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Live: Rebels v Waratahs

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 23 Mei 2014 | 16.42

Michael Hooper (R) has been in outstanding form for the Waratahs. Source: Mark Evans / News Corp Australia

MELBOURNE Rebels will be looking to claim another Aussie scalp when they host NSW Waratahs in a crunch Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park.

The Rebels claimed a last-gasp victory over Queensland Reds last week after a dramatic TMO call saw them awarded a penalty right in front of the posts.

They return to their AAMI Park stronghold tonight for the visit of the Waratahs, who're coming off a short turnaround following last Sunday's win over the Lions.

The Waratahs have been boosted by the inclusions of Jacques Potgieter and Alofa Alofa, while the Rebels have called on Paul Alo-Emile at prop and Ben Meehan at halfback following injuries to Laurie Weeks and Luke Burgess respectively.

Follow all the action from Melbourne in our live blog below and check out Match Centre for stats and video!

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Live: Geelong v North Melbourne

Tom Hawkins gets his kick away in front of Lachie Hansen. Picture: Colleen Petch. Source: Colleen Petch / News Corp Australia

GEELONG will look to bounce back tonight against an in-form North Melbourne, under lights at Simonds Stadium.

The Cats were well beaten in their last match against Fremantle and will hope the Perth curse doesn't strike again.


The Kangaroos are full of confidence after they humbled Brisbane Lions last week.

It promises to be a ripping game with both teams capable of finishing in the top four.

The Cats will be missing key playmaker Steve Johnson due to a one week suspension.

Tall running machine Mark Blicavs and midfielder Ryan Bastinac will start as the substitutes.


Friday 23 May at Simonds Stadium, 7.50pm (EST)


B: J.Rivers, T.Lonergan, C.Enright

HB: A.Mackie, H.Taylor, C.Guthrie

C: M.Blicavs, J.Selwood, M.Duncan

HF: T.Varcoe, H.McIntosh, M.Stokes

F: J.Murdoch, T.Hawkins, J.Bartel

Foll: D.Simpson, J.Kelly, G.Horlin-Smith

I/C: J.Bews, J.Sheringham, S.Motlop, J.Stringer

Emg: T.Hunt, J.Jansen, J.Walker

INS: M.Stokes, J.Stringer

OUTS S.Johnson (suspended), T.Hunt


B: L.McDonald, J.Tippett, L.Hansen

HB: N.Dal Santo, S.Thompson, L.Greenwood

C: S.Gibson, A.Swallow, R.Nahas

HF: L.Thomas, A.Black, L.Adams

F: M.Daw, D.Petrie, B.Harvey

Foll: T.Goldstein, J.Ziebell, B.Cunnington

I/C: R.Bastinac, M.Firrito, S.Atley, S.Wright

Emg: L.Anthony, S.McMahon, M.Wood

INS: M.Firrito

OUTS S.McMahon

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Fitness cloud lingers over Rogic

PLAYMAKER Tom Rogic is the latest Socceroos player to have a World Cup fitness cloud hanging over him after being excluded from Friday's training session.

Rogic, who has been carrying a groin injury, was among a handful of players carrying niggles excluded from the main group at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah yesterday, but while he's likely to miss the South Africa clash on Monday FFA is confident he will be fit for Brazil.

Curtis Good (hip flexor) and captain Mile Jedinak (groin) worked with physio Les Gelis and strength and conditioning coach Alan McCall for most of the session while Sion's Dario Vidosic and Nagoya Grampus striker Josh Kennedy peeled away from the main group to do light running for most of the session.

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Keeper Mitch Langerak was the other unsighted player, and is another week away from commencing training after he hyperextended his knee training with Borussia Dortmund last week.

Socceroos assistant Ante Milicic said there was no need to take risks in Monday's send-off game against South Africa at ANZ Stadium, considering with remaining games against a local Brazilian side (June 2) and Croatia (June 6) before the Chile opener on June 13.

"He (Ange Postecoglou) will look at every player individually, case by case, and then see if they can participate on Monday and if so, is it better starting that individual or off the bench,'' Milicic said.

Tom Rogic competes for the ball during an Australian Socceroos training session at Central Coast Stadium. Source: Getty Images

"He doesn't need to risk anyone that doesn't have any question marks and the beauty of it is we have got a game lined up on June 2. On top of that there's a Tuesday session after the Monday game before we depart.

"It's not a game where he has to risk any players, and there's probably players that he wants to see more than others and he'll make that call.

"Now it's just how Ange wants to use the game, does he want to test out a few things in different positions? We've also got a game on June 2 and there's a lot of travelling to get there.

