2018 Southland Football Season Begins Tomorrow

first_imgOpening Game: vs. Southwest Baptist, Saturday, 6 p.m. Opening Game: at Baylor, Saturday, 7 p.m. Northwestern State Demons – Preseason Ranking: 8th – 2017 Record/Place: 4-7 (4-5 SLC), T6thBrad Laird enters his first season as head coach in Natchitoches as the Demons are coming off a 4-5 league record last season. He is joined by new offensive coordinator Brad Smiley as well as Mike Lucas who is beginning his second stint as defensive coordinator in 2018. With 14 starters lost and 14 returning, the Demons will look to newcomers to make an impact on both sides of the ball. NSU opens on the road at Texas A&M on Thursday before a SWAC matchup with Grambling at home on Sept. 8. Nicholls Colonels – Preseason Ranking: 2nd – 2017 Record/Place: 8-4 (7-2 SLC), T3rdThe Colonels’ sights are set high in 2018, entering at second place in the preseason poll and returning 18 starters from last season while losing only eight. Nicholls earned an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs in 2017, earning its first ever home postseason contest. The team returns 90 percent of the league’s second-best rushing attack and five all-conference picks from the third-best scoring defense in the Southland from last season. The Colonels open against two FBS opponents on the road, traveling to Kansas on Saturday at 6 p.m. and facing Tulane on Sept. 8. 2018 Southland Football Week One Notes (PDF)FRISCO, Texas – The 55th season of Southland Conference football kicks off Thursday with a pair of evening matchups. Southeastern Louisiana faces ULM on the road at 7 p.m. CT and Northwestern State travels to College Station to take on Texas A&M at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network. Opening Game: vs. Prairie View, Sept. 8, 6 p.m. McNeese Cowboys – Preseason Ranking: 4th – 2017 Record/Place: 9-2 (7-2 SLC), T3rdMcNeese aims to maintain its defensive dominance after losing six full-time starters, including all but one in the secondary. The Cowboys led the nation in rushing defense, third down defense, first downs defense and ranked in the top five in three other defensive categories in 2017. On offense, senior quarterback James Tabary returns as he closes in on career school records in touchdown passes and total passing yards. McNeese opens on the road at Northern Colorado on Saturday at 1 p.m. and will work in a midseason nonconference tilt at BYU on Sept. 22. Opening Game: at Kansas, Saturday, 6 p.m. Central Arkansas Bears – Preseason Ranking: 3rd – 2017 Record/Place: 10-2 (9-0 SLC), 1stThe defending Southland champions are tabbed for a third-place finish in 2018, according to the league’s head coaches and SIDs. Entering the season under first-year head coach Nathan Brown, the Bears must replace three individual player superlative winners from 2017, including quarterback Hayden Hildebrand, defensive back George Odum and offensive lineman John Cook. In total, UCA lost 16 starters from last season and will field a largely unproven side on both sides of the ball. The offense will look to the 2017 Freshman of the Year Kierre Crossley at running back to lead a talented corps in the backfield. UCA opens at Tulsa on Saturday at 1 p.m. and hosts Murray State on Sept. 8. Opening Game: vs. Kentucky Christian, Saturday, 6 p.m. Opening Game: at Northern Colorado, Saturday, 3:05 p.m. The Southland is coming off a three-bid year in the FCS playoffs last season and aims for its eighth-straight season with multiple postseason berths. The league has not failed to secure an at-large bid since 2010. Southeastern Louisiana Lions – Preseason Ranking: 5th – 2017 Record/Place: 6-5 (6-3 SLC), 5thThe Lions enter the Frank Scelfo era eyeing their fifth winning season in the last six years. Heading into his first season in charge in Hammond, Scelfo most recently was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at UTSA and senior offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Southeastern returns the 2017 Newcomer of the Year Lorenzo Nunez at quarterback and the bulk of the nation’s third-best rushing offense from last season. All-American kickoff returner Juwan Petit-Frere also returns for 2018. The Lions open on the road at ULM tomorrow at 7 p.m. before traveling to LSU on Sept. 8. Four Southland teams are ranked nationally in preseason top 25 polls, led by Sam Houston State at No. 4 in both the FCS Coaches Poll and STATS FCS Top 25. Central Arkansas is ranked No. 15 and 16, respectively. Nicholls is ranked No. 17 by the FCS Coaches list and No. 18 in the STATS poll, while McNeese is No. 17 and 