Local soccer teams make push for the postseason

first_imgWith both the Shore Conference Tournament and the state playoffs rapidly approaching, the scramble is on for local boys and girls soccer teams hoping to qualify for the two events. Teams must have at least a .500 mark at the end of play Saturday to qualify for the SCT, while Oct. 24 is the cut-off for the state event. The SCT will be seeded on Monday, with first-round games scheduled to start on Wednesday. As for the state tournament, preliminary-round games will begin on Nov. 4. On the boys side, there are a number of local teams that are all but assured of both SCT and state berths, starting with the Middletown South Eagles. South entered the week at 12-0-1 and is the fourth-ranked team in the Shore. They should enter both the SCT and the Central Jersey Group III Tournament as one of the favorites. Middletown North is in the SCT at 7-4-1, and needs to win or tie one of its last four games to earn a state berth. The Lions are currently ranked eighth in the Shore, right behind CBA. St. John Vianney (7-3) and CBA (6-3-2) appear to be headed to both postseason tournaments as well. That leaves Mater Dei (3-7) and Matawan (3-6-1) and Raritan (3-7-1) as the teams facing elimination in the next two weeks, while Holmdel (1-10) is certain to be on the outside looking in. On the girls side, it is again the squad from Middletown South leading the list of local teams that have assured themselves of spots in both postseason tournaments. The Eagles entered the week at 10-3 and are the ninth-ranked team in the Shore. That puts them two spots behind seventh-ranked St. John Vianney, who entered the week at 9-2-1. The Lancers are gearing up for the postseason, where they have flourished in recent seasons. The Raritan girls were 7-3-1 entering yesterday’s game with Neptune, and should earn berths in both postseason tournaments. Middletown North still has some work to do at 6-5-1 entering yesterday’s game with Ocean, and needs to get back the type of play that led the Lions to a 6-0-1 start. They have since lost five straight games, and are reeling a bit as the postseason approaches. The Holmdel Hornets need a late run to qualify for the state tournament as they entered yesterday’s game with Long Branch at 3-6-2. The Hornets have three more games scheduled at this point before the Oct. 24 cut-off, and can’t afford to lose any more games.last_img read more

Soriano’s 50-metre goal brightens up Europa League

first_imgBy Brian HomewoodJonathan Soriano scored an incredible goal from near the halfway line to complete a stunning 3-0 win for Salzburg away to once-mighty Ajax Amsterdam in the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday night.Dani Osvaldo scored his first goal for Juventus to set the Italian champions on the way to a 2-0 win over Trabzonspor, however compatriots Lazio slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Ludogorets Razgrad in other first leg ties.Austrian Bundesliga leaders Salzburg, who won all six group stage matches, continued a remarkable season by outclassing four-times European champions Ajax in their own backyard.Soriano gave Salzburg a 14th-minute lead with a penalty and Sadio Mane doubled the advantage with a clinical finish from Kevin Kampl’s pass seven minutes later.The highlight came in the 35th minute when Spaniard Soriano picked up a loose ball inside the centre circle, saw Jasper Cillessen off his line and scored with a looping effort which had the Ajax goalkeeper desperately chasing back in vain.Osvaldo, signed on loan after a troubled and disappointing six months at Premier League Southampton, fired home with an angled shot in the 16th minute after the ball ricocheted to him.Juventus, one of eight teams who parachuted into the Europa League knockout stage after finishing third in their Champions League groups, lived dangerously before Paul Pogba added the second from a Carlos Tevez pass in stoppage time.Lazio’s difficult season continued as they missed a penalty on their way to a defeat against the Bulgarian champions in a game which also featured two red cards.Roman Bezjak sank Lazio with a swerving 25-metre shot on the stroke of halftime and Lazio’s Felipe Anderson had a penalty saved after the re-start before Svetoslav Dyakov (Ludogorets) and Luis Cavanda (Lazio) were both sent off.Fiorentina had no such problems as Alessandro Matri, Josip Ilicic and Alberto Aquilani, from a penalty, shared the goals in a 3-1 win at Esbjerg while Napoli drew 0-0 away to Swansea City.Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk coach Juande Ramos enjoyed a 1-0 win over his former club Tottenham Hotspur when Yevhen Konoplyanka converted an 81st-minute penalty following a foul by Jan Vertonghen on Matheus.Ramos was in charge of Tottenham when they won the League Cup in 2008, the last occasion they lifted a trophy.“Both teams did their best in order to win the game and luckily we were able to score the goal which gives some priority (in the tie),” Ramos told a news conference.“We are aware that in London, 90 difficult minutes await us and we will try to do our best.”Valencia scored two late goals to beat Dynamo Kiev 2-0 in a match played in neutral Cyprus after being moved to the GSP Stadium in Nicosia from Ukraine because of the clashes which have killed more than 70 people in Kiev since Tuesday.New signing Eduardo Vargas headed in from a corner in the 79th minute and Sofiane Feghouli scored a fortuitous second with a wayward shot that hit Domagoj Vida and looped over the committed Kiev keeper Olexandr Rybka.AZ Alkmaar also snatched a late win at Sloven Liberec following a mistake by goalkeeper Premysl Kovar, who spilled Nemanja Gudelj’s free kick and allowed Nick Viergever to score into an empty goal in the 89th minute.Porto squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt while Maribor and Sevilla also shared four goals.Chernomorets Odessa were held 0-0 at home by Olympique Lyonnais, Anzhi Makhachkala’s match at home to Genk also ended goalless as did the tie between Maccabi Tel Aviv and last season’s semi-finalists Basel.last_img read more

