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Olympics should be for amateurs: Scott

Written By malwan milad on Selasa, 09 Desember 2014 | 20.47

Adam Scott believes the Olympics would be better served by only being open to amateur golfers. Source: Scott Fletcher / News Corp Australia

ADAM Scott would happily forfeit his prized Olympic spot in 2016 if it meant golf's much heralded return was for the world's best amateurs instead.

The world No.3 dropped the bombshell at last night's official dinner before tomorrow's start to the Australian PGA on the Gold Coast.

The Olympic event in Rio de Janeiro is trumpeted as a tournament for 64 top pros.

Ever the practical mind, Scott said he felt uncomfortable with the fit for golf.

When American pro Boo Weekley said the Olympic event should be for amateurs, Scott endorsed his view.

Adam Scott at the Dinner at the official dinner at Royal Pines ahead of the Australian PGA. Source: News Corp Australia

"People watch us (as pros) play 45 weeks a year," Scott said.

"If you really wanted to grow the game you'd have the Olympics for amateurs."

The defending Australian PGA champion said earlier at a private cocktail party that he has a huge regard for the Olympic ideals.

"Rio is not something I've thought a lot about, but it is something I have a desire to be part of," Scott said.

"I'm not going to change my focus ... it will be on the four majors.

"The Olympics will not be my priority. I'll prefer going to see the guys running fast.

Adam Scott enjoys a practice round at Royal Pines. Source: News Corp Australia

"I do hope there is a good effect for golf. That is very important."

Scott's view is an important one because it raises again how sports like tennis fit at the Olympics when the sport also has four majors of more significance as the pinnacle.

Scott's relish to go back to back as Australian PGA champion was obvious.

"This is going to be an excellent golf course in the end," he said of the redesigned nine holes by Graham Marsh.

Scott said the forecast of more storms was more of an issue.

"We may have to grit our teeth in the wet and get it done," Scott said.

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Rampant Roar silences toothless Lions

Written By malwan milad on Selasa, 19 Agustus 2014 | 20.47

Henrique De Silva of the Roar gets his side on the board in Perth. Source: Paul Kane / Getty Images

BRISBANE Roar has cruised into the last 16 of the FFA Cup with a 4-0 thrashing of Stirling Lions in Perth.

The A-League champions withstood some early pressure from the NPL Western Australia outfit before taking complete control of the contest.

Departed striker Besart Berisha wasn't missed as a Roar side minus a handful of regulars, including midfield trio Luke Brattan, Matt McKay and Liam Miller, strolled to victory in front of 1152 spectators at the Western Australia Athletics Stadium.

Brazilian livewire Henrique opened the scoring after half an hour with a clever bicycle kick from close range after the Lions defence had cleared a goal-bound header off the line.

Brisbane Roar turned on the style in a big win over the Lions. Source: Getty Images

The visitors doubled their lead about 10 minutes into the second half through Corey Brown, who was playing in an attacking role on the left rather than his usual fullback position.

Brisbane skipper Matt Smith further increased Brisbane's advantage in the 63rd minute when he headed home a pinpoint cross from Roar marquee man Thomas Broich.

Five minutes later it was 4-0, with substitute Jean Carlos Solorzano, who had earlier come on for Henrique, found the back of the net when he was first to the rebound after a Dimitri Petratos free-kick struck the post.

Henrique De Silva of the Roar opened the scoring for the visitors in Perth. Source: Getty Images

Petratos had also been denied by the woodwork in the first half when an intended cross crashed into the post with Stirling goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski well beaten.

The Lions were also frustrated by the post in the 11th minute, when Hayden Doyle's powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area had proved too good for Roar gloveman Michael Theo.

But that was as close as Stirling got to scoring as the Roar were rarely tested by the second-tier opposition despite the odd threat from Lions striker Moses Kalau.

It was a good night for Queensland teams, with Palm Beach Sharks having earlier also progressed to the last 16 of the FFA Cup with a 2-1 away win over Hakaoh Sydney City East.

The round of 16 draw will take place on Friday.

Re-live the action from Roar's big victory at our blog.

