“He found me,” Flanagan said. “I was a bit stunned there. He was looking for me, but he has played State of Origin and he has played for Australia so it is always good going up against him.
“I felt that I am the dominant kicker on the team and I can feel the heat coming, but I will have to work on that in my own game and spread my kicking game and the workload across the whole team.”
Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett still has a call on who will partner Flanagan in the halves for Canterbury’s season opener against Newcastle.
Brandon Wakeham wore the No.6 at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium with Jake Averillo racing the clock to be fit for round one with a minor injury.
The Bulldogs have tried to prise Matt Burton from Penrith for this season after the five-eighth agreed to join the Bulldogs from 2022.
The Panthers have so far rebuffed all interest in Burton and even proposed a player swap with Dylan Napa, which Canterbury didn’t consider.
“We’ve got a few that will be racing the clock for round one,” Barrett said. “Averillo, [Ray Faitala]-Mariner, [Dylan] Napa so we’ve just got to get through the next week.”
Luke Thompson will miss the opening four matches of the season for an eye gouge in the final round loss to the Panthers last year.
Barrett was buoyed by the efforts of new boys Flanagan, Nick Cotric, Jack Hetherington and Corey Waddell as his side erased a 12-point half-time deficit to beat the Sharks thanks to a winning try from school teacher Brad Deitz.
“I thought Nick Cotric was pretty good, he had some strong backfield carries and I am still working on my combinations with Corey Allan,” Flanagan said. “Hopefully Jake Averillo comes back in the next few weeks for round one but I thought it was a good start.”
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Keith Urban has finally dished on the altercation that went down at the Sydney Opera House last month, with his wife Nicole Kidman and an older male audience member.
On Friday, the 53-year-old discussed the incident in an interview on KIIS FM’s Kyle and Jackie O Show.
“We were sitting down with Nic’s mum and we were clapping. It was a bloody great performance and everyone was cheering and cheering,” Keith said.
“I looked around and I see a few people standing and a few more and I thought ‘Oh I’m getting up’.
“And then this guy behind me just whacked Nic, like really hit her, with the program.”
Keith said that an extremely shocked Nicole then looked over at him and her mother Janelle and said: “He just hit me!”
I was like, “What?! Violence at the opera!”
RELATED: Keith Urban’s handy 1 hour sleep trick
“It’s a bit of a pickle I was in because I’m a husband and you want to defend your wife but it took a lot of restraint. I was pretty upset,” he said.
Keith also explained how he had never been to the opera before, and was unaware that standing ovations were not allowed.
“We did not know you are not supposed to stand in the opera. Having not been to the opera before ever in my life, I am sensitive to the etiquette,” he said.
Police were reportedly called to the Sydney Opera House last month after the man “swatted” actress Nicole Kidman with a program.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald s Private Sydney section last month, witnesses allege a man in the audience of The Merry Widow grew agitated when Urban jumped to his feet to give the performance a standing ovation.
RELATED: Nicole reveals Keith’s surprise internet search history
When Kidman joined her husband – along with the rest of the audience – in cheering on the cast, the man behind them allegedly began a heated exchange with the pair.
According to onlookers, Urban told the man he was simply appreciating the cast’s talent, but things took a turn when the disgruntled audience member angrily “swatted” Kidman with his program, leading Urban to accuse him of assaulting his wife.
The couple were then escorted out of a side door by Urban’s security guards, with police also called to the venue, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Police media confirmed officers attended the Opera House that night following reports of an argument.
“Police have been told a 53-year-old man and a 67-year-old man were both attending the entertainment centre when an argument broke out. Officers spoke to both men and no further action was taken,” NSW Police said in a statement.
Kidman and Urban reportedly did not press charges against the man.
Mayers’ 210 not out is the fifth-highest score by a debutant in Test history, and it was the largest ever successful run chase in Asia.
The previous highest score by a Test debutant in the fourth innings was 112, set by Abbas Ali Baig in 1959.
HIGHEST SUCCESSFUL RUN CHASES IN TEST CRICKET
418/7 — West Indies vs Australia, May 2003
414/4 — South Africa vs Australia, Dec 2008
406/4 — India vs West Indies, Apr 1976
404/3 — Australia vs England, Jul 1948
395/7 — West Indies vs Bangladesh, Feb 2021
Mayers was a relatively unknown figure in the sport before Sunday’s victory. The left-hander had previously played 32 first-class matches, averaging 28.93 with the bat and scoring two centuries.
He represented the West Indies in a handful of one-day matches before being given an opportunity at Test level this week.
Remarkably, Mayers had scored a duck in each of his previous two first-class innings before this week’s Test match.
Former West Indies paceman Ian Bishop tweeted: “Consider the inexperience. Consider that it’s tough condition on the final day of a Test in Asia. This has to be one of the most significant achievements in the history of West Indies cricket.”
“I always believe in my abilities and the team, and I always was positive,” Mayers said after the victory.
