Stablemates Dragon Leap and Spring Heat furthered their preparations for a tilt at the Brisbane Winter Carnival with a day out at Te Rapa on Saturday where they completed an exhibition gallop between races.
Neither of the talented duo were asked for a serious effort but pleased their connections with the manner in which they accomplished their tasks.
For the Hermitage Thoroughbreds-owned Dragon Leap the outing was another step on his path to a raceday return having been off the scene due to some ligament issues since finishing towards the rear of the field in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last September.
The four-year-old son of Pierro has the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in June as his major assignment with co-trainer Lance O’Sullivan, who prepares him in partnership with Andrew Scott, impressed by how he has progressed over the past month.
“We are yet to finalise a couple of things with both horses, but Dragon Leap is aiming for the Stradbroke,” O’Sullivan said.
“At this stage there is a race for him three weeks before the Stradbroke (Group 3 BRC Sprint, 1350m) that we will use as the lead up, so he will have a trial a week before that, then the lead up race and then hopefully into the Stradbroke.
“Looking at him yesterday (Saturday) at Te Rapa, there wouldn’t have been a quieter horse on the day.
“He is just wonderful to do anything with and could be a hack to teach kids to ride if he wasn’t a racehorse.
“He has had a decent break since tweaking a ligament and his rehab has gone very well.
“He came back to us from the Hermitage property in grand order and we have been delighted with how he has come along.
“We’ve taken every precaution with him, but we’ve had time on our side as the main aim all along was to go to Brisbane.”
Accompanying Dragon Leap to Queensland is multiple Group One placegetter Spring Heat, who will finish off her racing career in the sunshine state before taking her place in the Hermitage Thoroughbreds broodmare band.
“Spring Heat was going to be retired to the Hermitage farm, so we thought why not take her to Brisbane and try and get some more black type with her,” O’Sullivan said.
“She will contest some of those lesser fillies and mares’ races over there, but we haven’t confirmed a programme for her yet as we are waiting to see what sort of weight she will get.
“There are plenty of options for her, so it will just be a matter of placing her to the best advantage when we know how she will be handicapped.
“She may have to carry a bit of weight, but we will line her up and see how she goes.
“She is pretty much race fit, so her gallop on Saturday topped her off nicely and she will be ready to go when we get her over there.”
Spring Heat has won 6 of her 18 career starts, including the Group 3 King’s Plate (1200m) while she has also been placed on two occasions in the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham.
Dragon Leap, who finished fourth when favourite in the 2020 Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), has won three of his six starts including the Group 2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m).
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To pinpoint the moment where the Queensland Reds’ re-emergence as a rugby powerhouse began, you’ve got to go back to early 2015.
It was over a coffee in March of that year where former Wallaby Sam Cordingley met Brad Thorn in the Brisbane suburb of Aspley, where the giant forward went to school.
The Reds were keen to recruit the World Cup-winning All Black, who won NRL premierships with the Broncos and Origins with Queensland, but couldn’t sign him given they already had their quota of internationals on their list.
But a question from Cordingley, who had only just started as general manager of the Reds, got the ball rolling about what life looked like for arguably the greatest dual international of all time.
“We had a conversation around what does life look like after rugby,” Cordingley tells foxsports.com.au. “He was considering going back to Leicester, but we kept in touch around what he wanted to do post rugby.
“For us, that circuit breaker, we knew we had a young group to come through, a 40 per cent turnover in your key list, you know that you’re needing to rebuild and what better person than a guy like Thorny to be a part of a coaching set-up at the academy level; a hardworking values-based guy, who demonstrated a strong vision of how he saw the club.
“He had a strong affiliation with Queensland through his NRL days with the Broncos, so there were a lot of key ingredients in someone who could be a future coach for the Reds.”
By year’s end Thorn was on board and there began the Reds’ rebirth.
At long last the Reds are back playing the rugby that saw the franchise become the talk of the town back in 2011.
Unfortunately for Queensland rugby, their success, which came off the back of Quade Cooper’s magic alongside Will Genia and Digby Ioane under Ewen McKenzie, didn’t last long.
The Suncorp full-house became emptier by the year as coaches and players disappeared like flour through a sieve.
