Close but not enough for Students to upset Lions

Orange City Lions have maintained their unbeaten status in the Central West Rugby Union competition but only after holding off a determined CSU outfit 25-19 on Saturday.
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The Lions scored five tries to one at University Oval but did not land a single kick and could not shut the door on the students in the second half.

It means that CSU have now lost four games in a row and have slipped to fourth on the ladder, level with Orange Emus, and will need to win both of their games to guarantee a place in the five.

“It was a good game. I was proud of the boys. They are a team with a lot of ticker, a lot of pride and I’m very proud to say I coach them. Orange are a good team and they are undefeated for a reason,” CSU coach Luke Costello said.

“The penalty count was pretty high against us but I’m happy with the performance.”

There was plenty of feeling in the match after Costello came out earlier in the week and criticised Orange City for picking up suspended rugby league players Tatafu Na’aniumogu and Semisi Katoa and the healthy CSU crowd were also hostile to the visitors.

However Lions assistant coach Michael Gray said all the criticism had done was fire his side up.

“We’re disappointed with the comments made by CSU in the paper. Basically all our side is juniors, we have one guy who is new to the club this year and we seem to be copping this tag that we’ve bought the premiership and we think it’s total crap,” he said.

“We were supposed to have some mystery player but it’s crap and it denegrates the effort that these guys have put in.

“All it did was give us motivation. If CSU want to beat us, they just need for Luke to zip his mouth and to play 80 minutes of good football like they did today.”

The coaching staff from both teams had animated talks after the game but it went some way to resolving the differences between the sides.

Orange City Lions 25 (Nick Quinn 2, Junior Lafo’ou, Michael Sparks, Chris Barrett tries) defeated CSU 19 (Daniel Ross-Hopkins try; Jack Garrad conversion; Jack Garrad 4 penalties).

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Boost water for Flinders farms: Katter

LESS hurdles and more incentives would help the Flinders River Agricultural Precinct become reality, Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has told parliament.
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He said the more barriers “the less likelihood any of this is going ahead”. “More than anything else, the government needs to give these modern-day pioneers access to water.”

He said the government’s announcement at last month’s irrigators forum in Hughenden to release 80,000 megalitres for the region was “well received”.

“The LNP Government has stated it wishes to double agricultural output by 2040. This is an admirable goal and one I support,” he said.

“This is not enough. The government should commit to increasing the water allocation to ast least 220,000 megalitres. And it should be prepared to go much further by looking at financial support to get this development off the ground.

He said the region could become “a food bowl” if the government is to double agricultural input in Queensland.

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Forbes routed by Roos’ second half offensive

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FOR 40 minutes of their match against Forbes on Saturday the Dubbo Kangaroos looked anything but top-five material.

But a scintillating second half effort showed why they are well and truly in the hunt for the 2012 Blowes Clothing Cup.

The Roos trailed 17-7 at the break but piled on seven unanswered tries in the second stanza to run away 53-17 winners at No.1 Oval, and in the process all but sewed up a semi-final position.

Captain Shaun McHugh was a star for the Roos while hooker James Clark and five-eighth Ted Bates also had big games as the home side ran riot.

Roos co-coach Gus McDonald said the second half was indicative of what his side can do but indicated work would be done at training on ensuring that kind of intensity is on display for the full 80 minutes.

“The second half was outstanding and I think the best thing was that we didn’t concede any points,” he said.

“I don’t know what went wrong in the first half but the boys knew they were flat and really lifted after half-time.

“The football we played in the second half is the kind of football we need to play come semi-final time and we won’t be able to start like we did against some of the better sides.”

Clark opened the scoring with a try in the opening minutes before Forbes hit back through tries to captain James King and five-eighth Brodie Hodges before a 45-metre penalty from Andrew Burton on the stroke of half-time gave the visitors, already out of the hunt for finals, a surprise lead.

Tries to Fabian Tago and Tim Symonds early in the second half put the Roos back in front before breakaway Brad Pugh secured the bonus point when he crossed.

After that the floodgates opened as Forbes, who had struggled for numbers at times this season, started to tire and the Roos went on the charge as Tim Cullenward, Ted Bates (2) and Mitch Gersbach helped boost the Roos’ for-and-against.

Understandably the Platypi were flat after the match, with King admitting the second half fadeout was an indication of their season.

“We had some of our younger guys play three games today so it was only a matter of time before we tired, especially against such a well-drilled and structured side,” he said. “I thought our first half was good but we had 17 guys training this week for three grades so it’s hard when you have such low numbers.

“Dubbo are a very good side though and based on what they did in that second half I can see them going a long way in the finals.”