"I'm sure he's got in his mind certain players that are pretty much going to Brazil, and he'll look at all the loads, fatigue, sleep, how players are pulling up and make a decision on if and how many late arrivals play on Monday.''

Milicic, who was headhunted from Western Sydney Wanderers, said he has "learnt plenty" under Postecoglou, who he refers to as "the boss".

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He said the coaching staff faced a huge challenge implementing their possession-based game in a month, but praised the players' attitude.

"This is a unique situation where we have four weeks with them. You don't look at it as we've got four weeks we'll take our time, no it's the opposite, we've got four weeks to get as much information into them because we can't afford to waste any session with a new young group.

"Working with young, hungry boys is good for the coaching staff,'' he said.

"It (the attitude) is what you'd expect from such a young group that are fighting for spots to go to a World Cup — the level's been good.

"So every session's important, on or off the field, that we can give as much information as possible about the style going forward.

"The players have been receptive, they want to learn and they've bought into what the boss wants. It's not going to happen overnight but we're all focused on going in the one direction.''

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Blood clot scare delayed Mummy’s return

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 21 Mei 2014 | 16.41

Shane Mumford's AFL return this weekend has been far from smooth sailing. Picture: Phil Hillyard Source: Philip Hillyard / News Corp Australia

SHANE Mumford has revealed how a blood clot in his arm set back his return to action by almost a month.

The Greater Western Sydney ruckman spent two days in hospital. for two days to deal with the problem, which originated when he was being operated on for a knee infection.

The former Swan has not played since the Round 3 win over Melbourne but is fit and ready for Saturday's game against Richmond at Spotless Stadium.

"I seem to be able to get the stupid injuries that no one else has ever heard of," Mumford said.

The Giants have lost their past five games during Mumford's absence. Picture: Phil Hillyard Source: News Corp Australia

"My knee has been right for a few weeks. Now it's the clot in my arm we had to get rid of. Hopefully this will be the end of it and I can build for the rest of the season."

The clot was caused by a catheter used to administer antibiotics during the procedure on his knee.

In Mumford's absence the Giants have lost their past five games and were smashed by the Eagles by 111 point in their last outing.

The big man's return has not come a minute too soon for Giants coach Leon Cameron.

"We've sorely missed him in the last few weeks," Cameron said.

"It's great to have him back. It will be good to get our ruck duo with Jonathon Giles together again."

While he hasn't played for seven weeks Mumford is confident he can have an instant impact in the Giants first game at Spotless Stadium since they beat the Demons by 32 points on April 6.

"I'll just give it my all and see how long I can hang on for," he said. "I hate missing games at the best of times and probably the last couple of weeks I could have almost been right except for the clot."

Jeremy Cameron will return for the GWS Giants this weekend. Picture: Phil Hillyard Source: News Corp Australia

The Giants also will have star forward Jeremy Cameron, midfielder Adam Treloar and defender Curtly Hampton available for the match against Richmond.

"We get some personnel back but that's not everything," Cameron said.

"It's the 22 that run out that need to concentrate on what we did well in the first four rounds, but we've probably got away from that in the last few weeks."

Mumford said he was wary of the Tigers after they disappointed their legion of fans when they lost to Melbourne after the passing of club great Tom Hafey.

Shane Crawford and Jay Clark hand out some valuable Supercoach advice ahead of round ten in the AFL.

"Everybody hates losing," Mumford said. "They'll be wanting to bounce back just as much as we do. We didn't have a great last performance last game, either, so we've got something to prove and we know we can.

"We don't focus on them at all. We have to focus on ourselves and what we can do to get over the line."

Midfielder Toby Greene, suspended for five matches by the Giants after alleged incidents at a Melbourne night spot, did not train with the main group and has plenty of work to do to win back his place.

"He has to earn the respect back from his teammates," Cameron said.

"It was a distraction for everyone last week but it's done and dusted.

"Toby has been terrific in the way he's handled that he's accepted what's gone on. Over the break the leadership group and the entire club have made a stance that we don't accept that. It could be the turning point for Toby on and off the field."

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Hodges fails to finish Qld training

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QUEENSLAND hierarchy have dismissed concerns over Justin Hodges' availability for Origin I after the star centre failed to finish training on the Gold Coast.

The Maroons had a disrupted start to preparations, with key trio Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Hodges sitting out the first of two sessions at their new Sanctuary Cove base.


Greg Inglis and Justin Hodges at Queensland State of Origin team training. Source: News Corp Australia

While extended squad members Jake Friend and Will Chambers filled the void in the morning session, Smith, Slater and Hodges left early to have ice baths.

