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Cronulla s difficult start to the 2014 NRL
season continued last night with the Gold
Coast recording an 18-12 win over the
Sharks at Remondis Stadium.
With coach Shane Flanagan failing in his
appeal to overturn a 12-month ban from the
NRL last week, the Sharks, already without
Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Beau Ryan and
Chris Heighington, lost talismanic skipper
Paul Gallen with a potentially serious ankle
Gallen, who was celebrating his 233rd
appearance for the Sharks --- second behind
club great Andrew Ettingshausen --- was
helped off late in the first half after being
held up in a tackle by Titans duo Luke
Bailey and Matt White.
e Titans were deserving winners,
claiming the two points with a William
Zillman try nine minutes from time
following a smart grubber-kick from former
Shark Albert Kelly.
John Cartwright s side dominated the
opening exchanges but had nothing to show
for their dominance and the hosts took
the lead against the run of play when new
signing Tinirau Arona darted over from
Michael Gordon added the extras to open
up a 6-0 lead, but the outstanding Greg
Bird, another former Shark, helped level
the scores when he bulldozed his way over
the line after 25 minutes before Kelly raced
away with 90m interception for four points.
Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer missed
the kick, giving the visitors a 10-6 lead at
e second half saw the Sharks control
the early passages of play and they regained
the lead when Wade Graham s effort ---
disallowed by the on-field officials --- was
overruled by the video referee and Gordon
kicked the goal.
A Sezer penalty put the Titans back on
level terms before fullback Zillman got the
final touch to Kelly s kick to give his side a
winning start to the new campaign.
Titans prop Luke Douglas set a new record
with his 195th successive NRL match.
Gallen said he was confident of a return
to action within three to four weeks and
believes the problem isn t as bad as a similar
injury he picked up earlier in his career.
"It s a terrible start to the year, I could feel
it. It just got stuck. It s one of those things,"
Gallen said. "I hard something crack, so I
knew I did something straight away. I did
it in a trial game in the 2006-07 season, so I
knew what it was. ey said then I d miss six
weeks but I only missed three to four games.
I don t think it s as bad as that."
Titans coach John Cartwright was
delighted with his side s efforts and said he
thought the result should have been more
comprehensive with an Albert Kelly try
ruled out in the second half with the video
referee ruling he lost control of the ball.
"I can t see how they come up with the
decision they did," he said. --- AAP
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
With a rugby
and a father who
coaches the 13-man
once had his heart
set on a career in the
Instead, he has
been recruited by
a different football
code, with AFL club
St Kilda signing the
schoolboy to a two-
--- 1.96m, 98kg and
still growing --- and it was his size
and inherent athletic ability that
caught the eye of St Kilda scouts late
e Aorere College pupil initially
tried his hand at Australian Rules
to improve his league skills during
the offseason, but he impressed
enough to become the latest New
Zealand youngster to receive an
international scholarship from an
With Hawthorn currently boasting
two New Zealand teens on their
books, St Kilda have also decided to
delve into the untapped talent pool
on this side of the Tasman.
It is easy to understand why, with
the same qualities that see players
shine in union or league --- speed,
strength and agility --- doubling
as attributes highly sought after in
Mountain-Silbery certainly ticks
those boxes, excelling in athletics
at school and recording a personal
best of 11.36s in the 100m. His
proficiency in league attracted the
attention of the South Sydney
Rabbitohs but St Kilda, who play
an annual Anzac Day fixture in
Wellington, struck first.
"I live in a predominantly league
family and they wanted me to use
AFL to help with offseason stuff, like
kicking," Mountain-Silbery said.
"A close family friend told me
to try AFL and that s where I was
noticed by the NZ AFL trainers.
ey told me to come along and give
AFL a good crack.
" is whole opportunity is massive
and it s something really new. It s a
new experience for me and my family
and I m just really excited to take this
opportunity as it comes and get the
Mountain-Silbery will remain in
Auckland to complete his education,
honing his Australian Rules skills
through weekly trainings with a local
He is also set to spend the next
school holidays visiting the club
--- his first trip to Melbourne --- to
further learn the game he has played
for only a matter a months.
