Monthly Archives: March 2019

Broncos’ Boyd slams Hunt’s NRL critics

Dragons star Ben Hunt has been backed to have good NRL final by Brisbane rival Darius Boyd.An unlikely ally has slammed the “terrible” criticism of maligned St George Illawarra No.7 Ben Hunt ahead of Sunday’s NRL elimination final against Brisbane.

Before lining up against Hunt, Broncos captain Darius Boyd threw his support behind his former teammate and hit out at the social media criticism aimed at the Dragons halfback this year.

In his first season of a lucrative $6 million deal, Hunt has felt the heat as the Dragons’ hot early season form fell apart before they were relegated to seventh ahead of the finals.

“The criticism has been pretty terrible to be honest,” Boyd said of Hunt, who he played alongside at the Broncos from 2015-17.

“It’s hard not to hear all the criticism (of Hunt), which is pretty disappointing.

“I don’t want to go into it too much, but we’re all human beings and we all play rugby league for the love and the fun of it.

“Some of the criticism that he’s got is pretty disappointing in my opinion.”

The social media abuse got so bad that Hunt’s wife Bridget hit out at her husband’s critics on Instagram barely a week ago.

Boyd still expected Hunt to be at his best in Sunday’s knockout final.

He conceded Brisbane were wary of the ex-Bronco after he tore them apart in the Dragons’ season-opening 34-12 romp.

“I hope he has a good game. Not good in where he beats us but good in that he goes alright because he is a good fella and a good player,” Boyd said.

“He got the No.7 jersey for Queensland this year which was definitely warranted.

“We need to attack him in certain ways to tire him out. We will work out a gameplan this week.

“Ben Hunt is quality player and we need to watch out for him.”

Brisbane booked a home final after leapfrogging the Dragons into sixth with a 48-16 win over Manly at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Labor waits for Morrison’s plan on energy

Energy spokesman Mark Butler says Labor is waiting on the details of the government’s energy policy.’s energy policy needs bipartisanship for it to move forward and give industry certainty, Labor’s climate change spokesman says.

Mark Butler told ABC TV on Sunday that Labor would wait for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reveal his detailed plans on energy policy before showing their cards.

“We want to see what the final position of Scott Morrison is,” he said.

“Angus Taylor as an appointee to the energy portfolio is not a good signal around bipartisanship. He was a leading player in killing not just the last prime minister in a political sense but also killing any hope of bipartisanship around the NEG.

“We will see if there is any hope of resurrecting this.”

He said the National Energy Guarantee had been “junked” by the Liberal Party’s climate sceptics without an alternative solution. Deep division within the party over the NEG was one of the catalysts for overthrowing Mr Turnbull as leader.

“The key to this was getting bipartisanship. What electricity sector investors and other business groups have been craving for is some measure of agreement between the two major parties going forward that would allow them to invest,” Mr Butler said.

“What happened two weeks ago is an enormous smashing of investor confidence in this critical part of the n economy.”

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham dismissed suggestions on Sunday the $15 billion free trade deal with Europe could be in jeopardy after the nation’s actions on climate change.

Rather, he said, the government was on track to “meet and exceed” the Paris commitments despite calls from conservative MPs to abandon the agreement.

Forward to decide NRL final: Paul Gallen

Cronulla’s Paul Gallen says their forwards can nullify the Sydney Roosters’ in their NRL qualifier.Gallen expects a tough game against star-studded minor premiers the Sydney Roosters but is confident the Sharks will prevail by winning the battle in the middle.

He believes his side can neutralise James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk by dominating with their forward pack in Saturday night’s NRL qualifying final.

The winner of the Allianz Stadium encounter earns a week off and a path straight to the grand final qualifier.

And while the showdown between Tedesco and Sharks star Valentine Holmes will be worth the price of admission alone, Gallen predicts the forward battle will be key.

“They’ve got all the names in their side,” Gallen said.

“We’ve just got to turn up and do our job. At the end of the day, whoever wins that battle in the middle can eliminate some or either one of what them two blokes can do.

“It’s going to be a big challenge for us coming up against a star-studded team.”

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan agrees, pointing to how the Roosters forwards ran roughshod over Parramatta on Saturday night despite the absence of chief enforcer Dylan Napa.

He said it was the best method to neutralise their attacking threats, including Luke Keary.

“Obviously they’re without Napa but they’ve got some powerful forwards that created a platform for Keary and Cronk to just get over the ad line and play their shapes,” Flanagan said.

“We need to be able to make sure that we’re winning that battle in the middle part of the field and we’re going forward defensively so they haven’t got all the time that they had last night.”

