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Daley canĂ¢€™t split Reynolds and Mullen

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 04 Mei 2014 | 23.01

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THE City-Country match ended in a draw and so did the battle for NSW's coveted five-eighth jersey.

Country No.6 Jarrod Mullen appeared to slightly outpoint City counterpart Josh Reynolds in Dubbo on Sunday, but Blues coach Laurie Daley couldn't split the pair.

Josh Reynolds looks to offload. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Jarrod Mullen celebrates a try to James McManus. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

To make matters even more murky, incumbent James Maloney — who last month was facing the axe from the Blues after a lacklustre start to the season — has found form and his deadly goalkicking could help him retain his position, although he's currently injured.

"Mullen and Reynolds both had some nice touches," Daley said. "Both players are certainly in the frame. We will continue to monitor them over the next couple of weeks. We will also see how James Maloney and (South Sydney's) John Sutton are playing. We have plenty of depth. A lot of blokes played really well."

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Mullen no doubt threw more pressure on Maloney on Sunday.

The Newcastle star is the complete player these days, having matured enormously since his NSW debut in 2007 when he was dropped after one game.

Immortal Andrew Johns believes Mullen deserves another crack at State of Origin.

Reynolds is a real chance of being in the NSW side, but perhaps again off the interchange bench.

Josh Reynolds is pushing for an Origin spot. Source: Getty Images

Jarrod Mullen runs the ball. Source: Getty Images

Big Jamal Idris certainly enhanced his chances of an Origin recall with a powerful performance. "I thought he was terrific," Daley said.

Josh Morris and Michael Jennings are favourites to be NSW's centre pairing for Origin I on May 28. Jarryd Hayne is another centre candidate if Daley opts for Josh Dugan at fullback.

Daley, though, is a big fan of Hayne as a fullback.

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Idris would seem to be next in line after Morris and Jennings. Will Hopoate scored the late match-equalling try in a successful return to representative football after two years away on a Mormon mission.

"I was happy with both sides," Daley said. "There wasn't any ­individual standouts, both teams did themselves proud."

Kangaroos James Tamou, Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita and are almost certain to be there for Origin I, the latter likely to come off the bench.

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Tigers move to help out Dwyer

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WESTS Tigers will meet with Simon Dwyer and his manager this week to discuss his long-term future at the club.

The Daily Telegraph has been told the Tigers are looking to renew Dwyer's deal for next year, and possibly beyond.

Dwyer will also receive a lump sum at the end of this year, while the club is helping organise a testimonial dinner.

Simon Dwyer watches on at City training. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

At present, Dwyer is on a three-year contract worth $360,000 — a figure that includes a player termination payment and for his work as a GPS statistician.

Dwyer hasn't played since ripping five nerves from his spinal column during a match at Campbelltown in 2011.

The Daily Telegraph last week revealed that Dwyer had received little support from the NRL or Rugby League Players Association since suffering the injury. He might consider legal action in a bid to receive ­compensation.

The Tigers are ready to ­further help Dwyer, having ­already paid more than $100,000 in medical costs.

Dwyer has been paying 9.25 per cent of his wage into a superannuation fund. That is paid quarterly.

A former forward, Dwyer's management will also look at the state government's sporting injures insurance act. That is a fund in which sporting organisations can pay premiums and then apply for a benefit.

Simon Dwyer with the City side. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Applications go to a committee, which then determines whether the injury falls under the act. Injured players can be compensated in a lump sum of up to $171,000.

With Dwyer's injury, it is understood his maximum payout through worker's compensation would be about $50,000.

Legal sources claim Dwyer would struggle to win a case should he accuse the Tigers of being negligent after the injury occurred.

Dwyer has a brachial plexus injury and has no movement or feeling in his right arm.

There are suggestions former Wests Tigers CEO Steve Humphreys offered Dwyer a job for life. The club is yet to determine when, if or how the offer was made.

RLPA chief executive David Garnsey could not be contacted.

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My Origin spot is on line: Papalii

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FIRST he was dropped from the Australian side.

