OL Brian Hernandez# Nicholls Baton Rouge, La. Gr. 3.75 Interdisciplinary Studies (Biology/Pre-Med) OL Gilberto Garcia* Central Arkansas Morrilton, Ark. Gr. 3.43 M.B.A., Insurance and Risk Management DL Jalen Bowers McNeese Shreveport, La. Sr. 3.20 Business Administration 2017 Southland Football Student-Athlete of the Year: Marlon Walls, Stephen F. Austin OL Chris Zirkle*^#2 Northwestern State League City, Texas Jr. 3.87 Business Administration Two student-athletes posted perfect 4.00 grade point averages – Walls and Abilene Christian quarterback Luke Anthony. * Automatic selection; First Team All-Conference^ Automatic selection; CoSIDA Academic All-District& Automatic selection; CoSIDA Academic All-American# Automatic selection; FCS ADA Academic All-Star2 Two-time all-academic selection3 Three-time all-academic selection DL Manasseh Miles Lamar Houston, Texas Sr. 3.05 Health DB Trent Perriman Stephen F. Austin Miami, Fla. Sr. 3.27 Criminal Justice Marlon Walls was also voted to the FCS ADA Academic All-Star team and the CoSIDA Academic All-District list. He was named the CoSIDA Football Academic All-American of the Year – the first Lumberjack and third Southland athlete in any sport to ever do so. DB Marlon Walls^ Stephen F. Austin Pearland, Texas Sr. 4.00 Engineering Physics DB Ryan Reed^2 Northwestern State St. Francisville, La. Jr. 3.59 Industrial Engineering Technology Walls is now a three-time Southland All-Academic pick, three-time CoSIDA All-District honoree, and two-time selection to the CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team and ADA Academic All-Star list. This season also saw him finish as a finalist for the STATS FCS Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award and the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy. P Patrick Ponder^ Central Arkansas Bay St. Louis, Miss. Sr. 3.68 Anthropology LB James Graves^ Central Arkansas Bassfield, Miss. Sr. 3.62 Computer Science Pos. Name School Hometown Cl. GPA Major Central Arkansas, Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin lead with four selections each while Sam Houston State collected a trio of selections. Houston Baptist, Lamar and Nicholls all earned a pair of honorees. Abilene Christian, UIW and McNeese each garnered one pick. WR Cody Williams Stephen F. Austin Pearland, Texas So. 3.50 Biology OL John Cook^# Central Arkansas Grenada, Miss. Jr. 3.78 Biology WR Jamari Gilbert UIW Baytown, Texas Gr. 3.76 Business Administration Southland Conference All-Academic Teams are voted upon by a head coach, sports information director and academic/compliance staff member from each school. Student-Athletes of the Year are voted upon by an awards committee which consists of one administrator from each member school. Voting for one’s own athletes is not permitted. RB Dontrell Taylor Nicholls White Castle, La. So. 3.75 Petroleum Services – Safety Technology LB Chrishard Buhl^ Northwestern State Woodway, Texas Sr. 3.57 Psychology To be eligible for all-academic distinction, an athlete must hold a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA through the semester prior to the sport’s championship, completed at least one full academic year at the nominating school prior to the current season, and participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s competitions during the most recently completed season. Student-Athlete of the Year nominees must have hold at least a 3.20 GPA and have completed at least two years of athletic competition at the nominating school, including the current season. DL Andre Walker^ Houston Baptist Slidell, La. So. 3.52 Biochemistry/Molecular Biology QB Luke Anthony Abilene Christian Fort Worth, Texas So. 4.00 Financial Management DL John Franklin3 Stephen F. Austin Greenville, Texas Sr. 3.20 Kinesiology DB Shyler Staton Lamar Missouri City, Texas So. 3.10 Criminal Justice TE Mev Ajdin^ Houston Baptist Allen, Texas Sr. 3.79 Finance DB Adrian