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Sydney Roosters star Mitchell Pearce is
available for State of Origin one selection,
after the NRL integrity unit agreed missing
a club match and copping a $20,000 fine
was enough punishment for the NSW
halfback’s wild night out on the town.
News that Pearce will be available to
face Q ueensland at Suncorp Stadium on
May 28 comes as a major relief to Blues
coach Laurie Daley, who is still sweating
on the result of a judiciary hearing tonight
involving for ward Greg Bird.
“Pearcey’s the lynch pin,” NSW back-
rower Anthony Watmough said of the
halfback’s importance to the Blues’ chances
of breaking an eight-year Origin drought.
The Roosters announced yesterday that
Pearce will sit out Saturday night ’s clash
with North Queensland in Townsville, pay
a substantial fine to charity and undertake
counselling after his shameful night out at
Police concluded their investigation
yesterday and determined no further action
would be taken against Pearce.
The woman who made the complaint that
led to Pearce’s eviction from Beach Haus
nightclub in Kings Cross notified authorities
late on Monday night that she did not wish
to pursue the matter further.
Despite being cleared, Pearce’s night still
involved being kicked out of two nightspots,
being arrested and getting ser ved with an
infringement notice by police for failing
to leave a licensed premises in what was
another bad look for the game.
The NRL has taken a hard line against
alcohol matters in the past which have
brought the game into disrepute.
Manly fullback Brett Stewart was
suspended for four matches in 2009 for
bringing the game into disrepute after a
boozy night out, despite ultimately being
acquitted of a sexual assault allegation.
Last year NSW prop James Tamou was
suspended from an Origin match and fined
$20,000 for being caught drink-driving
without a licence.
However, the NRL integrity unit was
satisfied that the punishment handed down
by the Roosters to Pearce fitted the crime.
Blues and Roosters team-mate Boyd
Cordner was given a $5000 fine ($2500
suspended) for being booted from the
Clovelly Hotel along with Pearce.
“The club is most disappointed with the
events of the weekend. The club and NRL
have strong policies in place and there is a
process that has had to run its course,” said
Sydney Roosters chief operating officer for
football, Brian Canavan.
“Mitchell and Boyd have accepted the club
sanctions and shown genuine remorse for
the negative spotlight both have attracted to
the Roosters and the game by breaching the
club’s and NRL’s standards.
“Both are important contributors to our
club, and the game, and we will continue
to work closely with them to ensure their
continued personal development off the
The NSW Rugby League was reluctant to
comment, describing it as a Roosters matter.
Former Roosters player and now Manly
utility Tom Symonds said playing for the
Bondi club was not easy.
“There’s a lot of spotlight and being in the
city there’s always cameras,” he said.
Watmough was adamant deser ved to wear
the sky blue.
“If he’s fit he should be there, yeah,” he
Coach Daley has been a vocal supporter
of Pearce since taking over, and if had been
ruled out it would have posed a significant
selection headache with no standout
candidate to take over the crucial No 7
jersey and oppose Q ueensland’s test-class
halves. — AAP
of the Herald on Sunday
Rugby’s not so big secret has been let
out of the bag with confirmation the
All Blacks will play a test against the
United States in Chicago this year.
Soldier Field, home of the NFL’s
Chicago Bears, will be the venue for the
November 1 clash, which will be the
third test and the fourth game between
the two nations.
It is being viewed as an important
part of the All Blacks’ World Cup
There is some concern among All
Black management that they have again
been handed a soft pool at next year’s
So they want to use this year’s
November tests to simulate a World
Cup scenario — a game against a
tier two nation (USA) followed by
consecutive games against England,
Scotland and Wales.
They see the USA game as being
the equivalent of their last scheduled
pool game against Tonga and the next
three tests in November replicating the
Soldier Field has a capacity of
61,000, so the game could set an
audience record for a rugby clash in
Early predictions are that 40,000
ticket sales is a realistic target, but the
New Zealand Rugby Union and USA
Rugby are quietly confident they will
push past that figure.
Participation is rising rapidly in the
US and with the Eagles having recently
qualified for the World Cup, the test in
Chicago could provide another impetus
“ You look at the calibre of athletes you
see playing basketball and NFL, and if
they put some real energy into rugby,
there would be a fairly big pool to
choose from,” All Black captain Richie
“A lot of people don’t know about the
All Blacks in the US, so it will be great
to play a game there and show what
rugby is all about.”
The All Blacks have played in the US
before. They played a non-test in San
Diego in 1980, and in 1913, they played
a test there, winning 51-13.
