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Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots. Honorable Mention: Allyson Girard, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; Tiffani Mays, UIW; Natashia Jackson, Northwestern State. The Wildcats and Bearkats both head west to Lubbock for the Texas Tech Indoor from Jan. 26-27. Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Week – Alexandria Hackett, Abilene Christian – Sr. – Cranston, R.I.Hackett’s 3,000m run time of 9:40.45 earned her a top individual finish out of 23 competitors at the Ted Nelson Invitational last Saturday. She finished nearly five seconds ahead of fellow Wildcat Michaela Hackett and just over seven seconds ahead of third place. The Rhode Island native helped pace her team to a third-place finish out of eight. Honorable Mention: Alanna Arvie, McNeese; Jasmyn Steels, Northwestern State. Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Week – Tristyn Allen, Sam Houston State – Jr. – Sealy, TexasAllen took a first-place finish in the triple jump at the Ted Nelson Invite with a distance of 41-7.75. That mark currently ranks her at No. 10 in the nation and helped lead the Bearkats to a top overall team finish out of 13 competing women’s teams. FRISCO, Texas – Abilene Christian’s Alexandria Hackett and Tristyn Allen of Sam Houston State are the Southland Conference Women’s Indoor Track & Field Athletes of the Week, the league announced Wednesday. Southland Athletes of the Week are presented by UniversalCoin.com.
Women’s 4x100m Relay — Stephen F. Austin 45.06 Women’s High Jump Sashane Hanson Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 5-09.75 / 1.77m Women’s 4x400m Relay — Stephen F. Austin* 3:39.12 Men Points Women Points Men’s 100m Chris Jefferson Sam Houston State 10.20 Women’s 200m Natashia Jackson Northwestern State 23.55 8. McNeese 46.0 8. Central Arkansas 40.0 10. New Orleans 31.0 10. Southeastern Louisiana 29.0 Men’s 800m Drake Murphy Stephen F. Austin 1:49.67 Men’s 400m Jared Williams Abilene Christian 46.70 Men’s 400m Hurdles Garrett Gibson Houston Baptist 52.11 Event Name School Distance/Time/Points Men’s 5,000m Jamie Crowe Lamar 14:39.85 Men’s High Jump Tyler Adams Sam Houston State 6-09.50 / 2.07m 3. Stephen F. Austin 91.0 3. Northwestern State 107.5 T11. Southeastern Louisiana 29.0 12. New Orleans 14.0 Final Team Standings Men’s Javelin Cord Neal Stephen F. Austin 202-11/61.86m Women’s Discus Annina Brandenburg Abilene Christian 174-06/53.20m Day Three Champions Women’s 400m Hurdles Dominique Jackson Stephen F. Austin 59.86 Women’s 100m Hurdles Jerica Love Incarnate Word 13.80 Men’s High Point Scorer – Chris Jefferson, Sam Houston State (23.75)Women’s High Point Scorer – Kayla Melgar (26) Men’s 1500m Garett Cortez Incarnate Word 3:52.31 Women’s 5,000m Gracie Hyde Central Arkansas 17:50.89 7. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 56.5 T6. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 47.0 Women’s 1500m Kelsey Ramirez Stephen F. Austin 4:34.46 Men’s Discus Aaron Akens Sam Houston State 187-04.0 / 57.10m Women’s 100m Deja Keys Incarnate Word 11.86 FINAL RESULTS | LIVE SCORING | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTO GALLERYNATCHITOCHES, La. – The 2019 Southland Conference Championships concluded with 26 finals events Sunday, May 3 at Walter P. Ledet Track Complex in Natchitoches, La. The Sam Houston State men’s program completed their third consecutive conference championship run, while the Stephen F. Austin women’s team captured its ninth Southland title in program history.Chris Jefferson sealed a monumental day for the Bearkats with 23.75 points to become the 2019 men’s Most Valuable Performer. Jefferson nabbed two of the Sam Houston State’s five gold-medal finishes on day three with top honors in the 100 and 200-meter races. The Bearkats concluded the weekend with 164 points in the final team standings. Abilene Christian received runners-up honors after scoring 104 points throughout the meet.OTF: @Bearkatsports Jefferson can’t break his own record (20.37), but does win another gold in men’s 200 meter dash. Time of 20.48 today.Watch LIVE ???? https://t.co/gkIo94tMox???? Southland apps?? https://t.co/XPKTZ7h5ns #SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/Psgeq3qa2o— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) May 5, 2019The men’s standings were rounded out by Stephen F. Austin, who completed the weekend in third place with 91 points, while host school Northwestern State posted 79 points for fourth-place honors. Incarnate Word (73.5) finished in fifth place, followed by sixth-place Lamar (70) and seventh-place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (56.5). McNeese (46), Houston Baptist (43), New Orleans (31) finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively. Central Arkansas and Southeastern Louisiana tied for 11th place, each scoring 29 points.Stephen