Peter V’landys’ NRL bombshell as game looks at expansion and adding 17th team

The NRL is yet to secure a free-to-air television deal beyond 2022, but the code believes adding a new team into the competition for the first time since the Gold Coast Titans were accepted in 2007 will be of interest to Nine Entertainment Co.

The NRL is waiting on a business model from senior strategic projects manager Lachlan Smith in the next three months before making a final decision, however V’landys is adamant that 2023 – the first year of the next players CBA – is within reach and will be a major topic of discussion when the commission gathers later this month.

The Brisbane Broncos could have competition for fans in the next few months.Credit:Getty

“It’s very realistic to say that we’ll have a second team in Brisbane in 2023,” V’landys told The Herald. “From what I’ve seen and the presentations that have been given to me, they are well advanced. If I said 2022 they’d be ready. They’ve been doing work for years. There’s no reason why we can’t be up and running in 2023.

“The one thing that I am impressed with is how advanced these bids are. They are not mucking around. They are serious. If we came to a decision in June this year, that would give them a year and a half. It’s plenty of time. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen mid this year.

“I’m not going to do it if it’s going to hurt the game. It’s got to benefit the game. To benefit the game, it can’t cannibalise the Titans and Broncos, and I don’t think it will, just how Parramatta doesn’t cannibalise Penrith. One of the good things is that we still haven’t signed our free-to-air deal. We ensured ourselves with our pay TV deal. The cream is going to be the free-to-air deal. For 2023, we need to have all our strategies in place soon for our free-to-air deal.”

The bids include the Brisbane Bombers, Brisbane Firehawks (Easts Tigers), Ipswich and Redcliffe Dolphins. The news of V’landys’ intention will leave prospective clubs scrambling for two of the greatest coaches of the modern era, with both Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy off contract at the end of the year and in a position to spend 2022 building a roster ready to compete for a title the following year.

Open season: Biggest name players available for a new franchise in 2023

  • Kalyn Ponga (player option at Knights for 2023 and 2024)
  • Kotoni Staggs (player option at Broncos for 2022)
  • Dylan Brown (player option at Eels in 2023)
  • Clint Gutherson
  • Josh Hodgson
  • AJ Brimson
  • Marty Taupau
  • Harry Grant (mutual option with Storm in 2023)
  • Ryan Papenhuyzen
  • Cody Walker
  • James Fisher-Harris
  • Viliame Kikau
  • Api Koroisau
  • Jack Bird
  • Ben Hunt (player option with Dragons in 2023)
  • Cody Walker
  • Lindsay Collins
  • Joseph Manu

That could leave the Storm feeling a little uneasy in the player market, given that they have Ryan Papenhuyzen, Harry Grant and Brandon Smith all free to open negotiations for the 2023 season from November 1. The Rabbitohs could also be in a similar position with Adam Reynolds, who is off contract at the end of this year, and Cody Walker the following season.

A new team in 2023 will have major ramifications on the player transfer market. Newcastle superstar Kalyn Ponga, Gold Coast livewire AJ Brimson, Parramatta skipper Clint Gutherson, Canberra hooker Josh Hodgson, Penrith wrecking ball Viliame Kikau and Eels five-eighth Dylan Brown are among the available players that would be high on the recruitment list of the successful franchise.

V’landys believes the addition of former Queensland government minister Kate Jones to the ARL Commission at the end of last year will be an asset for the NRL in regards to expansion in Brisbane.

“There are five big issues on the commission’s timetable at the moment,” V’landys said. “In no particular order, one is concussion and the welfare of the player. Two is going back to three grades. Three is the integrity of the game. Four is expansion in Brisbane. And five goes hand in hand with expansion and that is participation.”

“One of the reasons we want the team in Brisbane is because of participation. I want to expand because of participation.”

Peter V’landys

“Participation to us is everything. One of the reasons we want the team in Brisbane is because of participation. I want to expand because of participation. We’ve been very lucky in my view to able to procure Kate Jones as a board member because she’s been inspirational in participation. She’s actually been made chair of a committee to look at participation.

“What she wants to do is have a presence in the education departments. One of the things that happens in primary schools now, it’s mainly female teachers. They don’t traditionally become rugby league coaches. So we need a program to train these primary school teachers into being rugby league coaches. You can only do that with a real good joint venture with the education department.”