When Cordingley met Thorn they decided to make a long-term play.
Success would not be achieved overnight, but if they stuck together they would bear fruit later.
A week ago the Reds took a giant step to moving closer to achieving what they set out to achieve by booking a home Super Rugby final. Their come-from-behind win over the Brumbies was witnessed by 22,000 people – their biggest crowd in years.
“If I look at this year in isolation, it’s probably been five or six years in the making,” Cordingley said.
“It started with a period of turmoil. Back in the 2014-15 period there was some poor financial management, our academy hadn’t operated for three years. By the end of 2015, 40 per cent of our core playing squad had departed. That accounted for something like 700 Reds caps and over 300 Test caps, so there’s a big correlation to that period and our highest ever debt position as a club.
“We definitely needed a circuit breaker after that period and we looked at building a strategy to reconnect the Reds pathway and from that point on it was always going to be pretty long play; rebuilding our academy structure, Brad’s recruitment in 2016 was tied into that strategy.”
Thorn has been at the heart of the Reds’ return from the dead.
He took charge of the Reds’ under-20s program, then transformed Queensland Country from cellar-dwellers to NRC champions in his first year in 2017 and was promoted as Queensland head coach off the back of it.
Success wasn’t achieved overnight and questions were raised about Thorn’s coaching ability after another two lean years, particularly after letting go Cooper, Karmichael Hunt and former captain James Slipper.
As Cordingley says: “We did feel like a couple of punching bags for a couple of years.”
But the Reds had bought into a long-term strategy and continued to invest in Thorn, while bringing in experienced Wallabies assistant Jim McKay to work alongside him.
Just as important as the coaches has been the stability in the staff, with manager Thomas Barker, team doctor Daelyn Cullen, head physiotherapist Gina Nelson and head of athletic performance Damian Marsh playing crucial roles in keeping the Reds fit and healthy on the field in 2021.
“We knew he would need some key people around him to be successful and it was a risk but I think it was a calculated risk and if we were going to do it, like the players, it was always going to be a long play,” Cordingley says.
The pups that were with him at NRC level have now developed into the core of Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad.
When Rennie picks his squad to play France in July, the Reds could realistically have 10 players in the Wallabies’ starting line-up.
While the Reds know they’ve turned the corner, it’s titles and sustained success they want.
“We’re not saying that this is the finished product,” Cordingley says. “We’ve still got a hard road ahead of us. We’re not talking about dynasties or anything like that, it’s really about trying to have sustained success both on and off the field. That’s the goal of the club.”
The Reds are conscious not to let history repeat.
The Waratahs are now paying the price for failing to get the succession planning in order.
But having learned how to build a list, Thorn and Cordingley are intent on turning the Reds into a factory and following the path of the Crusaders, where Thorn learnt his craft in rugby.
It’s the Crusaders model that has served the All Blacks so well over the years, with players and coaches developing at Canterbury before progressing together at Super level and eventually on the international stage.
“The benefit of Thorny’s experience with the All Blacks and Crusaders and Broncos at their peak, it’s great to have a guy with that experience and insight,” Cordingley said.
“Our inspiration, a lot of people talk about 2011, but our inspiration goes back to the 1970s and 80s and 90s when the Reds were a real powerhouse and for a consistent period. If you look at the team of 1994 and 1995 under John Connolly, they won back-to-back titles over in South Africa – that wasn’t achieved again until the Crusaders did in 20 years later. There’ve been some terrific Queensland teams and the strength of our program is even the current players are looking back at those eras and looking at them as an era that we want to recreate.”
Fortunately for the Reds the bulk of their talent is locked in until the 2023 World Cup.
It’s a factor that the Reds and Waratahs previously didn’t achieve after their triumphs in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
But with a British and Irish Lions campaign to follow in 2025 and the strong chance of hosting a World Cup two years later, the hope is Queensland will be able to fend off the dollars being thrown at players from overseas.
Even if they do though, the Reds have recognised the importance of list management with Cordingley in control as GM and Thorn left to oversee the coaching program.
“I think the model works well for us,” Cordingley says. “Thorny’s not interested in budgets or player contracting or any of the admin. He’s no more interested than I am in being a coach. I think the balance works well for us.