World Cup winner Wilkinson to retire at end of season

first_imgBy Josh ReichToulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, whose last-gasp drop goal secured England World Cup glory in 2003, will retire from rugby at the end of the season, he announced on Monday.The 34-year-old will look to end his 17-year senior career on a high when he leads holders Toulon in the Heineken Cup final against Saracens on Saturday, followed a week later by the Top 14 decider against Castres when his side seek to win a first French championship in over two decades.“I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce my retirement from playing rugby,” he said in a statement on Toulon’s website (www.rctoulon.com).“It goes without saying that I have an enormous number of people to thank for their support from all around the world but especially here in France and in England.”Wilkinson made his Test debut in 1998 at the age of 18, becoming England’s second-youngest international, with his second Test a 76-0 thrashing at the hand of Australia in the so-called ‘Tour of Hell’.From that inauspicious start he went on to play 91 Test matches for his country, despite suffering a number of serious injuries, helping them to the 2003 World Cup title and runners-up four years later.He played six Tests for the British and Irish Lions, and is the second-highest Test points scorer behind New Zealand’s Dan Carter with 1246.Noted for his unique kicking stance that was later replicated by players around the world, he was deadly in front of the posts and unflappable in the most highly-charged of match situations, never more so than the 2003 World Cup final against Australia in Sydney.While he did not like to be defined by his drop-goal in the last minute of extra-time that won England their first and only world championship, it is undoubtedly the image that comes to mind for rugby fans the world over.The highs were also matched by lows, Wilkinson suffering a succession of injuries with his refusal to shirk a tackle and general bravery on the pitch leading to a litany of serious knee, arm and shoulder problems.After the 2003 World Cup final, he did not play another Test for England until February 2007, having been invalided out of the Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005 after the second Test.He helped England to a grand slam in 2003 and further Six Nations titles in 2000, 2001 and 2011.“For four years from 1999 to 2003 he was one of the greats of the game,” former England international Stuart Barnes told Sky Sports.“He sealed his reputation as England’s greatest fly-half of all time. Through injury and loss of form, he rather lost his way a little bit but the way he is finishing his career and playing brilliantly is quite incredible.“You wouldn’t say he was the most naturally gifted player but the work he has put in to become the player he is is quite astonishing. He is undoubtedly the greatest professional in terms of work ethic that professional rugby has ever seen.”At club level he spent a decade at Newcastle Falcons, and then moved to France in 2009, where his late-career revival helped Toulon to their first Heineken Cup title in 2013 and to this season’s decider against Saracens.“This however is not at all the time to be concentrating on this as I would like to focus all my attention and energy on the team and these final two games of the season,” added Wilkinson, who will celebrate his 35th birthday a day after the final.“I sincerely thank you all for everything you have given me and for making these last 17 years something I will never forget.”His last match will be the Top 14 final against holders Castres in Paris on May 31, when he can sign off on his career by leading Toulon to its first French championship since 1992, having been runners-up in 2012 and 2013.last_img read more