F. Austin conquered the women’s championships, logging 195.5 points to mark the second most team points scored in Southland Conference history. The Ladyjacks recorded points in 18 events, while claiming five gold medals over the course of the weekend. Incarnate Word closed out their stay in second place with 120 points, followed by Northwestern State with 107.5 points. Abilene Christian finished next with 104.5 points for fourth place, while McNeese grabbed fifth-place honors with 55 points. Sam Houston State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi tied for sixth place at 47 points, followed by Central Arkansas (40), Lamar (34), Southeastern Louisiana (29), Houston Baptist (17), New Orleans (14) and Nicholls (9).OTF: @SFA_Athletics captures women’s team title with 195.5 points.Final standings ???? https://t.co/XPKTZ7h5ns#SouthlandStrong pic.twitter.com/ZBXOEThKLK— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) May 5, 2019Abilene Christian’s Kayla Melgar put on a performance for the ages over the three-day championship, registering 26 points to earn the 2019 women’s Most Valuable Performer award. Melgar claimed a gold medal in the shot put as well as a pair of silver medals in the hammer throw and discus events.Top three finishers in each event final are automatically named All-Southland Conference. The teams will be formally announced along with individual superlative winners onTuesday, May 14.Athletes who achieve qualifying marks, or have done so this season, will qualify for the Preliminary Round of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships which will take place May 23-25 in Jacksonville, Fla. for the East Region and Sacramento, Calif. for the West Region. The 2019 NCAA National Championships are set to be hosted at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, June 5-8. Men’s 110m Hurdles Tremayne Flagler Northwestern State 14.03 1. Sam Houston State 164.0 1. Stephen F. Austin 195.5 9. Houston Baptist 43.0 9. Lamar 34.0 Men’s Pole Vault Branson Ellis Schmidt Stephen F. Austin 17-10.5 / 5.45m Women’s 400m Natashia Jackson Northwestern State 53.49 13. Nicholls 9.0 5. Incarnate Word 73.5 5. McNeese 55.0 T11. Central Arkansas 29.0 11. Houston Baptist 17.0 4. Northwestern State 79.0 4. Abilene Christian 104.0 Men’s 4x100m Relay — Sam Houston State 39.62 Men’s 200m Chris Jefferson Sam Houston State 20.48 Women’s 800m Dominique Allen Incarnate Word 2:09.13 Men’s 4x400m Relay — Abilene Christian 3:09.22 6. Lamar 70.0 T6. Sam Houston State 47.0 2. Abilene Christian 104.0 2. Incarnate Word 120.0
JOCKEY QUOTESGEOVANNI FRANCO, SECRET SPICE, WINNER: “I’ve worked her a couple times and she does everything very easy. We broke beautiful and she settled nice. We were able to save ground and going to the far turn, she was targeting those two horses on the lead (Exuberance and Just a Smidge), so we swung out she really ran great. Richie told me she would run big and she did.” DRAYDEN VAN DYKE, MARLEY’S FREEDOM, SECOND: “I was in a great spot around the first turn when my stablemate went up to engage the leader, which I thought could only benefit me. I saved some ground around the 1st turn. I would have liked for her to kick into gear around the far turn a little sooner. I wanted to go but she’s a unique horse in that she wants to go when she wants to go. I gave her the cue, but she was on idle mode until she switched leads then she gave me about three more gears, but by that time the leader had already put open lengths on me.”TRAINER QUOTESRICHARD BATAS, SECRET SPICE, WINNER: “She had a month and a half off because of cellulitis and an infection in her hock. We had aimed for the La Brea, but we had to wait until she was ready. She needed that last race (Feb. 7). She put together some great works since then and we decided to try the Beholder Mile. Marley’s Freedom is a great horse. It was our day today and we’ll take it. She put it all together today. I told her owners if you want to win a Grade I you are going to have to be patient and wait, she just put it all together, it was our day today.”OWNER QUOTESBILLY KOCH, SECRET SPICE, WINNER: “You know, this is one of those things you dream about and I visualized. We were confident we knew she needed a race last time and Ritchie (Baltas) and his staff I really credit them for doing a great job of training her into this race, we were supposed to run two of three weeks ago and with the postponement it really gave him time to really work with her and I’m just so happy for all of our partners, that’s what it’s all about, these people who put their hard earned money into this game which is crazy and to get a Grade I winner this is the pinnacle and we couldn’t be happier for our partners. Everyone has been so patient with this filly and letting her come along and we knew that 106-buyer wasn’t a joke and she proved it today.”NOTES: The winning owner is Little Red Feather Racing.