The only other clash between the two
was at the 1991 World Cup when the
All Blacks won 46-6 in Gloucester.
As well as ser vicing rugby needs,
the test in Chicago is part of a wider
strategic NZRU aim to increase the
awareness of the All Black brand in the
That has been a goal for the past
decade but has intensified since
American insurance group AIG was
signed as a major sponsor two years
“ We are very excited to be taking the
All Blacks to a part of the world we
know is incredibly keen on all sports
and where we believe there is a real
thirst to see the style of rugby we are
famous for,” NZRU chief executive
Steve Tew said.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Novak Djokovic made a winning
return nearly a month after suffering
a wrist injury, starting the Rome
Masters on a rainy Tuesday with a
6-3, 7-5 defeat of Radek Stepanek.
The second-round victory after a
bye was the first match for the world
No 2 Serb since losing a Monte
Carlo semi-final on April 19 to
Roger Federer while suffering with
his right wrist problem.
Djokovic, a two-time champion at
the Foro Italico, was to have played
last week in Madrid but held off.
The Serb, competing in Italy for
an eighth straight year, won his 25th
match in Rome against five defeats.
Three of his losses have come against
Rafael Nadal, the top seed bidding
for an eighth trophy in the capital.
was a struggle, comprising four
consecutive breaks of serve before
Djokovic took victory with a ser vice
return winner out wide in gusting
wind after 97 minutes.
“On clay, the wind comes in your
eyes. I could not get any rhythm at
all,” Djokovic said.
“Stepanek is a very experienced
player and has such variety of shot.
It was frustrating to lose ser ve twice
in the second set, but I managed to
go through in the end.”
Third-seeded Australian Open
winner Stanislas Wawrinka won
the first seven games in a defeat
of Spanish qualifier Pere Riba 6-0,
6-3 with the Swiss taking just 50
minutes to go through with 50
Federer will be back on court eight
days after the birth of his twin boys
Leo and Lenny as he competes.
“Since they were born last Tuesday,
that gave me a better chance of
playing Rome,” the Monte Carlo
finalist said, who plays tomorrow
against France’s Jeremy Chardy.
“Of course I hope to win my first-
round match but, at the moment, I
have totally different priorities.”
Federer has lost three Rome finals,
all three to Spaniards and the last
two (2006, 2013) to Nadal. The top-
seeded Spaniard is relishing one of
the biggest annual changes on the
clay when he starts three days after
winning another the Madrid title.
“ Yes it ’s a big change (from
Madrid altitude to sea-level Rome)
but, when you are winning, it is a
lot easier. You always need time to
In men’s first-round play, a pair
of Colombians both retired —
Croatian Marin Cilic advanced over
Santiago Giraldo 6-4, 2-0 while
Latvian Ernests Gulbis advanced
6-1 past Alejandro Falla. German
15th seed Tommy Haas beat
Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 .
In the women’s first round,
Camilla Giorgi of Italy upset ninth
seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 7-6,
(7-2), 10th seed Sara Errani beat
South African Chanelle Scheepers
7-5, 6-3 and 13th seed Carla Suarez
Navarro defeated German Mona
Barthel 6-2, 6-2. — AFP
Chicago test rehearsal
for World Cup
PICTURE: Getty Images
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw at a training run last year.
Djokovic makes winning start in Rome
of the New Zealand Herald
official act as Warriors’ head coach
was to plump for stability, naming
an unchanged team yesterday for
Sunday ’s match against the top of
the table Bulldogs.
Across his brief tenure fans have
become accustomed to one or
two surprises from McFadden’s
selections, whether it was axing
the likes of Feleti Mateo and
Dane Nielsen or bringing
youngsters like Siliva Havili and
Charlie Gubb into the side.
resounding 54-12 win over
Canberra there was no need
to change, and the injuries to
Thomas L euluai and Sam Rapira
ease the selection headaches for
It means Konrad Hurrell and
Ben Henry will again start
together in the centres — with
the dependable Henry making
a strong case for a permanent
place out wide, despite him
being earmarked for a role in
the for wards this year.
“He’s a very good footballer,”
“ You wouldn’t say he is the
most dynamic of centres but he
certainly makes up for it with his
football smarts. His defence is
rock solid and he has certainly got
a place in our side.”
The match in Hamilton on
Sunday will also see Ben Matulino
continue as a wide ranging back
rower and Kevin L ocke as the
interchange hooking option.
