Andrew Fifita endorses Matt Lodge for NSW

Fifita said his close friend had been doing a number of things off the field to turn his life around, including volunteering at soup kitchens. “I just know how hard he has worked, just the little things in the public which no one sees, but us family members see what he does,” he said. “The coaching he does … he travels down from Brisbane to Penrith comp just to run water when he’s home.” Having stood by Lodge during his return to NRL, as well as his time in rehabilitation,…

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Dallin Watene-Zelezniak set to split with Penrith Panthers

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has likely played his last game for Penrith after he was granted permission to negotiate with rival clubs. Watene-Zelezniak wants out of the Panthers after he was dropped from the NRL side to face Parramatta on Thursday. The Eels are seeking a centre and are prepared to immediately accommodate the Kiwis captain if he can gain a release. Wests Tigers could be another option due to his strong connection with coach Michael Maguire, who made him captain of the New Zealand national side. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is poised to…

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Brad Fittler’s strongest indication yet that Nathan Cleary will keep NSW spot

“He’s not setting up a lot of tries but he’s still kicking OK. He runs the ball a lot. He supports a lot. He does a lot of those effort areas that I think are desperately important in big games like State of Origin. “While everything is awful out there at Penrith, and it’s not a lay down misere he’s going to play for NSW, he’s doing most of the things I look for in players. I think he got some tools out of last year’s Origin that he didn’t…

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South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett warns Sam Burgess over penalties

It was a throwback to when Bennett publicly lambasted Burgess for giving away too many penalties after England had lost to Australia in a Four Nations clash in 2016. Asked whether Bennett had jolted him for his display against the Raiders, Burgess said: “He gave me a serve at half-time in front of the team and that was it. He gave me a serve at half-time in front of the team and that was it Sam Burgess “He said if I give another one away I’m off the field and…

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Penrith Panthers’ Nathan Cleary can have his own NSW Origin ‘pick me’ moment if he backs himself

Same message for him tonight: back yourself. There’s no James Maloney because of suspension, so the whole team is on Nathan’s shoulders. He can form a great combination Maloney’s replacement, Jarome Luai, who he played a lot of junior football alongside. I can’t separate Cleary, Reynolds and Walker heading into the final round before Freddy picks his Blues team for the Origin opener against Queensland at Suncorp on June 5. Defensively, I really like Nathan. That right side will have Queensland guns Kalyn Ponga and Cameron Munster sniping away all…

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Dylan Walker opens up on ‘dark days’ during court case

“There were some dark days with it, we just had to lean on each other,” a tearful Walker said. “I’m so lucky to have that loving partner and baby. It’s tough, it doesn’t reflect me as a person, what I do on the field. “I just want to be the best person I can be. The best father, the best partner. The hatred [from fans] is there. “I was relieved, I was happy. It was such a big moment on that day, for that to come the right way was…

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Seeing is believing for concussed Cordner

“I obviously wanted to play the next weekend,” Cordner said. “Being a player I was going in and pushing them to let me play. But [the doctors] said ‘look, we’ve had a look at it, it looks pretty bad’. Once I saw it I thought ‘shit, I’ll have a week off’. It was pretty scary. Boyd Cordner “I asked if I could have a look at it. I think I needed to see that. “Once I saw it I thought ‘shit, I’ll have a week off’. It was pretty scary.”…

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‘It’s exciting times for our game,’ says Blues star

Last year’s game was the first time the clash had been given the “Origin” title, with 1 million viewers tuning in to see the Blues win 16-10. But for the women of the game, it was the 6824 people that came along to the last year’s match that gave them the most hope for the future of the sport. “I was like a bit nervous before the game, I was like, oh I hope we get a crowd, I hope people come to watch us,” Apps said. “A lot of…

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NSW Blues brains trust flag Nic Cotric as potential centre

It would cap a rapid rise for the Canberra youngster, who Fittler thought so highly of he invited to spend time with the Blues in camp last year despite not featuring in any of the three matches. Loading Cotric was thought to be in a duel with the reborn Blake Ferguson for the wing berth vacated by the injured Tom Trbojevic, but Blues advisers have even flagged the possibility of including Cotric in the centres. Should he not be chosen in the largely unfamiliar role, he’s still considered a strong…

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Josh Addo-Carr fired up for family visit in Indigenous Round

“It’s in Sydney, I am from Redfern and I have asked for about 22 tickets from the boys. It will be a blackout.” That last line was followed by Addo-Carr’s distinctive laughter but this season has brought with it some heartbreak as the Carr family said farewell to Australian boxing champion Wally Carr, Josh’s grandfather, who died in April at 64. Addo-Carr missed the Storm’s home clash with the Bulldogs in April so he could spent some time with his grandfather and the previous week he dedicated his try against Penrith…

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