NRL 2020: Warriors announce Phil Gould, Nathan Brown appointments

The New Zealand Warriors have officially confirmed the appointment of a new head coach along with a blockbuster consultant signing.

News throughout the week pointed to Nathan Brown earning the top role and on Saturday the Warriors made it official.

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The former Newcastle and St George Illawarra coach will take over the reins of the club in 2021 after putting pen to paper on a three-year deal.

The Warriors also announced the blockbuster signing of NRL guru Phil Gould in the role of a consultant. Gould has won premierships and State of Origin series as a coach, worked in club administration and is a longtime Channel 9 commentator who is well respected for his vast knowledge of the game.

Gould will work alongside Brown in strategic areas to help build the Warriors’ profile in Australia, Warriors CEO Cameron George said.

“This appointment is exceptionally significant and critical to the future of our business as a whole and equally to the game in general both in New Zealand and in Australia,” George told

“Phil is held in the highest regard as a rugby league expert both on and off the park.

“He’ll play a huge role in helping to take us to a new level as a club.”

George said the club was overjoyed with the signings after Stephen Kearney was sacked as coach in June.

media_cameraBrown is the new man in charge in New Zealand.

“We couldn’t be more delighted to have Nathan as our new head coach,” George said in a conference call.

“He has had an extensive involvement in the game as both a first-grade player and then as a coach in the NRL and the Super League.

“He already has a relationship with our players, football staff and our club after being with us as a coaching consultant working with our hookers this season.

“Nathan’s a terrific person who brings tremendous qualities to the role in every sense.”

Brown initially withdrew from the race for the Warriors top spot but threw his hat back into the ring when interim coach Todd Payten turned down the role.

“I’m a career coach. I just love coaching and this job with the Vodafone Warriors is a fantastic opportunity,” Brown said.

“I spent time in Auckland during the pre-season and was really impressed with the whole set-up, the players and the staff throughout the organisation.

“The Vodafone Warriors are hugely important to the competition. We’ve seen that this year with the sacrifices they’ve made to keep the NRL going. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Warriors stun the Sea Eagles

NRL: The Warriors defeated the Manly Sea Eagles 26-22 in their round 13 clash.

Originally published as Blockbuster Phil Gould news announced

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Phil Gould to join Nathan Brown at New Zealand Warriors

The New Zealand Warriors are set to announce Nathan Brown as the club’s new head coach less than a week after interim coach Todd Payten confirmed he had rejected the position.

Multiple media outlets are reporting the former St George Illawarra Dragons and Newcastle Knights mentor is set to take the reins of the club.

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Coming less than a week after Payten revealed NRL 360 he had been offered — and rejected — the job at the Warriors, New Zealand have wasted no time in moving on Brown.

7 News NRL journalist Michelle Bishop revealed the announcement “was imminent”, while Nine’s Danny Weidler said talks had “recommenced today” with a deal to be done by the end of the weekend.

And he’s not coming along. Phil Gould is set to take on a role overseeing the club’s junior development.

The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio reported “within the next 48-hours, Phil Gould will be announced as a consultant to the @NZWarriors with Nathan Brown the head coach through until 2023. All terms have been agreed by phone and with no paperwork yet signed, but Brown has agreed to start in November.”

Speaking on Triple M, Brown didn’t deny he was in line for the job.

“The truth is, I’m a career coach, I love coaching and the Warriors job is a great opportunity,” Brown said.

“I’m always in dialogue with the Warriors because I actually work for them as a consultant, so there’s a lot of truth that I do talk to the Warriors.”

As the news came through, Fox League were quick to speak about the potential move.

“I really like it,” Michael Ennis said on Fox League. “He had great success as a young coach albeit not winning a premiership with the Dragons but regularly in the finals. He went overseas and got St Helens to win a premiership and then he came back and did a terrific job at Newcastle in terms of getting them out of what was a difficult period, did a wonderful job building that roster that Adam O’Brien is now coaching and brought some great names to the club.

“Knowing Browny’s nature, and the way that he coaches and the way he handles individuals, I think that is exactly what the Warriors need.”