Four hours later, Smith and Slater were on deck and trained strongly, but Hodges pulled the pin midway through the afternoon session.

The 31-year-old, who has played six games for the Broncos since rupturing his achilles last August, spoke briefly on the sidelines before leaving training with Maroons medicos.


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Hodges suffered a minor ankle injury against the Titans last Friday night but it is understood the Maroons ace's decision to finish early was a precautionary move.

Maroons forward Corey Parker said Smith, Hodges and Slater, who had his knee bandaged, are feeling the effects of club action last weekend.

"It's just minor bumps from the weekend's games," Parker said. "We don't play until next Wednesday so it's probably in everyone's best interests that they get them freshened up and right for the start."


Justin Hodges leaves training early. Source: News Corp Australia

With Hodges confident of playing, the veteran three-quarter is one of several Maroons determined to maintain the rage after the pain of NSW's most recent successes.

Parker played three games in two losing campaigns in 2004-05 before being axed, spending six years in exile as he waited patiently for a second chance.

"There's a few of us mature players and it does hurt," he says, recalling Queensland's dark days.

"I guess not only are you representing each other and your families, it's the entire state. Millions of fans are involved and there's an expectation.

Justin Hodges leaves training with the team physio. Source: News Corp Australia

"In '04-05, when I played and we were beaten, I spent six years on the sideline.

"The passion and desire to want to wear that jersey again had never left me.

"Back then, I probably didn't respect or understand it (the Maroon jumper) to the degree it deserved.

"Six years is a long time to watch your mates run around. It's been a good journey."

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Five-year deal for Naitanui

Nic Naitanui has signed a five-year deal at West Coast. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper Source: Justin Benson-Cooper / News Corp Australia

NIC Naitanui's long-awaited contract extension has been finalised, with the star ruckman set to remain at West Coast for at least another five years.

The Eagles today announced the 24-year-old would stay in blue and gold until the end of 2019 after coming to terms with the club on a new deal.

Naitanui made no secret of the fact he wanted to stay at the club he was drafted to in late 2008.

As flagged by SuperFooty earlier this month, the ruckman was poised to sign a deal worth around $4 million over the five years.

West Coast did not disclose financial details of the new contract.

"It's great to sign a new contract, which allows me to now just concentrate on playing footy," Naitanui said.

"As I said the other day, I have from the very start of this said I was not going to go anywhere.

"The West Coast Eagles is my home.

"The club has been good to me from the time I got here and I love it here. It's like family.

"I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the playing group and I reckon we are getting close to real success. I want to be around that because I feel like we are building."

Naitanui has played 96 games for the Eagles and earned an All-Australian berth in 2012.

Nic Naitanui has re-signed for the West Coast Eagles. Neroli Meadows has all the latest from AFL.

But the Swan Districts product struggled with groin problems last season and is working to recapture his best form as West Coast looks to push into the top eight.

West Coast football manager Craig Vozzo said the club was thrilled to secure one of the game's most exciting players for the next five seasons.

"We were always confident that Nic would commit to the club because he is a loyal person who has a great rapport with the rest of the squad," he said.

"It has taken a while to finalise negotiations because there are a number of things to work through, including the community commitments that Nic is so passionate about.

"As a young 201cm ruckman, we believe we are yet to see the best of Nic Naitanui and we are excited that he will continue to evolve his career at West Coast.

"He is a quality individual as well as an outstanding player and has won enormous respect in his time at the club."

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Tigers simply aren’t good enough

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 18 Mei 2014 | 16.41

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RICHMOND wasn't soft on Saturday — they were sloppy and by the end utterly despondent against a team that played the Tommy Hafey way.

And that, Tigers, was shameful.

Pre-game comments about being relentless and tough and resilient ultimately paved the way for a Melbourne victory.

Coach Paul Roos was brilliantly provoking in his pre-match talk to the players. This was not about Richmond, he said, this was about Melbourne respecting Hafey's legacy.

It was brilliant reverse psychology coaching.

If Roos is coach of the year at the moment, and he should be, then the Tigers are the plonkers of the year.

Is there another team so mentally fragile?


They sit in 16th position and are arguably the worst team in the competition behind an injury-ravaged Brisbane.

It's a stunning fall for a team that won 15 games last year and for a coach who was given a contract extension until the end of the 2016 season.

Question marks hang over Punt Rd as dark and foreboding as a London pea souper, and it's not so much about the team, but the individuals.

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Put it bluntly, Richmond's talls stink.

Ruckman Shaun Hampson can win hit-outs, but can't mark the ball. He took his one and only mark on the half-back line on Saturday and the crowd gave him a bronx cheer.