3 17% 2 BACK FULL TIME AT SANTA ANITA, T. BAZE DOUBLES 4 LATEST CONTENT FROM XBTV: Stronach 5 All-Star Ticket for October 11th, 2019XBTV Friday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on October 11th, 2019 2 FEATURES:A Candid Conversation With Jockey Flavien Prat: Part 1 of 2A Candid Conversation With Jockey Joseph Talamo: Part 1A Candid Conversation With Jockey Joseph Talamo: Part 2WORK OUTS:American Theorem (Outside) and Knifes Edge (Papaprodromou) 10/11/19Seeking the Soul (Stewart) 10/11/19Draft Pick (Outside) and Storm the Court (Eurton) 10/11/19Roadster (Outside) and Leading Score (Baffert) 10/10/19McKinzie (Baffert) 10/10/19Bast (Outside) and Hot Sean (Baffert) 10/09/19S Y Sky (Outside) and Violette Szabo (D’Amato) 10/06/19Gypsy Blu (Glatt) 10/05/19 TWO ‘GRAZENS’ CARRY NICK ALEXANDER’S COLORS (Current Through Thursday, Oct. 10) JockeyMts 1st 3 33% 2 50% Money Won Abel Cedillo45 31% Tiago Pereira25 11% 10% LISA BERNARD POSTS HER FIRST TRAINING VICTORY 26% 35% $102,734 27% 2 $133,045 45% ITM% 3rd 5 $145,791 3 5 John Sadler28 ITM% Simon Callaghan11 6 10% $32,121 22% 5 5 2 4 Bob Baffert15 2 QUEEN BEE TO YOU HAS TRAINER LERNER BUZZING 69% 3 42% $493,533 0 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS 14% 2 Richard Mandella15 5 TrainerSts Jorge Velez35 17% 12% 1 1 Richard Baltas28 $513,485 1 27% Doug O’Neill34 5 52% J.C. Diaz, Jr.22 $497,185 2 56% 14% 4 $111,179 6 3 7 16% 26% 14% 60% 38% 1 1 30% $173,237 $213,168 0 12% 3 ALEXANDER HAS TWO FOR THE MONEY IN CALIFORNIA DISTAFFLongtime California owner/breeder Nick Alexander will be represented by another daughter of Grazen in addition to favored S Y Sky in Saturday’s $100,000 California Distaff Handicap at 5 ½ furlongs turf.That would be Just Grazed Me, gray like the five-year-old S Y Sky, and like her stablemate, never out of the money.“I think she’s shown an affinity for the grass,” said trainer Phil D’Amato of the four-year-old filly, third in the restricted Daisycutter at Del Mar on July 20 before winning an overnight event going five furlongs on grass at the seaside oval Aug. 14.“It’s nice to have a one-two Grazen punch for the Nick Alexander team in there and they’re both ready to go,” D’Amato said, “so we’re looking forward to it.”The California Distaff Handicap, race seven of nine: S Y Sky, Drayden Van Dyke, 7-5; Silk From Heaven, Eswan Flores, 20-1; Gypsy Blu, Abel Cedillo, 5-1; Queen Bee to You, Ruben Fuentes, 8-1; Don’t Sell, Mario Gutierrez, 5-2; and Just Grazed Me, Geovanni Franco, 5-2.First post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m.QUEEN BE TOO YOU RETURN TO TURF SPRINT FOR LERNERQueen Bee to You has run three times on dirt for Andrew Lerner since the 30-year-old trainer took over from Michael Pender, winning the $100,000 Bertrando by a nose at nearly 11-1 odds on June 19 at Los Alamitos.On Saturday, the five-year-old Old Topper mare returns to turf in the California Distaff Handicap at 5 ½ furlongs. She has two wins and three seconds in seven starts on Santa Anita’s grass course.“She’s coming into the race really well,” Lerner said. “I wanted to sprint her; I wanted to shorten her up. She’s done well sprinting down the hill although 5 ½ might be a little short for her, but I think we’ll have some pace to run at.“She’s for real at this turf distance and she’s doing well as she goes up the ladder.”XPRESSBET FIRST CALLXpressbet First Call is a weekly handicapping and analysis podcast focused on the top Thoroughbred racetracks in America. It features industry veterans Jeff Siegel as the lead handicapper and host Jeremy Plonk. To listen to this weekly podcast please visit: https://www.spreaker.com/show/xpressbet-first-call. FINISH LINES: Lisa Bernard was whooping it up big time on the Grandstand Mezzanine Thursday, rooting home Reds Sacred Appeal and jockey Evin Roman, who posted a 2 ¼-length victory in the first race at a $14.60 payoff for the 36-year-old owner/trainer’s maiden victory. “She gave the horse time and had it ready,” said Tony Matos, agent for Roman, adding that Bernard took over the horses formerly trained by Walther Solis, who was one of several Winner’s Circle revelers. A three-year-old chestnut filly by Twice the Appeal bred in California by Rusty and Debi Brown, Reds Sacred Appeal had not raced since July 12 at Los Alamitos but had been working forwardly at San Luis Rey Downs . . . After a successful six-month