18, respectively.center_img Opening Game: at Texas A&M, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Opening Game: at Mississippi State, Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks – Preseason Ranking: 6th – 2017 Record/Place: 4-7 (4-5 SLC), T6thJeff Byrd was named interim head coach on June 19, entering his second year with the program after serving as SFA’s defensive coordinator last season. The Lumberjacks also have new leadership in the offensive coordinator position with the departure of Gary Crowton. SFA returns standout wide receiver Tamrick Pace as well as its top two tacklers in Trenton Gordon and Alize Ward. In total, the ‘Jacks return 22 starters while only losing seven from the 2017 season. SFA heads to Starkville to face Mississippi State on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and hosts Tarleton State on Sept. 8 before league play begins. Incarnate Word Cardinals – Preseason Ranking: 9th – 2017 Record/Place: 1-10 (1-7 SLC), 9thFirst-year head coach Eric Morris leads the Cardinals into 2018 following a ninth-place finish in 2017. A strong core of starters return from last season, including top quarterback Sean Brophy, leading receiver Phillip Baptiste and tackles leader Mar’kel Cooks. Brophy and his receivers will be tested under Morris’ air raid offensive scheme that is being implemented this year. Incarnate Word faces a tough schedule, including two FBS opponents in New Mexico and North Texas to start the season, and four consecutive games against the Southland’s nationally ranked teams (Sam Houston State, Central Arkansas, McNeese and Nicholls). Abilene Christian Wildcats – Preseason Ranking: 7th – 2017 Record/Place: 2-9 (2-7 SLC), 8thThe Wildcats lost 13 starters from last season, including all-time leading tackler Sam Denmark. They are looking to avoid a fourth-straight losing season. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Luke Anthony is set to start under center after recording 776 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns in 2017 in seven appearances (two starts). Second-year head coach Adam Dorrel has also added several transfers to bolster the offensive line. ACU opens on the road at Baylor on Saturday at 7 p.m. and hosts Angelo State on Sept. 8 to conclude its nonconference schedule. Opening Game: at Tulsa, Saturday, 6 p.m. Lamar Cardinals – Preseason Ranking: 10th – 2017 Record/Place: 2-9 (1-8 SLC), 10thLamar heads into 2018 with 21 starters from last season, including nine on defense. The defensive unit shined for the Cardinals down the stretch in 2017, surrendering just 29 total points in the final two games of the season. They registered 14 fumble recoveries and 27 turnovers gained on the season. On offense, senior quarterback Darrel Colbert Jr. returns under center after an injury-shortened season last year, part of eight returning starters on the offensive side. Lamar opens the season at home against Kentucky Christian on Saturday before traveling to Lubbock to face Texas Tech on Sept. 8. Sam Houston State Bearkats – Preseason Ranking: 1st – 2017 Record/Place: 12-2 (8-1 SLC), 2ndThe Bearkats enter 2018 as the preseason favorite, coming off an FCS Playoff semifinal appearance in 2017. Sam Houston dropped only one league matchup to the regular season champion Central Arkansas and went on to defeat South Dakota and Kennesaw State before falling at eventual national champion North Dakota State. Despite losing two-time Walter Payton Award winner Jeremiah Briscoe, the Kats return the core of their potent offense, including All-American wide receiver duo of Davion Davis and Nathan Stewart. The team returns 41 letterwinners overall. Sam Houston hosts both of its nonconference contests, welcoming Prairie View and North Dakota to Bowers Stadium. Opening Game: at ULM, Thursday, 7 p.m. Opening Game: at New Mexico, Saturday, 7 p.m. Houston Baptist Huskies – Preseason Ranking: 11th – 2017 Record/Place: 1-10 (0-9 SLC), 11thThe Huskies eye a turnaround season in 2018 after going winless in conference play last season. Sixth-year head coach Vic Shealy will be working with a younger team, having lost 19 starters from 2017. HBU earned a preseason all-conference pick in defensive back Raphael Lewis and return another standout in defensive end Andre Walker. New faces are at the helm on both sides of the ball with offensive coordinator Zack Kittley and defensive coordinator Jeff Mills. The Huskies open at home against Southwest Baptist on Saturday before an early start to the conference slate against McNeese on Sept. 8. Click here for a complete week one TV viewing guide.last_img read more

