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  1. News and red carpet pics from the Dally Ms 


    September 12, 2019 by admin

    KNIGHTS wrecking ball Aku Uate was crowned Dally M winger of the year last night for a third straight season.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Despite being dropped by NSW coach Ricky Stuart for the State of Origin decider mid-season, Uate became the first winger since Dragons speedster Nathan Blacklock (1999-2001) to be judged the best finisher in the game for three consecutive years.

    Uate was acknowledged at the annual Dally M Medal awards presentation at Sydney Town Hall last night.

    Uate thanked his Knights team-mates and coaches, family and friends, and said he did not use his Origin dumping as motivation during the second half of the season.

    “Not really. I just moved on and wanted to improve myself, and hopefully I’ll get another chance next year,” Uate said.

    The other three nominees for winger of the year were Brett Morris (Dragons), Ash Graham (Cowboys) and Manu Vatuvei (Warriors).

    Uate, who turns 25 next month, was the Dally M winger of the year in 2010 and 2011.

    Uate (18 tries) was the NRL’s third top try-scorer this season, finishing behind Canterbury’s Ben Barba and North Queensland’s Ash Graham (21 each).

    It was the third straight year that Uate was Newcastle’s top try-scorer, as he took his career total to 70 from 90 NRL games.

    An Australian representative in the Anzac Test in Auckland in April, Uate played for NSW in the first two games of the State of Origin series this year but was dropped for the Suncorp Stadium decider on July 4, which Queensland won 21-20.

    The Fijian-born flyer responded to that setback by scoring tries in nine consecutive games for the Knights, taking his season tally from six to 18, but he went try-less in their last two matches.

    Uate and Barba led the NRL in line breaks this year with 25 each, he was equal fourth in tackle breaks (110), seventh in total metres (3184) and 11th in average metres (144.7).

    He and fullback Darius Boyd were the only Newcastle players named on Monday in the Kangaroos train-on squad for the one-off Test against New Zealand at Townsville on October 13.

    CROWNED: Aku Uate on the red carpet with partner Samantha Maton.

    Ben Barba, 2012 Dally M medal winner.

    Dale Cherry Evans at the Dally M awards.

    Ben Barba.

    Todd Carney and Lauren Eagle.

    Rabbitohs players Sam Burgess with John Sutton arriving at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Bulldogs player Michael Ennis and wife Simone arriving at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Cronulla player Paul Gallen and wife Anne arrive at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Rabbitohs player Greg Inglis and partner Sally arrive at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Darren Lockyer and wife Loren arrive at the Dally M Awards at Sydney Town Hall.

    Top pointscorer Jarrod Crocker, of the Canberra Raiders.

  2. Dutchy wins more time to get results 


    September 12, 2019 by admin

    GARY van Egmond has two years to turn a batch of exciting youngsters into a champion A-League outfit.
    Nanjing Night Net

    As reported on the Herald’s website yesterday, van Egmond has signed a one-year contract extension and will be at the helm of the Jets until the end of the 2013-14 season.

    His retention is the first of a series of announcements expected this week.

    Home-grown goalkeeper Ben Kennedy has been offered another two years on top of his existing deal, which expires at the end of the season.

    The Herald also understands the Jets are in the final stage of negotiations with an Italian striker.

    One person not in the club’s plans is recently appointed strength and conditioning coach Tim Rogers.

    Six weeks after arriving from Stade Francais Paris rugby club, Rogers is understood to have parted ways with the Jets.

    Van Egmond’s new deal has essentially given the 2007-08 championship-winning coach breathing space, more time to perfect the changes he introduced to the team’s playing style and culture when thrust into the hot seat four games into last season.

    The Jets squad, assembled by the sacked Branko Culina, finished seventh of 10, two points out of the play-offs.

    The campaign, though disappointing, was not a complete write-off.

    Winning remained the priority, but van Egmond also used the season as a measuring stick for the future.