United turn to tried and tested in Van Gaal

first_imgBy Martyn HermanMANCHESTER United returned to a tried and trusted trophy winner after an ill-fated adventure with David Moyes when announcing that Dutchman Louis van Gaal had been handed the job of reviving the club’s fortunes on Monday.The 62-year-old, who has masterminded league titles at some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and won the Champions League with Ajax Amsterdam, will begin the re-building job at Old Trafford once he has finished national duties at the World Cup.Ryan Giggs, United’s record appearance maker, will work alongside him after his four-game stint in charge following the sacking last month of Moyes, given the chance on the back of a long and worthy, but success-starved, 11-year stint in charge of Everton.“In Louis van Gaal, we have secured the services of one of the outstanding managers in the game today, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement that announced the Dutchman had signed a three-year contract and would start work after leading the Netherlands in the World Cup finals.“He has achieved many things in his career to date and Old Trafford provides him with a fitting stage on which to write new chapters in the Manchester United story.“Everyone is very excited about this new phase in the club’s history. His track record of success in winning leagues and cups across Europe throughout his career makes him the perfect choice for us.”Van Gaal, who has already been working behind the scenes with United officials regarding potential transfers, said: “It was always a wish for me to work in the Premier League. To work as a manager for Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, makes me very proud.“This club has big ambitions; I too have big ambitions. Together I’m sure we will make history.”A year on from the bold decision to replace English football’s most successful manager Alex Ferguson with fellow Scot Moyes – mainly on Ferguson’s recommendation – the club’s owners, stung by the financial impact of failure to qualify for the Champions League, have played it safe.In Van Gaal they have recruited a manager who will command huge respect in the dressing room and in the transfer market and whose methods have stood the test of time.He will need all his vast experience too as United attempt to repair the damage done by the 10-month Moyes era, which resulted in a seventh-placed finish in the Premier League.The magnitude of the Old Trafford job was clearly beyond Moyes but Van Gaal has sat comfortably – and certainly confidently – in some of the most pressurised hot-seats in world football despite occasional glitches and fall-outs.His first task will be rebuilding the club’s defence, which will be without Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic next season, and recruiting more pace and flair to a side that laboured last season, particularly at home.Reviving striker Robin van Persie will also be key after the Dutchman suffered a disappointing campaign compared to his barnstorming impact the previous year when his goals fired United to a 20th English title.United fans will be re-assured by Van Gaal’s past feats.He was responsible for nurturing great players such as Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf and Edgar Davids at Ajaxwho he memorably led to Champions League glory in 1995.At Barcelona he won two La Liga titles in three seasons during his first spell from 1997-2000 while at Bayern Munich in 2010 he became the first Dutch coach to win the Bundesliga, unleashing rising German talents such as Thomas Mueller and Bastian Schweinsteiger and signing compatriot Arjen Robben.Under Moyes, United’s 2012-13 title-winning squad chronically under-performed, suffering an abysmal home record and humiliating thrashings by Man City and Liverpool.The Scot’s body language was defeatist at times and there was a suspicion that some of the club’s senior players were less than impressed with his style of play.Van Gaal, used to handling the egos of high-profile internationals, will have little time for dissenters.While Moyes made the mistake of ditching Ferguson’s backroom staff in his first days in charge, Van Gaal’s acclimatisation at Old Trafford will be aided by the fact that Giggs, a hugely influential figure at the club, will be his right-hand man.When Giggs was put in charge after the exit of Moyes he opened with a 4-0 victory over a poor Norwich City side, prompting many to suggest the Welshman should get the job on a full-time basis.The reality of United’s situation hit home in the following game – a 1-0 home defeat by Sunderland – and while Giggs may be a future United manager he will spend the next few years learning from the Dutch master.“I’m delighted that Louis has chosen Ryan as his assistant,” Woodward said.“Ryan’s association with the club spans over two decades and his knowledge and stature will be of great use to Louis. In addition, this is a fantastic opportunity for Ryan to learn his trade alongside a world-class manager whose attacking instincts and belief in youth are tailor-made for Manchester United.”Giggs said: “Louis is a world-class coach and I know I will learn a lot about coaching from being able to observe and contribute at such close quarters.“Manchester United has been a huge part of my life and I’m delighted to be able to continue that relationship in such a key role.”Van Gaal will also bring Netherlands’ goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek and scouting specialist Marcel Bout to the club as assistant coaches.last_img read more

