The Northern Territory news Fri 12 Jul 2013
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www.ntnews.com.au Friday, July 12, 2013. NT NEWS. 31 P U B : NTNE-WS-DA-TE:12-JGE:31 CO-LO-R: C-M Y-K Stars out, babies must grow up BRONCOSVSHARKS LAST rounds 32-0 humbling at the hands of Melbourne still irks the Broncos. But it is another result that haunts Brisbane as they look to make amends without their State of Origin contingent against the Sharks at Suncorp Stadium tonight. The job of lifting without their four Queensland stars including captain Sam Thaiday was made that much harder for Brisbane yesterday when ex-Test prop Ben Hannant (calf) remained on the injury list with centre Jack Reed. However, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin insists his side did not lack motivation before lining up in the vital clash with topfour outfit Cronulla. The last time a Brisbane side without their Origin stars ran out this season they suffered a record 56-18 loss to the New Zealand Warriors their biggest-ever defeat at Suncorp Stadium. Griffin said it was time the Baby Broncos grew up. That night was very disappointing, he said of the 10-tries-to-three loss on June 3. Thats obviously some thing none of us are happy with. Its important that we go out and do a better job. Another spur will be putting on a display worthy of the former greats they will mingle with at the clubs 25th anniversary gala ball tomorrow evening. Griffin believed there were encouraging signs as they faced the tough ask of winning six of their last eight games to scrape into the finals. Last week we were just a little bit eager to get points on the board. The positive was the opportunities we created, he said. Defence Bellamys grand design BULLDOGSVSTORM MELBOURNE coach Craig Bellamy says the Storm will need a repeat of their punishing defence to stop a Ben Barba-led Canterbury in their NRL grand final rematch on Sunday. The Storms defence was at its brutal best in their crushing win against Brisbane last round, denying the Broncos several times on the try-line. The real pleasing thing is that we were getting bodies there, people were working really hard to get into position to try and stop tries, said Bellamy. Its something we always try to build our games on, especially when we have got our senior players out, its probably doubly important. Both teams will be without their State of Origin stars, with Bellamy saying their absence from the ANZ Stadium clash took some of the gloss off the match. I think they (NRL) have probably missed a really good opportunity to get a good crowd there, he said. Im not sure why or how its happened, we just get the draw and we deal with it. One star he is expecting to have an impact on the game is Dally M Medal-winning Bulldogs fullback Barba, whom he believed was back to his threatening best. There has been some comment that he hasnt been in his best form this year, Bellamy said of Barba. I watched a bit of vision of the Bulldogs . . . hes playing every bit as good as he was. Perhaps other things around him arent working as well as they were last year but . . . every time he gets the footy youre expecting something to happen. Fifita feeling the mileage Firebrand prop Andrew Fifita has played more games than any other NRL player this year Picture: GETTY IMAGES By NICKWALSHAW NSW ORIGIN prop Andrew Fifita has played more games this year than any other NRL player and he knows it. Am I feeling a little fatigued? Yeah, the 114kg enforcer said. Ive had a lot of footy this year. Havent missed a game since the All Stars and it is starting to take a toll. To be honest, Ive never had to play so much consecutive footy before, especially at such a high level. But, funnily enough, its also becoming an Origin player thats helped me to deal with the extra toll it brings. Boasting just one Test appearance with Tonga before the start of this season, Fifita will officially play Game 20 next Wednesday night in the blockbuster Origin decider at ANZ Stadium. The figure, which doesnt include trial matches, is the most of any NRL player. Incredibly, the only other player to currently boast 19 games is Wests Tigers forward Ben Murdoch-Masila. Yet while Murdoch-Masila earned one of his appearances in Tongas Test side that played Samoa in April, another three matches have been in NSW Cup. So while Fifita, who started the year in the Indigenous All Stars side, has been asked to play more first class footy than any other footballer, he insists his emergence with the Blues also has him ready to handle the increased workload. In fact, the 24-year-old Sharkie reveals he was only hours into his first Origin camp with NSW when an awkward truth struck him he wasnt an Origin player at all. It happened walking down the corridor of our hotel, Fifita recalls now a month on. Looking into the first room, I saw Jarryd Hayne, who was on the floor stretching. A bit further down, I went in to see Gal and he was icing up an injury. Across the hall, Mitchell Pearce was doing the same. Thats when I thought to myself hang on, Ive got a few niggling injuries too. Why am I not doing any of this?. Id just never thought of being that professional before. I guess in club footy you finish a training session and its OK, lets go to the shops. Or maybe a few of you head off for a walk. But here, everyone keeps working. And now, so does Fifita. Definitely, things have changed for me, he continues. Apart from watching how these guys prepare, Ive also spoken about it a bit with Gal and Luke Lewis. Theyve just been telling me not to go out in my spare time. To chill, relax, go home and just hang out with the family. And as for his thoughts on the culmination of hard right hands, wrestling accusations and widespread threats of payback that is Origin III? My thoughts? Blues will win, he laughs. I hear everyone talking up the Billy Slater elbow, the punches . . . not here in camp, in the papers . . . but, for me, its over. We lost game two, fair enough. Now we have a decider. Bring on Wednesday.