Former Queensland half Ben Ikin said it was somewhat of a backflip from the former Knights coach.

“The last conversation I had with Nathan Brown was that he didn’t want to go to a club where there would be another rebuild,” he said. “And he’s going to the Warriors.”

Greg Alexander said the first things he would look at was a half and a hooker to build the club.

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Nathan Buckley ‘should consider standing down from coaching’

Respected AFL journalist Damian Barrett has applied the blowtorch to Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley following his protocol breach on Friday.

Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson played tennis with two people from outside of Collingwood’s bubble, one being former tennis star Alicia Molik.

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The club self-reported the breach which resulted in a $50,000 fine being handed down by the AFL, with $25,000 suspended. It became the fifth breach by a Victorian club.

Buckley came under fire on Sunday morning when his breach and the subsequent club fine was brought up on Channel 9’s Sunday Footy Show.

“I wasn’t surprised when those other fines came up, but I’ve got to say I was absolutely gobsmacked when I found out that Nathan Buckley had transgressed,” Tony Jones said.

“Nathan Buckley, I’m not going to say puts himself on a pedestal of social consciousness or social commentary, but if you go back to January when he sort of put the Prime Minister on notice during the bushfires.

“Now those words ring true in a lot of ways because he has put his hand up and accepting the hurt and all the rest of it, but if you’re going to pontificate then you’ve got to stay within the rules yourself, don’t you. And that’s why I’m so surprised that Nathan Buckley of all people has transgressed.”

Barrett however believes the right thing for Buckley to do following the breach would be to step aside for Sunday’s game against Fremantle.

“I honestly believe he should consider standing down from coaching his team tonight against the Dockers in Perth,” Barrett said.

“He’s been quarantined away from the football club anyway while he’s dealing with a test that had to be taken because he played with someone outside of the confines of his football club.

“You line up the transgression with what his own president Eddie McGuire said, basically on the day of the infringement when it came to Buckley and Sanderson playing tennis. This is Eddie McGuire on Fox Footy Friday night, having a view on what should happen to people within the AFL system who transgress in such a manner.”

“I think the people who breach the protocols should be fined personally, to be honest.

“You can get to the clubs in due course, I think the AFL’s set it out, but I think it’s got to be a personal fine.

“I think the point Gill McLachlan made during the week is 100 per cent right — we make a rule to keep the game going. From here until the Grand Final, there’s still about $250 million worth to be left on the table if this ends. It’d be a disaster, imagine if we don’t get to finish off the finals series now.

“That rule book is not how do we get around every rule, that’s the rule book you live by. And if you don’t like it, we’ll arrange for you to go home. I think that’s fair and reasonable.”

“So you just insert Nathan Buckley and Brenton Sanderson into what Eddie said there and we’re clear now on what Eddie thinks should happen to such a situation,” Barrett added.

“The apologies are fine and look Nathan Buckley is a really good person and his apology was genuine don’t get me wrong, but the messaging isn’t getting through. That’s the fifth club that’s done something in the past week which is putting in jeopardy the entire AFL season.

“I think sending the strongest message would come in the form of consideration at least to not coaching tonight.”

As the panel continued to discuss the pressure Buckley would be feeling following the breach, a heated exchange unfolded between Tony Jones and Billy Brownless.

Billy Brownless: “They’ll get around him, the players will get around him. They love Bucks, they’ll get around him”.

Tony Jones: “But Billy that’s fine mate, but he stuffed up.”

B.B: “He did and he’s put his hand up. We all stuff up.”

T.J: “You could be the best bloke in the world mate but you’ve stuffed up and you’ve just cost your club a lot of money.”

B.B: “We’re all allowed one chance in life mate.”

T.J: “You’re what?”

B.B: “We’re allowed one chance in life.”

T.J: “Not when the competition is hanging by a thread.”

B.B: “He’s put his hand up, he’s going to pay the fine himself. The great thing with footy clubs is you get around and you support each other.”

T.J: “Bill you can’t play the good bloke card every time all right.”

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Nathan Cleary leads perfect Panthers in Sea Eagles ambush

The Penrith Panthers have once again showed the side is the real deal in 2020 with a dominant 42-12 thrashing of the Manly Sea Eagles at Lottoland.