“He’s got an idea of the type of player we want; strong work ethic, good people, obviously talented, we meet regularly around the list, succession planning, who is coming through.
“The strength of Thorny is he’s really interested in the pathways and who is coming through the system, which really helps me and Paul Carozza in our roles. The key is to be having the right people in those meetings. It can’t just be one person’s decision around where the list is going.
“If I look back, part of this rebirth has been a commitment to a long-term signing strategy as well. There’s been a lot of hard work around recruiting and developing our elite youth and there was a point back then where we just had to back then. We value cohesion as a club, we value players playing together in the Reds jersey. We’re now in a position where we’re welcoming in those meetings the difficulties around selection, recruitment and selection.”
Eventually the Reds will be faced with the reality of the world’s most exciting prop Taniela Tupou becoming available on the market.
Already the Wallabies tight-head has rejected million-dollar offers in France and Japan.
Only one thing can keep him in Australia: success and winning culture.
It’s what kept Dan Carter and Richie McCaw in New Zealand rugby.
With Thorn and Cordingley planning for life beyond 2021, the Reds won’t drop the ball like previous administrations have in Australian rugby.
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Axed Broncos star Anthony Milford made his return to reserve grade but it wasn’t enough as the South Logan Magpies slumped to a 39-22 loss at the hands of the Norths Devils in the Queensland Cup.
Milford is expected to play with the Magpies – a Broncos feeder club – for the next four weeks after his form and confidence were called into question.
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Broncos coach Kevin Walters said the move back to reserve grade would help the playmaker rediscover his mojo.
Milford played five-eighth in a side which contained fellow Broncos Cory Paix, Tesi Niu and Karmichael Hunt.
The Devils led 16-10 at halftime after two tries from boom Broncos rookie Brendan Piakura put them in a commanding position.
They then kicked on to finish 39-22 winners.
Hunt, who scored in the first half, will start training with Brisbane on Monday after he offered to go back to the Broncos in an interview with foxsports.com.au and play in the halves alongside Tom Dearden.
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“I’d prefer to play in the halves, at six and get my hands on the ball,” Hunt said.
“I understand it’s what is best for team.
“I’d love to play six. I think it just suits my game. I can use my vision and creativity and passing skills and kicking.”
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Queensland have claimed the Sheffield Shield title, thrashing NSW by an innings and 33 runs in the final in Brisbane.
QLD defeated defending champions NSW
The Bulls Marnus Labuschagne struck a sublime 192 on Saturday to lift QLD to a first-innings total of 389 and a 246-run overall lead
The Blues suffered just their second loss in 14 games against the Bulls
The Bulls secured the resounding victory after leg spinner Mitch Swepson (3-68) helped bowl the Blues out for 213 in their second dig before lunch on day four at Allan Border Field.
It marked Queensland’s ninth shield title and their first since the 2017-18 season.
The Bulls went into celebration mode after quick Brendan Doggett (3-37) claimed the final wicket to fall, snaring Josh Hazlewood caught behind for three.
Fellow speedster Xavier Bartlett also impressed for Queensland with 3-42. But Swepson did most of the damage on Sunday.
He ended the stubborn resistance of Baxter Holt, trapping the wicketkeeper in front for 29 off 91 balls.
Swepson also had Trent Copeland caught behind for nine and nabbed Nathan Lyon for 10 when ex-Test batsman Usman Khawaja took a smart slips catch.
Lyon could not capitalise after being given a life on seven when he was dropped at gully by Bryce Street off Michael Neser (1-41).
Defending champions NSW resumed on Sunday at 5-140 still trailing by 106 runs.
The visitors were under enormous pressure after Test No.3 Marnus Labuschagne struck a sublime 192 on Saturday to lift Queensland to a first-innings total of 389 and a 246-run overall lead.
He struck 21 boundaries in his nine-and-a-half-hour, 353-ball knock to register the fourth highest score in a shield final.
NSW were on the back foot since winning the toss and being routed for 143 in their first dig on Thursday after Neser (5-27) and Jack Wildermuth (4-21) ripped through the visitors.
The Blues suffered just their second loss in 14 games against Queensland despite boasting a world-class attack of Starc, Hazlewood and off-spinner Lyon.