He's played seven game this year and taken nine marks. He's taken two marks in past four matches. It's just not good enough.

This is about Saturday and about the whole of the season.


Full-back Troy Chaplin is 28-years-old and is playing like he's 38. He was poor below his knees against the Demons and suddenly looks slow.

He had Cameron Pedersen and Max Gawn as opponents. They took five marks against him.

Ben Griffiths has played 26 games in five years. He doesn't find the ball as much as he should and when he does, he can be game-changing.

His seven tackles against the Demons showed he had the work ethic, but 0.3 from set shots is not acceptable for a player with considerable talent and depth in his right foot.

He has played defence in his career, but as a forward he has only 8.10 to his name.

Tyrone Vickery is the whipping boy and, sorry, but he deserves it. I don't know what his position is any more. And he's going to hate to seeing some of his efforts overhead in the team review.

We mark the guns harder and although Jack Riewoldt has 17 goals for the season, it still amounts to less than two a game. Clearly, he is burnt by the delivery at times, but the simple fact is Riewoldt has to get more ball.

Jack Riewoldt isn't kicking enough goals. Picture: Michael Klein Source: News Corp Australia

There are others. Shane Edwards has played 137 games of football. His improvement has stopped.

Shaun Grigg laid six tackles on Saturday. The week before it was five. Before that it was zero, zero, two, two, two and two. It should be minimum five every week for a mid, even for a running mid as Grigg is.

And being an outsider, he must kick goals when the opportunity rises. On Saturday he kicked 0.3

The team itself is a shell of 2013.

On Saturday, the Tigers weren't tough enough for long enough.

They landed 29 tackles to 20 in the first quarter and virtually squared the contested ball.

After quarter-time, the Demons won the contested ball by 15 and took 19 contested marks to nine. Nineteen! No wonder coach Damien Hardwick lamented his team's inability to win the one-on-ones.

After Saturday, it's too easy to throw around words such as soft and insipid and pathetic at Richmond.

The fact is, they had a crack, but they're not a good football team.


Ben Griffiths

Troy Chaplin

Shaun Hampson

Tyrone Vickery

Shane Edwards

Shaun Grigg

Jack Riewoldt


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Big men excite as draft takes shape

Vic Country's James Richards is tackled by Metro's Sam Bennett. Picture: Colleen Petch Source: Colleen Petch / News Limited

FINALLY, the 2014 draft is taking shape.

Future top-10 pick Peter Wright takes a one-handed mark in front of Vic Country's Rowan Marshall. Picture: Colleen Petch Source: News Limited

And for clubs crying out for tall forwards, yesterday's opening match of the Under-18 carnival would have excited scouts.

Five players standing at least 189cm slotted multiple goals as Vic Country upstaged Vic Metro by 15 points, confirming the pointy end of November's draft will be a big-man bonanza.

AFL recruiters last night confirmed 199cm goalkicker Darcy Moore — who finished with one major from six disposals — was "locked in" as Collingwood's first-round selection.

In another draft bargain, clubs are also certain Sydney's first pick will be used to grab zone academy player Isaac Heeney, a blond midfielder who idolises Kieren Jack.

Recruiters believe 203cm Peter Wright is leading the race to go No. 1, most likely to Brisbane Lions to help replace legend Jonathan Brown.

Wright bagged two goals and spent the second half in the ruck, tapping to Angus Brayshaw who collected 32 disposals and drew comparisons to Sam Mitchell for his super skills on both sides.

Brayshaw is tipped to be the first midfielder snared in a talent pool heavy on big blokes, with Geelong pair Paddy McCartin and Hugh Goddard — cousin of Brendon — top-10 chances.

They shared five goals, with McCartin's raw power impressing AFL talent academies manager Mick Ablett.

"It's like tenpin bowling when he crashes packs," Ablett said of the man some clubs rate as the best spearhead in the draft.

Bottom-agers Darcy Tucker and Darcy Parish starred for Vic Country, sharing 40 disposals as their side trailed at every break before storming home with six last-quarter goals at Sandringham.

Vic Country 2.0 5.2 8.4 14.5 (89)

Vic Metro 3.4 5.5 9.5 11.8 (74)


Vic Country: McCartin 3, Goddard 2, Lamb 2, Drummond 2, Webb, Parish, Lonie, Butler, Dunkley

Vic Metro: Sheridan-Ferrie 4, Wright 2, Langdon, Ahern, Ellis, Moore, Pittonet


Vic Country: Drummond, Marchbank, Marshall, Skinner, Tucker, Lonie

Vic Metro: McLaren, McLaren, De Goey, Castagna, Duggan, Pittonet

Former Collingwood champ Peter Moore was on hand to watch son Darcy in action for Vic Metro. Picture: Colleen Petch Source: News Limited

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Cheika plays down Tahs’ top-two hopes

Waratahs star Kurtley Beale celebrates a try with Adam Ashley-Cooper at Allianz Stadium. Picture: Brett Costello Source: Brett Costello / News Corp Australia

WARATAHS coach Michael Cheika moved to play down the prospect of his side storming into the top two after demolishing the Lions 41-13 on Sunday.