Previously known at Fortress Brookie, the Panthers treated the Sea Eagles as play things as they ran away with a dominant victory.

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Although injuries hit both sides, the main damage was done on the scoreboard.

In just his second game, Panthers winger scored twice — taking his career tally to six — including an acrobatic effort in the corner for the second try which led to a hamstring tweak and an early end to his night 25 minutes into the game.

Post match, Yvonne Sampson said the try “defies logic and gravity and physics” in the insane try.

NRL Live Scores: Round 12 Match Centre

But once again it was halfback Nathan Cleary who has gone to a new level in 2020.

For anyone who questioned Cleary’s credentials despite being a NSW Blues Origin halfback, the praise came in thick and fast for the 22-year-old with even his Queensland counterpart and Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans piling on the plaudits.

“He was fantastic tonight,” Cherry-Evans said on Fox League. “He led the Panthers perfectly tonight. Not many blemishes in his game I can think of tonight. Certainly enjoy the individual battles but Nath certainly walks away with the points tonight.”

It was kind praise from the incumbent Queensland Origin halfback for the 2019 NSW Origin half, especially considering the tough assessment of his own team.

“It would be easy to blame the injuries but that was pretty ordinary from us, really disappointing to walk off with a scoreline like that. I certainly didn’t see it coming and we’re back to the drawing board again,” he told Fox League.

“You only have to look back at the last couple of weeks and you see the willingness and resilience we showed in our tryline defence. Two steps forward, one step back tonight, it’s an attitude thing, it’s disappointing.”

Former Panthers general manager of football Phil Gould was quick to tweet after full-time as the praise flooded in.

“Big win by Panthers at Brookvale. Not many teams have done that to Manly on their home ground throughout the years. Very fit. Skilful. Outstanding ball control. Hardly an error all night. Nathan Cleary 10/10 performance. Manly tried hard, but Injuries are mounting up,” he wrote.

While post-match Panthers captain James Tamou said he was “banged up” after the game, the Panthers continued their club best start to the season, running in four tries before Manly’s Jake Trbojevic crossed for the Sea Eagles first try in the 33rd minute.

The side had no answers as Cleary kicked for himself for the next try to essentially shut-out the game, despite Jorge Taufua’s 56th minute try, with Brent Naden and Api Koroisau closing out the victory.

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AFL coronavirus rules breached by Collingwood coaches Nathan Buckley and Brenton Sanderson

Collingwood has been hit with an effective $25,000 fine from the AFL after senior coach Nathan Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson broke coronavirus protocols by playing a tennis match with people outside their club contacts.

In a statement, the AFL said the Magpies reported the breach of the Return to Play protocols to the league today after Buckley and Sanderson played the tennis game on Friday with “two people from outside of the approved club people”.

“Both Buckley and Sanderson immediately reported the inadvertent breach to Collingwood officials when they realised they didn’t have the appropriate approval to partake in the activity,” the statement said.

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon said the league appreciated Collingwood’s self-reporting of the breach and had sanctioned them $50,000, half of which would be suspended.

“We note that tennis is an approved exercise activity however approved participants are limited to approved club staff, players, household members and immediate family,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the inadvertent nature of this breach, it doesn’t excuse the responsibility to abide by the protocols.”

Buckley and Sanderson ask to pay fine

In a separate statement, Collingwood said Buckley and Sanderson had accepted responsibility for their actions and had asked to personally pay the effective $25,000 fine themselves.

“At the time, we believed we had followed and adhered to the protocols as required but after returning to the hotel and readdressing the circumstances it became crystal clear that we had breached the current AFL protocols,” the pair were quoted as saying.

“The competition is asking its constituents to make great sacrifices for the show to go on and we have all accepted these for the long-term future of the industry and the privilege of participating within it.”

The club’s chief executive Mark Anderson said the breach was a “very disappointing reminder” of the vigilance required to keep the competition running.

“Our game has been granted the right to continue to play by governments around the country,” he said.

“In exchange for that right, we simply must do all that we can to protect the health of our players, staff and the communities in which we are living and playing.

