The Northern Territory news Thu 5 Oct 2017
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36 SPORT THURSDAY OCTOBER 5 2017 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Meninga takes shine to Gold Coast MAL Meninga has confirmed his interest in a potential coaching role with the Titans, saying he would love to have a conversation with the club. The Gold Coast are yet to confirm a coach for 2018 following the departure of Neil Henry after a very public dis pute with star player Jarryd Hayne. There is a long list of contenders to take over from Henry, including recently axed NRL coaches Michael Maguire and Des Hasler. Ipswich Jets coaches Ben and Shane Walker, who are desperate to bring their uncon ventional approach and style of football to the elite level, have been interviewed for the top job. The current Kangaroos coach said if the Titans approached him hed be keen to discuss ways in which he could help rebuild the club. Warriors confirm the signature of Blair KIWI skipper Adam Blair is returning to New Zealand and will join the Warriors from the start of 2018, the Aucklandbased NRL club has confirmed. The Whangarei-born prop has signed a three-year contract and is the clubs fourth recruit, along with backrowers Tohu Harris (Melbourne), Leivaha Pulu (Gold Coast) and centre Gerard Beale (Cronulla). A member of Melbournes grand final-winning side of 2009, Blair, 31, has spent the past three seasons with the Brisbane Broncos. The Warriors have failed to make the finals since 2011 and chief executive Cameron George says securing Blair is crucial to the clubs quest for improvement next year. Warriors coach Stephen Kearney has worked with Blair as Kiwis coach and as assistant at Melbourne and Brisbane. NORTHERN Territory athletics has launched a cry for help as the number of major events begins to outnumber officials and volunteers. Athletics NT president Kevin Mulvahil (pictured) said his sport badly needed numbers to grow away from the sporting arena. The biggest concern weve got is more clubs, more events, more members and more people competing makes for good watching, but weve still got the same officials, volunteers and coaches as organisers, he said. Last months Mitchell Mile attracted a record number of athletes and spectators, but official-wise we were struggling and some mistakes were made. Weve got development programs in place and with that an opportunity for people to become coaches and officials, and thats what has to happen. Mulvahil said attracting and keeping was also an issue for a sport that had plenty of content around the NT. The big positive is there is a lot more happening than ever before with the Mitchell Mile, City 2 Surf, Palmerston Fun Run, the Masters Games and now the Arafura Games in 2019, he added. The standard of officialdom is high. Weve got three of our own going to the Commonwealth Games in April in Steve Darling from Alice Springs, Roger Chin from Dar Consultant to assess Warren Park operational costs FROM BACK PAGE The right people are running these sports and their clubs, but managing a piece of infrastructure at $25 million requires a different skill set, Mead (pictured) said. We have to make sure the asset is managed properly. If its not, then it becomes a liability and the cost will go straight back down and affect clubs. We need to have a more professional look at how we manage that infrastructure and not just from the build, but for the whole life-cycle. Mead said government investment in sport infrastructure was crucial both socially and fiscally, but business mod els had to accompany it to ensure financial security. Its about sitting down and thinking about how to manage sports infrastructure. We know what the maintenance costs are going to be, so whos going to be responsible for that and how does that change our sporting landscape? he said. There needs to be a clear understanding on the financial implications of the building life-cycle and who is responsible for that the sport, government or a combination. This needs to be upfront for the clubs, NRL NT and the taxpayer. A government spokesperson told the NT News the hired consultant would work with NRL NT and its clubs to put both on a solid footing for the future. Discussions are ongoing between the Northern Territory Government, NRL and NRL NT regarding the Warren Park financial model that will allow the code to grow once based at this new $25 million facility, the spokesperson said. Cowboys star Jason Taumalolo (right) gets a shot on Melbourne rival Tohu Harris in the NRL grand final on Sunday Picture: DAVID MOIR RUGBY league powerhouse Jason Taumalolo has officially turned his back on New Zealand to play for Tonga in this years World Cup campaign, sending shockwaves through a beleaguered Kiwis camp. Widely considered the best forward in the world, 24-yearold Taumalolo was born in Auckland with Tongan ancestry and has thrice played for Mate Maa. Yet, in a move that all but negates his shot at World Cup glory this year, Taumalolo has decided to represent Tonga over New Zealand. The 2016 Dally M Medal winner justified his decision by declaring his wish to develop rugby league in the Polynesian country. He said he hoped to continue playing for both countries in the future. Yet Taumalolos motives may not be so straightforward, with reports suggesting his decision to play for Tonga is directly related to the ousting of ex-Kiwis teammates Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor. The pair who would both be certainties for the Kiwis starting side were involved in a drugs scandal after Mays 30-12 Anzac Day Test loss, and were subsequently barred from Cup selection by boss David Kidwell. I see, with the new international rule change, an opportunity to represent both Tonga and New Zealand throughout my career, Taumalolo said. I have and will always be proud to wear the Kiwis jersey. I just feel the World Cup provides developing nations like Tonga an opportunity to play on the big stage, and Id like to help them. The loss of Taumalolo is a bitter blow to Kidwell, who is already devoid of Bromwich and Proctor and appears likely to lose Tohu Harris. The Townsville-based wrecking ball was in vintage NRL form in 2017, making more than 5000 running metres as his club earned a grand final berth. Mal Meninga has apologised profusely to jettisoned forward Sam Thaiday following the former representatives attack on the Kangaroos coach on Tuesday. Thaiday tore into Meninga after failing to receive a phone call to be informed of his axing from the 24-man squad for the upcoming World Cup. Taumalolo punts New Zealand for Tonga Running short on support win and Sanchez Sing. Where are the answers? For me they have to come from within and without, with athletics beginning to explode and a handful of people to run it. Mulvahil highlighted the national deeds of 14-year-old Jack Peris in 200 and 400 metre running events as an example of the class of athletes coming out of the NT. Another big change is the merger of Athletics Australia, Little Athletics and Australian Masters into one major organisation. The push from Athletics Australia is to pull them all together as one sport and call it Athletics NT and on November 11 well have a planning day on subjects like that, he said. Another issue well be looking at is how do we start building on what weve got and where do we go forward. Weve made a hell of a lot of mistakes by trying to push the boundaries and in some cases it hasnt all gone to plan despite all intentions being good. Weve been criticised on social media for making mistakes, but weve learnt from them. I welcome anyone to pick up the phone, explain to me what went wrong and also offer a suggestion on how to fix things. Members of the public willing to help Territory athletics continue their expansion plans can ring the head offie of Athletics NT on 8945 1979. GREY MORRIS Athletics NT seeking help
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