Sunday Territorian 18 May 2014
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SUNDAY MAY 18 2014 SPORT 59 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Maroons expected to stick by out-of-form trio THEYRE renowned for it and Matt Scott doesnt think Queensland selectors are about to ditch loyalty ahead of this months State of Origin opener. Scott believes injured forward Sam Thaiday will be given every chance to prove his fitness before the May 28 Game I clash in Brisbane. Hes also backed out-ofsorts Chris McQueen and Josh Papalii to be in the team when its revealed by coach Mal Meninga tomorrow. Thaidays niggling calf injury means if hes picked the 28-year-old will go into the game having not played for over a month after he was ruled out Brisbanes team to play rivals Gold Coast on Friday night. Scott thinks Thaiday has earned the trust of selectors and shouldnt be overlooked despite his injury woes. Sammy in particular will be given as much time as he can given what hes done for the team, Scott said. Hes a big part of the Ma roons. Hes played on the edge there for a while now. He does a really good job there for us, has done for a long time. McQueen and Papaliis positions are under threat due solely to a lack of form, with both having been axed from South Sydney and Canberra's first-grade teams for a period this season. Test front-rower Scott, who will be one of the first names selectors will write down on their squad list given his stellar recent form for North Queensland, believes both will be given the benefit of the doubt. They (selectors) are very loyal so Josh and Chris have got really good chances still, he said. If theyre fit and healthy I expect theyll be around about. Scott is also backing Cowboys teammate James Tamou to be on the NSW teamsheet for Game I after his recent club form. I thought the last two weeks in particular has been some of the best footy hes played for us, Scott said. Sharks bite dust in thriller WESTS Tigers winger David Nofoaluma has denied biting Cronulla forward Wade Graham, as the visitors secured a come-from-behind 22-20 NRL win over the Sharks at Remondis Stadium last night. With five ex-Tigers in the Sharks line-up, emotions boiled over on several occasions in a brutal but actionpacked affair, with the firsthalf biting allegation the biggest flashpoint. The Tigers ultimately snapped a two-game losing streak to get their top-eight charge back on track, roaring home from 20-10 down, with Robbie Farah and Luke Brooks orchestrating the great revival. Farah made a successful return from a dislocated elbow which had kept him out since round six, while Paul Gallen produced a massive performance for the Sharks in a double boost for NSW on the eve of State of Origin. Cronulla say no official complaint has been made against Nofoaluma and Graham refused to comment with respective captains Gallen and Farah also claiming there was nothing in it. However, Graham was none too pleased on the field when the incident occurred midway through the first half, asking referee Gavin Morris, why would I react like that? Morris replied: What's the allegation? Graham then said He bit me on the head. The NRL dont necessarily need an official complaint to pursue the matter with the match review committee, however without video evidence any charge would be difficult and replays on Fox Sports seemed inconclusive. Canterbury prop James Graham copped a 12-match suspension after biting Melbournes Billy Slater in the 2012 grand final, even though the Storm didnt complain. Nofoaluma who wore a mouthguard during the game told AAP post-match that any contact between his open mouth and Grahams head was completely accidental and says he never clenched. I remember running and as I made contact with him my mouth happened to be open and as I came down I didn't clench or anything, he said. Im confident I didnt and whatever he thought I have no idea. I couldn't really do nothing and its one of those things. I don't think theres any dramas. The game exploded in the second half, with four tries scored in nine minutes. It was the Sharks who came up with the first two through Gallen and Michael Gordon to assume control, but in the blink of an eye Cronullas defence opened up and the Tigers hit back through Cory Paterson and Chris Lawrence. By BEN HORNE RUGBY LEAGUE SHARKS 20 TIGERS 22 WESTS TIGERS Tries: C Lawrence D Nofoaluma C Paterson P Richards Goals: P Richards 3 CRONULLA Tries: P Gallen M Gordon S Tagataese Goals: M Gordon 4 Crowd: 15,869 at Remondis Stadium Referees: G Morris, H Perenara Wests Tigers winger Pat Richards succumbs to the tackle of Cronulla pair Anthony Tupou (left) and Paul Gallen (obscured) during last nights NRL premiership clash at Remondis Stadium in Sydney Picture: RENEE McKAY McCrone cant hide his delight AFTER two weeks of the most horrific sideline viewing of his career, recalled Canberra playmaker Josh McCrone is kid in a candy shop excited. Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has temporarily scrapped the Jack Wighton experiment in the halves, promoting McCrone from reserve hooker to halfback for todays NRL clash with Penrith Panthers at Canberra Stadium. Wightons move back to centre is one of several key changes aimed at stopping the rot after leaking 108 points in their past two outings. McCrone, who has played more than 100 games for the Raiders in the halves, is champing at the bit to rekindle his partnership with Josh Papalii on the right edge. Ive missed his secret handshakes and stuff, McCrone said. Were like kids in a candy shop. Being on the bench has been the hardest adjustment not playing the 80 minutes and feeling helpless. Our talk has got to pick up more weve been playing individually a bit too much. And taking that ball to the line and playing really square, so we can create some space for our outside backs to give (Anthony) Milford a little room to move. COWBOYS 42 ROOSTERS 10 NORTH QUEENSLAND Tries: K Linnett 3 T Sims B Tate J Thurston M Wright Goals: J Thurston 7 SYDNEY ROOSTERS Tries: A Minichiello D Mortimer Goals: J Maloney goal) Crowd: 15,361 at 1300SMILES Stadium Referees: S Hayne, A Gee Roosters woeful week ends in mauling THE Sydney Roosters NRL pain could turn into more woe for NSW after the visitors suffered a 42-10 mauling by North Queensland and had Blues hopeful Boyd Cordner hobble off with an ankle injury. The defending premiers had plenty to play for at 1300 Smiles Stadium last night following a week in which halfback Mitchell Pearce was stood down and fined after a drunken night in Kings Cross. But it became a seven-day period to forget for the Roosters who were comprehensively outplayed and also picked up an injury concern. Cordner limped off in the 32nd minute after a clash with Brent Tate that left him with a suspected syndesmosis injury that could cost him up to six weeks on the sideline, meaning he'd be unavailable for the entire Origin series. While the Roosters wilted Johnathan Thurston delivered some milestone magic, his 200th game in Cowboys colours in front of 15,361 fans in Townsville one of his best. Thurston, a certainty to be named for Queensland tomorrow night to play his 28th Origin, laid on three tries, kicked seven goals and scored a try of his own. He kicked perfectly for Tariq Sims to impersonate Superman with his comical swan dive over the tryline, wrong-footed makeshift half Sonny Bill Williams to put Kane Linnett over for his second try and threatened with every touch of the ball. The game was all but over at half-time as the Cowboys raced out to a 30-6 lead. Linnett bagged a hat trick while Thurston, Sims, Tate and Matthew Wright all scored tries in the rout. It was also the third straight win for the resurgent North Queenslanders, who languished near the bottom of the ladder after just two wins in the opening seven rounds.