Contreras Sam Houston State Georgetown, Texas Jr. 3.66 Accounting 2017 Southland Football All-Academic Team RB Remus Bulmer Sam Houston State Missouri City, Texas Jr. 3.28 General Business FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference announced the 2017 Football All-Academic Team on Tuesday, with defensive back Marlon Walls of Stephen F. Austin repeating as Student-Athlete of the Year. Southland yearly awards are presented by Ready Nutrition. Three additional student-athletes are also returning all-academic selections, led by three-time honoree John Franklin of Stephen F. Austin. Northwestern State’s Chris Zirkle and Ryan Reed were both named all-academic for a second time. OL Eric David Sam Houston State Richmond, Texas Jr. 3.54 Biochemistry PK Eric Piccione Northwestern State League City, Texas Sr. 3.61 Business Administration
FRISCO, Texas – Southeastern Louisiana’s Ella Manzer is the season’s first Hitter of the Week, while Stephen F. Austin’s Kassidy Wilbur is the season-opening Pitcher of the Week, the Southland Conference announced Tuesday. All Southland Conference Players of the Week are presented by MidSouth Bank.Southeastern Louisiana opened its season hosting the 2019 Lion Classic I capturing four wins through six games. Manzer led the Lady Lions to a tournament championship following a 7-3 victory over Mississippi Valley State Sunday afternoon. SLU returns to the diamond Wednesday evening in Ruston, La. to take on Louisiana Tech.Wilbur pushed the Ladyjacks to a 4-1 start to open their season, including a complete-game shutout over host and No. 24 Mississippi State at the 2019 Bulldog Kickoff Classic in her collegiate debut. The Ladyjacks claimed the tournament championship after their five-game showing. SFA returns to action at home Wednesday evening as it hosts Louisiana-Monroe in a 3 p.m. first pitch.Softball Hitter of the Week – Ella Manzer, Southeastern Louisiana – So. – Catcher – Alexandria, La.Manzer was the leading hitter for the Lady Lions, who won the season-opening Lion Classic I. Her highlights included a go-ahead two-run homer in an eventual 4-3 win over Southern Illinois and a 3-for-3 performance in a 7-3 win over Mississippi Valley State in the tournament finale. The sophomore recorded a .692 batting average to go along with a 1.077 slugging percentage. She was responsible for five runs and five RBI for the Lady Lions’ opening weekend of play, while registering a .765 on-base percentage.Honorable Mention: Amanda Gianelloni, Nicholls; Kaylyn Shepherd, Central Arkansas; Emily Wolfe, Stephen F. Austin; Justyce McClain, McNeese.Softball Pitcher of the Week – Kassidy Wilbur, Stephen F. Austin – Fr. – Bridge City, TexasWilbur opened her collegiate career with a 4-0 record over the weekend, including three complete game victories. The freshman also recorded a two-hit shutout at No. 24 Mississippi State. While not allowing an earned run in 22 innings of work on the rubber, Wilbur struck out 32 batters and walked just seven. She only gave up one extra-base hit. In her first start as a Division I softball player, Wilbur fanned 15 batters to set the program record for most strikeouts by a Ladyjack. The right-hander went the distance in SFA’s season-opening 6-2 win over Valparaiso, before tossing her second complete game and striking out six batters in the Ladyjacks’ 7-1 rout of Middle Tennessee. Wilbur appeared in one inning of relief and struck out a pair of batters as SFA won in walk-off fashion over Middle Tennessee (2-1) Saturday evening. She completed her first weekend by striking out the side in order during the bottom of the seventh to clinch the Ladyjacks’ 1-0 shutout of No. 24 Mississippi State, helping SFA capture the 2019 Bulldog Kickoff Classic.Honorable Mention: Bronte Rhoden, Northwestern State; Megan Landry, Nicholls; Kamryn Coleman, Central Arkansas; Alexsandra Flores, McNeese.Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots.