Palmer’s Gem Lifts No. 6 Stephen F. Austin Over No. 3 Southeastern Louisiana

first_imgThe 2019 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year tossed his fourth complete game of the season, striking out 10 Lions’ batters with no walks and only three hits allowed. Palmer faced the minimum in eight of his nine frames and only needed 107 pitches to navigate the SFA win. Palmer continued to cruise through the next three innings, not allowing a base hit until Trey Harrington singled up the middle with one down in the third, but Palmer’s first blemish was erased by a Conner Manola double-play ball to end the inning. The Jacks extended their lead to five in the final frame as Brandon Uhse reached on a full-pitch walk and was driven in by a Manny Vasquez double. In the home-half of the sixth, Palmer trotted out with a four-run lead for just the second time this season and displayed his comfort with a pair of punchouts to cap off his fourth 1-2-3 inning of the morning. Stephen F. Austin threatened in the top of the fifth with two runners aboard, but a diving grab by Nick Ray brought an end to the top-half of the inning and kept the Jacks from adding to their lead; something they were able to do in the following inning. Jake Georgiades opened the three-run sixth with a solo shot to left field, and SFA reached on their next five at-bats, including an RBI single off the bat of freshman Carson Clowers.BSB: Georgiades provides lead-off homer in top 6th for @SFA_Baseball. Increases the Lumberjacks’ lead 2-0 over @LionUpBaseball.?? https://t.co/ftqXrgCnTq???? @espn apps #AxeEm #LionUp pic.twitter.com/TeAiSMiKI0— Southland Conference (@SouthlandSports) May 22, 2019 However, in the seventh, the spotlight shifted back to Moore for his defense, flashing the leather with a pair of diving catches in the inning. Palmer closed the book on the seventh inning with his ninth strikeout of the game. Box Score | Photo Gallery | Tournament HomepageSUGAR LAND, Texas – “The Mane Event” was in full effect as Alex Palmer, the ace of the No. 6 seed Stephen F. Austin pitching staff, spun a gem on the mound to lead the Lumberjacks to a 5-0 win over No. 3 seed Southeastern Louisiana in the first game of the 2019 Southland Conference Baseball Tournament. After Southeastern Louisiana hurler Corey Gaconi and Palmer exchanged a pair of strikeouts in the opening frame, the Lumberjacks got on the board in the top of the second as Sean Moore got on with a one-out double and came around to score on a Jordan Monacy single on the ensuing at-bat. Stephen F. Austin will face the winner of game two between No. 2 Central Arkansas and No. 7 Northwestern State, and Southeastern Louisiana will face the loser from the Bears and Demons.last_img read more