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Queensland’s Chief Health Officer says she holds concerns for six passengers who travelled on a Qatar Airways flight who may have contracted COVID-19 from a “superspreader”.
Queensland recorded seven new COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine
Two cases are linked to Qatar Airways flight DR898
Eight people on floor eight of the quarantine hotel will be tested and isolate until they had a result
Dr Jeannette Young said three passengers from the international flight QR898, that arrived into Queensland from Doha last month, have tested positive for the Russian variant, out of the six recorded COVID-19 cases onboard.
She said she was not worried about the Russian variant of the virus because “it’s not a particularly contagious or problematic variant”.
“The problem isn’t the variant, it’s the one individual,” Dr Young said.
“We know through this pandemic we have had instances of superspreaders. I’m concerned this individual is a superspreader.
“We’ve had plenty throughout the pandemic, we had one individual who managed to spread it in a few hours to 40 other people for instance.
“So we’ve had them all along from day one. We still don’t understand why one person spreads the virus to someone else, or to many other people and other don’t.”
Dr Young said the virus was likely to have spread on the Qatar Airways flight and possibly at the hotel.
“There’s now six cases, so one of the people transited to New Zealand, then another person tested positive who would have had it at the time they were on the plane.
“Now they’ve then given it to two other people at least, one of them we’re confident happened on the plane but the other one I’m not as confident.
“It could have happened, unlikely, but it could have happened in the hotel because this person was in the room next to the person who was positive.”
Dr Young said she was asking eight people on floor eight of the hotel to be tested and isolate until they had a result.
Seven cases recorded in hotel quarantine
It comes as Queensland recorded no new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus overnight, but seven cases were detected in hotel quarantine from overseas travellers.
Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said two of those cases were linked to a man who was a passenger on the Qatar Airways flight and tested positive.
She said another five were on a chartered flight from Ok Tedi Mine in Papua New Guinea.
“We are concerned about the number of positives we’re seeing coming in on those chartered flights from the mine in Papua New Guinea,” she said.
“We have been advised the mine has suspended these flights for the next two weeks, and we welcome this announced to ensure we don’t have an abundance of cases coming in.”
Ms D’Ath said out of the 74 passengers on the Qatar Airways flight, six people had since tested positive for COVID-19.
She said as a precaution, eight people who had been quarantining at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane on floor eight and had since left would be required to get tested and isolate.
“As two of these cases were in rooms next to each other in the Mercure Hotel, we are asking for the eight individuals who have left between the 18th and 21st of February to get tested and to isolate themselves until they get their results,” she said.
“For a number of them, their 14 days will be today or tomorrow but we just want them to get tested and quarantine until we get their results.”
Quarantine extended hours from release
Juan Pufleau and his partner travelled from Canada to Brisbane on the Qatar Airways flight.
They were four hours away from finishing their quarantine period on Wednesday when they were told it had been extended until Monday.
“It was disappointing because you are building up your whole experience, your whole 14 days towards thinking ‘this is day seven, how many more to go?'” he said.
“Then you have your last sleep and you think it’s the last night.
“If they knew there was a test somebody didn’t pass and there was a new strain, then why did they give us release papers and withdraw them at the last minute?”
Mr Pufleau said apart from the lack of fresh air, he was not worried about the virus spreading at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane.
“We have a window but it doesn’t open so we don’t have fresh air at all — that’s the hard part,” Mr Pufleau said.
“Fresh air also has an impact on the possibility of cross-contamination room to room … but it looks like it’s happened on a different floor so I’m not really too concerned about the cross-contamination inside the hotel.”
Mr Pufleau said he and his partner was looking forward to returning home to Melbourne to see his two children on March 8 when they are released.
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The Supreme Court jury in Townsville took just over five hours to convict Kyle Robert Thompson, 32, of murdering David Knyvett, 59, in his Belgian Gardens home on November 15, 2015.
In sentencing, Justice Susan Brown told Thompson his conduct was “intentional and calculated”.
“Nothing can take away what you did, and nothing should.”
Thompson had previously been found guilty of murder but had his conviction quashed by the Queensland Court of Appeal in February 2019, after it determined the trial judge made an error by misdirecting the jury over the application of the defence of provocation.
