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Penrith Panthers on the Prowl: Nine Players Nominated for NRL Team of the Year



Penrith have put themselves on track to pick up a third straight premiership and they could do so after cleaning up at the Dally M awards.

As part of a shortlist announced by the NRL ahead of Wednesday’s ceremony at Randwick Racecourse, the reigning premiers have been recognised for their success.

Nine Penrith players are in contention for roles in the team of the year, with five-eighth and hooker the only positions for which they don’t have a contender.

Ivan Cleary is once again in the reckoning to be named best coach, while Isaah Yeo is in the frame for captain and lock of the year.

Dylan Edwards has the chance to usurp the Sydney Roosters’ James Tedesco and be recognised as the game’s leading fullback.

Edwards won the Clive Churchill Medal in last year’s grand final victory and such was his form the Penrith flyer was being talked up as a potential replacement for Tedesco in the NSW State of Origin side.

Winger Sunia Turuva is in consideration for rookie of the year, although he faces stiff competition from Wests Tigers whiz Jahream Bula and Melbourne’s rugby sevens convert Will Warbrick.

Nathan Cleary will vie with Daly Cherry-Evans and Shaun Johnson to be crowned the game’s best halfback, with the latter widely tipped to win the Dally M Medal.

Johnson has spearheaded the Warriors revival under rookie coach Andrew Webster, who will attempt to see off Cleary and Kevin Walters to be named the game’s best coach.

Winger Jamayne Isaako is the only nominee from 2023 newcomers the Dolphins and is up against a strong field that includes Brian To’o, Selwyn Cobbo, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Dominic Young for a berth.

Elsewhere, the Rugby League Players’ Association has named Jahream Bula and Annessa Biddle as the men’s and women’s rookies of the year respectively.

The winners of the NRL and NRLW players’ champions will be announced at halftime during the men’s grand final next Sunday.

Awards Shortlist

* Fullback of the year – James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters), Dylan Edwards (Penrith), Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle)

* Winger (two winners) – Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Warriors), Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins), Brian To’o (Penrith), Dominic Young (Newcastle), Selwyn Cobbo (Brisbane), Ronaldo Mulitalo (Cronulla)

* Centre (two winners) – Stephen Crichton (Penrith), Bradman Best (Newcastle), Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane), Campbell Graham (South Sydney), Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane), Izack Tago (Penrith)

* Five-eighth – Ezra Mam (Brisbane), Cameron Munster (Melbourne), Cody Walker (South Sydney)

* Halfback – Nathan Cleary (Penrith), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly), Shaun Johnson (Warriors)

* Hooker – Wayde Egan (Warriors), Apisai Koroisau (Wests Tigers), Harry Grant (Melbourne)

* Prop (two winners) – Lindsay Collins (Sydney Roosters), Payne Haas (Brisbane) James Fisher-Harris (Penrith), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Melbourne), Jake Trbojevic (Manly), Addin Fonua-Blake (Warriors)

* Second row (two winners) – Liam Martin (Penrith), Briton Nikora (Cronulla), Tyson Frizell (Newcastle), Haumole Olakau’atu (Manly), David Fifita (Gold Coast), Hudson Young (Canberra)

* Lock – Tohu Harris (Warriors), Isaah Yeo (Penrith), Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane)

* Coach – Kevin Walters (Brisbane), Andrew Webster (Warriors), Ivan Cleary (Penrith)

* Captain – Adam Reynolds (Brisbane), Tohu Harris (Warriors), Isaah Yeo (Penrith)

* Rookie – Jahream Bula (Wests Tigers), Will Warbrick (Melbourne), Sunia Turuva (Penrith).

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You won’t believe the string of injuries hitting the NRL this weekend. With Nicho Hynes, Nathan Cleary, and Tom Trbojevic all facing time on the sidelines, teams are scrambling to fill key positions. The impact of these injuries could reverberate throughout the season.

Impact on NSW State of Origin Team

On a weekend marred by injuries, the NSW State of Origin team is facing a major shake-up. With Cleary, Trbojevic, and potentially Hynes out of contention for the upcoming series, coach Michael Maguire is left with some tough decisions to make. The injury woes are forcing Maguire to rethink his lineup and strategy heading into the crucial State of Origin games.

Paralympics Update

Now, McGrath warms up for the Paris Paralympics with a world title under her belt, showcasing her determination and skill in the face of tough competition.

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Understanding the ever-changing landscape of NSW’s Origin hopes, with injuries to key players like Hynes and Cleary, the team is facing serious roster challenges. However, with a resilient mindset and a deep pool of talent to draw from, the Blues remain confident in their ability to reclaim the Origin Shield.

