The Northern Territory news Wed 28 Apr 2021
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
46 SPORT WEDNESDAY APRIL 28 2021 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Melbourne Storms Christian Welch tries to break Sione Katoas tackle. MELBOURNE forward Christian Welch says with a grin its a myth that players hate short turnarounds between games. At least it is at Storm, and with good reason. Short turnarounds are really good for us players because Bellzer (coach Craig Bellamy) cant get his hands on us too much, so its all about recovering and getting up for the game, Welch said. So for the boys, I dont think there are any concerns about a five-day turnaround (this week), and especially being at home its going to be great to be in Melbourne for the week and then get back out on AAMI. The 5-2 Storm will on Friday night face an injury-hit Cronulla side coming off a loss to bottom-placed Canterbury. Melbourne has faced a brutal start to the season against all the top teams, but the Queensland State of Origin forward said there would be no sense of complacency when facing the struggling Sharks. The NRL is such a tight competition that if you go out there with a sense of arrogance and entitlement expecting to win games, youre going to get a pretty rude awakening, he said. Well have our work cut out for us and they have plenty of star players, and we might see one of our own in Will Chambers suiting up for them. That would be really exciting to see if he could get a game for them this week. I know hes just come back to rugby league but theyve got a really tough team and there is a bit of a modern rivalry between Melbourne and Cronulla. NO BELLY-ACHING SO GOOD NICK SMART JOSH Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Nick Cotric, Kyle Flanagan, Corey Allen and now Brent Naden Bulldogs fans, you finally have a backline to salivate over. Naden, 25, is set to quit the Panthers, reject interest from Wests Tigers and Parramatta, to sign a two-year deal with Canterbury from next season. His impending acquisition will continue an impressive build-up by the Bulldogs for 2022. And it means Canterburys backline next season will have speed, power and a wow factor. Nadens defection to Belmore isnt yet official but News Corp has been told the deal is close to being finalised. Penrith wanted to retain Naden (pictured) and interest from Wests Tigers was genuine but the strike centre has a close working relationship with Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett. The pair built a strong bond at Penrith when Barrett was an assistant coach. Naden is also mates with Burton and Jack Hetherington, former Panthers now signed with Canterbury. Parramatta also entered the chase for Naden but will be ultimately unsuccessful. Penrith has a bulging salary cap and was unable to match the Bulldogs offer for Naden, who comes off contract after this season. Naden has been impressed at how keen Canterbury was to sign him for 2022 and 2023. Allan Gainey, Nadens agent, was reluctant to discuss too many details about Nadens future but did concede: We have done the rounds and Brent has spent three days at home with his family discussing things. Trent knows Brent insideout. He knows what he can get out of Brent and how to develop him. Doggies hell-Brent on success DEAN RITCHIE Tom Dearden. WITH two key signings in the halves locked away for 2022, the Cowboys have turned their attention to retaining the services of Scott Drinkwater. The North Queensland five-eighth is fighting for his future at the club beyond this season, and the acquisitions of Chad Townsend and Tom Dearden in the past week have raised questions regarding his place in the side. However coach Todd Payten confirmed on Tuesday the enigmatic 23-year-old was very much in their plans moving forward, and they were close to beginning negotiations. He also said they were actively seeking an edge backrower and a middle forward to bolster their stocks, while also keeping hold of several young players already in their ranks. Drinkwater began the season at fullback, but in light of Michael Morgans retirement he has since shifted back to his preferred number six jersey. While he has had some moments he would rather forget, his form has improved each week contributing five try assists throughout the Cowboys three-game winning streak. With Valentine Holmes seemingly establishing himself at fullback, Drinkwater would enter a three-way race for a spot in the halves next year should he re-sign, while also keeping the pressure on the Queensland star for the num ber one role. Payten said he could not predict what would be the case months down the track, but the young star was ticking the right boxes and was the next cab off the rank in terms of our recruitment. Its hard to say, he could end up in either position. He wants to play five-eighth; hes improving from week to week, and hes taking in some information which is good, he said. He cares about winning and losing and he cares about his performance. But its very hard to predict whats going to happen in five, six, seven months time. We havent started negotiations but its not far from starting. In a boost to the Cowboys prospects of winning a fourth game straight this weekend, superstar lock Jason Taumalolo has been named to return from his second hand injury of the campaign. The now sole captain the club has not featured since the round one defeat at the hands of Penrith, however North Queensland have gone through a rare period of success without him. Payten switches focus to Drinky NICK WRIGHT Scott Drinkwater. Broncos kicked Dearden from pillar to post: manager THE Broncos have been accused of playing mind games with Tom Dearden and kicking him from pillar to post in the wake of the Brisbane playmakers defection to Queensland arch-rivals the Cowboys. As North Queensland prepare to enlist club champion Johnathan Thurston to mentor the rookie, his manager Sam Ayoub has broken his silence on the contract spat that has led to Deardens demise at Red Hill. Dearden will link with the Cowboys from next season on a three-year deal worth $1.1m, but if the Toowoomba-born playmaker had his wish, he would have finished his career as a oneclub champion at the Broncos. Just last week, Broncos coach Kevin Walters insisted Dearden was part of his future and vowed not to lose him, but Ayoub claims the 20-year-old was never given the opportunity to show his loyalty. Tom would have stayed at the Broncos for life but they have done nothing but kick him from pillar to post, Ayoub said. I read somewhere that the Broncos didnt want to get into a bidding war with the Cowboys for Toms services. You cant be in a bidding war if you dont make an offer and the Broncos never made him an offer. I spoke to Pete Nolan (Broncos football operations chief) and he said he was waiting on Kevvie (Walters) to decide what he wants to do. We gave Brisbane every opportunity to retain him. Tom is a loyal kid with country values but in the end the Cowboys, to their credit, were determined to get him. Since he joined the Broncos as a 15-year-old, Brisbane scouts have rated Dearden one of the most gifted playmakers to come through their development system, but alarm bells have begun to ring. As Brisbanes starting halfback, Dearden has not won a match in almost two years. PETER BADEL