Sunday Territorian 6 Oct 2019
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50 SPORT SUNDAY OCTOBER 6 2019 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Bears player Luke Page Sezer hopes to go with a bang EAMONN TIERNAN C A N B E R R A h a l f b a c k Aidan Sezer wants to leave the Raiders a premiership winner. Sezer was instrumental in guiding Canberra to their first grand final in 25 years but hes expected to leave in the off-season due to the signing of England international George Williams. Sezer is contracted until the end of next season but is free to start talking to rival clubs from November 1 and several teams are looking at a playmaker. The 28-yearold said the only thing he knew for sure was that hed be lacing up the boots somewhere next season, and that his focus was on the grand final. Im still contracted next year so the ball is in my court, well play it by ear, its rugby league, Sezer said. Ill be putting the boots on next year, if its not here it will be somewhere. Sezer emphasised he wasnt looking past the daunting task of taking down the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium. If its my last game or first game for the club, it doesnt really matter. Im playing in a grand final and thats the only thing Im focusing on, Sezer said. Tonights grand final could be Aidan Sezers last game in green Picture: KYM SMITH JT says Cronk one of the best IF JOHNATHAN Thurston was to give the next generation of halves one player to mimic, it would be Cooper Cronk. Its perhaps the ultimate compliment from the NRLs finest player of this century. But its rightly deserved given tonight against Canberra will mark the Sydney Roosters halfbacks ninth grand final and possibly his sixth win. Just his work ethic, how disciplined he is with his preparation. How he gets the best out of his body, Thurston said. He knows how to turn the screws. He will go down as one of the greats. Emotional Jared is weakest link THE slick Sydney Roosters dont have many weaknesses but Canberra legend Glenn Lazarus believes enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is one player that the Raiders can exploit tonight. As much as Lazarus rates Waerea-Hargreaves, he also feels the New Zealander, who has been charged by the judiciary 19 times, is vulnerable under pressure. Jared plays with a lot of emotion, said Lazarus. Weve seen how many times he has been at the judiciary. A lot of those times he gets in trouble is when emotion takes over. From schoolgirls to biggest stage MILLIE Boyle thought playing Oz-Tag alongside Kezie Apps as a teenager would be the height of her rugby league career she was wrong. In a fairytale sporting story for two Bega High School friends, Boyle will today go head-to-head with Apps at ANZ Stadium in the NRL Womens grand final when the Broncos take on the Dragons. Broncos prop Boyle spoke about her friendship with Apps as she prepares for today. We both went to the same high school, Boyle said. Now to be playing against each other in a grand final is something we will never forget. Page is determined Burleigh Bears will leave ANZ Stadium as champions BURLEIGH Bears skipper Luke Page is out to make amends for their embarrassing 54-12 National State Championship drubbing in 2016 when he runs on to ANZ Stadium this afternoon. Today has extra meaning for the 28-year-old, who will share the main stage with his former teammates from Canberra the club where he spent much of his 2015 season. Page developed a close bond with a number of Canberras current crop of first-graders, including flyer Jordan Rapana. The pair had played together at Souths Logan Magpies in 2014 before both travelling to the nations capital for a shot at the NRL. Page eventually moved to the Dragons and then back to Burleigh, where he now wants to show the country what hes made of on the biggest stage of the rugby league calendar. It has been four years since a Queensland Intrust Super Cup team has claimed the national trophy, when the Ipswich Jets defeated the Knights 26-12 in 2015. The following year, Burleigh were humiliated in a 54-12 trouncing by the Illawarra Cutters. Page said the club had been really, really serious in preparation for their clash with the Newtown Jets this afternoon. It overshadowed our premiership in 2016, getting beaten by that much, Page said. We have spoken about it. We pretty much got em barrassed down in Sydney so we dont want that repeat at all. We want to show everyone what type of club Burleigh are and really put in a good performance. We want to bring that trophy to Queensland. The Jets are bolstered by an array of NRL talent including Cronulla players Jayson Bukuya, Scott Sorensen and Blayke Brailey. IT was the three-day torture camp that built Canberras resistance. Told time after time he had a side that lacked mental ferocity, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart organised a camp to test his players psychological strength and bring him closer to a premiership. Army camps arent new they are a regular part of most clubs pre-season training to give players a physical edge coming into the new season. But this three-day camp wasnt about getting fitter or stronger. It was purely about mental resilience. It happened in November last year when most teams were on an off-season break. Having listened to his players during their post-season review last year, Stuart knew his team needed a harder edge. He thought there was nothing wrong with their skill or football ability but they needed a dramatic mental shift. We were told that we werent mentally tough and we had no resilience, Stuart said. I believed we had more than others thought, but the camp wasnt a typical armystyle of camp. A lot of preparation went into it in terms of finding out who was going to be a team player. It was a good start but not everyone bought in. But everyone has bought in now. United camp is trick for Raiders MICHAEL CARAYANNIS Josh Papalii fronted up just two days after his wedding. He brushed a honeymoon to try to turn around a horrid last season that resulted in his axing from the top grade. Papalii said the choice was easy. Me and my missus have been together forever so we can go on a honeymoon whenever, Papalii said. The army camp was the worst idea to attend, but Im glad I went. It was one of the toughest camps Ive ever done. We had a total lack of sleep and I love my 10-hour sleep. Its all worth it now. The players were largely based at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Duntroon on the outskirts of Canberra, but the camp took in different parts of the capital. The instructors used sleep deprivation as a technique for bonding. Players slept outside and were woken at all hours to do fitness drills as sprinklers sprayed water into their faces. They did a beep test at 5am, flipped endless numbers of tyres and held bricks above their heads as they completed fitness drills. Skipper Jarrod Croker said Papaliis presence helped set the tone for the season. We were all a bit dusty still after his wedding and he came, Croker said. That showed the type of player he wanted to be.
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