Week Eleven Southland Football TV Selections Announced

first_imgESPN+ is an integrated part of the ESPN App, the leading sports app and the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans. The ESPN App is a showcase of the company’s culture of innovation, delivering a rich, personalized experience that curates all of ESPN’s incredible content around each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com. Abilene Christian hosts Sam Houston State for another 3 p.m. kick on ESPN+, while UIW is at Stephen F. Austin for a 4 p.m. contest on ESPN3. Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball and multiple other sports from more than 15 conferences), exclusive Top Rank boxing, UFC (beginning in 2019), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby, cricket, new and exclusive documentary films and series, acclaimed studio shows and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year) and cancel at any time. *Southland Conference Game**All Times Central Saturday, November 9* Southeastern Louisiana at Central Arkansas, 3 p.m., ESPN+* Sam Houston State at Abilene Christian, 3 p.m., ESPN+* Houston Baptist at Nicholls, 3 p.m., Cox Sports Television/ESPN+* UIW at Stephen F. Austin, 4 p.m., ESPN3* Lamar at Northwestern State, 6:30 p.m., Cox Sports Television/ESPN+ FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference and its television partners have revealed Week 11 football game selections and start times for contests on Saturday, Nov. 9.All five conference games that day will be available on ESPN platforms, including the Southland Game of the Week when Southeastern Louisiana visits No. 10/9 Central Arkansas, winners of three in a row. Kickoff is 3 p.m. CT on ESPN+. ESPN+ is the premium multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment in conjunction with ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. About ESPN+ Cox Sports Television will feature a doubleheader on Nov. 9, beginning at 3 p.m. CT as No. 24/25 Nicholls hosts Houston Baptist. Following that contest, Lamar visits Northwestern State for a 6:30 p.m. kick. ESPN+ will simulcast both productions outside CST’s territory.last_img read more


first_imgJOCKEY QUOTESJOE TALAMO, MUCHO GUSTO, WINNER:  “Every race, he getting better and better.  I’m glad I’ve been working him, because he’s worked better, too.  He settled today like he’s been doing this a hundred times…He galloped out real strong.  I don’t think distance is going to be any problem.  At the three eighths (pole), I was pretty confident.  He’s a 3-year-old, but he feels like an older horse.  He’s got a great mind.”“Those first two horses hopped off there pretty quick so I didn’t want to go head and head with speed there; he’s such a cool horse, he settled so nice, Bob’s done a great job with him in the morning like with a lot of horses. I just kinda rode him like he worked him in the morning, he absolutely loved the mud today.”  MIKE SMITH, GUNMETAL GRAY, SECOND:  “He ran okay.  He was climbing a lot.  He had a lot to (overcome).TRAINER QUOTESBOB BAFFERT, MUCHO GUSTO, WINNER: “It was good. He got to sit off the pace, which was good. They have to learn to do that, and I was really happy with Joe (Talamo). He rode him with a lot of confidence today, like he was a good horse, and he (Joe) was on his own. I didn’t give him any instructions.“He said, ‘What should I do?’ I said, ‘You need to WIN THIS RACE. That’s what you need to do.’ When we bought him, he worked in the slop at Timonium and he just smoked over it . . . but he’s a good horse. He’s a fighter, too. If they’d have hooked him, he likes to fight. This is the time of the year when you want to start getting excited about something (on the Triple Crown trail). We’re still dreaming in Technicolor, but they have to start performing and they have to move forward from here, but it’s a fun position to be in.“I want to run him in spots where he’s going to be very competitive, and we have those other horses, so it depends on what the other horses are doing. Right now I’m going to nominate my horses everywhere and whoever’s doing great that week runs in that race . . . Let the games begin.“I know that Joe (Talamo) rode the horse with a lot of confidence today, and we talked about after the Los Alamitos (12/8/18 where he came in second to Improbable), I told him to get to the next level he has to learn to relax, so today was a good day to get him back off those horses, he rode him like he’s a good horse and he responded like a good horse.“We’re just happy that the horse has been doing well and Michael (owner Petersen) here he got into the business, we had some more spirit, we had some luck there and we’d been trying to get to the Derby, we had another good horse that needed some time off so this was actually the second stringer here but he’s a good horse.”OWNER QUOTESMICHAEL LUND PETERSEN, MUCHO GUSTO, WINNER: I just like standing on the other side of the bundle you know giving them carrots instead. It’s an amazing experience that’s why I own horses to see them race and hopefully once in a while we can get a win in.“I texted Bob to see if I should come for the race and he was very confident.  That’s pretty good.”NOTES: The winning horse receives 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, the runner-up four, the third-place finisher two and the fourth, one.  The winning owner is Michael Lund Petersen.Michael L. Petersen’s Mucho Gusto and jockey Joseph Talamo win the Grade III, $150,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes, Saturday, February 2, 2019 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA. © BENOIT PHOTOlast_img read more