Champs APOEL continue impressive start to season

first_imgBy Iacovos ConstantinouLeague leaders APOEL continued their impressive start to the season in Cyprus with a 1-0 win over Nea Salamina while the weekend’s other top clash between AEK Larnaca and AEL ended in a 1-1 draw.Rafik Djebbour’s header in the 26th minute was enough to give champions APOEL all three points against much improved Nea Salamina at the GSP stadium in Nicosia.APOEL controlled play for most parts of the game but in the final 20 minutes Nea Salamina grew in confidence and could have snatched alate equaliser. The visitors felt hard done when the referee refused them a penalty in the first half which according to their press spokesman was ‘the very definition of a penalty’.APOEL coach Giorgos Donis said that given the circumstances (injuries and a midweek Champions League game against Paris St. Germain), he was pleased overall with his players’ performance.AEK Larnaca were unlucky not to take all three points against AEL as they had a number of chances to make the game safe.AEK went ahead through Catala but the lead lasted just four minutes as Barcelos equalised for the visitors.AEK went on the offensive in search of the winner but AEL’s keeper Romero on the one hand and some wayward finishing kept the score level.Omonia nearly threw away two points against lowly Doxa Katokopias who could have equalised deep into injury time but Ramos was unable to beat Omonia keeper Giorgallides from the penalty spot. Omonia had taken the lead through Kirm early in the second half but were unable to build on that lead despite controlling play.Ermis coach Nikky Papavassiliou was furious with his team as they allowed Ayia Napa to fight back from 2-0 down and earn themselves a point.De Pina and Onilo gave the home side the lead but two goals in the final half hour by Cypriot striker Kolokoudias salvaged a point for the bottom of the table team.In the final game of the weekend Anorthosis did just enough to take all three points against Othellos, winning by a solitary Polo goal. Their task was made all that easier in the second half when referee Panayiotou harshly red-carded Othellos’s Oulise.last_img read more