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Hackett out of darkness to inspire Aussies

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A SURPRISE dinner with former captain Grant Hackett is set to inspire the Australian swim team to confront the might of the US and prove their Commonwealth Games success was no one-hit wonder.

With his life back on track after a stint in rehab in the US for sleeping tablet addiction, Hackett made a surprise appearance when ex-swimmers mingled with the present team at a gathering organised by former Olympian Andrew Baildon in his home on Monday evening.

Hackett had not been near the swim team since his well-publicised personal battles emerged at the start of 2014 but the current stars were delighted at his presence as they prepare to face world No.1 US at the Pan Pacs on the Gold Coast tomorrow.

"Hacky is great, he is a superstar in and out of the pool," team leader Cate Campbell said.

"He is so supportive and has been an integral part of the team for so many years.

"I think having him back on board is great, we can learn so much from him and he is a real inspiration to all of us."

Rising distance star Mack Horton said he'd taken great optimism out of his chat with Hackett, with the two-times Olympic champ offering confidence that distance swimmers can repeat performances at successive major events as the team prepares to race just three weeks after the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

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"He was telling me how he always felt the second meet was his strongest so that gave me confidence in backing up at a second meet a couple weeks later so that should be good," Horton said.

At the last Pan Pacs in 2010 Australia finished with a medal tally of four gold, 12 silver and 10 bronze medals as the US romped to a comprehensive 26-15-7 victory.

Based on world rankings in 2014, Australia can expect anywhere from five to eight gold medals in the pool this week.

Head coach Jacco Verhaeren warned Australia needed to be wary of Japan who has become an emerging superpower in the pool and a nation capable of taking second place on the medal tally from Australia.

"Since arriving in Australia I sense there is a lot of talk about USA but the world is bigger than USA, there is Japan here with world-class athletes in the water," Verhaeren said.

"There are world-class athletes everywhere in the world and we can measure ourselves all the time, virtually or in the race and this week we are racing USA and Japan.

"The goal is going to be exactly the same, it's to race to the best of our abilities, maximise performance and take up the challenge.

"It's no more or no less (important) than the Commonwealth Games."

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Young guns named in 22Under22 squad

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ESSENDON midfielder Dyson Heppell is among a host of young AFL stars selected in the AFL Players' Association 22Under22 squad.

22Under22 was created in 2013. Source: Supplied

Heppell was named the captain of the 2013 22Under22 team and one of 11 players from the inaugural team selected in this year's squad.


"It was a real honour getting selected in that side. There were some fantastic players from across the league picked in (last year's) team and I think it's a fantastic initiative from the Players' Association to have a 22Under22 side," Heppell said.


The squad was selected by the nine-member AFL Players' board, led by president Luke Ball, and fans have the opportunity to decide the final 22 by voting via Facebook and Twitter.


To be eligible players must be 22 years old or under for the entire 2014 season and Ball believes this concept acknowledges the standing of young players in the competition.

"Players that have managed to have a consistent impact on the competition at such a young age should be duly recognised," Ball said.

Every club has a nominee in the preliminary squad, with Gold Coast leading the way with eight.

Fremantle, Geelong, Sydney, Carlton, Melbourne, West Coast and Richmond have just one.

2013 22Under22 captain Dyson Heppell with vice-captain Jack Ziebell. Source: Supplied

Western Bulldog Marcus Bontempelli and Brisbane Lion Lewis Taylor are among eight first-year players in the squad.

Heppell endorsed the fans ability to decide the final team by voting via social media.

"I think it's fantastic (to see fans getting involved) — there are a lot of fans that watch the game quite intently and it was a good spread of players, from across a lot of different sides, in the team last year. It was great to see a lot of fans interacting with the concept."


When selecting their teams fans must choose seven defenders, seven forwards, seven midfielders and one ruck in their 22Under22 team.

The final team will be announced at the AFL Players' MVP awards night on Tuesday, September 9.

The fan whose team best matches the 2014 22Under22 team will win a prize pack including a limited edition 22Under22 jumper, New Era hat and set of select trading cards, all signed by the 22Under22 captain.