Now Raiders hulk Josh ­Papalii has made the candid admission his Queensland spot is in jeopardy after an uninspiring return to the Intrust Super Cup on Sunday.

Josh Papalii failed to make an impact for Souths Logan. Picture: Mark Calleja Source: News Corp Australia

Speaking for the first time since his Test axing last week, Papalii said he anticipated his Kangaroos snub and concedes his beloved Maroons jumper also hangs by a thread.

World-Cup winner Papalii should have been enjoying a day off on Sunday basking in the success of Australia's 30-18 defeat of the Kiwis on Friday night.

Instead, the dumped Kangaroo found himself playing before 1500 fans at Davies Park, doing little to impress Maroons selectors in Souths Logan's 18-10 loss to Ipswich.

Josh Papalii for Souths Logan. Picture: Mark Calleja Source: News Corp Australia

Papalii's twisted ankle in the ninth minute crystallised his afternoon. He overcame the pain to play the entire 80 minutes but rarely troubled the Jets, and later admitted he risks being axed for Origin I on May 28. Asked if he had done enough to retain his Maroons jumper, Papalii said: "To be honest, I don't think I have.

"There's a few games to go so I have to lift my game.

"It's up to me now ... how I handle myself, my body and how I train and play.

"If it (Queensland selection) doesn't come my way, I will be working harder than ever to get my spot back."

Josh Papalii for Souths Logan. Picture: Mark Calleja Source: News Corp Australia

The Courier-Mail can reveal Papalii, on the comeback trail from an ankle injury, is perilously close to being dropped for the series opener at ­Suncorp Stadium. If the ­Maroons team was picked today, Papalii would not be in Queensland's 17-man squad.

The Maroons are blessed for backrow talent, with the likes of Matt Gillett, Dave ­Taylor, Chris McQueen and Ben Te'o putting pressure on Papalii.

The 110kg giant has two more NRL games against the Warriors and Penrith to save his Queensland jumper and ­revealed he is battling some off-field concerns.

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The "family issues" relate to his brother, John, but Papalii would not elaborate.

John is in trouble with the law over allegations he robbed, and attempted to rob Canberra supermarkets late last year. The 20-year-old has pleaded not guilty and the case continues.

"I've had a good chat to Mal about some things, more away from football," he said.

Papalii said his ankle injury is not serious and is determined to hit back from his Test relegation.

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Inside the wacky sheds of coach Freddy

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BRAD Fittler, in a quiet corner of the dressing-room, pulls a brand new pair of City socks from their packet.

Maybe for warmth, you guess? Or extra support for that bung right ankle, which he broke on a beach some weeks back.

But, no, sensing The Daily Telegraph looking on in complete bewilderment as he pulls said items on and up beneath his team trackies, the coach lets you in on a little secret.

"Love the feel of new footy socks,'' he grins. "Has to be one of life's greatest little pleasures."

Welcome inside the whacky heartbeat of NSW City.

Brad Fittler kicks back in the City sheds. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Brad Fittler relaxes in the sheds. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

A world in which the coach wears his footy socks up, rookie Matt Moylan is forever stretching, bouncing and moving ... and prop Andrew Fifita sings whatever chorus beats from beneath those white headphones.

Elsewhere, skipper Ryan Hoffman talks to his players not about the prize, but the process. And Will Hopoate, somewhere beneath his hoodie, meditates like a monk.

City players prepare. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Andrew Fifta and Adam Reynolds massages. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Jorge Taufua limbers up. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

All up, a mob that two hours from now — with four minutes to play and some 16 points required — will use a bond no one ever really knew existed to secure one the greatest comebacks in more than 100 years of this contest. Better, you get to see it up close.

Fittler not only gifting The Daily Telegraph unprecedented access to his Dubbo dressing-room, but imposing only one demand.

"People will tell you the story has to be positive,'' he says. "It doesn't have to be positive ... but it has to be interesting."

And with Freddy, how could it be anything but?

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Over five days this week, one of league's greatest has fed ­tigers, signed flesh, changed lives, bonded players, raised $10,000 for local juniors, even bought himself four llamas from a farmer just out of town.

