Sunday Territorian 24 Aug 2014
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SUNDAY AUGUST 24 2014 SPORT 57 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Hamilton tops practice times as rivals bring out the red flag LEWIS Hamilton has topped the times ahead of his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in Fridays twice red-flagged second free practice session ahead of this weekends Belgian Grand Prix. The 29-year-old Briton, who was second behind Rosberg in the morning session, clocked a best lap of one minute and 49.189 to finish clear at the top of the times on a typi cally incident-filled day at the old Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Belgian Ardennes. Rosberg was six-tenths of a second slower than Hamilton to finish second ahead of twotime champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button of McLaren on a rare dry day at the track. Valtteri Bottas was sixth for Williams ahead of Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso, Australian Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull, Danish rookie Jan Magnussen in the second McLaren and Nico Hulkenberg for Ford India. The session began under a heavy black cloud and produced two major red flag accidents, but nobody was injured. The first came when Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado lost control of his Lotus car in the approach to Pouhon and hit the barriers heavily. He was quickly in communication with the team via radio to say he was unhurt, but his car was seriously damaged and he was out for the rest of the session. The second red flag came when Mexican Esteban Gutierrez spun off at Blanchimont in his Sauber. In the intervening periods of on-track action, Alonso clocked 1:51.693 to go top before Hamilton, who was second behind Rosberg in the morning practice session, regained the ascendancy by taking half a second out of the Spaniards best time. Ricciardo, Red Bulls sole representative in second practice as four-time champion Sebastian Vettel waited for an engine change, also ran off the circuit without damage. With 40 minutes to go, all the leading drivers switched to softer tyres and Hamilton stayed on top while Frenchman Romain Grosjean reported that his Lotus was all over the place and difficult to drive. Rosberg then swept to the top of the time-screens with a lap in 1:49.793, but was swiftly replaced as Hamilton responded in 1:49.189. Precarious spot but Warriors confident STAR halfback Shaun Johnson is backing the Warriors to bounce back from a disappointing defeat and keep their NRL playoff fate in their own hands. The Warriors are precariously placed ahead of their clash with premiers the Sydney Roosters in Auckland today. Having been knocking on the door of the top four, they fell to eighth in a congested mid-table after Newcastle upset them 28-22. It was the second of two successive sub-par performances from the Warriors, after they scraped through for a 16-12 win over Cronulla. But Johnson is confident the Warriors can do the business against the in-form Roosters. Were still in the eight, but we dont to be waiting on other results to see if we stay there, he said. The best way we can take care of that is by winning. Were up against it this weekend against a pretty good side, but Im more than confident we can get it done. The Warriors havent made the playoffs since their grandfinal appearance in 2011 and the past two seasons have featured damaging late-season slides. Johnson believes the Warriors have developed mentally since then. The match against the Knights was Johnsons first after three weeks out with injury and he said he came through without any pain in his problem groin. The Warriors will have blockbusting centre Konrad Hurrell back from a hamstring complaint and will also celebrate forward Ben Matulinos 150th first-grade appearance. They will face a Roosters side on a three-match winning streak and backing up from a 48-4 thrashing of Wests Tigers that put them at fourth. The line-up the Sydneysiders have named is chock full of international and Origin talent, including the Kiwi stars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Sam Moa and Frank-Paul Nuuausala. They could also have Sonny Bill Williams back after a month out with a thumb injury, the second rower having travelled with the squad across the Tasman. Rabbitohs run ragged by classy Cowboys North Queensland halfback Johnathan Thurston brings down South Sydney forward Tom Burgess during last nights NRL premiership clash at ANZ Stadium Picture: MARK KOLBE NORTH Queensland have scored their most impressive win of the season, a 22-10 defeat of premiership favourites South Sydney, to stamp themselves as a genuine NRL title threat. With Johnathan Thurston pulling the strings, Kyle Feldt scored a first-half double for the visitors at ANZ Stadium last night. The Cowboys kept their hopes of a top-four berth alive with a near-perfect opening half of football in which they completed 18 of 18 sets. The four-tries-to-two-win moves the Cowboys to sixth on the NRL ladder, with Souths missing a fantastic chance to move to the top rung after Manlys loss to Parramatta on Friday. A disappointing effort from Souths was further soured by a hamstring injury to halfback Adam Reynolds, who left the game in the 70th minute and didnt return. The Cowboys have consistently struggled to win in Sydney as they seek a maiden NRL title, but that hoodoo has been blown away this year. On the back of a dominant performance from their forward pack, the Cowboys flexed their premiership muscle from the outset. With James Tamou returning on the bench after a month out with a back injury, Thurston opened the scoring with an eighth-minute penalty goal before the Queensland playmaker put Jason Taumalolo over. Three minutes later a Thurston long ball helped Kyle Feldt over in the corner as the Cowboys galloped to a 12-0 lead. Feldt scored his second try in the 36th minute for a 16-0 lead at the break. Antonio Winterstein scored in the 52nd minute to put NQ ahead 22-0, before Souths finally scored in the 56th minute. Joe Picker crashed over next to the posts after a blatant forward pass in the lead-up. The home side were due some luck after a try to Luke Keary was earlier disallowed, as the video referee ruled he grounded the ball on the line, when the call could have gone the other way. There were also suspicions of obstruction in Feldts second try. But it was a much-deserved win for the Cowboys to bounce back well from their last-start 23-22 loss to Penrith on Monday. RABBITOHS 10 COWBOYS 22 NORTH QUEENSLAND Tries: K Feldt 2 J Taumalolo A Winterstein Goals: J Thurston 3 SOUTH SYDNEY Tries: A Johnston J Picker Goals: A Reynolds Crowd: 17,171 at ANZ Stadium Referees: J Maxwell, C Butler NRL LADDER ROUND 24 P W D L B +/- Pts Sea Eagles 22 15 - 7 2 116 34 Rabbitohs 22 14 - 8 2 221 32 Panthers 21 14 - 7 2 79 32 Roosters 21 13 - 8 2 180 30 Bulldogs 22 13 - 9 2 15 30 Cowboys 22 12 - 10 2 175 28 Storm 21 12 - 9 2 64 28 Eels 22 12 - 10 2 -60 28 Broncos 22 11 - 11 2 95 26 Warriors 21 11 - 10 2 88 26 Dragons 21 10 - 11 2 -49 24 Tigers 22 9 - 13 2 -212 22 Titans 21 8 - 13 2 -97 20 Knights 22 8 - 14 2 -168 20 Raiders 21 5 - 16 2 -195 14 Sharks 21 5 - 16 2 -252 14 Gee it feels nice, in Mannah of speaking, but Knights next PARRAMATTA co-captain Tim Mannah has warned his teammates Fridays stirring come-from-behind win over Manly will count for nothing unless they can beat Newcastle next weekend. The rejuvenated Eels, wooden spooners for the past two seasons and without a finals appearance since 2009, have their destiny in their own hands and will finish in the top eight with victory over the Knights and Canberra in their last two games. The 22-12 win over the NRL table-toppers who led 12-0 at halftime was one of the best performances from an Eels side in several years and Mannah said it was a huge result and he is daring to dream of the finals. I dont like looking back too much but gee it feels nice to be where we are right now, Mannah said. A Manly side rated as one as the best teams in the NRL were simply blown away in the second half by Brad Arthurs men but the Knights are one of only two sides to beat them at Parramatta Stadium this season. There will also be a huge crowd at Hunter Stadium for the clubs last home game of the season which is also the Knights popular old boys day. By JAMES MacSMITH in Sydney