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Blues come from behind to beat Crusaders

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 28 Februari 2014 | 16.42

George Moala celebrates with his Blues teammates after scoring a try. Source: Sandra Mu / Getty Images

A SCORING blitz on either side of half-time has secured the Blues a remarkable 35-24 come-from-behind Super Rugby victory over the Crusaders in Auckland.

The Crusaders appeared to be racing away with the game when they pulled out to a 17-3 lead midway through the opening spell.

But the Blues turned the match on its head with four tries in 13 minutes.

The result at Eden Park means the Crusaders have started the season with two straight defeats.

For the Blues, it was a spectacular way to end to a seven-game losing run going back to last May.

MATCH CENTRE: Scores, stats and video highlights from Blues v Crusaders

Blues fullback Charles Piutau tries to get by Crusaders flanker Richie McCaw.

There was plenty of encouragement in the performance of their young brigade, with debutant first five-eighth Simon Hickey, lock Patrick Tuipulotu and winger Tevita Li all contributing.

The 20-year-old Hickey, a surprise choice at No. 10, showed some nice touches with ball in hand and landed six of his seven shots at goal.

He was even confident enough at one stage to demand the ball for a penalty attempt rather than allow a tap.

The Blues made the early running but their repeated failure to secure their own lineout ball meant they couldn't capitalise.

They then saw the opposition score from their first real incursion, hooker Corey Flynn displaying a winger's skills to dot down in the corner.

George Moala of the Blues fends off Andy Ellis of the Crusaders at Eden Park.

While that try came off a counter-attack, it was traditional Crusaders patience that produced the second touchdown to fullback Colin Slade.

Seven minutes from half-time the Blues flicked the switch.

Firstly, a great turnover by lock Tom Donnelly was finished off by winger Frank Halai.

Then the Blues other lock, Tuipulotu, snared the kick-off and sent the other winger, 18-year-old Li, away to the tryline to close the gap to two points at the break.

A minute after the restart, the home side went ahead for the first time, when the Crusaders couldn't clean up a Hickey kick-ahead and centre George Moala grabbed the loose ball to score.

Second five-eighth Jackson Willison put them further in front after he latch on to halfback Piri Weepu's deft kick to the in-goal for the bonus-point try.

The Crusaders mounted a comeback and, with Blues flanker Steven Luatua binned for a breakdown offence, they got a late consolation try to second five Ryan Crotty.

BLUES 35 (Frank Halai, Tevita Li, George Moala, Jackson Willison tries Simon Hickey 3 cons 3 pens) bt CRUSADERS 24 (Ryan Crotty, Corey Flynn, Colin Slade tries Tom Taylor 3 cons pen) at Eden Park. Referee: Mike Fraser.

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Live: Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory

FOLLOW our live coverage as ladder leader Brisbane Roar hosts Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

The Roar are stumbling towards the Premier's Plate and will be looking to turn around a two-match losing streak while Glory needs a win to resuscitate its finals hopes.

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LIVE: Melbourne Rebels v Cheetahs

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A NEW era begins in Melbourne tonight as the Rebels finally get their season underway.

It's Tony McGahan's first game as coach, Scott Higginbotham's first as full-time skipper, former All Black Tamati Ellison's first for his new club — and Melbourne's first match since cutting ties with Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor at the end of last season.

MATCH CENTRE: Live scores, stats, video highlights from Rebels v Cheetahs

The Rebels host a Cheetahs outfit that bounced back from an opening round shock loss to the Lions to beat the Bulls last start.

Led by brilliant fullback Willie le Roux, the Cheetahs will be looking to continue their good form against the hosts — they have triumphed on all three clashes between the two sides.

Can the Rebels kick off their 2014 campgain with a win or will the Cheetahs make it four from four?

Follow all the action in our live blog below. Kick-off is 7.40pm AEDT.


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LIVE: Sydney v West Coast

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 27 Februari 2014 | 16.42

Lance Franklin had a couple of kicks early, both coming in the defensive half. Picture: Mark Evans Source: Mark Evans / News Corp Australia

LANCE 'Buddy' Franklin has made a solid start in Sydney Swans colours as his side took a narrow lead over the West Coast Eagles in their NAB Challenge clash at Blacktown tonight.