Forbes will host CSU next week before travelling to Cowra in the final round while Dubbo’s final two games will both be at No.1 Oval against Cowra and the Rhinos.

o Dubbo Kangaroos 53 (Ted Bates 2, Mitch Gersbach, Tim Symonds, Fabian Tago, Brad Pugh, James Clark, Tim Cullenward tries; Shaun McHugh 5 convs, 1 pen) def Forbes Platypi 17 (James King, Brodie Hodges tries; Andrew Burton 2 convs, 1 pen)

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Dubbo Kangaroos second-rower James Skuthorp powers into the Forbes defence during his side’s win on Saturday. Photo: BEN WALKER

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Bears lament lapse

A lacklustre period in the second half cost Weston Bears victory against Hamilton Olympic yesterday.
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Bears coach Darren Elkin said the final score of 2-1 to Hamilton, which gave them the 2012 Premiership, was not a true reflection of the game.

“At half-time we were 0-0 and I think we had the better of that first half,” he said.

“There were two top-shelf saves from their keeper and our boys just looked better out there.

“In the second half we just weren’t with it,” he said.

Olympic went 1-0 up early in the second half and soon followed it up with a second goal from a header deflected from a corner.

Mid second-half Mick Ryan put the Bears on the score board setting up a nail-bighting finish.

“We were pushing them and they were pushing us,” Elkin said.

A red card to Robbie Turnbull didn’t stop the Bears pushing for the win until the final whistle.

Elkin was pleased with the performance, particularly from Chris Cousins, Jason Cowburn, Carl Thornton and Jamie Subat.

“I personally felt really comfortable at half time, I thought we could win it,” he said. “We just had that lapse after half-time and got punished for it and then it was too big a mountain to climb.”

Next week, the Bears travel to Charlestown for the final match of their season.

Weston Bears.

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Quick scoring allows Emus to dominate ‘patchy’ Rhinos outfit

ORANGE Emus earned a bonus point three minutes into the second half of their Blowes Clothing Cup win over Dubbo Rhinos on Saturday.
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Winger Isaac White scored the Orange side’s fourth try early in the second half to earn the bonus point and Emus went on to win the game 44-8.

It was the strong start in both halves from Emus which set up the commanding win at Endeavour Oval.

Emus player-coach Paul Ringland said he was happy to have his team get on the scoreboard early.

“We started well which is something we’ve been working hard on because it was one of our weaknesses,” Ringland explained.

“Then 15 minutes in we went quiet. After half-time we worked hard and we ran away with it.”

Emus were up 12-0 after seven minutes early in the game before Rhinos came back to 12-8 thanks to a try to Ricky Whetherill and penalty goal by Palei Tonga.

The visitors had most of the possession and field position for the remainder of the opening half but it was Emus who were able to add to their tally when Tony Wright scored for the home side to lead 17-8 at the break.

The second half was all Emus as they ran in five unanswered tries.

White, Graydon Staniforth, Jack Hart, Toby Wright and Tom Raines all put on five-pointers for Emus, however there were only two conversions kicked all game.

Rhinos suffered an extra blow when, with just over 10 minutes left in the game, No.8 Dave Gordon was red-carded for a high tackle and the ensuing scuffle.

Rhinos captain Mark Amey conceded Emus had the better start and went on with it.

“We can’t expect to win these tight fixtures when we give away 12 points in the first six minutes,” Amey said. “We play brilliant rugby in patches but not for the full 80 minutes. It’s been the story of our season.”

Despite the loss, Amey praised his team’s commitment. “The boys never gave up for the full 80 minutes,” he said.

“The last five minutes we proved when we did play well we could match it with them. It was a good all-round effort to keep the heart.”

The win keeps Orange Emus in the top five and on track for a semi-final berth.

Ringland said his side needed to work on its tackling as this let them down during their win over Rhinos.

Orange Emus 44 (Jimmy Robert, Ben Parkes, Tony Elliott, Isaac White, Graydon Staniforth, Jack Hart, Toby Wright, Tom Raines tries; Graydon Staniforth, Toby Wright conv) def Dubbo Rhinos 8 (Ricky Whetherill try; Palei Tonga pen goal).

PLEASE SIR: Dubbo Rhinos No.8 Dave Gordon pleads his case to referee Nathan Pearce as Rhinos captain Mark Amey looks on. Photo: JAIME PRIEST

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Moree bulls at end of the road

THE Central North finals make-up finally has some clarity about it after Gunnedah produced a stirring effort to lock in a finals spot and effectively end Moree’s plans in front of big home crowd on Saturday.
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It was something of a red letter day for the Red Devils as they marched towards their first finals appearance since 2004 and completed a rare double against the Bulls with a 30-12 win.

Its been a long time between drinks for the Gunnedah faithful waiting to beat the Bulls twice in a season.

