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Archive for August, 2018

SOLID GAME: Eaglehawk’s Brodie Collins was one of his side’s best players in Saturday’s 190-point belting of Maryborough. Picture: GLENN DANIELSIT started promising enough for Maryborough with a competitive opening quarter against Eaglehawk on Saturday.

But it quickly disintegrated into what is becoming an all-too-familiar horror scoreline –this time a deficit of 190 points as the Hawks ran riot after quarter-time in winning 34.14 (218) to 4.4 (28) at Canterbury Park.

The Magpies produced a solid opening quarter in which they trailed by just nine points at the first change, 3.4 to 2.1.

However, as far as a contest goes, that’s where it ended as the Hawks slammed of 31 goals to two over the final three quarters to record their biggest win over Maryborough since the Magpies rejoined the Bendigo Football-Netball League in 1992.

Having beaten Kangaroo Flat the previous round, the Hawks have now strung together two wins in a row for the first time this season.

“We just wanted to carry on our form from the Kangaroo Flat game, which was the best we’d played for a couple of years,” Hawks coach Luke Monaghan said.

Matthew Filo

“Maryborough’s pressure was really good in the first quarter and they won a lot of the 50-50 contests, but our focus from there was to play our style of footy, hit the scoreboard hard and have an enjoyable day of footy, which we did.”

The Hawks booted eight goals in both the second and third quarters, before their devastating 15-goal burst in the final term.

The best for the Hawks –who are now 5-6 –was centre half-forward Shaun Knott, who kicked five goals.

Jesse Collins (five goals), Brodie Collins and defender Brenton Conforti were also in the best, while teenage brothers Kyle Hommelhoff and Ged Hommelhoff (four goals) also impressed.

Matt Gretgrix finished with seven goals, with his first of the match his 600thcareer goal for the Hawks.

Gretgrix kicked four of his goals in the final term, with the Magpies’Hamish Watts having battled valiantly against a barrage of inside-50s to keep him in check for the first three quarters.

Watts was named the best for the Magpies, whose past three losses have now been by a combined 590 points.

“The boys are really disappointed because they enjoy those periods where we’re competitive like we were in the first quarter,” Magpies coach Shane Skontra said.

“But then it just seems to be a mental state we get ourselves in when we get a few goals kicked against us, which is something we need to rectify.”

The Magpies lost Matt Johnston to a knee problem, while in an effort to try to generate more leadership, Skontra will this week have his players take training.

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SIDELINED: Lambton Jaffas captain Jobe Wheelhouse (centre) suffered a recurrence of a leg injury in the first half of the 3-2 loss to Valentine on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

SUBSTITUERiley Russell scored with almost his first touch to snatch Valentine a thrilling 3-2 win over Lambton Jaffas in the Northern NSW National Premier League clash at Edden Oval on Saturday.

Russell was introduced for Josh Murray in the 85thminute with Phoenix searching for a winner. Two minutes later he delivered, beating Jaffas goalkeeper Brad Swancott to a ReeceNewton pass and slotting home.

“I think we deserved thethree points,” Valentine coach Darren Sills said. “Again we got off to a slow start but the boys did well to come back and go to the break at 1-all.I gave them a little bit of a rev up.Second half we were much better. We took the lead at 2-1 and it could easily have been 3-1 or 4-1.They scored againto equalise before Riley Russell sealed the win for us.”

Sills had been disappointed with the defensive job on Jobe Wheelhouse, before the Jaffas skipper was forced from the field just before half-time with a recurrence of a leg injury.

“The instructions were to keep close tabs on Jobe,” Sills said. “Man mark him and take him out of the game as much as possible. We didn’t do that. When he went off it disrupted their flow.”

The win moved Valentine to 14 points and above the Jaffas into sixth place.

“We have lost twice to Adamstown and gave away a silly point to Maitland,” Sills said. “Those seven points will probably keepus out of the semis. While everwe are a mathematical chance we will keep battling away.”

Sills, who was surprised by the excellent condition of the playing surface,has special praise for Reece Pettit and Darren Cooper.

”Reece got our man of the the match,” Sills said. “I been wanting to get him higher up the park. He played in the middle today and had a blinder. We swapped roles with him and Darren Cooper, who went back into the centre of defence. It was the first time he had played there and he has a great game.”

The other game on Saturday between Maitland and Jets youth was postponed due to the state of the pitch.

In games on Sunday, Adamstown are at home to Charlestown, stragglers Weston host Hamilton Olympic and Edgeworth tackle Broadmeadow at Jack McLaughlan.