Another story, however, for another day. For right now you need to know what is going on in the sheds. His sheds.

How in the space of less than a week, Fittler has turned this group — strangers many of them — into the type of unit in which Fifita feels free to sing right up until the final coach's address.

And then, gone is the man who buys llamas and loves the feel of new socks. Replaced by one of league's sharpest minds. A genuine competitor. A coach whose commitment to this group is reciprocated in the ­silence whenever he speaks.

And so now, Freddy reminds his mob of perennial outsiders how such afternoons are for backing yourself, playing footy. "So don't,'' he says, "just tuck the ball under your arm and run."

Behind him on the white concrete wall, the Kangaroos great has also stuck seven white sheets of paper. Understanding that games are won, not by City schtick, but truths including: Energy At Marker, Kick Pressure and Win First Tackle.

The latter of which he emphasises now.

Brad Fittler revs up his players. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Brad Fittler's pre-game speech. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

"I remember in this game last year,'' Fittler says, voice rising. "We won nearly every first tackle. But then second tackle, no one was coming off the line. No one was sniffing blood.

"You need to jam in, rip in and dish out some f...en punishment."

All up, Fittler will speak for fewer than four minutes.

Yet still he hits so many key points that you notice assistant Mark Riddell, sitting off to one side, developing what is commonly known among old footballers who take up these gigs as the "footy twitch".

Mark Riddell and Brad Fittler share a laugh. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

And so you watch his left leg bounce nervously. Then, uncontrollably.

Riddell eventually adopting the only possible cure — he stands up.

Indeed, it is a mood that, over the past two hours, has built gradually.

Arriving at Apex Oval bang on 1pm — and with coach Fittler leafing through a Big League magazine — players spend the first 40 minutes rotating through four massage tables in an endless swirl of tattooed limbs.

Rubbed down, taped up, moved on.

Josh Reynolds, Adam Reynolds and Beau Falloon relax. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Dylan Walker limbers up. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

While some like winger Daniel Tupou sit silently, debutant Moylan is constantly on the move — stretching with his theraband and bouncing footballs. Later told by Riddell and trainer Hayden Knowles "to go and break the record for most support runs".

And we all saw how that turned out, right?

The footy comeback, like the feel of its new socks, among life's great little pleasures.

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Towering Tupou leaps into Origin frame

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CITY Origin winger Daniel Tupou is looming as a potential bolter for the NSW Origin side, with coach Brad Fittler describing the towering Rooster as "outstanding" on debut.

Tupou scored two tries in a thrilling City comeback as he evoked memories of a young Israel Folau with the way he continually outleapt defenders for the ball.

Daniel Tupou leaps high to score. Picture: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

While Kangaroo Brett Morris is a lock for one Blues wing spot, the second is still to be claimed by a host of challengers including Tupou, Jorge Taufua, James McManus, Aku Uate and Will Hopoate.

"I thought Toops was outstanding this afternoon,'' Fittler said. "I thought both his tries were awesome, brilliant.

"All the young blokes were good. Matt Moylan, Dylan Walker, Dave Klemmer — every time I looked down thinking he would need a spell, he kept going."

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City captain Ryan Hoffman also heaped praise on Penrith fullback Moylan.

"Matty really impressed me,'' he said.

"His enthusiasm and the hard work he did chasing kicks, defending kicks was outstanding. Dylan Walker was another who showed how dangerous he is with his pace.

"Dave Klemmer too. They've taken that first opportunity ... I'd like to see how they go on now."

When asked about Country, Fittler also praised young Canterbury forwards Josh Jackson and Dale Finucane, saying: "They really worked hard, closed the gaps."

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Buzz: Gallop was readying trophy for WSW

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WITH six gripping minutes to go in Sunday's A-League grand final thriller, Frank Lowy and David Gallop walk to the lift on the fifth floor of Suncorp Stadium to go and present the premiership trophy to Tony Popovic and his Western Sydney Wanderers.

As the door opens on the ground floor they hear the booming roar of almost 52,000 fans.

Suddenly, one of sport's great fairytales turns to heartbreak as the Wanderers surrender a 1-0 lead.