Buddy, who was the headline story of the off-season after joining the Swans as a free agent, is playing his first game in the red and white after sitting out his team's NAB opener — a comfortable 40-point win over Greater Western Sydney.

In greasy conditions, Franklin had a couple of first-term disposals - both in defence - as the Swans lead 2.0 (12) to 1.5 (11) at the first change.

Mike Pyke, Lewis Jetta and Lewis-Roberts Thomson are all part of the Sydney line-up, although coach John Longmire is resting midfield stars Josh Kennedy, Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh — along with Ben McGlynn and Ted Richards.


West Coast was arguably the surprise packet of early NAB Challenge matches.


Under new coach Adam Simpson, the Eagles belted grand finalist Fremantle by 84 points in their first hit-out at Joondalup.

Thursday night's clash looms as a greater test to see just how far the new-look West Coast outfit has come.




2. Rhyce Shaw, 4. Dan Hannebery 5. Ryan O'Keefe, 6. Tom Mitchell, 7. Harry Cunningham, 9. Nick Malceski, 11. Jeremy Laidler, 13. Toby Nankervis, 14. Craig Bird, 16. Gary Rohan, 18. Jordan Lockyer, 19. Tom Derickx 20. Sam Reid, 22. Dean Towers, 23. Lance Franklin, 24. Dane Rampe, 26. Luke Parker, 27. Dan Robinson, 30. Lewis Roberts-Thomson, 31. Harry Marsh, 32. Lewis Jetta, 33. Brandon Jack, 35. Sam Naismith, 36. Aliir Aliir, 38. Mike Pyke, 39. Heath Grundy, 40. Nick Smith, 42. Xavier Richards, 44. Jake Lloyd

Out: Tom Mitchell, Toby Nankervis, Jordan Lockyer

Substitutes: Lewis Jetta, Aliir Aliir


1. Mitch Brown, 3. Andrew Gaff, 4. Dom Sheed, 5. Brad Sheppard, 6. Elliot Yeo, 7. Chris Masten, 10. Scott Selwood, 12. Sharrod Wellingham, 13. Luke Shuey, 15. Jamie Cripps, 18. Xavier Ellis, 19. Adam Carter, 21. Brant Colledge, 22. Callum Sinclair, 24. Matt Rosa, 25. Shannon Hurn, 27. Jack Darling, 29. Scott Lycett, 30. Blayne Wilson, 31. Will Schofield, 33. Josh Hill, 34. Mark Hutchings, 35. Patrick McGinnity, 36. Fraser McInnes, 38. Murray Newman, 40. Dylan Main, 41. Will Maginness, 42. Jeremy McGovern, 44. Jamie Bennell

Out: Luke Shuey, Dylan Main, Will Maginness

Substitutes: Adam Carter, Patrick McGinnity

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Crispe a Shamus wealth promoter

Shamus Award became the first maiden to win the Cox Plate. Source: Stuart Walmsley / News Limited

IS Shamus Award set to become the first Cox Plate hero to win the Australian Guineas?

Can Eurozone again prove Shamus Award's master and provide Bart and James Cummings with the first Group 1 win of their training partnership?

Or will Hucklebuck continue his meteoric rise and take out the $500,000 classic at Flemington on Saturday?

It is an intriguing renewal of the Australian Guineas (1600m) and although bookies rate Hucklebuck as the three-year-old to beat, ranking him the $3.70 favourite, form expert Gary Crispe is convinced Shamus Award can regain winning form.

Hucklebuck defeats Prince Harada (right) to win the C.S. Hayes Stakes at Flemington. Source: Getty Images

Shamus Award has only won one race, his epic Cox Plate win over Happy Trails and Fiorente, but Crispe said he was very impressed by the colt's comeback effort when third to Moment Of Change and Eurozone in the Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield earlier this month.

"Despite some critics expressing their disappointment at the performance, Shamus Award's effort was anything but, tracking the leader Moment Of Change early and then taking the field up to him on turning for home,'' Crispe said.

"With bigger targets ahead this campaign, it was unrealistic to expect Shamus Award to be close to peak fitness.