All-Conference Second Team Addison Miller Sr. L Sam Houston State Prosper, Texas Player of the Year: Hannah Brister, Northwestern StateFreshman of the Year: Carissa Barnes, Texas A&M-Corpus ChristiNewcomer of the Year: Taya Mitchell, Stephen F. AustinLibero of the Year: Addison Miller, Sam Houston StateSetter of the Year: Madison Green, Texas A&M-Corpus ChristiCoach of the Year: Debbie Humphreys, Stephen F. Austin Marybeth Sandercox Sr. RS Abilene Christian Lubbock, Texas Taya Mitchell Jr. MB Stephen F. Austin Rowlett, Texas 2019 Southland Volleyball Tournament Central Ashley Lewis Jr. OH/RS Sam Houston State Houston, Texas Corin Evans Sr. OH Stephen F. Austin Katy, Texas Carissa Barnes Fr. L Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Weatherford, Texas Name Cl. Pos. School Hometown Ann Hollas2 Sr. S Stephen F. Austin Longview, Texas Jodi Edo Sr. MB Southeastern Louisiana Baton Rouge, La. Name Cl. Pos. School Hometown Madison Green2 Sr. S/OH Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Dripping Springs, Texas All-Conference Third Team Abbie Harry Sr. OH Central Arkansas Frederick, Md. Hannah Brister2 Jr. OH Northwestern State Paincourtville, La. Danae Daron3 Sr. MB Stephen F. Austin Crosby, Texas Madison Bowles So. RS Central Arkansas Strafford, Mo. Ehize Omoghibo Sr. OH New Orleans Evanston, Ill. Breanne Chausse So. RS Sam Houston State Coppell, Texas 2 – Two-Time Selection3 – Three-Time SelectionThe Southland Conference Volleyball All-Conference Teams are nominated and voted upon by the league’s head coaches and SIDs. Each team consists of six players and one libero. Maddie Miller Jr. DS Stephen F. Austin Lorena, Texas Alexis Warren Sr. OH Northwestern State Cypress, Texas Emily Doss Jr. DS/L Central Arkansas Springdale, Ark. Lucie Pokorna Fr. S/OH New Orleans Kladno, Czech Republic All-Conference First Team Mikayla Vivens2 Jr. OH Houston Baptist San Antonio, Texas FRISCO, Texas – Northwestern State’s Hannah Brister was crowned the 2019 Southland Conference Volleyball Player of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. Along with Brister’s honor, the 2019 all-conference rosters were announced with nine schools represented among the three squads. Southland individual awards and all-conference honors are presented by Come Ready Nutrition.Stephen F. Austin leads the way with five selections, followed by Central Arkansas, Sam Houston State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi with three honorees apiece. Northwestern State and New Orleans each put forth two selections, while Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist and Southeastern Louisiana garnered one spot each.Brister’s Player of the Year accolade comes on the shoulders of a red-hot season where she pushed the Lady Demons to a 19-11 overall record and an 11-5 mark in conference play. The junior from Paincourtville, La., claimed Southland Offensive Player of the Week five times throughout the 2019 season and led the league with 478 kills in regular-season play. She shattered Northwestern State’s single-season kills mark, previously set at 443 by Christina Stone in the 2002 season. Her efforts pushed the Lady Demons to a No. 3 seed at the Southland Conference Tournament.Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Madison Green was named the Setter of the Year after leading the Islanders to an 11-5 record in Southland action. Green has consistently brought life to the Islanders’ squad and currently ranks third in the nation with six triple-double performances. The senior setter enters the Southland Tournament averaging 7.67 assists per match and has dealt a team-leading 851 assists on the season.Joining Green among the individual award winners is teammate Carissa Barnes who was named Freshman of the Year. Barnes stands atop the Islanders’ roster with 569 digs and 48 service aces while also ranking among the Southland’s top-three individuals in each category.Sam Houston State’s Addison Miller claimed Libero of the Year honors after leading the Bearkats to a No. 2 seed at the conference tournament following a 12-4 finish in Southland play. Miller ranks 16th nationally and first in the conference with 575 digs on the season while averaging 5.04 digs per set. The senior has racked up 1,441 digs throughout her career with the Kats and will look to add to her total in Friday’s opening-round tournament match against No. 7-seeded Southeastern Louisiana.Newcomer of the Year honors belong to Stephen