Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Thu 20 Aug 2020



The Northern Territory news Thu 20 Aug 2020

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT






Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.

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News Corp Australia

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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News Corp Australia



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36 SPORT THURSDAY AUGUST 20 2020 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Cooper Johns will make his NRL debut for the Storm on Thursday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES COOPER Johns will make his NRL debut for Melbourne Storm on Thursday night. Johns, 21, was placed on standby after Melbournes win over Sydney Roosters when starting halfback Jahrome Hughes pulled up with groin soreness. Storm coach Craig Bellamy advised Johns early in the week to prepare to play, with Hughes rated only a 50-50 chance to get up in time to face the Eels. Johns will be the clubs third NRL debutant this season. The son of NRL great Matthew Johns and nephew of Immortal Andrew Johns will partner stand-in five-eighth Ryley Jacks in the halves. Bellamy spoke glowingly on Wednesday about Johns eagerness to learn and attitude. Hes a pretty level-headed kid actually, very level-headed on and off the field, which is probably not a Johns trait, especially off the field, Bellamy laughed. I hope Matty and Joey dont mind me saying that. Before successful careers on television and radio, the Johns brothers, who both represented NSW and Australia, played 446 NRL games and helped the Knights claim the 1997 premiership. Young Johns older brother Jack has played two games for South Sydney and represented Italy. Hes a different shape to both his dad and Joey (Andrew Johns), not quite as solidly built (but) you can certainly see (similarities) especially with the skill aspect, Bellamy said. Off the field he acts more like a 40year-old than a 20-year-old but hes a terrific kid to have around and his education in footy is second to none. SON OF A GUN GETS DEBUT NOD GILBERT GARDINER Shane Flanagan. Craig Fitzgibbon. NRL players facing axe EXPECTED COVID-19 cutbacks could see anywhere between 100 and 130 players left without an NRL club from next season. The NRL is locked in toplevel talks with the RLPA about reductions in salary cap and roster sizes for 2021. The 2019 salary cap for each club is $9.6m. Coaches claim the salary cap could be reduced by between 5 per cent and 10 per cent, prompting the current 30-man squad to be cut back to 28, or even 26. And coaches are also anticipating having their six development players reduced to two or three. That could mean six to eight players from each club may be pushed out. It could save the game up to $1m. The cost-cutting would see squeezed-out players forced back to second or even third tier competitions to continue their football careers. News Corp has confirmed the NRL is in discussions about axing squad sizes due to a smaller salary cap. All costs throughout NRL clubs will be trimmed. Some assistant coaches fear losing their jobs. NRL coaches and chief executives are contacting one another regularly to discuss the proposed slicing of costs from League Central, which have managed to keep the game moving despite haemorrhaging money this year. One NRL coach said: Everyone is in a holding pattern at the moment because the NRL decides how many playersit wont be 30. It will be 28 or even 26 because of costs. And development players, it was six but they say it will come down to either two, three or four. Its a lot of players. The grant may stay the same but costs will come down. Clubs will have to trim their salary cap and their budget. These are interesting days. Theres no money. Another club CEO said: There is talk the salary cap may be cut by 10 per cent but I think 5 per cent is a more realistic figure. NRL coaches are not involved in the NRL-RLPA negotiations. Development players who have already signed existing deals will be permitted to honour their current contracts. One official close to the NRL said: If players are squeezed out of their NRL squads, it doesnt mean they will be lost to the game. They would go and play in a secondtier competition, default back to the next level of the game. The NRL was unable to confirm the size of the cut. DEAN RITCHIE CRAIG Fitzgibbon looms as the ideal candidate for St George Illawarras next coach after the club put together a three-tiered criteria. Theres only one problem the Dragons have to convince him to leave the Sydney Roosters. The Dragons have outlined a three-tiered criteria which mirrors the success Wayne Bennett had at the club to select their new coach as they move to appoint a mentor before the end of the season. The Dragons board met for the first time on Tuesday since the club parted ways with coach Paul McGregor last week. The major talking point was identifying what it wanted out of its next coach, rather than who that might be. News Corp has learnt the three core elements the candidate must have included are being defensive minded, strong on discipline and have spent time in a successful cul ture. Those three elements are what Bennett brought to the club when he ended the Dragons premiership drought in 2010. While Bennett is unlikely to be pursued, the most obvious candidates who tick those boxes are unavailable. Former Dragons Fitzgibbon and Jason Ryles have been immersed in successful cultures at the Roosters and Storm respectively but neither want an NRL head coaching role next year. Fitzgibbon brushed recent advances from the Warriors even with the potential of taking on the head coaching role in 2022 to recommit to the Roosters until at least the end of next year. That may not stop the Dragons from asking the question though. Assistant coach Shane Flanagan is also unlikely to be cleared by the NRL in time for next season. Interim coach Dean Young is expected to put his hand up while Paul Green and Shaun Wane are also likely to be considered. Dragons search for Bennett factor in new coach MICHAEL CARAYANNIS TEVITA Pangai Jr has told Brisbane bosses he wants to remain at Red Hill as club legend Darren Lockyer emerges as a powerful figure in saving the controversial forwards career at the Broncos. Pangai Jr may yet receive a stay of execution, with Lockyer throwing his support behind him in a stance that will ignite fierce boardroom debate. Pangai Jr held talks with Lockyer on Tuesday to discuss his future at the Broncos in the wake of his NRL-imposed $30,000 fine for COVIDguideline breaches. The Broncos board has formally issued the Tongan Test star a breach notice with a view to tearing up Pangai Jrs lucrative contract. But Pangai Jr is digging in his heels. Despite interest from the Warriors and Parramatta, Pangai Jr has said he wants to honour his deal with the Broncos and Lockyer shapes as a high-level trump card. Tevita has plenty to offer as a player, Lockyer said. He has made some selfish choices on the field at times and he has made some selfish decisions off the field, but we cant put all the blame on Tevita. Locky in Tevitas corner PETER BADEL

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