"The Australian Guineas should be a different scenario as recent track trials and between racetrack gallops have tightened the colt up considerably in the fitness department.

"Although still not fully would up, Shamus Award, with a Timeform rating 124 is clearly the horse to beat.''

Eurozone from the Bart and James Cummings stable gets a wash down after trackwork at Flemington. Source: Getty Images

Since the Australian Guineas was first run in 1986, the only three-year-old Cox Plate winner to contest the classic was Savabeel, who could manage only seventh behind Al Maher (2005).

Crispe conceded Eurozone went to a new Timeform ratings peak of 121 when he closed late to just miss running down Moment Of Change in the Orr Stakes. Moment Of Change has since franked the form by winning the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.

Hucklebuck has won five of his seven starts including the Hayes Stakes last start but he needs to improve significantly on his 116 rating to beat Shamus Award and Eurozone, according to Crispe.

"As the early favourite for the race, he seems a little short of where his true odds should be,'' Crispe added.

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Jurrah dreams of AFL return

Liam Jurrah (second from right in black T-shirt) catches up with some former teammates. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: Wayne Ludbey / News Corp Australia

FALLEN footy star Liam Jurrah wants to make a return to the AFL as he attempts to get his troubled life back on track.

Wearing a bandage around his right arm, Jurrah was warmly embraced by his former Melbourne teammates on Thursday after watching them train at Traeger Park in Alice Springs.

Jurrah, 25, is due to face court in April over facing serious driving offences, continuing a string of brushes with the law since he was cut from the Demons, amid a complex family dispute, in 2012.

The spring-heeled forward was one of the AFL's most celebrated figures at the peak of his form in 2011 and yesterday said he wanted to make a comeback to the top level.

"I'm going to have a kick with the local team up in Alice Springs," Jurrah said.

"To get back where I want to be is going to take a long journey.

"It going to take a lot of hard work to get back in to it, but that's my dream. Hopefully I can do that again."

Asked how he was: Jurrah said: "I'm going all right, mate".

"It is really amazing to see the boys again and see them train and see them coming up to me," Jurrah said.

"It felt really good. Actually it has made my day. It is pretty amazing."

Jurrah chats to Melbourne co-captains Nathan Jones (left) and Jack Grimes. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia

Jurrah, who was the first initiated Aboriginal man to play AFL, took the mark of the year in 2010 and led the club's goal kicking in 2011.

The man who played 36 games and kicked 84 goals for Melbourne said he was still a keen follower of the Demons.

"I still love my footy," he said.

"I've been keeping an eye on the boys since I left the club, and I'm still going to be barracking for the Dees."

Jurrah, who was last year found not guilty of attacking his cousin Basil with a machete, served three months jail in Alice Springs for aggravated assault on a woman last March.

He was charged in December for invoking a high-speed chase after failing to stop when caught speeding.

He was charged with driving with a disqualified licence, driving dangerously and exceeding the speed limit by more than 30km/h.

His case has been adjourned until April 10.

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Live ACL blog: Wanderers v Ulsan

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 26 Februari 2014 | 16.42

FOLLOW our live and interactive blog as Western Sydney Wanderers make their Asian Champions League debut against Ulsan Hyundai on Wednesday night.

The Korean side won the K-League in 2012, meaning a tough challenge awaits Tony Popovic's men.

Catch all the action tonight on Fox Sports 2 HD from 7.30pm (EDT) and then at 11.00pm when Victory travels to Guangzhou or follow it in our live blog below.

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Palmer not a fan of QRL plan

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CLIVE Palmer hopes Queensland's decision to leave his Coolum resort won't put the hex on their long State of Origin winning streak.

In the latest blow for the Palmer Resort, the Queensland Rugby League (QRL) will shift their training base from Coolum to the Gold Coast.

The Maroons have used the golf and beach resort at Coolum for the past five years as they have stretched their stranglehold on the Origin title to eight series.

"I hope it's a good move for them," Palmer told reporters at Parliament House Canberra.

"They've only won the State of Origin every year they've been there.

"I hope it's not the end of Queensland's winning streak.

"Of course, NSW have set up another facility (at Coffs Harbour) similar to what we had at Coolum because they know it's a winning formula."