F. Austin’s Taya Mitchell who wrapped up her first season of conference play with the Ladyjacks. Mitchell, a junior transfer from Tyler Junior College, leads the league and ranks sixth in the nation for blocks per set (1.52) and total blocks (152). Her presence at the net limited SFA opponents to a paltry .139 hitting percentage, a feat that places the Ladyjacks sixth in the nation.SFA head coach Debbie Humphreys was awarded her third-consecutive Katrinka Jo Crawford Coach of the Year honor after leading her squad to a 28-1 overall mark and a flawless 16-0 record in conference play. The Ladyjacks dropped just 15 sets all season and cruised through their conference slate with 12 sweeps. Earlier in the season, Humphreys captured her 700th career victory in a three-set win over Austin Peay (Sept. 6). She has since added 22 wins and extended her career-wins mark to 722 heading into post season play, making her the Southland all-time leader for total victories. The award marks the eighth of Humphreys’ career.All individual superlative winners and all-conference honorees will be recognized before first-round matchups at the 2019 Southland Conference Volleyball Tournament in Conway, Ark., taking place Nov. 22-24. Rachel Young So. MB Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Frisco, Texas Name Cl. Pos. School Hometown
HARD NOT TO LOVE COMES OFF THE BENCH TO TAKE $53,000 SANTA ANITA ALLOWANCE FEATURE BY THREE QUARTERS OF A LENGTH UNDER SMITH
HARD NOT TO LOVE COMES OFF THE BENCH TO TAKE $53,000 SANTA ANITA ALLOWANCE FEATURE BY THREE QUARTERS OF A LENGTH UNDER SMITH; TRAINED BY SHIRREFFS, SHE GETS SIX FURLONGS IN 1:10.11 ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 25, 2019)–Idle since May 4, trainer John Shirreffs’ talented 3-year-old filly Hard Not to Love returned to the races in style today at Santa Anita, as she outran heavily favored Anuket through the lane to take the day’s $53,000 allowance feature by three quarters of a length. Ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, she got six furlongs in a rapid 1:10.11.A close third while three deep just to the outside of Anuket a quarter mile from home, Hard Not to Love drifted outward just a bit turning into the stretch and prevailed in a very impressive effort over a main track that has been producing slower times.“Mike has worked her the last three or four times and he’s gotten very familiar with her,” said Shirreffs. “She’s been a little tough going to the gate, but as you saw, Mike got her there with no problem today. He knows what he can control and he knows what she’s capable of and lets her do it.”Off at 9-2 in a field of five sophomore fillies, Hard Not to Love paid $11.40, $6.20 and $2.40.A Kentucky-bred daughter of Hard Spun out of the Vindication mare Loving Vindication, Hard Not to Love is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Mercedes Stables LLC, Scott Dilworth, Dorothy Ingordo, David Ingordo and Steve Mooney. With today’s win, she’s now 4-3-0-1. The winner’s check of $31,800 increases her earnings to $108,480.Ridden by Flavien Prat, Madame Vestal, last early, unleashed a big rally to catch Anuket on the money while finishing second by a head. Off at 3-1, Madame Vestal paid $4.20 and $2.10.Ridden by apprentice J.C. Diaz, Jr., Anuket was off at 1-2 and paid $2.10 to show while finishing a head in front of Show It N Moe It.Fractions on the race were 22.23, 45.46 and 57.58.Racing resumes with a nine race card on Saturday. First post time is at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanta.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
AHEAD OF 83RD SEASON, SANTA ANITA PARK DEBUTS ANIMAL-WELFARE TECHNOLOGY NEVER BEFORE USED AT ANY RACETRACK IN THE COUNTRY
Dr. Mathieu Spriet, an Associate Professor at UC Davis demonstarates PET-Mile Scanner AHEAD OF 83RD SEASON, SANTA ANITA PARK DEBUTS ANIMAL-WELFARE TECHNOLOGY NEVER BEFORE USED AT ANY RACETRACK IN THE COUNTRYPET Scanner Will Aid in Detection of Pre-Existing Conditions in RacehorsesArcadia, CA — As Santa Anita Park prepares for its 83rd season, the racetrack today debuted animal-welfare technology that goes far and beyond anything ever seen at a horse-racing facility across the country. Installed at the on-site Nuclear Medicine Facility, the cutting-edge Longmile Positron Emission Tomography (MILE-PET) Scan machine — the first of its kind — will help support the diagnosis of pre-existing conditions in racehorses and modernize the sport of horse racing