Simon Mannering will play his
198th match this weekend.
Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell,
Ben Henry, Manu Vatuvei, Chad
Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Suaia
Matagi, Nathan Friend, Jacob
Lillyman, Jayson Bukuya, Ben
Matulino, S Mannering (captain).
Reserves: Feleti Mateo, Sebastine
Ikahihifo, Sione Lousi, Kevin
Locke, Charlie Gubb
Bulldogs. — Sam Perrett, Mitch
Brown, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai,
Chase Stanley, Josh Reynolds,
Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman,
Michael Ennis, James Graham,
Josh Jackson, Tony Williams,
Greg Eastwood. Reser ves: Dale
Finucane, Tim Browne, David
Klemmer, Sam Kasiano, Mose
Warriors unchanged to face Bulldogs
Pearce free to play for NSW, despite ban
of the New Zealand Herald
The Warriors have a chequered
history with rookie NRL coaches
but see little risk in appointing
Andrew McFadden to a long-term
McFadden, who was given an
interim role after the exit of Matt
Elliott in March, was yesterday
confirmed as coach of the Auckland
franchise until the end of the 2017
season. It is a huge show of faith in
a 36-year-old with only four NRL
games under his belt as head coach,
especially when you examine the
Warriors’ record with coaches new
to the NRL.
Despite their success with the
Kiwis, neither Frank Endacott nor
Brian McClennan could get the
Warriors to the play-offs. Mark
Graham struggled with a threadbare
squad (his best finish was 11th)
while Tony Kemp tanked when he
stepped up from assistant.
On the plus side, the unproven
Daniel Anderson took the team to
the play-offs on three of his four
seasons, including a grand final.
Ivan Cleary was the other coaching
rookie who rocked, only missing the
finals twice in his six year stint and
reaching the 2002 grand final.
The club see real potential in
McFadden — the kind of guy
that could usher in a Cleary like
era of success. He made an instant
impression as assistant and the
Warriors’ swift axing of Elliott
this season was probably because
they knew they had a capable man
waiting in the wings. McFadden
has also earned the player’s respect
it is no coincidence that a slew
of contract renewals have been
announced since he become coach.
NRL standard coaches, like
dynamic Labour MPs, are relatively
scarce. If not McFadden the club
would have gone to a veteran (like
a Tim Sheens), another rookie (like
a David Kidwell) or a Super League
coach, all of whom would bring with
them their own levels of uncertainty.
The four year deal is a gamble but
may be a wise one. McFadden did
not push for a longer deal — “I’m a
rookie coach ... there is not a whole
lot of negotiating power there” —
but his value will only increase if
he gets results. Such a term allows
him to do some genuine long-term
planning and put his imprint on the
“It gives me security and a little
bit of weight to really instil some
standards here,” McFadden says.
McFadden’s sudden elevation
reflects the strong impact he has
made in a short time. D uring his brief
tenure the team has rediscovered
their defensive discipline (conceding
an average of around 16 points a
game, compared with more than
28 points) — a direct result of the
increased focus on defence on the
practice field. “He’s instilled a lot of
discipline around here which is what
was needed. We were falling down
with the one per centers and that is
where it counts”, Sam Tomkins said.
Training sessions are much more
intense, there is more work under
fatigue situations and more game
“It ’s about demanding more from
them as a group,” McFadden said.
“There was a lot of room to
improve and intensity was a huge
one. Unless you train intensely you
won’t get it on the field.”
Rookie coaches a mixed bag
The days of hockey goalkeepers
seeking to crib an edge by using a
longer stick are over.
The International Hockey
Federation has introduced a
rule, to kick in for this month’s
World Cup in The Hague,
preventing goal-keepers trying to
give themselves an edge during
penalty shootouts by opting for a
stick with greater reach.
The rule is no sticks can be
longer than 105cm, from the top
of the handle to the bottom of the
head. Men’s national coach Colin
Batch doesn’t believe it will make
any difference as far as outfield
players are concerned.
“Before you could use any
length,” he said. “Goalkeepers
were getting a distinct advantage
on shootouts. The official
maintaining the spirit of the
game so I suppose they (FIH) saw
it as an unfair advantage for the
Batch doubts outfield players
would switch to a longer stick. He
could only think of two players,
both tall men and both drag flick
exponents, former Black Stick
Hayden Shaw, and Australian
Luke Doerner, who favoured the
“It helped with the drag flick
(at penalty corners) but also they
didn’t have to bend as much.”
Restricted stick length bad news for goalkeepers
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