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The Maroons, now sizing up Royal Pines or the more luxurious Sanctuary Cove, last held their pre-Origin camp on the Gold Coast in 2008.

The Palmer Resort, which has a roaring mechanical T-Rex dinosaur on its golf course, last year lost the Australian PGA Championship to Royal Pines.

About 90 staff were laid off at the resort earlier this month.

The Independent Federal MP had purchased the resort from the Hyatt Regency group in 2011 for a reported $80 million.

The Coolum facility had transformed its driving range into a full-size rugby league field so Mal Meninga's team could prepare before all three Origin matches each year.

Palmer said the QRL didn't want to pay the same amount they had previously and had asked for a bigger discount.

"People have got the right to choose where they go," he said.

"It's not national news when someone doesn't make a hotel booking."

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LIVE: Dogs lead, Gumbleton injured

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THE Western Bulldogs lead Fremantle by 14 points at half-time after booting five goals to one in a blistering second term.

The Bulldogs, lead by acting skipper Adam Cooney, dominated large passages of play in the second quarter to starve the Dockers of possession.

At the main break the Bulldogs lead 0.7.6 (48) to 0.5.4 (34).

Brendan McCartney's team was ruthless on the counter attack, making the Dockers pay for any turnover.

The game is also certain to come at a cost for the visiting Dockers.

Recruit Scott Gumbleton limped from the ground late in the opening term with an apparent right hamstring injury.


The former Essendon forward endured a wretched time during his time at Windy Hill but had impressed everyone since crossing to Freo.

In the opening term Fremantle showed far greater urgency than its previous NAB Challenge outing, when it was thumped by West Coast.

Michael Walters was lively with two goals, while Freo's trademark defence was staunch, often closing down space and making life tough for the Bulldogs when they went forward.

Freo star Nat Fyfe was a late withdrawal for the Dockers, while new recruit Colin Sylvia also missed after sustaining a knock at training at the weekend.


The Bulldogs, who beat St Kilda at a slushy Simonds Stadium in their opening clash, welcomed back a host of players including injury-prone pair Shaun Higgins and Tom Williams, along with veteran Daniel Giansiracusa.

Coach Ross Lyon has included Ryan Crowley, Chris Mayne, Cam Sutcliffe and Clancee Pearce for the trip to Melbourne.




3. Mitch Wallis, 5. Matthew Boyd, 6. Luke Dahlhaus, 7. Shaun Higgins, 8. Stewart Crameri, 9. Jake Stringer, 10. Easton Wood, 11. Jackson Macrae, 12. Tom Williams, 13. Daniel Giansiracusa, 15. Jason Tutt, 17. Adam Cooney, 19. Liam Jones, 21. Tom Liberatore, 22. Mitch Honeychurch, 23. Jordan Roughead, 25. Koby Stevens, 26. Lachlan Hunter, 27. Will Minson, 29. Tory Dickson, 31. Tom Young, 32. Michael Talia, 38. Dale Morris, 39. Jason Johanissen, 42. Liam Picken, 43. Jack Redpath, 44. Brett Goodes, 45. Tom Campbell, 46. Lin Jong

Out: Jason Tutt, Liam Jones, Jack Redpath

Substitutes: Shaun Higgins, Tom Williams


1. Hayden Ballantyne, 3. Zac Dawson, 4. Colin Sylvia, 6. Danyle Pearce, 7. Nat Fyfe, 8. Nick Suban, 9. Matt de Boer, 10. Michael Walters, 11. Tommy Sheridan, 13. Tendai Mzungu, 15. Ryan Crowley, 16. David Mundy, 17. Hayden Crozier, 18. Luke McPharlin, 19. Scott Gumbleton, 20. Matt Taberner, 21. Michael Barlow, 22. Tanner Smith, 23. Chris Mayne, 27. Lachie Neale, 29. Matthew Pavlich, 31. Aaron Sandilands, 32. Stephen Hill, 33. Cam Sutcliffe, 34. Lee Spurr, 37. Michael Johnson, 38. Jack Hannath, 41. Paul Duffield, 46. Clancee Pearce

Out: Colin Sylvia, Nathan Fyfe, Matt Taberner

Substitutes: Chris Mayne, Jack Hannath

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