Flanagan hinted at giving star prop Andrew Fifita more than the 52 minutes he played in Sunday’s win over Canterbury, in which he scored a try, carried the ball for 119m and offloaded four times.

“Andrew was definitely one of those players who knew that next week is the big show. It’s hard for him. He wanted to get through and we just limited his minutes,” he said.

“Definitely it was a plan to share the whole minutes (today), where next week it’ll be back to my plan that you do your job and I’ll worry about them minutes.”

Flanagan also confirmed Ricky Leutele and Jesse Ramien are likely to return from injury.

Pay sees finals return for Bulldogs in ’19

Canterbury coach Dean Pay insists recent signs point to a possible return to the top eight in 2018.Canterbury coach Dean Pay believes his team showed enough improvement during the final six weeks of their regular season to suggest a finals return in 2019.

Pay was in danger of finishing with the wooden spoon in his first year in charge after the Bulldogs won just four of their opening 18 games.

But led by senior players Josh Jackson and David Klemmer, as well as the emergence of youngster Lachlan Lewis, the Bulldogs finished with four victories in their final six games.

Their 12th-placed finish was one spot lower than last year, when coach Des Hasler was sacked despite having more than two years left on his contract.

Pay insists the recent signs point to a possible return to the top eight next year.

“That’s what we’re aiming to do. We want to build into our pre-season off the back of what we’ve done over the last six to eight weeks,” Pay said.

The former Bulldogs forward said the squad would be buoyed by an injection of recruits during the summer, including Penrith pair Corey Harawira-Naera and Christian Crichton.

Newcastle duo Jack Cogger and Nick Meaney will also arrive, as will Wests Tigers prop Sauaso Sue, while Kieran Foran, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Marcelo Montoya return from injury.

The players begin off-season training on November 1 with the of aim avoiding a third straight finals absence for the first time in more than 50 years.

Pay credited his nucleus of Jackson, Klemmer, Aidan Tolman and Adam Elliott for keeping the playing group upbeat despite a disappointing campaign.

“They’ve really held us together,” Pay said.

“We’ve competed really hard each and every week. We’ve missed out by not too many points on a number of games. We’re really excited about what we can do next year.”

Vic Marist brother jailed for abusing boys

An elderly Marist brother and former school principal who sexually assaulted five boys in regional Victoria while giving them “sports massages” will serve nine months in jail.

But a spokesman for child sex abuse victims has slammed the sentence as too lenient, calling it tokenistic and “appalling”.

Gerard McNamara, 80, molested the aspiring athletes at St Paul’s Catholic College in Traralgon between 1970 and 1975, including one boy he abused some 30 times.

As sports master and principal of the school, McNamara usually assaulted his victims on a massage bench in a sports shed after they had suffered injuries during athletics.

County Court Judge Duncan Allen condemned McNamara’s “abhorrent” actions as he jailed him for three years on Monday, but suspended most of the term given his age, ill health and the unlikelihood of him reoffending.

Judge Allen said McNamara was in a position of “trust and dominance” when he sexually assaulted the children, whose complaints generally weren’t believed.

“You were a highly respected member of a religious order within a culture that placed you on a pedestal,” the judge said to McNamara.

“When victims complained to their parents, they weren’t believed, such was the respect in which you were held by virtue of your position.”

Judge Allen condemned the “awful culture” that existed at Marist schools of the era.

“Thank goodness it has finally changed, but not before so many people have suffered so much,” he said.

Outside court, one of the victims said schoolboys at the time knew McNamara was abusing children in the sports shed.

“It was well known in the school if you got taken into that room what would happen to you,” the man told reporters.

But he said McNamara got away with it “partly because the church protected him” and because of the way the then-principal lied.

The victim said his relationship with his mother was irrevocably torn apart as a result of the sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse survivor “Michael”, who organises and coordinates group actions on behalf of other victims, criticised the sentence.

“The outcome today I think is just appalling,” he said outside court.

“This is the fourth time this sick monster has been criminally charged and the sum total … is nine months’ jail time.

“That is just ridiculous.”

McNamara in this case pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault, some of them representative charges that reflected multiple incidents.

He was previously sentenced in 2005 and 2016 for sexual assaults against other children from St Paul’s Catholic College from roughly the same time period and both times he received wholly suspended prison terms.

In January this year he was handed a partially suspended 12-month jail term for another indecent assault but he appealed it.

This sentence was confirmed on Monday and will be served concurrently with the partially suspended three-year term for abusing the other boys.