Monthly Archives: April 2019

  • NRL: Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown on contrasting halves against Gold Coast Titans


    Half good, half bad for Knights DISAPPOINTED: Newcastle Knights halfback Jaelen Feeney (right) after the Gold Coast Titans scored one of their seven tries at home on Saturday. Picture: Getty Images
    SuZhou Night Recruitment

    TweetFacebookPHOTOS: Knights v Titans on Gold Coast

    CHANCE: Newcastle advances to second straight Harold Matthews Cup decider

    OWNERSHIP: NRL boss Todd Greenberg meets with Wests

    Weight of possession and comical errors.

    They were the main points addressed by Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown on Saturday after his last-placed NRL team slumped to a seventh straight loss, going down 38-8 to theGold Coast Titans.

    The visitors led 8-6 at the break but were kept scoreless in the second half as the Titans piled on 32unanswered points in front of 10,511 spectators at Cbus Super Stadium.

    And Brown said much of that momentum swing came down to not having the ball and giving it upcheaply –with the Knights holding just 37 per cent possession, making 109 more tackles and having 15 less completed sets of six.

    “What the guys will get to see [on the video] will be some mistakes they made in the secondhalf that were quite comical,” Brown said.

    “One or two of the tries they see, guys will thinkif Ijust did myjob here, which isn’t a lot what they needed to do but very basic, what effect it would’ve had on the score board.

    “They’llalso see in the first half, doing exactly the same thingvery well, what effect that has on the team and the scoreboard.

    “And that’s the challenge for us, is being able to do things wellfor long periods, and generally, which is only commonsense, the longer wedo it for the closer we’re in contests.

    “But when we have those weights of possession against us inboth first half second half, we’re not in position at the moment to compete. We handle it for the first half, but in the second half they burnus bad.”

    Knightsskipper Sione Mata’utia, who left the field fora head injury assessment [HIA], said when he returned down20-8 just inside the final quarter he felt the game was still in the balance.

    “When I came back on after I passed the HIA, I thought we could come back,” Mata’utia said.

    “But then we leaked a few more tries and after that point it was about finishing strong, showing pride in the jersey and trying to get the most out of the time left.”

    The round nine fixture started with such promise, Matat’utia saving a try at one end before fellow second-rowerSam Stone scored from a repeat set down the other.

    Five-eighth Brock Lamb added the extras and a penalty goal in soon after, on the back ofa 50 metrebreak in midfield from prop Daniel Saifiti, and the Knights led 8-0 followingan impressive opening 20 minutes.

    But for the next hour the Titans scored all the points, slowly wrestledcontrol and eventually ranaway with it, including doubles to new Gold Coast centre pairing Jarryd Hayne and Konrad Hurrell.

    Brown also namedlate changes for Newcastlebefore kick-off, including Josh King starting for the first time this seasonafter12 appearances last year while Luke Yates shifted back to the bench and Anthony Tupou missed out.

    “Joshhas beenin reserve grade, he’s been back there for a fair period and been playing really well,” Brown said.

    “Toops was desperate to come to theclub and offer his experience, but it means he plays some weeks and other weeks he gets overlooked in favour of younger kids. He understands his role.

    “So it’snot a form thing for Toops, it’s just Josh deserves to play and so does Stoney and Yatesy.”

    As for recently dropped captain Trent Hodkinson, who was part of a 42-26 loss to Wests Tigers in NSW Cupon Saturday, it would be the same situationas everyone else according to Brown.

    “Trent played today in reserve grade at a similar time to usso I’mnot sure how he played and couldn’t answer that,” Brown said.

    “He will be judged on his performance as all players are.”

    The main injury concern for Newcastle was recalled halfback Jaelen Feeney, who was taken to hospital after full-time for precautionary scans on his ribs following a crunching tackle from Hurrell leading to a try in the 73rdminute.

    “There’s a few knocks but we’re not seeing anything that concerns us long term, Idon’t think,” Brown said.

    Brown said the upcoming bye had arrived at an ideal timefor the Knights, who have recorded just one win in 2017,and gavethe squad a chance to freshen up before hosting Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 14.

    “It’s good for us andgives guys time off to recover,” he said.

    “We’ll train parts of the week, have the weekend off to freshen up and then come backinto the Canberra game at home on a Sunday afternoon.

    “As we showed today in the first half we are more than capable, we just need to do things a little bit better andfor a little bit longer.”

    Reading More >>

  • Black Diamond AFL: Stretched Newcastle City show character to out-last Warners Bay


    IMPRESSIVE RETURN: Cameron Keast kicked three goals for the Blues in his first hit out of the season. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
    SuZhou Night Recruitment

    NEWCASTLE City coach Mitch Knighthas neverdoubted the talent ofhis young troops.

    Now he knows that the have character to go with it.

    The Blues made it consecutive Black Diamond AFL wins with a hard-fought 12.13-85 to 6.6-42 win over Warners Bay at No.1 Sportsground on Saturday, despite playing almost three quarters with only one substitute.

    Centre half-forward Nick Gill (hamstring), midfielder Macaulay O’Malley (foot) and full-forward Max Quinlan (groin) succumbed to injury inside two minutes of the second quarter.