It had been 10 years since they’d tasted success in Moree.

The result leaves Inverell, Walcha, the Red Devils and Pirates as the top four, bar Pirates falling in a heap, which doesn’t look likely.

Now all that remains to be sorted is their exact finishing positions.

The win has put the Red Devils in a prime position to host the minor semi-final, although they have a tough couple of games to come with Pirates and Inverell their next two opponents.

But they’ll head into those matches with confidence, and backing their defence after another excellent effort on Saturday.

Like it was at Moree, the Red Devils’ defence was the key to their win.

As expected with their season on the line, the Bulls came out firing.

They had all the possession and the territory in the opening minutes and broke through the Red Devils’ defence a couple of times, but each time the Red Devils managed to scramble back or the play broke down.

Then, with their first chance with the ball, the Red Devils spread it wide and after a couple of runners had punched through, breakaway Joel McKenty busted through to give the home side first points.

They quickly had to switch back into defensive mode though, messing up the kick-off and eventually conceding a penalty, but the Bulls’ attempt at goal was unsuccessful.

From the restart a chip and chase from Bulls skipper Ben Colley got the Bulls back into good territory and created an overlap but Red Devils five-eighth Pete Henderson managed to get back and snaffle the intercept.

The Bulls missed another penalty and then found themselves down 8-nil when a breakout from inside their half from the Red Devils resulted in a penalty, which Matt Jones slotted.

It was then 13-nil with about 10 to go after Jamie Mitchell finished off an attack ignited by coach Paul Brady.

Rather than clearing to the sideline, Brady decided to take on the defence and after getting outside Bulls winger Joe Henderson, kicked ahead into open space. Dave Heyman led the chase and got the ball back before popping it off to Mitchell.

It summed up the Red Devils’ determination, which equally resonated in defence.

“Today we defended for probably the first eight minutes straight,” Brady said.

“It was important that we rode that wave of aggression out.”

Which they did, thanks to some big plays.

“There was some desperate stuff,” Brady said.

He said McKenty’s try was a massive mental boost, and likewise would have mentally hurt the Bulls, as would have Mitchell’s try.

“The other important thing was we didn’t try and play defensively,” Brady said.

They played an attacking game, but they needed to.

“I think against a side like Moree with their attacking flair, you can’t afford to play defensively,” Brady said.

It was really only scraps they had to play with though.

The second half they enjoyed a bit more possession, but were probably a bit sloppy at times, Brady said, turning the ball over when they were half-way through the line.

The Bulls finally put some points on the board after an incisive run from fullback Heath Riggs set up Simon Dunlop in space, but they had a mountain to climb by then, with Matt Hannay scoring in the first couple of minutes of the second half to push the Red Devils’ lead out to 20-nil.

Not long after, Manaia Rehu charged through and spectacularly juggled the ball behind his back before scoring and effectively ending any hopes the Bulls had of fighting back.

It’s a game they’ll rue missed opportunities from.

“I think we created a fair few opportunities but at that last pass it broke down,” Bulls coach Jamie Hardman said.

“We had all the ball and all of the opportunities and all of a sudden they came away with points.”

If Moree had taken those chances it could have been different.

“The difference was they finished and we didn’t,” Hardman said.

Matt Wannan, Dunlop and Damien Kelly were good for them, while McKenty was awesome for the Red Devils.

Mitchell and centre partner Dylan Beer also had strong games.

Moree’s Simon Dunlop tries to offload as he’s hit hard by Gunnedah’s Sam Michelsen and a Red Devils team-mate. Photo: Barry Smith 040812BSF05

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Tess’s team does a great job

TESS Gerrand’s former coach said the Australian Women’s Eight rowing team have done a great job to get to where they are.
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John Corbett said the experience and strength of their rivals make it hard for the squad to medal but said they had surprised everyone so far.

“The other teams they were up against have been rowing together for years,” he said.

“This Australian team has only recently been thrown together.

“They’ve got nothing to lose, so who know’s, no-one really gave them much of a chance in the first place and look how far they’ve come.”

He likened the Australian squad to a team of Port Macquarie, misfit, footballers, mixing it in the NRL.

“It would be like taking a rat-bag bunch of footballers to play NRL in Sydney and expect them to win,” he said.

“They definitely have that underdog tag and that will suit them to a point.

“The fact they’ve made it this far is a huge credit to them.”

Mr Corbett took Tess under his wing almost 10 years ago and said she showed instant talent.

“From the start, even at the age of 15, she had this maturity about her,” he said.

“She was tall and strong and very mature and responsible for her age.”

And he said she still displays those qualities.

“I have seen the same stuff from her that I saw six years ago,” he said.

“She hasn’t changed much at all, she’s always been very consistent, strong, smart and calm and reliable under pressure.