Daniel Talia is one of 18 defenders in the 22Under22 squad of 45. Pic: Sarah Reed. Source: News Corp Australia


Brodie Smith (ADE)

Daniel Talia (ADE)

Jack Hombsch (PA)

Shaun Atley (NM)

Ryan Lester (BL)

Tom Langdon (COL)

Steven May (GC)

Trent McKenzie (GC)

Kade Kolodjashnij (GC)

Luke McDonald (NM)

Jack Newnes (STK)

Jarman Impey (PA)

Brandon Ellis is on track for his second 22Under22 selection. Picture: Wayne Ludbey. Source: News Corp Australia


Adam Treloar (GWS)

Dyson Heppell (ESS)

Dion Prestia (GC)

Jaeger O'Meara (GC)

David Swallow (GC)

Jackson Macrae (WB)

Brandon Ellis (RIC)

Ollie Wines (PA)

Luke Parker (SYD)

Tom Liberatore (WB)

Dom Tyson (MEL)

Luke Dahlhaus (WB)

Lachie Neale (FRE)

Brad Hill (HAW)

Jared Polec (PA)

Cam Guthrie (GEE)

James Aish (BL)

Harry Cunningham (SYD)


Billy Longer (STK)

Jarrod Witts (COL)

Rising Star favourite Marcus Bontempelli is one of four Western Bulldogs in the squad. Picture: Wayne Ludbey Source: News Corp Australia


Chad Wingard (PA)

Jack Gunston (HAW)

Harley Bennell (GC)

Jamie Elliott (COL)

Jake Carlisle (ESS)

Jack Darling (WC)

Devon Smith (GWS)

Tom Lynch (GC)

Jack Billings (STK)

Marcus Bontempelli (WB)

Jeremy Cameron (GWS)

Lewis Taylor (BL)

Troy Menzel (CAR)

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AIS runs with bid for footy players

AIS boss Matt Favier has a plan to convert NRL and AFL prospects into Olympic medallists. Source: News Limited

THE Australian Institute of Sport has sharpened its arrows in an aggressive bid to convert NRL and AFL prospects into Olympic medallists.

In what Matt Shirvington calls a "warning shot" to the major football codes, the second intake of the AIS Sports Draft will target potential athletics champions.

While former junior track and field prospects, NRL players Jarryd Hayne Hayne and Jamal Idris have been lost to the sport, Shirvington believes Olympic disciplines boast an incentive that money cannot buy.

"Becoming an Olympian is still a very big carrot," the Olympian and former 100m national record holder said.

"I'd love to see a Jarryd Hayne back doing hurdles or Jamal Idris back throwing the javelin.

"This is a warning shot but the most important thing is that it's opening up a pathway to Olympic sports that was not previously there."

Almost a year after the AIS held a draft targeting recruits for combat sports, it has announced the next round of testing aims to unearth medallists in athletics, cycling, rugby sevens, hockey, paddling sports and para sports.

The draft, which is an initiative from Australia's Winning Edge game plan, is looking for expressions of interest from athletes aged from 15 to 26.

Its aim is to convert athletes from different sporting backgrounds with a view to deepening the talent pool and ultimately winning Olympic medals.

AIS director Matt Favier said this intake would focus on speed, power and agility.

He believes Australian rules, rugby league and rugby union footballers can be introduced to athletics as sprinters or middle distance runners.

"The 400m (is an event) where you can identify raw talent," Favier said.

"It's an entry point and potentially a great platform."

Australia did not have an individual entrant in the men's 100m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, a sign our male 100m and 200m sprinters are not globally competitive, according to Shirvington.

The AIS Sports Draft has the means to identify a raw speed machine from the football ranks and find a home for that athlete in athletics or cycling.

Melbourne teenager Dylan Anderson was yesterday presented as an example of why the Australian Sports Commission believes the program will work.

Anderson, 19, was a promising Australian rules footballer and schoolboy rower before entering last year's draft and coming out the other side in judo.

The rookie has already won several medals at major domestic competitions.

