The Northern Territory news Tue 13 Aug 2019
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
TUESDAY AUGUST 13 2019 SPORT 35 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA Tongan Thor stays a Wallaby til 2023 MELISSA WOODS NEWLY-SIGNED Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou is used to being the odd man out in Auckland, so hell feel right at home heading into Saturdays Bledisloe Cup showdown. Tupou, who penned a fresh four-year deal with the Wallabies and Queensland Reds yesterday, grew up in Tonga a Wallabies fan. He then went to Auckland rugby school Sacred Heart College, which has produced more than 20 All Blacks including former skipper Sean Fitzpatrick. But the wrecking-ball forward, who was part of Australias thumping 47-26 win over the All Blacks in Perth on Saturday, never changed his unpopular allegiance. When I was young in Tonga I used to wake up and watch (the Wallabies) against the All Blacks and against South Africa, the 23-yearold said. I used to watch James OConnor and stuff and I was a big fan of Radike Samo, Will Genia and Quade Cooper. I went to New Zealand but I was still supporting Australia back in school I was the only one supporting the Wallabies and the rest were supporting the All Blacks so its crazy now that I am here playing for Australia. I have come a long way. Tupou turned his back on some big overseas offers to re-sign until the 2023 World Cup but didnt really consider going anywhere else. Im happy here, he said. Theres some work to do here, so Im going to work on myself and then after this deal well see how we go after that. The Tongan Thor has won praise from teammates after taking his game and professionalism to a new level. While a viral sensation at school for his bull-dozing runs, he has worked hard to improve his scrummaging to become a world class prop. Lock Rory Arnold says hes seen huge growth. I remember first seeing him, the YouTube sensation, an awesome highlights reel of him running over kids, running amok, Arnold said. Hes got a massive future and to have him around for another four years is a good thing for Australian rugby. Being so young, it would have been disappointing to lose a player like that overseas so Im happy that hes hung around and I cant wait to see what he has to offer over the next four years. Taniela Tupou of the Wallabies passes against Argentina at Suncorp Stadium last month Picture: JONO SEARLE/GETTY Selectors to make tough call on Pocock MELISSA WOODS David Pocock THE Wallabies selectors face a dilemma before Saturdays Bledisloe Cup decider as they weigh up whether to play champion flanker David Pocock and, if so, where. The breakdown king hasnt played since March due to a persistent calf injury but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika indicated last week he could be available for the return showdown with the All Blacks at Aucklands Eden Park. After storming to a dominant 47-26 win in Perth, the Australians have given themselves their best chance to claim the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 17 years. Cheika and his fellow selectors must be sorely tempted to reward the same team with selection, especially given the need to build combinations before the World Cup. He also has a painful reminder of what chopping and changing can do. After Australia won the opening Bledisloe match in Sydney in 2015, Cheika made eight changes for the return game in Auckland, insisting it was all about World Cup preparation, and saw his team thumped 41-13. But Pocock is no ordinary player and, after Saturdays match, theres only one Test against Samoa early next month remaining before the Wallabies opening World Cup game in Japan. That could provide a gentler reintroduction for the valuable Pocock. Origin prop Glasby ruled out for Knights NEWCASTLE will have to make do without representative prop Tim Glasby for Saturdays crucial NRL clash with North Queensland. Glasby copped a head knock in last weekends loss to Parramatta and while the blow wasnt serious he has to be rested as its his second concussion in the past three weeks. As per NRL protocol, hell have a stand-down period for this weeks game against the Cows, Knights physical performance head Balin Cupples said yesterday. Hell follow up with a concussion specialist in terms of protocol this week. The news is a blow for the Knights, who have slipped to 12th on the ladder after the 20-14 defeat to the Eels at Bankwest Stadium. Tim Glasby takes a tackle All Blacks took Aussies for granted DANE Coles has made the ultimate Test rugby concession, believing the All Blacks were guilty of taking the Wallabies for granted ahead of the stunning Bledisloe Cup upset. Experienced hooker Coles said a brutal team honesty session in the wake of the 47-26 loss exposed a lack of intensity and physicality compared to Australia, who havent been so dominant in a trans-Tasman Test for years. A 17-year Bledisloe Cup reign and New Zealands ownership of Super Rugby titles for the past five seasons had seemingly seeped into the players psyche. Coles said they had vowed there would be no repeat in the return match at Eden Park, where thoughts of the World Cup would disappear completely as they set about retaining Lord Bledisloes silverware. It could have been that we took it a bit for granted. We spoke about that, Coles said. As an All Black, thats pretty tough to take but were lucky enough we get another opportunity to prove to everyone in New Zealand how much this means to us.
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