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Friday, September 22, 2017
New Zealand sailor Peter Burling is a
finalist for the world sailor of the year
award following his triumphant deeds
for Team New Zealand and he has an
Australian crewmate for competition.
Helmsman Burling and skipper
Glenn Ashby are among a group of four
shortlisted for the 2017 International
Sailing Federation prize.
If successful, it would be Burling’s
second such award after winning it in
conjunction with 49er crewmate Blair
Tuke in 2015.
He would join Sir Russell Coutts (1995
and 2003) as the only New Zealand
Burling and Ashby are in contention
after Team NZ won the America’s Cup
in Bermuda in June, steering their boat
to a dominant 7-1 win over Team USA.
The two other nominees are French
endurance sailors — Thomas Coville for
his record-breaking singlehanded round
deeds and Armel Le Cleac’h, the Vendee
Globe winner. — N ZN
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Melbourne are promising no
let-up as the Storm, Brisbane and
Sydney Roosters continue their
remarkable domination of the
At least one of the heavyweight
trio have reached 16 of the 20
grand finals since the NRL was
established in 1998, with the three-
pronged assault to continue as the
Storm, Broncos and Roosters vie
yet again for spots in this year’s
Only once in 20 years — in
2005 — have none of the three
superpowers featured in the
preliminary finals, with even
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy
left astounded when told of the
record on the eve of the Storm’s
hosting of the Broncos at AAMI
The Roosters take on North
chasing their 11th straight victory
at Allianz Stadium and a first
grand final berth since winning
the premiership in 2013.
“That ’s a pretty good stat for the
Roosters, Broncos and Storm,”
Bellamy said yesterday.
“It’s a nice stat if you’re involved
in those clubs.
“I don’t know what to say to that;
it’s pretty astounding. It just goes
to show the success those clubs
“I suppose it’s good the three of
them are there this year.”
Melbourne and Brisbane, both
one-town giants, and the cashed-
up, Bondi-based Roosters have
won nine NRL grand finals
between them to be dominating
like Canterbury, Canberra and
Manly did in the 1980s and 90s.
The Bulldogs, Raiders or Sea
Eagles featured in 17 of 20 ARL
grand finals from 1978 to 1997,
gathering 11 titles along the
No three sides have dominated
in such fashion since St George,
South Sydney or Manly featured
in 25 straight grand finals from
1949 to 1973 — and winning 23
premierships between them.
Having coached Melbourne to 14
finals series and three grand final
triumphs from six title deciders
since taking the helm in 2003,
Bellamy is already preparing the
Storm for life without superstar
trio Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk
and Cameron Smith.
At 34, Slater remains undecided
about his future beyond 2017,
Cronk, 33, is moving to Sydney,
while Smith will be 35 next
“ We’re certainly going to miss
Cooper, we’re going to miss Billy
and Cameron when they go too.
Without a doubt,” he said.
“ We’ ll move on. We’ve got some
young players in the club. We’re
not going to see the likes of those
three again, especially playing
together at the one club, in the
positions they play.
“ We’ ll move and hopefully there
will be guys that step up and do a
job for us.”
In Brodie Croft, the Storm have
a Cronk-clone ready to fill the
test half ’s No 7 jumper next year,
with Jahrome Hughes being
groomed as a potential fullback
replacement for Slater and
Brandon Smith said to be ready to
take over from Smith.
The Broncos, with prized recruit
Jack Bird heading north in 2018,
and the Roosters, bolstered by
the signing of fellow NSW State
of Origin star James Tedesco,
also again look to be among the
favourites next year.
The NRL has backed Brisbane to make
the right call over Corey Oates with
Wayne Bennett dismissing critics of his
decision to play the Brisbane winger a
week after a sickening on-field collision.
Bennett confirmed Oates would start
in tonight’s preliminary final against
Melbourne along with skipper Darius
Boyd (hamstring), just days after the
lanky flyer was knocked unconscious in
the semi-final win over Penrith.
Oates had to be taken off in a medi-cab
after colliding with team-mate Anthony
Milford in the first half against the
His selection against the Storm raised
eyebrows as well as player welfare
concerns. But Bennett bristled when it
was suggested the coach had pressured
Oates to play the grand-final qualifier.
“There has never been pressure on any
players to play with me here,” he said.
“ It was in the hands of the doctor. The
doctor’s made a decision, it is now in
Corey ’s hands whether he wants to play
and he wants to play and that is the way
it will be.
“The doctor has cleared him to play
and he is confident he can play — that ’s
all I need to know.”
Bennett said he did not care if he
copped any more flak over picking Oates.
“One thing I know is that they will
never build a statue for critics,” he said.
“ Fortunately, I don’t listen to them.
There is no one more concerned about
the players’ welfare than this club so
I am not really interested in anyone’s
NRL boss Todd Greenberg backed
Brisbane to follow all concussion
protocols before clearing Oates.
“He’s in the very best care at the
Broncos,” he said.
“ Knowing those people and the
processes that we have in place, they will
put his care before anything else. If he
is fit to play, the people making those
decisions will be the doctors and I think
that is the most-appropriate person. ”
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga could
not see a problem with Oates playing.
“ It probably looked worse than it was
but put it in the hands of the medicos —
they know him best,” he said.
“The testing regime is really strict so, if
he is right to go, he is right to go.”
Brisbane veteran for ward Sam Thaiday
who was also forced off with a head
knock against Penrith — said Oates
would not have been picked if he was
not right to play.
Thaiday knew first hand the hoops
players had to jump through to get back
on the field after suffering concussion
and was confident there would be no
risk for Oates.
“This week already, he has had three
different tests to pass just to be with us
out on the training paddock,” Thaiday
“ It ’s not just sit down with a doctor and
ask if he’s okay. He’s had a brain scan as
well. There is a fair bit to get back out on
the field. But it comes down to a doctor’s
Bennett gave his whole squad a clean
bill of health despite bench for ward Joe
Ofahengaue (calf ) giving the Broncos
an injury scare at yesterday ’s training.
PICTURE: Getty Images
Broncos’ Corey Oates knocked out after his collison with team-mate Anthony
Milford in last Friday night’s clash at Suncorp Stadium.
to play Oates
Four senior West Coast rugby league
players have won selection to the South
Island Scorpions premier squad.
Up and coming halfback Brad
Campbell, who has had a stellar season
in the West Coast jersey, has made the
squad. Second rower Brad Houston is
also in, along with outside back Logan
Woodham and another for ward Tayla
The premier squad of 19 will be
reduced to 17 to travel to Christchurch
to play the Canterbury Samoan team on
Comprised of players selected from
the South Island premier competition
by feedback from all five coaches, this
year’s team sees a spread of district
Coached by Otago Whalers coach
David Reedy, the Scorpions will be
looking for a return to its winning ways
after losing to Canterbury Maori last
Four Coast players in
South Island Scorpions
Team NZ pair finalists
in world sailing award
Heavyweight trio dominate NRL
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