Those who make it through selection trials will be offered 12 months of high-performance coaching.

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Saville realises that he belongs

Written By malwan milad on Selasa, 24 Juni 2014 | 20.47

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WHATEVER befalls Luke Saville at Wimbledon tonight, the South Australian can be sure of at least one thing — he finally belongs at the highest level.

While the compact baseliner is the first to concede that one grand slam victory hardly makes a career, especially with Bulgarian 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov lurking in the second round, a precious milestone has been reached.

In Saville's orb, the business of qualifying and winning a main draw round at the All England Club is not such much a graduation as career-turning.

"There's no doubt I haven't kicked on as much as a lot of people would have hoped, including myself," the junior Wimbledon and Australian Open winner said.

"But not everyone can do a Bernard Tomic or a Nick Kyrgios and burst on the scene and become top 150 in the first six months out of juniors, it's just not possible.



"A few things haven't gone my way and a few things, I completely put the blame on myself.

"It's been a bit of a roller-coaster but now I feel that I'm reaping the rewards, to qualify and win a round is unbelievable.

"Qualifying and winning a round here has really turned my year around — and probably my career almost as well.

Luke Saville celebrates a point during his first-round match against Austrian Dominic Thiem. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

"So it's very, very exciting and I'm very happy."

Saville marched into the second round with a stubborn 7-5 6-4 3-6 6-4 win over Austrian Dominic Thiem, a fellow 20-year-old who is the youngest player in the top 100.

Thiem's ranking is founded on a string of stunning results, none better than Madrid Open victory over Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka last month.

He also gave eventual champion Rafael Nadal a huge French Open fright.

Ranked 236th in the world, Saville was monitored closely on Monday by his fellow South Australian Roger Rasheed, who was scouting the match for Dimitrov.




Rasheed was impressed and will doubtlessly provide his client with a comprehensive debrief as protection against another early Wimbledon exit.

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For Saville, tonight's opportunity is a reward and opportunity wrapped around the challenge of upending Dimitrov, widely seen as a grand slam champion in waiting.

Win or lose, the Australian wants the match to stand as a watershed.

"I know it's going to be an extremely tough match," he said.

"Everyone knows that, but I'm very excited, very confident in my game at the moment.

"He's an unbelievable player, I'm going out there to do my absolute best.

"I know I'm up against it against Grigor, but I'll fight it out."

Regardless of how Saville's David and Goliath assignment pans out, he is guaranteed a significant rankings rise to about No 180 and a minimum prizemoney cheque of about $82,000 that will almost double his career earnings.

Not a bad week's work for a young man who has waited a seeming eternity to make his mark.

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Skelton not about to get carried away

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NEW-found fame following an eye-catching Test debut won't give Will Skelton a big head, according to NSW coach Michael Cheika.

And it's just as well, Cheika contends, because now the 140kg lock's name is known worldwide, rivals will be looking to take that head off.

"He is going to start coming up against a lot more challenges, starting Saturday night (against the Brumbies)," Cheika said.

"Guys who now know who he is are going to try and get at him, so he is going to have to learn to deal with that extra attention. I'm sure he will manage it. He has the demeanour for it."

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Having described Skelton as a humble guy with a team-first attitude, Cheika appeared to be proved right when the big unit on Tuesday embraced lock Jacques Potgieter at training, soon after the NSW team was named with Skelton on the bench behind the African import.

"He is a very good lad," Cheika said. "He understands what it's about, being a part of a team. I am really happy for him. He has done well, but he knows he's still got a long way to go to maximise his potential.

"He is just still very new on the circuit. He knows that himself. That's the best part. You don't have to worry about him getting a big head because he knows that himself."

Will Skelton is mobbed by his Wallabies teammates after setting up Israel Folau's second-half try. Source: Getty Images

Cheika, who plucked Skelton from the ARU academy in late 2012 and debuted him for NSW five months later, said he still saw Skelton as raw and with plenty of untapped potential.

Headlines about Skelton after his debut had been a "bit over the top" but Cheika said the 22-year-old didn't look out of place at Test level.

