The Northern Territory news Wed 9 Jul 2014
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22 SPORT MONDAY JUNE 9 2014 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Super Hooper effort challenges captaincy curse MICHAEL Hooper might want to think twice when offered Test rugbys poisoned chalice, the Wallabies captaincy, today. Hooper became the youngest Australian skipper in 67 years on Saturday night when his teams infamous captaincy curse struck down Stephen Moore within one minute at Suncorp Stadium. Moore is now preparing for a knee reconstruction and the rest of 2014 in rehab after rupturing his anterior cruciate and medial ligaments in his left knee. Its a devastating and ironic blow to the 92-Test hooker who performed like a Trojan through 15 Tests last year, hardly taking a backward step in a team racked by inconsistency and a questionable culture. Moores injury continues a three-year jinx which has seen Rocky Elsom, James Horwill (three times), David Pocock, Will Genia (twice) and Ben Mowen all lose the captaincy for a variety of reasons. Hooper, 22, is now poised to be handed the role for the rest of the three-Test series against France after thriving with the responsibilities in the 50-23 thumping of Les Bleus. Coach Ewen McKenzie declined to confirm the appointment yesterday but lavished praise on how the NSW flanker made a seamless transition. He has a style about (captaincy) that I respect, said McKenzie ahead of Saturdays second Test against France. It didn't affect his playing, he played exceptionally well and thats part of it too Hes a lead-by-example sort of guy and highly respected in the playing group theyre all good attributes. Neither does McKenzie have a tough decision at hooker, with Tatafu Polota-Nau producing an outstanding 75minute display in the seven-try blitz. But the Wallabies cant hide the fact theyve suffered a massive blow with Moore, only appointed six days ago, ruled out of action until next season kicks off. It wasnt the only injury disappointment for the Wallabies, and Brumbies, as lock Sam Carter man of the match on debut suffered a high ankle strain which will see him miss the next two Tests. He did it in the seventh minute, that really gives you an idea how tough the bloke is, McKenzie said. STORM 12 ROOSTERS 32 SYDNEY ROOSTERS Tries: A Minichiello 2 R Casty M Pearce R Tuivasa-Sheck S Williams Goals: J Maloney 4 MELBOURNE Tries: M Fonua K Mann Goals: C Smith 2 Crowd: 16,757 at AAMI Park Referees: S Hayne, H Perenara Raiders revved for Brisbane CANBERRA might be in the midst of another crisis but skipper Terry Campese believes a win over in-form Brisbane can provide his NRL side with the perfect tonic. The Raiders have slumped to 14th place after four losses from their last five starts. James Tedescos signing backflip during the week also left egg on their faces, becoming the fourth star to publicly say no to the clubs recruiting efforts under new coach Ricky Stuart. Brisbane, on the other hand, have stamped themselves as one of the competitions form teams after a 36-10 victory over heavyweights Manly gave them their third straight win. Theyll be further buoyed by the return of centre Justin Hodges. But Campese was relishing the chance to knock off the Broncos at Canberra Stadium tonight to help get his sides season back on track. You like to play against the best teams and the best players in the competition, Campese said. Theyre full of Origin players and theyll be out to push for Origin spots. If we can get the win, it will boost (our) confidence. While the match will be played after the injury-plagued Maroons squad is announced on Monday, several back-up options are likely to be included after Greg Inglis joined Billy Slater under an injury cloud ahead of Origin II. Knocking on the door of Maroons selection is Raiders fullback Anthony Milford. With Milford also heading to the Broncos next year, Raiders captain Terry Campese acknowledged the 19-year-old livewire would also have a point to prove. He's a competitive guy, Campese said. Rawiri pulls pin after gallant Titans swept aside WESTERN Australia won its fifth consecutive Affiliated States rugby league crown yesterday by beating a weary Territory Titans outfit 40-10 on the last day of the titles. The Sandgropers were too strong and too