“We never gave up. We always said in the dressing room that we need to keep fighting.
“It’s a great feeling to be playing Test cricket … a guy making his debut and making a double should inspire all youngsters to work hard and reach this level.”
The second Test match between Bangladesh and the West Indies commences in Dhaka on Thursday.
HIGHEST SCORE BY TEST DEBUTANT
Tip Foster (ENG) — 287 vs AUS, Dec 1903
Jacques Rudolph (RSA) — 222* vs BAN, Apr 2003
Lawrence Rowe (WI) — 214 vs NZ, Feb 1972
Mathew Sinclair (NZ) — 214 vs WI, Dec 1999
Kyle Mayers (WI) — 210* vs BAN, Feb 2021
Brendon Kuruppu (SL) — 201* vs NZ, Apr 1987
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Kyle Sandilands sparked concerns this morning when he failed to show up for work.
The KIIS FM host was nowhere to be seen when his radio show started at 6am.
“We don’t know where Kyle is,” co-host Jackie O said on air. “His phone is off which is very strange.”
Jackie O added that Kyle’s manager, Bruno Bouchet, was also uncharacteristically unavailable.
Producers were so concerned that they sent a Kyle and Jackie O team member to Kyle’s house to check on the radio star.
Once there, the team member knocked on the door which woke Kyle who had simply slept in.
Kyle rushed to the studio in North Ryde where he was greeted in the carpark by show producers including Peter Deppeler.
“Thank god you’re here, we’ve been worried sick,” Pete said to Kyle in an Instagram live as the star walked inside the building to the studio. “There was a lot of panic from management. Everyone’s been freaking out.”
“You all thought I was dead?” Kyle asked. “I’m not dead!”
Kyle jumped straight on air where he apologised to listeners for missing the first hour of the show.
“I’m so sorry everyone. I slept in,” he said.
Kyle and Jackie O returned to the airwaves on Monday after a long holiday.
The pair are the highest paid stars in radio and reportedly get paid more than $35,000 each for every single show.
“I look back now going, ‘What the hell was going on there?’
“I was pretty proud with how I responded to that and finished off the season.
“I remember [Robinson] saying to me, ‘You’re not playing poorly, we just want you to improve’.
“It was quite confusing. We were winning through that whole period there. I went back, trained hard, got back in the team and played well. I thought it was all part of the development.
“That was the most frustrating thing. I signed with the Roosters to grow and develop into the role over the next few years. Then to be told a year later that plan isn’t there any more, that was the hardest pill to swallow.
“That’s the business we’re in, I guess.”
There was always going to be plenty of expectation on Flanagan coming into the glamour club, which had won two premierships with Cooper Cronk calling the shots. Flanagan believes he more than held his own, however, and clearly so did the Bulldogs, who quickly pounced after things turned sour at Bondi Junction.
Flanagan said he was lucky to have his father, premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan, in his corner. He said Shane always made sure “I’m feeling confident in my own game”, but never overstepped the mark in terms of his involvement.
Flanagan’s axing by the Roosters left many scratching their heads, given the club’s halfback options, Lachlan Lam, Drew Hutchison and Sam Walker, are less experienced than Flanagan.
Flanagan is one of several key signings by the Bulldogs and the halfback’s respect for Barrett was impossible to ignore.
“I can’t say a bad word about ‘Baz’,” Flanagan said. “I’m so glad I’ve signed with the Dogs. The confidence he’s given me, I’m sure you’ll see in the first few rounds the style of football we play.
“I’m so grateful for him to be my coach and I can’t wait to form a good combination with him and grow over the next few years.
“I’m a halfback and my job is to lead the footy team around. That’s all I’ve done as a kid, I’ve been that dominant halfback coming through the grades, and it’s time I do that in first grade.”
With Matt Burton to join Flanagan in the halves in 2022 – there is no chance Penrith will grant the five-eighth an early release – the big question for Bulldogs fans is who ends up partnering Flanagan in the halves.
Flanagan said he had trained with Lachlan Lewis, Brandon Wakeham and Jake Averillo, and had a soft spot for the latter.
“Everyone has been having a go there,” Flanagan said. “Jake Averillo has been going really well. He’s a versatile player who can play anywhere in the back line. I like the way he’s been going. He’s an exciting kid and I like his X-factor – you don’t know what you’ll get with him. He’s also a ball runner, which complements me.
“Having said that, Brandon and Lachie are training really well, so I’ll leave that one for the coach.”
Corey Allan arrived at the club this week from Souths and is seen as the front runner for the No.1 jersey. Flanagan and Allan are familiar with each other, having spent time together with the Junior Kangaroos in 2018.
Canterbury have had two of the best goalkickers in the modern era in Daryl Halligan and Hazem El Masri, and Flanagan, one of the NRL’s best sharpshooters, is relishing the chance to work with Halligan again.