"I watched a couple of their games
last year," he said. "I just love the
whole kicking and jumping, how they
were able to get so high onto other
players shoulders --- that was really
"I ve been introduced to a few
rules, which did take me by surprise
because I m used to all the league
Shane Savage, one of only a handful
of New Zealand-born players to
feature in the AFL, was confident
Mountain-Silbery would be able to
make the adjustment to his newly-
e 23-year-old Savage is yet to
make his debut for St Kilda, having
switched to the Saints following a
57-game stint for Hawthorn, but he
was hopeful Mountain-Silbery could
follow in his footsteps.
"He s a big boy --- it looks like he s
ready to go," Savage said.
"I m really looking for ward to
seeing him develop over the next
couple of years and all the
team-mates back in Melbourne are
really looking forward to meeting
" ere s great opportunities for
New Zealand players to go over to
the AFL and have a really big impact.
We know, especially their physiques,
they re all ready to go and they ve got
the attributes to play.
"It s just about teaching them that
craft --- how to kick and how to
handball. If you can accomplish that
then they can have a real impact at
of the New Zealand Herald
It was no fluke. e Magic proved
they still are a real force in the trans-
Tasman league with a clinical 14-goal
rout over the Mystics at Trusts Stadium
last night to maintain their dominant
record over their northern rivals.
e signs were there last week the
Waikato-Bay of Plenty side, who had to
rebuild their side virtually from scratch
after losing nine players, including
Silver Ferns stars Irene van Dyk and
Laura Langman, in the off-season, are
still one of New Zealand s premier sides
when they demolished the Tactix in
their opening round clash.
Given the calibre of their opposition
doubts remained over how the
Magic would stack up against more
experienced sides. e answer was ---
quite well, actually.
A typically superb defensive
performance from Silver Ferns stars
Casey Kopua and Leana de Bruin
springboarded the Magic to their 12th
win over the Mystics in 15 meetings.
Just as last night s match confirmed
pre-season predictions of the Magic s
demise were a little hasty, it also
proved the Mystics round one horror
show against the Vixens show cannot
simply be chalked up to a bad day at
the office. ere are some major kinks
in the Mystics game plan that need
ironing out, and with the Central Pulse
--- another stacked line-up --- up next
weekend, they have little time to sort
A team known for their creativity and
flair on attack, the Mystics tend to rely
on their defence end to off-set their
own error-rate by supplying them with
plenty of turnover ball.
Without their key ball-getters in
Anna Harrison, who continues to battle
a foot injury, and an all-new defensive
end struggling to gel, the Auckland side
could not make the defensive impact
they needed. It is their typically classy
shooting end that is causing the biggest
headache for coach Debbie Fuller after
the opening two rounds.
After producing their worst shooting
performance in their history last week,
netting just 59.6% of their shots at
goal, the Mystics were only marginally
better last night recording a 65% return.
Cathrine Latu, while producing the
best accuracy rate, was especially quiet,
contributing just eight goals to the
Mystics paltry total of 36 goals.
Much of the credit for that has to go
to the efforts of Kopua and de Bruin,
who were at their menacing best last
night. ings started ominously for
the Mystics with Tutaia missing her
first attempt, before having two shots
disallowed by held ball calls, with the
Silver Fern star looking uncomfortable
shooting over the long arms of Kopua.
Fed a wealth of turnover ball from
their defence end, the Magic jumped
out to a handy 13-7 lead at the first
break. at lead was soon stretched to
20-11 mid-way through the second
period after a couple of basic errors on
attack from the Mystics, prompting
the introduction of young midcourter
Nadia Loveday at wing attack.
Further changes were to come in the
second half with Bailey Mes introduced
at goal shoot to try and give the Magic
defence something to think about, but
it did not take Kopua and de Bruin
long to get underneath the skin on
Mes either as the visitors closed out an
One of the stand-out players of the
opening round, Magic midcourter
Grace Rasmussen had another
impressive game against her old team.
Magic 50, Mystics 36: Q1 13-7, Q2
10-9, Q3 11-10, Q4 16-10. Mystics:
Cathrine Latu 8/11; Maria Tutaia
13/22; Bailey Mes 15/23. Magic: Jo
Harten 30/31; Ellen Halpenny 20/27.
Sonny Bill Williams will
miss the Sydney Roosters
next three NRL games after
pleading guilty to a grade
two shoulder charge.