Nine witnesses gave evidence during the four-day trial, which heard Thompson used a glass bottle to hit Mr Knyvett on the head “multiple times” before binding him with duct tape and dragging his body to the bathroom, where he later drowned in his own blood.
In a statement provided to the ABC, Mr Knyvett’s family said it was relieved and satisfied with the outcome of the trial and described David Knyvett as a kind and compassionate man.
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When Bangladesh-born Shelly Nahar and her son moved to Rockhampton three years ago, she was still learning to speak English.
Even small talk was daunting, let alone explaining problems to a health professional.
“When I feel any problems and when I feel uncomfortable, of course, I’ll ask my husband first,” Ms Nahar said.
“Then I will ask [other family or friends], and sometimes I [search] the internet.”
Ms Nahar is among the 10 per cent of Australia’s population born in countries with a non-English-speaking background.
A Central Queensland Multicultural Association (CQMA) pilot project, Breaking the Barriers of Health Communication, found English proficiency was among many barriers to health care facing culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people.
It found CALD people in regional areas were at a higher risk of preventable diseases, complications, increased hospitalisation and increased mortality due to low health literacy.
Nepalese woman Dev Shrestha said the weeks following the birth of her son, Evan, were “a really scary time”.
“I’m a new mum, so I have got a few issues with concern to my baby,” she said.
The Rockhampton mum said it took three trips to the emergency department and countless GP appointments for the six-month-old to be diagnosed with eczema, but they were still waiting to see a specialist.
“I felt living in a regional area was a bit of a disadvantage,” she said.
While Ms Shrestha’s English proficiency is good, she said she’d seen others from non-English-speaking backgrounds struggle.
“I think the majority of the CALD community also have similar kinds of issues, especially those living in regional areas.”
The pilot project’s leader, Neeta Ferdous, completed her Masters and PhD on the health of CALD communities in Australia.
Recommendations from the project have been given to federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on how to break down barriers and where resources are needed.
“Regional, rural and remote CALD people are not getting those sorts of facilities or resources and we need to know where the problem is and [find] the solution.”
The study used data collected from 40 healthcare consumers and 15 public and private health professionals.
CQUniversity and Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service helped facilitate the research.
“In terms of health literacy, Rockhampton’s CALD population is more disadvantaged than the broader Queensland population, as well as the broader Australia-wide born overseas population,” the report stated.
Rockhampton exercise physiologist Samuel Warrener said he had minimal cultural training at university.
“We just try and look after them as best we can with the knowledge and pre-existing experience that we have, and asking them about themselves,” he said.
“It’s really important that we do get to know their background so that we know where they’re coming from and that way, we can make them as comfortable as we can when they come in and see us.
Pilot project officer Evie Perrins said professionals had not been using available resources, including translators or communication boards, which was contributing to communication difficulties.
“Health professionals within this region can choose to undertake cultural competency training … but it’s not mandatory, whereas comparatively, Indigenous cultural competency training is mandatory,” she said.
Ms Perrins said social support systems in metropolitan areas should be expanded across Queensland.
“Something like a multicultural liaison officer should be introduced to help bridge the cultural and linguistic gap between healthcare consumers and healthcare professionals [to assist individuals] navigating the healthcare system and speaking with their health professional,” she said.
The pilot project looked at people from 15 different countries, so Dr Ferdous said its scope was limited.
“There’s more research needed into exactly which cultures are going to suffer heightened disadvantage comparatively,” she said.
Researchers said the release of the report was timely considering COVID and its impact on CALD communities.
Central Queensland Multicultural Association president Dawn Hay said the organisation already helped vulnerable people, but much more needed to be done.
“It would be disappointing if it is not recognised at Commonwealth and state level in the healthcare systems that this is a growing concern, it’s not minor,” she said.
CQMA submitted its final progress report in December. A federal Department of Health spokesman said the government was considering the recommendations.
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The matter was referred to Speaker Curtis Pitt by opposition MP Fiona Simpson late last year, who alleged Ms Palaszczuk deliberately misled Queensland Parliament when answering a question during a debate in February 2017.