"The more experience he gets the better he is going to be at both levels, but he still has a long way to go. He certainly won't be getting ahead of himself here, that's for sure," Cheika said.

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Kyrgios beats Robert in four sets

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NICK Kyrgios has sealed a memorable Wimbledon debut, roaring into the All England Club's second round.

The Canberra teenager plundered French veteran Stephane Robert's wobbly serve to advance 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (6-8) 6-2.

The 19-year-old provided Australia with its sixth first-round winner, the nation's best haul since 2007.

The wiry right-hander, 19, hit 29 aces and 61 winners while feasting on Robert's 19 double faults and 59 unforced errors to progress.

It is the third time the highly-rated youngster has reached the second round of a major, emulating career-best efforts at last year's French Open and January's Australian Open.

He will now play either French 13th seed Richard Gasquet or Sydney's James Duckworth for a place in the third round.

Wearing pink headphones and with his left knee taped, Kyrgios gradually eased his way into the contest, serving with menace and moving comfortably.

The teenager controlled the first set tiebreak by forcing Robert into unforced error.

Playing first strike tennis, Krygios maintained impressive momentum to clinch the second set before drifting concentration allowed Robert back into the contest.

Up a break, the young Australian dropped serve but he immediately atoned by breaking straight back.

Despite Robert's penchant for double-faulting, Kyrgios was unable break the Frenchman's shackles.

He led the third set tiebreak 4-2 only to be reeled in, allowing Robert to push the match into a fourth set with a wondrous backhand pass.

Once there, Kyrgious pulled away with a blend of raw power and Robert's repeated errors.

French 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga outlasted Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-1 3-6 3-6 6-2 6-4 in a rain-delayed affair.

Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka breezed to a 6-3 6-4 6-3 win over Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu.

Japanese 10th seed Kei Nishikori dispatched Frenchman Kenny de Schepper 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

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BuddyĆ¢€™s secret goalkicking weapon

Lance Franklin confides in Swans runner Nick Davis. Picture: Phil Hillyard Source: Philip Hillyard / News Corp Australia

SYDNEY star Lance Franklin has found a new goalkicking mentor in former sharpshooter and now club runner Nick Davis — and it's paying dividends.

While Franklin downplayed his work with Davis yesterday, his manager Liam Pickering confirmed the pair had formed a strong bond, resulting in the former Hawk's improved accuracy in recent weeks.

Franklin has kicked nine goals without a miss, scoring five in a row against Port Adelaide (after starting with 0.4) and four straight against Richmond last week.

Since kicking 2.7 against his old side, Hawthorn, in Round 8, the dual Coleman Medallist has kicked 21.10 in five matches.

Pickering said Franklin had benefited from his work with Davis, who famously kicked four final-term goals for Sydney in the 2005 semi-final to sink Geelong.

"He's developed a very close relationship with Nick Davis and he has worked with him on his goalkicking," Pickering said.

"Nick has become a bit of a mentor. They get on really well together and enjoy working with each other.

"We all know how good Nick was when it came to kicking for goal."

Pickering said Franklin had "definitely changed his approach a bit and he's getting the rewards now".

Davis kicked 235.135 in 168 games for Sydney and Collingwood, and has been the Swans' runner for the past three seasons.

Cartoon: Macca Source: Supplied

Franklin has kicked 35.25 this season, with his accuracy spiking in recent weeks.

He said yesterday that hard work on the training track over the past six weeks had resulted in his rich vein of form — and his accuracy in that time.

He struggled with some knee soreness earlier in the season, but has moved more freely in recent weeks.

Franklin yesterday disagreed that he was in the best form of his career: "Not necessarily. I think I've been talked up a little bit."

"I'm just playing my role for the footy club and I'm enjoying it.

"I don't go into a game saying that I want to get this many kicks, this many marks or this many goals.

"I just want to go out there and play my role for the footy club. And if the goals come, and the marks come, they come."

Franklin is hopeful Kurt Tippett can return to the Swans' line-up to take on Greater Western Sydney on Saturday.

"It does help having Tippo back in the side," Franklin said.