“As a club, we apologise, vow to be better and fully accept the penalty.”

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Nathan Buckley says Jordan DeGoey could return this season

AFL: Collingwood star Jordan De Goey will miss the upcoming two months of the year soon after he had operation on his finger to mend a ruptured tendon.

Mason Cox is battling. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Mason Cox is battling. (Image by Ryan Pierse/Getty Photographs)

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has refused to set a line through Jordan DeGoey for the relaxation of the year because of the uncertainties about the ever-altering AFL fixturing landscape.

DeGoey is out for at the very least the subsequent 10 weeks soon after possessing surgery on his finger on Monday, which could rule him out right up until finals.

His absence produces a goalscoring hole for the Magpies, right after DeGoey booted 5 plans in a match-winning efficiency very last week from Geelong.

Examine Following

But Buckley truly predicted a goalscoring explosion was on the way from Collingwood with an all-crew procedure in which “everyone receives a lick of the ice-cream”.

“We’ve never ever genuinely relied on individual purpose kickers, which is a bit loaded me declaring when Jordan kicked five final week, which is approximately value 10 in footy in 2020,” Buckley explained forward of Saturday’s blockbuster clash with West Coast.

“We feel we have a composition that anyone will get a lick of the ice-product. We have been capable to unfold our scoring, and we’ve been fairly tricky to scout in excess of the very last three years in unique as a ahead group for the reason that our scoring could come from anyplace.

“We believe our system is starting off to appear with each other … it can go to a different stage. I never know where the plans are automatically heading to occur from. But I’m quite absolutely sure we can unfold the load and commence hitting the scoreboard far more heavily.”

The aims won’t be coming from Mason Cox, who Buckley conceded experienced fallen down the pecking order, with Ben Reid and Darcy Cameron now forward of the American.

“Darcy and Reidy have trained better and are demonstrating better indications than Mason,” Buckley said.

“At various instances people today will be in or out of favour. Mason’s no distinct to anyone else. He’ll be in the side if he will make us superior.”

Like absolutely everyone else, Buckley explained the Magpies would see a lot more gamers by way of the compressed schedule which for Collingwood has five games throughout 21 days such as the clash with the Eagles.

But Buckley stated Collingwood, which boasted 41 players at training on Friday, ended up properly placed to get by means of it.

“We will have to unfold the load, there is no doubt about that. We sense like we have players who are match and completely ready and determined,” he explained.

“For a great deal of individuals boys, hearing about the compression and the shorter turnarounds, they’re all of a unexpected even much more enthusiastic, to see the prospect to lead, There is a rationale why you have a squad of 45-in addition. It can take much more than a 22. “

He mentioned DeGoey would continue to be in the Magpie hub to do his rehab, and would return as soon as he was ready.

“We’re not placing a line by anybody with the not known of what is to occur. And the individuals that may do that are not in our surroundings,” Buckley stated.

“Some men will be pushing it to be back again ahead of the season finishes but there is a great deal we really don’t know about what is to appear. We can only definitely just take the future steps in entrance of us.”

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Nathan Buckley wants an extended bench

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has joined the chorus asking for an extended bench should the AFL compress the upcoming fixture declaring clubs need it to best manage players.

Last week Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said extra players was a must amid speculation clubs could be facing breaks as short as four days between matches to ensure the 17-round fixture could be completed.

Buckley, in a Perth hub with his team until at least the end of Round 9, said the 18 coaches had supported the AFL though all it’s COVID-19 challenges around shortened matches and being sent away for long periods.

He hoped league officials would pay them back with two more players on the bench should the fixture be compressed to ensure the best players are on the park for longer.

“We believe that there should be a further shirt to bring in a couple of extra interchange players, a 23rd and a 24th which gives us more wriggle room to manage our players,” Buckley said.

“We rested Jamie Elliot for the last quarter last week (against GWS) … I’m not altogether comfortable with decisions like that. I like playing games right out.

“If you had a 23rd and a 24th you can manage the time of your players a little more, and if you want to see the bets players out on the park more often and not rested through a four game stretch in a 20 day period, we are going to need to have that wriggle room.