NSW took advantage of weekend slip-ups by the Brumbies and Western Force in South Africa, jumping from eighth to fourth on the Super Rugby ladder, just one point away from a place in the top two.

With a game in hand over Australian conference leaders the Brumbies, the Waratahs are in prime position to launch their bid for a guaranteed home semi-final.

MATCH CENTRE: Full scores, stats, video highlights

This is the best position the Waratahs have been in for years with five games remaining, but Cheika warned after his team's five tries to one rout: "Close is not good enough.

"You can only talk about it once you've done something.

Bernard Foley reaches out to score the opening try of the match for the Waratahs. Source: Getty Images

"I've had the experience before of being close and not delivering at the end, so we're still a long way to go, five games for us to navigate through.

"We've got a very big match on Friday (against Melbourne Rebels), a short turnaround against a very good opponent, they're going to attack us hard at the breakdown, in defence, and we're going to have to be ready for that."

It will be difficult for long-suffering Waratahs fans not to imagine that 2014 may finally be the year they break their title drought.

Even Lions coach Johan Ackerman spoke of the ominous feel about the Tahs, saying: "If they get the playoffs here (in Sydney), they'll be tough to beat".

But Cheika will be reinforcing his message to his players.

"What we need to do is think about the next game and not get carried away," Cheika said.

"Because as much as you think hey we could get in, you could think hey we might miss out as well.

"We need to keep a level head."

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Led by man-of-the-match Bernard Foley, NSW relentlessly pressed in attack and punched through a willing Lions defence to keep their undefeated home record this year intact.

NSW led 17-13 at the break but essentially won the game in the 10 minutes after the break.

Rob Horne's storming try four minutes into the second half, bumping off fullback Chrysander Botha and sprinting under the posts from 30 metres out, set the tone.

NSW soon made another long break upfield before Lions winger Deon van Rensburg was sin-binned for not releasing at the ensuing breakdown.

Minutes later Adam Ashley-Cooper delivered NSW their four-try bonus point when he scored from a Kurtley Beale chip.

Ashley-Cooper ran on to the chip and kicked ahead himself before regathering on the tryline.

At 31-13 the Tahs would not be heeded by the limited Lions attack.

Kurtley Beale makes a break for the Waratahs. Source: News Corp Australia

Foley, who kicked a perfect seven from seven goals, added a penalty with 18 minutes remaining.

Horne iced the cake by crossing for his second after the full-time siren, set up by Israel Folau.

But Cheika was fuming with his side's poor defence in the first half which allowed the Lions to score their only try from a rolling maul.

"I don't think anyone would have been happy with the try we gave away in the first half, that was soft, straight up," Cheika said.

"We just watched that, navigated it into the line and steered them in.

"Some teams are good mauling teams, which they are, and yes they'll score against you every now and again but you've got to make it as hard as possible.

"Because of the way we play, we need strong defence, because we're going to make errors and we need to shut the opposition down."

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika watched on from a private suite. Source: News Corp Australia

Finishing first or second guarantees a home semi-final, although the top two teams at present, the Sharks and Chiefs, have looked strong throughout the year.

NSW scored first half tries courtesy of midfield partners Foley and Beale.

Foley opened the scoring from close range in the eighth minute — somewhat sluggish compared to NSW's fast starts at home this year — stepping inside the Lions defence and stretching out to plant the ball.

It followed a sustained early period of attack at the Lions line.

The Lions hit back five minutes later with their trademark strength play.

From a lineout 10 metres out, the Lions expertly manoeuvred their pack through the Tahs defence, with blindside flanker Jaco Kriel powering over for the try.

The teams then exchanged penalty goals before Foley set up a brilliantly worked try for Beale.

From a scrum five metres out from the Lions line, Foley took a pass and deftly grubbered a kick into the in-goal for Beale to collect and score under the posts.

NSW WARATAHS 41 (Rob Horne 2, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley tries Foley 5 cons 2 pens) bt LIONS 13 (Jaco Kriel try Marnitz Boshoff con 2 pens) at Allianz Stadium. Referee: Nick Briant. Crowd: 19,639.

Relive all the action from Allianz Stadium in our match blog below.

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