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Anzac Day clash one out of the top draw for Pies, Dons



Anzac Day clash one out of the top draw for Pies, Dons

Just like the thousands of fans who packed the MCG on Anzac Day, the Essendon and Collingwood players left everything out on the field in a thrilling draw that will be remembered as one of the best home-and-away games in recent times. The Bombers and Magpies played out a pulsating contest in front of 93,644 spectators, with neither team able to secure the victory in the dying moments of the match.

Essendon’s Kyle Langford, who had an outstanding game with four goals, including two crucial ones in the final quarter, had the chance to win the game for his team but missed a set shot from 30m out, resulting in the first draw on Anzac Day since the inaugural blockbuster in 1995. Collingwood also had their opportunity to snatch the win, but forward Jamie Elliott couldn’t hold onto a diving mark near the boundary in the final moments of the game.

“I thought both sides had their opportunity to win the game,” said Bombers coach Brad Scott. “It’s a bit of a hollow feeling, but I said to the players win, lose or draw, the effort and intent is what we’re after, and the players delivered that.”

Collingwood, known for their ability to perform in tight finishes under coach Craig McRae, fought back from a 27-point deficit to level the scores with the Bombers. The Magpies showed resilience and determination throughout the game, with forward Brody Mihocek kicking three goals and veteran Scott Pendlebury becoming the first VFL/AFL player to reach 10,000 career possessions.

Despite the draw, the match provided plenty of highlights, including Elliott’s spectacular mark in the third quarter and Pendlebury’s milestone moment in the first quarter. Both teams showcased their skills and competitive spirit, making it a memorable clash that captivated the audience and showcased the essence of Anzac Day football.

“On a day like today, when most of the footy world would be watching, it’s a great spectacle for our game,” McRae commented after the game. The players from both sides left it all on the field, displaying courage, skill, and sportsmanship throughout the intense battle.

While the result might have been a draw, the Anzac Day clash between Essendon and Collingwood will be remembered as a classic encounter that showcased the best of Australian Rules football. The players, coaches, and fans can take pride in the effort and intensity displayed on the field, making it a fitting tribute to the Anzac Day tradition of honoring and remembering those who have served and sacrificed for their country.

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Australians eye happy homecoming at Adelaide’s LIV Golf



Australians eye happy homecoming at Adelaide’s LIV Golf

Homecoming can be defined as a pleasant return to one’s homeland or ancestral roots, and for Australian golfers Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman, Matt Jones, and Lucas Herbert, the LIV Golf tournament in Adelaide presents a perfect opportunity for a successful homecoming. With the second tournament set to kick off in Adelaide’s west at The Grange, the Australian golfers are eager to make their mark on home soil.

Reflecting on the previous year’s tournament, Cameron Smith expressed doubts that the feats achieved by American golfer Talor Gooch could be replicated. Gooch wowed the crowd with consecutive 10-under 62s to open the tournament, ultimately finishing at 19 under to claim victory. Smith, who tied for third in the inaugural Adelaide tournament, is impressed by Gooch’s performance and is looking to emulate aspects of his game this year.

One noticeable change this year is the condition of the greens at The Grange, with Smith noting that they seem to be more consistent compared to the previous year. With the home ground advantage on their side, Smith, Leishman, Jones, and Herbert are determined to make the most of the tournament and aim for a win on home soil.

Currently, the Australian Ripper team consisting of Smith, Leishman, Jones, and Herbert is in eighth place out of 12 teams in the standings. However, with the support of the home crowd and familiarity with the course, the Australian golfers are hopeful of climbing up the leaderboard and securing a memorable win.

Leading the individual standings is Chile’s Joaquin Niemann, who has already claimed two victories this season. Despite Niemann’s impressive performance, the Australian golfers are focused on their own game and the possibility of lifting the trophy in front of their home fans.

Marc Leishman, who achieved his best finish in a LIV Golf tournament with a tied-fourth position in Miami, emphasized the significance of winning in Adelaide. A victory at the LIV Golf tournament would not only be a career highlight for any of the Australian Ripper team members but also a momentous occasion for Australian golf as a whole.

As the tournament unfolds, all eyes will be on the Australian contingent as they strive to deliver a stellar performance on familiar turf. With the support of the local fans and a strong sense of home advantage, Smith, Leishman, Jones, and Herbert are determined to make their mark at Adelaide’s LIV Golf tournament and potentially etch their names in the history books with a victorious homecoming.

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