Williams will miss matches
against Parramatta, Brisbane
and the grand final rematch
against Manly before
returning for the Roosters
round five fixture against
e Roosters announced
yesterday that Williams had
taken the early guilty plea
on a charge over his 80th
minute tackle on Souths
prop George Burgess in the
premiers 28-8 loss to South
Sydney in the NRL season
opener on ursday.
In other judiciary charges
from that game, Roosters
skipper Anthony Minichiello
took the early guilty plea
on a dangerous contact
charge for a raised knee
charge and will be available
for Saturday night s round
two encounter against the
Eels at Allianz Stadium.
Souths playmaker Dylan
Walker took the early guilty
charge on a grade one
tripping charge and is free
to play in the Rabbitohs
match against Manly at
Gosford on Friday.
Parramatta s Peni Terepo
have been charged with
careless high tackles from
the weekend, but both will
be free to play in round two
should they take the early
McCullough was slapped
with a grade two for his
hit which left Canterbury
winger Mitch Brown
concussed, while Terepo
copped a grade one charge
for his shot on Warriors
utility Carlos Tuimavave
which resulted in an eight-
e reinforcements are ready for
the Chiefs and, ahead of an arduous
schedule over the next two months,
their arrival is not a moment too
Coming off their early bye, the
defending champions now kick
off a stretch of nine consecutive
games, starting with the visit of the
Stormers on Friday night.
at s followed by a three-week
roadtrip to Perth and the Republic,
with their next free weekend set
for the middle of May. It is the
first time in Dave Rennie s tenure
he has faced such a schedule and it
will provide a true test of the depth
the Chiefs count among their main
Crucially, that depth has been
significantly boosted after the
players enjoyed an opportunity
to put the feet up last weekend,
allowing the injury crisis that
enveloped their early season to ease.
e Chiefs managed to win their
first two matches despite a casualty
list in double digits and, with the
cavalry coming back, they will be
confident of sneaking past the
Stormers to make it three victories
on the trot.
Both Brodie Retallick and Ben
Afeaki have recovered from the
concussions they suffered in a
sickening head clash in week one,
while Tom Marshall and Gareth
Anscombe are possibilities to make
their first appearances. Augustine
Pulu could recover from his knee
complaint to provide back-up for
Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Sam
Cane is also a chance to shake off
the knee injury he suffered in pre-
e presence of that extra
personnel may not disrupt the
starting XV too severely, but the
numbers will prove their value in
the gruelling weeks to come.
" at s the advantage of getting a
few back," Rennie told Radio Sport.
"We re going to have to manage our
players through that process.
"We ve got a lot of depth in our
squad, but even how we train ---
we ve got a pretty impressive GPS
system that backs up what we feel
from a gut point of view."
As well as helping with their
health, the bye also allowed the
Chiefs a chance to assess their
campaign to date, conducting a
review to pinpoint any imper-
fections in the opening rounds.
Two areas found deficient were
also problems that plagued the
Chiefs last year, ranking as the
worst in the competition in lineout
success rate (79%) and time in
possession (14.01 minutes). So far
this season, the lineout is again last
(70%) and the possession stats are
e set piece received significant
attention during the bye week and
Rennie felt his team needed to
improve their work at the contact
area to provide more ball in hand.
"In the last couple of years we ve
got quick ball and (this year) the
ball s been too slow. We ve looked
at the quality of our carry and our
quality of our contact support in
at will be especially important
against a Stormers side featuring
a fit-again Schalk Burger, with
tight tussle against one of the
competition s best defences.
"If you can recycle quick ball
you can put them under pressure
because they ve got less time to
organise their defence. So that s
what we re looking for every game.
It s an area where we feel we re
nowhere near where we have been
and it needs to be better."
Cameron Smith will
be a one club player for
Melbourne in the NRL,
the hooker agreeing to
terms on a four-year
contract extension with
Queensland State of
Origin and Australian
captain had been linked
with a big money move to the Brisbane
Broncos but has opted to play out his
career with the Victorian club.
e new deal will keep Smith in
Melbourne until the end of the 2018
NRL season, at which stage he will be
Smith said family was his biggest
consideration in deciding where he
would finish up his career.
" at s been my number one priority
the entire time," Smith told Fox Sports.
