Posts Tagged ‘Rugby League’

Titans’ Bird, Harrison, Loa Have Charges Dropped

Worst diver in the game, Greg Bird. Image: http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/state-of-origin-2015-trevor-gillmeister-fears-fakers-might-decide-match/story-fndv2twz-1227369174577

Gold Coast Titans Players Greg Bird, Beau Falloon, Ashley Harrison, and Kalifa Faifai Loa have had their charges for cocaine possession dismissed in a Southport Magistrates court this week.

The charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Magistrate Callaghan said the prosecution had presented no evidence to substantiate intercepted phone conversations between the players and Joseph Touma pertained to cocaine. The prosecution had said the defendants had used a code-word when referring to the substance. McCallum argued that the word used could refer to anything.

But trio Dave Taylor, Joe Vickery, and Jamie Dowling are yet to stand trial for drug charges. Their defence lawyer, Chris McCallum conceded there was a prima facie case against them.

The scandal emerged in March this year, engulfing former and present NRL players.

Bird has a long and tarnished record both on and off the field. But now says he would be ‘honoured’ to captain the Gold Coast Titans (again).

Bird was the co-captain with Manly-bound Nate Myles in 2013-14; but was stripped of his position when he was caught urinating in public, in December of last year.

The dropped charges come as a huge relief to the struggling Gold Coast club. They narrowly avoided the wooden spoon this year and are desperate to organise a successful strategy for the 2016 season.

Whether Bird will play any part in that strategy remains to be seen.

Channel Nine Suspend Andrew Johns

Image: twitter

Didn’t hear the voice of Andrew Johns during the NRL Grand Final? That’s because he wasn’t there.

Fairfax reported that Channel Nine stood Johns down after he was accused of making explicit comments to a mother of three and then passing out in the Toowoomba Wellcomap Airport.

Johns had been in Toowoomba speaking at a lunch at The Spotted Cow, in front of 120 guests.

It is understood the event exceeded its allotted time; but Johns was good enough to stay, sign autographs, and pose for photographs with the crowd.

Johns left the engagement and arrived at the airport at 6:30 pm to catch a 7 pm flight back to Sydney.

While he waited to board the flight he hit the bar.

Helen Wright, 42, posted a message on the Today Show’s Facebook page lashing out at Johns for being ‘severely intoxicated’ and asking to kiss her.

Image: Facebook

Image: Facebook

The post was removed from the Facebook page shortly after it appeared.

“I am a 42 year-old woman that he asked to kiss him.

“When I refused to kiss him and replied I was happily married and had three sons his question to me was ‘why did you have a cesarean birth?’

“Then he proceeded to pass out on the airport floor.”

An airport security officer (who asked not to be named) said, “He (Johns) was full, no doubt about that.”

Mrs Wright was outraged, not only at Johns’ behaviour, but that it was witnessed by families at the airport.

“This is not an example that should be presented to children that were present!” she wrote.

“Many of the children had taken photos of him passed out.”

The photos and comments have gone viral on social media.

Johns has since contacted Mrs Wright and apologised

“I’ve obviously said the wrong thing, which has offended her. I rang her and apologised for that; and she accepted my apology,” said Johns.

But Johns has denied he passed out.

“I was up there for a function and had been up since 5 am. My flight home was delayed three hours last night, so I took myself away into a quiet corner and laid down and had a sleep. No way did I pass out.”

Hodges to Play in Grand Final

Hodges image: commons.wikimedia.org

Despite an obvious attack, on the part of Geoff Bellew, Justin Hodges has beaten a grade one dangerous throw charge and will be taking the field this weekend in the NRL Premiership grand finale.

Despite Aiden Guerra admitting to the judiciary that he jumped into the dangerous position to earn his side a penalty, Bellew did all he could to blame Hodges.

“He (Guerra) came here and spoke to the truth,” said Hodges.

“I didn’t ask him to come here and lie. He came here and told the truth.

“I said (to Guerra) after the charge that this is the way I felt about the tackle and if you feel the same you can come (and testify in my defence).”

Guerra did feel the same way. And he did testify in Hodges defence, claiming he milked the penalty by launching himself past the legal position for a tackle.

Asked how he hoped to win the penalty, Guerra answered, “by going above the horizontal – probably not the smartest decision.

“I thought there was a chance to gain a penalty, nothing was going our way. My aim was clear.”

Guerra admitted he “wasn’t thinking about the repercussions, more about the momentum of the game. I was in control of my actions.”

When he was challenged about the dangerousness of the action Guerra replied: “I am still able-bodied.”

Hodges stuck to his story, denying any role in Guerra’s head going into the ground.

But NRL judiciary chairman Geoff Bellew was like a dog with a bone and interjected several times.

“I grabbed the leg to stop his momentum,” said Hodges.

“He jumped out of my hands. I felt him jump. I knew he was going down, so I let go. I turned to the ref and said ‘he jumped.’”

Bellew went fishing: “Did you apply any force to Guerra’s landing?”

Hodges: “No.”

Guerra, “Was Guerra placed in a dangerous position?”

Hodges: “Not by me.”