“We (the coaches) have come together really well as a senior 18 to support the AFL in its challenges. We feel like we have been accessed and been able to give the benefit of our perspective to the AFL.

“I think we all want to see the best players out on the park ore often, and that would be one mechanism I think would achieve that.”

Buckley said the idea was not yet a consolidated one among the coaches, but the issue hadn’t been discussed as a collective either.

He said the Magpies had no extra information on what a compressed fixture might look like, or when his team might leave Perth.

“The AFL have informally mentioned the possibility of an extra week or two at the end of what we were speculated to go to, the end of Round 9 here,” Buckley said.

“There has been enough evidence in recent times that to get caught in the could of, should of or the maybe really leads you down a lot of dead ends

“One thing I do know is in about three weeks we will have played both Perth sides and the other team that’s here. Our time span will be limited in Perth unless a couple of teams we haven’t played get here. That’s clearly an option available to the AFL. As is stands, it would be less likely.

“There’s plenty we don’t know and the rest is all speculation.”

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Video analysis of Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary and how he has evolved since James Maloney’s exit

On the gym walls of many Ivan Cleary-coached football teams has been a ladder.

Not your ordinary competition-points variety, but a ladder that measured his team against the 15 others based on the first and last seven minutes of each half in games.

Nathan Cleary is all smiles after a red-hot start to the 2020 season.

Nathan Cleary is all smiles after a red-hot start to the 2020 season.Credit:Penrith Panthers

They are the seven-minute periods that make or break football games.

The same periods broke Anthony Griffin when he coached a Panthers team that struggled out of the blocks. The same periods have made the current Panthers team a force to be reckoned with.

Only the Sydney Roosters have conceded less points in the first and last seven minutes of each half throughout the opening seven rounds of the season.

The Eels, Panthers, Storm and Roosters went into round seven as the top four teams on the NRL ladder. It’s no surprise they are the same four teams that have the best defensive record during the 28 minutes of the game that Cleary believes requires a greater level of concentration to win football games.

It’s the kind of attention to detail that has been ingrained in his son Nathan, who throughout his career has shown he can produce the goods in clutch moments.

Game of thrones

He was dubbed the prince of Penrith as a teenager. But following the departure of James Maloney, Nathan Cleary has taken his place on the throne at the foot of the mountains, leading a resurgence that has transformed the Panthers into title contenders in 2020.

“Nathan played second fiddle to Jimmy, for sure,” the Panthers coach said.

“And that was fair enough because Jimmy was the senior voice by a long way. Nat and Jimmy are probably a bit too similar. It doesn’t mean it can’t work, because I think they showed at various times together that it can work really well.

“But I guess for long-term success, we needed to make a change. It was good timing. Jimmy was at the end of his career looking for something else, and Nat’s starting to head towards the prime of his career.”

Nathan’s development over the past 12 months is highlighted in the below video analysis, which shows just how much he struggled to stamp his authority on the Panthers in 2019, and how much that has changed this season.

Video analysis 1: Cleary finds his voice without Maloney

“He was always developing, he always had a really good attitude,” Maloney said.

“The biggest thing was for all the hype and how much he had done by an early age, Nath had a really good self-awareness of where his game was at. He was never going to be a kid who thought he was killing it and believing in his own hype.

“He always had a fair assessment of where he’s at. At the end of the day, he’s only 22. He’s still a baby. There are plenty of more things he’ll learn and develop.”

Cleary never got frustrated being the understudy, despite Penrith struggling for form throughout 2019. The NSW halfback believes the two seasons under the now Catalans playmaker is a large reason for his success in 2020.

“Yeah, there was times where we didn’t quite gel because we were so similar,” Cleary said.

“But I learnt a lot off him; things that I wasn’t doing before he came to the club. He’s a pretty good person to learn off. He’s done everything in the game and is an outstanding player. I definitely take those years here under him as valuable and have been able to mould that into my game the best I can this year.”

Play-the-ball speed

Ivan Cleary has plenty of mantras and philosophies he bases his coaching around. His No.1 motto is “the star of the team is the team”. He also places emphasis on the play-the-ball speed of his halves. Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary have two of the fastest play-the-ball speeds of any halves in the NRL. It has been the foundation of Penrith’s success in 2020.