In the exchange, Ms Palaszczuk was asked by LNP MP Steve Minnikin, “does the Premier have a private email account? Has she ever used it for official purposes?” to which the Premier answered, “yes and no”.
“At this stage, I’m not advocating a position on him re: DG but do say we need to be thorough about him as the last thing we need is a QPC chair with an ideological perspective contra to ours and contra to our platform,” Mr Bailey wrote in the email.
It was later revealed four emails had been sent between Ms Palaszczuk and Mr Bailey’s personal accounts and the Premier had previously used two private email accounts.
When referring the matter to Mr Pitt, Ms Simpson said the discussion about the potential appointment of a director-general meant Ms Palaszczuk had used the account for official purposes.
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Paramedics are treating a patient with a head injury following a quad bike incident at Burrum River.
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Sheffield Shield final, Queensland vs New South Wales, day three at Allan Border Field —
New South Wales have but one option against Queensland on day three of the Sheffield Shield final: attack.
Already heavily trailing, the Blues have a mountain to climb if they want to get back in the match against the Bulls, who are 4-317 after 129 overs.
The visitors had no answer to Marnus Labuschagne on Friday, as the Test first-drop moved from 23 to finish the day unbeaten on 160. Along the way he peeled off the sixth highest Shield final score.
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Speaking to Darren Lehmann on Fox Cricket before day three, he explained why he leaves the ball in an extravagant fashion, similar to Steve Smith.
“For me, it’s about getting in the contest,” he said. “For me, leaving the ball extravagantly, or sort of over-exaggerating, is just showing energy…
“Because a leave can be quite a mundane shot but to bring energy and, also, maybe it does put pressure on the bowlers just because a bit more intensity with the leave creates a bit more atmosphere when you bat.”
MATCH CENTRE: Queensland vs New South Wales, live scoreboard
DAY TWO REPORT: Lyon’s umpire sledge reveals Blues pain as ‘special’ Labuschagne puts QLD in control
MARNUS MAGIC: Cricket greats swoon as Labuschagne smokes ‘one of the best centuries seen’
NSW took a wicket early on day one when Matthew Renshaw (34) chopped a cover drive on to his stumps off the bowling of Trent Copeland.
Marnus talks ‘finding his grip’
Queensland XI: Bryce Street, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Usman Khawaja (c), Matthew Renshaw, Jimmy Peirson (wk), Jack Wildermuth, Michael Neser, Xavier Bartlett, Mitch Swepson, Brendan Doggett
NSW XI: Daniel Hughes, Matthew Gilkes, Kurtis Patterson (c), Jason Sangha, Jack Edwards, Sean Abbott, Baxter Holt (wk), Mitchell Starc, Trent Copeland, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
Follow all the action as it happens with the live blog below.
If the blog does not appear, click here.
“I think I’m going to have to swap ends”
Meanwhile, former Australian coach Lehmann said the Blues couldn’t retreat into their shells and had to come out firing on day three.
“They’ve got to get wickets: simple,” he told foxsports.com.au.
“They’ve got to get quick wickets on Saturday first-up.
“They’ve got to bowl Queensland out before lunch and then bat for five sessions. That’s the only way they’ll be in with a chance.
“They’re almost 150 behind at stumps, if they were to bowl Queensland out before lunch they’d be at least 200 behind and then you’d have to bat five sessions and bowl them out on the last day.”
Lehmann’s hilarious Evel Knievel injury
Meanwhile, former Australia star Andrew Symonds urged NSW bowlers to ‘start a fight’ with their rivals.
Symonds said on Fox Cricket: “They just haven’t created enough chances for themselves…
“At the end of a final particularly, have you exhausted every single avenue to try and make things happen? Yes they’re tired, it’s been a long season.
“But I’m thinking start a fight with someone, try and get under someone’s skin. See if you can get a reaction there and a bad shot out of someone.
“The NSW attack, they’ve got to just keep trying. What we’d like to see them do is try some different things now. They’ve tried what they obviously planned, stuck to it and stuck to it. But I think now they need to make a move in a different direction.”
Marnus stars in big day for Queensland
Screamer alert! Marnus ends NSW in style
‘Next one will be on the badge!’
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