by prioritizing the health and safety of Thoroughbreds. The machine provides imaging of the fetlock (ankle) joint, the most common area for injuries to occur. In January, Santa Anita Park is expecting to install a Standing Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), another example of cutting-edge diagnostic technology to assist with animal welfare.While the MILE-PET scan technology has been used in human medicine for more than a decade, it is very rare for horses to undergo a PET scan. The standing MILE-PET machine allows a horse to have a PET scan on their fetlock joint without the risks of general anesthesia. The installation of this machine brings to fruition a year-long investment and research endeavor; the first MILE-PET scan on a standing horse was successfully performed in January of 2019 at UC Davis through a project led by Mathieu Spriet, DVM, in partnership with the Brain Biosciences and Longmile Veterinary Imaging Division.“The Stronach Group is committed to doing what we can to provide horsemen with access to resources that will help them to better assess the health and fitness of horses in their care,” said Belinda Stronach, Chairman and President, The Stronach Group. “We continue to make progress with the installation of the MILE-PET scan machine at Santa Anita. This state-of-the-art technology reflects a new standard of care within Thoroughbred racing — a standard that puts the health and safety of horses and riders first.”To increase affordable access to advanced diagnostic equipment for horseman, The Stronach Group partnered with the Dolly Green Research Foundation (DRGF) to secure the purchase of the MILE-PET scan machine. This machine is housed in the Nuclear Medicine Facility in the barn area of Santa Anita Park, and will be operated on a low-cost, non-profit basis by the Southern California Equine Foundation (SCEF). Fees related to the use of the machine will be established by the SCEF. The SCEF also operates the on-site Equine Hospital at Santa Anita.The MILE-PET scan machine will complement existing technology already available in the Nuclear Medicine Facility which is the only nuclear medicine facility at a racetrack nationwide. The existing Nuclear Scan Technology allows veterinarians at Santa Anita to look beyond the conventional x-ray to help highlight conditions which could become problematic, assisting in the diagnosis of pre-existing conditions. This technology is particularly useful in the diagnosis of stress fractures in the shoulder, humerus and pelvis. The addition of the MILE-PET Scan will improve the ability to detect early changes in the sesamoid bones of the fetlock – the most common area for injuries to occur. Prior to the advent of this technology, the ability to diagnose pre-existing conditions in this area was limited.“The Stronach Group is leading the way to highlight the critical role that innovative medical technology represents for the sport. This machine will aid in the detection of pre-existing conditions in a way that has never before existed in Thoroughbred horse racing,” said Dr. Dionne Benson, Chief Veterinary Officer for The Stronach Group. “By being able to detect injuries on a microscopic level, veterinarians with be better equipped with the tools needed to provide equine athletes with a higher standard of care and attention.”The MILE-PET scan will not be the only new addition to the on-site medical technology at Santa Anita Park; in early 2020, a standing MRI machine will be installed in the Nuclear Medicine Facility. The MRI will improve the ability of veterinarians to identify changes to bone and soft tissue (tendons, ligaments) in the area around the fetlock. These technologies work in concert with one another as no single technology can identify all potential issues that can lead to an equine injury. Because of that, it is important to have different diagnostic modalities available to veterinarians and the horses they treat.“The MILE-PET machine is the most groundbreaking development in equine imaging since standing MRI in the early 2000’s,” said Dr. Mathieu Spriet, an Associate Professor at UC Davis who has been the Principal Investigator for the project. “The development of the standing equine PET scanner will transform the diagnostic approach to pre-existing conditions for racehorses.”Santa Anita Park will begin its 83rd racing season on December 26th, opening day.For more on safety and health reforms please visit www.santaanita.com.