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Bowler’s ‘breakout’ bowling performance on 17th birthday

FOR his 17th birthday, Jack Dwyer’s gift to himself was a match-winning five-fa against the previously unbeaten DBCT Poole Cup ladder-leaders.

The Brothers pace ace, who travels from Proserpine each weekend to play, claimed the key wicket of Walkerston opener Jakob Frerichs in his first over, before returning for a scintillating second spell and running roughshod through the lower order.

Dwyer finished with 5/31 from eight overs, including a near-perfect wicket maiden in the final over, blemished only by a first-ball wide.

His breakthrough bowling masterclass was the catalyst for a brilliant Brothers victory, lifting his side into outright top spot with one round to play before Christmas.

Brothers skipper Matthew Wicks has long been an advocate for Dwyer’s bowling potential.

The youngster started making waves at the club last season and has gone from strength to strength this season.

“To be honest it was no different to what he gives us every other week,” Wicks said.

“It was just one of those days where luck is on your side.

“He puts out quality every week and it was good he got the rewards for it.”

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Brothers batsman Michael Comerford said the early wicket of Frerichs, one of the competition’s best bats, was a key turning point early in the contest.

“He got Frerichs in his first over which was a pretty big scalp. Then his second spell was really controlled,” Comerford said.

“He and Wicksy came up with a plan together and Jack was able to execute. Four of his five wickets came in that second spell which is what allowed us to really tighten up (on Walkerston).”

Comerford said the team had joked Dwyer’s “breakout game” was on the cards when he arrived at the ground on Sunday celebrating his 17th.

“We were joking before the game about things going his way for his birthday. It’s great for him that it did,” he said.

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Lakers romp to record-tying 17th championship to end season like no other

The ultimate anguish. The ultimate joy.

This season, for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, had it all. And it ended in the only fashion that they deemed would be acceptable, with them back atop the basketball world.

For the first time since Kobe Bryant’s fifth and final title, a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to win the NBA Finals in six games.

“Our organization wants their respect. Laker Nation wants their respect,” James said. “And I want my damn respect, too.”

Anthony Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who dealt with the enormous anguish that followed the death of the iconic Bryant in January and all the challenges that came with leaving home for three months to play at Walt Disney World in a bubble designed to keep inhabitants safe from the coronavirus.

WATCH | Lakers summit basketball world:

Los Angeles Lakers defeat Miami Heat 106-93 to capture a record-tying 17th championship. 1:39

It would be, James predicted, the toughest title to ever win.

“We have a Ph.D in adversity, I’ll tell you that much,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We’ve been through a lot.”

They made the clincher look easy. James won his fourth title, doing it with a third different team—and against a Heat franchise that showed him how to become a champion.

Lebron James won his fourth title on Sunday, doing it with a third different franchise —having won his first two titles in Miami (2012 and 2013) and his third with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2016). (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press )

Bam Adebayo had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which got 12 points from Jimmy Butler — the player who, in his first Heat season, got the team back to title contention. Rajon Rondo scored 19 points for the Lakers.

With that, the league’s bubble chapter, put together after a 4 1/2-month suspension of play that started March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic and came with a promise that it would raise awareness to the problems of racial injustice and police brutality, is over. So, too, is a season that saw the league and China get into political sparring, the death on Jan. 1 of commissioner emeritus David Stern — the man who did so much to make the league what it is — and then the shock on Jan. 26 that came with the news that Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other died in a helicopter crash.

The Lakers said they were playing the rest of the season in his memory.

The Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after winning the NBA Championship. (Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press )

They delivered what Bryant did five times for L.A. — a ring, and the clincher was emphatic.

“You have written your own inspiring chapter in the great Laker history,” Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said. “And to Laker Nation, we have been through a heartbreaking tragedy with the loss of our beloved Kobe Bryant. Let this trophy serve as a reminder of when we come together, believe in each other, incredible things can happen.”

Game 6 was over by halftime, the Lakers taking a 64-36 lead into the break. The Heat never led and couldn’t shoot from anywhere: 35 per cent from 2-point range in the half, 33 per cent from 3-point range and even an uncharacteristic 42 per cent from the line, not like any of it really mattered. The Lakers were getting everything they wanted and then some, outscoring Miami 36-16 in the second quarter and doing all that with James making just one shot in the period.