Interestingly, four of the top eight fastest play-the-ball speeds of NRL halves are players who have been coached by Ivan Cleary throughout their careers (Luai, Nathan, Luke Brooks and Shaun Johnson)

The impact of the quick play-the-ball was highlighted in the below vision of Nathan Cleary’s running game against South Sydney last week.

Video analysis 2: The importance of a quick play-the-ball

“He’s spoken about it a number of times through the pre-season,” Nathan said.

“He always likes me and Jarome running the ball. He always tells us ‘if there’s nothing really on, try and get a quick play-the-ball so we can play off the back of that the next play. Jarome is doing that really well.”

Apisai Koroisau

Three things changed in the golden west over the summer. Maloney left and Trent Barrett came back. But the most significant factor in the rise of Nathan Cleary has been the return of hooker Apisai Koroisau.

His ability to attract markers and keep the defence second-guessing has given his halves more time and space to set up plays and inject themselves into the contest.

“He is probably in the prime of his career,” Ivan Cleary said.

“I reckon he manipulates markers as good as anyone in the comp. He’s also now become an 80-minute player consistently, which he possibly could have done at Manly but he wasn’t used that way. But on and off the field, he’s been good in terms of leadership. He’s had a great influence on and off the field through leadership and personality as well.”

When coaches talk about Koroisau’s strength as a dummy half, they talk about his tempo.It’s a quality that makes him a constant threat, as highlighted in the video below.

Video analysis 3: the impact of Api Koroisau

“I would describe tempo as being able to manipulate the defensive line to create space for other people,” Ivan Cleary said.

“If you’re playing with tempo, the defence is confused as to when they should go to you or should they not. You want to get the defensive line a little bit staggered because there are guys moving faster than someone else. It’s just deception, pretty much, and he’s one of the best at it.”

The influence of Trent Barrett

Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic gets deja vu watching the Panthers play in 2020. “Trent Barrett’s hands are all over that team,” Trbojevic said of his former coach, who is now Ivan Cleary’s assistant at Penrith.

“Baz did all the attack at Manly and you can see so many similarities with the way Penrith are playing. They look very similar. He’s a really good coach. He used Api well at Manly.

“Penrith’s middles and back-rowers generate a lot of quick play-the-balls and Api gets a roll on off the back of it and plays his deceptive style. That seems to be helping Nathan. Api’s released a lot of pressure off Nathan, because he is so good at holding people up, it makes Nathan’s job a lot easier.”

Panthers assistant Trent Barrett with halfback Nathan Cleary before last week's game against South Sydney.

Panthers assistant Trent Barrett with halfback Nathan Cleary before last week’s game against South Sydney.Credit:Getty

Barrett has helped transform the Panthers’ stuttering attack, working with the players he groomed during his last stint at the club. He once ran the club’s halves academy, helping develop Cleary, Luai and Tyrone May when they were coming through the system.


“Baz did attack for me the last time he was out here,” Ivan Cleary said.

“He’s got a certain way he likes to do it and he’s very good at it. He told me what he wanted to do, his ideas and plans, and I thought they were good and that’s what we’ve gone with.

“Trent uses Api’s strength as much as he can, which is what he did at Manly. He touches the ball first and the most, so naturally there’s similarities. And he also has a long-standing relationship with Jarome and Nat. The timing was perfect.”

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Nathan Coulter-Nile and Andrew Tye omitted from Western Australia 2020/21 contract list

During last year’s World Cup group stage match against the West Indies at Trent Bridge, the all-rounder wandered to the crease with the Australians in dire straits. Although Steve Smith was still at the crease, the top order had crumbled to 6/147.

Thankfully, a batting masterclass pushed the Aussies towards a defendable total, and to everyone’s surprise, Smith wasn’t the one providing the fireworks.

Although his previous highest ODI score was 34, Coulter-Nile smacked a career-high 92 runs from 60 deliveries, including eight boundaries and four sixes, to guide his side to 288. It remains the highest ever individual score by a No. 8 batsman in World Cup history.