Williams sisters turn back clock in Melbourne

first_imgTop seed Serena Williams and her older sister Venus sent a chilling warning to the rest of the women’s draw at the Australian Open on Saturday by both advancing to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time in five years.Both took a little while to figure out their opponents on Saturday but once they got into the groove of the match were able to advance relatively comfortably.World number one Serena beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 4-6 6-2 6-0, while 18th seed Venus also needed a set to get going before she beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 4-6 7-6(3) 6-1.Men’s champion Stan Wawrinka avoided a repeat of the stunning upset of compatriot Roger Federer on Friday, with a 6-4 6-2 6-4 win over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, while eighth seed Milos Raonic cruised past Germany’s Benjamin Becker 6-4 6-3 6-3.“I’m really happy with my game so far, I was aggressive, took control of the match and I think my game is there,” Wawrinka said in a courtside interview. “I’m happy to get through again.“I’ve been here 10 days before the tournament and this is a new challenge for the next two weeks and that is what I’m focussed on.”Women’s sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska also continued her largely untroubled, yet under the radar, progress through the draw with a 6-0 7-5 win over Varvara Lepchenko and will meet Venus on Monday.“I think playing her is always great challenge,” Radwanska said. “I think she is still playing great tennis even she’s a bit older. She’s still really fit and playing a high level.“I think it’s going to be another good match.”OMINOUS PORTENTThe last time the Williams sisters reached the last 16 at Melbourne Park, Serena went on to win her fifth title. It was also the last time the 18-times grand slam winner lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.Chances of her adding a sixth looked bleak early on in her clash with the 20-year-old Svitolina, who showed why she is considered one of the more promising players in women’s tennis when she got off to a flying start at the Rod Laver Arena.The American took the loss of her first set at Melbourne Park this year to heart and roared through the rest of the match in just over an hour to end Svitolina’s hopes of becoming the first Ukrainian woman to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open since Alona Bondarenko in 2010.“She played really well,” Serena said of Svitolina. “She is one to watch. She has come a really long way. It was a good match and she really made me work really hard.”Serena will now play the enigmatic Garbine Muguruza in the next round after the Spaniard beat Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky in three sets.The hard-hitting Muguruza beat Serena last year in the second round at Roland Garros and the tall right hander said that victory, while a ‘perfect game’, was not a factor on the Melbourne hard courts.“I think I don’t have nothing to lose,” the 21-year-old said. “Just another match, same game, same concentration. Nothing new. … I don’t think I have pressure.”While Serena was recovering on Rod Laver Arena, older sister Venus was wrapping up her win over the tricky Giorgi to move into a grand slam fourth round for the first time since Wimbledon in 2011.“That feels fantastic especially when things happen in your life that are not in your control,” said the 34-year old, who struggles with Sjogren’s syndrome, an auto-immune disease that can cause joint pain and fatigue.“But I don’t want to stop now, I want to keep it going.“This little cat has a few tricks up her sleeve.”Results from the Australian Open Women’s Singles Round 3 matches on SaturdayMadison Brengle (U.S.) beat Coco Vandeweghe (U.S.) 6-3 6-211-Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) beat 19-Alize Cornet (France) 7-5 6-21-Serena Williams (U.S.) beat 26-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) 4-6 6-2 6-018-Venus Williams (U.S.) beat Camila Giorgi (Italy) 4-6 7-6(3) 6-124-Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) beat Timea Bacsinszky (Switzerland) 6-3 4-6 6-06-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) beat 30-Varvara Lepchenko (U.S.) 6-0 7-5Results from the Australian Open Men’s Singles Round 3 matches on SaturdayGuillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) beat Vasek Pospisil (Canada) 6-2 6-4 6-44-Stanislas Wawrinka (Switzerland) beat Jarkko Nieminen (Finland) 6-4 6-2 6-412-Feliciano Lopez (Spain) beat Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) 7-6(6) 6-4 7-6(3)8-Milos Raonic (Canada) beat Benjamin Becker (Germany) 6-4 6-3 6-3last_img read more