WATCH | Lakers celebrate record-tying 17th championship:

Lakers celebrate record-tying 17th championship after victory over Heat in Game 6. 1:14

Rondo, now a two-time champion and the first to win rings as a player in both Boston and Los Angeles — the franchises now tied with 17 titles apiece — was 6 for 6 in the half, the first time he’d done that since November 2007. The Lakers’ lead was 46-32 with 5:00 left in the half, and they outscored Miami 18-4 from there until intermission.

Ball game. The 28-point halftime lead was the second-biggest in NBA Finals history, topped only by the Celtics leading the Lakers 79-49 on May 27, 1985.

“We didn’t get the final result that we wanted,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But even what I mentioned to the guys, these are going to be lifetime memories that we have together. This locker room … we’re going to remember this year, this season, this experience and that locker room brotherhood for the rest of our lives.”

True to form, the Heat — a No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference that finished with a losing record last season, a team that embraced the challenge of the bubble like none other — didn’t stop playing, not even when the deficit got to 36 in the third quarter.

A 23-8 run by Miami got the Heat to 90-69 with 8:37 left. But the outcome was never in doubt, and before long confetti was blasted into the air as the Lakers’ celebration formally and officially began.

“Laker Nation,” Vogel, now a first-time champion bellowed. “We did it.”

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Mikel Arteta explains Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal omission for the 17th consecutive game against Leicester

Mikel Arteta says it is difficult for Mesut Ozil to make Arsenal’s matchday squad as the team evolve under his management.

The German – Arsenal’s highest-paid player – has not played a minute since the Premier League resumed after lockdown in June and was again absent from the squad for the Gunners’ 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Leicester on Wednesday.

Ozil is in the final year of his contract at Arsenal and has shown no intention of forcing his way out before it expires, despite his chances of getting back into the team looking slimmer by the day.

“I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition,” Arteta said of Ozil’s omission for the 17th consecutive game.

“You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it’s very difficult every week, not for Mesut but for some other players as well to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.

“It’s difficult for others as well that aren’t involved in the Premier League and didn’t play tonight either. We have a squad of 26, 27 players at the moment and we can’t give playing time to all of them.

“The team is evolving, you can see the level they are achieving. This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better. We have to keep maintaining that.

“We are picking the players that we believe are the best for each game. You can see we keep training, it’s what we’re trying to do.”

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Reigning Tour de France champion Egan Bernal pulls out of race ahead of 17th stage

Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has withdrawn from the race just hours before a mammoth stage in the Alps.

Bernal had been struggling since Sunday’s stage in the Jura mountains, where he dropped more than seven minutes on the main contenders and slipped out of contention.

After Monday’s rest day, Bernal suffered again on Tuesday’s 16th stage to Villard-de-Lans.

Hampered by back pain and subsequently knee concerns, the 23-year-old indicated afterwards he hoped to continue out of respect for the race.

But on the morning of Wednesday’s queen stage to the Col de la Loze above Meribel, his team Ineos Grenadiers announced the Colombian was withdrawing from the race, although it did not specify the reason for the decision.

“This is obviously not how I wanted my Tour de France to end, but I agree that it is the right decision for me in the circumstances,” Bernal said.

Bernal was in 16th place overall, 19 minutes and four seconds behind race leader Primoz Roglic.

The decision comes five days short of the race’s concluding stage in Paris.

“We have taken this decision with Egan’s best interests at heart,” Ineos Grenadiers team principal Dave Brailsford said.

“Egan is a true champion who loves to race, but he is also a young rider, with many Tours ahead of him and at this point, on balance, we feel it is wiser for him to stop racing.”

Bernal had pulled out of the Criterium du Dauphine with back pains last month.

Bernal, at 22, was the youngest Tour de France winner since 1909 last year.(AP: Christophe Ena)

In 2019 he became the youngest rider to win the Tour de France in 110 years.

Stage 17, arguably the toughest of the race, features the Col de la Madeleine and the Col de la Loze, the Tour’s highest point this year at 2,304 metres.

The traffic-free pass between the ski resorts of Meribel and Courchevel was opened to cyclists this year after a forest track was paved by local authorities.

The last six kilometres of the climb are particularly difficult, with very steep sections and sharp turns.


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