"He's such a big presence up forward and always takes a good defender with him.

"So hopefully he'll be out there this weekend with me."

The Giants shocked the Swans with the season's biggest upset in Round 1, but Franklin is confident his team can win its 10th successive match.

"We just can't wait to get out there Saturday night and get another win and go from there," he said.

"GWS have been playing pretty good football the last couple of weeks, so we're going to have our work cut out against a quality outfit.

"We're looking forward to the challenge."

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Cowboys travel woes continue

Written By malwan milad on Senin, 23 Juni 2014 | 20.47

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IT's official. North Queensland can't fire a shot on the road _ and stand accused as the biggest underachievers in the NRL.

They were the only conclusions to draw after the Cowboys' horror away form continued with a woeful 36-28 loss to the last-placed Knights in Newcastle.

Don't be fooled by the scoreline. Newcastle led 32-10 with 14 minutes to go and merrily clocked off, allowing the Cowboys to post three late tries.


Beau Scott runs the balls for the Knights. Source: News Corp Australia

The absence of Origin II casualties Matt Scott and Brent Tate were seismic setbacks. Factor in the loss of Ray Thompson (hamstring) and Rory Kostjasyn (ribs) and North Queensland had some mitigation to explain a defeat they could live to regret.

But nothing can truly excuse the defensive fragility of a Cowboys side that has become the NRL's Jekyll-and-Hyde riddle.

Monday night's collapse in Newcastle was their seventh consecutive away defeat. And unless Paul Green's troops learn to play outside of Townsville and defend with consistency in the middle, season 2014 will be the Cowboys' latest train wreck.


Cowboys Johnathan Thurston after being hurt in a tackle. Source: News Corp Australia

"We need to start winning those games, it's frustrating because we are a different team defensively (away from home)," coach Green lamented.

"We need to be better in that area. It's a number of things.

"It's a bit of confidence, a bit of trust in each other ... we need to look at that."

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The Cowboys looked set to wake from their travelling siesta when Antonio Winterstein crossed after just two minutes. But then their defensive structures fell apart as the embattled Knights raced in seven tries, including a double from Maroons hopeful Dane Gagai.

Newcastle's Kurt Gidley scores a try. Source: News Corp Australia

Even the talismanic Johnathan Thurston had an off-night, twice resembling a human speed bump as Maroons teammate Darius Boyd and Gagai ran riot.

The night finished controversially for Boyd, who was reported for a high shot on Thurston in the final minute of Newcastle's hatchet job.

The Cowboys finished the round 11th with a 6-8 record and now face a daunting home clash against big guns Souths this Saturday night in Townsville.

Amid the disappointment, Green refrained from going for the jugular, looking for a silver lining in his injury-depleted squad.

Newcastle's Jeremy Smith breaks the Cowboys defence. Source: News Corp Australia

"We're under the pump in that regard, Origin II hurt us and we copped a bit of the same here losing Ray and Rory," he said.

"We had guys playing out of position, Tariq Sims was at centre at one stage, so there were some courageous efforts.

"Matt (Scott) and Tatey are Test players and it has a huge impact on your game, but there's no point whingeing about it."

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Club powerbrokers must soon start seriously asking what is going wrong. Cowboys chiefs last year deemed coach Neil Henry wasn't the answer and duly speared him. But with Henry gone, surely the buck stops with the players.

Newcastle's Dane Gagai makes a break to score a try. Source: News Corp Australia

The relief for Green is that the Cowboys have sufficient time to resurrect their season. But when you make the lowly Knights look like the Brisbane Broncos circa 1992, alarm bells are ringing.

"We need to be more desperate in defence," prop James Tamou said. "We tried to talk ourselves up ... but talking only gets you so far."

NEWCASTLE 36 (D Gagai 2 D Boyd K Gidley J Leilua T Roberts A Uate tries K Gidley 4 goals) bt NORTH QUEENSLAND 28 (R Lui 2 C Rona T Sims A Winterstein tries J Thurston 4 goals) at Hunter Stadium. Referee: Matt Cecchin, Henry Perenara. Crowd: 11,925

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