Portugal stun France with late Eder strike in Euro final

first_imgPortugal found an unlikely hero as Eder’s thunderous finish deep into extra time secured their first European Championship title after they overcame the early loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to snatch a 1-0 victory over hosts France on Sunday.The substitute picked the perfect time to score his first competitive goal for his country, marauding forward before letting fly with a bullet shot from 25 metres in the 109th minute.It was a magic moment for the 28-year-old, who plays for French club Lille after a largely unglamorous career, and a cruel blow for France and their coach Didier Deschamps.His side had dominated the match, but squandered a number of chances, in front of their devastated home support, who arrived at the Stade de France hoping to celebrate a third European crown.Cristiano Ronaldo stretchered off after suffering a knock in the early stages of the gameThe trophy was lifted triumphantly by Portugal captain Ronaldo, who broke down in tears at the final whistle after his own game had come to a frustrating end after 24 minutes when he was carried off the pitch on a stretcher with a knee injury.The script had been written for him to produce a performance to match his status as one of the game’s greats, but he had to settle for a back-stage role after Dimitri Payet’s challenge left him in a heap on the floor.So much of the build-up had focused on Ronaldo and his hopes of crowning a glittering career with the only achievement missing from his CV, a piece of international silverware.That was achieved, but, with Eder stealing the limelight and his own role reduced to that of a cajoling cheerleader, it was probably not how Ronaldo would have envisaged his evening panning out.Yet having been part of the Portugal side that were stunned in the final as hosts by Greece in 2004, he celebrated wildly with his team mates as ticker tape rained down from the rafters.“This is one of the happiest moments in my career,” he said. “I’ve always said I wanted to win a trophy with the national team and make history. And I did it. Thank God, things went well for us.”Coach Fernando Santos, whose side had won only one match inside 90 minutes out of seven at the tournament, hailed a perfectly executed tactical display.“We were as simple as doves and as wise as serpents,” he said.“Wherever we’ve gone there have always been Portuguese fans. This lifted our souls. It’s hard to describe the players’ emotions — it’s incredible.”DEBILITATING DEFEATFor France it was a debilitating defeat after they had come into the match as heavy favourites and hoping to lift the spirits of a nation still recovering from last November’s attacks in Paris.“We missed a chance, maybe not a unique chance, but a great chance to become European champions,” Deschamps said.“Our disappointment is immense and will take time to digest. We won together, we suffered together and we lost together. It would have been magnificent to offer this trophy to our supporters, here at home.”For the much of the match, there had looked like being only one winner as France began with early attacking intent, fuelled by the bullish presence and charging runs of Moussa Sissoko in midfield.His 34th-minute shot was well-parried by Portugal keeper Rui Patricio, but by that point the match had settled into a pattern of France probing and pushing but struggling to break down their more defensively-minded opponents.Without Ronaldo, Portugal seemed in no hurry to rush the ball forward, happy to see the game descend into a cagey, tactical battle.They had a scare, however, in the 67th minute when Kingsley Coman’s cross found Antoine Griezmann unmarked six metres from goal, only for the tournament’s top scorer to head a golden opportunity over.Minutes later, Olivier Giroud, fed by sprightly substitute Coman, forced a diving save from Patricio, who then parried away a pile-driver from Sissoko as France turned the screw.France’s best chance of the night arrived in stoppage time when substitute Andre-Pierre Gignac turned his marker inside out before scuffing a shot past the keeper and against the post, with the ball bouncing across the face of goal and then out of harm’s way.While Portugal continued to sit back in extra time, they had the better chances with Eder’s header parried by Hugo Lloris and Raphael Guerreiro striking the crossbar with a free kick before Eder’s moment of magic.Portugal’s Eder celebrates with the trophylast_img read more

Mourinho urges Martial to start delivering

first_imgManchester United manager Jose Mourinho sent a clear message to French forward Anthony Martial on Wednesday, saying he needs to do more to impress him and comparing his approach unfavourably with that of team-mate Marcus Rashford.It was the latest example of Mourinho going public with his challenges to a player, after his recent criticisms of full-back Luke Shaw.Martial joined United in a 36 million-pound move from Monaco in 2015, but this season he has struggled to earn a regular starting place. Even with Zlatan Ibrahimovic rested on Sunday against Chelsea, the 21-year-old was left on the bench.Speaking before Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final, second-leg against Anderlecht at Old Trafford (10.05pm), Mourinho was asked his thoughts on the France international and whether leaving him on the bench indicated he was not fully satisfied with him.“We are together now for almost 10 months and the same way I know the players much better now, the players should know me also much better now,” said Mourinho, who opted for Jesse Lingaard and Rashford in attack against Chelsea.“The same way I know what they like, I think they also know what I like. I have to go in the direction of the players and they have to come in my direction.“That is the point – that is why Marcus Rashford, even without scoring goals, even without being without a Premier League goal since September, even with that, he was always a player that I trusted, a player that I played, was always a player that I support, because he was always coming in my direction, the direction of what I want from a player, what I want from a Manchester United player,” the United manager said.“It is about that – we have to know each other better and better and go in the direction. Do I think Anthony has potential? Yes. Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes, I think. But he needs to give me things that I like very much,” he said.Mourinho also said that Wayne Rooney could be back on the bench for Thursday’s game if he comes through training on Wednesday without any reaction from an ankle injury.The fixture stands at 1-1 after the first leg.last_img read more