    Adopting a blueprint used by Ange Postecoglou at two-time defending champions the Roar, he released players who did not have the physical attributes or the mindset to play his up-tempo, possession-based game.

    Crowd favourites Tarek Elrich and Ali Abbas, 2010-11 player of the year Nikolai Topor-Stanley, leading goal-scorer Jeremy Brockie, former Premier League star Francis Jeffers and former Socceroo Kasey Wehrman were among the 11 let go.

    In their place he recruited players light on years and heavy on pace and athleticism. James Brown, Scott Neville, Craig Goodwin, Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante have both in spades.

    Apart from Neville, who at 23 has 63 A-League appearances, what they lack is experience and a wealth of goals.

    The average age of the squad, excluding apprentices, is 23.

    New imports Dominik Ritter and Bernardo Ribeiro are 23 and 22 respectively.

    Of the strike force, Ryan Griffiths and veteran Englishman Michael Bridges are the only ones with a history of goal-scoring. Griffiths is coming off nine last season. Bridges was prolific early in his Premier League career but has scored three times in the past two seasons.

    Van Egmond is looking to the future rather than the past. Significantly, there is no marquee player.

    Eight of a maximum 23-man roster are products of Newcastle or Northern NSW.

    Clearly van Egmond is prepared to gamble on youth.

    The expected announcement tomorrow of an alliance between the Jets and Northern NSW Football from under-10s through to youth league will be another sign of that investment.

    ‘‘I see a bright future, for this season and for many years to come, in both the development of the players and in the total culture of the club,’’ van Egmond said in a statement issued by the club confirming his contract extension yesterday.

    “It is exciting times for the Newcastle Jets Football Club; we have a great representation of local talent in our senior group and near 100per cent in our youth team.’’

    Van Egmond encountered his first obstacle yesterday with scans confirming that Brown needs an operation to remove bone spurs from his ankle and will miss the start of the season.

    No doubt more challenges lie ahead.

    Van Egmond has always said he will be judged on results. Now he has another 12 months to get them.

    Gary van Egmond

  3. Fajkovic scores praise for loyal return 


    September 12, 2019 by admin

    SOUTH Cardiff have lauded the loyalty of Dino Fajkovic after the now former Jets Youth speedster rejected richer offers from rival state league clubs to return to the Gunners next season.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Fajkovic, who is now too old for the National Youth League roster, is one of several players the Jets have released since the end of their youth side’s inaugural state league campaign.

    The Herald has been told captain Mason Campbell, Andrew Hoole, Kale Bradbery, Michael Finlayson and Luke Remington are among the players retained.

    South Cardiff secretary Brad Robb confirmed the signing of Fajkovic and his brother Denis Fajkovic, a former Hamilton and Valentine striker, yesterday.

    Robb said Dino had attracted money the Gunners could not match but he had come back to the club that gave him a chance in first grade in 2011.

    Fajkovic, who came from Hamilton, was a key player in South Cardiff’s State Cup victory and run to the grand final and was rewarded with a Jets NYL deal.

    ■ Lake Macquarie have pulled off a double goalkeeping coup, gaining the services of New Zealand national team keeping coach Clint Gosling and promising shot-stopper Nicholas Hartnett.

    Gosling, a former Jets keeping coach, played with Roosters coach Chris Turner at Wallsend and has agreed to coach Lake Macquarie’s shot-stoppers. Hartnett, from Belmont Christian College, was this year’s NSW All Schools goalkeeper.

    ■ Jet Ryan Griffiths will be guest speaker when Wallsend hold their 125th anniversary dinner at Wallsend Diggers on Saturday night.

    One of their former Socceroos, Jack O’Brien, will also speak at the function.

    Tickets are $65 and include a two-course meal.

    For bookings or further information contact Ross Hicks on 0488248369.

    ■ Hunter Sports High lost 2-1 to Westfields Sports High in the semi-finals of the Bill Turner Trophy girls’ competition at Jack McLaughlan Oval yesterday.