tour riding regularly in Kentucky, Tyler Baze is back at The Great Race Place where he won two races Thursday and plans to ride full time at Santa Anita “as long as there is racing,” said his agent of 10 years, Craig O’Bryan . . . With his 5 ¼-length triumph in Thursday’s feature race aboard Mo See Cal for trainer Peter Miller, Abel Cedillo took an 8-7 lead over Drayden Van Dyke in the jockeys’ race through eight days of Santa Anita’s 23-day Autumn Meet. Cedillo and Van Dyke each have three stakes wins. Among trainers, Doug O’Neill sent out Howbeit to capture the fifth race, giving him a 9-7 edge over runner-up Phil D’Amato . . .Tom Quigley’s pre-race simulcast handicapping seminar guest on Saturday is handicapper & Thoroughbred scout, Larry Zapp. On Sunday, Tom will be joined by LA Times Newsletter handicapper, Ciaran Thornton… Santa Anita offers holiday racing this Monday, Columbus Day, with first post time 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. 53% 28% 2 4 Tyler Baze10 3 Ruben Fuentes29 2 2nd $409,068 24% Drayden Van Dyke29 1st 11% 20% 4 3 2 0 $610,040 18% Evin Roman20 Philip D’Amato23 54% Money Won 6 2 0 6 $152,889 48% 11% Mike Smith18 6 2 10 30% $85,604 Win% Martin Garcia19 3 7 55% 2 Rafael Bejarano30 $249,927 3 8 50% 4 $230,488 1 $317,792 50% Flavien Prat29 3 $671,357 3 Peter Miller18 9 71% 53% 43% $198,824 Jeff Mullins19 3 $333,362 $105,440 7 3 $195,639 12% 5 $215,853 Mark Glatt17 4 3 Win% 40% Geovanni Franco25 7 $579,882 0 2nd 25% Craig Anthony Lewis9 $119,047 5 3 XBTV Saturday: What to Watch for at Santa Anita Park on October 12th, 2019 2 Vann Belvoir7 1 0 6 1 5 3 28% 29% 60% 3rd
RED-HOT OPUS WON SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN SATURDAY’S GRADE III, $100,000 SANTA ANA STAKES AS A FIELD OF NINE OLDER FILLIES & MARES GO 1 ¼ MILES ON TURFARCADIA, Calif. (March 25, 2020)–In what will be her initial stakes assignment, Little Red Feather Racing’s Opus Won, who has won two allowance races in a row and has won three out of her last four starts, heads a field of nine older fillies and mares at a mile and one quarter on turf in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita.Transferred following her most recent win to trainer Mike Puype, Opus Won will be facing the likes of Richard Mandella’s Dogtag, a graded stakes placed filly when based in New York, Phil D’Amato’s multiple graded stakes placed Tiny Tina, graded stakes placed Super Patriot, sharp recent allowance winner Out of Balance and others in what shapes up as a competitive renewal of the Santa Ana, which will be run for the 53rd time.OPUS WONOwner: Little Red Feather RacingTrainer: Mike PuypeOriginally trained by Richard Baltas, this 4-year-old California-bred filly by Eddington comes off a pair of 1 1/8 mile allowance wins in which she sat close to the early lead versus open company on Jan. 1 and Feb. 2. In her most recent win, she earned a 90 Beyer Speed figure, a career best and the best last-out Beyer in the Santa Ana field. Although she’ll be trying a mile and one quarter for the first time, Saturday’s Santa Ana will feature a hillside start, which should serve to mitigate the effects of the extra furlong. With an overall mark of 10-4-2-1, she’ll be trying stakes competition for the first time.DOGTAGOwner: LNJ FoxwoodsTrainer: Richard MandellaOriginally based with trainer Chad Brown in New York, this grey filly by War Front made her Southern California debut two starts back in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17, finishing 10th, beaten less than six lengths. Idle since, she resurfaced in a one mile turf allowance here on March 8, finishing a close second at 7-2. A two-time minor turf stakes winner, once over a yielding course at Saratoga going a mile and one sixteenth in August, 2018 and again over a good turf at Pimlico on May 17, 2019, Dogtag will no doubt vie for favoritism with a recent race to her credit.TINY TINAOwner: A Venneri Racing, Inc. and Anthony Fanticola Trainer: Phil D’AmatoCompetitive in all three of her graded turf stakes assignments at the current Winter Meet, this 5-year-old mare by Paddy O’ Prado was second beaten a nose three starts back in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel on Dec. 28 at 1 1/8 miles, was second, beaten two lengths in the Grade III Astra at a mile and one half Jan. 19, and was most recently fifth (dq’d to eighth), beaten 3 ½ lengths