Gotuno brings quality to PNG side

first_imgThe Hunters’ reshuffled round 5 lineup will see Brendon Gotuno take the wing.The 23-year-old brings quality to the PNG side after his short stint with the Penrith Panthers New South Wales Cup side.After missing round 4 due to disciplinary reasons, Joe Joshua, Junior Rop and McKenzie Yei will take the field while skipper Adex Wera, Moses Meninga and Wawa Paul will rest their injuries.Making their debut this weekend are Jerry Teme (Hunter no. 78) and Jack Oii (Hunter no. 79).The four players who debuted on the 30th of March have retained their spots after an impressive performance. Shane Haro will start at centre, Woods Kawage will run as hooker, Epel Kapinias will be at second row while Kevin Appo starts off the bench.The lineup:Joe JoshuaJunior RauShane HaroBrendan NimaBrendon GotunoJustin YokaAse BoasBaundo AbaWoods KawageDilbert IsaacMckenzie YeiEpel KapiniasJunior RopInterchangeJerry TemeJack OiiKevin AppoEnoch MakiJoe FrankThe experimental PNG side, who are currently 14th on the Intrust Super Cup ladder, will challenge against former teammate Nixon Putt, who will start off in the second row.The round 5 match will be televised live on TVWAN+ at 6.05pm.(File picture of Brendon Gotuno)last_img read more

Australia claim series win

first_imgPhoto Getty Images Caption: Australia celebrate against New Zealand New Zealand wilted in the Melbourne heat at the MCG, where Australia wrapped up a crushing 247-run win on day four of the second Test on Sunday.Blundell rallied for the Black Caps, celebrating his second Test hundred in three matches with a resilient 121 runs, but he had no support from his team-mates after Nathan Lyon (4-81) and James Pattinson (3-35) starred.Marnus Labuschagne (1-11) ended Blundell’s unforgettable innings late in the evening as Australia only required nine wickets to skittle New Zealand for 240 – Trent Boult not batting due to a fractured finger.Bet you’ve never seen a dismissal like that! #AUSvNZ | https://t.co/Q5Lvt45rWO pic.twitter.com/pb3qJBfSiX— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 29, 2019Australia declared,168-5, 10 overs into the penultimate day – the hosts setting New Zealand a mammoth 488 for victory as temperatures soared.Already humbled by 296 runs in Perth, the Black Caps faced an uphill battle to keep the series alive in their first Boxing Day appearance in Melbourne in 1987, and Pattinson wreaked havoc on Sunday morning.After a lively and tenacious start by Pat Cummins (0-47), Mitchell Starc (0-59) and Australia, Pattinson made an immediate impact with the wicket of opener Tom Latham for 8.Pattinson – back in the team as a replacement for injured quick Josh Hazlewood – flourished on his home ground, claiming another two wickets before lunch to leave New Zealand reeling on 38-3.After trapping captain Kane Williamson for a duck – his seventh against Australia – Pattinson then removed Ross Taylor (2), who chopped onto his own stumps.Blundell dug deep following lunch with a half-century as New Zealand showed some fight, only losing one wicket in the middle session after Henry Nicholls (33) fell to Lyon.THAT  moment for Tom Blundell!  CARD | https://t.co/XpuxcO3zSH#AUSvNZ #cricketnation pic.twitter.com/Vx0a385Gsi— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 29, 2019BJ Watling (22) and Mitchell Santner (27) were the only other players to provide support for Blundell en route to a century on another forgettable day for New Zealand.last_img read more