6 Christian Eriksen climbed off the bench to wrap up an easy win for SpursCredit: AFP But he put it all behind him in Belgrade with a double in four second-half minutes.This took his tally to nine Champions League goals in 2019 and five in four games this season.His brace added to Giovani Lo Celso’s first goal for the club and a late Christian Eriksen strike, as Spurs finally won away for the first time since May 8.That was of course that famous night against Ajax in Amsterdam.NDOMBELE SHINES FINALLYThe victory, in a stadium where Liverpool were beaten last season, puts the Premier League side in the driving seat to join Group B leaders Bayern Munich in the knockout stages.It also gave an insight into what the future might look like as record signing Tanguy Ndombele put in a superb performance.While deadline day arrival Lo Celso, making his first start, also looked the part.6The challenge now for Mauricio Pochettino is to translate this performance into their stuttering Premier League campaign.Red Star twice hit the woodwork on stroke of half-time and Spurs keeper Paulo Gazzaniga kept out a Milan Pavkov sitter with a superb reflex save midway through the first half.But Spurs dominated throughout on a warm evening.6 Giovani got the ball rolling in good time when he plundered the first after 34 minutesCredit: EPA1️⃣ bar hit.1️⃣ post hit.1️⃣ clearance on the line.Lo Celso – eventually – scores on his first start for Spurs in one of the all-time goalmouth scrambles! pic.twitter.com/ccGn4FeYDX— 🇩🇪Ja! Watch the Bundesliga live on BT Sport🇩🇪 (@btsportfootball) November 6, 2019 SON HEUNG-MIN bounced back from his weekend devastation as he scored two goals in Tottenham’s impressive 4-0 Champions League win at Red Star Belgrade.Son was visibly distraught after his tackle led to a horrific injury to Everton’s Andre Gomes on Sunday and he was a doubt to make the trip to Serbia as a result.6 Son Heung-min made the sign of a heart after scoring his second for Spurs – possibly a sign of affection for the stricken Andre GomesCredit: Reuters6 The South Korean striker made a prayer sign after scoring his first goal – again probably for Andre GomesCredit: BT Sport6 It proved an emotional night for Son Heung-min just days after the horrors of Goodison ParkCredit: ReutersSon grabs Spurs second!A muted celebration from the Korean. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/emCKGLvy9c— 🇩🇪Ja! Watch the Bundesliga live on BT Sport🇩🇪 (@btsportfootball) November 6, 2019
Played in front of a ground record of 52,540 predominantly Queensland fans Munster was involved heavily from the outset, Storm teammates Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk showing great faith to bring their new five-eighth into the play at every opportunity.Queensland had never handed a half an Origin debut in a Game Three decider in 35 years of three-match series but any concerns the Rockhampton product would shy away from the occasion were almost immediately dispelled.It was Munster’s pass that created the space for Michael Morgan to put Valentine Holmes across for the first of his three tries in the 15th minute but it was midway through the second half that the 22-year-old endeared himself to an entire state.With the match hanging in the balance and the Blues finally building into the contest after trailing 12-0 at half-time it was Munster who broke the game apart in the 60th minute with a brilliant piece of play to set up Holmes for his third try of the night.Spotting Blues half Mitchell Pearce shooting out of the line, Munster stepped hard off his left to slice between Pearce and Boyd Cordner, evaded the clutches of Josh Dugan and sent the pass wide to Holmes who miraculously reeled in one-handed a pass that was high and behind him, bouncing out of two tackles to score in the corner and a 16-6 lead.Some wonderful interplay between Cronk and Slater put the Maroons on the attack again shortly thereafter and it was Munster who dropped the ball onto his left foot and earned his side an invaluable repeat set. From the ensuing set he sent prop Jarrod Wallace over for the first try of his Origin career with a desperate offload on the last tackle that only goes to