“I want to take my game to the next level,” Flanagan said of his individual goals. “I laid a good platform last year and I want to be more dominant and be able to change a game. And as a team we have to climb up that ladder and focus on the eight.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Green has been seen as the answer to Australia’s middle-order woes, while also being capable of bowling through the middle part of an innings to give the strike bowlers a rest.
With an already enviable first-class record, the portents are looking very promising for Western Australia’s latest young talent.
However, on the other side of the Tasman, New Zealand has unearthed its own impressive, six-foot-seven-inch (203cm) blonde talent in Kyle Jamieson who, despite having only played six Test matches, has already made his mark as a bowling all-rounder, taking to Test cricket like a duck to water.
Jamieson takes 11-117 to enter record books
On Wednesday, Jamieson tore through the Pakistan batting line-up to lead New Zealand to a four-day, second Test victory over Pakistan at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval.
His match figures of 11-117 are the sixth-best in New Zealand Test history.
Only two players sit ahead of the 26-year-old in the rankings; Daniel Vettori (12-149 vs Australia and 12-170 vs Bangladesh) and Sir Richard Hadlee (15-123 vs Australia, 11-58 vs India and 11-102 vs West Indies).
“I suppose it’s not too bad,” Jamieson said when told of his achievement after the match.
Jamieson took 5-69 in the first innings and 6-48 in the second — his third and fourth five-wicket haul respectively from just 11 innings — while adding an unbeaten 22-ball 30 in New Zealand’s only batting innings.
The innings and 176 run-victory ensured New Zealand claimed both its home Test series this summer 2-0 to move back to number one spot in the Test rankings.
Since then, New Zealand has won six Test matches in a row — part of an unbeaten home streak of 17 matches that included the visit of both England and India.
It’s put New Zealand well into the mix for making the final of the inaugural World Test Championship, alongside India, England and Australia.
‘Unplayable’ Jamieson bolsters impressive pace quartet
Jamieson said he saw himself as the “fourth prong” of New Zealand’s pace quartet behind Tim Southee, Trent Boult and the injured Neil Wagner — and has clearly benefited from coming into a team firing on all cylinders.
“From my point of view, I get to sit back and watch these guys go to work,” Jamieson said.
“[I] just try to sit back and learn and observe what these world-class guys have done for a number of years.
He might think of himself as a fourth wheel, but former Kiwi skipper Brendan McCullum described Jamieson’s deliveries as “unplayable” as he took charge of the match with some scintillating fast bowling.
“It’s one thing to just hang in there long enough and bore guys out, but he’s actually bowling unplayable deliveries,” McCullum said.
“That’s a really exciting aspect.”
Jamieson can bat too and even started out his cricketing life as a batsman before being converted during his time with the New Zealand Under 19 side.
In his six Test innings so far, he has scored 226 runs at an average of 56.50, with a high score of 51 against the West Indies.
His first-class average, 21.47 from 44 innings, indicates room for improvement, but as a number seven or eight Test batsman, he could certainly add valuable runs.
Green’s Test introduction a baptism of fire
While Jamieson has come into a team that has been in fine form, Green has come into a batting line-up that has been struggling and a bowling line-up that has, frankly, not needed much help.
His well-crafted 45 in the second innings in Melbourne and a first-class batting average of 51.44 from 34 innings — with a high score of 158 — shows that with more support, a big score is just around the corner.
Meanwhile, Jamieson is yet to taste defeat in a Test match with New Zealand and, if the cards fall right, could yet line up against Australia in the final of the World Test Championship that is scheduled for later this year.
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Kyle Jamieson tore through the Pakistan batting line-up to help set up victory for New Zealand in the second Test, and former West Indies cricketer Ian Bishop was impressed with the pacer’s skillset. Jamieson has not even completed a year in international cricket, but the bowler’s meteoric rise continues in the longest format as he picked up a six-wicket haul in the second innings against Pakistan on Wednesday. Bishop praised Jamieson and said the bowler has been a great addition to the game in his first year of international cricket.
“Kyle Jamieson has been a great addition to the world game in his first year of international cricket. Amazing skillset and a big heart,” Bishop tweeted.
New Zealand declared their first innings after gaining a lead of 362 runs, and then made light work of Pakistan batsmen in the second innings taking 81.4 overs to bundle out the visitors for a comprehensive win.
With this victory, New Zealand have become the number one ranked Test team in the world. New Zealand’s third successive 2-0 win in a home series has helped them stay in contention for a place in the final of the ICC World Test Championship. The championship is interestingly poised with the finalists yet to be decided.
New Zealand gained the maximum of 120 points from the series against Pakistan after their win, taking their points tally to 420 out of a possible 600 after having also beaten West Indies and India by the same margin in their two previous series.
New Zealand stands third in the points table with 0.700 percentage points won, the factor that determines the final placings rather than total points won, following a change to the points system owing to the Covid-19 disruption.
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