in the Grade II Buena Vista at one mile on Feb. 22. With an overall mark of 19-5-4-3, Tiny Tina seeks her first stakes win and would be flattered by a lively early pace in the Santa Ana.SUPER PATRIOTOwner: Little Red Feather Racing & Richard BaltasTrainer: Richard BaltasSupplemented at entry time for $2,000, she was claimed seven starts back for $35,000 on June 8, 2019. A 5-year-old California-bred mare by Unusual Heat, Super Patriot has two wins, as many seconds and one third place finish from six starts for Baltas. With only one off the board effort for her new connections, an eighth place finish in her most recent start, the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes on Feb. 22, Super Patriot, who was second, beaten three quarters of a length two starts back in the Grade III Megahertz Stakes on Jan. 20, rates a solid chance in what will be her 28th career start.OUT OF BALANCEOwner: Amerman Racing, LLCTrainer: David HofmansAfter bobbling at the break, this 4-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy recovered to rally from off the pace to take a mile and one eighth turf allowance here on Feb. 17. Well beaten in her only other graded stakes assignment, the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17, 2019, she has two wins from 15 overall starts. An Amerman Racing homebred, she’s out of the multiple Grade I winning Balance, who’s two Grade I victories came on dirt.THE GRADE III SANTA ANA WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PTSuper Patriot–Abel Cedillo–120Streak of Luck–Geovanni Franco–120Out of Balance–Aaron Gryder–120Lostintranzlation–Brice Blanc–120Dogtag–Umberto Rispoli–122Meal Ticket–Tiago Pereira–120Tiny Tina–Flavien Prat–120Siberian Iris–Rafael Bejarano–122Opus Won–Mario Gutierrez–120First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. Due to local, state and federal health decrees, Santa Anita Park remains closed to the public. For updates, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
With the trials done and dusted, the NRL coaches are working frantically to decide on their best 17 players to front up in round 1. It doesn’t look like there will be many NRL debuts handed out for the opening weekend with Cronulla Sharks winger Sione Katoa the most likely uncapped player to get a start.Several high-profile recruits will turn out for their new clubs at NRL level for the first time, including Sydney Roosters duo James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk, Newcastle Knights stars Mitchell Pearce and Kalyn Ponga, Penrith Panthers pivot James Maloney, and Cronulla Sharks pair Matt Moylan and Josh Dugan.Other high-profile recruits set to feature in round 1 include Canterbury Bulldogs star Kieran Foran, New Zealand Warriors duo Adam Blair and Tohu Harris, Wests Tigers five-eighth Josh Reynolds and Parramatta Eels centre Jarryd Hayne.Here is a rundown on each club and the expected team line-ups in round 1. (Note: These articles, originally produced in December, have been updated to reflect a number of changes including injury updates and player club movements) Brisbane Broncos predicted round 1 line-up With Andrew McCullough on the comeback trail from knee surgery, he is set to start the Broncos’ round one clash on the bench with Sam Thaiday running out at hooker in the early exchanges, according to a NewsCorp report. Corey Oates will stay on the wing, not the back row, and Jamayne Issako will be on the other flank.. Star fullback Darius Boyd is fit. Despite concerns with his hamstring, Boyd confirmed that he is fine to play round one. New Broncos recruit Jack Bird will also be absent at the start of the season due to a shoulder injury, with the centre confirming he is anticipating a round four return. Young forward Andre Savelio will not feature in 2018 after injuring his ACL in a trial.Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs predicted round 1 line-upThe Bulldogs don’t have too many injury concerns ahead of round one as coach Dean Pay looks to instil a new attacking culture at the club. David Klemmer is expected to shift to prop with Aiden Tolman dropping to the bench as the Bulldogs as their pack undergoes a revamp.Canberra Raiders predicted round 1 line-upSiliva Havili is primed to get the starting hooker role over Craig Garvey following Josh Hodgson’s ACL injury in last year’s World Cup. Aidan Sezer is also an option for the role, however, but coach Ricky Stuart looks set to start the season with Sezer in the halves alongside Blake Austin.Cronulla Sharks predicted round 1 line-upThe conjecture over where Matt Moylan and Valentine Holmes should play continues but Sharks coach Shane Flanagan says former Penrith man Moylan will line up at five-eighth, meaning Holmes will stay at fullback. Rookie Sione Katoa is also expected to start on the right wing over recruit Aaron Gray.Gold Coast Titans predicted round 1 line-upNew coach Garth Brennan is giving very little away about his team, as reports suggest that recruit Mitch Rein may get a role on the bench. A back-row shift beckons for skipper Ryan James as the likes of Joe Greenwood, Leilani Latu, Jai Arrow and Jack Stockwell battle for spots. Brenko Lee is in doubt to start the season, while Philip Sami could come onto the wing.Manly Warringah Sea Eagles predicted round 1 line-upLachlan Croker is the favourite to get the coveted five-eighth role. Dylan Walker is still on the sidelines with an ankle injury with Matthew Wright likely to fill in at centre. Darcy Lussick will also miss the start of the season, with Addin Fonua-Blake to come into the side.Melbourne Storm predicted round 1 line-upAfter impressing in the trials, Brodie Croft is set to play halfback for the Storm following the shock departure of Cooper Cronk. The returning Ryan Hoffman is a straight swap for the departed Tohu Harris. Newcastle Knights predicted round 1 line-upKnights recruit Slade Griffin is expected to become a starter at hooker, shifting Danny Levi to the bench. Sione Mata’utia is expected to return to centre this season after a stint in the back row. New Zealand Warriors predicted round 1 line-upEager to buck their inconsistencies, the Warriors went all out this off-season and signed Adam Blair, Blake Green and Tohu Harris among others. Also boasting solid depth, Peta Hiku’s strong trial form has him heavily linked to a vacant centre role. North Queensland Cowboys predicted round 1 line-upVeterans Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott return to bolster the halves and front row respectively. New recruit Jordan McLean also slots into prop. Kane Linnett injured his pectoral muscle during the trials, so Javid Bowen is expected to be his replacement in the centres. Parramatta Eels predicted round 1 line-upClint Gutherson would feature in the Eels’ best 17 but his ACL injury will sideline him until at least round four. Bevan French is likely to start at fullback with the returning prodigal son Jarryd Hayne to play at centre. If trials are anything to go by, Brad Takairangi could be a surprise inclusion in the back row. Penrith Panthers predicted round 1 line-upDylan Edwards is a lock for the fullback role following the departure of Matt Moylan. Back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera is in some doubt for round one. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak remains an outside chance for round one. St George Illawarra Dragons predicted round 1 line-upA vacant back-row spot at the Dragons has Tariq Sims and Luciano Leilua fighting it out for a starting berth. Kurt Mann and Euan Aitken are vying for a centre berth in the only other position that coach Paul McGregor has yet to decide upon. South Sydney Rabbitohs predicted round 1 line-upYoungster Campbell Graham was set to nab a starting wing spot but a broken hand threatens to jeopardise his round one chances. Alex Johnston looks to have been given the all-clear to play fullback with Greg Inglis to return in the centres alongside recruit Dane Gagai. Richie Kennar, Hymel Hunt, Jacob Gagan and others are pushing for a wing spot.Sydney Roosters predicted Round 1 line-upThe additions of Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco boosts an already strong Roosters side, although their depth will be tested if they have numerous long-term injuries. Goal-kicking forward Sio Siua Taukeiaho could potentially start at prop, shifting either Dylan Napa or Jared Waerea-Hargreaves to the bench. Wests Tigers predicted round 1 line-upThe Tigers boast a new-look side after a big recruiting drive in the off-season. Tui Lolohea was the front-runner for fullback but Corey Thompson has seemingly usurped him for round one after strong trial form. Esan Marsters, Mahe Fonua and Malakai Watene-Zelezniak are also hopeful of round one berths.