hand when the game is running all your way.Playing with the exuberance and energy you would expect of a game of such magnitude the two teams traded errors and penalties in the opening 12 minutes but the Blues were unable to convert a possession rate nearing 60 per cent into points.Queensland showed their intent early with expansive shifts to both sides of the field and their clinical execution yielded results in the 15th minute when Billy Slater cut back and sparked a left-edge raid that finished with Morgan delivering another pass in a big moment for Holmes to score the first of his two first-half tries in the corner.The old firm of Smith, Slater and Cronk looked to have doubled their advantage from the next set of six only for a desperate lunge by Brett Morris to jolt the ball free of Cronk’s grasp as he dived over the try-line to the right of the posts but there was more brilliance to come.Making a mockery of the suggestion his ineffectiveness is dulling with age Smith sliced through some awful Blues defence in the 25th minute to put Josh Papalii on a charge toward the line but it was Cronk’s tracer-like inside-out banana kick to the corner that hit Holmes square on the chest from the next play that brought the sold-out crowd to its feet in rapturous admiration.As the Blues tried to bash their way through the middle the Maroons continued to attack at every opportunity, Smith and Cronk providing the steady hand to a bunch of youngsters eager to show off on the game’s greatest stage.The 12-point lead they took into half-time could have been far greater such was their dominance and should have been after Smith chanced his hand by going himself after Tim Glasby had collected a ball that bounced off Matt Gillett’s head only to be brought down 10 metres short.An error from Cordner two minutes in on halfway gave Queensland an early shot in the second half and if Slater’s one-handed offload to Will Chambers was even slightly softer they most likely would have had their third.As many were waiting for Queensland to put the Blues out of the misery James Maloney threw up a Hail Mary to the corner and Josh Dugan somehow plucked it from the grasp of Holmes before running around to bridge the gap to just six points with 30 minutes left to play.Some swarming Blues defence at the end of the next set pressured Queensland on their line for the first time in the game and a Will Chambers error and subsequent penalty had the Maroons under the pump but any resistance would be short-lived.Munster, Holmes, Napa and Wallace showed that Queensland’s dominance of the past 12 years could continue on for another decade but there were few better on the field than Man of the Match Smith and Slater, who brought the skill and the speed to worry the Blues at almost every turn.The Blues forwards – hailed as their trump card all series – barely made a dent all night and are now left to wonder how they can possibly break the stranglehold of a team who came back from a record loss in Game One to win by blooding eight rookies and without some of the greatest players the game has ever seen.Queensland Maroons 22 (Valentine Holmes 3, Jarrod Wallace tries; Cameron Smith 3 goals) def. New South Wales Blues 6 (Josh Dugan try; James Maloney goal) at Suncorp Stadium. Crowd: 52,540 (ground record). Half-time: Queensland 12-0. Man of the Match: Cameron Smith (Queensland). Wally Lewis Medal winner: Dane Gagai (Maroons).
The Hunters were poised to take second place on the ladder in yesterday’s clash against the Redcliffe Dolphins but the Dolphins snatched victory in the last 10 minutes to win 24-20.This leaves the Hunters on 26 competition points (11 wins, 6 losses and 2 byes) while the second-placed Dolphins have some breathing space, moving up to 28 points.A win for the fourth-placed Townsville Blackhawks (25 points) yesterday would have seen them displace the Hunters and take third spot.But the Blackhawks went down to competition leaders Burleigh Bears 26-20 which, for the Hunters, is some good news as this keeps them in third place.The top 6:Burleigh Bears (31), Redcliffe Dolphins (28), SP Hunters (26), Townsville Blackhawks (25), Easts Tigers (24) and Ipswich Jets (20).