first_imgRonald R–Drayden Van Dyke–124The Hunted–Geovanni Franco–122Majestic Eagle–Umberto Rispoli–122True Valour–Andrea Atzeni–124Mugaritz–Mike Smith–124River Boyne–Abel Cedillo–122Frontier Market–Flavien Prat–122Camino Del Paraiso–Tiago Pereira–122Take the One O One–Brice Blanc–120Kingly–Mario Gutierrez–122First post time for a nine-race program on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m., with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.  For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE. RIVER BOYNE, MAJESTIC EAGLE & TRUE VALOUR ALL PROMINENT AMONG FIELD OF 10 OLDER HORSES IN SATURDAY’S GRADE III, $100,000 THUNDER ROAD STAKES AT ONE MILE ON TURF ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2020)–A winner of six of 11 starts over the Santa Anita lawn, Irish-bred River Boyne rates top billing among a wide-open field of 10 older horses in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Thunder Road Stakes at one mile on turf.Others who merit serious consideration are Majestic Eagle, who comes off a sharp third place finish in the Grade II San Gabriel Stakes Jan. 4, and True Valour, last year’s Thunder Road winner, who also won a Grade II turf stakes here three starts back on Oct. 5.RIVER BOYNEOwner:  Red Baron’s Barn, LLCTrainer:  Jeff MullinsMost recently third, beaten three lengths by Grade I winner Ohio in the one mile turf Cotton Fitzsimmons Stakes at Turf Paradise Jan. 11, this 5-year-old full horse ran a huge third, beaten a half length, two starts back in the Grade II Seabiscuit Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 30.  Although he’s winless in eight starts since taking the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile here on Dec. 26, 2018, he’s been close in seven of those races and will get the first time services of Abel Cedillo on Saturday as he seeks his third graded stakes victory with Mullins.MAJESTIC EAGLEOwner:  John Lindley & Ray MortonTrainer:  Neil DrysdaleA close second early, this 5-year-old full horse by Medaglia d’Oro took a narrow advantage turning for home and ended up third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths going a mile and one eighth on turf in the Grade II San Gabriel Jan. 4 and he should appreciate the cutback in distance to one mile.  A winner of the Grade III, one mile turf American Stakes five starts back here on June 23, Majestic Eagle rates a big chance with talented Umberto Rispoli aboard for the first time on Saturday.TRUE VALOUROwner:  Simon CallaghanTrainer:  Simon CallaghanA winner of the Grade III City of Hope Mile over the course three starts back on Oct. 5, this 5-year-old Irish-bred bobbled at the break and was subsequently eighth, beaten four lengths in his most recent start, the Grade II, 5 ½ furlong turf Joe Hernandez Stakes on Jan. 1.  Off at 5-2 in the 10-horse Hernandez, True Valour, who won last year’s Thunder Road four starts back, will be reunited with jockey Andrea Atzeni and rates a huge chance with clear sailing on Saturday.THE GRADE III THUNDER ROAD STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 7 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PTlast_img read more