    “We lost two key targets up forward and one of our starting midfielders,” Knight said. “The fact we were able to hold them outshows their character. The boys were absolutely stuffed at the end of the game. Hugh Blanchfield is a 17-year-old kid who played really well last week and had another solid game today. He got time in the midfield due to injuries and was great. He is growing in confidence week to week.Due to the recruitment ban we haven’t been able to blood the young ones as we would like. They have been thrown in the deep end a little in that respect. I was very happy with the character we were able to show to grind out the game.In saying that, we were up against a young Warners Bay side who were without a few senior guys.”

    The Blues set up the win with a dominant first quarter in which they held Warners Bay scoreless.

    “We have been trying to improve our starts,” Knight said. “The past two weeks have been reallypleasing.We kicked eight goals in the first quarter last week and today we kicked 5.8. We have a pretty solid backline and I was impressed with their work again today.”

    Cameron Keast kicked three majors in his first game of the campaign and Pat Gilligham also bagged three.

    “Having Cameron back was great,” Knight said. “He was another key target up forward and kicked a few goals which was pleasing.Pat is a class act and it is pleasing that he has run into some form.His work rate was high, presented really well through the centre of the ground and was able to kick a few goals as well.”

    Youngster Corey Deverell andRobSchindler-Taylor were the Bulldogs’ best.

    In the other games, Kurt Fleming kicked four majors to help steer unbeaten leaders Terrigal Avoca to a20.15-135 to8.7-55 victory over an under-manned Cardiff at Moore Oval.

    At Dick Burwell Oval, Luke Price landed five majors and Billy Barton and Ben Eddy four each as Nelson Bay stormed past Killarney Vale21.16-142 to10.8-68.

    Reading More >>

  • Sydney Swans’ Gary Rohan stretchered off at MCG


    Gary Rohan stretchered off at MCG TweetFacebookCarlton heap misery on SwansCARLTON 1.3 5.4 10.7 15.7 (97)
    SuZhou Night Recruitment

    SYDNEY 3.2 6.6 8.10 11.12 (78)

    The Sydney Swans entered this match with a precarious 0-5 record. This was the personification of a must-win match for last year’s grand finalists and a constant of the AFL finals.

    For a club that was last in this position all the way back to 1993 – when half of Carlton’s team on Saturday wasn’t even born – there was an element of entering the unknown when nothing but a victory would suffice to ignite their season.

    But no one bothered to tell Carlton about what was at stake for the red and white brigade in this MCG encounter.

    The young Blues pulled off a magnificent coup at the ‘G, on the back of a dominant second half, to keep the Swans winless and improve their own stocks to two wins and with some handy momentum heading into the middle stages of the season.

    On a forgettable day for Sydney, they also had to endure the pain of seeing Gary Rohan fall heavily on his head in a contest with Sam Rowe in the third quarter. The Swan was later up and talking in hospital with a fullrange of movement and awaiting scans.

    Carlton had a range of contributors but special mention must be made of the game of defender Alex Silvagni in his first game for the Blues. The former Fremantle defender won his battle with Lance Franklin, the Sydney forward finishing with just one goal.

    Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, the evergreen Kade Simpson, along with Sam Docherty and Sam Rowe, were all excellent contributors

    At half-time it was Sydney’s six goals to Carlton’s five majors. Most were still anticipatingthe inevitable Sydney surge and an eventual victory over their more inexperienced opponents.

    The opposite happened. The Blues were revitalised by the break. Ed Curnow managed a goal after just 30 seconds and Matthew Wright’s second goal 90 second later saw them snatch the lead. They weren’t to relinquish it again.

    A third Carlton goal for the quarter, this one off the boot of Jacob Weitering, had them out to a 10-point lead after seven minutes. Time to throw away the script.

    Wright managed his third goal in the confusion when Rohan went down and, upon the restart, the small forward picked up his third goal for the quarter upon the re-start and Carlton had surged to a 23-point lead.

    Late majors to Zac Jones and Callum Sinclair calmed Sydney’s nerves but the job was still ahead of them in the final stanza.

    Carlton kept up their intensity and a trifecta of majors through Patrick Cripps, Matthew Kreuzer and Charlie Curnow sealed the contest and put icing on the cake.

    Earlier, the opening of the match before 32,678 fans was very much 16th versus 18th. Both teams were stop-start in their approach and style. Indecision was the order of the day.

    The Swans did eke out their way to an 11-point quarter-time lead, courtesy of three goals to one, but without doing anything of consequence. The Swans of 2016, and of modern history for that matter, hadn’t yet materialised in 2017 and now, may not ever do so.

    After Simpson snagged the first major of the second quarter, Franklinreplied two minutes later with a classic, well, a very classic Buddy moment. Buried deep in the left forward pocket on the 50-metre arc under the MCG scoreboard, he slotted his solitary goal on his left foot off just one step.

    To Carlton’s credit, they hung on. Forward Levi Casboult came into the game in a big way and his excellent pack mark and conversion on nine minutes had the Blues grasping at Sydney’s feet.

    In typical fashion, the Swans put their noses over the ball and the next two goals – through Tom Papley and Isaac Heeney after a questionable free kick – gave them the edge at the main breakbut not by much.

    The sides had combined for 11 goals at the main break and uncertainty hovered over the outcome.

    Franklinhad been patchy but Carlton were being well served by Docherty (22 possessions), Murphy (19 touches) and Simpson (14 possessions).

    That pattern continued and the rest is history. And the Swans are too for 2017. Another finals campaign is an eternity away.

    TheSwans now host Brisbane Lions at the SCG next Sunday while resurgent Carlton meet old foes Collingwood in an intriguing clash at the MCG next Saturday.

    Reading More >>