It may be revenge time for the Hunters after losing to Bears in Round 8 games.With the home ground advantage, the PNG Hunters will be strongly tipped to record their 26th straight win at home.The Hunters looks fully prepared to take on the competition leaders and will be taking the game as a grand final match.Bears are currently sitting on the top of the ladder with 33 points followed by Redcliffe Dolphins with 32 points as Hunters still clinging onto third place with 30 points.With only five games away from the finals, Hunters are looking with confidence to win all their games.
Ansu Fati (10-31-2002). 14 games; 442 minutes and 3 goals.Its glittering appearance caused an earthquake back in August. It was 12 minutes against Betis that together with the goals against Osasuna and Valencia drew the appearance of a new star. In December he managed to become the youngest player to score in a Champions League game, but he has only played 34 minutes since November 9 and adds two months without starting. A full stop. It is true that a couple of physical mishaps have conditioned their end of the year, suffering, mainly from discomfort in the patellar tendon, the result of being still in a period of growth. The trident, in addition, has begun to carburize with a Griezmann who has struggled to fit. We will have to see from now on the confidence that his talent receives from Quique Setién. The Generation Z of LaLiga goes through the worst of its moments of the exercise. The young people who started the season willing to hit the table to position themselves as the main characters of the most powerful teams in the competition have entered a twilight phase. It could be seen as that NBA’s own Rookie Wall, when mental and physical consistencies are still not able to regularly wrap the quality and courage that the player in question treasures. Be that as it may Rodrygo and Vinicius do not reach a cruising speed in Real Madrid. João Felix, meanwhile, has returned from the Super Cup in Arabia with the worst face since signing for Atlético. In that tournament Ansu Fati only played two minutes, nine if we attend the last month and a half of Barcelona. Only Ferran Torres in Valencia maintains its strongest version, being indisputable to Celades and providing tangible and intangible hierarchy footballer. Vinicius (12-07-200). 17 games; 735 minutes and 2 goals.His football still offers no convictions to Zidane. His irruption during the final depressive last season at Real Madrid presaged more, but his weakness towards the goal and his inconsistency park him. Thus, the incumbent in the second part of the previous campaign has played a role of agitator in the final parts of the matches. Little for what was foreshadowed. Needs improvement. Rodrygo (9-1-2001). 15 games; 844 minutes and 6 goals.The Brazilian wants to rebel at a time when every minute is gold. Hazard continues to leave. The season began in Castilla and starred in a majestic staging in late October and early November. With Madrid hesitating in the Champions League, he vaccinated the Galatasaray with a hat-trick seconded with the goal opener against Leganés. His goal-to-goal instinct placed him clearly ahead of Vinicius. The low Hazard opened the doors of the eleven, but does not end up being a fixed for Zidane. You need more arguments. The personality with which he threw the penalty in the shootout against Atlético could be one of them. João Felix. (10-11-1999). 21 games; 1,571 minutes and 4 goals.The Portuguese is the most expensive signing in the history of Atlético, an investment that has the club in suspense. He has had a cold and the Super Cup was the most obvious proof of that. His amazing pre-season adventures are in danger of being in fireworks. It transmits signals and sensations of not yet having finished digesting Simeone’s style and, playing everything, does not decide frequently or regularly tilt the matches of the red and white side. It comes on tiptoe in many games, with less frequent flashes. It needs to be activated urgently so as not to suffer the same fate as other talents that have recently gone through the team. There is raw material. Ferran Torres (02-29-2000). 23 games; 1,590 minutes and 4 goals.The exception that confirms the rule. Begins to be a hierarchy player in Valencia, despite his youth. Unquestionable and solid, for Celades it is as important as Rodrigo or Parejo. Just a year ago he achieved his first official goal with the Valencia shirt and his evolution does not stop. Seated, the club will work on a contract extension with which to strengthen one of its pillars of the future.