Sunday Territorian 24 Aug 2014
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
56 SPORT SUNDAY AUGUST 24 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Winning in the rain falls mainly on Shane but he hates it SHANE van Gisbergen hates driving in the rain not that you could tell yesterday. The Kiwi opened the weekends V8 Supercars round at a soggy Sydney Motorsport Park with wins in both 100km races. Not since Sandown in November 2011 has the championship endured a full day of wet racing, but van Gisbergen mastered it in his Holden to claim his first set of back-toback victories. I cant explain why I go all right in (the wet), said the Tekno Autosports driver, who started the pair of sprints from fourth and sixth respectively. Ive never enjoyed it. It rained almost every race in Formula Ford in New Zealand and sitting in an open cockpit car was the worst thing. I do, though, enjoy floating the car around and sliding a lot. The result helped Holden secure the manufacturers championship for a fifth straight year. Red Bull Racings Jamie Whincup, who finished fourth and third in the two sprints, extended his series lead to 69 points over Ford Performance Racings (FPR) Mark Winterbottom. Yet the Holden star, who also broke Peter Brocks record for most pole positions in Australian touring car history, maintains its still too early in the season to worry about the 2014 title. Im not thinking about the championship at all I certainly wasnt being conservative out there, said Whincup, chasing a record sixth crown this year. It was dog-eat-dog, I was trying to win that (second) race and the best I could do was third. Winterbottom was intent on regaining his spot on top of the leaderboard after losing it to Whincup last round, but could only manage two 12thplace finishes. Hes 186 points ahead of veteran Craig Lowndes in third. The day went a little better for his younger FPR teammate Chaz Mostert, who went from 16th in race one to second in race two. Holdens Tim Slade was the slippery tracks first casualty after clashing with Ford pilot David Reynolds on the opening lap of the first race. The Supercars round closes with a 200km race at 3.15pm today. Raiders want Sharks to take one final spoonful of medicine NEW Canberra co-captain Josh McCrone hopes Cronulla players will be distracted by this weeks latest ASADA dramas ahead of todays battle for the wooden spoon at Remondis Stadium. The Sharks, already ravaged by injuries to several topline NRL players, wont be able to call on Paul Gallen and An thony Tupou, who have accepted a one-month backdated ban by the anti-doping authority following a probe into the clubs supplement program in 2011. Injured pair John Morris and Wade Graham have also been suspended but would have been unavailable for the visit of the Raiders with Nath an Gardner, who is also banned, being kept out of the side by the form of fullback Michael Gordon. The Raiders havent finished with the wooden spoon since their inaugural season in 1982 and defeat against the Sharks would almost certainly guarantee them rugby leagues most ignominious honour for the second time. It would also see coach Ricky Stuart become the first man to guide two different clubs to a last-place finish following his disastrous reign at Parramatta 12 months ago a side who have become rejuvenated by his replacement Brad Arthur. But McCrone is confident Canberra will have enough to beat the Sharks and said theres been no mention of the wooden spoon at the club. To be honest weve not spoken about it, McCrone said. There are six points out there and a lot of things that have to happen before that is handed out. Its been a disappointing year that we are even talking about the wooden spoon but we maybe have to hit rock bottom to bounce back. The Sharks have hit rock bottom several times over the past 18 months ever since the infamous darkest day in Australian sport press conference in February last year. They are as desperate as the Raiders to avoid finishing last. Hodges spurs on Broncos barrage IT SEEMS seems everything old is new again at Brisbane. With once and future coach Wayne Bennett watching on, Justin Hodges turned back the clock at a soggy Suncorp Stadium to lead the Broncos to a thumping 48-6 NRL win over Bennetts Newcastle last night. While new boy Ben Barba scored an 11-minute secondhalf hat-trick as the Broncos ran in six tries in the final 23 minutes, it was Hodges who stood out in the nine-try to one romp. With Josh Hoffman sidelined due an ankle injury, the 32-year-old stepped into the breach and played fullback for the first time in a Broncos jersey since Bennetts previous era in 2006. The result was devastating as the Queensland State of Origin representative ended the match with three try assists, four tackle busts and 123 metres from 16 runs. Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin has six wins from eight matches against the man wholl replace him at Red Hill. The victory also keeps the Broncos firmly in the fight for a top-eight berth ahead of next weekends second-last round clash with St George Illawarra. We had to put someone there and he actually wanted to play there, Griffin said of Hodges. Hes played fullback for us in attack, or played that role for us in attack, for a lot of periods during games this year so that wasnt anything new He wanted the challenge of playing there ... tonight he did a good job. The Knights, already reeling from the ASADA doping ban absences of Kade Snowden and Jeremy Smith, suffered a crucial blow pre-game when Jarrod Mullen was ruled out with a corked calf. Bennett praised Hodges display but said the loss of Mullen had been a telling one. Dragons hunt for vital spot ST GEORGE Illawarras representative winger Jason Nightingale has declared any less than finals football will be an underachievement for the NRL joint venture this season. After a topsy-turvy year, the Dragons finally have found some calmer waters, with interim mentor Paul McGregor signing a three-year deal on Friday to become head coach. The Dragons rocketed to the competition lead after an unbeaten opening three rounds, before winning just one of their next eight games, leading to the sacking of coach Steve Price in May. McGregor has righted a wobbling Dragons since and has been rewarded for his impressive efforts by club boss Peter Doust, with supercoach Wayne Bennett turning his back on a return to St George Illawarra in favour of Brisbane. Starting with todays clash against Gold Coast at Kogarah, Nightingale says the Dragons have no excuses if they cant qualify for the finals despite a disrupted season. It is in our hands and we have given ourselves the opportunity to make the eight. We could have done better; we could have been in a comfortable position by now but that is the way our season has gone, Nightingale said. It is great that we have turned things around to put ourselves in this position but not making the finals would be an underachievement. Finals footy is beyond the Titans but Kiwi international Nightingale is wary of a Gold Coast side who consistently trouble the top sides. Gold Coast prop Luke Douglas will miss the rest of the season after taking a backdated 12-month ban over Cronullas 2011 supplements program. Queensland forward Nate Myles has also been ruled out the remainder of the season with a bicep injury. BRONCOS 48 KNIGHTS 6 BRISBANE Tries: B Barba 3 J Reed 2 M Gillett L Maranta C Oates D Vidot Goals: C Parker 4 B Hunt 2 NEWCASTLE Tries: K Sims Goals: K Gidley Crowd: 22,822 at Suncorp Stadium Referees: G Badger, C James By ROJE ADAIMY in Sydney By ED JACKSON in Brisbane Brisbanes Jack Reed and opposing Newcastle centre Dane Gagai clash last night Picture: PETER WALLIS