. We just haven’t
cultivated a leadership group that
we can trust. That ’s the difference
between us and Queensland.”
PICTURE: Getty Images
Daley mum on Origin future
The West Coast under-18
hockey boys pulled off a
come-from-behind victory in
their ‘must win’ game at the
National Hockey Association
Tournament, in Christchurch
In a game West Coast needed
to win if they were to keep
alive their hopes of qualifying
for the quarter-finals, West
Coast worked hard throughout
against last year’s winners Bay
of P lenty to take the upset
victory, 3-2. It was an even start
with both teams throwing the
ball around well as they tried to
find a weakness in defence.
Bay of Plenty were first to
open the scoring after getting
in behind the Coast defence.
Coast then started to dominate
up front, with Lewis Edmond
and Rupert Naughton linking
Coast continued to pressure
the opposition and were
unlucky not to score after
several shots went close past
Harvey Rubbo and Blaine
Meikle both troubled the
opposition with their pace
and continued to create
opportunities, but some good
goalkeeping kept Coast out.
That was until five minutes
before the break, when Max
Rubbo had a skilful run into
the circle sending a nice pass
to Sam Wallis, who made no
mistake in deflecting it in. The
score was locked up 1-1 at the
It was Bay of Plenty who
started applying pressure in the
second half but strong defence
from Matt Gardner and Angus
Wallace kept them out. Bay
of P lenty then scored another
field goal with 12 minutes
remaining, putting them in
Coast had to score twice as
a draw would not see them
progress in the competition.
Iraia De Goldi and Daniel
Beverage gave it their all but
With seven minutes left on
the clock and still needing to
score twice West Coast took
off goalkeeper Euan Thomas,
giving them an extra attacking
player which soon paid off as
Coast were awarded a penalty
corner with three minutes to
go. This was put away by Liam
Hopper after a well-worked
With just 30 seconds left and
still needing to score, Daniel
Beverage received a well-
directed pass in front of goal
from Harvey Rubbo but was
taken out by the goalkeeper
without the ball, earning the
team a stroke which was calmly
put away by Liam Hopper,
giving West Coast the win and
a place in the quarter-finals.
West Coast were to play
Tauranga today for a place in
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