Samoa stung by poor execution

first_imgThe final match of the Pacific Test triple-header was, on paper, the hardest game to predict, but England’s precision proved too much for a Samoan side that had its moments, but ultimately couldn’t match it for 80 minutes with their northern rivals.There wasn’t a lot that separated the sides with metres, tackles and completion rates virtually identical, but where England were clinical in their execution, Samoa lacked poise and it cost them in the key moments.Samoa coach Matt Parish hoped Anthony Milford’s 66th-minute try would be the spark they needed to overpower their opponents, but not even the support of 18,271 boisterous fans could will them home as James Graham and Jermaine McGillvary struck late to seal the deal.”There was plenty of effort, but our game management probably wasn’t what it should have been,” Parish said after the game. “The scoreline at the end obviously wasn’t what we wanted, but at 14-6 we had opportunities, at 20-10 we had opportunities, but we didn’t quite nail them.  “I thought if we got back within strike range, I thought we could have ridden on the back of the crowd support and lifted, but we never got close enough, unfortunately.”While obviously stung by the 20-point defeat, Samoa skipper Antonio Winterstein saw enough positives to suggest his side was tracking well ahead of the World Cup. “We asked for effort today and some of the boys put in unbelievable effort and they can hold their heads high. We spoke about looking each other in the eye in the sheds after the game, and I think the boys in the shed can do that,” Winterstein said. “I think we’ve got the hard work in us; it’s the little things that we need to clean up, and once we do, we’ll be a hard team to beat.”The loss of hooker Kaysa Pritchard to injury just days before the game forced Josh McGuire to share the hooking duties with Pita Godinet, and while the Broncos lock did well – running for 148 metres and making 50 tackles in an 80-minute performance – the Samoans clearly lacked the spark a regular No.9 would have provided. “We didn’t help ourselves by dropping a lot of ball and handing over possession. You don’t really get too much time to prepare for the game so it was expected,” Samoa forward John Asiata said. “We weren’t connecting well as a group. The boys were running hard, working hard and the energy was there, but the execution wasn’t what we wanted.”last_img read more

Canes call in the cavalry

first_imgAll Blacks TJ Perenara, the Barrett brothers Beauden and Jordie, the Savea brothers Ardie and Julian and midfielder Ngani Laumape all return following the British and Irish Lions series.The defending champions need to beat the unbeaten Crusaders to avoid heading to South Africa for the first round of the playoffs next week.Perenara replaces Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi at halfback and reclaims the captaincy from Brad Shields, Barrett slots back into the No.10 jersey for Otere Black, while Ardie Savea takes over at openside from Callum Gibbins.Black drops out of the match day 23 meaning Jordie Barrett will again provide cover at first five for his older brother.The Hurricanes Team to play the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium is:15 Jordie Barrett14 Nehe Milner-Skudder13 Vince Aso12 Ngani Laumape11 Julian Savea10 Beauden Barrett9 TJ Perenara (c)8 Brad Shields7 Ardie Savea6 Vaea Fifita5 Sam Lousi4 Mark Abbott3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen2 Ricky Riccitelli1 Ben MayReserves:16 James O’Reilly17 Chris Eves18 Loni Uhila19 Reed Prinsep20 Callum Gibbins21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi22 Wes Goosen23 Cory Janelast_img read more

Savea not ruling out code hop

first_imgWing Savea appeared in the final Test against the British and Irish Lions on July 8 but was omitted by Steve Hansen for the Rugby Championship and the November internationals.The 27-year-old has scored 46 tries in 54 Test appearances for the All Blacks – just four away from surpassing Douglas Howlett as the country’s most prolific player.Savea is contracted with New Zealand Rugby until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, though he is seemingly open to switching codes with his place in the national team uncertain.”It’s always been in the back of my mind,” Savea told Newshub about crossing to rugby league.”I haven’t had any reason to leave rugby, I’d definitely think about it.”You can’t not think about it and not say no straight away, weigh up the pros and cons and what’s best for my family.”Savea featured for the Barbarians against New Zealand in November and is trying to stay positive as he looks ahead to the 2018 Super Rugby season with the Hurricanes.Less than 100 days till #OpeningNight at #OurHouse @Hurricanesrugby!! Get your memberships today https://t.co/MBQj4Wn5pO pic.twitter.com/yyYDkqmA5Y— Julian Savea (@juliansavea7) November 30, 2017″I guess it [being dropped] can play a lot on your mind,” he said.”Especially with the confidence. Do you start believing you’re not good enough or say stuff it and work harder and work your butt off?”For me, I like the challenges. I’ve had adversity before, I just can’t wait to get the season started.”last_img read more