Coach Michael Marum has retained his players from last weekend’s mammoth win against CQ Capras 68-4 in Kokopo as they prepare for this weekend.Hunters will be chasing their ninth consecutive win in order to consolidate the second spot on the Intrust Super Cup points table.Hunters are on 26 points while Dolphins are ninth on the ladder with 14 points.The game at the Dolphins Oval is set for kick-off at 1.40pm.The full SP Hunters side is: 1.Stargroth Amean, 2.David Lapua, 3.Noel Zeming, 4.Thompson Teteh, 5. Adex Wera, 6.Israel Eliab ©, 7. Ase Boas, 8.Henry Noki, 9.Wartovo Puara, 10.Esau Siune, 11.Brandy Peter, 12.Timothy Lomai, 13.Lawrence Tu’uInterchange: 14.Nickson Borana, 15.Atte Bina, 16.Willie Minoga, 17.Enock Maki, 18.Bland Abavu, 19. Roger LakaHunters will be on a bye following Sunday’s game.This allows players selected in the PNG Rugby League 9s team for the Pacific Games to prepare for the July 11 to 12 competitions at the Sir John Guise Stadium.
The women’s heats will see the defending 100m and 200m Pacific Games champion running for the first time in an international meet on home soil.The crowd at the host venue, BSP Stadium, is building up as people continue to make their way into the stadium.Also the men’s 100m heat will be run at 7:10pm, and all eyes will be on the Pacific’s fastest man this season, Rati Bamuve Tabakaucoro.PNG sprinters in the heats are Wesley Logorava, Nazmie-lee Marai and Kupun Wisil.
One of the key recommendations in Richardson’s long-awaited blueprint to grow the game announced on Tuesday was the return of meaningful Kangaroo tours of the UK and France.While he couldn’t envision months-long tours like the old days of the 1978 Invincibles and 1982 Unbeatables, the NRL’s head of game strategy and development is pushing hard for more famous battles with the Lions.With England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland now all challenging individually for World Cup glory, Australia haven’t played Great Britain as such since hosting the Lions for two Tests in 2006.It’s been more than a decade since the Kangaroos played the Lions in a three-Test series in the UK, but that could all change with Richardson proposing the introduction of a dedicated international window.”That whole window that we’ve created for international rugby league at the end of the season brings back a whole lot of opportunities to grow the game and it’s really exciting,” he told AAP.”The resumption of an Ashes Tour would be fantastic.”I don’t think we’ll be playing 26 games, but it will be against the Lions, not just England, and it will be a big deal.”We’ll sell out Wembley and we’ll sell out wherever we go.”Richardson admitted the dynamics and logistics of any such Kangaroos tours were some way off being determined but he said Tests against France were also definitely part of the eight-year plan.”And we’ll probably take an emerging Kangaroos side away with us as well to try and grow the game over there too,” he said.”We’ve got to discuss it. There’ll certainly be four Test matches but we’ll discuss the other things like possible mid-week matches later on.”
12 teams are taking part in the Qualifiers. They have been placed into 3 pools.The overall winner will be promoted to core team status for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.In pool E is: Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Germany and the Cayman Islands. Pool F: Chile, Spain, Mexico and PNG. Pool G: Japan, Tonga, Brazil and Morocco.The match against Spain will kick off at 1:44pm (3:44pm PNG time).The Pukpuks later in the afternoon will go up against Chile at 4:18pm (6:18pm).Finals for the Qualifiers will start on Sunday.