Bellew became frustrated at this answer. Despite it being true, it wasn’t the answer he sought. Hodges admitted Guerra did go past the horizontal, but stuck to his story that he had no part in doing it.

Eventually the judiciary panel of Bronson Harrison, Chris McKenna, and Royce Ayliffe took 10 minutes to acquit Hodges.

Upon release of the news the Broncos went from $2 outsiders to $1.85 favourites.

Though anybody who knows the two sides will tell you the game is on a knife-edge.

NRL Furious at Captains’ Snub

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

NRL officials were fuming when three first-grade captains snubbed the annual finals captains’ call.

Melbourne storm captain Cameron Smith missed the engagement for the second year in a row claiming he has a virus. Instead the club sent Ryan Hinchcliffe, who confirmed the news.

“He’s got a little bit of a virus. He didn’t come to training yesterday and today. He is still crook.” But Hinchcliffe assured Storm fans that the captain will be okay when the finals series kicks off.

Other no-shows were Cowboys captain Jonathon Thurston who sited a slight groin injury for his absence.

The club’s co-captain Matt Scott also begged-off with a neck injury.

Veteran backrower Gavin Cooper was sent to replace them both. He said the long flight for the short event was too much of a disruption to both men’s rehab’ and medicos preferred their star playmakers to rest and heal.

Cooper assured Cowboy fans Thurston and Scott should be right to play in time for the finals.

An NRL spokesman said it was ‘disappointing’ that not all captains were able to attend.

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

“But we understand that players cannot travel due to illness and injury.

“The clubs involved sent replacement players to ensure they were properly represented at the event.”

Whether the absences are legitimate or calculated snubs the NRL is fast losing credibility among its players, power-brokers, and fans – and this years’ captains call only reinforces that.

Mason on Report After First Tackle

Mason image: https://twitter.com/mase21?lang=en

He has never been known as the sharpest knife in the draw. This week Manly forward Willie Mason showed just how stupid he is.

In his first game back following a two-week suspension for a shoulder charge Mason sunk his shoulder into the Rooster’s prop Dylan Napa in the very first hit-up of the game.

Napa is no shrinking violet. The 109 kg steamroller was met by three Manly defenders, one of whom was Mason.

Mason didn’t even bother to disguise his shoulder charge.

So with only seven seconds of the game gone the Roosters had their first penalty and Mason was once again on report.

Mason has been an outspoken critic of the new shoulder charge rule.

“I’m embarrassed to be a rugby league player at the moment,” he said after the first two week suspension, “with all the rule changes and everything like that.

“It’s a sad day for rugby league really if you have a look at it.

“I’ve seen bigger hits on the weekend in netball.”

And who can argue?

Rugby league is meant to be a hard-man’s game; getting rid of the shoulder charge from league is like outlawing the body check in ice hockey or the blindside hit in NFL.

I suppose we should be thankful the NRL management don’t run Formula One – everyone would have to drive at the speed limit.

Shoulder charge rule: “Is where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier (or any opposing player) using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact using the shoulder or the upper arm (tucked into the side).

“It will be considered misconduct, if any player affects a tackle in the manner as defined.”

Club Revolt in NRL Gives Ultimatum to CEO Smith

Image: www.youtube.com

NRL CEO Dave Smith has been given an ultimatum: Either you go or we do.

The threat comes from some of the most powerful figures in rugby league –  frustrated with the changes and inconsistencies implemented by Smith in his year at the helm.

Last week’s TV rights negotiations saw Fox Sports and Telstra effectively snubbed from the deal. This caused much heated discussion and finger pointing among club presidents towards Smith and Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman John Grant.

In response, 12 clubs are considering breaking away from the NRL in 2017 when their contracts expire.

The new 12 club league would leave out those clubs currently being supported by the NRL: Wests tigers, St George Illawarra, Newcastle, and the perennially embattled Gold Coast.

The influential figures were incensed when Fox Sports and Telstra were omitted from the TV right negotiations.

This fury was only multiplied when News Corp then partnered with the Seven Network to inject $2.5 billion into AFL through a revised television deal – money that could have gone to them.

These blunders are, however, just the latest in a long list of complaints against Smith: Inconsistent judiciary rulings, the insipid and unclear changes made to the shoulder charge rule, and the multi-million dollar blowout of executive salaries for certain staff employed by Smith have incurred ire at every turn.

The game’s powerbrokers, it seems, have finally had enough.

Karmichael Hunt to Face Cross-Examination

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Cocaine#mediaviewer/File:Cocaine3.jpg

Lawyers for the ex-footballer at the centre of the cocaine scandal have made an application to cross-examine Karmichael Hunt.

Chris Hannay said on Saturday: “We will be making an application to cross-examine witnesses and Karmichael Hunt has provided a witness statement.

“We’re looking forward to getting on with it because this has been a very stressful time for John and his family.”

Hunt was one of the first sporting stars named in a Crime and Corruption Commission investigation into a multimillion-dollar cocaine trafficking network.

In February Hunt sensationally rolled over and implicated other NRL and Gold Coast Suns in the scandal. His witness statement and guilty plea came in exchange for lesser charges; but sent shockwaves through the NRL Titans and AFL Gold Coast Suns.

