Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Sat 22 Sep 2018



The Northern Territory news Sat 22 Sep 2018

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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News Corp Australia

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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News Corp Australia



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SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 22 2018 SPORT 79 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Cronullas Andrew Fifita is tackled during the Sharks preliminary final clash against the Melbourne Storm last night at Melbournes AAMI Park, with the Sharks comprehensively beaten by the defending premiers Picture: BRETT COSTELLO OVER to you, Cooper. When Cooper Cronk moved to Bondi last year it marked the end of the Big Three at the Melbourne Storm and supposedly signalled the demise of the most dominant era in Australian sport in any code. Losing Cronk certainly hurt Melbourne and could still do so next week when the Storm return to ANZ Stadium looking to become the first team in more than 20 years to defend the NRL crown, should the Sydney Roosters get past Souths tonight. The reigning premiers, who roared back to their brilliant and devastating best, hammering a depleted Cronulla Sharks 22-6, have the luxury of watching with interest as Sydneys traditional rivals duke it out for a place in next Sundays decider. The Storm cycled through three halfbacks this season, trying to do the impossible and fill Cronks boots. Young gun Brodie Croft went from Cronkbot to pariah in five weeks, then Ryley Jacks and Jahrome Hughes had turns in the playmaking role. It was meant to be the Storms achilles heel. Surely halfback by committee wont stand up in the furnace that is finals football. Think again. Not only did Croft stand up last night, in his finals debut, but his work in close and 19thminute try put the Sharks on notice. And it didnt take long for the old guard to stamp its authority on the grand final qualifier played in the shadows of the MCG in front of an adoring crowd of 26,621 at AAMI Park. Guess who? Billy Slater, in his last appearance in Melbourne the sizzling Storm superstars first-half double drove the dagger through Sharks hearts. Slater, like the Storm, went into the game with the weight of the world on his surgically repaired shoulders. This could have been the end. Thankfully, it wasnt. Not yet anyway, as the Immortal-in-waiting sweats on the NRL match review committees grading of a shoulder charge. And Slater made sure of it with a vintage show-and-go close to the line to set up the first four-pointer. The second, running on to a dinky kick off the boot of Cameron Smith, was a gift after the Sharks got distracted by a skirmish behind play. The Sharks were their own worst enemy last night, early when it mattered the most, gifting the Storm territory and possession on the back of avoidable penalties and handling errors. You just cant do that, not in Melbourne, not in a final, not on the big stage, not with the Storm in such a mood. The Storm were brutal with and without the ball. They ran hard and tackled harder. Ball control and poor completions, sounds familiar, right? Well, the Storm wrestled their own problems in that de partment for most of the season, before finally clicking into gear during the mid-season Origin block. Eight straight wins righted the Storm ship and despite minor lapses in the run to September, the reigning premiers are again the team to beat. GILBERT GARDINER Fifita in running to captain Tongans ANDREW Fifita has emerged as a shock Tonga captaincy contender after skipper Sika Manu was ruled out of next months historic rugby league Test against Australia with a knee injury. Tonga coach Kristian Woolf is reeling after Manu suffered the season-ending injury in Hull FCs UK Super League last-round loss to St Helens just days after naming his initial 29-strong Test squad. Thats devastating for the team. Hes an integral part of the side, we will certainly miss him, Woolf said. North Queenslands Jason Taumalolo and Canterbury livewire Will Hopoate appeared favourites as fill-in skippers for Tongas first clash against Australia after sharing the captaincy in Manus absence in Junes Pacific Test. But Woolf believed Fifita had shown this year he could step up and lead the Mate Maa in the October 20 clash in Auckland. We have emerging leaders in the group like Jason Taumalolo and Will Hopoate but there are a number of guys who have real leadership potential like Andrew Fifita, Woolf said. He has certainly shown some leadership at the Sharks this year but it will come down to who we think is best suited. Roosters deny role in sext scandal SYDNEY Roosters coach Trent Robinson says its sad the club has been accused of being involved in the sexting scandal surrounding South Sydney and star Sam Burgess. The Rabbitohs are investigating allegations by a woman that a social media account reportedly owned by Burgess was used to communicate lewd images to her in May. And ahead of the NRL preliminary final between the rival clubs, wild speculation arose about the Roosters leaking the images to media outlets. Robinson emphatically denied the claims yesterday. If you want to shift blame to us, then youve got some issues. We havent been involved in this at all. People want to live their lives and thats fine. Im not going to comment on that, he said. Thats issues that are happening external to us. Its got nothing to do with us its sad if you want to deflect like that. The conspiracy theory has added to the longstanding rivalry between the neighbouring clubs in a blockbuster match that also marks the final game at Allianz Stadium before its rebuild. Robinson was unsure how the scandal would impact on their opposition. Only they can answer that thats up to them, he said. STORM 22 SHARKS 6 MELBOURNE Tries: B Slater 2 B Croft Goals: C Smith 5 CRONULLA Tries: L Lewis Goals: V Holmes Super Cooper awaits? Sharks hammered as replacement for Storm defector shines in finals debut

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