"We felt the best choice was to keep
the family in Melbourne. We ve got
three young kids now, two of them are
at school and they ve got friends all
around town. It s been a great place for
myself and my wife for a long time now.
"Team-mates and coaches and all the
staff here, were very close friends to us
as well and (that was) a
"But I think the
family being settled
in Melbourne was a
deciding factor in why
Smith admitted going
back to Brisbane, where
he played his junior
football before joining
the Storm in 2002, had
certainly been a consideration.
" ere were times, on and off, where
I thought the best decision was to go
back to Queensland, given that all
our support network is up there --- in
immediate family," Smith said.
"But I think a discussion my wife and
I had while we were overseas sort of
made the decision clear that I wanted
to play in Melbourne and my wife was
extremely happy to stay."
Smith is set to surpass Matt Geyer
(262 games) as the most capped Storm
player when his side play Penrith at
AAMI Park on Saturday.
His new deal with the Storm will put
Smith in reach of catching Broncos
great Darren Lockyer, who is the NRL s
all-time record holder with 355 first
grade appearances. --- AAP
Auckland teen signs
with St Kilda
Magic too slick for Mystics
PICTURE: Getty Images
Magic s Courtney Tairi controls the ball in last night s clash with the Mystics at Trusts Stadium,
Auckland, watched by her captain Casey Kopua.
Chiefs injury woes easing
Clive Woodward thinks England s
impressive win over Wales in the
Six Nations makes them "serious
contenders" for next year s World
Cup on home soil.
He has paid them the ultimate
compliment by saying the manner
of their success reminded him of the
England team he guided to World
Cup glory back in 2003.
England s 29-18 victory yesterday
had added significance as it was
the last time they will play Wales,
the two-time defending Six Nations
champions, at Twickenham until
a 2015 World Cup pool match in
a group of death also featuring
"It is one year, six months and 16
days until England and Wales meet
again here at Twickenham
in what will be the most anticipated
World Cup pool match in history,"
Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail
"In the course of 80 minutes
on Sunday, the landscape shifted
entirely. (England coach) Stuart
Lancaster s developing side will be
serious contenders at the World
Cup because they are playing a
brand of rugby that is bringing
the best out of their undoubted
" is is the first time this team
really reminded me of the 2003
World Cup side because of the
pack s handling skills and
confidence," Woodward added.
England outplayed a Wales side
featuring 12 British and Irish
Lions from the combined team s
series win in Australia last year and
they made a mockery of pre-match
suggestions from Wales coach
Warren Gatland that it would be
his "men" playing against Red Rose
"Warren Gatland must feel so daft
about all his rhetoric in the week
because his team came second in
almost every facet of the game,"
former England centre Woodward
" e No 1 rule after a
performance like that is to look in
as a coach before pillorying your
team so he has to take the
England, who still have a chance
of winning the Six Nations title,
conclude the tournament away to
Italy on Saturday when Wales face
Scotland in Cardiff with only pride
to play for.
Cameron to see
out league career
Sonny Bill accepts
three match ban
England serious contenders : Woodward
Large fields are expected
the Mountain View event at
Moonlight this weekend, including
a family fun triathlon, a competitive
and social walk and the main event,
the 20th anniversary Moonlight
More than 300 athletes are
expected to strap on their running
shoes for the event.
co-ordinator Gail Johnston said
72 competitors lined up for the
family fun triathlon and the
biathlon at the inaugural race in
e following year saw a
competitive and social walk added
to the programme.
Both of these events proved
popular and continue to draw large
e biathlon remains the feature
event of the day and consists of a
5km run and a 13km mountainbike
ride designed to test the stamina
and fitness of any competitor game
enough to take on the hills of
Baxters Creek Road and the variety
of creek crossings.
" e events have continued to be
generously supported by corporate
sponsors and local businesses with
an array of spot and major prizes on
offer," Johnston said.
e event gets under way at
1.30pm on Saturday, with the fun
triathlon and the competitive and
ese will be followed by the
Mountain View Biathlon and the
Pike River Memorial Challenge
(team biathlon), starting at 2.30pm.
Titans down injury-hit Sharks
Sharks Blake Ayshford, left, and Michael Gordon with Titans William Zillman and
Kevin Gordon contest a high ball in last night s games at Remondis Stadium.
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