Australia went on to win the match by 15 runs, with the paceman rightfully named Player of the Match.

Unfortunately for Coulter-Nile, he would only feature in three more fixtures during the tournament, dropped after a series of forgettable bowling performances.

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Fast forward 12 months, the Western Australian has missed out on a state contract for the upcoming summer of cricket, almost guaranteeing he would never represent his country again.

Western Australian head coach Adam Voges explained a focus on red-ball cricket was the primary reason for Coulter-Nile’s omission. The 32-year-old has not played a first-class match since 2017, primarily due to injury.

“Our focus, no doubt, will be to improve our Sheffield Shield results, we were disappointing at the back end of last season and will be looking to rectify that this year,” Voges said.

“We identified at the end of last season that our bowling depth in Shield cricket and our spin stocks needed a boost.”

Western Australia did not win a four-day match following the Big Bash break last season — after failing to muster a victory in four consecutive encounters, they slipped to fifth on the Sheffield Shield ladder. The state has not claimed a first-class in 21 years.

In contrast, Western Australia emphatically claimed the 2019/20 one-day Marsh Cup title, having only lost two fixtures in the pre-season tournament. Coulter-Nile was the highest wicket-taker in the competition, with 17 dismissals at 18.94.

Although Coulter-Nile was a standout performer in the one-day tournament, Western Australia already boasts a formidable pace attack. Along with international stars Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff, the state squad boasts the likes of Cameron Green, Marcus Stoinis and Joel Paris.

Western Australia’s bowling stocks have also been bolstered by the inclusion of Cameron Gannon, who represented Queensland in the 2019/20 season. The 31-year-old was the Sheffield Shield’s highest wicket-taker last season, with 38 dismissals at 20.92.

“It’s exciting to have Cam (Gannon) come across to the West. He had a terrific season in red-ball cricket being the leading wicket-taker in Sheffield Shield cricket and will bring experience and leadership to our young bowling group,” Voges said.

“A number of our young players gained playing experience last season and this will build our depth, which means competition for spots will be strong, particularly when we are at full strength.”

Meanwhile, former Australian paceman Andrew Tye also faced the axe on Tuesday. The white-ball specialist was named in Australia’s 14-player T20 squad to face Pakistan and Sri Lanka last October. Eight months later, Tye finds himself without a state contract.

The 33-year-old paceman has not played a first-class match since February 2018, but could potentially feature in next season’s one-day domestic tournament and Big Bash League. Tye has played 26 T20s and seven ODI matches for Australia since making his international debut in 2016.

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Anger as Nathan Turner’s death ruled not COVID-19 relateed

There are calls for Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to apologise for a “traumatic” bungle that led a recently deceased man to be diagnosed with COVID-19 only for an autopsy to reveal he did not have the virus in his system at all.

Nathan Turner, 30, had been Australia’s youngest ever coronavirus victim when he died last Tuesday with a post-mortem positive test.

His body was found in his home by his fiance Simone Devon. He could not be revived and was declared deceased at the scene. He had underlying health conditions and flu-like symptoms.

Hailing from Blackwater in central Queensland, the diagnosis baffled health officials who scrambled to understand how the virus had reached the town 200kms west of Rockhampton.

At just 30, Nathan Turner was thought to be Australia’s youngest ever COVID-19 victim.Source:Facebook

Amid fears of an outbreak, hundreds of locals got tested but none were positive. Queensland Health has conceded a coroner’s report has now said there was no trace of the virus in Mr Turner’s body. But it’s not clear what he did die of.

A petition on website has now been started which demands the Premier and chief health officer Jeanette Young make a “national apology”.

“Your leadership created emotional, mental and physical trauma to the loved ones of Nathan, especially his fiance Simone.

“You should be ashamed of yourself and if you had any human decency left then you will apologise for creating trauma to this family,” the strongly worded statement said.

“The emotional, mental, social and physical trauma your chaos caused has broken a family to pieces. A mother and father have lost their son (and) a fiance now struggles to sleep alone without her partner.”

At least 2000 people have signed the petition.

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