Brisbane Roar striker Besart Berisha heads it in, not that Lowy and Gallop saw it, and we go into extra time.


Australia's soccer supremos head back to their suite only to watch Brazilian Henrique score a 105th minute matchwinner.

And so ended a magnificent sporting contest and the Wanderers' second grand final challenge in two years.

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I've been to many State of Origin games and rugby league Tests at this ground in the last 30 years.

A few years ago ARL chief executive Geoff Carr invited me to stand on the field at the entrance to the Queensland tunnel as Darren Lockyer leads the Maroons out.

I've never experienced a blast of sound quite like it. Well, not until Sunday.

Every seat in the Stadium is taken. It sold out in three days.

There are 40,000 screaming Roar fans in their orange and the rest cheering for the Wanderers.

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Wisely, the supporters have been separated even before the game. The Red-and-Black Bloc meet at the Paddington Hotel and march to the ground at 2.30pm.

You can hear them from the stadium almost a kilometre away.

Roar supporters gather at the Caxton, the famous Queensland rugby league hotel. It's gone orange instead of maroon.

Conveniently for police, they don't cross paths on the way to the venue.

Wanderers fans in the RBB go nuts as Matthew Spiranovic heads in the opener. Source: News Corp Australia

Brisbane's riot squad watch from behind bays 310 and 311. They are generally well behaved.

I spend the opening 20 minutes smack bang in the middle of the Bloc. They are going off.

It's absolutely crazy, their passion just out of this world. It's the first time they've had to sing and chant for 120 minutes of football.


The voice meter on my iPhone sound metre hits the maximum 120dB. God knows what the noise level really got to.

When I last measured the RBB they were 117Db at Allianz Stadium earlier this year.

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CEO David Gallop goes to the game in style. He travelled to Brisbane on Frank Lowy's private learjet with the Westfield supremo and his family.

The plane is delayed by the high winds in Sydney and they're 30 minutes late to host the pre-game corporate function.

Lots of high flyers are there waiting — Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, NRMA supremo Andy Cornish, State and Federal sports ministers, Fox Sports boss Patrick Delany and former FFA CEO Ben Buckley.

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Gallop speaks confidently and positively about the future of soccer in this country.

"We're not the biggest sport in Australia yet but we're on our way," he says.

Lowy was in Europe and missed the Wanderers' grand final appearance against Central Coast last year.

on Sunday he's bursting with pride for the team that is his greatest success story in nine years as FFA chairman.

When others didn't want to risk a second Sydney team, Lowy insisted on one.

Brisbane Roar celebrate winning the 2014 A-League Grand Final. Source: News Corp Australia

"To think where we were as a sport 10 years ago," he told me in the half-time break, "A lot of it's because of this guy," as he points to Gallop.

"Great boss, great day, great game, great atmosphere."

Lowy was also behind the appointment of young super coach Tony Popovic at the Wanderers.

"They've superseded seeded all my expectations," Lowy told me. "And bringing Popa in was a no contest. He's a great operator."

He watches the game in a seat next to Postecoglou.

Roar fans swarm Caxton Street as they head to the game. Source: News Corp Australia


We've moved to the sideline, right behind Popovic's bench, for the second half.

A lacklustre opening 45 minutes suddenly and spectacularly comes alive.

Central defender Matt Spiranovic puts the Wanderers ahead, drilling one into the back of the net in the 57th minute.

This is his first year in the A-League. He came home from stints in Europe and Japan to get Postecoglou's attention and put himself in the shop window for Brazil. It's worked. I'm told he'll be part of the Socceroos' World Cup squad.

Brisbane players celebrate Henrique's winning goal. Source: Getty Images

The Wanderers are just four minutes away from getting the trophy.

Then Thomas Broich takes a free kick for Roar. Striker Besart Berisha heads it in. We go into extra time.

This so much more exciting than watching a delayed replay of City-County. Absolutely gripping, edge-of-your-seat entertainment.


The sporting landscape has changed remarkably in Brisbane over the years at this famous ground.

One of my first assignments at Lang Park in the early 80s was a midweek Panasonic Cup game between Combined Brisbane and South Sydney.