    Dino Fajkovic

  4. Kantarovski out of final after ref error


    September 12, 2019 by admin

    BROADMEADOW Magic teenager Michael Kantarovski has sensationally been suspended for the Northern NSW State League grand final against Hamilton Olympic after a referee’s paperwork error from more than two weeks ago was discovered yesterday.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Kantarovski, 17, received a yellow card in the 2-1 preliminary final win over Edgeworth on Sunday, but Broadmeadow believed it was his first of the finals and he would be free to play in the decider.

    Two yellow cards in the finals lead to a one-game ban.

    Heading into the Eagles match, Magic asked for and received a print-out of yellow-card offenders from NNSWF.

    Broadmeadow believed Kantarovski, who wears number 15, had been booked in the 3-2 win over the Jets two weeks earlier, but centre back Jon Griffiths, who wears 14, was listed by referee Tim McGilchrist as the offender.

    Magic coach Damien Smith said the club had told NNSWF of the discrepancy before the match against Edgeworth but were told to ‘‘go off’’ the yellow-card sheet provided.

    After the match, Magic asked NNSWF to investigate their players’ yellow-card situation due to fears over Griffiths.

    During the investigation, McGilchrist said he had erred after the Jets-Magic match in marking Griffiths on the team sheet as having a yellow card instead of Kantarovski.

    Smith said Magic were upset a referee’s error had played a role in denying Kantarovski a grand final.

    ‘‘We went into the game last weekend altering our game plan knowing that Jonny Griffiths was on a yellow card and Kantarovski wasn’t,’’ Smith said. ‘‘It’s no error of ours.

    ‘‘We got the print-out and our players were aware of it going into the game. We told Griff to be careful and Michael that you’re not on a yellow, and if you need to make a challenge, you can make it.’’

    Kantarovski, the youngest brother of Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski, has become a key starting player for Magic.

    Smith said losing Kantarovski was a blow for Magic, who have captain John Bennis (ankle) and Peter Haynes (shoulder) in doubt.

    ‘‘He’s been our most consistent performer the last two weeks,’’ Smith said

    NNSWF operations manager Alan Nisbet said there was no grounds to appeal against a yellow-card ban due to special circumstances.

    ‘‘Unfortunately the referee has erred, but the fact is Michael has received two yellow cards and he has to sit out the next game,’’ Nisbet said.

    He said Magic might have picked up the error immediately after the qualifying final against the Jets had their manager signed the team sheet.

    Michael Kantarovski

  5. Lessons of the last 2012 NRL round


    September 12, 2019 by admin

    Six things we learnt from last weekend.
    Nanjing Night Net

    1.As expected the cut-off point for finals football was 28 points.

    But the big surprise was that only one team finished on the minimum and that our eight was not ultimately decided by differential for and against.

    For a number of clubs it was a case of missed opportunity, with Wests Tigers, Gold Coast and Newcastle all winning just one of their last four matches and St George Illawarra two of four to all fall short.

    This allowed Brisbane to hang on and Canberra to finish with a wet sail to somehow snare sixth spot.

    Only four clubs have been able to put finals qualification back-to-back: Melbourne, Manly, North Queensland and Brisbane.

    The Tigers, Dragons, Warriors and Knights were all unable to emulate their loftier finish in 2011.

    The biggest fall from grace goes to last season’s grand finalists, the Warriors, who after last year’s home-and-away matches finished in fifth position after 14 wins and 10 losses.

    Fast-forward 12 months and the New Zealanders rounded out this campaign 14th on the ladder with just eight victories and 16 defeats. They lost their last eight in a row.

    There is no doubt that a top-eight finals series keeps interest in the competition right up until round 26, but there does remain the argument that such a system rewards mediocrity.

    This season Brisbane qualify having lost as many games as they won.

    2.The Canterbury club have the distinction of finishing as minor premiers in all three grades, which is an outstanding reflection on their depth of talent, quality of coaching and recruitment. These days all three sides rarely train together, but the unified success is still something that players throughout first grade, Toyota Cup and NSW Cup will all draw from and give them enormous confidence going into the next month of football.