HIGH-FLYER: Strathfieldsaye’s Harry Conway takes a strong mark for the Storm against Golden Square on Saturday. The Storm clung on to win by three points and grab top spot on the ladder. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

STRATHFIELDSAYE has taken top spot on the ladder, while Kyneton moved a game clear inside the top five after both won crucial games in the Bendigo Football-Netball League on Saturday.


Just 14 goals were kicked in the 1 v 2 clash between the Storm and Golden Square at Flight Centre Park, with Strathfieldsaye holding on in a thrilling finish to win 7.10 (52) to 7.7 (49).

The three-point victory improves the Storm to 10-1 as the reigning premiers took over the mantle at the top of the ladder from Golden Square, which is now 9-2.

The Bulldogs –who dropped from first to third with the loss–kicked the last four goals of the game, but the Storm were able to control possession over the final two minutes to hold on for victory.

At Camp Reserve, Kyneton put the foot down after quarter-time to romp to a 76-point win over Castlemaine in a pivotal clash both sides had gone into with 5-5 records.

After trailing by 22 points at the first change, the Tigers piled on 22 goals to six after quarter-time to win 24.12 (156) to 12.8 (80) and open a one-game buffer inside the top five.

“We put ourselves in a fair predicament in the first quarter, so to rebound from that the way we did was a real credit to the group,” Kyneton coach Luke Beattie said.

Maryborough was on the end of another horror scoreline, this time at the hands of Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park as the Magpies conceded their third-consecutive score above 200.

The Hawks won by 190 points –34.14 (218) to 4.4 (28) –with 15 of their 34 goals coming in the final quarter in what was the first time for the season they have won back-to-back games.

Eaglehawk also won the reserves by 237 points and under-18s by 152 points.

Kangaroo Flat bounced back from consecutive losses to defeat Gisborne by 42 points, 11.17 (83) to 5.11 (41).

In what were muddy conditions at Gardiner Reserve, the Roos were quick to grab the ascendancy as they led 4.5 to 0.1 at quarter-time.

“The first quarter of footy we played was probably as good as we’ve produced all year…it was good team footy and really important given the conditions,” Kangaroo Flat coach Jason Stevens said.

And Sandhurst won its fifth game in a row with a 17.6 (108) to 7.11 (53) victory over South Bendigo.

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n a bid to make Canberra Stadium feel more like home and turn around one of the worst records in the club’s history, the Green Machine has adopted a unique preparation that has helped propel them to the cusp of the NRL’s top four. Photo: Graham TidyThe team that eats, sleeps and lives together ends up winning together.

That’s the Canberra Raiders’ philosophy and while they say there’s no magic formula to winning at home, coach Ricky Stuart has a plan to change their capital fortunes and make the players feel like they belong.

In a bid to make Canberra Stadium feel more like home and turn around one of the worst records in the club’s history, the Green Machine has adopted a unique preparation that has helped propel them to the cusp of the NRL’s top four.

They stay together in a Canberra hotel the night before a game in a mini camp with massages, physiotherapy and food available.

Then they turn up to a refurbished Canberra Stadium change room that has had walls knocked down to make them more comfortable.

Lastly, they pass the pictures of lime green legends such as Mal Meninga​, Laurie Daley and Bradley Clyde plastered on the walls of the tunnel leading to the field.

“The changes we’ve made this year were to really just freshen up our approach,” Stuart said.

“It’s not the reason why we are winning games at home, we’ve got a better football team and we’re learning as we go.

“But going into our mini camp before games at home gives everyone that extra opportunity to prepare better, and everything counts.”

Canberra fullback Jack Wighton said it allowed the squad to prepare the same way for every game – whether it was on the road or at home.

“It’s to mix it up from last year, but it’s also to get us the same routine week-in, week-out,” he said. “So when we go away or play at home we get into the same routine. That’s the reason we’re going into a motel.”

The Raiders will play the North Queensland Cowboys at Canberra Stadium in icy conditions on Monday night, with the chill set to shock the Townsville-based defending premiers.

It’s a chance to keep rebuilding a capital fortress after winning just three of 12 home games last year and slumping to the worst record in Raiders’ history.

After losing seven home games by seven points or less last season, Stuart gathered his senior players at the start of the year and it was decided they would sacrifice one night at home to be together in a Canberra hotel to prepare.

It’s a tactic that worked for the Raiders in their 2012 charge to the finals and the results this season are also already proving to be worthwhile.