“I used to always say she had all those leadership qualities.”

A photo of Olympic rower Tess Gerrard taken in 2006 by her former coach John Corbett.

Tess Gerrard and her team at the London Games.

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Rueter stars in Mustangs romp

A season’s best performance from Mitch Rueter gave the Maitland Mustangs the edge in their 16-point win over the Parramatta Wildcats.
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Rueter finished the match with 42 points next to his name with an imposing 70 per cent shot percentage.

“It felt good,” he said.

“It felt as good as I have played here in Australia.

“I don’t remember missing a shot in the second half.”

The return of Kieran Gleeson took pressure off Rueter and King Cannon, who scored 19 points for the game, allowing them to play their regular positions.

Coach Luke Boyle said the Mustangs were in front for most of the match and lauded the work of young players Nick Bowe, Ash Sopher and Gerry Bray.

“We’ve been having them help us out over the last couple of weeks,” Boyle said.

“It looks as though we’ll have a fair few guys retire at the end of this year so it’s good to see them doing so well.”

The Mustangs were missing Matt Dick, which meant that Boyle had to play more minutes than he would have liked.

“We had Tim Mallon there to help us from the bench,” Boyle said.

The win propels the Mustangs into sixth place and wins from their last two games will ensure an all-important top six finish.

The Mustangs will take the home-court advantage into both games, the first will be against Manly Warringah, who beat the Mustangs away from home last week.

Their last match in the regular season is to be against the Bankstown Bruins – the team they have just deposed from sixth place.

TOP FORM: Mitch Rueter scored 42 points for the Mustangs in a season best game. Picture by MARINA NEIL 040712MN533

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Students put rivalry aside for two worthy causes

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LAUNCESTON Church Grammar School and Scotch Oakburn College did not exactly set aside their rivalry on Saturday, but at least they channelled it for a good cause.

Scotch Oakburn’s Newstead oval played host to two football matches in a Rivalry-for-a-Reason event that raised $3200.

A girls’ team and boys’ team from each school played matches to raise funds for their schools’ respective international projects.

Scotch Oakburn is helping to build a boarding school in Timor Leste and Launceston Church Grammar School supports a Save the World Foundation effort in Nepal.

A carnival atmosphere prevailed as the first teams took to the ground, neither being in the least put off as the public address system blared out Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust.

For the record, Grammar won the girls’ match 4.10 (34) to 4.0 (24) and Scotch Oakburn the boys’ match 19.12 (126) to 15.11 (101).

Scotch Oakburn principal Andrew Barr said that full credit had to go to the schools’ senior students for organising the fund-raiser.

“It’s an idea of Scotch Oakburn students, who involved Grammar, and there was a great feeling of collaboration between the two schools,” Mr Barr said.

Grammar school captain Peter Archer said that similar events had happened in the past, but not for a while.

“They came to us looking for a girls’ football match and we thought it would be a great idea as well as the boys’ match,” Peter said.

Chloe Ranicar and Diana Taylor were among the Scotch Oakburn students collecting money at the event and spent the day selling admission tickets at the entrance to the oval.

The host school retains about 65 per cent of the money raised for its charity and the visitors 35 per cent, a ratio that will work in Grammar’s favour when it hosts a rematch next year.

Grammar girls’ team captains Rose Sauer and Danni Pickett and Scotch Oakburn captains Danielle Crosswell and Kathleen Deboer at Saturday’s fund-raising football match. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

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Date with destiny

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After years of training, the high-pressure selection process and all the hype around the build up to London 2012, the moment has finally arrived for Brendan Sexton.

And 24 hours out from the biggest race of his career the Maitland lad, who celebrates his 27th birthday today, said he felt ready to take on the world’s best at the Olympic Games.

“I am actually really excited,” Sexton told the Maitland Mercury. “Around the time of selection the whole idea of being an Olympian didn’t really sink in.

“I was quite anxious about the selection and a few under performances, so being named on the team was more of a relief than a thrill.

“I have been in camp in the French Pyrenees with just my coach and my training partner.

“It is somewhere I have been before and really enjoy training there, so I immediately felt at home and my motivation took off.

“That has been the past four weeks and I have really been able to enjoy preparing for the biggest race of my career thus far.

“The majority of the work is done now and I take a lot of confidence out of that.”

Sexton’s birthday is today and it seems a fitting way to celebrate such an occasion with a race around the Hyde Park course tomorrow.

“It would be a nice present [to win a medal a day after my birthday],” he said. “But more for the satisfaction of work I’ve put in over the years rather than a gift to celebrate my birth.”

The race starts at 11.30pm (8.30pm AEST). tomorrow.

Maitland triathlete is ready for the race of his life the day after his birthday.

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