The Centralian Advocate Fri 28 May 2021
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48 SPORT FRIDAY MAY 28 2021 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 BRONCOS CHASING SUA THE Broncos are ready to ramp up their pursuit of Queensland star Jaydn SuA following his shock axing from South Sydneys top 17 on the eve of Origin I. The off-contract SuA is reportedly becoming increasingly homesick and his relegation by Wayne Bennett for Saturdays clash against the Eels will only intensify his desire to return to live in Brisbane. That has opened the door for the Broncos, who are keen to add an experienced edge forward to their roster next season with back-rower and captain Alex Glenn tipped to retire at seasons end. Brisbane is also considering Penrith utility Kurt Capewell, who is a free agent for 2022. Sharks hail Rudolf, Kennedy signings THE Cronulla Sharks have beaten off interest from rival clubs to secure lock Toby Rudolf and fullback Will Kennedy on new deals worth a combined $2.5 million. Rudolf, 25, has agreed to a threeyear contract and Kennedy, 24, a two-year extension. Both were earmarked as crucial signings for new coach Craig Fitzgib bon in recruitment meetings in recent weeks, having been the Sharks best players in a difficult year. Rudolf, a tearaway middle forward, had huge interest from rival clubs including the big-spending Canterbury Bulldogs. Im stoked to get it done, Rudolf said. To get some security at the club that gave me a start is really satisfying. Rudolf rang Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett on Wednesday to inform him he was staying at the Sharks. His goals now are to play State of Origin and win Cronullas second flag. Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta said the signings were a huge boost. They were priority signings for us, Mezzatesta said. Fitzy was keen that we locked them both down for obvious reasons. There was interest from rival clubs Its a competitive landscape.Jaydn Su'A. PHIL ROTHFIELD NORTHERN Queensland has emerged as a possible replacement for the MCG to host game one of the State of Origin on June 9 as Victoria teeters on a seven-day lockdown. ARLC chairman Peter Vlandys said Townsvilles new 25,000-seat Queensland Country Bank Stadium was being considered as an alternative to the famed MCG. There are a number of venues we are looking at Canberra is one, Adelaide is another and possibly Northern Queensland as well, Vlandys said. The problem with that is it Origin may head north is not a neutral venue but it would be a huge boom for them, too. Weve got a good relationship with the Queensland government as well. Its all in the mix. But the first priority is to have it at the MCG. If we cant, we have all these options available to us. The biggest sticking point with North Queensland is the NRLs preference to move to a neutral location to avoid giving the Maroons a home ground advantage. Perths Optus Stadium, a neutral venue, is another option. The NRL is anxiously watching Victorias escalating Covid situation after the outbreak reached 26 cases, with 11 new positive cases recorded overnight on Thursday. Victorian health officials added the MCG to the list of affected venues on Tuesday after a positive case attended an AFL match between Collingwood and Port Adelaide at the weekend. The next few days will be crucial in determining if a venue change is unavoidable. If infection numbers do not decline, and continue to increase on a daily basis, its unlikely the MCG will be a viable option. The MCG will remain an option only if case numbers improve and the Victorian government allows the ground to operate at around 50-60 per cent capacity for game one on June 9. Vlandys and the NRL are in discussions with the Victoria government. Out of courtesy to Victoria we are not going to do anything until we finalise our discussions with them. Weve got a contract with the Victorian government, which we respect, Vlandys said. Naturally were a good partner. When people are down the last thing you want to do is affect them so were trying our best to help the Victorian government and we are waiting on them. On Thursday morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared her state was ready to take over from Victoria as host of game one. Were putting our hand up as I know other states are as well, Palaszczuk said. I can confirm that were in discussions with the NRL. Suncorp Stadium or Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville are ready to host a game on June 9. The Melbourne Storm, who are already on the Sunshine Coast, have decided to remain in Queensland indefinitely. A number of AFL teams have already relocated from Melbourne to ensure Round 11 fixtures can take place over the weekend. FATIMA KDOUH Storm fullback Nicho Hynes during his outstanding game against the Broncos. Picture: Getty Images HYNES PUTS ON A SHOW FOR BRONCOS JOEL GOULD STORM gun Nicho Hynes put in the perfect audition for a Broncos contract as Melbourne retained its 12-year unbeaten record against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium. The Broncos have tabled an offer for the off-contract Melbourne fullback and Brisbane bean counters may have to bump up the dollars after Hynes turned in a masterclass in the 40-12 win. Without four of their injured big guns Cameron Munster, Harry Grant, Ryan Papenhuyzen and Christian Welch the Storm had too much weaponry and smarts for the bumbling Broncos, who were unable to replicate their form from their boilover win over the Roosters. The win was the Storms ninth in a row and all by 13 points or more, an NRL record. Hynes, Brandon Smith, Cooper Johns and Jahrome Hughes all shone as Melbournes key men stood up against a hapless Brisbane, whose recalled Anthony Milford turned in a shocker at five-eighth. HYNES AUDITION Hynes wants to be a starter and he showed the value he offers at fullback with two try assists, three linebreaks, a try and a personal haul of 16 points. Fox Sports commentator Shane Flanagan said Hynes display the fullback also ran for 177m shows what a great player he is and the Broncos will vouch for that. JACK de Belin will not face a third trial over sexual assault allegations after the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions decided to drop the case, opening the door for his onfield return. The St George Illawarra forward was accused of assaulting the then 19-year-old woman, alongside his friend Callan Sinclair, inside a North Wollongong unit in December 2018. De Belin, 30, and Sinclair, 24, pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault and denied allegations they had forced vaginal, oral and anal sex on the alleged victim inside the unit. A jury last month cleared de Belin and Sinclair of one sexual assault charge. De Belin (pictured) and Sinclair repeatedly maintained during their evidence at trial that they engaged in a consensual threesome with the woman, after the trio met on the dancefloor of the popular Mr Crown bar. De Belin faced two trials but both failed to come to a conclusion after juries said they could not reach a verdict. The Dragon, who has been sidelined under the NRLs nofault rule since late 2019, was facing the prospect of a third trial before the NSW District Court. However, his management and legal team have been advised that the DPP decided against proceeding. The matter is scheduled to be mentioned at Sydneys Downing Centre District Court on Friday. The DPPs decision not to pursue charges opens the door for the former NSW State of Origin forward to return to the field immediately. De Belin last played on September 15, 2018. De Belin sex case charges dropped STEVE ZEMEK