This year they’ve won six of eight and can press their claims for a top-four berth if they topple the Cowboys.

“When you’ve got the team in camp 18 hours before kick-off, you know where they are mentally,” Stuart said. “They can get an extra massage, they can eat the right things.

“We lost so many close games over the past 12 months that if it’s one extra run or one extra tackle because they’ve had a 1 per cent better preparation, then it all counts.

“Guys can bring their families in if they want to. I take them away from their wives, partners and children enough as it is, so there’s no way I would stand in the way of that.

“Blake Austin and Sia Soliola​ do everything early [if we’re in on a Saturday] so they can watch their sons play footy. What son doesn’t want their dad there to watch?

“There’s flexibility, because I want my players to be happy. It’s about family involvement.”

Raiders winger Brenko Lee said seeing images of legends such as Meninga, Daley and Clyde in the tunnel before heading onto the field inspired the team.

“You see past greats, the premierships they’ve won, and they’re the last people you see before you run out and you don’t want to let them down,” Lee said.

“The likes of Mal Meninga, Bradley Clyde and Stuart and those blokes like that … you know that those guys certainly did very well in the Raiders jersey.”

NRL round 18: Canberra Raiders v North Queensland Cowboys at Canberra Stadium, 7pm. Tickets available from Ticketek. TV time: Live on Fox Sports 1.

RAIDERS: 1. Jack Wighton, 2. Brenko Lee, 3. Jarrod Croker (c), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Sia Soliola, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Shaun Fensom. Interchange: 14. Kurt Baptiste, 15. Clay Priest, 16. Paul Vaughan, 17. Joe Tapine.

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Canberra Greyhounds spokesperson Kel O’Rourke says they will fight the ACT government’s ban on the sport. Photo: Graham TidyThe Canberra Greyhound Racing Club will “fight [the ACT government] hard” and they are “not going to lay down and cop” the decision to ban their sport, making moves to hire high-powered lawyers.

They don’t think they are the only sport in the firing line, adamant the animal welfare groups will now move on to horse racing, equestrian and other sports involving animals – although that was a claim RSPCA ACT denied.

The Canberra Greyhounds board met on Friday night and decided “unanimously” to fight the ban, which will come into effect mid next year, and they’ll join their NSW brothers at protests in Sydney this week.

They will meet again on Tuesday night after their sport was thrown into turmoil following the NSW government’s decision on Thursday to ban greyhound racing – a move that was quickly followed by the ACT.

Meetings with the government over the coming weeks will also be sought and their next meeting – on Sunday – will go ahead.

Canberra Greyhounds spokesperson Kel O’Rourke said they would lobby politicians and likened their fight to the movie, The Castle, where a family fights the demolition of their home in the Supreme Court.

“It was unanimously decided that we would fight it and we would fight it hard. We’re certainly not going to lay down and just cop it sweet,” he said on Saturday.

“It’s a little bit reminiscent  of the movie The Castle, when Michael Caton got up in court and said, ‘This is not a house it’s a home’ and the correlation is this is people’s livelihoods … we’ll go straight to a [Queen’s counsel].”

Mr O’Rourke said other sports involving animals would be next in the firing line.

Jumps racing is constantly under threat due to the number of horse deaths, while thoroughbred racing has also been in the firing line for the use of whips and some high-profile deaths at the Melbourne Cup.

“The harness industry should be worried, the racing industry should be worried, campdrafting, equestrian, showjumping … they should be worried about the ramifications of these welfare animal groups and the RSPCA because they just want to shut everything down,” Mr O’Rourke said.

But RSPCA ACT chief executive Tammy Ven Dange​ said that wasn’t the case and greyhounds had been their only target.

She said there were “fundamental differences” between greyhound racing and other sports involving animals.

Ms Ven Dange felt it was an “easy scare tactic” to lump all animal sports in together.

“Greyhounds are different … there are fundamental differences between dog racing and any of the horse racing activities out there,” she said.

“I’ve never heard of a horse involved in live-baiting … [and] you don’t hear about horses having a litter of 13 foals at any given time.”

Ms Ven Dange admitted it was going to be tough to re-home all the dogs from NSW and the ACT – there’s believed to be more than 6000 in NSW alone – and that some of them would be killed.

But she was thankful they were the only two provinces where bans had been introduced, allowing an Australia-wide effort to find new homes.

“This is a community problem that we’re going to have to deal with together, beyond the boundaries of the states and territories … to try to save as many dogs as we can,” Ms Ven Dange said.

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