Hunt’s witness statement also formed the centrepiece of the prosecution’s case against Tourma.

The Gold Coast Titans will see seven past and present players face court in October.

All seven have entered a plea of not guilty to supplying cocaine. They are accused of having done so at a player’s buck’s party and a Mad Monday booze cruise.

Josh Papalii Called Back Into Maroons’ Origin Squad

Image: www.youtube.com

Maroons coach Mal Meninga has opted to fight fire with fire, bringing 110kg hitman Josh Papalii back into the Queensland side.

The Maroons were outgunned by the Blues’ ferocity in game two of Origin.

New South Wales coach, Laurie Daley, modelled the strategy of game two around putting the Queenslanders off their game. To this end he unleashed hulking firebrand David Klemmer on their ranks.

Not even the most ardent Queensland fan could deny the impact Klemmer had on the game. At 2 meters tall (every inch of it mongrel), Klemmer battered the Queenslanders.

Coach Meninga needs an answer for Klemmer’s power and aggression in the deciding game three. And that answer comes in the form of wrecking-machine Josh Papalii.

Papalii was controversially dropped from Origin 12 months ago after a poor showing in game 1 at Suncorp Stadium.

But he was chosen for this year’s decider over rookie Dylan Napa because of this experience; with coach Meninga keen to give him the opportunity to redeem himself.

It is an opportunity Papalii is eager to embrace.

“I don’t want to let this Queensland jersey go,” he told reporters upon his announcement in the state squad. “I’m not coming here to play awful ever again, I’ll be leaving nothing behind.”

When asked about Klemmer, Papalii’s answer was: “I have played against Klemmer before and he wasn’t hard to miss, he’s massive. He is a good, young player, so I can’t wait to go up against him. It’s my job to come on and lift the team, just like he (Klemmer) does.”

Papalii has the ability to hurt the opposition. Last year he crash tackled Blues skipper Paul Gallen from behind. The tackle had Gallen whinging about cheap shots, but it was enough to rattle him.

The Maroons players are hoping Papalii is the antidote needed to take the Klemmer sting out of the New South Wales side. He has the ability, it just remains to be seen whether he has the nerve.

Kody ‘The Power’ House Set to Debut Against NSW

In pads image: twitter.com

Kody ‘The Power’ House is hanging up her lingerie league gear and stepping in to play in the Queensland Women’s Rugby League team.

House played in the Australian version of the Lingerie Football League and believes the change of codes will do her good.

House makes her debut for Queensland against perennial foe New South Wales. The Queenslanders have 17 straight interstate victories, but find themselves going into this game as underdogs.

The side has been decimated by injuries, including the loss of star Ali Briggenshaw, and will field 9 debutants!

House is a qualified diesel mechanic from Central Queensland. She is a big, powerful woman who has earned her nickname and the respect that comes with it.

At 80kg of cut muscle House will line up in the centres. She says she is a direct ball runner, preferring to steamroll through tacklers rather than sidestep them.

And she is an athlete.

House began her sporting career as a star soccer player. She made the top grade in Brisbane before switching to sevens rugby union, where she played for Queensland.

FHouse then code-hopped to AFL; then moved again to American football and the Lingerie Football League.

She has the glam and she has the wham.

The game kicks-off at 1300 Smiles Stadium (home of the NRL Cowboys) at 2:45pm this Saturday.

Fans are promised lots of action, lots of hits, and plenty of skill as this fierce rivalry continues.

Kody Power image: www.youtube.com

Kody Power image: www.youtube.com

Maroons May Get Boost from Slater Departure

A breeze of optimism has blown through the Queensland Maroons side.

After losing incumbent fullback Billy Slater to a nagging shoulder injury few would have credited Queensland’s chance at victory in the third game of Origin, to be played on July 8 at Suncorp Stadium.

But many believe the Maroons will be better off without the injured Slater.

Their opinion comes through a comparison of stats between Blues’ and Maroons’ fullbacks.

Josh Dugan was consistently better than Billy Slater, in every aspect of the game. Slater’s injured shoulder needed surgery even before game one. The Blues were told to expect Slater to pass in games one and two as his shoulder would not allow him to run into the line of defence.

Slater is still the best communicator on the field, and the Maroons will miss his ability to spot a chink in the Blues armour and capitalise on it.

But what incoming fullback, Greg Inglis, lacks in strategy he more than makes up for in sheer athleticism.

Inglis is expected to outpoint Dugan in game Three every bit as much as Slater was outpointed by him in the first two. Inglis is younger, very experienced in the position, has a wealth of big-game experience, and is arguably the most valuable player in the NRL today.

But the Blues have had their own piece of good news with Josh Jackson having  his charge downgraded, allowing him to play in the Origin decider.

 

Breakdown of stats from the first two Origins

_____________________Dugan                                                Slater

Meters                                306                                                     193

Runs                                    32                                                        23

Errors                                  1                                                          2

Tackle Busts                       10                                                        6

Tackles                                17                                                        8

Line Breaks                        2                                                          1

Tries                                    1                                                          0