organised for a Titans side without several stars playing their third match in as many days. The loss also signalled the end of an era for Titans coach Mike Rawiri, who announced he would not be continuing in the role after more than a decade in charge. The Titans were in the game at half-time when they trailed 14-6. But a quick sequence of three WA tries early in the second half sealed the result. We fell away in the second half when they used the bomb to great effect after they worked through their sets into their attacking half, Rawiri said. It was like an instant re play, they worked it out perfectly and realised we were struggling to cope with the ball in the air. But we were always struggling and playing catch-up Our preparation for the championships was not good enough and it showed against the good sides like WA and Victoria. Ive always said preparation, good or bad, reflects on your performance. And thats how it turned out this week. Rawiri will end a 40-year association with rugby league when he severs his ties with the Titans. Thats it for me, he said. There are big challenges in front of me in my employment and I cant wait to tackle them, he said. You know when its time to go and that has come for me. Ive got a great job with the NT Government and Sport and Rec and I want to apply myself fully to it. There are some exciting opportunities in front of me with the indigenous Sports Unit and I want to be part of it well into the future. The 2014 crown was Western Australias 12th overall since the championships began in 1994. The Titans, champions in 2004, finished third this year ahead of home state South Australia who failed to win a game. The Croweaters ended the titles with hardly a whimper, being thrashed by the Merv Michaelian-coached Victorians 66-0. Roosters whip up a Storm SYDNEY Roosters halves James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce made another statement about their State of Origin omission with leading roles in a 32-12 win over a depleted Melbourne Storm. Dumped from the NSW line-up for the opening Origin clash, the pair orchestrated the six-try to two NRL romp at AAMI Park yesterday. The Storm went into the match without injured superstars Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater and with skipper Cameron Smith at five-eighth partnering Ben Hampton. Hampton struggled with his kicking game that left the home side short of options and they were unable to get across the tryline in the first half, going to the break down 16-0. Melbourne moved Ben Roberts to five-eighth in the second half to try to spark their attack and it reaped almost instant rewards as he found winger Mahe Fonua on the charge to open their account in the 48th minute. Just when it appeared a Storm comeback was on the cards, Maloney sent the ball wide to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck who showed dazzling footwork to push the lead to 14 points. Sonny Bill Williams then ran on to a short ball from Maloney to plant the ball down and assure the defending champions of the win. Diminutive fullback Kurt Mann, who made his NRL debut in round nine, was rewarded as one of the Storms best with a late try after Roberts popped him a clever ball. The visitors started with intent and were first across the tryline in the seventh minute on the back of two Storm penalties with skipper Anthony Minichiello diving across in the corner. Minichiello added his second try in the final minute that capped the victory. Pearce and Frenchman Remi Casty also touched down in the first half as the burly Roosters forwards made plenty of ground up the middle. Sonny Bill Williams is congratulated by teammates Anthony Minichiello and Sam Moa after scoring a try for the Roosters against Melbourne at AAMI Park yesterday Picture: SCOTT BARBOUR By JIM MORTON RUGBY UNION NRL LADDER ROUND 13 P W D L B +/- Pts Panthers 12 8 - 4 1 71 18 Bulldogs 12 8 - 4 1 59 18 Sea Eagles 12 8 - 4 1 52 18 Roosters 13 8 - 5 - 97 16 Rabbitohs 13 8 - 5 - 96 16 Tigers 12 7 - 5 1 -11 16 Eels 12 7 - 5 1 -12 16 Broncos 12 7 - 5 - 64 14 Storm 12 6 - 6 1 -50 14 Titans 12 6 - 6 1 -57 14 Cowboys 13 6 - 7 - 69 12 Warriors 13 6 - 7 - 3 12 Dragons 12 5 - 7 1 -66 12 Raiders 12 4 - 8 - -86 8 Knights 12 2 - 10 1 -94 6 Sharks 12 2 - 10 1 -135 6 By GREY MORRIS AFFILIATED STATES