A section of Roar supporters in full voice at Suncorp Stadium. Source: Getty Images

It featured one of the worst brawls I've ever seen involving every player.

Next day, the QRL boss Ron McAuliffe declared fans loved it on the back page of this newspaper under the headline: BRAWL GOOD FOR TV RATINGS.

Imagine an official saying that now. They could afford to in those days because league had little or no opposition. Image meant nothing.

The Sydney soccer comp wasn't much more than an ethnic battleground for Marconi and Hakoah, Olympic and Apia Leichhardt.

Henrique of the Roar poses for a photograph with fans. Source: Getty Images

Fast forward 30 years. A full house. More than 50,000 fans. The powerbrokers at the FFA are loving it.

"Football doesn't want to be seen as a tenant paying rent at the big stadiums, we want to 'own' these places like they are our home," said communications director Kyle Patterson.

"That's what is happening at Parramatta Stadium. It's Wanderland, not just the home of the Eels.

"Same goes for Suncorp. It's becoming the Roar's Den, not just a cauldron for rugby league."


It's been a long day. Sydney airport hasn't been as busy at 6.30am on a Sunday morning for a long time.

It's a sea of red and black. Families, couples and mates.

Wanderers fans made the trip up north in huge numbers. Source: News Corp Australia

All the airlines have put on extra and bigger planes to cope with the demand to Brisbane and the Gold Coast. There are no spare seats.

On our flight to the Gold Coast passengers start chanting the team songs of the RBB as the plane is about to land.

All up it's estimated that almost 10,000 fans came from Sydney for the game.

Some couldn't get on flights and drove the day before, their cars covered in streamers.

It's a long way home. They return without the prize but enormous pride for a team that gave it everything they had.

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Injured Djokovic pulls out of Madrid

Still injured ... Novak Djokovic had hoped his wrist would be better in time for the Madrid Masters. Source: Claude Paris / AP

WORLD No.2 Novak Djokovic was forced to pull out of this week's Madrid Masters overnight due to an ongoing right wrist injury.

The six-time grand slam champion said he wouldn't be able to play tennis for "some time" after suffering the injury in losing to Roger Federer in the semi-final of the Monte Carlo Masters a fortnight ago, but had hoped to make his return in the Spanish capital.

"I am sorry for the tournament and the Spanish fans that I have to pull out of the Mutua Madrid Open," he told the tournament's official website.

"I have done everything possible to be able to play in Madrid, which is one of the most important events of the year, but, unfortunately, the injury I have in the right wrist has become inflamed again.

"I will now take my time to recover from the injury with the hope of being ready to play in Rome," added the Serb.

Djokovic's withdrawal won't overly hurt his chase of Rafael Nadal at the top of the world rankings as he was only defending 10 ranking points due to his second round defeat to Grigor Dimitrov last year.

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Giles upset over England snub

Bitter ... Ashley Giles says he was shocked to miss out on England's top coaching role. Source: Wayne Ludbey / News Limited

ASHLEY Giles has said he was "bitterly disappointed" to miss out on being appointed as the new head coach of England.

Peter Moores was recalled for a second spell in charge after Andy Flower stood down following England's 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia.

Former England spinner Giles appeared to be in pole position to replace Flower, having been the national limited overs coach since November 2012 and a member of the selection panel.

However, his cause was not helped by a poor run of results in one-day games in Australia and England's humiliating loss to the Netherlands at last month's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

"I was confident (of getting the job)," Giles told Sky Sports on Sunday.

"I went into the interview and thought I had as equal a chance as anyone else, if not a better chance having been close to the team and known what the systems are and, at the same time, not really had full control.

"I can't go into too much detail about that process, but I'm bitterly disappointed I didn't get the job," the former Warwickshire left-armer, who subsequently coached the Midlands side to the 2012 County Championship title, added.

However, Giles insisted: "At no time or stage does that mean I wish anyone in that side any ill going forward. We all want England to do well."

England play their first match since Moores's reappointment when they face Scotland in a one-day international in Aberdeen on Friday.

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