‘I’ve got no problem with Shaun Johnson’ – Kearney

first_imgKearney has spoken publicly for the first time since Johnson’s spectacular departure from the club and his subsequent signing with the Cronulla Sharks.At the weekend Johnson said Kearney “didn’t like him” and that he was left out of discussions about the Warriors’ playing rosters, as he was not in the team leadership group.”I can honestly say after spending close to 20 test matches with him and at close quarters over the last two years… I’ve got no problem with Shaun,” said Kearney.Kearney refused to reveal what hand he had in Johnson’s departure and said he was not “into” the “he said, she said” conversations which have been going on and simply wanted to move on.Johnson’s abrupt exit was triggered when it was revealed the Warriors had advised him to test his value on the open market for a contract post 2019.Kearney wouldn’t answer directly when asked if he wanted Johnson at the club long-term, but did confirm he spoke to the playmaker when he was on tour with the Kiwis in England early last month.”I made it very clear that we were very committed to Shaun for 2019. He had a contract with the footy club.”However I was going to help him be better at his job, I was committed to making sure that happened, but what’s transpired has transpired.”Warriors chief executive Cameron George had recently taken a crack at Johnson for his inconsistency.”We need consistent performances and therefore we need consistent individuals, and not everyone has been doing that.”While he shot down speculation Johnson was on the outer, saying he was a respected member of the squad, Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck said Johnson’s annual training routines meant it hadn’t been much different since the shock departure.Although Johnson had been the face of the Warriors almost since making his NRL debut in 2011, Tuivasa-Sheck said his Kiwis team-mate hadn’t usually been one of the earlier players to join the squad for pre-season.”It’s funny you should mention because he [didn’t] really start till after Christmas, so it’s pretty normal at the moment.”Once that all finished up with the news of Shaun going the boys were quick to move on and ready to dive into what’s next for us.”All that remained now was deciding who would take Johnson’s position in the team next season.Kearney was adamant they would be taking their time and wasn’t ruling out either recruiting a new player, or calling on younger squad members Chanel Harris-Tavita, Hayze Perham and newcomer Adam Keighran to step in alongside Blake Green.”The next recruitment decisions we make, they’re really important ones and we’re not going to be panicked into making any rash decisions.”We’ve got a couple of young guys here that, when you get presented with a challenge what it does is offers others an opportunity. That’s what it’s done.”last_img read more

Koke and twelve more – AS.com

first_imgToday Simeone goes out with Koke and ten more. Or better: Koke and twelve other first team field players, what does he have. Thirteen and two goalkeepers. Complete the list three soccer players of B. The injuries again, all accumulated in the same section of the season. Seven (Trippier, Arias, Giménez, Herrera, João, Morata and Costa) plus Felipe, down by penalty. And in front of Granada, another one of those teams that Cholo has a hard time winning, so identical: intense and with a lot of pressure, to wait back and the ball stopped. But today is of mortal necessity. Win back. Atletico is out of the Champions League positions, it is 6th, and in two games who is Liverpool.A Granada Cup semifinalistToday a Cup semifinalist Granada does and maybe with his head there, more in the game during the week than this one on Saturday. Diego Martínez, who in the first round already started a draw to Atleti in Los Cármenes, will make rotations, such as Foulquier by Neva on the side. The loss of Gonalons, overload, is important. He already lacks Montoro. In the center will enter Eteki or maybe Azeez. Above, Soldier, reinforced by his two goals in the Valencia Cup, and his forward-feeling of the season, Carlos Fernández.Follow Vrsaljko, come back Beautiful that whenever he played he did well, Simeone doubted between two men: if you start Saponjic at the top or that Correa and Llorente play above do it in the middle. I’ll bet on the latter, it seems. In this match where he already walks without a net. But with Koke back. The days are finally over without him. And Koke in the field improves everything. The torture of days without Koke is over. Those full of blows. With defeats, frustrations, the parties whose points stopped counting three by three. Without Koke, Atlético has not won in a month, the Copa del Rey was left in León and the Spanish Super Cup on penalties against Madrid. Without Koke, defeat at Ipurua, defeat at the Bernabéu and draw with Leganés at the Metropolitan. Without Koke deepens the lack of goal (two in five games) and preparation in the center.But today Koke returns, the captain to his place and the bracelet to his arm. When it may not be noticed, even if it is always the one that runs the most, the one that wears the most, but alas when he is not there, there is no footballer whose absence is accused more. There are the numbers. And they scream.last_img read more