    The last time a club finished in top spot in each grade was the Canberra Raiders in 1990.

    They went on to take out both first grade and the under-21 President’s Cup titles that year.

    We have to go all the way back to 1963 for a club to have won all three premierships, and it is no surprise that it was the mighty St George who reigned supreme.

    3.South Sydney’s Michael Maguire became the third man in the past 10 years to steer a side into a top-four finish in his first season as a top-grade NRL coach.

    He joins Ricky Stuart and Anthony Griffin in achieving such a feat and has made a strong impression since taking over the Rabbitohs after a successful stint in the English Super League.

    There’s no doubt that Souths have had an abundance of talent in recent years but were too loose and lacked the grunt to grind out finals-type matches.

    This season they have looked mentally tougher under pressure.

    In fact over the past month they have almost played too conservatively, which is not the kind of statement I thought I would ever make about the Rabbits.

    I’ve a feeling that Maguire will still call for high completion rates, but from this weekend there will be a licence to be a little bit more adventurous with the football to fully take advantage of their obvious strike power.

    For the record, Stuart won the competition in 2002 with the Roosters. Griffin’s Broncos bowed out in last year’s grand final qualifier.

    4.Cronulla’s Ben Pomeroy could not have chosen a worse time to come up with a contentious shoulder charge after the ARL Commission released an edict that any such infringements would be referred straight to the judiciary.

    Radio commentator Terry Kennedy made a reasonable analogy in comparing it to a ‘‘double demerit’’ period when driving a car.

    I actually don’t mind the move and its timing by the Commission, as I see it as a general warning across the board concerning a tackle that has carried much controversy.

    It’s not saying don’t shoulder charge – just don’t get it wrong.

    That, to me, would be enough to tell my players not to tackle in such a fashion because the percentages are way too low and are now even lower.

    Yet I did think that there was some doubt as to whether Pomeroy made contact with the head of Johnathan Thurston, but the very timing of Ben’s appearance in front of tonight’s panel is going to make it difficult to get off.

    5.Those who argue that a side should be able to call on an 18th man if they lose a player due to foul play early in a contest were given more weight following the St George Illawarra-Parramatta clash on Sunday.

    The Dragons lost the services of prop Josh Miller in the opening minute after a high tackle by the Eels’ Reni Maitua. While the tackler was placed on report the red and whites were forced to continue on a player short for the duration of the match.

    This has occurred a couple of times this season.

    Ironically it was Parramatta who suffered a similar fate in round 19 when Fuifui Moimoi was taken out by the Bulldogs’ Sam Kasiano when returning the opening kick-off.

    Kasiano was also placed on report. Despite being found to have no case to answer on closer inspection by the judiciary, the tackle was still deemed to have been illegal on the night.

    I’m not quite sure how having a designated 18th man coming in to cover such a situation would work, but I have heard the suggestion that it could be a consideration up until the 20-minute mark.

    6.You will hear that the upcoming finals is something of a ‘‘new’’ competition but I can tell you that whatever has been good enough to get teams this far will go a long way towards achieving continued success.

    Sides are not about to introduce change to the way they approach their football, they’ll just want to be better at it. What they will try to do is come up with some slight variations to what they have produced during the regular rounds. We saw a perfect example from the Bulldogs against the Roosters.

    In the opposition 20 Canterbury have had plenty of joy with Michael Ennis passing from dummy-half and employing a runaround with his first receiver.

    After getting the ball back the hooker has kept it going the same way, with his outside attackers often benefiting from the overlap that the play has helped develop.

    Against the tri-colours, instead of giving the ball to Ennis after he had doubled around, the first receiver fired a pass to the blind side, which saw Josh Jackson cross for the first of his three tries on the night.

    It will be what all eight remaining sides are trying to achieve – to continue what has worked and then do it better.

    WINNERS AND LOSERS: Sterlo says there are six things we should take away from the final NRL round.